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Essorant
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100 posted 08-30-2006 12:23 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Stephanos,


"When read as a whole, the Bible's descriptions of Pagan religious practices are more complicated than you describe.  And saying that the Bible calls paganism "demonic" and "the worst thing" really isn't accurate. "


I wasn't speaking about descriptions about religious practices though, but about how the bible refers to pagan gods.  That is not how they worshipped, or what rites were involved in worshipping, but whom or what they worshipped.

The gods are almost always either called "idols" or "devils/demons".

Consider Paul's saying in Corinthians 1.

How would you like it if some text had such a saying referring to "Christians" instead?

"But I say, that the things which the Christians sacrifice, they sacrifice to the Devil, and not to God:  and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils. Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table and the table of devils".

Not an extreme distortion?  


I think treating Christ as only a prophet is a lot more respectful than that, even if it doesn't "represent the whole picture"  At least Christ was a "prophet".

I only have time to focus on this point for now Stephanos.  But I hope to address your other points later on.

Stephanos
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101 posted 08-30-2006 12:54 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Essorant:
quote:
I wasn't speaking about descriptions about religious practices though, but about how the bible refers to pagan gods.  That is not how they worshipped, or what rites were involved in worshipping, but whom or what they worshipped.

Either way, Essorant, I already described to you that the demonic is certainly not ruled out.  Who or what else would be behind the doctrine that children are to be sacrificed ... an extreme instance I know, but at least you might concede the point with the most obvious examples.  Also there is the fact to be considered that the Bible does describe idols as "nothing", made of wood or stone or men's imagination.  However, it also establishes the truth that anything which ultimately pulls proper worship away from the One True God, is demonically touched somewhere in the process.  This is in accordance with the Christian view that our actions are almost always part of a bigger scheme, of angelic powers vying for recognition and "worship".


You're simply not going to change the fact that that is the Christian world-view.  You may disagree with it.  You may disagree with the moral censure.  But that is the philosophical / theological description of idolatry.  I can only support that with philosophy or theology (though I could historically point out that a devilish strain in paganism has existed too).  


In any case, what you are now criticizing is not the "Historical" description of pagan practices, which was your initial allegation against the Bible.  "inaccuracies" I think you called them.  When I mentioned the "historical" description of practices, you switched tactics and pointed out passages of moral censure.  Well we all know that, but that can neither be supported or attacked on the level of historical description alone.  Your charge of "historical inaccuracy" is therefore misplaced.  If you're going to argue against the moral / philosophical position of the Bible, concerning pagan worship, then you'll have to argue on those grounds.  Of course I can also argue the philosophcial rightness of the Biblical view ... but for now, I'm just trying to keep your arguments in their proper bounds.

Stephen.
      
Essorant
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102 posted 09-01-2006 05:32 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

"Who or what else would be behind the doctrine that children are to be sacrificed ... an extreme instance I know, but at least you might concede the point with the most obvious examples."

I think trivializing life or death, whether it is someone else's or one's own for the sake of glorifying God or for another life beyond is something that reared and even still rears its gruesome head in almost every religion.

In the bible we see Abraham willing to sacrafice his son for his God, if he believed need.  Abraham didn't sacrafice his child for God; he was stopped.  But the willingness and principle of doing such a thing was there.

Nor do I I think it is not a similar principle behind the doctrine of the martyr, when he will sacrafice his own life--no less a human himself than a child--for God, or for his belief, or for the next life, etc.  It is the same principle, but instead of sacraficing someone elses life it sacrafices one's own life.

Almost every religion I know seems to have examples of this same or similar principle.  If you claim what was behind it for pagans was a devil or something demonic, then that stands for Christians, Muslims, and others that treated life as less and sacraficed it for something believed in and thought as "more".


"In any case, what you are now criticizing is not the "Historical" description of pagan practices, which was your initial allegation against the Bible. "

I'm not locking myself to "historical" or "philosophical"  manner, Stephanos.  I'm arguing against the treatment of pagan gods as devils and worthless things because I don't believe that pagans believed in devils or worthless things, anymore than I believe you believe in devils and worthless things.  You say that it is part of the Christian view.  That is no argument.  The belief that Christ is only a prophet is just as much part of views, and that doesn't stop you from arguing against it.  

All you are doing is using your own religion to justify inferiorizing other religions' gods, something that any other may do to your God.


Stephanos
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103 posted 09-02-2006 09:51 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Essorant:
quote:
In the bible we see Abraham willing to sacrifice his son for his God, if he believed need.  Abraham didn't sacrafice his child for God; he was stopped.  But the willingness and principle of doing such a thing was there.



This has done nothing but illustrate the truth Essorant ... that human life is contingent upon God for it's ultimate value.  Only if you place human life as supreme above God, can you come to such a conclusion as yours.  


Also Jesus' words ring true that "Whosoever saves his life shall lose it.  But whoever loses his life for my sake shall find it."  Whenever human life is placed in it's proper context, then the benevolence of God is revealed.  

So in the story of Abraham and Isaac, what God seemed to take away with his right hand, he gave back with his left. Abraham should have been willing to do anything for God (as we all should) who is the all-powerful Soveriegn of the Universe.  But because he was willing, God's heart was revealed to him through the word that spared Isaac, as God's true estimation of human life.  God would never demand and take what Molech did, the lives of children for his own pleasure.


Also you miss the beautiful portrait of Christ in the Passage.  God wasn't really going to allow Abraham to give his son up to death, for God's sake.  But Abraham saw in that very instance, what God really would go through in giving up his own son for Abraham's sake.  It was a revelation of the love and pain of God ...


and the opposite of what you make it out to be Essorant.  It was a picture of God's love for the human race that he would give his own son for us.  If you missed that in reading the story, you misunderstood the story.  


God merely had Abraham walk a mile in his shoes ... but stopped short of that second mile that really led to the cross.


quote:
Nor do I I think it is not a similar principle behind the doctrine of the martyr, when he will sacrafice his own life--no less a human himself than a child--for God, or for his belief, or for the next life, etc.  It is the same principle, but instead of sacraficing someone elses life it sacrafices one's own life.



We already discussed the Martyr.  And I already explained that Martyrdom was a violent taking away of someone's valued life.  With murderers offering as the only way to escape, a chance to shamefully do what is wrong, in denying an even greater life ... God's own.  


