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Old 06-30-2001, 08:21 AM   #21
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Jim Mitchell:
[B] Kosh,

Just FYI, if you or others are sincerely interesting in trying to understand the harmony found in the Bible concerning this subject...</font>
I can't speak for Kosh, but I'm sincerely interested in trying to understand why you think opposite concepts constitute "harmony." I understand "harmony" to be the interweaving of different perspectives which do not directly contradict one another to make a whole.

So maybe we should agree on the definition of "harmony" first.

We're told in several places that "God changeth not," which we assume to include "his mind." Maybe that's where we're going wrong. If so, I'm sure you'll set us straight, Jim.

Salutations right back at you...

diana
 
Old 06-30-2001, 03:28 PM   #22
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Jim Mitchell:
Kosh,

Just FYI, if you or others are sincerely interesting in trying to understand the harmony found in the Bible concerning this subject, you may be interesting in checking out
</font>
Thanks Jim, but before I go there, can
you tell me if this is just more of what's
considered Apologetics?

 
Old 06-30-2001, 03:51 PM   #23
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Kosh:
Thanks Jim, but before I go there, can
you tell me if this is just more of what's
considered Apologetics?

</font>
Kosh,

Go to the following to see Pratt's credentials:

http://www.thirdmill.org/videos_frameset.asp

rodahi

 
Old 07-01-2001, 06:51 PM   #24
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Orginally posted by sighhswolf:
Tercel,
I am not attacking you personally, but I cant understand how you can claim to be Christian, and yet question the Bibles validity, or the transcriptions.</font>
Quite easily: I open my mouth and say "I'm a Christian" .
On a more serious note: What do you think a Christian is?
I'm probably not too far wrong in guessing that what pops into your head when I ask this question is an image of an evangelistic "bible bashing fundie". Since you wonder how I can call myself "a Christian" and yet believe the Bible is errant I think I can safely take it that you've had a good deal of exposure to the fundamentalists and not many other Christians.

I believe in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. I believe in Christ's redeeming death on the cross at the hands of Pilate. I believe in His physical resurrection. I believe in quite a large number of other things which could only be termed "Christian", eg Virgin Birth, the Devil, Angels, the Fall, the Second Coming etc.
I go to Church every week (where possible), I pray and read the Bible often.
Am I a Christian? -What else can I possibly call myself?

I still remember when I was first introduced to contradictions in the Bible. I was quite young at the time, perhaps 13 or 14 or so. We were studying the first part of Acts and we read the bit about Judas' death (Acts 1:18-19). I seemed to recall learning that Judas had died by hanging. Sure enough in Matthew 27:3-8 there was an account of his death by hanging. I was merely rather pleased with myself that I had remembered correctly and didn't even consider at the time the implications of this. I showed it to my instructor (who was perhaps the most "Christian" man I've ever met - it's not that he showed excessive faith [well he probably had it but, that's not the main point] - it's that he lived it through his devotion and time he put into others and caring for them) and pointed out the contradiction to him. He did not come over faint, nor did he seem particularly worried (Now I look back on it I suspect he was probably pleased at this opportunity to teach me). I do not honestly remember his exact words but he told me that yes there were contradictions and mistakes and it was something that I would need to one day come to terms with myself. (He didn't even try to hedge in an attempt to reconcile them or say he would get back later with a solution. I have seen since a semi-convincing argument to reconcile that particular passage and I have no doubt that had he told that to me I would have accepted it, if only because it came from him. But he didn't.) He did not seem particularly worried and I put my Bible away and almost completely forgot about the whole thing.

I have simply been brought up without the belief that the Bible is Inerrant. My first real exposure to such a belief was not until a few years later when I first read a book which tried to prove that the Bible was Inerrant. You can guess that I was not impressed.

As far as I can since trace it, Inerrancy seems to be a very modern belief confined in a large part to America (I am not American so that might explain my lack of exposure to it somewhat). There seems to be very little indication that the idea of Inerrancy was even thought of by the early Church - the Nicene Creed contains no line saying "I believe the Bible to be without flaw and to be the Inerrant Word of God". There are a few verses in the Bible that are otfen argued to imply Inerrancy, but that is certainly up for debate and I think the solution of a more vague and undefined divine inspiration fits the puzzle a lot better. If it really comes down to it, I don't believe the writers of the Bible nor the early Church were silly enough to believe in a doctrine, which as I see it, is demonstratably false.

