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Old 11-07-2001, 09:22 AM   #21
Pantera
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Originally posted by Layman:
<STRONG>I've been enjoying the Skeptics Annotated Bible. Is this really where skeptics go to learn about the Bible? Or is the whole thing a joke?</STRONG>
Somewhere in between, but possibly more the latter than the former. The SAB throws a lot of mud, some of which sticks, some of which doesn't. I only really use it if I'm looking for a particular verse and don't remember where it is - there's a good chance that the footnotes will make it easier to find.
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Old 11-07-2001, 09:38 AM   #22
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Originally posted by Quatermass:
How can you be sure that your interpretation is any different from the explanations given for other failed second coming predictions throughout church history?
Vague and amgibuous. How can I answer this without any specific references or context? I can't.

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There are problematic sayings attributed to Jesus in the gospels that give the impression that he expected the divine end of human history in his or his followers’ lifetimes. To ignore this is to overly simplify the problem.
The idea of the Kingdom is a complex one. Many scholars opt for the "now/not yet" idea. I tend to agree with them.
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Old 11-07-2001, 09:43 AM   #23
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Originally posted by Proud atheist:
[QB]I've never seen the SAB either.

I asume that it covers all of the Bible and therefore there will be a lot of comments in it. So given the small number of "doubtful" comments that Layman has come up with (and he hasn't argued against some of them convincingly) there must be an awful lot still left that are beyond dispute
A provided a sampling to be sure, but I think these examples show that the SAB isn't really a serious piece of work. No doubt he does comment on some serious contradictions or difficulties. But the major problem I see with his "work" is that he's radically overbroad and invents problems that aren't there.

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And only one side is claiming 100% accuracy.
Not all of one side. Many sincere Christians are not inerrantists.

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So tell me Layman, on the balance of probabilities, who is most likely right
I've read much better commentary from Christians than I have seen in the SBA. But then it doesn't seem that many other people take him seriously either. Which is part of what I wanted to find out.
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Old 11-07-2001, 10:13 AM   #24
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Layman

You are, I think, mistaking the intent and actual usage of the SAB. The SAB does not appear to be intended as a proof of the falsity of the bible, but as a resource (with an unashamedly strong unbelieving bias) for people investigating the truth or falsity of the bible.

In practice, I have never seen the conclusions of the SAB used as an expert source for scholarly conclusions.

The SAB is exactly what it claims to be: An annotated reference. If someone is claiming a contradiction, I can usually go to SAB and quickly locate the source material using their annotation. If I want to make a particular about contradictions, absurdities or atrocities, I can go to SAB and get a laundry list of potential material as a starting point. Because it attempts to be more exhaustive than thorough, it's going to have false positives. But since I am not assigning any particular expert authority to their annotations this is not a particular problem.

In short, you appear to criticize the SAB for failing to fulfill a role it was not intended and does not claim to fulfill. Indeed, I am uncertain what conclusion you intend your readers to draw, other than the obvious and trivial conclusion that the SAB is not a scholarly work.
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Old 11-07-2001, 03:53 PM   #25
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Originally posted by SingleDad:
You are, I think, mistaking the intent and actual usage of the SAB. The SAB does not appear to be intended as a proof of the falsity of the bible, but as a resource (with an unashamedly strong unbelieving bias) for people investigating the truth or falsity of the bible.
Quite impossible. I can't be mistaking the intent of the SAB, because part of what I am trying to figure out is just what that intent is.

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In practice, I have never seen the conclusions of the SAB used as an expert source for scholarly conclusions.
Good to hear.

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The SAB is exactly what it claims to be: An annotated reference. If someone is claiming a contradiction, I can usually go to SAB and quickly locate the source material using their annotation. If I want to make a particular about contradictions, absurdities or atrocities, I can go to SAB and get a laundry list of potential material as a starting point. Because it attempts to be more exhaustive than thorough, it's going to have false positives. But since I am not assigning any particular expert authority to their annotations this is not a particular problem.
Actually, this is what I was hoping. How skeptics view it and why.

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In short, you appear to criticize the SAB for failing to fulfill a role it was not intended and does not claim to fulfill. Indeed, I am uncertain what conclusion you intend your readers to draw, other than the obvious and trivial conclusion that the SAB is not a scholarly work.
To the extent I'm criticizing it I am doing so on its poor annotations. The SAB is obviously not a scholarly work. But it also appears to be a decidedly, and unreasonably, overbroad work.

