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What makes Jesus so special? - Page 3

post #41 of 187
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Originally Posted by Thao View Post
I'm following this discussion with interest. I get what Karen is saying about myth, but given that there were others besides Jesus that claimed messiah-hood around that time, not to mention other religions being practiced at that time which didn't survive, I don't think timing was a decisive factor. To me, the decisive factor was Constantine's adoption of Christianity as the official religion of the Roman Empire. Christianity and Islam are the two most widely practiced religions in the world today, and they also happen to be the two which have been most historically intertwined with and spread by empires. It's a pretty simple explanation, but it works for me.
I think this has some truth in it, as far as the widespread adoption of Christianity goes. What I think it doesn't address is why, in many cases, people are so emotionally and intellectually drawn to Christianity, and why they seem so passionate about it. Many non-Christians commented on the fervor of early Christians, even before it (especially before) it was an official religion.

I think a big part of it is that Christianity claimed to solve a problem that most of us, as humans, understand - why do we seem separated from God? How to we overcome that separation? It was a well understood question by both philosophers and relatively common people then, and it continues to be now, I suspect because it is part of the human condition. And importantly, it answered it in a way that was both emotionally and intellectually satisfying, and it claimed to be an answer for all people, whatever their class, gender, race, or whatever.

Now, I think all the other big religions attempt to answer the same questions, and appeal to both the emotional and intellectual, which is why they are popular and survive. In many cases, the religions that have "failed" failed to provide the answers people needed in some way - gnosticism is the first to come to my mind, though there are others.

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The religions that are really puzzling to me are the ones that have survived without ever being adopted by an empire or political power of any significant size. Judaism for example. When you think about it, it is astonishing that Jews maintained their identity for thousands of years without a homeland and in face of horrible social persecution. Buddhism too, although not to the extent of Judaism, as it occasionally was the favored religion of some Chinese and Indian emperors, then other times fell out of favor and was persecuted.
I agree that the survival of Judaism is rather amazing, I suppose many Jews would say it was because God looked out for them - which seems reasonable to me. I think it has also helped that it's nature has tended to create a very identifiable community which is in some ways, inward looking. Not a lot of marrying outside the community, special diets that make dining at non-Jewish establishments difficult, etc. A sense of identity as a people always seems to have remained.

I think Buddhism's survival is based largely on it's success at explaining and solving the problem of being human, and of course they do missionary work. There are some Buddhist nations, though they are rather small.
post #42 of 187
but we do still use forms of "mythology" (though peopel wouldn't call it that) to explain things we don't understand... that is my point. so we can't look abck and say "look how much mythology they used b/c they didn't know science". science is one of MANY ways of figuring out how things work and why they are. a very valuable way it isn't the supreme way... atleast not in my eyes. as it is often proven wrong in later years and redescovered over and over...
post #43 of 187
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I think a big part of it is that Christianity claimed to solve a problem that most of us, as humans, understand - why do we seem separated from God? How to we overcome that separation? It was a well understood question by both philosophers and relatively common people then, and it continues to be now, I suspect because it is part of the human condition. And importantly, it answered it in a way that was both emotionally and intellectually satisfying, and it claimed to be an answer for all people, whatever their class, gender, race, or whatever.
Absolutely, I agree. If it doesn't answer life's big questions in an emotionally and spiritually satisfying way, a religion that is imposed will only last for as long as its imposer does. Thus no one worships Ceasar any more .
post #44 of 187
Karen: Yes, I understand you don't believe the Bible is true and are coming at it from that perspective. I think you should avoid the term 'myth' because of its connotations to literary genre, though (or maybe I'm over-English-majorising this). The Bible wasn't written as a myth - it was deliberately written in ways which allowed its readers to fact-check, ask around and corroborate.

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I don't think the stories of Christ would take hold of the world in the same way in this era as they would have in the past because our understanding of how the world operates isn't based in mythology.
Again, that presupposes the stories are false. If someone actually did perform miracles today, 'scientific thought' would go a long way to proving he wasn't a trickster or a fraud. Believers could say to skeptics 'Well, how do you answer these statistics/this data/that videotape, then?'

