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I need to know how you feel about "jesus"

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Stephanos
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75 posted 01-23-2004 10:30 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

But there's another possibility.

Scripture refers to God as "The Logos" ... or word.  It could be that what we know as oral language is only a dim reflection of God's kind of speech.  But just as a shadow retains a basic shape of the object which casts it, and yet is fundamentally different, so our language relates to God's.  In fact the whole Bible is that God literally communicated to us through words, through the man Jesus Christ.  Incarnate, God (kind of like a Philology professor), came to our preschool and spoke to us on our level, not with the goal to keep us there, but to eventually bring us to where his is.


The only problem Jim, with limiting God to communicating through the scriptures, is that age old problem of limiting omnipotence.  It just doesn't work very well.  He defies our neatly trimmed borders.  God does speak to people in very personal ways ... visions, dreams, revelations, etc...  The balance I think is that personal "revelation" should always be tested against the truth revealed in the written word.  It is our template, to which all "copies" must relate, lest they turn out to be forgeries.


Stephen.  
Aenimal
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76 posted 01-23-2004 10:48 PM       View Profile for Aenimal   Email Aenimal   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Aenimal

Good point Stephanos, was going to go into the Logos, Gnostic and Kabbalic view of things as well but got lazy and simplified
Copperbell
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77 posted 01-24-2004 12:43 AM       View Profile for Copperbell   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Copperbell

I can't give all the information that everyone here has, but I believe Jesus is God.  The only thing I can really say is that I am convinced that I have experienced Him, and that what He said about Himself is true.

There is an interesting book called the Case for Christ, by Lee Strobel.  He was not a believer of Christ and he set out to disprove Christianity - I think his wife became a christian and he didn't like it.  He is/was a legal journalist and he used all of the tools that he would use in his job and applied them to christianity.  Yes, he did come to believe, but in the book he goes through the arguements that people have and he shares his notes so that you can decide for yourself what you think.  There's alot of information; its not light reading, but very logical and understandable, unlike some theological type stuff.

What I would like to tell you Michelle, is that its worth figuring out - I know there's alot of hypocrites or judgemental or grouchy, stuffy people, but I don't believe Christ is anything like that.  In my experience being a christian is one huge adventure - and its good. I can go on forever, but one thing I will say is that I have an extremely successful marriage that I wouldn't otherwise have because of the wisdom that I have used from the Bible.  And I'm not a doormat.

Take care girl.
Michelle_loves_Mike
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78 posted 01-24-2004 06:41 AM       View Profile for Michelle_loves_Mike   Email Michelle_loves_Mike   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Michelle_loves_Mike

Well said stephen,,,but, how many men/women stop to cross reference feelings, experience, the book, etc,,,,,,there in lies the weakness....

Copperbell, I am happy for you that you have experienced such an encounter,,,,to me, its not a reality,,,like meeting an alien,,,,I have seen those that have had the religious experience ina good way,,and they seem happy.
Kudos on a happy marriage, Mike and I are happily engaged,,,that feeling, I can shere to the nth degree.

I wish all could find the true happiness I have found,,in the eyes of Mike

Severn
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79 posted 01-24-2004 07:02 AM       View Profile for Severn   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Severn

You asked me my views Michelle.

I went to church for two and a half years, and was burned by hypocrisy.

I've asked questions that no Christian has ever been able to answer - except with the usual answers - 'we're sinners', 'it's God's will', 'God has many mysteries.'

I guess my questions are also ones Jesus didn't 'feel' like answering.

The bible, on a whole, terrifies me. I take little comfort from it. I've read it from beginning to end - I'm not ignorant and, again as a whole, it reads disjointed and contradictory.

I've been to sermons where one or two verses are 'interpreted' at the will of the sermoniser. Supposedly by divine inspiration.

I know I'm tired of how people gush that God has blessed them with a miracle because a woman of 80 survives an earthquake in Iran while 30,000 others die.

That's not God. That's circumstance.

I've attended three years of anthropology at university with a focus in some classes on religion and myth - I came out a different person.

My brain battles with my heart - my heart wants there to be a loving, protecting God...my brain constantly reasons why there might not be. It truly is a constant battle.

K
Essorant
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80 posted 01-24-2004 07:06 AM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

I believe nature, that remains in everything must be the truer road to God than words.  Men forget words, men confuse them, men corrupt them; but when a spirit is held in nature, and nature is held in a spirit they are like one and do not need words to hold them that way.  We do pursue holding them in words though.  Words may help us judge each other, remember better, edify our structure.  But standing under, or understanding all things is still nature that remains the irremoveable "ground" off which we grow.  We didn't "create" or "shape" that one, but book we use we did.
In other words, I believe through nature we may directly find God, but through words only symbollically.  

[This message has been edited by Essorant (01-24-2004 08:52 AM).]

