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View Poll Results: Will you accept the invitation and watch the Frontline/PBS special on Mormons?
Yes, I'm very curious and will watch it on 4/30 and 5/1 3 9.68%
Nope 8 25.81%
I may if I have time. 9 29.03%
Yes, I absolutely will. 1 3.23%
I won't watch it as I think the LDS/Mormons are a godless cult 2 6.45%
I have no opinion but will form an opinion after watching this on 4/30 and 5/1 0 0%
diamondbruno9, are you trying to sell us something? 9 29.03%
I plan to watch this and offer my thoughts after viewing this 1 3.23%
I will watch this to validate all of my fears about the LDS/Mormon religion. 2 6.45%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 31. You may not vote on this poll

 
 
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Old 04-28-2007, 10:41 PM   #46
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Originally posted by diamond
A lot of you shouldn't have voted as the invitation was only offered to those of a certain mental caliber and character, however that the thread has generated some interest the ends justify the means.

dbs
Does this mean those who agree with you and those who aren't willing to question Mormonism for what it really is? Did you really think everyone was going to vote as you wanted?
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Old 04-28-2007, 11:23 PM   #47
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Originally posted by Ormus
I will never like Mormonism, because it is a hopelessly homophobic religion.

That aside, I get a great chuckle when conservative Christians start bashing this religion, because it starts turning into a hissy fit of "mythic speech."

Sure, I wouldn't doubt that Joseph Smith ripped off of the KJV en masse, but, from a scholarly POV, you can argue that the Bible rips off of everything from the Sumerians/Babylonians to the Egyptians to the Persians. Judeo-Christianity is most interesting, particularly because it's a mixture of ancient Semitic (the "angry God" of the OT) and Indo-European (the concept of the Messiah, Armageddon, angelology, demonology) beliefs.

In the end, it all boils down to faith.
It's not just "mythic speech" though. That's the thing. Christianity didn't nead to borrow from anything because it's essential truths were already foretold in the OT: Jesus as the son of God (Zech. 12:10), born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14), was crucified (Psalm 22), the blood atonement (Lev. 17:11), rose from the dead (Psalm 16:10), and salvation by faith (Hab. 2:4). There's many, many others, too. Plus, the Gospels were eye-witness accounts and were documented faster than many, if not all, other people's "biographies" in that time. They were written in the same generation of those who were alive during the time of Christ. If they were wrong, they wouldn't have gotten any further. There would've been an uproar as Christianity exploded.

Compare this to Mormonism and you've got apples and oranges. The cities mentioned in the Bible actually existed. Plus, since the time that Christianity came on to the scene, many cults/pagan religions have tried to emulate it. Apollonius of Tyana, who lived during the first century and apparently had similarities to Christ, is a great example. The first accounts of him weren't written until 170 - 245 A.D. (and several generations after the fact, I might point out.) Then you have Mithraism, which had no concept of the death and resurrection of its god and no place for any concept of rebirth until after Christianity was born. Mormonism is similar. It wants so badly to appear Christian, but a close look at it show something entirely different.
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Old 04-29-2007, 06:31 AM   #48
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Originally posted by diamond
A lot of you shouldn't have voted as the invitation was only offered to those of a certain mental caliber and character, however that the thread has generated some interest the ends justify the means.

dbs
How old are you again?
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Old 04-29-2007, 12:43 PM   #49
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Originally posted by coemgen
It's not just "mythic speech" though. That's the thing. Christianity didn't nead to borrow from anything because it's essential truths were already foretold in the OT: Jesus as the son of God (Zech. 12:10), born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14), was crucified (Psalm 22), the blood atonement (Lev. 17:11), rose from the dead (Psalm 16:10), and salvation by faith (Hab. 2:4).
Self-referential quoting doesn't do an amount of good. I'm sure Mormons can start quoting from the Book of Mormon as proof that Mormonism is more than "mythic speech" too.

Quote:
There's many, many others, too. Plus, the Gospels were eye-witness accounts and were documented faster than many, if not all, other people's "biographies" in that time. They were written in the same generation of those who were alive during the time of Christ. If they were wrong, they wouldn't have gotten any further. There would've been an uproar as Christianity exploded.
No, the scholarship states that the Gospels were written around A.D. 70, on average, which would be almost 40 years after Jesus. With competing regional interests and without printing presses, you're dealing with a massive game of "telephone" here. The Gospel of Matthew, in particular, is noted to be a mess of Jewish Christian theology, which was then massively edited by Gentile Christians, which is why we have this mess of what constitutes "the Law" (Jewish Christians defined it as "Mosaic Law" in its entirety; Gentile Christians defined it as "Love one another") and how relevant Mosaic Law is supposed to be in our lives (Jewish Christians expected you to live in full Jewish observance to Mosaic Law; Gentile Christians thought that Jesus made it obsolete).

If any were wrong, no one would have called them on it, because 40 years in a world without mass communication might as well be another lifetime, whereas today, we can count our "lifetimes" in centuries.

