FRDB Archives

Freethought & Rationalism Archive

The archives are read only.


Go Back   FRDB Archives > Archives > Biblical Criticism - 2001
Welcome, Peter Kirby.
You last visited: Today at 05:55 AM

Notices

 
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 06-06-2001, 03:51 AM   #41
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Post

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by JubalH:
My favorite simple one is this. Both Mohammed and John Smith claimed to set down a bible inspired directly by God. How does one decide those claims are false, but the Gospels are true? And why don't those reasons persuade Moslems and Mormons?</font>
Hi JubalH-

I think I would point out two things (and you wanted Joseph Smith there, not John Smith).

1) As a Christian, I don't claim that the Bible is inspired first, and then try to explain the Bible's relation to history. I am most interested in explicating the history pointed to by possibly fallible documents written by people who claim to all have known a certain person a long time ago.

I find oppositions to this in the Koran, where "The Table Spread" states that Jesus never claimed to be God, but does not rely on oral tradition, much less on eyewitness accounts. Instead, the inspiration of the Koran is held up against the early witness of the Christian documents. The Islamic picture of Jesus depends on buying the inspiration story of the Muslims. The Christian picture of Jesus, on the other hand, depends on the historicity of the claims made by witnesses and traditions.

Similarly, when Joseph Smith asserted his right to retranslate the Bible (the Joseph Smith Translation in LDS Bibles) over and against the textual evidence for the transmission of the New Testament documents, he was making the same kind of claim. The accuracy of his translation hinges on buying the inspiration story, once again.

In this vein, I find it extremely embarrassing for him that he "translated" the Book of Abraham from Egyptian hieroglyphics before they were deciphered from the Rosetta Stone, and since then, scholars of Egyptian have concluded that his explanations of the texts he had (as probably as can be determined) are all wrong and the document he held amounts to little more than a standard Egyptian funereal document. (from No Man Knows My History, by Fawn Brodie, pp. 170-175, 421-423) Here his 'inspiration' is shown up for what it is.

2) There is an interesting point of the Christian story that I think gets overlooked in comparative religion: the Christian faith was founded by men who had utterly doubted it before. They had not only questioned their faith; they had renounced it in public. They had not understood it before Jesus came back, they claimed, being bound to their cultural assumptions (such as the political kingly Messiah). They doubted, and doubting Thomas is only the key example of the phenomenon.

However, I searched utterly in vain for a 'doubt' story in the life of Joseph Smith. From the beginning, he is sure that his special revelation is true (if it ever happened). There is not even mitigating evidence to this point, that I know of. He was confident of the revelation of God, even though it came in a form bizarrely different than a Christian reading of the Bible would lead him to recognize (I am talking about his revelation of the two men, the Father and the Son, both with bodies, in the wood). He never "tests the spirits" as his Christian background might suggest he should.

My knowledge of the reception of the revelation by Mohammed is a bit more sketchy, but I have not heard that he ever doubted the angel revealing the word of God to him. Instead, he submits to the truth flowing through him. More information would be nice.

This all puts me in mind of Paul's warning, "don't let even an angel change this story. It's true like I told it." (cf. Galatians 1:6-9)

I would like some evidence of testing the spirits in the founders of other religions beside Christianity. Otherwise the contrast will stand in even sharper relief.

And in conclusion, Christianity claims to be founded on a fact (after my understanding of 1 Corinthians 15) amenable to investigation by believers and skeptics alike. The cases for Islam and Mormonism are not so amenable, in my opinion. I would be interested in more words on the subject, though.

Cheers,
Dan
 
Old 06-06-2001, 08:07 AM   #42
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Post

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Kosh:
Really? Was he clinically dead? Was it confirmed by a doctor, or several, that
were not involved with him? Funny, you'd
something that would be well publicized.
I've never even heard of the guy.</font>
He went to the funeral of the person. If it was at the funeral, then the doctors had already pronounced the person dead. The people at the funeral had no clue who Smith was. He just showed up while it was going on. Supposedly he grabbed the body out of the coffin and told the person to wake up in the name of Jesus. The people at the funeral witnessed the dead person come back to life. Sounds unbelievable doesn't it? I know I would be freaked out if I was at a funeral and the dead person suddenly came to life after being prayed over.

Smith apparently raised around 23 people from the dead. More people should know about this sort of thing when it happens. The people of his day did write enough about him for future generations to find out.

Did anybody in this discussion know of him before I brought it up?

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> Correct. We're PAST it.</font>
What? Does this mean you've accepted the fact that miracles happen and moved on?
 
Old 06-06-2001, 08:12 AM   #43
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Post

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by LadyShea:
um, don't DOCTOR's revive dead people at times? Are we talking brain death, or simply no pulse? Tru Thinker, if God can raise the dead, there should be plenty of proof, like healing a person hooked up to a machine showing flatline brain function then coming back. I also wonder, if he can raise the dead, how come he can't grow a limb back? Seems easier.</font>
How much more proof do you need if a dead person was raised at his/her funeral?

