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Stephanos
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25 posted 01-20-2005 06:09 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

RSWells
quote:
I believe that when it's all said and done it will be proven that we all started from the same slimy beginnings and that the earth that we abuse and neglect has more right to claim maternity than any paternal fantasy invented by controlling men.



It's interesting to me, that when someone rejects the Fatherhood of God as "mythology", they do not end up rejecting all mythical mystical elements they would otherwise ridicule.


You're matriarchal "rights-invested" description of what you would otherwise tell me is a wholly material and impersonal universe, seems to smell of the same sin of personal projection that you would accuse the religious of.  You even go on to say that we "violate, abuse, and neglect" her, as if a monistic impersonal cosmos even could be neglected or violated ... as if one part of her, even could rebel against the other parts.  And who or what would have the authority to say which side of the rebellion is good and which side is evil?  Where does the idea of good and evil come from in an impersonal materialistic cosmos anyway?  


My point is that your deeply personal view of the universe and the right way to stay in tune with "her" is just as "religious" in nature as my belief in God.


Stephen.
RSWells
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26 posted 01-20-2005 09:03 PM       View Profile for RSWells   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for RSWells

Stephen,

I do reject all man made contrivances that invent a god they couldn't possibly know or prove exists beyond their fertile and biased imaginations.

My point would be that those who preceeded the males who invented the dangerous nonsense that has caused the earth and its inhabitants untold suffering and death were closer to the target in their worship of a feminine deity then the paper shuffling controllers who wrote in carrot and stick to control the cheese and invented a male deity in their own image.

I fear you read me wrong.

I have no agenda here. All religions are foolish and hypocritical. The "her" to which I referred was earth itself, no goddess.

I spoke not of the universe but would safely venture that the motivation behind the invention of religion was materialistic and indeed the impersonal nature would be removing responsibility for ourselves and each other by inventing a grand and absent pooh-bah to throw our own failings and blame on.

I believe in no god. None can be produced and the fictitious ones seem to be sleeping or unconcerned with the mess proudly made in their/his/her name.  

Again, my point was it seems more common sensible that "primative" man went to a female icon tens of thousands of years before a cabal rearranged it to suit their ends. It is from women we come after all.

We slaughtered indigenous peoples in god's name. People we considered savages and who respected the environment. And what have we replaced it with?

How anyone could look another even mediocre intellect in the eye and claim to believe such things as a 5,000 year old human history is beyond me. To have tax free pulpited bigots demand that their sheep vote for someone with a perpetual war agenda is criminal. We are well past the finale to this comedy turned tragedy.

If the piety claimed in these worshipper's stated beliefs was practiced we wouldn't be having this discussion. I attended a funeral last week for a 92 year old primative baptist. I am proud to have known him and his wife of 70 years. These were salt of the earth people no matter how one looks at it. They were ardent church people but never pushed it on anyone. They lived the word which, in its basic form, ie the commandments and the golden rule, would be an admirable way for anyone to strive to live. I was aghast at the preacher's assertion that the deceased never cursed or spoke badly of anyone. I confirmed it with several members of his family as well as his wife. I know no one else like this.

I truly didn't want to single out any religion. All the three majors are guilty of most the world's ills. Each stole something from its predecessor. All have birthed myriad branches of magicians all claiming special knowledge of an unseen god. All seem quite phat and none will readily allow any truthteller to overturn their tables upsetting the money changing. A very honest and good man named Jesus tried it two thousand years ago and we know the end of that story.

Poets against the war is redundant

Stephanos
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27 posted 01-20-2005 10:58 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

RSWells:
quote:
If the piety claimed in these worshipper's stated beliefs was practiced we wouldn't be having this discussion. I attended a funeral last week for a 92 year old primative baptist. I am proud to have known him and his wife of 70 years. These were salt of the earth people no matter how one looks at it. They were ardent church people but never pushed it on anyone. They lived the word which, in its basic form, ie the commandments and the golden rule, would be an admirable way for anyone to strive to live. I was aghast at the preacher's assertion that the deceased never cursed or spoke badly of anyone. I confirmed it with several members of his family as well as his wife. I know no one else like this.




