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Old 11-19-2006, 11:02 PM   #256
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Originally posted by AEON
Ahhh. Now we are getting to the heart of the matter. Now your arguments make much more sense in this light.
Care to elaborate? I thought I made it clear that I wasn't a Biblical fundamentalist. And this link shows the exact text of the official Catholic stance regarding Biblical fundamentalism:

http://www.geocities.com/xman1892/sp004.htm

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Fundamentalism indicates a person's general approach to life which is typified by unyielding adherence to rigid doctrinal and ideological positions -- an approach that affects the individual's social and political attitudes as well as religious ones. Fundamentalism in this sense is found in non-Christian religions and can be doctrinal as well as biblical. But in this statement we are speaking only of biblical fundamentalism, presently attractive to some Christians, including some Catholics.

Biblical fundamentalists are those who present the Bible, God's inspired word, as the only necessary source for teaching about Christ and Christian living. This insistence on the teaching Bible is usually accompanied by a spirit that is warm, friendly, and pious. Such a spirit attracts many (especially idealistic young) converts. With ecumenical respect for these communities, we acknowledge their proper emphasis on religion as influencing family life and workplace. The immediate attractions are the ardor of the Christian community and the promises of certitude and of a personal conversion experience to the person of Jesus Christ without the need of church. As Catholic pastors, however, we note its presentation of the Bible as a single rule for living. According to fundamentalism, the Bible alone is sufficient. There is no place for the universal teaching church -- including its wisdom, its teachings, creeds, and other doctrinal formulations, its liturgical and devotional traditions. There is simply no claim to a visible, audible, living, teaching authority binding the individual or congregations.

A further characteristic of biblical fundamentalism is that it tends to interpret the Bible as being always without error or as literally true in a way quite different from the Catholic Church's teaching on the inerrancy of the Bible. For some biblical fundamentalists, inerrancy extends even to scientific and historical matters. The Bible is presented without regard for its historical context and development.

In 1943 Pope Pius XII encouraged the church to promote biblical study and renewal, making use of textual criticism. The Catholic Church continued to study the Bible as a valuable guide for Christian living. In 1965 the Second Vatican Council, in its Constitution on Divine Revelation, gave specific teaching on the Bible. Catholics are taught to see the Bible as God's book -- and also as a collection of books written under divine inspiration by many human beings. The Bible is true -- and to discover its inspired truth we should study the patterns of thinking and writing used in ancient biblical times. With Vatican II, we believe that "the books of Scripture must be acknowledged as teaching firmly, faithfully and without error that truth which God wanted put into the sacred writings for the sake of our salvation" (Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation, 11). We do not look upon the Bible as an authority for science or history. We see truth in the Bible as not to be reduced solely to literal truth, but also to include salvation truths expressed in varied literary forms.

We observed in biblical fundamentalism an effort to try to find in the Bible all the direct answers for living -- though the Bible itself nowhere claims such authority. The appeal of such an approach is understandable. Our world is one of war, violence, dishonesty, personal and sexual irresponsibility. It is a world in which people are frightened by the power of the nuclear bomb and the insanity of the arms race, where the only news seems to be bad news. People of all ages yearn for answers. They look for sure, definite rules for living. And they are given answers -- simplistic answers to complex issues -- in a confident and enthusiastic way in fundamentalist Bible groups.
Of course, anyone who is well-versed in Catholic encyclicals also knows full well that such reasonable thinking must come with a trade-off:

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According to fundamentalism, the Bible alone is sufficient. There is no place for the universal teaching church -- including its wisdom, its teachings, creeds, and other doctrinal formulations, its liturgical and devotional traditions. There is simply no claim to a visible, audible, living, teaching authority binding the individual or congregations.
And there we go: switching from an unquestioning deference to the Bible to an unquestioning deference to Catholic tradition. I'm not about to stop questioning for any worldly authority.

The kind of irony about all of this is that the Catholic Church would likely be most receptive to my Biblical interpretations regarding the folly of the supposed "anti-gay verses." I've read exchanges between liberal Catholic scholars and angry Vatican officials--one going so far as to say that no amount of evidence would ever make a difference, because Catholic teachings on sexuality have nothing to do with the Bible and everything to do with "natural law" traditions that stretch back to the time of St. Thomas Aquinas.

