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Author Topic:   Validity of differing eyewitness accounts in religious texts
Faith
Member
Posts: 29820
From: Nevada, USA
Joined: 10-06-2001
Member Rating: 1.2


Message 241 of 305 (203712)
04-29-2005 3:00 PM
Reply to: Message 240 by arachnophilia
04-29-2005 2:49 PM


Re: back on topic, sort of.
That is exactly why I suppose Moses may very well have had divine help

quote:
but this is just a belief -- we could just as easily make the same claim about any text. anything from the epic of gilgamesh to the hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy. this would of course also include the quran and the book of mormon.

No you can't, not without disconnecting your mind. There is every reason to think it of Moses but not of anything else.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 240 by arachnophilia, posted 04-29-2005 2:49 PM arachnophilia has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 245 by arachnophilia, posted 04-29-2005 5:51 PM Faith has responded

  
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Message 242 of 305 (203716)
04-29-2005 3:27 PM
Reply to: Message 238 by Wounded King
04-29-2005 12:20 PM


Wounded King is Out
Thanks for playing. Your permissions in this forum will be restored when the thread closes.


--Percy
EvC Forum Director

This message is a reply to:
 Message 238 by Wounded King, posted 04-29-2005 12:20 PM Wounded King has not yet responded

  
Admin
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Joined: 06-14-2002


Message 243 of 305 (203717)
04-29-2005 3:29 PM
Reply to: Message 239 by arachnophilia
04-29-2005 2:37 PM


Arachnophilia is Out
Thanks for playing! Your privileges in this forum will be restored when the thread closes.


--Percy
EvC Forum Director

This message is a reply to:
 Message 239 by arachnophilia, posted 04-29-2005 2:37 PM arachnophilia has not yet responded

  
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From: EvC Forum
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Message 244 of 305 (203760)
04-29-2005 5:39 PM


Wounded King and Arachnophilia Back In
Explanation of how the exchange was on-topic was pretty convincing. Apologies for missing it the first time.


--Percy
EvC Forum Director

  
arachnophilia
Member
Posts: 9069
From: god's waiting room
Joined: 05-21-2004


Message 245 of 305 (203766)
04-29-2005 5:51 PM
Reply to: Message 241 by Faith
04-29-2005 3:00 PM


Re: back on topic, sort of.
No you can't, not without disconnecting your mind.

well, that's exactly my point about the bible. here's all this stuff that's very, very convincing that it is not the direct testimony of the people involved, but later accounts distorted by tradition, external sources, oral repitition. they're inconsistant, contradictory, stylistically different, etc.

you'd basically have to IGNORE all of this stuff -- all the actual study of the bible -- to take on faith that it was given by divine inspiration.

There is every reason to think it of Moses but not of anything else.

i don't see any reason to think it of moses. i've heard a lot of "what ifs" and "maybes" and a few suppositions and assumptions, but no actual reason to think that this is not exactly what it appears to be -- a collection of traditional stories, religious history, poetry, and prophesy by multiple human authors. filled with flaws, errors, and contradictions.

and in fact part of it's authenticity comes directly from it's failure. any hints that we have that there *IS* witness testimony in the bible is from the bits where it doesn't line up. for instance, we know the prophesies that failed were probably real, but the ones that didn't we can't tell because they text is so anachronistic. could have been changed later.

as a contrast, if the book were all one book, one could very easily say "well, someone wrote it, one person. it's a work of fiction."

[admin: thanks. i'll try to keep it on topic.]

This message has been edited by Arachnophilia, 04-29-2005 05:52 PM


אָרַח

This message is a reply to:
 Message 241 by Faith, posted 04-29-2005 3:00 PM Faith has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 246 by Faith, posted 04-29-2005 11:27 PM arachnophilia has responded

Faith
Member
Posts: 29820
From: Nevada, USA
Joined: 10-06-2001
Member Rating: 1.2


Message 246 of 305 (203857)
04-29-2005 11:27 PM
Reply to: Message 245 by arachnophilia
04-29-2005 5:51 PM


Re: back on topic, sort of.
No you can't, not without disconnecting your mind.

quote:
well, that's exactly my point about the bible. here's all this stuff that's very, very convincing that it is not the direct testimony of the people involved, but later accounts distorted by tradition, external sources, oral repitition. they're inconsistant, contradictory, stylistically different, etc.

