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Old 12-08-2008, 07:47 AM
 
Location: New York
321 posts, read 591,304 times
Reputation: 79

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It seems to be well known that the majority of people who consider themselves Christian know very little about the larger influences that shaped their beliefs over the ages. I now also know that many are probably far worse at knowing anything about church history other than perhaps a passing knowledge of the Protestant Reformation. What I find most interesting, however, is the lack of knowledge of how the Bible itself, notably the New Testament books, were determined and ow they came down to [relatively] modern Christians.

Another poster on another forum said something to the effect of God being creator of the universe so he could have easily preserved his "word." I used to say the same thing and I guess this is used as comfort and trust that somehow, the Bible we have today magically came about and has been magically preserved, word for word, the way God wanted it. There is no need to research anything. God saw to it that everything one needs to know are in those 66 (Protestant), 72 (Catholic) or 81 (Ethiopian) Bibles.

I know it is not the easiest thing for a Christian to give up his faith even with the strongest evidence against their faith, but what do you think would happen if more and more Christians or their churches took the time out to study church history and the various stages and processes involved in shaping their modern faith and biblical canon?

I think that with the internet with sites like these, more and more Christians are becoming more and more educated on the various subjects unbelievers toss out in criticism of their faith and there are just as much prepackaged Christian responses designed to ensure that there appears to be answers to all objections even the popular "God's ways are mysterious so we are not to understand everything" response. What I rarely see, however, are topics dealing with church history from either side even though it is far more recent than many of the things Christians and unbelievers usually debate about.
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Old 12-08-2008, 07:56 AM
 
Location: In the North Idaho woods, still surrounded by terriers
2,178 posts, read 6,154,701 times
Reputation: 973
It involves a lot of work, time, and study to do this...most folks feel comfortable and safe in their belief and have come to that belief because it was what they learned from childhood or others who indoctrinated them. Not a bad thing, just fact. For those who are of a questioning mind, we tend to want to know exactly what you are talking about...the "why?" behind Christianity or any belief or philosophy. And, when that kind of in-depth study is done, many of us become agnostics, atheists or "other". Faith alone does not answer the questions that arise when one starts to really investigate and most "believers" do not want to go there or chance that.
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Old 12-08-2008, 08:16 AM
 
Location: New York
321 posts, read 591,304 times
Reputation: 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by esselcue View Post
It involves a lot of work, time, and study to do this...most folks feel comfortable and safe in their belief and have come to that belief because it was what they learned from childhood or others who indoctrinated them. Not a bad thing, just fact. For those who are of a questioning mind, we tend to want to know exactly what you are talking about...the "why?" behind Christianity or any belief or philosophy. And, when that kind of in-depth study is done, many of us become agnostics, atheists or "other". Faith alone does not answer the questions that arise when one starts to really investigate and most "believers" do not want to go there or chance that.
Very true, esselcue.
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Old 12-08-2008, 08:22 AM
 
Location: SC Foothills
8,830 posts, read 9,752,545 times
Reputation: 58198
Why does that matter to you both? Instead of putting so much effort in disproving everything and questioning God endlessly, why not get deeper into His Word to develop and strenghthen the only thing that matters?....FAITH. What you have done is talked yourselves out of your own faith by doubting and questioning God, and relying on mankind to provide you with answers that don't exist in this lifetime.

You perceive it to be some kind of fear on Christians part because we don't subject ourselves to outside influences and opinions. There's a reason for that and it has nothing to do with fear, it has to do with following the Word of God and obeying Him. It's not fear, it's knowledge of what can happen when you rely on this world and it's lies.

2 Corinthians 6:14
"Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?"

The verse above also applies to reading unbelievers writings. We are to fill our minds with the holy, not the unholy. Condemned, this has been your downfall and I recently had this same conversation with a Christian poster who has exposed themselves continually to the unrighteousness of the unbelieving and it is SHOWING.

These rules and commandments are in the Bible for a reason and we are to adhere to them. God knows what's best for us...He created us!! If we want to stay close to Him and His Word, then we need to follow his commandments and rules for living a Godly life.

