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Theological debate: please join me inside.


mrcrow

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I'll take your "if Jesus existed at all" with a grain of salt. In between the Gospels, his effect on the culture, the testimony of his followers, and his mentions in outside sources, we have more evidence of Christ then almost anyone else in the ancient world. Perhaps Julius Caesar didn't exist either, after all the only "proofs" we have of his existence are the writings of historians who were obviously biased in their views, certainly as biased as any of the gospel writers?
;)

 

Do you actually believe this, or are you lying for Christ? We have contemporary writings of Julius, including his own writings. We have nothing of the sort for Jesus.

 

As a Christian I would also disagree strongly with your interpretation of the rest of IS 9. Jesus did start a Kingdom, it just wasn't of this earth, and the establishment of Peace was peace in the heart. He explained this clearly to his followers, and the history that followed showed this clearly fulfilled. The Church is truly a representation of the Kingdom on earth and it has proven to have as much influence (not all of it admittedly good) as any physical kingdom has on the planet. Again Christ clearly said to the Jews that he was God "Before Abraham was, I am". I see no contradictions here.

 

Yes, I'm well aware of the Christian apologetics technique of denying that the words mean what they say. You are welcome to disagree. How could I stop you? I should mention, however, that Jesus didn't "clearly state" anything. All that we have of his alleged words comes from other people. In legal terms, it is hearsay. Hearsay is no admissible in court. It isn't reliable enough.

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That also completely trashes the argument that the meaning of the Bible is clear, or available to the layman simply by reading it.

There are main themes, and there are minor themes. The main themes are clear and easily accessible. The minor themes, things like what Jesus was talking about in the Parable of the 10 Virgins, or the "In my Father's house are many rooms" statement in John 14, are not as easily understood in their fullness in today's Western language/culture as they were at the time and place in which they were said.

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I don't think that's anywhere near where "accurate" would sit, sorry.

As far as Ceasar vs. Jesus:


You have the writings of Julius Ceasar to start with, then we have the writings of well known and respected historians immediately following his death.


As far as Jesus, we have books written by numerous unknown authors a hundred years after his death.


This is a played out comparison that literally holds no water IMO. I mean, C'mon you are comparing emporers to carpenters here...if nothing else, common sense would lead one to believe you would have plenty of evidence for the existence of Ceasar.



Dan

 

 

Right, and we do. It seems to me that, if Jesus did the things he is said to have done, there would be independent evidence of that, too, but there isn't. That tells me that he didn't exist, didn't exist as depicted in the NT, is a composite of multiple other people, or simply wasn't nearly as important as his followers think/thought he is/was.

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And yet, differences occur. Look at the differences between the Hebrew Bible and the Septuagint.


Verbal transmission has little if anything, to do with what one person remembers and writes down decades after the event. Rather, it has to do with a group of people memorizing a story and passing it on, correcting each other in the retelling, and agreeing on a standardized version. I know of no evidence that this was the case with the NT books.

Ah, looks like I jumped the gun. If you're talking about the Gospels, heck, I'll go all day on that one. Exactly what are you saying about them?

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Ah, looks like I jumped the gun. If you're talking about the Gospels, heck, I'll go all day on that one. Exactly what are you saying about them?

 

 

I'm saying that there was no accepted version of the story to be passed down.

As a result, differences are bound to occur, and that is what we see, even in the canonical Gospels. They do not tell the same story. Or, if you prefer, they tell the same story differently, in many cases in contradictory fashion.

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All that we have of his alleged words comes from other people.

...and a lot of witnesses and prophesy. That I've read, very few people doubt that Jesus waked the earth. The debate comes in when people start defining who he was, not whether or not he was here. Are you taking the position that Jesus wasn't a real person?

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I'm saying that there was no accepted version of the story to be passed down.

As a result, differences are bound to occur, and that is what we see, even in the canonical Gospels. They do not tell the same story. Or, if you prefer, they tell the same story differently, in many cases in contradictory fashion.

A few questions for clarification: how do you define "accepted" and what stories are told in contradictory fashion? Seems to me that 4 books, 3 of which were based on personal experience and 1 of which was research based, in the most popular book ever written can be a pretty strong case for acceptance. And I'd say that, the "contradictory fashion" of which you speak are nothing more than minor differences of recollection of same events between a few people (i.e. Jesus walked up a hill vs Jesus walked down a hill).

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...and a lot of witnesses and prophesy. That I've read, very few people doubt that Jesus waked the earth. The debate comes in when people start defining who he was, not whether or not he was here. Are you taking the position that Jesus wasn't a real person?

