Anything worth doing is worth doing right.
I'm sure you've heard that old saying.
I live with my Cousin Debbie and her husband Bobby.
Let me tell you about Bobby!
When he puts something together there are parts left over. His remark is always: "Those aren't important anyway."
He was working on his truck radiator one day and couldn't make any progress. What did Bobby do? He took a wrench and beat the hell out of it.
Bobby is a do-it-yourself kind of person. His reason? "I ain't paying those idiots to overcharge me when I can do it just as good."
If you need a job done and it is outside your area of expertise you have 3 choices:
1.Call somebody who has been educated and trained to do it properly. Somebody with a warranty or guarantee.
2.Do it yourself (have parts left over)
3.Forget the damned thing (pretend it isn't important)
Let's face it, some areas of life are over run with amateurs trying to DO-IT-THEMSELVES!
The area this Topic of Discussion is most concerned with is the BIBLE auto-didact. The self-taught idiot who thinks they can do-it-themselves!
Before going into details let me state my prejudices up front (being an auto-didact myself!)
There is a reason why people go to college and study and earn a degree or a Doctorate. Actual authorities can TEST YOU to see if you are full of shit or not.
As a Jehovah's Witness I was polluted with a strange and putrifying concept: you DON'T need to go to college and earn a degree! Nothing is worse than a worldly, educated fool!
There is a phrase that best describes this concept: the blind leading the blind!
Therein lies the crux of this Topic!
Who is qualified to be an AUTHORITY on God, the Bible, interpretation (exegesis) or any "religious" subject???
Yes, there are plenty of Seminary courses with graduates qualified to read Hebrew, Greek, Aramaic.
Plenty of post doctorate work is done on the Early Church Father's writings.
Many professors spend their careers examining the documents that have been found as to which came from where and how.
But--STOP THE FRICKIN' MADNESS!!
There is nothing approaching an actual "science" of theology. Why? Science requires a testable hypothesis with a condition known as Falsifiability. You must be able to DISCONFIRM your own assertions somehow.
Further, there must exist a way of introducing PREDICTABILITY into the process.
This is why Economics fails as a Science. Everything in Economics is explained AFTER an event and never PRIOR.
But, I digress!
Willam Miller was a layperson from a family of Baptist Ministers. He had NO FORMAL SEMINARY TRAINING.
Yet, he sat down with his Bible and concordances and borrowed books from the family theology libray.
What did he come up with? AN ASSERTION! It was an astoudingly TESTABLE assertion, too!
"My principles in brief, are, that Jesus Christ will come again to this earth, cleanse, purify, and take possession of the same, with all the saints, sometime between March 21, 1843, and March 21, 1844"
Is that specific enough? Sure!
It was tested AND FAILED!
We know this by the phrase " THE GREAT DISAPPOINTMENT"
Miller was an auto-didact. He convinced thousands of people to leave mainstream churches and await the 2nd Coming of Christ. Did I mention IT DID NOT OCCUR?
This gave birth to other auto-didacts and a movement known as ADVENTISM.
Charles Taze Russell is a name we all recognize. He fell in with the same kind of self-taught conviction that actual historical dates could be gleaned from scripture (and Pyramidology too).
Russell, as we are all well aware, made specific predictions for 1914 WHICH DID NOT OCCUR either. Oh, he "spiritualized" Christ's coming, sure. "He's invisable". But, no Armageddon, rapture, destruction of religion, etc.
Judge Rutherford, a lawyer, became a religious auto-didact along with Fred Franz and invented a religion known as JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES.
Rutherford gave sermons: MILLIONS NOW LIVING WILL NEVER DIE connected with a specific date of 1925 for the resurrection of the dead. "I made an ass of myself" was the conclusion of that idea!
None of this is news to any of us. So, why bring it up again?
Not only is this Discussion Group filled with people who themselves have become religous auto-didacts, one group continues to debate and harangue the other group ad infinitum!!
The name-calling, locked-down threads, temper flare-ups have gone on for years and years and years.
I place the blame on one thing and one thing only.
Let's discuss that one thing, shall we?
Many things can be self-taught. Theology reeks from the stench of Amateur Bible auto-didacts.
Nobody can successfully teach themselves Theology.
Theology is not a science. It is an artificial construct. A fancy way of saying "OPINION".
You can't become an expert on another person's opinion. But, you can get way lost creating your own and buying in to it!
AN AMATEUR TRYING TO UNDERSTAND THINGS using the skills of bootstrap thinking cannot lift himself or herself above the ground!