Only if human life is made the highest, and above all else, would your position be tenable.  But that's only if there is no God.    And maybe for you, at this time in your life, that is what you feel.


quote:
I'm not locking myself to "historical" or "philosophical"  manner, Stephanos.  I'm arguing against the treatment of pagan gods as devils and worthless things



I understand that Essorant.  But what I am saying is that the Bible doesn't portray all paganism as "demonic".  Those cases are selective and the rebuke is aimed at things which were frankly demonic, such as sacrficing children.  I pointed that out earlier that Pagan religious "ignorance" is expressed far more often than blatantly demonic.  So you are not being true to the text.  


Consider the Apostle Paul's treatment of the "Unknown god" at Mars Hill, in Athens, as described in the book of Acts.  There is an example of Pagan worship where we have a two-fold thought:  1) The worship was inadequate to bring the true knowledge of God.  2)  The worship was preparatory for the message of the true knowledge of God.


There's a positive and negative view of paganism in there.  And I'm only insisting that you've greatly exaggerated the negative.  Though I don't deny it's there.  But I maintain that it should be there, for a total picture.  


quote:
You say that it is part of the Christian view.  That is no argument.  The belief that Christ is only a prophet is just as much part of views, and that doesn't stop you from arguing against it.



So you're saying that just because something is someone's "view", that all arguments are therefore equal?  The mistake that you continue to make, though I have adressed it several times, is arguing only that all arguments are equally valid.  That's nice to say, but are you sure that the much later Koran can be defended as accurate data about Jesus, over and against the data of the 1st Century?  It does make a difference, for a man who himself claimed to be anything but just another prophet.


My point is, don't dismiss arguments, or try to equalize arguments you're not even willing to discuss or explore.  I don't do that when I disagree with certain positions.  I don't mind the challenge of Christianity from the standpoint of defending other traditions.  But I don't accept a dictated prima facia equality of all positions.  And even if not all the time, you've been depending upon that argument too much.


Stephen.        
Essorant
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104 posted 09-02-2006 06:00 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

"Only if you place human life as supreme above God, can you come to such a conclusion as yours. "


Not so, Stephanos.

I don't put life above God, but neither do I put God above life.

To me God and life are equally supreme, because they equally depend on each other.

If you take away life, there is no God, because God needs life to live.
If you take away God, there is no life, because life needs God to live.  

Without one you can't have the other.
  
"Also Jesus' words ring true that "Whosoever saves his life shall lose it.  But whoever loses his life for my sake shall find it."  Whenever human life is placed in it's proper context, then the benevolence of God is revealed.  "

Not for me.  In my world when someone loses his life it is sadly lost.  When someone saves it it is thankfully saved.

Reversing that in the sake of Christ is like someone saying: "if you get beheaded for me, you will find your head!"

I think there's something seriously amiss with that bargain!

" God would never demand and take what Molech did, the lives of children for his own pleasure."


I think if you attribute the wrongs of those that believe in another God, to their God,
then by the same principle, you attribute wrongs commited by those that believe in your God, to your God.  


"But what I am saying is that the Bible doesn't portray all paganism as "demonic"."


I agree.  But a book doesn't need to have slander  every time it mentions something still to include a harsh slander about what it mentions.

"So you're saying that just because something is someone's "view", that all arguments are therefore equal?"

No not at all.  I obviously don't find the bible's "argument" equal, nor your argument that pagan gods or even paganism in general are treated  correctly in the bible.

I'm just saying the bible treatment of pagan gods is equally a form of distortion or incomplete picture (however intentional or unintentional) as the Koran's treatment of Jesus Christ.

Although, unlike the Koran that shows respect for Christ, the bible doesn't show any apparant respect for the gods the pagans worshipped.  It cuts out saying anything about what gods really were as believed in by the pagans, and fills it with its own theology, only a very negative and demonizing one.  
Stephanos
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105 posted 09-05-2006 03:30 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Essorant:
quote:
don't put life above God, but neither do I put God above life.

To me God and life are equally supreme, because they equally depend on each other.

If you take away life, there is no God, because God needs life to live.
If you take away God, there is no life, because life needs God to live.  

Without one you can't have the other.


The scriptural view of God is that he created us seperately from himself, and though he values and loves us supremely ... he is not "dependent" upon his creation.


Now you could argue that God was, by his very nature, bound to create life.  And I would agree with you.  But that's a different argmument than saying "God is dependent upon human life".  If you believe in a god where human life = god, you wind up in humanism again.


And I will add that only the Judeo-Christian view allows man to esteem God greater, and God to esteem man great enough to die for.  The story of God and man is a Romance.  that's the pardoxical glory.  God is supreme enough to lose our lives for, and yet gave his life for us.  If Christ had taken your egalitarian view, would he have died for your sins?

quote:
In my world when someone loses his life it is sadly lost.  When someone saves it it is thankfully saved.

Reversing that in the sake of Christ is like someone saying: "if you get beheaded for me, you will find your head!"

I think there's something seriously amiss with that bargain!



So you could never appreciate someone risking their life to save yours, and your family's?  That's a very prosaic way to look at life, in my opinion, since you could never honor that kind of "hero" without saying he did the wrong thing.  I understand that there are a myriad of ways to be heroic short of dying, but when talking about the martyr or the death of Christ, or rescue workers who die in service, we are talking about special circumstances ... circumstances which your view can't make sense of.  At least I can't see how.  


quote:
" God would never demand and take what Molech did, the lives of children for his own pleasure."


I think if you attribute the wrongs of those that believe in another God, to their God,
then by the same principle, you attribute wrongs commited by those that believe in your God, to your God.



Essorant, I don't think that Molech ever existed as a reality beyond artifice.  I attribute the wrongs to those people.  It just so happens that idolatry was part of that process, and was rightly denounced by the prophets of Israel.  


The ethical problems with the Bible will doubtless be from the Old Testment.  So I'll comment on that first ...


Though there was war in the Old Testament sanctioned by God, I note two things:  1) War is not always unjust.  2) The Old Testament was primarily a dispensation of Justice, designed to underscore the need for grace and mercy, and 3) The War practices of the Jews were kool-aid in comparison to many of the surrounding nations, such as Assyria and Babylon.  Thus it could be said that the teaching of God at least mitigated the typical bellicosity involved with war, in the case of Israel.    


When it comes to the New Testment you'll have a harder time pinning wrongs on the religion itself.  Since God has spoken with propositional truth, we have his commands.  And "Killing in Jesus' name", is unsupportable from the New Testament.  In fact it can be said to be antithetical to the teaching.


