Understanding through Discussion


Welcome! You are not logged in. [ Login ]
EvC Forum active members: 116 (8776 total)
Current session began: 
Page Loaded: 08-16-2017 1:28 PM
376 online now:
Chatting now:  Chat room empty
Newest Member: DOCJ
Post Volume:
Total: 816,046 Year: 20,652/21,208 Month: 1,085/2,326 Week: 421/345 Day: 78/208 Hour: 10/10

Announcements: Reporting debate problems OR discussing moderation actions/inactions


Thread  Details

Email This Thread
Newer Topic | Older Topic
  
Prev1
2
3456Next
Author Topic:   Catholics & Inerrancy
GDR
Member
Posts: 4247
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005


Message 16 of 89 (614097)
05-01-2011 7:02 PM
Reply to: Message 15 by Otto Tellick
04-30-2011 8:05 PM


Otto Tellick writes:

Do I understand this correctly to mean something like the following?

You believe that some parts of the bible are, at the very least, inconsistent with what you believe to be God's truth (i.e. the bible is not inerrant); the people who wrote these unsuitable parts presumably thought that they were inspired by God, but they were wrong about that as well. {AbE: At least, they were wrong to think that they were correctly conveying God's intent -- they may have been "inspired by God", but they were getting it wrong nonetheless.}

Thereafter, the various groups of religious scholars who took on the task of deciding what writings should constitute the "official canon" for their own and future generations -- i.e. what should be retained, what should be set aside, and what should be added, e.g. for purposes of translating scripture to a new language -- likewise may have thought they were inspired by God when they chose to keep these erroneous parts in the canon. But they actually were as mistaken in making this choice as they were in attributing it to God's inspiration. {AbE: Again, maybe they had a palpable sense of being God-inspired, but still they erred.}

No, that isnt how I see it. For the time being lets start off with the OT. The books of the OT were written over a span of several hundred years giving us a written record of the early Hebrews. I believe that the authors were inspired to record their history. However as with any historian what they wrote was coloured by the culture and their own beliefs.

CS Lewis wrote the following in the book Miracles:

quote:
Just as, on the factual side, a long preparation culminates in God becoming incarnate as Man, so, on the documentary side, the truth first appears in mythical form and then by a long process of condensing or focusing finally becomes incarnate as History. This involves the belief that Myth is ... a real though unfocused gleam of divine truth falling on human imagination. The Hebrews, like other peoples, had mythology: but as they were the chosen people so their mythology was the chosen mythology, the mythology chosen by God to be the vehicle of the earliest sacred truths, the first step in that process which ends in the New Testament where truth has become completely historical.

Lewis refers to the process which leads up to Jesus. I see the Hebrew scriptures as the history of God gradually breaking into human hearts. I view it, rightly or wrongly, as something of an evolutionary process. Just as we have been evolving physically we have been evolving spiritually. When the writers of the OT wrote down their history from their point of view, they include all of what they got right but also what they got wrong. I think that we have to take the whole meta-narrative of scripture to sort out one from the other.

For example look at Joshua who believes, or at least said that he does, that he is to kill every living being in the cities he conquers, and then take everything of value. We then can look at the 10 commandments saying though shall not kill or steal and at Jesus saying that we are to love our enemies. Did Joshua get it right - I'd say no. Is the history recorded accurately - probably.

Ottop Tellick writes:

And that's all okay because according to your interpretation of that one passage you quoted from 2nd Timothy, even the parts that are wrong are useful for "training in righteousness", etc.

I think it is obvious that, if God gave us Jesus with his message of love and forgiveness as well as the 10 commandments, then Joshua got it wrong. Is that useful for training in righteousness? I think so. We are still involved in wars today and I suggest that we have to be very careful to judge our motives and our approach to world situations. Should we be intervening in Libya? Are we there to defend defenceless people, is it about oil, is it about establishing a political power base in that part of the world or is there some other motive? I'm not saying that I have the answer but I do think that it is instructive to understand how it is we should take lessons from the scriptures. What is the kind loving thing to do?

Otto Tellick writes:

The problem here should be obvious. The only means by which we are "given Jesus Christ" -- that is, the only basis we have for knowing what he supposedly said, what he intended his words to mean, what he actually stood for -- is through these very same scriptures.

The problem of errors and inconsistencies is not just in the OT. The NT is the product of the very same fallible methods of authorship and review. It suffers from the same propensity toward a mistaken sense of being inspired by God, and is known to be internally inconsistent, with an indeterminate quantity of errors. Recall that none of it was written down during Jesus' own life time.

Obviously by the first century the quantity and the quality of writing had increased. I think that the NT should be read as being written about what it is that they had witnessed, or in most cases what had been told them by those who were witnesses. They were inspired to record what it was that had been witnessed, but not as dictated to them by God. Sure there are some inconsistencies but the essentials are consistent. Frankly, it is my view that the inconsistencies in the details give credibility to the primary message. If the whole thing was fabricated they would have made sure that the inconsistencies weren't there. I think that it is clear that the Gospels were written by people who were convinced of the truth as they recorded it. The question then in my view becomes, were they right or wrong.

Otto Tellick writes:

To be sure, the timing of NT writings is a curious thing. There might have been, to some extent, a limited degree of literacy among his immediate followers, but I wonder if a more compelling reason might be that Jesus himself was promising that the "end of times" ("the rapture", "the second coming") was going to happen within the lifetimes of the people who listened to him. So long as they accepted that promise at face value, what point would there be in writing anything down?