In other words, for a church to acknowledge that female priests existed for the first 500 years of the Christian church, for a church to acknowledge that priests were allowed to be married for the first 1000 years--and to still refuse to yield for calls to change--is a church that is stubborn to tradition.

And then, on the other end, there's Biblical fundamentalists whom I have never ideologically or theologically agreed with, and when faced with the idea that their traditional interpretations might be wrong or contradictory (i.e., such as my example regarding the perversion of faith with Jewish Christian ideology on works), they're just as apt to shut their ears as Vatican officials. At the very least, the Vatican is willing to admit that they're stubborn to their traditions, more or less, rather than insisting that the Bible backs them up.

More or less, religion exists to maintain tradition and will build elaborate institutions, rituals, and theology to ensure it.

Perhaps that's why I have faith in God, but have none in His followers.
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Old 11-19-2006, 11:23 PM   #257
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I know I wrote a lot there, but this is the part I want people to take away from this:

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In 1943 Pope Pius XII encouraged the church to promote biblical study and renewal, making use of textual criticism. The Catholic Church continued to study the Bible as a valuable guide for Christian living. In 1965 the Second Vatican Council, in its Constitution on Divine Revelation, gave specific teaching on the Bible. Catholics are taught to see the Bible as God's book -- and also as a collection of books written under divine inspiration by many human beings.
"Textual criticism." I make extensive use of that concept in how I view the Bible.

"Many human beings." And that's part of the point. The Bible wasn't written whole by God, with it falling from the heavens. Just looking at the different sects of Judaism and Christianity over the centuries, all of them had their own Biblical canon, and many had different versions of the same text reflecting their worldview.

Additionally, translating ancient texts is difficult work under normal circumstances, and you can see that with the myriad of Biblical translations over the centuries--even different translations simultaneously existing in the present. And translators are human beings: imperfect human beings with biases, prejudices, and failings that are inherent with everyone.

This is what makes textual criticism so important to me, and even Pius XII understood this in his day. To best understand the Bible is to best understand not only how it should ideally be translated, but also to understand the cultures that wrote it. The denomination--Jewish or Christian alike--where that book originated from. The history and circumstances behind it. Reading a word-for-word sentence may include many unwritten assumptions for its original intended audience and completely lost on us.

And, of course, there's been some rather unscrupulous religious figures over the centuries who might have used the Bible to further his prejudices, and we're still reflecting his prejudices today through the traditional interpretations.

This is what molds my arguments, more or less.
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Old 11-20-2006, 12:29 AM   #258
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Originally posted by Ormus
I know I wrote a lot there, but this is the part I want people to take away from this:



"Textual criticism." I make extensive use of that concept in how I view the Bible.

And what is it you think Protestants do in seminary?
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Old 11-20-2006, 12:35 AM   #259
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And what is it you think Protestants do in seminary?
We've had this discussion before. It often comes down to a structure to maintain tradition, rather than looking at the Bible with scientific "inherent uncertainty."

At the very least, when I read footnotes in a Catholic Bible that directly contradict what you say about a verse and support what I say, there is clearly not a uniform translation on these subjects.
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Old 11-20-2006, 12:45 AM   #260
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Originally posted by Ormus


Care to elaborate? I thought I made it clear that I wasn't a Biblical fundamentalist. And this link shows the exact text of the official Catholic stance regarding Biblical fundamentalism:

http://www.geocities.com/xman1892/sp004.htm



Of course, anyone who is well-versed in Catholic encyclicals also knows full well that such reasonable thinking must come with a trade-off:



And there we go: switching from an unquestioning deference to the Bible to an unquestioning deference to Catholic tradition. I'm not about to stop questioning for any worldly authority.

The kind of irony about all of this is that the Catholic Church would likely be most receptive to my Biblical interpretations regarding the folly of the supposed "anti-gay verses." I've read exchanges between liberal Catholic scholars and angry Vatican officials--one going so far as to say that no amount of evidence would ever make a difference, because Catholic teachings on sexuality have nothing to do with the Bible and everything to do with "natural law" traditions that stretch back to the time of St. Thomas Aquinas.

