Any bible scholars out there?

Can a christian deny the old testament?

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Re: Any bible scholars out there?

#281  Postby proudfootz » Apr 30, 2017 9:16 pm

Hooray! Things are working, now.

Thank you.
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Re: Any bible scholars out there?

#282  Postby proudfootz » Apr 30, 2017 9:27 pm

Though it wasn't technically part of the OP, I got interested in the 'Original Sin' concept that came up on the first page of this thread.

Having just done a little bit of Googling, the material I've come up with seems to indicate that not only was the concept of 'Original Sin' not part of the OT or part of the Jewish interpretation of their own scripture, but it also seems to be largely absent from the writings included in the 'New Testament'.

All early church fathers[i], except St. Augustine, never taught a doctrine of ”Original Sin”, but always maintained that mankind has a “liability to sin”, which is known as the Ancestral Sin (Προπατορικό αμάρτημα). The doctrine of an ‘Ancestral Sin’ says that after Adam’s fall, human nature became liable to sinning. In other words, humans inherited not Adam’s sin itself, but his sinful nature. According to the fathers teachings, this what St. Paul means by saying “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned”[ii]

The doctrine of ” Original Sin” was created in the Western Church, first suggested by St. Augustine[iii], and later systematized and dogmatized by Anselm in the Latin Church. Augustine’s doctrine of Original Sin was born from his attempt to fight the heresy of Pelagianism. Pelagius, the British monk, opposed the idea that the divine gift of grace was necessary to perform the will of God. Pelagius believed that if we are responsible for obeying the commandments of God, then we must all also have the ability to do so without divine aid. He went on to deny the doctrine of Ancestral Sin, arguing that the consequences of Adam’s sin are not passed on to the rest of mankind. Adam’s sin affected Adam alone, and thus infants at birth are in the same state as Adam was before the Fall. Augustine took a the different view of the Fall in opposition to Pelagius, arguing that mankind is utterly sinful and incapable of any good.

This dispute between Augustine and Pelagius did not reach the East.



This persuades me that the doctrine or dogma of 'Original Sin' was a later development in what we know as christianity and not a fundamental or necessary part of what it 'means' to be a christian. If christians got along for a few hundred years without 'Original Sin', it wouldn't seem to be a very 'core' belief.
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Re: Any bible scholars out there?

#283  Postby John Platko » Apr 30, 2017 9:47 pm

proudfootz wrote:Though it wasn't technically part of the OP, I got interested in the 'Original Sin' concept that came up on the first page of this thread.

Having just done a little bit of Googling, the material I've come up with seems to indicate that not only was the concept of 'Original Sin' not part of the OT or part of the Jewish interpretation of their own scripture, but it also seems to be largely absent from the writings included in the 'New Testament'.

All early church fathers[i], except St. Augustine, never taught a doctrine of ”Original Sin”, but always maintained that mankind has a “liability to sin”, which is known as the Ancestral Sin (Προπατορικό αμάρτημα). The doctrine of an ‘Ancestral Sin’ says that after Adam’s fall, human nature became liable to sinning. In other words, humans inherited not Adam’s sin itself, but his sinful nature. According to the fathers teachings, this what St. Paul means by saying “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned”[ii]

The doctrine of ” Original Sin” was created in the Western Church, first suggested by St. Augustine[iii], and later systematized and dogmatized by Anselm in the Latin Church. Augustine’s doctrine of Original Sin was born from his attempt to fight the heresy of Pelagianism. Pelagius, the British monk, opposed the idea that the divine gift of grace was necessary to perform the will of God. Pelagius believed that if we are responsible for obeying the commandments of God, then we must all also have the ability to do so without divine aid. He went on to deny the doctrine of Ancestral Sin, arguing that the consequences of Adam’s sin are not passed on to the rest of mankind. Adam’s sin affected Adam alone, and thus infants at birth are in the same state as Adam was before the Fall. Augustine took a the different view of the Fall in opposition to Pelagius, arguing that mankind is utterly sinful and incapable of any good.

This dispute between Augustine and Pelagius did not reach the East.



This persuades me that the doctrine or dogma of 'Original Sin' was a later development in what we know as christianity and not a fundamental or necessary part of what it 'means' to be a christian. If christians got along for a few hundred years without 'Original Sin', it wouldn't seem to be a very 'core' belief.


A counterfactual defines what it means to be a Christian.


