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About Open_Minded

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    Thought is creating divisions out of itself. - David Bohm

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    There aren't enough hours in the day.....
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    Conscious and living.

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  • Still have any Gods? If so, who or what?
  1. P.S. I have taken the liberty of adding you as one of my friends so that I don't loose track of you. I hope you are in agreement with that.

  2. Hello, I was told, I should meet you -- that we may have something in common. I think I will enjoy it here if I can acclaimate my soul to the bitterness. I should enjoy talking with you at some time.

  3. <snip> Since you've realized the futility in your project of re-converting someone here, the question remains why do you even bother about it? HanSolo, I couldn't agree more. Scott, first please realize that not all Christians get into debating matches with all non-Christians. In the months I've been here I've had some very meaningful discussion. I like Ex-C because people here THINK, they don't just believe something because someone told them to believe it or because it's written in the Bible. They think it through, they think through the larger implications of a set of beliefs and they ask questions. Secondly, I'm with HanSolo - if you're not here to "re-convert" someone then exactly why is it that you are here? As you said, "non-Christians will never see it our way"? So, why stick around? It's not that you're not welcome, but something tells me you're not willing to view the world from both sides. Folks here have already been Christian. I've had my years as an Ex-Christian. It's possible for us to view things from multiple angles. Something tells me that you cannot view things from both sides of the equation (and worse yet) are unwilling to view things from both sides.
  4. So do I HanSolo ... so do I .... Actually - I've always viewed the Bible as a history of a human search for God. As a human search for God - it is covers the full dimension of humanity. Not just the stories in the Bible, but also the way the Bible came into development. The history of the Bible and the history of Christianity is human history. There were people who meant and worked for the highest ideals of humanity to prevail and there were people who were deceitful and manipulative and worked to hold onto power and control of a movement. Most people involved probably didn't give the details of theology and oral and written tradition much thought - they were probably like most people in our world today. "If a world view is working for me - why question it"? So... yes ... there was most likely intentional deceit happening. But - was it the entire dimension of early Christianity? No - most people involved in early Christianity probably didn't give control of a budding movement any consideration at all. Most people in early Christianity probably didn't question the theology at all - it worked for their individual lives and they accepted it as such. I do believe there were some people who worked very hard to develop a movement that lived up to the highest in humanity - and I believe it is possible to see this in the Bible - as well as the lowest of humanity. As I said - to me the Bible is a history of the HUMAN search for God. Not just the stories in the Bible - but the development of the Bible itself (the development of Christianity as well) is a lesson in the HUMAN search for God. It is refreshing to see that many of you also see that the beginnings of Christianity were not soley based in malicious or deceitful intent.
  5. I guess the only comment I'd have here is that the christian movement began as "Movements". Varied groups who had some common ideas, and some not-so-common. The Dead Sea Scrolls point to the idea that eschatology, or end-of-the-world thinking was prevalent prior to orthodox christianity. There is considerable evidence that the Valentinians, the Ebionites, the Basilides group in Egypt, the Essenes, the Montanists, and many others developed at the same time as orthodox thinking. It's only Eusebius' version of history that tells us of a single unified movement - with peripheral heretical groups that were quickly extinguished. Robert Price has a parable about the beginnings of christianity (I'll paraphrase) A man planted a field with all kinds and varieties of beautiful wildflowers. One of the types of flowers began to develop deeper roots than all of the others, and it ended up choking out all of rest. So, anytime I see the words "christian movement" now - I immediately think - "which one" ? I agree completely.
