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07/22/2008 07:22:11 PM · #1
I've seen quite a few people here in the forums quote from the bible recently.

A few days ago, I stumbled upon a video you might find interesting:

//video.google.com/videoplay?docid=397006836098752165

I assume that many of you are not aware of most of these issues (I wasn't...).

Cheers,

Sam

P.S.: Something related you might not know about yet (the first one is actually fun!):

//missy.reimer.com/library/scale.html

//jdstone.org/cr/files/mithraschristianity.html
07/22/2008 07:24:20 PM · #2


watching now...

Ok..first six minutes is crap. Don't waste your time. Just pleasantries....starting on the good stuff now.

Message edited by author 2008-07-22 19:28:40.
07/22/2008 07:31:44 PM · #3
7 minute mark is the first attack on Christianity.

How can it be the word of God....if 'he didn't perform the miracle of preserving the ORIGINAL words of the bible'?

The basic premise is..that the Bible is not the word of god..beacuse their are supposedly 'errors' in the text.

Still listening.
07/22/2008 07:34:41 PM · #4
Tons of interesting examples and good questions from the audience later, just keep watching and form your opinion in the end. The whole event is all very civil and nobody is attacking anyone. ;-)
07/22/2008 07:39:54 PM · #5
seems like a bunch of hypotheticals..I listend to about the 13:10 mark....no proof that changes were made...just conjecture.

have to take a break...my headphones were getgin sweaty..and his voice is annoying.

:D

Message edited by author 2008-07-22 19:40:27.
07/22/2008 07:41:34 PM · #6
Why don't these threads just start in Rant? :)

Go read the last long, long thread in Rant as far as Mithras and Christianity. The links between the two are pretty weak.
07/22/2008 07:56:06 PM · #7
Originally posted by egamble:

7 minute mark is the first attack on Christianity.

How can it be the word of God....if 'he didn't perform the miracle of preserving the ORIGINAL words of the bible'?

The basic premise is..that the Bible is not the word of god..beacuse their are supposedly 'errors' in the text.

Still listening.


I went back and listened to what the professor says in the beginning:

"[...] There are places where we don't know what the authors of the New Testament originally wrote. Now for some Christians, this is not a problem because they don't have a high view of scripture. For others, it's a very big problem. What does it mean to say that God inspired the words of the text if we don't have the words? Moreover, why should one think that God performed the miracle of inspiring the words of the Bible if he didn't perform the miracle of preserving the words of the Bible? If he meant to give us his very words, why didn't he make sure we receive them?"

Here, the speaker is explaining how different people may react to the fact that we don't know what the authors of the New Testament originally wrote. Some may not see it as a problem. For some it may be a big problem. And he quotes the questions this later group might ask. This is neither his own opinion nor an attack on anyone or anything. It's simply an observation. This is what some people say.

The speaker then continues:

"The problem of not having the originals of the New Testament, though, is a problem for everyone, not simply for those who believe that the Bible was inspired by God. For all of us, I think, the Bible is the most important book of Western civilization. [...]"

Does this sound like an attack on Christianity? I don't think so.

Neither this talk nor this thread could be classified as an "attack" or as a "rant". It's actually a very interesting talk and discussion. And even after having watched the whole thing, I'm unable to tell you what the professor's personal religious beliefs are. I think this speaks for the objectivity of the whole thing.
07/22/2008 08:03:24 PM · #8
Originally posted by Sam94720:

Moreover, why should one think that God performed the miracle of inspiring the words of the Bible if he didn't perform the miracle of preserving the words of the Bible? If he meant to give us his very words, why didn't he make sure we receive them?"


this is a round about way of saying....one of two things. Neither are acceptable to most christians.

1.) the bible is fallible and has inaccuracies
2.)God is fallible and can make mistakes. (OR he doesn't exist altogether in the Judeo/Christian viewpoint)

of course..this is no problem for Mormons. ( am one...for now) Since we believe the church fell away shortly after Christ' death anyways...it would make since for the bible to be slightly corrupted after the falling away of the church.

