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God -> Bible -> God

 
 
yeahman
 
Reply Thu 8 Jan, 2004 06:39 am
I'm very interested in learning about the origins of the most successful, most widespread propoganda campaign ever launched; God = Bible.

Few people even questions it anymore. The Bible is the Word of God. How do we know? Just read the Bible! Why should we trust the Bible? Because it's the Word of God!

I'm sure this wasn't always the case. I'm sure those in the early Church had their reasons for believing why the Bible was the Word of God. But somewhere along the line, people stopped asking questions and now few people realize the fallicy of the logic that A = B because B = A.

Few Christians today know that the Bible as we know it today did not exist until the late 4th century.

Did the early Church regard the Bible as the infallible Word of God or just writtings to learn from like any other book? I would think it was the later and only later did it morph into an infallible book.

There was no great episode of God coming down and instructing St. Jerome and his contemporaries on what to consider His Word.

I've heard 3 explinations of which are unknown to most Christians since it never occurs to them to even raise the question.

1. The early Christians believed that the Church heirarchy had the God-given authority to define what is the Word of God. How did they receive this authority to declare Scripture which Christians today claim that nobody has? The only explination for that, save a direct commision from God which we have no record of, is apostolic succession. This assumes that the authority that Jesus gave to his disciples was passed on. This would mean that discipleship was not only a spiritual calling but an earthly office so that the authority does not come with the person but the office like a presidency. If this is true Jesus was the founder of an earthly kingdom. Was that really what he had in mind?

2. The Bible was created through divine guidance. The Bible was already in God's master plan and he used the early Church to put it together. Sort of how like Bush is carrying out God's work. This begs the question, "What else did God guide Christians into doing?" The Crusades? The Spanish Inquisition? The Salem Witch Trials? The war in Iraq? Even benign things like the formation of doctrines. How do we tell the difference?

3. The Bible became the Word of God by popular appeal which is a testament to the truth. The theory is that if the vast majority of Christians accept it, it must be the will of God since God would not let his entire flock stray. But that poses a dilemna. Dissent in Christianity would mean that your going against the will of God. Minority opinions are necessarily wrong.
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Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Jan, 2004 08:10 am
Ye

One of the things you might try to avoid in the future is exaggeration. It ruins an otherwise decent exposition here.

Quote:
Few people even questions it (the Bible) anymore.


C'mon! Right here in A2K there are dozens upons dozens of people who question it -- and we are just a tiny, tiny part of the world. I can't tell you how many other sites I've seen set up by agnostics and atheists just for the purposes of questioning the Bible -- and other holy books.

Quote:
But somewhere along the line, people stopped asking questions and now few people realize the fallicy of the logic that A = B because B = A.


See my comment above.

Quote:
Few Christians today know that the Bible as we know it today did not exist until the late 4th century.


Almost every knowledgeable Christian I know or have encountered understand how the Bible came to be.

These comments are all way over the top.

There is a problem, but it is not with any of these items. The problem is that despite knowing all this -- some people are still so frightened of the unknown, that they will grasp at a straw of this kind.
0 Replies
 
yeahman
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Jan, 2004 09:18 am
Sorry I should have been more clear.

Maybe I should have made the distinction between questioning the historical accuracy of the Bible which is what non-Christians do and questioning the claim that the Bible is the infallible Word of God. They are not the same thing.

One can conceivably believe in all the stories about Jesus being God and still not believe in that the Bible is the Word of God.

I've never heard, even a non-Christian, bring up the point that the THEOLOGICAL foundation of the Bible itself may be flawed.

The Qur'an, in comparison, at least has a solid theological foundation. It was LITERALLY the Word of God. Whether or not you believe that is another story. I don't believe Buddhists believe the Sutras to be infallible. I believe Orthodox Jews believe that the Torah was the spoken words of God written down by Moses and, correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe that even the liberal Jews believe that their Jewish tradition holds some God-given authority to define scripture.

On the historical accuracy of the Bible, Christians and non-Christians will never see eye-to-eye. But let's forget about the actual contents of the Bible for the moment and look at the Bible itself as a whole. The formation of the Bible is a matter of historical fact that both sides accept. Non-Christians see no divine intervention. It was purely a product of man. Christians are forced to stick God into the creation of the Bible somehow. I don't think most Christians or non-Christians realize the huge unanswerable theological questions that that poses. Maybe that is a generalization but that's just what I've seen.

I'd like to see some Christian responses to this. I'm sure the clergy are well aware of the origins of the Bible but I seirously doubt that most in general Christians are.
0 Replies
 
Seeker
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Jan, 2004 08:46 am
I've always been a Christian, but I came to A2K as part of my search for more knowledge. I am curious about the other gospels - the ones that were denounced as heretical. Ones that involved things like Jesus' lover the Goddess Sophia. Did the early Church have reason to believe these were incorrect? Or did they, as the interesting books 'The Jesus Myths' and 'Jesus and the Goddes' try to persuade us, wish to stamp out Christian gnosticism (the belief in the Christ stories merely as a way of becoming closer to our inner selves, which are apparently God)? I find these other Gospels fascinating. Does anybody know any more about them?
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dyslexia
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Jan, 2004 08:51 am
and I believe there was the Gosbel according to Mary that was totally dissed.
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Seeker
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Jan, 2004 09:31 am
Isn't there a theory that the Gospel of John - 'the disciple whom Jesus loved' - may have actually been Mary Magdelen's? Not sure how reliable that is, but it's what I heard!
0 Replies
 
Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Jan, 2004 09:51 am
ye110man wrote:
Non-Christians see no divine intervention. It was purely a product of man.