Getting back to the original question: Since I question the Bible's validity how can I call myself a Christian?
One strange theory I encounter time after time when talking to people is a belief that the Bible must be either Inerrant (Written personally by God, flawless, without any contradiction or error) or Errant (Completely wrong and worthless, should be taken with a grain of salt, can't trust a single line). Put like this the theory looks stupid (or it should) yet it seems to be ingrained in the minds of most people who have had a large amount of contact with Inerrantists (the Inerrantists included). I have never properly understood why... ~shrugs~
Surely there is a whole scale from mostly correct through generally correct through correct in places through occasionally close to being correct all between the extremes of Inerrant and Errant?
Or so I think anyway.
I do not believe that the Bible is Inerrant, but that in no way equates with "I think the Bible is worthless" and is not even remotely close to it.
Let me give you an example: the Newspaper. Is everything in the Newspaper always inerrant and completely accurate? I doubt there's a Newspaper in the world egotistical enough to try out that claim. Yet if you read in the Newspaper that Bush said such and such, you probably believe it, why? After all, haven't you just admitted that the Newspaper is ERRANT? How can you possibly believe anything it says?
I hope this kind of logic is looking sufficiently silly by now - I can give you a few more examples though if you haven't got the point yet.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">The Christians I have known will quote the following verse when there is a question of the errors.

Proverbs 30
Verse 5- "Every word of God is flawless;he is a shield to those who take refuge in him".</font>
I see nothing wrong with this verse: Everything done by God is flawless, it's fairly basic theology. The Christians quoting this are trying to equate the Bible with the direct word of God and I disagree with this.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Being a non-believer, and a questioner
of written Biblical text, I would say that the above statement in proverbs, is contridicted in Jeremiah 8-8;
"How can you say,"We are wise, for we have the law of the Lord", when actually the LYING PEN of the scribes has handled it falsely?"</font>
I understand what you mean here, but as I am not an Inerrantist I don't find it particularly worrying. I doubt even many Inerrantists would be worried as most of them are prepared to allow that errors may occur in both copying and translation.
However I have to disagree with you on one point: I don't think it is a contradiction with the quoted passage from Proverbs.
I have just checked a commentary and without doing an extensive study on the matter, I think the meaning of the passage is somewhat ambiguous.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">You say that errors in the Biblical text are irrelevant, and do not have a bearing on your belief in God's existence and Jesus' atonement for mankind's sin, and his subsequent ressurection.</font>
I didn't say that errors are irrelevant. I said Inerrancy is irrelevant. If the Bible couldn't ever go two verses without undeniably contradicting itself or being in serious error with an external source then it's fairly safe to say that I wouldn't be a Christian. (An exercise for you: Do some research in how accurate the writer of Luke/Acts was in regard to names and the (constantly changing) titles of rulers)
But whether I believe that every single word is from God or whether the Bible is just generally accurate seems to have very little bearing on the issue of whether there was a resurrection.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">It seems to be a contridiction in terms.

Tell me what other source you can go to for
the explanation of God's relationship with mankind?

If you admit that there are questionable parts of the Bible,then you are admitting that Christianity may be in error all together.</font>
I certainly admit that there are questionable parts of the Bible. I question the following parts on a fairly regular basis: The first part of Genesis, selective parts of Matthew, and Revelation.
There are also parts of the Bible which I find all but unquestionable: Luke, John, Acts and Paul's letters. (Yes, I am aware of the occasional contradiction in and between these. No, I don't need to be provided of a large list of alledged contradictions)
What we call "The Bible" is simply the name for a rather diverse group of writings which range from very authorative to (in my opinion) somewhat dodgy.
I certain fail to see why questioning parts of the Bible (a thing which has been down by Christians and Christian writers ever since it was written) is related to questioning Christianity at all. Certainly there have been people who have dismantled the Bible and found it seriously wanting yet still been perfectly good Christians. (If you want an example, ask Metacrock to tell you a story about a book he once read)

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Its just MHO, but It would seem that you cannot have it both ways, either you believe that the Bible is the written word of God as Christianity teaches, or you believe there is error in the recorded word that is the basis for ALL christian doctrine.</font>
The second. Although I personally would not use the words "recorded word" as it implies a greater input from God than I am willing to allow based on the evidence.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">If you state that there could be errors, then you are discounting the Christian belief system's basic premise.</font>
And what basic premise would that be? Is this another attempt by an atheist to tell me what I believe? (It's actually amusing how wierd it can get: On another board this week I got told that Christians believed that anyone who had never heard of Jesus went to Hell. I thought that this was a rather novel idea myself.)

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Christianity says that even if the word of God was not written by his own hand, that the writers were divinely guided as to the material they recorded.

So, there should be no errors.</font>
I take it this is your "basic premise". What you have just stated is pretty much the basic premise of Inerrancy, NOT Christianity.
I do not believe the Bible to be the "Word of God", I believe in "divine inspiration" which is rather more sutably vague: It allows me to have my cake and eat it too depending on which I'd rather do at the time.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">
[....]
If we are to take literally as many Christians say,the Bible to be truely the word of God, given directly to the scribes through divine revelation, or through the power of the Holy Spirit, and this document contains many examples of deception, then there exists a contridiction or immense proportion with regard to the doctrine of Christianity, and the actual recorded word of God.</font>
Well it's simple, don't take the Bible as the actual recorded word of God, it solves any number of otherwise difficult/impossible problems.