Message edited by author 2008-07-22 20:05:52.
07/22/2008 08:09:40 PM · #9
Originally posted by egamble:

seems like a bunch of hypotheticals..I listend to about the 13:10 mark....no proof that changes were made...just conjecture.

Eric, you sound as if you felt that your faith was being questioned and you had to defend it. I don't think this is the case. This guy is a literary scholar. He says in the beginning that 5700 (complete and fragmentary) copies of the New Testament in its original Greek have been found to date. There are differences between them and he explains (also by giving lots of examples) what these differences are and how they probably came to be. Many of them do not affect the tenets of the faith at all, but they give us interesting insight into the history of the text. I find this all very fascinating.
07/22/2008 08:11:33 PM · #10
Originally posted by Sam94720:

Originally posted by egamble:

seems like a bunch of hypotheticals..I listend to about the 13:10 mark....no proof that changes were made...just conjecture.

Eric, you sound as if you felt that your faith was being questioned and you had to defend it. I don't think this is the case. This guy is a literary scholar. He says in the beginning that 5700 (complete and fragmentary) copies of the New Testament in its original Greek have been found to date. There are differences between them and he explains (also by giving lots of examples) what these differences are and how they probably came to be. Many of them do not affect the tenets of the faith at all, but they give us interesting insight into the history of the text. I find this all very fascinating.


No. I didn't think that at all. Sorry for the confusion.
I was just doing a 'play by play' of what I was listening too. And I am about to lsiten to another 15-20 minutes of it. I like to digest what I hear....and respond while it is still fresh in my memory. that is all. I don't take offense...even if he is saying that God didn't inspire the Bible.

I am glad that you posted the video..I was rather bored...rained in for the day. :D

Message edited by author 2008-07-22 20:13:01.
07/22/2008 08:18:19 PM · #11
All of our debating, all of our persuading, all of our logic, feelings, and faith will neither make God exist if He doesn't, nor make God cease to exist if He does.

In the end, it is what it is, and there is no person on the face of this earth that can prove it one way or the other.

Each person can make their own decision. And having made a choice, if they chose to not beat the rest of us over the head with it so much the better.
07/22/2008 08:22:22 PM · #12
Originally posted by ambaker:

All of our debating, all of our persuading, all of our logic, feelings, and faith will neither make God exist if He doesn't, nor make God cease to exist if He does.

In the end, it is what it is, and there is no person on the face of this earth that can prove it one way or the other.

Each person can make their own decision. And having made a choice, if they chose to not beat the rest of us over the head with it so much the better.


nicely put.
07/22/2008 08:29:54 PM · #13
Originally posted by ambaker:

All of our debating, all of our persuading, all of our logic, feelings, and faith will neither make God exist if He doesn't, nor make God cease to exist if He does.

In the end, it is what it is, and there is no person on the face of this earth that can prove it one way or the other.

Each person can make their own decision. And having made a choice, if they chose to not beat the rest of us over the head with it so much the better.


That is a good way of putting it, but I believe that when you say something exists, you have to prove it does, not the other way around.

I can tell you I have an invisible dragon living in my apartment.
The conclusion to that statement isnt 'well, maybe there is, maybe there isnt'
07/22/2008 08:30:33 PM · #14
Originally posted by ambaker:

All of our debating, all of our persuading, all of our logic, feelings, and faith will neither make God exist if He doesn't, nor make God cease to exist if He does.

In the end, it is what it is, and there is no person on the face of this earth that can prove it one way or the other.

Each person can make their own decision. And having made a choice, if they chose to not beat the rest of us over the head with it so much the better.

