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ydoaPs
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Except for the fact that the texts I quoted were read as scripture for centuries. Clement was a companion of Peter, so this was well before our current canon was assembled. To get a better idea of what the Bible actually is, you may wan to participate in this thread.

 

You're also ignoring the fact that Jesus is quoted(in our canon as quoted in an above post) as explicitly teaching that the Law is to be followed until the second coming. Peter even quotes a portion of one such saying of Jesus in the section of his letter to James that I provided.

 

I do not understand your correlation between textread for centuries and the Bible.

 

Also you seem to view Peter as infallible (and his letter as gospel) and Paul as some kind of wacko.

But the Bible indicates time and time again that Peter made many mistakes.


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Who said I'm picking and choosing? I'm simply treating it like any other historical source.

 

Do you view Letter to James and similar texts as equivalent to that which composes what is commonly referred to as the Christian Bible?

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I do not understand your correlation between textread for centuries and the Bible.
You know the Bible isn't one text written by god, but rather an anthology of texts from several people who may or may not have had differing opinions?

 

Also you seem to view Peter as infallible
No, not at all. But I do trust him to write about his views.

 

(and his letter as gospel) and Paul as some kind of wacko.
Here's you're a bit closer to the truth, because I'm not too fond of Paul. He goes directly against what Jesus taught(as in the current case).

 

But the Bible indicates time and time again that Peter made many mistakes.
All people make mistakes. Unless you're seriously suggesting that Peter(the Rock on which Christ wanted the Church founded and whom was THERE when Jesus taught) was completely wrong about a MAJOR doctrinal point, then your point is moot.


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Do you view Letter to James and similar texts as equivalent to that which composes what is commonly referred to as the Christian Bible?

Sure. As have many groups of early Christians(including the proto-Orthodox[Clement was even a Pope]). Have you studied the history of Christianity much?

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I think you may have hit the nail on the head ydoaPs.

 

As you have probably gleamed by now, I accept the Bible in a literal sense, including Peter's imperfections, which were major.

And not a record of differing opinions.

 

In contrast, it appears to me that you view as more of a historical record and other documents of roughly the same period as equivalent to the Bible.

 

Peter was wrong on major doctrine, as I noted above, then corrected himself.

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In contrast, it appears to me that you view as more of a historical record and other documents of roughly the same period as equivalent to the Bible.

Why this group of sacred Christian texts rather than an earlier canon?

 

Peter was wrong on major doctrine, as I noted above, then corrected himself.

 

So Peter, who happened to have quoted Jesus(a quote which also appears in Matthew) was wrong? So, Jesus(who I quoted extensively earlier) was wrong about a major doctrinal point? Are you really suggesting Jesus was wrong about Christianity? That's odd to say the least.

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Sure. As have many groups of early Christians(including the proto-Orthodox[Clement was even a Pope]). Have you studied the history of Christianity much?

 

 

Just because something was taught in the first century does not make it right .

 

Some scholars have a view that a few (or more) early church leaders applied scripture to their own situations, in some cases without any regard for its original context.

 

For example, you have referred to Clemente more than once.

While stating that Paul was not as believable as Peter because Paul did not walk with Jesus upon the soil.

 

But Clement did not become the leader of the Alexandrian school until MUCH later, almost the second century AD.

While Clement alluded to the Old Testament in his Epistle to the Corinthians many times, some scholars believe that this was more a basis for moral obedience and less intended as a discovery the Old Testament's teachings.

 

 


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Why this group of sacred Christian texts rather than an earlier canon?

 

Obviously, you know the answer to this.

 

So Peter, who happened to have quoted Jesus(a quote which also appears in Matthew) was wrong? So, Jesus(who I quoted extensively earlier) was wrong about a major doctrinal point? Are you really suggesting Jesus was wrong about Christianity? That's odd to say the least.

 

I didn't say Jesus was wrong about anything.

Is that (Jesus wrong) what you are saying?

 

Peter made mistakes as I detailed in some depth. How does that equate to Jesus or the Bible being wrong (as you associate with me above)?

 

That fact that Peter made mistakes and they were documented by Paul (and Matt, Luke, Mark and John) does not invalidate Paul either

 

It is obvious that you have an issue with Paul. I don't agree with your stance, but I respect it. I think......

 

But why you seem to think that Clemente (AD 200) and other early scholars that are not included in the Bible had all the answers and/or that he is somehow hovering above Paul, who was with the disciples, is beyond my current level of understanding.

 

Is the rest of your disagreement with the Bible and/or Jesus?

Please elaborate or restate, because either your message is not clear or my brain is too small to comprehend it.

