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    World Religion & Speculative Theology - Thread: Could it all be a fraud?

    1. #11
      psalms 91's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by MoreCoffee View Post
      Well brother psalms 91 how does using that phrase from the bible "do not cast your pearls before swine" differ from calling people names (swine in this case) and how is shaking the dust off one's feet different from simple denial? A good answer to an objection surely cannot be to call the questioner names and to walk away saying "no" in words or in body language.
      Let me turn this around, what would you say that would convince them differently? I am interested to know since I have met this kind of person and they will refute anything that is said and will not believe the bible. So, while I may not say it out loud that is exactly wjhere I leave it. I planted seed and it is up to the Holy Spirit to water it, anything I say will not convince them so yes, I beleive that I shjould walk away
      Isaiah 40:31

    2. #12
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      Quote Originally Posted by psalms 91 View Post
      Let me turn this around, what would you say that would convince them differently? I am interested to know since I have met this kind of person and they will refute anything that is said and will not believe the bible. So, while I may not say it out loud that is exactly wjhere I leave it. I planted seed and it is up to the Holy Spirit to water it, anything I say will not convince them so yes, I beleive that I shjould walk away
      I think it was Paul who planted and Apollos who watered but God who gave the growth.
      Pope Gregory I was well known for his alms to the poor, and he gave quite generously of the riches donated to the Church by the wealthy people of Rome. Everything from money to land was given to the poor in some fashion. He made clear to his subordinates that their duty was to relieve the distress faced by the poor.

      He ordered his clergy to go out into the streets to find and care for the poor in person.

    3. #13
      MennoSota is online now Expert Member
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      Quote Originally Posted by MoreCoffee View Post
      My question is not only about authorship but also about content. The authors of holy scripture may or may not be the people named in the books of the bible as authors. If the authors are not those named then strictly literal interpretation regarding authorship ought to be abandoned. But I ask how far is one forced to abandon strictly literal interpretation given the content of the holy scriptures. There are passages in the psalms and histories that are better read in other than strictly literal ways. Perhaps that applies to more than the notorious passages. Perhaps it applies to other passages too. And there is the possibility that there really are "cunningly devised fables" in the holy scriptures too. I do not say that there are but there are many who say it is so. How does one combat such views without resorting to simple denial or, even worse, mud slinging against those who raise the matter? Simply saying "no" may be satisfying at one level but it will not be convincing to anybody.
      I know of no one who interprets every word as literal. Common literary devices in the text give us clues on how to interpret passages. Paul explicitly tells us he is using allegory in his comment about Sarah and Hagar in Galatians.
      Follow the golden rule: When the plain sense makes common sense, seek no other sense.

    4. #14
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      Could it all be a fraud?

      Yes it could!!!

      And if so, all our beliefs and organisational loyalty and cherishing of conflicting doctrines and practices, could all be in vain. Death will be final. There will be no release.

      How can we tell? How can we be sure? What is the touchstone that would settle the matter once and for all?

      The only touch stone can be the total internal consistency of the 66-book version of what is called “The Bible”, “progressive revelation” notwithstanding. (Progressive revelation never introduces contradiction.) There can be no other authority. Either God’s Holy Revelation is internally consistent, without self-contradiction, or it is a mere collection over time of human thoughts and declarations. (Identifiable scribal mistakes do not detract from that consistency.)

      ================================================== ============================================

      So, if we discard the contradictory teachings and practices that plague Christendom, and we start with the Bible alone and see what it actually declares, will we find the unequivocal, internally consistent message that has to be there for that collection of writings to be from God?

      If not, there is no authority upon which to base our faith and hope. There is no resurrection from the death, and we are of all men most miserable. (The thoughts of human “theologians”, even those thoughts that have gained political ascendancy over the years, cannot be trusted as a base for faith and truth. If the Bible presents a simple, easily understood, consistent message, there is no need for “theologians”.)

      If a consistent message does emerge, then what is claimed to be Holy Revelation from God, is proven to be just that. And as a side benefit, the church (denomination) that most correctly presents the True Gospel will be identified.

      ================================================== ============================================

      Who would be willing to undertake that task of true scientific investigation? (And run the risk of having the teachings of their particular church shown up.)

