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Old 12-01-2008, 03:40 AM
 
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Though I don't think the story would be worthless...it would be the vehicle for teachings that are more obvious (like Aesop's fables) such as all the parables.
What teachings? Nearly all the teachings found in Jesus' parables depend on the assumption that he is speaking as Christ.

Many of his parables - most of them, I think - tell us something about the nature of God, Heaven, or the soul after death. Several begin, "The kingdom of Heaven is like..." The value of these teachings depend on Jesus' being someone who can speak of such things as an authority. If he is not such a person, his parables on the nature of Heaven are of no value as a source of truth.
Other parables include a direct statement of Jesus' authority to speak for God, bless or condemn people in the name of God, and so forth. If that authority is invalid, what teachings remain in the parables?
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Old 12-01-2008, 03:50 AM
 
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What teachings? *snip* If that authority is invalid, what teachings remain in the parables?
Well, the Good Samaritan comes to mind. Everyone is my neighbor is a worthy lesson for anybody.

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Nearly all the teachings found in Jesus' parables depend on the assumption that he is speaking as Christ.
So, are Aesop's fables only worthwhile if they're really, truly from Aesop? ETA: It's late, and my brain is fuzzy. I'm realizing now that my question is probably irrelevant to the point you were trying to make.

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Many of his parables - most of them, I think - tell us something about the nature of God, Heaven, or the soul after death.
Well, I find that many of the parables have different levels of meanings depending on where one is spiritually.


I do think that if Jesus wasn't a real person the value of the Gospels would be very, very much diminished. I won't argue that. I just think saying they'd be worthless is going too far.
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Old 12-01-2008, 10:01 AM
 
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What teachings? Nearly all the teachings found in Jesus' parables depend on the assumption that he is speaking as Christ.

Many of his parables - most of them, I think - tell us something about the nature of God, Heaven, or the soul after death. Several begin, "The kingdom of Heaven is like..." The value of these teachings depend on Jesus' being someone who can speak of such things as an authority. If he is not such a person, his parables on the nature of Heaven are of no value as a source of truth.
Other parables include a direct statement of Jesus' authority to speak for God, bless or condemn people in the name of God, and so forth. If that authority is invalid, what teachings remain in the parables?
This is exactly my point. The fact that believers are so dependent on the literal reality of the story has distracted them from actually learning about the meaning of the story. The story has GREAT meaning. It's the STORY--the metaphors, the symbolism, the POINT of the story that is important and, if Jesus were real, is what he'd want you to pay attention to--his actions, his mission, his message--not whether or not he REALLY died and was resurrected or not. It's the story that is the point of the religion.

This is what I mean that it's sad that humans have lost touch with the significance of story, myth and metaphor.....
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Old 12-01-2008, 10:08 AM
 
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You know....speaking of the Jesus Mysteries--I think that was the book where I read the following....

The early Gnostics believed the way to enlightenment was in understanding the complex and sophisticated metaphors and meaning of the Jesus story. They knew full well where the stories came from and that they were mythical. However, they were to be studied and they devoted themselves to studying them in order to glean the truth of life and of God. Maybe someone else knows more fleshed out, but they couldn't even move forward in their "initiation" of the religion until they fully understood the story and it's meaning.

Since we have been caught up in this story's reality, or even just become dependent on it's reality, we have lost that dedication to understanding. We take it for granted. This is what happened and there's nothing else to it, we say in what some could consider laziness. I think Christianity and Christians would evolve greatly, in a positive way, if more attention were applied to understanding the deep, sacred message of this story. AND as a side affect, they'd realize the ancient religions and most others were all teaching a VERY similar--if not the same in general--message, and hopefully would see that we are far more similar than we are different in our beliefs at their essence.

Oh what a difference that would make in society!!
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Old 12-01-2008, 10:13 AM
 
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Here's a link on the subject:

http://www.pocm.info/getting_started_pocm.html

Wonder what ever happened to DaryLLL.... is she still around here?
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Old 12-01-2008, 10:22 AM
 
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The link won't work for me....
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Old 12-01-2008, 11:19 AM
 
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Try now?

It's a site called the Pagan Origins of the Christ Myth.
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Old 12-01-2008, 01:47 PM
 
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This is exactly my point. The fact that believers are so dependent on the literal reality of the story has distracted them from actually learning about the meaning of the story. The story has GREAT meaning. It's the STORY--the metaphors, the symbolism, the POINT of the story that is important and, if Jesus were real, is what he'd want you to pay attention to--his actions, his mission, his message--not whether or not he REALLY died and was resurrected or not. It's the story that is the point of the religion.
WHAT POINT?

