Making sense of the NT

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Sherlock Holmes
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Making sense of the NT

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Post by Sherlock Holmes »

Hello,

I've been debating (online) against atheism for many years, I'm very well educated in the sciences and to a lesser degree, philosophy.

However - and I know I'm not alone here - Christianity itself, the New Testament, remarkable and thought provoking as it is, and not questioning the legitimacy of the texts we have access to, I am ultimately deeply puzzled by it all.

Christ revealed some deeply profound things, completely dumbfounding prevailing Jewish beliefs and this goes in its favor, as it's sheer radicality is just not something I'd expect to simply emerge from prevailing ideas.

Yet it makes no sense at the end of the day, for example why go to all this trouble? the entire human race is in a state of anguish, confusion and beginning to collapse, why is that logically necessary as part of creation?

What exactly are humans expected to do? it is far from clear (as is evidenced by the many doctrinal arguments over the past twenty centuries).

So that's my position, I'm interested in hearing some candidate answers!
When one has eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.

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Re: Making sense of the NT

Post #101

Post by brunumb »

mgb wrote: Sun Jan 02, 2022 6:27 am We are supposed to listen to God and live by His will and guidance. It is up to each individual to do this. If we do, things will come right.
Not a problem. I'm waiting for God to recognise the thoughts in my head that are preventing me from belief and to come and tell me in person what he expects of me. That should not be a problem for the omniscient and omnipotent one, that is if he does really care.
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Re: Making sense of the NT

Post #102

Post by brunumb »

mgb wrote: Sun Jan 02, 2022 6:40 am Well, not all modern Christians are literalists. But in more general terms, I think modern Christians should accept that while there is much wisdom in the bible it is not likely to be the word of God from cover to cover. All kinds of additions and subtractions have been made and some of them make God look like a maniac.
Therein lies the problem. How on earth is anyone supposed to sort through all the dross, misinformation, lies and confusion to reach some alleged truth? For every one who claims to have the answer there is someone else claiming to have the answer, but a different one. Maybe there is no truth to be found in Christianity at all. That is what makes the most sense to me.
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Re: Making sense of the NT

Post #103

Post by We_Are_VENOM »

Sherlock Holmes wrote: Wed Dec 29, 2021 11:14 am
Yet it makes no sense at the end of the day, for example why go to all this trouble?
You haven't identified any trouble.
Sherlock Holmes wrote: Wed Dec 29, 2021 11:14 am the entire human race is in a state of anguish, confusion and beginning to collapse, why is that logically necessary as part of creation?
Which all resulted in the fall of man. When a building falls, you kind of expect a mess, don't you?
Sherlock Holmes wrote: Wed Dec 29, 2021 11:14 am What exactly are humans expected to do?
Lk 10:25-28.

That is what humans are expected to do.
Sherlock Holmes wrote: Wed Dec 29, 2021 11:14 am it is far from clear (as is evidenced by the many doctrinal arguments over the past twenty centuries).
Accept Christ as Lord and Savior. Seems clear to me.
Sherlock Holmes wrote: Wed Dec 29, 2021 11:14 am So that's my position, I'm interested in hearing some candidate answers!
So that is your position? "Things aren't clear".

Gotcha.
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Re: Making sense of the NT

Post #104

Post by mgb »

brunumb wrote: Sun Jan 02, 2022 5:33 pm
mgb wrote: Sun Jan 02, 2022 6:40 am Well, not all modern Christians are literalists. But in more general terms, I think modern Christians should accept that while there is much wisdom in the bible it is not likely to be the word of God from cover to cover. All kinds of additions and subtractions have been made and some of them make God look like a maniac.
Therein lies the problem. How on earth is anyone supposed to sort through all the dross, misinformation, lies and confusion to reach some alleged truth? For every one who claims to have the answer there is someone else claiming to have the answer, but a different one. Maybe there is no truth to be found in Christianity at all. That is what makes the most sense to me.
The true value of the bible is that it tells us about God in general terms. It has to be read with intelligence. Truth is not just text in a book, it is a vision of the world granted by God. Insofar as the bible is confirmed by what God shows us, it is true. Those who want to know truth need to 'Be still and know that I am God'.