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There are plenty of "minor" or persecuted religions that survive for centuries.
Pagans are just one example.
I know. And their continued existence is also a good question.
post #45 of 187
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Originally Posted by Smokering View Post
Karen: Yes, I understand you don't believe the Bible is true and are coming at it from that perspective. I think you should avoid the term 'myth' because of its connotations to literary genre, though (or maybe I'm over-English-majorising this). The Bible wasn't written as a myth - it was deliberately written in ways which allowed its readers to fact-check, ask around and corroborate.
From MiriamWebster's definition:

Myth:
1. a usually traditional story of ostensibly historical events that serves to unfold part of the world view of a people or explain a practice, belief, or natural phenomenon b: parable , allegory
2 a: a popular belief or tradition that has grown up around something or someone ; especially : one embodying the ideals and institutions of a society or segment of society


Actually my word choice is intentional. The key tennets of the faith cannot be corroborated - a virgin birth, the miracles, the Easter story. There may be historical details in the book - that happens in almost all works of fiction.
I know people believe in it deeply and I don't mean to offend but even CS Lewis refers to the life of Christ as a myth.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Smokering View Post
Again, that presupposes the stories are false. If someone actually did perform miracles today, 'scientific thought' would go a long way to proving he wasn't a trickster or a fraud. Believers could say to skeptics 'Well, how do you answer these statistics/this data/that videotape, then?'
I'm not sure I am making myself clear on this issue - so I will try one more time and let it go.
In a post-Enlightenment age where reason rather than religious authority plays the predominant role in informing the world view of the population, and even moreso in the Information age where information travels so quickly and is easily verifiable, I don't believe that the stories of Jesus, would have "stuck" had they been introduced today. I believe the timing of the introduction of the Christian mythology was key in its acceptance and longevity.

Do miracles come with data, statistics and video tapes now?
As a skeptic, I'm looking forward to that.
post #46 of 187
I am a Christian in only, like, the fringiest, freakiest sense, so I speak for no one but myself.

I believe the Bible contains spiritual, not literal truth, so the idea that the writer's of the Gospels "ripped off" earlier god/man stories isn't a big deal to me. I think that, in all likelihood, that happened, and it doesn't change the way I think of the Bible or the Gospels a bit.

That said, what makes Jesus special to me is his message. When you take all of what he said in it's entirety, as related by the Gospels, it's pretty remarkable. As corny as it sounds, when the rules are to love one another as the most important commandment, to follow the golden rule, to withhold judgement of others, to store your riches in heaven rather than in monetary wealth, to serve either God or mammon... it makes my life easier to ask what Jesus would do when a bothersome situation arises.

Now, if Jesus was ripping off good ideas of others who came before him, fine by me. He still was doing the right thing by assembling them into one coherent message and spreading it.

I know that what I believe isn't orthodox Christianity, and that's okay with me. Nonetheless, I think what made Jesus special wasn't his birth to a virgin or his paternity, it was what he did with his time on Earth. I think all that other stuff is just that- "other". Just window dressing.
post #47 of 187
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Actually my word choice is intentional. The key tennets of the faith cannot be corroborated - a virgin birth, the miracles, the Easter story. There may be historical details in the book - that happens in almost all works of fiction.
I know people believe in it deeply and I don't mean to offend but even CS Lewis refers to the life of Christ as a myth.
The key tenets were written in a way which would have allowed them to be corroborated at the time, however, unlike most myths. I know CS Lewis referred to Christianity as a 'true myth' - meaning no slander on the historicity of the Gospel narratives - but it is still a word I think should be used carefully, as it can mean anything from 'I don't like it' to 'it's poetic and moving'.

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I'm not sure I am making myself clear on this issue - so I will try one more time and let it go.
In a post-Enlightenment age where reason rather than religious authority plays the predominant role in informing the world view of the population, and even moreso in the Information age where information travels so quickly and is easily verifiable, I don't believe that the stories of Jesus, would have "stuck" had they been introduced today. I believe the timing of the introduction of the Christian mythology was key in its acceptance and longevity.
I know that's what you've said, and I disagree, with arguments you have not addressed. Your worldview also presupposes that the stories of Jesus were false, which is obviously not my position, so we clearly can't agree there.