  6. Golden Meadows --- you're making me work WAY TOO HARD ... But, thank you, my brain needs the work out. In the interest of saving time on a day of celebration, family and friends, I'm going to go with your lead and "cut to the chase" ... by sticking with your "recap". You and I don't disagree all that much, you know. In fact I'd say we're more in agreement than disagreement. It's just a matter of our emphasis - and I think it's fair to say that our emphasis may be influenced by our personal bias. I've already admitted a bias towards oral history. You obviously know more about the influence of the mystery movement on early Christianity. We're just bringing our own areas of knowledge to the table - that's all. And truth be told, in the end, it's probably a grand mixture of both (human nature being what it is). My only concern here .. and I do believe it is a valid concern ... is that we not read into ancient history (1000s of years removed from the actual events) something that wasn't there. Don't misunderstand that statement GM, I adamently believe that the ancient mystery pagan religions influenced early Christianity. See the exchange earlier with HanSolo... And then..... HanSolo's following statement: "And also, that it wasn't intentionally lying or decieving". Is very important - and in truth it is why I've stuck to my guns so much. So often - on this board - (and I know it's not intentional) I see a tendancy to read "conspiracy" or intentional malicious behavior into the early Christian borrowing of pagan ideas. I do not see it this way at all. I see the early Christian movement as quite normal, even boring. It was a new movement that took hold - that's all. And as a new movement - it grew like most things of its time and place. 1st oral transmission of its stories and next written transmission. How utterly boring and normal it was. It was a messianic movement. The earliest followers felt that they would see the end times - in their own lifetimes. So, given that mindset, given that the culture this movement grew in was an oral culture (even if the Hebrew scriptures were highly evolved and the Hebrew culture was more literate than most) still the overall culture that the early Christian movement grew in was predominately oral - by any definition. The founder of this movement was a wandering - oral - teacher. Why would his earliest followers be any different? Yes - the influence of the mystery religions had something to do with it - that I don't argue. But to me it's a piece of the puzzle - that's all. The influence of the mystery religion - and their tendancy to educate primarily through oral communication was part of the overall culture. My emphasis is different than yours GM - but I do believe we are in agreement. I don't disagree with you - I just come at it from a different angle. My only concern here - is that we not read malicious intent into the way the early Christian movement grew. That is why HanSolo's comments meant so much to me.
  7. Yes... I agree completely. To assume early Christianity grew in a pristine environmnet - void of any influence by surrounding cultures and religions - is niave (at best). Yes ... I can very much see how the oral transmission of knowledge would lend itself to borrowing ideas across religious boundries.
  8. An oral tradition was necessary in communities where literacy was absent or underdeveloped. This was not the case in Jerusalem c. 30AD. GM.... Following is an excerpt from the site I recommended when this thread was discussing oral tradition and Mark. This excerpt is from the Journal of Biblical Literature: http://www.sbl-site.org/Publications/JBL/JBL1233.pdf GM - I've already admitted to a bias on my part for ancient oral history. But my bias is universal. I don't emphasis this aspect because of any agenda I have with the bible. I just think - in general - across cultures - scholars have ignored the value of oral tradition. It is only recently that scholars are picking up on the interconnectedness between ancient oral traditions and ancient written traditions. That they are not separate and distinct areas of study. That to study one - the other has to be studied as well. I know very little about Native American life, please excuse my ignorance but when did literacy emerge in their culture? Well - there were 1000s of languages when Europeans arrived on the scene. To my knowledge only a few of those cultures had written language. Following is an excerpt from encyclopedia.com about this issue. http://www.encyclopedia.com/html/N/NatvAmlang.asp This is why oral traditions is so very important in the study of the ancient Americas. If we don't figure out how to systematically and methodically study the ancient civilizations of America through oral traditon - they will be lost. 100s of Native American cultures have already been lost. They died out and their oral traditions died with them. It's as simple as that. http://www.saa.org/publications/SAAbulletin/14-2/SAA14.html
  9. (blushing) Thanks Mythra..... GM there may be other issues at play as well... Going back to the "layering" of a tradition. Mostly what I was discussing when I wrote about Q was the "layering" of written materials. But - behind those written materials was an oral history. Generally speaking - across cultures - the very first layer of a tradition is oral. This is a universal phenomenon - not limited to the middle east. The gospels not being committed to writing until years after the death of Jesus may have been nothing more than simple evolution of a tradition. First the oral tradition - then in time the written tradition. Oral traditions are just coming into their own in earning respect amongst scholars. This is a particularly important issue for those studying Native American history. Because the overwhelming majority of written records in Native American history are post European Influence - recovering and studying ancient Native American Oral traditions has taken on a very high importance. Following is a bit about this from the Society for American Archaeology. It would be worth reading the whole article - because the article goes onto discuss the very real and legitimate reservations of Native Americans to putting their oral traditions in writing. Some of the concerns are around issues of the written work taking away for the meaning of a story that is transmitted orally. Also, that their oral traditions are woven into their religious beliefs - that these traditions committed into writing and widely distributed and read by people who do NOT understand what they are reading could be misunderstood and abused. Their concerns are well founded - just look at all the literalists from Christianity and other religions who have sacred traditions committed to writing. At any rate - oral traditions are very common among all cultures. Not having a written tradition until years after the death of Jesus is not unusual (in the overall archaeological framework) at all - in fact - archaeologically speaking - an oral tradition followed LATER by a written tradition would be expected.