In other words, for a church to acknowledge that female priests existed for the first 500 years of the Christian church, for a church to acknowledge that priests were allowed to be married for the first 1000 years--and to still refuse to yield for calls to change--is a church that is stubborn to tradition.

And then, on the other end, there's Biblical fundamentalists whom I have never ideologically or theologically agreed with, and when faced with the idea that their traditional interpretations might be wrong or contradictory (i.e., such as my example regarding the perversion of faith with Jewish Christian ideology on works), they're just as apt to shut their ears as Vatican officials. At the very least, the Vatican is willing to admit that they're stubborn to their traditions, more or less, rather than insisting that the Bible backs them up.

More or less, religion exists to maintain tradition and will build elaborate institutions, rituals, and theology to ensure it.

Perhaps that's why I have faith in God, but have none in His followers.
Basically, Melon, all your posts on this subject seem to boil down to this: trying to discredit those who interpret the Bible in a way that leads them to the conclusion that homosexual behavior is wrong.

For the conservative Protestants - it is because they take the Bible too literally. For the Catholics - it is because they hold on too tightly to Augustinian tradition, but were at least "wise enough" not to take the Bible literally.

However, you will try and use literal translations at times to try and prove your point - that your particular brand of homosexual behavior is not discussed in the Bible, but only male prostitutes and effeminate heterosexuals. Yet, if these parts of the Bible are written by greedy, self seeking men - then why would I give credence to these passages?

Do you study the Bible from any other point of view? - other than to justify homosexual sex? That is where all your posts seem to point.

(I would also like to point out that in many threads you dismiss what Paul says about faith and works because he is merely speaking to the Gentile Christian community – but on other threads – you claim he is too stuck in a Jewish/Pharisaic mindset - his views on sexuality for instance. So, which is it?)
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Old 11-20-2006, 12:53 AM   #261
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Originally posted by AEON

Yet, if these parts of the Bible are written by greedy, self seeking men - then why would I give credence to these passages?

Do you think the Bible was written by anyone other than sinners?
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Old 11-20-2006, 12:56 AM   #262
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Do you think the Bible was written by anyone other than sinners?
That was reference to an earlier post from Melon on why he dismisses the Bible as inerrant.
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Old 11-20-2006, 12:59 AM   #263
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That was reference to an earlier post from Melon on why he dismisses the Bible as inerrant.
I know where it came from, and I agree with him, but I'm asking you a question for you seem to have missed his point.
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Old 11-20-2006, 08:40 AM   #264
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Originally posted by AEON

Basically, Melon, all your posts on this subject seem to boil down to this: trying to discredit those who interpret the Bible in a way that leads them to the conclusion that homosexual behavior is wrong.
Well, let's see. I'm tailoring these posts in threads that have to deal with religion and sexuality. It seems that no one cares to talk about religion in this country unless it has to do with gay bashing or science bashing, so are we all that surprised that I only talk about religion in this forum in regards to both of these subjects?

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For the conservative Protestants - it is because they take the Bible too literally. For the Catholics - it is because they hold on too tightly to Augustinian tradition, but were at least "wise enough" not to take the Bible literally.
Yes. But guess what? It always ends up being a convenient excuse to maintain tradition and the status quo. 50 years ago, you'd be using the Bible to explain why interracial marriage is abhorrent and wrong. 100 years ago, you'd be using the Bible to explain why women should not have the right to vote. 150 years ago, you'd be using the Bible to explain why slavery is moral, and how black people just need to shut up and take it. 200+ years ago, you'd be using the Bible to explain why Jews are evil and deserve to be killed.

See a pattern? Because in every instance, the Bible has been used to maintain the prejudicial status quo of the time. And it was the "liberal Christians" of these days who had to say...."Hey, the Bible does not say this at all." And in every case, there were people like you who said that these people were contorting the Bible for selfish reasons and that there are "limits" that God prescribes.

So I don't think I'm being inconsistent here. There are many lengths that people will go to uphold tradition and the status quo, and looking at the different reasons that Catholicism and conservative Christianity end up coming to nearly the exact same conclusion is quite telling of the state of religion today.