Quote:
Compare this to Mormonism and you've got apples and oranges. The cities mentioned in the Bible actually existed. Plus, since the time that Christianity came on to the scene, many cults/pagan religions have tried to emulate it. Apollonius of Tyana, who lived during the first century and apparently had similarities to Christ, is a great example. The first accounts of him weren't written until 170 - 245 A.D. (and several generations after the fact, I might point out.) Then you have Mithraism, which had no concept of the death and resurrection of its god and no place for any concept of rebirth until after Christianity was born. Mormonism is similar. It wants so badly to appear Christian, but a close look at it show something entirely different.
Actually, "life-death-rebirth" deities are as old as religion itself.

* Aboriginal mythology
o Julunggul
o Wawalag

* Akkadian mythology
o Tammuz
o Ishtar

* Arabian mythology
o Phoenix

* Aztec mythology
o Quetzalcoatl
o Xipe Totec

* Celtic mythology
o Cernunnos
o King Arthur

* Christian mythology
o Jesus

* Dacian mythology
o Zalmoxis

* Egyptian mythology
o Isis
o Osiris

* Etruscan mythology
o Atunis

* Greek mythology
o Adonis
o Cronus
o Cybele
o Dionysus
o Orpheus
o Persephone

* Hindu mythology
o Trimurti
+ Brahma
+ Vishnu
+ Siva

* Khoikhoi mythology
o Heitsi

* Norse mythology
o Balder
o Gullveig

* Persian mythology
o Mithras

* Phrygian mythology
o Attis

* Roman mythology
o Aeneas
o Bacchus
o Proserpina

* Slavic mythology
o Veles
o Jarilo

* Sumerian mythology
o Damuzi
o Inanna

Likewise...

Quote:
Some advocates of the Jesus Myth theory have argued that many aspects of the Gospel stories of Jesus have remarkable parallels with life-death-rebirth gods in the widespread mystery religions prevalent in the hellenic culture amongst which Christianty was born. The central figure of one of the most widespread, Osiris-Dionysus, was consistently localised and deliberately merged with local deities in each area, since it was the mysteries which were imparted that were regarded as important, not the method by which they were taught. In the view of some advocates of the Jesus Myth theory, most prominently Freke and Gandy in The Jesus Mysteries, Jewish mystics adapted their form of Osiris-Dionysus to match prior Jewish heroes like Moses and Joshua, hence creating Jesus.

Several parallels are frequently cited by these advocates, and often appear, mixed with other parallels, on internet sites. The most prominently cited parallels are with Horus and Mithras. Horus was one of the life-death-rebirth deities, and was connected and involved in the resurrection of Osiris, whose Egyptian name (Asar) is very similar to the root of Lazarus.

In Egyptian myth, Horus gained his authority by being anointed by Anubis, who had his own cult, and was regarded as the main anointer; the anointing made Horus into Horus karast (a religious epithet written in Egyptian documents as HR KRST) - embalmed/anointed Horus - in parallel to Jesus becoming Christ by being baptised by John, who had his own followers, and was especially regarded as a baptiser. Worship of Isis, Horus' mother, was a prominent cult, and the proposal that this is the basis of veneration of Mary, and more particularly Marian Iconography, has some merit.
And as you state that you believe that deities like Mithras were copied from Christianity, early Christian leaders never made that claim.

Quote:
However, it is notable that, unlike modern opponents, several prominent early Christians, like Irenaeus, actually acknowledged the existence of many parallels, complaining that the earlier religions had copied Christian religion and practices, before Jesus was even born, as some form of diabolically inspired pre-cognitive mockery.
So since none of us were around in the 19th century, could Mormonism be right and earlier Christianity a form of "diabolically inspired pre-cognitive mockery"?

...

At some point, all believers develop a form of "true-believer syndrome" and start ignoring all the evidence that plants seeds of doubt to their own faith. But, rather hypocritically, it seems that these same "true believers" are more than willing to use this same secular evidence to try and discredit other religions to prove the supremacy of their own faith, while constructing rather elaborate explanations to explain away all the evidence that plants doubt in their own religion.

I find it all very silly after a while, and, at some point, it all boils down to faith. And that's where the Biblical value of humility, coupled with the secular value of tolerance comes in handy. The fact of the matter is that none of us will know what's out there until we die, so the best we can do is respect the fact that, for all the bluster in this world, we're all equally clueless and doing the best that we can.
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Old 04-29-2007, 05:20 PM   #50
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Originally posted by Ormus


Self-referential quoting doesn't do an amount of good. I'm sure Mormons can start quoting from the Book of Mormon as proof that Mormonism is more than "mythic speech" too.
It does when you have it set up with the OT and the NT. When you have tons of prophecies, some as detailed as to include Christ being killed with his hands and feet pierced and his side -- and this is hundreds of years before the cross was used for the death penalty. And, it’s not necessarily something to be copied just to fulfill a prophecy either. It totally validates itself. The book of Mormon doesn't even have any historical value to it. You can't compare the two.

