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Author Topic: Why Jews Dont Believe in Jesus - Answered.  (Read 16053 times) Average Rating: 0
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GiC
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« Reply #45 on: March 19, 2005, 10:41:55 AM »

FacingEast,

We do, however, reject the Calvinistic interpretation of Romans; thus Calvinists, or westerners in General, would accuse us of rejecting the Theology of Romans, which is what I think JosephofMessiah is getting at...then again, we'd accuse the latins and protestants of distorting the Pauline Epistle to fit their Augustinian theology.
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« Reply #46 on: March 20, 2005, 04:47:04 AM »

Dear all,

I just thought I would give an update notice concerning my developing response to Joseph; I have been working on it a little each day (it’s quite lengthy), dedicating much of the miniscule spare time that I have to address all the issues brought forth (including the red herrings). I anticipate my response to be finalized by next Monday max.

I have a 20% worth assignment due this Wednesday, and a 10% worth oral presentation due on the following Friday, please remember in your prayers.

Peace.
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« Reply #47 on: March 20, 2005, 06:39:35 PM »

FacingEast,

We do, however, reject the Calvinistic interpretation of Romans; thus Calvinists, or westerners in General, would accuse us of rejecting the Theology of Romans, which is what I think JosephofMessiah is getting at...then again, we'd accuse the latins and protestants of distorting the Pauline Epistle to fit their Augustinian theology.
It should be noted though, that the "Calvinistic interpretation" is not only attacked by Orthodox Christians and other Christians that disagree with Calvinism, but also by the main thrust of modern scholarship, respresented by writers like Davies and Sanders.
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« Reply #48 on: March 20, 2005, 07:24:21 PM »

I was simply saying that Orthodox Christians do not reject Romans.  Just correcting an incorrect statement
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« Reply #49 on: March 21, 2005, 11:18:04 AM »

I was simply saying that Orthodox Christians do not reject Romans. Just correcting an incorrect statement
Oh definitely.  I wasn't saying that there was anything wrong with what you said, just adding a related point Smiley
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« Reply #50 on: March 21, 2005, 04:36:50 PM »

I was simply saying that Orthodox Christians do not reject Romans. Just correcting an incorrect statement

The ideas within the NT text of Romans sets the stage for a single action of Adam to be carried upon all other men to condemnation.  Your particular sectation does not accept that Adam's failure is related to all other men and by such that is what I meant.  You claim that you do not reject the NT book of Romans but the viewpoint laid out in the book of Romans is not represented in your rejection of Paul's Original Sin idea.

Now, I'm certain there are VARIOUS beliefs around the doctrine of Original Sin within Christianity.  Every single point is contended within the context of the christian whole (using the term christian as an outsider would I already know you guys claim to be the "only real Christians" but I digress).

I would like someone who knows the doctrine of your sectation to give me the understanding of how they can say that Jesus is the "lone sacrifice" is the original sin is not upon mankind at birth.  If a child is sinless at birth then why could not any given fetus be concidered an offering.  Then again I am going to bet that this once again has a problem entirely rooted in the WESTERN idea of Christianity, inwhich Jesus died to "pay" in some manner or "appease" in some manner an angry god.  It might be that your particular idea of Christianity just simply does not see this as the most important idea...and/or you might have very good reasons for rejecting the idea of Original Sin, it is just that I have never heard them personally as the type of Christianity which exists in the USA (especially in Southern USA) is absolutely nothing like what I have heard here, it is almost an entirely different take on the whole.

Anyone with a bit of time, explain to me these textual quotes from the viewpoint of your Church.
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{JKV version: Emphasis Added:}

Rom 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

Rom 5:15 But not as the offence, so also [is] the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, [which is] by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. 

Rom 5:18 Therefore as by the offence of one [judgment came] upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one [the free gift came] upon all men unto justification of life.

Rom 5:19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.

The particular part in question I suppose is the statement "by the offence of one judgement came upon all men to condemnation."

The NLT translates it, "Yes, Adam's one sin brought condemnation upon everyone..."
The NKJV translates it, "...as through one man's offense judgement came to all men..."
The NASB translates it, "...as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men,"
The RSV translates it, "...Then as one man's trespass led to condemnation for all men..."
Young translates, "...as through one offence to all men [it is] to condemnation..."

I could go on, but for the sake of argument the word "condemnation" has been used mostly, and I wish to get a better understanding of this term for myself....

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con-+dem-+na-+tion    ( P )  Pronunciation Key  (kndm-nshn) n.
The act of condemning.
The state of being condemned.
---------
con-+demn    ( P )  Pronunciation Key  (kn-dm)
tr.v. con-+demned, con-+demn-+ing, con-+demns
To express strong disapproval of: condemned the needless waste of food.
To pronounce judgment against; sentence: condemned the felons to prison.

Now, so far is my understanding, "condemnation" under christianity is "to hell" not to "prison."
Therefore it is very easily constructed that the author of Romans was saying that, "...Rom 5:18 Therefore as by the offence of one [judgment came] upon all men to [condeming them to hell];..."

This is not your particular sectations belief and ANY and ALL input would be very interesting for myself personally, ESPECIALLY any input into the meaning of Romans 5:18 if it does not mean what it says.  I realize that your particular faith does not mean that the text is 100% accurate, but perhaps someone could tell me what "was suppose" to have been written there-in?

Again, I am against the Doctrine of Original Sin as spoken of / directed within the NT book of Romans because it is in direct blasphemy towards the prophetic voice of Ezekiel 18:20.  And it WOULD HELP me (personally) if someone could explain how they fit Romans 5:18 into Ezekiel 18:20 by some apologetic means.

To save you time I will quote Ezekiel 18:20 here-in:
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Eze 18:20 The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.
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Joseph
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« Reply #51 on: March 21, 2005, 05:44:44 PM »

ah...too bad

Joseph, I was hoping that this post would be a response to the one I wrote you last Friday...oh well, I know it's long, but I presume you'll get to it (your posts arn't exactly short either), in any case I addressed your question:

I would like someone who knows the doctrine of your sectation to give me the understanding of how they can say that Jesus is the "lone sacrifice" is the original sin is not upon mankind at birth. If a child is sinless at birth then why could not any given fetus be concidered an offering. Then again I am going to bet that this once again has a problem entirely rooted in the WESTERN idea of Christianity, inwhich Jesus died to "pay" in some manner or "appease" in some manner an angry god. It might be that your particular idea of Christianity just simply does not see this as the most important idea...and/or you might have very good reasons for rejecting the idea of Original Sin, it is just that I have never heard them personally as the type of Christianity which exists in the USA (especially in Southern USA) is absolutely nothing like what I have heard here, it is almost an entirely different take on the whole.

It was addressed towards the end of the post (inresponse to your initial question to me along those lines), in my references to how we view Original Sin, the Incarnation, and the Crucifixion. Well, I look forward to your reply.
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« Reply #52 on: March 21, 2005, 07:48:00 PM »

Also, this discussion about Original Sin is happening here
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/newboard/index.php/topic,5655.15.html

If the conversation there does not develop to an definition that fulfills what I have been taught, I will add my two cents Smiley
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« Reply #53 on: March 21, 2005, 08:23:30 PM »

Read the words around the bold sections. Condemnation to what?

I like how you change what St. Paul says by putting words in brackets that aren't there. I realize that's what Protestants and some others would like to believe it says, but . . . I mean, just read the words.

That is a discussion not only of the fall of manking to be condemned to death, not Hell.

At any rate, the argument seems a bit of a red herring as you aren't promoting the idea of Original Sin. I guess you're trying to figure out how we can have the book of Romans and not come to that conclusion. None of your quotes so far say anything about Original Sin and I think you'd have to be pretty creative to get that from those passages.

I would still like to see the proof for one of your statements.

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You see, the development of the deity of Jesus was not instant but was done much later, and is even still argued greatly within Christendom as a whole.

Ron Howard can make a movie about it, but that doesn't make it any more true than Willow.

Pelikan, one of the greatest historians of Christian Doctrine, certainly didn't reach that conclusion, at least concerning Early Christians. There were certainly heretical groups that held different beliefs concerning the divinity of Christ, but they were always offset by those who did. You claim that these beliefs didn't even exist until "much later," whatever nebulous time frame that means. I'm just wondering what your source could possibly be. Our proof is found in the Fathers of the 1st to 5th centuries (arguably much later, depending on how you decide to define your terms) as well as nearly 2000 years of tradition and study.  Ignatius of Antioch calls Christ "Jesus Christ our God" in 110.  Anything much earlier is unavailable to both us and you, so your conclusion that it definetely wasn't there is a bit shocking.

You can define Christendom however you like, and I suppose that will be your escape hatch failing the production of actual evidence to support your claim.

You seem to be a contrarion, so you will understand my skepticism.
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« Reply #54 on: March 21, 2005, 08:56:07 PM »

JosephofMessiah,

We seem to have two levels of conversation going on at the same time, Philosophy and Theology (I confess this is my fault), so I shall try to deal with them in turn. There is a good reason that the Roman Catholic Seminaries require two years of Philosophy before beginning to teach the Seminarians Theology (it's unfortunate the Orthodox dont do this), so I shall start with the Philosophy.

The common empiricist 'scientific' weltanschuung of today is a fairly recent development, unknown (well, unknown in it's present manifestation, known and pretty much rejected in a past manifestation) to the Fathers of the Church, so the fact that Christianity rejects this weltanschuung should not be surprising. To understand the weltanschuung of society during the 'Golden Years' of Christian Theology (roughly A.D. 325 (Nicea I) to A.D. 787 (Nicea II)), we should consider the Platonic Metaphysic, thus I should first address your question about the Relationship between Form and Matter.

To properly answer this question, you should first read Plato's Republic and then, if you're real daring, his Timaeus, both of which are freely available on the Internet (Links to all of Plato's works can be found at http://plato-dialogues.org/links.htm). But as I acknowledge that we are all probaly too busy to spend our time reading lengthy philosophical works that are often awkward because they're being read in transation, I shall do my best to address the Metaphysics of Plato, which is the basis of the Metaphysics of the Christian world (at least until after the Schism between East and West and the Rise of Aristotelian Metaphysics amongst the Latin Scholastics, which is the basis (though with considerable modification) of the empiricist weltanschuung).

To Plato, that which is destructable or alterable is not real, but only a shadow of reality.

Yeah, but I do not exactly follow this idea, after all it is an invention of Plato's mind alone. He, as a finite human, has not seen if this reality is false or not, and the entire idea is arbitrary in the end, as we as human's deal with this reality as it were.

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This principle lead to a distinguishing between two different Realms, the Realm of Form and the Relm of Matter. The Realm of Form is a Realm of Ideas (in Christian application, possibly the Mind of God), absolute concepts that cannot be altered, whereas the Realm of Matter is what we interact with, various objects built of atoms (or quarks and electrons if we want to get specific) which are ultimately shadows of the true reality of the Forms.

If you are trying to argue that our ideas are not exactly directly relative to what exists in reality I would agree somewhat. However, as humans we all reflect our reality in a relative manner and by such we have the common senses (sight, touch, taste, smell...) which give us the reality we deal with.

As I personally am a moral relativist I admit that all the labels we give to various conceptualization are arbitrary, but again I do not see the ideas of Plato's "cave wall" becoming a real application for mankind until there is evidence-driven support that someone has actually seen another reality. Otherwise it is a meaningless unfounded hypothesis.

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To illustrated this concept Plato used the famous Cave Allegory, where prisoners were tied in a cave with their heads facing a wall and unable to turn.

The problem here-in is that no human can turn (even Plato), and thus the wall's shadows is all any of us have. In fact I argue that is all that is by definition of humanity having a common reality. Whatever is behind the shadows is beyond humanity by defnition, and by definition we do not have evidence that the shadows are not all that is. I realize this works into a rather materialism viewpoint of reality, inwhich what materially exists does and the rest is moot, but so be it. As a skeptic it is my viewpoint that until it is demonstrated the idea is merely there for reflection but not as an actuality. To believe otherwise would be to accept that I have the invisible pink unicorn in my basement just because I tell you. Those that accept Plato's shadow idea are accepting that Plato has seen a reality beyond their own when all he has done is create one in his own mind having no real knowledge of it existing or not. And by such they could just as well come pet my unicorn.

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Behind them was a fire and between the prisoners and the fire was a road, where puppeteers could hold things up so that the prisoners could see the shadows cast on the cave walls. These prisoners who had never seen anything other than the shadows would view these shadows as real, Plato draws the parallel between these Prisoners and people who do not realize the distinction between the Realm of Form and the Realm of Matter, though an outside observer would think the prisoners to be fools, knowing that the reality was the object that the puppeteers were holding, and not the shadow that the prisoners thought was the reality, so also does Plato view those who are convinced that the material objects they interact with on a daily basis to be the ultimate reality.

It is the basis of an egotistical eletism which allows Plato to make others feel "dumb" in his claims which more than likely allowed this idea to transfer down through time. Those that deny that the "reality beyond/above ours" is an invention of Plato's mind alone without any real evidence are seen as "prisoners." The real fool is the man who accepts the dellusion of another man's mind without question, evidence, or reason to believe it. And as organized religion has taught all mankind, there are no greater "prisoners" than the zealots of other same dellusional sects. There is a great reason why the term "sheep" is used, an almost inside joke if you ask me.

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Thus an object that you sit on and call 'chair' is not really a 'Chair,' but rather a shadow of the concept (from the Realm of Form) 'Chair,' while you may be able to destroy that four legged object and turn it into, say firewood, you can never destroy or alter 'Chair' as an idea, a concept, a Form.

Now, here is where I will say that this begins to make slight sense but only in a particular way. A demonstrated way is that the IDEA (creation of the MIND alone) of "chair" can not be destroyed within the brain-organ without destruction of the brain-organ that is thinking it, while the actual reality-born-material-entity known to us as "Chair" can be destroyed. Since we have all a particular relative vision of what a chair should look like (and it would look exceptionally different to another species with knees that went another way) then in a relative viewpoint we have an "indestructible idea." The idea however is not something that exists outside the human mind in another "greater" reality (Plato's item that was casting the shadow) but exists in the material world in various encantations (which may or may not fit into our idea of "chair") and in our respective minds as an idea (but is as finite as those minds are which are based souly upon the brain-organ's functioning).

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Thus it is the concept of 'Chair' that is Real, not the shadow 'chair' from the Realm of Matter.

The "concept of CHAIR" exists in THIS reality and is not hidden. It is nothing more than an idea born upon the matter within a human brain. At the destruction of the brain-organ the idea ends as well.

The realm of matter contains both the item/entity which we sit upon (what you would call shadow-chair) and the idea with which we have a concept of the "CHAIR" is within the matter-brain-organ alone (what you would call FORM?) and both are directly the result of the same material-matter backing, not a greater reality which is unevidenced even to the dellusional mind that might invent ideas of the "greater reality" having no reason to generate such a thing except perhaps egotism at the belief they have an idea of a greater reality while it only being a personal IDEA invented upon the matter-brain-organ of this realm.

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Here is where we come to an important distinction between Platonic Metaphysics and Aristotelian Metaphysics, the latter of which was eventually reduced and turned into the empiricists' dismissal of form. Plato allowed for the Existance of Form without Matter, whereas Aristotle created an unbreakable bond between Form and Matter, arguing that one could not exist without the other. The problem with the latter, and the Aristotelian logic that is derived from it, is that it leads to complete relativism, it leads to the logical conclusion that God, your neighbour, this world, and that pink unicorn in your basement are all equally likely to exist or not exist (the philosophical realization of Hegel, which was Mathematically proven by G+¦del).

I perhaps might see that we exist in a relative environment (up is not always up, left is not always left, it depends entirely on your position), but it is about what is evidenced to exist. God might exist or might not exist, there is no evidence of Him or against Him (as per modern religious ideas, ancient ones being disproven, Zeus is not on the MT. top). As science generates more and more rational evidence of the causations of our material reality, the "God of the Gaps" keeps being reduced to (probable) nothingness the more we learn.

Unicorns might exist in some way/where (genetic mutation, exstinction, etc), and other IDEAS of the matter-brain-organ might have a relative existence in reality, BUT I will not buy into the idea you are putting forth of solipsism, as I can read works I didn't write unlike in a dream world if I take a book down to read I would have had to have written it or memorized it.

Again, the entire concept of a "greater reality" is a moot point unless there is evidence of it existing. Plato was as "chained down" as any other man in existence and that he invents something of his own mind that goes without evidence is meaningless in the long run.

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Well, I used the example of a brain in a jar controlled by an evil genius because it is the example Descartes uses, the most recognizable example today, in our hollywood obsessed society, would probably be the Matrix; though, IMHO, there are some Star Trek Episodes that did a far better job addressing the question, but there I'll confess bias.

Anyone who likes Star Trek can not be all bad.

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However, I disagree with the conclusion that such discussions are irrelevant for two reasons: first of all, we are discussing Metaphysics and Religion, we are essentially discussing 'what is behind the scenes,' making all these arguments relevant to the subject at hand, which is in large part epistemology;

I do not care about "behind the scenes" as that is not evidenced and as science moves forward we realize that there is no "behind the scenes" in the traditional sense only in perhaps an atomic sense.

I care about TEXTUAL internal logical rationalization. Since your particular sectation does not hold to sola scripture nor hold that any scripture is without flaw, my arguments against Christendom would not work out well perhaps. You are following perhaps fallible Church leaders with perhaps fallible textual ideas and you accept this as a possibility. And at the root of that is that your entire claims could be fallible. I get going real good in places like southern USA Christianity inwhich their respective egotism and pious eletism does not even allow them to question the texts they hold as artifacts of their respective viewpoint of the christian mangod; here however, I think that you guys perhaps have MUCH greater rational basis for your belief set due to your ability to question at the foundation.

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secondly, I'm not saying I agree with the conclusions of absolute relativism that I presented in my argument, but I am, correctly, demonstrating the Logical implications of Aristotelian Logic and Analytic Philosophy (including Empiricism), and if one does accept Aristotelian Logic and Empiricism, they logically have to accept the conclusions about relativism, otherwise they are being inconsistant (see Incompleteness Theorem),

Being a relativist myself, I argue that in a relative reality (as human concepts are based upon relative labels and even a relative language system) I would have to agree with a relative viewpoint. I also perhaps should study more about the fallacies of a total relativist outlook, because I honestly think it is perhaps the more logical (relative to other viewpoints that claim some sort of absolute idea).

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...which is the greatest (some argue only, but that is because the other potential 'evils' (i.e. Axiomatic Violations) are so anti-intuitive people often fail to realize they exist) of the Logical/Mathematical 'Evils' (though Religion often has no trouble with inconsistancies).

Sorry, I got a good laugh at that one. Very funny!

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...(also, as fun as Nitzsche may be at times (his short Parable of the Madman (1882), which is freely available online may be somewhat relevant to this discussion, and is a good read in any case concerning the conclusions of modern Philosophy about God, which are derivations from Aristotelian thought), I am not inclined to accept his Ego-Centric Philosophical System (i.e. If I can only prove that I exist, and I dont even know if there is anyone but myself, then the only good is self advancement).

The Problem here is that we are confusing Metaphysics and Science; there is no contradiction to the posistion that God [made] the earth appear older than it actually was, and the scientific posistion that the Earth Evolved, the issue here again is Axioms.