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However, you will try and use literal translations at times to try and prove your point - that your particular brand of homosexual behavior is not discussed in the Bible, but only male prostitutes and effeminate heterosexuals. Yet, if these parts of the Bible are written by greedy, self seeking men - then why would I give credence to these passages?

Do you study the Bible from any other point of view? - other than to justify homosexual sex? That is where all your posts seem to point.
Again, like I said, the only reason people even talk about religion in this country these days is in the context of gay bashing or science bashing, so don't be all that surprised here if my arguments are tailored to both.

Six years ago, I had to deal with conservative Christian offensiveness here, and it wasn't enough to state that there are other religious traditions. It wasn't enough to appeal to religious freedom. No, I had to start citing the Bible. So I started taking it upon myself to study the Bible, so I could start arguing at your level.

This still doesn't change the fact that I do not believe in Biblical fundamentalism. I've already demonstrated in great detail my reasoning behind this. The Bible was not written in the heavens to be descended to the Earth in whole. Not only did each Jewish sect have their own scriptures, but the books that they had in common aren't always exactly the same.

The OT canon we use was created by those same Pharisees in the first century A.D. that we denigrate in the NT. The NT canon we use was finalized in the 4th century A.D. Martin Luther then unilaterally decides that certain OT books aren't "divinely inspired," because there aren't non-Greek texts for them. Then, 500 years later, those same books are found within the Dead Sea Scrolls, pretty much proving that Luther was wrong. But do Protestant Bibles correct this error? No. Tradition would forbid it.

And forget about history for a moment. At this present moment, there are widely different Biblical translations, especially on the contentious passages.

So, tell me, if there's only a right and wrong answer in life, which translation is the right one of all of these?

Explaining why the so-called "anti-gay Bible verses" are nonsense is an application of critical analysis of the Bible. The literal texts don't support the traditional interpretation, and, even at that, logic does not support them either. As I've mentioned repeatedly, extrapolating a passage in the context of rape, idolatry, prostitution, or pederasty to mean "homosexuality" would be the same as extrapolating that rape, idolatry, prostitution, or pederasty also means "heterosexuality." Instead, as I have demonstrated, as part of the bias of translators, they have taken archaic words with no modern language equivalent and translated them with the vaguest latitude possible. I can only imagine how people will try and translate the word "gigolo" in 2000 years.

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(I would also like to point out that in many threads you dismiss what Paul says about faith and works because he is merely speaking to the Gentile Christian community – but on other threads – you claim he is too stuck in a Jewish/Pharisaic mindset - his views on sexuality for instance. So, which is it?)
Sorry. I never once said that Paul is on a Jewish/Pharisaic mindset. You're the one who argued that Paul would be homophobic, because of his "Jewish background." I laughed that notion down each time.
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Old 11-20-2006, 09:22 AM   #265
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It's an acknowledgment that the Bible was written by people just as apt to greed, power, pride, ignorance and sin as any of its readers.
Of course they were -- they even acknowledged this in some cases. However, they wrote it under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. God within us. Why would God hand a book to us with lies and falsehoods?

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I've already explained in detail the differences between Jewish and Gentile Christianity, with their sect-defining differences on this subject. The fact that all of your Bible quotes are from Gentile Christian sources is precisely to be expected.
Again, what about the criminal who died with Christ?
And again, to say works is part of salvation is to negate Christ's work on the cross. If it were up to anything we could do, his death wasn't necessary. There's no way we can reach God's holy standards in our lives, that's why he sent his son, who was holy and human, to die in our place for our sins. The penalty is death. He stepped in for us. That's love. That's grace.

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So I guess that means that everyone prior to the 20th, maybe 19th century, is rotting in hell, because they weren't self-proclaimed "born-again Christians"? It's a metaphor, and American evangelical Protestantism is approximately 175 years old--a drop in the bucket of Christian history.
Of course not. I know it's a metaphor. I just posted this to make a point. The term "born again Christianity" has a different meaning than it should, I would say. If you mean a brand of shallow, hokie Christianity, then yeah, that's crap. However, at its most basic root, there's truth to the term. Otherwise, Christ wouldn't say it's something we "must" do.
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Old 11-20-2006, 09:35 AM   #266
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Of course they were -- they even acknowledged this in some cases. However, they wrote it under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. God within us. Why would God hand a book to us with lies and falsehoods?
Well, then perhaps you can answer my question:

Out of all the translations through history, all the translations that currently are present for purchase, which one is correct?

