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Were you once a Christian?

 
 
satt fs
 
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Reply Sun 13 Apr, 2003 08:53 pm
One could be critical about the authenticity of scores of pieces by Bach, J.S., the performed music has its own value.
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Hazlitt
 
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Reply Sun 13 Apr, 2003 09:19 pm
Age of Isaiah
C.I., Husker outlined that part of the history pretty will. The dates of reigns of the kings of Judah and Israel are not in very much dispute (as far as I know), so we would be arguing about whether the text is correct when it tells us when Isaiah came on the scene and when he died. I suppose that the answer to your question might rest on asking if Isaiah or some subsequent editor of these texts had a reason to alter the dates or change the story around. I do know that not everyone thinks the date of 687 (or so) is accurate. From my point of view, it does not matter too much.

As an aside, as far as I know, it was in 1775 that the first modern scholar recognized the change authorship after chapter 39.

I should tell you, C.I., that most of my reading on this subject was done 50 years ago. I recently read two books one on NT and one on OT literary criticism just to see how out of date I am. I found that a lot of exciting work is going on, but the general outline of critical conclusions was about the same.
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cicerone imposter
 
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Reply Sun 13 Apr, 2003 09:40 pm
Hazlitt, Much of what I have seen on the history of the bible and anything related to it has been controversial. Not only because of the many contradictions in the messages of the bible, but because of the dates the books of the bible were written and their myriad authors some of which will never be identified. Many of the subsequent finds that purports to support or negate the bible have also been controversial. As with many mysteries of our universe, I doubt scientific proof for the authenticity of the bible will be forthcoming. Theological scholars will continue to spend untold hours trying to break the codes, but will fail to improve on current knowledge. As with all religions, belief and faith are the driving force - not factual evidence. c.i.
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satt fs
 
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Reply Mon 14 Apr, 2003 01:34 am
It does not matter who wrote a theorem in math, as one is concerned with the truth of the theorem. Do authors matter in theology? If you think so, you are missing the point of importance, or satisfying mere curiosity of yours.
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Hazlitt
 
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Reply Mon 14 Apr, 2003 04:35 am
Implications of textual criticism
satt_focusable wrote:
It does not matter who wrote a theorem in math, as one is concerned with the truth of the theorem. Do authors matter in theology? If you think so, you are missing the point of importance, or satisfying mere curiosity of yours.


Satt, you are right. The truth of a theorem does not depend upon who wrote it. The truth or usefulness of a theorem depends upon it's ability to withstand the tests and probings to which it may be subjected by subsequent scholarship and use.

The fundamentalist theory of Biblical inspiration, as I understand it is as follows: The Bible text in its original manuscripts is accurate, true, and perfect in all that it says. This means that it is historically accurate, it is theologically accurate, it is philosophically accurate, and it is scientifically accurate in all its statements; and that it contains no contradictions. At one time it was claimed that God actually guided the hand that held the pen that did the writing.

Fundamentalists need this theory to stand because they have built their whole theology and system of thought on a specific interpretation of an infallible Bible. If the Bible is shown to be fallible, the fundamentalist theology crumbles.

I submit to you that the Bible has been shown to be fallible and that the theology is then without absolute foundation. Everyone except fundamentalists acknowledge this.

For my part, I acknowledge that this is not the same as saying that the theology is untrue. You can still say that you accept the whole Christian system. What you cannot say with honesty is that the system is based on an infallible book. I see nothing dishonest in being a Christian of this sort; all you need is a theory of Biblical inspiration that does not depend upon the book being infallible. What is dishonest is to ignore the scholarship done on the Bible and the implications of those findings for systems of theology based on the book and said to be true, unchangeable, and fixed for all time. These problems won't go away just because you point out that there is also argument over who wrote a Bach cantata.
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satt fs
 
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Reply Mon 14 Apr, 2003 05:08 am
Hazlitt..
I do not think "fundamentalists" in its strict sense live in A2K land. Of course I am not a fundamentalist of any kind. I can suppose it is a waste of time to try refuting them.
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Hazlitt
 
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Reply Mon 14 Apr, 2003 07:19 am
Fundamentalists
Satt, I think that fundamentalists must be refuted.

