A civil debate forum for people of all persuasions (Atheists, Agnostics, Deists, Christians, and adherents of any religion)

Goto page 1, 2  Next

Reply to topic
Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 1: Wed Jan 08, 2020 7:03 pm
Reply
Beliefs about apologetic harmonizations

Like this post
I'm not exactly sure how to ask this, but I'm trying to get a feel for why people believe apologetic harmonizations reflect what's actually true.

This stems from a discussion about the nativity stories of Matthew and Luke. Matthew and Luke describe what I see as two completely incompatible narratives. Apologists claim that a combined narrative that essentially alternates events explains them. While I understand such explanations in the "it's not impossible" sense, I can't believe that they reflect history. Why do others disagree?

Other examples are harmonizations of the two deaths of Judas, Jesus cleansing the temple both at the beginning and end of his ministry, and sermons on both the mount and plain.

Are the Bible authors aware of both events when they write about one or the other? Did God mean for them to be puzzles? What do you think the relationships are between history, the biblical authors, and God?

I posted this here in the non-debate section because I'm interested in having answers included that might be based on gut feelings or maybe just not supportable in a logical or rigorous way. If I question answers, it's because I'm looking for clarification and not argument.

Thanks in advance.

Goto top, bottom
View user's profile 
Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 2: Wed Jan 08, 2020 8:15 pm
Reply

Like this post (2): ttruscott, Difflugia
I've been listening to a lecture series on perfectionism. This idea of things being perfect has a strong grip on us. We must have the perfect lawn, spotless house, perfect grades, perfect spouse, perfect church, etc. And I think this mentality has carried over in how we view the Bible. The Bible must be perfect in all facts and descriptions. At the risk of being burned at the stake, I will say that the Bible is not perfect. It's a book of messy people, written by messy people, written for a messy audience, copied and translated in a messy way. But, I believe it's OK. It is still God's word to us and authoritative. We can still trust it and base our life on it.

I'm comfortable with different accounts of the same event in the Bible and do not feel the need to go out of the way to harmonize them. Yes, the Biblical authors were inspired, but they were still human. They wrote things from their own perspective and it might not align perfectly to how things actually were. Biblical authors are like witnesses on a stand giving their testimony. They present from their own point of view. Each witness might have perceived an event differently, but they all saw the same event. It is up to us as the jury to piece together the accounts and determine what exactly happened.

Goto top, bottom
View user's profile Send e-mail Visit poster's website 
Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 3: Wed Jan 08, 2020 8:44 pm
Reply

Like this post
In keeping with Difflugia's purpose and intent, I too have no desire to argue or debate people's views on this. But at the same time I do have questions of why they would embrace the views they hold?

otseng wrote:

At the risk of being burned at the stake, I will say that the Bible is not perfect. It's a book of messy people, written by messy people, written for a messy audience, copied and translated in a messy way. But, I believe it's OK. It is still God's word to us and authoritative. We can still trust it and base our life on it.


You say that in spite of all the messiness you still consider the Bible to be God's word to us and to be authoritative. You even say that it is still trustworthy enough to base our life on it.

But I can't help but ask why?

Why should a God who demands that we believe in him and obey his commandments and directives give us those directives in such a messy ambiguous way?

How could this God justify blaming anyone for not taking the Bible seriously or thinking that it represents any actual God?

It would seem to me (and this is indeed my position) that if there exists a God who is going to potentially condemn us to eternal punishment for not believing in him or obeying his commandments and directives, then why provide these commandments and directives to us in such a messy way?

I don't see how anyone could be blamed for not believing that the Bible has anything to do with any actual God. Yet supposedly if we don't believe that it is "God's Word", commandments and directives to us, then we can end up being cast into a state of eternal punishment.

This certainly doesn't seem reasonable to me. A God who demands that we must obey his commandments and directives lest we'll be condemned to everlasting punishment is really in no position to be "messy" about this.

How could he possibly justify blaming anyone for seeing these stories as nothing more than a cultural superstition?

Can you address this concern?

Goto top, bottom
View user's profile 
Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 4: Thu Jan 09, 2020 5:20 pm
Reply

Like this post
[Replying to post 2 by otseng]

Seeking internal harmony within scripture is the key to finding truth therein.