The "problem" isn't that God can't make the Earth (creation) look older than it is, it is when a person would make the argument that God does not lie, and then try to claim that God generated a false-age into Creation. At such a point the deviance driven action of placing a false age within Creation would make the respective god a liar from a given viewpoint and at such a point the person claiming that "God doesn't lie" is not being internally consistent. Also, as a person who doesn't really care about such things, and who realizes that science should act upon the way our reality is demonstrated to be, it doesn't matter what age any deity declares our reality to be but upon what that CREATION denotes within itself. We could accept blindly and without evidence the Earth is flat, upon pillars, and is circled by the Sun, and by such would not have a space age due to our own ignorance or inability to question a god/deity of some man's particular unevidenced mind-brain-organ's IDEA.

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Though I have never found a complete listing of the Axioms of Science (I would be interested if anyone knows of someone who has attempted this, and where I could get a copy of their publications if they have), a couple of them are the reliability of observation and consistancy of the Laws of Physics (throughout time and space).

Well, that "consistancy" is only in so far as we do not have a Big Bang or WormHole or BlackHole, our ideas break down at that point (granted reality does not, it is just our MIND-Organ-brain has not figured it out in totality yet). Heck we can't even fit the greater mathematics into the mathematics of quantum levels...at least NOT YET ;0).

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Creation assumes that the Laws of Physics are inconsistant, different axiomatic systems, different results...naturally.

Why? I have never heard it argued from a Creationist that God violated the laws of the universe in His creativity.

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Moreover there is no contradiction, it is a logical principle that if A is false then B is always true in the statement 'If A then B,' regardless of what B is (God Exists, Santa Clause Exists, Pink Unicorns Exist, I Exist, et cetera);

Sorta forcing it there.

The problem is with the idea that you can generate a statement "If A, then B" and by logic alone force and IDEA into reality. Even logic can destruct itself given enough time and convolution.

Also, in what "statement" are you referencing something "false" which equates to a deity's/Santa/Unicorn's existence?

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...thus if one of the Axioms of Science (all axioms of a system are always assumed as part of the if statement, with the AND connector between them) is false then the Conclusions are, by the Axioms of Logic, true.

Are you trying to say that by having a false setup the end result is a truthful idea? Really. Ugh.

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Now is this a defence of the young earth theory? By no means, nor is it intended to be, I'm simply deomonstrating how the two apparently contradicting theories can both be true, because they're dealing with different issues, with different axiomatic systems, the Metaphysicist or Theologian asking the age of the world is not asking the same question as the Scientist who asks the age of the world, different Axioms, different Systmes, different Questions, different Results.

I think you are using convolution to cloud the arguments.
"How old is the Earth?"

Now, the scientist takes measurements and tells the relative age of the Earth/creation.

The believer/theologian looks in his respective god's artifact ('holy' book) and claims the deity put a false age in creation while at the same time claiming his deity doesn't lie.

The scientist wants the age of the Earth so he can build upon it and have proper setup for further investigations. The theologian/believer doesn't so much care about the effects of their beliefs nor upon the production of furthering knowledge of the reality they are in, they are happy to live within the IDEAS generated by the men who wrote the textual artifact of the respective deity.

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And again, as we are dealing with issues of Metaphysics and Religion on this fourm, I would hardly say that the question you presented about Creation to be meaningless, even if I would not take it into account when I'm doing Astro-Physics (though in my studies of the General Theory of Relativity I fear that I've come across situations where the Axioms of Science fail, and something needs to be done, even if it's not religion, specifically in regards to Black Holes and the Big Bang (where the laws of physics dont apply for various reasons)).

They may "apply" but in a way we do not yet grasp. Then again the entire system relative to human conceptualization breaks down at a point were a particle is a wave and a wave a particle and where matter is nothing more than the vibrations of string energy.

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(snip for length only)
What you seem to be setting up as the basis of your beliefs is your Experiance, which isn't always consonant with Rationalism, but you also have a tendency to accept the experiance of others, if it seems arguably comprable to yours.

I accept that which is demonstrated while leaving the possibility open that things I have no evidence for may exist. I will not outright deny that any given Creator/God might exist, but I most certainly would speak out against the mortality of any deity that has to murder in order to forgive as is traditional USA christianity (might not be your version, again). We may not be able to disprove that a given deity exists but we most certainly can argue against what a respective version of deity calls for, the morality system within a given religous sectation, and/or the artifacts being internally consistent from a critical viewpoint which are said to come from any given deity. By such we can come to a very rational idea about what human IDEAS were nothing more than figments of authors brain-organs and not be servant to non-existence pink unicorns, that reminds me I need to go feed him invisible hay...

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Which seems to me to be a bit closer to Nitzsche than to the Deists and Rationalists, though many of them certainly had leanings in that direction too (you really should read the Parable of the Madman, if you haven't already it's very short and a lot of fun)...of course, I may be mistaken, and you may completely abhor Nitzsche, in which case I apologize.

Haven't read much Nitzsche I'm sad to say. Is that the thing about the madman where the "normal people" kill the guy because he has actually seen the "greater reality?" Or is that Plato's cave idea? Either way I don't get my viewpoints from Nitzsche per se even if I might (by fluke) agree with him on a point or two.

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But in any case, it would seem that your Philosophy, like Nitzsche's at times (though by no means always), tries to ignore the issue of epistemology, you seem to view a very complex question about truth as simplistic, obvious, and solved...which, I would present (expecially in the context of Religious and Metaphysical discussions), is not the case.

That is only to the people who accept the "other/greater" reality through blind faith.

To those of us who do not (skeptics, materialists), you are the prisoner of the ideas of another man's mind because you simply won't question the ideas from another man's mind which might or might not be truthful in the end. However, I might add that a materialist viewpoint of our reality and scientific investigation(s) has lead to the betterment of mindkind more-so than any prayer to another realm ever spoken. That harkens back to "the hands that do are a thousand times more holy than the lips that pray."

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(snip)
That He was killed was the result of our Sinfulness and our Reaction to God in our Presence, not a desire or need for a god to murder another god to satisfy his bloodlust, as the Parable of the Vineyard (Matt. 21:33-42) demonstrates.

This viewpoint is 100% opposed to the Christianity of the west.

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thus we say that Death was conquered by Death and that Death has lost its sting.

That is sorta like saying "let's have sex to defend your virginity."

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Thus, though there is a sacrifice of sorts, it is not one to fulfill a divine demand for justice, but rather a willing self-sacrifice, allowed to fulfill the injust vengance of sinners,

Under the eternal levitical preisthood, even a willing human offering is an abomination to God/YHVH.

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...but through God's mercy sanctifying them, which was what Christ proclaimed on the Cross, 'Forgive them for they know not what they do.' It was not a sacrifice of blood atonement for the fulfilling of divine wrath as you find so often presented in protestant circles.

Yet again another interesting claim.

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(snip)
The Incarnation does not Diminish God, because Christ is Man, He is no less God, he has Two Natures, one Human, one Divine, two Natures that while without division and without separation are also without confusion and without change, the Human nature is still Human and the Divine nature is still Divine (Chalcedon 451, Fourth Oecumenical Synod).

If God knows all, is everywhere present, and has all power...and the Jesus of the NT directly says he has no power of his own, is not omniscient, and is located within flesh...I have a very great problem with a "trinitarian take" on this man. The wordgames do not answer the questions. Did Jesus have all knowledge, no (not god nature). Did Jesus have all location, no (not god nature). Did Jesus have all power, no (not god nature). The Trinitarian has made the claim that his god nature did not over come his man (and neither visa versa) but the NT record does not speak to this conclusion, therefore I would ask upon what basis they make this claim.

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Concerning the Sacred Images, yes we have many Ikons in our Churches, of Christ, of His Mother, of the Angels, and of the Saints. Going back to our discussion on Platonic thought, they are Matter, created to depict the Form, which is ultimately what is real, thus Veneration of the Ikon is not a veneration of the 'shadow' but rather the 'shadow' is a 'window' to the Form, thus they are a veneration of our Lord or of the Saint.

Problem with this is that the Jewish God outlawed even Ikons/Images, even if they were to venerate something that had once been in the Earth, heaven's above, or water's beneath.

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(snip)
We believe in a Bodily Resurrection
Finally I'd like to address a couple points you made in threads directed to other People
Lev. 3:17 comes right after instructions on sacrifices that mandate that the blood and the fat is to be offered to God, the elimination of the need for animal sacrifices, would render the laws associated with it, if not abrogated, irrelevant.

The Tanakh claims the levitical priesthood is eternal and Ezekiel (as well as most other prophetic voices) say the temple shall return and with it the temple services.

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With that said, there is a Prohibition in our Canon Law against eating Blood, as the practice was, and perhaps is, scandalous to many. However, this does not include the Bread and Wine, that was changed by the Holy Spirit into the Body and Blood of Christ, that's an entirely different issue, one of Sacramental Theology, not dietary practice.

Wordgames.

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Concerning our Sacramental Theology, we do believe that the Eucharist is the Body and Blood of Christ, though we dont say how as the Latins do. However, I will venture to address this further for your benifit, and if the Church ever rules against this statement (or any other one that I make), I here decree abiuro. Going back to our discussion on the Platonic distinction of Form and Matter, I venture to say that while the Matter of the Eucharist Remains the Same (still tastes like Bread and Wine), the Form or the Essence Changes, from Bread and Wine to the Body and Blood, making it Body and Blood in every real sense, and in every sense that matters (which may, or may not, go to addressing the issue in Leviticus, it could be interpreted as a Prohibition against the consumption of blood in Matter and not Form). Again I stress, this is my Best understanding of Eucharistic Theology, and if the Church every condemns such a Statement, abiuro.

I won't eat human blood nor body whether it is a figmental change of your respective mind alone or an actual change of/in our reality.
Either way it is nothing more than a symbolic act of eating flesh and drinking blood (symbolic abomination) or it is an actual act of abomination.

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(snip)
Glad you've enjoyed yourself so far, I've also enjoyed the discussion.
Well, I've rambled far more than I should have, and I'm late to the Akathist Service.

Hope I at least answered the greater points enough...
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« Reply #55 on: March 21, 2005, 09:34:46 PM »

Read the words around the bold sections. Condemnation to what?

Wonderful point.
The Western Idea is condmenation to a spiritual type of death, AKA: hell.
The is further added that hell is a place of suffering and torement AKA: lake of fire/brimstone.

I'm guessing that you are making the argument that it is just saying that "Adam's sin means we will have a mortal death."

Am I wrong in this conclusion?

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I like how you change what St. Paul says by putting words in brackets that aren't there. I realize that's what Protestants and some others would like to believe it says, but . . . I mean, just read the words.

I did read the words, but again, if "just reading the words" worked there would not be thousands of branches of Christendom would there?
What I'm asking for basically is the background ideas that go around the word "condemnation" from within your respective theological set.

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That is a discussion not only of the fall of manking to be condemned to death, not Hell.

Then why did Jesus die?  His death did not remove a mortal death but is said to have removed a type of "spiritual death" (going to hell).

Is your argument that the author is speaking about Adam's sin causing a mortal death, but Jesus death causing a spiritual life?  Do I understand you correctly?

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At any rate, the argument seems a bit of a red herring as you aren't promoting the idea of Original Sin.

I can speak out against the doctrine of Original Sin's injustice as I was taught it even if that is not the way the doctrine of Original Sin was taught to you.  I also am reading the doctrine of Original Sin from a catholic website and it does line up with the injustice taught to me in western christianity, so either your viewpoints on this are against the catholic and proestant ideas of Original Sin or you are not being truthful in some place.  Since most here-in have said that the western idea of Original Sin is in fallacy I looked up the references to this within the NT record and presented them as best I could.  It is up to you to present your idea of "original sin" (or lack there of) if you would so I can better understand your sectations viewpoint.

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I guess you're trying to figure out how we can have the book of Romans and not come to that conclusion. None of your quotes so far say anything about Original Sin and I think you'd have to be pretty creative to get that from those passages.

The idea "Original Sin" is when Adam first fell from God's grace in eating from the tree in the garden.
I have quoted Romans NT text which states that Adam's fall "through the offence of one many be dead."  Granted it does not use the wordage "Original Sin" but these textual quotes I provided DO REFERENCE an idea of Adam's action being upon all mankind unto condemnation.  The argument would then fall to you to outline the TYPE of condemnation that fell upon man.

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I would still like to see the proof for one of your statements.

Ron Howard can make a movie about it, but that doesn't make it any more true than Willow.

Pelikan, one of the greatest historians of Christian Doctrine, certainly didn't reach that conclusion, at least concerning Early Christians. There were certainly heretical groups that held different beliefs concerning the divinity of Christ, but they were always offset by those who did. You claim that these beliefs didn't even exist until "much later," whatever nebulous time frame that means. I'm just wondering what your source could possibly be. Our proof is found in the Fathers of the 1st to 5th centuries (arguably much later, depending on how you decide to define your terms) as well as nearly 2000 years of tradition and study. Ignatius of Antioch calls Christ "Jesus Christ our God" in 110. Anything much earlier is unavailable to both us and you, so your conclusion that it definetely wasn't there is a bit shocking.

Mostly those statements come from my studying the writing of a group who call themselves the Netzarim, but I do not claim to know if their statements are empirical or not.  But again, the "heretical groups" you so quickly gloss over mean plenty inthat numbers do not relate to truth.  Which of these "heretical groups" were correct.  You immediately line up with your particular church while those of other early cultations would line up with theirs.

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You can define Christendom however you like, and I suppose that will be your escape hatch failing the production of actual evidence to support your claim.

You seem to be a contrarion, so you will understand my skepticism.

Yeah, I'm a brash person, but in all honesty I'm not trying to offend even if I do.  I'm merely speaking my mind.
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« Reply #56 on: March 22, 2005, 12:15:56 AM »

I've sat on the sidelines watching for far too long... but now that midterms are over *sigh of relief* I'll see what I can add...

Let me attempt to address the passages brought up the best my small mind can; any of my Orthodox brethren who think I err in my attempts, please feel free to correct me:

"Rom 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:"

Joseph, I know you like adding your emphasis to the passages to show where you're coming from, but with Rom 5:12, in doing so, you passed a key point: "and death by sin."  Death is not a punishment to Adam for sinning, nor was Adam technically immortal before the sin.  Adam was placed in the garden with two options: the tree of Life (Immortality) and the tree of Knowledge (which we know is a Biblical synonym for "Experience") of Good and Evil (aka Tree of Death).  He was then given a mate, Eve, from his own.  Adam and Eve's first mistake was to fixate on the Tree which God had told them would bring about Death; in her dialogue with the Serpent Eve refers to the Tree of Knowledge as the tree in the middle of the garden, which was actually the Tree of Life.  The second mistake was that Eve entered into a dialogue with one who was openly opposed to God (the Serpent).  Feeling that she needed to "defend" (feebly) God, she was tricked by the Serpent's smooth words, and violated what God had told her.  But it was her action in eating from the tree that subjected her to death; her sin was not passed on to Adam.  Only when he ate of the fruit did he become subject to death. 

As such, when they procreated, their progeny was also subject to death.  Not because of the sin of Adam and Eve, but rather because no one had reached for the Tree of Life before it was removed.  So instead of chosing Immortality, they chose Mortality purely for the prospect of being "like God".

The key to the Orthodox understanding here is that, by being created in space and time out of nothing, mankind and the world were destined to return back into nothing unless they were united to God.  There is the catch to the story.  If Adam never strove towards God, if he never achieved Theosis, then he may have ceased to exist anyway.  Nothing can live forever apart from God - only those people and things that are united to Him shall live forever.

The thing that kept people from being united to God before the coming of Christ was the barrier placed around "paradise" by the LORD.  Thus, even the righteous, when they perished, would be in a state separated from God's goodness.  They would be left in the realm of the others who had separated themselves from God - the fallen Angels (who were the ones to commit the first sin, even before Humanity).  But, of course, even the righteous sinned; even those who were greatest in the eyes of men committed sin before God.  Moses was the greatest of all the OT prophets, kings, etc. according to the Jewish Nation, and He sinned towards God which prevented Him from seeing the Chosen Land.  David, the greatest King, sinned, and was prevented from building the temple.  (The only person who may not have sinned in the OT record was Melchizidek, who, as king of Salem {the ancient city of Jerusalem} was called a priest of God, and who did righteously before His eyes in his offering to Abraham.  Of course, we don't know a whole lot else about Him).

So the Christ had to come - He was going to come in the first place to unite Himself with the world and to draw the world to God and to Immortal life; but now He came, voluntarily, to show us the way of life and to abolish the power of death.  Death only had power because God allowed us to exercise our free will, just as He allowed Lucifer to exercise his free will in chosing (once and for all) to be separated from God.  But when Christ came, He did was the world, what the Angels, what Death itself thought was not possible - that God, in the person of the eternally-begotten Son of the Father, "emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant, conforming to the body of our lowliness" (paraphrased from the Liturgy of St. Basil).

He lived in the world as a humble, loving, compassionate, and faithful Man - one Who voluntarily subjected His human will to the Divine Will of God, and Who lived a life free of sin, but Who, through His self-emptying, subjected Himself voluntarily to Death.  So, though He committed no Sin, He subjected Himself to death, taking upon His shoulders the sin of all time and all men, bearing the weight of eternity as a Spotless Lamb, the Lamb of God.  And just as Abraham was ready and willing to sacrifice Isaac at the behest of God, so the Father allowed His Only-Begotten Son to Sacrifice Himself in order to save creation.  And Satan, Death, thought that he had accepted another mortal man into his dominion, only to find the King of Glory and Son of God in His midst - and thus, through the death of one who appeared to be only a man, Death was conquered.  Christ opened the gates of paradise, thus allowing the righteous who wanted to be united to God to enter, and allowing those who wished to be apart from God to burn in His presence.

The western idea of Original Sin takes none of this into account - and it interprets the passages of Romans in a vaccum seperate from the rest of the OT and NT.  Original Sin, by their standard, has more to do with the condemnation of human souls to Hades because of Adam's Sin - their idea is that all would go there without remission of that Sin.  We believe nothing of the sort.  Bodily death is a consequence of not being united to God, and even those who have become united to God will experience bodily death as a temporary state of being.  But the inability to enter Paradise for those who lived before Christ was because of their total subjection to death by the closing of Paradise - not a hereditary condition, but an existential one. 

Man, I am wiped out - and I don't think I even got to the point.

Anyway, I hope this will at least deepen the conversation, even if its not a coherent answer to a direct question.  I do have a tendency to ramble at times.

And, if you're looking for proof of anything here, I'll mention this: the fact that ORTHODOX Christianity and Judaism have survived millenia of persecution speaks volumes.  No other religious belief systems have gone through more persecution, and none have survived longer in such numbers - not any other non-Christian faiths, and certainly not any other Christian "sectations", as it has been put here.  So put that in your pipe and smoke it.
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« Reply #57 on: March 22, 2005, 12:34:08 AM »

Yeah, but I do not exactly follow this idea, after all it is an invention of Plato's mind alone. He, as a finite human, has not seen if this reality is false or not, and the entire idea is arbitrary in the end, as we as human's deal with this reality as it were...

I was simply presenting the Metaphysics of Plato, which was the typical weltanschuung in the Greek world during the Patristic era, to give you an understanding of the basis of our theology, not trying to defend it logically. Plato didn't really even address epistemology, which wasn't a real issue until Descartes. Now, if we want to discuss epistemology, I fear I'll have to go with the Continental Philosophers, and focus on thought as opposed to English and French Sensualists. I accept the elements of Platonic thought that I do because they are consonant with my religion and my faith, not because they can be derived from the fundamental Axioms of Logic (of course, who's to say those Axioms have any meaning).

