I agree with your point slim.
Coptic John 1:1 makes it into the Watchtower.
give it up to john. he was an instigator
I agree with your point slim.
Do you really have to?
I confess that the discussion of trinity, or the possible dual nature of God/Jesus, interests me only in the way Leo stated: how it developed, and what the original authors or their readers had in mind.
But I am not influenced by what they thought; I think that John may have been leading his readers to conclude that Jesus was God, but it does not influence what I think. I don't know for sure what I think, but I have passed beyond the point of having concrete beliefs to where I am most interested in how they developed and what influenced them.
In the discussion of God and Jesus' nature, ie were they one, or did they share the same nature, there are multiple viewing angles, at least for me.
1. What is thought today, and why; why do the WT writers assert no possiblilty of the divinity of Jesus, and who influenced them.
2. What did the NT writers think, and WHY? Who influenced them? What portions of the existing culture shaped their worldview? (If you are a stout believer that God guided what they wrote, forget I asked the question)
3. What did the translators believe, did they translate by their beliefs or by the text only? Is an accurate translation even possible between languages and cultures on this complicated question?
4. How does the development of this belief mirror the emergence of other beliefs?
An interesting turn in the discussion. Is it simply surprise at that fact that one could so interested in religion without being deeply religious? Or is the implication that one's arguments about the development of religious ideas more sound if one has a personal stake in the matter (that one particular faith corresponds closest to a "truth")? I suppose I would disagree with the latter. The trinity threads here always seem to take an apologetic bent reflecting the posters' beliefs in the matter. I have beliefs too, but mainly those provisionally made about the history of ideas (which is only an epistemological reconstruction reflecting one's own imperfect but self-correcting understanding of the past), not about ontological "truth" which for me is completely underspecified (reflecting my own agnostic stance, as conventionally defined). I am less interested in harmonizing and weaving together the disparite statements about God in one particular canon into a systematic theology claimed to represent "truth" (although I am interested in this process of interpretation as others do it, as it is a "mother of invention" of new theologies) and more interested in taking each text on its own terms as a window into understanding how different approaches were taken in antiquity towards developing an understanding of the divine, and how these views changed over the years through debate, polemics, and other factors. Being agnostic means that I do not claim any particular view as my own, although I have beliefs on which faith positions better reflect what was believed at different stages (such as what is expressed in particular texts). But my deep interest in the diversity of religious expressions may also mean that I may be better prepared to whatever ontological truth there is to ultimately face (other than there being nothing); at very least I wouldn't be seeing things through only one particular lens.
Belief in what may be the better question. To Leolaia- do you hold to some idea that there is a Supreme Being or Prime Mover et al..
designs....I hope I have addressed that to the best of my ability in my last post. In short, I don't know. That is a different answer than saying "Yes" or "No". "Yes" or "No" means I have a particular idea on the existence or non-existence of particular ontologies. "I don't know" means I do not hold to some idea as my own, but I am very interested in the gamut of possibilities.
Thanks Leolaia- a true sojourner
Thanks for spelling that out Leolaia. Obviously I am not surprised that someone who is not deeply religious can be interested religion because it is the position I find myself in. I do think it is good to be open about what position you are looking at the issues from, especially when asked directly.
There is of course a world of difference between saying "I have no personal views" and being a non-religious agnostic. I therefore also find this statement problematic:
Being agnostic means that I do not claim any particular view as my own
Because being agnostic is to take a particular view. It means you don't have a religious view of/on the text but not that you have no view, clearly. Being undecided on the reality of God is also a position.
Or is the implication that one's arguments about the development of religious ideas more sound if one has a personal stake in the matter
That's not the point I was trying to make. My point is that agnosticism is a viewpoint like any other and it would be fair to lay it on the table. I would also dispute the idea that someone who is agnostic therefore "has no personal stake in the matter". If we have an interest in something then we have a stake in it by definition. The stake that an agnostic person has in the interpretation of religious texts is more, not less, difficult to tease out, because it often has a complicated relationship with their past interaction with the religious. At least the motivations of an Evangelical or a Jehovah's Witness in discussing John 1:1 are more transparent, one could argue, and therefore easier to take into account during the flow of an argument.
But my deep interest in the diversity of religious expressions may also mean that I may be better prepared to whatever ontological truth there is to ultimately face (other than there being nothing); at very least I wouldn't be seeing things through only one particular lens.
Oh dear. Agnosticism does not involve the absence of an interpretive lens. If we can agree that no one's views should be discounted because they don't have a religious stake in the debate, can we also agree that neither does not having a religious position somehow give us a superior vantage point from which to give an exposition of the text? Agnosticism is not a superior expositive position, it is a position like any other, with its own particular problems as I hinted above, because hardly anyone who arrives at religious texts with interest, viewing them from an agnostic position, does so without some pretty serious baggage to contend with. This is especially true of former Jehovah's Witnesses, but also former Evangelicals such as Bart Ehrman; although he would probably call himself an atheist rather than agnostic I think it is a similar situation.
Interesting debate, especially with the turn that it has taken lately. (i.e. merits of agnostic starting point vs theistic)
In all debates, it is a naturally occurring tactic to define the other position almost more then your own. In this case, agnostic pov's have nothing to do in a scholarly review of such references as the Coptic version of John 1:1.
I don't believe in John 1:1 literally. I accept it as an ancient attempt to describe god, written by someone whose identity we cannot positively identify.
I have an interest in ancient manuscripts precisely because I took the WTBTS at its word for close to two decades. For me, I am not on a quest for religious truth or to disprove anything. Lately, I have been more or less dispassionate about this as a topic for conversation with others. What I do find interesting is what a real scholarly study reveals about these ancient manuscripts, juxtaposed against the dishonest dogma of the Governing Body. Also, it is informative to learn how others interpret these scriptures and choose to believe.
Slimboy, if I am understanding you correctly (correct me if I am wrong) it seems like you are suggesting an agnostic point of view will actually color the interpretation of the evidence.
I would suggest that even our own individual personalities can accomplish this.
I find that intellectual honesty has been in evidence here. Whatever we personally might believe as to the existence of god or not, or whether we describe ourselves as religious, spiritual, etc, should be taken into account. But I don't think the honesty needed to interpret facts should be called into question unless a fact has been glossed over, or explained away ad hominem.
That doesn't mean that their aren't agenda's, but some agenda's are more about intellectual honesty, others agenda's are about proving what they already believe. One route follows the road of evidence, the other attempts to plow its own.