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Just because something was taught in the first century does not make it right .

 

Some scholars have a view that a few (or more) early church leaders applied scripture to their own situations, in some cases without any regard for its original context.

 

For example, you have referred to Clemente more than once.

While stating that Paul was not as believable as Peter because Paul did not walk with Jesus upon the soil.

 

But Clement did not become the leader of the Alexandrian school until MUCH later, almost the second century AD.

While Clement alluded to the Old Testament in his Epistle to the Corinthians many times, some scholars believe that this was more a basis for moral obedience and less intended as a discovery the Old Testament's teachings.

Wrong Clement. The one I mentioned was the companion of Peter and the third Pope.

 

Obviously, you know the answer to this.
No, I don't; That's why I asked.

 

 

 

I didn't say Jesus was wrong about anything.

Is that (Jesus wrong) what you are saying?

 

Peter made mistakes as I detailed in some depth. How does that equate to Jesus or the Bible being wrong (as you associate with me above)?

I provided extensive quotation of Jesus showing that Peter was correct. Peter even used one of the quotes in his letter supporting his view.

 

Is the rest of your disagreement with the Bible and/or Jesus?
Who said I disagree with the Bible or Jesus?

 

Here is a great book about various early Christianities and the formation of the current canon.

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Wrong Clement. The one I mentioned was the companion of Peter and the third Pope.

 

Gotcha.

Somehow, I got the idea that you were referring to Clement of Alexandria.

I see now that you were referring to Clement of Rome.


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Here is a great book about various early Christianities and the formation of the current canon.

 

No thanks. It looks interesting, but I try to steer clear of deconstructionists.

There's enough of that out there already.

:)

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Who's a deconstructionist?

 

I dunno, but the review quacks like a duck.

 

Reviews

Editorial Review - Reed Business Information © 2003

What if Marcion's canon-which consisted only of Luke's Gospel and Paul's letters, entirely omitting the Old Testament-had become Christianity's canon? What if the Ebionites-who believed Jesus was completely human and not divine-had ruled the day as the Orthodox Christian party? What if various early Christian writings, such as the Gospel of Thomas or the Secret Gospel of Mark, had been allowed into the canonical New Testament? Ehrman (The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture), a professor of religion at UNC Chapel Hill, offers answers to these and other questions in this book, which rehearses the now-familiar story of the tremendous diversity of early Christianity and its eventual suppression by a powerful "proto-orthodox" faction. The proto-orthodox Christians won out over many other groups, and bequeathed to us the four Gospels, a church hierarchy, a set of practices and beliefs, and doctrines such as the Trinity. Ehrman eloquently characterizes some of the movements and Scriptures that were lost, such as the Ebionites and the Secret Gospel of Mark, as he outlines the many strands of Christianity that competed for attention in the second and third centuries. He issues an important reminder that there was no such thing as a monolithic Christian orthodoxy before the fourth century. While Ehrman sometimes raises interesting questions (e.g., are Paul's writings sympathetic to women?), his book covers territory already well-explored by others (Gregory Riley, The River of God; Elaine Pagels, Beyond Belief), generating few fresh or provocative insights. (Oct.) FYI: Oxford will simultaneously release Ehrman's edited anthology Lost Scriptures: Books That Did Not Make It into the New Testament, which contains new translations of many of the non-canonical writings analyzed in this book.

 

http://books.google.com/books?sitesec=reviews&id=URdACxKubDIC

 

“Deconstruction is not a dismantling of the structure of a text, but a demonstration that it has already dismantled itself. Its apparently-solid ground is no rock, but thin air."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deconstruction

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So, do you not know what deconstruction is, or do you have absolutely zero idea what the book I linked to(complete contents, iirc, btw) is about? I'd hate to think you are trying to deliberately misrepresent something.

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I'm not deliberately trying to misrepresent anything. :doh:

 

And no, I'm not going to read the entire book.

Are you saying that the review is inaccurate?

I'd consider your opinion on at least the same grounds as the reviewer's.

And if you, having read it in its entirety, say it is not deconstructionist, I'll take your word for it.

 

So, back to deconstructionism.

Stating the Bible contradicts itself (which I do not believe that you actually did, but was done in this thread) or that it was manipulated (e.g., things selectively, purposefully put in and left out...which I think you did) by Paul et al to suit his own wants, needs, desires, wishes.....is clearly deconstructionist.

 

Would you agree that what you are doing with Paul and Clement has at least some similarity to the following?

