Statesboro, GA, USA
Stephen, Question…Did you read the TDC?
Yes, I did. Though I didn't see the movie.
I believe in an all supreme being (God), who created our world, and everything in it…but I also believe in Scientific & Archaeological theories…which to me, associates, with the Bible…along with many other religious theories.
You don't have to convince me of the value of things like archaeology and historiography. For the most part, where these disciplines have been sound, they have tended to confirm rather than refute the authenticity of the Bible. I don't think that God's "word" will ever truly contradict God's "world". Science and Faith are not equals for sure, but they are not enemies either.
Many statements in the past have been made to contradict the Bible, based on archaeology (or a lack thereof), which were later recanted because new evidence appeared which only confirmed the Biblical accounts.
So I don't think that archeology and historiography are in a position to "prove" the divine source of the Bible, but they can and do show it to be more than plausible. Since we can doubt anything, even our very own existence if we wish, faith must play a part somewhere. But that doesn't mean that faith is the blind kind.
As for the "religious theories" you mentioned ... I'm with you with caveat that they can't all be right, especially if they are at odds with each other, in some very basic and fundamental assumptions. I'll give anything a fair hearing, but that doesn't make everything equally valid.
the Bible was written by men…and men are by nature, desire driven…to include, ego, power, & tempted by material wealth.
You keep saying that, but why do you doubt that God could say something reliable through men, despite their own imperfections? It's really a matter of faith in God, as to whether he could give us a solid word or not. If you wrote me a very truthful letter, should I doubt it just because you are human?
Also you've never explained adequately why a book so devastating to "sinful desires" in it's teaching, might be written for the fulfillment of these very same desires. That's counter-intuitive to me.
The Gospels, for example, were not written by the rich and powerful ecclesiastical leaders of Israel, they were written by tax-collectors and fishermen, the antithesis of the elite. Nor could their teachings and writings give them a "high" status in Israel. In fact their writings got them ostracized from the community!
Fear of being wrong ... stagnates man’s progression ... causes anger ... (and) men to be devoid of good sense and judgment… resulting in an inability to ascend further to a ... thought pattern of any ... concept but theirs ... which so sadly ... creates man’s separation from others ... rage, murders and ... wars, adding man’s need to look for the approval of others to be happy, not to mention, conditioning passed down by our parents, their parents and so forth. We are so afraid to defy their culture and find our own ways.
LeeJ, there is also a marked lack of fear of "being wrong" among revolutionists. It's sometimes just "natural" for children to rebel against parents (a reminder of original sin), regardless of whether they are right or wrong. We don't generally like authority, and I would say THAT has led to more strife, wars, abuse, than anything else. So when you raised your kids to be kind and moral and good, you were conditioning them??
I understand that leadership can be corrupt, but it is always based upon their transgression of good and right principles. But you see what problem this creates, when the very authority upon which "good principles" are based is challenged.
You'll inevitable run into self-contradiction when placing Biblical teachings in the same category of something that should be "doubted" or "challenged". I've heard people, (like George Carlin for example) try to say that the Ten Commandments should be resisted because "covetousness" gave rise to them. Poor guy, he didn't realize that his reasoning for resistance was based upon God's law in the Ten Commandments.
It's good to challenge some things Lee, because they are wrong ... but not all things. Some things must be sacred.
"It is good that the window should be transparent, because the street or garden beyond it is opaque. How if you saw through the garden too? It is no use trying to 'see through' first principles. If you see through everything, everything is transparent. But a wholly transparent world is an invisible world. To 'see through' all things is the same as not to see." (C.S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man)
I believe, God and Jesus, are something way beyond anything that we are able to comprehend, (we only utilize 1/3 of our brain) way beyond the Bible, due to man’s inabilities to perceive other dimensions, phenomenon’s, and believe me, there are things that go, beyond our comprehensions…why does it say, “Watch and Learn from the Beasts of the Field)?