  10. HanSolo ... this book is looks at Q from the Farrer hypothesis. The Farrer hypothesis is not as widely accepted as the Two Source (Q) hypothesis. Basically the Farrer Hypothesis states that the commonalities between Matthew and Luke can be explained if Luke used Mark and Matthew for sources. As Antlerman said in another post... On the surface the Farrer Hypothesis is a simpler solution. Why wouldn't it be possible for Luke to use Mark and Matthew as source material? And on the surface I've no problem with that conclusion. But, as I said earlier, the study of ancient history is NOT about what is on the surface. It goes much deeper. Do you remember the discussion of Mark, oral history and legend before .... when I posted the following and a link? http://www.sbl-site.org/Publications/JBL/JBL1233.pdf Following is another excerpt from that same site: Now here's the thing .... Antlerman and Mythra are right - there are scores of common verses between Matthew and Luke that use the same language - word-for-word. When scholars pull Q out of context and put it side-by-side the commonalities between Matthew and Luke point to a SAYINGS source. And this is VERY important. SAYINGS sources were often the first layer of an oral tradition. Thomas is a sayings document. Part of the argument for an early dating of Thomas is that it resembles a 1st layer document - early in that it is only sayings of Jesus with very little narrative, plot, etc.. Following layers of a tradition would add onto the sayings - building stories, plots, etc... So, my problem with assuming that Luke used Mark and Matthew as sources (and that is why Matthew and Luke share the exact same wording around the SAYINGS of Jesus) is this - WHY WOULD LUKE COPY THE EXACT SAME WORDS AROUND THE SAYINGS OF JESUS - BUT THEN - STOP COPYING MATTHEW AND INSERT HIS OWN DETAILS SURROUNDING THE SAYINGS. IT JUST DOESN'T MAKE SENSE. I mean from a common sense point of view - you're sitting there copying 1000s of words of text in a painstaking manner. It is gruesome work from any stand point - there are no computers or word processors. You going along - you get to the Beatitudes.... The introduction to the Beatitudes in Matthew is as follows... And - as a scribe - you change the introduction to say in Luke .... So... here's this scribe - supposedly copying from Matthew the EXACT wording for Jesus' SAYINGS - but when it comes to the plot, to the settings, to the context around the SAYINGS of Jesus - suddenly we have many and varied differences? I don't buy it - it makes no sense if one is looking at things from the perspective of the way stories develop. That the 1st layer - is an oral tradition of SAYINGS (much like what one sees in Thomas). The next layer is LOCAL ORAL traditions around the sayings - LOCAL traditions which would add settings, plots and themes to the original SAYINGS. The settings, plots and themes would reflect the LOCAL audience and story tellers. The next layer in ancient historical literature is the layer of an oral tradition being put into writing. We spoke earlier of the same methodology (source criticsm) being used to find the different sources for the pentatuch. You'll see this dynamic there as well. Two of the sources reflect different local oral traditions - one reflects the northern tribes, the other reflects the southern tribes - and then of course you have the Priestly tradition which is an entirely different audience and story teller. This is the dynamic that makes sense for the exact same wording for the SAYINGS of Jesus between Matthew and Luke, but differences in regards to settings, plots, themes, arrangement. That type of thing. It makes total sense that Matthew and Luke were operating off of the same source for Jesus' words - writing to an audience in the choice of settings - plots - themes, etc... Actually - in my mind (because I am a fan of oral tradition) what makes most sense is that Matthew and Luke were writing down local oral traditions which were built around the same SAYINGS of Jesus. But, there are huge numbers of scholars that would debate me on that - and so I won't defend it. Anyway - the reason the Two Source (Q) hypothesis has the support of the majority of scholars - is just what I was writing about above. The Farrer hypothesis cannot answer the problem of how Matthew and Luke share the exact same wording in regards to the SAYINGS of Jesus - but disagree as to the setting and plot in which the SAYINGS are situated. A few resources for you to look at - you can get information from both sides of the issue at this site: http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/q.html This site will take you to a parallel display of Q material in both Matthew and Luke - side-by-side. It is easier to see the similarities between the two when you can read them side-by-side. http://www.utoronto.ca/religion/synopsis/meta-q.htm EDIT.... One last thing ... a bit off this specific issue - but worth mentioning. As has been discussed earlier - the apostles didn't actually write the stories themselves. As in Matthew didn't actually write the Gospel of Matthew. Often on this board - I see people use language to that suggests dishonesty in attributing authorship to someone other than oneself. But - as far as ancient oral history goes - this is not at all uncommon. Saying a story came from a particular person is nothing more than identifying a school of thought, a particular audience as followers of a particular person. In this situation - saying a Gospel came from Matthew is saying this oral tradition is from the followers of Matthew..