I think most of your intellectual problems with the Christian faith, may stem more from your heart.  You are offended, obviously.  You've seen a great disparity between action and doctrine among many.  I too share the same feelings, and sympathize with you.  But I also understand that if the Christian faith is true, then regardless of how many have been unable or unwilling to keep it, it is my duty to try and remain faithful to God.  The way I see it, no amount of hypocrisy in others, has much to do with me on judgement day.  And I have been shown, and have examined to the best of my ability the evidences, and I cannot but believe that it's true.  


You mentioned these exceptional friends of yours.  Do you think their faith in God might have something to do with their admirable qualities?  I do.  And I feel that they would have been grieved to know that you deny God, if you had shared that with them.  They would have not been as much personally offended, I'll bet, as they would have become deeply anxious for you to have the peace that they have in knowing.


And I assure you there are others.


If you concede that Jesus was an honest and good man ... then there may be more who truly love him and follow him.  And please remember that this Jesus most emphatically taught men to trust and believe in God.  Be careful not to rejoice so much in his rebuke of the religious, while ignoring his instruction for the impious.  Jesus was a Jewish man and prophet who was right with God, not a sharp-tongued irreligious man whose only goal was to expose hypocrisy, so that the faith itself could be discredited.      


No offense, and no hard feelings ...


Stephen.  
Aenimal
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28 posted 01-20-2005 11:18 PM       View Profile for Aenimal   Email Aenimal   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Aenimal

quote:
That would be a great thread, if you ever wanted to start one.  They were either lying, or suffered for delusional hallucinations about the ressurrection of Jesus.  It's my opinion that those theories have been pretty much dismantled, but I would like to hear your views on them ... and allow me to ask questions.


Some perhaps but not all. Until original transcripts or historical documents are found the questions will always remain. A most important resource would be the release of the full Qumran material. But after 50 years, access is still severely limited to scholars and the care and control of material in the hands of the wrong people. But that's another discussion    

quote:
Admittedly a text describing events that happened before mankind was even created (even before the Earth was created) is more like divinely revealed truth, in allegorical/ mythical form.  It's certainly not "History".  However, that doesn't mean that it's unhistorical, so to speak.


Divinely revealed truth from whom? Again, is the biblical God one and the same as the Sumerian God(s) who revealed the story of the Deluge? Or is one version of the story fact, and the other fiction? This and why is my question.

I don't mean to contest anyone's beliefs, I'm just not sure how people have reached their decisions and belief systems and that, not proving or disproving them, is what i'm most concerned about. But if you'd like to understand my own disbelief I'll offer a little summary.

The questioning began early on but came to a head when I left Catholic school for a Public High School. Suddenly introduced to an incredible array of faiths, I was thrust into incredible debates and conversations, learning much of people's cultures and, of course, their convictions. In arguing beliefs you manage to expose limitations and contradictions of others, but more importantly I discovered the limitations and contradictions of my own. (which is why i l#ve these discussions forums, continuously try to challenge my own views by listening to those of the people here, and that is partially the intent here)

I began challenging my beliefs. When tracing the roots through to Judaism and its predecessors. i found, not proof of a unique and definitive God, but an strange amalgamation of earlier deities, cultural traditions and folklore. I thought if these are passed off as mythology why not their successor? The further I read, the more the line between mythology and sacred word faded.

The Talmud, an extension of the Bible, features God as a warrior hero, battling the Prince of Darkness and the Prince of the Sea. In defeating or imprisoning them, establishes his supremacy as the ultimate warrior god. But this would seem to conflict with the monotheistic view that there is, and always was, only one God. The Alpha from which all things eminate.  

All of these, again this is only my opinion, challenged the validity and existence of the biblical Yahweh. And I find him no more fantastic then the mythologies before and after his creation. By extension, unable to believe in the father I've never been able to believe in his 'son.' But that's a whole other can of worms we've touched upon a few times..
quote:
..is that the main of scholars looking at the gospels, were using a shaky criteria for determining whether or not certain portions were authentic. They were all influenced heavily by enlightenment philosophy..Philosophy determined the slant of historical/ textual criticism.


But what was the criteria used in determining the canonical books of the New Testament? The earliest attempt, by the Bishop of Lyons(180 AD), determined that the validity of gospels was to be judged by whether or not they were apostolic. In other words, written by the apostles themselves. How anyone could prove whom the original authors of the works were, let alone determine if they were indeed apostles of christ sems rather shaky to me.

