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Cake day: June 16th, 2023

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  • Coalitions are literally the primary way the rest of the world avoids devolving into the US’s corrupt two-party system. It’s proven quite effective.

    If that could be combined with RCV in more countries (or US states), then it could far more strongly prevent the consolidation of political parties and return more power to the people themselves.


  • I had to read that a couple of times before I understood what you are trying to say. At first glance, it seemed like you were calling democracy itself bourgeois, but I think you meant it as a specific thing that isn’t actual democracy… e.g. it’s an illusion of democracy because capitalism gives the wealthy the ability to steer the whole ship, as it were. Please correct me if my understanding is wrong.






  • I see. I am talking about the conversation as a whole, since I dislike taking verses out of context.

    The underlying topic is universal: Righteousness and who gains eternal life at the Resurrection. Jesus teaching is entirely centered around this. So in a way, it’s all universal.

    But there’s an extra layer to the entire conversation: acceptance of Jesus as the Messiah. So the entire conversation is filled with scathing barbs aimed at Israel, and Nicodemus as a representative of Israel. 18 contains one of these barbs. Does this help?









  • So your entire issue here is that I used the word ‘Christian?’ Would you prefer ‘worshiper of Christ?’

    Not exactly. And I’d prefer “follower of Jesus”, as that more accurately reflects what Jesus is demanding.

    Translation between any two languages is difficult enough, but translating across time and cultures, and two millennia of blood-soaked, monopolistic, political ambition complicates matters further.

    Connotative errors are a major problem for all modern religions - and not just Judeo-Christian religions. Even Islam - which insists their scripture be read in it’s original language - is subject to severe connotative errors by major groups of adherents.

    Going back to your original comment:

    I’d like to see you excuse John 3:18. It’s pretty overt that all non-Christians are condemned.

    Jesus is talking about Israel… to one of it’s leaders. He is telling them that he is right here right now, and it’s time for his people to make their choice. “Follow me, and I will take you with me to the next creation. Do not follow me, and this life is all you get.”

    Now there are two problematic connotations in the scripture you are referencing…

    First, Jesus demanding that his people believe in him. Jesus teaches repeatedly about behavior toward others throughout every version of every gospel… and condemns those whose behavior is selfish, harmful, spiteful, etc. “Believe in my reputation” (Koine: “pepisteuken eis to onoma”) doesn’t mean “worship me, peasants” - it means “if you believe I am who I say I am, you will live according to what I am teaching.”

    The second connotative problem is the meaning of “condemned”. Annotatively, this is an accurate translation, but given that modern Christianity is more Hellenist than Jesus-like, that carries with it the connotation of “tormented in hell for eternity”… which is not even remotely a scriptural concept. Jesus taught that the righteous - those who lived according to his teaching - were not “dead” (which implies permanence) but “asleep”. He taught the Resurrection of the Dead… in which the Righteous (both Jew and Gentile) would be granted new, eternal life in a new creation (“a new heaven and earth”), and those judged unrighteous will be… dead. Never to rise again. Erased with cleansing fire, like trash.

    In addition to those, there is one additional place we seem to be crossing wires… and that is the intersection of Jesus presence as Messiah and application of long-standing Righteousness doctrine.

    There is an old philosophical puzzle… if Jesus demands that everyone “accept” him, what about those who have never heard of him? What you will hear from the VAST MAJORITY of Christian sects is some hand-waving version of “everyone is born with the knowledge in their hearts and they just choose to ignore it”. It’s same thing as “The scripture is inerrant. So if the scripture apparently conflicts with something obvious, measurable, and tangible… then it is that obvious, measurable, tangible thing that is wrong.” Few ever stop to think “Wait, is it ME who is wrong?”

    So what does that have to do with Jesus and Nicodemus discussion about who gets accepted into the Kingdom of Heaven (the new creation/universe/reality/etc after this one)? Well, the discussion is a continuation of Righteousness doctrine. This goes all the way back to the Noachide Laws, which were ostensibly created by Noah to ensure his descendants lived Righteously in the eyes of God. These are actually very simple and mostly common sense, and serve as the foundation for the later Ten Commandments.