I do too. But real knowledge doesn't have to mean exhaustive knowledge. There is much to discover about God in his creation, and in human nature. But I don't think that will ever contradict revealed truth.
The problem is, we have been told in the Bible that some things are revealed from Heaven ... and that when we doubt those revealed things, we are not discovering "new" knowledge, but wrong knowledge. There are evil forces as well as good forces at play in the world.
I'm wondering what you think the Bible means when it mentions the spirit of "anti-Christ". Do you doubt that we should apply that to anything at all? I'll bet you draw your lines somewhere, though it sounds like to me you're saying that all claims to truth are good and right. Maybe you're not saying that, and I'm just misunderstanding you. Could you clarify?
So, that was the reason for the Bible…man’s interpretation of his perceptions of God’s creations and Jesus’ words, (which were metaphoric) and could only be interrupted in a limited ability back then, due to man’s intellectual comprehension…to explain what they saw. They were very primitive in thought patterns…perspectives, and perceptions.
But we are not just reading an "interpretation" in the New Testament, but often a verbatim recording of what was said and done, by more than one person. Therefore we too, can interpret the words of Christ.
Admittedly they are somewhat flexible, but not modernly elastic. There's a breaking point where you are forced to part with the historical. An honest reading, would not allow a "New Age" or Pantheistic Jesus, because it just isn't in the data we have. That's why Dan Brown, and the gnostics are forced to refer to other later texts to do their version of teaching. It is a different "Jesus" as it were. It's a wee bit hard to teach gnostic doctrines from the Bible, because it's speech is not that ambiguous. A spade is a spade.
And the authenticity of the pseudopigraphal gospels can easily be shown to be doubtful using Historiography. Gnosticism was a religious movement distinct from both orthodox Judaism, and Christianity. And it "absorbed" the Christian history for its own ends, and rewrote its own version. Two things are seldom doubted among reliable scholars (Christian and otherwise), 1) These documents are later than the canonical gospels, and 2) Their authorship is doubtful. In other words, the gospel of Thomas wasn't written by Thomas. The gospel of Peter wasn't written by Peter. The gospel of Barnabas wasn't written by Barnabas. etc ... To attach an apostolic name to a writing was a method of gaining quick prominence.
The gnostic gospels are more "political" than any of the traditionally accepted Christian texts.
What I can’t comprehend is why, people are so afraid of the idea that Jesus not only took Mary as His Wife, but had children, and confided more in Mary then any other disciple? He was a Man?
I've explained this before ...
Yes he was a man. But he was also more than a man. From the Christian perspective Jesus was the "Lamb of God", do you know what that means? It means that his mission (given to him by God from before the foundation of the World) was to be born, to live, and to die as a substitutionary sacrifice for our sins.
Think about it ... If Jesus were just another Joe who gets married, has kids, and settles down, there has been no sacrifice for our Sin. I am also "afraid" of that doctrine, because I know my own sin and what it can do. So for the Christian, this seemingly innocent story is the denail of one of the central tenants of the Christian Faith ... one of the Lynch Pins, corner-stones, pillars, as it were. Without the particular Christian History as given in the canonical Gospels, there is no salvation.
That's a lot to give up, for just the romantic feeling that Jesus might have had an earthly wife and children, isn't it? It's not that scripture is anti-marriage or anti-family- but the opposite. Many of the disciples and apostles were married. Paul, though single himself, give a rather lofty view of marriage and children. So tell me, why can't this one figure set those things aside, for a higher calling?
I am married myself, and have children. They are a blessing beyond imagination. But it thrills me to think that there are things even higher. And it thrills me even more to think that someone abstained himself from something lawful and good, for little 'ol me!... I personally think, Lee, that you are accepting something good, but losing something eternally better if you think that the history of Jesus was that of a mere human who had a good life and never went to the cross.
And doesn't the goodness of marriage and children, give more value to the fact that Jesus would give that up for us?
