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July 09, 2007

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The inclination to find reasons to believe is dependant on whether the spirit of God is indwelling or not. To the man who's dead in his sins, no amount of reasoning will convince him to believe, but to the man who has the spirit of God, for his faith to have legs and produce works evident of that faith, it needs to be reasonable. This is, I think a basis for the arguement that the scriptures aren't written to the world in general, but to those who are called. So, to use the scriptures for evidence to convince an unregenerated person to repent and believe, is to mususe them.

This is not to say that preaching the Word of God is to misuse the scriptures, because there is power from God in them. But He's not trying to convince men to believe, He has commanded all men to repent and believe. What is the responsibility to we who have the spirit? Look to 1 Pet 3:15 and 2 Tim. 2:15. I'm suggesting that there is a difference between apologetics and evangelism and knowing the difference comes from understanding Who it is that actually is sovereign.

Brad

"This was apparently the conclusion of Bart Ehrman, who says he lost his faith in Christ because he discovered one minor error in the Gospels."

...that's okay because I lost my faith in atheism when I discovered on minor error by Sam Harris.

While I believe in inerrancy, I don't think the Bible has to be inerrant before I kick it to the curb. It's weird that a guy would read four accounts about Christ's ressurrection then reject those accounts because a gospel has what appears to be a wrong measurement or chunk of pagan poetry.

doug t--what was harris's error for you to make atheism null and void--just curious

Melinda, it seems that the link you provided does not match the section you quoted. Did you intend to link to a different article?

OK...let's get it on Brad.

Are you saying that your religion is not ultimately rationally compelling?

I happen to agree that becoming a christian is not ultimately a rational matter.

But don't you base your "faith" on your ability to rationally reconstruct a plausible account verifying the resurrection as an event in history.

This seems like the work of reason. If you can reconstruct this event by reasoning through "evidences" to arrive at "the truth"...then your "faith" is "reasonable". You have what I have seen called on this site "reasonable faith".

But you seem to indicate that an indwelling of some kind of "spirit" is necessary first. You seem to argue, despite your own methodology, that your "reasons" aren't rationally compelling, that you must have the experience of a "spirit" indwelling in you.

You also associate this experience with being regenerate. What do you mean by regenerate?

I think I know what you mean. In Trinitarian terms, the "spirit" is the one that "convicts" us of our "guilt". Then another spirit, "Jesus", graces you and indwells in you. So the born-again experience is the work of two spirits of the trinity, the Holy Spirit and Jesus.

Is this what you mean by being "saved by grace"? Are you talking about a spiritual transformation?

Faith is not a result of rational processes, but whatever causes a spiritual transformation such that you see EVERYTHING differently, must be the work of a god.

Whether that god is the historical-textual Jesus is another matter completely.

You seem to think you can justify a spiritual experience by appealing to reason. Why bother reconstructing histories?

I agree we need the document, we need the story, because we need a name for the god. We need a word that we can share that represents a common, shared experience. Two christians can approach each other and say "last night I invited Jesus into my heart" or "last night I answered the call of the Lord" or "last night I felt an indwelling of the spirit of the lord" or whatever, and the other will know exactly what that means. You can say..."It was Jesus", where Jesus is a spirit of humility and reborn determination. You have to experience this to say that you have experienced "Jesus". The book provides the story and the name of the god.

But those have always changed. Another book, another story, another name for the god.

I agree what is important is the spirit of change, but also what survives past the change, what a christian heart must be post-transformation. I can only be a determined attitude. Faith is the result of such a transformation, it too must be a determined kind of action.

Christians should ask themeselves..."have I transformed"?

And if the answer is yes, think back to where you were, what you were doing, and I bet it wasn't reasoning in history class. What transformed you? Surely you remember this born again moment...where you recognized the "indwelling spirit" that causes us to regenerate.


Scholars think its "ancient biography" is at best a disputed claim!

We don't know what genre the original gospels were because we don't have the original gospels!

Instead we have a few scraps of manuscripts beginning in the second century...and only a couple of those!

We have to extrapolate what passages were original and which were later additions.

Instead of reading an original, we read edited copies.

It is the copying process, or the canonization process, where innerancy goes out the window…and trust in the book as the "true revelation" along with it.

It is in the story of the canonization of the bible that we read of the political process that produced "The Bible".

David, the link should work now. Thanks for letting us know.

No prob, Amy.

I'll tell you my problem with Craig's reasoning. Here he makes an argument for inerrancy. It's a good argument. I buy the reasoning. But his questioner makes the point. We know that what Jesus teaches is true because we know he rose from the dead. This vindicated him, making all of his teachings true. Doesn't it follow logically then that if we prove that Jesus taught something false this proves Jesus is not vindicated by God and hence not risen from the dead?

Logically Craig would have to agree. But what does he do instead? Instead he denies a premise that he previously affirmed. This argument is great when it leads to conclusions we like. But if it leads to conclusions we don't like, suddenly we say the argument is unsound.

Further, Bart Ehrman is to be criticized because he does not start with his conclusions and work backwards like Craig does. Ehrman instead is principled. He starts by thinking that Jesus taught an inerrant Bible and holds to that no matter where it leads.

This only confirms the assumptions that so many free thinkers have about the tortured and twisted reasonings of Christian apologetics. The conclusion is the starting point. The premises are molded to fit that conclusion.

Have the guts to stand by your claim. If you believe that Jesus taught that the Bible is the Word of God and perfect, than stick with it. Don't abandon it when it leads to conclusions that make you uncomfortable.

Tom wrote: "Scholars think its 'ancient biography' is at best a disputed claim!"

Which "scholars"? Give sources, please, and how they qualify as better sources than the rest of the historians who disagree with them.

"We don't know what genre the original gospels were because we don't have the original gospels! Instead we have a few scraps of manuscripts beginning in the second century...and only a couple of those!"

So we need to have the actual original pieces of paper for you to be satisfied? Do we need to have the actual paper that Shakespeare wrote on to be confident in our copy of "Hamlet"?

Maybe you should qualify "few" (I guess it can extend into the thousands, eh?).

http://www.str.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=6068

"We have to extrapolate what passages were original and which were later additions."

Do you think this is not possible? Do you think this is something historians are not skilled at?

"Instead of reading an original, we read edited copies."

How would someone "edit" thousands of documents and make it appear as though no edit had taken place. Please explain the process.