Quote:

No, the scholarship states that the Gospels were written around A.D. 70, on average, which would be almost 40 years after Jesus. With competing regional interests and without printing presses, you're dealing with a massive game of "telephone" here. The Gospel of Matthew, in particular, is noted to be a mess of Jewish Christian theology, which was then massively edited by Gentile Christians, which is why we have this mess of what constitutes "the Law" (Jewish Christians defined it as "Mosaic Law" in its entirety; Gentile Christians defined it as "Love one another") and how relevant Mosaic Law is supposed to be in our lives (Jewish Christians expected you to live in full Jewish observance to Mosaic Law; Gentile Christians thought that Jesus made it obsolete).
If any were wrong, no one would have called them on it, because 40 years in a world without mass communication might as well be another lifetime, whereas today, we can count our "lifetimes" in centuries.
This is completely false. You need to have an understanding of the times and how things were communicated. Yes, there was no mass communication. So what. That doesn’t mean people didn’t communicate effectively and accurately. These were a people who memorized the entire Torah by the age of 14 or so. Keeping things accurate in their minds was nothing. Plus, when you have all these people who were alive during the time of Christ and/or followers of his disciples, errors wouldn’t fly. People were dying for their faith, they weren’t about to let it be misinterpreted.
Also, Matthew, Mark and Luke were written in the 50 to 65 A.D. range, so now we're talking 20 or 30 years. Whatever the case, it's still in the lifetime of those who were alive during Christ's time. They were written by people who walked and talked with Christ. Again, there would’ve been plenty of objection if things weren’t accurate. Plus, there was no need to write it until later because it was still in the same generation.
That said, the Gospels were written and copied much quicker than anyone else of note. For Plato, there was 1,200 years between the earliest manuscript and the copy of it. Plus, there were only seven copies made. Ceasar was about the same, with 1,000 years between and 10 copies made. With Aristotle, 1,400 years sparates the original and the earliest copy and 49 copies were made. Yet, all of these are considered reliable.
Then you have the New Testament, which was written between 50 and 100 A.D. The earliest copies of it are around 130 A.D. That’s less than 100 years. Plus, a staggering 5,600 copies were made. There clearly was something important going on that people wanted to preserve.

As far as the mix of Jewish and Gentile influences on Matthew, do you have examples? Christ himself said he was the fulfillment of the law.

Quote:

Actually, "life-death-rebirth" deities are as old as religion itself.

* Aboriginal mythology
o Julunggul
o Wawalag

* Akkadian mythology
o Tammuz
o Ishtar

* Arabian mythology
o Phoenix

* Aztec mythology
o Quetzalcoatl
o Xipe Totec

* Celtic mythology
o Cernunnos
o King Arthur

* Christian mythology
o Jesus

* Dacian mythology
o Zalmoxis

* Egyptian mythology
o Isis
o Osiris

* Etruscan mythology
o Atunis

* Greek mythology
o Adonis
o Cronus
o Cybele
o Dionysus
o Orpheus
o Persephone

* Hindu mythology
o Trimurti
+ Brahma
+ Vishnu
+ Siva

* Khoikhoi mythology
o Heitsi

* Norse mythology
o Balder
o Gullveig

* Persian mythology
o Mithras

* Phrygian mythology
o Attis

* Roman mythology
o Aeneas
o Bacchus
o Proserpina

* Slavic mythology
o Veles
o Jarilo

* Sumerian mythology
o Damuzi
o Inanna

Likewise...
Considering the OT validates the NT, this is irrelevant. Again, Christianity doesn’t need outside faiths to draw from.

Quote:

And as you state that you believe that deities like Mithras were copied from Christianity, early Christian leaders never made that claim.
So what?

Quote:

So since none of us were around in the 19th century, could Mormonism be right and earlier Christianity a form of "diabolically inspired pre-cognitive mockery"?
Well, again Ormus, considering there’s no historical evidence of any of the cities in the Book of Mormon, and the fact that many of the people’s names were just a mix up of letters from OT names, to make this claim against the Bible, which has been proven historically accurate with its people and places, would be pretty silly.
...
Quote:

At some point, all believers develop a form of "true-believer syndrome" and start ignoring all the evidence that plants seeds of doubt to their own faith. But, rather hypocritically, it seems that these same "true believers" are more than willing to use this same secular evidence to try and discredit other religions to prove the supremacy of their own faith, while constructing rather elaborate explanations to explain away all the evidence that plants doubt in their own religion.

I find it all very silly after a while, and, at some point, it all boils down to faith. And that's where the Biblical value of humility, coupled with the secular value of tolerance comes in handy. The fact of the matter is that none of us will know what's out there until we die, so the best we can do is respect the fact that, for all the bluster in this world, we're all equally clueless and doing the best that we can.
I can accept the fact that people of other faiths are doing the best they can. I don’t discredit diamond as a person at all. I’m sure he sincerely believes his faith. That doesn’t mean he’s not mislead. At the very least, Mormonism says it’s Christianity, and any minor look at the faiths proves otherwise. And if it’s close minded to say someone’s wrong when all the evidence points to it, so be it. It’s not me that one should get upset with, rather the evidence. Also, I’m not ignoring evidence that plants seeds of doubt in my faith, I just haven’t been presented with any yet. If you go back to when all the talk about the tomb of Jesus came out, I was very open-minded to it being true. Go read my posts. However, they too proved to be discounted by historians and the documentary is seen as a complete stretch of the truth.
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Old 04-29-2007, 05:52 PM   #51
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Could you consider the reason that it "totally validates itself" is because the NT is written after the intitial "prophecies" and deliberately stretches the story to match up; it makes claims of events considered impossible without backing it up with the evidence.

