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elf
01-17-2008, 07:39 AM
Here's a C&P of a comment on an Alternet story:

I'm not a Christian, but I can tell you that nothing would thrill me more than the rapture actually happening. Maybe then, after all of the zealous born again Christians, evangelicals, and social conservatives finally float away, those of us left can construct ourselves a society based on reason and personal choice.

Would those of us left behind in the Rapture because we're not evangelical Christians be upset by our continued presence on Earth? I think I can honestly say that I would feel privileged to remain here as one of the new standard bearers of a society that we would certainly rearrange to allow much greater freedom of expression and protection of our civil liberties. And since so many war mongers in the Christian faith claim to be born agains and evangelicals, there would certainly be a precipitous drop in the amount of people worldwide who become casualties and targets of those who claim to represent Christ.

Deep down, I know that Christianity is a much different and more accepting religion than how it's portrayed today. And I've never believed that the true teachings of Jesus would even remotely resemble what the GOP would have us believe. It's hard to imagine supply side Jesus cutting taxes for the rich, and breathing down a detainee's neck at Guantanamo, waterboard in hand.

But if the rapture will only include those of us faithful to the evangelical/born again movements, I say "Bon Voyage, Enjoy your trip, and Don't forget to take Mike Huckabee with you, no matter what he may have done as governor of Arkansas." As for me, I'm staying here, and helping to rebuild a society in which we don't fry people on death row, demonize a medically beneficial plant, and send our young people into mindless killing fields to profit corporate fatcats in the name of freedom.

http://www.alternet.org/mediaculture/73108/

Tar Devil
01-17-2008, 07:53 AM
If you're gay, black or Jewish on this forum you get a pass.

If you're Christian it's open season.

D.O.Sag
01-17-2008, 08:00 AM
it's not open season. it's a selective hunt to cull out the weak minded. they'll be stronger for it in the end.

Tar Devil
01-17-2008, 08:01 AM
So I'm weak minded?

Honda_Shadow
01-17-2008, 08:08 AM
Although it's true that not all people talking about Heaven are actually going there (politicians included); it's amazing to me that the people who know the least about it, seem to be the ones screaming the loudest against it. It seems anyone is invited to talk about Christianity except actual Christians. It's like: "OK, let's all talk about whether it's going to rain tomorrow or not, but whatever you do, DON'T ask a meteorologist."

"And in those days there shall be weaping and gnashing of teeth..." Don't sound like a Eutopia after the rapture to me, but what do I know, I've only been studying the Bible for 27 years.

D.O.Sag
01-17-2008, 08:15 AM
tar, you aren't week minded, but honda is.

Honda_Shadow
01-17-2008, 08:22 AM
D.O.Sag:
Weak-minded? Uh huh... You're opinionated enough to be tolerant of anyone but Christians and you call me weak-minded. May all your children be born baldheaded and toothless.

Tar Devil
01-17-2008, 08:22 AM
Still, if someone made a racial slur even in this Bilge they would be roasted.

Yet this negative generalization of Christians goes unchecked.

Milo Christensen
01-17-2008, 08:33 AM
. . . Yet this negative generalization of Christians goes unchecked.

It's the only form of bigotry that's still politically correct and the only form of bigotry where the bigots work hard to score more bigotry points than their fellow bigots.

elf is one of the worst.

oakman
01-17-2008, 08:35 AM
Because the Bible clearly states that those following the teachings of Jesus will be persecuted. It also says those following his teachings will be caught up in the rapture, nothing about Christianity in the Bible. In fact is speaks against organized religion, here is a paraphrase and perhaps Honda can help out with the chapter and verse but the Bible says 'the teachings of man make the Word of God of no effect' So forget what organized religion has to say, read the bible for yourself. All you have to do is look at the red letters in the new testament to find out what Jesus said. His message was about love.

oak

D.O.Sag
01-17-2008, 08:36 AM
i'm not generalizing. if yer a better person cuz yer path teaches kindness generosity and humility then good on ya.

if ya think that i'm going to hell cuz i don't think like you do, then i think yer a phuqtard.

anybody who says they study the bible for 27 years in order to say they're better than me better know how to read greek, hebrew, and aramaic, and know middle eastern pre history and comparative religion and mythology like the back of their hand. they'd know revelation is a political rant. they'd know yhwh used to get off on human sacrifice. they'd know that way back when, there were lots of gods, and yhwh was just one of 'em, just another sky god for a little scrap of desert. they'd know that rizen in 3 days is part of the whole goddess fertility cult thing.

High C
01-17-2008, 08:36 AM
Bigotry on parade. :rolleyes:

They are what they decry. :(

Chris Coose
01-17-2008, 08:37 AM
It is not generalization Tar.
There are specifics that will and ought to be attacked as they would be in any other context.
As a practishioner of an Eastern tradition I am not going to get on here or anywhere else and rave on about reincarnation simply because there is nothing to prove it and faith is not an element of my practice.

P.I. Stazzer-Newt
01-17-2008, 08:38 AM
.....

Yet this negative generalization of Christians goes unchecked.

Quoting Elf's original post.

Deep down, I know that Christianity is a much different and more accepting religion than how it's portrayed today.

It seems to me that there is no "negative generalization" - but that when a religion gets hitched to party politics - things get ugly - quickly.

Honda_Shadow
01-17-2008, 08:43 AM
Oakman:
Actually, the Bible does not speak against an organised Church, quite the opposite actually. Paul addresses the requirement for Pastors/Teachers and Deacons, ect. in the Book of 1 Timothy. The Bible also tells us "Foresake NOT the assembling of yourselves together." What the Bible doesn't do is tell us how to "do" Church. In other words, it doesn't tell us the order of the service, but we are to "Come together with Hymns and Praises." The Bible also teaches us about Tithing so that the Church will be able to provide for the needy and pay for the salaries of the pastors for "The laborer is worthy of his wages."

Tar Devil
01-17-2008, 08:44 AM
It seems to me that there is no "negative generalization"

No?


those of us left can construct ourselves a society based on reason and personal choice.

oakman
01-17-2008, 08:46 AM
Well actually there are a lot of historical records of the death, burial and resurection of Jesus. The roman empire kept good records. Look for a book called the Archko Volume, Keats Publishing Inc.

And if you want proof, just come to my church. We have seen blind eyes opened, cancers healed and people with AIDS freed from the disease. We have doctor's reports and eye witness accounts. So the power of God is alive and well, working for those who choose to believe.

oak

oakman
01-17-2008, 08:47 AM
Well yes Honda, you are correct. We are to assemble as you pointed out. But not to take the Word and twist if for our own use.

O

Popeye
01-17-2008, 08:59 AM
elf is one of the worst

good morning milo

George Jung
01-17-2008, 09:02 AM
Pretty nasty troll, elf. Interesting, in that on so many other subjects you seem to be a nice person. But for you, and for those you wish 'on their merry way', I point out 'By your actions will you be known'....

which suggests to me that you and a lot of the folks you denigrate, but who aren't living as they preach, may just get to hash things out, after the 'Rapture'. That oughta set your hair on end! (Seems perversely appropriate, don'tchathink?)

Milo Christensen
01-17-2008, 09:10 AM
good morning milo

Did you know your screen namesake's birthday is today?

Hoist an extra one.

Tylerdurden
01-17-2008, 09:12 AM
If you're gay, black or Jewish on this forum you get a pass.

If you're Christian it's open season.


Right on the money there... Just hint at some things and you will be branded and bounced. I can piss on a cross in video and thats ok.

I am agnostic so I will point out I don't believe in the rapture and many other things but I defend your right to believe until your religion is imposed on me or others. There are a couple of religions who impose it all over but if I mention them I will be assassinated here.

elf
01-17-2008, 09:15 AM
Interesting. It seems some of you have not followed the link to the quote.

I'm sorry if I inadvertantly implied that it was my commentary. I am not the author of the quote.

Paul Pless
01-17-2008, 09:17 AM
Pretty nasty troll, elf. Yeah it is. Also pretty feeble... considering that approximately 80% of the population of the United States professes to be Christian* and a significant portion of the remainder claim some other religious affiliation, the atheist elites only real hope of ever taking control of the politics in the United States will be such an event as 'rapture'. It seems Elf, that your contempt of religion and how it factors into our society and culture may be a source of considerable unhappiness for you. May I suggest a move to another culture may alleviate this pain, perhaps communist atheist China might suit you.;)




* Perhaps in this light, Huckabee's political suggestions don't seem so outlandish.:p

Tylerdurden
01-17-2008, 09:28 AM
I've probably been as critical of Christianity (or, at least, the practice of Christianity by many people) as anyone on this forum....

...but I do think that those Christians here who feel as if they're targets have a point. I think it relates to just HOW the criticism is delivered.

I draw a firm distinction: while I'm critical of Christianity, I'm NOT at all critical of the people who claim Christian faith and belief, and I think it's an important distinction. People have the right to believe what they wish to believe, and even if I disparage the beliefs, I'm not disparaging the person themselves; they may (and usually do) be equally disparaging of my own agnostic beliefs.

My criticism of Christianity is usually provoked only when thier belief has implications extending to me.... such as the insistence, by some Christians, that logic and reason supports Christianity, which is essentially the same as telling me that I'm 'stupid' in some ways.... and I DO take offense at that. Fortunately, there are only a few here who have that attitude.

It might be a cliche to say that I have many Christian friends (I do, but I hesitate saying it... it's kind of like people trying to defend their racial tolerance by saying they have many black friends... it's trite). I feel absolutely no reason to regard them any differently than anyone else, but then again, they don't try to tell me that I'm somehow stupid for not believing as they do... and since our relationship isn't anything like the discussions that go on here under the floorboards, I have no reason to express my contempt for some of the practices of Christianity, or of the dogma associated with it.... but if the subject came up, I wouldn't hesitate.

So, yes, I'm going to be especially critical when someone like Mike Huckabee says that the Constitution should be ammended to conform with his religious beliefs.... and I'm going to challenge anyone who says that they KNOW that the scriptural prophesies are literally true... but it doesn't mean that I'm criticizing them personally for having faith.

Thats funny from the guy who cries anti-Semite at the drop of the hat. Tell me how many have been banned for slamming Christians?

Andrew Craig-Bennett
01-17-2008, 09:28 AM
I do wonder how I have managed to spend the past 36 years as a communicant member, and 19 years before that as a baptised member, of the Anglican Episcopal Church without once hearing about the Rapture.

We're not exactly a minority sect.

Milo Christensen
01-17-2008, 09:30 AM
Popeye's first appearance in a cartoon. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Popeyfirst.gif)

D.O.Sag
01-17-2008, 09:30 AM
acb, you should listen to more blondie

Milo Christensen
01-17-2008, 09:32 AM
I do wonder how I have managed to spend the past 36 years as a communicant member, and 19 years before that as a baptised member, of the Anglican Episcopal Church without once hearing about the Rapture.

We're not exactly a minority sect.

We do earnestly "look" for the resurrection on a weekly basis, however.

Popeye
01-17-2008, 09:34 AM
here's to bliss

LeeG
01-17-2008, 09:38 AM
jeez, some of my best friends are Christian,,well actually she used to be a Catholic and then puberty arrived.

Come on guys, until Buddhists or Zorostrians develop a political wing in the Democratic party to such an extent it affects the rhetoric and direction of politics we're stuck with the Christian Rights legacy helping to put a mini-emperor in office.

I know it's not fair but it's not personal.

elf
01-17-2008, 09:41 AM
It seems Elf, that your contempt of religion and how it factors into our society and culture may be a source of considerable unhappiness for you.

Curious. I don't experience "my contempt" for religion as a source of any particular emotion for me.

Now, when being proselytized by certain acquaintances, however, I do experience both dismay and a desire to exit the conversation as quickly as decently possible. And, because I experience their assumptions about the necessity of religion in my life as profoundly presumptuous, I do avoid extended contact with them as well.

But then I experience the same reaction when I encounter someone fired up by the desire to "help" others. I heartily prefer to avoid those enmeshed in the helping trades, whether medical, psychological or religious.

I join Norman in preferring to avoid those who wish to sell me a bill of their beliefs.

Keith Wilson
01-17-2008, 09:46 AM
May all your children be born baldheaded and toothless.:D:D Very good!!


I do wonder how I have managed to spend the past 36 years as a communicant member, and 19 years before that as a baptised member, of the Anglican Episcopal Church without once hearing about the Rapture.
"The rapture" is a 19th century American invention, based on a rather convoluted interpretation of some obscure passages in Revelations. If you're interested in such things, there's a pretty good introduction in the Wikipedia article on Dispensationalism.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dispensationalism

Milo Christensen
01-17-2008, 09:57 AM
. . . Now, when being proselytized by certain acquaintances, however, I do experience both dismay and a desire to exit the conversation as quickly as decently possible. And, because I experience their assumptions about the necessity of religion in my life as profoundly presumptuous, I do avoid extended contact with them as well. . . .

And you see no conflict between the quote above and starting a thread like this? With no evidence to support what life will be like for those "left behind", you faithfully believe the world would be a better place.

elf, writings like the one you posted are the first step in a long slippery slope that leads to genocide. Yet you truly believe yourself to be a faithful supporter against war.

This is why I snicker when the ilks of elf comment on my intelligence or knowledge.

Honda_Shadow
01-17-2008, 09:57 AM
Keith:
With all due respect, the Rapture is not a 19th century American invention. The idea of Christ coming for his saints is spoken of/referenced to/prophecied of all throughout the Bible. The Revelation just goes into more detail of its description.

Bob Adams
01-17-2008, 10:00 AM
D.O.Sag:
Weak-minded? Uh huh... You're opinionated enough to be tolerant of anyone but Christians and you call me weak-minded. May all your children be born baldheaded and toothless.

Remember this is Dutch, I suspect any grown children he may have would be bald and toothless. Probably cross eyed as well. If anyone would actually mate with him.

( Not a bald dig, I'm as chrome domed as JCOH, I'm, talking bald on top, shoulder length growing from the sides:D )

Andrew Craig-Bennett
01-17-2008, 10:03 AM
Keith. I read that Wikipedia item.

I think I am now quite worried about fundamentalist religion in nuclear armed states.

And I am not thinking of Pakistan.

Tylerdurden
01-17-2008, 10:06 AM
Keith. I read that Wikipedia item.

I think I am now quite worried about fundamentalist religion in nuclear armed states.

And I am not thinking of Pakistan.


Its everywhere,and its not just religion.

We will make great pets.

S.V. Airlie
01-17-2008, 10:06 AM
Keith:
With all due respect, the Rapture is not a 19th century American invention. The idea of Christ coming for his saints is spoken of/referenced to/prophecied of all throughout the Bible. The Revelation just goes into more detail of its description.

Honda, who designates who is to become a Saint? I don't think it was/is Christ. I don't even think the word is in the Bible...

D.O.Sag
01-17-2008, 10:06 AM
hey addams, yer daughter is dating all my boys at once.

Tylerdurden
01-17-2008, 10:12 AM
hey addams, yer daughter is dating all my boys at once.


Grow a pair and go after the third rail. Your ankle biting is almost as bad a ling ling. No guts no glory.

Sam F
01-17-2008, 10:17 AM
I do wonder how I have managed to spend the past 36 years as a communicant member, and 19 years before that as a baptised member, of the Anglican Episcopal Church without once hearing about the Rapture.

We're not exactly a minority sect.

That's not surprising since The Rapture is a particular interpretation of the book of Revelation by a sub-set of Fundamentalist Protestants.
The association of such beliefs as in some way definitive of Christians by the original author of the quote that started this thread is an excellent example of stereotyping (and thus perhaps ignorance).

Ironically, considering the "sola scriptura" rationale of the adherents, the scriptural warrant for this teaching is extremely shaky... which explains why neither you nor I have never heard of it in Church.
In the spirit of Prudence, Churches that respect the truth of Holy Scripture tend to shy away from such speculative doctrines.

BTW, also ironically, considering this doctrine's association with US Fundamentalist Protestants, one of the most influential preachers of this doctrine was English - John Nelson Darby a 19th Century evangelist and "the father of dispensationalism".

For anyone curious, a good description (from a Catholic perspective) of the variants of millennialism can be found at:

http://www.catholic.com/library/rapture.asp

P.I. Stazzer-Newt
01-17-2008, 10:17 AM
I do wonder how I have managed to spend the past 36 years as a communicant member, and 19 years before that as a baptised member, of the Anglican Episcopal Church without once hearing about the Rapture.

We're not exactly a minority sect.


I'd never heard the term before I met Americans - it would label you "fringe" anywhere in the UK.

What percentage of Americans take this idea seriously as part of their belief system?

Paul Girouard
01-17-2008, 10:19 AM
Some of you ought to actually read the bible, then you'd be able to have a "better argument" against it .

Yes the word rapture is not in the bible . How decides, Christ does , that little Alpha / Omega part , beginning and end , there when it all began , stuff.

As far a racial slurs that depends on "Who" your slurring , or so I was told on the international incident thread , they say Jap's is a "Just what we call them" sort of thing so if your Aussie , or TimH it's OK :rolleyes:

Ya all should read up a bit , some are way off base , your opinion and mileage many vary.:rolleyes:

Bob Adams
01-17-2008, 10:19 AM
hey addams, yer daughter is dating all my boys at once.

:p..

Popeye
01-17-2008, 10:21 AM
I snicker when the ilks of elf comment on my intelligence or knowledge

you do tend to agree with yourself

elf
01-17-2008, 10:21 AM
And you see no conflict between the quote above and starting a thread like this? I never said anything about believing anything about the quote. I just put it out there for people to respond to.
With no evidence to support what life will be like for those "left behind", you faithfully believe the world would be a better place. Actually, I see no evidence for the Rapture or the leaving behind. But since I experience the entire construct of religion, (all religions) as mumbo-jumbo, and I think the world would be better off without mumbo-jumbo, I am entertained positively by the fantasy expressed in the original c&p.

But, clearly it falls into the same catagory of imaginative fantasy as the original Alternet article.

elf, writings like the one you posted are the first step in a long slippery slope that leads to genocide. Yet you truly believe yourself to be a faithful supporter against war. Genocide???? How do you construct that? There's no mention of any kind of precipitating the Rapture in order to get those types of people out of the way. That would be a variant on genocide, since true genocide is based on eliminating a genetic unity, not a philosophical one.

Certainly genocide has been precipitated among human beings, goes on this very day in more problem places on the earth than we are aware of. The entire old testament is a recitation of the story of attempted genocide upon a sometimes genetically unified group of people. It hardly takes a philosophy of the Rapture to encourage genocide.

And, as I'm sure you're aware, Christianity has a long history of prosecution of those who do not share its system of belief. Think Crusades and 1492.

Milo Christensen
01-17-2008, 10:23 AM
After a thread on the subject here , I asked Fr. Dick if we could have a discussion on the Episcopalian stance toward dispensationalism someday and he took a step back and said "Most certainly NOT!" He's looked at me askance ever since.

Honda_Shadow
01-17-2008, 10:25 AM
S.V. Airline:
Paul, in a greeting to Phillipians referrs to believers as saints:
Phillipians 4:21-23
21 Greet every saint in Christ Jesus. The brethren who are with me greet you. 22 All the saints greet you, but especially those who are of Caesar’s household.
23 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.[c (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?book_id=57&chapter=4&version=50#fen-NKJV-29460c)] Amen.

Acts 11:26
and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.

Being called a Christian became such a compliment to a believer/saint, that the name stuck. It's only in modern times that the word "saint" became misused to refer to a special class of believers. It actually refers to believers in general.

Pierce Nichols
01-17-2008, 10:28 AM
D.O.Sag:
Weak-minded? Uh huh... You're opinionated enough to be tolerant of anyone but Christians and you call me weak-minded. May all your children be born baldheaded and toothless.

