Did Jesus walk on water?
Did people SAY he walked on water and THAT was written down as fact?
IS THERE A DIFFERENCE?
Meta- (from Greek: μετ? = "after", "beyond", "with", "adjacent", "self"), is a prefix used in English to indicate a concept which is an abstraction from another concept, used to complete or add to the latter.
Did the magician REALLY saw the woman in half?
It looks like he did! Would it be a lie to report that he did?
IS THERE A DIFFERENCE?
If there is no skepticism involved in transmission of our eyewitness account the CONCLUSION is offered as FACT.
But, there is a difference between what the unskeptical eyewitness reports and the actual magician's apparent actions.
An unbiased reporter would say, "It was reported by folks who say they spoke with Jesus' apostles who were on the boat that day that Jesus appeared to be walking on the surface of the water."
Compare that to: "Jesus was walking on the water."
Where does a TRUE event end and the exaggeration begin? Once a story gets out of hand does it morph at each retelling?
If you are reporting an event YOU WANT TO BELIEVE ACTUALLY HAPPENED your words will take on more factual certainty automatically.
I love you is more emotionally appealing than "I think" I love you.
Paul reports NOT that he THOUGHT he was seeing and hearing Jesus revealing sacred secrets previously unrevealed to even the Apostles.
Paul reports it as FACT. We must trust his assessment or doubt his assessment or remain neutral.
We do so based on WHAT WE HAVE BEEN LED TO BELIEVE already.
Is there a difference qualitatively in such a perception?
In more modern times, Fred Franz wrote books and articles for the mouthpiece Watchtower Society in which he indulged himself.
In his indulgence, Franz wrote what APPEARED TO BE TRUE: the end of "6,000 years of human existence" was coming to an end in 1975.
From that peculiar little factoid Franz SPECULATED: "How fitting it would be if the next 1000 years was actually going to be the millennium!"
How did he get millions of people's attention and change their thinking and activity based on these speculations?
He FAILED TO IDENTIFY the personal speculation source for the chain of reasoning!
Instead, Franz substituted speculation for AUTHORITY from Jehovah!
Unquestioning, unskeptical, obedient Jehovah's Witnesses TRANSMITTED those authoratative speculations AS THOUGH they were PROPHECY itself!
Never mind who is to blame.
Let's look at how the failure to be skeptical or to identify the difference between appearance and reality led to a humiliating NON-EVENT for Jehovah's Witnesses.
1.Fred Franz regarded as fact the unproved assertion that he belonged to the only true religion: Jehovah's Witnesses.
2. Watchtower publishing corporation allowed his speculations to be printed and distributed as "food at the proper time" and as a warning that Armageddon was imminent.
3.The brothers and sisters at the local Kingdom Halls speculated even further upon Franz's own speculations.
4.A tremendous buzz of excitement created a backwash that RE-infected the Society headquarters itself with an echo of hysteria.
5.An appetite for Armageddon was deeply entrenched throughout the history of the organization. It was vulnerable to such enthusiastic eagerness.
6.A worldwide push for 6 month bible studies leading to baptism was created in a sense of urgency as well as total focus on pioneering and door to door work.
7.The NON-EVENT of 1975 was an echo of William Miller's own GREAT DISAPPOINTMENT.
Many left the organization and the rest doubled down in their fervent beliefs which now became psychological entrenchment.
Authoritarianism spread to staunch the outflow of disillusioned skeptics created by the failure.
Is this process the VERY SAME process that created the MESSIAH is JESUS in the 1st century?
Is personal speculation at the core of the word of mouth reports and enthusiastic endorsement of miracles?
Were messianic jews all to eager to accept these stories unskeptically?
Were exaggerations reported as actual facts?
When Paul reported his encounter with a supernatural Jesus, the blindness and the detailed understanding of all scripture given him as a newly chosen Apostle---was he unbiased, skeptical, factual---OR WAS HE HYSTERICAL and DELUSIONAL?
Did Paul's reports mix with the Apostle's reports through word of mouth bystanders who were unskeptical?
At each stage of the TRANSMISSION process of something EXTRAORDINARY there is an opportunity for distortion and a break with reality.
Did you see a flying saucer or did you only see a light in the sky you can't identify?
Was that the Loch Ness monster, bigfoot, Elvis or a ghost----or your over active imagination?
HOW YOU TELL IT and WHO YOU TELL IT TO will create the mythology or destroy it.
Was Alexander the Great really the son of God? His mother told him he was. He miraculously conquered the known world of his day.
Did Muhammed accurately transmit the word of Allah as given him by the angel Gabriel?
Did Joseph Smith translate golden plates given to him by the angel Moroni?
Was Charles Taze Russell the "faithful and wise servant" who was to restore pure worship and herald the 2nd presence of Jesus?
WHO tells the story and HOW it is told and WHO hears it is all important.
How are the skeptics handled?
How strong and clever is the apologetic response?
These are things worth pondering--don't you think?
Are we seeing merely the reflection of someone else's idea of the original reflection or the thing itself?