It's closed minded to take a slight at the fallacies of all other religions but still turn around and say that your one is solid when there is evidence that shows it isn't; supporting evidence is taken uncritically and anything that could be a liablility is discarded.

Quote:
Plus, there was no need to write it until later because it was still in the same generation.
How convenient; could be a great defence for sleazy politicians "I didn't write it because I can recall events perfectly as they happened decades ago".

As far as memorising the Tora writ that isn't so much the capacity to keep accurate records in your mind of single events as much as it is just repeatedly bashing nonsense information in there to be spewed out ~ for a modern comparison take the young Pakistani kids that learn the Koran in the madrasses without actually understanding classical arabic.

These justifications to prove the truth of the bible are arguably lamer than those of the Mormons; I mean Smith didn't wait half a century to get the story straight.
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Old 04-29-2007, 07:09 PM   #52
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Originally posted by coemgen
It does when you have it set up with the OT and the NT. When you have tons of prophecies, some as detailed as to include Christ being killed with his hands and feet pierced and his side -- and this is hundreds of years before the cross was used for the death penalty. And, it’s not necessarily something to be copied just to fulfill a prophecy either. It totally validates itself. The book of Mormon doesn't even have any historical value to it. You can't compare the two.
And where, pray tell, do you think many of these prophesies came from? They're not all that original. Even C.S. Lewis, the well-read Christian lover of mythology, admitted as much:

"If God chooses to be mythopoeic [literature that involves the creation of fictional myths] — and is not the sky itself a myth — shall we refuse to be mythopathic?"

"The heart of Christianity is a myth which is also a fact. The old myth of the Dying God, without ceasing to be myth, comes down from the heaven of legend and imagination to the earth of history. It happens--at a particular date, in a particular place, followed by definable historical consequences. We pass from a Balder [Norse "life-death-rebirth" god compared to Jesus] or an Osiris, dying nobody knows when or where, to a historical Person crucified (it is all in order) under Pontius Pilate. By becoming fact it does not cease to be myth: that is the miracle."

Quote:
This is completely false. You need to have an understanding of the times and how things were communicated. Yes, there was no mass communication. So what. That doesn’t mean people didn’t communicate effectively and accurately. These were a people who memorized the entire Torah by the age of 14 or so. Keeping things accurate in their minds was nothing.
So you're trying to tell me that oral tradition maintained the entirety of the Bible unchanged through thousands of years? Then how do you explain away the Dead Sea Scrolls and their differences with the Masoretic OT that's been commonly used for the last millennium? They're certainly not identical.

For your information, I have a great understanding of how things were communicated back then, along with the evolution of the Bible. I hate to break it to you, but it was never as romantic as you've depicted here. The Bible was an evolution, just as Judaism evolved from a tribal Semitic religion to a complex syncretism of Semitic beliefs with Indo-Iranian and Hellenic textures.

Quote:
Plus, when you have all these people who were alive during the time of Christ and/or followers of his disciples, errors wouldn’t fly. People were dying for their faith, they weren’t about to let it be misinterpreted.
Early Christianity was not orderly and did not have a centralized authority to stamp its imprimatur on authorized texts. This becomes all the more evident three centuries later when the Biblical canon was finalized and the church fathers had to sort through the wide number of books that early Christians from many widely culturally different communities revered and had to decide which ones were "divine." Even then, those who decided on the divinity were not superhuman nor divine themselves, so their theological prejudices were obviously going to determine which books were worthy of including in the Biblical canon.

So your point here, frankly, is completely baseless and romanticized.

Quote:
Also, Matthew, Mark and Luke were written in the 50 to 65 A.D. range, so now we're talking 20 or 30 years. Whatever the case, it's still in the lifetime of those who were alive during Christ's time. They were written by people who walked and talked with Christ. Again, there would’ve been plenty of objection if things weren’t accurate. Plus, there was no need to write it until later because it was still in the same generation.
The dates that you have listed are the traditional dates, which are not accepted by modern scholarship. Modern scholarship believes that none of the gospels were written before the Roman destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70.

Quote:
Since Mark may have been written around the destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem, around 70, Luke probably would not have been written before 70. These scholars have suggested dates for Luke from 75 to as late as 100, and Acts shortly thereafter, between 80 and 100. Support for a later date comes from a number of reasons. The universalization of the message of Luke is believed to reflect a theology that took time to develop. Furthermore, Acts is believed to present a significantly different picture of Paul than that which is seen in the undisputed Pauline Epistles. Differences of chronology, "style", and theology suggest that the author of Luke-Acts was not familiar with Paul's distinctive theology but instead was writing a decade or more after his death, by which point significant harmonization between different traditions within early Christianity had occurred. However, Luke makes use of many words and phrases that are used by Paul, suggesting Luke may have been familiar with Paul's theology and/or letters.
Quote:
That said, the Gospels were written and copied much quicker than anyone else of note. For Plato, there was 1,200 years between the earliest manuscript and the copy of it. Plus, there were only seven copies made. Ceasar was about the same, with 1,000 years between and 10 copies made. With Aristotle, 1,400 years sparates the original and the earliest copy and 49 copies were made. Yet, all of these are considered reliable.
Then you have the New Testament, which was written between 50 and 100 A.D. The earliest copies of it are around 130 A.D. That’s less than 100 years. Plus, a staggering 5,600 copies were made. There clearly was something important going on that people wanted to preserve.
The trouble with this comparison is that when it comes to classical literature, like that of Plato and Aristotle, we're dealing with strong state entities with a strong sense of preservation. The New Testament was not written in that environment, which, in contrast, was highly grassroots-based and disorganized.