 

""Deconstructionism is a basically a theory of textual criticism or interpretation that denies there is any single correct meaning or interpretation of a passage or text. At the heart of the deconstructionist theory of interpretation are two primary ideas. First is the idea that no passage or text can possibly convey a single reliable, consistent, and coherent message to everyone who reads or hears it. The second is that the author who wrote the text is less responsible for the piece's content than are the impersonal forces of culture such as language and their unconscious ideology. Therefore the very basic tenets of deconstructionism are contrary to the clear teaching of the Bible that absolute truth does exist and we can indeed know it (Deuteronomy 32:4; Isaiah 65:16; John 1:17-18; John 14:6; John 15:26-27; Galatians 2:5).

 

The deconstruction approach to interpreting the Bible comes out of postmodernism and as such it is simply another denial of the existence of absolute truth which is one of the most serious logical fallacies anyone can commit. The reason the denial of absolute truth is a logical fallacy of the greatest magnitude is because it is a self-contradictory statement. The deconstructionist or postmodern thinker who denies absolute truth cannot rationally make such a statement because to do so would be stating an absolute which is what they are saying does not exist. When someone claims that there is no such thing as absolute truth, I always want to ask them; “Are you absolutely sure of that?” If they say yes, then they have made a statement that is contradictory to their very premise.

 

Like other philosophies that come out of the postmodern movement, deconstructionism celebrates human autonomy and places the autonomy of man at both the beginning and the end of determining what can be deemed to be truth. Therefore according to the postmodern thinker all truth is relative and there is no such thing as absolute truth. At the heart of this type of postmodernism and the deconstructionist thought process is pride and arrogance. The deconstructionist thinks that they can discover a personal or social motivation that lies behind what is said and therefore can determine what is “really being said.” The end result is a very subjective interpretation of the passage or text in question. Instead of accepting what it actually says the deconstructionist is arrogant enough to think they can determine the motive behind what was written and come up with the real or hidden meaning of the text. However if one were to take deconstructionism to its logical conclusion then the results of the deconstructionist’s efforts would have to be deconstructed themselves to determine what the deconstructionist really said and the endless line of circular reasoning is therefore self defeating. When one thinks about how fundamentally flawed this type of postmodern thinking is, one cannot help but bring to mind 1 Corinthians 3:19, “For the wisdom of this world is foolishness before God. For it is written, "He is the one who catches the wise in their craftiness.”

 

The deconstructionist does not study the Bible or a text in order to find out the meaning intended by the writer, but instead tries to “read between the lines,” so to speak, in order to discern the cultural and social reasons and motives behind what was written. The deconstructionist is really only limited in his interpretation of the passage by his own imagination. To the deconstructionist there is no right or wrong interpretation and the meaning of the passage or text becomes very subjective and one that can only determined by the reader.

 

The proper way to approach the Bible is to first recognize that each passage has only one correct interpretation (that which the Holy Spirit intended to communicate to the original recipients), even though it might have many applications. The deconstructionist on the other hand would attribute the primary meaning of the text to the reader, not the author. Therefore there is no one right way of interpretation and the reader’s cultural and social background will influence the meaning of the passage. One might imagine what would happen if legal documents such as wills and deeds were read this way. This approach to the Scriptures fails to recognize the fundamental truth that the Bible is God’s objective communication to mankind and that the meaning of the passages being studied comes from God and is not subject to man’s interpretation as to the truthfulness of the message.

 

Instead of spending time debating deconstructionism or other postmodern theories, we should try to concentrate on exalting Christ and emphasizing the sufficiency and authority of the Scriptures. Romans 1:21-22 sums up most postmodern thinkers who come up with and hold to such theories as deconstructionism. “For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God, or give thanks; but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools.”

 

http://www.gotquestions.org/deconstructionism.html

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Bart Ehrman is not strictly a deconstructionist. He simply follows the history of the New Testament, other writings by church leaders at the same time, and history to show how the Bible used to be interpreted differently.

 

Lost Christianities is a story of how others interpreted the Bible (in ways completely different to how we now interpret it) and how early Christianity was formed. It is not Ehrman's attempt to deconstruct the text, merely his attempt to understand how it was made and how Christianity came to be.

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I think there is the possibility of absolute truth, but you will not find it in religion or the bible or any other supernatural teachings.

 

OK I'll bite.

Where will you find it?

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I'm not deliberately trying to misrepresent anything. :doh:
Then you have a severe lack of comprehension.

 

And no, I'm not going to read the entire book.

Too bad. It's a great read and very informative. It's an introduction for layman to the different sects of early Christianity, their battle for orthodoxy, and where the Bible came from.