Once again I disagree with you.

I am an agnostic.

I do not know if the Bible is divinely inspired or not.

I think there is plenty of evidence to support a GUESS that it is not -- and that it is merely a product of relatively unsophisticated, relatively unknowledgeable, superstitious ancient Hebrews.

But I do not know that.

That may seem a minor point to you -- but I suggest it is not.

We can certainly discuss it.
0 Replies
 
Monger
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Jan, 2004 12:14 pm
ye110man wrote:
I'm sure the clergy are well aware of the origins of the Bible but I seirously doubt that most in general Christians are.

And I doubt you're correct. Most Christians knows that the 1st 5 books were written by Moses, the Gospels were written by the people they're named after, the epistles were written by Paul, etc. And most knowledgable Christians have a rough idea that the New Testament was written considerably after Jesus died.

ye110man wrote:
One can conceivably believe in all the stories about Jesus being God and still not believe in that the Bible is the Word of God.

And many believe just that. MANY Christians do acknowledge that the Bible isn't the exact words of God. Of course, most every Christian believes it is at least inspired my God's wisdom & insight.
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yeahman
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Jan, 2004 01:58 pm
Monger wrote:
And I doubt you're correct. Most Christians knows that the 1st 5 books were written by Moses, the Gospels were written by the people they're named after, the epistles were written by Paul, etc. And most knowledgable Christians have a rough idea that the New Testament was written considerably after Jesus died.

But most Christians do not know why those books were chosen over others to be included in the Bible.
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Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Jan, 2004 03:11 pm
Yes...they do, Ye.

You are over-stating the case.

In the forums, we call this strawman building.
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Mr Stillwater
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Jan, 2004 04:57 pm
Quote:
The Bible became the Word of God by popular appeal which is a testament to the truth.


No it wasn't. The Church had the monopoly on:

1. Total control of the translations of the texts
2. Total control over interpretation of the texts
3. Total control over the editing of the texts
4. Physical production and distribution of religious works
5. A professional class of priest to actually read the things
6. The ability to suppress 'alternative interpretation', and unlicensed translation, interpretation, production, etc
0 Replies
 
yeahman
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Jan, 2004 08:06 pm
Frank Apisa wrote:
Yes...they do, Ye.

You are over-stating the case.

In the forums, we call this strawman building.

I guarentee that the majority of non-clergy Christians do not know. Frank, are you saying that the majority of Christians are aware of and believe in one of the 3 possibilites of how the Bible became the Word of God, that I laid out?
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Monger
 
  1  
Reply Mon 12 Jan, 2004 12:52 am
Just how many knowledgeable Christians do you know who don't understand that the Bible was compiled by the Church, ye110man? Nobody claims the books of the Bible were magically slapped together by God's own hand.

It's therefore quite easy for anyone to deduct that the Church decided which books were "inspired" & "God's word" & which were not. Whether Christians believe the Church was divinly guided during this process is another issue.

So yes, you are strawman building & overstating your case.
0 Replies
 
Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Mon 12 Jan, 2004 07:38 am
ye110man wrote:
Frank Apisa wrote:
Yes...they do, Ye.

You are over-stating the case.

In the forums, we call this strawman building.

I guarentee that the majority of non-clergy Christians do not know. Frank, are you saying that the majority of Christians are aware of and believe in one of the 3 possibilites of how the Bible became the Word of God, that I laid out?


One, you cannot rationally make that guarantee -- and two, if we could actually do a survey, MY GUESS is that the non-clergy Christians would be a hell of a lot more intelligent than you want to give them credit for just so that you can make this argument you seem intent on making.

As for what they "believe" -- or what you "believe" -- who really cares?

Your "beliefs" have as much chance of being wrong as theirs.
0 Replies
 
Seeker
 
  1  
Reply Mon 12 Jan, 2004 10:20 am
I think that a lot of Christians know the basics, but quite a lot would be surprised at some of the theories/facts about excluded gospels etc.
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yeahman
 
  1  
Reply Mon 12 Jan, 2004 11:31 am
Monger wrote:
Just how many knowledgeable Christians do you know who don't understand that the Bible was compiled by the Church, ye110man? Nobody claims the books of the Bible were magically slapped together by God's own hand.

You'd be surprised.

Monger wrote:
It's therefore quite easy for anyone to deduct that the Church decided which books were "inspired" & "God's word" & which were not. Whether Christians believe the Church was divinly guided during this process is another issue.