Besides those very poignant points for you to ponder, I'll also add that the canonical gospels represent the best and most solid history of Jesus. And the data we have does not say that he was married. Only the later gnostic writings relate such stories.
Yes, the Bible is a great body of teachings, but has also been intergraded in so so many other different religions…each claiming “theirs is the absolute truth and word”, adding their own man made rules
Interesting Lee, that these "denominations" you mention all agree on the essentials about Jesus, and the historicity of the gospels. And the "man made rules" can be discerned from the rest, because they don't have the same amount of Biblical support as the central doctrines.
There are also many Denominations who do not claim that they represent "the absolute truth" ... in the sense that no other members of other denominations will be saved. There can still be a great amount of unity in diversity.
and Stephen, I apologize, but if we don’t consider other solutions and theories, how can that not be closed minded off mind, unable to consider and think for themselves?
I don't think we were supposed to think with total autonomy, apart from divine revelation. That doesn't mean that we aren't supposed to think at all, however. There has to be something absolute, or you are adrift. A man drowning at sea who chooses to clutch a life preserver rather than a floating palm leaf, is not "closed minded".
I can’t trust totally in such a primitive concepts
Lee, if you believe in the alternate story of the gnostic texts (such as the belief that Jesus was married) you are trusting primitive ideas. Why does the time of events or thinking, automatically invalidate them? It shouldn't. I've mentioned "chronological snobbery" before, and I would rather see you test something as valid or invalid based on criteria other than the clock.
...and one reason is, due to woman’s persecution during time. I believe also, that was totally man’s ego to control.
Then you should stay away from ANY gnostic ideas, as 2nd and 3rd century gnosticism was extremely anti-women in their outlook. Makes the Christian texts look like Women's Lib material.
From the so-called "Gospel of Thomas":
"('Peter' says): Let Mary leave us, for women are not worthy of life.
('Jesus' adds): I myself shall lead her in order to make her male, so that she too may become a living spirit resembling you males. For every woman who will make herself male will enter the kingdom of heaven."
So women aren't worthy to live, and must have a sex change before entering into heaven. In praising the gnostic views, Dan Brown forgot to mention this huh?
My bosse’s church is a Roman/Catholic Culture…but they believed people should explore TDC and come to their own conclusion…decide for themselves…and that kind of thinking we need more of.
I answered this in the other thread, before you moved the conversation over here ... but I'll say it again.
I have no problem with investigation. You know that. Of course everyone must decide for themselves. That doesn't mean that all claims are equally reliable. I'm 99.9999 % sure that your boss' Church takes a particular view of whether the Jesus Story is like Dan Brown says, or like the Gospels say. Just because they encourage others to read material, doesn't mean they don't have a committed view on the matter... unless it's a gnostic temple in disguise?
I challenge you to ask your boss, whether the priests teach that Jesus was married, and didn't go to the cross ... or the orthodox view.
I ask you this question…who are you to make a statement that Dan Brown, or me or anyone else is not Christian…you don’t know…how a person walks his life…this is exactly a perfect example of what is not Christian to me…
I didn't say that I know for sure that Dan Brown is not a Christian, or that I know he will never be saved. I said rather that if he believes what he writes about Jesus Christ, then he is not a Christian. And I do have a certain definition of Christian in mind ... the Biblical sense of the word.
"Christian" may have some flexibility in lesser matters, but it is not a totally elastic word. It means someone who believes certain things about Jesus Christ, and who is devoted to his teachings. It would only stand to reason that if we may know what a Christian is (by the words of Jesus himself and the apostles), then we may be able to distinguish whether certain beliefs and people who hold them are "Christian" or not.
I can say that Dan Brown isn't a Christian, based upon his own professed beliefs, just as easily and accurately as I can say you're not a Muslim.