 

 

Witnesses are other people. And no, not a lot of witnesses, unless your counting people who never could have met him in person. All we have from people who might have met him are Matthew, Mark, one or two Johns, Peter and James. No others that I know of. Most of modern Christianity comes from the writings of Paul, who by his own testimony never met Jesus in the flesh. Sure, he had visions, but lots of people have visions. Doesn't make them true.

 

And prophecy? Sorry. With all of the twisting of interpretations to make them fit, and the possibility of postdiction as opposed to prediction, I give prophecy no credence whatsoever.

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A few questions for clarification: how do you define "accepted" and what stories are told in contradictory fashion? Seems to me that 4 books, 3 of which were based on personal experience and 1 of which was research based, in the most popular book ever written can be a pretty strong case for acceptance. And I'd say that, the "contradictory fashion" of which you speak are nothing more than minor differences of recollection of same events between a few people (i.e. Jesus walked up a hill vs Jesus walked down a hill).

 

 

How about Jesus and his family went to Egypt as opposed to they went to Nazareth? A bit more of a difference there, don't you think? But there is a whole lot of information available to anyone who has an open mind on the subject of biblical contradiction. Some of it is extremely nitpicky, granted, but if a book is going to be held up as the perfect word of an infallible god, I'd expect it to be perfect, and it isn't.

 

Now you strike me as a person whose mind is not open on the subject, someone who will reject even the most obvious contradictions. That's fine. You're in a large company. But such contradictions bothered me, even as a child, and set me on the road to atheism. That seems unlikely in your case.

 

For those interested in exploring the world of biblical errancy, here are some links:

http://members.aol.com/ckbloomfld/

http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/theism/christianity/errancy.html

http://www.skepticsannotatedbible.com/contra/by_name.html

 

There are lots more, but that's a start.

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Yes, I meant James.


Perhaps you meant that particular passage was in question, but the fact that Josephus mentioned Jesus is not.

 

 

That mention carries a lot more weight for me than the much more commonly quoted Testimonium. It's one of the main reasons you aren't likely to ever hear me say or see me wrote that Jesus never existed, only that I'm not convinced that he did. However, it's quite possible that "brother of Jesus" was added later, or that it meant James was part of a group that referred to themselves or were referred to as "brothers of Jesus", neither of which requires an actual, living Jesus. I simply don't know. I just disagree when someone says that it is an undisputed fact that Jesus existed.

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How about Jesus and his family went to Egypt as opposed to they went to Nazareth? A bit more of a difference there, don't you think? But there is a whole lot of information available to anyone who has an open mind on the subject of biblical contradiction. Some of it is extremely nitpicky, granted, but if a book is going to be held up as the perfect word of an infallible god, I'd expect it to be perfect, and it isn't.

IMHO, when you talk about "perfection", you're reading a lot into the Bible that isn't there -- either that or you're listening and reading the wrong info, from my perspective at least. About the Egypt thing how me were the Bible says that he didn't go to Egypt, gotta say that's a new one to me.

 

Now you strike me as a person whose mind is not open on the subject, someone who will reject even the most obvious contradictions. That's fine. You're in a large company. But such contradictions bothered me, even as a child, and set me on the road to atheism. That seems unlikely in your case.

 

Just because I don't agree with you, it doesn't automatically mean that I'm close minded. I don't agree with anyone I know on everything yet I wouldn't call any of my friends close minded. I tend to hang out with those I don't agree with, preaching to the choir all day long gets pretty dull. And actually they did bother me quite a bit and I spent quite a bit of time looking into it and I was darn near kicked out the church that we attend for my views. I'd go into the details but it's a pretty long and drawn out story. From what I can tell, a large portion of inerrancy comes from the first part of II Tim 3:16, "All Scripture is God breathed,...". The definition of "God breathed" has been debated for ages and I tend to fall on the more liberal side. There are some who are incredibly strict in their views and if you ever wonder who they are, they'll be the ones saying "Show me one mistake in the Bible and I'll leave my faith right now!". For me, they might as well say, "I'm very narrow minded and I would love to be messed with.". Mix that up with traditional doctrines of Biblical Authority and there's plenty of room for some pretty heated arguments.

 

All that being said, I have no interest in going on wild goose chases, hunting for valid errors in the Bible. When I'm reading it and I notice one, I'll do the legwork. If I'm out of ideas, I'll start asking around. I have the benefit of having a small group of buddies who are pretty brainy, liberal (religiously and politically) and not afraid to put the Bible through it's tests. I also know quite a few conservative minded people whose intellect I really respect. And, if they fail, I always have the option of starting a thread with the title, "Without a doubt, God exists!".

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I guess that depends on how you view the first part of 2 Tim 3:16.
;)
:poke:

 

Sure, and since Martin Luther, interpretation has gone in thousands of directions. But no theologian of good reputation believes the Bible fell from heaven to earth. It was written by men, inspired by God.;)

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I think that's enough to be considered. Don't you?