 

These things you seem to have no clue about. If we are going to continue intelligently in this line of conversation, you should get the gist from somewhere. I merely provided a free copy of a great source.

 

It's definitely not deconstructionism. By all means you have the right to stick your fingers in your ears and hide from reality, but don't expect to be taken any more seriously than a YEC should you choose to do so.

 

And if you, having read it in its entirety, say it is not deconstructionist, I'll take your word for it.
See above. It's just an introduction to NT history that you'd get at any respectable university that offers religious studies programs. Ehrman(the author of the book to which I linked) actually wrote the book that many schools(including Yale, whose intro to NT course lectures are available free online) use in their Intro to the NT courses.

 

So, back to deconstructionism.

Stating the Bible contradicts itself (which I do not believe that you actually did, but was done in this thread)

No, it's not. It is merely stating a fact. The Bible is not one text. The fact is that it's an anthology of different authors. It would be extremely odd if there were no contradictions. The existence of contradictions doesn't mean the Bible is worthless or anything of the sort; it just means we need to use the same tools that we need to treat it as any other historical text. Without justification, doing otherwise is really just special pleading. In fact, it is easily demonstrable that there are contradictions.

 

I really like using the birth stories as an example, because they're so obvious yet so overlooked(usually because people tell a mishmash of them rather than actually reading one or the other). I'll paraphrase here, but feel free(in fact, I encourage you to) read them yourself.

 

Matthews version:

Joseph and Mary are living in Bethlehem and are engaged to be married until Joseph finds out that Mary is pregnant and wants to secretly get out of the marriage to avoid any shame. An angel appears to Joseph in a dream and tells him that Mary is a virgin and the baby is a miracle. Joseph then decides to marry Mary anyway. Some wise men from the east find out and ask Herod where the baby is. Herod is all sorts of pissed off that a baby 'King of the Jews' has been born because that's HIS title. So Herod tricks them to go find the baby and report back so he can go pay tribute as well. The wise men then follow a star to Joseph's house where they give baby Jesus gifts. An angel appears to the wise men warning of Herod's intentions so they go home instead of back to Herod. This REALLY ticks Herod off, so he arranges for a massacre of all the infants 2 and under in the area. Joseph is yet again tipped off my an angel in a dream, so they flee to Egypt until Herod dies. After Herod dies, Joseph meets with the Angel in another dream where he is told of Herod's death. Joseph fears that Archelaus(one of Herod's sons) might still want Jesus dead, so he moves to Nazareth instead of moving back home to Bethlehem.

 

Luke's version:

A bunch of hooplah about John the Baptist's miraculous birth(his parents were old and infertile, but God fixed that[John is 6 months older than Jesus]). An angel appears to Mary and tells her of her impending virginal pregnancy. Caesar Augustus decrees that a census of the whole Roman empire must be made. So, while Quirinius is governor of Syria for the first time, a census is made. Joseph and Mary then leave their Nazareth home to go to Bethlehem to register for the census since Joseph is of David's lineage. Mary has Jesus while they are in Bethlehem, but there is no room in the Inn, so they put Jesus in a manger(trough, for those that don't know) instead of a crib. An angel appears to some shepherds and tell them all about it, so they go to see for themselves. They stay in Bethlehem until all of Jesus's birth stuff is done, then they move back to Nazareth.

 

Even a surface reading of this passage gives the impression that the stories are very different(the only thing that seems constant is that there is a virgin birth in Bethlehem). These stories are so dissimilar that one wouldn't even think they were the same story unless told otherwise. Looking a little deeper, we can see that the setting isn't quite the same either; Matthew has the family originally from Bethlehem while Luke has them from Nazareth. A rough familiarization with history shows the settings are even more different than that as the stories are at least 10 years apart.

 

Herod reigned until his death in 4BC. Upon Herod's death, his kingdom was split among his sons. In 6AD, Herod Archelaus(one of King Herod's sons) was deposed and his land thus fell into Roman control. One of Archelaus's replacements was a man by the name Coponius. At the same time as the appointment of Coponius, Publius Sulpicius Quirinius was appointed governor of Syria in 6AD. Upon the appointment of Quirinius and Coponius, since this was the first time the land was under direct Roman control(it was previously only a client kingdom), it was decreed by Caesar Agustus that there should be a census. This census was the first Roman census of the area(it wasn't a census of the entire empire nor were residents required to go to the ancestral home).

 

This puts us in a bit of a bind, since Jesus was at least almost two BEFORE Herod dies(in 4BC). The soldiers carrying out the massacre would know the difference between a week old baby and a two year old(massacre was of all two and under). It is also assumed that the stay in Egypt lasted longer than a week or so as well unless one posits supernatural help in the death of Herod.