However, before I move on to epistemology I'd like to quickly address a comment you made about Platonic Metaphysics:

If you are trying to argue that our ideas are not exactly directly relative to what exists in reality I would agree somewhat. However, as humans we all reflect our reality in a relative manner and by such we have the common senses (sight, touch, taste, smell...) which give us the reality we deal with.

As I personally am a moral relativist I admit that all the labels we give to various conceptualization are arbitrary, but again I do not see the ideas of Plato's "cave wall" becoming a real application for mankind until there is evidence-driven support that someone has actually seen another reality. Otherwise it is a meaningless unfounded hypothesis.

Your senses are an issue for epistemological discussion; however, the concept that the Realm of Form is in you Head and are YOUR Ideas is not what Plato said, to the Contrary he established them as an Absolute, perhaps in the Mind of 'The One' (Pre-Eternal Source of All Things...i.e. God), but not in human minds, infact the human mind is part of this Form Realm, using the body it interact with the 'matter-shadows' and through them with the Forms of other things in the Form Realm, the human mind is not the source of this Realm ('The One' is, of course).

As to the lack of observational evidence for Platonic Metaphysics (of course, if it was observable it wouldn't really be metaphysics, would it?), this doesn't really matter, for it's an independent axiomatic system. I guess this is getting into Epistemology, but why should the Axioms of Platonic Metaphysics be subject to verification by the Axioms of Empiricism? It would be just as rational for me to reject Empiricism for the simple reason that it conflicts with the Form-Matter relationship derived from the Axioms of Platonism. A good example to illustrate my point is take Euclidean and Hyperbolic Geometries: Euclidean can prove that the sum of the angles of ANY triangle is 180 degrees, using Hyperbolic geometry I can prove that the sum of the angles of ANY triangle is LESS THAN 180 degrees; can I conclude that the result that is derived from Hyperbolic geometry is wrong for the simple reason that it Contradicts with Euclidean Geometry (Euclidean and Hyperbolic Geometry work on different axiomatic Systems, the former accepts Euclid's Fifth Postulate, while the latter rejects it). Fortunately Mathematicians came to the Realization that there is no Logical contradiction between the two systems, since they have different assumptions, different axioms, and thus both the Statement that a Triangle has Exactly 180 degrees and Less Than 180 degrees can be simultaneous true within their respective axiomatic systems, in the 1820's...Unfortunately the Mathematicians were considerably faster at coming to this realization than most Scientists and Empiricists (yet another of the many reasons for the elitism of Mathematicians today, and their tendancy to look down on Scientists and Engineers).

And now onto the Really Important Stuff:

Anyone who likes Star Trek can not be all bad.

If you're a trekkie, perhaps there's hope for you after all Wink

Ok, Back to our feature presentation...and now onto epistemology (or have I ever really left the topic?):

Being a relativist myself, I argue that in a relative reality (as human concepts are based upon relative labels and even a relative language system) I would have to agree with a relative viewpoint. I also perhaps should study more about the fallacies of a total relativist outlook, because I honestly think it is perhaps the more logical (relative to other viewpoints that claim some sort of absolute idea).

If you're an absolute relativist, then I admire you ability to maintain this posistion and your sanity simultaneously...it's not something many have done; and I'll be the first to say that it's perfectly consistant.

Unfortunately, this posistion is inconsonant with Empiricist posistion that you have previously put forth. What do we know for certain? Well, as Descartes writes, 'Cogito Ergo Sum'...'I think therefore I am.' What else do you know for certain? Frankly, nothing. Descarte argued that one could know the Existance of God for certain as well; however, while we can say that a 'god,' as in an ultimate being, exists, we cannot say for certain that we are not this 'god,' for it is theoretically possible that you are a self sustaining eternal being, that is so delusional as to think you're actually having a conversation with the likes of me, though it's actually just an internal dialogue in your head (mind you, many people have come to this conclusion while talking with me, but then rapidly reject it because they are unwilling to accept that their own mind could make up someone as frightening as myself Wink ). So, since you cannot logically prove the existance of anything other than yourself, your senses logically tell you nothing; rationally speaking, the acceptance that your senses tell you about the world is no different than saying your god tells you about the world. For all you know you could just be a brain in a jar controlled by an evil genius, or a hologram in a cube on Picard's desk, right next to Professor Moriarty's Cube (TNG, season 6, Ship in a Bottle). Wink

An insistance on Empiricism is, thus, inherently not a rational posistion, it is a sensualistic posistion, it places feeling and sense above reason and thought, for reason and thought lead to the above conclusion (there is proof for nothing other than my own existance...and to be completely honest, the proof is weak at best), relying on your feelings (i.e. observations) to the exclusion of your reason gives you Empiricism. Thus, for the true rationalists, for the Continentals, Empiricism is simply another religion, for ultimatley all religions rely on feelings in one form or another.

The "problem" isn't that God can't make the Earth (creation) look older than it is, it is when a person would make the argument that God does not lie, and then try to claim that God generated a false-age into Creation. At such a point the deviance driven action of placing a false age within Creation would make the respective god a liar from a given viewpoint and at such a point the person claiming that "God doesn't lie" is not being internally consistent. Also, as a person who doesn't really care about such things, and who realizes that science should act upon the way our reality is demonstrated to be, it doesn't matter what age any deity declares our reality to be but upon what that CREATION denotes within itself. We could accept blindly and without evidence the Earth is flat, upon pillars, and is circled by the Sun, and by such would not have a space age due to our own ignorance or inability to question a god/deity of some man's particular unevidenced mind-brain-organ's IDEA.

This isn't a real problem, no one ever said that God revealed all his Mysteries to us, or that he ever will. The fact that God doesnt create/do something how we would expect it to be created/done can hardly be considered a 'lie,' if this were true, God's Existance would be restricted by our limited minds...a notion that truly is absurd.

Why? I have never heard it argued from a Creationist that God violated the laws of the universe in His creativity.

Of course the laws of physics were violated in creation, be it by God or by the Big Bang...the Laws of Physics assume Consistancy, the act of bringing into being is not consistant with the act of being, they are fundamentally different (though related).

The problem is with the idea that you can generate a statement "If A, then B" and by logic alone force and IDEA into reality. Even logic can destruct itself given enough time and convolution.

Also, in what "statement" are you referencing something "false" which equates to a deity's/Santa/Unicorn's existence?

Sorry, I was unclear in my wording, there are no absolutes in logic, everything is relative, when I said:

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Moreover there is no contradiction, it is a logical principle that if A is false then B is always true in the statement 'If A then B,' regardless of what B is (God Exists, Santa Clause Exists, Pink Unicorns Exist, I Exist, et cetera)

I ment that B would be true in the Context of the above statement with a being false. In other words If A is FALSE, then the Statement 'If A then B'=TRUE. B itself isn't necessarily true in any absolute sense (as I said, there is no absolute truth in logic). So applying this to the discussion about Young vs. Old Earth Theories, both THEORIES, both STATEMENTS, can be logically true simultaniously...but nothing has been said in regard to this non-existant logical concept of 'absolute truth.' Hope that clarifies what I poorly stated.

Also, please dont construe this as a pro-creationist argument, I'll argue against both Evolutionists and Creationists on the issue, I believe that both sides are far too fixed and closed minded and both need to look at things in a different light and from a different perspective (otherwise it ends up being one of the most pointless discussions possible; kinda like if Hyperbolic Geometrists and Euclidean Geometrists argued over whose theorems are better, while ignoring the Axiomatic systems completely...what is considered stupidity in mathematics is common place in science (yet another reasons for mathematicians to look down on scientists and engineers...not that I'm biased or anything...lol))

To those of us who do not (skeptics, materialists), you are the prisoner of the ideas of another man's mind because you simply won't question the ideas from another man's mind which might or might not be truthful in the end. However, I might add that a materialist viewpoint of our reality and scientific investigation(s) has lead to the betterment of mindkind more-so than any prayer to another realm ever spoken. That harkens back to "the hands that do are a thousand times more holy than the lips that pray."

This may be true of some, but I like to think it's not true of me. I have been where those skeptics are, rejecting religion, and embracing empiricism, and even more than this Logic. As a student of mathematics, logic was everything, it was the beginning and the end, and everything that was anything, until one day in a Mathematics Class (Hyperbolic Geometry to be precise...perhaps one reason the subject is still so dear to me), I came to the realization of what G+¦del's Incompleteness Theorem actually meant and what the ramifications were (as opposed to just how to prove it and the empirical distinctions between different types of infinity, which every High Schooler learns (and the way they teach it, it's a miracle anyone goes on to major in mathematics)). The implications are relatively simple, logic collapses in on itself, and complete relativism ensues (not only is there no right or wrong, up or down, or absolute frame of observance, truth itself disappears, observations become meaningless, so the frame becomes irrelevant, existance becomes questionable at best, the notion that anyone outside yourself exists becomes an absurd religious principle, for get about the notion of morality). So I had two options, recognize that though I know nothing for certain, I had to accept certain things on faith merely to survive (or at least to do what I had been conditioned to believe was survival), like eat food and drink water, like go to sleep, and, if I wanted to actually graduate, get up, out of bed, and go to my classes. That was option number one, option two was to follow Nietzsche, strip naked, dance around my room, I would then be free to doubt my own existance and ridiculing others who claimed to exist (with the fairly good argument of, If you really existed outside my mind, you wouldn't even consider coming into a room where I am dancing around naked); by the fact that I'm here and not locked up in a mental institution somewhere (though many say that I should be), you can rest assured I chose the latter. Then I, eventually, came to the Conclusion, If I'm going to go off and accepting these radical ideas like Eating and Going to Classes, why not go back to Religion, it's just as rational, or irrational, as those other two things I've taken up. This may be a little exagerated, but not by much, so you see, I know exactly what the logical situation of my posistions are, but since I even questioned the Axioms of Logic (a side effect of that realization about the implications of Logic that I doubt I'll ever get over), the fact that I cant logically prove my posistion is not really that important to me, for I realize...neither can anyone else. As far as absolute truth goes, Logic wont get you there, Logic itself admits it collapses in on itself, but perhaps in that collapse there is some absolute truth, but that truth is outside of Logic, so I doubt that Christianity can do any worse (with the possible exception of that mind-numbing protestant so-called 'christianity'...but that's another issue Wink )


And now the Theology...

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'That He was killed was the result of our Sinfulness and our Reaction to God in our Presence, not a desire or need for a god to murder another god to satisfy his bloodlust, as the Parable of the Vineyard (Matt. 21:33-42) demonstrates.'


This viewpoint is 100% opposed to the Christianity of the west.

Fortunately for us, Anselm never had any effect on Eastern Soteriology

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'thus we say that Death was conquered by Death and that Death has lost its sting.'


That is sorta like saying "let's have sex to defend your virginity."

Not Exactly, just an unexpected (by humanity) consequence.

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Thus, though there is a sacrifice of sorts, it is not one to fulfill a divine demand for justice, but rather a willing self-sacrifice, allowed to fulfill the injust vengance of sinners,


Under the eternal levitical preisthood, even a willing human offering is an abomination to God/YHVH.
If one allows himself to be killed rather than preform a sinful act (i.e. destroying the Image of God in man), it's a self-sacrifice of sorts...but hardly one forbidden by any law.

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'The Incarnation does not Diminish God, because Christ is Man, He is no less God, he has Two Natures, one Human, one Divine, two Natures that while without division and without separation are also without confusion and without change, the Human nature is still Human and the Divine nature is still Divine (Chalcedon 451, Fourth Oecumenical Synod).'


If God knows all, is everywhere present, and has all power...and the Jesus of the NT directly says he has no power of his own, is not omniscient, and is located within flesh...I have a very great problem with a "trinitarian take" on this man. The wordgames do not answer the questions. Did Jesus have all knowledge, no (not god nature). Did Jesus have all location, no (not god nature). Did Jesus have all power, no (not god nature). The Trinitarian has made the claim that his god nature did not over come his man (and neither visa versa) but the NT record does not speak to this conclusion, therefore I would ask upon what basis they make this claim.

This isn't technically Trinitarian Theology, it's Chalcedonian Christology. And as there are Two Distinct Natures in Christ and thus Two Distinct Energies and Two Distinct Wills, when one Will manifests itself, it's not a denial of the Other Nature, but rather simply an assertion of the one whose energy is being Manifested. The New Testament records hints at this, showing the Divine Energies of Christ in some places (e.g. through Miracles) and the Human Energies in others (e.g. prayers to His Father); though the fullness of this theology came to us through the Traditions of the Church, which includes far more than the witness of Scripture.

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'Concerning the Sacred Images, yes we have many Ikons in our Churches, of Christ, of His Mother, of the Angels, and of the Saints. Going back to our discussion on Platonic thought, they are Matter, created to depict the Form, which is ultimately what is real, thus Veneration of the Ikon is not a veneration of the 'shadow' but rather the 'shadow' is a 'window' to the Form, thus they are a veneration of our Lord or of the Saint.'


Problem with this is that the Jewish God outlawed even Ikons/Images, even if they were to venerate something that had once been in the Earth, heaven's above, or water's beneath.

Problems with this are, first this is to be interpreted as creating images to worship, as gods (Church has authority to Interpret all Scripture to be Consonant with Sacred Tradition, and this is how the Church has interpreted it); secondly, the Jews themselves were told by God to create images of a serpent and of cherubim; finally, even if the last two fail (which I dont think they do), scripture is fallible, and the Church, not scripture, is our primary authority, the fact that Ikons are part of our Tradition is enough.

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'Lev. 3:17 comes right after instructions on sacrifices that mandate that the blood and the fat is to be offered to God, the elimination of the need for animal sacrifices, would render the laws associated with it, if not abrogated, irrelevant.'


The Tanakh claims the levitical priesthood is eternal and Ezekiel (as well as most other prophetic voices) say the temple shall return and with it the temple services.

Our Tradition views our Priesthood to be the fulfillment of the Levitical Priesthood, as well as the continuation of it; the Churches of the Christians are Regarded as the continuation of the Temple Traditions.

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'Concerning our Sacramental Theology, we do believe that the Eucharist is the Body and Blood of Christ, though we dont say how as the Latins do. However, I will venture to address this further for your benifit, and if the Church ever rules against this statement (or any other one that I make), I here decree abiuro. Going back to our discussion on the Platonic distinction of Form and Matter, I venture to say that while the Matter of the Eucharist Remains the Same (still tastes like Bread and Wine), the Form or the Essence Changes, from Bread and Wine to the Body and Blood, making it Body and Blood in every real sense, and in every sense that matters (which may, or may not, go to addressing the issue in Leviticus, it could be interpreted as a Prohibition against the consumption of blood in Matter and not Form). Again I stress, this is my Best understanding of Eucharistic Theology, and if the Church every condemns such a Statement, abiuro.'


I won't eat human blood nor body whether it is a figmental change of your respective mind alone or an actual change of/in our reality.
Either way it is nothing more than a symbolic act of eating flesh and drinking blood (symbolic abomination) or it is an actual act of abomination.

Simply put, in Platonic Metaphysics the Form is Real, the matter is not; moreover, since we're not empiricists, the standards of empiricism do not apply to our Sacramental Theology. If the form of body and blood is there, body and blood is fully there, a change in matter would make not make it any more real.
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« Reply #58 on: March 22, 2005, 09:23:29 AM »

In my rush I miswrote concerning Original Sin.  I'll stick to what another poster wrote, and that is for you to read that discussion here.

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Mostly those statements come from my studying the writing of a group who call themselves the Netzarim, but I do not claim to know if their statements are empirical or not.  But again, the "heretical groups" you so quickly gloss over mean plenty inthat numbers do not relate to truth.  Which of these "heretical groups" were correct.  You immediately line up with your particular church while those of other early cultations would line up with theirs.

Now you're shifting the subject matter.  You stated that the idea that Christ was God did not develop until much later.  That is, this doctrine did not even exist until much later.  I am showing you evidence that it most certainly did exist.  Your response is that you stick to the groups that said it isn't so.  That doesn't make your first statement correct.  It sounds like you are admitting that this did indeed exist earlier than you claimed.  Is this the case?

I would also suggest that when studying history you try to get information from more that one single source.  It sounds to me like you came into to this and studied a priori to prove that we are just a bunch of nuts before you even know what we teach.  That MO certainly does not fit into your self described "believe it when you see it" philosophy.  You came in here with your eyes closed, cotton in your ears and your hands in your pockets and said, "Show me, play me a song, and let me feel it otherwise I won't accept anything you say."

How enlightened of you.
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« Reply #59 on: March 22, 2005, 09:45:52 AM »

Cizinec,

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I would also suggest that when studying history you try to get information from more that one single source.


Oh Czinec, brother, didn’t you read his masterful refutation of my initial post? He revealed his credible source GǪ.messiahtruth.com! Everyone knows that that’s where you go if you want an objective educated non-polemical scholarly perspective of historical ChristianityGǪI mean its either there or jewsforjudaism.com - why waste your time dealing with the learned theologians, church fathers, exegetes and historians? Are you really THAT stupid?

Anyways, watch how stupid I am for appealing to the sources I do in my coming response, I mean seriously I don’t know WHAT I was thinking. I’m up to the bit where he questions my consistency by setting up a straw man. It’s really quite comical. I’ve had fun with this one.

(yeah, yeah, yeah, i know, i love talking it up - i promise to deliver though Wink - The truth of The Christ never fails me)

Peace.
« Last Edit: March 22, 2005, 09:48:01 AM by EkhristosAnesti » Logged

No longer an active member of this forum. Sincerest apologies to anyone who has taken offence to anything posted in youthful ignorance or negligence prior to my leaving this forum - October, 2012.

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« Reply #60 on: March 22, 2005, 09:55:14 AM »

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Then again the entire system relative to human conceptualization breaks down at a point were a particle is a wave and a wave a particle and where matter is nothing more than the vibrations of string energy.

Now I know you're faith is in science!  Don't you know the controversy behind String Theory?  It can't be empirically proved.  I thought you rejected things like that.
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« Reply #61 on: March 23, 2005, 07:13:55 AM »

(snip)
Your senses are an issue for epistemological discussion; however, the concept that the Realm of Form is in you Head and are YOUR Ideas is not what Plato said, to the Contrary he established them as an Absolute, perhaps in the Mind of 'The One' (Pre-Eternal Source of All Things...i.e. God),

Again, this means little to me personally as my invisible pink unicorn is also an "Absolute" in the mind of a deity. Of course you can see where this would lead us?

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...but not in human minds, infact the human mind is part of this Form Realm, using the body it interact with the 'matter-shadows' and through them with the Forms of other things in the Form Realm, the human mind is not the source of this Realm ('The One' is, of course).

I was offering a compromise of sorts. I will not accept Plato's figment realm of his mind but I will accept that his figment realm exists within his matter-brain-organ which is within this realm. It is the only way we could discuss this and have it have meaning, inthat Plato was a victim of his own delusions and those that follow it were simply following the mind-brain-organ generated reality which existed only in Plato's (at first) and then their own minds (which of course their minds were all of this realm, as were even their thoughts).

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(snip)
...why should the Axioms of Platonic Metaphysics be subject to verification by the Axioms of Empiricism?

Why should my pink unicorn which you must [sacrifice an innocent child to in order to have salvation] be held to the verification by the axioms of empiricism?

You can insert any number of horrendous things within the brackets that various IDEAS of a given person's brain-organ invented that do not hold to empirical evidence. And you can also see why we should question every invention of the mind-brain-organ so that we are not blindly forced into servitude to a false god/deity/idea by our blind acceptance.