You and others here are demanding this idea of "direct testimony." The fact that it is written down IS testimony. It has not been sworn in a court or signed and notarized but it IS testimony. It is presented as fact. what you find inconsistent and contradictory is just you. Millions don't. Believers don't. As we read it the whole is built from all these parts and it is extremely consistent. Stylistic differences are moot. It doesn't matter. There may have been different writers of different parts, but it is all Moses' story and all attributed to his overseeing authorship. You are straining at a gnat as so many these days do. Once again, you have to simply read it believing it. When you do, it hangs together.

you'd basically have to IGNORE all of this stuff -- all the actual study of the bible -- to take on faith that it was given by divine inspiration.

Then I ignore it. Blissfully. What I get from taking it as written is indescribable spiritual wealth. Sorry you keep turning this gold into lead but that's the way it goes.

There is every reason to think it of Moses but not of anything else.

quote:
i don't see any reason to think it of moses. i've heard a lot of "what ifs" and "maybes" and a few suppositions and assumptions, but no actual reason to think that this is not exactly what it appears to be -- a collection of traditional stories, religious history, poetry, and prophesy by multiple human authors. filled with flaws, errors, and contradictions.

Yup, you don't see any reason for any of it. That's your problem with seeing, it's not the problem with the text at all. But this you will never see. I am truly sorry.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 245 by arachnophilia, posted 04-29-2005 5:51 PM arachnophilia has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 249 by arachnophilia, posted 04-30-2005 3:14 AM Faith has responded

  
Faith
Member
Posts: 29820
From: Nevada, USA
Joined: 10-06-2001
Member Rating: 1.2


Message 247 of 305 (203858)
04-29-2005 11:28 PM


Time for me to leave.
Pecos George is right. I've been thinking about it. I should not continue to post here, at this site at all. It has long since reached the point of diminishing returns for any purposes of my own.

Thank you all for a very interesting experience, and for putting up with me. Sorry to be leaving any unfinished business.


Replies to this message:
 Message 248 by arachnophilia, posted 04-30-2005 2:59 AM Faith has not yet responded

  
arachnophilia
Member
Posts: 9069
From: god's waiting room
Joined: 05-21-2004


Message 248 of 305 (203886)
04-30-2005 2:59 AM
Reply to: Message 247 by Faith
04-29-2005 11:28 PM


Re: Time for me to leave.
sorry to see you go, it's been fun.

[however, i have been considering dropping out myself, at least for a while. for a while this board got just plain nasty, and it was eating up a lot of my time and causing a lot of anger on my part. and so i just wasn't into it.

but it seems to have settled down. personally, my faith actually thrives on discussion. i don't really think about it much otherwise. so i'll probably be sticking around.]


אָרַח

This message is a reply to:
 Message 247 by Faith, posted 04-29-2005 11:28 PM Faith has not yet responded

arachnophilia
Member
Posts: 9069
From: god's waiting room
Joined: 05-21-2004


Message 249 of 305 (203887)
04-30-2005 3:14 AM
Reply to: Message 246 by Faith
04-29-2005 11:27 PM


one last reply, for old time's sake.
You and others here are demanding this idea of "direct testimony." The fact that it is written down IS testimony. It has not been sworn in a court or signed and notarized but it IS testimony.

well, the name of the thread is "eyewitness" and that doesn't normally means that someone might have seen it sometime a thousand years before the account.

It is presented as fact.

some is. some is not. for instance, claiming "song of songs" to be presented as fact is kind of silly. it doesn't even apply, it's poetry. sam-kings/chronicles ARE presented as factual account. genesis is not. exodus might be.

what you find inconsistent and contradictory is just you. Millions don't. Believers don't.

well, this is not really a democracy. people have known about these inconsistancies for a thousand years. in fact, i would argue that they knew about them when the compiled it. how do you not notice that in one part god is called "yahweh" and in another part he's called "elohym" and in a third part he's just called "el." my argument is that they simply didn't care. i don't really either, except that i know it's not just one source.