 

Luke, however, has Jesus being born AFTER Quirinius comes into power in 6AD. This is a real concern since the census is a direct result of Herod's death(along with his son being a poor ruler). Now we have a discrepancy of at least 10 years. That's a pretty big hole if this is supposed to be the same story.

 

or that it was manipulated (e.g., things selectively, purposefully put in and left out...which I think you did)

I wouldn't say 'manipulated' as that assumes that there was some predestined final product that was modified. I'd rather say assembled. The canon we use now is one of many that were used throughout history. The first canon to use our 27 books and only our 27 books was written by St. Athanasius 367CE and even then it wasn't settled as the canon for all Christians to use. What do you think Christians read prior to that?

 

by Paul et al to suit his own wants, needs, desires, wishes.....is clearly deconstructionist.

Paul had nothing to do with the canon formation directly(as he had been long dead by then), but the factions of Christianity that followed his teachings did.

 

Would you agree that what you are doing with Paul and Clement has at least some similarity to the following?
Not at all.

 

Instead of accepting what it actually says the deconstructionist is arrogant enough to think they can determine the motive behind what was written and come up with the real or hidden meaning of the text.

...

The deconstructionist does not study the Bible or a text in order to find out the meaning intended by the writer, but instead tries to “read between the lines,” so to speak, in order to discern the cultural and social reasons and motives behind what was written.

If you consider this portion accurate, then it is actually the fundamentalist Christian who is the deconstructionist. They are 'arrogant enough' to try to use the writings to completely different people to try to get a meaning that fit's their agenda.

 

I think the Bible is largely taken out of context as a whole in modern Christianity. There's not a lot of thought given to what kind of documents comprise the Bible. AFAICT, the Gospels aren't even intended to be entirely historically accurate; they're largely midrashic. I've yet to see any indication that the authors of the NT wrote expecting their text to be included in a holy compilation rather than just be read by the intended audience. I think there is much to gain in reading the gospels how they were meant to be read-as individual documents by different authors(who may or may not have differing opinions about God just as different posters here may or may not have differing opinions about God) writing to different audiences. It really makes sense; would you try to understand what one poster here thinks by what a different poster writes? Reading the Bible in this manner lets us see what each author was trying to get across rather than a muddled mish-mash of opinions trying to be forced into one coherent view. A good example is(again) the birth story.

 

There's much reason to believe that Matthew is heavily midrashic. One example of many is the virgin birth. This is one example of which Matthew is forcing prophecy on Jesus, because Matthew wanted to make it clear that Jesus WAS the promised Messiah. Keep in mind, that in midrash, literal truth isn't nearly as important as meaning; saying it is prophesy is good enough to make his point.

 

In Matthew 1:22-23, the author of Matthew quotes Isaiah 7:14. That's all fine and dandy until we go and actually read it in context. The author of Matthew even cuts off Isaiah mid-sentence. The prophecy in question(read the whole chapter and you'll see), is that the pregnant woman in the room will have a son named Immanu-El and the principle enemies of Ahaz will be defeated before said boy is old enough to know right from wrong. The birth isn't what is being prophesied at all; it is the timescale for the actual prophesy-the defeat of the armies.

 

Other things about 7:14: The word 'virgin' here is the Hebrew word 'alma' meaning 'young woman'. It in no way implies anything about sexual experience or lack thereof. It is likely that Matthew used a greek word meaning virgin in order to make Jesus even more special. The author of Matthew essentially invented his own prophesy for midrashic purposes.

 

From a Christian book(Interpreting the Old Testament: A Guide for Exegesis):

A danger in functional equivalency is importing too much into the target language' date=' supplying more meaning than the original provided. An example is adding specificity lacking in the original. Many English translations did this in Isaiah 7:14 when they rendered the Hebrew word almah, meaning "a female...who has not yet borne a child,"69 as "virgin." The lack of sexual experience that is an integral part of the meaning of the English term virgin is not part of the specific meaning of the Hebrew term. That is, an almah may (Isa. 54:4) or may not have had sexual relations, since that is not the distinguishing semantic feature for the word, while virgin by definition cannot have had sexual relations.

 

69. John Walton, NIDOTTE 3.415-19, here 418. The LXXX renders the word as parthenos, which also indicates sexual maturity but not sexual experience or its lack.[/quote']

 

Another example in the birth story is the massacre of the innocents. There is no historical record of this event outside of Matthew. Does that alone mean it didn't happen? No. Did it happen? Probably not. Does it really matter if it happened if the gospel of Matthew is midrashic? No; what matters is the meaning.