You assume that Christians are less than intelligent, when in fact it takes a great amount of intelligence and fortitude to have realized that God is the only way, there is no other. Most of us have read the writings of others, are just as intelligent or more so than those denying Christ, but we have made the decision to follow Him completely and His teachings. That would include following the wisdom of the scripture quoted above. A very common theme among atheists is to degrade and play the "unintelligent" card when it comes to Christians. We'll see who lacked intelligence on judgment day.
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Old 12-08-2008, 08:38 AM
 
Location: New York
321 posts, read 591,304 times
Reputation: 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dotl View Post
Why does that matter to you both? Instead of putting so much effort in disproving everything and questioning God endlessly, why not get deeper into His Word to develop and strenghthen the only thing that matters?....FAITH. What you have done is talked yourselves out of your own faith by doubting and questioning God, and relying on mankind to provide you with answers that don't exist in this lifetime.

You perceive it to be some kind of fear on Christians part because we don't subject ourselves to outside influences and opinions. There's a reason for that and it has nothing to do with fear, it has to do with following the Word of God and obeying Him. It's not fear, it's knowledge of what can happen when you rely on this world and it's lies.

2 Corinthians 6:14
"Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?"

The verse above also applies to reading unbelievers writings. We are to fill our minds with the holy, not the unholy. Condemned, this has been your downfall (LOL) and I recently had this same conversation with a Christian poster who has exposed themselves continually to the unrighteousness of the unbelieving and it is SHOWING.

These rules and commandments are in the Bible for a reason and we are to adhere to them. God knows what's best for us...He created us!! If we want to stay close to Him and His Word, then we need to follow his commandments and rules for living a Godly life.

You assume that Christians are less than intelligent, when in fact it takes a great amount of intelligence and fortitude to have realized that God is the only way, there is no other. Most of us have read the writings of others, are just as intelligent or more so than those denying Christ, but we have made the decision to follow Him completely and His teachings. That would include following the wisdom of the scripture quoted above. A very common theme among atheists is to degrade and play the "unintelligent" card when it comes to Christians. We'll see who lacked intelligence on judgment day.
Thank you for that resounding speech. Now, the actual topic?
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Old 12-08-2008, 08:48 AM
 
Location: PA
2,616 posts, read 3,922,512 times
Reputation: 465
Quote:
Originally Posted by Condemned View Post
It seems to be well known that the majority of people who consider themselves Christian know very little about the larger influences that shaped their beliefs over the ages. I now also know that many are probably far worse at knowing anything about church history other than perhaps a passing knowledge of the Protestant Reformation. What I find most interesting, however, is the lack of knowledge of how the Bible itself, notably the New Testament books, were determined and ow they came down to [relatively] modern Christians.

Another poster on another forum said something to the effect of God being creator of the universe so he could have easily preserved his "word." I used to say the same thing and I guess this is used as comfort and trust that somehow, the Bible we have today magically came about and has been magically preserved, word for word, the way God wanted it. There is no need to research anything. God saw to it that everything one needs to know are in those 66 (Protestant), 72 (Catholic) or 81 (Ethiopian) Bibles.

I know it is not the easiest thing for a Christian to give up his faith even with the strongest evidence against their faith, but what do you think would happen if more and more Christians or their churches took the time out to study church history and the various stages and processes involved in shaping their modern faith and biblical canon?

I think that with the internet with sites like these, more and more Christians are becoming more and more educated on the various subjects unbelievers toss out in criticism of their faith and there are just as much prepackaged Christian responses designed to ensure that there appears to be answers to all objections even the popular "God's ways are mysterious so we are not to understand everything" response. What I rarely see, however, are topics dealing with church history from either side even though it is far more recent than many of the things Christians and unbelievers usually debate about.
Condemned, I have studied quite extensively the developement of the bible and would like to know specifically what you find so telling.

It seems that you cannot discern the difference between "Cannonized" books of the bible and book that are included in a specific printing. For example with the Catholic bible, several complete books were included into the bible but are know not to follow the requirements of Cannonization. This were included "just in case" or as very good history or some other valid reason. These books are not Cannonized, however.

The variation in the text themselves have been shown to be very well preserved when we compare them to colections like the dead sea scrolls, or the letters of the early church written within the first century. In fact if we compare the variation in the text of the bible compared to the variations found in Homers Illyad, we would have to say that Homers Illyad is a complete rewrite. But, how many moans do we hear from the english departments that the Illyad is worthless because of the drastic changes made to it over the years? I am afraid I have heard none.