If you assume it is all fiction, what point or message remains that is enough to base a religion on? Hollyvangogh mentioned the message that "everyone is my neighbour." A nice message, although not exactly earth-shaking. Is there anything else?

As for Jesus' "mission," believers like myself assume that his mission was primarily to transform the human race through his incarnation, death, and resurrection. We also assume that mission was accomplished. If it was not, the story is about something that would have been wonderful if it had actually happened, but it didn't; and about people who changed their lives, even submitted to violent death, because they believed it had happened, but they were wrong.
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Old 12-01-2008, 03:53 PM
 
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You know....speaking of the Jesus Mysteries--I think that was the book where I read the following....

The early Gnostics believed the way to enlightenment was in understanding the complex and sophisticated metaphors and meaning of the Jesus story. They knew full well where the stories came from and that they were mythical. However, they were to be studied and they devoted themselves to studying them in order to glean the truth of life and of God. Maybe someone else knows more fleshed out, but they couldn't even move forward in their "initiation" of the religion until they fully understood the story and it's meaning.

Since we have been caught up in this story's reality, or even just become dependent on it's reality, we have lost that dedication to understanding. We take it for granted. This is what happened and there's nothing else to it, we say in what some could consider laziness. I think Christianity and Christians would evolve greatly, in a positive way, if more attention were applied to understanding the deep, sacred message of this story. AND as a side affect, they'd realize the ancient religions and most others were all teaching a VERY similar--if not the same in general--message, and hopefully would see that we are far more similar than we are different in our beliefs at their essence.

Oh what a difference that would make in society!!
You expressed that so well!

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WHAT POINT?

If you assume it is all fiction, what point or message remains that is enough to base a religion on? Hollyvangogh mentioned the message that "everyone is my neighbour." A nice message, although not exactly earth-shaking. Is there anything else?

As for Jesus' "mission," believers like myself assume that his mission was primarily to transform the human race through his incarnation, death, and resurrection. We also assume that mission was accomplished. If it was not, the story is about something that would have been wonderful if it had actually happened, but it didn't; and about people who changed their lives, even submitted to violent death, because they believed it had happened, but they were wrong.
If you look at the state of affairs in the world, it seems like a religion based upon "love thy neighbor" would be earth-shattering. Taking religion literally causes an "us-them" mentality; people are divided based on whether they also believe in another's "truth." If one can divorce themselves from a need to take a religion literally, and see the deeper, spiritual messages behind the stories, then I do believe as a people, we'd all evolve.

I came from a place of seeing the Jesus stories as literal. I believed every ounce of them and based my life, as well as the life of my family, upon them. Then, one day I read too much, researched too much, and could no longer see them as literal. As I stated above, I doubt the historical-ness of Jesus in the first place. But, I can also say that I am developing a much deeper spirituality because I now see those stories as myth. Getting past the need for the stories to be literal, you can get to where you can see what really was being taught. Jesus was used as an example at a particular place in human history, to a particular group (or groups) of people. Moses was another example to another group of people. Buddha was another. Noah. (These are the stories with which I have the most experience, so they are the ones I return to.)

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Old 12-01-2008, 04:07 PM
 
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You expressed that so well!


If you look at the state of affairs in the world, it seems like a religion based upon "love thy neighbor" would be earth-shattering. Taking religion literally causes an "us-them" mentality; people are divided based on whether they also believe in another's "truth." If one can divorce themselves from a need to take a religion literally, and see the deeper, spiritual messages behind the stories, then I do believe as a people, we'd all evolve.

I came from a place of seeing the Jesus stories as literal. I believed every ounce of them and based my life, as well as the life of my family, upon them. Then, one day I read too much, researched too much, and could no longer see them as literal. As I stated above, I doubt the historical-ness of Jesus in the first place. But, I can also say that I am developing a much deeper spirituality because I now see those stories as myth. Getting past the need for the stories to be literal, you can get to where you can see what really was being taught. Jesus was used as an example at a particular place in human history, to a particular group (or groups) of people. Moses was another example to another group of people. Buddha was another. Noah. (These are the stories with which I have the most experience, so they are the ones I return to.)
I can relate to a lot of what you're saying. I'm a Christian who no longer believes the bible is infallible. It took me a long time to admit that to myself, fearing what my relationship with God would look like after that. (i mean, what would i base my "morals" and "values" off of??) But since my divorce from that line of thinking, it has brought me to a more authentic and beautiful place with God. I don't believe scripture is "myth" per-say, but I believe it's inspired writing subject to human error. For me, that also didn't mean I had to throw the baby out with the bathwater and leave my faith altogether. I gather a lot of truth and revelation through scripture, it's just no longer my faith foundation.
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Old 12-01-2008, 04:45 PM
 
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there is no record of jesus's execution... and they keep pretty good execution records at that time.
ummm no offense... but says who?

