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#31 Old 06-05-2005, 04:52 PM
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"Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest part or the smallest part of a letter will pass from the law, until all things have taken place." (Matthew 5:17 NAB)



Interesting. I had always been taught that the bible says Jesus was sent to earth to reset the laws, to essentially make the OT invalid & only for historical perspective. I guess not??
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#32 Old 06-05-2005, 05:01 PM
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That site is funny, Rev, but a LOT of the stuff on there is taken out of context and is taken way too literally. So much of what Jesus said (assuming he existed) was allegory or parables. I don't think that we were supposed to take, for instance, statements on punishment (Luke 12:47) as promoting slavery, permitting a master to beat his servant. But that it was a reference to humans being punished for not obeying God.
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#33 Old 06-05-2005, 05:04 PM
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My dad, who I don't always agree with on religion... actually... probably don't on hardly anything (he's a minister), said that at one time, the phrase "forbid the children to come upon him [Jesus]" was in the bible, but it was either a mistranslation, or a difference in intrepretation of words over the years that caused it to change to "allow"







I actually found the verse when doing a search

Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.

Bible: St Mark



was once phrased to mean the opposite due to a mis-translation or something.



But who knows, it could've just been a bad revision of the bible he was using back in the 60s too that made the mistake.
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#34 Old 06-05-2005, 08:54 PM
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How do we know if we are "misinterpreting" a passage? Aren't the scores of different sects of Christianity evidence that what the proper interpretations are will always be in dispute?



JL- that's an interesting story. It puzzles me how many people who clain to be of a bible-based faith haven't actually read the whole thing. I personally feel that if I truly believed a text to be of divine origin, I would certainly be reading it all the time! I need all the help I can get.
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#35 Old 06-05-2005, 10:14 PM
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One other thing that I found interesting in a way was when I was in school. There were twins, both were originally going to be a minister (one decided to, the other went into chiropractic medicine like his dad) -- but they intrepreted the bible differently! One read the bible and said that the rapture (next coming... people being lifted off of the earth, or something like that) was completely true (even had a bumper sticker to the effect), the other thought it was just a metaphor. Yet they were raised the same (or I'd think), went to the same church, etc. [It came up one day when they, along with others and myself, were taking care of donated food and bringing it to the Catholic church in town for distribution]



So I don't think that people could ever know what the original intentions of the writers (or verbal-story-passer-down people) meant. It's lost in translation so to speak.

Basically like trying to use some slang or "USA-English-specific term" and translating it to another language, or even English as taught in another English speaking country.
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#36 Old 06-05-2005, 10:32 PM
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What amazes me is how many times this commandemnt is misimterpreted. The accurate translation of the original text is "Thou shalt not murder".



I think I agree with this translation "Thou shalt not murder." From the old testament, because every instance the commandments were mentioned in the new testament (reffering back to the old testament), they all used used the same word, phoneuo. Which definitly looks to mean for you not to murder.



But yeah, I do think the interpretations will always be disputed too, I think it always has been since long time ago...
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#37 Old 06-06-2005, 12:44 AM
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I recommend the encyclopedia of biblical errancy...its a good read
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#38 Old 06-06-2005, 07:23 AM
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JLRogers--



A good chunk of my friends who were taught not to question and only focused on segments of the bible had similar experiences to your classmate. It's the danger of living a sheltered life.



I grew up pretty sheltered (people are amazed by the movies and TV shows and music I never heard during the first 17 years of my life), but I was always taught to question. My family read the Bible critically, I knew about contradictions and violence in the Bible long before I had my first religious debate, and I think I may have ended up like your classmate had it not been for that.
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#39 Old 06-06-2005, 10:10 AM
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the thing that's interesting and difficult about the bible is that it has a long history, a cultural and historical and political context, as well as an oral tradition that goes along with it. It's not meant to be taken as a 'stand alone' and it's not meant to be seen as 'the only word or expression of God.'



