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  #31  
Unread 10th November 2009, 07:57 PM
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Let's take the New Testament first. In spite of what some liberal Bible 'scholars' say, the teaching of the RCC is that Matthew was written no later than 6 years after Jesus' death, resurrection and ascension. It was also written originally in Hebrew. Mark was written 6 years later, in Greek, and Luke and Acts were written about 26 years after Jesus' death, resurrection and ascension.

So all three synoptic gospels had been written by 62 A.D. The Gospel of John was written circa 80 to 85 A.D. and is recognized as the gospel that emphasizes the theology of Christianity. That is why we find specific instances at different points in this gospel; the instances were used to illustrate the theology rather than as purely calendrical events.

Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna and martyr for our Lord, spoke of the four gospels in a letter he wrote circa 108 A.D. The earliest surviving list we have of the New Testament books which were included in the Council of Nicea's final compilation of books dates to about 170 A.D. It's called The Muratorian Fragment, and you can read its English translation here:
www.bible-researcher.com/muratorian.html
It includes nearly all the books that are in the present-day New Testament plus two that were not included.

As for the Old Testament, it has gotten vindication from science. Dr.Wells, a DNA researcher, has been studying the DNA of Africans, Asians and Aborigines, being financed by grants from IBM and The National Geographic Society. As of the last report, he has found that all these people had one man as their common ancestor. According to the documentary that aired on the NGS channel a few months ago, scientists now believe that homo sapiens went to the very brink of extinction about 30,000 years ago. The only reason that we are now here is because one man was able to survive whatever wiped out the rest, and the repopulation of the world began with him. They have given him the name 'Adam'.

As for the Creation Story in Genesis, it is not a myth. Rather, it is a demythologization. We must remember that this was written for the edification of the Hebrew nation, a people that had just left Egypt. While there they were witnesses to, and many probably participated in, the festivals which celebrated the pantheon of gods and goddesses. The list includes over 40 different deities that were worshipped, with each one having the form of an animal, the sun, the moon, or the stars. But starting with Genesis 1:1, Moses reduced everything that could be seen to the status of merely material, so that by the time The Creation Story was completed, the only god worthy of worship was the immortal and invisible God.

As for Adam, Eve, God and The Serpent, Moses 'cleaned up' another egyptian myth. In egyptian mythology, Osiris fought Sebau the Serpent. Having conquered him, Osiris hacked off his front legs and bound his back legs together, forcing Sebau to crawl on his belly as punishment. God was able to accomplish the same action merely by willing it, which meant that He was exponentially more powerful than Osiris.

The Great Flood may quite literally have happened. After finding an entire herd of mastodon dead and dismembered at the base of a cliff, scientists did some investigating. The evidence showed that these behemoths had been grazing placidly on the prairie near the cliff when a wind literally picked them up and dashed their bodies against the cliff with sufficient force to dismember them before they fell to the ground at its base.

We have never experienced a wind of this magnitude in recorded history. It was so powerful that our measurements of wind magnitude cannot even measure it. But it happened, and the scientists wanted to know why. Meteorologists, climatologists, mathematicians, paleontologists, oceanographers, and every other conceivable science got together to figure out (1) what happened to cause this, and (2) could it happen again.

What they decided was this: Based on observations and mathematical calculations the tilt of the earth on its axis as it rotates very gradually becomes more angular. This gets to the point that every 26,000 years the planet has a 'seizure', acting much the same as a child's top does just before it falls over. This only lasts a short while before the self-correcting gyroscope that makes up the metal and molten core of the planet brings it back to its original angle of declination. But during the interim the atmosphere and water on the planet react to its gyrations in an extremely violent manner. The article I read stated that it was like filling a glass with water, holding it in your hand, and then shaking your hand back and forth as forcefully as you can.

Some scientists suspect that this is the origin of The Great Flood Story. The power of the wind, the resultant storm surge pushed before it, and the enptying of the sea basins themselves as a result of the massive shaking of the planet would easily wipe out any and all villages near the shore, as well as for miles inland. Since most people lived near shorelines, they would be wiped out before they could even start running.