It was only after decades had passed, and many of those first-hand listeners had died of natural causes with Jesus' promise unfulfilled, that the writings began. Of course at that point, it was quite difficult to get a consistent story about what had happened and what had been said decades before, and there was, I'm sure, already some degree of conceptual divergence among those who started writing -- that is, their various instructions to readers were not mutually consistent.

I think that is largely correct but there were enough people around who did have a memory of what happened to ensure a large degree of accuracy. The stories of Jesus were the life blood of the early followers and would have been told again and again and would as a result have been self-correcting. I believe that we can have confidence in the historical nature of the NT.

I also think that a lot of what is taken as end times theology was really Jesus saying that if you don't abandon your military aspirations the Romans will crush you. This of course is what did happen when Jerusalem and the temple were destroyed in 70AD.

Otto Tellick writes:

As for your conclusion:
... That is, even regarding the parts that are wrong, God wants us to have an erroneous and inconsistent set of assertions attributed to his inspiration? A strange notion.

I think that all of history that is recorded has been recorded with a cultural bias. The Hebrew Scriptures were written by the ancient Hebrews from their perspective. I also believe that if the scriptures are God breathed we can receive Godly wisdom through these scriptures. However, it is my contention that when we try and read it as being ghost written by God we will miss a great deal of what might otherwise be revealed to us.

Otto Tellick writes:

Well, now we either have to get a better idea of what YOU believe, so we can all get this Christianity thing down the way it's supposed to be (are you ready to handle all the questions and disputes?), or else what you meant to say was something like "...when it is viewed in the way that any sensible person would believe that God intended", which is just another way of saying "it can mean whatever you think it should mean, within reason."

I think that it is a fair question but it is also the question I would expect from a literalist. We are used to reading books that give definitive answers. In some cases the Bible does do that, but in so many other cases there is mystery. It isn't that it can mean whatever I think it should mean, but that it reads in such a way that we won't necessarily all come to the same conclusions. Maybe I'm right in my conclusions and maybe I'm not. There is no definitive proof. Let me be clear, I don't know that what I am saying is true in the same way that I know the sky is blue. I am presenting my beliefs about how we should approach scripture and about the Christian faith in general.

I believe that there has to be mystery and uncertainty in the Christian faith. I believe that what God wants of us is humble hearts that love kindness and do justice. If God was obvious in the world then it would be next to impossible for us to love unselfishly as we would always have in the back of our mind the idea that we will be rewarded for it. (That's why I think that in some cases it is easier for an atheist to love unselfishly than it is for Christians.) It is necessary for the Bible to present something of a mystery.

Otto Tellick writes:

That's a very humanistic approach. It's what we atheists tend to rely on as a first recourse. The difference between humanistic and theistic approaches is simply that the humanists acknowledge the inherent imperfections, the incomplete knowledge, and the constant need for critical review and reassessment, in trying to establish what is "reasonable". We can definitely point to many human behaviors that are certainly wrong, and many others that are certainly right -- these certainties are based on consistent observations over many generations, and are backed by ample evidence showing how good behaviors (such as mutual respect, collaboration and altruism) tend to result in better overall survival than bad ones (such as isolationism, parasitism and violent pursuit of selfish interest).

I don't have any disagreement with that. However, I think that the process of the refinement of good behaviours is part of our evolving spirituality that comes from God working through His created beings. I think it is the job of the church to be the ones that lead that evolution and in many ways it has been when I think of people such as Wilberforce. However I would agree that the church has often been used for all the wrong reasons.

Otto Tellick writes:

The theists will try to argue that these certainties are imposed on us ("given to us") by a deity, but since their only "evidence" for this is an imperfect text that turns out to be inconsistent on these points, their argument is not sustainable.

I disagree on several levels with this. First off we have free will and so they aren't certainties. Maybe we should be living by the law of the survival of the fittest. We can't be sure one way or the other.

I also don't agree that the only evidence is an imperfect text. Everyone to one degree or another has an innate sense of right and wrong that in my view is more than just socialization. Small children easily understand the idea of fairness even if they don't always want to live by it. I think that we can recognize the pleasure we get from doing the kind thing as opposed to the pleasure that people can feel from doing the "unkind thing. There are those that actually receive pleasure from killing, and I think we can all agree that the pleasure they receive from that is totally different than the pleasure felt from saving a life.

In addition I think there is ample evidence of a creative intelligence sustaining this world but that of course is my subjective view.

I also don't see the book as being imperfect. I don't however see it, (as I've written in other threads), as being the 4th member of the Trinity. There is no good reason put forward for the Bible to be read as if itr was dictated by God. It is the very human story of God's people and His interaction with them. However I believe that everything that we need to understand about God and His desires for our lives is right in that book which makes it perfect enough for me.

The crux of the whole issue for me is the resurrection. It is either an historical event or it isn't. Primarily that is an issue of faith. Having said that though, I have read and listened to debates on both sides of the issue. In my opinion the debate against is largely based on the concept that once you're dead that's it. If however one is open to the possibility that an intelligence exists that just might intervene in this world, then I believe that the argument for the bodily resurrection of Jesus is much stronger than the argument against it.

If the bodily resurrection of Jesus is historically accurate, then I see that as being what the entire OT is leading up to, and where the NT leads us right up to the end of time as we know it. That I contend should be the starting point for understanding the scriptures.

There is nothing in this post that I can prove. Much of what I've written is in contradiction to what I would have written in the past. My views of my Christian faith are evolving and I assume will continue to evolve. Hopefully I am drawing closer to the truth but I may actually be moving further from the truth. There is no definitive way of knowing. I just know that I want to serve God as I understand Him to be, knowing that I, like everyone else, will do it imperfectly. (Actually, in my case, very imperfectly.)

