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Old 02-16-2006, 04:59 PM   #1
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Faith & DNA

Bedrock of a Faith Is Jolted

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From the time he was a child in Peru, the Mormon Church instilled in Jose A. Loayza the conviction that he and millions of other Native Americans were descended from a lost tribe of Israel that reached the New World more than 2,000 years ago.

"We were taught all the blessings of that Hebrew lineage belonged to us and that we were special people," said Loayza, now a Salt Lake City attorney. "It not only made me feel special, but it gave me a sense of transcendental identity, an identity with God."

A few years ago, Loayza said, his faith was shaken and his identity stripped away by DNA evidence showing that the ancestors of American natives came from Asia, not the Middle East.

"I've gone through stages," he said. "Absolutely denial. Utter amazement and surprise. Anger and bitterness."

For Mormons, the lack of discernible Hebrew blood in Native Americans is no minor collision between faith and science. It burrows into the historical foundations of the Book of Mormon, a 175-year-old transcription that the church regards as literal and without error.
What level of importance is given the Hebrew bloodline connection for Mormons?
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Old 02-16-2006, 05:00 PM   #2
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you realize the pandora's box this could open ...
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Old 02-16-2006, 05:04 PM   #3
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Regarding Mormons?
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Old 02-16-2006, 05:05 PM   #4
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read the entire article

basically all religions set themselves up for things like this
when they claim an absolute truth



the article suggest they will modify some of their claims

the greater Christian faiths have been doing this for centuries sometimes with proclamations
and sometimes by just letting their faith evolved into a more reasonable set of beliefs.
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Old 02-16-2006, 05:05 PM   #5
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Quote:
a 175-year-old transcription that the church regards as literal and without error.
Quite a universal Judeo-Christian-Muslim problem, eh?
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Old 02-16-2006, 05:09 PM   #6
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Originally posted by Utoo


Quite a universal Judeo-Christian-Muslim problem, eh?
Actually, no.

"Literal" and "inerrent" are two different matters.
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Old 02-16-2006, 05:15 PM   #7
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Actually, no.

"Literal" and "inerrent" are two different matters.
Maybe---but unfortunately, it seems like many of the parts that are taken literally are often those that are quite amiss...
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Old 02-16-2006, 05:16 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader


Actually, no.

"Literal" and "inerrent" are two different matters.
I guess "literal" evolved into "inerrant" to improve the odds of survival.
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Old 02-16-2006, 05:58 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader

"Literal" and "inerrent" are two different matters.


it's an awfully thin line.

i also like how Mormons become the punching bag of other brands and breeds of Christianity. it's wonderfully convenient.
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Old 02-16-2006, 06:12 PM   #10
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That is getting to be a tiresome dodge to any thoughtful discussion. Raise an issue regarding Islam - Christianity diversion. Raise an issue regarding the Patriot Act - Christianity diversion. Lather rinse repeat. Wonderfully convenient.

If you want to discuss the difference between "literal" and "inerrent" - feel free.
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Old 02-16-2006, 06:46 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader
That is getting to be a tiresome dodge to any thoughtful discussion. Raise an issue regarding Islam - Christianity diversion. Raise an issue regarding the Patriot Act - Christianity diversion. Lather rinse repeat. Wonderfully convenient.

If you want to discuss the difference between "literal" and "inerrent" - feel free.
Nbc, I think I'm just confused as to how you think the difference actually plays out in real life.

Literal
According to wordnet.princeton.edu/perl/webwn:
Quote:
# actual: being or reflecting the essential or genuine character of something; "her actual motive"; "a literal solitude like a desert"- G.K.Chesterton; "a genuine dilemma"
# without interpretation or embellishment; "a literal depiction of the scene before him"
# limited to the explicit meaning of a word or text; "a literal translation"
# avoiding embellishment or exaggeration (used for emphasis); "it's the literal truth"
Inerrant
According to wordnet.princeton.edu/perl/webwn:
Quote:
inerrable: not liable to error
Basically, when you take something literally, you take it exactly as it is. When you believe something is inerrant, you believe it is perfectly true.