As for Abraham and his descendants, they were people who really lived between 1700 and 2000 B.C. Archeologists, egyptologists, and many conservative Christians believe that Joseph was sold as a slave to Habiru, another race of semitic peoples who ruled part of Egypt for some time. He rose to prominence with these people, but was relatively unknown as Joseph by the native egyptians. He had been renamed Zaphenath-Penah.

After the conquering of the Habiru by Achmose, pharaohs came to power who either did not know Joseph or else wanted to purge Egypt's records of all actions not performed by their own people. So they enslaved the descendants of Abraham. As a conservative Christian I accept, as do others, that it was during this period of egyptian history, rather than during the reign of Ramesses the Great, that we encounter Moses. We suspect that it was Hatshepsut who found him. She was the daughter of Pharaoh Thutmose II; she was also his main wife, Queen of Egypt, and stepmother of Thutmose III. She had the clout necessary to save Moses, adopt him, and rear him im the palace under the tutelage of the egyptian priests, scribes, and military officers.

Following the death of her father, and husband, Hatshepsut took control of Egypt as a pharaoh rather than as a queen. Thutmose III was 9 years old at that time, and not yet ready to assume the reins of leadership. There does not appear to have been a problem with the court officials, so the transition from queen to pharaoh went smoothly.

It is believed that Moses and Thutmose III both received military training together in the egyptian art of warfare. Josephus writes in his Jewish Antiquities that Moses was one of the generals in pharaoh's army. As such, he had led that army into Ethiopia, where he successfully crushed a revolt. Josephus also writes that Moses was forced to flee Egypt as a result of pharaoh's being concerned that Moses would attempt to take the throne for himself. This fits with Thutmose III's attempt to erase all record of Hatshepsut's having reigned following her death, as well as destroying all records of her accomplishments. This, by proxy, would have included Moses' military exploits.

And where do we put Ramesses the Great? Egyptologists who could actually read heiroglyphics found the written record of his victories on a wall in Egypt. There, in a 'box' carved on the wall, was the record of his having demanded tribute from the King of Israel. Then they read I Kings 14:25, and realized that the Old Testament had not misspelled the name of Pharaoh Shishank when they wrote it down in the original Hebrew. Instead, they had used the Hebrew word 'shishak' to describe the actual pharaoh who conquered their land; it means 'destroyer of cities', an apt pseudonym for Ramesses the Great.

Hope this helps.
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  #32  
Unread 10th November 2009, 10:20 PM
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I am afraid your topic, as framed, is too broad for meaningful discussion...

I think that all people, Christian and Pagan, should evaluate the record and historicity of the Bible. One reason that I have deviated from orthodoxy (at least Southern Baptist orthodoxy) is its existential need to believe that the Bible is a statement of fact--not debatable nor open to criticism. Some would believe the Bible was a statement of fact even if God Himself said that it was mostly exaggerated.

Originally Posted by rainycity View Post
there needs to be some historical truth to it to accept the doctrines of christianity. I understand some christians take all of the bible as historical, literal truth and some see parts of it as symbolic or not literally true, whats your opinion on this?

the genesis creation account, noah's flood, jonah's story and many other stories are mythological in nature and cannot literally be true, does this bring other parts of the bible into question? there's no explicit statement that the earth is 6 - 10 000 years old but some take the genealogies as literally the accounts of all the generations and calcualte 6,000 - 10, 000 years back to adam and eve. The earth cannot be really this old. Does it matter that the bible appears to imply this?

Also whats the historicity of the new testament, its authorship, composition and origins how it came to be etc? I'm interested to see opinions but want to approach this matter purely on objective basis and on evidence only
You say that for the doctrines of Christianity to be acceptable, the Bible has to be (at least somewhat) historically accurate. I do not know why that must be true. Even Paul said in his closing remarks to the Phillipians, "finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things."

Even if Paul never existed, that exhortation is useful and good. I'm not saying he did or didn't. I think it is clear from the record that he did exist, but his his existence has not relation to the goodness of his writings.

