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Old 03-09-2001, 09:29 PM   #31
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Excellent work Layman. At the minimum, the reasonable skeptic should be able to accept the NT as AN evidence for the life and teachings of Jesus. The one community which possessed the greatest need for skepticism, the church, has accepted these eyewitness testimonies from the beginning. Not to mention that the documents themselves make the claim clearly enough. My personal favorite is this bit from John, eyewitness to the resurrection of Jesus from the dead:

"That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched- this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ." 1John1:1-3
 
Old 03-10-2001, 07:29 AM   #32
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by Teutonic:
Polycarp, I have tons more ideas and questions! What is your faith background?

I'll start with this last question you asked, as it might help make better sense of my answers. I grew up in a relatively conservative Pentecostal Christian home. Pentecostals are those people who speak in tongues; don't drink, dance, or smoke, etc. About the time I was a teenager I started having all these questions about Christianity. However, when I asked these questions the usual answer was, “You just need to have faith”. That seemed like a lame answer to me. By the time I was in high school, I had pretty much decided Christianity was bogus.

So, I started searching for the truth on my own. I read arguments for atheism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, etc. I spent a few years not really knowing what I believed. It was only after I did this that I ran across some books and met some people who actually had answers to those questions about Christianity that I’d been asking as a teen-ager. After doing a lot of reading and questioning, I concluded that Christianity was true. It wasn’t the same Christianity (based entirely on experience) I’d known as a kid. Instead, it was something that I actually believed was TRUE. It wasn’t a feeling or something. It was real…


Thanks for your answers to my tough questions. But, it doesn't seem right for God to have information included in the Bible that is either just wrong, or is wrong because of someone's misunderstanding. How can we, 100 years or 2000 years later know? Know what to believe? If this is an element of salvation, it should be more certain, don't you think?

Yeah, I agree with you here. But let me add something. I don't think salvation is based on some sort of theology exam. In other words, when we die I don't think god gives us this piece of paper with 50 questions on it and we have to answer 35 of them correctly in order to get into heaven. God judges people on their hearts and intentions. If someone is HONESTLY looking for god, and not just trying to find something that makes them feel good, then I think god respects that.

Does this mean that god let's us believe anything we want ? No, I don't think so. Certain things are essential to salvation. We have to recognize that we screwed things up and that we're sorry for doing so. We also need to recognize that god gave us a messenger in Jesus. God saw that humans were in pretty rough shape, so he sent us a human just like us to give us an example of how we SHOULD live. Its learning by example.

The example that Jesus gave us is that we are in this world to serve god. We serve him by serving others. Jesus basically said, "You guys are doing this all wrong. You need to recognize that you're doing it wrong and admit it. Now, here's how it should be done." He becomes friends with the social outcasts. He serves others - the orphans, widows, and poor. He always puts others before himself.

In effect, the basic message of Jesus was like this: He said, "Your priorities are wrong. Right now your priorities are:

1. Self
2. God
3. Others (or maybe 2 & 3 reversed)

But they SHOULD be like this:

1. God
2. Others
3. Self

He didn't just tell us what to do. He SHOWED us. The only things I see as being essential to salvation are:
1. Recognizing the error of our ways and wanting to change.
2. Recognizing Jesus as an authority to speak for god, and as an example for how to live our lives in the way god desires us to live.

See, I grew up believing that the Bible is literally true.

Yep, I still believe in Creation too... call me a hick, but I just can't believe that everything we see around us just happened over time. Not a scientific reason, but that's what I think. Therefore, there must be a reason we're here, but why would God make us and then fool us and then condemn those who don't quite get it?


I, too, grew up believing the Bible is literally true. I also believe in creation, but I don't think this is one of those essential areas necessary for salvation. It gets back to my theology test example. God isn't going to ask us, "How old is the universe? Did I create it? If so, how did I create it?" God isn't concerned with our exact answers to those questions.

There are so many good reasons for believing that the universe was created by a very powerful being. So many, in fact, that it seems far more likely that it was created than that it sprang from nothing.

I don't think god condemns people for not having all of the exactly correct beliefs. We'll find him when we, "seek him with all our hearts". It doesn't say we'll find him when we set up all of these conditions he'll have to meet; OR that we'll find him when we come across some beliefs that make us feel good. I believe that god reveals himself in some way to those who honestly are trying to find him.