Now, you might be wondering why I said it probably didn't happen. There are a few reasons:

 

1)Josephus goes through the trouble of a detailed chronicling the various atrocities of Herod. On the massacre, he is silent. It would be very unlikely for Josephus to leave it out.

2)By human nature(especially of the people of antiquity), numbers get exaggerated(think of the fisherman recounting the prize catch of the day and the fish gets bigger with each telling). People involved tell other people and exaggerate a little bit. They tell others and exaggerate a little bit, etc. The event would likely be recorded by someone.

3)The author of Matthew has other places that point to a tendency toward midrash.

4)The story greatly parallels that of Moses(which is a great indicator that it's likely midrashic)

 

 

Now, the last point is really of interest, as it allows us to start to see why this story was added. To the author of Matthew, Jesus was a son of God, just like David(Psalm 2:7); he was the chosen one, just like Moses. As such, the author of Matthew makes several parallels between Jesus and Moses. The first one is the massacre of the innocents. The second is Jesus being brought out of Egypt afterward. We can see that the massacre of the innocents, like the virgin birth, are added to make Jesus special; to make him the chosen one. They may or may not be true, but they are clearly there for meaning, rather than history.

 

It is in fact the historical-critical scholar rather than the fundamentalist that reads a text for what the author actually says.

 

Or do you want me to try to figure out what you really mean by using MrSkeptic's posts?

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Then you have a severe lack of comprehension.

 

I forgive you.

 

If you consider this portion accurate, then it is actually the fundamentalist Christian who is the deconstructionist. They are 'arrogant enough' to try to use the writings to completely different people to try to get a meaning that fit's their agenda.

 

I see where you are coming from now.

The problem is the "fundamentalist Christians".

And they are arrogant people with an agenda.

 

In your experience, who doesn't have an agenda?

 

Also, exactly what you mean by an arrogant fundamental Christian is unclear to me. It could be related to my "severe lack of comprehension" :)

 

Many images do come to mind though including 700 Clubbers, the Charles Stanleys, the Jimmy Swaggerts, the John Hagees, the TD Jakes of the world.... the Popes/Cardinals/Bishops/Priests, Evangelicals, Southern Baptists, Pentecostals, the Holy Rollers, Tea Bagers who happen to be Christian, .... or all "Christians" besides those who happen to be professors or students at ivy league schools of divinity and/or psycho babbling non-denominational, new age Christians that are afraid to offend anyone.....

 

Is it one of these arrogant scoundrels?

If so which?

 

 

I think the Bible is largely taken out of context as a whole in modern Christianity. There's not a lot of thought given to what kind of documents comprise the Bible. AFAICT, the Gospels aren't even intended to be entirely historically accurate; they're largely midrashic.

 

Are you using the terms "modern Christianity" and "fundamentalist Christianity" in a similar context or a contrasting context?

Please explain.

 

 

AFAICT, the Gospels aren't even intended to be entirely historically accurate; they're largely midrashic.

 

Ya think?

 

I wonder if that's related to all those Jews and their Mosaic laws, traditions and the like that were very frequently passed on by oral traditions.

 

Then there is the annoying fact that Parables are almost never factually nor historically accurate because, by definition, they wouldn't be parables at all would they............they would be dry history lessons......like all those boring Genealogies in the old testament and at the beginning of Matthew that everyone sleeps through.

 

I've yet to see any indication that the authors of the NT wrote expecting their text to be included in a holy compilation rather than just be read by the intended audience.

 

Bingo!

Makes it even more amazing that they are as cohesive as they are, doesn't it?

Or is it really surprising at all considering the source of the influence?

 

I agree with a lot of what you said after that, but.......

 

 

Another example in the birth story is the massacre of the innocents. There is no historical record of this event outside of Matthew. Does that alone mean it didn't happen? No. Did it happen? Probably not. Does it really matter if it happened if the gospel of Matthew is midrashic? No; what matters is the meaning.

Now, you might be wondering why I said it probably didn't happen. There are a few reasons:

 

1)Josephus goes through the trouble of a detailed chronicling the various atrocities of Herod. On the massacre, he is silent. It would be very unlikely for Josephus to leave it out.

2)By human nature(especially of the people of antiquity), numbers get exaggerated(think of the fisherman recounting the prize catch of the day and the fish gets bigger with each telling). People involved tell other people and exaggerate a little bit. They tell others and exaggerate a little bit, etc. The event would likely be recorded by someone.

3)The author of Matthew has other places that point to a tendency toward midrash.