Temple prostitution was certainly central to the religion of Baal worship.  And child sacrifice was central to some Pagan relgions as well.  That's very different than a people disobeying their religion to commit shameful acts ... that is keeping their religion to commit shameful acts.  


quote:
I'm just saying the bible treatment of pagan gods is equally a form of distortion or incomplete picture (however intentional or unintentional) as the Koran's treatment of Jesus Christ.



My criticism of the Koran is primarily (for the purposes of this thread) historical.  Your criticism of the Bible is moral, theological, philosophical.  You don't see it a shame to worship other gods because you don't see that one has any claims over any others.  In that sense you are a polytheist.  And though I don't agree with your theological moral estimations, we have to take each subject in turn.  


Jim mentioned historicity.  I went with that idea.  You have gone into an "everything" kind of criticism where you will not be "limited".  But limitation is necessary for discussion I think.


The historical aspect is what I mentioned first.  And thus far you haven't been willing to discuss historical particulars.  Would you be willing to?  The problem we have with the Koran is that it ignores the words of Jesus himself, who claimed to be something very different than a mere prophet.  A prophet is an honor, I admit.  But to call someone a prophet when he was more, in his own words, and in his own deeds, is not necessarily honoring.  It would be like me calling the head Administrator of the hospital where I work an "employee".  That's true, but it's missing the mark if I were relating him to others.  And when corrected, if I said "No he's not a CEO, he's just another employee", I might be looking for another job.  


I think you can at least understand where I'm coming from.  You have to acknowledge the particular data we have about Jesus in the most authentic documents (The gospels of the New Testament) if you really want to explore whether or not the Koranic title "prophet" is honoring to Jesus.  


My problem thus far with our conversation Essorant, is that you've so stayed in general ethical outlooks, that we've never gotten to talk about the real data.  Yeah, you've mentioned it, but I think Jim was suggesting a bold claim that the real historical particulars surrounding the Christian Faith lend to a greater authenticity than other claims (such as Islam).


Soon, I will try to answer Iliana's questions about Christianity and Islam, and that will launch us into some further dialogue.


Stephen.
iliana
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106 posted 09-09-2006 05:27 PM       View Profile for iliana   Email iliana   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for iliana

Stephanos:  "I know that his sources were people he met on the Caravan routes, practicers of eclectic religions blending a little history, a little Roman Catholicism, a little gnosticism, and a lot of fiction.  So it may have not been an intentional distortion, but nevertheless it is lacking in historical soundness."

Stephanos, how do you know who his sources were?  According to what I've heard from devout Moslems, he received the Holy Koran while he was in a cave for 40 days and nights and that it was actually dictated to him by angels and he wrote it down.  Western scholars believe he wrote it over years.  

"According to the traditional account the Koran was revealed to Muhammad, usually by an angel, gradually over a period of years until his death in 632 C.E. It is not clear how much of the Koran had been written down by the time of Muhammad’s death, but it seems probable that there was no single manuscript in which the Prophet himself had collected all the revelations. Nonetheless, there are traditions which describe how the Prophet dictated this or that portion of the Koran to his secretaries."
http://www.secularislam.org/research/origins.htm

I'm still waiting for your comparison pointing out specific lies about Jesus.  I hope when you compare and contrast that you will use the words of Jesus versus Mohammad's words.  





[This message has been edited by iliana (09-10-2006 02:40 AM).]

Stephanos
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107 posted 09-13-2006 12:56 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

quote:
Stephanos, how do you know who his sources were?  According to what I've heard from devout Moslems, he received the Holy Koran while he was in a cave for 40 days and nights and that it was actually dictated to him by angels and he wrote it down.  Western scholars believe he wrote it over years.


Looking at the influence of various sects of Christianity at that time, upon the Arabs, one can see that this influenced Mohammed's views of Christianity and subsequently the text of the Koran.  Some of these sects included the Monophysites, Ascetic Monks in North Arabia, and Christianized Arab tribes: "Judham" and "Udhra".  This influence is also evidenced by the Koran's statements, such as referring to the trinity as "Father, Son, and Virgin Mary", reflecting some of the Heretical Christian beliefs in Arabia.  Also the belief that Jesus didn't really die on the Cross was a reflection of earlier gnostic beliefs.  There's also a tradition which reports "Christian" artifacts in the Ka'bah, at Mecca.  And Mohammed is reported to have befriended Christian Monks, and learned from them.  So in summary, his mind on Christianity was a product of the eclectic sources that he rubbed elbows with in the Caravan routes.


And yes, even in Islamic tradition, Mohammed is thought to have wrote it down over a long period of time, on scraps of leather, stone, palm-leaves, etc ... It was compiled later by others.  Of course there may be a more extreme Islamic view that Mohammed wrote it down in a much shorter time, but I'm not sure about that.


quote:
I'm still waiting for your comparison pointing out specific lies about Jesus.  I hope when you compare and contrast that you will use the words of Jesus versus Mohammad's words.



okay ... finally.      

There are 93 verses in the Koran which speak of Jesus.  Many of them make statements which are believed by Christians, and true to the Gospels.  These beliefs may be summarized as follows (I've given a few verses from the Koran to illustrate):

1) Jesus was a prophet and received revelation from God.

"We have grated revelation to you (Muhammed) as we gave revelation to Noah and the prophets who came after him.  To Abraham also we gave revelation, and to Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob and the tribes, to Jesus and to Job, to Jonah, Aaron and Solomon.  To David we brought the Psalms. ..." (4:163)  


2) Jesus was born of a virgin, and his birth announced to Mary by an angel:

"To Mary, the angel said: 'Mary, God gives you glad news of a word from Him.  His name is the Messiah Jesus, son of Mary.  Eminent will he be in this world and in the age to come, and he will have his place among those who are brought near to God's throne.  He will speak to men in the cradle and in his mature years, and he will be among the righteous.'  

Mary said: 'Lord, how shall I bear a son when no man has known me?  He replied: 'The will of God is so, for he creates as he wills.  When his purpose is decreed he only says 'Be!' and it is.  God will teach him the scripture, the wisdom, the Torah and the Gospel, making him a messenger to the people of Israel.
" (3:45-49)

3) Jesus performed Miracles.

And to Jesus he will say: ‘Jesus, son of Mary, remember my grace towards your mother when I aided you with the holy spirit, so that in your cradle and in your mature years you spoke to men.  Remember how I have you knowledge of the Book, and the wisdom, the Torah and the Gospel, and how by my leave you fashioned clay to the shape of the bird and when you breathed into it it became a bird by my leave, and how, by my leave too, you healed those born blind and the lepers and how, by my leave again, you brought the dead back to life once more” (5:110)


With the exception that the “pigeon miracle” is not recorded in the canonical gospels, but is narrated in the later pseudepigraphal “The Gospel of Thomas”, the statements above are perfectly compatible with Christianity.  And many passages in the Koran reiterate these truths.  


