considering it. i'm not really one for great debates, and i haven't had the time lately (as you may have noticed by my lack of replies). i did start a pnt, which i noticed that you saw.
but if i agree, i'd like to refine the scope a litte.
the scope: the nature of evil and its ultimate origin -- and how God employs evil to bring about good.
this bit is enitrely a matter of faith. i'll believe one way, you'll believe another. there's almost no point in debating this outright, but rather we should debate what brings us to these conclusions.
i would much rather debate the biblical position on the matter. what did the authors of the bible think and believe? did they agree on the matter? is there a clear divide between one set of beliefs and another? hopefully that way we have something to actually debate rather than "i believe this!" "oh yeah, well i believe this!"
so if we'd do this debate, we should stick firmly to biblical texts, and maybe early interpretative stuff. i'd argue that if we're accepting epistles, we should accept talmuds and midrashim too.
"format" to "scope" for clarity
This message has been edited by arachnophilia, 07-04-2005 08:37 PM
i'm thinking also there is another important point that we should probably cover first:
should earlier texts be read in light of later texts (interpretations)? does the interpretation of the later texts have to be right? and by implication, does one book in the bible neccessarily have to agree with another?
should earlier texts be read in light of later texts (interpretations)?
They can be if you want to. At least I don't see a problem with it.
well, this is probably where our debate comes from. earlier traditions say god is responsible for evil, and later traditions say god is not.
I don't think they necessarilly have to be right -- especially since "rightness" is a hard thing to measure anyway -- which is kind of why we're contemplating a debate in the first place.
well, i mean, an acceptable reading of the text. for instance, if a later text said "the book of genesis records god creating beer on the 8th day" we could look at it and say rather definitively that no, it does not. we could also look at the earliest texts we have of the book, that would predate such a claim, and show that these texts do not contain that bit either. so we could pretty conclusively state that the later source is wrong.
there are a ton of acceptable readings of the texts, but there is also stuff that is contradicted by the text and a reasonable reading of it. if for instance, you say "god is not responsible for evil" and find a verse saying that god created evil, the later reading must be in error, right?
basically, if you agree that later readings do not have to be right -- in favor of earlier source texts -- then there is no real debate on the matter at all. the earlier sources and the earlier interpretative texts demonstrate an attitude of god being responsible for the creation of evil. the later readings that contradict the sources must be wrong.
I think this is generally yes -- or, at the lest, that we are attempting to explain things in the light of later revelations.
well this contradicts your earlier point. if they have to be agree, then one has to be right in terms of the other. if this is so, then we do have a debating point, and i can start by showing areas where the bible does not agree with itself, while you take on the role of apologist.
Like Roman Catholicism, Judaism generally held their oral traditions about the Torah to be on the same level of authority as their own Scriptural records -- for both parties involved, you generally do not actually have validity in one area without the recourse to the other source.
not quite. oral tradition in judaism is interpretation of the written tradition. the talmud is secondary to the torah. they consider it the difference between the word of god (the written law) and the word of man (the oral law).
I think a cut off point for later translational understandings should be marked at around the Age of Enlightenment, which seems to be the threshold for where terms such as the "orthodox" position seems to degrade into modernist thinking.
actually, i wish to draw this point backward. possible behind the compilation date of the old testament. the non-synoptic books of the new testament (epistles and such) are interpretative texts. human opinion on the law, just like the talmud.
there is a clear rift between early christian thought (of paul and the gang) and early jewish thought, just as there is a difference between early christian thought, and middle ages christian thought. why qualify a point there, but not between judaism and christianity?
if we're just going to start over, then just start over, and judaism completely out of it.
Since you've voiced a previous affinity with Muslim thinking
i have? i recall mentioning once that quran was on my reading list, but i don't expect to get to it soon. i honestly don't know enough about muslim thought one way or the other form a solid opinion.
i'm more or less for removing all later interprative patterns that don't fit with the text exactly. that includes muslim, christian, and jewish ones.
I think, whether you're agreeing or disagreeing with a particular interpretation, that a logical sequence from A to B to C should be demonstrated -- such much so that others can clearly read and evaluate your ideas within the light if the Scriptures.
there's not generally a lot of logic involved. i say, "i think god created evil" and then a cite a verse that says "god created evil." there's not really a big logical gap there.
Where I will give a word of caution, however, is with the literalnessof the Scriptural record. For example, some would assume that the Scriptures indicate "literal 24 hour days" in the earliest chapters of Genesis. Today, however, even if the Scriptural record did indeed intend to convey literal 24 hour days, we now know that this is bascially not true -- and that the Scriptures were most likely speaking allegorically in these situations based on modern science.
this is actually a very, very early interpretive reading. i have stated before that i think genesis (on a literal level) means literal 24 hour days. but this is not an assumption on my part. this is based on the conclusion that genesis is a functional book. it explains this in simple ways, on its lowest level. chapter one of genesis explains the structure of hebrew work week. 6 days of work, saturday off. so the 7 days of creation become the model for the hebrew calendar. this neccessitates literal days.
the only reason to assume otherwise is to try to fit the story to modern or later interpretation: one that says the earth is a lot older. the probablem with most literalists that they need the text to be literally correct. it has to fit with modern science, because it has to be true, and so they compromise both. i don't have this problem. i'm fine with it being 7 literal days, and just wrong.
now, figuratively, it could symbolize something else. for instance, it might be talking about seven periods of the kingdom of israel. there's lots of figurative meanings we could read into it. but literally, it says days. this is where you go wrong:
the Scriptures were most likely speaking allegorically in these situations based on modern science.
the scriptures were not doing anything based on modern science. they were securely founded in and consistent with "science" of the time and region. we are essentially reading these books out of context. we have to try to remove these later views of the world from our minds to properly understand the text.
we know now that world was not created in 7 days. in fact, they probably knew it when genesis was put together. but maybe they didn't when someone came up with the story. and even if the people who put it together knew, it's still there. they were interested in recording their traditions, not facts.
I think the most recent and accepted scientific discoveries should carry at least some weight when measuring the meaning of some of the Scriptural texts.
no, they absolutely should not! what does quantum mechanics and string theory have to do with the bible? the bible is not a science textbook. we can look into the bible for a view of what some ancient science was. for instance, about water being the primordial element, or the shape of the universe, etc. but we will find time and time again that this does not accurately portray the world as we know it today. because they didn't know the world as we know it today. they knew it as they knew it then.
if we're measuring the bible against modern science, we're reading later interpretations into it, not what the authors meant.
In other words, if the Scriptures do not clearly demonstrate that something is considered within the realm of the miraculous, then, at the very least, science should be allowed to demonstrate when a Scriptural text is most likely not speaking literally.
so you consider creation no miraculous then? because genesis 1 sure sounds like an act of god to me.