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Old 10-20-2007, 11:12 AM
 
Location: Santa Monica
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Scholars try to reconcile 'problematic' religious texts - Los Angeles Times (http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-beliefs20oct20,0,189689.story?coll=la-home-local - broken link)
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Speaking with mutual respect and sensitivity, prominent Christian, Jewish and Muslim scholars and clergy from around the country met in Los Angeles this week to "wrestle" with what one rabbi described as the "dark side" of the three faith traditions.

Experts cited "problematic" passages from the Hebrew Scripture, the New Testament and the Koran that assert the superiority of one belief system over others.

As an example, the Rt. Rev. Alexei Smith, ecumenical and interreligous official of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles, quoted from the Gospel of Mark: "Go into the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned."

Rabbi Reuven Firestone, director of the Institute for the Study of Jewish-Muslim Interrelations at Hebrew Union College in Los Angeles, mentioned a series of texts, including a verse from Deuteronomy: "For you are a people consecrated to the Lord your God: of all the peoples of the earth the Lord your God chose you to be His treasured people."

And Muzammil H. Siddiqi, chairman of the Fiqh (Islamic Law) Council of North America, quoted from the Koran:

"You who believe, do not take the Jews and Christians as allies: they are allies only to each other. Anyone who takes them as an ally becomes one of them -- God does not guide such wrongdoers."

In explaining the passage from the Gospel of Mark, Smith said that the troubling portion was appended a century after it was written -- when the four Gospels were compiled.

He said the longer ending, which added 12 verses, was written at a time when Christians either were questioning their faith in the resurrection of Jesus or defending it against skeptics and nonbelievers.
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Last edited by ParkTwain; 10-20-2007 at 11:24 AM..
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Old 10-20-2007, 11:29 AM
 
Location: Between Here and There
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Great article!
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Old 10-21-2007, 12:26 PM
 
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Relatively speaking, it hasn't been very long that Christians, Jews, or Muslims were troubled at all by asserting the superiority of their religion over the beliefs of others, and sincere believers in each of those faiths remain untroubled by them. I doubt if these passages are really very "problematic" for anyone other than ecumenists, Bah'ais, and persons enamored of universalist and/or globalist thinking.
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Old 10-21-2007, 08:13 PM
 
Location: Earth Wanderer, longing for the stars.
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I am just one, but this was my main reason for breaking with Christianity. It is one thing to say that people of your faith are somehow glorified. It is quite another to condem them to eternal damnation.

If Christ as the ONLY way were stricken from Christian texts, I would seriously consider coming back to the religion, but governments have often de-humanized enemies, and Christianity, as it now stands, is a great religion for that sort of militant mindset because of such verses. Yeah, I know Christ spoke a lot of peace and love, but he also said he comes with a sword. Not at all nice. Quite disturbing.
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Old 10-21-2007, 11:13 PM
 
Location: Santa Monica
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bellinghamite View Post
Relatively speaking, it hasn't been very long that Christians, Jews, or Muslims were troubled at all by asserting the superiority of their religion over the beliefs of others, and sincere believers in each of those faiths remain untroubled by them. I doubt if these passages are really very "problematic" for anyone other than ecumenists, Bah'ais, and persons enamored of universalist and/or globalist thinking.

There is no place in the world today where the leader of a major religion (multiple millions of followers) is also a de facto secular head of a state that includes those followers. (The Pope's leadership of the State of the Vatican City, a city-state, also does not qualify because of its minimal resident population.) That has been the case for several hundred years. When that *was* the case in the past, those leaders had the legal power to raise armies to do battle on religious grounds with another state.