There is also the Hellenization and Romanization of the accounts to consider. It suggests a large potential not only for misinterpretation, but for alteration/bias with regards to appeasing a Roman audience. Versions where Romans are, for the most part, absolved of guilt or their images/involvment polished as with Pontius Pilate as an example.

Finally, one has to consider the enormous pressure faced to keep the splintering factions of early christianity together, while competing with rival religions. Is it so difficult to imagine that concessions to practice and text would have been made by the time the councils of Hippo finally ratified the canon NT? For example, i've read evidence that some early Saints are merely Christianized pagan dieties, used to keep the peace appeasing the conquerors and the conquered.
RSWells
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29 posted 01-20-2005 11:52 PM       View Profile for RSWells   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for RSWells

Stephen,

"I think most of your intellectual problems with the Christian faith, may stem more from your heart."

"..not a sharp-tongued irreligious man whose only goal was to expose hypocrisy, so that the faith itself could be discredited."

"No offense, and no hard feelings ..."

Oh of course not.

The disparity between "action and doctrine" exists at the highest levels of these psuedo-political orgainizations of immense wealth.

I really didn't intend on zeroing in on one culprit but condemn all hypocrisy. It wouldn't be palatable or in any spirit intended by the gracious site administrator or the majority of its gentle members for me to weigh into the christian faith. I had hoped my portion of the discussion would be permitted to address, in general terms, the three major offenders of judaism, christianity and islam. It certainly is not anything resembling fear on my part that we not go there as much as it is the abandonment of civility that is sure to follow.

As far as my friends go I'm delighted they were able to live by those kinder and wiser tenets that are common sense such as the commandments and golden rule. Again if even a majority of those who profess to follow these did so we wouldn't be having this discussion. Why would I shake up the long held faith of sweet elderly folks who lived and live right by discussing my beliefs with them? That would end up were this will if you allow it.  

We tread too closely towards your own beliefs and I fear if we delve too deeply there you will be far more offended by my responses than you apparently already are. It's a shame that the threat of divine retribution is needed for some people do simply do what is right in life.    

I was raised catholic and the christian faith is the one I am most knowledgable (and disappointed) with. We could sally there but what purpose would be served? You would hold even more steadfastly to your beliefs while never being able to prove them to me or disprove mine.

If possible I would desire to make all this foolishness disappear all at once. But no such magical power exists does it?


Poets against the war is redundant

serenity blaze
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30 posted 01-21-2005 02:08 AM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

smile...

I have't fully read the exhanges of Stephanos, Raph, & Richard, so if I accidentally touch on that, please understand that this post is simply a clarification of my earlier reply.

"a suspension of disbelief"

Which can also translate into "Faith."

(I promised Alicat I'd be back, because I wouldn't let his answer be ignored, but actually, it's not selfless--he and I had discussed this topic previously and had come to fairly the same conclusion.)

I have a certain amount of faith in a Divine presence (or energy) of creation. My pagan beliefs do not have argument with my acceptance of tenets of Christianity, Buddhism, and yes, now with some study, even Islam, and many, many other practices not as generally well known.

I consider the mythologies inherent in all religions as pathways, nodding, rather parables of understanding to enhance our understanding of an otherwise indefinable presence. And maybe presence is too mystical a word to describe--more like, a formula, that others, undoubtedly greater minds than mine, have heretofore described in better detail and with more understanding than my meager comprehension allows.

"Small Gods" as Ali volunteered, (and I think we agree) are no less a true component of the whole entity than saying, "This is my toe, and it is me."

But what we have is semantics, as those who have recognized different aspects of what is a force beyond human understanding as the only truth.

I personally believe that it is all correct, as individuals must ascribe to personal experience.

"suspension of disbelief" or "faith"?

It's a matter of choice, and sometimes perspective.

And just as any reasonable diet, (with nods to another thread) that recommends "eat less, exercize more" will result in weightloss, I believe that religions that offer practical spiritual guidance will also be successful.

I think I'm in agreement with Ron somewhat on theory, although the linear line of belief as growth chaffes at me a bit.