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It would be just as rational for me to reject Empiricism for the simple reason that it conflicts with the Form-Matter relationship derived from the Axioms of Platonism.

I do not see how you conclude such a thing.
Plato's world can not be visited, even he, himself, could not "break the chains" and see if the "shadows" were the actual reality that exists. In fact, the entire idea is built upon the ideas of a mind which you either accept or do not accept without any demonstration of this realm. This is not even required in the world's religions (all of them have their artifacts, prophets, miracles, ect). Granted this is very poor evidence of "another realm" or a "deity" existing, but it is at least SOMETHING from our realm that relates that there is something beyond it while Plato's fantasy world is merely without demonstration entirely.

I would also argue that if you are to cancel down the axioms of plato to being equal to the axioms of evidenced reality, you have just allowed me to require you salvation by my pink unicorn and made your deity exactly equal to my pink unicorn in every single way (personally even I as a skeptic find that horrendous).

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A good example to illustrate my point is take Euclidean and Hyperbolic Geometries: Euclidean can prove that the sum of the angles of ANY triangle is 180 degrees, using Hyperbolic geometry I can prove that the sum of the angles of ANY triangle is LESS THAN 180 degrees; can I conclude that the result that is derived from Hyperbolic geometry is wrong for the simple reason that it Contradicts with Euclidean Geometry (Euclidean and Hyperbolic Geometry work on different axiomatic Systems, the former accepts Euclid's Fifth Postulate, while the latter rejects it).

Your geometry idea does not hold inthat these are conflicting systems of idea.

The real world is demonstrated to us through our basic senses and repeated evidenced driven investigation allows us to drawn very meaningful conclusions about our reality. Blind faith in the ideas of a mind-brain-organ without repeated evidence is more or less meaningless, it becomes a moot point from which mankind does not even have to relate to it as it has not real world affect/effect. If you wish to continue along this route it is the same as saying "pick any god of any religion you wish because they are all equal, all things are equal because nothing matters, it is all based upon assumptions in the end."

To someone who comes at this with a trust in the repeated evidenced ideas of man (not the mythos and ideas which go unevidenced through time and which conflict with the basic reality inwhich we exist's natural operations) it is a silly argument altogether, my pink unicorn will never equal the keyboard I am typing upon because it is evidenced to me personally and to anyone else that has used it and to anyone else that wishes to see it. Your specific deity is yours because you decided to accept the claims of a particular group and the artifacts of that group as truthful (even while at the same moment denoting them as falsifiable, including the Church leaders)...that takes plenty of thinking on my part to grasp why you have made the choices you have and whether it might be nothing more than enculturation (and by such your specific deity will condemn you or not condemn you based upon your "luck" of being born into the proper faith-set, based upon whether your parents fell for/accepted the unevidenced ideas of past generations and were correct or not). The funnies thing of all is many walk around all happy and secure in their idea that they have "salvation." You don't know you do in the end because all other religions condemn you. You might simply be worshiping a pink unicorn of another man's mind in the end dressed up as holy.

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Fortunately Mathematicians came to the Realization that there is no Logical contradiction between the two systems, since they have different assumptions, different axioms, and thus both the Statement that a Triangle has Exactly 180 degrees and Less Than 180 degrees can be simultaneous true within their respective axiomatic systems, in the 1820's...Unfortunately the Mathematicians were considerably faster at coming to this realization than most Scientists and Empiricists (yet another of the many reasons for the elitism of Mathematicians today, and their tendancy to look down on Scientists and Engineers).

Einstein is quoted to have said even he didn't grasp all of general relativity after the mathematicians got a hold of it, LOL.

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(snip)
If you're an absolute relativist, then I admire you ability to maintain this posistion and your sanity simultaneously...it's not something many have done; and I'll be the first to say that it's perfectly consistant.

Listen, that up = down relative to position is not something I like, it is something that is demonstrated to me in the real world. That if I face another person, our "lefts" are not in the same direction is very strange indeed. "Left" not always being "my left" make it hard to back up a trailer, Grin

But, I have come to the conclusion that this universe is a relative system for humanity. Our language itself is bi-conceptual (hot/cold, up/down, light/dark, left/right, bad/good, hard/soft) and tends to ignore the "inbetweens" of life...what some would call the "gray areas." This is why many think that the world is "this or that" while the truthful statement could be "this and that." Take temperature for example. Relative hot and cold exist to us humans but is "hot" really hot? Or is it just hot for us? For sake of argument, even if I say "98degrees" you can not even know what the temperature is because I have not given you a scale upon which to relate it, such as F or C scale.

I think that our universe may not even exist in a manner that we can grasp. Say a particle is a wave in the end and a particle can be in two places at once...we do not even have the ability to realize this in our language system, we would be forced to invent a language system to express it, one which deals more clearly with those gray areas in life, the instances which are "this and that" instead of "or."

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Unfortunately, this posistion is inconsonant with Empiricist posistion that you have previously put forth.

Perhaps you are looking at this from a different perspective than my own, or perhaps you have read a greater philosopher that has outlined a reason you say that, but most certainly the idea that our reality is relative is accepted to me because it is empirically demonstrated to me by my reality. Granted again our bi-conceptual language system and relative nature of seeing things is not perfect but it is what we have as humans. And that our ideas and concepts do not hold on their own but must be relative to a given system and denoted relative to context to even have meaning, demonstrates the relative nature of all the things of this realm, including language, direction, temperature...on and on...

Perhaps you could explain to me out an empiricist can not be a relativist because in all honesty I am using the nature of the realm presented to me to come to these conclusions...go figure.

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What do we know for certain? Well, as Descartes writes, 'Cogito Ergo Sum'...'I think therefore I am.' What else do you know for certain? Frankly, nothing. Descarte argued that one could know the Existance of God for certain as well;

I do not agree. The idea that God is "Almighty" and "everywhere present" and "infinite" and "all knowledge" do not relate to a human having knowledge of any deity existing. They can merely (by definition) accept on faith that they have experience of a deity's action but they could not know that God exists, it could merely be a higher form pretending. It would take a God an infinite time to demonstrate his infinite mind, and (if the human mind could do this) at the end of it, it would destroy the finite which God was "proving" it to (making it an omniscient mind in the end).

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however, while we can say that a 'god,' as in an ultimate being, exists,

You can accept on blind faith, none have been demonstrated to you and never can be by definition of you being a finite. Now, if "heaven" allows us to have "perfect understanding" in some way this perhaps we will actually know of God, but in such a manner I do not understand how we can have individuality if everyone knows everything. Individuality is found in being finite. You could argue that we will "take up different spacial locations" but at such a point in knowing all that there is to know everything anyone ever experienced from any spacial location would mean we all are One (thus ending in a conclusion that only God exists again without separation points and all infinites are no more, something I dislike the conclusion of to put it bluntly as a person who loves his individuality).

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we cannot say for certain that we are not this 'god,' for it is theoretically possible that you are a self sustaining eternal being, that is so delusional as to think you're actually having a conversation with the likes of me, though it's actually just an internal dialogue in your head (mind you, many people have come to this conclusion while talking with me, but then rapidly reject it because they are unwilling to accept that their own mind could make up someone as frightening as myself Wink ).

That is very funny. You missed your calling.

The thing is that "if" I were to be this All powerful Entity who was in one location in his own mind (flesh), lacked any sort of almighty power(trust me I don't have it), and was mortal (been hurt and healed through normal natural processes) then I'm not this god. You say, "but in the "REAL world" you are this god"...I say, at this very moment I am not this god in the realm I am in, thus at this moment I am not in this realm in this mindset that god. You would say, "that is merely you saying that while a dellusional god." I would say, "and yet again we have an unevidenced generation of your mind-brain-organ go find another deity."

The god that does not know it is god, is not god by definition (omniscience does not equal a limited mind, and in not knowing who it was, it is not god).

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So, since you cannot logically prove the existance of anything other than yourself,...

Here you enter into an area which I like to label a "philosophical slippery slope."
Granted you realize that I can demonstrate to you something which exists in the same realm as we currently occupy. I can say, "this is a hammer, here, catch." At such a point you have caught the hammer, felt it, and realize it exists. If you were to hit me with it, I would very much accept that it exists. The idea you are attempting here is to undermine the concept of "prove." You are trying to make your deity equal to the hammer that just knocked me the heck out and has me bleeding on the ground. You are trying to make all fairies and trolls and other IDEAS of the brain-matter-organ equal even if they have never been demonstrated to exist in the reality we share.

I do not agree with you in the least and no rational person would. It is this slippery slope idea which perhaps has allowed you to throw up your hands and accept through blind faith that your particular encantation of a deity existed without evidence for it because you like the emotional context of the stories and the emotional context of the idea of salvation given to you by these mere IDEAS. I can already hear you saying that "everything is an idea within the human-brain-organ" or some such nonsense, but then I will merely go right back to repeated evidenced existence within the realm that we are in.

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your senses logically tell you nothing; rationally speaking, the acceptance that your senses tell you about the world is no different than saying your god tells you about the world.

Heh, sure....you are again trying to manipulate this into a slippery slope idea and I am yet again going to say it doesn't work in this reality. We can see things, hold things, and repeatedly test things. Those things exist for us and those that experience them (anyone that wants to join in and touch/feel/see). It is NOT akin to any given deity that only exists in the minds of those that blindly accept the claims of their selected cultation and what you are claiming is nothing more than trying to make this realm as meaningless as your deity.

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For all you know you could just be a brain in a jar controlled by an evil genius, or a hologram in a cube on Picard's desk, right next to Professor Moriarty's Cube (TNG, season 6, Ship in a Bottle). Wink

I have thought about this a long time after the Matrix movies and I can honestly answer (for myself) that this realm we are currently in is what matters to me personally irregardless of what lies beyond it and this is for a very important reason...it is the only one evidenced to exist. Those that I love of this realm MATTER to me, whether they exist in another "generated" realm of another reality that goes unevidenced because it is only within the mind-brain-organ of another member of THIS reality.

All the rest (ideas of other realms) could end me in the same boat as thousands (billions) of others who have existed in this realm, servant to figmental deities of their day while not attempting to help those in THIS realm in thier lifetime and following barberic rituals simply because their specific deity requires it for some reason. (hands that do are thousand times more holy than lips that pray)

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An insistance on Empiricism is, thus, inherently not a rational posistion,

It is quite rational. This realm is all that is evidenced to exist, thus it is all that exists and it is what matters in the end, all others are merely ideas which MAY OR MAY NOT exist in the end.

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it is a sensualistic posistion,

Ah, you are partly right. It is a rational AND a sensualistic position. You are trying a "this or that" when it is both.

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it places feeling and sense above reason and thought,

Reason and thought are only known to exist in this reality.
Any idea of the human mind matters only in how it relates to this reality we are currently in and how it creates in us how we relate to others that we meet in this reality. The history of deities is the bloodiest of any other human-brain-organ invention.

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for reason and thought lead to the above conclusion (there is proof for nothing other than my own existance...and to be completely honest, the proof is weak at best),

Not acceptable. Again, there is evidence of things existing through my senses, this realm which I sense being the one which matters.

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relying on your feelings (i.e. observations) to the exclusion of your reason gives you Empiricism.

What do you call it when you rely on your sensations to generate repeatable empirical data of what exists in this realm?

That is what I accept.

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This isn't a real problem, no one ever said that God revealed all his Mysteries to us, or that he ever will. The fact that God doesnt create/do something how we would expect it to be created/done can hardly be considered a 'lie,'

The Genesis record says "day." Granted you do not claim it is without fault but for sake of argument let us say that a deity meant a 24hr day.
If this same deity then places within creation/matter the evidence that it is older than it actually it, it is a deviant act. He/she/it has stated one thing and generated a lie within matter. No different than the teenager with the fake idea is practicing deviance.

Now, if God did not mean 24hr day, translational error, whatever and the world was generated in billions of years as it is demonstrated, there is no deviance.

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if this were true, God's Existance would be restricted by our limited minds...a notion that truly is absurd.
Of course the laws of physics were violated in creation, be it by God or by the Big Bang...the Laws of Physics assume Consistancy, the act of bringing into being is not consistant with the act of being, they are fundamentally different (though related).

I have always thought of our realm as a form of nothingness expressed over time-space.

For every action a reaction.

If you constantly take away that which is done, in equal measure, in perfect balance, the conclusion is zero in the end, exactly that which was at the beginning. Then again I believe the Alpha point of our time-space is the Omega point, whether it be bane worlds colliding or other, I believe that time is circular not linear. Now, THAT is an IDEA without evidence if there ever was one!!! (HEH)

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Sorry, I was unclear in my wording, there are no absolutes in logic, everything is relative, when I said:
I ment that B would be true in the Context of the above statement with a being false. In other words If A is FALSE, then the Statement 'If A then B'=TRUE. B itself isn't necessarily true in any absolute sense (as I said, there is no absolute truth in logic). So applying this to the discussion about Young vs. Old Earth Theories, both THEORIES, both STATEMENTS, can be logically true simultaniously...

Not without a deviant god and/or a manipulated/mistranslated artifact(text).

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...but nothing has been said in regard to this non-existant logical concept of 'absolute truth.' Hope that clarifies what I poorly stated.
(snip)
This may be true of some, but I like to think it's not true of me. I have been where those skeptics are, rejecting religion, and embracing empiricism, and even more than this Logic.
(snip)
The implications are relatively simple, logic collapses in on itself, and complete relativism ensues (not only is there no right or wrong, up or down, or absolute frame of observance, truth itself disappears, observations become meaningless, so the frame becomes irrelevant, existance becomes questionable at best, the notion that anyone outside yourself exists becomes an absurd religious principle, for get about the notion of morality).
(snip)
If I'm going to go off and accepting these radical ideas like Eating and Going to Classes, why not go back to Religion,

Which one, why that one?

Why does that one give you salvation and any of the millions of other deities do not?

Why do you "feel saved" even in the realization (as you came to) that you have no reason to believe in religion you just decided to blindly accept it because it seems as "real" to you as the world you are in and you are doomed by the millions of other deities for being a false god worshiper?

You are no more saved than the man who believed in Zeus in the end even under your own mental idea of religion and reasons for accepting it.

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(snip)
And now the Theology...
Fortunately for us, Anselm never had any effect on Eastern Soteriology
Not Exactly, just an unexpected (by humanity) consequence.
If one allows himself to be killed rather than preform a sinful act (i.e. destroying the Image of God in man), it's a self-sacrifice of sorts...but hardly one forbidden by any law.

It can not be used for atonement purposes under levitical law, but that is perhaps too deep a discussion for this thread.

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(snip)
Simply put, in Platonic Metaphysics the Form is Real, the matter is not; moreover, since we're not empiricists, the standards of empiricism do not apply to our Sacramental Theology. If the form of body and blood is there, body and blood is fully there, a change in matter would make not make it any more real.

And thus ends you in eating human flesh and drinking human blood.
Even as a relativist this is an immoral idea unless we are starving to death on a raft or a member of the Donner Party perhaps.
« Last Edit: March 23, 2005, 07:26:32 AM by JosephofMessiah » Logged

Joseph
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« Reply #62 on: March 23, 2005, 09:07:08 AM »

JosephNeedsMessiah,

Contents:

Post 1) Introduction: General observations, remarks, and conditions.

Post 2) Village deist (?) exposed: Outdated, far-fetched, conjectural, factually erroneous, and logically fallacious arguments, refuted by reason, fact, true scholarship and the consideration of objective historical investigation.

Post 3) St Paul’s credibility maintained: Exposing the non-education of a slanderous ignoramus, with the scriptures and objective textual criticism.

Post 4) Orthodox Christology upheld: Misrepresentations corrected, and baseless claims challenged.

Post 5) Authorship issues defended: The conjecture of the unlearned, disgraced by the credible research of the qualified scholar; and lack of contextual awareness exposed through proper hermeneutics.

Post 6) Prophetic issues vindicated: Countering the futile desperation of a simpleton, with reasonableness, common sense, textual criticism and proper exegesis.

Post 7) Conclusion: Where to go from hereGǪ


Introduction:

There is nothing more painful then watching a village skeptic employ smart alec rhetoric, and derogatory insults; especially when  done so, subsidiary to an already ridiculously flawed, logically impaired, misinformed and inept argument, concerning issues they; obviously haven’t bothered, fear, or are simply incapable of, critically and objectively investigating. The wealth of opportunity such a character leaves open, to annihilate any negligible credibility left, after an humiliating endeavor to refute the eternal truth, was hard to ignore, by someone such as I, a sinner who lacks, yet continues to pray earnestly for, the Christian virtues of compassion, gentleness, forgiveness and mercy. Since this introduction was written after my actual response i.e. in restrospect, I would like to express the fact that, behind my own tone and approach, which were committed to unconsciously (as opposed to being pre-determined), lies a sincere hope, that my giving you “a taste of your own medicine” truly humbles you, rather than causes you to resist and attack the truth and holy men of God even more forcefully. Some quick points I would like to make before we get to the crunch:

I have rearranged the ordering of your arguments, addressing them topically as indicated in the above content outline, rather than in the order they appear in your original post. Therefore some comments which you made for example, in response to the issue of prophecies, have been placed in the “village deist exposed” section - which primarily deals with those responses of yours, which involve positions that could not possibly be held by an Orthodox Jew (to whom my arguments were initially relevant to) and hence have no relevance to a Christian-Jewish dialogue/debate (e.g. the “scientific approach” to the scriptures).

Lastly, I adjure you, that in the course of your next response, you consciously refrain from bringing up any more red herrings. The new issues and scriptures that you have already raised are quite enough. In this post, I have in fact taken the time to deal with all of your red herrings nonetheless (even if it's to merely make one statement in response), however I’m telling you plainly now, for every new red herring brought forth in your coming reply, I will ignore it and simply insert a <snip>, such that everyone can go through my response and count up how many times I had to <snip> - corresponding to how many times you copped out in directly dealing with an issue, such that you felt the need to divert attention to other issues which are not directly relevant.

With that said:
 
"Come now, let us reason together" Isaiah 1:18
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« Reply #63 on: March 23, 2005, 09:08:53 AM »

2) Village deist (?) exposed

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Actually, Christians can't count. According to NT text Jesus was here, died(left), came back to be seen again, then went up into the sky.


We’re using generally loose methods of speech; and you want to be ridiculously literal and turn it into a technical mathematical analysis?

You know, yesterday a friend visited my house. After an hour, she stepped outside to grab some photos from her car, and came back to show me. After another hour or so, she had to leave, so she stepped out of my house, yet returned after 15 seconds, remembering that she had left the photos on my couch. She picked up her photos and left for good this time. If I were to account for this event to a friend, I would usually render it as one visit.....

.....but now I realize that to do so would mean that I’m just a mathematical retard. So thanks for pointing that out for us.

Your desperation is shining from the outset, sunshine.

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Which is really meaningless on a scientific level because even if he was traveling at light speed he wouldn't have gotten very far even now.


Why would you use a scientific approach to analyze an event (that you’re assuming occurred for arguments sake) which by nature defies science? Are you actually TRYING to be illogical here?

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But I digress.

NoGǪbelieve me, you regress.

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Actually it is quite scholarly to recognize the various cross-overs between various godmen which existed in this time period and in stories which predate Christanity.