Read Acts 17:16-34. Its a long passage so I won't quote it here. But when you read it, think about these things:

The whole point that Paul is trying to make is that before Jesus lived people had always been seeking to find god. They had vague concepts of him, but not a full understanding. These people in Athens to whom Paul is speaking believed in so many gods that they even built an altar to "an unknown god" in case they missed one (verse 23). Paul tells them that god has now fully revealed himself in the person of Jesus so there is no longer any excuse for ignorance (verse 29-31). Also read verse 27 where Paul talks about people having to seek after god in order to find him.

And where did the concept of Holiness come from if God is or was all that ever is or was that existed? Are you saying that as a perfect entity, spirit being, omni-everything, that God thought, geez, sex w/out marriage is WRONG. I mean, where does this stuff come from?

Holiness is part of god's nature. Its an attribute of god that has existed for as long as he has.

The whole basis of morality involves relationship. There can't be morality without some connection between us and someone or something else. For example, morality could involve the relationship between me and my friend, or god, or the environment, or anyone else. Here's how the sex/marriage issue ties into this...

God knows that sex is a powerful thing. As with all powerful things, we need to be aware of the potential dangers AND benefits of the "thing" in question. When two people have sex there is the potential to have children and there is also a strong emotional connection among other things. What if sex leads to a child? What if sex leads to a disease? What if sex leads to a strong emotional attachment?

Now, think about what it would be like if everyone ONLY had sex within marriage. Wouldn't this eliminate or greatly reduce a bunch of problems? AIDS and STD's would decrease dramatically. We wouldn't have all of these single women trying to raise their kids alone because the father is gone or with another woman who he had kids with.

So god didn't tell us not to have sex outside marriage just to keep us from having a little fun. He did it so that it would be more fun !!! You won't have to worry about whether or not you'll get some disease, and you'll know that the emotional bond that comes from sex can continue to grow. God is simply telling us that sex will work so much better if we just follow these guidelines.


And - I read, and you can correct me if what I read was wrong - that the Adultery in the 10 Cs affected a guy who was with a married woman, but not a married man with a single woman because of property rights.. wives were the property of the man. It still happens in many middle-east countries today...


Jesus directly addresses this topic in Mark 10:1-10. In verse 5, he explains how the divorce and marriage rules given by Moses were given because people's "hearts were hard". Jesus clearly believed that marriage should be between one man and one woman, and that women were far more than property.

Wow !!! We've covered a lot of ground. I'd be happy to answer any questions you have. If you'd rather send me a private e-mail, you're certainly welcome to do so. Or we can keep discussing this right here. Whatever works best for you is fine with me.

My address is: polycarp1@crosswalkmail.com

Take care,

Polycarp
 
Old 03-10-2001, 04:25 PM   #33
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by irenaeus:
Excellent work Layman. At the minimum, the reasonable skeptic should be able to accept the NT as AN evidence for the life and teachings of Jesus. The one community which possessed the greatest need for skepticism, the church, has accepted these eyewitness testimonies from the beginning. Not to mention that the documents themselves make the claim clearly enough. My personal favorite is this bit from John, eyewitness to the resurrection of Jesus from the dead:

"That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched- this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ." 1John1:1-3
</font>
Why should anyone believe the words of an ancient religious propagandist? This is a serious, sincere question.

rodahi

 
Old 03-10-2001, 05:52 PM   #34
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"Why should anyone believe the words of an ancient religious propagandist? This is a serious, sincere question."

Why should I take the word of a poster on the sec web site that the author of 1 John was just a propagandist?
 
Old 03-10-2001, 06:44 PM   #35
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Layman:
And I see you have used, once again, your bait and switch. I argue that the New Testament itself, with its multiple attestations, is strong evidence for the existence of Jesus. You counter by saying that it doesn't prove his divinity. In short, I was arguing for the bare minimum, and instead of conceding this one simple point, you say that it fails to prove the absolute maximum.

Clever, and somewhat pathetic.
</font>
Even if we accept that we have multiple independent attestations -- not that I do -- they are proof of nothing.

However, I do concede that you are right here. I did switch dances on you.

The NT could be an evidence of Jesus. I accept it as such: evidence. However, I also look at other factors. Since we have already gone round and round, I see no need to dance that dance again.

Michael
 
Old 03-10-2001, 10:33 PM   #36
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by rodahi:

Why should anyone believe the words of an ancient religious propagandist? This is a serious, sincere question.</font>
I am curious rodahi, is your question predicated on the assumption that a believer in Jesus as the Messiah cannot be trusted? On what evidence do you base this conclusion, especially regarding the authors of the NT Canons (not just John, but also Paul, Mark, Matt, Luke, Peter, ect.)?

I am seriously curious here.