Dude, you believe that some desert sky god is going to come down and lift you bodily into heaven, then fsck things up for everyone he doesn't grab. I don't think you have much room to complain about that characterization.

High C
01-17-2008, 10:28 AM
I'd never heard the term before I met Americans - it would label you "fringe" anywhere in the UK.

What percentage of Americans take this idea seriously as part of their belief system?

Like Andrew, I am an Anglican, a former member of the Episcopal Church of the USA, and have NEVER heard the term in a lifetime of attendance. Nor has my father, who is a retired priest, ever spoken of it. Outside of the Church I've heard the term maybe once or twice, probably here! :D

Pierce Nichols
01-17-2008, 10:34 AM
Oakman:
Actually, the Bible does not speak against an organised Church, quite the opposite actually. Paul addresses the requirement for Pastors/Teachers and Deacons, ect. in the Book of 1 Timothy. The Bible also tells us "Foresake NOT the assembling of yourselves together." What the Bible doesn't do is tell us how to "do" Church. In other words, it doesn't tell us the order of the service, but we are to "Come together with Hymns and Praises." The Bible also teaches us about Tithing so that the Church will be able to provide for the needy and pay for the salaries of the pastors for "The laborer is worthy of his wages."

Paul wasn't one of the original disciples, tho -- he picked it up much later, after Christ and most if not all of his original disciples were dead. His books were included in the canonical Bible at the Council of Nicea because they served the political purposes of the coalescing Catholic Church. It's not like this isn't well documented in surviving records of the time, which, if you'd been studying the Bible in an intellectually rigorous fashion, you'd be intimately familiar with.

Sam F
01-17-2008, 10:45 AM
S.V. Airline:
Paul, in a greeting to Phillipians referrs to believers as saints:
Phillipians 4:21-23
21 Greet every saint in Christ Jesus. The brethren who are with me greet you. 22 All the saints greet you, but especially those who are of Caesar’s household.
23 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.

That's your interpretation.
And it doesn't necessarily link up with this:


Acts 11:26
and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.


Being called a Christian became such a compliment to a believer/saint, that the name stuck. It's only in modern times that the word "saint" became misused to refer to a special class of believers. It actually refers to believers in general.

This is not supported in any explicit way by scripture and is thus a fairly dubious biblical interpretation.

It is quite possible that most of the first Christians were saints, but the term's origin means sacred.
No one could seriously contend that all believers are worthy of that that description.


Main Entry: 1saint
Pronunciation: \ˈsānt, before a name (ˌ)sānt or sənt\
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo-French seint, saint, from Late Latin sanctus, from Latin, sacred, from past participle of sancire to make sacred — more at sacred
Date: 13th century
1: one officially recognized especially through canonization as preeminent for holiness
2 a: one of the spirits of the departed in heaven b: angel 1a
3 a: one of God's chosen and usually Christian people b capitalized : a member of any of various Christian bodies; specifically : latter-day saint
4: one eminent for piety or virtue
5: an illustrious predecessor
From Websters

It doesn't take a lot of close reasoning to see that (to use a prominent public example) Jimmy Swaggert does not fit that definition yet is (or at least claims to be) a believer.

High C
01-17-2008, 10:45 AM
Ahhh, but that's the dilemma. Honda_Shadow has studied the Bible for 27 years... and he is absolutely certain that the Rapture is a real prophesy.... and WILL happen.

How can this dilemma be resolved? HighC, if your Dad is a retired priest, he most certainly is a student, of not a scholar, in the Scriptures. If, as Honda_Shadow asserts, it's right there in Scripture, why doesn't your Dad agree? Why hasn't he heard the term?

I didn't say that my father hasn't heard the term. I said that I've never heard him speak of it. It may well be mentioned in the Bible, I simply don't know.

Episcopal priests in the US go to at least three years of full time seminary where they earn a Masters of Divinity, so his biblical education was extensive. If the term is indeed in the Bible, it doesn't seem to have attracted the attention of churches of the Catholic/Anglican tradition.

Pierce Nichols
01-17-2008, 10:46 AM
Well actually there are a lot of historical records of the death, burial and resurection of Jesus. The roman empire kept good records. Look for a book called the Archko Volume, Keats Publishing Inc.

A book widely believed by archaeologists and biblical scholars to be a forgery. In fact, there aren't any surviving contemporaneous secular records of the existence of Jesus that aren't at least suspected of being medieval or later forgeries or insertions.

Biblical literalists back themselves into an absolutely untenable corner by insisting that the Bible is the inerrant and complete word of G-d, despite the multiple well-documented rounds of political manipulation it's been subjected to over the millenia. And most Christians and Christian churches, recognize this, and take the Bible metaphorically rather than literally.

Honda_Shadow
01-17-2008, 10:48 AM
Pierce Nichols:
Never has a council added a book to the cannon. All the councils ever did was to ratify the existence of the books in it. It's a common misconception though. The "Old Testament" was complete during the time of Christ; it's referenced in much of the New Testament writing. Much of the New Testament also referrs to other writings of the New Testament. No council ever added or took away anything. Kindof smells like Dan Brown type of research.

To those who never heard of or don't see the Rapture in the Scriptures...
Keep in mind the word "Trinity" isn't in the Bible either but the idea sure is. And besides, what's the point of worshipping God if there is no Rapture, No Resurrection?

Andrew Craig-Bennett
01-17-2008, 10:50 AM
Ahhh... perfect.

Who is the REAL Christian? :p:p:p

The answer, Norman, is simple:

The Good Lord Knows!

Honda_Shadow
01-17-2008, 10:51 AM
Pierce:
You said "G-d". Are you Jewish? (NOT intended as an insult, so please don't take it that way)

High C
01-17-2008, 10:53 AM
OK, I understand.. but does his theology recognize the concept, if not the word itself?

I don't know, but as one has was brought up in a mainstream American denomination, and more heavily exposed to it than most, I was unaware of the word at all until very recently.

I think that may help answer Newt's question about whether or not belief in "the rapture" is central to the beliefs of American Christians.

Paul Girouard
01-17-2008, 10:53 AM
Ahhh... perfect.

Who is the REAL Christian? :p:p:p

I'm not sure but the first ones where Hebrews. Seeing it means they are or where followers of Christ , does that make Him , Christ / Jesus / The Anointed one/ The Messiah , the first one :confused: , I'm not sure how that would work :confused:

I do think he's happy we're all talking about him , that may change when "Casing your pearls before swine" becomes more apparent.:(

P.I. Stazzer-Newt
01-17-2008, 10:54 AM
I don't know, but as one has was brought up in a mainstream American denomination, and more heavily exposed to it than most, I was unaware of the word at all until very recently.

I think that may help answer Newt's question about whether or not belief in "the rapture" is central to the beliefs of American Christians.

It does - thank you.

LeeG
01-17-2008, 10:55 AM
And besides, what's the point of worshipping God if there is no Rapture, No Resurrection?


maybe some folks don't need a reward, maybe worship is a life affirming act in itself seperate from validating a creation myth.

Andrew Craig-Bennett
01-17-2008, 10:57 AM
Pierce:
You said "G-d". Are you Jewish? (NOT intended as an insult, so please don't take it that way)

Probably for the same reason that I wrote "The Good Lord".

Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain: for the LORD will not hold guiltless that taketh his name in vain.

Pierce Nichols
01-17-2008, 11:00 AM
Pierce Nichols:
Never has a council added a book to the cannon. All the councils ever did was to ratify the existence of the books in it. It's a common misconception though.

The Council of Nicea took the existing books going by the name 'gospels', picked the ones they liked, and declared the rest either apocryphal or heretical. There was no canon before then.


The "Old Testament" was complete during the time of Christ; it's referenced in much of the New Testament writing. Much of the New Testament also referrs to other writings of the New Testament. No council ever added or took away anything.

There was no canonical New Testament before the Council of Nicea; just lots of different books claimed by their authors and adherents to be scripture. The usual claim about the Council of Nicea is that they separated the wheat from the chaff, and in some sense that's true. It's just that they had strong political motivations for their judgements of what was and was not worth putting into the new canon they were creating.

D.O.Sag
01-17-2008, 11:00 AM
as i said earlier, sometimes the path makes you a better person. that has value. or maybe some guys believe cuz some wimmen in the congregaton are clearly easily persuaded.

Sam F
01-17-2008, 11:03 AM
Paul wasn't one of the original disciples, tho -- he picked it up much later, after Christ and most if not all of his original disciples were dead.

This is news!
Can you provide any documentation?



His books were included in the canonical Bible at the Council of Nicea because they served the political purposes of the coalescing Catholic Church. It's not like this isn't well documented in surviving records of the time, which, if you'd been studying the Bible in an intellectually rigorous fashion, you'd be intimately familiar with.

I for one am intimately familiar with certain post fact interpretations of history. This interpretation is highy suspect. For instance, I am unaware of the Council of Nicea serving any such purpose.

From an article linked via Wikipedia's Council of Nicea page:

The Council of Nicaea and the Bible
There seem to be a number of legends about the First Council of Nicaea (325AD) in circulation on the internet, presented as fact. Some people seem to think that the council, which was the first council of all the Bishops of the Christian Church, either invented the New Testament, or edited it to remove references to reincarnation (or whatever) or burned large numbers of heretical works, or whatever. These are in error. This page documents the problem and provides links to all the ancient source material in order to allow everyone to check the truth for themselves...

D.O.Sag
01-17-2008, 11:03 AM
...hey sugar, come on over to my place and we can get to know each other, in a purely biblical sense, of course...

Honda_Shadow
01-17-2008, 11:03 AM
About the rapture... And this is just ONE quote, but it is from Jesus' own lips...

John 14:1-4
1"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. 2In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. 3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 4You know the way to the place where I am going."

Sam F
01-17-2008, 11:09 AM
It doesn't take a lot of close reasoning to see that (to use a prominent public example) Jimmy Swaggert does not fit that definition yet is (or at least claims to be) a believer.



Ahhh... perfect.

Who is the REAL Christian?

Ahhh... a perfect misunderstanding.
The issue, as is quite plain to anyone reading the exchange, is not who is the real Christian but what does the term saint mean and how was it used in the NT.
I rather doubt that anyone is going to buy putting the label saint on Mr. Swaggert - or would it be appropriate for me either.

Sam F
01-17-2008, 11:11 AM
About the rapture... And this is just ONE quote, but it is from Jesus' own lips...

John 14:1-4
1"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. 2In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. 3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 4You know the way to the place where I am going."

And that one quote has absolutely nothing to do with any doctrine of the Rapture.
Want to try again with some other quote?

Bob Adams
01-17-2008, 11:13 AM
The real Christian knows in their heart. As does the real Jew, or Muslim or Buddist. Tolerance is a good thing. Damn shame there is precious little around here.

Milo Christensen
01-17-2008, 11:13 AM
. . . maybe worship is a life affirming act in itself . . .

Well put LeeG.

S.V. Airlie
01-17-2008, 11:13 AM
About the rapture... And this is just ONE quote, but it is from Jesus' own lips...

John 14:1-4
1"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. 2In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. 3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 4You know the way to the place where I am going."


Honda prove to me that Christ said the above. I'm sorry, he never wrote a book as far as I know. The Apostles never wrote a book as far as I know. These were stories passed down for hundreds of years and then, somewhere and by someone who could write, put into words on a page. One has to assume/believe that Christ said them.
I mean, look at the interpretations, as written, in the Bible and attributed to say Paul and Peter of the same event. They don't even jibe. Close but not word for word. Nothing wrong with believing but there are plenty of irregularities. Why, because someone down the road had the stories a bit confused. The basic information may and does for a lot of people, have some basis of truth and it is important to believe that. But.. Saying Christ said this and Christ said that.. sorry...

Honda. Have you ever played telephone. Ya know, twelve people sitting around the table. One whispers something in his neighbor's ear. That person whispers it to the next and so on. When it gets back to the originator, how many times it is exactly the same message given initially. I would say rarely.
Now plat telephone over a few hundred year period and see what happens to the original message.

D.O.Sag
01-17-2008, 11:16 AM
airline, that's why yer goin ta hell.

Honda_Shadow
01-17-2008, 11:20 AM
SamF:

Rapture:

1 Thessalonians 4:15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.

1 Thess 4:16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

1 Thess 4:17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

1 Thess 1:10 And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.

1 Thess 2:19 For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming?

1 Thess 5:9 For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,

1 Thess 5:23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

1Cor 15:52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

2 Timothy 4:1 I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;

2 Timothy 4:8 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.

1 Peter 1:
7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:
8 Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:
9 Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.
10 Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you:
11 Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.
12 Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by themthat have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.
13 Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;

1 Peter 5:4 And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.

1 John 2:28 And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.

1 John 3
1 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.
2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
3 And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.

S.V. Airlie
01-17-2008, 11:20 AM
airline, that's why yer goin ta hell.

Gotta be warmer than it is here.:rolleyes:

Andrew Craig-Bennett
01-17-2008, 11:23 AM
I don't have any problem believing in the Resurrection, but neither do I find it useful to bother my head with the mechanics of it.

I am rather charmed when looking round the graveyard of a country church, something that I do quite often, to note the burials arranged with their feet to the East except for Ministers who are laid in the other way round.

This custom goes back to the Middle Ages.

The idea, of course, is that Jesus will return to Jerusalem (in the East, if you are in Britain) so it will show more respect if the congregation face him when they are resurrected, but it will be best if their Priests face them to tell them what to do.

The custom is quaint, but not, I think, a necessary tenet for salvation.

The Rapture goes in the same box.

Pierce Nichols
01-17-2008, 11:25 AM
And besides, what's the point of worshipping God if there is no Rapture, No Resurrection?

Are you actually saying you worship your G-d merely for the promise of some future reward for the effort?

S.V. Airlie
01-17-2008, 11:31 AM
When was the first "recognized" Bible written?

A hint...

http://ask.yahoo.com/20030227.html

and this.. Please note Constantine reigned from 307-337 AD..

http://english.pravda.ru/science/19/94/377/15950_Sinaiticus.html

Keith Wilson
01-17-2008, 11:32 AM
With all due respect, the Rapture is not a 19th century American invention. With all due respect, the term and concept was never used before the Dispensationalists came up with it in the 19th century. Perhaps if you think it was always there in the bible, "discovery" would be a better word, but 19th century American in any case.

Sam, that Catholic Library article does a pretty good job of explaining the origins of the idea. I don't know what's going on here, but we find ourselves in agreement twice in as many days! :eek::D

Andrew Craig-Bennett
01-17-2008, 11:36 AM
Yes, I find myself in agreement with Sam F and High C.

That does not happen every day.

Chris Coose
01-17-2008, 12:11 PM
There are 38,000 Christian denominations and each of them and all the other Abrahamic traditions got it just right.

Nanoose
01-17-2008, 12:17 PM
Paul wasn't one of the original disciples, tho -- he picked it up much later, after Christ and most if not all of his original disciples were dead. His books were included in the canonical Bible at the Council of Nicea because they served the political purposes of the coalescing Catholic Church.

Excuse me?!?!?!????!!!

Define "much later", please (35AD for his conversion is not to my way of thinking "much later" from a 30AD crucifixion).

"All the original disciples were dead". Hmm....so that's why he met with Peter and the others in Jerusalem (to mention only one instance).

As for the inclusion of his writings in the canon, they were circulating together by AD100 and in accepted useage by the church from that time. Perhaps politics had something to do with Nicea, but his books were accepted as authoritative well before Nicea. They were not among the books questioned as to their inclusion in the canon.

Nanoose
01-17-2008, 12:24 PM
...most Christians and Christian churches....take the Bible metaphorically rather than literally.

Really!??! How fascinating. Please tell me what statistical information you are basing this wonderful generalization on.

Keith Wilson
01-17-2008, 12:30 PM
You must make the distinction between biblical inerrancy and biblical literalism - not the same thing. However, neither the Roman Catholic Church, the Orthodox churches, nor any of the mainline Protestant dominations (although I'm not sure about some branches of the Baptists) embraces biblical literalism. That's without a doubt a considerable majority. Roman Catholics alone outnumber everybody else.

Andrew Craig-Bennett
01-17-2008, 12:32 PM
[quote=Nanoose;1740277]Excuse me?!?!?!????!!!

Define "much later", please (35AD for his conversion is not to my way of thinking "much later" from a 30AD crucifixion).

"All the original disciples were dead". Hmm....so that's why he met with Peter and the others in Jerusalem (to mention only one instance).

/quote]

And just to point out the completely obvious, Jesus Christ was not dead.

Nanoose
01-17-2008, 12:35 PM
The Council of Nicea took the existing books going by the name 'gospels', picked the ones they liked, and declared the rest either apocryphal or heretical. There was no canon before then.

There was no canonical New Testament before the Council of Nicea; just lots of different books claimed by their authors and adherents to be scripture. The usual claim about the Council of Nicea is that they separated the wheat from the chaff, and in some sense that's true. It's just that they had strong political motivations for their judgements of what was and was not worth putting into the new canon they were creating.

"The Gospels" (Matt, Mk, Lk, Jn) were circulating together in codex form by approx. AD100. Other gospels were around/continued to appear throughout the second century, although these 4 were recognized as authoritative. Others were rejected by the church of that time as being too gnostic, uninspired, or whatever.

So early second century there were 2 books widely in use, accepted as authoritative for the church - The Gospels, and the writings of Paul.

Marcion's canon (mid second century), and the canon's suggested by others through that century, caused the church to start thinking about what was going to be accepted as canonical. The attempts varied slightly with about 4 books being in doubt for some time.

The council of Nicea recognized the canon that had been accepted as authoritative and in use by the church up to that time.

S.V. Airlie
01-17-2008, 12:40 PM
ACB.. When did he die.. I've heard several years bantered about with no real consensus.. I have thrown darts and have decided 33AD at 33 yrs. is right as long as you don't think Christ was born in 04BC.. as if that makes any sense.

Keith Wilson
01-17-2008, 12:43 PM
The council of Nicea recognized the canon that had been accepted as authoritative and in use by the church up to that time.The council of Nicea recognized the canon that had been in use by one particular variety of Christian church - the one that won the argument. There were lots of other types; the Nestorians and Arians being the largest IIRC, which used other versions. They were declared heretical, and most were were later either absorbed or exterminated. I realize the distinction between homoousious and homoiousious is kind of obscure now, but it was front page news and the cause of a lot of killing back then.


ACB's talking about the resurrection.

Andrew Craig-Bennett
01-17-2008, 12:44 PM
I'd go for 33 AD, like most folks.

My point was that, as a Christian myself, he was only dead for three days - he was right as rain by the Conversion of St Paul!:D

Memphis Mike
01-17-2008, 12:49 PM
The real Christian knows in their heart. As does the real Jew, or Muslim or Buddist. Tolerance is a good thing. Damn shame there is precious little around here.

Exactly. For anyone that wants to better understand the teachings of Jesus Christ, I'd suggest reading Emmet Fox's "Sermon On The Mount."

You born again Bible thumpers haven't got a clue. You're so mislead it's comical.

This thread is a hoot, elf! Thanks.:D

Andrew Craig-Bennett
01-17-2008, 12:59 PM
My parents and grandparents' generations used the word "un-Christian" to mean "unkind" or "un-caring" - not as strong as "cruel" or "heartless" but at any rate not very nice.

To me, there is something "un-Christian" about fascination with the idea of the Rapture - the un-Christian bit is the schadenfreude - the delight in the sufferings of the Damned - that seems part and parcel of it.

Nanoose
01-17-2008, 01:04 PM
... he (Christ) never wrote a book as far as I know. The Apostles never wrote a book as far as I know. These were stories passed down for hundreds of years and then, somewhere and by someone who could write, put into words on a page. One has to assume/believe that Christ said them.

Right. Jesus never wrote anything down. However, some of the apostles did e.g. Matthew, Peter and John.