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Do miracles come with data, statistics and video tapes now?
As a skeptic, I'm looking forward to that.
No reason they shouldn't.
post #48 of 187
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Originally Posted by Leta View Post
I am a Christian in only, like, the fringiest, freakiest sense, so I speak for no one but myself.

I believe the Bible contains spiritual, not literal truth, so the idea that the writer's of the Gospels "ripped off" earlier god/man stories isn't a big deal to me. I think that, in all likelihood, that happened, and it doesn't change the way I think of the Bible or the Gospels a bit.

That said, what makes Jesus special to me is his message. When you take all of what he said in it's entirety, as related by the Gospels, it's pretty remarkable. As corny as it sounds, when the rules are to love one another as the most important commandment, to follow the golden rule, to withhold judgement of others, to store your riches in heaven rather than in monetary wealth, to serve either God or mammon... it makes my life easier to ask what Jesus would do when a bothersome situation arises.

Now, if Jesus was ripping off good ideas of others who came before him, fine by me. He still was doing the right thing by assembling them into one coherent message and spreading it.

I know that what I believe isn't orthodox Christianity, and that's okay with me. Nonetheless, I think what made Jesus special wasn't his birth to a virgin or his paternity, it was what he did with his time on Earth. I think all that other stuff is just that- "other". Just window dressing.

maybe I'm misunderstanding... but I'm not sure I follow this line of thinking. ?

the thing I don't understand about this... is that he claimed to be God's son. part God. he wasn't wishy washy about it... unless of course you don't believe everything written about him in the gospels was true... and in that case, I really REALLY don't get why one would be a follower of Jesus if they didn't believe that Jesus was really there or that the gospels spoke the truth about him. If the gospels don't speak the truth and Jesus words weren't really Jesus' words... then what is left? a really great guy who may or may not have lived and who may or may not have said some great things about loving thy neighbor?

really, at that point... I'd rather just worship Martin Luther King Jr. He was awesome! AND I know people in this generation that actually saw him AND we have video and audio of him speaking.

MANY people have assembled great messages together... but that doesn't make me want to join a religion and be "of them". ykwim?

or maybe I am missing something? (which of course is entirely possible)
post #49 of 187
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smokering View Post
The key tenets were written in a way which would have allowed them to be corroborated at the time, however, unlike most myths. I know CS Lewis referred to Christianity as a 'true myth' - meaning no slander on the historicity of the Gospel narratives - but it is still a word I think should be used carefully, as it can mean anything from 'I don't like it' to 'it's poetic and moving'.

How on earth could they have been corroborated when they weren't even written until well AFTER Jesus died? And of course it's all a myth! It's not proven to be true, and it's a deeply held explanation of history. Very little of the Bible has EVER been proven to be true. That doesn't negate the faith of Christianity, but I think it's belittling of the entire belief system to claim it's historically accurate and NOT a myth.


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Originally Posted by HennyPenny View Post
the thing I don't understand about this... is that he claimed to be God's son. part God. he wasn't wishy washy about it... unless of course you don't believe everything written about him in the gospels was true... and in that case, I really REALLY don't get why one would be a follower of Jesus if they didn't believe that Jesus was really there or that the gospels spoke the truth about him. If the gospels don't speak the truth and Jesus words weren't really Jesus' words... then what is left? a really great guy who may or may not have lived and who may or may not have said some great things about loving thy neighbor?

really, at that point... I'd rather just worship Martin Luther King Jr. He was awesome! AND I know people in this generation that actually saw him AND we have video and audio of him speaking.

MANY people have assembled great messages together... but that doesn't make me want to join a religion and be "of them".
I think, unintentionally, you just said what I think I realize I come by this line of thought from a jaded perspective. I, and so many other people I know, have been abused emotionally/physically/etc etc by Christianity. And after years of soul searching, it just clicked with me one day that this (what you wrote) is my conclusion about Christianity. And since then I have had more peace in my soul, more love in my heart, than ANY day that I was a BA. I spent years in the church asking questions and begging for ANY rational answer that didn't contradict itself somewhere down the line. In the end, the hypocrisy and bigotry was just too much for me. I was terrified to walk away from my belief system. I was told from day one that people who know 'the truth' and yet deny Christ will suffer in this life and eternally in the next. And honestly, it was worth the risk to get away from that hell.