Michelle_loves_Mike
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81 posted 01-24-2004 07:55 AM       View Profile for Michelle_loves_Mike   Email Michelle_loves_Mike   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Michelle_loves_Mike

severn,,,,,,I know exactly where you are coming from,,,I abhor the fact a good "christian" pastor will beat to death a few disjoined verses,,,,,and yes,,,,I, for resaons I care not to discuss, have read the bible cover to cover many times,,,,
It is a shame,,,that any "loving, forgiving, caring god",,,has been lost in the shuffle of men using the name there of,,,,to their own device,,,i.e..."holy wars",,,the inquisition, witch trials,,on down to piddly pulpit thumpers using "gods anger" to pull a few more bux for the collection plate.
"religion", has all but killed off any "god" that was kind and loving,,,it confuses me to no end,,,,to hear the words,,,"hes a kind loving god",,,and "it was his will" when some tragic thing takes a loved one away....
agreed, circumstance,,right place right time, wrong place wrong time,,,is what forms 99% of our world,,,,,I do not fear the "bible",,,but,,,how man uses it,,,,,sad comparison here,,but,,,the phrase ,,,"guns dont kill people,,people kill people" fits,,,,"the bible didnt make god a vindictive , evily jealous god,,,people did"
Michelle

I wish all could find the true happiness I have found,,in the eyes of Mike
Denise
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82 posted 01-24-2004 09:25 AM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

Just some thoughts bouncing around in my head:

I think without a 'point of reference' when coming to the Scriptures it will be confusing and seem disjointed. Man is always trying to harmonize all the seeming contradictions. I guess that is one of theology's purposes, to try to make sense of the whole of Divine revelation.

My personal point of reference is called Dispensational, i.e., that God's dealings with man are broken down into different 'economies' in different ages, as distinguised from Covenant Theology.

Here are some excerpts from an article defining Dispensational Theology By Charles C. Ryrie to give you a basic idea between Covenant Theology and Dispensational Theology:

Nondispensational interpreters (of the covenant theology school) have been guilty of reading back (and sometimes forcing) the teaching of the New Testament into the Old, especially in an effort to substantiate their doctrine of salvation in the Old Testament. Dispensationalists, on the other hand, sometimes make such hard and fast distinctions between the ages and characteristics of the various dispensations that they, for instance, have said very little about grace in the Old Testament. However, the covenant theologian's faulty interpretation is a result of a basically inherent defect in his system (because he subsumes everything since the Fall under the one covenant of grace), whereas the dispensationalist's lack is not in the system but in the expounding of it. Covenant theology allows for and even demands this reading back of the New Testament into the Old. Dispensational theology, while recognizing definite and distinguishable distinctions, asserts the basic unity of the unfolding plan of God in the Scriptures.

To summarize: Progressive revelation views the Bible not as a textbook on theology but as the continually unfolding revelation of God given by various means throughout the successive ages. In this unfolding there are distinguishable stages of revelation when God introduces new things for which man becomes responsible. These stages are the economies, stewardships, or dispensations in the unfolding of His purpose. Dispensationalism, therefore, recognizes both the unity of His purpose and the diversity in the unfolding of it. Covenant theology emphasizes the unity to the point of forcing unwarranted, inconsistent, and contradictory interpretations of the Scriptures. Only dispensationalism can maintain unity and diversity at the same time and offer a consistent system of interpretation.

Though God's purpose for Israel and God's purpose for the church receive the most attention in Scripture, God has purposes for other groups as well. He has a purpose and plan for the angels, which in no way mixes with His purposes for Israel or the church (2 Peter 2:4; Rev. 4:11). He has a purpose for those who reject Him, which also is distinct from other purposes (Prov. 16:4). He has a plan for the nations, which continues into the New Jerusalem (Rev. 22:2), and those nations are distinct from the bride of Christ. God has more than two purposes even though He reveals more about His purposes for Israel and His purpose for the church than He does about the other groups.

Another definition also includes descriptive elements:

A dispensation is God's distinctive method of governing mankind or a group of men during a period of human history, marked by a crucial event, test, failure, and judgment. From the divine standpoint, it is a stewardship, a rule of life, or a responsibility for managing God's affairs in His house. From the historical standpoint, it is a stage in the progress of revelation.[19]

The differentiation of viewpoints in this definition is a helpful distinction. A dispensation is from God's viewpoint an economy; from man's, a responsibility; and in relation to progressive revelation, a stage in it.

The essence of dispensationalism, then, is the distinction between Israel and the church. This grows out of the dispensationalist's consistent employment of normal or plain or historical-grammatical interpretation, and it reflects an understanding of the basic purpose of God in all His dealings with mankind as that of glorifying Himself through salvation and other purposes as well.