When a particular passage is ambiguous or hard to understand we should turn to other related passages to see if they shed light on how it should rightly be understood. If we come to a conclusion about a particular interpretation, we should look and see if that reading contradicts or clashes with any other passages. If it does and the two cannot be harmonized it is our interpretation (not the bible) that is at fault.

It s very much like doing a puzzle. You have a piece and wonder where it fits, the "oh it doesnt have to fit" school of biblical thinking will either throw the piece out ("oh that must be a writers error") or force it into a place that looks about right. Both of which will lead to a distorted picture in the end. Thus is born countless theologies (eternal hellfire, the immortality of the soul, hellfire, etc.) and thousands of nominal Christian denominations.

Quote:
You cannot find what you do not believe exists. Faith in the internal harmony of scripture is the guiding light, the north star, the gold standard that enables those that love truth to find it.


These lovers of truth (or should I call them, these people that believe that God initially communicated a harmonious message of truth, that the bible canon is that message, and He intends people to find that message in the body of scripture) might not have all the answers (The bible does not answer all questions) and their understanding will be progressive, but as Daniel 12 prophecies, the light will grow and they alone will have the full picture in the end.

To illustrate: Three groups finish a one thousand piece puzzel, a picture of a woman sitting by a tree. They notice on completing the puzzel, that the woman has an ear in the middle of her forehead.


Quote:
GROUP A says: Well... it might not harmonize with the rest of the puzzle.... but we dont have any pieces left so that must be where it belongs..... We'll call ourselves "The 2nd Earlobe Church if Christ" and hot dangiddy dang we've just got ourselves another denomination.
Quote:
INDIVIDUAL B says: That was probably there because the manufacturers made a mistake, it's strange and I'm sure the original artist never intended it there but we dont have the original painting and who said the finished picture has to be perfect anyway. My college professor says perfection is just a manmade concept...
Quote:
GROUP C says: No, that EARLOBE doesnt belong in the middle of her forehead, we (not the manufacurer, not the artist, not the postman who delivered the puzzle) WE have made a mistake somewhere and if we have to demolish the entire picture and start again we will because it should be a harmonious, logical picture on completion.


Which of the three are likely to get it right in the end?



JW

Goto top, bottom
View user's profile Visit poster's website 
Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 5: Thu Jan 09, 2020 7:42 pm
Reply
Re: Beliefs about apologetic harmonizations

Like this post (1): Difflugia
Difflugia wrote:

I'm not exactly sure how to ask this, but I'm trying to get a feel for why people believe apologetic harmonizations reflect what's actually true.
...
Thanks in advance.


I do not think that every apologetic harmonization is absolutely true but I do use the fact they are POSSIBLY true from a strict scriptural pov, that I know the truth is available and if I do not get it now I will get it when I need it.

I operate on faith, an unproven hope, I am not one who rejects GOD because I have no proof... Read Romans 1:18 to the end for the truth about that!

You are welcome!

Goto top, bottom
View user's profile 
Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 6: Fri Jan 10, 2020 11:28 am
Reply

Like this post
JehovahsWitness wrote:
It s very much like doing a puzzle. You have a piece and wonder where it fits, the "oh it doesnt have to fit" school of biblical thinking will either throw the piece out ("oh that must be a writers error") or force it into a place that looks about right. Both of which will lead to a distorted picture in the end. Thus is born countless theologies (eternal hellfire, the immortality of the soul, hellfire, etc.) and thousands of nominal Christian denominations.

Do you think this is intentional on the part of either God or the authors? I understand the process you've described as well as its necessity to verbal inerrancy, but it then seems to me that the "puzzle" quality of the Bible must be intentional.

Did God inspire, for example, Matthew and Luke to write accounts that were possible to reconcile, but difficult on purpose? Or do you see the difficulty as just coincidental to different writing styles and I'm making too much of it?

Goto top, bottom
View user's profile 
Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 7: Fri Jan 10, 2020 11:56 am
Reply

Like this post (1): JehovahsWitness
Difflugia wrote:

JehovahsWitness wrote:
It s very much like doing a puzzle. You have a piece and wonder where it fits, the "oh it doesnt have to fit" school of biblical thinking will either throw the piece out ("oh that must be a writers error") or force it into a place that looks about right. Both of which will lead to a distorted picture in the end. Thus is born countless theologies (eternal hellfire, the immortality of the soul, hellfire, etc.) and thousands of nominal Christian denominations.