"It is the copying process, or the canonization process, where innerancy goes out the window…and trust in the book as the 'true revelation' along with it."

Are you familiar with how the texts were transmitted? Please explain how that process introduced error (instead of preventing against it (which is what it really did)).

David wrote: "Doesn't it follow logically then that if we prove that Jesus taught something false this proves Jesus is not vindicated by God and hence not risen from the dead?"

Logically speaking, no. For the first "leg" of your argument, God "vindicated" (depending on how you are applying that term) prophets and I'm sure they each taught something false at some point. For the second leg, people were raised from the dead without being "vindicated" by God, and I'm not sure why there needs to be a logical link between "vindication" and "resurrection" anyway. Please help me understand your reasoning here.

David said: "Doesn't it follow logically then that if we prove that Jesus taught something false this proves Jesus is not vindicated by God and hence not risen from the dead?"

1) If Jesus' resurrection proves He's vindicated, and you think He's wrong, either you're wrong about Him being resurrected, or you're wrong about Him being wrong. The evidence of His being resurrected is pretty dang strong, therefore you might want to reconsider that part about Him being "wrong." On what was He wrong?

2) I'm can't think of a single occasion where Jesus claimed the Bible was inerrant.

3) Lane's point is that "inerrant" may not mean what we usually think it means anyway.

Paul A, what I'm doing is simply describing William Lane Craig's position here. His argument is:

1. Whatever God teaches is true.
2. Historical, prophetic, and other evidences show that Jesus is God.
3. Therefore, whatever Jesus teaches is true.

4. Whatever Jesus teaches is true.
5. Jesus taught that the Scriptures are the inspired, inerrant Word of God.
6. Therefore, the Scriptures are the inspired, inerrant Word of God.

I think what I'm describing is what Craig means by the historic evidence that shows Jesus to be God. What is it that shows Jesus to be God? I think Craig would say that it is that he claimed to be God, and proved that his claims were accurate by predicting his own death and resurrection. This makes him kind of unique and correspondingly makes his claims true.

Then my major beef with Craig is that he accepts premise 5 when it results in a conclusion he likes, but if you find a real error, at that point change your mind and deny premise 5, and anybody that was consistent (like Bart Ehrman) should be criticized for being consistent and sticking with your premises even when the conclusions aren't pleasant.

David wrote: "Doesn't it follow logically then that if we prove that Jesus taught something false this proves Jesus is not vindicated by God and hence not risen from the dead?"

I also have something to say in response to this. I think you misunderstand what Craig said. Take for example Jesus saying that you plant a mustard seed and it becomes a big plant. His teaching is that the Kingdom of God starts small and becomes big.

Now, if another writer can't remember the type of seed and says, say, an apple seed instead -- I think this is the kind of "error" Craig is describing. The central point of the passage -- the KoG starts small and becomes big -- would still be intact. The change would be insignificant so long as the central message was left unchanged.

Did Jesus teach that the KoG starts small and becomes big? Yes. This is the important part. Did he actually use a mustard seed to convey the point? Probably, but ultimately the type of seed isn't important. The message is.

Get it?

ChrisB-

1-The questions becomes, which evidence is stronger? Is the evidence for the resurrection really all that clear? Anonymous documents written by superstitious people decades after the fact and you can't think of plausible naturalistic explanations to explain this data? I can. And I can't think of many plausible explanations for Jesus' erroneous predictions of his own imminent return (Mt 16, Mt 24, etc).

2-Jesus said "Thy Word is truth" in reference to the OT. If it is truth, it isn't false. If it isn't false it is without error i.e. inerrant.

3-In whichever way you want to define inerrancy, I think it is important that it be consistent with the claim that the Word of God is the Truth. If the evidence contradicts that, then I think if Craig wants to be principled he needs to concede that Jesus is not risen from the dead. Or he shouldn't argue that the Bible is inerrant because Jesus said it was the truth and proved that his claims were true by rising from the dead. You have to pick your medicine here.

Hypothetical question Derek. Let's say we have a bona fide error from Jesus. Not a mustard seed type of thing. That's not a big deal. What if we all agreed that Jesus really did say that he would come again before the disciples died. Wouldn't this show, based upon Craig's logic, that Jesus is not risen from the dead? Can we at least agree on that? I think that's the important point.

David:

You never answered me: You say that Jesus taught the inerrancy of the Bible, and that the Bible is not errant; you have to prove that it is not.

Now to yours:
1.1) The fact that the gospels are "anonymous" does not mean that no one knew who wrote them. The traditional names have been attached to them as far back as we can find, and there is no real reason why -these- names would be attached unless they are real.

1.2) I can think of no naturalistic explanation for the resurrection that can provide an explanation for hundreds of people seeing Him alive AND for an empty tomb. Mass halucination does not hold water, nor does the idea of the disciples stealing the body.

2) You're packing an awful lot into that one sentence. There are many ways of seeing scripture as "truth" today without necessarily believing it is "inerrant;" don't assume He means what evangelicals mean. You have to prove it.

3) You think Craig's argument is reversable; I'm not sure it is. Moreover, even if it is, you've got to prove error (beyond scribal).

4) Regarding what you wrote to Derek, there are more ways of reading Matt 24 than just yours. Craig Blomberg in his commentary (New American) makes a pretty good argument that Jesus doesn't necessarily answer the questions in the order they were asked. Hank Hanegraaf's new book (from the blurbs I've heard on the radio) seems to specifically speak to this issue -- he is, I think, a partial preterist on this passage. Some think Jesus' transfiguration fulfills this passage. It's not cut and dried.

Finally, even if the Bible is not inerrant, that does not prove that it is not basically reliable. Nor does it prove that the basic gospel is not true.

Hi Tom, I will be unable to go far and wide with you since I dont think I have the time. Your main point that you then ride out from there to some supposed logical ending point is in no way accurate to what the Bible instructs. Man doesn't regenerate himself, and when God does give life, the act is accompanied by the spirit of God leading the saint to truth. The adoption as sons, the mark of God, is the indwelling of the spirit.

The apostle Paul writes in Rom 8, "But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his."
and 1 Cor. 2 " Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God."

So, as I have written to you previously, your distortions of the truths of spiritual things is all I need to know that the scripture that says "But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know [them], because they are spiritually discerned". You mock distortions of the truth which only demonstrates that you do not have the spirit of God and are thus incapable of understanding or believing the scriptures, because your nature is driving you from that end. You are not alone, for everyone was born in this condition, but hear God's clear command to all men, "repent and believe". This is not an offer, or a pleading, He doesn't do that. In the same way that your nature drives you away from God, one who has the spirit, is driven toward belief, he can not help but to believe because the logic of God is in him and that logic is in agreement with the LOGOS.