The entire article can be found at this link:
http://www.gospelpedlar.com/dis_dispensation.html

Michelle_loves_Mike
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83 posted 01-24-2004 10:25 AM       View Profile for Michelle_loves_Mike   Email Michelle_loves_Mike   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Michelle_loves_Mike

thank you for you views denise,,,,,,well put forth,,,,and thank you for your link,,,,
Michelle

I wish all could find the true happiness I have found,,in the eyes of Mike

Copperbell
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84 posted 01-24-2004 11:32 AM       View Profile for Copperbell   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Copperbell

Severn and Michelle - I just want to throw something out there.  The bible says to have a childlike faith.  So why don't you ask Him?  Why don't you ask Him to show you that He does exist? If He does, then He will, right?  So you can expect that if He exists that He will work to show you Himself. If you have asked Him that, then you can continue to expect that He is working on showing you Himself.

I've heard many people starting with Jesus Himself - who the heck was that guy, because He did exist and He said He was God.  People don't just walk around and say they are God.  And those who do, well you know where they end up.  As well, His disciples died horrible deaths, and endured so much...If they thought He wasn't fully with it, they certainly wouldn't have done what they did. He either was God or not because if He was only a great teacher but not God, He's not worth listening to because He is a liar.
Michelle_loves_Mike
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85 posted 01-24-2004 12:58 PM       View Profile for Michelle_loves_Mike   Email Michelle_loves_Mike   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Michelle_loves_Mike

Honestly,,,,
I have nothing to say to "god",,,nor do I want anything from him
Michelle

I wish all could find the true happiness I have found,,in the eyes of Mike

Aenimal
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86 posted 01-24-2004 03:05 PM       View Profile for Aenimal   Email Aenimal   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Aenimal

Denise my problem with that theory is that many of the stories are not original to the bible. Many of the tales evolved from or were outright stolen from older cultures, religions and their dieties. So to sift through the stories and try to decipher a clear cut coherent plan from God himself seems futile.
Severn
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87 posted 01-24-2004 04:05 PM       View Profile for Severn   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Severn

quote:
'Severn and Michelle - I just want to throw something out there.  The bible says to have a childlike faith.  So why don't you ask Him?  Why don't you ask Him to show you that He does exist? If He does, then He will, right?  So you can expect that if He exists that He will work to show you Himself. If you have asked Him that, then you can continue to expect that He is working on showing you Himself.


'bell...that's very sweet, and very idealistic. I have a question for you - it may seem unrelated. I don't even expect an answer in here, because it's personal, but it's something for you to think on. Did you have a close, loving relationship with your earthly father? I suspect that you might have, but I could be wrong.

At any rate, I didn't. I lost all ability at any kind of childlike faith in anything when I was around..oh..9?

I've asked him. Many times. He's even shown me...yes..that's right - I've had answers. I don't care to share the experiences right now, they're personal. These experiences are the ONLY things that force my heart to continue wanting to believe. My brain says things like - coincidence, random brain behaviour, wanting to believe so they seem real.

One personal thing - the only way I can talk to God about anything anymore is if I visualise a ladder that climbs up the huge wall that's there between He and I. Most of the time I don't make it up the ladder.

Someone said to me simply just a few weeks ago 'so tell Him' about something I had on my mind.

Crawled up the ladder, told him, feel the same.

Mine is not a battle to be won easily. My questions and my doubts will not easily disappear. I've been there...I've been surrounded by fellowship. I believed in the bible and it used to comfort me. I had my own points of reference. I've had revelations from God, intimate times with Him. I've seen a miracle of healing.

None of it has been enough.

Aenimal
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88 posted 01-25-2004 02:13 AM       View Profile for Aenimal   Email Aenimal   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Aenimal

"I've heard many people starting with Jesus Himself - who the heck was that guy, because He did exist and He said He was God"

He said he was God? Where did he say he was God exactly?
Michelle_loves_Mike
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89 posted 01-25-2004 05:48 AM       View Profile for Michelle_loves_Mike   Email Michelle_loves_Mike   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Michelle_loves_Mike

aenimal, from what I read in the bible,,,,,"jesus" didn't say he was god, and did his best from getting worshiped as such.

Michelle

I wish all could find the true happiness I have found,,in the eyes of Mike

Opeth
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90 posted 01-25-2004 12:01 PM       View Profile for Opeth   Email Opeth   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Opeth

"So you're omniscient now?  Are you presuming to know how God would choose to address His creation if He chose to do so?"

~ Come on, you can do better than that. I can easily say the same to you and your flock, since you all know the only true god and true way for salvation - which is much more closer to being omniscient than myself, for I claim not to know. Even, at best.

"If there is a true God, then I would think it would be His prerogative to address His creation by any means He sees fit."

~ But he created a being like me with the ability to question and think, I am sure his actions would be common-sensical.

"God is who God is, not what Opeth, or anyone, expects Him to be."

~ Oh... So, he is not what christians expect him to be?

"The rest of your post illustrates my reply to Essorant very well.  Your problem with Jesus, Opeth, is that Jesus didn't share your opinion of what questions are most important."

~ Wait a minute... I am sure his apostles asked him about the nature of the humankind and what death would be like, unless lil' ol' me is one of a kind in questioning my nature and existence. Where does it say in your bible that people are going to heaven? Where does it say we have an immortal soul? Where is the word "trinity?" If you think these questions are not important, and that only believing on Jesus is - your own book teaches otherwise.