I believe it's all there, for our choice and benefit, and that we should feel free to borrow the ideologies as needed, and we can do that, and honor the choice as something as needed at the time, without quibbling over one belief system as a forerunner to the others as a sort of "kindergarten" of understanding. I think it's more cyclic than that. One system of belief might be more beneficial than another at specific times in our life, and I don't think that has anything to do with "maturity."

They don't actually vary much. Not when you drop the words, the names, that describe the description of one and the same--the subconscious language that is spoken beneath the surface conflicts of our limited understanding, and voiced and illustrated with symbol and metaphor enculturated into our individual comprehension.

Almost any diet will help you lose weight, but you have to follow it.

Almost any religion will help you find peace of mind, but you have to practice with faith.

And hugs, Ali. I hope I did our conversation justice.

"Small Gods" it is...as soon as I pay that library fine.

nite good poets

be a hero


ice
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31 posted 01-21-2005 11:09 AM       View Profile for ice   Email ice   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for ice

­
­­Reading this thread has given me an amazing uplift,
There is  great interchange of thought here, in this cyber lyceum.

Emerson would be proud of this place...

The thread is "religion" a hard word to define...

To make sure that what I say is relevant to this thread, I must ask the following questions...

Do pantheist beliefs qualify as religious thought?

Does not attending a lineal minded, physical church, make one who concentrates on spiritual thought, under roofless spatials, a heathen?

Does believing in an energy entity as being the catalyst of all physical, and mental realities qualify that entity to be titled a religious type of "God"?

Does one who believes if you take out the first four commandments and the repetitiousness of several others that what is left are the pure human laws inherent to all members of the species, and are innate laws?

If one believes that that energy entity is indifferent to human suffering, and that only human thought and action can save others who  have disobeyed its laws, simply by being in the way..If this is religious thought..

Then perhaps I have something to add to this thread...

____________ice
   ><>

­
Aenimal
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32 posted 01-21-2005 02:53 PM       View Profile for Aenimal   Email Aenimal   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Aenimal

quote:
I believe it's all there, for our choice and benefit, and that we should feel free to borrow the ideologies as needed, and we can do that, and honor the choice as something as needed at the time, without quibbling over one belief system as a forerunner to the others as a sort of "kindergarten" of understanding. I think it's more cyclic than that. One system of belief might be more beneficial than another at specific times in our life, and I don't think that has anything to do with "maturity."


quote:
But what we have is semantics, as those who have recognized different aspects of what is a force beyond human understanding as the only truth.

I personally believe that it is all correct, as individuals must ascribe to personal experience.

"suspension of disbelief" or "faith"?

It's a matter of choice, and sometimes perspective


Excellent points K, that's why I can still appreciate the OT and NT not as divine fact or historical truths, but I can appreciate them as basic guidance as a means of spiritual growth. The recognition of something beyond ourselves and the ideal we are all bound as a species is an important one.
quote:
Do pantheist beliefs qualify as religious thought?


ice, you have already added to the thread       and please feel free to expand on Pantheism.


I believe it to be more of a spiritual than religious belief, but that's not at all a negative but a positive to me. Modern Pantheism, at least as I understand it, isn't mired by adherence to any definitive set of practices or based on the teachings of any specific spiritual leader. Leaning more on spiritual aspects than the dogmatic ones, as it should be.

I hope that made sense?

quote:
Does not attending a lineal minded, physical church, make one who concentrates on spiritual thought, under roofless spatials, a heathen?


As a former Roman Catholic, my own misgivings began with the physical church. I couldn't overlook it's clear pagan leaning. both in practice and idolatry. And in the end I decided, if God was indeed omnescient, then it simply didn't matter where I worshipped.

quote:
Does one who believes if you take out the first four commandments and the repetitiousness of several others that what is left are the pure human laws inherent to all members of the species, and are innate laws?


I once read an excellent essay on the origin of the Commandments and their initial intent. For example, Thou Shalt Not Kill was essentially Thou Shalt Not Kill A Fellow Jew. Which makes a little more sense, amending the obvious condradiction of God assisted/directed the attack and slaughter of thousands throughout the Bible. Murder was bad, but not when furthering and defending his name it seems.


quote:
If one believes that that energy entity is indifferent to human suffering, and that only human thought and action can save others who  have disobeyed its laws, simply by being in the way..