Thanks for taking the time to reply.


Everybody is entitled to my opinion. :)
This message is a reply to:
 Message 15 by Otto Tellick, posted 04-30-2011 8:05 PM Otto Tellick has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 17 by Otto Tellick, posted 05-01-2011 10:48 PM GDR has responded
 Message 20 by Trae, posted 05-03-2011 6:14 AM GDR has responded

    
Otto Tellick
Member (Idle past 84 days)
Posts: 288
From: PA, USA
Joined: 02-17-2008


Message 17 of 89 (614106)
05-01-2011 10:48 PM
Reply to: Message 16 by GDR
05-01-2011 7:02 PM


Thanks for the extensive clarification, GDR -- I do appreciate it. Just a couple things by way of response:

GDR writes:

I believe that there has to be mystery and uncertainty in the Christian faith... It is necessary for the Bible to present something of a mystery.

... However I believe that everything that we need to understand about God and His desires for our lives is right in that book which makes it perfect enough for me.

At first glance (when juxtaposed this way), these two beliefs seem mutually inconsistent, and it seems impossible that you can assert belief in both assertions. Indeed, the first will be seen as false or simply incomprehensible to many Christian "true believers", while the second is nonsensical to any rationalist.

But I gather from the rest of your post that your approach to theology is a curious combination of a rational assessment of real world evidence together with a (somewhat tentative? malleable?) faith in a particular story (as yet not fully understood?) of the supernatural.

You acknowledge that there has been cultural evolution of moral standards in human society over time (as does every rationalist), but you attribute it to God's intervention through Jesus and scripture, rather than to simple natural processes, including other cultural developments introduced into human society, such as improvements in transportation, shelter, communication, hygiene, etc.

I'll just point out that Christianity (and Christian society) is far from being the sole source of such progressive and enabling innovations. Other (non-Christian) cultures have contributed significantly to them, and as you also acknowledged, Christian authoritarianism has often been antagonistic toward them. So at best there's very limited motivation for attributing this progress to the will of God, and lots of reasons for doubting such an idea.

On the other hand, I think it does make a lot of sense to say that Jesus Christ can be regarded as one of the very early and very strong turning points in cultural development that served to carry culture forward along that evolutionary path toward what Peter Singer refers to as "The Expanding Circle" and Robert Wright describes in "Non-Zero". If you haven't seen Steven Pinker's TED lecture on "A brief history of violence", you should look it up on youtube -- he gives a nice synopsis of these two books, and how they capture the evolutionary trend of culture: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ramBFRt1Uzk

As I see it, Christ's teachings of empathy and forgiveness suffered serious detriment and impediment as a result of the mysterious (and frankly misleading) conflation with messianic prophecies and dependence on biblical authority. Even the resurrection is a superfluous detail that only serves to overshadow and obscure the really important parts of his message.

Of course, the most severe damage was done by the political usurpation of religious power in the subsequent centuries, dragging Christianity into the most abysmal violations of Christ's original instructions.


autotelic adj. (of an entity or event) having within itself the purpose of its existence or happening.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 16 by GDR, posted 05-01-2011 7:02 PM GDR has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 18 by GDR, posted 05-02-2011 2:31 AM Otto Tellick has not yet responded
 Message 19 by GDR, posted 05-02-2011 10:13 AM Otto Tellick has not yet responded

  
GDR
Member
Posts: 4247
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005


Message 18 of 89 (614116)
05-02-2011 2:31 AM
Reply to: Message 17 by Otto Tellick
05-01-2011 10:48 PM


Otto Tellick writes:

But I gather from the rest of your post that your approach to theology is a curious combination of a rational assessment of real world evidence together with a (somewhat tentative? malleable?) faith in a particular story (as yet not fully understood?) of the supernatural.

I would agree that it's malleable but not that it's tentative. I am actually convinced of the truth of the Christian faith. It is the details of that faith that I continue to develop. None of us have a lock on all truth and I'm prepared to admit that I can't prove my beliefs, but neither can anyone else whether they be Christian, Muslim or atheist.

And I agree that I don't fully understand the story but again, neither does anyone else. I believe that at the end of time this world will be re-created with God's dimension of heaven combining with our earthly dimension. I have no idea how or when that will happen and very little idea of what it will look like. Other than I would like my curiosity satisfied, it doesn't matter that I don't have answers to those questions. My view is that I, like everyone else, am called by God to be good stewards of this created world and to reflect God's love into it, no matter how imperfectly I do it. Thatll have to do for now.

Otto Tellick writes:

You acknowledge that there has been cultural evolution of moral standards in human society over time (as does every rationalist), but you attribute it to God's intervention through Jesus and scripture, rather than to simple natural processes, including other cultural developments introduced into human society, such as improvements in transportation, shelter, communication, hygiene, etc.

I'll just point out that Christianity (and Christian society) is far from being the sole source of such progressive and enabling innovations. Other (non-Christian) cultures have contributed significantly to them, and as you also acknowledged, Christian authoritarianism has often been antagonistic toward them. So at best there's very limited motivation for attributing this progress to the will of God, and lots of reasons for doubting such an idea.

I didn't mean to suggest that all cultural advances were achieved through Christianity. I think that God reaches out and can work through anyone regardless of faith. I do believe though that in the end God is the source of all love regardless of what we believe about him. I also contend that God has used Christians such as Wilberforce to inspire others, Christians and non-Christians alike, to becoming more Christ like regardless of what they have given intellectual assent to.