 

Considering that's not what "Considerable" means, I don't consider your statement worth consideration... :p

 

 

Seriously though, "considerable" means "large in amount, extent, or degree"...

 

A few lone voices among an almost universally unified body of opinion doesn't fit any definition I'd use for considerable..."Oh, a considerable number of the students will be there, at least 4 or 5 out of 500" sounds right to you? :confused:

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Sure, and since Martin Luther, interpretation has gone in thousands of directions. But no theologian of good reputation believes the Bible fell from heaven to earth. It was written by men, inspired by God.
;)

Inspired how? Inspired as in "I was inspired by a tree to write a song."? Or, were the words that were written directly "breathed in" to the authors by God, removing any possible contribution or bias by man? :p

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Inspired how? Inspired as in "I was inspired by a tree to write a song."? Or, were the words that were written directly "breathed in" to the authors by God, removing any possible contribution or bias by man?
:p

 

Who the hell said there was never any human input? I never said that. You are the one insinuating the Bible dropped from heaven to earth. Now, which is it? I say the Bible is a collection of writings written by men, inspired by God, but OBVIOUSLY with some human input, which does not invalidate it. In fact, salvation history is FILLED with God having humans PARTICIPATE in their own salvation.

 

BTW, bias is not always a bad thing, everyone has it, even atheists. It is a perspective, to be sure, and surely the writings in the Bible often reflect the culture that produced them.

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Inspired how? Inspired as in "I was inspired by a tree to write a song."? Or, were the words that were written directly "breathed in" to the authors by God, removing any possible contribution or bias by man?
:p

 

Why does it have to be one of the two ways you're describing? (I.e., zomg, False dilemma :p)

 

What about the word "Theopneustos" requires the process to be "direct" and "removing any possible contribution or bias"?

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Who the hell said there was never any human input? I never said that. You are the one insinuating the Bible dropped from heaven to earth. Now, which is it? I say the Bible is a collection of writings written by men, inspired by God, but OBVIOUSLY with some human input, which does not invalidate it. In fact, salvation history is FILLED with God having humans PARTICIPATE in their own salvation.


BTW, bias is not always a bad thing, everyone has it, even atheists. It is a perspective, to be sure, and surely the writings in the Bible often reflect the culture that produced them.

 

Plenty of theologians have and will go to their grave explaining away every single "inerrancy" in the Bible. As you know, it's not a deal breaker when salvation, for lack of a better word, comes into play, but there are those whose faith can't stand up the idea of anything in the Bible being even slightly out of place.

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Right then. So, flee from the false dilemma!
:p

I just went through almost a year and a half of it being not that easy. I got beat up pretty good over it by an Elder who's an ex M1 Abrams tank commander, is an incredibly driven personality type and about as conservative as they come. I came less than a minute away from being kicked out of a pretty good sized church and being pretty much blackballed from being involved in darn near any ministry in Silicon Valley. It was pretty bad.

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I just went through almost a year and a half of it being not that easy. I got beat up pretty good over it by an Elder who's an ex M1 Abrams tank commander and about as conservative as they come. I came less than a minute away from being kicked out of a pretty good sized church and being pretty much blackballed from being involved in darn near any ministry in Silicon Valley. It was bad.

 

 

If someone can't read Paul's letters and see the author's hand in them, then they're morons. Paul reads like Paul, Luke reads like Luke, Peter reads like Peter. There's a reason for that.

 

If the author was irrelevant to the scripture created, there would be no difference between Pauline and Petrine writings...Anyone who's read it in the English translation should be able to see big differences, much less anyone who knows the Greek.

 

 

Hell, I'd even go so far to say that someone who is ignoring the authorship of a particular piece of scripture is using fundamentally unsound hermeneutical methods and has no business being in a position of scriptural instruction.

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Plenty of theologians have and will go to their grave explaining away every single "inerrancy" in the Bible. As you know, it's not a deal breaker when salvation, for lack of a better word, comes into play, but there are those whose faith can't stand up the idea of anything in the Bible being even slightly out of place.

 

 

Fair enough. I think you are pointing more towards Bible Christians and Evangelicals, unless I am wrong. Folks who take everything in the Bible literally.

 

For example, the Catholic Church accepts that the earth is older than 5,000 years, and that there can be some symbolism there in Genesis.

 

It's also OK for Catholics to believe in evolution, so long as it is believed to be part of God's plan for humanity, and that all humans have a soul.

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If someone can't read Paul's letters and see the author's hand in them, then they're morons. Paul reads like Paul, Luke reads like Luke, Peter reads like Peter. There's a reason for that.

There are some pretty strict views that allow for personality differences. But yes, I completely agree with you.

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