You mean take responsibility for our own actions? Gasp.grin, That's alot for most humans to take on, much easier to deflect and place the onus of our survival onto a Godhead.

Copperbell
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33 posted 01-25-2005 09:56 PM       View Profile for Copperbell   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Copperbell

People here have an incredible amount of respect - I have not seen a discussion about religion (with differing views) so thoughtful and respectful in other forums - or amongst friends even.

Raph, I have a simple explanation to why I believe. I've seen lots of stuff happen.

a couple examples:
  I had severe neck pain that wouldn't go away.  Someone prayed for me and I felt a bone move in my back.  I had picked up my son and hurt my back some months previous but didn't attribute it to the pain.  Anyway, it was gone and never came back.
  I used to fiddle around with the ouija board and had a disturbing experience that went on for quite some time and when I prayed to God, it went away.
  I have prayed and sensed an overwhelming love for all people that was out of character for me that went on for weeks

In terms of doctrine, I know that historically Jesus lived and I believe the things He said - not that I understand all the things He said... Why do I believe in only Christianity -because I believe that He is God and I've seen that when I pray to Him, He answers

I believe that He died on the cross and that He had the power or choice not to - if we didn't need His gift of forgiveness, then it was a waste of His time and life
  
Huan Yi
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34 posted 01-25-2005 10:34 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi

Copperbell,

“ a couple examples”

Why would God take care of your back and ouija fears,
and ignore the countless men, women, and children who
begged in prayer not to be killed?

Copperbell
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35 posted 01-25-2005 11:38 PM       View Profile for Copperbell   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Copperbell

I don't know - but there are many difficulties I have experienced as well - my faith isn't about life being rosy - its about being convinced that He is faithful. That will include the day that I die
Aenimal
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36 posted 01-25-2005 11:51 PM       View Profile for Aenimal   Email Aenimal   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Aenimal

Thanks for sharing your views copperbell. faith is an amazing healing tool, there is a chapter devoted to it in Michael Murphy's 'The Future of the Body', i've mentioned it often but only because i keep coming back to read it again and again.

as for Christ. my belief in the historical Jesus prevents me from believing in the diefied Jesus. but that makes him no less important or interesting to me. i admire the things he said and the values attributed to him.


Essorant
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37 posted 01-26-2005 01:06 AM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

"Though a good deal is too strange to be believed, nothing is too strange to have happened."

Thomas Hardy
Huan Yi
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38 posted 01-27-2005 09:11 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi


"A poet, any real poet, is simply an alchemist who transmutes his cynicism regarding human beings into an optimism regarding the moon, the stars, the heavens, and the flowers, to say nothing of Spring, love, and dogs."

George Jean Nathan

“the moon, the stars, the heavens,”

So maybe it’s just the poet in us…
Stephanos
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39 posted 01-27-2005 11:11 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Raph,

This is an exhaustive subject, and I’ll have to go slow, taking one thing at a time.  I do want to address some of your other points.  But I want to take the one about the absence of autographs first...  


quote:
Stephanos: It's my opinion that those theories have been pretty much dismantled, but I would like to hear your views on them ... and allow me to ask questions.

Aenimal:  Some perhaps but not all. Until original transcripts or historical documents are found the questions will always remain. A most important resource would be the release of the full Qumran material. But after 50 years, access is still severely limited to scholars and the care and control of material in the hands of the wrong people. But that's another discussion 


I was wondering if you could clarify what you meant by:  "Until original manuscripts or historical documents are found, questions will always remain".  Are you suggesting that unless the actual autographs are found,  we can't appreciate a text as "historical"?  That criteria would be true of no ancient literature that I am aware of.


There are three basic tests of historiography.

1) The bibliographical test

2) The internal evidence test

3) The external evidence test


Your doubt of the textual integrity of the New Testament, because of an absence of the autographs (original manuscripts) is best addressed by the bibliographical test.  This test basically determines reliability based upon two questions 1) How many manuscripts are there?, and 2) What is the time interval between the original writing and the current copies?