Luke 9:49-50New International Version (NIV)
49 “Master,” said John, “we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we tried to stop him, because he is not one of us.”
50 “Do not stop him,” Jesus said, “for whoever is not against you is for you.”
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Re: Any bible scholars out there?

#284  Postby Agrippina » May 01, 2017 7:21 am

If the Pope declares that evolution should be taught instead of creationism, doesn't that invalidate original sin, and therefore make Christianity and redemption, moot?

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/pope-francis-declares-evolution-and-big-bang-theory-are-right-and-god-isnt-a-magician-with-a-magic-9822514.html
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Re: Any bible scholars out there?

#285  Postby proudfootz » May 01, 2017 9:03 am

Yes, that is a problem when people take myths to be literal truths and then base their doctrines on those 'facts'.

OTOH theology is endlessly fungible, and no doubt some new justification for the Catholic church will come cropping up.
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Re: Any bible scholars out there?

#286  Postby John Platko » May 01, 2017 12:49 pm

proudfootz wrote:Yes, that is a problem when people take myths to be literal truths and then base their doctrines on those 'facts'.

OTOH theology is endlessly fungible, and no doubt some new justification for the Catholic church will come cropping up.


We don't need any new justification. Evolution has been dialed into Catholicism for a long time.


“The 1993 instruction of the Pontifical Biblical Commission on ‘The Interpretation of the Bible in the Church’ calls the historical-critical method ‘essential’ and rejects explicitly a fundamentalist reading of Scripture.” When such an approach is applied to the Bible, he said, “Catholic scholars, along with mainstream Protestant scholars, see in the primal stories of Genesis not literal history but symbolic, metaphoric stories which express basic truths about the human condition and humans. The unity of the human race (and all of creation for that matter) derives theologically from the fact that all things and people are created in Christ and for Christ. Christology is at the center, not biology.” He added that “the question of biological origins is a scientific one; and, if science shows that there is no evidence of monogenism and there is lots of evidence for polygenism, then a Catholic need have no problem accepting that.” When such an approach is followed, he said, Adam and Eve are not seen as historical people, but as important figures in stories that contain key lessons about the relationships of humans and their Creator. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that “the account of the fall in Genesis … uses figurative language, but affirms a primeval event, a deed that took place at the beginning of the history of man. Revelation gives us the certainty of faith that the whole of human history is marked by the original fault freely committed by our first parents.” In that language, Father Guinan detects a straddling of the issue. “It recognizes that Genesis is figurative language,” he pointed out, “but it also wants to hold to historicity. Unfortunately, you can’t really have both. The catechism is clearly not the place to argue theological discussions, so whoever wrote it decided, as it were, to have it both ways.” In an article about the first couple, Father Guinan wrote that Catholics who ask, “Were there an Adam and Eve?” would be better off asking another question: “Are there an Adam and Eve?” The answer, he said, “is a definite ‘yes.’ We find them when we look in the mirror. We are Adam, and we are Eve. … The man and woman of Genesis … are intended to represent an Everyman and Everywoman. They are paradigms, figurative equivalents, of human conduct in the face of temptation, not lessons in biology or history. The Bible is teaching religion, not science or literalistic history.” - See more at: http://www.catholicreview.org/article/w ... Wd5Ff.dpuf
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Re: Any bible scholars out there?

#287  Postby Agrippina » May 01, 2017 1:02 pm

No original sin, then also no eternal life. If sin can be forgiven simply by asking for forgiveness, then every single human every born is eligible for eternal life simply by saying "I'm sorry, please forgive me". That makes eternal life into a seriously crowded space, and completely ridiculous. Why not simply allow humans to live here, forever?
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Re: Any bible scholars out there?

#288  Postby John Platko » May 01, 2017 1:17 pm

Agrippina wrote:No original sin, then also no eternal life. If sin can be forgiven simply by asking for forgiveness, then every single human every born is eligible for eternal life simply by saying "I'm sorry, please forgive me".


How many here would take such a deal?


That makes eternal life into a seriously crowded space, and completely ridiculous. Why not simply allow humans to live here, forever?


The concept of original sin is trying to communicate something deep about human experience. Something that the free will thread in the philosophy forum has been tossing around. The idea that we are strongly, perhaps completely impacted by what has happened before us. That past initial conditions and laws of motion, or using a higher level mode of explanation: deeds of our ancestors, effect us.
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Re: Any bible scholars out there?

#289  Postby proudfootz » May 02, 2017 9:26 am

John Platko wrote:
proudfootz wrote:Yes, that is a problem when people take myths to be literal truths and then base their doctrines on those 'facts'.