So, Condemned lets hear the matter...
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Old 12-08-2008, 08:52 AM
 
Location: Swamps of Florida
3,412 posts, read 9,031,403 times
Reputation: 1982
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dotl View Post
Why does that matter to you both? Instead of putting so much effort in disproving everything and questioning God endlessly, why not get deeper into His Word to develop and strenghthen the only thing that matters?....FAITH. What you have done is talked yourselves out of your own faith by doubting and questioning God, and relying on mankind to provide you with answers that don't exist in this lifetime.

You perceive it to be some kind of fear on Christians part because we don't subject ourselves to outside influences and opinions. There's a reason for that and it has nothing to do with fear, it has to do with following the Word of God and obeying Him. It's not fear, it's knowledge of what can happen when you rely on this world and it's lies.

2 Corinthians 6:14
"Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?"

The verse above also applies to reading unbelievers writings. We are to fill our minds with the holy, not the unholy. Condemned, this has been your downfall and I recently had this same conversation with a Christian poster who has exposed themselves continually to the unrighteousness of the unbelieving and it is SHOWING.

These rules and commandments are in the Bible for a reason and we are to adhere to them. God knows what's best for us...He created us!! If we want to stay close to Him and His Word, then we need to follow his commandments and rules for living a Godly life.

You assume that Christians are less than intelligent, when in fact it takes a great amount of intelligence and fortitude to have realized that God is the only way, there is no other. Most of us have read the writings of others, are just as intelligent or more so than those denying Christ, but we have made the decision to follow Him completely and His teachings. That would include following the wisdom of the scripture quoted above. A very common theme among atheists is to degrade and play the "unintelligent" card when it comes to Christians. We'll see who lacked intelligence on judgment day.

Looks like you have overlooked the theme of this topic, out of convenience, or out of will to do some research?

I don't know if every Christian who has done deep studying on the subject, will actually question or even overcome their believes/faith. There are too many unexplained and mysterious things in live that have no explanation, even by a sience as of now. Those who are willing to research and learn "how's" and "why's" may start comparing everything to the Bible, regardless of any scientific studies. It is hard to break religious faith, especially, if you were born into it, if you grew up with it, if all you ever heard was IT. It is a comfort zone that some are scared or have no need to step out of.
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Old 12-08-2008, 09:05 AM
 
1,186 posts, read 2,024,833 times
Reputation: 91
Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah said in al-Jawaab al-Saheeh (3:21):

With regard to the Gospels that the Christians have, there are four Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and
John. They are agreed that Luke and Mark did not see the Messiah, rather he was seen by Matthew and
John. These four accounts which they call the Gospel, and they call each one of them a Gospel, were
written by these men after the Messiah had been taken up into heaven. They did not say that they are
the word of God or that the Messiah conveyed them from God, rather they narrated some of the words
of the Messiah and some of his deeds and miracles. End quote.


Moreover, these books which were written after the time of the Messiah did not remain in their original
form. The original versions were lost long ago. Ibn Hazm said:

With regard to the Christians, there is no dispute among them or anyone else that only one hundred and
twenty men believed in the Messiah during his lifetime… and all of those who believed in him concealed
themselves and were afraid during his lifetime and afterwards; they called people to his religion in
secret and none of them disclosed himself or practised his religion openly, because any of them who
was caught was executed.

They continued in this manner, not showing themselves at all, and they had no place where they were
safe for three hundred years after the Messiah was taken up into heaven.

During this time, the Gospel that had been revealed from Allaah disappeared, apart from a few verses
which Allaah preserved as proof against them , as we have mentioned.

Then when the Emperor
Constantine became a Christian, then the Christians prevailed and started to practise their religion
openly and assemble in safety.

If a religion is like this, with its followers practicing it in secret and living in constant fear of the sword,
it is impossible for things to be transmitted soundly via a continuous chain of narrators and its
followers cannot protect it or prevent it from being distorted.
End quote. Al-Fasl, 2/4-5.


In addition to this huge disruption in the chain of transmission of their books, which lasted for two
centuries, these books did not remain in the languages in which they were originally written, rather
they were translated, more than once, by people whose level of knowledge and honesty is unknown.
The contradictions in these books and their shortcomings are among the strongest evidence that they
have been distorted and that they are not the Gospel (Injeel) that Allaah revealed to His slave and
Messenger ‘Eesa (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him).

Allaah indeed spoke the truth when He
said (interpretation of the meaning):
“Had it been from other than Allaah, they would surely, have found therein many a contradiction”
[al-Nisa’ 4:82].
Islam Question and Answer - The Gospels that are extant nowadays were written after the time of ‘Eesa (peace be upon him) and have been tampered with a great deal
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Old 12-08-2008, 09:11 AM
 
Location: New York
321 posts, read 591,304 times
Reputation: 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nikk View Post
Condemned, I have studied quite extensively the developement of the bible and would like to know specifically what you find so telling.