And, again, as I've noted, this becomes all the more evident when, three centuries later, the church fathers have to sort through a myriad of books that various Christian communities had adored.

Quote:
As far as the mix of Jewish and Gentile influences on Matthew, do you have examples? Christ himself said he was the fulfillment of the law.
Sure. Here's an example of the Jewish Christian origins of the Gospel of Matthew:

"Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter will pass from the law, until all things have taken place. Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do so will be called least in the kingdom of heaven. But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments will be called greatest in the kingdom of heaven." - Matthew 5:17-19

This is in line with Jewish Christian theology that believed that observance of the entirety of Mosaic Law was required to be a Christian.

There's a later passage that shows signs of Gentile Christian editing:

"Do to others whatever you would have them do to you. This is the law and the prophets." - Matthew 7:1

It has been long noted (even in the footnotes of my Bible) that the bold line in Matthew 7:1 is a later addition added to the original text by an unknown "evangelist," likely meant to negate even the implication of Jewish Christian theology behind Matthew 5.

Quote:
Considering the OT validates the NT, this is irrelevant. Again, Christianity doesn’t need outside faiths to draw from.
That's certainly quite the solipsism, if I had ever heard one.

Quote:
So what?
"So what?" You did state that outside cults were trying to "emulate Christianity" as if Judeo-Christianity was wholly original. On the contrary, the early OT, in particular, absorbed Sumerian, Akkadian, and Babylonian mythology and customs, while the later OT is strongly influenced by the Zoroastrian religious beliefs of the Persian Empire.

I wouldn't doubt that outside religions and cults did borrow from the Judaic pantheon. The Greek god, Adonis, was borrowed from the Hebrew "Adonai," for instance. It is, however, unreasonable to assume that Judeo-Christian beliefs are completely self-constructed and completely free of outside religious beliefs. It is not only uncharacteristic of religions from those days, but it's also illogical.

Quote:
Well, again Ormus, considering there’s no historical evidence of any of the cities in the Book of Mormon, and the fact that many of the people’s names were just a mix up of letters from OT names, to make this claim against the Bible, which has been proven historically accurate with its people and places, would be pretty silly.
I'm not a fan of Mormonism, as I stated before. I'm just also not a fan of what I perceive to be double standards. Your overly critical view of Mormonism, coupled with your totally non-critical view of Christianity comes across as quite self-serving and biased.

Quote:
I can accept the fact that people of other faiths are doing the best they can. I don’t discredit diamond as a person at all. I’m sure he sincerely believes his faith. That doesn’t mean he’s not mislead. At the very least, Mormonism says it’s Christianity, and any minor look at the faiths proves otherwise. And if it’s close minded to say someone’s wrong when all the evidence points to it, so be it. It’s not me that one should get upset with, rather the evidence. Also, I’m not ignoring evidence that plants seeds of doubt in my faith, I just haven’t been presented with any yet. If you go back to when all the talk about the tomb of Jesus came out, I was very open-minded to it being true. Go read my posts. However, they too proved to be discounted by historians and the documentary is seen as a complete stretch of the truth.
And who decides who's being misled or not? I'm sure Richard Dawkins ("The God Delusion") thinks you're the one being misled (in addition to "diamond"), and it certainly hasn't made you lose any sleep.
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Old 04-30-2007, 12:02 AM   #53
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Could you consider the reason that it "totally validates itself" is because the NT is written after the intitial "prophecies" and deliberately stretches the story to match up; it makes claims of events considered impossible without backing it up with the evidence.
Yeah, Christ just decided to be born in the line of David and choose to die on the cross just to fit a prophecy. Right. He also chose to not have his bones broken, therefore breaking custom during crucifixion. Yeah, that sounds much more logical.


Quote:

How convenient; could be a great defence for sleazy politicians "I didn't write it because I can recall events perfectly as they happened decades ago".

As far as memorising the Tora writ that isn't so much the capacity to keep accurate records in your mind of single events as much as it is just repeatedly bashing nonsense information in there to be spewed out ~ for a modern comparison take the young Pakistani kids that learn the Koran in the madrasses without actually understanding classical arabic.

These justifications to prove the truth of the bible are arguably lamer than those of the Mormons; I mean Smith didn't wait half a century to get the story straight.
So you're able to just put down a blanket judgement on a culture and say everything they remembered was mindless?

