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Ancient One 

Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 7,925
In Reply To
Nose Norton

Location: Plainville
Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 6,626
Subj: Re: The day Jesus died.
Posted: Fri Nov 03, 2017 at 06:40:02 pm CDT (Viewed 481 times)
Reply Subj: Re: The day Jesus died.
Posted: Fri Nov 03, 2017 at 05:40:27 pm CDT (Viewed 499 times)

    My theology professor was a layman in his 30's or early 40's and he made the whole class about pointing out inaccuracies in the Bible. He looked at it as a historical text and stated that, IIRC, John's Gospel was actually written about 100 years after Jesus' death. It showed a person in Jesus who differed from the Jesus of the other Gospels. When asked why he believed after telling us of all the inconsistencies, he stated "Because I have faith."

Yes, and that's fascinating to me: How does an otherwise intelligent and reasonable person put reason completely to one side when it comes to religion? How do you reject good, solid evidence on nothing more than faith? It seems completely alien to me.

As to your professor's teachings: He's a bit off with his dating of John. Most historians date it to 60 to 70 years after Jesus' death. Not TOO far out, but important when you're constructing a history of early Christianity.

He's spot on with his assessment that the four gospels have different views of Jesus. People tend to forget that those books were never intended to be read as one. They were written at different times, in different parts of the world, by different people. And those people had, quite naturally, different ideas on who and what Jesus was.

The BIG mistake I think, is in looking at it as an historical text. Neither the gospels, nor the other writings which make up the NT were ever intended to be such. They were letters written from one person to another, then widely shared, for the purposes of evangelism.

The problem comes when Christians assume that the Bible is a set of historically accurate documents. Because then they're inevitably brought into conflict with science and known history. And for the Christian, as with your professor, the biblical account trumps all else. There IS historical data in there for sure, a great deal of it, but there's also a great deal of fiction and legendary accounts.

    In contrast, my philosophy teacher was a Jesuit in his 60's or older and his class basically told us what our philosophy should be: unquestioned Catholicism. I always found this strange as I think one's philosophy should be one's own's whereas with regard to religion I think that, if you want to belong, you kind of have an obligation to go along with the beliefs. If not, why bother?

I think most people would agree with you there. It's probably why the monotheistic religions have been fractured, broken things ever since their inceptions. Even in biblical times the Pharisees were constantly in disagreement about scriptural interpretation, how best to follow the law etc, and even today each Jew follows his or her own conscience on what it means to be Jewish. Islam has several denominations, Sunni, Shia and so forth, and Christianity has had many different forms.

    Personally, I think the Old Testament is akin to the mythology of the Greeks and Romans while I think the New Testament and the teachings of Jesus provide a nice ethos to live by.

I'd argue reasonably strongly against that, mainly because of my understanding of who Jesus was and what exactly he believed in. Anyone who follows Mosaic Law to the letter - as Jesus did - isn't going to be a terribly moral person.

Sure, there were good things about Jesus. For example he seemed to treat women well and have a good amount of respect for them. On the other hand, he fails to speak out against slavery. He tells slaves to be good slaves, even to bad masters.

And of course the really good stuff like love, peace and tolerance were already well known to all cultures for thousands of years, independent on any religion to give those ideas weight.

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