I am a Christian who thinks that debating the Historicity of the Bible is barking up the wrong tree, in a sense, if one's goal is a better relationship with reality. It is an attempt to prove through Historical science that God is real, and God has pretty much created a Universe in which is existence is not provable by any means. And when you think about it, that would obviate the need for Faith.
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  #33  
Unread 10th November 2009, 10:26 PM
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Originally Posted by ebia View Post
What kind of answer would you hope to see to that question, since a scientific one is ruled out?
I don't hope to see any answer to that question, and you didn't answer my question, why do you suppose religion can answer metaphysical questions?

Originally Posted by ebia View Post
It strikes me that this paragraph is a perfectly good example.
Why don't you just show me examples of how scientists are naive about objectivity and answer my questions. If scientists aren't good at being objective then who is? what gave us all our objective knowledge if science didn't?
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  #34  
Unread 10th November 2009, 10:29 PM
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teaching evolution in school is not 'indoctrinating', it's teaching kids science. Creationism is not science so it should not be taught in a science class.
Science or not, if there are different viable versions of your prized theory, and a consensus can not be found by exacting evidence alone, then we leave the realm of true facts and figures, and enter into the realm of Faith and personal belief. If your theory is nothing more than a system of scientifically based personal beliefs, then how does it differ than what other believe?

You can tell yourself otherwise but know, what you learn in your temples built to academic study is little more than a properly dressed religion.. Theories and facts are not, nor do they equate to truth. So unless there is definitive proof for whatever your speaking of, then basically you are excising faith, dressed to be something more substantial. Just know it is the same faith we choose to give to God.
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  #35  
Unread 10th November 2009, 10:39 PM
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Originally Posted by drich0150 View Post
Science or not, if there are different viable versions of your prized theory, and a consensus can not be found by exacting evidence alone, then we leave the realm of true facts and figures, and enter into the realm of Faith and personal belief. If your theory is nothing more than a system of scientifically based personal beliefs, then how does it differ than what other believe?
It's not my theory and its not a system of scientifically based personal beliefs.

Originally Posted by drich0150 View Post
You can tell yourself otherwise but know, what you learn in your temples built to academic study is little more than a properly dressed religion.. Theories and facts are not, nor do they equate to truth.
They're the closest thing we have to truth, whats your alternative? superstition?

Originally Posted by drich0150 View Post
So unless there is definitive proof for whatever your speaking of, then basically you are excising faith, dressed to be something more substantial. Just know it is the same faith we choose to give to God.
First of all, there's no requirement for faith or belief in learning about science. Secondly, teaching faith in God has no place in a science classroom, because it's not science.
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  #36  
Unread 10th November 2009, 10:40 PM
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Originally Posted by rainycity View Post
I don't hope to see any answer to that question, and you didn't answer my question, why do you suppose religion can answer metaphysical questions?
I didn't try to answer the question because I'm not sure what sort of answer you would be interested in.



Why don't you just show me examples of how scientists are naive about objectivity and answer my questions.
Mostly because the sources I would draw references are at home and i mostly seem to be answering you from somewhere else. I would recommend reading the chapters on epistimology from New Testament and the People of God.

But let me clarify - I did not say that all scientists are naive about objectivity.

If scientists aren't good at being objective then who is?
I didn't say that scientists aren't (relatively) good at being objective, but it's quite possible to be (relatively) good at being objective and completely naive about the limits of objectivity. You see perfectly good scientists using 'objective vs subjective' when what they actually mean is 'public vs private', to give an excessivly simple example.
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  #37  
Unread 11th November 2009, 02:42 AM
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Originally Posted by ebia View Post
I didn't try to answer the question because I'm not sure what sort of answer you would be interested in.
How does religion offer good answers to metaphysical questions?