I have no problem with you choosing to doubt the integrity of the NT based upon the absence of the autographs.  But if you do so, I just want you to know that this is actually where the New Testament is the sturdiest among other ancient writings.  Few scholars, if any, try to falsify the New Testament on these grounds.  Let me explain ...


There is no other ancient text which has more manuscripts.  And there is no other ancient text where the existing manuscripts are so close to the originals.  There are now close to 25,000 partial and complete manuscripts of the New Testament.  Homer’s Iliad, in second place, boasts about 640.  The earliest copies we have of the New Testament are of the 3rd/ 4th centuries, which far exceeds any classical literature in proximity to the originals.  For example, the first complete text of Homer dates from abouth the 13th century.


The following quotes explain this in further detail ...



"Perhaps we can appreciate how wealthy the New Testament is in manuscript attestation if we compare the textual material for other ancient historical works. For Caesar's Gallic War (composed between 58 and 50 BC) there are several extant MSS, but only nine or ten are good, and the oldest is some goo years later than Caesar's day. Of the 142 books of the Roman History of Livy (59 BC-AD 17) only thirty five survive; these are known to us from not more than twenty MSS of any consequence, only one of which, and that containing fragments of Books iii-vi, is as old as the fourth century. Of the fourteen books of the Histories of Tacitus (c. AD 100) only four and a half survive; of the sixteen books of his Annals, ten survive in full and two in part. The text of these extant portions of has two great historical works depends entirely on two MSS, one of the ninth century and one of the eleventh. The extant MSS of his minor works (Dialogue dc Oratoribus, Agricola, Gcrmania) all descend from a codex of the tenth century The History of Thucydides (c. 460-400 BC) is known to us from eight MSS, the earliest belonging to c. AD 900, and a few papyrus scraps, belonging to about the beginning of the Christian era The same is true of the History of Herodotus (c. 488-428 BC). Yet no classical scholar would listen to an argument that the authenticity of Herodotus or Thucydides is in doubt because the earliest MSS of their works which are of any use to us are over 1,300 years later than the originals.

But how different is the situation of the New Testament in this respect! In addition to the two excellent MSS of the fourth century mentioned above, which are the earliest of some thousands known to us, considerable fragments remain of papyrus copies of books of the New Testament dated from 100 to 200 years earlier still. The Chester Beatty Biblical Papyri, the existence of which was made public in 1931, consist of portions of eleven papyrus codices, three of which contained most of the New Testament writings. One of these, containing the four Gospels with Acts, belongs to the first half of the third century; another, containing Paul's letters to churches and the Epistle to the Hebrews, was copied at the beginning of the third century; the third, containing Revelation, belongs to the second half of the same century.
" (F.F. Bruce, The New Testament Documents)


and ...


"... besides number, the manuscripts of the New Testament differ from those of the classical authors ... In no other case is the interval of time between the composition of the book and the date of the earliest extant manuscripts so short as in that of the New Testament.  The books of the New Testament were written in the latter part of the first century; the earliest extant manuscripts (trifling scraps excepted) are of the fourth century- say from 250 to 300 years later.  This may sound a considerable interval, but it is nothing to that which parts most of the great classical authors from their earliest manuscripts.  We believe that we have in all essentials an accurate text of the seven extant plays of Sophocles; yet the earliest substantial manuscript upon which it is based was written more than 1400 years after the poet’s death." (Frederic G. Kenyon, Handbook to the Textual Criticism of the NT)



So my first question to you, before we proceed to questions of internal and external evidences, is:  Do you hold the same standard (necessity of originals) to other widely accepted ancient works, before you consider them to be authentic?  


Stephen.
Stephanos
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40 posted 01-28-2005 12:15 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Aenimal:
quote:
Divinely revealed truth from whom? Again, is the biblical God one and the same as the Sumerian God(s) who revealed the story of the Deluge? Or is one version of the story fact, and the other fiction? This and why is my question.



From the only real and living God.


No, the Biblical God is not the same as the Sumerian gods.  But it's not that simple.  I've always believed that Paganism held a shadow of truth, albeit distorted.  So if there was a universal flood, it's not incredible that other cultures might attempt to describe it.  It's also possible that such a story was in the psyche of many cultures and peoples before it actually happened.  Just as the mystery religions (taking their cue from the dying and rising of corn in their crops), portrayed something very close to the death and ressurrection of Christ, in their dramatizations.  But the historical veracity of the NT sets the Christ story apart.  The mystery religions do not even claim historicity.  But Jesus manifested something which was already a theme in nature:  Out of death comes life.  And it really happened.  