Now are you asking if God can't grow a limb back? (If I remember correctly, that was one of the miracles God performed through Smith)

 
Old 06-06-2001, 09:04 AM   #44
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Post

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by TrueThinker:
How much more proof do you need if a dead person was raised at his/her funeral?

Now are you asking if God can't grow a limb back? (If I remember correctly, that was one of the miracles God performed through Smith)
</font>
OK TT, if all this happened around 1900,
there should be plenty of documentation of it. Newspaper stories, pictures of the dead
man partying at his own wake. Let's see
the archival evidence for it? Otherwise,
you're just making unverifiable claims to
something that happened 100 years ago (for
which there are conveniently few witnesses).

Give us a reason not to laugh you off the planet.

 
Old 06-06-2001, 09:19 AM   #45
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Post

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by TrueThinker:
How much more proof do you need if a dead person was raised at his/her funeral?

Now are you asking if God can't grow a limb back? (If I remember correctly, that was one of the miracles God performed through Smith)

</font>
And why exactly should we take your word for it???
 
Old 06-06-2001, 11:25 PM   #46
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Smile

Hey Dan. Two things.

First, duh, of course you're right. Joseph Smith.

Second, I've been tied up today and will be again tomorrow. But, you've made some interesting points and I want to respond. Will make every effort to do so before the weekend.

Regards - Jubal
 
Old 06-08-2001, 12:57 AM   #47
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Post

Okie-doke, back to the discussion.

Your first point, Dan, was:
Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">As a Christian, I don't claim that the Bible is inspired first, and then try to explain the Bible's relation to history. I am most interested in explicating the history pointed to by possibly fallible documents written by people who claim to all have known a certain person a long time ago.</font>
Oh, so you're gonna throw me a curve ball, huh? What's a nice mainstream Christian like you doing in a dump like this? Sometimes seems the only theists we get here are looking for Matt. 5:10 brownie points for rasslin' with the infidels.

But, seriously, I understand your point. And, agree. It is not discredited by my proposition. Indeed, I daresay it can't be discredited in any expedient way.

On the other hand, the Bible-as-a-work-of-men view has it's own problems. In particular, it becomes very difficult to establish which parts of the story are fact and which are elaboration. But that's a topic well beyond the scope of this thread.

Which brings me around to your second point. Here you suggest:
Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">There is an interesting point of the Christian story that I think gets overlooked in comparative religion: the Christian faith was founded by men who had utterly doubted it before. They had not only questioned their faith; they had renounced it in public. They had not understood it before Jesus came back, they claimed, being bound to their cultural assumptions (such as the political kingly Messiah). They doubted, and doubting Thomas is only the key example of the phenomenon.</font>
Funny, I look at that same fact and find it one of the most suspicious in the whole story. (Second only to the fact that all the post-resurrection appearances were confined to the inner circle, and followed closely by all the failed "end is near" prophesies.)

The way I figure it, how could the apostles have followed Jesus around for years, seen all those miracles (or whatever subset of them are authentic) and have doubts? To me, this implausible doubt strongly suggests the Gospels are not historical but were written well after the fact as parables.

Which, of course, does not prove (or even suggest) the underlying story didn't happen. Rather, I've always taken it (i.e., even when still a Christian) merely as evidence that the Bible was written by men, not God, upon which we happen to agree.

[This message has been edited by JubalH (edited June 08, 2001).]
 
Old 06-11-2001, 09:21 PM   #48
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Post

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Kosh:
OK TT, if all this happened around 1900,
there should be plenty of documentation of it. Newspaper stories, pictures of the dead
man partying at his own wake. Let's see
the archival evidence for it? Otherwise,
you're just making unverifiable claims to
something that happened 100 years ago (for
which there are conveniently few witnesses).

Give us a reason not to laugh you off the planet.
</font>
Hmm. Silent for almost a week now. I guess
we can start laughing now?

 
Old 06-14-2001, 11:30 AM   #49
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Post

How to discredit the Bible??

The bible is NOT about the biological origin of man, but instead, the Bible is about the creation of God in the mind of men. The "inspired" ideas that brought forth "thus saith the Lord" to Adam, also came into mind with Abraham as "and the word of the Lord came unto me and said.."

..or, one fat Herbrew said to the other fat Herbrew; "hey O man, if we tell this tale long enough more than a few are bound to believe by blind faith alone.." and wouldn't you know it finally became law.. and now look yonder at all the multitudes,kindreds,nations and tongues.. who expanded on that legendary folklore.

 
 

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 12:34 PM.

Top

This custom BB emulates vBulletin® Version 3.8.2
Copyright ©2000 - 2015, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.