As we read it the whole is built from all these parts and it is extremely consistent. Stylistic differences are moot. It doesn't matter. There may have been different writers of different parts,

exactly.

but it is all Moses' story and all attributed to his overseeing authorship.

which is not actually true.

You are straining at a gnat as so many these days do. Once again, you have to simply read it believing it. When you do, it hangs together.

as would anything, i imagine. i could just read it idly, and ignore problems, but they're so interesting. i find the book interesting. i like it. i like knowing how it works. i'd rather appreciate it for what it is than what it's not.

Then I ignore it. Blissfully. What I get from taking it as written is indescribable spiritual wealth. Sorry you keep turning this gold into lead but that's the way it goes.

lemme run with your analogy for a second to elaborate my point. i'm just looking backwards and investigating. so,

suppose we start with a brick of solid gold. impressive, sure. shiny, yes. valuable, absolutely. special? not really.

now, imagine we find out this brick was actually made from lead. by finding this out, am i turning the gold into lead? or am i acknowledging that someone else somehow managed to do the opposite. and do we have more or less awe now that we know something really special happened here?

Yup, you don't see any reason for any of it. That's your problem with seeing, it's not the problem with the text at all. But this you will never see. I am truly sorry.

i see perfectly. because i'm not starting with any assumptions. remember, we have more in common than you might like to believe. what you are, i was. i read the bible the same way you do, or did. i had some problems with genesis 1 and 2, sure, but nothing i couldn't get over, and i whole heartedly believed every word of the rest of it in nearly literal manner.

my opinion comes from years of faith, thought, and research. i'm trying to see the bible for what it is, as part of my quest to see god for who he is. but it's not like i haven't seen your side of this debate.


אָרַח

This message is a reply to:
 Message 246 by Faith, posted 04-29-2005 11:27 PM Faith has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 251 by Faith, posted 05-01-2005 5:22 PM arachnophilia has responded

Faith
Member
Posts: 29820
From: Nevada, USA
Joined: 10-06-2001
Member Rating: 1.2


Message 250 of 305 (204127)
05-01-2005 2:38 PM
Reply to: Message 232 by Percy
04-28-2005 9:26 PM


The Bible in Galactic
I realized I shouldn't leave without answering your last post at least:

I rephrased your points in my Message 134, and I list them here again, but without the elaborations:

quote:
Authentic accounts appear in historical frameworks.

Again, the Bible is, at least in its main structure, a historical account. Your word "account" as a matter of fact implies a historical report, but I believe there are many meanings of "authentic" that do not involve historicity. So, again, no, I do not accept this as a statement of any general point I was making. Again, for other religious documents you need other criteria of authenticity.

Again, the topic originated with my pointing out that the kind of evidence the Bible has is witness evidence, because it is a historical report.

The accounts should not appear in hither and yon random fashion.

Again, this is not a generalization I made. I merely pointed out that what historical passages do appear in the Koran are not part of an overall historical framework as the Bible is, and therefore they have a different purpose altogether and a different standard of judgment may apply. The point was the Koran is not a historical work, the Bible is. This is also true, I believe, of the Bible in relation to any other religious text.

Older accounts are more likely authentic than newer versions.

I specifically disagreed with this also. The Bible's being older than the Koran was the specific context, and in that context the point is that passages that are similar between the two certainly originated with the Bible and not the Koran. There are only two other religions that reproduce Biblical passages, the Koran and the Book of Mormon. Both are considerably more recent than the Bible.

Authentic accounts teach about the character of God and his relation to humanity.

And once again you have generalized where I did not. I was describing the purpose of the Biblical history.

I made no such generalizations as you list. They were specific to the context as I have just explained for the second time above.

I agreed only with point 3. Your reply emphasized a Biblical uniqueness that rendered the other points valid for it, though not for other sources.

That is correct. The point was to show Biblical uniqueness. And again, *I* don't agree with point 3 so I don't know what your agreeing with it means.