-Tercel
 
Old 07-01-2001, 06:53 PM   #25
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Diana,
I'm actually quite surprised at your insistence of BC&V because what I normally see is the fundamentalists quoting Bible passages left, right and center whilst the atheists just ignore it all. Because it is usually ignored, it is not something I'm in the habit of doing and I myself prefer to use logical argument from established theology and the more commonly used verses to prove my points as opposed to quoting obsure verses (which has the additional advantage of making sure my beliefs are logically consistent).
But if you desparately want me to, I suppose I can try to dig up some relevant quotes.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Tercel: If you are suggesting that Christ's crucifixion was anything other than an entirely voluntary act then I will have to disagree with you. (I think all other Christians would as well.)

Diana: Actually I didn't suggest it at all. I said it outright. Feel free to disagree, but please supply the BC&V that backs up your position. </font>
All right then: I disagree.

Yet surely there is sufficient evidence that the decision was a free one in Jesus' prayer when he said "Yet not my will but yours"? (Luke 22:42) He clearly had a decision between choosing what he wanted and what God wanted and decided to choose what God wanted. Looks like free will to me.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Tercel: Christ's death has implications for all people who have ever and will ever lived, not merely those who are lucky enough to live after and hear of his death.

Diana: So the blood of Xst is retroactive then? Please support with (you got it) BC&V.</font>
I did think I'd supported this sufficiently by logical argument:
"Christ said "no one comes to the Father but through me". Does this then mean that those who lived before Christ are not able to come to the Father? Of course not, the death of Christ transcends mere time and the forgiveness of the Father has always been available to all. This is shown clearly by God's actions in the Old Testament: God was able to forgive people for their wrongdoings"
Clearly if God could forgive sins (for which Christ's death is required) before Christ's death, then Christ's death must be retroactive.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">'Genocide' is one way to put it, 'righteous judgement on evil-doers' is another.

You say potato, and I say tomato....So when the people who wrote the history books say "Well...yes, we killed them, but they were all bad," you simply believe that? Even when the genocide includes infants and slaves and cattle and horses and asses? Please demonstrate to me how these were shown to be "evil-doers" or were even capable of evil, please. Thank you.</font>
Well I'm sorry if you feel that way about it. I could probably answer this question to your satisfaction - in about a 10,000 words or more. And I am suspicious that it might raise 10 new questions that all require equally long explanations. So instead I'm just going to outline a few applicable points which need to be applied on a case-by-case basis:
My understanding of the matter is that modern archeology has done much to demonstrate that many of the enemies of Israel were very definitely evil.
Why doesn't God have the right to do whatever he wants? - 'Who are you, my friend to answer God back? A clay pot does not ask the man who made it, "Why did you make me like this?" After all, the man who makes the pots has the right to use the clay as he wishes' (Romans 9:20-21)
Isn't it merciful to the infants to save them from growing up evil?
In killing animals I don't see much of a problem with - people kill animals all the time: For eating, or to prevent the spread of Foot and Mouth or for humane reasons... etc.
It is only killing their temporal bodies, they would die anyway.
It is the way things were done in the ancient world, this is just an example of the Israelites doing the normal thing.
The "genocide" was actually religicide and the genocide part was coincidental. The religicide was necessary to preserve the true faith from corruption.
The entire thing was the idea of humans and afterwards to justify it they made up the excuse of "God told us to do it".

I think various combinations of this can be used in each case to sufficiently explain it. No doubt there are more explanations but these are the few I can think of off the top of my head. If you really want a complete answer, find a book on the subject.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">But let me try to explain my original objection another way: as a Xn, you must believe that God's plan changed between the old covenant and the new (yes, I'm saying you have to; if you don't, you misunderstand the designation "Xn").</font>
As I understand it, I don't have to believe anything of the sort, and don't (although that might depend on exactly what you mean by "plan" and "changed"). I misunderstand the designation "Xn" do I? This discussion just keeps on getting weirder.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">I don't know whether you believe the Jews were promised eternal life/death as a result of their actions, since you don't seem to require scriptural backing for your beliefs, so I will submit to you that they were not. Their god brought them luck and bounty (or not) in this life, and if they were very lucky, they'd be plucked away (in the flesh) like Elijah and taken to heaven. There was no threat of hell or promise of heaven after death.</font>
By Jesus' time the Jews had split into two main groups, the Saducees and the Pharisees. In brief the Pharisees believed that God would raise all his followers from death to glory on the "Last Day" or the "Day of the Lord" and they also had a belief in something called Sheol which appears to be similar in most respects to the Heaven/Hell concept. The Sadducees did not believe that people would ever rise to life once they died. See Luke 20:27-40 for a discussion between Jesus and the Sadducees on the subject.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">This all changed with the new covenant. Now, everyone is threatened with hell/promised heaven (no other choice). But we all have a shot, right? One way or another, we'll live forever (a condition assumed by many to be a good thing).</font>
I'm not sure that you will necessarily live forever. One possible interpretation of Hell is death, in other words pretty similar to what atheists are expecting anyway. I am agostic on the issue of what Hell is and how it works. I believe that God is loving and "desires that all should be saved" (1 Timothy 2:4). Whatever interpretation is given with regard to judgement and Hell it must be non-contradictory with that.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">But the people before Xst's death just died. They had a belief in an underworld, but it just "was." Doesn't seem fair that we get a shot at eternal life while they don't, does it?</font>
What? We have a belief in eternal life while they might not have (depending on who "they" were). I doubt whether someone believes in eternal life has anything to do with whether God gives it to them.
Paul says "God has overlooked the times when people did not know him, but now he commands all of them everywhere to turn away from their evil ways." (Acts 17:30)

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">That's a great theology. How do you substantiate it? Or do you? Give me scripture. You have a holy book. Use it.