It doesn’t take a scholar to observe/recognize parallels; any kid can do that - so that is not what I was addressing in my comment - though the fact remains, putting all scholarship aside, you couldn’t even do a kids job properly, because the parallels you bring up, either don’t exist, are far-fetched, or concern points that have nothing to do with the New Testament Christ in the first place. The fact that I was addressing however, is that it is very Unscholarly to take any parallel (assuming they’re soundly drawn for arguments sake) at face value, and to immediately draw some sort of a causal connection, by claiming that one author stole or plagiarized from the other, without considering the facts which directly go to NEGATE this notion.

The theology of the New Testament was built upon the foundation of the Old Testament: The virgin birth upon the foundation of Isaiah 7:14 and not some pagan demi-god (whether Isaiah 7:14 does indeed speak of a virgin birth is irrelevant - what matters is that this is how St Matthew understood it as such, and he understood it in a Messianic framework, with very good reason to do so), the rejection and suffering of the Messiah upon texts like Isaiah 53, not some dying demi-God, and the resurrection of the Christ upon the Old Testament text also. Eye-witness testimony and Old Testament prophecy formed the basis of their works. Period.

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Exactly why is it inconceivable that they would try to construct a historical narrative by borrowing from mythologies concerning non-existenct beings? Mankind has done this forever up through history. Or perhaps you are one of the few who believe that Osirius saved you, Mythra died for you, and Hira Krishna is the devine light?

Pfft Cheesy Your ignorance of Osiris and Mithra is plain; you can't even spell their names. Neither of them offered salvation via atonement. Osiris was judge of the dead, not a savior, and Mithra never died, he killed a cosmic bull to set the procession of the equinoxes going. Sorry, but "mankind has done this blah blah blah" is a vague non-answer. Let's have some specifics; then show that the Jews did this too, without begging the question.

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The virgin who births a child that comes to die for mankind and saves only those who believe in him goes as far back as Osirius, Hercules, and Mythra (born on Dec 25th).


+ Mithra was not born of a virgin sir; as was already pointed out to you, mithra was born from a solid rock - he in fact came out of this solid rock fully grown. This is what you want to compare the virgin birth of The Christ yo? laugh Furthermore, Mithra did not die for mankind (see above response). His offering immortality to his followers, is meaningless - of course he had to offer his adherents something, as does every religious belief system. There is no unique or meaningful parallel in this. Furthermore, the method by which his adherents attain immortality which has some sort of astrological significance, has absolutely no parallel to the Orthodox Christian view of soteriology which encompasses such things as the Incarnation, theosis, and the sacrifice on the cross.

+ The Hercules parallel allusion is just an illusion - ive never heard of the story of the virgin birth of Hercules, or that Hercules came to die for mankind and that he becomes the object of salvific faith? Did you make this up?

+ The alledged Osiris parallel isn’t any better. Osiris was not born of a virgin, did not die for mankind, and is not the object of a saving faith. Simple as that. I hope you have some credible sources to back up your claims.

In any event, assuming for arguments sake that these parallels did actually exist, they would still mean nothing unless you can give us an argument based on credible contemporary scholarship that there is some causal connection between these myths and stories and the nature of what the apostles wrote.

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So, the virgin born pagan mangod who comes to earth, is slain, returns to his specific god, then comes back to tell only his followers that he can save them if they believe, then he goes away again....that doesn't have "NO pagan parallel?"

That is correct, all the promulgated pre-Christian so-called parallels either don't even exist, are drawn upon erroneous premises, or are superficial and extremely strained and hence meaningless on this level - a meaninglessness which is cemented by the fact no one has ever been able to, or can prove a direct relationship between the Gospel authors and these mythical stories.

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I think you are truly not writing that with a straight face,


A straight face, objective mind, and sufficient education on the issue, is what I write with. You lack the last two, and I don’t doubt that you write with a straight face, because it’s obvious that you have simply been duped by some skeptical ignoramuses or excessively-biased-to-the-point-of-manipulation fringe scholars.

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The resurrection has as much evidence, and the exact type of evidence as that of any other type of blind faith belief not based on rational thought.

Rational thought is something you have shown yourself to be quite incapable of, as already proven from the get go (you know, the flying man who defies the law of gravity on the one hand, yet is subject to Einstein’s theory of relativity on the other), and as will be consistently further proven during the course of this response.

Again, all you have responded with is a non-answer - “resurrection is bla bla bla bla bla”. I will speak generally on the issue once more, until you give me some specifics to work with. If after this, you can only respond with a bla bla answer, I will simply <snip> it out.

The resurrection is a historical fact, supported by valid historical evidence (of the type generally and briefly mentioned in my initial post) - historical evidence that, as was made evident in the well-known debate to which I made reference to, and which you evaded commenting on, has challenged atheist academics and scholars of the highest caliber, including a most prominent figure of the philosophy of religion world who had in fact lost a debate on the issue, by majority vote. Now, please let me clarify myself here - I am not using the results of this debate as my argument, nor am I implying that because there was a debate on the issue, which ended in victory for the Christian, that I expect you to automatically submit to the fact of the Resurrection; rather, what I am implying is, that it takes a profound level of arrogance to dismiss at face value, an issue which has confronted intellectual giants; who, in seriously engaging with the vast amount of evidence, have been struggling and striving with all their might to discredit it.

Thus I conclude that,

UNLESS:

a)   you think history is absolutely inaccessible through research and investigation (which means you might as well, out of sheer consistency, go down to your local library and burn down a large proportion of the history section dealing with historical events and persons of antiquity - including the Jewish scriptures),

OR

b)   you are just a plain idiot who requires evidence to the likes of video camera footage (same condition as the one in the above parenthesis),

OR

c)   you are a plain idiot dressed in a moron, who would need to be transported back in time to witness history yourself in order to affirm its validity (same condition as the one in the above parenthesis),

OR

d)   you fallaciously employ unjustifiable presuppositions which automatically destroy any sense of objectivity in your reasoning, leading you to throw out any possibility of any supernatural event from the outset without any consideration of any of the historical data that concerns it,

THEN:

a)   either deal with the evidence that a world renowned and reputable atheist professor - who, after devoting 80 years of his life to the critical study of the philosophy of religion, was incapable of dealing with, as acknowledged by his own academic peers,

OR

b)   Dissolve your unwarranted opinion in a cup of ignorance-is-bliss juice, drink up, and relieve the liquid waste somewhere else, not on this forum.

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If you were to approach this purely on a scientific level you could not even demonstrate that Jesus existed when the gospels claim as there is no secular or outside sources that speak of him which hold to critical review.

You’re a Christ myther? laugh

Since you’re too afraid to be specific about anything, but are rather constantly giving us equivocative non-answers, I will put forth some following arguments in relation to your above statements, hoping to wrest out some specific statements from you, so we can get into a real discussion.

So, we will educate you as to a) why the “scientific approach”, better known as the “anti-super-naturalistic” approach, is invalid as an objective approach, and hence you can defecate it somewhere else other than this forum, b) some simple logic, and c) objective historical investigation.

a)   The obvious and fundamental flaw of all those who employ the “scientific approach” is that it is based on an unjustifiable presupposition. Not only does common sense dictate this, but fortunately, the proponents of such an approach openly ADMIT it; and It’s just standard common sense, that any argument which involves a presupposition which is simply assumed to be true, skewers how the evidence and facts are to be interpreted, and hence is void of objectivity. To debate this would be absolutely ridiculous. Thus accordingly, you would get a Jesus who indeed did not rise from the dead. However, the fact of the matter is, such a construction of Jesus is not based on historical evidence, but rather on presupposed definitions, namely; that anything supernatural is by default not historical, and hence to label such a figure “the historical Christ” is a charade to say the least.

b)   The fallacious scientific approach, even if assumed to be valid, can NOT validly be used to negate the existence of the historical figure of The Christ, but rather is employed by those who exercise it, to reduce The Christ to a mere man, by presupposing the impossibility of what historically valid documents ascribe to Him i.e. His being the eternal divine Son of God as He claimed, who was incarnate, performed miracles, and rose from the dead on the third day. Since extra-Biblical sources (including secular and Jewish) do exist, also attesting to His existence, then there is absolutely no logical reason, as to why even the employment of the scientific approach would negate His existence per se. Even the most liberal of liberal so-called “scholars”, those of the Jesus seminar who are big-time proponents of the naturalistic view, do not deny His historical existence.

c)   Before delving into the extra-biblical historical attestation to the existence of the person of Christ and the reliability of it thereof, I would like you to clarify your qualification of “when the Gospels claim”; as made in the sentence: “you could not even demonstrate that Jesus existed when the gospels claim as there is no secular or outside sources that speak of him.” Since I don’t want to wrongly assume stupidity on your part, can you please confirm whether or not your argument is demanding that we find extra-Biblical source material from the period between 0-33 A.D. If not, then please clarify your intentions. If so, then I will need to acquaint you with basic fundamental principles of historiographyGǪIf you're heading down the road I believe you are, then it seems we have another argument from silence on our hands.

By the way - I’m not interested in discussing b) and c) until you can deal with a). Once you can justify the scientific approach (which concerns [a]), then we can discuss whether the scientific approach truly can invalidate the existence of Christ (as concerns c) and d))

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One thing I have found is that if something happened that was an unexplained phenomena in "another religion" it was either Satan or it was a myth. But if it is reported to have happened in "my" religion it is literal fact, those guy wouldn't do what every single other religion on earth did.

And you try to call this Rabbi inconsistent?

Another non-answer.

If I am being inconsistent in my claim to the historical veracity of the Gospel narratives, then PROVE IT, do not simply assert it. You set up the straw man, by ASSUMING that I would dismiss by default any other extra-Biblical account of supernatural phenomena as satanic in origin or mythical. Since the former qualification is irrelevant to a discussion on the historical validity of the Gospel narratives (since the claim of my statement to which you made the above response to was an historical claim, not a religious one) then we can ignore this diversion.

Hence the question remains (the question you should have asked my answer for, rather than fallaciously assumed my answer for); would I as a Christian, automatically dismiss other extra-Biblical accounts of supernatural phenomena as myth? And my answer is: if you can give me sufficient objective historical evidence for it, that matches or supersedes that which attests to the Gospels, then I would have no valid reason to, and at that point you can label me inconsistent if I maintain my position on the Gospels as valid historical documents, whilst rejecting another document on an historical basis, without reason.

So am I being inconsistent with regards to my argument that the Gospels are historically valid documents, or is that you are simply incapable of directly addressing the issues at hand, such that you have to set up straw men, by assuming my answers? (that’s a rhetorical question of course).
« Last Edit: March 23, 2005, 09:20:05 AM by EkhristosAnesti » Logged

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« Reply #64 on: March 23, 2005, 09:10:50 AM »

3) St Paul’s credibility maintained

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The author of Hebrews generates a non-levitical priesthood.


Technically speaking, he doesn’t “generate” anything, for a non-levitical priesthood was already “generated” in the Tanakh. He was drawing from the Tanakh which speaks about a priesthood, which was NOT associated with biological descent from Aaron, but rather in the order of Melchizedek - a figure who makes his first appearance long before the establishment of the Levitical priesthood, who is “without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life."

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This idea goes directly against the eternal levitical priesthood taught of in the Tanakh.


No, sorry -- the word used of the priesthood is 'olam, which does not mean "eternal" but "in perpetuity" - in other words - "as long as it is" (See Barr's Biblical Words for Time). So the priesthood is not eternal; and it doesn't negate the fact that there may be a second sort of priesthood from another tribe, capable of supplanting the Levitical priesthood salvation-historically, and certainly the Tanakh doesn’t see it that way, since it recognizes this superior non-levitical priesthood that would be assigned to the Messiah.
 
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Jesus was born within the tribe of Judah to have any claim to kingship/messiahship. If he was of the tribe of levite (as Luke argues) then he might be a priest but then he is not messiah.


First of all, Jesus was not of the tribe of Levi, nor does Luke argue this. Debate me.

He was of the tribe of Judah, a high priest in the order of Melchizedek. The Tanakh specifically assigns this order of priesthood to the Messiah in Psalm 110:4, who would be born of the non-priestly tribe of Judah.

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Either way really it creates cognitive dissonance on the part of whomever would accept that Jesus is both priest and messiah.

Clearly the Tanakh which you are trying to use against St Paul has no problem with affirming that the Messiah is of the Tribe of Judah, whilst also assigning the role of priesthood to him in Psalm 110:4. St Paul in fact QUOTES the Tanakh to support his case. If you actually read Hebrews 7-10, you will realize that St Paul goes on further to establish the superiority of the Messiah’s priesthood over the levitical priesthood, from the Tanakh itself. I’m afraid it is evident that St Paul knows the Tanakh better than you; so nice try in attempting to discredit him, but St Paul wins, and you lose.

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The Tanakh teaches that the messiah would be blood-linked descendant through his father's mortal line in order to have the house upon him from David through Solomon (not Nathan).


Stop reading things into the Tanakh SIR. There are so many occasions throughout your response where you have read things into the text, that I’m struggling to decide whether you are deliberately being deceptive, or whether you are just plain ignorant. Show me where in the Tanakh it says the Messiah would be a “BLOOD-LINKED descendent through his father’s mortal lineGǪTHROUGH SOLOMON”. References, references, references. In answering a below objection, I will use and reference the Tanakh in order to prove that the Tanakh in actual fact teaches that the Messiah, though being of Solomon’s line, will NOT and CAN NOT be of physical blood-descent from Solomon’s line.

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Granted it comes down to a very easy understanding.  The author of Hebrews realizes that under the levitical code of offering that any human offering is an abomination to God.  Therefore he commits an outright act of blasphemy by writing: Hbr 7:14 For [it is] evident that our Lord sprang out of Juda; of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood. 


I don’t understand your above objection - what exactly is the relevance of Hebrews 7:14? Please clarify yourself.

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and Hbr 10:4 For [it is] not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins. The Tanakh lays out the levitical offering and manner by which a levite priest can make atonement for the sins of the people.


The point St Paul is making, is that these sacrifices were merely foreshadowing’s of the real deal so to speak. The sacrifices themselves did not in actuality atone for the sins of the people, they were powerless in themselves, they merely pointed to the ultimate and only effective sacrifice, that of the lamb of God - The messiah.

Plenty of places in the Tanakh attest to the fact that sacrifices were not in actuality pleasing to God as if they really atoned for their sins. (one of many examples: Micah 6:6-7)

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The author of Hebrews lies yet again when he says that "without the sheding of blood is no remission" for this idea is entirely foreign to the Hebrew scripture.


It’s funny how it is a common saying of the Jews, and is often to be met in their writings, that "there is no atonement but by blood" (Babylonian Talmud Yoma 5a, Zebachim 6:1, and Menachot, 93:2 - as noted in John Gill’s commentary of the New Testament; Hebrews 9:22). I guess they’re liars too?

Or maybe, like the Jews, and unlike you, St Paul was aware of Leviticus 17:11 which reads: “For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one's life.”

Such a general statement doesn’t negate exceptions. The Tanakh speaks generally in Leviticius 17:11, yet makes exceptions, and St Paul clearly recognizes those exceptions, hence he says “almost all thingsGǪ” The Tanakh wasn’t contradicting itself, the Jews in interpreting the Tanakh did not contradict themselves, and neither did St Paul.

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this is a very careful manipulation of the Psalm which reads, "Psalms 40:6 Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required. (KJV)"

Notice the treachery involved in his devious attempt to change the hebrew scripture to his false god.

The only thing to note here is your lack of knowledge and critical research. The author was not “changing” anything, but rather quoting directly from the Greek Septuagint translation (LXX), which was the standard version of the Old Testament used by the Apostles - a text which the general consensus of scholarship maintains was written by Jewish scholars for the Jewish people, at around 200 B.C. This text differs remarkably in various areas from what is known as the Masoretic Hebrew text (MT), which generated a theory that maybe the LXX translators had done some severe editing of some earlier version of the MT (which if true with regards to Psalm 40:6 specifically - still would not further your contention that editing was motivated by a “manipulative”, “devious” and “treacherous” Christian agenda). However, the discovery of the Dead Sea scrolls has vindicated the argument that the LXX translators were, on many probable occasions, simply translating from another pre-existing form of the Hebrew Scriptures. This is an aspect of textual criticism our professor had spoken of just last week.

We know for example that the book of Jeremiah as it reads in the LXX is strikingly divergent from the MT. However, looking at the dead sea scrolls, we find for example, that 4QJer^(b+c) - is synonymous to the Hebrew text that would have been the basis text for the LXX, meaning that there was an already existing earlier version of the Hebrew text in the form of the LXX translation which differed from the MT - which was found in 4QJer^(a+c).

Presenting a case for the Septuagint’s rendering of this verse, in light of the above facts, there is a plausible argument to suggest the possibility that the MT divergence could have been the result of a scribal error, considering that the differing last clauses of the verse in question, are almost synonymous in their original Hebrew form. First, the words for then a body - az gevah in its classical Hebrew form looks quite synonymous to the word for ears - oznayim. Furthermore, the words for “open” and “prepare” share the same Hebrew word - Karah. Therefore there is a basis to believe, and certainly upon the divine authority of the New Testament scriptures which attest to the validity of the LXX will Christians reasonably maintain, that the LXX scholars translated the expression appropriately from its original Hebrew form, whilst the scribes of the MT, copied it down carelessly, resulting in a divergent Hebrew reading of the text in question.

Reasons for scribal errors are many, it could be a result of carelessness, or the other plausible theory is that the original text providing the basis for the copy or translation, could have itself been poorly written, such that the scribe being open to two alternative renderings chooses to opt for that which would make most sense. The latter of these reasons can reasonably explain the possibility that the scribes of the Masoretic text, in not understanding that the clause “a body thou hast prepared” has prophetic significance, chose to reject this rendering.

In light of the above, the question of whether St Paul was “devious” or “manipulative” by employing the Septuagint’s rendering is a non-question, since the Septuagint translators obviously had no Christian agenda - it would be anachronistic to argue so. The only reasonable question to be asked here therefore, is whether or not the Septuagint’s rendering of Psalm 40:6 (from which St Paul quotes) is authentic (i.e. is translated from a pre-existing Hebrew text representing and allowing for the very rendering in question) as opposed to the rendering of masoretic text. Based on the empirical evidence we have, and contemporary studies on textual criticism, we can draw no absolutely conclusive answer.

As a Christian however, I am left with very little reason or evidence to doubt the authenticity of the Septuagint’s rendering of Psalm 40:6, and hence the appropriateness of St Paul’s quotation thereof, such that I would ofcourse give St Paul and thus the Septuagint the benefit of any doubt, which is not done blindly, but with a basis in sufficient reason.

You on the other hand, might wish to give the benefit of the doubt to the Masoretic rendering, based on an unwarranted skepticism and hatred towards the apostle of God. That is your choice, and we respect your freedom to make that personal choice.
« Last Edit: March 23, 2005, 06:06:25 PM by EkhristosAnesti » Logged

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"Philosophy is the imitation by a man of what is better, according to what is possible" - St Severus
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« Reply #65 on: March 23, 2005, 09:12:15 AM »

4) Orthodox Christology upheld

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The traditional teachings of Chritianity fit into a demi-god definition.


Earlier in your post, you announced that there is no such thing as Orthodox Christianity; on an Orthodox Christian forum, home to a number of educated Orthodox Christian members - and now you want to teach us about the “traditional teachings of Christianity” i.e. the very traditional teachings of Christianity which Orthodoxy, by definition representsGǪGǪ.GǪ.I cant help but wet my pantsGǪ..I can also assure you, that from that one comment alone, your credibility has suffered a major hemorrhage in the minds of every reader of this thread. Nice way to make a first impression.