Brad

ChrisB, I am not really trying to prove that the Bible is errant. I understand that my quick blurbs regarding Jesus claims about his 2nd coming are not enough to prove the point. I'm just kind of sketching the logic that I'm going through.

I'm also not trying to go into detail about naturalistic explanations for the evidence of the resurrection. Of course my rebuttal would have to be more detailed. I'm just trying to sketch the thought process.

My main point that I'm trying to get across is regarding Craig's logic about inerrancy. You say that "Thy Word is Truth" doesn't demand inerrancy. If you don't like my justification for premise 5 in Craig's argument, that's fine. Think of one for yourself. Regardless, this is his argument, not mine. It is his claim that Jesus taught that the Bible was inerrant. Any by inerrant he means the evangelical understanding of inerrant.

Now, if you don't agree then you can either reject inerrancy (that's fine by me) or give a different argument better than Craig's which leads to inerrancy. But if you think this is a good argument (as I assume Melinda does) then what I'm saying is, don't abandon a premise you previously accepted when it leads to conclusions you don't like. That's what Craig is doing. Today Craig wants to prove the evangelical understanding of inerrancy, so that's what he means by premise 5. Tomorrow if he decides he needs to concede an error in the Bible he'll just redefine inerrancy in some liberal way, because suddenly he needs to admit that Jesus isn't risen. I have a hard time respecting that, and a further hard time respecting Craig for criticizing Bart Ehrman for being consistent.

Back to your arguments in favor of the resurrection, there are in fact good reasons that those particular names would be attached to the gospels. We could get into that if you like. Also remember that you don't need a naturalistic explanation for hundreds of people seeing him alive and an empty tomb. You need a naturalistic explanation for REPORTS OF hundreds of people seeing him alive and REPORTS OF an empty tomb.

"doug t--what was harris's error for you to make atheism null and void--just curious"

Garry,
it was a joke but if you want I'll call out his error, which is the same as Hitchens and other pop-atheists...it's the assertion that atheism is derrived from a rational, neutral position while Christianity is derrived from a faith-based, biased position.

Most atheists undermine their own arguments by adhering to broader presuppostions than even Van Til himself would own up to.

I devour atheistic literature looking for a good argument, a challenge that is honestly based in reason and I keep finding an ever-changing standard for "reason". It reveals that, at least to the atheist, the position comes about by matter of the heart not reason...which the Bible happens to affirm. Not bad for a book written thousands of years ago cobbled together an edited by a bunch of superstitious idiots. I doubt if people will be reading the revelations of Sam Harris 2,000 years from now.

David:

Again, I'm not sure Craig's argument is reversable, and even if it is, it's dependent on proving errors in the OT.

The fact that you can come up with a scenario in which this witnesses might lie or be mistaken does not suffice. You have to show how your scenario is more likely/plausible than the traditional one.

It seems that Craig is in agreement with me that the argument is reversible, which is why he finds it necessary to deny premise 5, which he had previously affirmed.

Of course just because the argument is reversible doesn't necessarily mean Jesus isn't risen. I would need to prove an error. I know that. I'm not trying to do that at this time.

Regarding alternative scenarios, I haven't offered an alternative scenario, so I don't know why your asking me to defend an alternative scenario. I merely corrected your mis-statement of the evidence. You said that it is necessary to explain post resurrection appearances to large groups of people and it is necessary to explain an empty tomb. But this is not the evidence. The hard evidence is the REPORTS OF appearances and the empty tomb. That is quite a bit different from an actual empty tomb and actual appearances.

David wrote: "What if we all agreed that Jesus really did say that he would come again before the disciples died. Wouldn't this show, based upon Craig's logic, that Jesus is not risen from the dead? Can we at least agree on that? I think that's the important point."

I know the passage you're referring to, the Olivet Discourse(Matthew 24, though I believe it's also repeated in Mark), and it's a sticking point for many nonchristians for just the reason you stated. However, I'm a Preterist, and to my knowledge so is Craig, so we don't have this problem.

The simple answer from a non-dispensational framework is that Jesus is using apocalyptic language, and his talk of coming on a cloud is an allusion to OT use of a cloud to represent judgment. He is stating that Israel will be judged before all standing before him are dead.

Considering Jerusalem was ransacked, and the temple was destroyed in AD 70(give or take a year, depending on who you ask), I'd say he was right and that the fulfillment of the Olivet Discourse is a mark in his favor.

What we are really dealing with here are canonical vs. non-canonical texts.

We must juxtapose the four canonical gospels against the other authoritative writings of the time.

If the four canonical gospels are "ancient biography"…then what are these other writings?

Are they also ancient biography? What is the Gospel of Thomas? Is it also "ancient biography"?

The problem in doing "genre analysis", where we try to find which genre according to our own genres, in terms of our own genres, is that they may have had a whole genre that is completely alien to us…like "midrash".

Nobody writes midrash anymore.

If we look at all the non-canonical writings we find a Gnostic tradition that parallels Literal Christianity.

We find that the Catholic's literary opponents were Gnostics who claimed to understand Jesus spiritually, as a spirit who inspires you (Col 1:26).

These Gnostics also claimed Paul's writings as their own.

So the Catholics separated themselves from the Gnostics theologically by insisting that the story of Jesus be taken LITERALLY, whereas the Gnostics read it allegorically, imparting a special kind of "knowledge".

This is where it gets really interesting. The Catholics forged x x x, c c c, against the Gnostics. They called the Gnostics "anti-christs" because they don't believe in the "bodily resurrection" of Jesus, or pay it lip service, and go on to understand its spiritual significance without necessarily tying it to texts deemed "historical".

There is no mention of an "anti-christ" like the evangelicals normally take to be an end time representative of Satan. Anti-christs only appear in the epistles and it is a reference to Gnostics.

Remember there was no orthodoxy for 300 years. There was no orthodoxy until one side acquired state power, and the power to snuff out its rivals. Which is exactly what happened including the purging of all other sacred texts other than "The Bible".

Up until Constantine, there were several groups who held the influence of large populations. Among these groups were the Valentinians and the Marcionites.

