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Why is "belief" important?

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  • #61
    Originally posted by tabibito View Post

    Is it not possible that a prophecy directed at the whole "House of David," involving a young woman's pregnancy as a sign from God, is in fact a prophecy of the advent of Christ?
    The pregnancy itself is a sign from God - which kind of rules out a pregnancy arising from natural means.
    I suppose it's possible to have a prophecy embedded down in their somewhere. But if it's all covered up with layers of apologetic devices, then it's a simpler explanation to me that the author of Matthew just got a little creative.

    The pregnancy itself is a sign from God - which kind of rules out a pregnancy arising from natural means

    I do not recall this device. Please elaborate on this when you get a moment. Why does it rule out a pregnancy from natural means?

    Comment


    • #62
      Originally posted by Ronson View Post

      Have you ever read Flatland by Edwin Abbott? Although the story is meant as an examination of social hierarchy, it also deals with mankind's (mostly) inability to fathom anything beyond our experience. Two dimensional beings visiting a one-dimensional world, and three-dimensional beings visiting a two-dimensional world, and each time they cannot be properly perceived by those seeing them.

      It always comes to mind when I think about the depiction of God in scripture. God has more dimensions than we can grasp. The Bible attempts to define God - divinely inspired or not - but it comes out contradictory and muddled. Too many books written by too many authors, some making more sense than others.

      Although I believe Christianity is the closest, most sensible explanation of God's nature, it is bound to be imperfect, like any attempt would be. But I also don't see the point of "belief" in any case, because "belief" is a function of our physical brain. Experience a brain injury, and you will quite possibly "believe" in something totally different. So why would God be so concerned about any person's "belief" when it is conditioned by so many external pressures that we have no control over? If you were born in Burma and had been raised by Buddhist monks, do you really believe you would be a Christian today?
      He is more interested in you choosing sides than "belief" - you just can't choose him if you don't believe in him. He wants you to choose to be loyal to him, and in return he will forgive your sins through the sacrifice of Jesus. And you have to believe in the true God as revealed in the bible, not some imaginary god made up by men. No, it won't be perfect and of course there is way more to God than he has told us, but he has told us enough. The rest we will learn over eternity.

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      • #63
        Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post

        I avoid overly speculating on what Heaven will be like. I think I'll spend the first million years or so just walking around saying "WOW".
        Time does not exist in eternity. God created time along with space and matter.

        Comment


        • #64
          Originally posted by Dave L View Post
          Time does not exist in eternity.
          Correct, Dave - it's a figure of speech. And humor. Perhaps an angry old fart like you can't process that.

          God created time along with space and matter.
          Well, Jesus is His Agent of Creation, but, yeah --- so is there a point to this?

          The first to state his case seems right until another comes and cross-examines him.

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          • #65
            I personally don't like the term "inerrancy". The term gets associated with some very specific debates that I'm tired of, and gets qualified to the point where it seems meaningless. More importantly, what many conservative Christians have in mind with the term is literal, 100% scientific accuracy in everything, whereas the biblical writers did use some round numbers in places because that was considered acceptable in that culture. There was one user on here awhile back who was hung up on Jesus saying that the mustard tree was the smallest of trees when scientists know there are smaller trees. He would bring this up in multiple places and even PM; hanging his hat on the Bible having that level of scientific accuracy was impairing his faith.

            I don't claim there are any errors in the Bible. But for me, it is sufficient to say that the Bible is accurate in what it teaches about spiritual matters. I don't feel the need to freak out when somebody points out that bats aren't birds even though Leviticus seems to imply otherwise.
            "I am not angered that the Moral Majority boys campaign against abortion. I am angry when the same men who say, "Save OUR children" bellow "Build more and bigger bombers." That's right! Blast the children in other nations into eternity, or limbless misery as they lay crippled from "OUR" bombers! This does not jell." - Leonard Ravenhill

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            • #66
              Originally posted by KingsGambit View Post
              I personally don't like the term "inerrancy". The term gets associated with some very specific debates that I'm tired of, and gets qualified to the point where it seems meaningless. More importantly, what many conservative Christians have in mind with the term is literal, 100% scientific accuracy in everything, whereas the biblical writers did use some round numbers in places because that was considered acceptable in that culture. There was one user on here awhile back who was hung up on Jesus saying that the mustard tree was the smallest of trees when scientists know there are smaller trees. He would bring this up in multiple places and even PM; hanging his hat on the Bible having that level of scientific accuracy was impairing his faith.