Different words and different ideas, but in order to take something literally, one must believe it to be true--inerrant, if you will. If one doesn't believe the world was created in 7 days, one doesn't take the text literally. If one does believe it, well, then that person believes the statement to be inerrant. Sure, the Qur'an is taken absolutely literally by many---because they take the one line "This Book is not to be doubted" literally....the book is thus inerrant in their minds. Even though a great many people do not take the Bible absolutely literally and do not believe it to be inerrant, I don't think it needs to be pointed out that many people do take quite a large chunk of it quite literally. When it comes to faith, you don't interpret some text literally if you don't believe it to be inerrant... Does the idea of Creationism exist because the Bible isn't taken literally? Or because it's believed to be inerrant? You need both in order to even think that Creationism makes sense. Would religious groups be against homosexuality if the Bible were not to be taken literally, or if it were not believed to be inerrant? Would some Muslims not believe that fighting for the sake of God is okay if they didn't take the section "Permission to take up arms...........God knows but you do not" literally, or if it were not inerrant? I can list more examples from Christianity, Islam, or Judaism...for hours...but I have to be somewhere in 20 minutes!

Basically, I think any difference between "literal" and "inerrant" is great on paper & semantically, but when it comes to real life practice, the two are inseparable.
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Old 02-16-2006, 06:54 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by Utoo
Basically, I think any difference between "literal" and "inerrant" is great on paper & semantically, but when it comes to real life practice, the two are inseparable.
I would say "inerrant" says that the words used in Scripture are those of God, not man, and that there was no error when recorded. It speaks to the specific words used in the Hebrew and Greek. This avoids the problem of giving more value to words recorded by one writter over another.

"Literal" suggests that it means exactly what is says on its face. Creation is a good example. Genesis says that God created various things on different days. By imposing a literal meaning on the English translation - you are forced to go with a 24-hour period. The Hebrew word can mean a period of time - whether 12-hours, 24-hours or a longer period of time. Same principle can be drawn from the book of Daniel, which speaks of "weeks" when it really refers to periods of 7-years. The 7-year interpretation is internally correct.

I point our the distinction as the number of Christians who follow the "literal" translation (sometimes called "Young Earth" Christians) is statistically insignificant.
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Old 02-16-2006, 07:06 PM   #13
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The book's narrative focuses on a tribe of Jews who sailed from Jerusalem to the New World in 600 BC and split into two main warring factions.

The God-fearing Nephites were "pure" (the word was officially changed from "white" in 1981) and "delightsome." The idol-worshiping Lamanites received the "curse of blackness," turning their skin dark.
........................................
"As I look into your faces, I think of Father Lehi [patriarch of the Lamanites], whose sons and daughters you are," church president and prophet Gordon B. Hinckley said in 1997 during a Mormon conference in Lima, Peru.
Mitochondrial DNA aside, this part of the narrative has never made much sense from a Jewish history perspective because Lehi--the father of Nephi and Laman, the one who allegedly set sail in 600 BC--is described by the Book of Mormon as being from the Tribe of Manasseh (Joseph's son; this was one of the "Lost Tribes" scattered by the Assyrians in 722 BC--Lehi's family purportedly escaped this fate because they were living in Jerusalem, a plausible enough circumstance). So, Lehi doesn't trace his ancestry through the Tribes of Judah or Levi (as all modern-day Jews do, on account on the loss of the other Tribes).

The problem this raises is that the practice of describing all Israelites, regardless of Tribal origin, as "Jews" (a term orginally referring *only* to members of the Tribe of Judah) does not come about until well into the Babylonian captivity (beg. 586 BC), which Lehi missed out on. Yet in the Book of Mormon, Nephi--purportedly speaking in his own voice--repeatedly describes himself, Laman and their people as "descendants of the Jews," a strange claim for a self-professed Manassite who could not have known about the terminology change to make. He also describes Lehi's language as being "the language of the Egyptians" (in accord with Mormon beliefs that Joseph Smith translated the Book from gold plates inscribed in "reformed Egyptian," comprehensible only through divine inspiration)--a very strange first language for a 6th-century BC Manassite living in Jerusalem to be speaking.
Quote:
The latest scholarship, they argue, shows that the text should be interpreted differently. They say the events described in the Book of Mormon were confined to a small section of Central America, and that the Hebrew tribe was small enough that its DNA was swallowed up by the existing Native Americans.
Can mitochondrial DNA really be "swallowed up"? It hasn't happened to the Jews, despite a similarly long period of diaspora and intermarriage.
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Old 02-16-2006, 09:12 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader
That is getting to be a tiresome dodge to any thoughtful discussion. Raise an issue regarding Islam - Christianity diversion. Raise an issue regarding the Patriot Act - Christianity diversion. Lather rinse repeat. Wonderfully convenient.

If you want to discuss the difference between "literal" and "inerrent" - feel free.


it's difficult not to point out hypocrisy whenever it rears it's head.

so be it.

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Old 02-16-2006, 09:24 PM   #15
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Interesting, I thought this would be about the genetics of faith.
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