So HP, people like you who just get so much joy out of your beliefs just amaze me. Not in a sarcastic sense whatsoever, but in a sense of respect because you found in this belief something I never could. I don't understand it, but I don't have to. I just really can appreciate how much it means to be at peace with what you hold to be true.
post #50 of 187
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smokering View Post
The key tenets were written in a way which would have allowed them to be corroborated at the time, however, unlike most myths. I know CS Lewis referred to Christianity as a 'true myth' - meaning no slander on the historicity of the Gospel narratives - but it is still a word I think should be used carefully, as it can mean anything from 'I don't like it' to 'it's poetic and moving'.
And I have said I am not using it carelessly. The fact that it is deeply believed by some does not prove it is true, nor does the change the fact that it meets the common definitions of myth.

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Originally Posted by Smokering View Post
I know that's what you've said, and I disagree, with arguments you have not addressed. Your worldview also presupposes that the stories of Jesus were false, which is obviously not my position, so we clearly can't agree there..
I'm re-reading your posts to see what arguments of yours I have not addressed.
Is this the one you mean?:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smokering View Post
why in an age of scientific thought would Jesus' miracles be viewed as parables or myth? It doesn't follow at all. Science deals with the natural world: it has officially no comment on the supernatural. The Bible is very clear that Jesus' actions were unusual and went against the laws of nature, so any objections that 'people can't walk on water!' or 'that's impossible!' have no teeth: that's the whole point, after all! Under a scientific worldview Jesus' miracles could be seen as either true or false, but calling them 'parables' or 'myths' would simply be very unscientific bad scholarship. The New Testament contains examples of the literary genre 'parable'; the story of Jesus' life isn't one of them. Likewise, the Gospels are not written as myth; they are written as historical narrative...
I admit you've lost me here. Of course the Bible is clear that his actions were unusual - how else would it demonstrate that he was to be regarded as different from the common man, if not by telling fantastical stories about him. I don't believe he did change water into wine. I think that the science we have today would have disproven this "fact" and it would have been revealed for what it is - a parable. Healing the sick or restoring sight, or raising the dead, even the loaves and fishes story - those can all be viewed as metaphors for restoring or sharing faith, rather than being believed literally. There is no evidence other than the bible stories that these things actually happened. I think we may just be talking in circles.

I disagree with your continued assertions that the Gospels were written as historical narrative, or that they serve as eyewitness accounts. They were written decades, if not centuries, after the fact, and there is little corroboration with other non-Christian historical texts of the time. The time lag would suggest that "fact checking" would have been difficult. There is much evidence that the Gospels of Mathew and Luke share a common source, likely the Gospel of Mark, and that they are too similar to be 'eyewitness accounts'.
So given that, I'm not sure how to refute your assertions. You believe the stories of the Gospels to be true based on faith (I assume) - which is admirable. I believe them to be stories based on the evidence I've read. Our differing base assumptions make it difficult to address this.
post #51 of 187
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How on earth could they have been corroborated when they weren't even written until well AFTER Jesus died? And of course it's all a myth! It's not proven to be true, and it's a deeply held explanation of history. Very little of the Bible has EVER been proven to be true. That doesn't negate the faith of Christianity, but I think it's belittling of the entire belief system to claim it's historically accurate and NOT a myth.
They were written after Jesus died, but close enough to his lifetime that there were still living witnesses to the events that occurred. And I'm not sure where you get the line that 'very little' of the Bible has been proven true. One, it presupposes that something which claims to be a historical narrative requires external proof, which gets into interesting presuppositionalist territory; and two, a good deal of the historical narratives of the Bible have been corroborated by external evidence (textual or archaeological).