"Furthermore, you seem to ignore some of Jesus' direct statements that do answer your questions (e.g., "No man shall come to the Father except through me"), but not in the way you want them to."

~ I sure feel sorry for all of those who lived and died and never knew that - God must be cruel to send them to "everlasting damnation" for not going "through" Jesus without ever even knowing him.
Aenimal
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91 posted 01-25-2004 02:15 PM       View Profile for Aenimal   Email Aenimal   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Aenimal

Michelle I know, it was a question directed at Copperbell who made that comment.
Michelle_loves_Mike
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92 posted 01-25-2004 02:18 PM       View Profile for Michelle_loves_Mike   Email Michelle_loves_Mike   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Michelle_loves_Mike

gotcha aenimal,,,*smiles*
Opeth,,you handled those responses so very well
Michelle

I wish all could find the true happiness I have found,,in the eyes of Mike

Aenimal
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93 posted 01-25-2004 03:12 PM       View Profile for Aenimal   Email Aenimal   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Aenimal

"If there is a true God, then I would think it would be His prerogative to address His creation by any means He sees fit."

~ But he created a being like me with the ability to question and think, I am sure his actions would be common-sensical.

"God is who God is, not what Opeth, or anyone, expects Him to be."

~ Oh... So, he is not what christians expect him to be?



Amen.
Copperbell
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94 posted 01-25-2004 05:34 PM       View Profile for Copperbell   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Copperbell

Aenimal,
I usually don’t enter into these kinds of conversations.  There are extremely intelligent, logical thinkers here, who can articulate well… but I had to put my two cents in.

Christ claimed equality with God. He claimed that the kingdom of God is His and that He has authority over His angels – declaring ownership over them.

Thomas touched Jesus after the resurrection.  Jesus said to him “Put your finger here; see my hands.  Reach out your hand and put it into my side.  Stop doubting and believe.”
Then – Thomas said to Him, “my Lord and my God!” Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” John 20:28,29
He didn’t stop Thomas from worshipping Him.  He did not correct him, He called him blessed.

Christ said, “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.”  He’s talking about Himself, that He is a gift to the world.  Imagine someone telling you that they are God’s gift to the rest of this world.  

The Bible is more than just reading the words but understanding what was happening.  The context of what was happening, what the people around Him were perceiving about Him, what He was saying to them and how they understood that.   They said He was blaspheming left and right because what He was saying was not appropriate for a man to be saying about himself.

I just wanted to share what I know of Christ – a verbal conversation would be so much easier – but I (I know this is subjective) really believe I have experienced Him and I think He’s awesome! I know my beliefs are offensive to some and ridiculous to many. If He’s real then He can reveal Himself to anyone who asks Him. Yup, I’m idealistic - But I’ve seen so much,  I  can’t help it, I am convinced.

A little honesty here -as much as this thread may be profitable, I thought the point of the matter would be best answered from the source, which would mean a little faith and of course an answer to the prayer.

374 words – I hate writing responses this long -sorry
Stephanos
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95 posted 01-25-2004 08:55 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Raph, Sorry that it took me so long to get back on this one ... but I wanted to respond in some detail.  And life goes on with work, family, etc... In my following post, I'm going to talk about two positions which I believe are reasonably indefensible ... 1) Jesus was merely a charismatic Jew, zealous for the law and traditions, after the spirit of former prophets & 2) The "Secret Gospel of Mark" shows that the scriptures were altered, and that there was intentional mishandling and obscuring of texts by the Church at large.


quote:
As always Stephanos you bring up some excellent points, however, my problem with some of them
is that they're based on the assumption that the narratives have survived unaltered. This simply isn't
the case.

But there simply isn't any evidence that they have been altered.  As I've already pointed out to Opeth, we have many early manuscripts to compare with late ones.  Therefore we know the exact alterations, which are of a minor sort.  Most of them involving grammar, syntax, additions of words here and there.  But none of them would threaten or alter any fundamental doctrines of Christianity.  I would heartily welcome you to present a comprehensive argument about how the texts were corrupted ... so that the later manuscripts represent a very different body of text, than the early ones.  I am quite prepared to present the argument that they are amazingly uniform.  Let the record speak ... not merely claims that a certain change "must have happened".  


There is also nothing to show that the message was corrupted between the events and the writing of the gospels.  And the length of time is not as much as most suppose.  But even if it was, the assumption of falsification based on mere time, is not valid.  And as I mentioned above, the gospels were written (as most scholars agree) with the use of oral tradition, written fragments, other synoptic writers, and eyewitnesses.  The time frame is consistent with the documentary process of that culture.  In short, the only way to come to the conclusion that something MUST have been changed is to employ, as N.T. Wright calls it, "a ruthless hermeneutic of suspicion".  


quote:
One cannot underestimate just how much the original teachings and accounts of Jesus would have
been changed to suit this audience.

and . . .
quote:
You have to assume that any political overtones, would have been excised from the texts.

and ...
quote:
Changes would have to have been made


I see a serious pattern of question begging here.  You are assuming (maybe from your life in a "politically correct" age?) that men could not write anything truthful or sincere, as long as social conditions existed which would make it difficult to stand by.  Your "have to assume" attitude, is itself an assumption, that many deny.


quote:
there are, of course, some obvious evidence of this already. For
example there is no mention or criticism of Roman occupation from Jesus or the writers despite the historical
turmoil.