Otto Tellick writes:

As I see it, Christ's teachings of empathy and forgiveness suffered serious detriment and impediment as a result of the mysterious (and frankly misleading) conflation with messianic prophecies and dependence on biblical authority. Even the resurrection is a superfluous detail that only serves to overshadow and obscure the really important parts of his message.

As regards the first part of your statement I would just say that anything that is good can be misused. As to the second part I see the resurrection as essential. All of Christianity hangs on that issue. If it wasn't for the resurrection there is no justification for the Christian church to exist and I have yet to read anything that provides a reasonable explanation of how or why the faith developed the way it did without the resurrection. (That doesnt mean that it hasnt been attempted.)

If the resurrection isn't true then Jesus becomes nothing more than a delusional prophet. It would make more sense to follow the teachings of Gandhi. For that matter if the resurrection isn't true, then approached unemotionally, we could consider the leadership of any of the despots that are to be found in the world as well.

Otto Tellick writes:

Of course, the most severe damage was done by the political usurpation of religious power in the subsequent centuries, dragging Christianity into the most abysmal violations of Christ's original instructions.

It has always been a disaster whenever the church has been allowed to be a route to political power. (For both church and state.) This is not to say that individuals of faith should not aspire to be political leaders.

I hope this clears up your queries Otto. Thanks again. I enjoy the discussion.

Edited by GDR, : Prophet not profit - duh


Everybody is entitled to my opinion. :)
This message is a reply to:
 Message 17 by Otto Tellick, posted 05-01-2011 10:48 PM Otto Tellick has not yet responded

    
GDR
Member
Posts: 4247
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005


Message 19 of 89 (614135)
05-02-2011 10:13 AM
Reply to: Message 17 by Otto Tellick
05-01-2011 10:48 PM


Otto Tellick writes:

But I gather from the rest of your post that your approach to theology is a curious combination of a rational assessment of real world evidence together with a (somewhat tentative? malleable?) faith in a particular story (as yet not fully understood?) of the supernatural.

I was thinking about this and thought I'd add something else. My views are much more mainstream than I may have led you to believe.

My views have been formed primarily by reading the views of several theologians, scientists and other Christian scholars.

My first major influence was C S Lewis. More recently my primary influence has been the writing and lectures of N T Wright. I recently attended a series of his lectures over in Vancouver.

I enjoy reading about science and view it as a natural theology. I have found the writing of Alister McGrath helpful. In the field of biology and understanding the relationship of evolution/biology and faith Francis Collins has been very illuminating. I also attended a series of lectures locally by John Polkinghorne and read his books and Web Site.

Except for Collins all of these writers are from the UK. I'd say that the details of my faith are more consistent with what is roughly mainstream in the UK, but not in the US. Actually, with people like Rob Bell and others in the US that may be changing.

My point is that what I believe isn't something that I have came up with in a vacumn.

Edited by GDR, : No reason given.

Edited by GDR, : No reason given.


Everybody is entitled to my opinion. :)
This message is a reply to:
 Message 17 by Otto Tellick, posted 05-01-2011 10:48 PM Otto Tellick has not yet responded

    
Trae
Member (Idle past 1800 days)
Posts: 442
From: Fremont, CA, USA
Joined: 06-18-2004


Message 20 of 89 (614253)
05-03-2011 6:14 AM
Reply to: Message 16 by GDR
05-01-2011 7:02 PM


GDR writes:

For example look at Joshua who believes, or at least said that he does, that he is to kill every living being in the cities he conquers, and then take everything of value. We then can look at the 10 commandments saying though shall not kill or steal and at Jesus saying that we are to love our enemies. Did Joshua get it right - I'd say no. Is the history recorded accurately - probably.


I dont see how this resolves the issue. If one is going to invoke poor signal strength in the message, then either Jesus also had the same issue or should have clarified that previous writers got things wrong. If the writers can get a flawed message then the idea of blindly following their writings is horrific.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 16 by GDR, posted 05-01-2011 7:02 PM GDR has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 21 by GDR, posted 05-03-2011 4:03 PM Trae has responded

  
GDR
Member
Posts: 4247
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005


Message 21 of 89 (614332)
05-03-2011 4:03 PM
Reply to: Message 20 by Trae
05-03-2011 6:14 AM


Trae writes:

I dont see how this resolves the issue. If one is going to invoke poor signal strength in the message, then either Jesus also had the same issue or should have clarified that previous writers got things wrong. If the writers can get a flawed message then the idea of blindly following their writings is horrific.

But Jesus did clarify what was of God and what wasn't. It told us that all of the law and the prophets can be condensed down to love - love of God and love of neighbour. If the OT laws didn't fit within those parameters then they were not to be followed, and I would suggest weren't of God in the first place.

I would be interested to know why it is that anyone believes that we should take all of the scriptures literally. Sure Jesus knew the Hebrew Scriptures and probably could recite all of it by memory. I see no indication that we should take those scriptures literally. When he referred to the scriptures it was about love and relationship. When he encountered an adultress he didn't call for her to be stoned, he simply told her to go and sin no more.

My only thought is that there are many who died in their efforts to make the Bible accessible to all, and secondly, that humans in general like absolutes. It seems to me that these are the primary causes of what I believe to be this misinterpretation of Holy Scriptures.

