We know that men wrote the words, whether or not they were inspired by God is a little short on data.
Yes we have discussed this many times here at EvC and have differing beliefs,opinions, facts, and worldviews to back it up. Personally I go with what the book(one of the books within the Book) says:
quote:2 Peter 1:21- For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
Truthfully, Ive seen anecdotal evidence that scriptures address the concerns of the human heart and actually have a transforming effect. Critics would say this is a biased view. The problem is, many of the critics are biased towards belief in human wisdom and would argue that the books of the Bible themselves were not inspired by a source other than human wisdom(and fallibility and motive).
Personally, I disagree, but am not opposed to human wisdom and education...I am just aware that the belief that I have been taught is sound. Critics may say that the sound precepts that I claim could be taught apart from the Bible, and I wont argue with them.
I will state that the only purpose of the Bible ultimately is to introduce humanity to Jesus Christ and that He lives today.
The reason there is no difference is because there is no God to make a difference.
Here you go off on a conclusion, again. Sometimes its the things that one "doesnt" see that make a difference. What ever am I going to do with you, Stile?
If there was a God answering prayers... even if He doesn't answer all prayers, but just some... there would be some slight advantage to praying. But we don't see this.
No...you don't see this. There is no "we" in this argument, concerning a set that includes both you and I.
The Bible is obviously words of men. The question is whether or not these men were inspired from a source of knowledge and insight superior to themselves. I believe that there was. I cannot prove it objectively, however...so "we" cant convince "you" of anything....YET.
They only knew what they believed to be true. That's why beliefs all around the world are different, because nobody knows "the truth".
We dont know that for sure. All that we know is that not everybody knows what everybody else knows(or doesnt know.) Its quite a blanket assertion to declare that--just because we don't know the truth that nobody does.
What's clear is that during the early years of Christianity, people whose desire to follow Christ is beyond any question favored different approaches. Each of those factions would have the strongest and purest possible motives to justify their interpretation using scripture.
Nobody is denying the earnestness of the Trinitarians but it should not be doubted that the Arians were earnest and loved Jesus Christ with equal fervor.
Today we have doctrines like Unitarianism and Oneness that are essentially equally supportable from the Bible text. Proponents of each doctrine are sure that the others are in danger of missing salvation.
This seems logical. Everyone is convinced that their way is THE way. One question---Is it within human nature to attempt to get everyone else to agree with ourselves on major issues of belief and/or logic, reason, and reality? Do we feel threatened or otherwise uncomfortable with others who disagree with our beliefs? I would say yes....comments?
some things can only be accepted on faith, but if they have no evidence there's no reason to accept them at all.
Sounds logical enough. For some, evidence is a prerequisite to faith. Perhaps the question is what constitutes evidence? Is an internal subjective "born again" experience qualified? How about a vision? a dream? For some, a UFO close encounters experience works. For others, simply being around believers who are full of testimonies and who seem different is enough.
Perhaps another qualifier is to ask about our personal bias. Do we want to have evidence to convince us, to change us, or to confirm what we already are comfortable suspecting?
This brings up an interesting question. As a Christian, I will share what I consider to be important doctrines.
1) There is only One Spirit. There is not a relativistic approach to this...in other words, I cant have my own spirit(or vibe) and you have yours and both of us are right..it just doesn't work that way. Humans can and do disagree on a lot of things---which is ok. We disagree on whether evidence should be the main measure of belief and faith. We disagree on what should be expected of a fellow human in regards to trying our best and doing our best in life. We obviously disagree on origins of the universe and whether or not human wisdom is the best thing we have to work with. When it comes to quiet meditation and prayer, there should be no disagreement among humans as to the vibe present. Everyone should understand. The fact that humans don't understand is evidence of a problem.
2) Jesus Christ, whether human while on earth, all God and all man, or merely an archetype invented as a mythos...is the way to God if God exists. There simply is no other god, nor is there a better philosophy and example of how to live and One who loved. If anyone disagrees, they are not mainstream.
3) Mainstream, by my definition, is other people whom I would feel in communion with on a spiritual level. This would, of course, involve a lot of effort on my part to love and accept you as Jesus would. In fact, I doubt I could do it without Holy Communion and empowerment.
4) The wisdom of God is always superior to human wisdom. God is not a concept invented by humans. God existed long before we could think or talk.
And finally...it it not important whether or not the Bible is word for word literal. What is important is the idea that there is One God and that God loves humanity and has not given up on us. Some of us, I am sorry to say have given up on God and have in fact deified their own intellect in a manner of speaking...in other words, they go with evidence and human wisdom every time. In time, this belief may become mainstream among humanity but I say now and forever it is wrong.
Mainstream, by my definition, is other people whom I would feel in communion with on a spiritual level.