There were many more, but what make these groups special, beside their gnositicism claiming "special knowledge" or "the secret" or "inner mysteries", was that they denied the bodily resurrection of Jesus as having special theological significance AND they both venerated Paul.

Now how could they deny the historical "bodily" resurrection of Jesus and still consider themselves "in the know"? What was their "secret"? And why were Catholic Bishops trying to outwit them and suppress them? Why were the Catholic Bishops vying for the allegiances of the people, waging their "media campaign", forging documents that spoke against the "anti-christs" and canonizing them?

Well they followed Paul's theology of chrestus, a dying god-man, whose spirit came into you, and transformed you. The Catholics thought the same thing except they also interpreted the story literally, as "ancient biography", whereas the gnostics thought the story transmitted a powerful myth, a "truth" about human beings, that they are divided selves until they are unified in a moment of rebirth.

The reader of the story follows the story of the god-man, being part god and part human, suffers, dies, is born-again, and "ascends to heaven", which is a state of mind only possible after such a rebirth. That was their secret. Christ in you. That is what the Protestants still say in their phrase "invite Jesus into your heart".

Religion was psychology before there was psychology. We could explain this transformative experience in the language of psychology, call it a catharsis or an epiphany. But since it happens TO YOU, and there is nothing you can do to evoke it, it is better to say it is the work of a god.

The problem is that the Literalist Catholics swoop in and say if the story is not literally true then this gnostic truth is useless, which it is not. We are still divided selves "dreadfully in need of mending" as Melville says. What unifies the self in these "moments of truth", whatever it is, it gives us our purpose, our identity. What is more important than rationally justifying this moment by linking it to a historical event said to have actually occurred in the past, is remaining open to the "god", that speaks to you and calls you to do what you were meant to do.

Anyway these groups posed such a great threat to the Literalist Catholics that when Constantine and Theodosius gave the Literalist Catholic bishops some power they used it to squash the rebellion. They produced their "canon" and purged the empire of all other religion texts. What you read is the work of their hands and their political motivation.

The idea was to unify the empire, so the emporer needed one single authoritative text.

But the text also need to satisfy various groups in the empire.

One group was the Neoplatonists, who had a trinitarian theology, which St. Augustine did his best to appropriate in canonical terms (cast the One, Logos, and Nuos as God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit). The Catholics are still very good at this form of philosophy called "metaphysics".

Another group were those who understood the transforming power of Jesus as articulated by Paul.

Other groups around the Meditteranean used the LXX, so they added that to the canon.

By using the Jewish Yahweh as the One of the trinity, and as Jesus' Abba, as the creator-god it gave them ultimate authority.

They combined everything into one book, gave the Jesus story a historical spin, combined it with Paul's mysteries, which were known to have different names for the dying god-man that represented the transformed initiate, combined it with Judaism, combined it with Neoplatonism and voila…you get the most bang for your propoganda buck around the empire.

Even though the print media was the only form of mass media…you could think of it as Fox News vs CNN.

It was a media battle, a literary battle, between Gnostics and Catholics.

We know the Catholics regarded Gmatt, Gmark, Gluke, and Gjohn as "literal history"…or "ancient biography".

But what is the Gnostic alternative? If they did not regard the story of Jesus as literal history, yet accepted the writings of Paul, then what are we to make of their genre of literature?

"But what is the Gnostic alternative? If they did not regard the story of Jesus as literal history, yet accepted the writings of Paul, then what are we to make of their genre of literature?"

We should make of it what it's always been by the most authoritative sources...it's a lie. There were hundreds of Christ myths circulating around the time of Paul and the book of 1 John pretty much calls the Gnostics out for the frauds they've always been.

Wow, tom! I called you out on the mat last month for being a Gnostic and you denied it. Now you're repeating the dissertation of the typical Gnostic apologetic. Are you liar or just an idiot?

It's also a false dichotomy to claim a "Catholic church vs. Gnostic" paradigm. That does fit the modern attack on Christ among pop-religionists but it's a new concept created within the last 75 years like all of the pap you barfed up above. Given the dating of 1 John, the book would have been around long before the Constantinian power grab you claim. Besides that, both the legit Christian teaching and the Gnostics would have been driven underground by Rome. Yet we have a rich tapestry of historical letters and archeology from the Christians and only a few scraps of meaningless texts created by Gnostic revisionists who try to put the Gospel of Thomas on equal footing with the real Gospels. Instead of the plain teaching for why Thomas would be rejected you invent elaborate conspiracies...which I find kind of common among Gnostics.

Tom, out of curiosity...who was behind the 9/11 plane crashes?

David wrote

>>The hard evidence is the REPORTS OF appearances and the empty tomb. That is quite a bit different from an actual empty tomb and actual appearances.

If your claim is that the reports were incorrect can you give me a reasonable answer why people were willing to die for a lie? Not something they believed but, to die for something they knew was false (they stole the body, the body was hidden away or whatever flavor of REPORT you want to claim).

Especialy James, Jesus' brother. He was a skeptic before the resurrection and after Christ's resurrection he was willing to die for something he knew was a lie. His death is recorded in secular historical documents. We won't bring up the other 10 apostles who were also willing to die for a lie they KNEW.

Doug,

I'm sorry if your little brain can't handle it all but…

History is pretty "elaborate".

The more you know the more you undo your Historical Christianity.

I'm pitting Gnostic Christianity up against Literal Christianity, but I'm not a Gnostic either.

I can do without god-language completely. At least treating Jesus as a deity. Explaining what kind of "god" Jesus compared to what "God" (Cap G) is. Jesus is a god in the sense that Athena was a god. I know you think Jesus is "real" because he's "historical"…at least we can point to a few evidences that there was a Jesus…but Jesus is a "spirit" that "transforms" you.

How do you "know" if a "spirit" has "transformed" you? Well if you have been transformed than you will "know" it.

I think the Gnostic ahistorical version of Christianity is better that then literalist Christians that tie everything to the lone "fact" of a historical resurrection and ascension.

I think the Gnostic version of Christianity can be found among fundamentalist, protestant, evangelical christians with their mystery rite of "being born again" and "inviting Jesus into your heart". It’s the same ahistorical, personal, subjective experience of actually feeling a "spirit enter into you". In short…that "spirit" need not be the historical Jesus.