But there are significant differences, where the Koran parts ways with historic Christianity.  I will summarize those doctrines below with supporting scriptures from the Koran:


1)  It is blasphemous to elevate Jesus to the level of “God” or to call him the “son of God”

Truly they have lied against the truth who say ‘God, he is the Messiah, son of Mary.”  Say: ‘Who can arrogate sovereignty from God in anything?  If God but wills it, his power could annihilate the Messiah and his mother and everyone else in the world.  To God belongs the sovereignty of the heavens and of the earth and all that is within them and he is omnipotent over all.” (5:17)

They have ascribed invisible beings as partners to God, though he created them, and their total ignorance they have attributed to him sons and daughters.  Glory to Him and exalted be He above what they allege.  The very Creator of the heavens and of the earth, how could there be a ‘son’ to him there never having been a ‘spouse’ to him.  He who created everything and who is omniscient over all things?” (6:101-102)


2) Jesus was not crucified.

As for their [Christians] claim that they [the Jews] killed the Messiah Jesus, son of Mary, the messenger of God, the truth is they did not kill him nor did they crucify him.  They were under the illusion that they had.  There is a lot of doubt about this matter aong those who are at odds over it.  They have no real knowledge but follow only surmise.  Assuredly they did not kill him.  On the contrary, God raised him to himself- God whose are all wisdom and power.  And before they come to die, the people of the Book, to a man, will surely believe on him.  On the Day of ressurrection he will be a witness against them.” (4:157-159)


-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

In summary, these are the main points of difference with the Christian faith.  Though there are also verses which denounce the Trinitarian doctrine, these basically hinge on the question of whether Jesus was God in the flesh ... and historically whether or not he claimed to be.  Whether or not one beleives in Jesus’ claims of divinity, it is not historically sound to deny that he at least claimed to be.  With the texts we have, and the events surrounding the early church in the context of 1st Century Judaism, we are faced with the “trilemma” as proposed by C.S. Lewis.  Either Jesus was a Liar, a Lunatic, or Lord.  Either he was what he claimed, or we have to say he was either crazy or very immoral.  

Such reasons, are why it’s not so simple as to say “The Koran honors Jesus”.  The question is not whether it is an honor to be called a prophet.  It certainly is.  The question is whether it is an honor to be called “merely a prophet” when the stakes are much higher.  


With my next post, I'll go into the Gospels and give you Jesus’ own words (and the words of the Apostles) concerning who he was, along with the historical narrative of the events surrounding his crucifixion.  This is where we have the discrepancy of earlier documents versus much older documents.


But I'll let you absorb these first. (thanks for your patience Iliana)


Stephen.
iliana
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108 posted 09-13-2006 06:21 AM       View Profile for iliana   Email iliana   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for iliana

Thanks, Stephen.  That was alot of work for you.  I had already read these and knew the difference.  I tend to go with the Gnostic gospels on some things so it does not offend me.  

When Jesus was brought before the high priests, he was asked if he was the son of God.  He answered by saying that that is what they called him.  To me, the way I interpret the Koran, they claimed it blasphemny for Jesus to be put in the position of the only son of God, arguing that God is the creator of all -- in other words our Father, too.  In fact, Jesus himself instructed his disciples to pray, "Our Father."  The Bible also refers to Adam as the son of God.  There is also a reference about the sons of God in Genesis.  My point is that Jesus would admit, I believe to being a son of God, but I wonder, would he have ever said he was the only Son of God.  I think he wanted us all to accept our heritage of being sons and daughters of God.  He took on the weight of the world as one individual, but symbollically for all of us as the "son."  

I have known a number of devout (moderate) Moslems not only in Indonesia, which is predominantly Moslem, but here in the States.  I know they would be very offended to think that people believe they do not hold Jesus in a very special light.  The five pillars of Islam are their prophets.  When they refer to a prophet, they speak his name with venerating adjectives in front of it, like "Blessed be his name."  

I guess my argument is, how do you know for a fact, that their truth is not just as true as your truth.  Jesus said, he was the light and we had to go through him in order to get to the Father.  Well, I do not see how the Moslems I know have any different thought in that direction.  

"Either Jesus was a Liar, a Lunatic, or Lord.  Either he was what he claimed, or we have to say he was either crazy or very immoral."

Stephanos, I do not believe that is the only conclusion one can reach.  

The very discussion you and I are having is what split the Church apart with the Nicean Councils...whether Jesus was God on earth or whether he was a man filled with God.  

I am of the latter persuasion because to me, a man completely surrendered and filled with the spirit of God is the light of God.  And Jesus accomplished this.  There is no dispute that Islam believes that the emaculate conception occurred and that Jesus was the Messiah, especially tasked by God with his path which he surrendered and followed.  It is all semantics....all the arguments and wars over interpretation...I honestly do not believe the Jesus I know would have wanted that.  

The Christian trinity concept was an invention long after Jesus walked the earth.  Christianity did not start out with the concept of the Trinity (although I believe there have been discussions before about the trinity concept prior to Jesus.)

The message Jesus got through to me was we should have no one before God....this is the message that Islam teaches, along with surrender.  The word Islam, means surrender -- surrender your will to the will of God.  To them, this is what Jesus and the love of God showed through him.  Now, radical Islam, that is another story.  Focus has been placed on addendum writing and many different Islamic scholars.  The fact that they take their faith so seriously and that surrender is a big part of it, makes them more vulnerable to be swayed by an imam preaching the wrong message.  This is why Islam has grown so rapidly in third world countries where poverty and education prevent the masses from knowing or learning any more than what they hear through the Imam at the Masjid.  Other radicals, like Osama, for instance, have another reason for preaching holy war toward the West.  And religion is being used as a political tool today just as it always has been, especially in Christianity.  This is what Jesus opposed!    

In most all situations, it is the interpretation of a religious text which creates dispute, not really the text itself.  Our perception influences our understanding and reaction.  

You did not mention any valid sources on where you came up with how Mohammad may have been influenced by tales along the trail.  That is mere conjecture.  There are historical Islamic sources which record when Mohammad wrote some things and how he received it, and none of those mention him picking it up from caravans.  If you can point to some authentic sources, I'd sure like to hear them, and not someone's supposition.

But this is good exercise, isn't it?  