But lets imagine you're a historian of the future long after Christianity (and all other contemporary religions) have died out and are no longer remembered. A copy of the Bible has just been uncovered and translated into modern Galactic, and you've taken on the task of assessing the validity of the portions that are eyewitness accounts. What criteria will you use? Would you still use the criteria listed above? If so, wouldn't these criteria have the weaknesses I listed in Message 134?

In the absence of any memory of any religion whatever, it is very hard to guess as there would be nothing to compare it with. But here's a thought: Perhaps I would recognize it as the message from God that it is, and just as King Josiah read the Book of the Law after a long period of its having been lost to the people, I'd say that humanity has gone far from this God and needs to repent and return to Him.

If we did have some remnants of the many other religions, I think I would be very impressed at how the Bible is such a complete history of events over such a long period of time, some 1500 years, realizing there is nothing else like it. I'd be curious about the fact that it presents a Creator God who made this whole galaxy and the universe itself, as a personality who says he made human beings in his own image and relates to them in actual words and deeds, a God who makes covenants with people for their benefit, like a good king, who makes promises for following his laws and clear warnings of punishments for not obeying them, and who most amazingly has promised a way to save His disobedient subjects from their own disobedience.

In any case I think I would recognize it as something very precious, and most likely relevant to our own time as well. But that's just me.

This message has been edited by Faith, 05-01-2005 02:40 PM


This message is a reply to:
 Message 232 by Percy, posted 04-28-2005 9:26 PM Percy has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 252 by Percy, posted 05-01-2005 7:41 PM Faith has responded

  
Faith
Member
Posts: 29820
From: Nevada, USA
Joined: 10-06-2001
Member Rating: 1.2


Message 251 of 305 (204146)
05-01-2005 5:22 PM
Reply to: Message 249 by arachnophilia
04-30-2005 3:14 AM


Re: one last reply, for old time's sake.
Last word from me:

i'm not starting with any assumptions. remember, we have more in common than you might like to believe. what you are, i was. i read the bible the same way you do, or did.

Absolutely not. As I have said before, where you are now is roughly where I was for most of my life. You could not have read it before as I do now or you would have had a personal relationship with the Living God as I do, and that you could not have given up to pursue such a killing thing as you are doing now. You are trafficking in conjecture and cynicism, not the truth.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 249 by arachnophilia, posted 04-30-2005 3:14 AM arachnophilia has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 253 by Admin, posted 05-01-2005 8:14 PM Faith has not yet responded
 Message 256 by arachnophilia, posted 05-02-2005 5:14 AM Faith has responded

  
Percy
Member
Posts: 17736
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.8


Message 252 of 305 (204175)
05-01-2005 7:41 PM
Reply to: Message 250 by Faith
05-01-2005 2:38 PM


Re: The Bible in Galactic
I'll just briefly address a couple things since you're not likely to reply. The topic of the thread is establishing some objective criteria for establishing the validity of eyewitness accounts in religious texts. I don't think you've made any progress toward that goal.

Faith writes:

In the absence of any memory of any religion whatever, it is very hard to guess as there would be nothing to compare it with.

You mean the Bible by itself isn't sufficient?

If we did have some remnants of the many other religions, I think I would be very impressed at how the Bible is such a complete history of events over such a long period of time, some 1500 years, realizing there is nothing else like it. I'd be curious about the fact that it presents a Creator God who made this whole galaxy and the universe itself...etc...

But the question was, "You've taken on the task of assessing the validity of the portions that are eyewitness accounts. What criteria will you use?" You didn't agree with the items that emerged frmo my attempt to turn your brief paragraph from Message 111 into a concise set of criteria, but your criticisms were of no help. Drawing upon your detailed reply in Message 139, you keep saying things like, " It does not need to be 'confirmed' by unbelievers to be history," and "You may have to have an 'ear' for it" (for recognizing authentic history), but you've made no progress toward developing objective criteria that an actual historian might use.

Though you've claimed there was an intellectual side to your acceptance of the accuracy of the Bible as history, this isn't apparent from anything you've said. You once mentioned that you used to be an atheist. Perhaps if you can recall important portions of the intellectual journey that convinced you of the Bible's accuracy it would help.