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Again, what about the criminal who died with Christ?
And again, to say works is part of salvation is to negate Christ's work on the cross. If it were up to anything we could do, his death wasn't necessary.
Since we're talking about Biblical inerrancy, tell me, what were Jesus' last words?

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There's no way we can reach God's holy standards in our lives, that's why he sent his son, who was holy and human, to die in our place for our sins. The penalty is death. He stepped in for us. That's love. That's grace.
The idea of love and grace are the unifying themes of all the various Bible translations, which is why I'm not bothered by critical translation or accepting that the Bible is apt to human corruption. Sexuality, for instance, was not the focus of early Christian doctrine. Neither was history or science, both of which are questionable in light of modern scholarship. The Nicene Creed is the best representation of what early Christians found important:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicene_Creed

Even then, however, take notice of all the various versions. There wasn't even one version that could be mutually agreed upon.

But one thing is for sure: all these hot-button issues that modern Christians obsess over are utterly trivial compared to what's really important in Christianity. The issues present under the Nicene Creed are generally not under question.
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Old 11-20-2006, 01:18 PM   #267
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Since we're talking about Biblical inerrancy, tell me, what were Jesus' last words?

Yes - I used to hammer away at Christians with questions like this. Yes, the Gospels have Jesus saying different things as his "last words." This is easily understood considering there are four different writers. So, the truth is most likely that Jesus said all of those things - but each writer wrote down what was more siginificant to their intended audience. When a reporter records an interview and then writes the article - they don't write down every word - only the phrases that are important to their article. The same thing is happening here.
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Old 11-20-2006, 01:30 PM   #268
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Well, then perhaps you can answer my question:

Out of all the translations through history, all the translations that currently are present for purchase, which one is correct?
Well, I believe that the the only inerrant version is in the original language. Translations are great and necessary to share the Gospel with everyone, but yes - they are prone to some errors, no matter how well intended.

That is why we study Greek and Hebrew.
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Originally posted by Ormus



But one thing is for sure: all these hot-button issues that modern Christians obsess over are utterly trivial compared to what's really important in Christianity. The issues present under the Nicene Creed are generally not under question.
I definitely agree with you here.
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Old 11-20-2006, 01:36 PM   #269
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Yes - I used to hammer away at Christians with questions like this. Yes, the Gospels have Jesus saying different things as his "last words." This is easily understood considering there are four different writers. So, the truth is most likely that Jesus said all of those things - but each writer wrote down what was more siginificant to their intended audience. When a reporter records an interview and then writes the article - they don't write down every word - only the phrases that are important to their article. The same thing is happening here.

this makes total sense.

so how can we claim inerrancy? as well as implied "complete-ness"?

and it seems, if we are to go with the Greek translations as Melon often points to, then we see we are talking about temple prostitutes (boys in their early teens) and not contemporary gay men.
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Old 11-20-2006, 01:52 PM   #270
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and it seems, if we are to go with the Greek translations as Melon often points to, then we see we are talking about temple prostitutes (boys in their early teens) and not contemporary gay men.
Well, there is still some debate on Melon's Greek translations, but let's say he is correct - it still is only pointing out a few instances of an overall problem with sexual immorality in the early church of Corinth. Paul did not list every single possible way to demonstrate sexual sin - he gave some examples.

Does this mean that if Paul didn't specific list a sexual activity that it is okay to go ahead and perform it? I would argue "no."

Ultimately, I would love to have a conversation with a conservative Christian who is also gay - and really see what he thinks about the Holy Spirit's guidance on this matter. If I met someone who is very close to Christ and uses the Holy Spirit as his guide to understanding Scripture - I would be more likely to take his conclusions seriously.

I know that this sounds close minded. But I seriously have learned that leaning on the Holy Spirit is required to understanding Scripture. Going into Scripture solely to provide links to support a point of view - does not demonstrate what I think is a genuine attempt to understand Scripture. If one does not approach the Bible with a "I know this is perfect, so help me understand" attitude - then apparent contradictions will never be understood.
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