Do you think this is intentional on the part of either God or the authors? I understand the process you've described as well as its necessity to verbal inerrancy, but it then seems to me that the "puzzle" quality of the Bible must be intentional.

Did God inspire, for example, Matthew and Luke to write accounts that were possible to reconcile, but difficult on purpose? Or do you see the difficulty as just coincidental to different writing styles and I'm making too much of it?


I have often thought this was true and even see evidence that that which is hidden on purpose is used to separate those who worship their religion and their place in it more than they do their GOD whom they denied in the name of religion right to His face.

The may instances of prophets being told to shut this vision etc until the end hints at such use.

Goto top, bottom
View user's profile 
MPG Recipient Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 8: Fri Jan 10, 2020 9:34 pm
Reply

Like this post (1): ttruscott
Divine Insight wrote:

Can you address this concern?

Honestly, it will take several books to address this in full. Unfortunately, the fear of not writing perfect books keeps me from starting to write them. Angel

I will attempt to give a brief outline though.

I think it is reasonable to believe in a creator God (in the generic sense). Atheists like Antony Flew was able to believe in God through science and reasoning. So, using natural revelation, people can arrive at the truth that God exists. It is also irrational to believe in (philosophical) naturalism. When we debated this, nobody offered any argument or evidence for it. So, comparing deism and atheism, it is more rational to believe in deism.

Given a god exists, then which religion is correct? Assuming we can only choose from an existing religion (and not a dead religion), there's not really a lot to choose from. Not that I've done an exhaustive research on every religion, but Christianity comes out on top.

The more I study the Bible, the more fascinating it becomes. The door really started to open for me when I started studying it in the original languages. Most of our problems with the Bible comes not from the Bible itself, but our perceptions of the Bible. And oftentimes our preconceptions of it is from tradition and culture and not from the Bible. We discussed one aspect of this in What is the Biblical view of hell?

The Bible is unique in that it has correspondence with science, history, and archeology. Not that it's a science or history book, but it makes claims that can be verified through science, history, and archeology.

Ultimately it is the life of Jesus that Christianity centers around. His impact on world history is without equal. Yet, viewing his life, you scratch your head and wonder how can such an obscure itinerant Jewish preacher have had such an impact? How did he come up with such a profound philosophy of life that nobody at the time around him really understood? Why did he not do any of the typical things in order to have a successful ministry? If he was just a man, how did he pull off having so many people follow him, even 2000 years later?

Most of the attacks I see on Christianity are straw man arguments. It is easy to mock ridiculous beliefs that most Christians don't even hold, belittle extreme fundamentalism, attack mischaracterizations of Christianity, and scorn interpretations of the Bible that practically no Christians hold. I have yet to see any serious attack on Christianity that has caused me to seriously doubt the truth of Christianity.

Christianity is a worldview that makes sense of life, gives purpose to life, challenges and encourages people, and answers all the major philosophical questions.

Goto top, bottom
View user's profile Send e-mail Visit poster's website 
Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 9: Sat Jan 11, 2020 12:20 am
Reply

Like this post
otseng wrote:

Atheists like Antony Flew was able to believe in God through science and reasoning. So, using natural revelation, people can arrive at the truth that God exists.


"able to believe" and "the truth that God exists" are hardly logically sequitur.

otseng wrote:

It is also irrational to believe in (philosophical) naturalism. When we debated this, nobody offered any argument or evidence for it. So, comparing deism and atheism, it is more rational to believe in deism.


There's no evidence for either, so how could that be taken as a win in favor of deism? Think

All deism amounts to is a belief than an irrational God exists as an explanation for an irrational universe. Hardly a compelling argument.

otseng wrote:

Given a god exists, then which religion is correct?


Well, you've already accepted illogical conclusion based on illogical reasoning.

otseng wrote:

Assuming we can only choose from an existing religion (and not a dead religion), there's not really a lot to choose from. Not that I've done an exhaustive research on every religion, but Christianity comes out on top.