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I admit you've lost me here. Of course the Bible is clear that his actions were unusual - how else would it demonstrate that he was to be regarded as different from the common man, if not by telling fantastical stories about him. I don't believe he did change water into wine. I think that the science we have today would have disproven this "fact" and it would have been revealed for what it is - a parable. Healing the sick or restoring sight, or raising the dead, even the loaves and fishes story - those can all be viewed as metaphors for restoring or sharing faith, rather than being believed literally. There is no evidence other than the bible stories that these things actually happened. I think we may just be talking in circles.
Can you show me a decent, hermeneutically sound literary theory of the New Testament which demonstrates how it is academically reasonable to read Jesus' miracles as parables or metaphor? Because that's not a theory I have ever heard before; the Gospels are, as I repeat, written as historical narratives. It doesn't matter whether you think they're false historical narratives or true, the genre they're written in is historical narrative. There are parables within them, sure, but they're clearly marked as such. The miracles simply do not read like parables: it's like claiming that this paragraph of text is actually poetry. It isn't; it doesn't read like poetry, it doesn't have the textual features of poetry. As for being written decades after Christ's death and in some cases drawing on other texts for research, how does this make them not historical narrative? Most history books follow those procedures; it doesn't make them parables.

As for science disproving the water into wine miracle, I don't really know what you mean. Do you mean if the story was circulated scientists could chemically examine the dregs in the wine-cups and determine it to be of earthly origin? Or use forensics to prove Jesus didn't go near the wineskins at the time of the alleged transformation? Or... what? Science proving that it is impossible for water to turn into wine would of course be irrelevant, as its being impossible is the whole point; and modern science, with its emphasis on philosophical naturalism, could certainly offer no comment on the possibility of supernatural occurrences changing the water into wine. So what exactly do you mean? Given you don't believe the event actually occurred at all, how would science go about disproving the stories?
post #52 of 187
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Originally Posted by Theoretica View Post
I think, unintentionally, you just said what I think I realize I come by this line of thought from a jaded perspective. I, and so many other people I know, have been abused emotionally/physically/etc etc by Christianity. And after years of soul searching, it just clicked with me one day that this (what you wrote) is my conclusion about Christianity. And since then I have had more peace in my soul, more love in my heart, than ANY day that I was a BA. I spent years in the church asking questions and begging for ANY rational answer that didn't contradict itself somewhere down the line. In the end, the hypocrisy and bigotry was just too much for me. I was terrified to walk away from my belief system. I was told from day one that people who know 'the truth' and yet deny Christ will suffer in this life and eternally in the next. And honestly, it was worth the risk to get away from that hell.

So HP, people like you who just get so much joy out of your beliefs just amaze me. Not in a sarcastic sense whatsoever, but in a sense of respect because you found in this belief something I never could. I don't understand it, but I don't have to. I just really can appreciate how much it means to be at peace with what you hold to be true.
I find it very sad that whatever church you were from seems to have discouraged personally seeking truth/God. That is never healthy! nd if anything goes against everything that Jesus taught (you know... if you believe he existed )

I think it stems from worrying of people turning away. turning their back on God b/c when they search maybe they don't "search right" or enough or what have you... and then people would just leave b/c they were sick of not finding answers. (but on the other side "forced belief" isn't belief. it's just fear of an organization.) something else I dont understand is how this differs from why we broke off with the catholic church? (no offense to catholics!! I'm just speaking of the reformation, not intending to bash anyone!) But the entire "protestant" movement was based on the fact that the common folk should be able pursue God and the readings of the Bible without being told what to believe. Jesus' teaching, though they do NOT tell us to "do whatever you want and you'll find God/truth there" they do tell us to pursue God on our own apart from "organized religion" AND to enjoy corporate religion. in other words, worship apart and together.

I don't mean to be stupid... or weird or extremely off - but I think it's important for people to realize that even as a Christian (who believes in the word of God/bible) that god existed BEFORE the Bible. The Bible is one of many vessels we have to Him. but we are narrowminded. always wanting so much proof, or literary text - like the story in the OT when the jews wanted to have a king like everyone else instead of following a vision/cloud/fire etc of God. they whined about it so much He finally gave them a King.. and then they fought over that. But God has always been there and always will. We can seek him in our hearts, every single day - even if we didn't know a single verse of the Bible, our hearts could still cry out to God. ykwim?

I believe we *should* use the Bible, b/c we have it. I just don't think it is our only vessel to god. long long long before Bible, was prayer. The one link to God that can never be disputed, proven, disproven, broken or lost.