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Old 12-01-2008, 11:12 PM
 
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ummm no offense... but says who?
Secular historians.

I always say this ... the history of the Christian church as written by the Church differs a bit from the history of the Christian church as written by historians not affiliated with the Church.

A church historian or the Vatican has a vested interest in validating the history.

An outside source does not, and thus (I think) is more objective. Which is why the church histories differ.

I'm not a believer - in anything - unless there is some hard evidence backing it up. In history books not written by the Church, I have a hard time finding any real evidence of Jesus' death, let alone 95% of the stuff he did.

Not saying it didn't happen ... I, personally, just don't believe it. My mind just doesn't work in the faith kind of way, never has.

I do, however, enjoy the whole story in myth form. I think it has a lot of things to teach. As a writer - I think all stories have lessons in them. The fact that the son of God may not have said them doesn't matter to me one bit. Nor does it invalidate anything for me. I still see a lot of rich elements/teachings/knowledge within the Bible. And some of the writing is just fantastic, i.e. Song of Songs. I mean - brilliant stuff. Even secularly, Jesus was a pretty fascinating hero. Following his purpose ... despite trials, all the way through to the end. That's something to admire. I'm all about following one's purpose - regardless of obstacles.

At the heart of it ... all such myth stories are the same: follow your own path, no matter the struggle, and be kind to others. I don't think that story will ever get old - regardless of how many times it's written. Whether in the Bible, or in a fictional novel, or in another religious book ... the story and the teachings are great. Very inspirational, too. I think.

If you think about, by now, ALL stories have already been told. So, writing new ones, is just about writing the same story from a point of view that has not yet appeared. Son of God, or not, ... to me, the story is still a unique point of view, with lots of lessons.

To me, the Bible is just one of many such point of views. All paths lead up the same mountain. For me, of course. I fully respect anyone else's beliefs and their own journey.

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Old 12-02-2008, 12:03 AM
 
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I can relate to a lot of what you're saying. I'm a Christian who no longer believes the bible is infallible. It took me a long time to admit that to myself, fearing what my relationship with God would look like after that. (i mean, what would i base my "morals" and "values" off of??) But since my divorce from that line of thinking, it has brought me to a more authentic and beautiful place with God. I don't believe scripture is "myth" per-say, but I believe it's inspired writing subject to human error. For me, that also didn't mean I had to throw the baby out with the bathwater and leave my faith altogether. I gather a lot of truth and revelation through scripture, it's just no longer my faith foundation.
This describes me. However, the body of faith with which I've been associating for the last dozen years would ascribe to a literal translation of the Bible. I could no longer be a member. The church has been a huge part of my life for years and many of my friendships were formed there. My spiritual life has been growing but I'm not on the same page as my church. I haven't been for a couple months and recieved a call from one of the staff members. When I shared I had been doing some reading and questioning, she told me to be careful what I read - there are a lot of false teachers out there. She would be praying for me. Sigh....
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Old 12-02-2008, 12:05 AM
 
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I wanted to mention a book I just read which discusses the use of metaphor and myth in the Bible. It's called Reading the Bible Again for the First Time by Marcus Borg. Is anyone familiar with this book?
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Old 12-02-2008, 12:33 AM
 
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ummm no offense... but says who?
sailor answered pretty well. i didn't know people didn't know that. i'll find you an online source when i get a few minutes
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Old 12-02-2008, 01:10 AM
 
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1Littlebit-

um no, I DID know that.... my point is why is that any more accurate that the many religious accounts? (believe me I'm quite aware of many historical references and accounts, not just Christianity - my head isn't in the sand here)

but if the point is that your sources (historically) are no more reliable than religious historical acocunts. BOTH have been tampered with many times in many ways by many peoples. if one isn't reliable b/c it could have been made up - then both are unreliable for that reason. you can't use one standard for one account and another for another account. both are word of mouth and written accounts of fallible people. even if there was more written on one side this isn't really a way to prove anything as adjustments was done on most documents - whether purposeful or unpurposeful (ie with the intent to clarify what the reader/writer thought the original writer meant)

of course if you believ eJesus wasn't crucified or even didn't exist doesn't matter to me, personally. that isn't my point. everyone has to make judgement calls as best as they know how with the limited info we have. I'm just saying that this is a deceptively bad way of gathering information and labeling it as "proof" and settling it. it's alot deeper than that.

