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  • Biblical issues and other religious questions

    We don't currently have a Religion sub-forum, so I'm putting this here as the most relevant sub-forum currently.

    Two questions for those more in the know than me:

    1. The existence of Q: true or false?

    Q is the term given to the second source supposedly used by Matthew and Luke in addition to Mark.

    The Gospels of Matthew and Luke were written independently, each using Mark and a second hypothetical document called "Q" as a source. Q was conceived as the most likely explanation behind the common material (mostly sayings) found in the Gospel of Matthew and the Gospel of Luke but not in Mark.

    2. I just watched a Piers Morgan interview with Pastor Mark Warren in which Pastor Rick Warren defended Old Testament injunctions, such as stoning adulterers, saying those 'Holy' injunctions were for that time - not applicable to our time. But then later (in response to Morgan suggesting the Biblical injunctions on homosexuality should be updated to fit modern times) he said, "What the Bible said thousands of years ago was true then and remains true today."

    Obviously an apparent contradiction there, but Pastor Warren always has a good answer. Unfortunately, the interview ended before he could be challenged about that, so hopefully one of our resident Christians can take up his cause.

    If any of them frequent this rather obscure sub-forum that is.


    Philip
    Last edited by PhilipLaos; 24 Dec 12, 21:55.
    "The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts."— Bertrand Russell

  • #2
    Ah. I've heard about Q.



    Wait...wrong Q.

    Forgive me for giving you a rain check Phil. I shall be happy to provide commentary but can't do it sufficiently from my phone touchpad without putting my thumbs in agony. Plus it's almost Christmas. Shalll we reconvene on the 26th for this?
    A new life awaits you in the off world colonies; the chance to begin again in a golden land of opportunity and adventure!

    Comment


    • #3
      That was my first thought, too. Today, was the first time (outside of Star Trek) I'd heard of Q.

      But today being Christmas, I just watched a 3-hour documentary on the life of Jesus which contained lots of stuff I didn't know, causing me to look stuff up. For example, as well as Q, the "Woe to you who are rich...", etc. sayings of Jesus, and stuff like:

      James 5:1-6 continues the biblical diatribe against the rich saying:
      “Now listen, you rich people! Cry and moan over the miseries that are overtaking you. Your riches are rotten, your clothes have been eaten by moths, your gold and silver are corroded, and their corrosion will be used as evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have stored up treasures in these last days.
      Look! The wages that you kept back from the workers who harvested your fields are shouting out against you, and the cries of the reapers have reached the ears of the Lord of the Heavenly Armies. You have lived in luxury and pleasure on earth. You have fattened yourselves for the day of slaughter. You have condemned and murdered the one who is righteous, even though he did not rebel against you.”



      Making me wonder if Jesus was into class warfare.


      Philip
      "The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts."— Bertrand Russell

      Comment


      • #4
        While you're waiting here's a funny story.

        I officially feel like an ass. I was going to take in a Midnight Mass but suddenly when I heard their bells was unsure if the mass started or ended at midnight. Plus I heard some churches vary their scheduling. So I called with an honest inquiry.

        But there's just no way to ask about what time Midnight Mass is without sounding like an idiot. There is literally no good way to phrase it.

        Nichols is gonna laugh at me.
        A new life awaits you in the off world colonies; the chance to begin again in a golden land of opportunity and adventure!

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Pirateship1982 View Post
          Ah. I've heard about Q.

          Wait...wrong Q.
          Admit it, Tyler - you'd never heard of the Biblical 'Q' until I brought it up.



          Anyway, looking forward to hearing your responses. Seems like I've posted three topics within this single thread, each of which could have been a thread of their own. A while back, I suggested we needed a sub-forum on ACG to discuss such topics, but it got no traction.

          However, this is a history forum and historical veracity, or otherwise, of Biblical/Christian history is hardly a fringe area of historical research and discussion it seems to me.


          Philip
          "The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts."— Bertrand Russell

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by PhilipLaos View Post
            Admit it, Tyler - you'd never heard of the Biblical 'Q' until I brought it up.

            Oh my Archaeology Bible has a number of essays on it!

            You haven't stumped me yet!
            A new life awaits you in the off world colonies; the chance to begin again in a golden land of opportunity and adventure!