As far as Smith, you're right. It's a lot easier to make stuff up on the spot.
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Old 04-30-2007, 12:12 AM   #54
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Originally posted by coemgen
Yeah, Christ just decided to be born in the line of David and choose to die on the cross just to fit a prophecy. Right. He also chose to not have his bones broken, therefore breaking custom during crucifixion. Yeah, that sounds much more logical.
For argument's sake...

1) What evidence is there that Jesus is from the House of David beyond the NT telling us that He is?

2) What evidence is there that Jesus endured such a gruesome crucifixion beyond the NT telling us that He did?

As such, making the claim that the NT was written to fulfill the prophesies, rather than the events having actually fulfilled them, is a genuine possibility.

...

But like I stated earlier, all religions, all belief systems, at some point, have to take a leap of faith. You trust that the NT is telling you "the truth" as a leap of faith, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. But that's where I mentioned earlier the value of humility coupled with tolerance. We only "know" so much, where we either have to trust our instincts/conscience or trust 2,000+ year old literature.
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Old 04-30-2007, 01:30 AM   #55
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And where, pray tell, do you think many of these prophesies came from? They're not all that original. Even C.S. Lewis, the well-read Christian lover of mythology, admitted as much:

"If God chooses to be mythopoeic [literature that involves the creation of fictional myths] — and is not the sky itself a myth — shall we refuse to be mythopathic?"

"The heart of Christianity is a myth which is also a fact. The old myth of the Dying God, without ceasing to be myth, comes down from the heaven of legend and imagination to the earth of history. It happens--at a particular date, in a particular place, followed by definable historical consequences. We pass from a Balder [Norse "life-death-rebirth" god compared to Jesus] or an Osiris, dying nobody knows when or where, to a historical Person crucified (it is all in order) under Pontius Pilate. By becoming fact it does not cease to be myth: that is the miracle."
I like that part where he said "which is also a fact."

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So you're trying to tell me that oral tradition maintained the entirety of the Bible unchanged through thousands of years? Then how do you explain away the Dead Sea Scrolls and their differences with the Masoretic OT that's been commonly used for the last millennium? They're certainly not identical.
I'm not familiar with this. I'll look into it. I did however just see the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit two weeks ago here in KC and it said before the DSS scrolls were found, the oldest known copies of the OT texts were like 1,000 newer than they were. When they compared the two, there were very few details that were different. It had been preserved accurately over time. Without a printing press.

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Early Christianity was not orderly and did not have a centralized authority to stamp its imprimatur on authorized texts. This becomes all the more evident three centuries later when the Biblical canon was finalized and the church fathers had to sort through the wide number of books that early Christians from many widely culturally different communities revered and had to decide which ones were "divine." Even then, those who decided on the divinity were not superhuman nor divine themselves, so their theological prejudices were obviously going to determine which books were worthy of including in the Biblical canon.
I don't know of anyone who's ever been superhuman (although the drummer of Mute Math is making a case) and there's only one guy who was ever divine.

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The dates that you have listed are the traditional dates, which are not accepted by modern scholarship. Modern scholarship believes that none of the gospels were written before the Roman destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70.
I've never heard this. If they were written after A.D. 70, I'd have to think at least one of them would've mentioned the destruction of the Jewish temple, especially considering it fulfilled a prophecy of Christ's. You don't see that though.

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And, again, as I've noted, this becomes all the more evident when, three centuries later, the church fathers have to sort through a myriad of books that various Christian communities had adored.
Does this mean it was disorganized though? Apparently there wasn't a need for organization until then or the Bible would've been pieced together earlier.

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Sure. Here's an example of the Jewish Christian origins of the Gospel of Matthew:

"Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter will pass from the law, until all things have taken place. Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do so will be called least in the kingdom of heaven. But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments will be called greatest in the kingdom of heaven." - Matthew 5:17-19

This is in line with Jewish Christian theology that believed that observance of the entirety of Mosaic Law was required to be a Christian.

There's a later passage that shows signs of Gentile Christian editing:

"Do to others whatever you would have them do to you. This is the law and the prophets." - Matthew 7:1

It has been long noted (even in the footnotes of my Bible) that the bold line in Matthew 7:1 is a later addition added to the original text by an unknown "evangelist," likely meant to negate even the implication of Jewish Christian theology behind Matthew 5.
Thanks for posting this. What about the line after the part that's bolded: "I have come not to abolish but to fulfill." It sounds like the first sentence clarifies the second. Am I missing something?
Also, Matthew's readers were Jewish, so he wrote it to the Jews. Hence the heavy dose of OT. That's why he explianed the lineage of Christ more, didn't bother explaining Jewish customs and used Jewish terminology. He's working to prove that Christ was the Messiah. So, of course he's appealing to the Jews. Yes, Christ talks about the law, but he's talking about keeping the spirit of the law by keeping the law in your heart, not just mindless outwardly staying in line with it. My study Bible says he's speaking against the hypocritical, Pharisaical legalism in keeping with the law where the law was kept outwardly to gain favor with God, but not inwardly. In 5:20, which you left off, Christ said "For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven."
In the verses that follow, Christ gives six examples of Pharisaical externalism. He takes it further and focuses on the heart. An example was "Do not murder" can translate to "having hate in your heart toward another." Looking at a woman lustfully equates to adultery.
Christ is getting to the heart of things, litterally. It boils down to sin. I've never physically murdered anyone, but I have in my heart. I've never physically cheated on my wife, but I have in my heart. After going through these six examples, Christ talks about prayer and gives us "The Lord's Prayer," which, of course, includes Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors." It's a beautiful set up, really.