Oh, forgot to mention something, did you read the Surah that shows that Mohammad said Jesus (Isa) was the Messiah.  That's a pretty important one, don't you think?  

As for the resurrection story, have you ever read the Christian Gnostic Gospels, Acts of John, "Mystery of the Cross?"  

XCVIII - "And having thus spoken, he showed me a cross of light fixed, and about the cross a great multitude, not having one form: and in it (the cross) was one form and one likeness. And the Lord himself I beheld above the cross, not having any shape, but only a voice: and a voice not such as was familiar to us, but one sweet and kind and truly of God, saying unto me: John, it is needful that one should hear these things from me, for I have need of one that will hear. This cross of light is sometimes called the word by me for your sakes, sometimes mind, sometimes Jesus, sometimes Christ, sometimes door, sometimes a way, sometimes bread, sometimes seed, sometimes resurrection, sometimes Son, sometimes Father, sometimes Spirit, sometimes life, sometimes truth, sometimes faith, sometimes grace. And by these names it is called as toward men: but that which it is in truth, as conceived of in itself and as spoken of unto you, it is the marking-off of all things, and the firm uplifting of things fixed out of things unstable, and the harmony of wisdom, and indeed wisdom in harmony. There are of the right hand and the left, powers also, authorities, lordships and demons, workings, threatenings, wraths, devils, Satan, and the lower root whence the nature of the things that come into being proceeded.
XCIX - This cross, then, is that which joined all things unto itself by a word, and separate off the things that are from those that are below, and then also, being one, streamed forth into all things, making all into one. But this is not the cross of wood which thou wilt see when thou goest down hence: neither am I he that is on the cross, whom now thou seest not, but only hearest a voice. I was reckoned to be that which I am not, not being what I was unto many others: but they will call me (say of me) something else which is vile and not worthy of me. As, then, the place of rest is neither seen nor spoken of, much more shall I, the Lord thereof, be neither seen nor spoken of.
C - Now the uniform crowd around the Cross is the Lower Nature, but those whom thou seest in the Cross, if they have not also one form (it is because) every Limb of the One who came down has not yet been gathered together. But as soon as the Higher Nature and Race, coming to me in obedience to my Voice, is taken up, then what does not hear me now will become as thou art, and shall no longer be what it is now, but over them even as I am now. For until thou callest thyself mine, I am not that which I am, but if thou hearest me attentively, thou too shalt be as I am, while I shall be what I was, as soon as I have beside myself thee as I am. For from this thou art.
CI - Nothing, therefore, of the things which they will say of me have I suffered: nay, that suffering also which I showed unto thee and the rest in the dance, I will that it be called a mystery. For what thou art, thou seest, for I showed it thee; but what I am I alone know, and no man else. Suffer me then to keep that which is mine, and that which is thine behold thou through me, and behold me in truth, that I am, not what I said, but what thou art able to know, because thou art akin thereto. Thou hearest that I suffered, yet did I not suffer; that I suffered not, yet did I suffer; that I was pierced, yet I was not smitten; hanged, and I was not hanged; that blood flowed from me, and it flowed not; and, in a word, what they say of me, that befell me not, but what they say not, that did I suffer. Now what those things are I signify unto thee, for I know that thou wilt understand. Perceive thou therefore in me the rest of the Word (Logos), the piercing of the Word, the blood of the Word, the wound of the Word, the hanging up of the Word, the suffering of the Word, the nailing (fixing) of the Word, the death of the Word. And so speak I, separating off the manhood. Perceive thou therefore in the first place of the Word; then shalt thou perceive the Lord, and in the third place the man, and what he hath suffered."


Perhaps, this is what the Koran is speaking to.  Here's a time table for you, Stephen.  You will find that Gnostic Gospels were among the first to be recorded.   http://members.iinet.net.au/~quentinj/Christianity/Gospel-Timeline.html
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109 posted 09-16-2006 09:12 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Iliana,

Stay tuned ... I'm preparing a response.  You mentioned so much in so little time, that I don't want to just brush over it.


Stephen.
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Iliana:
quote:
I have known a number of devout (moderate) Moslems not only in Indonesia, which is predominantly Moslem, but here in the States.  I know they would be very offended to think that people believe they do not hold Jesus in a very special light.  The five pillars of Islam are their prophets.  When they refer to a prophet, they speak his name with venerating adjectives in front of it, like "Blessed be his name."



As I said before, on the surface, calling someone a 'prophet' would seem to be an honor.  It's only in light of the revelation of who Jesus claimed to be, that this title becomes problematic.  It's not the positive aspect of the statment, but the potentially negative.  The epithet "prophet" may become a denial of something else.  Christians understand that Jesus is a prophet, but do not typically limit him to that, in light of certain scriptures where he certainly (even if couched in enigmatic language) declared his deity.

But given the importance of such things, and the zeal of Islamic belief, potential offense (on both sides of the question) shouldn't be surprising.


quote:
When Jesus was brought before the Pharisees, he was asked if he was the son of God.  He answered by saying that that is what they called him.  To me, the way I interpret the Koran, they claimed it blasphemny for Jesus to be put in the position of the only son of God, arguing that God is the creator of all -- in other words our Father, too.  In fact, Jesus himself instructed his disciples to pray, "Our Father."



There are many many Biblical scriptures which speak of the deity of Christ.  Some are more clear than others.  And the one you mentioned is a good place for us to start.  I want to let you see this scripture with the surrounding verses:  


"And as soon as it was day, the elders of the people and the chief priests and the scribes came together, and led him into their council, saying, 'Art thou the Christ? tell us'.

And he said unto them, 'If I tell you, ye will not believe'.  'And if I also ask you, ye will not answer me, nor let me go'.  Hereafter shall the Son of man sit on the right hand of the power of God.

Then said they all, 'Art thou then the Son of God?'

And he said unto them, 'Ye say that I am.'

And they said, 'What need we any further witness? for we ourselves have heard of his own mouth'
." (Luke 22:69-71)


First of all, I only used the King James Version because it is one of few translations with the phrase "Ye say that I am".  I'll go ahead and make my case with the text that seems most disadvantageous to my view.  But most other translations correctly use dynamic equivalency to convey that this idiom meant something like our contemporary phrase, "You said it."  And though I may be oversimplifying by comparing it to one of our own colloquialisms, there's no doubt that saying of Jesus was an affirmative reply, in accordance with current usage, not a denial.    