Cat Man Du writes:
That is simply not what "Mainstream" means.
Its the thing that has the most people involved in it, like the main stream is the one with the most water in it.
I know, I know...majority belief, worldview and/or opinion...right? I am referring to a mainstream spiritual vibe. Atheists, of course, have no religious belief but many do ascribe to a vibe. Our very own Stile, for example, speaks of spirituality as unique and relative to the individual...whereas I would disagree only in saying beware of imitations---there is but One Holy Spirit. My viewpoint assumes that God exists regardless of what people do or do not believe. I'll admit that this black/white worldview is interpreted by many as narrow minded, but I might add that the Bible even speaks of a narrow path that few find.
What's wrong with tracing the mainstream through the doctrinal history?
Percy did have a point in that by being anti Roman Catholic you were in essence non-mainstream. One point I might make: Just as foreign policy of the US goverment is not shared by some if not a majority of Americans, official church sanctioned beliefs by a denomination may not represent the actual beliefs of the members of that denomination.
In my mind, a oneness pentecostal is not necessarily out of the mainstream nor is trinitarianism concretely important. I might assert, however, that belief in Jesus as more than simply a controversial human prophet is mainstream,at least in my stream that I choose to fish in.
I tend to give God credit for drawing many nearer to Him despite their reluctance to do so. I suppose I could say that not all of humanity is in communion with and/or through the Holy Spirit and to me, this communion is itself orthodox. As to whether it is in fact mainstream, I might point out again that a majority are called and a minority are chosen.
Would you be a Christian had you been born in Iraq?
It all depends on whether my belief---as an adult---is determined only through my cultural upbringing. In fact, it would be interesting to crunch the number of converts from childhood culture into any given belief...and see how the numbers compare. If Christianity is more than simply cultural indoctrination, we might see a trend through these statistics.
Anyway...steering ever so slightly back towards the topic....can it ever be shown that the "words of God" differ from the words of men? One argument thus far presented is that Protestant orthodoxy (mainstream, if one prefers) is somewhat consistent and could be explained as Gods word as opposed to human reasoning, wisdom, or political motive.
Realistically, however...I doubt that I can prove that God actually speaks through certain words,passages, and books....not to mention His existence. Play along with me for a moment, Tangle. Take a contrarian view. Give us something that God would say to humanity. (Not a God of human imagination, but a hypothetical Creator of all seen and unseen who plausibly exists despite lack of evidence.)
Stop and think. Whose doctrine? The doctrine you wish to market?
I never really agreed with the idea that Paul was marketing a new religion. I believe that Paul was influenced by an otherworldly epiphany and that he had it in his heart and soul to persuade the pagans that they too were now chosen by God. Besides...what is the difference between marketing and persuasion? There may well have been a Prophet motive but certainly not a profit one.
Is the Bible the inerrant word of God? Or is it the words of men?
Logic tells us that the Bible, more correctly the books of the majority canons..ie the 66 books included in the King James, NIV, and NEV which are the majority of western Christianity--were obviously and in fact written by humans. The larger question is whether or not these humans were motivated and/or inspired by ulterior motives or whether these humans were individually and collectively inspired by the Holy Spirit.
Faith is defending her belief that the Bible was inspired by God and written by and through God.
IThe obvious questions then are raised--in debate forums such as this one where we have believers, non-believers, and both witty and acerbic skeptics--as to which god we are talking about and whether in fact such a foundation can even be laid logically, reasonably, and rationally.
Personally, I believe that the books of the Bible were inspired, but I can also see the contrarian point of view. As to which denomination is right I can only dare judge them on an individual, rather than collective basis.
In conclusion, I will say that I have met individuals who are quite rational, and also fervent believers in God as many Christians understand God to be. Additionally, while it is true that much has been said about the errors of Roman Catholicism--to me the emphasis should be on the individual rather than the institution to which they belong. This holds true for each one of us involved in this debate. It also gets us back to the question. Were the individuals who collectively were responsible for deciding which words and books were to be allowed in the popular Bible motivated through prayer and a life where not just the mind and emotions but the daily will surrendered to God? Or...were they motivated by other spirits or vibes or intentions?
The Bible reflects the opinions of a peoples at a given point of time and within a specific culture so there is no one answer. There is the well known "Let he who is without sin caste the first stone" passage. Now the writer could have had the Jesus character say "Hey, stoning is wrong so don't do it." That would be clear and simple. But the author didn't. He says "look at yourself first and place yourself in the other persons position."
I would be more interested and impressed if the writer was a believer in God and accepted the "Jesus character" as more than simply a character. Of course this would only happen if the writer believed not only in the God he or she wrote about but the GOD --Creator of all seen and unseen--Who many would say reached out to humanity through Jesus Christ who was initially Gods character long before any writers got ahold of the script.