Edited by GDR, : sp


Everybody is entitled to my opinion. :)
This message is a reply to:
 Message 20 by Trae, posted 05-03-2011 6:14 AM Trae has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 22 by Trae, posted 05-08-2011 6:43 AM GDR has responded
 Message 23 by ScientificBob, posted 05-08-2011 6:57 AM GDR has responded

    
Trae
Member (Idle past 1800 days)
Posts: 442
From: Fremont, CA, USA
Joined: 06-18-2004


Message 22 of 89 (614870)
05-08-2011 6:43 AM
Reply to: Message 21 by GDR
05-03-2011 4:03 PM


I cannot begin to wrap my head around what thought process it takes for someone to believe that a God can be made flesh, speak to his followers and not have an obligation to point out where writings are in error, misleading, or deceptive. Certainly an omniscient being would have to know how those writings would be misused over the centuries, to not speak up on the matter if they are in actuality in error, misleading, or deceptive would make such a being culpable and a party to later atrocities.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 21 by GDR, posted 05-03-2011 4:03 PM GDR has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 24 by GDR, posted 05-08-2011 5:24 PM Trae has responded

  
ScientificBob
Member (Idle past 1757 days)
Posts: 48
From: Antwerp, Belgium
Joined: 03-29-2011


Message 23 of 89 (614871)
05-08-2011 6:57 AM
Reply to: Message 21 by GDR
05-03-2011 4:03 PM


GDR writes:

If the OT laws didn't fit within those parameters then they were not to be followed, and I would suggest weren't of God in the first place.

Then why were they in the scriptures? And more importantly: why are they STILL in the scriptures? Even after god himself (apparantly) came to earth to correct it?

GDR writes:

I would be interested to know why it is that anyone believes that we should take all of the scriptures literally

Because you can't have your pie and eat it to. How are you gonna decide which parts you are gonna take literally and which not? If you give the same excuse as above (ie: if it's not "loving", it ain't good), then I can only conclude that you pick and choose and only believe what you WANT to believe and what makes your deity of choice look good.

Because truth be told, Jezus also literally said that not one yota of the old laws (which IS the old testament) would be changed.

Truth is that you do not have a rational methodology to differentiate between what is alledgelly "true" scripture and what isn't. All you have is emotional argumentation.

GDR writes:

When he referred to the scriptures it was about love and relationship

It was also about how the old testament still applies.

Like Trae hinted in the message above this one, all it would have taken was for Jezus to sit down with his apostles and go through the scriptures - scratching out everything that wasn't ok.

Edited by ScientificBob, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 21 by GDR, posted 05-03-2011 4:03 PM GDR has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 25 by GDR, posted 05-08-2011 5:39 PM ScientificBob has responded

    
GDR
Member
Posts: 4247
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005


Message 24 of 89 (614899)
05-08-2011 5:24 PM
Reply to: Message 22 by Trae
05-08-2011 6:43 AM


Trae writes:

I cannot begin to wrap my head around what thought process it takes for someone to believe that a God can be made flesh, speak to his followers and not have an obligation to point out where writings are in error, misleading, or deceptive.

Well, see if you can wrap your head around this.

I think that we mistakenly use our 21st century mindset in trying to understand the world of 2000 years and more ago. Your post brings up a number of issues. Firstly you talk about an omniscient god made flesh. There was a thread a couple of months ago dealing with this.

In the first place I'm inclined to think that the term omniscient is somewhat meaningless. We are humans with human limitations, so when we talk about an almighty god we are dealing with an entity that is so far beyond human understanding that whatever limitations that a god who created the universe would have would be meaningless to us.

When we read through the OT it is pretty obvious that God relates to us in time. An example in the OT IS God negotiating with Abraham over the future of Sodom and Gomorrah. In the NT Jesus prays in Gethsemane that that this cup might be taken from him. He knew what he was called to do but prayed that he wouldn't have go through with it, or in other words he, like Abraham, was asking for the Father to change His mind. One of the gifts we have is free will. Free will by its very nature means that the future is open, and if the future is open then our future is open to God as well. It is the way the world that he made functions, by His choice. Interestingly enough this seems to me to be, (at least as I understand it), consistent with the world of QM.

If the Bible is read as a book that was dictated or ghost written by God then you have a point. However, if the Bible is a book written and redacted by a great many people that chronicles the history of the people to whom God chose to bring His message of truth, justice, love, forgiveness s etc , then we view it in a very different way. My contention is that the Bible is the way God wants us to have it. It's an ancient book that tells the story of when they got things right but also when they got it wrong. (It seems that more often than not it was the latter.)

We are used to having things spelled out clearly to us. God doesn't relate to us like that. God wants us to have hearts that unselfishly choose to follow His message of kindness and justice. If He had given us a book that clearly spelled out the rules and said that if you follow these rules I'll give you eternal life it would be self defeating. If we only choose kindness and justice because of what's in it for ourselves then it is meaningless. It would again be all about us.

I contend that the Bible is a meta-narrative from creation to new creation, and within that meta-narrative are the stories of people to whom God has given His revelation. We are still part of that story and I think that with the Holy Spirit we continue to gain further insights with which to bring God's messageof love that is to, and for, the world.

My understanding of the incarnation goes like this. The Jews believed initially that God met with them at the "Ark of the Covenant. Later when the Temple was built and the Ark placed in the "Holy of Holies, the Temple became the place where people would go to be with their God and obtain forgiveness.