But questioning isn't somerhign new... or something bad. (unless you're questioning just to be "devil's advocate" or something...) But peopel have been questioning the truth and ligitimacy of the Bible since the beginnings! I was just reading about how in the reform, Martin Luther heavily questions Revelations and a few other books beforehand. In the reform!! that's not that long ago... and protestants love ML, so why would they choose to ignore where his questioning got them?

(I'm not protestant, btw but grew up as one... not that a had a single clue who ML was back then lol!)

and please, don't for a second think I have total "peace" about any subject in this world. we aren't always meant to feel "total peace" - how can we in a world like this without being divine all knowing beings? that little lack of faith we feel about certain things at certain times keep us pursuing truth. (we're just good at tuning it out now that we have tv, radio, ipods, computer, cars, and... MDC hehehe)
post #53 of 187
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Originally Posted by Smokering View Post
They were written after Jesus died, but close enough to his lifetime that there were still living witnesses to the events that occurred. And I'm not sure where you get the line that 'very little' of the Bible has been proven true. One, it presupposes that something which claims to be a historical narrative requires external proof, which gets into interesting presuppositionalist territory; and two, a good deal of the historical narratives of the Bible have been corroborated by external evidence (textual or archaeological).


Can you show me a decent, hermeneutically sound literary theory of the New Testament which demonstrates how it is academically reasonable to read Jesus' miracles as parables or metaphor? Because that's not a theory I have ever heard before; the Gospels are, as I repeat, written as historical narratives. It doesn't matter whether you think they're false historical narratives or true, the genre they're written in is historical narrative. There are parables within them, sure, but they're clearly marked as such. The miracles simply do not read like parables: it's like claiming that this paragraph of text is actually poetry. It isn't; it doesn't read like poetry, it doesn't have the textual features of poetry. As for being written decades after Christ's death and in some cases drawing on other texts for research, how does this make them not historical narrative? Most history books follow those procedures; it doesn't make them parables.

As for science disproving the water into wine miracle, I don't really know what you mean. Do you mean if the story was circulated scientists could chemically examine the dregs in the wine-cups and determine it to be of earthly origin? Or use forensics to prove Jesus didn't go near the wineskins at the time of the alleged transformation? Or... what? Science proving that it is impossible for water to turn into wine would of course be irrelevant, as its being impossible is the whole point; and modern science, with its emphasis on philosophical naturalism, could certainly offer no comment on the possibility of supernatural occurrences changing the water into wine. So what exactly do you mean? Given you don't believe the event actually occurred at all, how would science go about disproving the stories?
I'm sorry but your logic doesn't flow for me and I think it is because you assume that the text is true and I assume it is fiction. I look at this from a big picture perspective and you seem to be focused on the details. If Jesus died in say 33 AD and the Gospel of Mark was written after the fall of Jerusalem, that would leave a 40 year gap - a long time for an eye witness account. Who is corroborating facts 40+ years after the event - especially given the potential lifespan of people at that time. It's a huge leap in logic.

I can write something, give it grounding in historical facts and say that it is written as an eyewitness account. Doesn't make it true. If there was the opportunity for corroboration, why isn't there any historical evidence of it?
I don't understand your assertion that because it may have been written as a historical narrative I should accept it as true, without question or evidence. The genre of the writing doesn't determine the historical accuracy.

With respect to science question- I don't believe in the miracles we talked about. Science would have to prove they did happen for me to believe in the historical relevance. As you say, science can't. Which leaves me with an illogical argument that they were miracles because someone said they happened and we can't prove them to be true or false because they are miracles. Because I don't believe they actually happened and because what we know of science indicates they couldn't have happened, I believe them to be stories, told with the intent to teach something else.