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Old 12-02-2008, 01:23 AM
 
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you're asking why a historical source is anymore accurate then a religious source? I do not mean to be snarky but if you do not think historical sources are anymore accurate then religious sources then i'll just leave it alone.

ETA- i believe a man by the called Jesus of Nazareth existed and he did good works. I do not know of any non religious Historical texts that can offer any evidence of his supposed execution and if there were evidence it would be there.. there is no reason for it not to be.
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Old 12-02-2008, 01:39 AM
 
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you're asking why a historical source is anymore accurate then a religious source? I do not mean to be snarky but if you do not think historical sources are anymore accurate then religious sources then i'll just leave it alone.
While it's getting OT, to be fair it depends on the sources, not the source of the sources. There is a great deal of historical records that have been plainly agenda driven, and religious records have at times been quite painstakingly kept (see the LDS genealogy resources, from what I hear, the Catholic records of the Inquisitions, etc) and contribute significantly to the works of non-religious historians.

(As before, I don't put much stock in the story of the crucifixion of Jesus either, and I really have no idea about the matter of historical records or lack thereof surrounding the event in its own time. Just saying ... religious sources as unhistoric by default and non-religious sources as more historically accurate by default is not a good way to approach history).
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Old 12-02-2008, 01:47 AM
 
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it absolutely depends on the source.. but religious sources are notoriously biased especially when the subject is something that the whole belief system hinges on..there are very accurate historical sources dealing with this subject and i can't imagine why they would leave out the crucifixion yk?
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Old 12-02-2008, 02:13 AM
 
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it absolutely depends on the source.. but religious sources are notoriously biased especially when the subject is something that the whole belief system hinges on..there are very accurate historical sources dealing with this subject and i can't imagine why they would leave out the crucifixion yk?
Oh, I know .... just commenting on the breadth of the statement, not the specific application. (Like I said, crucifixion isn't my thing ... coming at it from a religious *opposition* to believing it happened, I'd probably have to be shown some very damning evidence that it did happen to even really take an interest in that whole affair.)

At any rate, back to your regularly scheduled thread.
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Old 12-02-2008, 03:02 AM
 
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From the "what similarities?" perspective: Was the NT Influenced by Pagan Religions? (very theologically and socially conservative evangelical site --you have been warned )
From the article:
Uh... number 6 I guess has never seen a pieta? Or read the parts of the bible wherein Jesus' apostles and friends and family are in mourning? I mean, I haven't read it in a loooong time, but I remember it being in there. Jesus' followers are pretty darn sad when he dies.

My Horned God and his death-rebirth cycle? I just don't have trouble with having the death and rebirth being separated so they happen at a reasonable interval after some mourning... you know, like Sept to Dec... or so YMMV. I think that's good, to recognize mourning at an appropriate time in the cycles of nature.

I also really really dislike having images of Jesus' death everywhere, both ALL THE TIME and more heavily in the Spring when I'm supposed to be looking at and thinking about rebirth, not a dead man hanging from a cross.

WHY is that the image used to portray Jesus anyway? Is that how you want to remember your god? Really? DD has asked about the crosses she's seen, and I just tell her that they're symbols for Jesus, the god grandma worships. She has yet to see one with him nailed to it, thankfully.

But honestly, I don't know what I will tell her when she does... "Some people who believe in Jesus think he was killed trying to protect them, so they want to remember him dying all the time. I think that's very sad, and I don't like to think about how someone died all the time. I think it's better to remember when they were happy and loving." I mean, what else can I say really?

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Old 12-02-2008, 12:27 PM
 
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While it's getting OT, to be fair it depends on the sources, not the source of the sources. There is a great deal of historical records that have been plainly agenda driven, and religious records have at times been quite painstakingly kept (see the LDS genealogy resources, from what I hear, the Catholic records of the Inquisitions, etc) and contribute significantly to the works of non-religious historians.