When Jesus came saying things like "I am the way, and doing things like forgiving sins He was in effect saying that God was now incarnate within himself. It does not mean though that Jesus was God in some sort of docetic sense, wandering around remembering life back in some previous existence. I personally tend to look at it somewhat metaphorically as if Jesus had a special indwelling of the Holy Spirit. It is important to remember that Jesus constantly prayed to the Father, yet He and the Father were one in that there was a relationship there that goes beyond our understanding. God was not only wholly God, He was wholly man as well.

This is from Hebrews 9:

quote:
1 Now even the first covenant had regulations of divine worship and the earthly sanctuary. 2 For there was a tabernacle prepared, the outer one, in which were the lampstand and the table and the sacred bread ; this is called the holy place. 3 Behind the second veil there was a tabernacle which is called the Holy of Holies, 4 having a golden altar of incense and the ark of the covenant covered on all sides with gold, in which was a golden jar holding the manna, and Aaron's rod which budded, and the tables of the covenant ; 5 and above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat ; but of these things we cannot now speak in detail. 6 Now when these things have been so prepared, the priests are continually entering the outer tabernacle performing the divine worship, 7 but into the second, only the high priest enters once a year, not without taking blood, which he offers for himself and for the sins of the people committed in ignorance. 8 The Holy Spirit is signifying this, that the way into the holy place has not yet been disclosed while the outer tabernacle is still standing, 9 which is a symbol for the present time. Accordingly both gifts and sacrifices are offered which cannot make the worshiper perfect in conscience, 10 since they relate only to food and drink and various washings, regulations for the body imposed until a time of reformation. 11 But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation ; 12 and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.

Jesus had become the temple where God could be met, and where forgiveness could be obtained without further sacrifice.

Interestingly enough, He told us to go and do likewise, telling us that we are empowered to forgive those who sin against us and that we would be forgiven as we forgive.

Trae writes:

Certainly an omniscient being would have to know how those writings would be misused over the centuries, to not speak up on the matter if they are in actuality in error, misleading, or deceptive would make such a being culpable and a party to later atrocities.

If the Bible is read in the way that I'm suggesting that it should, and assuming I am correct, then we don't have to worry about misusing it. It is only when we try to turn the Bible into something else, such as an object of worship that we start to run into trouble. As a Christian it is God as revealed through Jesus and His Holy Spirit that I worship. The Bible tells that story with all of its triumphs and failures.

As I have said before Jesus said that by loving God and loving our neighbour all of the laws and prophets are fulfilled. It's pretty simple really and can also be summed up by Micah 6:8 when the question is asked what does God want of us. The answer is that we humbly love kindness and do justice.

Edited by GDR, : No reason given.


Everybody is entitled to my opinion. :)
This message is a reply to:
 Message 22 by Trae, posted 05-08-2011 6:43 AM Trae has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 44 by Trae, posted 05-11-2011 7:28 AM GDR has responded

    
GDR
Member
Posts: 4247
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005


Message 25 of 89 (614901)
05-08-2011 5:39 PM
Reply to: Message 23 by ScientificBob
05-08-2011 6:57 AM


ScientificBob writes:

Then why were they in the scriptures? And more importantly: why are they STILL in the scriptures? Even after god himself (apparantly) came to earth to correct it?

He came to earth to fullfill the scriptures which is not the same thing as correcting them. See the post right above this answering Trae's question.

SB writes:

Because you can't have your pie and eat it to. How are you gonna decide which parts you are gonna take literally and which not? If you give the same excuse as above (ie: if it's not "loving", it ain't good), then I can only conclude that you pick and choose and only believe what you WANT to believe and what makes your deity of choice look good.

Because truth be told, Jezus also literally said that not one yota of the old laws (which IS the old testament) would be changed.

Truth is that you do not have a rational methodology to differentiate between what is alledgelly "true" scripture and what isn't. All you have is emotional argumentation.

As I have said before that only is a problem if you understand the Bible as a book supernaturally dictated by God as opposed to being a book written by fallible human beings telling a story of their culture's expereinces of God.

The Bible is in general not a rule book, although that is one small part of it. When you quote Jesus as saying that not one iota of the law would be changed He also said that, (and I know I'm repeating myself), that all of the laws were fullfilled by loving God and neighbour.

SB writes:

Truth is that you do not have a rational methodology to differentiate between what is alledgelly "true" scripture and what isn't. All you have is emotional argumentation.

The thing is you are treating the law as we think of them in human terms, sort of like a highway speed limit. Jesus is talking about a law written on our hearts. God desires that our hearts naturally turn to unselfish life and reject selfish love. Human laws and God laws are two different animals - appples and oranges. (There is a good mixed metaphor for you. )

Edited by GDR, : No reason given.

Edited by GDR, : No reason given.


Everybody is entitled to my opinion. :)
This message is a reply to:
 Message 23 by ScientificBob, posted 05-08-2011 6:57 AM ScientificBob has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 26 by ProtoTypical, posted 05-09-2011 12:28 AM GDR has responded
 Message 28 by ScientificBob, posted 05-09-2011 4:08 AM GDR has responded

    
ProtoTypical
Member
Posts: 1744
From: Ontario Canada
Joined: 08-04-2010


Message 26 of 89 (614924)
05-09-2011 12:28 AM
Reply to: Message 25 by GDR
05-08-2011 5:39 PM


GDR writes:

Jesus is talking about a law written on our hearts.

I was reading about conscience the other day and came across this statement made by Pope Paul VI in Gaudium et Spes

For man has in his heart a law written by God; to obey it is the very dignity of man; according to it he will be judged.[9] Conscience is the most secret core and sanctuary of a man. There he is alone with God, Whose voice echoes in his depths.

