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Old 05-15-2010, 10:12 PM
 
Location: Cleveland, Ohio
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Quote:
Originally Posted by InsaneInDaMembrane View Post
Permit me a word here from the resident agnostic here in the church (forum).

Frankly, I think believers make this far more difficult than it has to be. This is what happens when certain biases are employed going in such as, "the bible IS the word of God" or "ALL scriptures are inspired by God" or "the bible is perfection" or "scripture does not/cannot contradict itself." These are NOT the facts. These are the beliefs.

As soon as it is recognized that the Bible is a book written by fallible men, influenced by their surroundings, there will be CONSTANT arguments over things that need no arguments.

What folks need to understand is, early Christianity was one of MANY Christianities. Like ancient Judaism, it evolved over time. What started as one thing, ended up as something different as the years went by as various groups fought and argued over theology. I mean, we even see it very early in the theological squabble between Paul's Christianity and the Christianity of the Jerusalem Ebionite Christians. In addition, there are still MANY who believe the Gospels, for example, were written by their namesake and in doing so, believe that they were written by men who either knew Jesus or were closely related to some of his associates when it is more likely they were written by strangers from various camps within early Christianity using the pen names of known people of status. This was a VERY common practice in the ancient world.

The biases people come in with forces believers to read the New Testament (or the bible on a whole) horizontally, believing that Matthew agrees with everything John says or Romans confirms the book of Nahum or Jeremiah and Luke confirm each other (For example). If the books of the bible, notably the Gospels, are read vertically, with the understanding that there were DIFFERENT opinions about Jesus back then, I think this idea of mistranslations and contradictions might be put into better perspective.

One big thing reading the Gospels vertically clears up is the person of Jesus. Mark, the earliest Gospel, seems to reflect one of the early view of Jesus in that, he was just a mere man who was eventually "anointed" to be the "son of God," not as a LITERAL son, but as someone chosen by God to do his will on earth. The writer of Mark comes from a school that believed Jesus BECAME the anointed (Christ) son of God at his baptism - NOT before that. In other words, it was a status he attained not one he was born with. Evidence of this can be found in the very first verse of Mark where the earliest manuscripts of Mark says this:

The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

The Bible you have today says this:

The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the son of God.

Note the addition in bold. I don't think I have to tell you why considering that Jesus is constantly referred to as "the son of Man" throughout the book of Mark.

By the time we get to the book of Matthew (the accepted second Gospel), it is evident that [some] Christians began to believe that Jesus did not BECOME the son of God at his baptism. They now believed he was the son of God at his birth and Luke continues this thought hence the need for the story of the Virgin Birth which is completely absent from the earlier Gospel of Mark who does not need it.

When we get to the Gospel of John, which is dramatically different from the other Gospels, there is no story of a Virgin Birth and there's no story of Jesus being anointed at some point in his life as a son of God. What we now have is an evolved version of Jesus that became the ACCEPTED version of Roman Christianity. Jesus has NO origin. He existed from eternity and is God himself.

So in summary, this is how the 4 Gospels view Jesus:

Mark - Jesus becomes the son of God (anointed Christ) at his baptism.

Matthew/Luke - Jesus IS the son of God from birth.

John - Jesus is God himself and existed from eternity past.

This is just one VERY important example of why the Gospels should be read vertically, representing different or evolving concepts of Jesus. When read this way, there are NO contradictions per se. Rather, we have different schools of thought that evolved over time.

I don't expect anyone here to say this makes sense or has some credibility, but I might live long enough to hear that it did for someone someday. lol
I agree that there is a bit of confusion going on in the Bible. There were quite a few arguments even between the disciples as to what was right and wrong. And that was 2000 years ago!!!! If this were the game of telephone.....!!!

I know some of the Anabaptists, way back in the 1500s, did not believe in the trinity, amongst other things, and were heavily persecuted by the Catholic church. Many of them also became Universalists.

The church has ALWAYS gotten rid of those that pointed out it's flaws in logic and reasoning. And the Church's translations, if studied properly, look rather, well, strange in some areas. But, the message of love and mercy can still be found, and that is a message that is desperately needed on this planet, and one I still believe in.

Somehow, though, the message has been mangled and distorted. The church made a mockery of it........

