Really, There Is A Lot To Learn About Your Faith

by AllTimeJeff 118 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • BurnTheShips

    I disagree with the premise. I respect your interpretation but do not agree with it.

    This link is helpful in explaining my view.



  • glenster
  • Sad emo
    Sad emo

    Mad Dawg's quote is from this:

    This is a proper critique which the author of the above references!:

    Quite lengthy but an interesting read if you're into scholarly stuff lol!

    Personally, I think this quote from Wallace's conclusion (in the second link) rings true for me:

    Second, what I tell my students every year is that it is imperative that they pursue truth rather than protect their presuppositions. And they need to have a doctrinal taxonomy that distinguishes core beliefs from peripheral beliefs. When they place more peripheral doctrines such as inerrancy and verbal inspiration at the core, then when belief in these doctrines starts to erode, it creates a domino effect: One falls down, they all fall down.

    The first time I tried proper theological study of the Bible, I couldn't accept what I was hearing because I believed that the Bible was literal and the books were written by the 'historical' authors - the first whiff of Documentary Hypothesis and JEDP sent me absolutely crazy with my tutors! I gave up the course after a couple of semesters!

    The second time was in recent years as I studied for my theology degree. I'm now not so literal with the Bible and I find my faith is much stronger, strangely because it is more flexible.

    I dunno, maybe this is exactly what Jesus was trying to say when he taught about not putting new wine into old wineskins - a life of faith needs flexibility not rigid rules

    We simply cannot rely on a literal reading of the Bible alone as the entire basis of our faith, faith requires some thinking and insight - hopefully Holy Spirit guided!

  • yadda yadda 2
    yadda yadda 2

    " you realize that the ways and means we got to the bible, and subsequent religions based on it, were a direct result of one prevelant theological theory defeating another equally viable theological theory in the 3-5th centuries AD?

    The assertion that two versions of Christianity developed simultaneously alongside each other, as The Da Vinci Code maintains, is completely fallacious.

    The New Testament Canon is not the invention of Constantine in the fourth century. The orthodoxy of the twenty-seven books of the NT Canon was there, in principle, from the beginning.

    Here are the facts:

    Ignatius of Antioch (AD 35-107), Polycarp (AD 69-115), The Epistle of Barnabas (AD 120), and Second Clement (AD 140) all referred to various New Testament books as "Scripture." According to Dutch Scholar W C Unnik, even the Gnostic Gospel of Truth (AD 140-150, doubtless known at Rome when Marcion taught there) cites a body of authoritative books that is "quasi-identical with the so-called later canon of the Church."

    Most of the New Testament was never questioned. By AD 200 two categories of books existed:

    1. Those books always and everywhere accepted. In this group were the four gospels, the letters of Paul, and the book of Acts. These books make up four-fifths of the NT and were received without question by the whole church. The four gospels - Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John - had a special place in the church from the earliest days as eyewitness accounts of the life of Jesus.

    2. Those books still questioned in some areas. These included 1 and 2 Peter; 1, 2, and 3 John; Jude; Revelation; James; and Hebrews. These books had the respet of the churches in certain regions, but were not accepted universally during the second century, when communication was difficult. Regional differences were the natural result of particular traditions and temporary differences rather than a refusal to recognize a unified Canon. Gradually, as this fifth of the books became better known, they too were accepted.

    The Gnostic texts were from the outset viewed as heretical. They were never considered canonical because the church recognized how far they were from the message of the canonical book. The early case for a "gnostic" Jesus stands or falls with the Gospel of Thomas. All the books of the NT can be plausibly dated prior to AD 70; the earliest likely date for the Nag Hammadi scrolls is around AD 150 and later.

    The church established the Canon only in the sense of identifying publicly those books that from the earliest times had already imposed themselves on the faith of believers as intrinsically canonical. As Kurt aland, one of the editors of the most widely used Greek NT today says: "[The canon] was not imposed from the top, be it by bishops or synods, and then accepted by the communities....The organized church did not create the canon; it recognized the canon that had been created."

    There is no evidence that the text of the original gospels was embellished in the fourth century, as Bart Ehrman misleadingly claims. Scores and scores of copies of these gospels already existed in the second century, establishing the text that was received in the fourth. There is no way the texts could have been altered. No one had the authority to call in from the very limits of the Empire every last copy (which by the fourth centruy were numbering in the hundreds, perhaps thousands) to make the necessary alterations. This really is fiction, a cheap shot at the essence of the Christian message.

  • passwordprotected

    I find it really interesting that Christianity, 2000 years into its existence, is still under such scrutiny, criticism and conjecture. Shouldn't it have died out long ago?

  • Perry
    The idea is, we assume that the faith and religion we have now, is as it was way back then... Clearly, it isn't.

    Hi Jeff,

    As an atheist, how can you claim Christian faith and religion like you did here?

    As far as some religions being fundamentally different than apostolic christianity, I agree. But can you provide one example where all christian congregations have deviated from NT christianity?

  • AllTimeJeff
    As an atheist, how can you claim Christian faith and religion like you did here?

    I am not an atheist, and I didn't claim Christian faith and religion. I often defend atheism and atheists frequently, and I find that in general, there is a willingness to be honest with what they see that I find very refreshing.

    But can you provide one example where all christian congregations have deviated from NT christianity?

    Why would I do that? My point was that the NT is a partial collection of all texts and manuscripts that were in existence back then. Also, there was quite the political fight on which texts to include in the cannon, based upon your particular belief on Christianity. I don't perceive most nominal Christians are aware of this, and I thought it was a good topic to broach. As such, I do not find this question at all pertinent.

  • Perry

    So, In what way do your views differ from that of an atheist then? Is there anything distinguishable at all?

    You used the word "clearly" to describe the difference between faith that was then and faith that is now. So, what is it that is so "clearly" different? I mean the first believers did not have any NT scriptures did they? Yet, they had faith.

    I'm not trying to be nit picky, but the title of your thread does say that there is a lot to learn. What do you wish to teach us?

  • AllTimeJeff
    So, In what way do your views differ from that of an atheist then? Is there anything distinguishable at all?

    Perry, my views are my own. For general purposes, I am agnostic to deist most days, if that helps. However, I don't argue at all for what I perceive as far as spirituality and religion are concerned. I am an advocate that each person has the right to believe what they want, and that they should always feel free to believe and investigate what they want, with or without the influence of organized religion.

    The title of my thread was an introduction to my little mini essay. If my intro had all I wanted to say, I wouldn't have bothered to post anything but the title.

  • Perry

    The world's foremost atheist is arguably Richard Dawkins. He wrote "The God Delusion" and other atheist works. He is known all over the world as an atheist. Yet, when interviewed and presented with the fact that he would have to know all things in order to "know" that God doesn't exist, I have seen him back down and describe himself as agnostic. Yet, you claim to appreciate atheist's honesty. I see the very term atheist as anything but honest since by definition it requires an impossibility.

    The idea is, we assume that the faith and religion we have now, is as it was way back then... Clearly, it isn't.

    You made the above statement and have so far ignored my challenge as to how you could possibly know this. Of course, you are not required to respond to inquiries about your claims.... no one is required to do anything. But, I am curious as to what would prompt you to make such a claim....especially since it is so clear to you?

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