Christians must necessarily believe that the Bible had some divine authority behind it.
0 Replies
 
Ruach
 
  1  
Reply Tue 13 Jan, 2004 10:18 pm
yell0man,

Jesus says with his own mouth to those he witnesses to , "I tell you the truth." This phrase alone is very easy to keep accurate through translations. He says this a lot in the Bible.

Quote:
And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not. -John 8:45

This is from a man who was resurrected from the dead and the apostles saw him with their own eyes.
John the Baptist saw the Holy Spirit descend upon Jesus, after he baptised Jesus.

The Holy Spirit has testified to many believers that the Bible is the Living Word of God.


Seeker,

[quote]I think that a lot of Christians know the basics, but quite a lot would be surprised at some of the theories/facts about excluded gospels etc.[/quote]
The Holy Spirit has his work to do and one of them is to maintain the authenticity of Gods Word. Books that were left out were left out because they did not fit into what the Holy Spirit ordained as scripture.
2 Cents
0 Replies
 
dyslexia
 
  1  
Reply Tue 13 Jan, 2004 10:39 pm
or they were left out when Constantine demanded a complete set of the bibles transcribed and the Church had to put something together with much editing. When Constantine I became the ruler of Rome in 313, the Donatist controversy was raging in North Africa and Numidia. A soldier and a statesman who liked order and agreement, Constantine tried to quell it but not very successfully. Constantine was not a theologian, but he took steps during his rule to try to make Christianity less conflictual by calling the Council of Nicea to settle the Arian controversy. One result of the the council was the drafting of a version of what we now call the Nicene Creed. Ultimately creeds such as the Nicene Creed and the Apostles' Creed were affirmed as "orthodox" -- right teaching. Those teachings not considered orthodox, such as Gnosticism, were defined as heretical.
0 Replies
 
husker
 
  1  
Reply Tue 13 Jan, 2004 10:53 pm
Quote:
The Greatest Book Ever Written
by James MacDonald
Do you like to read a good book? I do, but finding one can be a challenge. Solomon said in his day, "The writing of many books is endless" (Ecclesiastes 12:12). Imagine what he'd say about our bookstores and libraries! You walk in and there are so many titles to choose from. Where do you start? How do you find a good one?
Many readers rely on the recommendations of others. They ask friends or find out what's on the New York Times Bestseller List. If a book comes highly recommended, it's more likely to be a good book.
What if I told you about a book that's been recommended by not one or two people, but by millions? What if this book has sold enough copies to be first on the List every week for the past several centuries? There is one book like that. Do you know what it is? It's the Bible.
The Bible has been read by more people in more languages than any other book in human history. The entire Bible has been translated into 400 different languages, and portions of it into nearly 2500 languages. Many of these tongues would not even have a written language if Bible translators had not gone in to learn them.
The British Foreign Bible Society once reported that it had to publish 32,876 copies of the Bible every day in order to meet the demand. That's more than one copy every three seconds, day and night. Every year Gideon's International places and distributes more than 56 million copies of Scripture worldwide. That's more than one million copies of God's Word every week. With a total circulation well into the billions, the Bible is by far the preeminent book in the world.
That's not all. The Bible's influence on other books has been incalculable. More books have been written about the Bible than any other subject, and more authors quote the Bible than any other source. Bernard Ramm says, "From the Apostolic Fathers dating from a.d. 95 to modern times there is one great literary river inspired by the Bible-Bible dictionaries, Bible encyclopedias, Bible lexicons, Bible atlases, and Bible geographies. These may be taken as a starter. Then at random we may mention the vast bibliographies around theology, religious education, hymnology, missions, the biblical languages, church history, religious biography, devotional works, commentaries, philosophy of religion, evidences, apologetics, and on and on." There is an endless river of books streaming from the greatest book ever written.
You say, "Hang on a for a minute. The Bible may be a great religious book, but what about the Koran? What about the book of Mormon? What about books on Eastern religions?" Professor M. Montiero Williams (not to be confused with Montel Williams!) spent forty-two years studying Eastern religious books. Comparing them with the Bible, he said, "Pile them, if you will, on the left side of your study table; but place your own Holy Bible on the right side-all by itself, all alone-and with a wide gap between them. For there is a gulf between it and the so-called sacred books of the East, which severs the one from the other utterly, hopelessly, and forever . . . a veritable gulf which cannot be bridged over by any science or religious thought."
The Bible is preeminent among all the books ever published in the history of the world, religious or otherwise. There is nothing that even comes close. So the next time you walk into your local bookstore or library, and you're looking for a great book to sink your teeth into, remember that the greatest book is already waiting for you-maybe back home. You'll never find one better, or one more deserving of a careful reading, than the Bible.
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yeahman
 
  1  
Reply Tue 13 Jan, 2004 11:48 pm
See, Ruach has proved by point. Most Christians do not know. They use the arguement that the Bible is the Word of God because the Bible says so and we should believe it because it is the Word of God. That was my whole point and thank you Ruach for demonstrating it.
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