It seems that you cannot discern the difference between "Cannonized" books of the bible and book that are included in a specific printing. For example with the Catholic bible, several complete books were included into the bible but are know not to follow the requirements of Cannonization. This were included "just in case" or as very good history or some other valid reason. These books are not Cannonized, however.

The variation in the text themselves have been shown to be very well preserved when we compare them to colections like the dead sea scrolls, or the letters of the early church written within the first century. In fact if we compare the variation in the text of the bible compared to the variations found in Homers Illyad, we would have to say that Homers Illyad is a complete rewrite. But, how many moans do we hear from the english departments that the Illyad is worthless because of the drastic changes made to it over the years? I am afraid I have heard none.

So, Condemned lets hear the matter...
I was not thinking so much about cannonization, but let me just stop at that for a moment if I can. The Protestant Bibles, for example, has 12 chapters for the book of Daniel while the Catholic Bible has 14 as well as the Jewish Old Testament (if I recall). Aren't the Protestants missing out in some info? In addition, there were countless books floating around that also considered themselves as "Gospels." Who determined which ones should be accepted and which ones not accepted. Granted, a group can choose whatever they desire to be considered accepted and what should not so I grant them that but did god have anything to do it as some Christian claim?

Anyway, I was thinking more along the lines of the fighting and councils that determined items such as the deity of Jesus, the Trinity doctrine and so on. From what I recall, the eastern and western churches (speaking of the Mediterranean region) were long divided in their theologies on a number of things (the status of Jesus being the most serious, however), but the chasm really stood out after Constantine united the empire and set up Constantinople (in the east) as a capital. East met west and all hell broke loose in the realm of theology with literal fists flying from both sides, each side trying to get imperial approval and endorsement of their particular views. The story got much uglier after that as "heretics" had to scatter out of Europe along with their heretical Gospels or risk sure death or exile.
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Old 12-08-2008, 09:19 AM
 
Location: SC Foothills
8,830 posts, read 9,752,545 times
Reputation: 58198
Quote:
Originally Posted by ShepsMom View Post
Looks like you have overlooked the theme of this topic, out of convenience, or out of will to do some research?

I don't know if every Christian who has done deep studying on the subject, will actually question or even overcome their believes/faith. There are too many unexplained and mysterious things in live that have no explanation, even by a sience as of now. Those who are willing to research and learn "how's" and "why's" may start comparing everything to the Bible, regardless of any scientific studies. It is hard to break religious faith, especially, if you were born into it, if you grew up with it, if all you ever heard was IT. It is a comfort zone that some are scared or have no need to step out of.
I haven't overlooked anything and what I said was directly related to the OP...you and Condemned just don't like what I said. Am I a theologian or Bible scholar? No. Are you? There are some who are more studied than others (Nikk is a good example of "studied") but that in no way discredits my personal knowledge of scripture or the "history" of the Bible or Christianity. It's just that it's of no consequence to me or to the grand scheme of things which is serving God and believing in Jesus Christ.

And here's the other card atheists like to play....we were born into it and therefore we have no choice but to believe and we are somehow brainwashed. I was indeed "born" into a Christian family and for that I will be eternally grateful. I did not choose to follow that birthright for many years because after all, it is a choice whether you're born into it or not. Thank God He was patient and allowed me to live long enough for me to get my life right with Him. For that, I WILL be eternally grateful. I cannot put into words how grateful I am that God did not give up on me.

Comfort zone? Yes, it is comforting to know Jesus Christ died for me and that I will be able to spend eternity getting to know the God that created me and died for me. I am appalled at your wish, as well as many others here, that we somehow need to listen to you and mankind to become "free" from our belief, because disbelief is the "way". Absolutely astounding. If that is not of the devil I don't know what is.

As an unbeliever, you have no clue as to what is real. The unseen is reality, not what you can see. This is a temporary life, and it's very sad that unbelievers have no eternal hope and believe this life is all there is. Very, very sad. There is so much more if you would allow YOUR mind and heart to be freed from the chains of darkness.

This reminded me of a scripture, which will probably have no meaning to you, but it speaks to the truth of what I just said:

2 Corinthians 4:18
So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
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