And this view is evidenced in the KJV text, by the reply of the scribes and priests in verse 71: "What need we any further witness?  For we ourselves have heard of his own mouth."  It would seem that Jesus had got himself off the hook, if his statement was a denial of claiming to be the son of God.  Remember that his whole charge was one of religious blasphemy (on part of the Jews), and political subversion (on part of the Romans).  Whatever one may think, it's evident that these religious Jews took Jesus' statement to be affirmative.  And in context of the passage that makes sense.


It is further affirmed by other sayings of Jesus, such as:

"He said to them, 'But who do you say that I am?'

Simon Peter answered and said, 'You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.'

Jesus answered and said to him, 'Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.'
" (Matthew 16:15-17)


Why would Jesus affirm the confession at one point and deny it at another?


quote:
I guess my argument is, how do you know for a fact, that their truth is not just as true as your truth.


First of all, I don't hold that two contradictory statements can be true.  Either Jesus claimed to be more than just a prophet, or he didn't.  And the case for the former is not something that I can prove in a philosophy forum, beyond showing that it makes the best sense of the data we have.


quote:
Jesus said, he was the light and we had to go through him in order to get to the Father.  Well, I do not see how the Moslems I know have any different thought in that direction.



Colin Chapman, in his book "Cross and Crescent" said the following:

"The basic reason Jesus cannot be seen by the Qur'an as 'more than a prophet' is that he does not fit into the Islamic understanding of how God has revealed himself to the world ... Islam rules out the possibility of God revealing himself through an incarnation.  For Muslims, therefore, however exalted Jesus may be, he cannot possibly be anything more than a person of 'surpassing greatness'."


Islam views Jesus as a necessary carrier of the message of God for his time.  Beyond that, according to Muslims, he is not necessary for anyone to "go through" to get to the Father ... at least no more than any of the other prophets, especially Mohammed.


Now the question is, did Jesus really speak of himself in such local terms, or in much more universal language?  Aside from what you personally believe, I think if you study this out, you'll find that there really is a difference in the way the Bible portrays Jesus' role, and the way Muslims do.  


The way that Islam has gotten around the texts of the New Testament, is to claim them to be corrupted.  But this is little more than a claim, based upon theological differences.  There is no evidence given to show that the gospels and early Christian writings were "corrupted" by those who came later.  This is where Islam runs into historical recontructionism.  


quote:
Me:"Either Jesus was a Liar, a Lunatic, or Lord.  Either he was what he claimed, or we have to say he was either crazy or very immoral."

Iliana: Stephanos, I do not believe that is the only conclusion one can reach.


I already know you believe that.  But if the data we have in the gospels is accurate, as to what Jesus did and claimed, then there is really no other alternative.  And if you are making a case otherwise, you are right in choosing to cast doubt upon the authenticity of the canonical writings, because it’s pretty much futile to try and make a case for the mere humanity of Jesus from the New Testament as it stands.  But as the discussion continues, I will try and make a case for Jesus’ divine nature from scripture, and explain why the canonical gospels are more historically valid than the Koran, or the pseudepigraphal writings.

quote:
It is all semantics....all the arguments and wars over interpretation...I honestly do not believe the Jesus I know would have wanted that.


But you just told me that you believe Jesus to be a mere man, filled with God ... rather than God incarnate.  Which tells me that you don’t really think it’s all “just semantics”.   But, let me add, that I don’t think any amount of disagreement gives you or I the right to be nasty to each other.  So I agree with your distaste of the contempt that has flowed from religious disagreement.  However, the debate, and the tedious process of looking for some degree of precision in communication, I think was (and is) necessary for understanding.  Even Jesus said he did not come to bring peace, but a sword.  I gather from that, that the controversy of truth doesn't always unite people.  Still that doesn’t make the intensity, an excuse to sin against someone else.

I guess my point is that the degree of controversy over something (and the boiling over of controversy into despicable acts) is no evidence that it is pointless, or unimportant.  Rather it is only evidence of our sinfulness and immaturity to handle the subject at hand.  But thankfully, I feel that you and I are busy being exceptions to that rule.   

quote:
The Christian trinity concept was an invention long after Jesus walked the earth.  Christianity did not start out with the concept of the Trinity


That’s really the question at hand, whether or not Trinitarian doctrine was a contrived doctrine, or a natural outflow of the data we have in the New Testament.  I don’t really see any alternative to Trinitarian doctrine if Jesus is the incarnation of God.  It is a doctrine which was deductively arrived at by the premises found in scripture.  And so rather than argue with you about the obvious fact that the word “Trinity” isn’t found in the New Testament, I’d like to visit some of the scriptures which illustrate (in varying degrees) the deity of Jesus Christ.


I’ll start with a few passages out of the Gospels (with relevant phrases underlined):

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning with God.  All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.  In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.  The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. ...

And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.

John testified about Him and cried out, saying, "This was He of whom I said, 'He who comes after me has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me.'


(John 1:1-5,14-15)


(Jesus said) ‘Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.’

So the Jews said to Him, ‘You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?’

Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.


(John 8:56-58)


And He (Jesus) was saying to them, ‘You are from below, I am from above; you are of this world, I am not of this world. Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am, you will die in your sins.

(John 8:24-25)


And Jesus seeing their faith said to the paralytic, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven.’

But some of the scribes were sitting there and reasoning in their hearts, ‘Why does this man speak that way? He is blaspheming; who can forgive sins but God alone?’

Immediately Jesus, aware in His spirit that they were reasoning that way within themselves, said to them, ‘Why are you reasoning about these things in your hearts?’

‘Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, 'Your sins are forgiven'; or to say, 'Get up, and pick up your pallet and walk'? But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins’--He said to the paralytic, ‘I say to you, get up, pick up your pallet and go home.’
"

(Mark 2:5-11)


And those who were in the boat worshiped Him, saying, ‘You are certainly  God’s Son.’

(Matthew 14:33)


But Jesus kept silent.  And the high priest said to Him, ‘I adjure You by the living God, that You tell us whether You are the Christ, the Son of God’.

Jesus said to him, ‘You have said it yourself; nevertheless I tell you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.’

Then the high priest tore his robes and said, ‘He has blasphemed! What further need do we have of witnesses? Behold, you have now heard the blasphemy’.


(Matthew 26:63-65)


Jesus heard that they had put him out, and finding him, He said, ‘Do you believe in the Son of Man?’

He answered, ‘Who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him?’

Jesus said to him, ‘You have both seen Him, and He is the one who is talking with you.’

And he said, ‘Lord, I believe.’ And he worshiped Him.


(John 9:35-38)


And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.  Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit ...’