If, however, you feel that you needn't back up anything with scripture, I'd like to know how you know anything of your god at all.

Whether you had it in mind or not, I feel testified at: you're telling me what your doctrine is, but you aren't backing if up with anything. I'm interested in your beliefs only if you can substantiate them in some way.</font>
When I'm not deviating from what are commonly held beliefs I don't normally bother to back it up from scripture.
If you want to know how the Christian belief system is constructed from scripture from the ground up don't ask me: Go and read a thousand page book on the subject. I'm not going to write one for you.


For the rest, I appreciate your amusing wit.

-Tercel
 
Old 07-01-2001, 07:20 PM   #26
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">originally posted by Tercel:

My understanding of the matter is that modern archeology has done much to demonstrate that many of the enemies of Israel were very definitely evil.
</font>
Could you elaborate on this? How "evil" were they compared to, say, the Aztecs, who regularly cut the living hearts out of their war victims? Or other American native tribes that were wiped out by the Europeans during and after the fifteenth century?

You also say
Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">
It is the way things were done in the ancient world, this is just an example of the Israelites doing the normal thing.
The "genocide" was actually religicide and the genocide part was coincidental. The religicide was necessary to preserve the true faith from corruption.
The entire thing was the idea of humans and afterwards to justify it they made up the excuse of "God told us to do it".
</font>
Personally I find this to be far more reasonable, even if I don't happen to think such actions are ethically defensible; but what puzzles me most is the first statement of yours that I quoted.

[Edited to fix tags]

[This message has been edited by Muad'dib (edited July 01, 2001).]
 
Old 07-01-2001, 07:41 PM   #27
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">For the rest, I appreciate your amusing wit.</font>
"The rest" is herein identified as the remaining three-fourths of the post in which I repeatedly questioned the basis for Tercel's theology--many of them pertinent questions he appears to be conveniently ignoring.

But at least he was amused. That's something.

diana

(Tercel, I'll reply to the handful of questions you did answer tomorrow. Please scan my post and address my objections. Explaining why you interpret things the way you do is only half the battle; you must also explain why my interpretation is faulty or inferior. I seriously want to know why you interpret the bible the way you do, and how your justify it. Thanx.)
 
Old 07-02-2001, 10:20 AM   #28
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Good morning, Tercel.

First, I'd like to apologize if I came across as short last night. When I get the impression that the person I'm discussing something with is ignoring my points, I get cranky. Thus far, however, I have no reason to believe that is what you were doing. It's quite possible that you just didn't have the time or energy at the moment to address all the points I brought up. Anyhow...onward.

Originally posted by Tercel:
Diana,
I'm actually quite surprised at your insistence of BC&V because what I normally see is the fundamentalists quoting Bible passages left, right and center whilst the atheists just ignore it all.


True--most of the time, atheists find BC&V to be irrelevant to the discussion. When arguing whether the characteristics of a god are consistent with one another, for example, logic is required; reference to
"scripture" is irrelevant. However, for the sake of this argument, we have granted you the premises that the Xn god (God) exists and that the bible is his inspired word.

One's beliefs, under any circumstances, require support of some kind. Under the circumstances, the only support you have at your disposal (that I'm aware of) is the bible. Your job now is to show your doctrine to be internally consistent. Hence, my insistence upon the only support for Xnty that I'm aware of--BC&V of your holy scriptures.

Because it is usually ignored, it is not something I'm in the habit of doing and I myself prefer to use logical argument from established theology and the more commonly used verses to prove my points as opposed to quoting obsure verses (which has the additional advantage of making sure my beliefs are logically consistent).

"Established theology" varies per person, as you can tell (you already shot down my assertion that Xns have to believe that the rules changed with Jesus' death, which I based on "established theology"). One of my aims here is to understand what your theology is and how you substatiate it.

Using "the more commonly used verses" while ignoring "the more obscure ones" allows you to choose that which supports what you believe while ignoring all else, does it not? But internal consistency demands that everything agrees--or at least, doesn't contradict. This would necessarily include those pesky "more obscure verses."

The way you explain your standards, it almost sounds as though you began with a belief and have extrapolated those verses which support that belief. Being the man of logic you are, I'm sure you can see the shortcomings of this technique.

For the sake of this discussion, I have no problem with your beginning with a belief; I do, however, take issue with the fact that you're willfully ignoring those verses which contradict your theory. Any scientist caught doing this would be defamed. A logical, honest man, once he sees that the facts to not support the theory, will change his theory.