In fact, the 'word of God' is meant to refer to Christ, who reveals God the Father, and the creative force of God, as well as the imminent presence of this force in every human being. This supported by scripture, but is a long-lived esoteric understanding of the nature of God, the element of Logos, and the imminent and trandscendent presence of God in every human being--as well as the ethical dualism between "light" and "dark." Logos (the word) is Christ who lights every human being. This is a matter of oral tradition, experience (via spiritual disciplines), and scripture.



the scriptural reference to this idea is in the beginning of John:
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In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came to be Through him, and without him nothing came to be. What came to be through him was life, and this life whas the light of the human race, the light that shines in the darkness and the darkness as not overcome it. St. Joseph's New American Translation



A large part of scriptural translation is largely interpretive because language--even ancient language--is fluid. Meanings change, understandings change, new ideas and enlightenments expand meanings. Some understandings change for the positive, others for the negative. Which ones come into 'common knowledge' or into power is often a matter of politics rather than spirituality.



this is why the contemplative element of scriptural study is important. there is a rational part to it, and then opening the mind to the possibilities. This is also why understanding the context of the canon, why it was chosen, who tranlated it, when, and why, and with which cultural suppositions is an important element of scriptural study.



i find it strange that some christian groups believe 'only in the bible' and try to extract it from it's context (and it's context's many layers) as if it were faxed from heaven in one piece. It simply doesn't make sense to view the bible in this literal way, nor does it make sense to view the bible literally when it is obvious that certain cultural and literary techniques are at play to indicate that many elements are not literal, but allegorical or metaphorical.



but i guess that's just me.
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#40 Old 06-06-2005, 10:23 AM
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It's not meant to be taken as a 'stand alone' and it's not meant to be seen as 'the only word or expression of God.'

Wouldn't it be God who knows how it is meant be taken? (If it's indeed from God) I don't see how the Bible is meant to be taken or seen is also unknowable until we determine meant by whom. If it's God, well then I don't think people will ever agree what God's intention is on this point.

But you are right the context is very complex. Lots of changes, political influence, etc. And it was a very long time before the printing press was invented and it was copied by hand. Don't tell me people didn't make mistakes or insert extra stuff in there. In fact, in the Middle Ages, not only were most people illiterate, but I believe for a very long time even those who were literate wern't allowed to read the Bible, they could only have it read to them and interpreted by the church.





Yesterday, btw, This American Life www.thislife.org aired an hour called "Godless America " which included a long narrative from Julia Sweeney (from SNL, e.g. "It's Pat!") which gave a thoughtful and humorous account of her experience of going to a bible study. She is now doing a one-woman show monologue about how she ultimately lost her faith after studying the Bible and deep reflection. www.juliasweeney.com
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#41 Old 06-06-2005, 10:26 AM
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The reasoning that the professor had was simply that most of the people he encountered, had the bible, but never read it, and those that did, never thought of questioning it or anything like that.



I have found this to be overwhelmingly true. When I was a regular church-goer, growing up, we were constantly encouraged to "witness" to others using these little 4-point pamphlets, and ask people to pray to receive God into their hearts. This magically made them Christians. It was only after the fact that they were encouraged to read their Bibles, but I think there are a great many Christians out there who haven't even read the whole thing. It just strikes me as backwards, to accept a religion PRIOR to reading the text of the religion. Then it's like, once you are reading the Bible, you have already accepted that it is all true, and good, and right, so rather than trusting your gut negative reactions to a scripture passage, you will instead find a way of justifying it, or explaining it away - or you will ask a church leader to help you to do this. Just seems like it would make so much more sense to read the Bible first, then decide.
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#42 Old 06-06-2005, 11:14 AM
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One of my professors (a priest), gave an example about passing stories around:



"You catch a minnow today. How big was it 6 months from now?"



When I was in 6th grade (I think... either 6, 7, or 8th) there was an exercise where the teacher whispered something into a students ear, and was told to pass it down (around about 40 students)... It started out like "this is really fun!" and ended up like "this exercise really ____ blows, don't you think?"
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#43 Old 06-06-2005, 03:50 PM
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Slighty off topic,



My Dad theorized to me once (He's christian, Im not) that maybe the OT god was a ....a newer God, sort of. That maybe he still wasnt so sure what he was up to with this whole "life bit" and had a little trial and error.