I would consider myself a traditional Orthodox Christian, so is it okay with you sir, if I tell you what I believe, rather than you telling me what I believe concerning the nature of Christ and His relationship to God? I will just presume your permission granted. You’re a kind man.

The traditional and Orthodox conception of Christ is that he is full man and full God - possessing two complete and perfect natures. A demi-god is by definition a half-man-half -God, or  part-man-part-God - such qualifications do not accurately circumscribe The true nature of The incarnate Word, who possessed the fullness of divinity united with the fullness of humanity in His one person, rather than one “super-human nature” so to speak. Christ pre-existed His humanity as the eternal Word of God - The eternal Word neither ceased to be all that He was, but rather took upon Himself in-time a physical human nature by which The eternal Word was made manifest to mankind.

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Since God is not servant to anything nor anyone it would seem that Jesus is represented as a god and also as servant to a greater God. 


Jesus is not represented as “a God” subservient to a “greater God” (this is the Jay Dubayah’s misrepresentation of the Biblical Christ) , but rather a personal hypostasis of The One true God, who is directly identified with The One true God in a predicate sense (John 1:1). The incarnate Word; at the point of incarnation (John 1:14) became functionally or representationally (as opposed to ontologically) subordinate to The Father, another distinct person of The One true God - some would say “the foundational ego”; yet remained equal to The Father (John 10:30) with regards to His eternal identity as the Word; a right to equality which He eternally possessed, being in the very form of God; and which never changed (Phil. 2:6). This is not a logical contradiction nor a dilemma when one considers the context in which Christ is both less than and equal to the Father who is The One true God;  the former in relation to temporary personal orientation, choice and representation, the latter with regards to eternal essence, characteristics/attributes and being.

The Son “became” less than the Father at the incarnation (for if the scriptures expressly state that he was “made a little lower than the angels”, then how much more lower must he have become than the Father?), in the above sense described, voluntarily presenting Himself in the form of a man, undergoing a transition from a state of eternal glory to a state of temporary humility; from absolute sovereignty, to submissive servanthood. Therefore, in the same sense, he must have “become” less than Himself. For He who “emptied Himself” (Phil. 2:7) must have thus “lessened” Himself, by presenting Himself in the form of a servant; laying aside the glory due to Him; the glory He once shared with the Father before the foundation of the world (John 17:5), and the glory that has been restored to Him upon His exaltation to the right hand of His Father (Phil 2:9-11).

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Thus the term "demi-god" fits just as the term "mangod" also fits.

Man-God is fine, because it lacks any false connotations with regards to the nature of His humanity and divinity; demi-god on the contrary does carry certain inappropriate overtones, and thus should not be applied. Period. The fullness of deity dwells in Him (Col. 2:9), the person of The Word does not possess “part” of the essence, or “some divine attributes”, but eternally possessed and possesses the fullness of the essence, followed by all the divine attributes that come with it. In His incarnate form, this never changed; we simply have an addition of a complete human nature to His person - along with complete human attributes, such that we can affirm two natures united (miaphysis) in the one person. So for example, the incarnate Christ is both omnipotent and limited in power simultaneously.

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It is either this or you are saying that "God on ground in flesh is servant to God Omnipresent" which makes no rational sense


Is there anything irrational about the statement that “God on ground in flesh is servant to God omnipresent”? - It may not be the perfectly worded sentence, but technically speaking there is nothing irrational about it, especially when it is appropriately qualified and understood in the Christian context.

The Father and The Word are two persons of the same being. Hence we can affirm on the one hand that there is one God, yet we can also affirm on the other hand, that the Father is God and the Word is God, the copula being employed in a sense of predication rather than identification (for neither the person of The Father nor the person of The Son, exclusively constitute the Godhead) - the word “God” being used as an object descriptive or predicate definite noun. The Word, who is therefore God, became incarnate taking upon Himself a human nature, voluntarily presenting himself in the humble form of a servant, submitting to his humanity, his creation, and the person of the Father. He became physically restricted according to His humanity, yet remained omnipresent according to His divinity (for omnipresence is an attribute belonging to the divine essence, which the incarnate Christ has possessed since eternity).

Therefore, rewording and elaborating your statement with the appropriate qualifications, in order to give a more defined and confined implication, we would turn the statement:

“God on the ground in flesh is servant to God omnipresent”

 Into:

“The incarnate Christ who is God in essence, and thus omnipresent; according to His divine nature, possessed also a human nature, such that He remained omnipresent according to His divine nature, yet became physically restricted on the ground in flesh and servant to the Father who is God in essence and omnipresent, according to His humanity.”


Does this challenge human comprehension? Indeed it does, and why shouldn’t it? However I see nothing rationally objectionable about it, and if so, please feel free to present an argument without the painful rhetoric.

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Taking into account the spurious nature of 1 John 5:7-8 I find it funny that Trinitarians still hold to illogical dogmas formed at uninspired councils that were merely drawn up as a compromise from the get-go.

Taking into account that the Trinity doctrine was never contingent upon 1 John 5:7-8, nor was, or is this verse even essential to our faith in this dogma, I find it funny that you would make such an assertion. It is now quite obvious, that you have never actually read any credible or authoritative source discussing the historical development of the explication, affirmation, and justification, of the Biblical doctrine of the Trinity. Do not be afraid of knowledge.

By the way, please feel free to substantiate any unwarranted claim you wish to make - that is ofcourse if you want to save any last speck of credibility - for I assure you, that no one is going to take anything you have to say at its face value. The logic of the Trinity is one of my favorite topics of discussion. Not only is the concept of a multi-personed God logically consistent; but it also logically necessary. Since you have attacked the former proposition, I challenge you to back it up, and then we can progress to a discussion regarding the latter.

So where do we start? Usually it begins with something like “3 cannot equal 1 and 1 cannot equal 3, didn’t they teach you that in kindergarten maths?” But we wont assume anything here, I’ll give you the opportunity to make your own case - I wait in anticipation.

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The openning page of www.messiahtruth.com has alot on the development of the christological idea of messiah and how this is completely different from the jewish concept.

Learning about Christianity from Messiahtruth.com or jewsforjudaism.com is like learning about Jews from nazi.com. Again, I recommend that you engage open-mindedly and objectively with the scholarly community. Get off the internet and go to your library, there is a wealth of resources that deal with all these issues, written by prominent scholars. I could recommend books for you if you wish.

Secondly, I don’t need a Jew to tell me that the Jewish understanding of the Messiah (i.e. The rabbinical conception) is different to the New Testament Christ; even within their own traditional Orthodox sect do Jews lack consistency in their understanding of the Messiah and his function. This is NOT what I am trying to prove. What I AM able to prove however is that:

a)   Fundamental aspects of the New Testament Messiah - for example; His suffering, atoning death, and divinity, are not only explicitly acknowledged or implicitly hinted at in Rabbinic works, but definitely grounded (either explicitly or implicitly) in the Old Testament scriptures themselves.

And

b)   The “high Christology” of the New Testament Christ, especially regarding His relationship and inclusion within the unique identity of God, is absolutely foreign to any pagan precedent of some sort of “demi-god”. It is within a Jewish context that New Testament Christology is to be appropriately understood, and world class scholars like Richard Bacukham, N.T.Wright, and Ben Witherington have done some thorough and valuable research on this issue, which I recommend you consider.

The Apostles employed Jewish precedent, symbolism and terminology, and worked within a Jewish monotheistic framework, in order to express the divinity of the historical Christ and His identification with the one true God. St John for example, explained The Word’s incarnation as the act of God’s pitching His tent and “tabernacling” in our midst through His divine shekinah/glory (a direct allusion to - - - - ). In fact most of the qualifications to, and characteristics ascribed to St John’s logos, find’s precedent in the Jewish scriptures, whether that be the Tanakh, deutero-canonical books, or other intertestamental Jewish literature. For example, we find that the nature of Christ as The Word is further explained by the ascription of numerous implicit parallels between Christ and other periphrasis of God, especially the divine Wisdom as depicted in the Wisdom literature . What we find then, is that New testament Christology is dependent upon (for it directly draws upon) Jewish literature, and is absolutely meaningless without such literature to provide the relevant context.

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« Reply #66 on: March 23, 2005, 09:13:48 AM »

5) Authorship issues defended


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I said: The Gospel writers were Jewish,

You responded: Actually, no one knows.  The labels given them are "educated guesses."


This is nothing but vague nonsense. It is not true that "no one knows"; determining what kind of person an author was is something scholars regularly do for secular documents, and by those means it has been shown that the authors of the New Testament (with exception to Luke - who was nonetheless acquainted with the Jewish scriptures) was either a Jew or a Gentile proselyte to Judaism.

With regards to Orthodox Christianity, ancient tradition which testifies to the authorship of these books, certainly takes precedent over contemporary scholarship, however since I believe that authorship issues can be objectively defended, I will nonetheless discuss very briefly and generally (since you have avoided giving specific arguments) New Testament scholarship, which you wish to disregard, yet nonetheless assert yourself with such authority and confidence.

(For clarification: I am not arguing that scholarship should be taken at face value, or that credibility necessarily leads to the truth, or that majority opinion equals fact. There are many occasions, where we as Orthodox would disagree with what would be labeled majority opinion of contemporary scholarship. Some would therefore reject scholarship and for the authority of tradition; but I personally will qualify that as an objectively reasonable rejection nonetheless.)

That the Gospel authors were Jewish is not a mere educated guess, but rather the most plausible and reasonable, historically accurate and valid conclusion, discerned by objective historical critical research and investigation of all the internal and external factors that concern the Gospels (the only historical evidence one can reasonably use as the basis of a reasonable conclusion; unless you’re one of those skeptics that needs to be transported back in time to see the actual author writing the actual Gospel, or video footage of it and DNA analysis etc. to be actually convinced), we find that all the pieces of evidence, individually and collectively, point to Jewish authors. Even the liberals can agree to this!

Take for example the Gospel of St John: With regards to this particular Gospel, the Jewish identity of the author is such a non-issue, that in Conservative scholar D.A.Carson’s 16 page analysis of the authorship of John’s Gospel, he lists the first 2 of 5 points that need to be established concerning the author of this Gospel - that he was a) a Jew and b) of Palestine, and says in relation to this “the first two points are today rarely disputed, and need not detain us here” (page 71, The Gospel according to John, 1991). It was a waste of his time to even consider discussing it, that he didn’t even bother spending more than half a line on it, out of 16 pages of hardcore scholarship just on the issue of authorship!

The exceptions he refers to, such as Margaret Pamment, who says that the beloved disciple is a gentile believer, are based on weak arguments such us that which says that John 21:1ff is concerned with a gentile mission. This is simply a non sequitor - granted that all the first believers in Jesus were Jews, then some of them at least, had to be witnesses to the gentiles.
 
However, as I mentioned earlier, what is most important to us as Orthodox Christians is the testimony of our fathers, those who had direct contact with the authors of the Gospels and who testified to their authority. Throughout my own personal studies, I have found no objective reason to negate the external testimony to the authorship of the Gospels at attested to by the early church fathers.

Like I said, you haven’t given us anything specific to work on, so I can only speak generally. If you wish to refute the Jewishness of St Matthew, St John, or the author of Hebrews (the three authors brought up in the discussion thus far) then feel free to give us an argument - maybe you can come up with something a little less speculative and logically flawed as what Pamment came up with as mentioned above.

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The author of Hebrews is an even greater liar and user of pious fraud to make his claims.  Sorry, but it doesn't float.

It is also very flawed and wouldn't have come from someone very versed in Jewish tradtion. 


I believe I’ve already sufficiently proven, that someone versed in Jewish tradition, who has engaged with New Testament scholarship, and is aware of relevant contextual factors, would not make the above remark, based on flawed objections like: “The Messiah cannot be a priest”. But it was definitely fun dealing with an intellectual retard, who thought he could challenge a Jewish Christian scholar and divinely inspired apostle of God. Try again buddy. I’ve dealt with people like you, sometimes it takes up to 3-4 more attempts before they realize how much they’ve embarrassed themselves by dressing misinformed, outlandish, logically impaired, factually erroneous based arguments, in a tarty short dress of arrogance and confidence, rather than the modest apparel of humble inquiry. Let’s see if you are man enough to learn your lesson from response 1.

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Matthew is perhaps the only book that was originally written in Hebrew and there are some sectations that still exist which hold to a very Orthodox Jewish stance theologically but accept that the Rabbi Joshua(Jesus) who existed was messianic, the Netzarim come to mind.

Whether Matthew’s Gospel or anyone’s Gospel for that matter was written in Hebrew/Aramaic or not, is not a qualifying factor to their Jewishness. You do realize that Greek speaking Jews existed, don’t you?

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Matthew (for example only) generated history that did not take place (Herod killing children at birth of Jesus),


Oh really? Is this an unwarranted argument from silence - and hence not worth my time, or do you have some actual evidence and reason to substantiate your claim?

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misused Tanakh scripture out of context ("out of Egypt I have called"),


No, rather YOU have misunderstood and hence misinterpreted Matthew’s quotation of scripture out of context, because of your lack of socio-linguistic awareness.

Tell me something, have you heard of  the Jewish exegetical technique known as midrash?

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and created/invented scripture when there was none to be found (shall be called a Nazarine.)


Tell me something, have you heard of the Jewish exegetical technique known as remez?

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Much of what was written however lacks a good understanding of the Tanakh, especially Matthew's use of prophecy to back the claims of his mangod. 


You have yet to prove anything. More non-answers, keep them coming.

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So the claim that these were "Jewish" authors is entirely based upon blind faith and not a researched opinion at all.

Not researched? Listen, I just changed my pants from the last time I wet them reading your garbage.

When you become socio-culturally, socio-historically, socio-linguistically and socio-literarily aware of the context of Matthew’s Gospel, then come back and we can have some sort of an intellectual discourse. Matthew’s Gospel is more Jewish than Jewish, and ironically, the verses you have referred us to only ATTEST to and CONFIRM his Jewishness, rather than negate it - so THANKS. You can keep sitting in your world of blissful ignorance, and tell yourself that nothing has been researched, despite the last hundreds of years of contemporary critical research and scholarship and the last two millennia of unbroken church tradition; just know that we aren’t as stupid as you have mistakenly assumed, and that it is corollary from your paralytic hermeneutical approach to the Bible and your vague and meaningless claims such as “not researched opinion at all”, that you have no credibility on this forum.

So we will let the readers decide whose word to take on this issue: Joseph-knows-nothing-of-Messiah, a person who in ignorance, has raised issues which only backfire directly against his unsubstantiated opinion that there is no reason to accept the Jewishness of the authors, or; the universal witness of the early church + intellectual giants like Professor Craig Keener, who have devoted their lives to professional scholarly research, and have had this to say, concerning the author of the Gospel according to St Matthew:

“Matthew is clearly Jewish, in dialogue with contemporary Jewish thought, and skilled in traditional Jewish interpretation of the Old Testament (1). Matthew also knows the context of his citations much better than many modern readers have supposed, and he demonstrates familiarity with a variety of text-types.” (A commentary on the Gospel of Matthew, 1991, page 40-41)

Footnote (1) reads: “Many scholars concur here, in the 1970’s (e.g. Hill, Ellis), 1980’s (e.g. Carson, Davies, Allison, Senior, Luz), and 1990’s (Kingsbury, Stanton).

HmmmGǪ. it’s a tough one isn’t it?

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« Reply #67 on: March 23, 2005, 09:15:13 AM »

6) Prophetic issues vindicated

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The general concensus of Judaism has always been that the messiah would either come to or rebuld the temple if need be.


Thank you for proving my point, which was to show that the particular Rabbi raising the particular objection that the Messiah must necessarily rebuild the temple (implicitly referring to a physical one), was indeed being quite presumptuous, for there were many Jews, amongst them names which carry authority in traditional Orthodox Judaism, who did not believe that this was a necessary condition, (and many generally avoided arriving at anything conclusive at all, as will be spoken of shortly), and certainly the divine scriptures hold no such position at all, but on the contrary teach that the Messiah will indeed come during the second temple period, and necessarily visit the second temple.

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So while you might like to show that Judaism has no single viewpoint it is easy enough demonstrated that neither does Christianity.


Actually, this was never my point, so you just attacked yet another straw man.

My point was quite simple and clear - There does and did exist amongst traditional Orthodox Jews, an interpretation of the Messiah’s function, which did not include his building of a third physical temple and which presumed his visitation of the second, and that this interpretation is indeed consistent with the ultimate authority - the divine scriptures. The fact he therefore placed this objection in a work so-generally titled “Why Jews don’t believe in Jesus” was either deceptive or not carefully thought out.

Furthermore, my statement was significant and relevant, since it was not some minority heretical sect, or some random individual, which I referred to in order to support my contention, but rather reputable authorities that would indisputably be characterized as “Orthodox”. The apparent reason for the discrepancies between leading authorities regarding this issue will be discussed later on, and the question will then be asked: “Why would an Orthodox Rabbi set an absolute condition for the Christian, regarding the function of the messiah with regards to the building of a third temple, as if it were dogmatic, when a) the divine scriptures do not  teach this, and b) your own authorities conflict regarding how to interpret the temple passages of Ezekiel, and admit obvious problems regarding it.”

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Even in the days of the supposed Jesus those in leadership saw a stark difference between the temple that existed and the temple that was described by Ezekiel.  And by such it was believed that because many prophets told that the temple would be destroyed that it was not the "everlasting" temple but merely the second one with another to come.

I have never related Ezekiel’s temple to the physical second temple, so what is your point? What has this got to do with the relevant point - the fact that the Messiah would necessarily visit the second physical temple and not necessarily re-build a physical third? Please learn to concentrate.

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So nice of you to think they are referencing the "second" temple concidering that Ezekiel's descriptoin of the temple does not fit with the second temple.

And its so nice of you to continuously point out the irrelevant and to attack straw men. The fact Ezekiel may be speaking of a third physical temple (we will assume this for arguments sake), is not mutually exclusive to the fact that the relevant scriptures speaking about the rebuilding of a temple, do so in a context which specifically refers to the second temple (which is NOT Ezekiel’s temple - even though Ezekiel's temple was expected to be the second temple) and not a third. You argue as if its corollary to the fact they are referencing the second temple, that they are referring to Ezekiel’s temple. My position regarding Ezekiel’s temple, is the same as Rashi’s  namely that it is metaphorical. I will further discuss in what sense it is metaphorical according to the Christian context, later on.

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I find it strange that you would make such a claim because if these scriptures were referencing the second temple why does Ezekiel's temple not describe the second temple but differ from it?

Because Ezekiel’s temple has nothing to do with the second physical temple! Maybe if you spent more time carefully reading my arguments, and less time insulting our apostles, you wouldn’t be so confused as to make faulty assumptions. The scriptures in question make reference to the rebuilding of the second temple. The second temple that was built has no connection with Ezekiel or his temple. Clear?

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The first obvious flaw in the above objection presented, that needs to be addressed, is the fact that scholars and historians have proven that there was Messianic expectation amongst many of the religious traditional Jews of Christ’s day i.e. That the Messiah would come in their lifetime - during the second temple period. Obviously then, they were not expecting the building of a third temple, since the second temple was already standing!  What we do find however, is the fact that rather than expecting the Messiah to rebuild any temple, they were expecting His visitation to His temple!