4)The story greatly parallels that of Moses(which is a great indicator that it's likely midrashic)

 

 

Now, the last point is really of interest, as it allows us to start to see why this story was added. To the author of Matthew, Jesus was a son of God, just like David(Psalm 2:7); he was the chosen one, just like Moses. As such, the author of Matthew makes several parallels between Jesus and Moses. The first one is the massacre of the innocents. The second is Jesus being brought out of Egypt afterward. We can see that the massacre of the innocents, like the virgin birth, are added to make Jesus special; to make him the chosen one. They may or may not be true, but they are clearly there for meaning, rather than history.

 

 

If we would all just spend more time and effort intellectualizing the Bible.

 

Making an extra effort to point out to others what we view as inconsistent points or factually incorrect statements in the Bible.

 

If we would all just pick and choose what we wish to accept and believe, then discard what doesn't fit our view of the way things were, are or should be.

 

If we would all just mold it, shape it and interpret it to fit the times and our own views of the world.

 

What crappy stinking world it would be.

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

 

Luke 18:15-17 "...........Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it."

 

Matthew 18:1-5 At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, " Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" He called a child, whom he put among the, and said, "Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me."

 

It is in fact the historical-critical scholar rather than the fundamentalist that reads a text for what the author actually says.

Careful or you might get a log in your eye.:)

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Also, exactly what you mean by an arrogant fundamental Christian is unclear to me. It could be related to my "severe lack of comprehension" :)

 

Many images do come to mind though including 700 Clubbers, the Charles Stanleys, the Jimmy Swaggerts, the John Hagees, the TD Jakes of the world.... the Popes/Cardinals/Bishops/Priests, Evangelicals, Southern Baptists, Pentecostals, the Holy Rollers, Tea Bagers who happen to be Christian, .... or all "Christians" besides those who happen to be professors or students at ivy league schools of divinity and/or psycho babbling non-denominational, new age Christians that are afraid to offend anyone.....

 

Is it one of these arrogant scoundrels?

If so which?

 

You have a pretty good list going already! I know all Christians are not arrogant scoundrels but your list is hard to argue with for the most part.

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If we would all just pick and choose what we wish to accept and believe, then discard what doesn't fit our view of the way things were, are or should be.

 

If we would all just mold it, shape it and interpret it to fit the times and our own views of the world.

 

What crappy stinking world it would be.

 

Hey, that's a long-standing tradition!

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The gods are anthropomorphic depictions of planets, stars, and constellations. The antics of the gods are astronomical patterns, processes, and random events.

 

The Christian book of mythology known as "The Bible" is a poorly constructed rewritten version of significantly older Egyptian anthropomorphized, mythologized astronomy texts...often nearly word for word.

 

The cross, the crucifixion, Mary and Jesus, Christ, fish, the five loaves, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, The Son (sun) of God...all are representations of celestial bodies or mechanics.

 

Our ancestors "brought the heavens down to Earth" by associating the celestial bodies and mechanics with earthly signifiers. They built complex astronomy into their architecture. They ritualized the patterns of the heavens in everyday life. They used what we call "mythology" in order to pack complex information into dramas that could easily be stored and remembered in the greatest number of biological hard drives, thus preserving this critically important information from generation to generation for thousands of years. This enormous and enormously complex and sophisticated body of advanced astronomy knowledge that was preserved for thousands of years with the same retold, re-costumed, relocated characters and events didn't become "religion" until the second half of the middle ages when everything got dark and the important context of the "myths" was lost.

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According to the psychologist Carl Jung, the characters of mythology have a connection to the archetypes of the collective unconscious. The archetypes are loosely analogous to personality firmware; brain, which underlie collective human behavior and propensity, which define humans as a species. No matter what the cultural training, there are human propensities common to all.

 

The dog has their own version of archetypes or firmware which define their collective natures. We can train a dog to be a certain way, but its natural instincts remain. What we get is a blend of the two. During mating season, their mating firmware may kick in, and override training.

 

The observation that mythology is composed of characters both below and beyond the human hero, describes the hierarchy of the various firmware and its relationship to the ego. There are helpful and dangerous beasts within mythology, which can be overcome or befriended by the hero. These are firmware the ego can engage or disengage using will.

 

There are also mythology characters, which control the fate of the hero. These firmware are a little more distant from consciousness and are much harder to control or engage using will power. The mythology of a culture mapped out the firmware hierarchy at that point in time.

 

For example, falling in love, is not something the ego can use willpower to make happen. The effects needs certain firmware to engage. Being beyond the will and choice of humans, the firmware for falling in love, would be defined as say the goddess Aphrodite. The rituals developed to worship her would help the ego engage this firmware. This goddess may not have been real, but it allowed a way to visualized and focus the mind, so one could push the button so the firmware would/might engage.