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Re: Making sense of the NT

Post #105

Post by brunumb »

mgb wrote: Mon Jan 03, 2022 12:01 pm The true value of the bible is that it tells us about God in general terms. It has to be read with intelligence. Truth is not just text in a book, it is a vision of the world granted by God. Insofar as the bible is confirmed by what God shows us, it is true. Those who want to know truth need to 'Be still and know that I am God'.
Exactly what does "it has to be read with intelligence" mean? Are you suggesting that because I am not impressed by the Bible I have not read it with intelligence or that I am not sufficiently intelligent? Your post is not really enlightening.
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Re: Making sense of the NT

Post #106

Post by mgb »

brunumb wrote: Mon Jan 03, 2022 5:24 pm
mgb wrote: Mon Jan 03, 2022 12:01 pm The true value of the bible is that it tells us about God in general terms. It has to be read with intelligence. Truth is not just text in a book, it is a vision of the world granted by God. Insofar as the bible is confirmed by what God shows us, it is true. Those who want to know truth need to 'Be still and know that I am God'.
Exactly what does "it has to be read with intelligence" mean? Are you suggesting that because I am not impressed by the Bible I have not read it with intelligence or that I am not sufficiently intelligent? Your post is not really enlightening.
I'm not speaking directly about you. Many people attack Christianity because of corruptions in this Bronze Age text. That is not realistic. Our intelligence should tell us that it is not a literal transcription of God's words. Religion, in general, is only a context for faith. Real faith is beyond texts. Real faith is about being continuously receptive to God's guidance in the present moment.

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Re: Making sense of the NT

Post #107

Post by theophile »

mgb wrote: Tue Jan 04, 2022 6:27 am
brunumb wrote: Mon Jan 03, 2022 5:24 pm
mgb wrote: Mon Jan 03, 2022 12:01 pm The true value of the bible is that it tells us about God in general terms. It has to be read with intelligence. Truth is not just text in a book, it is a vision of the world granted by God. Insofar as the bible is confirmed by what God shows us, it is true. Those who want to know truth need to 'Be still and know that I am God'.
Exactly what does "it has to be read with intelligence" mean? Are you suggesting that because I am not impressed by the Bible I have not read it with intelligence or that I am not sufficiently intelligent? Your post is not really enlightening.
I'm not speaking directly about you. Many people attack Christianity because of corruptions in this Bronze Age text. That is not realistic. Our intelligence should tell us that it is not a literal transcription of God's words. Religion, in general, is only a context for faith. Real faith is beyond texts. Real faith is about being continuously receptive to God's guidance in the present moment.
I don't disagree with your point about faith. Faith has a relational aspect that is deeper than any intellectual assent, and that can never be fully conveyed by a text. Faith is more the faithfulness (/staying true) that exists in a dynamic partnership (and all the twists and turns that can take) than it is the belief that a certain static proposition is true.

Your further line of thought is dangerous though.

1) You're basically saying that the bible is unfaithful in its relationship to God (or that certain texts at least are essentially committing adultery in the guidance they provide). This feeds the atheist argument that we should just throw the whole thing out.

2) It opens you to cherry-picking, and why you deem certain biblical texts more God-faithful than others. So what is your method to sort the wheat from the chaff?

3) It suggests (per my last point) that you have another access (non-biblical) to God and God's guidance that we do not. Which gives us nothing to hold your ideas accountable to unless you're able to further elaborate how this 'receptivity' you speak of works.

In short, it strikes me that you're trying to convey a different worldview from that of the bible. A whole new religion perhaps that the bible gives us glimpses into and shares components with but that it also outright conflicts and ultimately fails to deliver.

(For the record, I won't rule out 'corruptions' in the text - of course that's a possibility over its long history. But that should be an absolutely final resort and only when there is overwhelming evidence for it. We can't just call a text 'corrupted' because, say, it makes us squeamish or offends or moral sensibilities.)