They did not write immediately, although there is some speculation some of Jesus' sayings were noted early on.

The first Christians saw no need to write due to their tradition/belief an oral record was better/stronger than a written one, and their understanding Jesus would be returning soon. It wasn't until 30 or so years later and the beginning of their persecution that they realized eye witnesses were starting to die and some of this needed to be recorded before they were all gone. Also, as the church was becoming more and more wide spread at that time, it did assist in circulating the teachings to distant places. But it was not "hundreds of years"



I mean, look at the interpretations, as written, in the Bible and attributed to say Paul and Peter of the same event. They don't even jibe. Close but not word for word.

I'm trying to think of an event Paul and Peter both wrote on.....having trouble....

The message is consistent throughout. In an oral tradition culture, the stories are passed down carefully. There are elements of any story that are essential and can't be messed with. There are elements that have no impact on the message where the story teller can display his skill. Kind of like a fish tale....my version would be, "On Saturday I caught a salmon....a 15 pounder!!". Joe's version would be, "Saturday morning, at o-dark-thirty, Lucky and I headed out into the cool mist. On our way down to Tidbit.....". You get the idea. Same story? Some would say no. Same point - caught a 15 pound salmon on Saturday - yup.

Or, perhaps you are preparing to give a presentation on your Uncas/Airlie story on your world book tour and you're going to have to give it 100 times over the next 2 months. Are you going to write it anew each time? Of course not. You're going to use the same basic structure and make changes your audience will understand - same points, but changed for the understanding/culture of the hearer (you'll use different analogies here in BC than you would perhaps there, or in the Med, or the South Pacific....). So, the same teaching has cultural variations. Does that mean it is wrong? there are mistakes? No. It just means the teller was culturally sensitive in aspects that were not essential to the point of the teaching/story/whatever.

Word for word wasn't important to these people. We have a very different view of oral vs. written, and the point of the written. And, as today, different authors have different points to make! Matthew, Jewish, wrote to a Jewish audience and his goal was to prove Jesus was the Messiah, hence all his references to OT passages. Luke, Gentile, wrote to a Gentile audience, wanting to accurately document historical events and show Jesus came for all, not just for the Jews. John wrote much, much later and takes a totally different approach that the other 3 synoptic gospel writers.

Differences? Sure! Does is matter? No. Different authors writing to different audiences with different goals in mind write differently! But the root of the message, the core of the message is the same....

Keith Wilson
01-17-2008, 01:05 PM
Deb, a couple of further thoughts on early Christian history and how it was written by the victors:

The normal way of showing the evolution of the various Christian sects - a bushy sort of diagram showing them diverging from a single ancestor with different groups splitting off over the years - is not really correct. Early on there were lots and lots of variations. Once Christianity became the state religion of the Roman Empire, the Empire wanted to establish and enforce orthodoxy, as did those Christian groups who won the arguments about what was to be orthodox. Over the next few hundred years the variations (heresies, if you like) were forced, literally forced back into the official orthodoxy, and sometimes exterminated if they weren't willing to rejoin the mainstream. Uniformity of belief was maintained first by the power of the Roman Empire, and then in the west by the power of the church itself after Rome fell. In the East, of course, the empire didn't fall until the 1400s, so orthodoxy had unified state power behind it.

The idea of the various Councils merely confirming what everybody already believed is simply false. They were called at the instigation of the Roman Emperors, who wanted to enforce uniformity in the state religion. (The Romans were nothing if not organized.) The group that won wrote the history of the suppressing of various erroneous heretical sects by the One True Faith.

Nanoose
01-17-2008, 01:12 PM
The council of Nicea recognized the canon that had been in use by one particular variety of Christian church - the one that won the argument. There were lots of other types; the Nestorians and Arians being the largest IIRC, which used other versions. They were declared heretical, and most were were later either absorbed or exterminated. I realize the distinction between homoousious and homoiousious is kind of obscure now, but it was front page news and the cause of a lot of killing back then.

Thanks Keith for filling in my blanks. :)

Keith Wilson
01-17-2008, 01:21 PM
Thanks Keith for filling in my blanks You're welcome. Studying the early Christian churches from a strictly historical point of view i.e. without making any prior judgments about which of them had the "right" theology, is something I'd recommend to any Christian. It was very messy. What folks think of as orthodoxy today was arrived at through a highly political, very contentious, sometimes even violent process, and then enforced by the power of the Roman Empire.

Of course, I'm a member of a heretical sect that was accused of Arianism when they were first getting started . . . ;) But of course, it wasn't funny at the time; it was sometimes fatal.

Nanoose
01-17-2008, 01:23 PM
Keith - my immediate sphere of reference when I think of these things is always the 0-100 kind of range. I hear you and absolutely agree re Nicea on...the various councils being called....why....what happened, etc.

I like to take things back to the root as much as we can, and in that case, doesn't the tree picture work? I mean Christianity began with the person of Christ, so he is the trunk. Working to understand/flesh things out after he left meant there were great differences in understanding....Judaizers, Gnostics, etc. The confusion resulting from these differences is clearly documented throughout the NT. The first church (I'm thinking the apostles and James in Jerusalem) had to make decisions about these issues from the very beginning e.g. The Council at Jerusalem, AD50 (Acts 15).

So, does the tree idea not hold up?

elf
01-17-2008, 01:36 PM
maybe some folks don't need a reward, maybe worship is a life affirming act in itself seperate from validating a creation myth.
Every example of worship with which I'm familiar appears demeaning to human dignity to me. Even self-worship is demeaning because it allocates power in a way that denigrates others. The biggest problem with deity worship is that it allocates power in a way that denigrates the worshipper him/herself.

Worship, to me, is an action which assumes the worshipper is not good enough.

Keith Wilson
01-17-2008, 01:38 PM
So, does the tree idea not hold up?I'm a very long way from being an expert on any of this, you understand, but I'll take a shot at it.

Sure, on that scale. It obviously started with Jesus (with previous influences, of course), but fairly quickly branched out into lots of different groups with lots of different interpretations of what he said. Once it became the state religion orthodoxy was enforced, and the various groups were mostly absorbed or eliminated. So you could draw a very bushy diagram from 35 to say 300 CE, but then over the next couple of hundred years it would mostly contract back into one main trunk with a couple of smaller ones (Coptic churches, Nestorians).

A lot of the problem is that the some of the early Christians were fond of destroying the writings of those they didn't agree with. The only way we know about some of the varieties of early Christianity is by the writings of more orthodox Christians talking about how wrong they were. "History is written by the victors" is nowhere more true than here. A lot of Christian history written by the devout tries way to hard too make what emerged as orthodoxy seem inevitable, as if God couldn't work through messy politics if he wished.

Andrew Craig-Bennett
01-17-2008, 01:41 PM
I am not keen on short citations of Scripture.

To illustrate what I mean, consider the case of John, 11. 35.

"Jesus wept"

(which was used for many years by British merchant ship Masters in cables to Head Office, etc. The Bible was a very handy code book!)

But a slightly longer citation is usually clearer. Here is a bit of one of Stv Paul's letters, 1. Corinthians 15, which seems fairly clear about the general idea of what is intended:

50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.

51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,

52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.

54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.

55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?

56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.

57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ

58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.

Milo Christensen
01-17-2008, 01:52 PM
. . . The biggest problem with deity worship is that it allocates power in a way that denigrates the worshipper him/herself. . .

As opposed to your actively denigrating all worshippers themselves. Why can't you see that posting threads like this is as much you denigrating all of us as you feel we are denigrating ourselves by worshipping. What you do fuels the fundamentalist fires, as they feel as compelled to defend their rights as you do to attack them in the exercise of their rights. Actually, as over the top as you are, you're enough to anger religious moderates and have them join the fundamentalists.

ishmael
01-17-2008, 04:26 PM
Since when did "The Rapture" become in any way mainstream? I've heard about it for years from fringe evangelicals. Because it makes good headlines it has made its way into the press. But it's in no way mainstream Christianity.

With the press of craziness seeming to surround us these days I imagine it's caught a bit of fire, but in the grand scheme of Christianity it remains fringe. Equivilent with UFO believers in space brothers, or worse.

I do think people professing Christianity are one of the few remaining PC targets for denigration, and that's very unfortunate. Most I've known haven't been preaching the end of the world, they've been trying to live their lives with peace and integrity. No more virtue or sin evident than with any other clan. I always try to meet them rather than fight with them. Com'on in Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, Evangelicals, what have you. I'll give you five minutes, take your literature, and then say, "OK, time to go." That, BTW, unless there's a hidden cudgel, is the Christian response.

Honda_Shadow
01-17-2008, 04:51 PM
So, if you're saying there is no rapture, then there will be no removal of God's people before the tribulation - so Christians will go through the Tribulation, a.k.a. the wrath of God. BUT Scripture says that "God did not appoint us to suffer wrath..." (1 Thessalonians 5:9) So what do you do with that Scripture?

Paul G.
01-17-2008, 05:26 PM
Still, if someone made a racial slur even in this Bilge they would be roasted.

Yet this negative generalization of Christians goes unchecked.

The problem is that there is no "christian" as such. Individuals interpret the bible and the reported words of various people such as Jesus to confirm their particular psychlogical position. Hence the total fruitcakes who proclaim moronic, puerile rantings such as the "rapture" to be fact- and not merely the deranged gurglings of a lunatic as he is being flushed down the tubes of history.

You may have "christian" values and where they are in alignment with building excellent character in individuals and strong mature societies....hey Im all for it!

I do reserve the right to shoot down in flames any religious nut who tells me to believe their version of the truth and morever tells me what to do in life.

C'mon look at all those ducks lined up. The Virgin birth, Dead back to life, God begatted son, pleeeeaasseee!

As I said I dont care if you believe in the tooth fairy and mary poppins, if your beliefs iinclude that its true for me too, then I will mock at my pleasure.

CK 17
01-17-2008, 05:33 PM
Rats--for a minute there, I thought SamF and Honda were going to rumble!!:D

Sam F
01-17-2008, 05:39 PM
Keith, the problem you have is a particular view of history that rests on certain un-provable assumptions. Chief among those seems to be that there is no genuine Christianity – only the victorious versions. This is essentially a political view of history and while it is appropriate for some events, isn’t universally applicable.
Not coincidently, that view in not neutral either. The view you hope will be victorious is in the service of a particular world view and is, in itself, not the least bit objective.

Let me illustrate this by using your narrative in a different context:


A couple of further thoughts on scientific history and how it was written by the victors:

The normal way of showing the evolution of the various scientific hypotheses - a bushy sort of diagram showing them diverging from a single ancestor with different groups splitting off over the years - is not really correct. Early on there were lots and lots of variations. Once science became the established in society, scientists wanted to establish and enforce orthodoxy. Over the next few hundred years the variations (heresies, if you like) were forced, literally forced back into the official orthodoxy, and sometimes excluded if they weren't willing to rejoin the mainstream. Uniformity of belief was maintained first by the power of academic institutions, and then augmented by the power of the press.
The idea of the various scientific theories merely confirming what everybody already believed is simply false. The group that won wrote the history of the suppressing of various erroneous heretical sects by the One True Science.

Looked at in a certain way, that is a representation of the history of science.
And it’s actually more plausible than your version of Christian history, since it’s widely acknowledged that in science there is no final truth.
But such an account would nevertheless be wide of the mark – just not as far off as your political view of Christianity.

BrianW
01-17-2008, 05:40 PM
The logic of the original quote makes no sense. If the rapture were to happen, then logically the rest of the revelation would be true, and those left behind would know that they were screwed.

In that scenario, how could one be happier?

glenallen
01-17-2008, 05:59 PM
Every example of worship with which I'm familiar appears demeaning to human dignity to me. Even self-worship is demeaning because it allocates power in a way that denigrates others. The biggest problem with deity worship is that it allocates power in a way that denigrates the worshipper him/herself.

Worship, to me, is an action which assumes the worshipper is not good enough.

Those are very near my own thoughts on the subject, elf. Human notions of weakness, worthlessness, need, fear, anxiety and lack of control created the gods.
Priests have opportunistically exploited and encouraged these notions until we have a Honda Shadow grovelling at the nonexistent feet of a nonexistent god in the 21st century.
And a Sam F who differs only in degree.
We have our Fundamentalist Grovellers and our Orthodox Grovellers and thousands of sects of Mongrel Grovellers, all claiming to be the True Grovellers.

D.O.Sag
01-17-2008, 06:05 PM
exactly. we don't need gods to grovel to. that's what we have women for.

Sam F
01-17-2008, 06:06 PM
The logic of the original quote makes no sense. If the rapture were to happen, then logically the rest of the revelation would be true, and those left behind would know that they were screwed.

Well yeah. One would at the very least be motivated to re-examine some previous assumptions. ;)

Sam F
01-17-2008, 06:07 PM
Those are very near my own thoughts on the subject, elf. Human notions of weakness, worthlessness, need, fear, anxiety and lack of control created the gods.
Priests have opportunistically exploited and encouraged these notions until we have a Honda Shadow grovelling at the nonexistent feet of a nonexistent god in the 21st century.
And a Sam F who differs only in degree.
We have our Fundamentalist Grovellers and our Orthodox Grovellers and thousands of sects of Mongrel Grovellers, all claiming to be the True Grovellers.

My my, what mumbo jumbo!

adampet
01-17-2008, 06:14 PM
Not any more Mumbo Jumbo than believing that one book, translated through 2000 years, with disputed provenence, is the only ONE TRUE WORD OF GOD . Lots of people throughout the ages of writing have written sacred texts. Why is the Bible the only one that "gets it right" ?

Doesn't make sense to me. There's your mumbo jumbo...

Adam

Sam F
01-17-2008, 06:15 PM
So, if you're saying there is no rapture, then there will be no removal of God's people before the tribulation - so Christians will go through the Tribulation, a.k.a. the wrath of God. BUT Scripture says that "God did not appoint us to suffer wrath..." (1 Thessalonians 5:9) So what do you do with that Scripture?


One might reasonably wonder why Christians (including Protestants) missed this for 1800 + years. Why is that?

As pointed out the Rapture is one particular interpretation of Revelation.
It is not a very supportable one and given the explicit and unequivocal warning in Revelation, it's one I'd be very hesitant in promoting.
Why is that warning not heeded?

From the previously linked site, which says it better than I can...
With respect to the rapture, Catholics certainly believe that the event of our gathering together to be with Christ will take place, though they do not generally use the word "rapture" to refer to this event (somewhat ironically, since the term "rapture" is derived from the text of the Latin Vulgate of 1 Thess. 4:17—"we will be caught up," [Latin: rapiemur]).

Many spend much time looking for signs in the heavens and in the headlines. This is especially true of premillennialists, who anxiously await the tribulation because it will inaugurate the rapture and millennium.

A more balanced perspective is given by Peter, who writes, "But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow about his promise as some count slowness, but is forbearing toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. . . . Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of persons ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be kindled and dissolved, and the elements will melt with fire! But according to his promise we wait for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. Therefore, beloved, since you wait for these, be zealous to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace" (2 Pet. 3:8–14).

Sam F
01-17-2008, 06:16 PM
Not any more Mumbo Jumbo than believing that one book, translated through 2000 years, with disputed provenence, is the only ONE TRUE WORD OF GOD . Lots of people throughout the ages of writing have written sacred texts. Why is the Bible the only one that "gets it right" ?

Doesn't make sense to me. There's your mumbo jumbo...

Adam

Adam, frankly, you don't make sense to me either.
There's your draw. ;)

glenallen
01-17-2008, 06:18 PM
My my, what mumbo jumbo!

Coming from you I consider that a high compliment, although I know that in past ages my opinions would have meant my immediate torture and death at the hands of the Inqusitorial Grovellers.:D

glenallen
01-17-2008, 06:20 PM
exactly. we don't need gods to grovel to. that's what we have women for.

:D:D

adampet
01-17-2008, 06:20 PM
I don't draw, I paint....

And if you don't like the picture, look in the mirror.

Adam


Oh ...and cute personal attack. though of course the smilie makes it OK, right ;)

Andrew Craig-Bennett
01-17-2008, 06:25 PM
When I contemplate the little bit that I understand of what we know of life, the Universe and everything, I must say that I am, at the least, rather impressed.

However, I don't find it necessary to take a literalist view of the Bible.

Bill Lowe
01-17-2008, 06:36 PM
Be Here Now

Tom Montgomery
01-17-2008, 06:37 PM
S.V. Airline:
Paul, in a greeting to Phillipians refers to believers as saints:
Phillipians 4:21-23
21 Greet every saint in Christ Jesus. The brethren who are with me greet you. 22 All the saints greet you, but especially those who are of Caesar’s household.
23 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.

Being called a Christian became such a compliment to a believer/saint, that the name stuck. It's only in modern times that the word "saint" became misused to refer to a special class of believers. It actually refers to believers in general.

That's your interpretation. . . .

This is not supported in any explicit way by scripture and is thus a fairly dubious biblical interpretation.

It is quite possible that most of the first Christians were saints, but the term's origin means sacred.
No one could seriously contend that all believers are worthy of that that description.

Umm... Have you got a burr under your saddle Sammy? Why in the world are you arguing this point? You are wrong. The three Catholic Bibles that I own all agree with Honda_Shadow. Paul's language is very straightforward.

The Jerusalem Bible interprets Phillipians 4:21-23 as:

My greetings to every one of the saints in Christ Jesus. The brothers who are with me send their greetings. All the saints(i) send their greetings, especially those of the imperial household.(j)

(i) All the Christians of the place from which Paul is writing.
(j) The 'household' of Caesar was a wide term that covered anybody employed in the service of the emperor, either in Rome or in any of the chief towns of the empire.

The New Jerusalem Bible interprets Philippians 4:21-23 as:

My greetings to every one of God's holy people in Christ Jesus. The brothers who are with me send their greetings. All God's holy people(i) send you their greetings, especially those of Caesar's household.(j)

(i) All the Christians of the place from which Paul is writing.
(j) The 'household' of Caesar was a wide term that covered anybody employed in the service of the emperor, either in Rome or in any of the chief towns of the empire.

The New American Bible interprets Philippians 4:21-23 as:

Give my greetings in Christ Jesus to every member of the church. My brothers here send you theirs, as do all those who believe, particularly those in Caesars service.

4, 21ff: The final greetings, extended to all the members of the Philippian community individually, come not only from Paul but also from the Christians of the place where the letter originated.

elf
01-17-2008, 06:38 PM
Those are very near my own thoughts on the subject, elf. Human notions of weakness, worthlessness, need, fear, anxiety and lack of control created the gods.
Priests have opportunistically exploited and encouraged these notions until we have a Honda Shadow grovelling at the nonexistent feet of a nonexistent god in the 21st century.
And a Sam F who differs only in degree.
We have our Fundamentalist Grovellers and our Orthodox Grovellers and thousands of sects of Mongrel Grovellers, all claiming to be the True Grovellers.

And Milo is really angry at me, or so I gather.

Nanoose
01-17-2008, 06:46 PM
The problem is that there is no "christian" as such.

Really? Interesting. Must be amazing to have such wisdom and insight as to make such a judgment. What's your middle name.... God?



...the total fruitcakes who proclaim moronic, puerile rantings such as the "rapture" to be fact- and not merely the deranged gurglings of a lunatic as he is being flushed down the tubes of history.

You realize, of course, you may live to eat these words. As all things future have yet to be revealed, there may in fact be a 'rapture'. Again, I'm amazed to stand in the presence of one so obviously full of all knowledge :rolleyes:



You may have "christian" values and where they are in alignment with building excellent character in individuals and strong mature societies....hey Im all for it!

Wait! You said there's no such thing as a christian, so how can you now say there are christian values? :rolleyes:



C'mon look at all those ducks lined up. The Virgin birth, Dead back to life, God begatted son, pleeeeaasseee!