OTOH theology is endlessly fungible, and no doubt some new justification for the Catholic church will come cropping up.


We don't need any new justification. Evolution has been dialed into Catholicism for a long time.


“The 1993 instruction of the Pontifical Biblical Commission on ‘The Interpretation of the Bible in the Church’ calls the historical-critical method ‘essential’ and rejects explicitly a fundamentalist reading of Scripture.” When such an approach is applied to the Bible, he said, “Catholic scholars, along with mainstream Protestant scholars, see in the primal stories of Genesis not literal history but symbolic, metaphoric stories which express basic truths about the human condition and humans. The unity of the human race (and all of creation for that matter) derives theologically from the fact that all things and people are created in Christ and for Christ. Christology is at the center, not biology.” He added that “the question of biological origins is a scientific one; and, if science shows that there is no evidence of monogenism and there is lots of evidence for polygenism, then a Catholic need have no problem accepting that.” When such an approach is followed, he said, Adam and Eve are not seen as historical people, but as important figures in stories that contain key lessons about the relationships of humans and their Creator. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that “the account of the fall in Genesis … uses figurative language, but
affirms a primeval event, a deed that took place at the beginning of the history of man. Revelation gives us the certainty of faith that the whole of human history is marked by the original fault freely committed by our first parents
.”

In that language, Father Guinan detects a straddling of the issue. “It recognizes that Genesis is figurative language,” he pointed out, “but it also wants to hold to historicity. Unfortunately, you can’t really have both. The catechism is clearly not the place to argue theological discussions, so whoever wrote it decided, as it were, to have it both ways.”

In an article about the first couple, Father Guinan wrote that Catholics who ask, “Were there an Adam and Eve?” would be better off asking another question: “Are there an Adam and Eve?” The answer, he said, “is a definite ‘yes.’ We find them when we look in the mirror. We are Adam, and we are Eve. … The man and woman of Genesis … are intended to represent an Everyman and Everywoman. They are paradigms, figurative equivalents, of human conduct in the face of temptation, not lessons in biology or history. The Bible is teaching religion, not science or literalistic history.” - See more at: http://www.catholicreview.org/article/w ... Wd5Ff.dpuf


Certainly people who are determined can try to square the circle and believe two mutually exclusive things. That certainly appears to be what the quoted catechism is trying to do.
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Re: Any bible scholars out there?

#290  Postby Agrippina » May 02, 2017 9:38 am

John Platko wrote:
Agrippina wrote:No original sin, then also no eternal life. If sin can be forgiven simply by asking for forgiveness, then every single human every born is eligible for eternal life simply by saying "I'm sorry, please forgive me".


How many here would take such a deal?

No thanks. I'd rather live this life, and when it's done with me, go back to the stars from whence I came.


That makes eternal life into a seriously crowded space, and completely ridiculous. Why not simply allow humans to live here, forever?


The concept of original sin is trying to communicate something deep about human experience. Something that the free will thread in the philosophy forum has been tossing around. The idea that we are strongly, perhaps completely impacted by what has happened before us. That past initial conditions and laws of motion, or using a higher level mode of explanation: deeds of our ancestors, effect us.


They only affect us to the degree that they determine where we are born, what language we speak, and what religion is forced on us. Otherwise, we are responsible for our own lives. We make choices sometimes without having any knowledge of the outcome of those choices, but with experience, we get better at making choices, and even then fall down flat sometimes. I don't think we should be responsible for what our ancestors did, except to the degree that we don't perpetuate any harm they may have done. We don't choose to be born, that we are here is an accident of when our parents copulated. It is up to us to make the most of the chance that we attained through that accident. I don't believe in predestination, or that I am to blame for my parent's deeds, or that I should feel a duty of having to do something simply because of where I was born, and to which family. This is my life, it's mine to do with as I choose, but not if that choice causes harm to another person. When I die, I'll be as dead as I was before my mother was born with the egg that became me.
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Re: Any bible scholars out there?

#291  Postby John Platko » May 02, 2017 12:57 pm

proudfootz wrote:
John Platko wrote:
proudfootz wrote:Yes, that is a problem when people take myths to be literal truths and then base their doctrines on those 'facts'.

OTOH theology is endlessly fungible, and no doubt some new justification for the Catholic church will come cropping up.


We don't need any new justification. Evolution has been dialed into Catholicism for a long time.