In support of your belief that Christ's crucifixion was voluntary, you quote Luke 22:42: "Not my will but thine be done." You stated that this clearly shows that Christ had a decision (free will), but chose God's way. I see this as very weak support for the notion that Christ had a choice, as I can just as easily use the same verse as evidence that Christ had no choice: "If I had a choice, O Lord, I wouldn't do it. But not my will but thine be done."

You still have not answered my objections, and you must if you wish to convincingly argue that Xst had a choice.

1. God clearly had a plan from the beginning (we initially hear of it when the serpent is cursed) and Xst is God and was in on it all along (John 1:1-3). Further (according the Xn theology), there were multiple prophesies throughout the OT predicting the coming of the messiah. Considering these factors, I'm forced to believe that, if Xst had two "choices": go through with the plan or refuse/back out and make a liar out of God. Is the latter really an option?

If you believe it is, we should end this discussion immediately and discuss what you think God's attributes are.

I know this is difficult to reconcile with your belief in free will, but I have a solution (I think): your belief in the autonomy of Xst is preserved if you wish to believe that he volunteered to go through with the plan of his own free will before he/God made the worlds. Once the plan was in action, however, he really had no choice.

Now, concerning your belief that Xst's blood was retroactive, I accept your argument that Xst is outside the bounds of time, being the supernatural being he is. However, all those who went before were human, and therefore confined to a place in time. In Heb 11 we are told that no one comes unto the father except through Xst, and that they must confess their faith in Xst. Your problem here is that those who came before had never heard of Xst and had no way to "confess him":

Romans 10:9: That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

Unless I miss my guess, this is not generally considered one of "the obscure verses," either.

Dead men tell no tales. So. How, exactly, did Xst's death help anyone who was already dead?

Clearly if God could forgive sins (for which Christ's death is required) before Christ's death, then Christ's death must be retroactive.

OK. I've made my case. Please make yours.

My understanding of the matter is that modern archeology has done much to demonstrate that many of the enemies of Israel were very definitely evil.

This statement requires secular support. It also requires that we agree upon what "evil" is (particularly if you can say they were "very definitely" evil). Judging from their actions in the bible, I'd say the Hebrews held their own in this category. I expect the gods of the nations round about commanded their horrible deeds, as well, thereby letting them off the hook.

'Who are you, my friend to answer God back?'

I am humane, fair and just to all. I don't have to tell anyone this. They can tell by watching. As such, I am superior to your god. He should be answering to me.

'A clay pot does not ask the man who made it, "Why did you make me like this?" After all, the man who makes the pots has the right to use the clay as he wishes' (Romans 9:20-21)

Paul wasn't so good at analogies, was he? A creature who has been specifically created as a rational being cannot be compared to an irrational being, let alone an inanimate lump. Silly Paul.

(Concerning the discussion, I'm not certain why you quoted this verse. In lieu of an explanation on your part, I choose to point out Paul's apparent inability to reason his way out of a paper bag.) But now that I'm thinking about this verse, what kind of sense does it make to assert that God created man as a living soul (with a brain and the ability to use it), then require that he not use it?

Back to your regularly scheduled debate...

Isn't it merciful to the infants to save them from growing up evil?

No. If you honestly believe this, I must say now that you truly frighten me. If you are convinced that they will grow up evil if left behind, a merciful god/nation would adopt them and bring them up righteously. But we can't have them tainting the bloodline, huh (i.e., your god appears to be racist)?

More later, as time makes itself available...

diana
 
Old 07-02-2001, 12:16 PM   #29
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Tercel, to continue...

In killing animals I don't see much of a problem with - people kill animals all the time: For eating, or to prevent the spread of Foot and Mouth or for humane reasons... etc.

However, there is no indication given that these animals were killed for eating, to prevent the spread of disease, for humane reasons, "etc...." The contexts suggest that each time this was done, animals were slaughtered (like the women, slaves and children) as an act of war. The poor critters were just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

It is only killing their temporal bodies, they would die anyway.

So will we all. "They would die anyway" has never gotten anybody off the hook for killing anything.

It is the way things were done in the ancient world, this is just an example of the Israelites doing the normal thing.

So in this case, it was all right--even commanded by God--that they be like the heathen nations around them. I submit to you that they were just like them in every other way, as well--up to and including creating their own God/gods. After all, it was the "normal thing," wasn't it? (Or were the gods of the surrounding nations real, after all? Or do you really believe that their gods were figments of their imaginations, but JHWH was real?)

The "genocide" was actually religicide and the genocide part was coincidental. The religicide was necessary to preserve the true faith from corruption.

Nazi.

The entire thing was the idea of humans and afterwards to justify it they made up the excuse of "God told us to do it".

So far, this is the only statement you've made in this section of the discussion that makes any sense--and I agree because all the nations did this very thing and I see no reason to believe the Israelites were any different. Considering the atrocities they committed in the name of their "loving and just" god, we have plenty of reason to believe he was a figment of their imagination.