            Comment


            • #7
              Hey Phil. So regarding your questions.

              Is Q true?

              First permit me to elaborate a bit on what you’re talking about. What you’re discussing is officially referred to as the Two Source Hypothesis which attempts to solve the “Synoptic Problem”.

              Thy Synoptic Problem is the penchant for Matthew, Mark, and Luke to use almost identical language when describing certain events. Now in all fairness we aren't talking about whole chunks of identical text. It is, as Hal Holbrook said in Midway, "a flicker here and a glimmer there". But it is enough to be noticeable. Now, for Christians who believe the Bible to be the literal word of God, this harmony bears no problem – UNTIL you get to John. John’s wording and ordering of events differs, which presents us with the first facet of the synoptic problem. The second facet comes from a more forensic angle, where identical stories can present a possibility of collaboration. One reason I find the account of Jesus’ death to be accurate is the fact that his last words are different depending on whom you ask. In all likelihood he said every phrase attributed to him and each witness remembers differently which utterance is his last word. The story varies just enough to be credible, but if every witness gives you the stock same carbon copy story, you know there’s funny business. So when Biblical accounts match word for word there is suspicion.

              Q or “Two Source Hypothesis”, first by stating that Mark’s gospel was the first, and then that Mathew and Luke sourced from him. Q is a hypothetical source responsible for their collaboration on material that cannot be sourced to him. The Q stands for quelle, coming from a German word for “source”.

              So did they?

              First we have the supposed first source, Mark. Although Mark wasn’t a disciple of Jesus, he was a confidant of the Apostle Peter. So while not a 1st Gen source, he would be pretty close to the one who was.

              Now, let’s examine the authors. We know for a fact that Luke wasn’t a disciple of Jesus. We also know he was a believer, a contemporary of Paul’s, and started this project for the purpose of chronicling Christian history. So the notion that he would source another text is both totally believable and totally appropriate. He wasn’t there when it started so, desiring to compile a history, he would naturally consult other documents for reference. His profession and writing style both suggest a man who was very methodical. Did he take a little from Mark? That’s a very real possibility.

              Now Matthew. There is some debate over whether this Matthew was THE Matthew – that is to say the disciple of Jesus. The church historian Eusebius hints that he might not be, but is another writer who just happened to be named Matthew. If this is true then it would also stand to reason that he would source other documents. We do know Matthew’s primary intention with his gospel was to make the case to a Jewish audience that Jesus was the Messiah, one of the reasons he kicks right off with, you guessed it, a geneaology, the Jewish system of bona fides and the reason I think Job was just an ancient CS Louis-ey novel. If he is making a case for Jesus’ messianic status and isn’t Matthew the disciple of Jesus then it also stands to reason he would have sourced other texts; if you’re going to be calling Messiah, you better well have done your homework. In which case the Two Source Hypothesis is totally legit.

              Now that’s one angle of the two source hypothesis. As for the actual “Q” I can say very little because, well, they never found anything that could be counted for it which is why they call it Q instead of “The Book of”. It is certainly not unreasonable to think it might have existed. There were all sorts of gospel texts floating around and that a non canonical one was sourced is perfectly possible but I don’t have enough information to give a definitive reply to it’s existance. But the first half of the Two Source Hypothesis can be analyzed via deduction and I hope I did a good job of doing so.

              Now, regarding those Biblical laws.

              First we have multiple categories of laws. 1. Sacrificial/Ritualistic Laws. 2. Jewish Laws. 3. Moral Laws, 4. Hygenic Laws, and 5. Pharasaic Laws.

              Pharasaic ritual laws were just man made laws that never were God’s word to begin with and Jesus tossed them right down the crapper. Sacrificial/Ritualistic Laws were practiced in keeping with the First Covenant. Upon Jesus’ sacrifice the perfect sacrifice nullified the need for these rituals as Jesus said he “fulfilled” the law. Those two are easy outs. Next comes hygienic laws dealing with lepers and other sanitary hazards. Those laws remained in place post Jesus and are only overlooked now because we have penicillin. That leaves the biggies: moral and Jewish laws.