              I don't claim there are any errors in the Bible. But for me, it is sufficient to say that the Bible is accurate in what it teaches about spiritual matters. I don't feel the need to freak out when somebody points out that bats aren't birds even though Leviticus seems to imply otherwise.
              The major "official" definitions of inerrancy say it applies only to the original mss., which AFAWK have not existed in many centuries or millennia. They do not assert, and may explicitly deny, that the term applies to transmission (copying), translation, or interpretation. I don't recall whether any of them explicitly state whether even the choice of which books to include in the canon was inerrant. So really, it becomes kind of moot.
              Geislerminian Antinomian Kenotic Charispneumaticostal Gender Mutualist-Egalitarian.

              Beige Federalist.

              "Everybody is somebody's heretic."

              Social Justice is usually the opposite of actual justice.

              Proud member of the LGBFJB community.

              Would-be Grand Vizier of the Padishah Maxi-Super-Ultra-Hyper-Mega-MAGA King Trumpius Rex.

              Justice for Ashli Babbitt!

              Justice for Matthew Perna!

              Comment


              • #67
                Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post

                Correct, Dave - it's a figure of speech. And humor. Perhaps an angry old fart like you can't process that.



                Well, Jesus is His Agent of Creation, but, yeah --- so is there a point to this?
                This has for some... eh... time... been something that itches my brain uncomfortably. "Time," at least in terms of perception, if not actuality, consists of the sequential ordering of events (i.e. "before" and "after"), and the number of other events that can be fit between them. If there is no "time," how can communication or even thought take place?
                Geislerminian Antinomian Kenotic Charispneumaticostal Gender Mutualist-Egalitarian.

                Beige Federalist.

                "Everybody is somebody's heretic."

                Social Justice is usually the opposite of actual justice.

                Proud member of the LGBFJB community.

                Would-be Grand Vizier of the Padishah Maxi-Super-Ultra-Hyper-Mega-MAGA King Trumpius Rex.

                Justice for Ashli Babbitt!

                Justice for Matthew Perna!

                Comment


                • #68
                  Originally posted by Machinist View Post
                  That is where your rejection of inerrancy comes into play

                  It's not so much a question as to the originals. I have looked at certain passages to the nth degree and read extensively on apologetic arguments pro and con, only to conclude that the evidence for some things are lacking. For an example, I do not believe that Isaiah chapter 7 is referring to Jesus in the least. . (Now I would not accuse the author of Matthew as being deceptive, just a little over zealous). Saying someone is rejecting the Doctrine of Inerrancy creates a category that doesn't exist until the Doctrine of Inerrancy is instituted as an official church doctrine. If one doesn't buy certain apologetic arguments, then they don't buy them. What else can one do but to conclude that the bible is not free or error? I've only read a fraction of the entire Bible, but to my knowledge, I don't think the bible references itself as a whole, nor does it say anywhere that believing the inerrancy of it is a prerequisite. One can honestly look at a certain passage, story, etc, and honestly conclude whether it seems to them fabricated, tampered with, or just over hyped.
                  I think it's generally understood that Isaiah had no sense that he was speaking about Messiah. Certainly God, being omniscient (or at least the Ultimately Best Guesser, if you're inclined to Open Theism) realized Matthew would use the passage that way, even if He did not "intend" that second layer of prophecy. As I understand it, this was not some weird thing Matthew did. I'm pretty sure it was common Rabbinical practice to apply OT passages to very different contemporary contexts. The NT writers certainly seemed to do that quite a bit. (They also liked to link disparate passages together by common key words.) The problem I have with that is this: Doing that today is regarded as shoddy hermeneutics. And if someone replies, "Well, the NT writers did it all the time," they get smacked with, "They were a special case, because they were inspired by God to do it." So they were "inspired" to use the hermeneutical and rhetorical techniques of their culture, and we should use those same techniques to understand what they wrote, but we should not imitate them by using those same techniques. Duh... Huh?
                  Geislerminian Antinomian Kenotic Charispneumaticostal Gender Mutualist-Egalitarian.