“The 1993 instruction of the Pontifical Biblical Commission on ‘The Interpretation of the Bible in the Church’ calls the historical-critical method ‘essential’ and rejects explicitly a fundamentalist reading of Scripture.” When such an approach is applied to the Bible, he said, “Catholic scholars, along with mainstream Protestant scholars, see in the primal stories of Genesis not literal history but symbolic, metaphoric stories which express basic truths about the human condition and humans. The unity of the human race (and all of creation for that matter) derives theologically from the fact that all things and people are created in Christ and for Christ. Christology is at the center, not biology.” He added that “the question of biological origins is a scientific one; and, if science shows that there is no evidence of monogenism and there is lots of evidence for polygenism, then a Catholic need have no problem accepting that.” When such an approach is followed, he said, Adam and Eve are not seen as historical people, but as important figures in stories that contain key lessons about the relationships of humans and their Creator. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that “the account of the fall in Genesis … uses figurative language, but
affirms a primeval event, a deed that took place at the beginning of the history of man. Revelation gives us the certainty of faith that the whole of human history is marked by the original fault freely committed by our first parents
.”

In that language, Father Guinan detects a straddling of the issue. “It recognizes that Genesis is figurative language,” he pointed out, “but it also wants to hold to historicity. Unfortunately, you can’t really have both. The catechism is clearly not the place to argue theological discussions, so whoever wrote it decided, as it were, to have it both ways.”

In an article about the first couple, Father Guinan wrote that Catholics who ask, “Were there an Adam and Eve?” would be better off asking another question: “Are there an Adam and Eve?” The answer, he said, “is a definite ‘yes.’ We find them when we look in the mirror. We are Adam, and we are Eve. … The man and woman of Genesis … are intended to represent an Everyman and Everywoman. They are paradigms, figurative equivalents, of human conduct in the face of temptation, not lessons in biology or history. The Bible is teaching religion, not science or literalistic history.” - See more at: http://www.catholicreview.org/article/w ... Wd5Ff.dpuf


Certainly people who are determined can try to square the circle and believe two mutually exclusive things. That certainly appears to be what the quoted catechism is trying to do.


I think it's just a case of different people interpreting things in different ways - not unlike how different Supreme Court Justices interpret the Constitution in very different ways. But in US Catechism classes the Adam and Eve story is being taught as an allegory. :scratch: One would think that the talking snake would be a pretty good clue on whether or not this was meant as literal history ... :sigh:
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Re: Any bible scholars out there?

#292  Postby John Platko » May 02, 2017 1:05 pm

Agrippina wrote:
John Platko wrote:
Agrippina wrote:No original sin, then also no eternal life. If sin can be forgiven simply by asking for forgiveness, then every single human every born is eligible for eternal life simply by saying "I'm sorry, please forgive me".


How many here would take such a deal?

No thanks. I'd rather live this life, and when it's done with me, go back to the stars from whence I came.


That makes eternal life into a seriously crowded space, and completely ridiculous. Why not simply allow humans to live here, forever?


The concept of original sin is trying to communicate something deep about human experience. Something that the free will thread in the philosophy forum has been tossing around. The idea that we are strongly, perhaps completely impacted by what has happened before us. That past initial conditions and laws of motion, or using a higher level mode of explanation: deeds of our ancestors, effect us.


They only affect us to the degree that they determine where we are born, what language we speak, and what religion is forced on us. Otherwise, we are responsible for our own lives. We make choices sometimes without having any knowledge of the outcome of those choices, but with experience, we get better at making choices, and even then fall down flat sometimes. I don't think we should be responsible for what our ancestors did, except to the degree that we don't perpetuate any harm they may have done. We don't choose to be born, that we are here is an accident of when our parents copulated. It is up to us to make the most of the chance that we attained through that accident. I don't believe in predestination, or that I am to blame for my parent's deeds, or that I should feel a duty of having to do something simply because of where I was born, and to which family. This is my life, it's mine to do with as I choose, but not if that choice causes harm to another person. When I die, I'll be as dead as I was before my mother was born with the egg that became me.


There is a rather different view on the matter being discussed in the free will thread in the philosophy section of the forum. It has been suggested by many that the idea of free will and our ability to actually make choices is just an illusion. We are just like a ball rolling down a hill, i.e. following the laws of motion. We think we are making choices but we really couldn't have done otherwise.
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Re: Any bible scholars out there?