If we read Haggai 2:6-9, we discover that there is something about the second temple being greater in glory than the first. Considering that the first temple was ascribed with 5 unique features lacking in the second temple; we are left wandering what it is about the second temple that makes it greater in glory. Certainly the rabbinic traditions were struggling to find an adequate answer to this puzzle, and the standard answers were certainly not plausible. Amidst all their attempts to explain this issue on their own, lies the very answer in Malachi 3:1-5  (a passage recognized to be messianic by famous medieval commentators David Kimchi and Metsudat David). Here we find that the Messiah would visit the second temple! The scriptures speak plainly.

that is really reaching there, especially if you take into account that Ezekiel's description of a temple is yet to be generated.

Again, let’s repeat a point that I can’t even believe I am having to repeat up to three times now. Ezekiel’s temple has nothing to do with the second temple; the passages in question have nothing to do with Ezekiel’s temple, and so whether Ezekiel’s description of a temple has been generated or not at this point, is irrelevant to the fact the Messiah would visit the second temple. Deal with the context of Haggai 2:6-9 and Malachi 3:1-5 which are clearly in reference to the second temple, and which clearly prove that the Messiah would visit the second temple. I would appreciate you staying focused.

I said:
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Looking at Ezekiel 37:26-28 specifically however, it clearly says absolutely nothing about the Messiah building any sort of temple:

"I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be an everlasting covenant. I will establish them and increase their numbers, and I will put my sanctuary among them forever. My dwelling place will be with them; I will be their God, and they will be my people. Then the nations will know that I the LORD make Israel holy, when my sanctuary is among them forever."

Looking at the wider context, namely considering chapters 44 - 46, the Messiah is only said to worship there. In fact the very temple in question, is not said to be built by anyone at all, but rather it is revealed to Ezekiel in a vision, already built and established. This is certainly the view of certain leading Rabbinic authorities, regarding the third temple. Rashi (Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki), Tasafot (Sukkah 41a), and traditional Jewish sources such as Midrash Tanchuma, Pekedei, maintain that the third temple is “the sanctuary of God, established by your hands.” - One that is already built and waiting in the heavens to be revealed. Such a view is right on line with the temple witnessed by the apostle John, as depicted in the book of Revelations (especially Chapter 21).


You said:
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the third temple is to be built as described in detail by Ezekiel.  Had you not glossed over Ezekiel's detailed description of how the next temple is to be built perhaps you would notice this,

The point of contention here, is whether this is to be read literally or metaphorically. I guess I’m as stupid as authoritative Jewish exegetes Rashi and the other authoirtative source which I quotedo, you knowGǪthe one’s I used to support my case that Ezekiel’s temple is not a literal to-be-built temple. Or maybe these Jewish exegetes “glossed over” the passages in question as well - maybe they were even under-cover Christians with a hidden agenda. Since you would rather arbitrarily and without reason, discredit even Jewish authorities on this one, please allow me to shed some more light on this issue:

1) First we will address the fact that Jewish authorities have had much trouble dealing with the Ezekiel passages relating to the nature of the temple:

In his compendium of the most significant rabbinic commentaries of Ezekiel, Rabbi Dr Fisch in commenting on the temple passages (chapter 40-48) states:

“These closing chapters present almost insuperable difficulties. They contain discrepancies, contradictions with Pentateuchal laws, and terms which do not occur elsewhereGǪThe Rabbis of the Talmud (Men. 45a) remarked that only the prophet Elijah, who will herald the ultimate redemption, will elucidate these chaptersGǪ”

Rav Dr. Joseph Breuer, who writes from a striuctly Orthodox perspective says the following:

“We will not presume to give a detailed commentary on these passages. We will merely attempt to set down some thoughts they engender, and even that only with the greatest circumspection. Especially when the prophet deals with jewish Law, we have followed the interpretations of our Sages and Commentators and, in particular, those given by Rashi, even where those clearly pose problems. In many instances we will have to do without explanation. Our reticence is justified by the comment of the Rambam: “The future structure ot be built, even though it is written of in Ezekiel, is not interpreted or explained”GǪHence, the writings of Ezekiel pertaining to the future sanctuary are beyond our clearGǪunderstanding.” (The book of Yechezel: Translation and commentary, page 354).

Hence, your confident conclusion on the nature of Ezekiel’s temple, and this Rabbi’s dogmatic perspective pertaining to the relationship between the Messiah and a third temple, would be considered nothing less than presumptuous even by reputable and renowned Jewish scholars and commentators, thus proving, that to draw something conclusive and to try and prove a doctrinal point from these very texts, in order to invalidate Jesus The Christ is nothing but a desperate and futile agenda.

2) I will now argue from the New Testament perspective, how the Holy Spirit in inspiring the Apostles of God, clarified for the world, the nature of this symbolic temple, and how it relates to the second temple period and Jesus The Messiah’s person and mission.

Before we get straight into it, I would like to briefly mention three themes concerning Ezekiel’s temple which the Tanakh and Jewish scholars had recognized, and which should be kept in mind: 1) the theme of God dwelling amongst His people in their midst through the temple. 2) The theme of atonement. 3) The theme of God’s release from captivity.

On a literal level, it seems like the vision fell short of being fulfilled in the expected period and time. The second temple, as you noted, was far different from the temple described in which God promised He would dwell, and only some exiled managed to return - and such a return was hardly glorious.

Since you are a deist, and do not necessarily hold to the absolute truth of the Bible (?), I guess you can call it a false prophecy. As mentioned above, the general view of Orthodox Judaism as represented by the above authoritative figures is simply that it is absolutely incomprehensible - despite the strained position of certain Rabbinic traditions which try to resolve the issue, by saying that though the vision of Ezekiel was assigned to a specific period, it has been postponed.

According to Orthodox Christianity, we neither have to resort to declaring it a false prophecy, nor do we need to wait for Elijah to come and explain it to us. We understand its symbolic significance, as emphasized in light of the New Testament scriptures. Ezekiel’s vision was God’s message to the people saying, generally and in a nutshell saying: “I will dwell amongst you, and forgive you for your sins, I will set you free from captivity.” - and this was fulfilled through and by Messiah Jesus.

Ezekiel’s temple is not only the body of Christ through which God tabernacled in our midst (John 1:14). But it is also the spiritual temple established by God in the believers - a temple that is continually being built day by day (Ephesians 2:21-22, and Revelations 21) Such that not only was He uniquely present through the person of Christ (John 14:7-12) But He also dwells in us (1 Cor. 3:16-17; 2 Cor. 6:16 - 7:1) A temple where we offer spiritual sacrifices to God (Romans. 12:1, 1 Peter 2:4-5, Heb. 13:15-16).

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He hasn't done what is to be done but "will do it." 


He has claimed, performed and validated, what needed to be done upon his first coming according to the prophecies. The accomplishment of these things, gives credence to and validates the belief he indeed will complete the rest of his mission as laid down in the scriptures. Furthermore, he has done what needed to be done according to those prophecies which laid out a specific timeframe; He visited the second temple according to the Malachi and Haggai prophecies (as construed together), he fulfilled Ezekiel’s vision, and Daniel’s prophetic time-frame.

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Christianity maintains that he will return and the NT record is that "time is short" and Paul even told that marriage would be unnecessary because time was so short.  The problem is that 2,000 years later and we are all still realizing that time isn't as short as the claim has always been, but this does not stop Christian "end-timers" from existing in each and every single generation.

Give us some references so we can consider the context of the verses in question.

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The ignorance it takes to believe that the scriptures found in Daniel 9 (along with the exceptionally poorly drawn out "prophetic year" idea) are so laughable as to be nothing more than an attempt by the author to carve the circle around the mangod he already accepts.


That’s nothing but a cop out. Obviously you are incapable of dealing with the text of Daniel 9. We understand. Who said fighting the truth would be a walk in the park? Using nothing but meaningless rhetoric to argue that Christians approach Daniel 9 with a presupposition that is eisegetically read into the text, only goes to further reduce your credibility. Either give us an objective exegesis of the relevant scriptures, or shut up. I will give you a chance to redeem yourself on this one.

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the manipulation of Isaiah maiden who was a sign unto the King in that day (making no sense for it to happen 700 years later when the King is dead) becoming a virgin birth

Firstly, if you’re going to use strong words like “manipulation”, some substantial evidence would be nice. I highly doubt you have proven yourself credible to anyone in this forum, such that we would take your claims at face value. Understanding a certain word in a context which confines it to a specific definition, of which it is capable of generating, notwithstanding that it can possibly take upon itself other more wider and general connotations (assuming so for arguments sake), is not something I would deem “manipulative” unless I was really desperate and determined to push forward an agenda with a closed mind and heart, against St Matthew, an inspired Jewish apostle with hundreds of vantage points over you, I or anyone today, including his understanding of the languages at the time, his cultural continuity with the Old testament; and his proximity to various 'sources' of that understanding.

Secondly, we would appreciate it if YOU quit the manipulation, and not read things into the text. Nowhere does it say or imply, that this would be a “sign unto the King in that day”, such that it would necessarily be manifest to him, for him to witness. Since I don’t want to set up any straw men, maybe you can give us your favorite anti-missionary suggestion from messiahtruth.com concerning whom the almah and son of Isaiah 7:14 refers to. Or, if you don’t feel the need to assert any sort of a positive interpretation, but would rather continue attempting to negate the Christian interpretation in futility, that is fine.

Furthermore, a plausible reason for the argument that the text is referring to a virgin birth is the fact that the Hebrew word employed for ‘sign’ - Oth, is used consistently throughout the book of Isaiah in order to denote something miraculous and out of the ordinary. I wouldn’t exactly consider a young non-virgin woman giving birth to be an oth in the sense that the author generally and consistently employs the term. This almah conceiving a child is to be a miraculous event (i.e. like a VIRGIN birth) of great significance to the house of David (because the house of David will be established through the virgin birth of the Messiah).

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to the translation of "like a lion" into "they pierced my hands and feet" in Psalm 22.

I would argue the fact, that if any textual corruption had taken place with regards to this verse, all the evidence suggests that you have it the wrong way around buddy. Under the praxis of objective textual criticism, which I briefly mentioned above, we have much reason to support the “pierced” translation, as the one which is most reliable and authentic. I will bring to your attention the fact that the Septuagint, Syriac, and other translations understood the verse referring to being “pierced” suggesting, as I argued above, that they had a different form of the Hebrew text in front of them. Even some Hebrew manuscripts (from the Masoretic family), have used the term “pierced”. We find that in context, the term “pierced”actually makes much more sense, and doesn’t have inherent linguistical and grammatical difficulties that “like a lion” leaves.

Strongest evidence against you however, lies in the Dead sea scrolls. Let me quote for you from three of the most reputable world scholars in the field of Biblical Hebrew and dead sea scroll research. In their book titled “The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible: The Oldest Know Bible Translated for the First Time into English”, Abegg, Ulrich and Flint say on page 519:

"Psalm 22 is a favourite amongst Christians since it is often linkedGǪwith the suffering and death of Christ. AGǪcontroversial reading is found in v. 16,GǪthe Masoretic Text reads 'Like a lion are my hands and feet,' GǪ.the Septuagint reads 'They have pierced my hands and feet.' Among the scrolls the verse in question is found only in the Psalms scroll found at Nahal HeverGǪ.,which reads 'They have pierced my hands and my feet'""

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certainly demonstrates the various archers drawing their circles around their preset notions, nothing more.

Ignorance is bliss isn’t it. I hope when you address me next round, you can cut down on the cheap talk, and address the arguments with some objectivity and reason.

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Jesus once made the claim that he would be in the ground for 3 days. 

No matter which version of the gospel story you use he was not in the ground this long.

No matter how you wish to ignorantly interpret this fallaciously at face value from your distorted 21st century western lenses, Christ’s statement will always remain logically consistent in the socio-cultural and socio-linguistical context of 1st century Jewish Palestine, and as such will be interpreted accordingly.

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Jesus once said that he would return before "this generation" passed away.  It has already done so.


Oh really? So you presuppose your own fallacious interpretation, one not supported by proper exegesis or church tradition, but rather face value skepticism, and then you draw your conclusion. Nice. I’m not even going to bother explaining this one, you’re starting to waste my time.

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There is nothing in the Tanakh that requires the Messiah to be born "normally" of human parents.

Quite the contrary, the messiah (to be a messiah) you must be a blood born descendant of King David through Solomon's line. [Genesis 49:10, Isaiah 11:1, Jeremiah 23:5, 33:17; Ezekiel 34:23-24]

That’s amazing, I didn’t know that. Now that you’ve informed me of this critical point, please allow me to point out why your observation NECESSITATES a VIRGIN birth.  According to the scriptures, Solomon’s line eventually suffered from the curse of Jeconiah, such that any physical descendents thenceforth were ineligible to claim David’s throne (Jeremiah 22:24-30). Therefore, not only does the Tanakh not necessitate a “normal” birth, but it PROMOTES THE NECESSITY of the VIRGIN birth of the Messiah, such that he can still somehow be connected to the line of David through Solomon - a NON-PHYSICAL connection, such that he can avoid the curse of Jeconiah and still be considered the legitimate Messiah.

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It means maiden not virgin.


Prove it. I cant be bothered getting into a 10 page analysis on almah right now. You present an argument that I can deal with, or don't bother offering a mere counter-assertion.

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And second, the context of this "prophecy" was demonstrated to a King as a sign.  That Jesus was born hundreds of years later means little to a King long dead.

Actually, it did mean something considering the concerns of this King for the house of David - the hoouse of david which God eventuallybrought judgement upon because of King Ahaz's unbelief. The sign was to be given thus for the house of David, concerning the birth of a royal child - such that though the line of David had failed God's conditions, God would still nonetheless fulfill his unconditional promise. Hence it is quite plausible to see this passage in a Messianic framework.

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Another thing, there is a problem inwhich the child describe is said to not know between good and evil at a point.  So much for Jesus being without sin if this actually does apply to him.

That’s a classic non sequitur. His lack of awareness of what is good and what is evil during his childhood does not mean that it necessarily follows that he actually did that which is evil. Therefore, there is no contradiction between ascribing Isaiah 7:14 and its context to Jesus, with the fact that the scriptures attest to His perfect goodness. Logic does not seem to be your forte.

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Isaiah 53 is probably the easiest missionary claim to defeat by simply reading and applying what is written about this "suffering servant."

Believe me, I suffer watching you make such a fool out of yourself. Let’s see how well the rabbi’s at jewsforjudaism.com and messiahtruth.com have prepared you for this one.

On a side note; its interesting the way you criticize the stereotypical southern Usa KJV holding sola scripturist evangelical fundamentalist, because your approach to Isaiah 53 and many other verses which you have brought up, is much like their general approach to the Bible. You interpret Isaiah 53 like a legalist, appealing to a woodenly literal interpretation of the text without any regard for context, or even simple common sense which should simply tell you on certain occasions that it would be absolutely absurd to take a verse to the level of literalism, that you obviously feel you need to take it in order to discredit the most perfectly fitting subject that anyone has been able to offer for this passage. You shouldn’t have to try so hard to refute the truth Joseph, and you and I both know it took you some trying and straining to try and interpret these verses out of how common sense and proper exegesis would tell you to interpret this passage, had you no polemical/skeptical agenda to skewer your objectivity.

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Isa 53:7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth."  Jesus spoke in the NT record.

Would you like to qualify that?

You mean Jesus resisted, spoke out against, complained against  his being oppressed, afflicted and brought to the slaughter (i.e. he contradicted the reasonably perceived implication of the verse, and the sound minded interpretation of it as such); or you mean like he spoke in his lifetime i.e. he had to have been born a mute in order to fulfill this prophecy? Or is there some other ridiculously desperate literal extent to which you wish to take the verse; like for example, what if he yawned, coughed, sneezed or breathed through his mouth during his lifetime (or even the trials if you intend to restrict it to this period alone), would that disqualify him also? Oh, by the way, I know people who sneeze without even opening their mouth, it’s absolutely fascinating. I speak the truth!

Since most anti-missionaries apply the subject of Isaiah 53 to Israel, would you like tell us how your skeptically motivated and blindly literal interpretation of this applies to that particular subject, or do you have another mind?

By the way, I thought of another objection for you, which is suited to the level of your intellectual reasoning. Isaiah says that the suffering servant will grow up like a root out of dry ground, but Jesus was a human being not a plant, and he was born out of the womb of the Virgin Mary, not dry ground. How genius is that?

Listen, every Christian on this forum knows that the obvious implication of the verse in question, is that the suffering servant would not speak out against, complain against, or resist his being oppressed, afflicted and brought to the slaughter. This is further supported by Isaiah 50:5-7 which reads:

 "The Lord GOD hath opened mine ear, and I was not rebellious, neither turned away back. (6) I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting. (7) "For the Lord GOD will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded: therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed."

Trust me, no one here is going to buy into your woodenly literal interpretation of it - so if you are happy and content with your desperate interpretation, then so be it. I will further argue how Jesus does fit in according to the sound interpretation of this verse.

1)   Jesus willingly and voluntarily submitted to death (see John 10:11,15,17; 15:13)
2)   When the soldiers came to take Jesus from the garden of Gethsemane, he did not resist (Matthew 26:50-54)
3)   Jesus was whipped and scourged. His beard was pulled. He was mocked, spat at, a crown of thorns placed upon his head, nails driven through his hands and feet. Did he complain and cruse his persecutors, and executioners? Luke 23:34 doesn’t seem to suggest so.


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Isa 53:9 And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither [was any] deceit in his mouth."  Jesus became violent in a temple. Justified violence is still violence.

The Hebrew word chamac hardly describes things like the cleansing of the Temple incident, which is nothing more than a forceful act of prophetic demonstration. Elsewhere the word is used to describe the "violence" done by men in Genesis 6 that prompted the Flood, and it generally has implications of injustice - so you don’t decide how to qualify the word sir, we take into account how it is used in context. If we look at Strong’s definition for the Hebrew word chamac - we find the following terms: violence, wrong, cruelty, injustice - these latter three words clearly put the term “violence” in context.

Jesus was not abritraily, wrongly, cruelly, unrighteously or injustly being violent - he was a legitimate authority using legitimate force for not only a lawful and legitimate purpose (enforcing Rabbinic policy), but also a prophetic one.

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and cursed a fig tree that didn't produce fruit while it was out of season.


Cursing a fig tree is deceit? I never realized that the act of cursing and the act of deceit were synonymous. One of us needs to get a new dictionary, and it’s certainly not me. But waitGǪ”the Tanakh was not written in English” you say. Thanks for reminding me. Unfortunately for you, the Hebrew word Mirmah means nothing but deceit - treachery etc. it is no synonym to cursing.

Since the issue concerns not whether Christ actually “cursed” in the sense that he had a foul mouth, or whether he cursed in another sense (which is what proper interpretation promotes); we will therefore put this issue aside.

Isaiah 53:9 concerns DECEIT my friend, DECEIT. Find me DECEIT in the words of The Christ. Come on pal, are you telling me that the fallacious fig tree objection was all that the rabbi’s at messiahtruth.com had to offer you? Let me help you out on this one, because it seems that you’re struggling. Go have a read of the book of John chapter 7 verses 8-10, and then come and say to me: “Aha! There you go, Jesus lied! There’s your deceit! Take THAT!”, so we can educate you concerning concepts of honor in that historical period, as well as rhetorical criticism.

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And the most damaging:

*Prepares new change of underwear, then slowly but hesitantly scrolls down the page to daringly confront the next challenge, trying to maintain control of the mouse cursor as my right hand shakes profusely,  eyes wide open, and left hand over a wide open mouth*

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"Isa 53:10 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put [him] to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin,..."