Admittedly the historical veracity of Noah's flood, being much more ancient, is harder to show than that of the NT.  But because I believe in the New Testament, and in Jesus Christ, who was prefigured in the Old Testament, I accept such Old Testament accounts by authority.  I think the Jews were obviously guided by Heaven in their selection of what is considered to be "Canon".  It is all authenticated (in my eyes) by the teaching of Christ from the Old Testament.  And much of Old Testament history is confirmed in archaeology ... though not all of it.  Such a infintesimal amount of history is discoverable by archaeology anyway.  At any rate, it is certainly not unreasonable to believe it as historical where meant to be literally historical and poetic where meant to be purely poetic.  And I do concede that these two categories (espcially in ancient writings) are not always exclusive.  Sometimes there's a mixture.  And sometimes it's hard for us to tell.


Much of what I find compelling about the Old Testament, is in what it says about mankind in general.  It's not such a flattering story that would be written by men, about themselves.  Sin, law, love, and vicarious suffering and redemption, are all themes which we find meaningful in some way or another.  Alternate philosophies, or explanations of the whole, do not have such explanatory power to me.  


When anyone talks history with the Old Testament, I've found that their reconstructions are at least as doubtful as the traditional views.  Therefore, it's just as reasonable to believe the traditional views.  And the host of problems, philosophical, psychological, and theological, I encounter when I would disregard the Bible as false, more than convince me that it is a book of certain truth.


I'd be willing to attempt to discuss any historical problems you have with the Old Testament.  Just be particular rather than general.  But I'm not nearly as versed here, as I am in the New Testament.


quote:
In arguing beliefs you manage to expose limitations and contradictions of others, but more importantly I discovered the limitations and contradictions of my own. (which is why i l#ve these discussions forums, continuously try to challenge my own views by listening to those of the people here, and that is partially the intent here)



That's actually a good thing.  It's good to be challenged.  However, I think it's good to make somewhat of a distinction between arguments and the things they attempt to defend.  Just because your argument has limitations, doesn't mean that you're wrong.  Then again it doesn't mean that you're right either.  But finding that the faith wasn't as simple as I had imagined, and that it's "apologia" wasn't as nice and tidy as I had thought, ended up confirming the faith for me in many ways.  I just encourage you to scrutinize your more mature doubts as much as you do the teachings of your nurse-maids.  I've found that things doubted on the lips of Sunday-school-teachers are generally made to look silly because of their simplistic expressions.  But very complex things can be put in catechismal forms.  Therefore, it's much too easy to think that when someone seems to rip apart the catechism, they've ripped apart the truths behind it.  


quote:
I began challenging my beliefs. When tracing the roots through to Judaism and its predecessors.



What could you lead me to, specifically,  to suggest that Judaism was merely a conglomeration of previous paganisms?


More later,


Stephen.  
Aenimal
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41 posted 01-28-2005 08:43 PM       View Profile for Aenimal   Email Aenimal   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Aenimal

Unfortunately time, and other restraints, mean I won't be able to answer this just yet. Allow me a few weeks and I promise to further expand on my comments, as well as answer the interesting questions you've posed. Take care and see you soon(ish)
Stephanos
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42 posted 01-28-2005 09:45 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Oh, you mean you actually have a life outside of philosophy 101?     I fully understand.  I'm in no hurry.  Some of the best discussions are missed simply because they are rushed along.


Stephen.
Huan Yi
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43 posted 01-30-2005 12:45 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi


“Thousands of people have demonstrated in support of a Moroccan newspaper which claimed that the tsunami was an act of divine retribution.

The newspaper of Morocco's Islamic party, PJD, said the disaster showed God's displeasure with South-East Asia's sex tourism industry.”


http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/4219755.stm

Aren’t there at least shades of this God
in the Old Testament?  Sodom and Gomorrah.
Midnitesun
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44 posted 01-30-2005 10:00 PM       View Profile for Midnitesun   Email Midnitesun   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Midnitesun

LOL, Raphie. I thought I had a response to this, then read what Ed wrote and am still laughing so hard I can't reply except to say
it's just a question of semantics in my mind.
They are one and the same to me.
I have had things thrown at me for saying that, so with that, I shall duck out of here and continue my bellicose laughter.
But seriously, I might think about this and come back in a day or two, if permitted.