This is no obviously political move ... at least not "political" in the sense of cowing to a fear of Rome.


If you recall, the common Jewish conception of "Messiah" was a political one.  Much further from the spiritual ideal, they imagined a militaristic, charismatic leader who would conquer Rome and restore Israel to her former national glory.  


In the Gospel narratives, Jesus is constantly trying to downplay this misconception of the "Messiah".  That's why he didn't openly claim to be the Messiah.  That's why he refused it when they attempted to make him a King.  That's why he burst the "hopes" of his disciples over and over again, whenever they leaned on their faulty Jewish ideas of the Messiah.  The scriptures which have an affinity to the Zealot ideal, can be taken out of context to say that Jesus was a Zealot.  But, while Jesus and his disciples held common strands of sympathy with the Zealots, he never sought to entertain it.  It had a wrong assumption in it's foundation ... even if the upper stories looked like what Jesus wanted to build.  


Here is the difference.  Jesus also saw Rome as one of the "Kingdoms of this World", which would be overthown by God ... ultimately by the Kingdom of God.  But Jesus saw this as something God would bring about eschatologically, not something that would be forced temporally by use of arms.  That's why he could teach his disciples to pray "Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven", and then in the same breath, to pray "Forgive us of our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us".


The Zealots were more of the Maccabean ideal.  They were insurrectionists.  To them the Kingdom of God was "Jihad".  


I see a balance in the scripture because of who Jesus was in his understanding of "The Kingdom of God".  You see it as changes brought by political fear.  But there is no proof of the change.  That's why Jesus could have for disciples a tax collector "Matthew" (the ultimate traitor to the Romans), AND a zealot, "Simon".  These two were placed side by side because Jesus was pitting the error in both extremes against each other, and the truth in both extremes to compliment each other.  It is the perfect balance of rendering to Ceasar that which is Ceasar's, and to God that which is God's.


quote:
There is lifting of blame from the Romans unto the Jews, especially in the a biblical account of the
compassionate and understanding Pontius Pilate, whose hands were tied, versus the historical records of the
man.



The biblical account actually portrays Pilate as rather apathetic toward the charge of blasphemy made by the Jews (Romans were typically disinterested in Jewish religious matters), and unconvinced that Jesus was an insurrectionist, which was the charge that he called himself a King.  As innocent as Jesus appeared to be, Pilate wanted popularity with the Jews more than justice.  Warned by his wife through a dream, Pilate willingly gave Jesus to the will of those who wanted him crucified.  This paints no picture of a man without blame ... nor does it paint a picture of a man with his "hands tied".  He gave in to a temptation to dispense of a peasant prophet, in order to keep peace, and avoid a headache.  None of this really contrary to history


quote:
Also, thanks to the discovery of a letter from the Bishop of Clement we know that there were changes
made to the gospel of Mark. Clement freely admits there is  far more to the gospel then what we have read
and that the Secret Gospel of Mark  is "..most carefully guarded, being read only to those being initiated
into the great mysteries..For not all true things are to be said to all men." We're not talking about a mere
editing or noncanonical book, but a secret version kept from the public by the church.



You’ve quoted this grossly out of context.  Your second sentence doesn’t even relate directly to your first sentence in the supposed letter of Clement.  He was actually first refuting a certain Gnostic interpretation of "The Secret gospel of Mark" by the Carpocratians... and then later referred to what he considered to be genuine "mystical teachings" of the apostles in the SGM.


Here is the preamble with your quotes placed back in context.  I have highlighted them, so others can see exactly what they refer to.


quote:
From the letters of the most holy Clement, author of the Stromateis.

To Theodore:

You have done well in muzzling the unmentionable doctrines of the Carpocratians.  It is they who were prophetically called 'wandering stars' (Jude 13), who stray from the narrow way of the commandments into the fathomless abyss of fleshly sins committed in the body.  They have been inflated with knowledge, as they say, of 'the deep things of Satan' (Rev. 2:24).  They cast themselves unawares into the gloom of the darkness of falsehood (Jude 13).  Boasting that they are free, they have become the slaves of lusts that bring men into bondage.  These people must be totally opposed in every way.  Even if they were to say something true, not even so would the lover of truth agree with them; everything that is true is not necessarily truth.  Nor should one prefer the apparant truth which is according to human opinions to the real truth which is according to faith.  But of the matters under dispute concerning the divinely inspired Gospel of Mark, some are utterly false and some, even if they contain certain things that are true, are not truely delivered;  for the things that are true are corrupted by those that are fictitious, so that, as it is said, 'the salt has lost it's savour' (Mt. 5:13/Lk. 14:34).