Two things:

1. Neither the video nor this thread are about the existence of God.

2. (I probably shouldn't write this because I don't want to steer the thread away from the original topic, but I think it's important): Other people's religious faith is not just a personal issue (in most cases, at least). It has an influence on politics and on the daily lives of everyone, no matter what their beliefs are. It has an impact on whether women can get abortions. On whether we attack foreign countries (Bush cited God's will as a reason for invading Iraq) and thereby on whether our sons and daughters die in a war. On the oil price. It can motivate people to work for charities that have a significant impact on other people's lives. It influences our drug policies. etc. These impacts can be both positive and negative (and different people will put them in a different category), but their existence is indisputable. Ok, now forget about this last part and let's go back to the video... ;-)
07/22/2008 08:55:16 PM · #15
An interesting contention would be to say that the Bible is a combination of being more widely available and more reliably close to the original documents than at any other point in history. There are more authoritative copies of the New Testament than any other ancient document. While discrepancies do exist between copies, statistics will tell us that they are vastly more similar than dissimilar. Add on to that the fact the Bible is the most printed book in the world and has been translated in more languages than any other text and one can make the case that if God is somehow to be judged by his preserving his own word and making it available to everybody he's doing a pretty good job.
07/22/2008 09:09:43 PM · #16
Originally posted by DrAchoo:

An interesting contention would be to say that the Bible is a combination of being more widely available and more reliably close to the original documents than at any other point in history. There are more authoritative copies of the New Testament than any other ancient document. While discrepancies do exist between copies, statistics will tell us that they are vastly more similar than dissimilar. Add on to that the fact the Bible is the most printed book in the world and has been translated in more languages than any other text and one can make the case that if God is somehow to be judged by his preserving his own word and making it available to everybody he's doing a pretty good job.

Well, it took 2000 years. ;-) I have the impression that God didn't quite choose the most efficient way of spreading his word. If I were in his place, I would keep things short and simple. Not several different gospels that tell the same stories in a slightly different way. No statements directly contradicting each other, that's confusing. No stories that can be interpreted in various ways. Just clear instructions. Please do this. Don't do that. I like this. I don't like that. These things are important, those things I don't care about. Give my people some insight on how the world works. Maybe some maths, some biology, some physics. ;-)
07/22/2008 09:26:35 PM · #17
Originally posted by Sam94720:

Originally posted by DrAchoo:

An interesting contention would be to say that the Bible is a combination of being more widely available and more reliably close to the original documents than at any other point in history. There are more authoritative copies of the New Testament than any other ancient document. While discrepancies do exist between copies, statistics will tell us that they are vastly more similar than dissimilar. Add on to that the fact the Bible is the most printed book in the world and has been translated in more languages than any other text and one can make the case that if God is somehow to be judged by his preserving his own word and making it available to everybody he's doing a pretty good job.

Well, it took 2000 years. ;-) I have the impression that God didn't quite choose the most efficient way of spreading his word. If I were in his place, I would keep things short and simple. Not several different gospels that tell the same stories in a slightly different way. No statements directly contradicting each other, that's confusing. No stories that can be interpreted in various ways. Just clear instructions. Please do this. Don't do that. I like this. I don't like that. These things are important, those things I don't care about. Give my people some insight on how the world works. Maybe some maths, some biology, some physics. ;-)


The fallacy with that is you presume to know the mind of God. A similar fallacious analogy would be to complain that the universe is too big and empty for God to have created it. "If I were God, I wouldn't have wasted all that space for just one planet with life." The problem is if the universe were quite small and cozy someone could just as easily say, "If I were God, I'd certainly have made things bigger and more impressive. Look how small our universe is." So in the end if God had done things your way, short and sweet, we'd be having threads where people bellyache that God has an IQ of 97 and sure isn't very creative or poetic.
07/22/2008 10:14:55 PM · #18
Were getting further and further away from the original topic, but anyways:

Originally posted by DrAchoo:

The fallacy with that is you presume to know the mind of God.

Well, some people claim to know exactly what God wants (with respect to sex, contraception, abortion, gay marriage, sometimes even science, healthcare, war, etc.). But when confronted with critical questions, they say things like "Our limited human minds cannot presume to understand God." or "It's God's mysterious plan we humans will never be able to understand.".