      It’s obviously much easier to simply continue to believe that what you want to believe is true, isn’t it? Just like a Muslim or a Hindu or a Buddhist. Or an Animist. (Yes, just like them.)



      But could it be that some people have been brave enough to step up, step in, and step out already? If so, what have they found?
      Seeking to understand with precision, God's holy and coherent revelation to us.

    5. Likes psalms 91 liked this post
    6. #15
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      Quote Originally Posted by Pedrito View Post
      The only touch stone can be the total internal consistency of the 66-book version of what is called “The Bible”, “progressive revelation” notwithstanding.
      My bible is 73 books. The 66 book "bible" is not the bible, it is an eviscerated edition created by human beings who for reasons best known to them and their followers removed 7 books and parts of 2 other books from the inspired canonical scriptures.
      Pope Gregory I was well known for his alms to the poor, and he gave quite generously of the riches donated to the Church by the wealthy people of Rome. Everything from money to land was given to the poor in some fashion. He made clear to his subordinates that their duty was to relieve the distress faced by the poor.

      He ordered his clergy to go out into the streets to find and care for the poor in person.

    7. #16
      hedrick is offline Apprentice Member
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      Ehrman wrote a book defending Jesus' existence, when he got tired of people assuming he denied it. That book ("Did Jesus Exist"?) seems like it sets a minimum on what you can reasonably conclude, short of conspiracy theory.

      It's not just the Bible. We have other works from the end of the period when the NT was likely written.

      I think it's pretty obvious that there was an actual Jesus, and he taught something like what the NT says.

      However that doesn't settle all the questions you might want settled. We know even today that people report seeing things that aren't true. Nolan (an MD) wrote a book "Healing" a few decades ago. He went around the world investigating various religious healers, and assessing them medically. He was disappointed to find that none actually seemed to do any healing. Unfortunately none of his investigations were of orthodox Christians. The closest was Kathryn Kuhlman, but she wasn't actually orthodox. Nevertheless, his work shows just how easy it is for the audience, and even the person himself, to think there's miracles going on when there aren't.

      So even though I think the Synoptics probably are reasonably close to what a contemporary account would be, it's still possible that Jesus was wrong: there isn't a God, there were no miracles, and he wasn't actually resurrected.

      N T Wright has given the best argument for why the resurrection accounts couldn't have come out of a 1st Cent Jewish environment if they weren't true. However arguments based on what people 2000 years ago in a very different culture could have or could not have believed are less than completely compelling. Although Wright would disagree, I think it's historically possible that the resurrection was originally a visionary experience that later got turned into an historical account. Paul can be understood that way, though obviously Mark can't, and his account is fairly early. I think it's unlikely, but it's possible. Whether visionary experiences represent any kind of reality is a question historical method can't answer.

      It's unlikely that Christianity would continue to exist without continuing religious experience. Of course such experiences are open to interpretation as well.
      Last edited by hedrick; 04-30-2018 at 08:43 AM.

    8. #17
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      Quote Originally Posted by hedrick View Post
      Ehrman wrote a book defending Jesus' existence, when he got tired of people assuming he denied it. That book ("Did Jesus Exist"?) seems like it sets a minimum on what you can reasonably conclude, short of conspiracy theory.

      It's not just the Bible. We have other works from the end of the period when the NT was likely written.

      I think it's pretty obvious that there was an actual Jesus, and he taught something like what the NT says.

      However that doesn't settle all the questions you might want settled. We know even today that people report seeing things that aren't true. Nolan (an MD) wrote a book "Healing" a few decades ago. He went around the world investigating various religious healers, and assessing them medically. He was disappointed to find that none actually seemed to do any healing. Unfortunately none of his investigations were of orthodox Christians. The closest was Kathryn Kuhlman, but she wasn't actually orthodox. Nevertheless, his work shows just how easy it is for the audience, and even the person himself, to think there's miracles going on when there aren't.

      So even though I think the Synoptics probably are reasonably close to what a contemporary account would be, it's still possible that Jesus was wrong: there isn't a God, there were no miracles, and he wasn't actually resurrected.