Nomad
 
Old 03-11-2001, 01:48 AM   #37
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">The New Testament is not a monolithic document prepared in a controlled environment by one person, or even one group of Christians. It contains many independent traditions of Jesus from at least Paul, Hebrews, Mark, Q, M, L, John, and James.</font>
How are these "evidence"? They all contradict each other; or have obscure origins; or historical flaws; or were written decades after the event happened; or are merely Christians repeating second-hand information.
Your arguement rests on a bunch of incoherent sources, all with a heavy predisposition towards Christianity, claiming Jesus did miracles, all based on second-hand information; and all with no real independent confirmation of their claims. How is this "evidence" for the divinity of Jesus?
 
Old 03-11-2001, 12:10 PM   #38
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by Polycarp:
Hi,
I'm new to the board and the topic but I will try to learn as well add the bit I new.
Polycarp the 2 references to Jesus by Josephus are very highly disputed. The first Josephus, Antiquities 18.63 says of him as someone who did miracles which is very unusual from josephus and the second refers to James as brother of Jesus
Josephus, Antiquities 20.9.1
which is impossible because you refer to people as son of...not brother of. On top of that Origine the father of the church wrote in the 3rd century based on a copy of Josephus that we sure enough don't have that also had another addition in which Josephus also says that it is as punishment for the execution of James that Jerusalem and the temple are destroyed. Now Origene worked himself from a manipulated copy of Josephus?
Even the encyclopedia catholica recognizes that the first paragraph was not known to Origine and the other church fathers. It was first mentionned by Euzebius who himself recognized manipulating texts.
As per Tacitus, you literally thought that he was closer to the truth than us which is true if we are really dealing with him. But the first copy of Tacitus Codex Laurentianus was found in the 14th century and offered to Leon X Jean de medicis. So we are not dealing with a first hand document add to it that Tacitus referred to Ponce Pilate as the Procurator when there is a document a stella found in 1961 in Cesaree with the following Inscripriton
Tiberium
Pontius Pilatus
Praefectus Judaea
If Tacite didn't know that pilate was a prefet how can he be that reliable.
I also have a question how can somebody who didn't like christians refer to Jesus as christ not as Jesus or Joshua? Why did tacitus refers to christ bear in mind that the copy that we have is from the 14th century.
As I said above I'm only a book reader
Thanks

 
Old 03-11-2001, 01:10 PM   #39
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Layman:
"Why should anyone believe the words of an ancient religious propagandist? This is a serious, sincere question."

Why should I take the word of a poster on the sec web site that the author of 1 John was just a propagandist?
</font>
You didn't answer my question.

rodahi
 
Old 03-11-2001, 02:08 PM   #40
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Nomad:
I am curious rodahi, is your question predicated on the assumption that a believer in Jesus as the Messiah cannot be trusted? On what evidence do you base this conclusion, especially regarding the authors of the NT Canons (not just John, but also Paul, Mark, Matt, Luke, Peter, ect.)?

I am seriously curious here.

Nomad
</font>
I am not sure whether the NT writers can be trusted or not, but there is good reason not to take them at face value.

With respect to the gospel narratives, Christian scholar, Francis Wright Beare, former Professor of New Testament Studies at Trinity College, Toronto, states: "All the Gospels are anonymous documents, and nothing is known of the authors. The traditional names attached to them are second-century guesses. If we continue to speak of them by the names of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, it is simply for the sake of convenience." The Earliest Records of Jesus, P. 13. If the gospel attributed to John is anonymous, then so is the letter commonly known as 1 John. "The author of 1 John does not mention his name...This letter has a twofold purpose: to deepen the spiritual life of its readers and to correct the heretical views of certain gnostic teachers..." The New Oxford Annotated Bible, P. 1484.

Frans Neirynck says, "Each of the four Gospels has its own individuality. Redaction criticism and narrative analysis uncover differences of language, style, and composition, differing theological concepts, and differing authorial intentions. Their anonymity is a common characteristic. The present superscriptions (Gospel according to Matthew, etc.) were affixed at an early stage of the tradition..." The Oxford Companion to the Bible, P. 259.

Also, Howard Clark Kee has this to say: "Our contemporary common-sense view of the historicity leads us to search for objective evidence, preserved and reported if possible by impartial observers of the events which we are seeking to investigate. When we approach the events connected with the life of Jesus and the beginnings of Christianity with these procedures in mind, however, the results are disappointing. Nearly all the evidence that we have to go on has been preserved by partisan observers and is to be found within the New Testament itself...[The gospels] are in the truest sense of the term propaganda literature." Understanding the New Testament, pp. 54-55.

Why should we trust anonymous Christian propagandists?

rodahi

 
 

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