(Matthew 28:18-19)



There are many more passages, especially in the epistles of Paul, and other canonical writings.  But I wanted to demonstrate that the deity of Christ was not some kind of political invention which sprang out of the council or Nicea, or 3rd century Christendom, but was present in an unsophisticated form from the very earliest times.  

quote:
You did not mention any valid sources on where you came up with how Mohammad may have been influenced by tales along the trail.  That is mere conjecture.


Detailed documentation isn’t needed when there are things in the Koran like misrepresenting the Trinity as “Father, Son, and Virgin Mary” ... a definite reflection of a Christian heresy / distortion.  Also there is reference to Jesus changing clay pigeons to real ones, which is from the “gospel of Thomas”, an aphoristic and fanciful gnostic text of the 2nd Century.  Not only are these there, but we have Mohammed’s life history, where we have Islam sources citing his personal relations with Christian Monks.  Also Mecca and Medina were both towns on a caravan route.  And Mohammed himself was a member of prosperous trading family, and was even a trader himself.  His exposure and influence by coptic Christianity and various sects and blends of doctrine, is a given.  


quote:
Oh, forgot to mention something, did you read the Surah that shows that Mohammad said Jesus (Isa) was the Messiah.  That's a pretty important one, don't you think?


Yes it is.  But there’s a wide definition of what is meant by “Messiah”.  It is important to note that according to the Gospels, many of the Jews had a conception of “Messiah” with political overtones that Jesus outright rejected.  I’m only trying to suggest that calling someone a title, doesn’t guarantee accuracy.  That’s why other assertions in the Koran should be considered in our evaluation, alongside titles like "messiah" or "prophet".

quote:
As for the resurrection story, have you ever read the Christian Gnostic Gospels, Acts of John, "Mystery of the Cross?"  


The “Acts of John” dated 150-200 A.D. is a text that is almost universally recognized as reactionary, or based upon the gospel of John.  Therefore its gnostic view of a mystical rather than historical crucifixion, has to be an addendum.  

quote:
You will find that Gnostic Gospels were among the first to be recorded.


I'm not to impressed with the link you gave me, as it blurs over so much without too much scholarly reference.  Though I'm not saying it's all wrong.  But rather than you and I debating over an entire encyclopedic attempt to present an alternate history, I would prefer to discuss one example at a time ... such as “The Acts of John”, which is clearly a text which borrowed from the gospel of John, and added its own gnostic flavor.  


The coexistence of a few gnostic texts, alongside canonical texts, really only serves to show that gnostic thinking predated Christianity.  Such texts, if any, are few since most of them post date the canonical writings.  But the character of such texts reveals that historic Christianity was something absorbed and assimilated into pre-existing gnostic views ... rather than something that originated from the gnostic tradition.

Enough for now.

Stephen.  
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Stephanos, thank you for sharing all the research you have done.  It is quite a journey, isn't it?  

I am currently reading a book called, "Jesus The Man."  It is written by Barbara Thiering, an Australian who holds a masters degree in theology and is a specialist in languages and interpretation of historical and biblical writings.  The book I'm reading addresses the historical facts of the times surrounding the coming of The Messiah, all the politics, etc.  Her work is based on the Dead Sea Scrolls which have been dated from the century or so before Christ up until the time of the destruction of the Temple, as well as her knowledge and research into Old Testament and New Testament.  It is believed by many scholars that Jesus was either an Essene or he was connected to them, and Thiering makes a very, very good argument to that effect.  I would recommend the reading highly.  Interestingly enough, Jesus is not mentioned at all in the Dead Sea Scrolls; however, Satan and The Teacher of Righteousness were.  The Essenes' purpose was to restore a pure religion and put a Davidian king on the throne again; and Mary being the line of David would have been associated with the Essenes.  Thiering goes to great lengths to prove her case and her book gives much insight into the times and politics surrounding Jesus, not to mention the evolution of early Chrisitianity -- the book is scholarly, but well written and jammed packed full of many, many documented historical facts.  

You know, as a result of this discussion, I found out something that I never knew before.  That is that there is not one historic document that was written in the time of Jesus referencing him.  Not one.  Some people believe it is a legend; I am not one of those -- I do have faith.  And for you to say Mohammad got the Koran through Caravans and stories is no more true than for me to say that the New Testament came about in a similar fashion.  I think we just have to agree to disagree.       

Another thing, I'd like to point out is that when John the Baptist baptized Jesus, the Spirit of God descended upon him.  If Jesus was God, then why was it necessary for the Spirit of God to descend upon him?  Additionally, why would Satan tempt him if he were not a man?.  How could Satan possibly tempt the Creator of All and All that is All, the inconceivable?  The fact that I believe Jesus was a man 100% filled with God's spirit and perhaps not God but man, does not make any difference in my level of reverence for him.  For the man who was 100% surrendered and filled with the light of God flowing through him was a perfect channel of God and he was guided by God to show us the right way to live.  Jesus' life, teachings and sacrifice are no less meaninful to me.  

We may perceive God through Christ as much as we are capable, and I believe that was the gift; and that Jesus was especially given to us because of God's mercy so we could perceive the nature of God's love.  It is even more meaningful for me to think that Jesus was faced with choices as all humans are.  See, I do believe he was divine, but I also believe that he showed us that we can rid ourselves of our lower nature and return to our own divine nature.    

"Mere prophet" is an unworthy argument, as until you really get to know some educated Moslems, you may not have a concept of just how much reverence they have for Jesus.  They take God's 1st commandment very literally -- there is only one God and thou shalt have no gods before God.  For us Christians, there were many prophets and so our perception is not the same.  For Moslems, these were the bringers of the faith and the teachers of God's laws, the martyrs and the seals of God's covenants.  Again, I reiterate, they do not deny that he was the Messiah, that he was emaculately conceived, and that his teachings were perfect.  



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Iliana:
quote:
Her work is based on the Dead Sea Scrolls which have been dated from the century or so before Christ up until the time of the destruction of the Temple, as well as her knowledge and research into Old Testament and New Testament.  It is believed by many scholars that Jesus was either an Essene or he was connected to them, and Thiering makes a very, very good argument to that effect.



Actually there are very few scholars who think that Jesus was in any way connected to the Qumran community.  There is certainly no mention of Jesus or Christianity in these writings, which are almost monolithically accepted by scholars to be dated B.C..  Though I'm not denying that the scrolls can shed some light upon the Jewry of 1st Century B.C. and up to the time of Jesus.  


But Theiring represents historical reconstruction at its, um ... best.


quote:
You know, as a result of this discussion, I found out something that I never knew before.  That is that there is not one historic document that was written in the time of Jesus referencing him.  Not one.