              Some laws were laws written specifically for the children of Israel – such as laws regarding tribal organization and which tribe does what. Those laws were never extended beyond the people of Israel and gentile converts to Judaism (yes they had those) never bothered with following them. There was no reason. As I am a member of the tribe of Lee (say, does that make me a LEEvite???) I have no way of interacting with them. Those laws still technically stand, if you can find a person they apply to.

              That leaves us with the moral laws. And regarding those the answer is: every man jack of those laws still stands, however the disciplinary method for handling them has changed under the covenant of grace.

              Adultery stoning is the textbook example. Under Mosaic Law adultery was an offence punishable by death. Now when Jesus saved the adulterous woman, did he then declare that adultery was okay? No, it remained a sin. What he challenged was their STONING her for it, on account of them being equally sinful too.

              So yes, all aspects of Mosaic moral law still stand. No adultery, honor your parents, etc. etc. Those are all still laws under enforcement. We just don’t kill people for breaking them. The law is still active, the discipline is what changed. And the current system of grace provides for reason and persuasion except in the most delinquent of cases.

              While I’m on the topic of stoning – one law that often horrifies people is the one talking about stoning rebellious children. People always get the mental image of a weeping seven year old about to get mowed down for backtalking Mom when she told him to take out the trash. Pretty barbaric, right? Well they never did that. Laws regarding the age of accountability forbade punishing a juvenile in such a manner since it was believed they didn’t fully understand right from wrong. Only adult children were in danger of this sentence. And point #2: this was a civ that didn’t have Social Security, your kids were your retirement pension. So while most Jews, like every other human being mind you, treasured their children and would shrink from the notion of executing them, the current social system ensured even the biggest jerk thought twice before stoning his meal ticket. So this particular punishment can safely be said to be a very rare occurance. And never done to a child.

              Now with regards to homosexuality.

              I’m a bit conflicted on this one because there are multiple types and the Biblical condemnation fits for some of them but not all.

              At the time the law was passed the most common exposure to homosexuality came via pagan worship. People were engaging in gay sex not necessarily because they “swung that way” but because they were fulfilling a religious ritual. Judaism being a religion aimed at squeezing out hedonistic polytheism, it makes sense they would target this. As these sex ceremonies often involved the forced prostitution of children I can honestly say that I fully support God calling that an abomination.

              However clinical homosexuality is definitely a curve ball. These people aren’t trying to debase other people. Some even honestly try to follow God despite their condition. I can’t knock that. God knows I have spiritual flaws of my own, most of which I can’t even blame of faulty neuro wiring.

              I believe it is a practice you should avoid if you can. There are plenty of medical reasons not to and I think this contributes to why it gets a Biblical blanket ban. I won’t call clinical gays an abomination, but they should definitely exercise caution. Bad things happen when that plug goes in the wrong socket. There’s so many contact points for viral and bacterial transmission the mind quails.

              But Frisco gays parading in the streets and engaging in SM in front of schoolchildren – yeah I’ll call THAT an abomination still.

              Now, concerning rich people.

              First I would like to start by defending rich people on purely logical grounds. You believe that those of us with wealth should aid those of us who are less fortunate, right? Me too. So how do you plan to take care of them? Particularly with no money.

              Logically, the root of charitability is surplus. If I have enough only to feed me or not even that, I have nothing to share with those who are also needy. In order to have social services to take care of the poor and disabled you must first have a group of people with enough surplus to manage that. A kind heart is nice, but it can’t accomplish much without a fat wallet. I know some families in India who I would love to just lift right out of poverty with the power of my checkbook. But I don’t have the cash to do something so drastic so all I can muster in that regard is well wishes and periodic gifts.

              So, logically, if you want the poor to be taken care of, you need rich people who can do it.

              Now let’s look at that verse you quoted. Take a look at this particular line: “Look! The wages that you KEPT BACK FROM THE WORKERS who harvested your fields are shouting out against you”.

              Jesus isn’t condemning the rich man for being rich, he’s condemning him for screwing his workers. The Bible makes it clear that to those whom much is given, much is expected. And we who are wealthy are expected to be kind and generous and will be held to account if we are miserly or corrupt. But it is not the wealth that condemns us, it is what we do with it. And it is harder for the camel to get through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to get into the kingdom not because rich = bad but because rich comes with temptation and power to do bad and we must be careful not to fall into it.