So, you were there. You evidently know. Time machine in the back yard, or you really are God. :rolleyes:

glenallen
01-17-2008, 06:51 PM
And Milo is really angry at me, or so I gather.

It's only rhetoric, like religion!
At least nowadays they don't burn us when we piss them off. Nowadays they burn themselves.
See that Smoke coming out of their ears and nostrils?:D

Keith Wilson
01-17-2008, 06:53 PM
That's clever, Sam, but fundamentally wrong. Science is based on observation and experiment. Scientific ideas are demonstrated to be wrong when they conflict with observations of hat actually occurs in the physical world.

The same is not generally true with religious belief, and certainly not with subtle points of theology. The truth of either homoousious or homoiousious cannot be demonstrated by observation or experiment, only by revelation or authority. When there are conflicting claims of revelation and one believes that there must be only one orthodoxy, it comes down to authority; i.e. God is on the side of the big battalions. Orthodox Christian doctrine was established though politics, or through "politics by other means"; this is an incontrovertible fact.

Now, God may have worked his will through the politics and the violence so that the True Faith prevailed. You probably believe that he did. I can’t say that you are wrong, but I don't have any rational way to judge.

Tom Montgomery
01-17-2008, 06:56 PM
http://radio.weblogs.com/0107064/MyImages/raptured-bush.jpg

Memphis Mike
01-17-2008, 07:00 PM
I see the Grand Poop has stepped in. The only thing worse than a fundamental Christian is a fundamental Catholic.

You got those wayward priests under control yet, Sam? Are they still porkin little boys in the booty?

Tom Montgomery
01-17-2008, 07:08 PM
My political view of the history of early Christianity: Paul's version of Christianity prevailed because in the year 70 the Jerusalem church got hit with the 1st century equivalent of a nuclear bomb. Thus the Jewish/Christian "The Way" was supplanted by a predominantly gentile Christiantity.

The remnants of the Jewish/Christians were declared heretic some 200 years later. Thus "Orthodoxy" prevailed.

Vince Brennan
01-17-2008, 07:12 PM
Youse lot would give an aspirin a headache.

Ian McColgin
01-17-2008, 07:22 PM
Early church history is really interesting. Peter and Paul pretty much detested each other yet somehow a consistent enough set of writings circulated that the notion of a canon for the New Testement was well settled by the time Origen was making his comparison of the Septuagint to the Hebrew. Most of that latter work is lost, which is too bad as it's from the Septuagint that the RC and some other churches get those extra Old Testement or Inter-testemental books Protestants and Jews do not use. It would be nice, nice only and not really definitive to today's believers, to know what Origen thought of what Protestants call the Apocrypha.

Formal settling of the canon actually happened in the Rennaisance, not at any of the early councils that were mainly settling theological scores, excluding dualists and non-trinitarians and such. The books of the Testements were pretty non-controversial from 200 on.

Now cycling back to the Rapture - I thought the original article was just a mildly funny "You all can go, we'll stay" sort of joke. Just a few years ago there was serious concern that the Rapture crowd might be poised to start nuclear war to hasten the Rapture, but the millenialists have quieted down till the next time.

StevenBauer
01-17-2008, 07:53 PM
Youse lot would give an aspirin a headache.

:D

I just read through this whole thread. :eek: Heading off to the medicine cabinet now. :)



Steven

abbyj
01-17-2008, 08:22 PM
while I'm critical of Christianity.

Are you an atheist?, a Christian?. A statement like this would never come from someone who identifies as one of the "Chosen People", at least in the excercise of "Chosenness"

Abby

Osborne Russell
01-17-2008, 09:11 PM
Of course there's such a thing as true Christianity. All the other kinds are wrong. But they won't go away.

Meanwhile, no bigotry, like, saying that they're wrong. They're wrong but it's bigoted to say so. Still, it's true. You just shouldn't say it.

Seems like, bottom line, whatever their differences with each other, the primary right they assert vs. the rest of the world is the right to continue trying to eliminate each other, because one must be right, and that one must have the right to eliminate the others. And of course there's collateral damage, can't make an omlette without breaking eggs. For the onlookers, it's their cross to bear, as it were.


But by what authority do you call the Bible the Word of God? for this is the first point to be settled. It is not your calling it so that makes it so, any more than the Mahometans calling the Koran the Word of God makes the Koran to be so. The Popish Councils of Nice and Laodicea, about 350 years after the time the person called Jesus Christ is said to have lived, voted the books that now compose what is called the New Testament to be the Word of God. This was done by yeas and nays, as we now vote a law.

Thomas Paine, AN ANSWER TO A FRIEND REGARDING THE AGE OF REASON (1797)

Was there any voting when the Koran was put together? Book of Mormon? Dianetics?

eleseus
01-17-2008, 09:22 PM
Thats funny from the guy who cries anti-Semite at the drop of the hat. Tell me how many have been banned for slamming Christians?


Hear, Hear, TD. Ass-hat Norman can dish it out but he certainly can't take it. Simply point out to him that he lives in "little Israel" and you're a Nazi. Call it "little Italy" and it's fine. Ask him what I'm talking about--I'm sure he'll tell you about his hypocrisy if you ask him.

glenallen
01-17-2008, 09:24 PM
Whoa there, Osborne, Dianetics? Even Dianetics?
You may be going too far now doubting L. Ron!

Peter Malcolm Jardine
01-17-2008, 09:25 PM
I kinda like Rapture, but not all of them. I think 50 cent is my favourite so far.

eleseus
01-17-2008, 09:30 PM
I see the Grand Poop has stepped in. The only thing worse than a fundamental Christian is a fundamental Catholic.

You got those wayward priests under control yet, Sam? Are they still porkin little boys in the booty?

No, you are wrong, ye' man who needs a religion to curb his drinking: two of many things worse than a "Christian fundamentalist" are "fundamentalist Muslims" and fundamentalist Alcoholic's Anonymous lemmings, too weak to control themselves--you have that lack of control in common with some priests, lush-boy.

Peter Malcolm Jardine
01-17-2008, 09:36 PM
How nice of you to say Beetlejuice.... and how have you arrived at this distinguished intellectual position of yours?

Ian McColgin
01-17-2008, 09:37 PM
The article really does not state the beliefs of the Rapturees correctly but in a light hearted way it's making a point that many evangelicals are coming to: The evangelical movement that got tight with neo-right politics sold its soul for the illusion of power in mammon.

That's a serious point and one that is not picking on Chirstianity. The decent of some Christians into anti-semitism when they imagine wrongly that they are attacked -- actually maybe they are right. Anti-semitism has no place in Christianity, in any religion, in any place.

A serious critiqe of the "Israel lobby" is not anti-semitism, though some claim it is, just as this article is not anti-Christian despite the shrill cries of some Christians.

Paul G.
01-17-2008, 10:44 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul G. View Post
The problem is that there is no "christian" as such.
Really? Interesting. Must be amazing to have such wisdom and insight as to make such a judgment. What's your middle name.... God?

You may call me God my son if you wish but I prefer Paul:D When someone stands up and claims that God or Jesus instructed him to kill or hurt others, will you be happy to defend his christianity as the same as yours. If some sect treats women like trash and terrorises individuals are those your christian values? (think Jehovahs) What I am saying is that there is no definition of christian written in stone ANYWHERE!!!



Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul G. View Post
...the total fruitcakes who proclaim moronic, puerile rantings such as the "rapture" to be fact- and not merely the deranged gurglings of a lunatic as he is being flushed down the tubes of history.
You realize, of course, you may live to eat these words. As all things future have yet to be revealed, there may in fact be a 'rapture'. Again, I'm amazed to stand in the presence of one so obviously full of all knowledge

So you assume the future is mapped out? Thats called idealogy- not reality. The future is yet to be created, WE create it through our actions. You are beginning to sound like a fatalist. Sorry to hear that most fatalists are extremely negative and live very unsuccessful lives.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul G. View Post
You may have "christian" values and where they are in alignment with building excellent character in individuals and strong mature societies....hey Im all for it!
Wait! You said there's no such thing as a christian, so how can you now say there are christian values?

Anyone can call themselves christian, I did not say there was no such thing but that the definitions are spurious. I prefer the sages words "you shall know them by there fruits"



Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul G. View Post
C'mon look at all those ducks lined up. The Virgin birth, Dead back to life, God begatted son, pleeeeaasseee!
So, you were there. You evidently know. Time machine in the back yard, or you really are God.

Well I guess its a stalemate as you weren't there either! So who is to know. I prefer 2000 years of there never been a documented repeated recurrence of "Virgin Births" "Dead People Reanimating" or indeed any unequivocal sighting of god or its son in any location except in the minds of the believers

elf
01-17-2008, 10:56 PM
:D

I just read through this whole thread. :eek: Heading off to the medicine cabinet now. :)

StevenHoo Rah Rah Steve! Hope there's some good cognac in the cabinet!

Nanoose
01-17-2008, 11:25 PM
Paul G., post #111 "The problem is that there is no "christian" as such."

Paul G., post #146 "...christian, I did not say there was no such thing..."

:rolleyes: :rolleyes:

So which is it, you who knows all?

James McMullen
01-18-2008, 12:00 AM
what's the point of worshipping God if there is no Rapture, No Resurrection?

Exactly! You couldn't have put it more clearly if you'd tried with both hands! And since the theory of imminent Rapture is undeniably pure, scare-mongering bull puckey. . . . . . . . .

Sam F
01-18-2008, 12:01 AM
History is written by the victors" is nowhere more true than here. A lot of Christian history written by the devout tries way to hard too make what emerged as orthodoxy seem inevitable, as if God couldn't work through messy politics if he wished.

You don't seem to have read much on the subject Keith. I suggest you read up on St Athanasius' troubles and struggles as a tonic.

Sam F
01-18-2008, 12:04 AM
That's clever, Sam, but fundamentally wrong. Science is based on observation and experiment. Scientific ideas are demonstrated to be wrong when they conflict with observations of hat actually occurs in the physical world.
The same is not generally true with religious belief, and certainly not with subtle points of theology.

Keith, you're neither a historian nor a theologian and have strayed far from your area of expertise. I’m surprised that you don’t seem to be aware that the subtle (and not so subtle) points of theology are reasoned from evidence.
Theologians (like scientists) may argue about both the reasoning and the evidence, but reasoning and evidence it remains.
While an amusing diversion, the nature of science is beside the point concerning my parody of your statement...
The point isn't science but history. I specifically used the history of science to illustrate the flaw in your version of history.
Science being near and dear to you, the example served admirably, but we could have filled in pretty much any other subject matter's history and it would have served just as well.

For someone who disagrees with Jesus' teachings it's an easy thing to claim that... "Well those things are just what the victors say - not something having anything to do with reality".
It’s easily said, but very hard to justify with the evidence.

Your contention that the formation of Orthodoxy was a victor's political process is highly inappropriate in Christianity's context and it would be so in practically any field except politics and even then it doesn't work consistently.
In a political sense, for a political process, (say the Democratic or Republican Parties' platforms) that might work. But in the case of Christianity, you've first got to get around two problems.

The first is the basic facts of history...
Fact: A real person and a concrete set of events is behind it all, not some will to power creating its own reality. Instead, Jesus actually taught certain things.
Orthodoxy claims to transmit those teachings.
Fact: The evidence is that Orthodoxy exists in the earliest historical records of Christianity and indeed it is present from the very beginning.
Any assumption to the contrary is un-historical speculation and contrary to the available evidence. Surely you don't want to hold "ideas... demonstrated to be wrong when they conflict with observations of what actually occurs" in the evidence, do you? But that’s exactly what you’ve done.
Given Orthodoxy's early appearance, it simply cannot be the result of some victorious political process. By both its chronology and its held positions, it is plain that Orthodoxy results from defeat, not victory - or did you miss the bit where Jesus got crucified?

The second problem is human nature…
Sure it's pretty much par for the course for a politician to want money, power and sex - but you've got to explain how that motivates a teaching that values poverty, weakness and celibacy.
Sorry Keith, your critique fails not only on history (you offer nothing but counter evidentiary historical suppositions) but also on human nature too. On both counts your historiography is incredibly implausible.

Paul G.
01-18-2008, 04:58 AM
Paul G., post #111 "The problem is that there is no "christian" as such."

Paul G., post #146 "...christian, I did not say there was no such thing..."

:rolleyes: :rolleyes:

So which is it, you who knows all?

Must have pressed your buttons? Perhaps you need to reread my posts in context.

For the sake of brevity, There is no definition of christian that is an absolute, which is pretty ironic considering that most of the claptrap foisted on unbelievers is couched as absolute knowledge.

Tom Montgomery
01-18-2008, 05:11 AM
Fact: The evidence is that Orthodoxy exists in the earliest historical records of Christianity and indeed it is present from the very beginning.
Any assumption to the contrary is un-historical speculation and contrary to the available evidence.This is true so far as it goes.... but it is only a half-truth.

"Orthodox" belief was not the only belief from the very beginning. There is plenty of evidence available to that fact. Read Paul. He had an awful time with others "contaminating" his flock. Those others were, in some instances, Jewish/Christians from the church of Jerusalem. You are mistaken if you think the only issue was circumcision and Jewish dietary laws. Read about the Ebionites if you are interested in knowing what some of the earliest Christians believed. If you do, keep in mind that history is written by the victors. :p

P.S. Yeah, yeah.... I am well aware that Paul garnered a stamp of approval form James and the other elders of the Jerusalem church prior to his mission. But contemplate on his fate upon his final return to Jerusalem with his donation.

Paul's version of Christianity triumphed with the destruction of Jerusalem in 70.

shamus
01-18-2008, 05:26 AM
There doesn't seem to be a lot of point in insulting each other about beliefs. A few are staying civil, but most are trying to insult or be snide or sarcastic. To what end, people?

Andrew Craig-Bennett
01-18-2008, 05:34 AM
The article really does not state the beliefs of the Rapturees correctly but in a light hearted way it's making a point that many evangelicals are coming to: The evangelical movement that got tight with neo-right politics sold its soul for the illusion of power in mammon.

That's a serious point and one that is not picking on Chirstianity. The decent of some Christians into anti-semitism when they imagine wrongly that they are attacked -- actually maybe they are right. Anti-semitism has no place in Christianity, in any religion, in any place.

A serious critiqe of the "Israel lobby" is not anti-semitism, though some claim it is, just as this article is not anti-Christian despite the shrill cries of some Christians.

Ian is absolutely right.

And he has just shown me something that I should have realised long before - a literalist, or "fundamentalist" approach to Scripture will always tend to draw its adherents away from the inner light of God's grace and towards the material world, and hence into corruption.

Whether it be American Protestant Christians getting interested in the mechanics of the End of Time and then seeking to influence God's plan by encouraging the state of Israel, or Arab Islamists seeking to influence God's plan by restoring the Caliphate, the result is always the same - people are drawn away from the contemplation of the Divine and into the messy and always very corrupting business of making people act against their will.

Examples multiply throughout history and are by no means confined to Middle Eastern Monotheisms, as witness some of the odder schools of Buddhism and Hinduism.

The consequences are always far from the wishes of the Almighty as revealed to us and it is frankly hard to think of anything that better suits the purposes of our Adversary.

D.O.Sag
01-18-2008, 08:21 AM
"I suggest you read up on St Athanasius' troubles and struggles as a tonic."

ya havent bewildered us with briliance yet. ya figger if we read more gobeldygook then itll be easier to baffle us with bull****?

Tom Montgomery
01-18-2008, 09:18 AM
No, you are wrong, ye' man who needs a religion to curb his drinking: two of many things worse than a "Christian fundamentalist" are "fundamentalist Muslims" and fundamentalist Alcoholic's Anonymous lemmings, too weak to control themselves--you have that lack of control in common with some priests, lush-boy.Sheesh.... Simply a demonstration your complete and utter ignorance regarding alcoholism and recovery in AA.

Honda_Shadow
01-18-2008, 09:24 AM
Oh good grief... It's not "Paul's version of Christianity." All Paul did was to reason with people why Jesus fulfilled the Mesiannic prophecies, and thereby proving Jesus is the Christ. (I don't have time to go over all the Messianic Prophecies, just google it.) Paul had no agenda of his own. Further, nothing that Paul said contradicted anything we read about the nature of God from the O.T. Paul was a Pharasee; he ate, drank, and slept the O.T., there was none wiser in his time about the Bible as far as the Pharasees were concerned. If Paul had an agenda, it was to promote the fulfillment of what was written in the Old Testament. If that is not so, then I challenge you to prove it. Some of you say that it's the teachings of the "victors;" good night people... If that's so, then try to show me how anything the man said contradicts ANYTHING in the Old Testament. If you think there should be some other book included in the Bible, then defend it. If you think there should be some book removed from the Bible, then explain why. Point is, the man's writings are included in the Bible because they SHOULD be. There is no reason to exclude it.

glenallen
01-18-2008, 09:24 AM
Sheesh.... Simply a demonstration your complete and utter ignorance regarding alcoholism and recovery in AA.

Yep, MMike is to be congratulated, not demeaned!

Tom Montgomery
01-18-2008, 09:49 AM
Oh good grief... It's not "Paul's version of Christianity."Sure it is. Did you bother looking up "Ebionites?" Or are you content in your ignorance of the varieties of early Christianity?

Also look up "Nazorenes."

Keith Wilson
01-18-2008, 10:05 AM
Keith, you're neither a historian nor a theologian and have strayed far from your area of expertise. To state the obvious, none of our discussions in the Bilge have involved either of our areas of real expertise. I am certainly no theologian (perish the thought! :eek: ) and only an interested amateur in the study of history; as I understand it, so are you. That does not mean that either of us is necessarily wrong, merely that no one should take anything on those subjects on our authority alone.
I’m surprised that you don’t seem to be aware that the subtle (and not so subtle) points of theology are reasoned from evidence. Theologians (like scientists) may argue about both the reasoning and the evidence, but reasoning and evidence it remains. I’m well aware of this. However, the process is fundamentally different in one essential respect. In science, the evidence is the physical world; everyone agrees on this; it’s part of the definition. It exists independently of human ideas, and can always be rechecked.

While theologians certainly reason from evidence, the nature of the evidence is a matter of endless dispute – which books are authoritative, which interpretation of an ambiguous text is correct, which claim of revelation is valid – and there is no rational way to resolve these questions. Thus, if one believes that orthodoxy must be enforced, the only way to do it is by authority, i.e. coercion.
While an amusing diversion, the nature of science is beside the point concerning my parody of your statement.I agree.
Your contention that the formation of Orthodoxy was a victor's political process is highly inappropriate in Christianity's context and it would be so in practically any field except politics and even then it doesn't work consistently.Not inappropriate at all. From what I know of the history of the early church, “a political process” is a precisely accurate description of the disputes about doctrine. I don't know about "Christianity's context", but as you may have noticed, I'm not a Christian.
Fact: A real person and a concrete set of events is behind it all, not some will to power creating its own reality. Instead, Jesus actually taught certain things. Orthodoxy claims to transmit those teachings.I agree. "Someone's will creating its own reality" very accurately describes much theological development of the past 2000 years, but Christianity does attempt to reflect the actual teaching o
f Jesus. Many groups claimed, and still claim, to transmit those teachings accurately, and they very often don't agree. And that’s not all it claims to transmit. The majority of Christian doctrine (orthodox or otherwise) is, at best, an elaboration and extension of what the churches believe that Jesus taught, and much of it has little or nothing to do with his actual teaching. Jesus never taught about the trinity. He never taught about original sin. He never taught about the virgin birth. He never taught about the authority of church hierarchies, nor purgatory, limbo, transubstantiation, indulgences, (or the rapture, for that matter) - the list is endless. The Roman Catholic Church claims that tradition and the decisions of the church have authority equal to the bible – and even much of the bible has only a fairly tenuous connection to the teachings of Jesus.
Fact: The evidence is that Orthodoxy exists in the earliest historical records of Christianity and indeed it is present from the very beginning.I agree. However, what is now called orthodoxy was one of many competing ideas in the first centuries of Christianity. It’s the one that won the argument; that’s why it’s orthodox now. It is the one that successfully eliminated its rivals, sometimes by argument or persuasion, sometimes by force.
Given Orthodoxy's early appearance, it simply cannot be the result of some victorious political process.Nonsense; it certainly can. It was the variety that won. Again, one can certainly believe that this was the way God intended it; that the One True Faith prevailed over Heresy and Error because it was True. But the process was not much different from any other human wrangle over power and influence.
By both its chronology and its held positions, it is plain that Orthodoxy results from defeat, not victory - or did you miss the bit where Jesus got crucified?Only stayed dead three days, so they say, although I have my doubts. However, we’re not arguing about that, but rather the process by which the wide variety of early Christian beliefs turned into what is now called orthodoxy by about 500 CE.
The second problem is human nature…
Sure it's pretty much par for the course for a politician to want money, power and sex - but you've got to explain how that motivates a teaching that values poverty, weakness and celibacy.Yes, Orthodox Christian churches throughout their history have been humble, poor and powerless. They have never accumulated wealth, land, or political power. They have influenced people only by virtuous example, never coercion. The historical record is very clear on this point.