                  Beige Federalist.

                  "Everybody is somebody's heretic."

                  Social Justice is usually the opposite of actual justice.

                  Proud member of the LGBFJB community.

                  Would-be Grand Vizier of the Padishah Maxi-Super-Ultra-Hyper-Mega-MAGA King Trumpius Rex.

                  Justice for Ashli Babbitt!

                  Justice for Matthew Perna!

                  Comment


                  • #69
                    Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post

                    I avoid overly speculating on what Heaven will be like. I think I'll spend the first million years or so just walking around saying "WOW".
                    Does Scripture actually teach that we will spend eternity in Heaven? Or will it be on the New Earth?
                    Geislerminian Antinomian Kenotic Charispneumaticostal Gender Mutualist-Egalitarian.

                    Beige Federalist.

                    "Everybody is somebody's heretic."

                    Social Justice is usually the opposite of actual justice.

                    Proud member of the LGBFJB community.

                    Would-be Grand Vizier of the Padishah Maxi-Super-Ultra-Hyper-Mega-MAGA King Trumpius Rex.

                    Justice for Ashli Babbitt!

                    Justice for Matthew Perna!

                    Comment


                    • #70
                      Originally posted by Ronson View Post

                      A lot of books have been written through the ages; most where authors are not in doubt. For me to "believe and trust" anonymous writings out of antiquity is a leap of faith I cannot make, no matter how hard I try. I may just as well "believe and trust" in the Vedas or the Tipitaka. I do not believe in inerrancy because of contradiction. As you say above, as depicted in scripture, He is the "God of Love and Mercy and Grace", and then there are passages where Joshua is allegedly instructed by God to kill all the men, women and children of Jericho. The two do not jibe, so either one or both are wrong; they cannot both be true. I choose the latter to be wrong. Why? Because my mercy cannot be greater than God's, and I would not slaughter women or children (or even the men who surrendered in war).

                      This is my cause to disbelieve in inerrancy. Arguments supporting inerrancy sound more like tapdancing and doubletalk to me.



                      If this is such an important feature for God, wouldn't He have made it impossible for errors to creep in? Why does mankind have to fix them?



                      My brother and I experienced spiritual revelation while watching a sermon by Hal Lindsay. At the time, we both figured that Lindsay's fundamentals must be correct for him to be a conduit for God. And then Lindsay went on to predict the end times - incorrectly - over and over again while peddling his faulty books. So we changed our view to that God must not be terribly concerned with details. Mankind is never going to get it right without errors, so why spend a lifetime drawing lines between those errors? Timothy (?) is the one who tells us that all of scripture is inspired by God. Timothy wrote this, God did not write it.
                      Um, well, Timothy was the recipient. Paul is named as the author. I believe majority (i.e. liberal) scholarship ascribes it to a 2nd-C pseudepigrapher, but I go with the view it was Paul working closely with Luke as his amanuensis. (This is the view of Witherington and Payne, and perhaps others I can't think of offhand.)
                      Geislerminian Antinomian Kenotic Charispneumaticostal Gender Mutualist-Egalitarian.

                      Beige Federalist.

                      "Everybody is somebody's heretic."

                      Social Justice is usually the opposite of actual justice.

                      Proud member of the LGBFJB community.

                      Would-be Grand Vizier of the Padishah Maxi-Super-Ultra-Hyper-Mega-MAGA King Trumpius Rex.

                      Justice for Ashli Babbitt!