I'm not sure this conversation is advancing our common understanding so I am going to bow out.
Have a great weekend
Karen
post #54 of 187
I'm just really leery in putting that much stock in "science". science in not exact (dispite the common phrase of "exact science"). It is fluid and not 100% reliable. it just isn't at all b/c there are ALWAYS variables. always. scientific reasoning still can't agree on the a string theory vs the "big bang". they can't decide on many things from one decade to the next...

science is also what convinced moms in the 30's-70's the breastmilk wasn't as healthy as formula and that it was indeed dangerous to BF b/c there was no way of "proving" how much baby was taking in and no way to "prove" it was getting the nessecary vits, mins and fats.... and you know what? science failed a BUNCH of kids!! and now science if back to saying the previous science was wrong and this current science is right - breastmilk is generally MUCH healthier than formula.

and you know what? science didn't need to tell us any bit of that. it was human common knowledge. it was in us and natural... it wasn't questioned until science came along and made a mess out of it.

so as for science... it's only as smart as any given human who conducts the experiments/tests is.
post #55 of 187
[QUOTE=HennyPenny;13363751]

science is also what convinced moms in the 30's-70's the breastmilk wasn't as healthy as formula and that it was indeed dangerous to BF b/c there was no way of "proving" how much baby was taking in and no way to "prove" it was getting the nessecary vits, mins and fats.... and you know what? science failed a BUNCH of kids!! and now science if back to saying the previous science was wrong and this current science is right - breastmilk is generally MUCH healthier than formula.

QUOTE]


I'm just sticking my neck out to say that line of thinking is making a strawman of science. It wasn't science that 'said' that, it was industry and doctors. Doctors as a group aren't exactly scientists. Formula being better than breastmilk was simply a faulty line of thinking, it didn't come from scientific evidence.

The thing about scientific knowledge that seems to bug a bunch of people is the fact that science is about gathering data and piecing it together. It's about tearing down explanations that don't fit the evidence and finding the best explanation. Science doesn't claim to have all of the answers- it is a never-ending search for answers. It's like focusing a camera very slowly, the image becomes more and more crisp over time and with new technology. Sometimes the image is so blurry that the big picture can't be deciphered, that doesn't mean it won't be at some point.
post #56 of 187
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Originally Posted by Mary View Post

I'm just sticking my neck out to say that line of thinking is making a strawman of science. It wasn't science that 'said' that, it was industry and doctors. Doctors as a group aren't exactly scientists. Formula being better than breastmilk was simply a faulty line of thinking, it didn't come from scientific evidence.

The thing about scientific knowledge that seems to bug a bunch of people is the fact that science is about gathering data and piecing it together. It's about tearing down explanations that don't fit the evidence and finding the best explanation. Science doesn't claim to have all of the answers- it is a never-ending search for answers. It's like focusing a camera very slowly, the image becomes more and more crisp over time and with new technology. Sometimes the image is so blurry that the big picture can't be deciphered, that doesn't mean it won't be at some point.


ok I can buy that...

so then let's say then that science didn't fail us... the people who misunderstood and then misused the science failed us... (there weren't really tons of formula companies out there trying to increase profits before formula feeding was the thing to do... not like there is now, so you can't really say all the formula companies gave us misleading info. and furthermore, what good would it have done to docs? they don't get money from formula. (maybe they do in some way now at times, but then? I'm just not seeing how... perhaps some doctors, but all??)

still, it wasn't truth. and it wasn't exact and yet... yet we are all often willing to believe that science is exact. just... b/c.

you simply cannot recreate entire things in a lab (or lab type setting). there will always be unknown variables.. and also those things with cannot be scientifically studies - such as our inner desire to self preserve. how did it get there? well we can guess certainly! and we can use science to help us guess, but it cannot explain. it just can't. no matter the technology nobody will ever be able to explain faith trust and hope for the future.

I'm not against science AT ALL... by no means. I'm just not for replacing instinct, common sense and spirituality with science is all.
post #57 of 187
HP, I think I understand what you are getting at when you talk about Jesus saying that he was the son of God... but I also think there's some room for interpretation here.

Do I believe Jesus was the son of God? Of course. I think we're all God's children. Again, this is just my take on things. For me, it's not that relevant to ask if Jesus was God or man or both, if he was mortal or immortal, of flesh, supernatural or both... not to say that those aren't important questions, just not important to me.

