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Old 02-07-2001, 08:27 PM   #31
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"I am very interested in this. What do you mean by "history?" What were the experiences?"

History. What happened. Or, as I meant it, my study of "What Happened." I began studying the historcity of the New Testament. I started out by reading Josh McDowell and other apologists. These were useful, but I quickly learned that they were not telling me the whole story. So then I started reading the likes of Marcus Borg, E.P. Sanders, Raymond E. Brown, John P. Meier, Graham Stanton, Ben Witherington, and N.T. Wright. Through these studies, I became convinced in the historicity of the basic Christian message: the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Personal experiences? That is a wide range of items such as answered prayers and experiencing the presence of God. I doubt a skeptic will find them persuasive, because by their nature they are personal.
 
Old 02-07-2001, 08:30 PM   #32
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Bah! A conservative estimate is that the earliest writings of the bible were written 40 to 50 years after the death of Jesus. If I tell you something today, are you going to remember it word for word in 40 years? I doubt you would remember it in a week. I can smell smoke..you are thinking "but you aren't god!". Well, Jesus didn't write a single word of the bible. How do you know that he even claimed to be god? All you have is one of his followers word for it, written 2000 years ago. Not to mention the fact that the book went through a half dozen translations to reach its NIV form christians persist in claiming to be the "inspired word of God".

As to the numbers game thing, I am just making the point that many people have read the bible and taken it to be an interesting bit of historical fiction.
The point was not the numbers themselves, but their response to my original topic. Why does the bible even mention faith if the bible is supposed to be so obviously true?
 
Old 02-07-2001, 08:46 PM   #33
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It is unfortunate that your most scholarly and reasoned response is "bah."

"Bah! A conservative estimate is that the earliest writings of the bible were written 40 to 50 years after the death of Jesus. If I tell you something today, are you going to remember it word for word in 40 years?"

You are wrong. Paul began writing his letters within less than 20 years after the death of Jesus. Moreover, his writings clearly indicate the presence of already established traditions about Jesus' teachings, as well as the Passion Narrative.

No, I probably wouldn't remember what YOU told me 20 years later. Of course, if I had left my occupation, sacrificed my paycheck, and hit the road because I thought you were the messiah, the chosen of God, to lead me and my nation into the promised Kingdom of God, then I would probably pay a lot more attention to you. Furthermore, if I spent THREE years listening to you teaching variations on a theme over and over again, then YES, I dare say I would remember a lot of what you had to say.

Furthermore, you really are not addressing the reality of the situation. It was not the case that the N.T. authors just sat down 40 years after the event and decided to remember what that Jewish peasant guy happened to mention so many years before. The Gospels especially show dependence on earlier sources. That is, sources already in existence and widespread in the Christian community.

"I can smell smoke..you are thinking "but you aren't god!". Well, Jesus didn't write a single word of the bible. How do you know that he even claimed to be god? All you have is one of his followers word for it, written 2000 years ago."

As I demonstrated above, this is just not the case. It is much more than one follower's word for it, and there are various tools, even for the skeptic, that historians commonly use to evaluate the accuracy of the sayings and deed recorded in the New Testament. Moreover, I happen to place a lot of credence in the testimony of Paul. Specifically, his conversion from oppressor of Christianity to leading proponent of Christianity, and subsequent relationship with Peter, James, and John, suggest to me that he is an authoritative source for understanding Jesus.

"Not to mention the fact that the book went through a half dozen translations to reach its NIV form christians persist in claiming to be the "inspired word of God"."

Every year that passes INCREASES our understanding of the original Greek, and uncovers earlier and better manuscripts. Of course, even if I accepted the doctrine of inerrancy, I would realize that my English translation is not inerrant. However, my English translation does not have to be inerrant for me to understand its central claim: Jesus Christ came, preached the coming of the Kingdom of God, died on the cross at the hands of Roman and Jewish authorities, and was raised from the dead. Through those events, God reconciled mankind to himself.

How is that lost in the translation?