Granted this theory gives God human characteristics and the ability to be "wrong" (Or maybe more like the ability to learn/evolve?) But then...Jealousy and anger are also human characteristics he supposedly has.
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#44 Old 06-06-2005, 04:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Suki_Eulalie View Post

Slighty off topic,



My Dad theorized to me once (He's christian, Im not) that maybe the OT god was a ....a newer God, sort of. That maybe he still wasnt so sure what he was up to with this whole "life bit" and had a little trial and error.



Granted this theory gives God human characteristics and the ability to be "wrong" (Or maybe more like the ability to learn/evolve?) But then...Jealousy and anger are also human characteristics he supposedly has.



This actually relates quite well with the concepts of the Gnostics. They believe (correct me if I'm wrong...) that the God of the Bible is not the Creator, but someone who came along after the fact and took all the credit...

Nec Aspera Terrent
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#45 Old 06-06-2005, 04:38 PM
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The "came along and took all the credit" was taught in a way at the one class I had... it was more of an intrepretation that god didn't create the heavens and the earth, but brought light to darkness, and made the heavens and earth as it appears -- but didn't create it, it was always here, then god made it "better". And that was taken from one of the stories of creation in Genesis... but can't remember how it was phrased.
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#46 Old 06-06-2005, 04:47 PM
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This actually relates quite well with the concepts of the Gnostics. They believe (correct me if I'm wrong...) that the God of the Bible is not the Creator, but someone who came along after the fact and took all the credit...

Yeah, it really does. *Basically* and according to what I have read about Gnosticism, the OT god is the "demiurge" - a powerful and self-concious diety that found itself amidst chaos produced by the shattering of the True God. True God "somehow" (the same somehow, interestingly, that caused Jiva to shatter and is found at the beginning of Genesis, according to Gnosticism at least) shattered into concentric waves that can, for all intents and purposes, be considered "worlds" - the farther out the worlds go, the less "heavenly" they are.



The demiurge finds itself amidst the chaos with the power give order to the chaos. However, what the demiurge cannot create of its own volition is life, so it charges its lifeless creations with the breathe of (True) God - this is the Neshaman - Hebrew for Breath of God - found in Genesis. This is the breath of the True God, though. This introduces problems.



The life that Demiurge creates is more Neshaman than Demiurge, and as such the will of Neshaman is pulled towards True God as the waves of the world collect back into one. This is not the will of Demiurge, of course, who as a concious being wishes its will be be the will if its creations. Because by its nature as the energy and ground and basis of the existence of each world, the True God cannot participate in any of the worlds, but sends special beings - sparks to do its bidding. It is only through making the beings of each world come to know (ere go gain "gnosis" - knowledge) that the God of the OT is NOT True God that True God can call its Neshaman back to its source.



So there is the inversion - the OT God is not EVIL per se, but clearly antagonistic to (although, if I recall, not aware of) True God's will. Who are the sparks True God sends to the world? Moses and Jesus, obviously. As far as I know, it is widely believed that Muhammed or at least Gabriel is a spark, and many Gnostics believe that even Buddha and the Bab and other leaders are sparks, although there are degrees of "sparkiness" if you will.



Most interestingly to me is the first spark, the serpent. Genesis 3.1 (Oxford Annotated Study):

Quote:
But the serpent said to the woman, "You will not die; for God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil".

And then, of course, they ate it and BOOM! Out of the garden you go.



I'm sorry for the lecture - I just really like the Gnostic stuff and I should really learn more - it's so cool!
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#47 Old 06-06-2005, 05:05 PM
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Excellent, Trent!!



Could you post this in the S&P Creation Stories thread?

Nec Aspera Terrent
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#48 Old 06-06-2005, 05:06 PM
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#49 Old 06-06-2005, 05:17 PM
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Done, and done!
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#50 Old 06-07-2005, 06:47 AM
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thalia:



because the bible was written, argued, and canonized by religious people, i think they are the ones who hold the intention for how it is to be taken. no aspect of the bible was written, discussed, or canonized with the idea that it was 'God's intention.' It was written as a mechanism to help people who came after them (the authors, teachers, canonizers) to have on of many points of reference for beginning their practice and understanding of God.



determining God's intention is far more difficult.
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