Originally Posted by ebia View Post
I didn't say that scientists aren't (relatively) good at being objective, but it's quite possible to be (relatively) good at being objective and completely naive about the limits of objectivity. You see perfectly good scientists using 'objective vs subjective' when what they actually mean is 'public vs private', to give an excessivly simple example.
Objective
not influenced by personal feelings, interpretations, or prejudice; based on facts; unbiased: an objective opinion.

to do with objects which everyone can perceive and which are not influenced by private interpretations.
What exactly do you mean by 'public vs private' and whats the correct definition of objective and subjective?
How are some sceintists naive about the limits of objectivity?
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  #38  
Unread 11th November 2009, 09:05 PM
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I like to bear in mind that the Bible, whatever one's opinion of it, is really a compilation of 66 separate books written (or "transcribed", if you insist) by two dozen different authors, in a variety of locations and over a span of 1500 years. You can no more view it as a standard, single-author or even collaborative work than you can judge it for its "characterizations" and "narrative arcs". It's a sprawling Cinemascope mess - more The Story So Far written on a 10,000-mile-wide canvas, and left open-ended and unresolved, than a "book" one can subdivide into beginning, middle, and end, with the commensurate conflicts and climaxes.

As for the composition, Wikipedia has a good article on the development of the New Testament Canon here;
Development of the New Testament canon - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

If you wish to read further however, I'd recommend The Evolution of the Pauline Canon by Robert Price (mentioned in the article); and Marcion and Luke-Acts by Joseph Tyson.
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Unread 11th November 2009, 11:11 PM
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Where did the Bible come from?
Introduction to the Bible

The Holy Bible (Bishop Nathanael- Lvov, 1906-1985)
http://www.fatheralexander.org/bookl...athanail_e.htm
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Unread 12th November 2009, 01:58 AM
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and its not a system of scientifically based personal beliefs.
Then why is there a debate on which version to indoctrinate? If there is only one truth, then why so many theories? someone in your community of believers has to be wrong in what they personally believe.

They're the closest thing we have to truth, whats your alternative? superstition?
Given what we consider "the closest thing we have to the truth." We are already teaching superstition, the only difference being, your version has been approved by "important" people with degrees in the areas they want taught.

First of all, there's no requirement for faith or belief in learning about science.
Simply Labeling something "science" doesn't take it out of the realm of faith. What of theories? Does it not take simple faith to build or work from a working theory? Quite abit has been accomplished working from theories.. But even so, it still takes a measure of faith to work from something no one has been able to prove.

This act in assuming something works a certain way without definitive proof is in fact the definition of faith. so you see, despite what you have been brain washed into thinking, your religion operates from a foundation of faith much like ours does.. Why do I call what you believe a religion?

Secondly, teaching faith in God has no place in a science classroom, because it's not science.
Because from your quote, and how religion can be defined,

re⋅li⋅gion
  /rɪˈlɪdʒən/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [ri-lij-uhn] Show IPA


–noun
1.a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, esp. when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.

2.a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects.

3.the body of persons adhering to a particular set of beliefs and practices.

6.something one believes in and follows devotedly; a point or matter of ethics or conscience: to make a religion of fighting prejudice.

8.Archaic. strict faithfulness; devotion: a religion to one's vow.

You adhere to the definitions provided here. In the strict or devoted discipline concerning the cause and nature of the universe. Through which you are attempting to regulate your specific fundamental set of beliefs (doctrine) to all who enter the temple of science and history. There by altering another's moral code, rituals, and observances pertaining to their belief in God. Forcing a substitution of their religiously/faith back theory, and position on God, for your own religious/faith backed theory, and position on God.

And again you can believe what you wish, even the foolishly arrogant position that it doesn't take faith to back an unproven theory.. Just know your not going to be able to pass your doctrine off as a uncontested truth. At least not here.
__________________
Church was never ment to be safe. Or comfortable. Or predictable. God isn't any of those things. Church is supposed to arrest our pride. Church is meant to crush our selfishness. Church was created to carry our heartache and comfort our affliction. Church is where we find community, express compassion and engage in mission. But Church without God does none of that...
...When Church stops being about us, it can be about God again!

-James Macdonald
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