"As to the numbers game thing, I am just making the point that many people have read the bible and taken it to be an interesting bit of historical fiction."

Yes. And my point was that many people have read the Bible and taken it to be the inspired Word of God.

"Why does the bible even mention faith if the bible is supposed to be so obviously true?"

The simplistic notion of faith that you seem to be purporting is not what I believe true faith is. Anyway, I didn't say that the Bible is supposed to be "so obviously true." I said that I have studied it, its history, and combined with my personal experiences, I believe it to accurately portray the teachings, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. That doesn't mean that I believe it is inerrant, or somehow worthy of worship itself. The Bible is merely the vessel of the Word of God, not an icon itself.

[This message has been edited by Layman (edited February 07, 2001).]
 
Old 02-07-2001, 09:01 PM   #34
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You are obviously well intrenched in your opinions, so I will only mention a few things you missed.

"Left my occupation"....The deciples went back to fishing for a living shortly after jesus died. Saul of Tarsus continued his occupation as a tent maker. For that matter, Saul-known as Paul-was never a follower of Jesus in the first place. He latched on years after Jesus died. He was not a first hand witness, and therefor had and has no true knowlege of the events in the life of Jesus. If Paul is your best example of a "Bible Writer", you should go back to the drawing board. Paul is in the bible because the early church used his writing to controll early christians, just as the modern church uses the same writings to controll modern chrisitians.


Quit reading other peoples mail!
 
Old 02-07-2001, 09:07 PM   #35
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But Layman, the point is that the ancient world was full of superstitions and beliefs. All biblical scholars (if they are really scholars) atheist/agnostic, Deist, Buddhist and Christian alike accept that there was an oral tradition. Of course there was. Nobody suggests that "Mark" sat down and decided to write his gospel because it would make the NY Times Bestseller's list. But look at today in the age of television, 24 hour cable news, big city newspapers, etc. There are all kinds of rumors circulating about Bill Clinton's ordered assassinations, Hillary Clinton's lesbianism, Republican congressmen's sexual escapades, celebrity scandals, etc. Today we are preoccupied with sex, and that is the source of the rumor mill. But in the ancient world, people were obsessed with messiahs, apocalypticism and other superstitious things. A rumor that somebody stole Jesus' body can become a rumor that Jesus rose from the dead--look at Elvis! That can happen in a month, it doesn't take 40 or 50 years. And all it takes is a group of people committed to believing a rumor.

It also seems clear that Paul's concept of Jesus' resurrection was spiritual (or pneumatic), not bodily as the Gospels describe it--so even that shows evidence of an evolution in theology. I Corinthians, written 20 years after Jesus' death, and then the gospels written 20 years after that. If the nature of Jesus' resurrection can change in 20 years AFTER Paul, we can only dream of what changed before.
 
Old 02-07-2001, 09:11 PM   #36
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by JragonFli:
[B]You are obviously well intrenched in your opinions, so I will only mention a few things you missed.

That's a really odd statement. I thought I gave several reasoned responses to your points and questions. The fact that you refuse to take them on directly leads me to believe that you cannot, rather than they are unworthy of response because I am somehow "entrenched."

""Left my occupation"....The deciples went back to fishing for a living shortly after jesus died. Saul of Tarsus continued his occupation as a tent maker. For that matter, Saul-known as Paul-was never a follower of Jesus in the first place. He latched on years after Jesus died. He was not a first hand witness, and therefor had and has no true knowlege of the events in the life of Jesus. If Paul is your best example of a "Bible Writer", you should go back to the drawing board."

What makes you think that Peter, John, and company went back to fishing? There is strong evidence that Peter and John stayed in Jerusalem (with "the Apostles"). But, even if they DID go back to fishing, that doesn't affect my point AT ALL. The fact that they HAD left their occupations to study under Jesus was my point. The issue was whether they would have remembered anything he said, not whether they ever fished again. Nice attempt at a diversion, but rather pointless.