OK, I came back and read MOST but not all of the lengthy replies. And I still have to say, religion and mythology are one and the same to me. I've always thought Jesus was really cool and had some great ideas that somehow got corrupted by less compassionate minds.  But I don't worship him or what he said, as I believe (can I say that?) there were many many 'prophets and holy men/women' and that there will be more down the road. We can take the good from each of them. In the long run, I think there is some kind of force or prime mover out there, but s(he) sure doesn't match the descriptions I usually hear or read about. More like a trickster or coyote some days, and others? well, the good, the bad, the ugly all rolled into one giant ball of energy. And it's all in how we interpret it...with our puny minds and selfish hearts, we always think it's all about US.

[This message has been edited by Midnitesun (01-30-2005 11:47 PM).]

Essorant
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45 posted 01-31-2005 03:52 AM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

To refer to Mythology and Religion as one we have perfect english words:  Belief and Lore

And most of all, Truth
~DreamChild~
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46 posted 01-31-2005 07:39 PM       View Profile for ~DreamChild~   Email ~DreamChild~   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for ~DreamChild~

Religion is a way of life, with rules, regulations, traditions, and so on. Faith however, is a decision one makes in their heart to belive in something, even when it cannot be sensed physically.

I am a christian, but am not religious. Religious people feel deep down that they must earn their salvation, by works. I simply believe Christ, and need no evidence. That is faith.

While mythology is discredited today, it WAS an actual religion, with worship, sacrifices and offerings, and such.

Stephanos
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47 posted 01-31-2005 11:17 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

quote:
Aren’t there at least shades of this God
in the Old Testament?  Sodom and Gomorrah.



What do you mean by "This God"?  Do you mean a God who judges and punishes?  The prerogative for God to both judge and punish individuals and larger communities is evident in the Old Testament and no less in the New Testament.


Of course the theology of "suffering = God's punishment" is tempered in the Old Testament by the themes set forth by the book of Job and Ecclesiastes.  Not all suffering is attributed to divine punishment.  Solomon mused that the righteous seem to suffer along with the wicked.  And Job's friends were rebuked for insensitively placing their one-size-fits-all theology on Job.


It is also tempered in the New Testament, with Jesus' warning about imagining that sufferers of tragedy are evidently worse sinners.  


I think therefore it's a belief we should hold, but be very careful how we apply that belief.  


Stephen.
Huan Yi
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48 posted 02-11-2005 02:34 AM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi

http://piptalk.com/pip/Forum29/HTML/001817.html


“So she experienced no other existence in the coma years?  What does
that bode in all our futures?”

Also what does it say of faith’s confidence that everyone
seems glad the girl finally did not die and go to whatever
they might believe is then beyond?

littlewing
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49 posted 02-11-2005 10:08 AM       View Profile for littlewing   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for littlewing

Ok, I just got done reading, but am just replying to this:

just what seperates mythology from religion?

In my humble opinion, a whole lot of religion stems from mythology. It is seen in all religions, holy books, faiths, folklore, practices, etc.

It is the same when you look at Celtic Druids and the Catholic faith.  There are so many practices which carry over from the Druids to the Catholics and even Native American practices.  The use of smoke (cigarettes), incense (church), and candles (by all) are used for the same purpose.  Many people call Celtic (myth) and Native (folklore), yet Catholic is a known and recognized religion.

The only fact that can be derived from any story in any religion/myth is the belief of something greater than ourselves.  

In my opinion, they all overlap each other and myth was probably at one time, fact.  In short, I, personally see many instances of myth flooding into religion without it being recognized as old practice.

Who knows?  One day we may be myth.

Make sense?  *smile*  

If you want me to cite examples, I will be back to do so.

Raph?  I believe you answered your own question here:

but I'm am genuinely curious how or what seperates fiction from non-fiction in the eyes of believers.

That's it, freewill, the choice to believe what we choose. (whatever works for us)  
 
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