[ November 07, 2001: Message edited by: Layman ]
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Old 11-07-2001, 04:19 PM   #26
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Originally posted by Jack the Bodiless:
[QB]Layman: the SAB is intended to be the definitive list of all known Biblical errors, contradictions, absurdities and so forth. And, yes, some are better than others: it would be incomplete if some were omitted, but the inclusion of the weaker ones does "dilute" the better ones. It is a common tactic for apologists to explain away a few easy ones and then dismiss the whole thing (as you are attempting to do).
I disagree with the characterization of the SAB "all known" errors or contradictions. It's obviously much more than that. It clearly contains several annotations that are just plain unfounded. Any "freethinker" should laugh at them, not throw them out there and hope that some stick.

I'm not attempting to dismiss the entire SAB, I've been trying to figure out just how its used and abused by skeptics. The author obviously just cobbled together everything he could think up, without appyling any critical thinking. I'm sure some of his info comes from more critical and informed sources, but obviously much of it does not.

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I prefer to select groups of contradictions that strike at key aspects of Christian doctrine, such as SAB Contradiction 151, "Are we punished for the sins of others".
I appreciate that you tend to be more selective. The SAB, however, does not. I guess it strikes me as somewhat petty in its distortions. Obviously it can be useful in some instances. I've received good info. from fundamentalist sources, but many of their arguements are unpersuasive.

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The "Second Coming" prophecies are a major problem for Christianity. Here's a selection from the SAB's "False Prophecies" section:

There are only three events that such passages could be referring to: the Resurrection, the establishment of the "Kingdom of God" by the Emperor Constantine, and the end of the world. Gospel prophecies might concievably be referring to the Resurrection, but not those from sources such as Paul, written later. And nobody alive then would have lived long enough to see the Roman Empire become Christian under Constantine.
These verses do require explanation. The SAB offers one short line. And, as far as the specific passage referenced goes, an inaccurate annotation. There is widespread disagreement on what the "Kingdom" would entail, but I am not one of those who believes it only means the end of the world. I think Jesus was establishing the Kingdom on earth through his actions here, and especially, through his Resurrection.
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Old 11-07-2001, 04:21 PM   #27
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Originally posted by Jebus:
<STRONG>Take Mark 9:1 within the entire context of what Jesus preached about the Kingdom of God and it's clear he was conveying all over the place that the Kingdom of God was coming to Earth SOON. Those who came after him preached the exact same message.</STRONG>
The annotation doesn't even refer to the "entire context," and the coming of the Kingdom does not necessarily mean the literal destruction of the Earth.
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Old 11-07-2001, 04:27 PM   #28
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Originally posted by The Guy:
The transfiguration as described did not involve any angels, nor the judgment of the human race. If you saw a similar passage in a holy book that you did not believe in, would you not be inclined to believe that it was indeed a false prophecy?
But Jesus' resurrection did involve angels. And it's very possible that the promise that some would see Jesus "coming" in his Kingdom, arranged sequentially as it was just before the Transfiguration, meant that some would see a preview of what was to come. Whether that was the Resurrection or the Second Coming. To some extent, Jesus is unclear on these events Himself, as he admits to not knowing the time.
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Old 11-07-2001, 08:26 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally posted by Layman:
Vague and amgibuous. How can I answer this without any specific references or context? I can't.
Vague and ambiguous describes most biblical prophecy as well. What I meant was you can always interpret a statement as meaning something else – after the fact. My church taught that Jesus had to return within one generation of the re-establishment of the nation Israel. Amazingly enough, the interpretation changed after 1988. The gospels provide settings for sayings attributed to Jesus. It is just as easy to suggest that the legendary transfiguration story was added to ‘explain’ some problematic statements. I can see that you disagree with the SAB on this particular point but when the same words are used to convey an eschatological message outside the context of the transfiguration or the resurrection, it seems you are trying to avoid the issue.

Quote:
Originally posted by Layman:
The idea of the Kingdom is a complex one. Many scholars opt for the "now/not yet" idea. I tend to agree with them.
Yes, it is complex and you can make it fit whatever happened.
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Old 11-07-2001, 08:32 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally posted by Layman:
<STRONG>

But Jesus' resurrection did involve angels. And it's very possible that the promise that some would see Jesus "coming" in his Kingdom, arranged sequentially as it was just before the Transfiguration, meant that some would see a preview of what was to come. Whether that was the Resurrection or the Second Coming. To some extent, Jesus is unclear on these events Himself, as he admits to not knowing the time.</STRONG>
I know I am getting off topic here, but Jesus was clear that he did not know the day or the hour of his return, so we are in agreement there. But he did say that we would know the seasons. And a literal reading of the gospels strongly implies that he expected his return to be within the lifetimes of his disciples.

So the SAB might have not elaborated on Mark 9:1 to your satisfaction... but the problem he brings up with the text is valid.
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