As for Paul being a "tent-maker," I'm afraid you misunderstand his "occupation." Most students of Judaism were encouraged to learn an occupation to support themselves. Paul may have made tempts to support himself in his ministry, but he certainly did MUCH more than that. And again, so what?

You are beggin the question as to Paul being a witness of Jesus. He claims to have been a witness to the risen Jesus, and the dramatic change in his life leads me to believe that he experienced something dramatic. Moreover, Paul's letters contain, and indicate the presence of, a Jesus tradition that preexisted his conversion experience and existed independently of his conversion experience. That was my point. The most likely source of Paul's learning in this area? The Jerusalem Church, which DID contain eyewitness of Jesus' ministry.

And I never said that Paul was my "best" or only example. I discussed the gospels and their use of preexisting sources as well.

"Paul is in the bible because the early church used his writing to controll early christians, just as the modern church uses the same writings to controll modern chrisitians."

Unsubstantiated personal opinion with no supporting rationale, except perhaps your own religious bigotry.


 
Old 02-07-2001, 09:15 PM   #37
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Paul may have claimed to have witnessed Jesus. I can claim the same thing! He had no proof. In fact, by his own admission the people with him neither saw nor heard a thing. Once again, you are taking his word for something even he had no proof for. He is not a reliable witness.
 
Old 02-07-2001, 09:23 PM   #38
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Excellent points le pede, but I could not disagree with them more. It is precisely the consistency between Paul's reference to Jesus' ministry, and death and resurrection, that I find so persuasive. Please see my post, "The Earliest References to Jesus."

Moreover, you are very wrong about there being a difference between Paul's understanding of the resurection and the Gospel's understanding of the resurrection. In fact, they are strickngly similar. Both maintain that there was the resurrection of a physical body and its spiritual transformation into something unique and wonderfully new.

Paul was talking about a bodily resurrection. It was not as simple as Jesus's body being restored to its original form. That would have been no different than the raising of Lazarus. The resurrection of Jesus involved much more than a resuscitated corpse. No, Paul was excited because it was the raising of a body and its transformation into something new.

The Pharisees were the largest and most influential sect of Judaism during New
Testament times. They originated as a separate group shortly after the times of the
Maccabees and before 135 BCE were established in Judaism. The proximity to the Maccabee revolt is important because it was at that time that the idea of a bodily resurrection entered into Jewish thought. It was a nationalist revolt against foreign rulers with young men dying as martyrs in defense of their view of the law of God. Because God was just, the Jews at the time began to believe that God would resurrect them.

The Pharisee's theology was founded during this time on the entire Canon of the O.T., including the Torah, the Prophets, and the Writings. They believed in angels, the immortality of the soul, and, most importantly, the bodily resurrection of the dead. After the destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem, the Pharisees alone survived and were the forerunners of Orthodox Judaism.

Paul was a Pharisee prior to his conversion and he retained several of his former sect's beliefs when he converted to Cristianity. He believed in angels, the immortality of the soul and, most importantly, the bodily resurrection of the dead. The reason he retained his belief in the bodily resurrection of the dead after his conversion to Christianity is because it had been confirmed to him by the appearance of Jesus after his resurrection. For Paul, Jesus's resurrection was an example of the resurrection to come for all Christians. "And God both raised up the dead and will raise us up by His power." 1 Cor. 6:14. "In 1 Corinthians 6:14 it becomes abundantly clear that resurrection involves a body. Paul is making a point here about present ethics, but
ethics includes bodily conduct here and now because the body has a place in the eschatological future of the believer. A purely spiritual resurrection is out of the
question, and in any case it is not at all clear that Paul, being an ancient person, would have seen ‘spirit' as nonmaterial. It is far more likely that he saw it simply as a different sort of stuff." Prof. Ben Witherington III, The Paul Quest, at 148.

As I said earlier, Paul considered the bodily resurrection of Jesus to be an example of what would happen to all believers. That is, whether already dead or alive when Jesus returns, Jesus will "transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to his glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself." Phillipians 3:21. "For the ‘spiritual body' worn by the risen Lord is the prototype for his people, who are to share his resurrection and have their present
bodies of humiliation transmuted into the likeness of his body of Glory." F.F. Bruce,
Paul, Apostle of the Heart Set Free, at 114.