This is clearly just your subjective opinion. I've done the same thing and see Buddhism as being far more reasonable than Christianity.

Also, why do we need to stick with human created religions? Why couldn't a God be something that humans aren't even capable of understanding or knowing about?

otseng wrote:

The more I study the Bible, the more fascinating it becomes. The door really started to open for me when I started studying it in the original languages. Most of our problems with the Bible comes not from the Bible itself, but our perceptions of the Bible. And oftentimes our preconceptions of it is from tradition and culture and not from the Bible. We discussed one aspect of this in What is the Biblical view of hell?


For me the the language translation argument doesn't help unless you're going to go the extra mile to proclaim that English Bibles are so grossly off-message that they aren't even worth reading.

But if you go that far, then you've pretty much made the case for everyone who rejects the Bible as it is written today's in English.

That would be a pretty radical position to take I would think.

otseng wrote:

The Bible is unique in that it has correspondence with science, history, and archeology. Not that it's a science or history book, but it makes claims that can be verified through science, history, and archeology.


Again this amounts to a human subjective opinion. One that I certainly disagree with.

To begin with all cultures that have created religions have linked them to real historical events in their own cultures. Greek Mythology is filled with references to actual historical events that historians have shown actually occurred in Greek history. Same thing is true of American Indian religions, etc. Same thing for cultures like the Incas, Aztecs, and even the Egyptians. In fact, I would think it would be next to impossible to find a religion that doesn't tell stories within the context of the history of the culture that is telling the stories.

So this is certainly not "unique" to Hebrew mythology.

Secondly I would disagree with your claim that the Bible has correspondence with science. I would say it's just the opposite. The Bible claims that Adam and Eve's fall from grace was want brought death and imperfections into the world. Including specifically stating that God caused thorns to grow on plants because of this. This does not correspond with what is known about our Earth from science.

The Bible claims that there was a Great Flood that killed off all but a handful of humans at a time after humans had evolved enough to have built entire cities. This has correspondence with science. The Human Genome Project has been studying the evolution of humans from our earliest beginnings. And they have found no evidence of any DNA bottle neck that killed off the vast majority of humans on planet earth. So the Bible does not have a correspondence with scientific knowledge.

There are other differences between known science and what the Bible requires to be true as well, but no point in citing all of them. The ones mentioned here should be more than sufficient already.

otseng wrote:

Ultimately it is the life of Jesus that Christianity centers around. His impact on world history is without equal. Yet, viewing his life, you scratch your head and wonder how can such an obscure itinerant Jewish preacher have had such an impact? How did he come up with such a profound philosophy of life that nobody at the time around him really understood? Why did he not do any of the typical things in order to have a successful ministry? If he was just a man, how did he pull off having so many people follow him, even 2000 years later?


For me these are easy questions. To begin with Jesus didn't teach anything out of the ordinary on a global scale. Almost everything he taught had already been taught in India some 500 years earlier by Buddha. Also many of the core principles had also been taught by Confucius in China. So it's actually incorrect to say that Jesus introduced knew things that hadn't already been known and considered previously.

Why did he become such a global influence? Because Christianity was made into a religion where the people pushing it would cut off your head if you dared to speak out against it. Those same people also went around terrorizing and destroying the temples of other religions. Constantine decreed Christianity to be the official religion of Rome. Even Christian sects that didn't agree with the Christianity we have today were mass murdered.

It's nothing Jesus did that caused Christianity to become as infamous as it is today. It became a religion that simply wouldn't tolerate non-believers. Every hear of the Crusades?

Even as recent as the days of Isaac Newton a person could be seriously outcast from society if they dared to question or speak out against Christianity.

So no, I'm not the slightest be surprised or curious that this religion has become what it is today.

Plus, isn't this a rather feeble argument when Islam is just as popular in the world today?

If this argument works for Christianity then surely it should work for Islam just as well.

otseng wrote:

Most of the attacks I see on Christianity are straw man arguments. It is easy to mock ridiculous beliefs that most Christians don't even hold, belittle extreme fundamentalism, attack mischaracterizations of Christianity, and scorn interpretations of the Bible that practically no Christians hold. I have yet to see any serious attack on Christianity that has caused me to seriously doubt the truth of Christianity.


