Statesboro, GA, USA
I am a nihilist. I believe in nothing, I deny my own existence..but where on earth would that fit in to this discussion?
You're right, it wouldn't fit anywhere. That's why I am skeptical about complete skepticism, and also nihilism. I don't think you really have nothing to say. If the choice comes down to either you or your philosophy, ditch the philosophy I say.
I shouldn't have spoken at all, I suppose. I just think that tolerance is a more beautiful route to take.
Complete nihilism would call "beauty" completely subjective, or even illusory. You are stating that there is a better route to take for everyone (of which I am in agreement), but this doesn't fit nihilism at all. A more beautiful route for who? For all? Then you are stretching the bounds of your subjectivism. Don't apologize for it ... I think you are closer to the truth when your tendency is to speak, not when you say that you have nothing to say, and really don't even exist.
I started with this example because the 1800's were a tumultous time for the church. As luck would have it Darwin's theory was printed, and science, philosophy, and psychology were all beginning to challenge the church's authority.
Perhaps. But my point is that there have been many "tumultuous times" for the Church ... even since its inception. Gnosticism (which is basically Eastern Philosophy) was challenging Church dogma right from the beginning. We read about it in Paul's letters. Then, Arianism, Manicheism, Stoicism, Epicureanism, Renaissance Humanism, Scientism, Materialism, Skepticism, the French Enlightenment, etc ... There have been thinkers throughout Church history who have responded to these philosophies. And there have been those who have responded to those who claim that science has disproven the Bible, or that higher criticism has disproven the Bible, or that Darwin has disproven the Bible. My point is, that the idea that some branches of human study, "began" to challenge the church in the 1800s is humorous. Where have you been in your studies of the previous 1700 years?
The church armed itself with all the tools of modern thought and criticism and seeked to challenge reason with reason and as a result lost many,not all, but many of its clerics before scrapping the idea and banning all it's results and excommunicating its modernist adherents.
What is "modern thought and criticism"? Are you equating this with reason? If you are implying that the church was completely fiedistic until the 1800s, and didn't have reasoning apologists, then you are just plain wrong. You can claim that their reason was faulty, but then we would have to hear your argumentation (on each particular case) before we should accept your conclusion. Also, if you are saying that the Church realized that reason would make unbelievers of all her children, and so abandoned thinking as an apologetic for the Christian Faith, you are also mistaken. You are assuming that all who believe do so violating reason, as if they were believing in Santa Clause, and choose ignorant loyalism over intellectual honesty. Take a look at Augustine, Aquinas, Calvin, Pascal, Francis Bacon, Isaac Newton, to name a few ancients. For more contemporary thinkers, consider Francis Schaeffer, C.S. Lewis, G.K. Chesterton and Alvin Plantiga. I'm not trying to appeal to some intellectual prowess in order to prove that Christianity is true. But it's kind of a false intellectualism on the side of a naturalist, to say that the Church out of desperation in the 1800s tried her hand at thinking, and had to lay it back down to save her mythology. History just doesn't comport with that idea. The church has always had scholars and still does.
Now if you brought forth some particulars to be discussed / challenged, you might better make your case.
Hmmm, alleged inconsistencies? LOL Alleged? Read the 4 gospels and tell me the inconsistencies are alleged.
I have read the gospels, have you? Differences in the Gospels are minor, and they only prove to me that human descriptions of events will not be strictly uniform. I appreciate the realism this provides. In the gospels we have history, not mere theology.
As for the Old testament being devinely inspired well. Biblical and historical analysis have found that many of the tales of the bible existed long before judaism.
No. Many ancient stories and myths have similar literary elements. But it does not follow that the Biblical text was plaigarism, or even that it was influenced by these writings. From everything I've looked at, I've only seen similarities, not conclusive evidence of borrowing.
Consider this quote:
"It is all too easy to run eagerly after superficial parallels which cannot really be sustained under a closer scrutiny. Accordingly, the parallels must have similar ideas underlying them and, second, any suggestion of influence requires that the parallels be numerous, complex and detailed, with a similar conceptual usage and, ideally, that they should point to a specific myth or group of related myths in Mesopotamia. Finally, the parallels and their similar underlying ideas must involve central features in the material to be compared. Only then, it would seem, may any claim stronger than one of mere coincidence be worthy of serious consideration" Greek Myths and Mesopotamia: Parallels and Influence in the Homeric Hymns and Hesiod. Charles Penglase. Routledge:1994
The tale of the flood, for example, reaches as far back as ancient Sumeria.
You mean there were other ancient stories about floods? How surprising. I wonder if each was a copy of the previous one, or was there actually more than one flood?
Some other tales and psalms were taken verbatim from other sources meant for other dieties of the region.
Please remember that the Jews considered the worship of gods other than YHWH idolatry, and inherently felt that all their praises belonged to the one true God anyway. An idols praise was misplaced in the mind of a Jew. I wouldn't doubt that Jews rather enjoyed taking phrases that praised Baal, and turning it into praise for YHWH. What's so strange concerning this?
Now, for me at least, if those early books were transcribed directly from the word of God I'd be incredibly dissapointed in
A: his lack of originality and
B: his blatant plagiarism.
I'd like to think my god has a little more style and finesse.
A ... If all things were created by God, even the literary imaginations and abilities of the Pagans, then how is God unoriginal?
B ... Give me examples of "Blatant Plaigiarism" and we'll discuss it.
Most would concede that the Bible is a stylistic masterpiece, and a profound literary work, even if they disbelieve it's theological content. Is this what you were referring to by style, or were you referring to the fact that God didn't do it the way you would've done it?
The attack was on the 'biblethumping' method of reason. That is to say those who can't dare face or challenge their beliefs but smugly dismiss logic, reason and any true analysis for the word.
I agree that anyone should be willing to approach challenges to their belief system without simply ridiculing the other side. That's true of ANYONE. But your attempt to discredit scripture as a mere fault-ridden human work of not so good literature belies your real opinion. This would naturally offend any Christian or Jew who considers scripture to be Divinely inspired, not just those who believe without thought or scoff at "reason".
A person who believes in sprituality over religion, logic over dogma, can be just as close to a god as the those who follow religion. The difference is i've chosen not to follow a BOOK. A book which incidently has spawned so many other religions and factions who could rightfully claim the proper interpretation?
What does spirituality without religion mean?
What do you follow in lieu of a book?
Is there something inherently wrong with following prescriptions that are written in a book?
Since the natural world has spawned so many different scientfic interpretations, I guess we should say the natural world is invalid of study?
If the book, the law, the tales of the bible are static why the different denominations and factions?
What do you mean exactly by static? I think human imperfection, sin, human freedom, and individualism would be able to explain much of this variableness. Some of the variation could be thought of as good and needed, while some may be thought of as divisive and unhealthy.
Why the different versions translations and edits?
As to different versions, different languages, different literary tastes and cultures, poetic honor and the joy of translation. As to edits, what type of edits are you referring to? Rejecting certain books as non-canonical? Correcting textual variants such as grammar or omitted words and phrases? Harmonization? There are many types of scribal "editing" and each kind would have to be explained individually.
[This message has been edited by Stephanos (11-30-2003 08:06 PM).]