      N T Wright has given the best argument for why the resurrection accounts couldn't have come out of a 1st Cent Jewish environment if they weren't true. However arguments based on what people 2000 years ago in a very different culture could have or could not have believed are less than completely compelling. Although Wright would disagree, I think it's historically possible that the resurrection was originally a visionary experience that later got turned into an historical account. Paul can be understood that way, though obviously Mark can't, and his account is fairly early. I think it's unlikely, but it's possible. Whether visionary experiences represent any kind of reality is a question historical method can't answer.

      It's unlikely that Christianity would continue to exist without continuing religious experience. Of course such experiences are open to interpretation as well.
      I have a friend from India, he is a Jain and he reverences Ganesh as well as other gods, I know a Muslim who reverences Allah and counted the Quran as heaven's message for mankind, I know several Jehovah's witnesses who follow the teaching of the governing body of Jehovah's witnesses and a 66 book bible, I knew some Mormons who reverenced Father God and counted Joseph Smith as God's latter day revelator every one of these people regards their religion as true just like Lutherans believe their religion to be true and Calvinists believe theirs to be true and I as a Catholic believe my faith to be true with its 73 books bible. Who is going to decide this case, who will adjudicate between these competing claims? God may do so at the last judgement but today who will decide it?
      Pope Gregory I was well known for his alms to the poor, and he gave quite generously of the riches donated to the Church by the wealthy people of Rome. Everything from money to land was given to the poor in some fashion. He made clear to his subordinates that their duty was to relieve the distress faced by the poor.

      He ordered his clergy to go out into the streets to find and care for the poor in person.

    9. #18
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      Quote Originally Posted by MoreCoffee View Post
      I have a friend from India, he is a Jain and he reverences Ganesh as well as other gods, I know a Muslim who reverences Allah and counted the Quran as heaven's message for mankind, I know several Jehovah's witnesses who follow the teaching of the governing body of Jehovah's witnesses and a 66 book bible, I knew some Mormons who reverenced Father God and counted Joseph Smith as God's latter day revelator every one of these people regards their religion as true just like Lutherans believe their religion to be true and Calvinists believe theirs to be true and I as a Catholic believe my faith to be true with its 73 books bible. Who is going to decide this case, who will adjudicate between these competing claims? God may do so at the last judgement but today who will decide it?
      Why such an emphasis on 66? is that a reference to the infamous 'mark'?
      Do Catholic priest read passages out of the apocrypha at church? I seriously don't remember but I wonder, I would go to a Catholic sermon if it were based on a apocryphal. Interesting

    10. #19
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      Quote Originally Posted by MoreCoffee View Post
      My bible is 73 books. The 66 book "bible" is not the bible, it is an eviscerated edition created by human beings who for reasons best known to them and their followers removed 7 books and parts of 2 other books from the inspired canonical scriptures.
      In the earliest centuries, there was little debate among Christians over which books belonged in the Bible; certainly by the time of the church leader Athanasius in the fourth century, the number of books had long been fixed. (66) He set out the books of the New Testament just as we know them and added:

      "These are the fountains of salvation, that whoever thirsts may be satisfied by the eloquence which is in them. In them alone is set forth the doctrine of piety. Let no one add to them, nor take anything from them."

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    12. #20
      hedrick is offline Apprentice Member
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      Quote Originally Posted by MoreCoffee View Post
      I have a friend from India, he is a Jain and he reverences Ganesh as well as other gods, I know a Muslim who reverences Allah and counted the Quran as heaven's message for mankind, I know several Jehovah's witnesses who follow the teaching of the governing body of Jehovah's witnesses and a 66 book bible, I knew some Mormons who reverenced Father God and counted Joseph Smith as God's latter day revelator every one of these people regards their religion as true just like Lutherans believe their religion to be true and Calvinists believe theirs to be true and I as a Catholic believe my faith to be true with its 73 books bible. Who is going to decide this case, who will adjudicate between these competing claims? God may do so at the last judgement but today who will decide it?
      I never felt it necessary to prove that everyone else is wrong. But polytheism seems particularly unlikely as an ultimate power, except when viewed as symbolic. But most people with that view think there's a single ultimate power, so they're kind of monotheists.

      The others are variants of Christianity. They all believe in the same God and accept Christ as Lord.

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