Honda_Shadow
01-18-2008, 10:17 AM
Tom Montgomery:
You're missing the point... The very teachings in the Bible show us how varried the different churches were, hence the letters from Paul, and John's writings in Revelation... I KNOW that there were struggles between the different Churches, nothing much has changed over the years, we still struggle, BIG whoop. The point I was trying to make is that Paul's writings agree 100% with the books of the Old Testament. You're calling it "Paul's Christianity," do you think that THIS is a new argument? Paul addresses this in his letter to the Corinthians:

1 Corinthians 1:10-17

10 Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. 11 For it has been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloe’s household, that there are contentions among you. 12 Now I say this, that each of you says, “I am of Paul,” or “I am of Apollos,” or “I am of Cephas,” or “I am of Christ.” 13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?
14 I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15 lest anyone should say that I had baptized in my own name. 16 Yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas. Besides, I do not know whether I baptized any other. 17 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect.

Paul was trying to make clear that the messege that he taught was NOT his own, it was of God. Therefore if you say it's "Paul's version of Christianity," it's not Paul's "version" it was merely CORRECT doctrine.

Once again, if ANY of Paul's teachings contradicts anything in the Old Testament, list it now.

Sam F
01-18-2008, 10:29 AM
Ian is absolutely right.

And he has just shown me something that I should have realised long before - a literalist, or "fundamentalist" approach to Scripture will always tend to draw its adherents away from the inner light of God's grace and towards the material world, and hence into corruption.

Sometimes - maybe. But always?
Always is a rather unyielding word, isn't it?
And I think it may be a symptom of a lack of real personal experience with Fundamentalists combined a confusion between Christians and those of other faiths.
I've worked with, argued with, socialized with and lived in close proximity to, Christian Fundamentalists for many years and it's no hard matter to find examples of folk who's lives flatly contradict that quoted above. Examples are about as rare as blades of grass in a lawn.
My favorite example is the fellow who confessed that he stopped getting drunk and beating his wife and children when he found Jesus and was saved. This change was not a drawing "away from the inner light of God's grace and towards the material world, and hence into corruption."

S.V. Airlie
01-18-2008, 10:31 AM
Honda, what churches, religions, other than those centered around various gods such as Apollo, existed in 33AD. I mean, the first church was for all intents and purposes what became the Catholic Church as in the " Seat of St. Peter" etc.
All branches of most exisiting western religions are based on that one trunk. As. in Martin Luther in what 1519.

Please explain the other churches you are referring to.

Honda_Shadow
01-18-2008, 10:42 AM
S.V.:
What Paul is referring to, and what I am referring to when I use the word "Church" is a body of people who all share a belief that Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ; who is the Son of God who came to earth to pay the death penalty for our sins, and rose from the dead on the 3rd day, and will take his people to be with Him - all who come to Him in repentance and faith.

Keith Wilson
01-18-2008, 10:43 AM
Jamie, the early Christian churches existed in almost as bewildering a variety as they do today. It was only after Christianity became the state religion of the Roman Empire under Theodosius in 391 CE that orthodoxy began to be enforced, and it took another couple of hundred years to suppress most of the "heretical" groups. I refer you to my conversation with Deb/Nanoose in posts 96-106.

S.V. Airlie
01-18-2008, 10:46 AM
The very teachings in the Bible show us how varried the different churches were.

This does agree with your last post. Various churches..not one, not one group...
Various groups...

Andrew Craig-Bennett
01-18-2008, 10:48 AM
Sometimes - maybe. But always?

Always is a rather unyielding word, isn't it?

And I think it may be a symptom of a lack of real personal experience with Fundamentalists combined a confusion between Christians and those of other faiths.

I've worked with, argued with, socialized with and lived in close proximity to, Christian Fundamentalists for many years and it's no hard matter to find examples of folk who's lives flatly contradict that quoted above. Examples are about as rare as blades of grass in a lawn.

My favorite example is the fellow who confessed that he stopped getting drunk and beating his wife and children when he found Jesus and was saved. This change was not a drawing "away from the inner light of God's grace and towards the material world, and hence into corruption."

Sam, if I did not know you better, I would think that you might have misunderstood what I wrote. ;)

I am most certainly going to stand by what I did write:

... he has just shown me something that I should have realised long before - a literalist, or "fundamentalist" approach to Scripture will always tend to draw its adherents away from the inner light of God's grace and towards the material world, and hence into corruption.

I was contrasting a literalist, or "fundamentalist", position with the mainstream branches of, for the sake of argument, Christianity.

Your fellow who stopped beating his wife was not a member of a mainstream congregation; he had failed to find God at all.

That he now believes is something that we can both accept.

I think we can also both accept that his faith is mis-placed.

A fascination with "just where will I be, at the Second Coming? What will I do" leads unhealithy on to, "how do I help?" ...

For Heaven's sake (and I mean that quite literally), our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, spoke in parables!!!

Keith Wilson
01-18-2008, 10:50 AM
Jamie I think what Honda means is that, like Christian churches today, they shared certain core beliefs, but differed on other points. (Honda, please correct me if I misrepresent what you said.) There were lots of bitter, sometimes violent arguments about the trinity and the exact nature of Jesus, among other things.

S.V. Airlie
01-18-2008, 10:54 AM
Keith, undoubtably you are right. I am not someone who takes much at face value when it comes to the Bible. I guess I find too many discrepancies.. In other words, I am not a literalist.

Honda_Shadow
01-18-2008, 11:12 AM
S.V.:
Discrepancies? List them, then tell why you think they're discrepancies. Make sure to back up your reasons with Scripture and/or history.

S.V. Airlie
01-18-2008, 11:36 AM
Discrepancies may be the wrong word here. I guess I would say that the observations of what happened at any one time by two or more who I guess for lack of a better way to explain it, wrote the bible differed. Maybe not the underlying intent but in the translation.

Maybe unimportant.. I guess it is why third hand information is not allowed in a Court of Law.

glenallen
01-18-2008, 11:36 AM
Yeah, S.V., get your mind right man!
Read those Scriptures till your brains fall out, then it will all become clear to you!
Give away all your worldy goods (I get the boat), and leave me a huge sum of cash to maintain her if you please.
Your Spritual Advisor, Glen

S.V. Airlie
01-18-2008, 11:39 AM
Yeah, S.V., get your mind right man!
Read those Scriptures till your brains fall out, then it will all become clear to you!
Give away all your worldy goods (I get the boat), and leave me a huge sum of cash to maintain her if you please.
Your Spritual Advisor, Glen

Gotta wait glenallen.. Honda is gonna send me a bible in the mail. I am wondering what version it will be...

glenallen
01-18-2008, 11:46 AM
Gotta wait glenallen.. Honda is gonna send me a bible in the mail. I am wondering what version it will be...

Why, of course it will be the One True Bible, you know, the one God dictated to those boys out there in the desert.

Honda_Shadow
01-18-2008, 11:46 AM
S.V.:
I see what you're saying. Different people wrote about the same event and included different details in their rendition based on their personality, occupation, frame of reference, ect.

Honda_Shadow
01-18-2008, 11:51 AM
S.V. / Glenallen:

Take your pick!

http://www.biblegateway.com/

Sam F
01-18-2008, 12:05 PM
Sam, if I did not know you better, I would think that you might have misunderstood what I wrote. ;)

I am most certainly going to stand by what I did write:

... he has just shown me something that I should have realised long before - a literalist, or "fundamentalist" approach to Scripture will always tend to draw its adherents away from the inner light of God's grace and towards the material world, and hence into corruption.

I was contrasting a literalist, or "fundamentalist", position with the mainstream branches of, for the sake of argument, Christianity.

Your fellow who stopped beating his wife was not a member of a mainstream congregation; he had failed to find God at all.

That he now believes is something that we can both accept.

I think we can also both accept that his faith is mis-placed.

A fascination with "just where will I be, at the Second Coming? What will I do" leads unhealithy on to, "how do I help?" ...

For Heaven's sake (and I mean that quite literally), our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, spoke in parables!!!


Then I do not understand.
If "a literalist, or "fundamentalist" approach to Scripture will always tend to draw its adherents away from the inner light of God's grace and towards the material world, and hence into corruption".
Then, how does a fellow go from wife and child abuse to becoming a model husband (relatively speaking) by way of accepting Fundamentalist Christianity act in such a way to draw himself away from God's grace?
He'd have been less drawn to corruption, as a wife beater?
This seems very strange indeed!
Granted, he's got a more or less defective modern version of Christianity, but I can't imagine how he's always drawn into corruption.

Tom Robb
01-18-2008, 12:06 PM
Bumper stickers seen on two different cars:
In case of Rapture this car will be empty.
In case of Rapture can I have your car.

Sam F
01-18-2008, 12:10 PM
S.V.:
I see what you're saying. Different people wrote about the same event and included different details in their rendition based on their personality, occupation, frame of reference, ect.

A sure sign of a fraud - so investigators say - is that everyone involved gets their story exactly the same.
In real life, it seldom if ever works that way.

I know of witnesses to a fairly simple fender bender who's stories are so at variance with one another's that it's hard to believe they could have all been there - Yet they certainly were there.

Sam F
01-18-2008, 12:15 PM
Keith, you're neither a historian nor a theologian and have strayed far from your area of expertise.


To state the obvious, none of our discussions in the Bilge have involved either of our areas of real expertise. I am certainly no theologian (perish the thought! ) and only an interested amateur in the study of history; as I understand it, so are you. That does not mean that either of us is necessarily wrong, merely that no one should take anything on those subjects on our authority alone.

Keith, You didn’t say any of that when you give Deb that history lesson: “The normal way of showing the evolution of the various Christian sects… is not really correct.”
But you do know what’s really correct. Right?
Well, by your admission above, you don’t. I suggest a little humility when you “know” what is not really correct.
And besides, you’re practicing edumacation without a license too!



… Theologians (like scientists) may argue about both the reasoning and the evidence, but reasoning and evidence it remains.


I’m well aware of this. However, the process is fundamentally different in one essential respect. In science, the evidence is the physical world; everyone agrees on this; it’s part of the definition. It exists independently of human ideas, and can always be rechecked.

You’re still missing the point. The point is not science. No one claims that theology is science. The point is history. As history, you’ve stated unequivocally that a certain interpretation of events was “not really correct”, but you have not supported your account with any evidence.


From what I know of the history of the early church,…

That’s the problem isn’t it? Be honest Keith. You don’t know much of early church history, do you?


Given Orthodoxy's early appearance, it simply cannot be the result of some victorious political process.

The point being that if one witnesses a truck running into a car, it is not the result of a political process for that account to “win”. It “wins” because it fits the facts.
Keith, you have a pre-conceived ideology-formed view of what happened and are apparently as unaware of this as a fish is of water.

George Jung
01-18-2008, 12:18 PM
Jamie, a cynic? Perish the thought!

Nanoose
01-18-2008, 12:23 PM
Thank you, ACB.

Tom Montgomery
01-18-2008, 12:25 PM
Tom Montgomery:
You're missing the point... The very teachings in the Bible show us how varried the different churches were, hence the letters from Paul, and John's writings in Revelation... I KNOW that there were struggles between the different Churches, nothing much has changed over the years, we still struggle, BIG whoop.Honda_Shadow:
I'm afraid it is you who is missing the point. Ebionite and Nazorene Christianity dates to the FIRST CENTURY. That means from the day of Jesus' crucifixtion to the year 100.

Google these two names and check out what they believed according to the early church fathers. I think you are in for a shock.

I am suggesting that their beliefs were closer to the beliefs of the Jerusalem Church of Paul's time than to the beliefs of Paul. I am also suggesting that Paul consequently ran afoul of the Jerusalem Church, resulting in the events leading to his arrest in Jerusalem and subsequent execution in Rome. When the Jerusalem Church ceased to exist in 70, the vacuum was filled by Paul's brand of gentile Christianity. This is what coalesced into "Orthodoxy." The remnants of the original Jewish/Christian church were eventually declared heretic. Orthodoxy triumphed. Prove me wrong.

Honda_Shadow
01-18-2008, 12:45 PM
Tom:
The things that Jesus began to say and do in Jerusalem, and the very same message that Paul later furthered were VERY unpopular to the beliefs of Jews at the time. That's why Jesus was crucified, and most of the early Church founders were martyred. I'm not disagreeing with that at all. See, this is what's deemed in original Hebrew: "No duh."

Honda_Shadow
01-18-2008, 12:48 PM
Tom:
You basically saying what I've been saying: ever since the beginning of "Christianity" there have been people who have gotten it wrong. What else is new? Trouble in the Middle East?

Keith Wilson
01-18-2008, 12:48 PM
Oh, Sam, you confuse disagreement with ignorance. I am neither a theologian nor a historian, and neither are you, but neither of us are entirely ignorant of either history or theology. Should we therefore be required to preface our every statement with "in my opinion"? Deb is perfectly free to consult as many other sources as she wishes; I'm sure she knows better than to take me as any sort of final authority. And you, sir, have a pre-conceived religion-formed view of what happened, i.e, we have different points of view and different interpretations of history. Not surprising, eh?

I was referring to things like this chart, which is OK as far as it goes for events after about 800 CE:

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/8/8b/ChristianityBranches.svg/800px-ChristianityBranches.svg.png

You will note that it mostly ignores the diverse opinions and divisions within the early church, and shows it as one undivided line until 431. This is inaccurate, although I'm sure it was done mainly to simplify. I suggest you look up Arius and the Arian controversy for one very obvious example. None of the theological points in that argument are susceptible of resolution by anything on this earth; they are matters about which observation tells us nothing. Current orthodoxy is the side that won, and they did so thorough politics and force, not because Trinitarianism corresponds to any obvservable "facts".
The point being that if one witnesses a truck running into a car, it is not the result of a political process for that account to “win”. It “wins” because it fits the facts.This is a perfect example of my point about the difference between the reasoning of science and the reasoning of theology. While perhaps some points of religious doctrine can be resolved by looking at the observable facts or working out the true history, most cannot. Who has witnessed the Trinity? By what observation can we determine the truth of either homoousious or homoiousious?

Nanoose
01-18-2008, 12:48 PM
Tom - not really anything shocking here.

As the Ebionites didn't believe in the divinity of Christ, I don't see how they factor into this.

The Nazarenes did, however. They wanted to keep everything Jewish and add in Jesus.

Nothing new, either. Discussed throughout the NT.

Jesus came for the Jews (his own statement) but said his disciples would take his message to the whole world. He had to start with the Jewish people first.

They didn't get this. When God started saving Gentiles too, they were shocked! (Acts) They didn't get it, and worked to figure out what was going on. They couldn't deny Gentiles were being accepted into God's kingdom. Uncircumcized, un "food lawed" people were being overpowered by the Holy Spirit and coming into relationship with God. Evidently, Jesus had inaugerated a new covenant replacing the old.

Peter's (NOT Paul's) experience of this in Acts 10 is particularly revealing. Peter FROM the Jerusalem church, and reporting back was where it started, not Paul. The First Council in Jerusalem (Acts 15) shows them hammering it out.

The gospels show how Jesus was a new Moses, a new Torah, a new Exodus, a new Temple. The old was gone...no longer necessary....
You couldn't accept Jesus AND hold onto the need for temple sacrifice. It wasn't/isn't "Jesus PLUS".

Bell's gone. Off to class.

George Jung
01-18-2008, 02:10 PM
I hope you don't mind a lil' 'sidebar', but I received this today, and thought it might be germaine to this thread, and perhaps to many of the 'exchanges' we see on this forum when religion is discussed. If it's 'not appropriate', please say so and I'll delete.

The next day John again was standing with two of his disciples, and as he watched Jesus walk by, he exclaimed, "Look, here is the Lamb of God!" John 1:35-36
When I was a student at Wartburg College I had a couple of students who belonged to the Navigators stop by my room one evening. They told me that I needed to be give my life to Christ. I had been a follower of Christ since I was baptized and saw no need to do so. As they left the room they informed me that since I had refused I would end up in hell. Our Gospel text for this coming Sunday (John 1:29-42) is all about evangelism. Yet when Christians, especially Lutherans, hear the work evangelism it evokes a negative response, most often because of a negative experience from someone who tried to push their brand of Christianity on them. Our national church decided to call itself the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. In case you didn't realize it evangelism and evangelical both come from the same root. By our name we are proclaiming that we are a church concerned about evangelism. Evangelism simple means to tell or share the good news. When our oldest son was born I could not wait until morning to call his grandparents and tell the good news that they had a grandson. The good news of God's love and salvation which comes to us in Jesus Christ is a message that is just too good to keep to ourselves. We are asked to share that good news with others. That doesn't mean we have to corner someone in a closed room and threaten them with hell. We can take a lesson from John and simply point to Jesus, and to our church, where Jesus can be found. If we are living the Christian life our friends and neighbors will be able to see Jesus shining through us. Whether we realize it or not our life can be an example to draw people to Christ or turn them against Christ. But many have never consider their life and lifestyle as a form of evangelism. Finally when someone asked us about our faith or our church we can give the simple invitation "Come and See". We can bring them to Alpha or a worship service. All Christians’ are called to be evangelist. The question to ponder this week is, what kind of evangelist am I? (Pastor Neugebauer)

Bob Cleek
01-18-2008, 02:26 PM
http://www.strangepersons.com/images/content/8531.jpg

Enough of the mental masturbation, already!

All the stories in the bible are true. Some of them actually happened. Okay?

George Jung
01-18-2008, 02:29 PM
I don't know, Bob; define 'true'....:D

Tom Montgomery
01-18-2008, 03:17 PM
Tom - not really anything shocking here.

As the Ebionites didn't believe in the divinity of Christ, I don't see how they factor into this.

The Nazarenes did, however. They wanted to keep everything Jewish and add in Jesus. . . .

Peter's (NOT Paul's) experience of this in Acts 10 is particularly revealing. Peter FROM the Jerusalem church, and reporting back was where it started, not Paul. The First Council in Jerusalem (Acts 15) shows them hammering it out.

The gospels show how Jesus was a new Moses, a new Torah, a new Exodus, a new Temple. The old was gone...no longer necessary....
You couldn't accept Jesus AND hold onto the need for temple sacrifice. It wasn't/isn't "Jesus PLUS".Bob -- we do this cause it's fun! By the way, "All the stories in the Bible are true and some of them actually happened," is exactly how I view the New and Old Testaments.

