This will no doubt turn into an interesting thread.
Above, Lauren's writes "I wasn't sure where Theravadin's stood on this matter either."
I think that it may be worth pointing out that the quotes from the suttas are not the only perspective that the Theravadins have on this. If one goes into the commentarial tradition, one will find a somewhat different story. To me, though no doubt many will disagree, it may be useful to distinguish between the "sutta-vadins" and the "thera-vadins", the "thera-vada" referring to the commentaries of the Theras on the suttas. And this is very pertinent given that this thread is in the "Classical Mahavihara Theravada" Forum.
Problem is, in the English language at least, we have little access to the commentaries, and often (mis)take the sutta-vada for the thera-vada. I'll try to find some thera-vada quotes for you all, to add here.
I think it best to first have as much info as possible on the subject, before coming to conclusions about what the Classical Mahavihara position actually is.
My recently moved Blog, containing some of my writings on the Buddha Dhamma, as well as a number of translations from classical Buddhist texts and modern authors, liturgy, etc.: .