 

Based on the nature of a particular culture or religion, its mythology tells us something about the firmware hierarchy and how to engage or disengage aspects of the the firmware.

 

The character Hercules was symbolically part human and part god. That would symbolize an ego that is being boosted, by the constant engagement of certain firmware, which is normally out of range of the ego's will power. For example, the small woman, who sees her child in trouble, gets a boost of energy that gives her super human strength for a little while. This firmware is not subject to will; subject to fate or unique circumstances. A symbolic hercules has such firmware engaged, constantly. The affect may be the strength of an insane person but with a clear head.

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According to the psychologist Carl Jung, the characters of mythology have a connection to the archetypes of the collective unconscious. The archetypes are loosely analogous to personality firmware; brain, which underlie collective human behavior and propensity, which define humans as a species. No matter what the cultural training, there are human propensities common to all.

Pioneer, if you're already going the length of quoting someone (like Carl Jung) can you please try to follow the spirit of a scienceforum by giving out the reference?

 

I'd like to see the context, too. But regardless, we try to do that here.

 

The dog has their own version of archetypes or firmware which define their collective natures. We can train a dog to be a certain way, but its natural instincts remain. What we get is a blend of the two. During mating season, their mating firmware may kick in, and override training.

 

The observation that mythology is composed of characters both below and beyond the human hero, describes the hierarchy of the various firmware and its relationship to the ego. There are helpful and dangerous beasts within mythology, which can be overcome or befriended by the hero. These are firmware the ego can engage or disengage using will.

What do the dogs have to do with the following paragraph?

 

There are also mythology characters, which control the fate of the hero. These firmware are a little more distant from consciousness and are much harder to control or engage using will power. The mythology of a culture mapped out the firmware hierarchy at that point in time.

I don't understand what you mean here at all. Do you mean that there are characters in mythology who's job is to affect the hero? aren't all characters in mythology - at some angle or another - doing this?

 

That's why the hero is the hero, and the others are supporting characters.

 

For example, falling in love, is not something the ego can use willpower to make happen. The effects needs certain firmware to engage. Being beyond the will and choice of humans, the firmware for falling in love, would be defined as say the goddess Aphrodite. The rituals developed to worship her would help the ego engage this firmware. This goddess may not have been real, but it allowed a way to visualized and focus the mind, so one could push the button so the firmware would/might engage.

Okay, so by what you're saying, gods are representatives of the uncontrolled part of the human experience? Love being one of them, war being another (though the 'uncontrolled' part here can be debated), etc?

 

That's interesting, and I tend to agree that this is what the mythological gods were, but that doesn't quite answer the question of what is a god. It answers the question, perhaps, of what humans thought would be a god.

 

How can we distinguish between a "fake" god that only exists to answer a question of human spirit we don't understand, and a "real" god? What *IS* a "real" god?

 

~moo

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You have a pretty good list going already! I know all Christians are not arrogant scoundrels but your list is hard to argue with for the most part.

 

I tried to cover as broad a spectrum as possible using the smallest amount of space.

 

Now, in retrospect, I see that I could have just stated: anyone that doesn't believe precisely what I believe and accomplished my goal :)


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The Christian book of mythology known as "The Bible" is a poorly constructed rewritten version of significantly older Egyptian anthropomorphized, mythologized astronomy texts...often nearly word for word.

 

Which passages in the New Testament are in Egyptian mythology?

 

 

The cross, the crucifixion, Mary and Jesus, Christ, fish, the five loaves, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, The Son (sun) of God...all are representations of celestial bodies or mechanics.

 

The cross is a representation of a form of torture that was used by the Romans.

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Do something supernatural and you have my vote.

 

Is that all it takes.


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This is probably the first question that runs through my mind when talking about God(ignosticism ftw). What is a god? Is a sufficiently powerful man a god(like Pharaohs)? If the alien-god hypothesis is true, are the extraterrestrials really gods?

 

What are the qualifying characteristics of a god?

 

 

 

 

 

I hereby present my candidacy for godhood.

 

I have been pondering this question.

 

I think that the trail starts with these premises.

 

God is all knowing.

 

God is all seeing.

 

God is everywhere.

 

God is all powerful.

 

God existed before the universe manifold.

 

In the beginning there was nothing, except god.

 

These premises lead to some profound logical conclusions, about the nature of God.

 

Think about it. Use your scientific reasoning.

 

Heck, use your puzzle solving reasoning.

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