Of course one problem is that even the most virulent fundamentalists resists admitting to being one. This is not the same as saying that you are one.
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husker
 
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Reply Mon 14 Apr, 2003 07:50 am
I'm not a fundamentalist, just a Christian. Wink
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JLNobody
 
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Reply Mon 14 Apr, 2003 02:58 pm
truth
I agree wholeheartedly, Satt-focusable. Knowing that Mozart wrote his 40th symphony without ever having heard it, is nowhere as valuable as hearing that symphony without knowing its composer.
These authorship issues seem vacuously academic.
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cicerone imposter
 
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Reply Mon 14 Apr, 2003 03:34 pm
JLN's quite: "These authorship issues seem vacuously academic." They must earn their salaries in a manner that seems to have enough demand for further knowledge. Wink c.i.
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JLNobody
 
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Reply Mon 14 Apr, 2003 03:37 pm
absolutism
As I've said, far too often, I'm sure: fundamentalism is the curse of the world, whether it be Islamic or Christian in nature. Absolutism, literalism, and bigotry in their religious and political forms have brought us to the brink of extinction.
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Hazlitt
 
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Reply Mon 14 Apr, 2003 06:07 pm
Of Symphonies and Texts
This will be my last remark on the subject.

It seems to me that there is a big difference between enjoying a symphony and building a whole life philosophy on a mistaken interpretation of an ancient text.

This is especially true when we consider that those who are doing so have succeeded in gaining so much influence in our government.
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satt fs
 
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Reply Mon 14 Apr, 2003 06:26 pm
You could sometimes harm your appreciation of a piece of music, suspecting its authenticity.
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satt fs
 
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Reply Mon 14 Apr, 2003 06:41 pm
In fact, I am familiar with text critiques of classical writings. For example in the following linked page, I have referred to possibility of footnotes being mixed into the original text lines of Lao-zi. But I can appreciate the anti-war message in the text-note of Lao-zi, and can almost ignore the implication of the possibility of complicated text making. It does not matter who wrote the lines, but the lines tell themselves.

http://www.able2know.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=174498#174498
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InfraBlue
 
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Reply Sun 8 Feb, 2004 01:42 am
Going back to Husker's tangent, there's another possible analogy between Classical Athens/Greece and the US.

The following is from an interview with Donald Kagan on NPR:


Short History of the Peloponnesian War

The Peloponnesian War was actually a sequence of three conflicts, fought from 431 to 404 BC between the dominant city-states of Athens, master of an empire of allied states stretching across the Aegean Sea, and Sparta, which dominated its neighborhood through the Peloponnesian League.

The two sides were iconic opposites -- Athens was the world's first democracy, where an assembly of male citizens voted on all decisions. Poor in natural resources, it was the naval power of the ancient world, and, as long as it held its port at Piraeus, was virtually invulnerable to outside attack. Sparta had the best army; its male citizens did little but train and fight. But its militaristic elite were hampered by a constant fear of revolt among the helots, the virtual slaves who supported them.

The war that would eventually diminish both city-states started as a regional conflict between the city of Corinth and one of its colonies. Athens and Sparta were drawn into the dispute reluctantly, but as time went on, found themselves inextricably enmeshed.

At the start, Pericles, the great Athenian commander, fought a war of attrition against the Spartans. Instead of risking a land battle by defending the countryside, he brought the entire population into the fortified city, and harassed the Peloponnesian League with his superior navy. But in 430, a plague broke out within the city walls, killing large numbers of citizens and destroying support for Pericles' tactics

The two powers agreed to peace in 424, but neither side held to the treaty. In 415, hostilities started up again, this time over control of Greek colonies on the island of Sicily. In the following years, the destruction of the Athenian fleet, the revolt of many of Athens allies, internal unrest, and the intervention of Persia on the side of the Spartans, slowly diminished the state's power. In 405, Sparta was able to cut off Athens supply lines. The city soon surrendered.

The victorious Spartans installed an oligarchy to rule their defeated neighbor, ushering in a bloody period of witch hunts and political executions. Although that government was overthrown a year later, Athenian democracy was critically diminished. And while Sparta enjoy a period of dominance in the region, the war left it critically weakened as well. Its hegemony was short-lived.
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Fallen Angel
 
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Reply Wed 11 Feb, 2004 01:48 am
Re: Were you once a Christian?
husker wrote:
Were you once a Christian?I'm interested to know what happened to change your belief?
What were the significant events or experiences that turned you
agnostic or atheist? I'm not here to pass judgement, just trying to get a better hold on how it happens. Anything I forgot to ask that you would like to add would be appreciated.


Yes, I was raised as a Christian and remain as such for many years, however the more I studied the bible then more I began to dislike the god I was worshiping. I got to thinking that 'heaven' really didn't sound like a place I'd like to spend enternity. I began to think, what kind of god would demand that people worship him; sounded very narcissitic to me. It dawned on me that this god stood for every thing I am opposed to. Eventually as a result of study and interaction with Christian I turned away from it completely.
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