Quote:

"So what?" You did state that outside cults were trying to "emulate Christianity" as if Judeo-Christianity was wholly original. On the contrary, the early OT, in particular, absorbed Sumerian, Akkadian, and Babylonian mythology and customs, while the later OT is strongly influenced by the Zoroastrian religious beliefs of the Persian Empire.

I wouldn't doubt that outside religions and cults did borrow from the Judaic pantheon. The Greek god, Adonis, was borrowed from the Hebrew "Adonai," for instance. It is, however, unreasonable to assume that Judeo-Christian beliefs are completely self-constructed and completely free of outside religious beliefs. It is not only uncharacteristic of religions from those days, but it's also illogical.
Clearly you have a better understanding of this stuff than I do. My hat's off to you. Seriously. It's an area I'm weak in. However, I still have to point to the numerous prophecies made in the OT and fulfilled in the NT. It seems as if there's more behind the faith than just copying and pasting certain aspects of other faiths.

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I'm not a fan of Mormonism, as I stated before. I'm just also not a fan of what I perceive to be double standards. Your overly critical view of Mormonism, coupled with your totally non-critical view of Christianity comes across as quite self-serving and biased.
Well, first of all, you should consider where I'm coming from in my arguments against Mormonism. My main beef with it is that it claims to be Christianity. It's not. I'm not just questioning it because it's another faith. Have I ever questioned other faiths to this degree? Nope. I may have brought up certain aspects, but I know they're different faiths. That's fine. It's different with Mormonism. Does that make sense?
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Old 04-30-2007, 01:46 AM   #56
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2) What evidence is there that Jesus endured such a gruesome crucifixion beyond the NT telling us that He did?
It's authenticity will always be in question, but The Shroud of Turin is interesting nevertheless.

The account of Jesus' death, while not eyewitness, is passed on by two early non-Christian sources that I know of.

-- Tacitus, a Roman historian (55-120 A.D.): "Christus (Christ),... suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilate." (Annals 15:44)

-- Josephus, a Jewish historian (38-97 A.D.): "Pilate condemned him to be crucified and to die…. His disciples… reported that he had appeared to them three days after his crucifixion, and that he was alive." (Antiquities of the Jews)
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Old 04-30-2007, 01:47 AM   #57
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Well, while you gentleman continue to argue with one another I feel it is counter productive.

Melon and Wanderer admit that Jesus existed but that he wasn't the divine Son of God, that he didn't rise on the 3rd day, preached for 40 more days, showed himself to his apostles, ate with them, taught them more, showed himself to at least 500 more believing followers before acsending into Heaven, promising to to return one day the same way he ascended.

Then we have another fellow who subscribes to lambasting Mormons claiming his view is right having a monopoly on truth, this is quite sad, and does Christians worldwide a disservice.

This is all the more reason for Christ's true gospel as he taught it in the meridian of time to be restored as it was through the Prophet Joesph Smith.

The Prophet Joesph Smith didn't want the job, but once he was called of God, he never wavered from that call, suffering intense persecution, beatings humiliation and eventual martyrdom as Christ and his Apostles of old did.

I will write more later, but I'm tired and turning in now.

Good night.

dbs
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Old 04-30-2007, 01:56 AM   #58
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Well, while you gentleman continue to argue with one another I feel it is counter productive.

Melon and Wanderer admit that Jesus existed but that he wasn't the divine Son of God, that he didn't rise on the 3rd day, preach for 40 more days, showed himself to his apostles, ate with them, taught them more, showed himself to at least 500 more other believing followers before acsending into Heaven, promising to to return one day the same way he ascended.

Then we have another fellow who subscribes to lambasting Mormons claiming his view is right having a monopoly on truth, this is quite sad, and does Christians worldwide a disservice.

This is all the more reason for Christ's true gospel as he taught it in the meridian of time to be restored as it was through the Prophet Joesph Smith.

The Prophet Joesph Smith didn't want the job, but once he was called of God, he never wavered from that call, suffering martyrdom as Christ and his Apostles of old did.

I will write more later, but I'm tired and turning in now.

Good night.

dbs
And Mormons don't claim to have a monopoly on truth? You go on to say "This is all the more reason for Christ's true gospel . . . "

Come on, buddy.
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Old 04-30-2007, 09:34 AM   #59
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Originally posted by coemgen
I like that part where he said "which is also a fact."
Indeed. And that was my intention when selecting those quotes.

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I'm not familiar with this. I'll look into it. I did however just see the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit two weeks ago here in KC and it said before the DSS scrolls were found, the oldest known copies of the OT texts were like 1,000 newer than they were. When they compared the two, there were very few details that were different. It had been preserved accurately over time. Without a printing press.
There are many literal differences between the two, but not many substantial differences, because the OT canon we use was created by the Pharisees, and the Dead Sea Scrolls are from the Essenes. The Essenes were essentially compatible with the Pharisees, with their main contention being their complete opposition to the Temple. After the Romans destroyed the Temple in A.D. 70, the Essenes rejoiced and not long afterwards, merged with the Pharisees to form the ancestors of Modern Judaism.