I know you relate the two. By reading the Passion you experience a breakdown of the ego, a softening of the heart, especially the part where Jesus is tortured and killed for you. Then God brings Jesus back to life (don't worry about trinitarian theology for the moment) and he "ascends". So too you are brought back to life, once your ego is broken, and you devote yourself to your new cause, with such devotion and determination that it revolutionizes your whole person, your whole personality, your whole identity. Your whole identity comes from the object of your faith that you receive in that moment. In that moment you find that which you would live for and die for.

Your devotion is to a historical fact. You claim to live and die for "Jesus", when Jesus is the spirit that gives you the determination to live and die for your cause…but your cause must be temporal and finite…something tangible and real…not defending a historical hypothesis with laid-back reflection and thinking "objectively".

Anyway…back to the part where you get your facts wrong.

1John was forged by Catholic Bishops in RESPONSE to gnosticism.

I don't claim to be gnostic...they had some hang-ups about sex. They thought of the flesh as evil and all that. I think they were a support group for sexaholics or something. Anyway...they got one thing right. Gnosis is a mystical experience akin to being born-again. That is the Gnostic theology of paul and others. Gnosticism supported millions of believers, and great thinkers, but you just dismiss it as a complete lie, a total fabrication.

Who is the conspiracy theorist here?

Muslim Extremist Terrorists killed Americans that day.

They hold to their book the way you hold to yours. Both are un-necessary. Both are obstacles for peace. And for what? To defend one version of written history over another?

Both religions suffer from historicism.

Both suffer from the mass production of the Bible and the Koran, the small-minded academics that recite it, that defend it.

At least Christianity is a religion of peace because the highest value tramsitted through the Jesus story is love enough to die for someone or something.

That is a completely different motive than the martyrs that die today for Islam.

>>The problem is that the Literalist Catholics swoop in and say if the story is not literally true then this gnostic truth is useless, which it is not.

Hmmm. And here I thought that Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15:17-19 back around 55 AD (that date is widely acknowledged, by the way) that if the story isn't true, their faith is useless. So I'm a little confused about the swooping. You have evidence that someone put that part in later?

"Both suffer from the mass production of the Bible and the Koran, the small-minded academics that recite it, that defend it."

I think it's cute that when Gnostics mass produce a book they are transcribing a truth but when Christians do it we're being small minded. Does snobbish elitism come natrually or did you have to take a class on it at the university?

What about the academics who aren't small minded and find the Christ story historical?

If the books are unnecessary and the truth of Christ comes from a supernatural experience why did you learn about this gnostic garbage through written texts?

Further, if you have a physical body and you feels things in your body (like a spirit entering) why can't your corrupt, fallen body lie to you the way mine does when it tells me that the Bible is reasonable and true?

See, I've read the Joseph Campbell garbage about 100 times more than you (I'm a screen writer) and the monomyth Paul is accused of creating can equally be said by metanarratives started by doubters and atheists...that Paul spread just another legend of a greek Sun King etc.

What Meme keeps you from applying your own accusations against yourself? Elitism. Gnostics in paticular and 9/11 deniers in particular have a psychological disposition that suspects the status quo and will cling to conspiracies out of fear of being duped with the crowd.

Oswald was a lone shooter. 9/11 was caused by Islamic fundamentalists. Paul's accounts (and Luke's accounts of Paul) are written to document literal, historical happenings. Only creepy, occultic, sexually oppressed cave-dwellers thought it was a symbolic narrative. They also probably took a lot of opiates by the way.


Rom 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;


Rom 1:19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed [it] unto them.


Rom 1:20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, [even] his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:


Rom 1:21 Because that, when
they knew God, they glorified [him] not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.


Rom 1:22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,

Sadly, this scriptures truth is being demonstrated here daily.

Brad

Amy,

The oldest textual "evidence" you have is Papyrus P46 in the Chester Beatty Collection dated to c. 200.

This is the earliest source we have for the writings of Paul and it DOES NOT include 1 Corintians 15.

So I'm afraid you have no evidence for your claim that that assertion comes from 55 AD.

I agree there are other ways to verify the hypothesis that Paul wrote c.40-55, but as for the famous "we are to be pitied" text…that was added later. I do think Paul wrote at the same time that the Gospels were produced, and gave them practical and theological meaning to the otherwise empty gospels regarding Christian practices and important experiences like "being born-again". Jesus doesn't articulate what being born again actually is…he just says it is necessary for ascension. You need Paul to articulate Christianity. Paul is the first real articulator of Chistianity. He spells it out in terms of practices. But those practices need not be dependent on the "bodily resurrection of the god-man" Jesus. In fact he says what the secret to the mystery is. Christ in you. (Col 1:26).

But the funny thing is…Paul's theology was a Gnostic Christian and later edited by the Historicist Catholics.

I don't know if Sinaiaticus has 1 Cor 15(that's easy to look up), but I wouldn't be surprised if it showed up there c.350 Right at the time of canonization. Imagine that!

Doug,

You said…"What about the academics who aren't small minded and find the Christ story historical?"

I think they are wrong. And they're usually not very good academics either. Especially that Craig of yours.

Did you see how you equivocate on the word "historical" with the word "true" in your sentence? The Christ story is "historical" alright, it is certainly the fodder of research specialists, but it's not "true" in the sense that you think it needs to be "true"…which is rationally and objectively true, making true for everybody, and something you can argue about.

The truth is the Christ story has to do with mending a broken self, unifying the self, renewing the self. It is not rational and objective, but ecstatic and subjective. But because of your rationalist, enlightenment mentality you don't see that it need not be tied to a fact retrieved through historical science, but the truth can be tied to the actual experience of a unified, revivified self. It actually corresponds to your own experience of being born-again which is passionate and subjective...and ought to be.

Doug, does your "fallen body" really tell you the bible is "reasonable and true"? That is ridiculous. Whose clinging to crowd view here?

But that is an interesting sentence.

You said…"Further, if you have a physical body and you feels things in your body (like a spirit entering) why can't your corrupt, fallen body lie to you the way mine does when it tells me that the Bible is reasonable and true?"

Are you saying you don't trust yourself, that your body "tells you" things and you "listen" and can't decide what "voice" to listen to? How many voices do you hear Doug?

But the answer about the "spirit" is simple. How do you know if a "good spirit" or a "bad spirit" or the "spirit of Jesus" is "in you" (Col 1:26)? You know the "good spirit" because it inspires you to do good things. And if you end up doing bad things, then you can pretty much guess that was a "bad spirit".

And you recognize "the spirit of Jesus" when your whole life turns around and you are inspired to have a great determination, a great devotion, to something you can live for and die for. Not every Christian is a Christian.