I made the statement that you "must believe that God's plan changed between the old covenant and the new," you said "I understand it, I don't have to believe anything of the sort, and don't (although that might depend on exactly what you mean by "plan" and "changed")." Then you didn't point out how you understand things or why I'm wrong. Please do.

I believe that God is loving and "desires that all should be saved" (1 Timothy 2:4). Whatever interpretation is given with regard to judgement and Hell it must be non-contradictory with that.

I get the impression that you aren't sure what the bible has to say on this subject, but whatever you read, you begin with the premise that it cannot contradict itself. If it does, there must be some logical explanation.

I await your logical explanation.

Paul says "God has overlooked the times when people did not know him, but now he commands all of them everywhere to turn away from their evil ways." (Acts 17:30)

What's your point? Does this mean that they all got to go to heaven, since God overlooked all evil before Xst? Hm. If this is the case, the "new law" is actually a downgrade.

When I'm not deviating from what are commonly held beliefs I don't normally bother to back it up from scripture.

Commonly-held beliefs need substantiation, too. Particularly when one is demonstrating the internal consistency of one's belief system to an atheist.

And Tercel, thank you for your kind (albeit vague) reading suggestions, but you miss my point. By my asking you questions about your faith, I give you to opportunity to defend the reasonableness of your belief system. If you cannot support your beliefs consistently, I suspect your beliefs will not change, but there is a remote possibility that you will at least understand why atheists do not believe.

For this reason, recommending (no book in particular) serves no purpose. I want to know what you believe. Unless you've written a book explaining your beliefs, please do not respond to my questions by telling me to go to the library. Thank you.

diana
 
Old 07-02-2001, 05:20 PM   #30
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Tercel:
Quote:
Orginally posted by sighhswolf:
Tercel,
I am not attacking you personally, but I cant understand how you can claim to be Christian, and yet question the Bibles validity, or the transcriptions.</font>
Quite easily: I open my mouth and say "I'm a Christian" .
On a more serious note: What do you think a Christian is?
I'm probably not too far wrong in guessing that what pops into your head when I ask this question is an image of an evangelistic "bible bashing fundie". Since you wonder how I can call myself "a Christian" and yet believe the Bible is errant I think I can safely take it that you've had a good deal of exposure to the fundamentalists and not many other Christians.

I believe in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. I believe in Christ's redeeming death on the cross at the hands of Pilate. I believe in His physical resurrection. I believe in quite a large number of other things which could only be termed "Christian", eg Virgin Birth, the Devil, Angels, the Fall, the Second Coming etc.
I go to Church every week (where possible), I pray and read the Bible often.
Am I a Christian? -What else can I possibly call myself?

I still remember when I was first introduced to contradictions in the Bible. I was quite young at the time, perhaps 13 or 14 or so. We were studying the first part of Acts and we read the bit about Judas' death (Acts 1:18-19). I seemed to recall learning that Judas had died by hanging. Sure enough in Matthew 27:3-8 there was an account of his death by hanging. I was merely rather pleased with myself that I had remembered correctly and didn't even consider at the time the implications of this. I showed it to my instructor (who was perhaps the most "Christian" man I've ever met - it's not that he showed excessive faith [well he probably had it but, that's not the main point] - it's that he lived it through his devotion and time he put into others and caring for them) and pointed out the contradiction to him. He did not come over faint, nor did he seem particularly worried (Now I look back on it I suspect he was probably pleased at this opportunity to teach me). I do not honestly remember his exact words but he told me that yes there were contradictions and mistakes and it was something that I would need to one day come to terms with myself. (He didn't even try to hedge in an attempt to reconcile them or say he would get back later with a solution. I have seen since a semi-convincing argument to reconcile that particular passage and I have no doubt that had he told that to me I would have accepted it, if only because it came from him. But he didn't.) He did not seem particularly worried and I put my Bible away and almost completely forgot about the whole thing.

I have simply been brought up without the belief that the Bible is Inerrant. My first real exposure to such a belief was not until a few years later when I first read a book which tried to prove that the Bible was Inerrant. You can guess that I was not impressed.

As far as I can since trace it, Inerrancy seems to be a very modern belief confined in a large part to America (I am not American so that might explain my lack of exposure to it somewhat). There seems to be very little indication that the idea of Inerrancy was even thought of by the early Church - the Nicene Creed contains no line saying "I believe the Bible to be without flaw and to be the Inerrant Word of God". There are a few verses in the Bible that are otfen argued to imply Inerrancy, but that is certainly up for debate and I think the solution of a more vague and undefined divine inspiration fits the puzzle a lot better. If it really comes down to it, I don't believe the writers of the Bible nor the early Church were silly enough to believe in a doctrine, which as I see it, is demonstratably false.