While it makes some sense to me that this is where a GOD would chose to write his laws, where would I find support for this idea in the bible? If this is indeed the case then what purpose does the bible serve? Why confuse everything with words when you can just stamp it on the dna?

GDR writes:

As I have said before that only is a problem if you understand the Bible as a book supernaturally dictated by God as opposed to being a book written by fallible human beings telling a story of their cultures expereinces of God.

I agree with this but doesn't it completely desanctify the bible?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 25 by GDR, posted 05-08-2011 5:39 PM GDR has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 27 by GDR, posted 05-09-2011 2:50 AM ProtoTypical has not yet responded

  
GDR
Member
Posts: 4247
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005


Message 27 of 89 (614925)
05-09-2011 2:50 AM
Reply to: Message 26 by ProtoTypical
05-09-2011 12:28 AM


Dogmafood writes:

While it makes some sense to me that this is where a GOD would chose to write his laws, where would I find support for this idea in the bible?

In the OT the prophet Jeremiah writes in Chap 31:

quote:
33 "But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days," declares the LORD, "I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.

The writer of Hebrews in Chap 10 referred back to the passage in Jeremiah.

quote:
14 For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified. 15 And the Holy Spirit also testifies to us; for after saying, 16 "THIS IS THE COVENANT THAT I WILL MAKE WITH AFTER THOSE DAYS, SAYS THE LORD : I WILL PUT MY LAWS UPON THEIR HEART, AND ON THEIR MIND I WILL WRITE THEM," He then says, 17 "AND THEIR SINS AND THEIR LAWLESS DEEDS I WILL REMEMBER NO MORE." 18 Now where there is forgiveness of these things, there is no longer any offering for sin.

All through the teachings of Jesus he refers to the heart with one primary example being when He says that we are to love God with all our HEART and that we are to love our neighbours as ourselves. In tells us that we are to love and that we love with our heart and on that hangs all the law and the prophets.

Dogmafood writes:

If this is indeed the case then what purpose does the bible serve? Why confuse everything with words when you can just stamp it on the dna?

The Bible is a story that tells us that it all matters. If we are just a random collection of atoms that comes to an end when this world does, then at that point everything is for nothing. However, if God has created this world and intends to recreate it with a new heaven and new earth at the end of time then what we do matters. It matters how we love our neighbour, it matters how we raise our children, it matters how we treat other living things and it matters how we care for the planet itself. As Rob Bell titles his book - Love Wins, and I would add that until the day when love has won completely that love matters beyond anything else. That is why Jesus tells us, as recorded in the Bible, to pray, "Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on Earth as in Heaven".

We have, stamped on our DNA if you like to use that as a metaphor, the knowledge of what is good and what is evil and have been given the freedom that only a loving God can give to choose between the two.

Dogmafood writes:

I agree with this but doesn't it completely desanctify the bible?

Not at all. I contend that when we treat the Bible as a science text, as a book of laws or as a book as to how to get God on your side, we are failing to make the proper use of it.I believe that the Bible is a holy book, but it is not a 4th member of the Trinity. It is a gift given to us by God, not to be worshipped, but to be used as a guide. Everything that I believe about the God who has created the universe, the same God who has given us the gift of love because He loved us first, I have learned through His being revealed to me, directly and indirectly, through this book.


Everybody is entitled to my opinion. :)
This message is a reply to:
 Message 26 by ProtoTypical, posted 05-09-2011 12:28 AM ProtoTypical has not yet responded

    
ScientificBob
Member (Idle past 1757 days)
Posts: 48
From: Antwerp, Belgium
Joined: 03-29-2011


(1)
Message 28 of 89 (614926)
05-09-2011 4:08 AM
Reply to: Message 25 by GDR
05-08-2011 5:39 PM


GDR writes:

He came to earth to fullfill the scriptures which is not the same thing as correcting them

It's also not the same thing as rendering them invalid...

GDR writes:


As I have said before that only is a problem if you understand the Bible as a book supernaturally dictated by God as opposed to being a book written by fallible human beings telling a story of their culture's expereinces of God.

This would mean that we can not trust the bible to be representative of god. And that statement would also apply to the new testament.
So if that is the case, everything you have to say about jezus or anything related to christianity, is by definition worthless.

Again: you can't have your pie and eat it to.
Either the bible is not supernatural in origin and made by fallible humans or it isn't.

If you are gonna use the "it's made by fallible humans" argument to completely ignore the brutality of the old testament, then the same goes for the new testament. And so we are back to the point I raised: you seem to only believe what you WANT to believe. Your methodology to choose which parts you are gonna trust and which not consists entirely and exclusively of whatever "feels good" to you.

If you disagree with this... You are gonna have to demonstrate to me why the new testament is relevant and the old isn't.
Clearly, the argument of "it's made by fallible humans" to ignore the old testament doesn't work, as that would also reflect on the new testament in exactly the same way.

I find it rather strange that you are trying to argue that the bible is not thrustworthy while it is the only source that talks about your deity of choice.

GDR writes:

He also said that, (and I know I'm repeating myself), that all of the laws were fullfilled by loving God and neighbour.

To me, that seems to be contradictory statements.
Anyhow... what does it even mean that "all the laws are fullfilled"?
How do you "fullfill" laws that propose death as a punishment for gay sex? And how does that "fullfillment" do away with said law? Does it mean that from then on it is ok to have gay sex? Does it mean that from then on gay sex is non-existant? What does it mean?