The differences are "enough," however, that the Vatican has been making some textual changes to their official OT. This is in keeping with their official stance that the true Word of God is in understanding the original source texts.

It should also be noted that the Essenes' OT canon included two books not in the Pharisees' canon: the Book of Enoch and the Book of Jubilees. And the Sadducees' OT canon would have been wholly different, because they rejected the Messianic theology introduced into Judaism through Persian Zoroastrian influence. However, the Sadducees' violent tendencies were their downfall, and they were swiftly destroyed by the Romans in A.D. 70.

My point, really, is that in light of the ideological divisions within Judaism during the time of the OT, there is no "definitive OT canon" that could have been memorized through the ages. The canon we use today was created by the Pharisees in the 1st century A.D.

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I've never heard this. If they were written after A.D. 70, I'd have to think at least one of them would've mentioned the destruction of the Jewish temple, especially considering it fulfilled a prophecy of Christ's. You don't see that though.
You could argue that the mention of this prophesy was written in after the fact. The ultimate theological lesson would have been that the loss of the destruction of the Temple is offset by the gain of the resurrection of Jesus. As such, the Temple would no longer have been necessary--prudent advice, considering, during those days, the Romans banished the remaining Jews from Jerusalem as punishment for their rebellion.

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Does this mean it was disorganized though? Apparently there wasn't a need for organization until then or the Bible would've been pieced together earlier.
"Disorganization," of course, is always relative. However, most of the texts that make up the NT were written to specific regional audiences (the titles of the Pauline epistles make that abundantly clear, for instance), and such is the case also for the many texts that did not make the canon.

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Thanks for posting this. What about the line after the part that's bolded: "I have come not to abolish but to fulfill." It sounds like the first sentence clarifies the second. Am I missing something?
Also, Matthew's readers were Jewish, so he wrote it to the Jews. Hence the heavy dose of OT. That's why he explianed the lineage of Christ more, didn't bother explaining Jewish customs and used Jewish terminology. He's working to prove that Christ was the Messiah. So, of course he's appealing to the Jews. Yes, Christ talks about the law, but he's talking about keeping the spirit of the law by keeping the law in your heart, not just mindless outwardly staying in line with it. My study Bible says he's speaking against the hypocritical, Pharisaical legalism in keeping with the law where the law was kept outwardly to gain favor with God, but not inwardly. In 5:20, which you left off, Christ said "For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven."
In the verses that follow, Christ gives six examples of Pharisaical externalism. He takes it further and focuses on the heart. An example was "Do not murder" can translate to "having hate in your heart toward another." Looking at a woman lustfully equates to adultery.
Christ is getting to the heart of things, litterally. It boils down to sin. I've never physically murdered anyone, but I have in my heart. I've never physically cheated on my wife, but I have in my heart. After going through these six examples, Christ talks about prayer and gives us "The Lord's Prayer," which, of course, includes Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors." It's a beautiful set up, really.
Well, to clarify, Matthew's readers were not "Jewish." They were "Jewish Christian," which was the dominant sect of Jerusalem and the theology of the two apostles that created this sect, Peter and James.

The "Gentile Christianity" that opposed Jewish Christianity was Paul's theology, and modern Christianity evolved wholly from this. They had effectively wiped out Jewish Christianity by the 2nd century A.D.

Matthew is a complicated gospel, which I find is a source for why many Protestants still cling to the sanctity of Mosaic Law and think that there's an exception clause to Jesus' prohibition on divorce based on "adultery" (which, in itself, is a mistranslation of a Mosaic Law taboo against marrying close family members). That's why I prefer the other gospels, because only Matthew originated from Jewish Christian origins.

Quote:
Clearly you have a better understanding of this stuff than I do. My hat's off to you. Seriously. It's an area I'm weak in. However, I still have to point to the numerous prophecies made in the OT and fulfilled in the NT. It seems as if there's more behind the faith than just copying and pasting certain aspects of other faiths.
Certainly there is more. And hopefully those C.S. Lewis quotes provide some reconciliation here.

Quote:
]Well, first of all, you should consider where I'm coming from in my arguments against Mormonism. My main beef with it is that it claims to be Christianity. It's not. I'm not just questioning it because it's another faith. Have I ever questioned other faiths to this degree? Nope. I may have brought up certain aspects, but I know they're different faiths. That's fine. It's different with Mormonism. Does that make sense?
I understand where a lot of the revulsion comes from. I just hope that such "revulsion" is tempered with humility and understanding, as there are many people out there that would consider your belief system to be as "crackpot" as diamond's.
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Old 04-30-2007, 09:36 AM   #60
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Melon and Wanderer admit that Jesus existed but that he wasn't the divine Son of God, that he didn't rise on the 3rd day, preached for 40 more days, showed himself to his apostles, ate with them, taught them more, showed himself to at least 500 more believing followers before acsending into Heaven, promising to to return one day the same way he ascended.
I don't know why you included me in this list, because it doesn't apply to me.
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