    1. Don’t worship idols. They aren’t real.
    2. If God reveals himself to you, obey him.
    3. Don’t murder.
    4. Do not be promiscuous.
    5. Don’t steal.
    6. Treat animals humanely (especially livestock).
    7. Establish courts and pursue justice.

    Even before Jesus, a gentile who lived this way - even unknowingly - was a righteous gentile. The Ten Commandments further expanded on this, but generally maintains the same core precepts. While Jesus and Nicodemus are specifically discussing the Israelite people, Jesus’ answers (as does all of his teaching) call back to this simple formula… but with a twist for those alive in that place at that time…

    Here is verse 18 again, with a translation that better avoids connotative errors: “Anyone that believes me will not be rejected; but those who don’t believe… because they have seen and heard me, because they know my reputation as the sole offspring of God… they are already rejected.”

    Some verses might say “believe in me” (from “pisteuon eis auton”), but that’s a connotative error. Jesus is saying “if you believe me, you will do these things I tell you. You will live them.” And the inverse is true, in this context. Those who are already living that way, or who know the [Abrahamic] Law, will see the truth of his words and accept them.

    To gentiles, things remain largely unchanged… other than (post-resurrection) the message that those who follow that teaching and live by it - not only Jews - can gain the gift of eternal life.

    So again… I want to make clear what the message is (which is different than what you may assume… rightly so, given that’s what frequently is taught)… to whom, at what time/circumstance, and why.


  • Let me be abundantly clear by repeating myself: the entirety of the discussion between Jesus and Nicodemus concerns the people of Israel, and especially the Sanhredrin, their religious-political leaders.

    There is no concept of “Christian” in this context. It had not yet been invented. Gentiles are not explicitly included in this discussion. The discussion is an extension of existing Pharisaic doctrine.

    What parts of that would you like more clarification about?


  • It is not a yes or no question, and it is not relegated to individual sentences/verses taken deliberately out of context, as you are trying to do. I gave you detailed context in both answers that considers the entire conversation between Jesus and Nicodemus. I would suggest you re-read those. If you have any clarifying questions that aren’t a bad faith attempt to force a binary fallacy, I’m happy to dive further.



  • Look, this isn’t very hard. Who is Jesus talking to? What is the circumstance for this discussion? What are they talking about and why?

    Jesus is the Messiah to the Israelites… the ethnically Jewish people… God’s chosen people. To inherit eternal life, they needed only to accept him as such, which also means accepting his authority and obeying his teaching. This is exactly in line with the much older religious Law regarding righteousness (e.g. going back to Noachide Law). It was only after the resurrection that he commanded his apostles to spread this to the rest of the world.

    Now because this section of scripture you want to scrutinize is little more than a restatement of concepts that span most of scripture, I feel like I need to clear up an assumption you may have (and a completely understandable one, at that) about the “afterlife”.

    In Jesus time there was an ongoing debate about the Resurrection of the Dead, an even in which everyone who ever lived is raised and judged. The Righteous will be granted eternal life in a new creation/reality… those judged otherwise will be destroyed; dead forever. The Pharisaic tradition, of which Jesus was an advocate, taught this. The Sadducees (the priest caste) disavowed this dogma, arguing that you had one life and dead was dead.

    The Pharisaic tradition had also slightly adapted the rules for gentiles, which were more lax given they weren’t raised under the Law.

    Modern Judaism (mostly) teaches the Sadducee interpretation: you have one life and dead is dead.

    But modern Christianity teaches something else entirely: neo-Hellenism. That is, when you die, your “soul” (which is not a scriptural concept) is judged immediately and then sent to either heaven or hell (hades). As such, modern Christianity teaches that you that you either “love Jesus” or you will be tormented for all eternity. None of that is scriptural. None of it occurs in scripture at all.

    Scripturally, Heaven (specifically “Third Heaven”) is the dwelling place of God and it is not a place for humans (Jesus even mentions this in the very section of John we are discussing). The idea of an immediate “afterlife” is entirely of Hellenist origin… hades, hell, the concept of some kind of ongoing consciousness after death… all of it pagan and completely at odds with scripture and Jesus own teaching.

    But then, I ask you, how often does a modern “Christian” let Jesus’ teaching get in the way of their political agenda? It’s almost like they reject Jesus teaching and behave like the scribes and Pharisees instead…