Mark then, during Peter's stay in Rome, recorded the acts of the Lord, not however reporting them all, for he did not indicate the mystical ones, but selected those which he thought most useful for the increase of the faith of those undergoing instruction.

When Peter had borne witness (i.e. suffered martyrdom), Mark arrived in Alexandria, taking his own and Peter's memoirs.  From these he copied into his first book the things appropriate for those who were making progress in knowledge but compiled a more spiritual Gospel for the use of those who were attaining perfection.  Yet not even so did he divulge the unutterable things themselves, nor did he write down the Lord's hierophantic teaching.  But adding to the previously written acts others also, he presented, over and above these, certain oracles whose interpretation he knew would provide the hearers with mystical guidance into the inner shrine of the seven-times-hidden truth.  Thus, then, he made advance preparation- not grudgingly or incautiously, as I think- and on his death he left his composition to the church in Alexandria, where even until now it is very well guarded, being read only to those who are being initiated into the great mysteries

But abominable demons are always devising destruction for the human race, and so Carpocrates, having been instructed by them, used deceitful devices so as to enslave a certain elder of the church in Alexandria and procured from him a copy of the mystical Gospel, which he proceeded to interpret in accordance with his own blasphemous and carnam opinion.  Moreover, he polluted it further by mixing shameless falsehoods with the hooly and undefiled sayings, and from this mixture the dogma of the Carpocratians has been drawn out.  To these people, then, as I have said already, one must never yield, nor must one make any concession to them when they pretend what their tissue of falsehoods in the mystical Gospel of Mark, by rather deny it with an oath.  It is not necessary to speak all the truth to everyone;  that is why the wisdom of God proclaims through Solomon: ‘Answer a fool according to his folly’ (Proverbs 26:5)- meaning that from those who are spiritually blind the light of the truth must be concealed.  Scripture also says, ‘From him who has not will be taken away’ (Mk. 4:25) and ‘Let the fool walk in darkness’ (Eccles. 2:14).  But we are the sons of light, having been illuminated by ‘the dayspring from on high’ of the Spirit of the Lord (cf Luke 1:78), ‘and where the Spirit of the Lord is’, scripture says, ‘there is liberty’ (2 Cor. 3:17); for ‘to the pure all things are pure’ (Titus 1:15).  To you then, I will not hesitate to give an answer to your questions, exposing those people’s falsehoods by the very words of the Gospel.



This quote shows that Clement (if indeed this fragment of writing was produced by him- scholars are unagreed on this), did accept that there was a piece of literature written by Mark ... a more “spiritual” Gospel.  In the above text, he was refuting the gnostic interpretation of the SGM, and at the same time affirming that certain esoteric writings should be hidden from people for the very reason that they tend to distort it.  He was justifying a “common” text for the people, and other texts for the “initiated” in higher truths.  

Clement  has got himself into a quandary here.  For one, the whole idea that there was a gospel for the common herd, and a seperate one for the higher minded, is a gnostic heresy ... the idea of a two-tiered truth.  Paul and other biblical writers refuted the Gnostic heresy within the canonical scriptures themselves, and definitely taught against such elitism (as expressed in "esoteric" gospels).  And so clement tries to defend a text which has a definite gnostic flavor, from it’s own congruent gnostic interpretations.  That’s like trying to separate a turtle from it’s shell, and then to call it two different animals.  There is good evidence that this “Secret Gospel of Mark” was written by Gnostic groups, not Mark.  What evidence do we have that Clement (though no doubt a Christian and an honest man) might have been subject to error about this?  Well he also accepted many texts, which have been shown to be spurious.  In other words, his track record ain't so great.


Here is what F.F. Bruce wrote about the “Secret” Gospel of Mark:

quote:
... That the letter-writer was disposed to acknowledge it (SGM) as part of a fuller edition of Mark’s Gospel, written by the evangelist himself, is quite in line with evidence which we have of Clement’s credulity in face of apocryphal material.  He treats the work entitled the Preaching of Peter as a genuine composition of the apostle Peter, and he similarly accepts the authenticity of the Apocalypse of Peter.  We shall see, too, how readily he acknowledges as dominical, sayings ascribed to Jesus in the Gospel according to the Hebrews and the Gospel of the Egyptians, explaining them in terms of his own philosophy.

(F.F. Bruce, The Canon of Scripture, 308)

And ...
quote:
As for the ‘secret’ Gospel of Mark, it may well ahve come into being within the Carpocratian fellowship, or a similar school of thought.  That ‘Clement’ thought it went back to Mark himself is neither here nor there, in view of the historical Clement’s uncritical acceptance of other apocrypha.  The raising of the young man of Bethany (found in the SGM) is too evidently based- and clumsily based at that-  on the Johannine story of the raising of Lazarus for us to regard it as in any sense an independent Marcan counterpart to the Johannine story (not to speak of our regarding it as a source of the Johannine story).  Since this conclusion is so completely at variance with Professor Smith’s carefully argued case, one must do him the justice of giving his case the detailed consideration which it deserves.  But this lecture presents my inintial assessment of the document which he has discovered and published.