(As before, I don't put much stock in the story of the crucifixion of Jesus either, and I really have no idea about the matter of historical records or lack thereof surrounding the event in its own time. Just saying ... religious sources as unhistoric by default and non-religious sources as more historically accurate by default is not a good way to approach history).

exactly my point. it's totally up to you on what you believe from them... but at times the religious texts and accounts ARE more accurate as they were politically driven until later. but for both there is room for much error and tampering.... even I as a believer in the Christ as messiah understand that. it has nothing to do with you or I being snarky, it's just not infallible is my point. not to mention many historians use the religious texts in their determinations.

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Old 12-02-2008, 12:31 PM
 
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it absolutely depends on the source.. but religious sources are notoriously biased especially when the subject is something that the whole belief system hinges on..there are very accurate historical sources dealing with this subject and i can't imagine why they would leave out the crucifixion yk?
b/c like everything else, religion at some point (actually many points) became politically critical. many people tampered with historical "proofs" and texts to swing God in their favor. I would be very leary of trusting fullheartedly any texts and what it says about anything without realizing this fact.

(it's commonly misunderstood by some that Christians don't realize there are other historical texts, but I assure you this isn't the case at all. most of us are quite aware and this is taken into account )

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Old 12-03-2008, 12:26 AM
 
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b/c like everything else, religion at some point (actually many points) became politically critical. many people tampered with historical "proofs" and texts to swing God in their favor. I would be very leary of trusting fullheartedly any texts and what it says about anything without realizing this fact.

(it's commonly misunderstood by some that Christians don't realize there are other historical texts, but I assure you this isn't the case at all. most of us are quite aware and this is taken into account )
yep many people did tamper with historical 'proofs' to swing god in their favor.... the Church is a great example of that.

i doubt most take it into account. i really do. its great that you do... i think everyone should... you have examined your faith from all angles.. including the ones that disagree with you.. and decided that your faith makes the most sense to you.. and thats awesome i wish more people would do that.. but i don't think they do. i know a lot of christians.. tons.. almost everyone i know in real life in fact... and they do not know nor do they want to know anything about religion that comes from a non religious source.
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Old 12-03-2008, 03:57 AM
 
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Originally Posted by 1littlebit View Post
its great that you do... i think everyone should... you have examined your faith from all angles.. including the ones that disagree with you.. and decided that your faith makes the most sense to you.. and thats awesome i wish more people would do that.. but i don't think they do. i know a lot of christians.. tons.. almost everyone i know in real life in fact... and they do not know nor do they want to know anything about religion that comes from a non religious source.

sadly this is true. too true.

but it's just as true of non-Christians. It's just as true of others in other religions. believe me, I see it a lot, and it ain't just us Christians

my brother is an anthiest. why? not b/c he thought it all out. but b/c he grabbed a handful of reasons not to believe in God and left it at that. I'm not saying he's stupid... but he just never searched much farther. of course he could have by now - I don't know him as well. but in his younger years it was pretty much a standard answer of "there isn't a God, and if there is I hate him". *sigh* and everyone else was a totaly moron who thought otherwise.

on the other hand, it really is a person decision how you make your faith decisions. I don't recommend jumping in full heartedly into anything just b/c it's there. but really, it's not my judgment call to make. I'm a questioner. I can't say I day doesn't go by I don't think of a new question to ask, ponder and pray about. but I guess some people aren't questioners. and though my first instinct is to see this as a fault... well again... that is up to them.

transtichel.gifMom of three - (2.5 yrs, 7yrs, and 11yrs). Birthing Doula, editor, and wife to my soulmate. I've had a c/s, hospital VBAC, UC and not yet decided what I'll do about this next little one

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Old 12-03-2008, 04:02 AM
 
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yep many people did tamper with historical 'proofs' to swing god in their favor.... the Church is a great example of that.
yes you are very correct. don't think I over looked this one! there are different aspects of the church however. the REAL church (which is inside us for a lack of a better term) and the politically driven church (which that which uses God to it's own benefit by changing things as needed and appointing itself head authority on all things.

but b/c one source is tampered with, doesn't mean the other wasn't. it's easy to get this idea that the church messed with it, but historians, and polititians never did. at one time they had full control of the texts.

transtichel.gifMom of three - (2.5 yrs, 7yrs, and 11yrs). Birthing Doula, editor, and wife to my soulmate. I've had a c/s, hospital VBAC, UC and not yet decided what I'll do about this next little one

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