You sound as if you have a hard time recognizing your own god. Don't you talk to it? Haven't you been "born-again"…knocked off your horse like Paul?

I love it when I hear the charge of Elitism on STR. Talk about snobbish elitists. You guys ARE the academic elitists remember. You guys are the ones touting Tacitus and Josephus in order to "prove" that your religion is correct. STR sends out academic materials to create little ambassadors, little scholars, all capable of proving their religion by a few historical references. The technical term is "smartypantses".

I've been the one to knock you down off your high horses of "reason" here at STReason.

Aren't you the Thomistic Dualist. That is quite an elite form of Christian, far better than a black gospel church choir because those lowly souls can't justify their "beliefs" by appeal to arguments. But you are very verbose, and can turn a phrase, so I enjoy your comic book style. And every once in a while I enjoy adding my own "snikt"... or "bampf".

You say "doubters and atheists" are capable of creating false meta-narratives in order to deceive. I think you give "doubters and atheists" too much credit. They have no army to enforce their story to the exclusion of others. But the Roman Catholics did. And their product is your beloved, authoritative "bible".

"Oswald was a lone shooter." Who knows.

"9/11 was caused by Islamic fundamentalists." Most likely.

"Paul's accounts (and Luke's accounts of Paul) are written to document literal, historical happenings. False. There are many accounts deemed "non-canonical" because they were such incredible stories. But somehow "Acts of the Apostles" makes it in the canon. They were the comic books of antiquity.

"Only creepy, occultic, sexually oppressed cave-dwellers thought it was a symbolic narrative." False.

"Sexually-oppressed" is a term I usually reserve for Catholics, especially their priests. Poor fellows.

"They also probably took a lot of opiates by the way."

I think they took entheogens. I would have thought a worm-cartoonist would get that right.

Brad,

I hope you see how inept throwing scriptures at people is by now.

But its always good to brush up on the text. Its like scriptural flash cards.

Sorry Tom, you assert a lot and demonstrate little. I'd get a lot more attention if I abandoned my faith for the religion of your creation but I just don't feel it, and the historical texts keep my feet from walking away. You'll just have to convince your mystical ju-ju spirits to come change my mind and free me from this flesh. Until then, I'll just keep going where my Gnostic enlightenment leads and it informs me that you're a self-deluded Jesus-seminar type.

...please, don't deny this, or argue with me. That only supposes the rationalism that keeps us in chains. You should argue in more spiritual ways, ways that don't use worlds or internets. Let's ditch these "scriptural flashcards" and allow the third eye to do its thing...I'm feeeeling it...I'm feeeling it...it's exactly how I thought the spirit world would feeeeeeeeel...

>>I agree there are other ways to verify the hypothesis that Paul wrote c.40-55,

Of course there is. That's why scholars are agreed on this.

>>but as for the famous "we are to be pitied" text…that was added later.

And your evidence for that?

>>The oldest textual "evidence" you have is Papyrus P46 in the Chester Beatty Collection dated to c. 200. This is the earliest source we have for the writings of Paul and it DOES NOT include 1 Corintians 15.

I'm afraid you're mistaken on that. I did a little research on the web and found that the manuscript, P46, contains (beginning in chapter 14) 14:1-14:14; 14:16-15:15; 15:17-16:22. It seems the only verse missing from all of chapter 15 is verse 16, and since this is basically a restatement of verse 13 (using the word "resurrection" instead of "raised"), dropping it wouldn't change anything.

I got this information here, but I verified it on a few different sites:
http://www.iidb.org/vbb/archive/index.php/t-190886.html

So unless you have an example of an earlier manuscript that's missing only chapter 15, I'm afraid you've got nothing to go on except your own hunches and a dislike of the physical resurrection of Jesus.

Sorry Tom, you assert a lot and demonstrate little. I'd get a lot more attention if I abandoned my faith for the religion of your creation but I just don't feel it, and the historical texts keep my feet from walking away.

You'll just have to convince your mystical ju-ju spirits to come change my mind and free me from this flesh. Until then, I'll just keep going where my Gnostic enlightenment leads and it informs me that you're a self-deluded Jesus-seminar type.

...please, don't deny this, or argue with me. That only supposes the rationalism that keeps us in chains. You should argue in more spiritual ways, ways that don't use worlds or internets. Let's ditch these "scriptural flashcards" and allow the third eye to do its thing...I'm feeeeling it...I'm feeeling it...it's exactly how I thought the spirit world would feeeeeeeeel...

Amy, you gotta go back to that site you posted:
http://www.iidb.org/vbb/archive/index.php/t-190886.html

...and read the next post down by "mountainman" (of course). He's another Tom-truther type implying a conspiracy that the dating of your texts were by hand-writing analysis while the "science" of carbon dating has only been performed on two books...the book of Thomas and Judas, GNOSTIC texts. Ta-daaaaaa!

You're wasting your time using widely accepted scholarship to argue with conspiracy theorists because they see the wide spread acceptance of facts as part of the power-play. The dating of P46 was by a "modernist minded" unenlightened mind, while the dating of Thomas and Judas was by a spirit-mind.

To reason with a mind founded on personal experience is no different that arguing with "the burning in the bosom", the Zoastrian who experiences astral-projection, or the Ron Paul truther who thinks charges were set in the two towers by Jews.

They don't need a debate, they need a shrink.

Hi doug t, I so agree with your last post, and because of that I try not to spend too much time with someone who does finally demonstrate that there is no honest search for truth. The person who's got the Spirit of God but doesn't know it will be inclined to believe the spiritual truths because the spirit in him will understand them even if in his intellect he doubts. This is faith seeking reason, a formerly often used phrase to describe a born again person trying to make sense of the world now with a heart of flesh. He attempting to attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God. Unity of the faith plus true knowledge of the Son of God equals a mature man.[Eph. 4]

Brad

Amy...

I stand corrected. I guess p46 is split up with some of it in UMich and the rest in Ireland.

But there the trail goes cold.

What earlier documents of Paul's do you have?

Those folios are dated to c. 200, right in the middle of the Gnostic-Literalist debate.

How can you put those words in Paul's mouth in c.40-55?

You can't. That is why the canon cannot be trusted.

The four canonical gospels are the same way. You don't know if GMark was a gnostic text used by the Essenes or what. Papias refers to Gmatt as a "book of oracles" c. 110...so maybe it was originally used as a "symbolic narrative", but not an "ancient biography".