Bruce’s footnote: My assessment of the document remains substantially the same fifteen years later.

(Bruce, The Canon of Scripture, 315)



So the whole thing about this secret Gospel, proving that the canonical Gospel of Mark was substantially changed, has two huge problems going against it.


1)Clement was not known for being sufficiently critical of apocryphal texts, and spurious writings which purported to be apostolic.

2) There is textual evidence that the “SGM” was derivitive from John, while at the same time, John was derivitive somewhat from the canonical gospel of Mark.  Can’t have your cake and eat it too.


Here is another link with some interesting information surrounding this text ... info which you will find quite challenging to your theory:
  

http://www.christian-thinktank.com/qbadmark.html


Though I don't think you've done much to cast serious doubt upon the historicity of the gospels,  I do thank you for the opportunity to respond to such interesting questions.


Stephen.
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96 posted 01-26-2004 01:01 AM       View Profile for Ringo   Email Ringo   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Ringo

I must admit that this has been a very interesting thread to read, and we have been given much to ponder and scrutinize, and such... there are a fwe things I would like to throw in here, in my own feeble way.

"...there are no records of an alternate narrative which might reflect the “true” account of Jesus.  What we have in the gospels is “it”..."

Stephan, I would challenge you to read a book called "The Other Bible" if you have not had the opportunity already. For my own thoughts, the Gospel according to Thomas, is a rather interesting read, and if one takes the time to truly study, and "savor" the words, (for lack of a better phrase) and really look into what he is saying, then one gets a new way of seeing the "true" gospels.

A teaching of Jehovah Witnesses,,,,,states that , all the ones who died before, get awakened into the "1000 year reign of peace" on earth to get their rewards, when "jesus" comes back,,,,,

This is actually a belief held by many "Christians"  whether they know it or not... The most popular Christian Rock band in history (Petra) had a song called The Grave Robber and used the lyrics "When the last enemy is gone/ From the dust will come a song/ Those asleep will be awakened/ not a one will be forsaken" Although Perta is not JW's they used that line of thinking, and most Christians I have talked to who know the song, agree with everything they are singing.

Actually the Gnostic stuff is highly influenced by Eastern religous ideas ...

Christianity draws from so many of the World's major religions that it's hard to keep track of any original thoughts on the subject (and this coming from a follower of Christ's teachings). The Creation story can be seen from Sumerian texts. The "De-Creation" story is Babylonian. Greek and Roman mythology talks about a "central" deity with the power over the rest, and then there are several "lessor" heavenly beings... Such as the saints... and each of the lessor beings had their own realm of control, such as the Catholic Faith's practice of having a patron saint of pert near everything. An before the hate mail starts, I was raised Catholic,and am raising my kids Catholic to give them a base to work with before I tell then to figure it out for themselves.

christians pray for "thy kingdom come?" Which kingdom? The heavenly kingdom. Coming to where?

Opeth- The way I have always believed this is that the Kingdom isn't coming to us in the was the accepted Earth-bound physics would have us believe. It is in more of a spiritual coming together... more or less, us going to them... we say that "Jesus" came into our hearts, when- in actuality- we went to Him... same thing.

what I really don't get is how you and your fellow christians are so certain that you "got it right" and even the Jewish people and all of the Rabbis and scholars "got it wrong."

Isn't it amazing how most Christians (especially the "good" ones) want to share their ideas with you, however the are not interested in sharing your ideas with them???

Which other religion besides christianity thinks its got the "market cornered" on knowing the true god and salvation?

The "extreme" islam factions would fit this category. I am definately NOT talking about the folloews of the Islamic faith, and those who study what the Honorable Ilijah Mohammed (apologies for the spelling errors) and believe in Peace,Love nad Faith. I am talking about the "Born-Again Radical Muslims" who commit crimes in the name of Allah (Hmmmmm sounds like another religion I've heard about). Those guys are of the "you don't follow us, we will kill you" belief.

In the perfect world we would all enjoy,,,we could all agree to disagree, and find whatever we are looking for, be it salvation, peace, forgiveness, without someone tearing our beliefs apart

Michelle- that "perfect" world... or as close as you're gonna get... is called Passions In Poetry... and for proof, I offer this thread, and the one about the Mel Gibson Movie, and almost every other religious discussion on here.

..."god" supposedly created us in "his own image",,,so, wouldn't it make sense that he would want to communicate thru words?...
You have just been tried and convicted of what many of us on here have all done at one point or another... taking one phrase out of context and using it to further your views, or a point you wish to make. Yes, it is believed that G-d made us in His image... however, it is also true, as far as I have been told, that most of the religions see that to mean that we are made in His/Her SPIRITUAL image...just for that, no hug this week.

Why don't you ask Him to show you that He does exist? If He does, then He will, right?