#293  Postby Agrippina » May 02, 2017 1:32 pm

John Platko wrote:
Agrippina wrote:
John Platko wrote:
Agrippina wrote:No original sin, then also no eternal life. If sin can be forgiven simply by asking for forgiveness, then every single human every born is eligible for eternal life simply by saying "I'm sorry, please forgive me".


How many here would take such a deal?

No thanks. I'd rather live this life, and when it's done with me, go back to the stars from whence I came.


That makes eternal life into a seriously crowded space, and completely ridiculous. Why not simply allow humans to live here, forever?


The concept of original sin is trying to communicate something deep about human experience. Something that the free will thread in the philosophy forum has been tossing around. The idea that we are strongly, perhaps completely impacted by what has happened before us. That past initial conditions and laws of motion, or using a higher level mode of explanation: deeds of our ancestors, effect us.


They only affect us to the degree that they determine where we are born, what language we speak, and what religion is forced on us. Otherwise, we are responsible for our own lives. We make choices sometimes without having any knowledge of the outcome of those choices, but with experience, we get better at making choices, and even then fall down flat sometimes. I don't think we should be responsible for what our ancestors did, except to the degree that we don't perpetuate any harm they may have done. We don't choose to be born, that we are here is an accident of when our parents copulated. It is up to us to make the most of the chance that we attained through that accident. I don't believe in predestination, or that I am to blame for my parent's deeds, or that I should feel a duty of having to do something simply because of where I was born, and to which family. This is my life, it's mine to do with as I choose, but not if that choice causes harm to another person. When I die, I'll be as dead as I was before my mother was born with the egg that became me.


There is a rather different view on the matter being discussed in the free will thread in the philosophy section of the forum. It has been suggested by many that the idea of free will and our ability to actually make choices is just an illusion. We are just like a ball rolling down a hill, i.e. following the laws of motion. We think we are making choices but we really couldn't have done otherwise.


My son wrote a Masters thesis on the subject, so I'm fairly familiar with how our choices can be explained. I used to argue that we have the ability to choose to do stuff, then he showed me how it actually works, and how our choices aren't actually free will, but reactions to previous experience. It's why I don't believe that "crime" actually exists.
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Re: Any bible scholars out there?

#294  Postby Thomas Eshuis » May 02, 2017 8:21 pm

A god that condemnds peope for the sins of others is not worthy of worship, should they exist.
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Re: Any bible scholars out there?

#295  Postby Agrippina » May 03, 2017 7:15 am

Thomas Eshuis wrote:A god that condemnds peope for the sins of others is not worthy of worship, should they exist.


I agree. If I was into worshipping a god, it would have to be a benevolent god that bestows favours on me for worshipping them.
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Re: Any bible scholars out there?

#296  Postby Arjan Dirkse » May 09, 2017 3:38 am

I'm a big supporter of cherry picking. It's cherry picking that gives me the most hope for the future, the religious leaving behind the literal interpretations and just taking the parts that inspire them and that can be reconciled with modernity. For me any sect or denomination that claims to be based on the teachings of Jesus Christ is Christian.

I'm more familiar with Buddhist sects than Christian, in Buddhism the various East Asian Mahayana sects (Zen/Chan, Tendai/Tiantai, Kegon, Nichiren, Pure Land) are all cherry picking, they base themselves on specific parts of the large body of Buddhist literature. Just as anything based on the teachings Jesus can call itself Christianity, anything based on the teachings of Buddha can call itself Buddhism.
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Re: Any bible scholars out there?

#297  Postby laklak » May 09, 2017 3:52 am

Agrippina wrote:
Thomas Eshuis wrote:A god that condemnds peope for the sins of others is not worthy of worship, should they exist.


I agree. If I was into worshipping a god, it would have to be a benevolent god that bestows favours on me for worshipping them.


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Re: Any bible scholars out there?

#298  Postby John Platko » May 10, 2017 5:56 pm

Arjan Dirkse wrote:I'm a big supporter of cherry picking. It's cherry picking that gives me the most hope for the future, the religious leaving behind the literal interpretations and just taking the parts that inspire them and that can be reconciled with modernity. For me any sect or denomination that claims to be based on the teachings of Jesus Christ is Christian.

I'm more familiar with Buddhist sects than Christian, in Buddhism the various East Asian Mahayana sects (Zen/Chan, Tendai/Tiantai, Kegon, Nichiren, Pure Land) are all cherry picking, they base themselves on specific parts of the large body of Buddhist literature. Just as anything based on the teachings Jesus can call itself Christianity, anything based on the teachings of Buddha can call itself Buddhism.


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