              Bear in mind that at the time Jesus preached this, most of society had an aristocratic caste system that made it a point of screwing the everyday joe. And this system would persist even into the 19th century.

              But modern people of wealth give to charities up and down the street. We have whole medical programs for childhood cancer funded almost totally by wealthy donors. Because there is no formal caste, anyone with a few bucks and a laptop can make cartloads of money. We live in different times.

              Now you see why I didn't use my thumbpad.
              Last edited by Pirateship1982; 26 Dec 12, 11:21.
              A new life awaits you in the off world colonies; the chance to begin again in a golden land of opportunity and adventure!

              Comment


              • #8
                Very thorough reply.

                Thanks.

                By the way, what time was your midnight mass?




                Philip
                "The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts."— Bertrand Russell

                Comment


                • #9
                  It...started at midight.
                  A new life awaits you in the off world colonies; the chance to begin again in a golden land of opportunity and adventure!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Lots of churches over here now have them at 6/7 pm to avoid drunk attendees turning up after closeing time at the pubs.
                    Wack tac mac hey.
                    Regards.
                    Grishnak.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Pirateship1982 View Post
                      One reason I find the account of Jesus’ death to be accurate is the fact that his last words are different depending on whom you ask. In all likelihood he said every phrase attributed to him and each witness remembers differently which utterance is his last word. The story varies just enough to be credible, but if every witness gives you the stock same carbon copy story, you know there’s funny business. So when Biblical accounts match word for word there is suspicion.
                      You're speaking about Jesus' time on the cross and what he is reported as saying during that time. I don't have a problem accepting any of those reports. Nothing particularly controversial there.

                      I'm more interested in the extent to which the different accounts agree, or disagree, in reporting the so-called 'resurrection'. I have little problem with the accounts of Jesus' teachings, his death, or (to a lesser extent) the moral injunctions of the old testament. Where I do have extreme skepticism is in the 'miraculous' aspects of Jesus' life - especially the resurrection.

                      Did Mathew and Luke report the event in the same way as Mark? Or were there substantial differences? What about John's later account and those of the unofficial gospels?

                      Either way, while the event seems central to the belief of most Christians, I have to regard the possibility of Jesus walking around after having been (apparently accurately) pronounced dead, unlikely in the extreme. Such things do not occur in the world ruled by physics, biology and the laws of cause and effect to which we are all subject.


                      Philip
                      Last edited by PhilipLaos; 26 Dec 12, 23:38.
                      "The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts."— Bertrand Russell

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        The standard Christian answer to that is "that's why we call it a miracle silly". Of course it's extremely unlikely, that's the point. Did you expect Jesus to say "I'm the son of God and to show this I'm going to take a pee"? No, he makes his point by doing something otherworldly to get their attention. We wouldn't call it a miracle if it was within standard human existence. A miracle is SUPPOSED to be outside the normal realm of human function.

                        Besides-humans have a habit of calling that which is beyond understanding magic. More than one South American tribe saw a Cessna and thought "holy crap! a giant bird!"

                        Maybe God didn't use a cheat code and we just don't know the engineering.

                        This much I know. Many of the disciples died proclaiming the resurrection. SOMETHING convinced them. No man dies for what he believes is bogus. They SAW him die then insisted on pain of death he rose.

                        So my non rhetorical question to you is: what non resurrection plot twist convinced them? Something happened. The 64,000 dollar question is "what?". Because what I have extreme skepticism of is the notion that Jesus died, his followers saw him die, believed he was dead, and suffered torture and death to proclaim his resurrection just for ss and gs. I would be willing to discuss this, but first I need a believable alternative for why they gave their lives.

                        Because if my pastor died and rose three days later and someone threatened me with torture if I kept talking about it, even knowing it to be true I'd be sorely tempted to button my yap. Whatever they saw must have been pretty dramatic.

                        I see two alternatives. Either he rose or they saw something mind blowingly convincingly looking like a ressurection. So what is your theory on the alternate event?
                        Last edited by Pirateship1982; 27 Dec 12, 03:23.
                        A new life awaits you in the off world colonies; the chance to begin again in a golden land of opportunity and adventure!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Pirateship1982 View Post
                          The standard Christian answer to that is "that's why we call it a miracle silly". Of course it's extremely unlikely, that's the point. Did you expect Jesus to say "I'm the son of God and to show this I'm going to take a pee"? No, he makes his point by doing something otherworldly to get their attention. We wouldn't call it a miracle if it was within standard human existence. A miracle is SUPPOSED to be outside the normal realm of human function.
                          Miracles aren't what they used to be.