Our creator loved us and wanted to take us OUT of this darkness and madness. He told us to LOVE our enemies, bless those who persecute you, turn the other cheek, etc. etc........

The world is inherited by the meek, those that know how to love, not the violent, proud, and clever.

The church missed the point entirely. Of course.

Last edited by herefornow; 05-15-2010 at 10:23 PM..
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Old 05-16-2010, 07:28 AM
 
Location: New York City
5,556 posts, read 6,711,233 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by herefornow View Post
I agree that there is a bit of confusion going on in the Bible. There were quite a few arguments even between the disciples as to what was right and wrong. And that was 2000 years ago!!!! If this were the game of telephone.....!!!
I wholeheartedly agree. The bible, when read devotionally does have some themes in it, however, when read critically, you realize that it was written by different authors with their OWN ideas and perceptions and perhaps, rival schools.
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Old 05-16-2010, 07:39 AM
 
Location: SC Foothills
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The "themes" are what is important.....we have enough evidence, for example, even if it is from different authors, to know without a doubt that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that God IS love. Everything else is left to speculation and interpretation.
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Old 05-16-2010, 07:52 AM
 
Location: New York City
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ilene Wright View Post
The "themes" are what is important.....we have enough evidence, for example, even if it is from different authors, to know without a doubt that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that God IS love. Everything else is left to speculation and interpretation.
I agree up to a point because not even on the idea of a 'son of God' are the new Testament writers agreed. The final revisions - yes - but the different ideas of who Jesus was bleeds through.

As I've stated, when you read the bible as a devotional book, you CAN gleam a few themes here and there, the most evident being that there is a god. The other being that Israel is his people because they (the Israelite-Jews) wrote it and tell us they are and (New Testament speaking) Jesus is of some importance (anointed son of God, chosen to be God's representative on earth, born the son of God to a virgin woman or came to the earth as God himself).
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Old 05-16-2010, 08:05 AM
 
Location: SC Foothills
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Quote:
Originally Posted by InsaneInDaMembrane View Post
I agree up to a point because not even on the idea of a 'son of God' are the new Testament writers agreed. The final revisions - yes - but the different ideas of who Jesus was bleeds through.

As I've stated, when you read the bible as a devotional book, you CAN gleam a few themes here and there, the most evident being that there is a god. The other being that Israel is his people because they (the Israelite-Jews) wrote it and tell us they are and (New Testament speaking) Jesus is of some importance (anointed son of God, chosen to be God's representative on earth, born the son of God to a virgin woman or came to the earth as God himself).
So what do you think of the Koran only seeing Jesus as a prophet? He was no more than a prophet and there is no mention of a virgin birth. The Koran seems to be a revised (horribly) version of the Bible. What I find so ridiculous about the Koran is that their prophet Muhammed was blind, yet he somehow managed to write the Koran after seeing some ghost. When you think about how absurd and plagiarized the Koran is, then it becomes quite clear that the Bible is the only Word of God. IMO.
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Old 05-16-2010, 08:46 AM
 
Location: New York City
5,556 posts, read 6,711,233 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ilene Wright View Post
So what do you think of the Koran only seeing Jesus as a prophet? He was no more than a prophet and there is no mention of a virgin birth. The Koran seems to be a revised (horribly) version of the Bible. What I find so ridiculous about the Koran is that their prophet Muhammed was blind, yet he somehow managed to write the Koran after seeing some ghost. When you think about how absurd and plagiarized the Koran is, then it becomes quite clear that the Bible is the only Word of God. IMO.
Ahh Ilene! This might be a case of not seeing the speck in one's eye (personal belief). Bear with me here because this has been one of my biggest arguments against MOST (if not all) religions.

I agree with you that Muhammad claimed to hear voices (he gave it a face and called it the angel Gabriel), however, this was a common case in the bible. Think about it for a moment and think about how much trust billions put in a book that is mostly about people hearing voices. How many times do we read, "thus saith the Lord" and find someone rambling on about what they tell us god told them. Heck, in Numbers 31, we read that god "spoke unto Moses" and supposedly told him to go kill Midianites. Do we REALLY believe a voice (god) told Moses to go to do this - a god of 'love', nonetheless???