I would say that the meeting covered in the article I posted represents an effort by those in certain religions who realize that they no longer want to make those explicit expressions of hostility toward other faiths an integral part of those religions. By doing so, they seek to take away an arrow from the quiver of today's secular politicians who mobilize national military movements on the basis of religious hostility. In my opinion, this activity by those representations of major religions should be seen as a positive movement and a sign of maturity by those religions across the world. Taking away one more basis for international war is a good thing.
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Old 10-22-2007, 03:07 AM
 
Location: Somewhere along the path to where I'd like to be.
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From the article:

Quote:
As an example, the Rt. Rev. Alexei Smith, ecumenical and interreligous official of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles, quoted from the Gospel of Mark: "Go into the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned."

...............

In explaining the passage from the Gospel of Mark, Smith said that the troubling portion was appended a century after it was written -- when the four Gospels were compiled.

He said the longer ending, which added 12 verses, was written at a time when Christians either were questioning their faith in the resurrection of Jesus or defending it against skeptics and nonbelievers.
Wow. Can it be that the church that claims to have compiled the Bible as we know it are now saying they messed up? How convenient. Makes you wonder just how much of the Bible we can trust as truth, and not simply the insertion of words at a later date in an attempt to make it say what the church wanted it to say. There are people that claim the church edited the words of the Bible, and this makes you wonder if those claims are actually true. If 12 verses were added to the book of Mark in some attempt to defend the faith against skeptics and nonbelievers, can it really be said that those verses were actually the word of God? And if not, exactly HOW MUCH of the Bible can we trust as the word of God?


Quote:
Rabbi Mark S. Diamond, executive vice president of the Board of Rabbis of Southern California, which co-sponsored the event with Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Conn., said all people of faith need to "take ownership of their most difficult texts, wrestle with them -- not run away from them -- but confront them, where appropriate, set them in their proper historical context.

After wrestling, I hope people can understand these texts in the appropriate contexts and realize that not all of them, but many of them, are bound by conditions of social milieu, of culture, of historical context."

In some instances, he continued, people of faith need to say to themselves, "This is part of my sacred tradition, but I reject it. I find this text offensive. It goes against my own morality, and it goes against what I believe God expects of me in the world today."
Interesting.

If they're willing to admit one aspect of the Bible is bound by "conditions of social milieu, of culture, of historical context", seems to me like they should say the same thing about the Bible passages which supposedly pertain to homosexuality. Gay and lesbian Christians have been saying for a long time that the popular interpretation of those Bible passages is offensive, and that they are not culturally relevant to what we know today as loving, homosexual relationships.
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Old 10-22-2007, 10:26 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ParkTwain View Post
Meeting of religion scholars wrestles with 'problematic' texts
When it becomes inconvenient to believe, scripture is problematic... If you truly believe, you believe.. If you don't, then like Visvaldis says, "Nothing is sacred." People can go ahead and disqualify and twist scripture to fit their "comfort zone", but what are they believing in? They are worshipping themselves as gods.
Romans 1:25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever.
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Old 10-22-2007, 04:02 PM
 
Location: Earth Wanderer, longing for the stars.
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But if the scripture has been edited, and man has determined what is to be included, and what not, all we really have is the brains that God gave us to make these determinations. So, unlike being gay, this really IS a matter of choice. It is harder to go through life in thought than to allow some secondary source to guide your every move.

There are those who believe that the god of the Old Testiment was actually a creature, and not the one, true, creator God. That may put a new light on that verse that you quoted.
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Old 10-22-2007, 10:11 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WCRob View Post
Wow. Can it be that the church that claims to have compiled the Bible as we know it are now saying they messed up?
I'm assuming that you are referring to the Catholic Church, in which case the answer to your question is 'no'. The quote is from one Priest and is in no way an official teaching of the Church.

Eric
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Old 10-22-2007, 10:45 PM
 
Location: Somewhere along the path to where I'd like to be.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MotoEric View Post
I'm assuming that you are referring to the Catholic Church, in which case the answer to your question is 'no'. The quote is from one Priest and is in no way an official teaching of the Church.
He's the "ecumenical and interreligious official of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles". So in my opinion, he's speaking for the Roman Catholic Church. If what he is saying is a lie, then why is he speaking for the church? Why isn't he being disciplined?
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