We can speculate on what was in the originals...and you get Christians like the Jesus Seminar.

But please tell me that your "faith" comes down to something a little less speculative. Please tell me my fate doesn't rest in the hands of scholars and their colored beads!

If we can't tell who wrote what when how can we be so "certain" of our "faith"? Inductive methods are just educated guesses anyway.

Then the Catholics mass produced their document. The Romans were great mass producers. Then they used their army to purge the empire of all other documents and force others to believe as they do.

You guys use their text to make your arguments in an attempt to do the same.

Doug...

What do you "FEEEEEL" when you pray?

I'm sure such a great writer could articulate your "feelings" during a typical prayer of yours.

What are they?

BTW...I think you are talking to yourself...but I would like to hear it from your perspective?

You must feel something? You must recognize it as "God".

Or do you just sense "God" when you are studying the conceptual God of apologetics?

>>How can you put those words in Paul's mouth in c.40-55? You can't. That is why the canon cannot be trusted.

As you yourself said, there are other ways besides having a manuscript for reasonable people to make a determination about this: style, content, wording, etc. When a huge section is inserted by somebody else, the two pieces don't tend to match. For example, I can usually tell whose comment I'm reading before I even get to his or her name at the end because I know you all so well. If someone were to put a paragraph of yours into the middle of one of my comments, everyone would be able to tell right away.

Chapter 15 sounds like Paul in wording and style, and it's consistent with Paul's other writings in 1 Corinthians and the rest of the New Testament. Also, this chapter was already being circulated by about 100 years after Paul (since we have a copy of it only 150 years after it was written). To give you an idea of how short a time period that is, my great-grandmother told me stories about being in the great San Francisco earthquake. Here I am 100 years later with a direct connection to a huge event of that time. It's just no time at all.

>>What earlier documents of Paul's do you have?

That makes no difference. Since 1 Corinthians is not disputed as having been written by Paul, and since Chapter 15 matches the style and wording of the rest of the document, and since we know of no one of that time who disputed the chapter as a forgery, and since it was being circulated and copied before even 200 AD, and since we don't have any manuscripts that say otherwise, and since there was no powerful, centralized Catholic Church before 150 AD, the reasonable, simplest conclusion is that it was passed along as written. You're the one with the burden of proof. You need to show a reason--any reason--why we should think someone tampered with the text. But you have no surviving text--either before or after, from any of the manuscript families--that leaves out this one part of 1 Corinthians.

>>But please tell me that your "faith" comes down to something a little less speculative.

I'm sorry to say, Tom, that your faith is in something completely speculative. And your fate is resting on ideas of your own making, not reality. In fact, it's funny that you talk about the "conceptual God of apologetics." Our God is not "conceptual," He's real. Because He's real, we can talk about Him like He's real. Because He's real, we can point to His interactions in the world and talk about him rationally. And only because He's real, we can know Him. This is why your conceptual god looks so silly and unattractive to us.

Doug said the most perfect thing on another post that describes exactly how I feel when you talk about your god; I hadn't yet been able to articulate my thoughts this well: "You're the starving man offering cheap trinkets to this man fat on God's glory."

Amy, you've done a good job of defending the faith with reasonable and logically consistent thinking. As I stated in the first post of this blog entry, the scriptures are for believers. You have served the community of believers well, because this is what the scriptures are for--we are washed [santified] by them. Tom will not be inclined to "believe", because his heart is dead to spiritual things, and he cannot know them. To us he is seen as a fool in his folly, to him, we are the fools. Your work in this regard has been admirably in accordance with 1Pet: 3-:15, and likely will come to add condemnation on the wicked who despise the Truth, but to us who believe, peace and reason to do works evident of our faith.

Brad

So Tom, the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. To fear Him, one has to know that He is. What will you say when that day arrives-as it will to every man. That day when you'll see Him and be before Him naked and ashamed with no cover on bended knees. Jesus said in Matt: 10:28 "And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell." A propitiation has been made, on behalf of them that believe--God did that Himself.

Do you want to understand why we think the way we do? Then fear God, the One Who Is, and you'll know.

Brad

Amy,

No the burden of proof is on you because you are using textual-evidence for to make a supernatural claim, as eyewittness testimony of the actual event of a resurrection you say occured.

I'm not saying that supernatural events can't happen, just that the burden of proof lies at those who claim one occured here.

It turns out we have no eyewittness testimony at all.

You say it is "reasonable to infer" what they said. That is exactly what the "scholars" of the Jesus Seminar do, but you can't stand them, you have a visceral, gut reaction against their speculations because it exposes the core of your religion to be nothing but speculation.

I've been telling you that when I say inductive methods are never certain, but you don't care. You keep saying…"but what IF" it really did happen. You claim to use "reason" which just is a particular methodology, but disregard "reason" when it is taken to its limit. Even William Lane Craig wouldn't let a little old thing like methodology get in the way of speculating on "the big IF" in the debate you referenced when methodology is the name of the game, it is the whole game, if you claim to justify your "beliefs" rationally.

Brad,

As you say we think each other fools. But then you go on to say that "fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom".

Now what does that mean exactly? What is its practical meaning?

I don't think you mean "fear" as in being "afraid". How could you love something that makes you afraid for your life, that is determined to kill you? "the Lord" in this case must be Jesus and yet you claim to "love Jesus" not fear him.

But I think I can take it one step further. Because you link "wisdom" with "behavior".

"Fear of the Lord" must be a kind of "respect", which requires that you be a respecting, you must be a respectful person to become wise.

I admit that these exchanges get disrespectful at times. Some of it is just a healthy dash of humor to the arguments. But some of it borders on outright disrespect for each other, possibly even malevolent feelings because we are challenging each other's whole worldview.

But nobody is being wise while being disrespectful. But the reason I think you are fools is because you think you need the bible to tell you that, that a historical fact need be true first! Not only that, but you think proving this historical fact gives you a special authority from which you say "fear of the Lord…" and condemn me to eternal pain and torture.

Amy,

Of course that depends on what you mean by "real".

I named my coffee table "God" because it is made of three spinning circular dishes and since that is that is how "God" was portrayed in Dantes Paradiso. (He was this abstract three circle thing like Aristotle's Prime)

Whenever I sit in the living room I sense God's presence. But you don't mean God is that kind of "real". And that is not how you "sense" his presence.