I am sorry that you percieve that as "unchristian" thing to do, but I still wonder what your definition of "Christian" is. It's more than just being a nice guy ... dogma is also central to being a Christian, like it or not. I'm not saying that we shouldn't treat people kindly and respectfully, and I try to do so. But to me that doesn't mean not making certain estimations based upon truth. I'm not making a moral judgement on Dan Brown. We're ALL sinners, including myself. But I am saying he's mistaken in his definition of what a Christian is.
Finally I would say that one test of whether or not such statements (as I made) are "christian" or not, is to honestly read the bible and ask: "Did Christian teachers in the New Testament make such estimations?". Yes they did.
Perhaps you are further ahead then I am, but the fact of the matter is, to feel as you do is judging….isn’t it? This is an example of conditioning by your parents culture…and you actually fear if you explore other concepts, you’ll burn in hell?????
As I said above, such statements are not "judging" in the negative sense, but merely stating truth. Again I'm basing this off of the fact that truth may be known. I think perhaps you believe that it can't ... though I'm not sure. But if you believe that way, my views will always appear arrogant, even when held with a tender heart.
Lastly on this matter I'll say that it was not my "parent's culture" to accept absolute truth, though certain Christian assumptions were always there. I became a Christian later in life, and mainly from influences outside of my family. But even if I had been raised Christian from the start, that doesn't mean that it's wrong, or that that's the only reason why I might believe as I do. We can still ask whether or not a certain "culture" or "atmosphere" is right or not.
Surely you realized that political correctness and the new "tolerance" is also a cultural atmosphere? It's based upon a philosophical assumption of the impossibility of knowing anything absolute, and a magnification of individualism. That's the prevailing "Zeitgeist" of today.
Would you hold back, because I didn’t believe in God the same way you do, or go to your church, or would you try to control me, to bring me over to your side, instead of allowing me my beliefs, would you continue to go to your church without me there, without worry, in confidence, and more so, with support and understanding that I do need my own identity? Or would you not even consider the relationship at all because I believe in something other then you?
Honestly, as a Christian, I intentionlly chose to marry a Christian woman ... not that I just picked one for that reason, or that I wasn't crazy about her. This is based upon Biblical teaching where Paul says not to be "unequally yoked with unbelievers". That doesn't mean that we're to have nothing to do with non-Christians obviously ... Paul pointed out the absurdity of that thought by saying we would have to "leave the world". The Christian "cloister" mentality is not encouraged in the Bible. We are encouraged to have friends and to love all kinds of people, especially those who don't yet believe.
However, in such an intimate arrangement as marriage, one has to consider many things. As a believer and unbeliever, our goals might be totally different. Our views of how a marriage should work might be totally different. Our words to our own children about life, God, salvation might be totally different. The Bible says with great pragmatism "How can two walk together except they be in agreement"?
So no, I would not marry a non-Christian, being a Christian myself ... unless I could be assurred of their very real conversion. There's too much at stake there, to go on feelings of infatuation only.
Personally, my marriage has been the better for it. Though not perfect, my wife and I have peace, and love each other deeply.
Now your questions about someone "going to a different church", or believing a peripheral doctrine differently ... I might answer differently. Those things are much lesser things to overcome.
I also suggest this, don’t worry about me, don’t worry about Brown’s concept…look at how his book brought us together to discuss this and consider, allow, and be tolerant of each other, we will both walk away richer, and so will a lot of others who discussed this book.
Oh absolutely Lee! I think regardless of right or wrong, his book has brought about a lot of stimulating conversation. And God will always use both truth and error to his own benevolent ends. Remember the passage about how Paul was rejoicing that "Christ is preached" even though some of the preachers were doing it wrongly or for wrong reasons? The whole place was in a buzz, and people were thinking about Christ. That's always a good thing to me.
And LeeJ, yes I love you too. I tend to be ruthless in my debating for truth's sake, but it's never personal or malicious. I hope that shines through somehow.
Alright Karen you're next ... (sigh, as my hand falls off)