So can we figure out what God wants or not? You can't have it both ways...
07/22/2008 10:20:19 PM · #19
One thing is certain and one thing we know for sure.
The fact that there must exist many things that we do not know or understand.

Only 100 years from now the PC's, Mac's, and Cell-phones/text-messaging, they will all be replaced like dinasaurs.
On the other hand, on of my favorite movie producers' film, Stnly Kubricks's "2001 Space Oddysey", showed spae stations by 2001. We're not as far advanced as that Sci-Fi film, yet.

The point is we're just very "Newbies" on this little blue planet, and maybe we're even just too dumb for the extra-terrestrials out there. They don't even want to meet us, or for us to see them. I hope we're not just a giant "Ant Farm" in god's rec-room.

I think the ten comandments' interpretations may have been intact. Their ideas are reflected in many other religions, too. I'll check the video later.
07/22/2008 10:22:03 PM · #20
Originally posted by egamble:



this is a round about way of saying....one of two things. Neither are acceptable to most christians.

1.) the bible is fallible and has inaccuracies
2.)God is fallible and can make mistakes. (OR he doesn't exist altogether in the Judeo/Christian viewpoint)

3. no mistake was made and it was all part of the plan.
07/22/2008 10:24:38 PM · #21
Originally posted by DrAchoo:

...as far as Mithras and Christianity. The links between the two are pretty weak.

Not really. The story of Jesus exhibits signs of syncretism. He also follows Joseph Campbell's Hero with a Thousand Faces monomyth formula, and scores fairly high on Lord Raglan's scale.
07/22/2008 10:59:19 PM · #22
Originally posted by david_c:

Originally posted by DrAchoo:

...as far as Mithras and Christianity. The links between the two are pretty weak.

Not really. The story of Jesus exhibits signs of syncretism. He also follows Joseph Campbell's Hero with a Thousand Faces monomyth formula, and scores fairly high on Lord Raglan's scale.


I'm always amazed why people who are normally quite skeptical can embrace a good conspiracy theory. (I actually don't know you at all David, but I thought I'd use the quote to make the observation).
07/22/2008 11:01:14 PM · #23
Originally posted by Sam94720:

Were getting further and further away from the original topic, but anyways:

Originally posted by DrAchoo:

The fallacy with that is you presume to know the mind of God.

Well, some people claim to know exactly what God wants (with respect to sex, contraception, abortion, gay marriage, sometimes even science, healthcare, war, etc.). But when confronted with critical questions, they say things like "Our limited human minds cannot presume to understand God." or "It's God's mysterious plan we humans will never be able to understand.".

So can we figure out what God wants or not? You can't have it both ways...


So what happened to your "nobody is attacking anybody" angle?

We can have an idea of what God wants, but we are unlikely to know the way he will accomplish it. A dog can generally know the wishes of his master, but I doubt he understands his mind. (Just as an analogy for a great/lesser being relationship)
07/23/2008 04:20:06 AM · #24
Originally posted by DrAchoo:

So what happened to your "nobody is attacking anybody" angle?

We can have an idea of what God wants, but we are unlikely to know the way he will accomplish it. A dog can generally know the wishes of his master, but I doubt he understands his mind. (Just as an analogy for a great/lesser being relationship)

Everything's still very civil and friendly here, nobody is attacking anyone. I wonder why when it comes to religion, anything that might be interpreted as criticism or even just a question is considered an "attack".

Ok, watch out, here comes my attempt to bring the whole issue back to the original topic: So you say we can have an idea of what God wants. Where does this idea come from? I see three basic possible sources (maybe there are more, let me know):

1) Personal conversation with God
2) Authority (the Pope, your priest, etc.)
3) Scripture

1) may be a valuable source for you, but it is not useful for discussions about policy. "God told me [...], therefore we have to [...]" simply doesn't work because others have no access to your private experiences. In addition, different people may claim to have been told different things by God. How would we decide which one to listen to?