GDR writes:

The thing is you are treating the law as we think of them in human terms

What other terms are there for humans to think in?
And, as you clearly stated, you believe that the bible is not supernatural in origin and thus written by fallible humans. Are you now proposing that we should think in "non-human" terms about things written and interpreted by humans? And what would that "non-human" term be? Supernatural terms? What would that be like? And how did that rational come about?

GDR writes:

Jesus is talking about a law written on our hearts

Poetically, I can appreciate such statements. Kind of like the in-born sense of basic morality as a natural result of empathy. But that is not what you mean, isn't it? I think you mean it quite literally, don't you?
So how do we verify such things?

GDR writes:


Human laws and God laws are two different animals

Yet, they seem to have the exact same origins: human brains.
As you clearly noted, the bible is not supernatural and a work of humans. That means that everything in it necessarily comes FROM humans. No?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 25 by GDR, posted 05-08-2011 5:39 PM GDR has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 29 by GDR, posted 05-09-2011 10:33 AM ScientificBob has responded

    
GDR
Member
Posts: 4247
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005


Message 29 of 89 (614941)
05-09-2011 10:33 AM
Reply to: Message 28 by ScientificBob
05-09-2011 4:08 AM


Rather than go through your post responding to each point I'll try to give an overview of how I have come to my conclusions.

Central to the whole Christian faith is the bodily resurrection of Jesus.

Paul writes this in 1st Corinthian 15.

quote:
12 Now if Christ is preached, that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead ? 13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised ; 14 and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain. 15 Moreover we are even found to be false witnesses of God, because we testified against God that He raised Christ, whom He did not raise, if in fact the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised ; 17 and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless ; you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied.

In other words if the bodily resurrection of Jesus is not an historical event then all of Christianity is a waste of time. If the resurrection isn`t historical then Jesus was delusional and although the message he preached may ring true for us there is no real reason to give it any credibility.

I have read a fair amount on the subject and have become convinced that it happened in the manner that we read about in the Gospels, Acts and Paul. I read a variety of authors but what I found most informative were the debates between N T Wright and members of the Jesus Seminar Dom Crossan and Marcus Borg. Essentially the members of the Jesus Semiar treat the resurrection as a kind of "visionary experience", whereas N T Wright as an historian and theologian argues that the only thing that makes sense of the rise of the Christian church is the fact that the resurrection is an actual historical event. I read books on the debate between Crossan and Wright and Borg and Wright. I found Wright's argument more convincing and that the JS position was in the final analysis based on the idea that the resurrection couldn't possibly have happened so they cast about for other explanations such as cognitive dissonance.

My belief then in how I read and understand the Bible is then based on that starting point. If the resurrection is true historically then Jesus isn't a crank and we should pay a great deal of attention to what He had to say, and what those who followed him had to say.

As Jesus was vindicated and shown to be the authentic messiah by His resurrection then I believe that it is through the lens of His ministry that we should understand all of the scriptures.

When he says that he has come to fulfill the laws and the prophets, and tells us that they can all be summed up simply by loving God and loving our neighbour then it isn't that difficult to read that back into the Hebrew scriptures and discern what was of God and what wasn't. Also of course Jesus' message is fleshed out considerably in the rest of the NT but that is a good place to start.

In the end though we can choose to believe what we want. It is a faith. I find that my faith makes sense of the world and my life. Yes, I have to pick and choose what I believe is historical, metaphorical, literal and even pagan in the Bible. I believe that is what God wants us to do with Bible, and He wants us to do that because as humans He is calling us to our vocation which is to serve His creation with his love, truth, justice, forgiveness and mercy.

I think that covers the first part of your post but not your last 2 points.

SB writes:

Poetically, I can appreciate such statements. Kind of like the in-born sense of basic morality as a natural result of empathy. But that is not what you mean, isn't it? I think you mean it quite literally, don't you?
So how do we verify such things?

I see it this way. There is an in-born sense of morality in everyone. But I also see believe that when we turn to God,( as seen through Jesus), in trust for the way of life that He espoused that we somehow, in ways that are beyond my comprehension, connect with God's dimension through the Holy Spirit to strengthen us in our resolve, I think that the only verification that we can have is in what we experience ourself.

GDR writes:

Human laws and God laws are two different animals

SB writes:

Yet, they seem to have the exact same origins: human brains.
As you clearly noted, the bible is not supernatural and a work of humans. That means that everything in it necessarily comes FROM humans. No?

Human laws say that I shall not speed. God's law is that I shall love. They are different. The law against speeding comes from the brain, but the law that we are to love is written by God on our hearts. IMHO.


Everybody is entitled to my opinion. :)
This message is a reply to:
 Message 28 by ScientificBob, posted 05-09-2011 4:08 AM ScientificBob has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 30 by Tram law, posted 05-09-2011 3:16 PM GDR has responded
 Message 34 by ScientificBob, posted 05-10-2011 7:29 AM GDR has responded

    
Tram law
Member (Idle past 2198 days)
Posts: 283
From: Weed, California, USA
Joined: 08-15-2010


Message 30 of 89 (614998)
05-09-2011 3:16 PM
Reply to: Message 29 by GDR
05-09-2011 10:33 AM


So why would it be a waste of time if there's no historical event?

3... 2...


This message is a reply to:
 Message 29 by GDR, posted 05-09-2011 10:33 AM GDR has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 31 by GDR, posted 05-09-2011 3:22 PM Tram law has responded

  
Prev1
2
3456Next
Newer Topic | Older Topic
Jump to:


Copyright 2001-2015 by EvC Forum, All Rights Reserved

™ Version 4.0 Beta
Innovative software from Qwixotic © 2017