                          For a saint to be declared, the Vatican has to conclude that the prospective saint performed 3 bona fide miracles. All those I've seen in modern times amount to little more than a nun who had a bad back prayed to a Cardinal for a cure and woke up the next morning feeling much better.

                          That's paraphrasing sarcastically of course. But why the downgrading in modern times? If you have more substantial modern examples, I'd be interested to hear them; modern miracles seem far less dramatic than walking on water or the other miracles credited to Jesus 2,000 years ago at a time when populations were far more credulous of the supernatural.

                          Originally posted by Pirateship1982 View Post
                          Besides-humans have a habit of calling that which is beyond understanding magic. More than one South American tribe saw a Cessna and thought "holy crap! a giant bird!"
                          That sounds like an argument a skeptic like myself might offer to explain the beliefs of more primitive peoples in less sophisticated times.

                          Originally posted by Pirateship1982 View Post
                          This much I know. Many of the disciples died proclaiming the resurrection. SOMETHING convinced them. No man dies for what he believes is bogus. They SAW him die then insisted on pain of death he rose.

                          So my non rhetorical question to you is: what non resurrection plot twist convinced them? Something happened. The 64,000 dollar question is "what?". Because what I have extreme skepticism of is the notion that Jesus died, his followers saw him die, believed he was dead, and suffered torture and death to proclaim his resurrection just for ss and gs. I would be willing to discuss this, but first I need a believable alternative for why they gave their lives.

                          Because if my pastor died and rose three days later and someone threatened me with torture if I kept talking about it, even knowing it to be true I'd be sorely tempted to button my yap. Whatever they saw must have been pretty dramatic.
                          I'd counter that with the examples of those Christians who chose death in Rome rather than renounce their religion. I believe it is well documented that those Christians were totally convinced that to renounce Jesus would lead to them burning in Hell for an eternity. So given a choice between a short, though brutal, death or suffering the fires of Hell for eternity, it's not surprising that those whose belief in Heaven/Hell was rock solid would choose the briefer suffering.

                          Originally posted by Pirateship1982 View Post
                          I see two alternatives. Either he rose or they saw something mind blowingly convincingly looking like a resurrection. So what is your theory on the alternate event?
                          I don't have enough facts to construct a theory about the resurrection. What I'd like to know is the extent to which the different accounts of the event (Gospels, etc.) agreed/disagreed and how credible their sources were.

                          Of course, I could do a massive amount of reading and research to find that information, but being extremely lazy, and knowing that you already have much of that information in your head or at your fingertips, I'm hoping you might just post some of it here.



                          Philip
                          Last edited by PhilipLaos; 27 Dec 12, 11:40.
                          "The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts."— Bertrand Russell

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Just remembered that I do/did have a 'theory' about the resurrection. But it's from so long ago that I can't remember if it was my own theory or if I heard it somewhere.

                            Theory goes: Jesus took/was slipped a cocktail of drugs that rendered him temporarily inert causing the Roman guards to conclude he was dead. The 'plan' was to enable Jesus to come back from the dead, astonish the multitudes and continue his ministry resulting in ultimate glorification as befits a 'messiah'. Unfortunately, the plan failed to anticipate that one of the guards would thrust a spear into his side, causing him to actually die from his wounds several days after the so-called resurrection.

                            I have absolutely no evidence for that theory, and am not particularly attracted to, or invested in, it. I am actually much more interested in learning more about the processes by which the Biblical accounts of the resurrection were constructed/derived by the various writers, since I see an outside chance that the official accounts of the event may be true.

                            But if you'd rather not take on the arduous task of of getting what you know about the subject down in text, I'll understand.


                            Philip
                            Last edited by PhilipLaos; 27 Dec 12, 22:27.
                            "The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts."— Bertrand Russell

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Patience. I don't always have time to crank out essays on a moment's notice.
                              A new life awaits you in the off world colonies; the chance to begin again in a golden land of opportunity and adventure!

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