2) poses the same problems as 1). Which authority should we trust? There are hundreds of "versions" of Christianity alone.

3) Scripture seems to be the only source that is accessible to everyone and could be used as a basis for discussion. But how can we know what God wants when his original words were not preserved and we have hundreds of different versions of the Bible? When stories were added centuries later? When only a fraction of the gospels made it into the eventual book? This is what the video is about. Jesus did not speak English. He probably spoke Aramaic. The New Testament was originally written in Greek. You see, the Bible your are holding in your hand was translated several times from one language into another (which always affects its meaning to some degree - "traduttore traditore"). And through the centuries, other aspects of the text have been changed. This is simply a fact one should be aware of, especially as a Christian.

(And by the way, we have been limiting our discussion to Christianity. There are many other religions that have their own scriptures which are also used to figure out what God wants (or what several different Gods want). How do you choose which scriptures to rely on?)
07/23/2008 05:32:32 AM · #25
Sam, thanks for the post. I watched the whole thing instead of getting ready for my date = pigtails and no make-up, awesome. Seriously though, this is a really great lecture. Interesting topic, well presented, and completely scholarly. But honestly, this lecture was tame. I just completed a minor in religion and have studied discrepancies of much more major consequence than the things he brought up. The guy definitely tread lightly in that regard. For one thing his focus is entirely on discrepancies in the new testament, which are incredibly tame in comparison to some of the things from the old testament, and his discussion of translation issues was brief, there's lots there.

Here are the things that bug me about "misquoting the bible"

1) If there are all these little discrepancies here and there, and places where scribes have clearly taken liberty with scripture, and we have a nice long gap of time before we have any documents to compare to... who's to say what of the rest of it is true or not? No this doesn't prove anything, but it is something that we should recognize. The word of God has been entrusted to humans and thus has been tampered with, there's a chance that anything in there could have been altered or added. I just think that is something important for people to understand when they are looking to build a closer relationship with their God. Again, where this really becomes an issue is the Old Testament. And that's where most of our current sticky political issues find their roots.

2) Many of the "small" discrepancies Prof Ehrmen mentioned really can affect how a person develops their personal relationship with God. I mean if I really want to know Jesus, know what he was really like, what he struggled with, how he persevered etc, I'm gonna be a little upset that the scribes are telling me "little white lies" about whether or not he was angry, how divine he was or how human, and other such personal qualities. I mean I'm really gonna want to know the guy, and the more changes they make, however so small, put more distance between me and my direct knowledge of him.

I feel like I'm not expressing myself very well, but my main point is that I think for a person of serious faith this is a very potent issue, however NOT one that aught to shudder the foundations of their belief. I don't mean to be offensive, but seriously, it's a book with some words. Words that were written by humans. Inspired by God or not, we're faulty. And when it comes down to it, are you going to follow what you know in your heart to be right, a heart that you very well may feel is completely dedicated to your relationship with God, a heart that you may even believe is guided by God, or will you allow a few words in an imperfect manuscript dictate your understanding of God and the world? I mean, aren't you going to take a personal sit down with God over a book written by men?

I think it is important to understand where the major discrepancies lie and simply accept that they exist rather than rationalizing them, because honestly you can't be sure until you sit down and talk to the guy. I think that the more you know about the history of your faith and the technicalities of its development then the greater an understanding you will develop of your beliefs and what will likely follow from that is a stronger faith.

The worst way to encounter these issues is to rationalize and ignore them. The guy with the Aristotle's logic question comes to mind (ps the Q & A is the best part). He thought he'd gotten the prof in one stroke. That he'd just rendered irrelevant everything the prof had based his life's work on. But he completely missed the point Prof Ehmen was trying to make. If what you're concerned with is really knowing your faith, then it is important to look a little more closely.

Sorry so long and not eloquent. It's late, but I've been pondering these kinds of things for years now. Thought I'd share.

Message edited by author 2008-07-23 05:35:39.
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