Getting back to the original question: Since I question the Bible's validity how can I call myself a Christian?
One strange theory I encounter time after time when talking to people is a belief that the Bible must be either Inerrant (Written personally by God, flawless, without any contradiction or error) or Errant (Completely wrong and worthless, should be taken with a grain of salt, can't trust a single line). Put like this the theory looks stupid (or it should) yet it seems to be ingrained in the minds of most people who have had a large amount of contact with Inerrantists (the Inerrantists included). I have never properly understood why... ~shrugs~
Surely there is a whole scale from mostly correct through generally correct through correct in places through occasionally close to being correct all between the extremes of Inerrant and Errant?
Or so I think anyway.
I do not believe that the Bible is Inerrant, but that in no way equates with "I think the Bible is worthless" and is not even remotely close to it.
Let me give you an example: the Newspaper. Is everything in the Newspaper always inerrant and completely accurate? I doubt there's a Newspaper in the world egotistical enough to try out that claim. Yet if you read in the Newspaper that Bush said such and such, you probably believe it, why? After all, haven't you just admitted that the Newspaper is ERRANT? How can you possibly believe anything it says?
I hope this kind of logic is looking sufficiently silly by now - I can give you a few more examples though if you haven't got the point yet.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">The Christians I have known will quote the following verse when there is a question of the errors.

Proverbs 30
Verse 5- "Every word of God is flawless;he is a shield to those who take refuge in him".</font>
I see nothing wrong with this verse: Everything done by God is flawless, it's fairly basic theology. The Christians quoting this are trying to equate the Bible with the direct word of God and I disagree with this.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Being a non-believer, and a questioner
of written Biblical text, I would say that the above statement in proverbs, is contridicted in Jeremiah 8-8;
"How can you say,"We are wise, for we have the law of the Lord", when actually the LYING PEN of the scribes has handled it falsely?"</font>
I understand what you mean here, but as I am not an Inerrantist I don't find it particularly worrying. I doubt even many Inerrantists would be worried as most of them are prepared to allow that errors may occur in both copying and translation.
However I have to disagree with you on one point: I don't think it is a contradiction with the quoted passage from Proverbs.
I have just checked a commentary and without doing an extensive study on the matter, I think the meaning of the passage is somewhat ambiguous.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">You say that errors in the Biblical text are irrelevant, and do not have a bearing on your belief in God's existence and Jesus' atonement for mankind's sin, and his subsequent ressurection.</font>
I didn't say that errors are irrelevant. I said Inerrancy is irrelevant. If the Bible couldn't ever go two verses without undeniably contradicting itself or being in serious error with an external source then it's fairly safe to say that I wouldn't be a Christian. (An exercise for you: Do some research in how accurate the writer of Luke/Acts was in regard to names and the (constantly changing) titles of rulers)
But whether I believe that every single word is from God or whether the Bible is just generally accurate seems to have very little bearing on the issue of whether there was a resurrection.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">It seems to be a contridiction in terms.

Tell me what other source you can go to for
the explanation of God's relationship with mankind?

If you admit that there are questionable parts of the Bible,then you are admitting that Christianity may be in error all together.</font>
I certainly admit that there are questionable parts of the Bible. I question the following parts on a fairly regular basis: The first part of Genesis, selective parts of Matthew, and Revelation.
There are also parts of the Bible which I find all but unquestionable: Luke, John, Acts and Paul's letters. (Yes, I am aware of the occasional contradiction in and between these. No, I don't need to be provided of a large list of alledged contradictions)
What we call "The Bible" is simply the name for a rather diverse group of writings which range from very authorative to (in my opinion) somewhat dodgy.
I certain fail to see why questioning parts of the Bible (a thing which has been down by Christians and Christian writers ever since it was written) is related to questioning Christianity at all. Certainly there have been people who have dismantled the Bible and found it seriously wanting yet still been perfectly good Christians. (If you want an example, ask Metacrock to tell you a story about a book he once read)

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Its just MHO, but It would seem that you cannot have it both ways, either you believe that the Bible is the written word of God as Christianity teaches, or you believe there is error in the recorded word that is the basis for ALL christian doctrine.</font>
The second. Although I personally would not use the words "recorded word" as it implies a greater input from God than I am willing to allow based on the evidence.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">If you state that there could be errors, then you are discounting the Christian belief system's basic premise.</font>
And what basic premise would that be? Is this another attempt by an atheist to tell me what I believe? (It's actually amusing how wierd it can get: On another board this week I got told that Christians believed that anyone who had never heard of Jesus went to Hell. I thought that this was a rather novel idea myself.)

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Christianity says that even if the word of God was not written by his own hand, that the writers were divinely guided as to the material they recorded.

So, there should be no errors.</font>
I take it this is your "basic premise". What you have just stated is pretty much the basic premise of Inerrancy, NOT Christianity.
I do not believe the Bible to be the "Word of God", I believe in "divine inspiration" which is rather more sutably vague: It allows me to have my cake and eat it too depending on which I'd rather do at the time.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">
[....]
If we are to take literally as many Christians say,the Bible to be truely the word of God, given directly to the scribes through divine revelation, or through the power of the Holy Spirit, and this document contains many examples of deception, then there exists a contridiction or immense proportion with regard to the doctrine of Christianity, and the actual recorded word of God.</font>
Well it's simple, don't take the Bible as the actual recorded word of God, it solves any number of otherwise difficult/impossible problems.