I was actually waiting for this argument to come up... I am not using this as a personal attack, however, this is one of the most arrogant one-liners that I hear when discussing religion with anyone... and, believe me copperbell, I discuss things with "good Christians" from time to time and this almost ALWYS comes up. WE call Him the Father (or Her the Earth Mother), and then people make the statement that we should tell him to prove his existence to us. Or we say that if there was a G-d, then he would answer our prayers, and he never seems to answer our prayers when we call on him. As any of us who ever had parents, or for those of us who have kids, we all know that the Children NEVER get everything they want. And mothers and fathers NEVER give children the answers to every question they ask. and most parents (myself, included) tend to completely ignore any DEMAND from our children.
To answer your statement, though... I can offer more proof than you would probably want me to as to whether He/She exists.
I was a professional EMT for a number of years, aqnd a professional firefighter for a few years longer than that. There were times when I was in WAY over my head with a patient... when there was no way that I was good enough to save a particular patient. there have been times where, according to ALL medical facts, a paitent should have never made it to the ER alive... yet, they did. There was one particular case where a fire/rescue team searched a room thoroughly and yet I found a child that they missed, after I was told the room was searched, and still HAD to go look again.
Or the fact that Marine Aircraft Firefighters, most of them, "istinctively" know when there is going to be a mishap on any given day.
Then there was the time I did CPR for almost 45 minutes because we were so far out of the way that one of the guys friends had to use an ATV to go call an ambulance, and then bring the Paragods back, and then we loaded the victim onto a backboard between 2 ATV's and carted him slowly to the ambulance, and then into the hospital, and the patient survived... even though NO ONE survives more than 30 minutes on CPR.
Or maybe the time when my father fell 50 feet onto the ground with packed earth and rocks and tree roots with his 8 year old son watching, and only got a sprained wrist.
How about the time I had my 3 month old daughter and my 6 year old son in the back seat of a Plymouth Horizon, and had a 1970's Buick pull into oncomiong traffic and crash a 1980's Caddy less than 30 feet in front of me, when I was doing about 65 MPH, and I vividly heard a voice tell me to aim for the crash. I had been up for over 24 hours, and had been driving for 3 hours, and my reflexes were no where neaqr fast enough to miss the accident, or the car that was thrown into my path, or the car that was no in the other lane... SOMEHOW, I manuvered between the cars on a small 4 lane highway, and didn't even scratch the paint, and the two cars that crashed ended up back together as soon as my car got through... Some might say they are all coincidence, however, I have yet to find an emergency services worker who would believe you.

I've heard many people starting with Jesus Himself - who the heck was that guy, because He did exist and He said He was God

I always was taught that he called himself the Son of Man... NOT the Son Of G-d.

Anyhow...this thing is too long... even for me (lol) and it is gone 0100, and time for this little gray duck to quack off to bed.
I didn't answer to everything that I wanted to, however, I am giving you all a repreive.
Whatever one it is you subscribe to,Keep the faith.

Cause in my dreams it's always there
The evil face that twists my mind
And brings me to despair.

Michelle_loves_Mike
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97 posted 01-26-2004 09:38 AM       View Profile for Michelle_loves_Mike   Email Michelle_loves_Mike   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Michelle_loves_Mike

copperbell, the 4 boys, (mat, mark, luke, john) give 4 versions of what happened when "jesus" reapeared,,,,,,only john gives anything to the doubting thomas deal, the other 3 say thomas was among the 11 when "jesus" came by,,,,,john says he wasnt, and didnt "believe" till he got a special visit 8 days later.......makes me wonder why it was so important for one fella to get such special treatment

stephan....to you, i bow to the fact you believe whole heartedly that the scriptures are untainted, ever wonder what all happened that wasnt written in the good book? boggles.

Ringo,,,,,dear,,,,no hug,,,because I quoted something? pardone a moi for not using little quotation marks. You, of all people know my stand,,that 99% of it all is bunk,,,,that is strictly my opinion,,,to which i am allowed, as are all others in this forum,,,so,,here goes,,,,,,gads I hate this,,,,,,Genesis , chapter1, verse 26,,,,,"and god said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness, and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth."
verse 27....so, god created man in his own image, in the image of god created he him, male and female, he created he them.
from those verses,,I gather,,,that we were created in his image,,,and likeness,,,,so,,,wouldn't that cover the spiritual angle,,,and physical?...
just a thought,,,,,,,
and,,,if I so deem myself as wanting a hug,,I'll take one , :p
Michelle

I wish all could find the true happiness I have found,,in the eyes of Mike

Ron
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98 posted 01-26-2004 10:22 AM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

If those passages are to be taken quite literally, Michelle, then should we all look exactly the same?
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99 posted 01-26-2004 10:39 AM       View Profile for Opeth   Email Opeth   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Opeth

Image and likeness, would include our ability to think and reason, that we have only one head, that we have 2 arms and 2 legs, a general likeness in image.

We share a likeness and image, but that doesn't mean we have to be identical.
 
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