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Re: Making sense of the NT

Post #108

Post by Mithrae »

theophile wrote: Tue Jan 04, 2022 7:43 am In short, it strikes me that you're trying to convey a different worldview from that of the bible. A whole new religion perhaps that the bible gives us glimpses into and shares components with but that it also outright conflicts and ultimately fails to deliver.
New religion, or new covenant? The prevailing Christian preoccupation with the bible as the primary source of God's guidance seems to be a tacit admission that he has failed to write his law in his people's hearts and minds as supposedly promised (Jeremiah 31:31-34/Hebrews 8).

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Re: Making sense of the NT

Post #109

Post by JehovahsWitness »

Mithrae wrote: Tue Jan 04, 2022 8:58 am
theophile wrote: Tue Jan 04, 2022 7:43 am In short, it strikes me that you're trying to convey a different worldview from that of the bible. A whole new religion perhaps that the bible gives us glimpses into and shares components with but that it also outright conflicts and ultimately fails to deliver.
New religion, or new covenant? The prevailing Christian preoccupation with the bible as the primary source of God's guidance seems to be a tacit admission that he has failed to write his law in his people's hearts and minds as supposedly promised (Jeremiah 31:31-34/Hebrews 8).
Is there any reason why a law "written on a persons heart" cannot >> ALSO << be available in papier form?
INDEX: More bible based ANSWERS
http://debatingchristianity.com/forum/v ... 81#p826681


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Re: Making sense of the NT

Post #110

Post by TRANSPONDER »

theophile wrote: Tue Jan 04, 2022 7:43 am
mgb wrote: Tue Jan 04, 2022 6:27 am
brunumb wrote: Mon Jan 03, 2022 5:24 pm
mgb wrote: Mon Jan 03, 2022 12:01 pm The true value of the bible is that it tells us about God in general terms. It has to be read with intelligence. Truth is not just text in a book, it is a vision of the world granted by God. Insofar as the bible is confirmed by what God shows us, it is true. Those who want to know truth need to 'Be still and know that I am God'.
Exactly what does "it has to be read with intelligence" mean? Are you suggesting that because I am not impressed by the Bible I have not read it with intelligence or that I am not sufficiently intelligent? Your post is not really enlightening.
I'm not speaking directly about you. Many people attack Christianity because of corruptions in this Bronze Age text. That is not realistic. Our intelligence should tell us that it is not a literal transcription of God's words. Religion, in general, is only a context for faith. Real faith is beyond texts. Real faith is about being continuously receptive to God's guidance in the present moment.
I don't disagree with your point about faith. Faith has a relational aspect that is deeper than any intellectual assent, and that can never be fully conveyed by a text. Faith is more the faithfulness (/staying true) that exists in a dynamic partnership (and all the twists and turns that can take) than it is the belief that a certain static proposition is true.

Your further line of thought is dangerous though.

1) You're basically saying that the bible is unfaithful in its relationship to God (or that certain texts at least are essentially committing adultery in the guidance they provide). This feeds the atheist argument that we should just throw the whole thing out.

2) It opens you to cherry-picking, and why you deem certain biblical texts more God-faithful than others. So what is your method to sort the wheat from the chaff?

3) It suggests (per my last point) that you have another access (non-biblical) to God and God's guidance that we do not. Which gives us nothing to hold your ideas accountable to unless you're able to further elaborate how this 'receptivity' you speak of works.

In short, it strikes me that you're trying to convey a different worldview from that of the bible. A whole new religion perhaps that the bible gives us glimpses into and shares components with but that it also outright conflicts and ultimately fails to deliver.

(For the record, I won't rule out 'corruptions' in the text - of course that's a possibility over its long history. But that should be an absolutely final resort and only when there is overwhelming evidence for it. We can't just call a text 'corrupted' because, say, it makes us squeamish or offends or moral sensibilities.)
What we've had in the last few exchanges is that one has to read the Bible with Faith and just do bias confirmation. Admit doubt and question and Faith is on the line.

It is of course easy for some to call this 'reading the Bible with Intelligence' but of course Intelligence can lead to seeing contradictions, problems and stuff that is scientifically and historically dubious. But Intelligence means Interpretation which means (as we have seen a bit of) dismissing science and history and preferring the Explanations of creationist websites.
Applying Intelligence and indeed Interpretation to the Bible depends upon whether one wants the truth (as much as one can) or just to confirm the Faith.

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