-Tercel
Ok, so Tercel you are not a
Christian Fundamentalist, check that-
an American Christian Fundamentalist, please forgive me for assuming something about you,
without proper information.

No Tercel, I would never try to tell you what you believe or what you SHOULD believe. I would never tell you that your beliefs were wrong. And I certainly
would not quote Bible verse after Bible verse, or interject my personal opinions in an effort to make it sound as though I have
some knowledge that you do not have, either
through ignorance or apathy.

And I guess that is what seperates me and my
views from the views of Christianity.

For the record, every single person who reads the "Bible" can and usually does interpret the words in their own way, but very few will allow themselves to question
the contridictions found there.

Where Christianity makes a terrible mistake
is in the use of Iconic representatives
of GOD, who will tell their poor little lost sheep exactly what they want them to read into the verses. The average Christian is "Spoon Fed" the gospels from the time that they are able to understand the spoken word.

These are the very same people who will argue
point after point the same way, it is the
word of God and as such it has to be true.

The Christians that I have been associated with, fail to realize that ANYTHING that is written by humans, is subject to untruth, deceptions, the interjection of personal opinion, and tainted by the thought of some form of gain, whether that gain is wealth,possessions or the accumulation of power.

Just because the Catholic Council of Carthage decided 300 years after the death of the so-called Messiah to assemble this book from unidentified, unsubstantiated sources and called them "Gospels" doesnt make them divinely inspired and never will.


I will say that it is refreshing to hear a
"Christian" say he doesnt believe every single word of the Bible. I have always had more respect for people who take an objective look at the evidence and then formulate thoughts based on honest questions
and plausible explanations, not strict doctrine.

But you must remember that you are not the
"poster boy" for Christianity, in fact you would be called a "heretic" in many of the organized faiths here in the "Bible Belt"
of the US.

It has never ceased to amaze me that there are over 20,000 sects of Christianity worldwide, and they cannot agree
on exactly what their Holy Book actually says.

I think the original question was does God
in fact change his mind?
Does he in fact change the rules?
Did he change the rules?
It really depends on who you are speaking with at the time you ask the question as to the response you will recieve.

If you ask Christian Fundamentalists, the answer is that every word in the Bible is true and that "God is the same, yesterday,
today and forever". simple. Never changing,
and remaining steadfast throughout time.

If you ask New Reformed Christian sects, or some of the protestants, they will say that
Jesus death on the cross started a new era,
a new covenant between God and man.
They will say that the Old Testament, no longer applies in the new covenant.

If you talk to the Jewish people, they will tell you without a doubt, that there has been no change in Gods relationship with man since the he created the universe.

If you were to speak with a strong Catholic
they will say that Jesus death changed Gods relationship with man, and that the Old Testament is more of a history lesson of Gods
dealings with the Ancient Hebrews.
A story of the trials and tribulations of an Ancient people. The commandments given do not change, but the way of our salvation has changed.

If you speak with the "new" Catholics, they will say that "Evil" now is thought to be in the "heart" of every person, and that the idea of Satan as an actual physical force that can effect the individual is no longer
the doctrine of the church. They have even done away with the Exorcists trained by the vatican, saying they are no longer needed.


Does this mean that God changed his mind?
Does this shift indicate that God has a new opinion of his dark alter ego, Satan?

Or does it mean that the Iconic representatives of God, the priests have decided that Satan is no longer a real physical force in this world?

If the leaders of the various faiths can change the word of God to meet the current trend in theology, does this mean that GOD changed his mind?

Or does it mean that the power source, Gods representatives on earth from the Pope on down to the lowest country preacher, can make changes in the accepted doctrines and redefine the terms of religion as they please?


Does God change his mind? Why would he?
Why would an all-powerful, divine God ever give consideration to changing his mind?

It is my understanding that God has a "Divine
Plan". He supposedly has put into motion a plan for the salvation of mankind beginning from the time of the creation and comencing with the fall of Adam and Eve.

Of course this to is dependent upon who you are speaking with and their particular religious background.

The argument eventually will revert to the Nature of God.
It always does, when the subject of a change in the relationship between God and man is discussed.

In the area of Gods relationship with man,
one of the most telling verses in the entire Bible explains that relationship very well.

"The Lord was greived that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain".

So, the Lord was upset with his creation, he was not happy with the results of his work, he may have made a mistake.

He may have made a mistake.....a mistake..
an error in judgement?
Could this be so?

So what do you do when you make a mistake?
You kill every human on the planet except for one family, and start over.

A simplistic way of putting it, but pretty much the truth, AS THE BIBLE SAYS...
Ok so what are we talking about here?
Are we saying that as Christians you guys are able to take what you want to believe from the Bible and discard the rest?

Are you no longer bound by the "word"?
I mean it's been a long time since I was in seminary, but I was never given a choice to take what I wanted to believe and to heck with the rest.

Wolf
 
 

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