                      Justice for Matthew Perna!

                      Comment


                      • #71
                        Originally posted by NorrinRadd View Post

                        I think it's generally understood that Isaiah had no sense that he was speaking about Messiah. Certainly God, being omniscient (or at least the Ultimately Best Guesser, if you're inclined to Open Theism) realized Matthew would use the passage that way, even if He did not "intend" that second layer of prophecy. As I understand it, this was not some weird thing Matthew did. I'm pretty sure it was common Rabbinical practice to apply OT passages to very different contemporary contexts. The NT writers certainly seemed to do that quite a bit. (They also liked to link disparate passages together by common key words.) The problem I have with that is this: Doing that today is regarded as shoddy hermeneutics. And if someone replies, "Well, the NT writers did it all the time," they get smacked with, "They were a special case, because they were inspired by God to do it." So they were "inspired" to use the hermeneutical and rhetorical techniques of their culture, and we should use those same techniques to understand what they wrote, but we should not imitate them by using those same techniques. Duh... Huh?
                        ???

                        Comment


                        • #72
                          Originally posted by Machinist View Post

                          ???
                          It is an understanding popular in the halls of academe.

                          The fifth century church appropriated anything and everything in the Old Testament that might be imagined to have even the most tenuous possible connection with the messiah. Hence we get Wisdom as "the preincarnate Christ" - which comes nowhere near to being viable, and not for the sole cause that wisdom is explicitly said to have been created.

                          The post nineteenth century church (largely) seeks excuses to disavow any possible connection between Old Testament writings and the Messiah, even where the connections are explicitly stated in the New Testament.

                          1Cor 15:34 εκνηψατε δικαιως και μη αμαρτανετε αγνωσιαν γαρ θεου τινες εχουσιν προς εντροπην υμιν λεγω
                          "It's bigger inside" might work for a TARDIS - it doesn't work for a bronze sea.

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                          • #73
                            I think i'll just stick with my impression that the author of Matthew got a little carried away with his story.

                            Comment


                            • #74
                              Originally posted by Machinist View Post
                              I think i'll just stick with my impression that the author of Matthew got a little carried away with his story.
                              Understood.

                              Might profit you to look at who promotes the story though. Do they assign any real credence to the existence of prophecy and miracles generally?
                              1Cor 15:34 εκνηψατε δικαιως και μη αμαρτανετε αγνωσιαν γαρ θεου τινες εχουσιν προς εντροπην υμιν λεγω
                              "It's bigger inside" might work for a TARDIS - it doesn't work for a bronze sea.

                              Comment


                              • #75
                                Originally posted by KingsGambit View Post
                                I personally don't like the term "inerrancy". The term gets associated with some very specific debates that I'm tired of, and gets qualified to the point where it seems meaningless. More importantly, what many conservative Christians have in mind with the term is literal, 100% scientific accuracy in everything, whereas the biblical writers did use some round numbers in places because that was considered acceptable in that culture.
                                I would add to that. An inspired author doesn't equate with an enlightened author.

                                There was one user on here awhile back who was hung up on Jesus saying that the mustard tree was the smallest of trees when scientists know there are smaller trees. He would bring this up in multiple places and even PM; hanging his hat on the Bible having that level of scientific accuracy was impairing his faith.
                                That's a weird one. If I am standing in a gulley and say to someone "that is the smallest of stones", I would be talking about what's in the gulley, or something everyone is agreeing to. This "user" had trouble with context.

                                I don't claim there are any errors in the Bible. But for me, it is sufficient to say that the Bible is accurate in what it teaches about spiritual matters. I don't feel the need to freak out when somebody points out that bats aren't birds even though Leviticus seems to imply otherwise.
                                That's where we differ. The Bible is not consistent from one book to the next in describing God. And I believe people who try to make an argument that there is consistency don't do a very good job.
                                "You should just assume going forward that if I am ever wrong it is a typo" - Backup
                                "
                                Reality simply does not change based upon consensus or desire." - rogue

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