The original question being "What makes Jesus so special?"- I can only answer what makes Jesus special IMO.
post #58 of 187
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Originally Posted by Leta View Post
The original question being "What makes Jesus so special?"- I can only answer what makes Jesus special IMO.
that is true and I wasn't trying to "attack" you... please don't think that. I just don't understand it is all..

post #59 of 187
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I'm sorry but your logic doesn't flow for me and I think it is because you assume that the text is true and I assume it is fiction. I look at this from a big picture perspective and you seem to be focused on the details. If Jesus died in say 33 AD and the Gospel of Mark was written after the fall of Jerusalem, that would leave a 40 year gap - a long time for an eye witness account. Who is corroborating facts 40+ years after the event - especially given the potential lifespan of people at that time. It's a huge leap in logic.
Please tell me the name of the logical flaw I committed? I haven't reached the age of forty yet, but my mother can remember events that happened 40 years earlier with ease; it isn't that astounding a feat. And if Mum were unsure about an event she could fact-check with other eyewitnesses. If that's possible today, I don't see how it would be impossible or even implausible in a culture where people moved around a lot less and oral transmission was of greater importance. 40 years is not a 'big picture' when it comes to writing historical narratives.

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I can write something, give it grounding in historical facts and say that it is written as an eyewitness account. Doesn't make it true. If there was the opportunity for corroboration, why isn't there any historical evidence of it?
A, there is historical evidence for some of the events of Jesus' life; B, you're automatically discounting the New Testament as 'historical evidence' on the grounds that it documents the paranormal as fact, which is a position you need to justify presuppositionally. A Christian can't win: if a historical source doesn't mention miracles it is claimed those miracles didn't happen, and if it does it is labelled 'religious' and automatically discarded. That's evidence of your faith-based bias against the paranormal; not evidence that the events recorded didn't happen. Tell me, what is your evidence that Jesus didn't perform miracles? That miracles don't usually happen? That argument has no teeth: we know miracles don't usually happen, that's the point. That under your worldview it is a logical impossibility for miracles to happen? That's more promising, but in that case you have to prove how your worldview is the correct one and how the impossibility of miracles derives, necessarily and logically, from it.

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I don't understand your assertion that because it may have been written as a historical narrative I should accept it as true, without question or evidence
Just as well: I never made such an assertion.

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The genre of the writing doesn't determine the historical accuracy.
No, but it does determine how it should be interpreted. If it's poetry, it should be read as poetry; if parable, as parable; if historical narrative, as historical narrative. You can determine whether or not it is true historical narrative, but pretending it is a different genre is not an academically sustainable option.

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With respect to science question- I don't believe in the miracles we talked about. Science would have to prove they did happen for me to believe in the historical relevance. As you say, science can't. Which leaves me with an illogical argument that they were miracles because someone said they happened and we can't prove them to be true or false because they are miracles. Because I don't believe they actually happened and because what we know of science indicates they couldn't have happened, I believe them to be stories, told with the intent to teach something else.
What is the logical flaw precisely in believing something on the grounds of documentary evidence, when the circumstances are such that science can neither affirm or deny their happenings? It's a bit of a strawman of the Christian position but even as such, I don't see the logical fallacy involved. 'Science', as far as I know, cannot prove a great many historical facts; we take them on the basis of textual evidence. And as for 'science indicates they couldn't have happened', that is simply false. Modern science is based on methodological naturalism, which means it has no comment on supernatural intervention into the natural world. Science can certainly show us it is not possible for water to turn into wine according to the laws of nature; but it does not (it can not) claim that it is impossible, or indeed possible, for a supernatural force to alter those laws. Such claims are outside its purview. As the Bible claims very specific supernatural circumstances surrounding each miracle, it makes no sense to claim that 'science says' such miracles could not have happen. Science says nothing of the sort. As for believing them to be stories, that is fine: believing them to be told with the intent of, say, parable requires textual evidence which you have yet to prove. The stories are written as historical narrative, not parables.
post #60 of 187

Book recommendation

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Originally Posted by christianmomof3 View Post
I have not really studied all of those other stories so I cannot comment much on them, but I would be interested in reading about them. Can you suggest any good books I could look for at the library or good online links? ...
I recommend World's Religions, Revised & Updated, The (Kindle Edition) by Huston Smith. (See Amazon.com for illustration.) H. Smith also had a program on a PBS program.
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