This is the subject of 1 Corinthians 15. Jesus's resurrection informs us about our own
future resurrection. And it clearly involves the transformation of the human body into a
new type of body. It is not solely a spiritual event as we conceive of spirits today. Paul uses the Greek word soma in his discussion of the resurrection in this chapter. Soma means the physical body, not the soul. Prof. Robert H. Grundy, The Essentially Physical View of Jesus' Resurrection According to the New Testament, at 5. Also important to this discussion is Paul's linking of the grave to the resurrection. "Paul's juxtaposing Jesus' burial and resurrection, which literally means ‘raising,' entails that his resurrection means the raising of his buried body." Id. at 4.

Paul is clear that it is the body that is raised and transformed. "The body is sown in corruption, IT is raised in incorruption. It is sown in dishonor, IT is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, IT is raised in power. It is sown a natural body, IT is raised a spiritual body." 1 Cor. 15:42-44. Paul does not say that the body dies and only the spirit is raised. He is saying that the body dies, and IT is raised in a transformed state. "The Pauline image stresses the transormation of a living, changing organism." Kyle A. Pasewark, Review of ‘The Resurrection of the Body in Western Christianity,' The Christian Century.

Despite your contention, this view is quite compatible with the resurrection Jesus portrayed in the Gospels. The Gospels portray the risen Jesus as having a physical body. He was able to touch and be touched. He ate and drank with the disciples. He was, however, able to do things natural bodies are. He could appear from nowhere
and ascended into the sky. His new body retained physical attributes, but had been
transformed into something much more. As Dr. Luke T. Johnson describes it, the risen
Christ was a "glorified body, completely physical able to be seen and touched, but
mysterious and somehow different from an early body."

Even more important Paul makes it clear that he is recounting a tradition of a bodily
resurrection which was passed along to him by others. Paul himself discusses how he spent 15 days with Peter, and also saw James while he was in Jerusalem (Gal. 1:18-19). Moreover, scholars believe that Paul utilizes formulated church traditions preexisting his conversion experience. See N.T. Wright, The New Testament and the people of God, at 368 ("Paul is able to cite and rely on church tradition about Christ's death and resurrection and his appearances to various persons."). 1 Cor. 15:1-7 reveals that Paul founded the church in Corinth on creeds and tradition he had received from others. "I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received in which you stand, by which also you are saved if you hold fast that word which I preached to you-unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried and that he rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time." The introductory phrase, "I delivered to you first of all that which I also received" is a typical Rabbinc saying used to introduce information one has received from others. Scholars also say that Phil. 2:6-11 and Col. 1:15-20 are expressed in creedal form, indicating that they had been passed down to Paul from others.

So, not only did Paul believe in the bodily resurrection of Jesus of Jesus (like the
Gospels), but he was passing along a tradition already established in the church.
 
Old 02-07-2001, 09:35 PM   #39
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"Paul may have claimed to have witnessed Jesus. I can claim the same thing! He had no proof. In fact, by his own admission the people with him neither saw nor heard a thing. Once again, you are taking his word for something even he had no proof for. He is not a reliable witness."

I disagree. Paul did have proof. It is called a testimony. Despite the fact that he was well known for being a higher up in Judaism, and as a particularly venemous enemy of Christianity, Paul gave it all up, turned from his previous life, lost his prestige, and suffered great persection because ... because why? The reason he gives is that he experienced the same thing hundreds of others claimed to have experienced, the risen Christ. Moreover, his claim impressed the heck out of the early Christians, because they had known his reputation. Although they were at first suspicious, he soon became one of their leaders.
 
Old 02-07-2001, 09:40 PM   #40
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Lots of people followed Hitler too. You aren't saying much for early christians: you just proved to me that they could easily be convinced to follow a murderer. Can you say BaahhhBaahhhh?
 
 

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