Hi Deb,
Some scholars believe that the Ebionites and the Nazarenes were actually one and the same. It is an opinion that I share.

As for "divinity"... if by "divine" you mean that Jesus was the literal son of God, born of a virgin . . . Paul himself didn't believe this. There is no reason to think the Jerusalem Church -- headed by James, the brother of Jesus, and including his mother and other family members -- believed this either. I suspect the Ebionites' beliefs dovetailed exactly with the Church of Jerusalem under James. I think Paul went his own way on doctrine while on his gentile mission and consequently came to grief when he returned with his donation to Jerusalem.

As for Acts, its historical veracity is -- at best -- highly questionable. If it were a standard historical document it would be discounted for its errors.

The Gospels were all written after the year 70 when James, Peter, Paul the Jerusalem Church, and the Temple were all gone from the scene. The destruction of the Temple and the need to salvage and re-create the faiths that had been dependent upon it -- Jewish and Christian -- was the reason for the Gospels being written. We eventually ended up with rabbinical Judaism and Paul's gentile Christianity: "Orthodox" Christianity.

The destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple in 70 was a catastrophe almost beyond our ability to fathom. It was a VERY BIG DEAL. Christianity mostly ignores the event and its influence on the evolving early church.

Keith Wilson
01-18-2008, 03:53 PM
Here's a little background on the first Jewish rebellion against the Roman Empire and the siege of Jerusalem in 70 CE. (The painting is obviously from much later.)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siege_of_Jerusalem_%2870%29

Quote from Flavius Josephus, who was there:
Now as soon as the army had no more people to slay or to plunder, because there remained none to be the objects of their fury (for they would not have spared any, had there remained any other work to be done), Titus Caesar gave orders that they should now demolish the entire city and Temple, but should leave as many of the towers standing as were of the greatest eminence; that is, Phasaelus, and Hippicus, and Mariamne; and so much of the wall as enclosed the city on the west side. This wall was spared, in order to afford a camp for such as were to lie in garrison, as were the towers also spared, in order to demonstrate to posterity what kind of city it was, and how well fortified, which the Roman valor had subdued. But for all the rest of the wall, it was so thoroughly laid even with the ground by those that dug it up to the foundation, that there was left nothing to make those that came thither believe it had ever been inhabited. This was the end which Jerusalem came to by the madness of those that were for innovations; a city otherwise of great magnificence, and of mighty fame among all mankind.

And truly, the very view itself was a melancholy thing; for those places which were adorned with trees and pleasant gardens, were now become desolate country every way, and its trees were all cut down. Nor could any foreigner that had formerly seen Judaea and the most beautiful suburbs of the city, and now saw it as a desert, but lament and mourn sadly at so great a change. For the war had laid all signs of beauty quite waste. Nor had anyone who had known the place before, had come on a sudden to it now, would he have known it again. But though he were at the city itself, yet would he have inquired for it.Josephus writes that 1,100,000 people were killed during the siege and 97,000 were captured and enslaved. Titus, the Roman commander, reportedly refused to accept a wreath of victory, as there is "no merit in vanquishing people forsaken by their own God". The first-century equivalent of a nuclear bomb indeed.



http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/b/b7/Francesco_Hayez_017.jpg/800px-Francesco_Hayez_017.jpg

Osborne Russell
01-18-2008, 04:58 PM
Whoa there, Osborne, Dianetics? Even Dianetics?
You may be going too far now doubting L. Ron!

Just trying to compile a list of beliefs I mustn't denigrate. It would be easier, rather than a long, cumbersome list, to have a principle that you could apply to each one as it came along, to decide whether it was denigrable, but apparently there is so such principle.

Keith Wilson
01-18-2008, 04:59 PM
IMHO as long as you treat actual human beings with respect, you can criticize any beliefs you like.

Osborne Russell
01-18-2008, 05:00 PM
Thats funny from the guy who cries anti-Semite at the drop of the hat. Tell me how many have been banned for slamming Christians?


How's this: hate the delusion, not the deluded.

Bob Cleek
01-18-2008, 05:23 PM
Yea, I suppose it CAN be interesting, but it isn't much fun when there's so much posturing by folks who are basing their opinions on what I call "History Channel theology." Maybe if, like the appellate brief I ought to be writing now instead of screwing off, every factual statement had to be referenced to an authoritative citation, the discussion might be more productive.

For instance, citations, please?:

"As for "divinity"... if by "divine" you mean that Jesus was the literal son of God, born of a virgin . . . Paul himself didn't believe this."

(Say WHAT?)

************************************************** *
"There is no reason to think the Jerusalem Church -- headed by James, the brother of Jesus, and including his mother and other family members -- believed this either."

(Wasn't there that thing about the Resurrection, and Christ appearing to the Apostles and Thomas saying, "My Lord and my God," the "road to Emmaus" and that whole thing about Pentecost?)

**************************************************

"The Gospels were all written after the year 70 when James, Peter, Paul the Jerusalem Church, and the Temple were all gone from the scene. The destruction of the Temple and the need to salvage and re-create the faiths that had been dependent upon it -- Jewish and Christian -- was the reason for the Gospels being written. We eventually ended up with rabbinical Judaism and Paul's gentile Christianity: "Orthodox" Christianity."

(Maybe you could explain more about this "dependency on the Temple in Jerusalem" in the context of the Diaspora prior to the destruction of the Temple? Similarly, I'm having a problem reconciling your "reason for the Gospels being written" after "all were gone from the scene" with the Epistles, which were written by those same folks and clearly and repeatedly refer to those Gospels.)

(Also, how does one reconcile "Paul's gentile Christianity" with this:

For if their (the Jews’) rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? If the firstfruits are holy, so is the whole batch of dough; and if the root is holy, so are the branches.
But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, a wild olive shoot, were grafted in their place and have come to share in the rich root of the olive tree, do not boast against the branches. If you do boast, consider that you do not support the root; the root supports you. Indeed you will say, ‘Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.’ That is so. They were broken off because of unbelief, but you are there because of faith. So do not become haughty, but stand in awe. For if God did not spare the natural branches, perhaps he will not spare you either. (Rom. 11: 15-22)

**************************************************

And finally, long held beliefs regarding biblical chronology have been apparently disproven. Computer technology now permits scientists to reconcile actual dates, relative to our present calendar, with contemporaneously reported astronomical events, particularly solar eclipses and comets. This research indicates that the dates are somewhat earlier than we had thought. The Fall of Jerusalem may well have occurred during the lifetimes of the Evangelists, rather than as you state. Significantly, the revised timelines well support the accepted scholarship holding that the Book of Revelations was an allegorical exhortation to early Christians suffering Roman persecution and may even have been a "Christianized" version of a plagarized similar work addressed to Jews. Hardly a collection of prophecies. (How the "history" channel broadcasts stuff on "biblical prophecies" and "Nostradamus" as "history" is beyond me!)

Historians and Biblical chronologists had all agreed that the Second Temple of Jerusalem was destroyed during the capture of the city by the Romans in the year A.D. 70. Although there is much disagreement among chronologists on just about any date related to Old or New Testament chronology, this date was almost universally agreed upon. But it seems to have been proven to be the wrong date. The city of Jerusalem captured by the Romans in the year A.D. 56. At that time, the Second Temple of Jerusalem was also destroyed.

The error of 14 years in the dating of this event comes mainly from two sources. First, the death of Augustus Caesar has been misdated by historians and chronologists. Augustus died in A.D. 10, not in A.D. 14. Second, the failure to recognize the antedaing of Tiberius Caesar's reign by 10 years (a common Roman practice: "The king is dead! Long-er lived the next king!"), such that his reign began in A.D. 1 and ended with his death in A.D. 22. These two chronological errors place events after Tiberius Caesar's death about 14 years earlier than has been generally accepted by historians and chronologists.

The Fall of Jerusalem occurred about the time of a Sabbatical year. The Sabbatical year of A.D. 55/56 (Wacholder) began in the autumn of A.D. 55. The Second Temple was burned in early August of A.D. 56 and the city was finally captured in early September that same year.

******************************************

Like I said, it's all true. Some of it actually happened.

Keith Wilson
01-18-2008, 05:33 PM
Maybe if, like the appellate brief I ought to be writing now instead of screwing off, every factual statement had to be referenced to an authoritative citation, the discussion might be more productive.That's not a bad idea. Perhaps we could apply it to political threads as well? Of course, then we could argue for weeks about whether a reference was "authoritative" or not. It can get pretty dodgy when we're talking about events 2000 years ago that the historians are still arguing about. BTW, what's your source for revising the date of the destruction of Jerusalem? ;) Actually, this is a serious question; in a brief search I haven't been able to find any mainstream history site that gives it any other date than 70 CE. The Romans kept pretty good records of major events in the Empire, and it seems unlikely that they'd have gotten it wrong by 14 years.

And FWIW I don't watch the History Channel. I don't even have cable; turning more Luddite by the day. Poring over the dusty tomes is the way to go.

Osborne Russell
01-18-2008, 05:37 PM
A religion that depends on the validity of historical accounts has reason for insecurity.

Tom Montgomery
01-18-2008, 06:04 PM
...it isn't much fun when there's so much posturing by folks who are basing their opinions on what I call "History Channel theology."Nope. I read books. One good one is Saint Saul: A Skeleton Key to the Historical Jesus by historian Donald Harmon Akenson. Akenson points out that the concept of the virgin birth appears to have developed some decades after Jesus' crucifixion. The circumstance of Jesus' birth is addressed neither in the earliest gospel, Mark, nor in the gospel of John. And Paul, whose letters pre-date the four gospels, appears to dismiss the idea of the virgin birth.

From Saint Saul, page 180:


Saul produces two statements that are directly opposed to the idea of a Virgin Birth as the explanation for Yeshua's being in the form of a man, whilst maintaining the substance of God. In his letter to the Galatians, he says, "but when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law" (Gal 4:4) Given that Saul habitually uses 'the law' in association with the corruptibility of the flesh, he is clearly saying that Jesus was conceived in the normal fleshly fashion. That this was Saul's view is confirmed in his Epistle to the Romans, where he writes:

Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh;
And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead. (Rom 1:3-4)

Yeshua, Saul declares, was born of the flesh, not by divine impregnation; he was made the Son of God by the Almighty's gift of holiness. This, Saul says, is warranted by Yeshua's resurrection, which (as we have just observed) Saul interpreted in a spiritual, not a physical sense. Hence it follows that in Saul's view there is nothing special about the physical birth of Yeshua of Nazareth. Saul's phrasing is just too pointed to be random. He has, I think, picked up something in the air; not yet a fully-fledged, completely articulated version of the Virgin Birth, but something that is running through the margins of Christianity in the 50's and early 60's; it is not yet important enough or sufficiently widespread to demand a full refutation. Saul, in passing, flicks it away, like an impatient high court judge dismissing a solipsistic argument by junior counsel, Saul knows what he is doing; his readers understand. He is refuting a doctrine too lurid in his view to grant a name.
Akenson argues that, for Paul, the idea smacked of paganism.

Another good book, again by Akenson, is Surpassing Wonder: The Invention of the Bible and the Talmuds.

Your info on dates is interesting. I'm willing to revise my statement to, "The Gospels were all written after the year 59 when James, Paul, the Jerusalem Church, and the Temple were all gone from the scene. The destruction of the Temple and the need to salvage and re-create the faiths that had been dependent upon it -- Jewish and Christian -- was the reason for the Gospels being written. We eventually ended up with rabbinical Judaism and Paul's gentile Christianity: "Orthodox" Christianity.

The destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple in 59 was a catastrophe almost beyond our ability to fathom. It was a VERY BIG DEAL. Christianity mostly ignores the event and its influence on the evolving early church."

Osborne Russell
01-18-2008, 06:25 PM
Nope. I read books. One good one is Saint Saul: A Skeleton Key to the Historical Jesus by historian Donald Harmon Akenson.

Akenson is a well-known America hater and anti-MEM bigot from way back.


"Congregations could easily identify with Israel" one distinguished Presbyterian historian has observed, "taking possession of the promised land, threatened by the hostility of its fierce inhabitants."

They held religious beliefs that the native Irish rejected; and thus the native Irish demonstrated they were not part of the elect. The natives, moreover, were hostile, refusing to readily give up the Promised Land to the colonists. So, like the Hittites and Canaanites, they were evil.
=========
In 1923, Vladimir Jabotinsky articulated the classic Revisionist Zionist view of the Palestinian Arabs:

"Culturally, they are 500 years behind us, spiritually they do not have our endurance and our strength of will . . . They look upon Palestine with the same instinctive love and true fervor that any Aztec looked upon his Mexico or any Sioux looked upon his prairie."
============
I had as one group among my neighbors yet another chosen poeple: the Boers, or Afrikaners. Their national or collective myth about themselves owed almost everything to the Bible. Like the Israelites, and their fellow Calvinists in New England, they believed that they had been called by their God to wander through the wilderness, to meet and defeat the heathen, and to occupy a promised land on his behalf.
==============
The fascinating thing about the justifications put forward for the primacy of Jewish rights over those of the Palestinian Arabs is that the arguments were generic. That is, they were the same arguments employed in previous centuries (with tailoring for local circumstances) by the Australian colonists concerning the Aborigine; the Canadian settlers about native Canadians; the American frontier expansionists about the Amerindians; the Afrikaners concerning the Xhosa and the Zulu; the British, French, German, Portuguese and Belgians, about black Africans. The same canonical justifications were used by all European imperialists when explaining why it was all right for the colonists to bash the indigene.

(emphasis added)

Donald Akenson, God's Peoples: Covenant and Land in South Africa, Israel, and Ulster, (1992) New York, Cornell University Press.


By "the indigene" he means those not enraptured. The Boer regarded the Zulu, and concluded, he will not be there on the great-getting-up-morning, so later for him, and all his kind.

Tom Montgomery
01-18-2008, 06:35 PM
A Canadian America-hater and anti-MEM bigot? Oh my! :eek:

He'd fit right into the bilge, don'tcha think? ;)

Osborne Russell
01-18-2008, 06:39 PM
A Canadian America-hater and anti-MEM bigot? Oh my! :eek:

He'd fit right into the bilge, don'tcha think? ;)

Let's see him explain spiling, without diagrams, and we'll see.

Nanoose
01-18-2008, 07:14 PM
As for "divinity"... if by "divine" you mean that Jesus was the literal son of God, born of a virgin . . . Paul himself didn't believe this. There is no reason to think the Jerusalem Church -- headed by James, the brother of Jesus, and including his mother and other family members -- believed this either.

Interesting. What information are you basing this so assuredly on? It seems to me that Mary of all people would be THE one to know!! And it seems she would disagree with you.



As for Acts, its historical veracity is -- at best -- highly questionable. If it were a standard historical document it would be discounted for its errors.

More please (why it would be discounted, etc.)



The Gospels were all written after the year 70 when James, Peter, Paul the Jerusalem Church, and the Temple were all gone from the scene. The destruction of the Temple and the need to salvage and re-create the faiths that had been dependent upon it -- Jewish and Christian -- was the reason for the Gospels being written. We eventually ended up with rabbinical Judaism and Paul's gentile Christianity: "Orthodox" Christianity.

Another nice hypothesis. Many historians will disagree with you here. Don't make it sound like your dates are cast in stone. There are differences of opinion here.

Also, by AD70 the Christian faith was not "dependent" upon the Temple.



The destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple in 70 was a catastrophe almost beyond our ability to fathom. It was a VERY BIG DEAL. Christianity mostly ignores the event and its influence on the evolving early church.

It had more of an impact on Judaism than Christianity.

Bob Cleek
01-18-2008, 07:20 PM
"The destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple in 59 was a catastrophe almost beyond our ability to fathom. It was a VERY BIG DEAL. Christianity mostly ignores the event and its influence on the evolving early church."

That's because the Romans pretty much killed all the Jews in Jerusalem, including those who we would refer to today as "Christians." The lack of "influence" was because they just ceased to exist pretty much. Remember that the non-gentile Jewish "Christians" never ceased being Jewish. Neither did Christ, for that matter, though few recognize this. I expect he still is, since I doubt he prays to himself. Think about that....


BTW, since somebody asked, here's an interesting site addressing the recalculation of biblical historical chronologies: http://www.biblicalchronology.com/index.htm. A little heavy on the religious perspective. I'd have been interested in other historical events, since "biblical history" is really almost an oxymoron, but interesting still.

I expect you'll find more if you google the astronomical stuff. The way it works is somebody writing in Rome says there was an eclipse of the sun in the second year of Tiberius's reign (just a made up example). They can now run the programs and find out, based on our own calendar, when a solar eclipse that could be seen from Rome occurred around that time period. Voila! The exact date by our calendar recconing can be established.

SamSam
01-18-2008, 07:26 PM
The destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple in 70 was a catastrophe almost beyond our ability to fathom. It was a VERY BIG DEAL. Christianity mostly ignores the event and its influence on the evolving early church.

Maybe Christianity was downplaying a stroke of luck to bolster it's Image as the True Church(TM)...


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siege_of_Jerusalem_(70 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siege_of_Jerusalem_%2870))
Destruction of Jerusalem

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/0/08/Roberts_Siege_and_Destruction_of_Jerusalem.jpg/400px-Roberts_Siege_and_Destruction_of_Jerusalem.jpg (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Roberts_Siege_and_Destruction_of_Jerusalem.j pg) http://en.wikipedia.org/skins-1.5/common/images/magnify-clip.png (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Roberts_Siege_and_Destruction_of_Jerusalem.j pg)
The Siege and Destruction of Jerusalem, by John Roberts (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Roberts) (1850).


Sulpicius Severus (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sulpicius_Severus) (363 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/363)–420 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/420)), referring in his Chronica to an earlier writing by Tacitus (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tacitus) (56 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/56)–117 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/117)), claimed that Titus favored destroying the Jerusalem Temple to help uproot and demolish both the Jewish and Christian sects. Some scholars argue that this was not completely effective, and that the destruction of Jerusalem liberated the Christian church to fulfill its destiny as a universal religion offered to the whole world.[1] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siege_of_Jerusalem_%2870%29#_note-Noll)
A bigger "catastrophe almost beyond our ability to fathom" to me would be the destruction of the library of Alexandria...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Library_of_Alexandria

Sam F
01-18-2008, 08:10 PM
Thanks Bob. Interesting stuff!

Tom Montgomery
01-18-2008, 08:45 PM
As for Acts, its historical veracity is -- at best -- highly questionable. If it were a standard historical document it would be discounted for its errors.

More please (why it would be discounted, etc.)

The two accounts of Paul's life and mission -- that found in Acts and that implied in Paul's letters -- are incompatible. They disagree on numerous important areas.

If one adopts Paul's letters as the standard of factual accuracy (which most scholars do), and if on a significant number of occasions the narrative in the Acts of the Apostles has to be judged as significantly inaccurate, then the entire Acts of the Apostles, insofar as it deals with Paul, should be excised as a direct data source except for those portions directly confirmed by Paul's letters.

In fact I would go further: given the incompatibility of Acts with Paul's letters, no narrative in Acts can be considered accurate without confirmation from a second source.

This is what historians do with secular history.

Tom Montgomery
01-18-2008, 08:55 PM
The Gospels were all written after the year 70....

Another nice hypothesis. Many historians will disagree with you here.Yes, many would disagree. However, most would not.


Also, by AD70 the Christian faith was not "dependent" upon the Temple.I was referring to the Jerusalem Church, of course. Obviously Paul's gentile Churches were not. Keep in mind, however, that Paul preached the Christian message only by license from the Church of Jerusalem. He was well aware of his position in the pecking order (hence his anxiety about the Jerusalem Church accepting his donation). The Jerusalem Christians all continued to identify with both Judaism and the Christ. All attended Temple. As did Paul when in Jerusalem.