I know you think that Christianity "corresponds" to "reality", it "correponds" to a historical "reality", one that is constructed out of source texts.

And since you think the resurrection is an "objective fact" you think it is "true" for everybody and Christianity "corresponds" to the "truth". It is "true" because it "corresponds with reality".

I'm saying Christianity is true. There is a truth contained in it. And it does correponds to "reality"…but it corresponds to the reality of "existence"…that is it corresponds to the events in our lives…it corresponds to the "reality of our lives"…it has to, or else it is pointless. Somehow it has to translate into experience. It corresponds to our experience.

Now you think the experince of putting 2 and 2 together using "reason" to arrive at the conclusion that Jesus was "real" and his resurrerection "actually occurred". I guess arriving at that conclusion using "reason" is the experience of "knowing" Jesus. Arriving at that conclusion rationally must be the experience that changes your whole life because everything else follows from "proving" that one event. Convincing yourself and others that it actually did occur is supposed to change everything.

But that is not the same experience as "being born-again" where you understand "grace". That has to correspond to our lives in some way too. So normally how it happens is someone committs a regrettable act, for which they feel both guilty and worthless, until one day…magically…it happens that they are changed…if they "lean not on your own understanding" and are "humbled" (humility is essential)…and their guilt is turned into determination (faith) and their feelings of worthlessness are changed to feelings of worth.

All of that happens in the born again moment, but you seem to think connecting a few historical dots is enough to cause that to happen. Maybe if I have already committed a regrettable act, then it will be appealing.

But I know what is important. Going to work, feeding my family, planning activities, making a happy home. Brad wants to put me in hell for my behavior because we have arrived at different conclusions "rationally"…using "reason" and he doesn't think that I can discern wisdom unless a historical fact is true.

But where in that description of being born again do you find "reason"? What role does "reason" play in being born-again?

Well, at this point you have two moments of change. One is where you accept the conclusion that Jesus resurrection is a "historical fact" and that changes how you look at everything. The other is a moment where you change your life because you have committed regrettable acts and are miraculously transformed.

Two moments…two kinds of Christianity.

One has to do with examining historical documents. The other with examining your life.

One requires "reason" and leads to a "reasonable faith", an "objective" faith. The other requires an object of devotion that you are commit your whole life to…even unto death…very "subjective" to say the least.

They are such different experiences…one wonders if they are even related!

The way you relate them is to say that what you feel in that crisis-moment in your life is the same thing as the historical entity you study, and that your own expereince of being born-again is related to Jesus being born-again by virtue of the historical facthood of Jesus' resurrection, which must be studied by thinkers for a kind of reassurance that their born-again moment wasn't fake or to reassure others that it is not stupid to relate them because Jesus' resurrection was "real" and therefore breaks all the rules of how we normally think of death, and since he was reborn so can you be reborn.

The difference is, by making it an objective fact, it is supposedly an experience that any reasonable person can have if they just apply their reason and follow the trail of "evidence", (which assumes they will arrive at the same conclusion).

The "objective" experience is the moment you realize that there are adequate reasonings sufficient to force you to believe by the authority of reason, by virtue of its reasonableness compell you to accept the conclusion, that Jesus' resurrection was a fact and that changes everything.

The "subjective" experience has to deal with regrettable acts, things you've done in your own life, and the moment you change your life changes forever. The result of the subjective experience is a determination to live a new life and a new inspiration, a new spirit, that helps you focus, that gives you your new mood, your new feeeeeling of determination.

You think experiencing the objective moment will produce the subjective moment. That's not necessarily true. But you admit that the subjective moment is ultimately the experience that we all should have. You just describe it in terms of gods and spirits. I don't mind that language, but it is not necessary, I can work within the god-talk. Jesus is the spirit that inspires you to live a new life.

That is not related to whether you can prove anything using historical texts. It has nothing to do with historical texts. It has everything to do with your life.

"By their fruits you shall know them."

Another place the good book gets it right.

>>I'm not saying that supernatural events can't happen, just that the burden of proof lies at those who claim one occured here.

I'm not trying to prove a supernatural event; we're discussing whether or not Paul believed in a physical resurrection and taught that if the resurrection didn't occur, our faith is useless. I've offered textual evidence that he did, and you've offered a conspiracy theory that he didn't, but you can't offer any evidence why we should reject the 1 Corinthians text as being Paul's. Since a plain, reasonable reading of the textual evidence says Paul believed in a physical resurrection, the burden of proof is on you to show that the text was changed.

>>One requires "reason" and leads to a "reasonable faith", an "objective" faith. The other requires an object of devotion that you are commit your whole life to…even unto death…very "subjective" to say the least.

Or, there's the one we keep telling you about wherein we devote our whole lives--even unto death--to a real person whom we can talk about in real, objective terms because He's real. But you've heard all this already because we've explained this. What I don't understand is why you can't grasp the fact that we embrace this third option.

>>All of that happens in the born again moment, but you seem to think connecting a few historical dots is enough to cause that to happen.

Not in the least. People don't want to come to God. Period. Just look at the above--we've explained our positions to you countless times, but you're so set on what you want to think that you can't even hear us, but instead you just keep repeating back what you want to believe we think. You don't want to hear. I have no illusions that my evidences will make you want to hear. However, that doesn't change in the least my responsibility to connect the historical dots and tell you the truth. If God decides to use my words to get your attention and draw you so that you'll want to hear, I'll be really happy. If He doesn't, then I'll still have honored Him with the truth.

My parents (father is an 86 non-believer) are doing bible and comparative religious studies with a former methodist minister (15 years) who is now a unitarian universalist agnostic (not that he tells that to his students).

He took it upon himself to send me Misquoting Christ and I replied by sending him Misquoting Truth...which pretty much ticked him off. (sending is due to him being in Illinois and I am in California).

He has come back at me with a ton of stuff to refute...but, he does not at any point actually provide additional evidence regarding inerrancy - which he intermingles with translational inaccuracy.

His emphasis is on the fact that mere mortals wrote the bible and that translations have significantly changed things over time.

I'm quite aware that the vast majority of secular historians are quite confident that the translational evidence points to remarkable accuracy and that any inaccuracies are quite minor and don't change anything of note.

Here is what I'm looking for:

Does anyone have a list of secular academics that have written on translational consistency?

That would be a very easy way to put that part of this guys argument into his own wastebasket while going on to 15 other things he recently hit me with.

Thanks!

Merry Christmas,

Karl

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