  11. Hello Everyone: Jumping back in here ... Just my opinion - but - I think what happened here was that Jeff and I inadvertently hit each other's sore spots. I am an avid fan of ancient history. Not just middle eastern ancient history - ALL ancient history. And I've a real sore spot when people treat the study of ancient history as if conclusions are just yanked out of someone's hat. Literary scholarship - including source criticsm - are valid and challenging fields of study. The work is not unlike what one would find at an archealogical dig. If one is doing one's job correctly (with source criticsm and an archealogical dig) then one is digging through "layers" of history. Source criticsm is one major tool scholars have for determining different "layers" of a final document. The "layers" closest to the event in question are the "layers" which are most reliable. Anyway - it is offensive to the study of any ancient literature to just write off scholarly concensus as "bullshit". And so - Jeff - unintentionally hit a sore spot with me. I am sure I hit one of his sore spots as well - given his response to me. See the following..... Jef also acknowledged Mythra had a point for identical phrasing and later edited his post with the following: For my own part - the posts from earlier are very strong knee-jerk reactions. Reactions stemming from my own frustrations at the lack of respect for the amount of work that goes into literary analysis of ancient historical documents. Literalists (not only in Christianity - but in other religions and other areas of life as well) routinely dismiss scholarship - and it simply offends me. It offends the sense of honor that I've always given to ancient history. Jeff - may also have had a quick knee-jerk reaction - I'll let him speak to that himself. At any rate - I've learned a few lessons this morning. The first being to hold my fire until I know where the next person is coming from. (I've a quick temper - so I can't promise I'll remember the lesson for any longer than 24 hours) And hopefully we've all learned a bit more about the "Q" source.....
  12. Yeah, I'm thinking my very strong reaction to all this may be part of my Christian damage. With scholars holding a tenable position, I've dealt with too many Xtians who jump off of that and really pull shit out of their asses. Now - THAT - I can relate to.
  13. That is exactly my point - and you should NEVER say Moses wrote the Pentateuch - I'd stand right next to you and defend the premise that he didn't. You know that. But, your statement makes my point. It doesn't make sense to accept source criticsm in one area of the Bible and call it "bullshit" in another area. I agree - with Mythra. You haven't noticed me taking Mythra to task. It's because Mythra stands on solid ground with the scholarship. We may draw different personal conclusions around the scholarship - but in the end we both respect it. That's all I ask. Ancient history - in any culture - is full of gray areas. Simply due to the lack of extant physical evidence. There will always be debate about what actually happened "on the ground" 1000s of years ago. I guess that's why the literary scholarship means so much to me - it is a very valid and systematic way to explore ancient history - in the face of meager extant physical evidence. Jeff - I'm sorry you still have such strong feelings about your experiences with Christianity. I really am. In all my time on this board, in reading of all the different experiences people have coming out of a literalist background - well it just makes my head spin. That one sentence alone brought tears to my eyes because I can only imagine the pain behind it.
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