--Percy


This message is a reply to:
 Message 250 by Faith, posted 05-01-2005 2:38 PM Faith has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 254 by Faith, posted 05-02-2005 3:16 AM Percy has responded

  
Admin
Director
Posts: 12557
From: EvC Forum
Joined: 06-14-2002


Message 253 of 305 (204182)
05-01-2005 8:14 PM
Reply to: Message 251 by Faith
05-01-2005 5:22 PM


Re: one last reply, for old time's sake.
Faith writes:

Absolutely not. As I have said before, where you are now is roughly where I was for most of my life. You could not have read it before as I do now or you would have had a personal relationship with the Living God as I do, and that you could not have given up to pursue such a killing thing as you are doing now. You are trafficking in conjecture and cynicism, not the truth.

Could you please tie these comments into the thread's topic?


--Percy
EvC Forum Director

This message is a reply to:
 Message 251 by Faith, posted 05-01-2005 5:22 PM Faith has not yet responded

  
Faith
Member
Posts: 29820
From: Nevada, USA
Joined: 10-06-2001
Member Rating: 1.2


Message 254 of 305 (204234)
05-02-2005 3:16 AM
Reply to: Message 252 by Percy
05-01-2005 7:41 PM


Re: The Bible in Galactic
Doesn't matter what I write, I'm never making any "progress" toward some goal or other as conceived by largely unspoken EvC forum standards. I think I've answered MANY things, oh many many many all over this website, in keeping with the topic and actually to near-definitiveness in many cases, but the only response I ever get is "wrong wrong wrong." Sorry but I know I'm right about a lot of it, and it's very wearying to take the endless commands to jump through hoops giving proof only to hear it wasn't good enough by some weird standard. Nothing I say will ever suffice here or even be minimally acceptable. You all raise one nitpicking irrelevant objection after another -- not you so much on the nitpicking part but the relentless objections certainly. Since that's your idea of debate, of dealing with a topic, even of simple conversation, I just have to give up.

So now I haven't met this hidden requirement of proving the intellectual basis for my faith to your satisfaction? Yes I'm sure there is more I could say, but I've said a great deal on the topic as is and there's just no point. I don't owe you that. What do you want from me anyway? It's hard to leave because I'm interested in the issues under discussion here, but I HAVE to leave because I hate the WAY it is discussed here. It might be interesting to debate some of you on MY turf. I wonder how YOU would survive.

But PecosGeorge made me aware of the spiritual down side of continuing here as well.

So, it's been interesting. Carry on without me.

PS, my offtopic response to Arachnophilia was to his offtopic remark to me in the process of leaving.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 252 by Percy, posted 05-01-2005 7:41 PM Percy has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 255 by mark24, posted 05-02-2005 4:49 AM Faith has responded
 Message 261 by Percy, posted 05-02-2005 9:52 AM Faith has responded
 Message 262 by Admin, posted 05-02-2005 10:17 AM Faith has not yet responded

  
mark24
Member (Idle past 3114 days)
Posts: 3857
From: UK
Joined: 12-01-2001


Message 255 of 305 (204240)
05-02-2005 4:49 AM
Reply to: Message 254 by Faith
05-02-2005 3:16 AM


Re: The Bible in Galactic
Faith,

Sorry but I know I'm right about a lot of it, and it's very wearying to take the endless commands to jump through hoops giving proof only to hear it wasn't good enough by some weird standard. Nothing I say will ever suffice here or even be minimally acceptable. You all raise one nitpicking irrelevant objection after another --

What!!

You mean that being asked to show that Moses is a real life character, rather than a fictional one before any of his alleged writings can be considered "testimony" is nitpicking?

How can you know Moses saw the Red Sea part, when you can't even establish his existence?

Just because the bible is presented as fact doesn't make it so, especially when your lead characters doing the witnessing are as good as fictional. As someone else pointed out, how convenient it is that the book you want to be true gets to verify itself. Do yourself a favour & stay away from used car salesmen.

Mark


There are 10 kinds of people in this world; those that understand binary, & those that don't
This message is a reply to:
 Message 254 by Faith, posted 05-02-2005 3:16 AM Faith has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 257 by Faith, posted 05-02-2005 5:17 AM mark24 has responded

  
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