All I can say that if this is true then you haven't been paying very much attention to the arguments against it. Either that or you are so unwilling to consider them that you automatically brand them as being mischaracterizations without taking a very close look at them.

Have you ever thought to ask why a God who supposedly wants humans to know and understand him would confuse the issues so much that so many people would have a grossly wrong understanding of his word?

The other argument along these lines is that these people must simply be evil and have no desire to know God, etc., etc., etc. But any decent person who recognized the Bible to be absurd knows that this can't be true.

I would need to be an evil person who intentionally hates all that is good and lusts for all that is evil. I know that's false. Therefore any accusations along those lines are also necessarily false.


otseng wrote:

Christianity is a worldview that makes sense of life, gives purpose to life, challenges and encourages people, and answers all the major philosophical questions.


What purpose does it give? The purpose to avoid eternal punishment and hope for eternal life after death?

Why do secularists have no problem finding challenges and encouragement in life?

And what philosophical questions does it answer?

It certainly doesn't answer the question of how anything came to be as it doesn't say how God came to be. It's just cops-out on that question and pretends that its not worth asking.

It truly doesn't answer anything. Even Christian Clergy preach that we must have faith that God will answer all the unanswered questions after we die. So even they confess that it doesn't answer all the major philosophical questions. They're hoping that God will cough up the answers at some later date. That's the reality on the ground.

Goto top, bottom
View user's profile 
Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 10: Sat Jan 11, 2020 4:24 am
Reply

Like this post (1): ttruscott
Difflugia wrote:

JehovahsWitness wrote:
It s very much like doing a puzzle. You have a piece and wonder where it fits, the "oh it doesnt have to fit" school of biblical thinking will either throw the piece out ("oh that must be a writers error") or force it into a place that looks about right. Both of which will lead to a distorted picture in the end. Thus is born countless theologies (eternal hellfire, the immortality of the soul, hellfire, etc.) and thousands of nominal Christian denominations.

Do you think this is intentional on the part of either God or the authors? I understand the process you've described as well as its necessity to verbal inerrancy, but it then seems to me that the "puzzle" quality of the Bible must be intentional.

Did God inspire, for example, Matthew and Luke to write accounts that were possible to reconcile, but difficult on purpose? Or do you see the difficulty as just coincidental to different writing styles and I'm making too much of it?



That God's message needs to be "pierced together " and it is sometimes quite difficult to do so was clearly intentional. The biblical tradition has always been progressive in nature which by definition involves fitting one piece to another subsequent one. So yes, you are absolutely right, the "that the "puzzle" quality of the Bible " is indeed intentional.

As for the gospels, I believe the intention was simply to provide four different accounts, written by four very different personalities, focusing on different areas, events, discourses, etc from different perspectives with the aim of providing as complete a picture as possible (and practical) of the life of Christ. Given that objective there were bound to be areas where the reader would have to use discernment.

Frustrating the willfully ignorant and sorting those that have faith in Gods omnipotent ability to protect his word (The wheat) from "the chaff" of those that believe he cannot or choses not to do so, is, I think just a fringe benefit.




JW



Quote:
A NOTE ON BIBLICAL HARMONIZATION: Some question why one should even seek internal harmony at all. The answer is therein lies the true understanding of scripture. All the passages in the bible are like individual rays of light; the points at which they converge into one is what we call a biblical truth. By taking a particular question, what happens at death? Does one have to belong to an organized religion? Is God a trinity? Do we have an immortal soul? Is he'll hot?.... and taking ALL the passages related to each question and finding where they all converge and harmonize one arrives at a biblical truth. Those that believe all these individual scriptures on any given topic cannot possibly converge at a single point of truth will never find it. Those that have faith that this "mysterious" point of absolute clarity does exist, will eventually be blessed with seeing it.

Goto top, bottom
View user's profile Visit poster's website 
Display posts from previous:   

Goto page 1, 2  Next

Jump to:  
Facebook
Tweet

 




On The Web | Ecodia | Hymn Lyrics Apps
Facebook | Twitter

Powered by phpBB © phpBB Group.   Produced by Ecodia.

Igloo   |  Lo-Fi Version