Even more interesting are the stories of voices (god) speaking to people who never wrote any of the stories. Others told us time and time again that voices (god) spoke to Abraham, Jacob, Issac, Noah. Were the writers there when these conversations took place between the voices (god) and these men? How much faith should we or can we put in these third hand conversations? When you understand this, you realize that Muhammad claiming an angel of god spoke to him while meditating in a cave is not so strange or odd.

Last edited by InsaneInDaMembrane; 05-16-2010 at 09:15 AM..
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Old 05-16-2010, 09:36 AM
 
Location: SC Foothills
8,830 posts, read 9,747,770 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by InsaneInDaMembrane View Post
Ahh Ilene! This might be a case of not seeing the speck in one's eye (personal belief). Bear with me here because this has been one of my biggest arguments against MOST (if not all) religions.

I agree with you that Muhammad claimed to hear voices (he gave it a face and called it the angel Gabriel), however, this was a common case in the bible. Think about it for a moment and think about how much trust billions put in a book that is mostly about people hearing voices. How many times do we read, "thus saith the Lord" and find someone rambling on about what they tell us god told them. Heck, in Numbers 31, we read that god "spoke unto Moses" and supposedly told him to go kill Midianites. Do we REALLY believe a voice (god) told Moses to go to do this - a god of 'love', nonetheless???

Even more interesting are the stories of voices (god) speaking to people who never wrote any of the stories. Others told us time and time again that voices (god) spoke to Abraham, Jacob, Issac, Noah. Were the writers there when these conversations took place between the voices (god) and these men? How much faith should we or can we put in these third hand conversations? When you understand this, you realize that Muhammad claiming an angel of god spoke to him while meditating in a cave is not so strange or odd.
Hmmm....are you trying to make me agnostic? You're right though....if anyone claims to hear the audible voice of God these days they aren't taken seriously...quite the opposite, actually. But in the biblical days things were very different....I believe God actually DID speak to people, simply because there was no Bible and Jesus had not yet come. How else was He to communicate with them? However, I don't understand why He doesn't still communicate with us all. It would make you a believer, wouldn't it? Or would you just think you needed your head examined?
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Old 05-16-2010, 12:06 PM
 
Location: New York City
5,556 posts, read 6,711,233 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ilene Wright View Post
Hmmm....are you trying to make me agnostic? You're right though....if anyone claims to hear the audible voice of God these days they aren't taken seriously...quite the opposite, actually. But in the biblical days things were very different....I believe God actually DID speak to people, simply because there was no Bible and Jesus had not yet come. How else was He to communicate with them? However, I don't understand why He doesn't still communicate with us all. It would make you a believer, wouldn't it? Or would you just think you needed your head examined?

LOL...if he spoke to all of us, I would hope that it would be like a world wide televised news conference where everyone can see and hear it at the same time so there would be no dispute. That secret conversation thingee just isn't going to cut it. I mean, just imagine Elijah hearing a "still, small voice." Elijah doesn't tell us this, rather, we are told that he heard this voice. Who was there with him to know he heard this voice? Doesn't this reek of a good piece of storytelling as opposed to actual fact?
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Old 05-16-2010, 12:22 PM
 
Location: SC Foothills
8,830 posts, read 9,747,770 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by InsaneInDaMembrane View Post
LOL...if he spoke to all of us, I would hope that it would be like a world wide televised news conference where everyone can see and hear it at the same time so there would be no dispute. That secret conversation thingee just isn't going to cut it. I mean, just imagine Elijah hearing a "still, small voice." Elijah doesn't tell us this, rather, we are told that he heard this voice. Who was there with him to know he heard this voice? Doesn't this reek of a good piece of storytelling as opposed to actual fact?
Yeah! Worldwide televised news conference then there would be no question. Well, I take that back. Some would just claim God was some lunatic who thinks he's God and is a technological genius.

<Sigh> there's just no way for God to effectively communicate with us except through His Word.
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Old 05-16-2010, 12:30 PM
 
Location: Salt Lake City
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ilene Wright View Post
<Sigh> there's just no way for God to effectively communicate with us except through His Word.
Yes, that seems to be the general consensus. In the Old Testament, though, it says He will do nothing without communicating to us through His prophets. It doesn't say He intended to stop after He sent His Son. Heaven knows, we could use a little personal direction in this day and age, particularly since we can't seem to agree on what the Bible is telling us.
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