It [the destruction of Jerusalem and the Second Temple] had more of an impact on Judaism than Christianity.Well, we obviously disagree. I believe had the Jerusalem Church survived, Christianity may have never evolved beyond a Jewish sect. Perhaps it would have become a major Jewish sect, but not necessarily a separate and distinct religion.

Tom Montgomery
01-18-2008, 09:00 PM
That's because the Romans pretty much killed all the Jews in Jerusalem, including those who we would refer to today as "Christians." The lack of "influence" was because they just ceased to exist pretty much. Remember that the non-gentile Jewish "Christians" never ceased being Jewish. Neither did Christ, for that matter, though few recognize this. I expect he still is, since I doubt he prays to himself. Think about that....Yep.

I'm still hoping that the original Hebrew version of the Gospel of Matthew turns up. If it ever does, I'm betting it resembles the Gospel of the Ebionites.

Nanoose
01-19-2008, 01:24 AM
The fall of Jerusalem in AD70 wasn't a total surprise. The uprisings in the previous years sent many on their way before the fall. Numerous churches, both Jewish and Gentile, were well decades before. Christianity did not rise/fall on the temple in Jerusalem.

Nanoose
01-19-2008, 01:25 AM
The two accounts of Paul's life and mission -- that found in Acts and that implied in Paul's letters -- are incompatible. They disagree on numerous important areas.

This is news to me, not that I've heard, or know, it all. I'd sure like to know what discrepancies you are referring to. I'll need some specifics or your retraction, Tom.

shamus
01-19-2008, 04:04 AM
Some such discrepancies are discussed here:
http://www.1902encyclopedia.com/A/ACT/acts-of-the-apostles.html

Tom Montgomery
01-19-2008, 07:10 AM
The two accounts of Paul's life and mission -- that found in Acts and that implied in Paul's letters -- are incompatible. They disagree on numerous important areas.

This is news to me, not that I've heard, or know, it all. I'd sure like to know what discrepancies you are referring to. I'll need some specifics or your retraction, Tom.Deb,

This is not new. The primary works of scholarship concerning the problem of the discrepancy between Acts and Paul's epistles are by John Knox, Robert Jewett, John Hurd, Gerd Ludemann, and Jerome Murphy-O'Conner. You can Google or search Amazon for these names in connection to Paul and read the works of these men for yourself.

The author of Acts of the Apostles is alleged to be Luke, the author of the third gospel and a companion of Paul. Yet not one direct quotation in Acts is identifiable as being from Paul's letters and, further, the author of Acts gives no indication of an awareness that the letters even exist.

The points where serious incompatibilities arise are:

1. The degree to which Paul had persecuted the followers of the Jesus-faith early in his life.

2. The particular question of whether he had persecuted the Jerusalem Church.

3. Whether he was complicit in the death of Stephen.

4. The circumstances of his conversion from a form of Pharisaism to the Jesus-faith.

5. Whether the "road-to-Damascus" incident was a part of his conversion experience.

6. The number of missionary journeys Paul made.

7. The number of visits he made to Jerusalem.

8. The nature of the "Jerusalem Conference."

9. The character of the agreement sorted out at the "Jerusalem Conference" which gave Paul license to continue to preach.

10. The nature of the collection that Paul was required to raise in support of the Jerusalem Church.

11. The degree of animosity between Paul and the central body of the faithful in Jerusalem, headed by the brother of Jesus.

Tom Montgomery
01-19-2008, 07:17 AM
The fall of Jerusalem in AD70 wasn't a total surprise.... Christianity did not rise/fall on the temple in Jerusalem."The fall of Jerusalem" is a bit of an understatement. I am arguing that the form that Christianity took -- what SamF refers to as "Orthodoxy" -- was influenced mightily by the catastrophe of 59/70AD.

In fact, "influenced mightily" may actually be an understatement. "Determined" may be the more accurate word to use.

Tom Montgomery
01-19-2008, 07:35 AM
It seems to me that Mary of all people would be THE one to know!! And it seems she would disagree with you.Would she? I don't recall that she ever commented on the subject. Is there a Gospel of Mary floating around of which I am unaware?

Paul may have met her... and perhaps all of Jesus' siblings in the Church of Jerusalem. We know for a fact that he met James. Paul certainly appears to dismiss the idea of a virgin birth.

Andrew Craig-Bennett
01-19-2008, 09:05 AM
Then I do not understand.
If "a literalist, or "fundamentalist" approach to Scripture will always tend to draw its adherents away from the inner light of God's grace and towards the material world, and hence into corruption".
Then, how does a fellow go from wife and child abuse to becoming a model husband (relatively speaking) by way of accepting Fundamentalist Christianity act in such a way to draw himself away from God's grace?
He'd have been less drawn to corruption, as a wife beater?
This seems very strange indeed!
Granted, he's got a more or less defective modern version of Christianity, but I can't imagine how he's always drawn into corruption.

Sam, I think we are at cross purposes.

You are arguing from a particular case, and a very good one, whilst I was thinking of the general trend of theological thought.

What struck me, reading Ian's post, was that a literalist reading of Scripture leads us into a thought process where we view the United Nations as theologically suspect, we start breeding red heifers and encouraging Zionism in order to bring about the Rapture.

This is not Christianity as you and I understand it.

A Moslem taking a literalist view of the Koran falls into the same trap - he or she takes the injunctions to "jihad" literally and sets off to re-establish the Caliphate - this is not Islam as most Moslems understand it.

Jesus gives much of his advice in the form of parables - there are also direct instructions, but his parables and his own actions are pretty important. It is very hard to have a literalist view of a parable - was there really a Prodigal Son - what was his name and where did he live?

Tom Montgomery
01-19-2008, 09:24 AM
Deb,

I enjoy these discussions because I am interested in what other people think, I learn from them, they prompt me to re-examine my own thinking, and they stimulate me to read new books and re-read familiar books.

There is no question that many of the opinions I have formed are: liberal, controversial, radical, eccentric (take your pick). However, they are not the result of watching the History Channel. They are the result of 12 years of religious education in the Roman Catholic Church and a further 35 years of independent reading and thought.

We can engage in spirited debate while agreeing to disagree. I appreciate the fact that you and I can disagree profoundly on issues that are important to both of us, and yet remain civil. Thank you.

James McMullen
01-19-2008, 02:17 PM
The Rapture heralds the second coming of Christ, right? But Jesus himself told his followers that he will return and establish his kingdom within a generation, before his listeners died. Here's some scriptural references for you fact checkers: Matthew 16:28, Matthew 23:36, Matthew 24:34, Mark 9:1, Mark 13:30, Luke 9:27.
Unless there's some 2000+ year-old folks still running around out there then this seems to have not worked out so much.

I went to Wikipedia and typed in "the Rapture". An utterly confusing morass of contrary opinions. . . . .
But especially entertaining was the entry on Edgar C. Whisenant, a bible student who proved from scripture that the Rapture was going to occur sometime between Sept. 11 and 13 in 1988. From Wiki:

"Whisenant's predictions were taken seriously. . . As the great day approached, regular programming on the Christian Trinity Broadcast Network (TBN) was interrupted to provide special instructions on preparing for the Rapture."

Isn't that just fantastic? I was moved to tears!

Keith Wilson
01-19-2008, 02:48 PM
That's just the latest in a long line of end-of-the-world predictions that (obviously) haven't happened. My favorite is William Miller, who predicted that Jesus would return on October 22, 1844. He had some 100,000 followers in the US who waited expectantly, some having sold houses and businesses in preparation. What followed was called "The Great Disappointment". General rule: prophecy is purest BS.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Disappointment

Nanoose
01-19-2008, 03:06 PM
Deb,
The author of Acts of the Apostles is alleged to be Luke, the author of the third gospel and a companion of Paul. Yet not one direct quotation in Acts is identifiable as being from Paul's letters and, further, the author of Acts gives no indication of an awareness that the letters even exist.

It states pretty clearly that it is Luke, so there's no need for the allegedly. I see no contradiction/problem that Luke didn't mention things already well known in the community. It's like me needing to define gaff rig everytime I mention it to a community of gaffers. Unnecessary. He had another point/goal/purpose to his writing, the limited space of his scroll, and there was no need to reiterate anything that was already out there. No contradiction here.



The points where serious incompatibilities arise are:

1. The degree to which Paul had persecuted the followers of the Jesus-faith early in his life.

2. The particular question of whether he had persecuted the Jerusalem Church.

3. Whether he was complicit in the death of Stephen.

Again, news to me. What are the serious incompatibilities you refer to? Which of his writings contradicts Luke's record in Acts on these 3 things? (specifics, please).



4. The circumstances of his conversion from a form of Pharisaism to the Jesus-faith.

5. Whether the "road-to-Damascus" incident was a part of his conversion experience.

Again, news to me. What are the serious incompatibilities you refer to? Which of his writings contradicts Luke's record in Acts on these 3 things? (specifics, please).



6. The number of missionary journeys Paul made.

7. The number of visits he made to Jerusalem.

8. The nature of the "Jerusalem Conference."

9. The character of the agreement sorted out at the "Jerusalem Conference" which gave Paul license to continue to preach.

Again, news to me. What are the serious incompatibilities you refer to? Which of his writings contradicts Luke's record in Acts on these 3 things? (specifics, please).



10. The nature of the collection that Paul was required to raise in support of the Jerusalem Church.

11. The degree of animosity between Paul and the central body of the faithful in Jerusalem, headed by the brother of Jesus.

Again, news to me. What are the serious incompatibilities you refer to? Which of his writings contradicts Luke's record in Acts on these 3 things? (specifics, please).

I am preparing to teach a course on Acts, and appreciate the opportunity to be aware of 'problems' to help enrich the class.

Nanoose
01-19-2008, 03:12 PM
Would she? I don't recall that she ever commented on the subject. Is there a Gospel of Mary floating around of which I am unaware?

Paul may have met her... and perhaps all of Jesus' siblings in the Church of Jerusalem. We know for a fact that he met James. Paul certainly appears to dismiss the idea of a virgin birth.

Luke undertook research to write his "accurate account of all that has happened" for Theophilus. His writing is found to be exceptional for not only the quality of his Greek, but also for the degree to which he understood the historical methods of the time. It is entirely possible some of his research included a visit with Mary, and that his recounting of the birth in his writing includes her insights. Or, that she had told her children undoubtedly more than once of the events surrounding Jesus' birth. It is more plausible they are accurate than inaccurate.

Nanoose
01-19-2008, 03:13 PM
Deb,

I enjoy these discussions because I am interested in what other people think, I learn from them, they prompt me to re-examine my own thinking, and they stimulate me to read new books and re-read familiar books.
....I appreciate the fact that you and I can disagree profoundly on issues that are important to both of us, and yet remain civil. Thank you.

Back atcha! :)

Nanoose
01-19-2008, 03:31 PM
The Rapture heralds the second coming of Christ, right? But Jesus himself told his followers that he will return and establish his kingdom within a generation, before his listeners died. Here's some scriptural references for you fact checkers: Matthew 16:28, Matthew 23:36, Matthew 24:34, Mark 9:1, Mark 13:30, Luke 9:27.
Unless there's some 2000+ year-old folks still running around out there then this seems to have not worked out so much.

Thanks for the specifics, James....

Mt16:28... doesn't say at all what you represent it as saying. Part of the passage "...won't taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom" can easily refer to the transformation which occured about a week later, or the resurrection after it.

Mt23:36..."...all this (persecution...) will come on this generation" makes no mention at all of his kingdom, within a generation, etc.

Mt24:34...Context (firstly, that Matthew is writing to a Jewish audience) is the fig tree (v.32) and the destruction of the temple (v.1f). "This generation" can mean a life span and be referencing the temple's destruction in AD70. His choosing to tie this teaching to the fig tree is also significant. 3 trees were symbolic to his hearers...the fig tree represented the nation of Israel, the vine represented the religion (temple, sacrifices, etc.), and the olive tree represented spiritual promises/peace. His earlier cursing of a fig tree - predicting the fall of the nation (AD70) and later rereferencing it living - predicting the reestablishment of the nation (AD1947) can be seen here.

Mk9:1 - same as Mt16:28 above. In fact the next verse is re the transfiguration (context!).

Mk.13:30 - same as Mt.24:34 above

Lk.9:27 - same as both points above.

Nanoose
01-19-2008, 03:37 PM
General rule: prophecy is purest BS.


There are many that aren't, Keith, and that becomes the difficulty. How to know when/which, etc. Some are true....some aren't. The easiest response is to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Just discount the whole lot. Label it all crazy and don't give it another thought.

Yet, there are SOME that aren't BS. That leaves us in a tenuous position if our response is to be lazy and just call it all crap.

As pointed out earlier re the topic of this thread, 'no man knows the day/hour', so anytime someone says they know, we can just laugh. From scripture, Christians can know some things - general things that need to be in place (e.g. Israel existing as a nation again)...the "stage is set" so to speak. But beyond that, no one knows exactly when.

The OT discusses pretty clearly how one can know whether a prophet is from God or not....if they're from God, their prophecy happens. Only time will tell on some of these things, particularly this one ;)

James McMullen
01-19-2008, 04:34 PM
The easiest response is to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Just discount the whole lot. Label it all crazy and don't give it another thought.

That is indeed the most parsimonious explanation for all of the failed prophecies of the bible. Occam's razor.

Nanoose, you are a pro at splitting hairs and coming up with explanations as to why something the bible says isn't actually what the bible really means--according to you. If you think that all of Jesus' references to returning "this generation" don't actually mean that he meant that he was returning that very generation. . .well that's not what his followers at the time apparently thought. Go ahead and rationalize away though, if it entertains you.

Nanoose
01-19-2008, 05:13 PM
Now we need to define 'splitting hairs' as opposed to 'explaining/filling in the blanks/answering a question'.

peb
01-19-2008, 05:53 PM
From scripture, Christians can know some things - general things that need to be in place (e.g. Israel existing as a nation again)...the "stage is set" so to speak

?????

Keith Wilson
01-19-2008, 05:56 PM
Some are true....some aren't.I disagree. If enough people guess about the future for long enough, some of them will be right. Those who put stock in such things become very adept at post facto reasoning. But it's not something one can shed much light on by arguing about it. I can point out hundreds of "prophecies" that were wrong, you can respond, "But not all of them are", I'll say if you can't know in advance which are right, what good does it do you even if some are correct? - and there we are, going around in circles. Best we find something more productive to talk about, I guess.

Nanoose
01-19-2008, 06:39 PM
Agreed. I was just unhappy with your "all prophecy is BS" statement.

T. Traddles
01-19-2008, 07:11 PM
I disagree. If enough people guess about the future for long enough, some of them will be right.

This sounds like a version of "if you have enough monkeys typing, eventually they will produce Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet." It is not plausible. Besides, one ought to ask whether Israelite prophecy was about predicting the future. I'm doubtful that it is, since the prophets themselves were more interested in calling Israel back to covenantal fidelity. Because the Israelites understood Yahweh to act in history, it was not outside the realm of possibility for Yahweh to use historical events to spank the Israelites for their infidelity. Nor was it contrary to their understanding that Yahweh would bestow material blessings upon them as an "attaboy" for being faithful. It is clear that the Isreaelites interpreted the Assyrian and Babylonian invasions as a sign of God's just punishment for their sins. In this sense, anyone who had some sense and read the daily Jerusalem times would see the political ramifications of empire looming on the horizon. But this awareness of the signs of the times that predicts future events is not prophecy.

Andrew Craig-Bennett
01-19-2008, 07:47 PM
Good point.

shamus
01-19-2008, 10:09 PM
From the site I linked above.

And in the very commencement we find the author giving himself out as the person who wrote the third Gospel. This claim has been almost universally acknowledged. There is a remarkable similarity of style in both. The same peculiar modes of expression continually occur in both; and throughout both there exist continual references backward and forward, which imply the same authorship. There are some difficulties in the way of this conclusion. Two of these deserve special notice. If we turn to the last chapter of the Gospel, we fund it stated there (ver. 13) that two disciples met Jesus on the day of the resurrection, as they were going to Emmaus. Towards nightfall (ver. 29) he entered the village with them; and as he reclined with them, he became known to them, and disappeared. Whereupon "at that very hour" (ver. 33) they rose up and returned to Jerusalem. They found the eleven assembled, and told them what had happened to them. "While they were saying these things, he himself stood in the midst of them" (ver. 36). The apostles gave him a piece of fish, and he ate it. "But he said to them" (ver. 44), so the narrative goes on, and it then relates his speech; and at ver. 50 it says, "He led them out to Bethany," and then disappeared from them. This disappearance was final; and if the words used in the Gospel make us hesitate in determining it to be his ascension, such hesitation is removed by the opening words of the acts. According to the Gospel, therefore, all the events now related took place, or seem to have taken place, on the day of the resurrection, or they may possibly have extended into the next morning, but certainly not later. The Acts, on the contrary, states that Jesus was seen by the disciples for forty days, and makes him deliver the speech addressed to his disciples and ascend into heaven forty days after the resurrection.

Significantly different reporting? Same author?

Keith Wilson
01-19-2008, 10:37 PM
But this awareness of the signs of the times that predicts future events is not prophecy.Of course. I can "prophesy" about who will win the presidential election, and I'll have about a decent chance of being right; they're not that many choices. Our guesses are somewhat informed. Couple this with the fact that prophecies are generally in ambigious or metaphorical language, interpreted after the event to be correct (the horoscope syndrome). Not everybody in this game is as forthright as Miller, nor as obviously wrong. Deb, I still think all prophecy is BS; I just don't think any good will come of arguing about it.

Nanoose
01-19-2008, 11:02 PM
T.Traddles - yes, the OT prophets were generally the bearers of, "Repent...or else!". Yet, we also do find them occasionally prophecying more 'long term' e.g. Daniel, Isaiah...

Nanoose
01-19-2008, 11:09 PM
shamus - interesting!

As the 2 books have the same author, and he says rather clearly in Acts that the ascension was 40 days after the resurrection, I wonder what he's indicating at the end of Luke. I see 2 possibilities, the most plausible of which (to my way of thinking) would be...

Luke gives no indication that it is the same day as he specifically does re the 2 on the road to Emmaus, on their immediate return to Jerusalem, or Jesus' appearance to them "while they were still talking about this". All those indicators seem to say 'same day'. The verse in question just starts "when he had led them out...". There is nothing specific about 'same day', or 'immediately' as he had used previously. Therefore, it could have been at a later time, and as Luke states very clearly the ascension was 40 days later, if this is refering to the ascension it cannot be the same day.

shamus
01-20-2008, 02:20 AM
Matthew says Jesus told the disciples to meet him in Galilee, and they went there to a mountain and saw him, but some doubted.

Mark gives much the same account as Luke, appearing to two on the road, then manifesting to the disciples "as they lay at table".
"And he said to them..(a few short sentences)... And after he had spoken to them was taken up into heaven." There hardly seems room for 40 days there.

In Luke, while on the road with the two he "having begun from Moses interpreted to them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself", so it would hardly seem that 40 days would be needed for v.45 where he opened their understanding to understand the scriptures. So really you're suggesting there are forty days between the end of verse 49 and the beginning of verse 50.

However I would think there would be some more conversations to report in that time, and even in Acts, the only specific reported conversation in the forty days, is the reiteration of the instruction to stay in the city.

John, I believe solves the problem. In John, they go fishing. I guess forty days might slip away there quite easily.

Tom Montgomery
01-20-2008, 09:48 AM
(specifics, please).

I am preparing to teach a course on Acts, and appreciate the opportunity to be aware of 'problems' to help enrich the class.Deb,

I am not going to go into a detailed point-by-point explanation of discrepancies between what Paul relates in his letters and the narrative in Acts. Two reasons: 1) I am moving this week and simply do not have the time; 2) It is an involved exercise in textual criticism and logic. I am not a scholar. If you are truly interested in the scholarship on this issue over the last 70 years I suggest you read some of the work by the scholars I listed in Post #214 as well as Akenson.