So the gospels don't count as "historical"?

But aside from that, there are instances of "secular" writings, not far removed from his times, which mention Jesus a historical person.  Though they only mention him passingly with almost no detail of historical note.  It is not surprising to me that a religious figure of Israel would not catch the literary interest beyond his local settings.  And it is from his local settings that we have many historically pertinent writings as evidenced by codex manuscripts.


quote:
Some people believe it is a legend.


Very few scholars (believing or unbelieving) think that Jesus didn't exist as a historical person who was crucified under Roman authority after coming into religious conflict with the Jewish leaders.  


quote:
And for you to say Mohammad got the Koran through Caravans and stories is no more true than for me to say that the New Testament came about in a similar fashion.  I think we just have to agree to disagree.



Of course we can agree to disagree.  However, the difference is striking.  The Koran's statements about Jesus and Christianity include only a few sparse passages of Mohammedan ideology, reiterations of various Christian beliefs of 7th Century Arabia, and almost no historical narrative concerning Jesus.  The gospels are full of detailed narrative history surrounding the actual time of Jesus.  And regardless of whether you believe in their authenticity, the gospel narratives about Jesus cannot have been derived anything like the Koran's statements about Jesus.

quote:
Another thing, I'd like to point out is that when John the Baptist baptized Jesus, the Spirit of God descended upon him.  If Jesus was God, then why was it necessary for the Spirit of God to descend upon him?  Additionally, why would Satan tempt him if he were not a man?.  How could Satan possibly tempt the Creator of All and All that is All, the inconceivable?


There are many such questions that would arise, if Docetism were true.  Docetism is the doctrine that Jesus was a God and not really a man at all. And this is what you may be misaking for the Orthodox Christian view.  But because the scriptures teach a unity of complete deity and complete humanity, we have a seeming paradox but not an inconsistency.  If Jesus was tempted, it had to do with his humanity for our sake.  If Jesus uttered words and did deeds that only God could do, it had to do with deity for the Father's sake.  How the two can dwell together I do not know.  But there are just as many questions on the other side of the coin.  How could Jesus say and do the things he did, if he were not divine?  

Since the data perplexes on both sides, rather than throw one half of it away to achieve a contived and tidy solution, Orthodox Christianity chooses to retain all of it in it's wildness.  Therefore the Trinitarian answer to your questions, is that Jesus was indeed a man.  But the Trinitarian answer to the questions that your arianism (the belief that Jesus was merely human) can't answer, is that he was also God.  But since it accepts this strange marriage of two natures, it fits all of the data that we have of what Jesus Christ did and said.  Of course its aim is to ecompass the mystery of divine incarnation as it is presented, not to explain in detail how it can be.          


quote:
Mere prophet" is an unworthy argument, as until you really get to know some educated Moslems, you may not have a concept of just how much reverence they have for Jesus.

To wrap this up, I will demonstrate from scripture that the inadequacy of seeing Jesus as merely a prophet was already described and anticipated in the Christian Scriptures ... making this an intractable difference bewteen the doctrine of Muslims and Christians (not merely a difference of attitude), as long as we are to take these as Jesus’ words:


"When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, 'Who do people say the Son of Man is?'

They replied, 'Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.'

'But what about you?' he asked. 'Who do you say I am?'

Simon Peter answered, 'You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.'

Jesus replied, 'Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven'
"

(Matthew 16:13-17)


At least you can see that a Muslim would have issues with this passage of scripture, even though written literally hundreds of years before the Islamic religion existed.  The Muslim has two problems with this basic self assessment, and companion assessment of Jesus.  1)  Jesus is called "Son of the living God".  2) Viewing Jesus as a great prophet is assumed here to be a lesser truth than that that which is revealed to individuals by divine revelation.  Either assertion is an affront to Muslims since it contradicts what Mohammed said about Jesus.  And one can easily see why the Islamic view is unaccepted by Christians.  


Though I would like you to agree with me, in my assessment of Jesus ... right now I'm just asking you to acknowledge this difference.


Stephen


(PS ... Thanks for bearing with my slowness in responding.)

[This message has been edited by Stephanos (09-22-2006 01:29 AM).]

iliana
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since 12-05-2003
Posts 13488
USA


113 posted 09-21-2006 09:06 PM       View Profile for iliana   Email iliana   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for iliana


Stephanos:  "the belief that Jesus was merely human"

Stephanos, I did not say I believed Jesus was merely human and nor do Moslems that I know.  Sometimes, a person gets so wrapped up in defending their own truth that they cannot accept or see the things the way another perceives.  If you will reread the sections above, quietly and in a surrendered state, perhaps you will see what it is I am saying.  *hugs*

I can say that I agree that you and I have different interpretations and perceptions of the same or similar material.  We agree more than you are aware.  For each of us, that interpretation or perception represents our own spiritual truth.  

It is like this for me:  when I switch on the light above my head, I call it light.  But, the process or how the light is produced involves several steps.  First, there has to be a working bulb, then there has to be a willingness for me to turn on the switch, and finally there has to be a source of power and I have to have paid my bill (lol).  The fact that the bulb emits a translation of energy from the source does not make the lightbulb the source.  However, we do see an aspect of the energies of the source.  

Another, probably better, analogy would be that of fiber-optics.  Fiber-optic lines are strands of optically pure glass as thin as a human hair that carry digital information over long distances. What I believe and until I am swayed differently through my own spiritual experience, is that Jesus had the capacity to surrender so deeply that his connection with the Source was like a fiber-optic thread....a pure transmitter...where the message of God came straight from the Source, thru the thread and projected thru him.  In that sense, we see and hear the particular aspects which God wanted to teach/show us through Jesus' acts and words.  

I've already put my argument out about his divinity...I said I believe he was, but so are all of God's creation.  If we surrendered and received direct guidance from the Source of All, and then acted upon that guidance without dredging up our lower nature, I believe we would all reflect aspects of the divine Source.  We, however, or at least most of us, have not been inspired or gifted with the particular task of changing the thinking of mankind forever.  I believe Jesus was tasked with that chore -- to cause a paradigm shift in the perception of human thinking.  

Stephanos, it has been nice talking to you.  


[This message has been edited by iliana (09-22-2006 12:17 AM).]

Stephanos
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since 07-31-2000
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Statesboro, GA, USA


114 posted 09-22-2006 01:31 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Iliana,

It has been great talking to you as well.  I appreciate your input and thoughtfulness.  


Let's take a "Selah" for now.


Stephen.
 
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