It is entirely possible some of [Luke's] research included a visit with Mary, and that his recounting of the birth in his writing includes her insights. Or, that she had told her children undoubtedly more than once of the events surrounding Jesus' birth. It is more plausible they are accurate than inaccurate.I disagree. Paul wrote his letters decades before the Gospels were written -- he knew James and possibly met Mary and the other siblings -- and he dismisses the concept of a virgin birth.


It [the third Gospel and Acts] states pretty clearly that it [the author] is Luke, so there's no need for the allegedly.Oh really? The text is internally anonymous. Tradition has assigned the author as Luke. But the very fact that the Gospel of Luke and Acts contradicts Paul indicates that the author was not the companion of Paul and had no access to the epistles.

But perhaps St. Paul didn't mean what he appears to be saying. Sort of like how Paul and the Gospel writers actually meant that Joseph, James, Simon, and Jude were Jesus' cousins rather than his brothers as stated.

I have to say... when I hear someone stating with absolute certainty that the Gospels were not only written by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John themselves, but that all the Gospels were written prior to 70 AD (or is it 59 AD?), my reaction is bemusement. While I think you are wrong, it certainly is a debate stopper.

It is the same reaction I have when a devout Roman Catholic -- say SamF -- says to me, "Your understanding is wrong. Jesus did not have siblings. Mary was a perpetual virgin. And she was bodily assumed into heaven." What can one say? Reason is trumped by faith (based upon tradition) every time.

T. Traddles
01-20-2008, 11:13 AM
Of course. I can "prophesy" about who will win the presidential election, and I'll have about a decent chance of being right; they're not that many choices. Our guesses are somewhat informed. Couple this with the fact that prophecies are generally in ambigious or metaphorical language, interpreted after the event to be correct (the horoscope syndrome). Not everybody in this game is as forthright as Miller, nor as obviously wrong. Deb, I still think all prophecy is BS; I just don't think any good will come of arguing about it.

Of course, you can, but reducing prophecy to prediction is not the point of Israelite prophecy. The prophet speaks God's word to the people for the purpose of spiritual illumination. The spiritually blind, while seeing, cannot see. And the spiritually deaf, hearing, cannot hear because both their sight and hearing are disordered. The prophet speaks words of encouragement, healing, woe and etc in order to awaken the people to their proper condition so that they can repent and be saved. That the Israelites only saw this post facto simply points to the fact that sometimes we are so stubborn in our spiritual death, that it takes a catastrophe to wake us up to make us realize that we had seen warning signs all along, but had failed to penetrate their significance. This, I think is demonstrates that the Jews are realistic about human nature.

Let's apply this to the rapture. Some here think that if the rapture occurs, then those left behind will be able to establish a much more peaceful world and etc., some think that since the rapture has not happened, that it prophecy is all BS and some look so forward to the rapture, that they can't wait to see the unjustified get their due. All of these answers, I think, are forms of spiritual disorder (and explains why it took nearly 1900 years for the nonsense to be finally discovered by fundamentalists). Christ himself does not offer a day or hour, but warns to be ready for the second coming will be as unexpected as a thief's arrival in the night. Readiness here meaning living in a manner worthy of Christ's spirit, i.e., in proper attunement to one's true goal as ordained to union with God.

Andrew Craig-Bennett
01-20-2008, 12:42 PM
The prophet speaks God's word to the people for the purpose of spiritual illumination. The spiritually blind, while seeing, cannot see. And the spiritually deaf, hearing, cannot hear because both their sight and hearing are disordered. The prophet speaks words of encouragement, healing, woe and etc in order to awaken the people to their proper condition so that they can repent and be saved.

Let's apply this to the rapture. Some here think that if the rapture occurs, then those left behind will be able to establish a much more peaceful world and etc., some think that since the rapture has not happened, that it prophecy is all BS and some look so forward to the rapture, that they can't wait to see the unjustified get their due. All of these answers, I think, are forms of spiritual disorder (and explains why it took nearly 1900 years for the nonsense to be finally discovered by fundamentalists). Christ himself does not offer a day or hour, but warns to be ready for the second coming will be as unexpected as a thief's arrival in the night. Readiness here meaning living in a manner worthy of Christ's spirit, i.e., in proper attunement to one's true goal as ordained to union with God.

Phew! Common sense at last! Thank you! :)

Keith Wilson
01-20-2008, 02:41 PM
. . . in proper attunement to one's true goal as ordained to union with God.I haven't the foggiest idea how to do that, depite a wretched excess of earnest and completely contradictory advice. I will, however, do my best to treat other human beings decently - which might look much the same.

Sam F
01-21-2008, 10:25 AM
Since the start of this is on a previous page and several days ago to boot, a review is in order…


Ian is absolutely right.

And he has just shown me something that I should have realised long before - a literalist, or "fundamentalist" approach to Scripture will always tend to draw its adherents away from the inner light of God's grace and towards the material world, and hence into corruption.


Sometimes - maybe. But always?
Always is a rather unyielding word, isn't it?...
Then I do not understand.
If "a literalist, or "fundamentalist" approach to Scripture will always tend to draw its adherents away from the inner light of God's grace and towards the material world, and hence into corruption".
Then, how does a fellow go from wife and child abuse to becoming a model husband (relatively speaking) by way of accepting Fundamentalist Christianity act in such a way to draw himself away from God's grace?
…Granted, he's got a more or less defective modern version of Christianity, but I can't imagine how he's always drawn into corruption.


Sam, I think we are at cross purposes.

Most likely!


You are arguing from a particular case, and a very good one, whilst I was thinking of the general trend of theological thought.

It’s not my intention to argue from any particular case. Rather, I know of many such cases and my concern is with the statement: “a literalist, or ‘fundamentalist’ approach to Scripture will always tend to draw its adherents away from the inner light of God's grace”.
A rule with enough exceptions ends up being not much of a rule - in this case they're as "rare as blades of grass in a lawn".
And I think for that reason this rule is highly suspect. If “always” were replaced with “sometimes” there’d be little to object to, but as I said, always is an unyielding word. I don’t think it’s supportable in association with Christian Fundamentalism


What struck me, reading Ian's post, was that a literalist reading of Scripture leads us into a thought process where we view the United Nations as theologically suspect, we start breeding red heifers and encouraging Zionism in order to bring about the Rapture.

This is not Christianity as you and I understand it.

That's right - it’s not. If it were, we’d both be Fundamentalists, more or less by necessity.


A Moslem taking a literalist view of the Koran falls into the same trap - he or she takes the injunctions to "jihad" literally and sets off to re-establish the Caliphate - this is not Islam as most Moslems understand it.

While this is in the spirit of “fundamentalist" approach… will always tend to...”, but I’m afraid it muddies the water a bit.
By including Islam, it would seem that the principle here is: Any literalist approach to any text always tends to be wrong.
This too seems unsupportable. Two shortcomings spring immediately to mind:

1. It blurs the real differences between religions and their supporting texts. Since the New Testament is utterly unlike the Koran, this does not seem an approach that will bear any useful fruit.

2. Why would a literalist approach always be wrong (or tend to be wrong)? In a Christian context, it is quite true that Jesus often spoke in parables - a format that simply can’t always be taken literally, yet that is not His only mode of communication. Sometimes, there is no text-driven warrant to interpret a particular quote symbolically or figuratively. On occasion, it is clear that He means what He says - literally.

You pretty much acknowledge this by saying:


Jesus gives much of his advice in the form of parables - there are also direct instructions, but his parables and his own actions are pretty important. It is very hard to have a literalist view of a parable - was there really a Prodigal Son - what was his name and where did he live?

Yes, “there are also direct instructions” and they must be taken literally. No?
Therefore, a literalist, or "fundamentalist" approach to Scripture won’t always tend to draw its adherents away from the inner light of God's grace. Right?
Changing always for sometimes may seem a small point but it's significant nonetheless.
For all the disagreements I have with Christian Fundamentalists and Fundamentalism (and they are abundant!) such people are often demonized unjustly.
Blurring the very real distinctions between Christian and other sorts of Fundamentalism only makes matters worse. Due to the nature of their sacred text, Christian Fundamentalist simply can’t do some things required by a literal reading of other faith’s texts.

Ian McColgin
01-21-2008, 11:01 AM
The literalism of many fundamentalists is not the selective literalism that reasonably distinguishes between parables, historic morality plays between human fault and God's call, and direct injunction. Rather, all too many fundamentalist literalists fancy that they can take the entire Bible literally (except who really wants to live 100% by Leviticus and do without oysters) and they are especially sure that whatever translation they happen to have memorized has God's word right.

These are the literalists who indeed are abnormally prone to falling into Mammon's clutch, though some (Plymouth Brethern) manage a certain grim purity mainly because so few of us chose such an unpleasant path.

The reason literalistic fundamentalism when at all successful always tends towards aspiritual perversion is simple: It requires a theocracy and the temporal power of the theocrat, unchecked by any structural limiting force, always corrupts as the theocrat mistakes his or her whims for God's Word.

Sam F
01-21-2008, 11:01 AM
Oh, Sam, you confuse disagreement with ignorance. I am neither a theologian nor a historian, and neither are you, but neither of us are entirely ignorant of either history or theology. Should we therefore be required to preface our every statement with "in my opinion"?

Some things are matters of opinion.
Others are not.
It's not all that hard for the speaker, with a modicum of introspection, to know the difference.
If you've been paying attention you'll have noticed that when I express an opinion, I say so.


And you, sir, have a pre-conceived religion-formed view of what happened, i.e, we have different points of view and different interpretations of history.

You haven't the slightest evidence for that Keith.
Let's contrast the two of us shall we?

1.Who has changed his pre-conceived view of religion based on a study of history?

2.Who has based his view of history based on his pre-conceived notions about religion?

Answers:
1. Sam F
2. Keith Wilson

Sorry, but given what we already know about each other, your statement will not stand the test.



Not surprising, eh?

Not at all. It's exactly what I expected.


... I suggest you look up Arius and the Arian controversy for one very obvious example...

There's no need. I already know a great deal about the Arian heresy.


... Current orthodoxy is the side that won, and they did so thorough politics and force

Arianism is a great example! Using your political analysis, Arianism won. They had everything on their side - both "politics and force". Roman society's elite, including the uppermost crust and those in charge of the army were Arian. Based on "power politics", orthodoxy didn't stand a chance. So they lost. Right?
In contradiction of your principle, orthodoxy didn't lose.
How come?


None of the theological points in that argument are susceptible of resolution by anything on this earth; they are matters about which observation tells us nothing.

So why did the powerful side lose?
Really Keith, with a working knowledge of the events, one might draw other conclusions - like the Arians were out-reasoned and orthodoxy had better evidence. So why does your political theory fail, and do so spectacularly - right at the starting gate?
Because of a basic confusion about what evidence is...


..., not because Trinitarianism corresponds to any obvservable "facts".This is a perfect example of my point about the difference between the reasoning of science and the reasoning of theology. While perhaps some points of religious doctrine can be resolved by looking at the observable facts or working out the true history, most cannot. Who has witnessed the Trinity? By what observation can we determine the truth of either homoousious or homoiousious?

... a confusion about the nature of evidence as its actually used by human beings. Practically speaking, you can never use that sort of “observable ‘facts’” evidence for any historical process or event. Instead, you've used a highly specialized sort of evidence that's favored in one sort of scientific endeavor. One’s tools must fit the task at hand. It's simply inappropriate to demand that any historical event be isolated and repeated again and again to make sure it comes out the same each time. It’s even more absurd to require that God be put on a microscopic slide and see the Trinitarian unity. Yet the doctrine of the Trinity fits perfectly with both scriptural evidence and the witness of Christian tradition.

Sam F
01-21-2008, 11:09 AM
...These are the literalists who indeed are abnormally prone to falling into Mammon's clutch, though some (Plymouth Brethern) manage a certain grim purity mainly because so few of us chose such an unpleasant path...

I didn't know the Puritans were Fundamentalists!
How did they manage to channel a 20th Century religious movement in the 16th Century?

Sam F
01-21-2008, 11:12 AM
...
The reason literalistic fundamentalism when at all successful always tends towards aspiritual perversion is simple: It requires a theocracy and the temporal power of the theocrat, unchecked by any structural limiting force, always corrupts as the theocrat mistakes his or her whims for God's Word.

That's odd! I have never met a theocratic Christian Fundamentalist.
Now I admit, I've only met American Christian Fundamentalists, but that # is in the hundreds. So far... no dice.
Maybe they're hiding out in the 16th Century.

Ian McColgin
01-21-2008, 12:28 PM
It’s a shame that so many folk get confused by the evolution of various Protestant sects. Their history is essential to understanding the American political experiment. It also sheds interesting glints on the differences and similarities between the fundamentalist theocracies that capture nation-based religions and the in many ways more totalitarian and conformity demanding but smaller congregational based fundamentalist theocracies.

The Plymouth Brethren originated on the British Isles in the nineteenth century as a radically protestant movement in the early church spirit – no clergy and all that. The Plymouth Brethren never developed a theocracy but they do have a rather all-consuming form of community that stands for absolute equality for all but not much freedom to be different.

The puritans were a far earlier effort of deRomanize the Anglican Church, to make it more biblical but still have apostolic succession. Especially in the New World, cut off from England’s storms and in contact with radical congregational polity separatist sects (like the Mayflower Pilgrims) the puritan movement somewhat bifurcated, some becoming essentially congregational and others becoming Methodists as that arose in the eighteenth century with Wesley’s evangelism.

What we know as Baptist (once Anabaptist) and Congregational churches are of congregational polity – ordination is by the congregation which is more or less structurally (in theory) theo-demo-cratic – separated by the doctrine of adult v. infant baptism. Presbeterians are about half-way from the radical protestant congregational polity to the “historical” churches that claim apostolic succession – RC, various Orthodox, Anglican variations, and Lutheran mostly national off-shoots.

The fundamentalisms which crop up in all sects of the three monotheisms most prone to evil and corrupting theocracies are those that get an excessively Calvinistic bent where deeds and concomitant worldly rewards narrow the religious experience. Forgetting the parable of the good Samaritan, these folk lose track to God’s call for mercy to all, not just the Elect. This leads inevitably to acquisition of worldly power without the restraint of democratic checks and balances.

I’ve met all too many fundamentalists of theocratic totalitarian bent, some of my own (Oklahoma branch) family. While more obvious away from the cosmopolitan coasts, they exist in the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, D.C., Jamaica Plain, etc in smaller congregations that help people exchange drug addiction for an equally expensive god addiction.

Nanoose
01-21-2008, 12:32 PM
Deb,

I am not going to go into a detailed point-by-point explanation of discrepancies between what Paul relates in his letters and the narrative in Acts.

Yes - convenient - considering there are none.



I disagree. Paul wrote his letters decades before the Gospels were written -- he knew James and possibly met Mary and the other siblings -- and he dismisses the concept of a virgin birth.

Decades? Ah, c'mon. The scholarship you are relying on is very out of date, Tom.



Oh really? The text is internally anonymous. Tradition has assigned the author as Luke. But the very fact that the Gospel of Luke and Acts contradicts Paul indicates that the author was not the companion of Paul and had no access to the epistles.

Which contradiction are you thinking of? Like Joe's liking cat boats and your not liking them is a contradiction.



I have to say... when I hear someone stating with absolute certainty that the Gospels were not only written by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John themselves, but that all the Gospels were written prior to 70 AD (or is it 59 AD?), my reaction is bemusement. While I think you are wrong, it certainly is a debate stopper.

Bemusement. Interesting. I'd call it factual.



It is the same reaction I have when a devout Roman Catholic -- say SamF -- says to me, "Your understanding is wrong. Jesus did not have siblings. Mary was a perpetual virgin. And she was bodily assumed into heaven." What can one say? Reason is trumped by faith (based upon tradition) every time.

I'd disagree. There are those who by faith believe in a 6 day creation, but science proves them wrong. Faith is not blind to evidence. Solid faith is based on evidence.

THe difficulty, Tom, is your assertion that you alone know the truth and everyone else is deceived, lives only by faith, or whatever. Just a little humility to admit there are other understandings would go a long way to encouraging dialogue. But what is there to dialogue when you alone hold the truth? What is there left to discuss? Nada.

Nanoose
01-21-2008, 12:50 PM
Ah, Norm...it is your KNOWING, like Mark's, that discourages dialogue.

Nanoose
01-21-2008, 12:54 PM
You mean, knowing that I DON'T know? I'd suggest it's the opposite: since I DON'T know, all you folks who DO know can, by all means, try to illuminate me.

I'd disagree. You are very content and committed to "I DON'T KNOW" land. It is a badge you wear with great pride....

Keith Wilson
01-21-2008, 01:03 PM
If we are to take any claims of Revealed Truth seriously, then we must take seriously thousands or tens of thousands of competing claims. I think I'll get me one of these bumperstickers: :D

http://www.northernsun.com/images/thumb/5320.jpg

Nanoose
01-21-2008, 01:04 PM
No, not at all. Some I DON`T KNOWers are also listeners....some aren`t. It`s ok. You can`t be anything other than what you are.

I still love you, Norm. :)

Nanoose
01-21-2008, 01:07 PM
If we are to take any claims of Revealed Truth seriously, then we must take seriously thousands or tens of thousands of competing claims. I think I'll get me one of these bumperstickers: :D

Nice bumper sticker!!

I don`t think it`s tens of thousands, Keith. And with some simple criteria, it is possible to wade through competing truth claims and see what is left on the table as viable. You may find it is relatively few that are left standing. To be too lazy to investigate and process seems very short sighted.

Keith Wilson
01-21-2008, 01:09 PM
Deb, from what I've written here do you really think I'm "too lazy" to have become somewhat knowledgeable about various religions?

Nanoose
01-21-2008, 01:15 PM
Deb, from what I've written here do you really think I'm "too lazy" to have become somewhat knowledgeable about various religions?

No, I don`t. However, you consistently have this fall back position. With a bit of effort, you`d discover it doesn`t hold - it`s not tens of thousands, or even thousands - many just don`t stand at the end of the day. Yet, it is easier for you to keep this position....or, should I say, safer.

It can be this easy -
1. categorize the options - say, atheism and theism - let`s break theism into its possibilities: monotheism, polytheism. So, we can start with only 3 considerations: atheism, polytheism and monotheism.

2. Perhaps that is a little limiting....in that case, let`s break it out a bit, but still a manageable number of options to consider: how about this plan - atheism, polytheism, and monotheism (including deism, pantheism, panentheism, and finite godism).

Looking at those options - many mutually exclusive - will leave you with very few left on the table for serious investigation. Quite manageable.

Keith Wilson
01-21-2008, 01:25 PM
Deb, I could probably come up with a thousand varieties of Christianity alone. The variety of things people have believed over the centuries is quite surprising. And, honestly, I rather resent the implication that I'm avoiding looking into it out of fear that I might be convinced. I have looked into it, and I have become more agnostic the harder I look. My skepticism may be right or wrong, but its not based on ignorance or fear.

Any claim of Revealed Truth without evidence is logically equivalent to any other. There is no way to rationally decide between them.

Nanoose
01-21-2008, 01:31 PM
Deb, I could probably come up with a thousand varieties of Christianity alone. ...Any claim of Revealed Truth without evidence is logically equivalent to any other. There is no way to rationally decide between them.

Yes, you could. But to my way of thinking by their commonly held `Christian` position, they will agree on the revelation aspect. I understood you to say tens of thousands of revealed religions.

The `revealed truth without evidence` does become the concern, I agree. Revealed truth with evidence does make a difference. The first requirement there, however, is agreeing what constitutes evidence....often the greatest challenge.