It is not the Christian claim that a soul is the restitutional act or offering but a body upon a cross that bleeds.

You’ve got to be kidding meGǪ LOL What an unbelievable strawmanGǪbut then again, what’s new?

So Jospeh, you are telling me, that the Christian makes a distinction between the body and soul of the human aspect of Christ, claiming that one to the exclusion of the other constitutes to the atoning sacrifice? REALLY? That’s absolutely amazing man, we really have a lot to learn from you hereGǪ

Listen to me, the death of Christ is the sacrifice. PERIOD. “By his death, he trampled upon death” we say in the Orthodox liturgy. Not “by his bleeding body (to the exclusion of his soul) he trampled upon death.”

Now what is death?...

Oh, what was that you said?...

The termination of life, and point of departure of the soul from the body, as a result of the failed function of vital physical organs of that very human body, you say?

Well done, sir! A+ for you, glad you finally worked out that according to the Christian understanding, Christ did indeed “offer his soul” when he submitted his physical person to those who would execute him to the point where the soul departs from the body i.e. death.

Now we can move on.

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"...he shall see [his] seed," Jesus had no blood offspring and the term used here is only used for blood offspring not for followers.

Oh boy, you know, St Paul and I, we really need to sit down with you one day and learn Tanakh from youGǪ.No. YOU will sit down, and YOU will learn:

1)   Do not knock down a straw man SIR. We don’t interpret this with regards to the followers of Jesus. Here is how we understand the verse; placing the appropriate subject in parenthesis besides the relevant pronoun:
"Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him (Christ); he (the LORD) hath put him (Christ) to grief: when thou (the LORD) shalt make his (the Christ’s) soul an offering for sin, he (the LORD) shall see his (the LORD's) seed, he (the LORD) shall prolong his (the Messiah's) days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his (the Christ’s) hand."

2) The term is not “only used for blood offspring”. The word is used repeatedly in a metaphorical sense.

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"...he shall prolong [his] days," Jesus died a relatively young man for his day and does not fullfill this part of the text either.

You do understand that preceding the qualification that his days will be prolonged, is the qualification that he will in fact die first - hence being perfectly compatible with the Biblical and historical account of Christ which dictates that he was in fact raised from dead, and now lives and reigns for eternity?

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Of Christian claims this is perhaps the easiest to denote as fallacious and just goes to demonstrate the selective nature found within their cognitive dissonance.

*yawns*

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Understand that this "atoning sacrifice" is a soul then?


Understood sir; In the same sense that we understand that “by his wounds we are healed”, and that he was “pierced for our transgressions”. Or does Jesus fail here also, because we don’t claim that atonement and salvation were made effective through his mere wounds, or pierced side and hands? Give us a break.
 
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Realize that no matter how you wish to manipulate this discussion further, it has already not applied to your christian dogmas?

Realise that no matter how you wish to manipulate the text of the Tanakh further, a proper hermeneutic approach and reasonable usage of common sense, will not support your skeptical agenda?

Realise that the ridiculously literal extent which you find necessary to interpret many of these passages, in order to support your desperate and futile agenda against Christianity, really leaves no reasonable alternative interpretation that will appropriately conform with your wooden literalism, such that you render the verses meaningless and inapplicable to any subject, including Israel the most popularly purported alternative by so-called anti-missionaries, including your good friends at messiahtruth.com?

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« Reply #68 on: March 23, 2005, 09:16:39 AM »

7) Conclusion

Conclusion:

They say first impressions last, and yours wasn’t that pretty, but I would like to give you the chance to redeem yourself. You stooped to a certain level of arrogance and disrespect, by insulting and degrading persons (without any objective or factual basis for titles like “liar” or “fraud”, as proven above) that we as Christians hold in high esteem; and I on many occasions, in response (having a problem with patience and humility) decided to tackle you at your own level. Your music was screeching in my ears, such that at I unconsciously tuned into your frequency and played along at your volume and pitch. However, I believe underlying both our posts, we can find some reasonable objections with valid answers.

So we are left with two choices here; we can either regress or we can progress.

You had your shot, I had mine - let’s leave it at that. Be a man, help me out, and see if you can rotate your tone 180 degrees in order that I can do likewise, such that we can simply deal with the facts, logic, and reason, without the emotional sensationalism and rhetoric to cloud our positions. I’m no saint, I’ve dealt as harshly as you, and maybe even more so with others outside of and in this forum, even with those who share the same faith as I, who had disagreed with me on peripheral issues. At the other extreme however, I believe I have also shown the ability to maintain a decent exchange, when the one I’m dealing with comes across with a respectable demeanor, such as our Jewish friend MBZ, whom I thoroughly enjoyed conversing with.

During the course of your response, it would be much appreciated, if you consciously try your best to simply deal with the substance of my response, responding with substance of your own so that we can enjoy a decent dialogue, and maybe learn a little something from each other; If not for me, at least do it out of consideration and respect for the administrators of this website (of whom you are a guest), and those who have responded to you so far with courtesy and respect (such a greekischristian, jmbejdi, choirfriend, Ian Lazarus, lellimore, and others), despite the outrageous things you have said concerning our Lord and the holy men we hold dear to our hearts.

Thank you in advance, and forgive me,

Peace.
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« Reply #69 on: March 25, 2005, 02:07:10 AM »

After the promulgation of the Great Tome of EkhristosAnesti, I hate to post prior to allowing JosephofMessiah to post; however, since it has been a couple days, I'll post to continue my dialogue with JosephofMessiah, though I do believe your post should have precedence in response (because first of all, you put a lot more work into it and secondly, my dialogue is getting very very close to going around in circles (JosephofMessiah: if you miss the point again, the dialogue will probably be in a tail spin, though I'll do my best to save it)).

So here we go,

Why should my pink unicorn which you must [sacrifice an innocent child to in order to have salvation] be held to the verification by the axioms of empiricism?

You can insert any number of horrendous things within the brackets that various IDEAS of a given person's brain-organ invented that do not hold to empirical evidence.  And you can also see why we should question every invention of the mind-brain-organ so that we are not blindly forced into servitude to a false god/deity/idea by our blind acceptance.

I believe that your pink unicorn should be held to verification by the axioms of Christianity...it's just as reasonable for me to insist your empiricism be held to the verification of the Axioms of Christianity as it is to insist we do things the other way around...both are, logically speaking, unprovable religions. You just happen to be more comfortable with one (i.e. empiricism) so you're insisting on its articles of faith as though they were absolute truths, and even ignoring the inherent contradictions in your system of beliefs (you would make a good religious zelot)...granted I'll admit that Christianity has Contradictions as well, but we dont hold to the Law of non-Contradiction or the Law of the Excluded Middle like the empiricists do.

I do not see how you conclude such a thing.
Plato's world can not be visited, even he, himself, could not "break the chains" and see if the "shadows" were the actual reality that exists.  In fact, the entire idea is built upon the ideas of a mind which you either accept or do not accept without any demonstration of this realm.  This is not even required in the world's religions (all of them have their artifacts, prophets, miracles, ect).  Granted this is very poor evidence of "another realm" or a "deity" existing, but it is at least SOMETHING from our realm that relates that there is something beyond it while Plato's fantasy world is merely without demonstration entirely.

I would also argue that if you are to cancel down the axioms of plato to being equal to the axioms of evidenced reality, you have just allowed me to require you salvation by my pink unicorn and made your deity exactly equal to my pink unicorn in every single way (personally even I as a skeptic find that horrendous).

Perhaps you are getting the point, from a logical perspective your pink unicorn is just as likely as my deity and both are just as likely to exist as the 'empirical world' you love so much...so if we want to search deeper for truth, we will have to abandon logic and leave reason behind, and go out searching for this truth using our faith.

Your geometry idea does not hold inthat these are conflicting systems of idea.

The real world is demonstrated to us through our basic senses and repeated evidenced driven investigation allows us to drawn very meaningful conclusions about our reality.  Blind faith in the ideas of a mind-brain-organ without repeated evidence is more or less meaningless, it becomes a moot point from which mankind does not even have to relate to it as it has not real world affect/effect.

You were so close, and then you rush back to your religious beliefs where you are in your comfort zone again.

If you wish to continue along this route it is the same as saying "pick any god of any religion you wish because they are all equal, all things are equal because nothing matters, it is all based upon assumptions in the end."

There you go, this is the point, that the above conclusion is the logical result of rationalism.

Your specific deity is yours because you decided to accept the claims of a particular group and the artifacts of that group as truthful (even while at the same moment denoting them as falsifiable, including the Church leaders)...that takes plenty of thinking on my part to grasp why you have made the choices you have and whether it might be nothing more than enculturation (and by such your specific deity will condemn you or not condemn you based upon your "luck" of being born into the proper faith-set, based upon whether your parents fell for/accepted the unevidenced ideas of past generations and were correct or not).  The funnies thing of all is many walk around all happy and secure in their idea that they have "salvation."  You don't know you do in the end because all other religions condemn you.  You might simply be worshiping a pink unicorn of another man's mind in the end dressed up as holy.

Being a Convert to Orthodoxy, you can rest assured that I am not here because of my parents (not by any stretch of the imagination Wink ), nor because of cultural identity (though I have fallen in love with Greek Culture). Now with that said, I am far from 'secure' in my 'salvation,' hell I haven't been 'secure in my salvation' since my days of Calvinism. This notion of eternal security (or even knowlege about your eternal state) is a western scholastic invention, the Orthodox dont believe you do x, y, and z then you have a binding contract that forces God to grant you salvation. That decision is for God, and God alone. While I'll claim that the hindu or the buddhist do not have the fullness of the truth, you will not find me saying they will not be saved, again that is not my decision...just as my salvation is ultimately not my decision; I do, however, know from my faith that God is Merciful, so I shall appeal to his Mercy for my salvation and the salvation of all mankind. With that said, I do believe that there is free will involved (e.g. if you are granted salvation by God at the last judgement, but reject it, he won't force it on you...see parable of the prodigal son, I believe it has Eschatological ramifications), but not in the legalistic manner that you will find in the west. If you want a religion that will give you 100% assurance of your salvation and let you know that you are better than your neighbour, because God chose you to go to heaven and your neighbour to go to hell, try Protestantism, you wont find that in Orthodoxy.

Einstein is quoted to have said even he didn't grasp all of general relativity after the mathematicians got a hold of it, LOL.

Typical scientist, though a thousand years behind the Mathematicians they get huge grants and produce minimal results, all of which owe their very existance to the Mathematicians...then the physicist who didn't even understand the implications of his own theory becomes famous, a theory that could not even be conceived without the works of Mathematicians who essentially reached the same conclusions in theoretical mathematics a century before. (yet another reason for Mathematicians to look down on Scientists and Engineers, I should start compiling these into a comprehensive list Wink )

Perhaps you are looking at this from a different perspective than my own, or perhaps you have read a greater philosopher that has outlined a reason you say that, but most certainly the idea that our reality is relative is accepted to me because it is empirically demonstrated to me by my reality.  Granted again our bi-conceptual language system and relative nature of seeing things is not perfect but it is what we have as humans.  And that our ideas and concepts do not hold on their own but must be relative to a given system and denoted relative to context to even have meaning, demonstrates the relative nature of all the things of this realm, including language, direction, temperature...on and on...

Perhaps you could explain to me out an empiricist can not be a relativist because in all honesty I am using the nature of the realm presented to me to come to these conclusions...go figure.

As for the philosophers, I would recomment Hegel, but if you want to be a true rationalist try G+¦del's; I have been tempted to post his proofs, but I doubt that ten or more pages of mathematical symbols and proofs would help the discussion along any, even if I would enjoy going through them again. As far as relativity goes, I'm not talking about Einsteinian Relativity, it's a fairly simple and straightforward theory that takes into account the fact that the velocity of light is finite and assumes that gravitational force=inertial force, you get some fun conclusions, but nothing philosophically ground breaking. The relativity that I am talking about is the relitivism that undermines your empiricism, that logically dismisses anything and everything you think you know, it does not only make you question how the universe works, it makes you question whether or not the universe exists.

The god that does not know it is god, is not god by definition (omniscience does not equal a limited mind, and in not knowing who it was, it is not god).

As far as what we can know of 'god' derived from logic, I'm not saying that logic tells us whether or not there is an omniscient god, I'm just saying that logic tells us there is a 'god' as in an ultimate being. If we are the only being then by default that is us, if there is another being outside ourselves, then maybe it is 'god,' maybe we are, maybe we all are if we are perfectly equal. My term 'god' here is used very loosely, simply meaning the most advanced entity in existance (if one entity exists, then this entity, or these entities, exist), doesnt tell us much, but it is a logical conclusion.

Here you enter into an area which I like to label a "philosophical slippery slope."
Granted you realize that I can demonstrate to you something which exists in the same realm as we currently occupy.  I can say, "this is a hammer, here, catch."  At such a point you have caught the hammer, felt it, and realize it exists.  If you were to hit me with it, I would very much accept that it exists.  The idea you are attempting here is to undermine the concept of "prove."  You are trying to make your deity equal to the hammer that just knocked me the heck out and has me bleeding on the ground.  You are trying to make all fairies and trolls and other IDEAS of the brain-matter-organ equal even if they have never been demonstrated to exist in the reality we share.

I do not agree with you in the least and no rational person would.  It is this slippery slope idea which perhaps has allowed you to throw up your hands and accept through blind faith that your particular encantation of a deity existed without evidence for it because you like the emotional context of the stories and the emotional context of the idea of salvation given to you by these mere IDEAS.  I can already hear you saying that "everything is an idea within the human-brain-organ" or some such nonsense, but then I will merely go right back to repeated evidenced existence within the realm that we are in...

And here you slide back into your comfortable religious beliefs in empiricism, and start throwing up defensive terms like 'no rational person believe...' we both know that this is the empiricist's version of 'only a heretic would believe...' and I guess, in a way, I am a heretic to rationalists and empiricists,  because I am destroying their god, logic and reason, I am demonstrating that their god collapses in on itself and, in the end, is self-contradicting (the greatest sin to the rationalists).

I have thought about this a long time after the Matrix movies and I can honestly answer (for myself) that this realm we are currently in is what matters to me personally irregardless of what lies beyond it and this is for a very important reason...it is the only one evidenced to exist.  Those that I love of this realm MATTER to me, whether they exist in another "generated" realm of another reality that goes unevidenced because it is only within the mind-brain-organ of another member of THIS reality...

So what you're basically saying is that truth doesn't matter to you, only what you feel right now; I would recommend heroin or crack, because they will probably do the best to make your experience right 'here and now' ideal. To some people the truth is more important than sensualism, but if all you care about is your sensualistic experience, like the prisoners in Plato's cave, to live in ignorance without seeking to find deeper truth is your luxury, but I pity you.

Ah, you are partly right.  It is a rational AND a sensualistic position.  You are trying a "this or that" when it is both.

The posistion is sensualistic, then reason is used to further expand your religious ideal of sensualism. But this is no different than any other religion, every Religion takes fundamental ideas and uses reason to expand on them, the empiricists are not the first to come up with this idea.

Reason and thought are only known to exist in this reality.
Any idea of the human mind matters only in how it relates to this reality we are currently in and how it creates in us how we relate to others that we meet in this reality.

Actually reason is an axiomatic system, it exists in any reality where assumptions can me made. What you mean to say is the way in which YOU apply reason and thought only exists in this 'reality,' they can both be used in other realities.

The history of deities is the bloodiest of any other human-brain-organ invention.

I dont like the results, therefore the presuppositions are false...wonderful logic, ever think of publishing ideas like these (the scary thing is that people actually have).

The Genesis record says "day."  Granted you do not claim it is without fault but for sake of argument let us say that a deity meant a 24hr day.
If this same deity then places within creation/matter the evidence that it is older than it actually it, it is a deviant act.  He/she/it has stated one thing and generated a lie within matter.  No different than the teenager with the fake idea is practicing deviance.

Now, if God did not mean 24hr day, translational error, whatever and the world was generated in billions of years as it is demonstrated, there is no deviance.

Let's assume, for the sake of argument, that it is a 24 hour day, God never told you that everything is Consistant and has always been Consistant, just because the Velocity of Light, Planck's Constant, Faraday's Constant, Gravitational Constant, et cetera are constant today, God gave you no assurance that they have alway been constant, perhaps they were variable, along with many other things, on the days of Creation. Since you assume consistancy, and your scientific assumptions are fundamentally flawed, it is only natural that your results are fundamentally flawed. You are accepting the assumptions of empiricism (e.g. consistancy and repeatability) and elevating them to the level of religious dogma, and arguing that when someone else's religious dogmas conflict with your dogmas, the other person's religion must be wrong.

I have always thought of our realm as a form of nothingness expressed over time-space.

For every action a reaction.

If you constantly take away that which is done, in equal measure, in perfect balance, the conclusion is zero in the end, exactly that which was at the beginning.  Then again I believe the Alpha point of our time-space is the Omega point, whether it be bane worlds colliding or other, I believe that time is circular not linear.  Now, THAT is an IDEA without evidence if there ever was one!!! (HEH)

Now there is a belief that does not only has no evidence, but actually is in direct conflict with current scientific data that the Universe is Expanding at an Increasing rate, and will end in all things being torn apart and the fundamental particles being thrown away from each other faster than the speed of light. Perhaps there's hope for you after all, just maybe Wink

Which one, why that one?

Why does that one give you salvation and any of the millions of other deities do not?

Why do you "feel saved" even in the realization (as you came to) that you have no reason to believe in religion you just decided to blindly accept it because it seems as "real" to you as the world you are in and you are doomed by the millions of other deities for being a false god worshiper?

You are no more saved than the man who believed in Zeus in the end even under your own mental idea of religion and reasons for accepting it.

I've already addressed the salvation issue, and how your understanding of it is very western, and inconsonant with Orthodox soteriology. But as to the question why this religion? Well, there is a question that is clearly without a rational answer, and I could try to explain my experiances and epiphanies but it would ultimatley be of no avail, if you really want to understand I would recommend attending an Orthodox Divine Liturgy, not that there are any guarantees of any such ephphanies or experiances (expecially not if one goes in with a negitive and judgmental outlook), but it would come closest to an explination.

It can not be used for atonement purposes under levitical law, but that is perhaps too deep a discussion for this thread.

It's not a sacrifice in the legal sense you're trying to make it out to be, it's a sacrifice of Love, it is ultimatley the Love of God that resulted in His Death as well as in our Salvation, and the reason God allowed His own Death was because to do otherwise would Undermine his Loving Nature, and without the Loving Nature there would be no Salvation. The death of Christ was not the fulfilling of a Contract, or of some Divine Vengance to allow humanity to be Saved; but it was a natural result of His Loving Nature, through which we receive salvation, coming in contact with our sinful nature. The anselmian notion of blood atonement you're trying to label as 'Christian' is a scholastic development of the middle ages, and not part of Orthodox Soteriology.

And thus ends you in eating human flesh and drinking human blood.
Even as a relativist this is an immoral idea unless we are starving to death on a raft or a member of the Donner Party perhaps.

Again, you're judging my faith by the axioms of your own, surprising how there's a conflict (what do you mean I cant prove triangles have exactly 180 degrees using the axioms of hyperbolic geometry? If I cant prove it using my axioms, it is not ture). In this particular context, our religion finds nothing wrong with the act, though it would be considered immoral if it was the Body and Blood of anyone other than Christ.
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« Reply #70 on: March 26, 2005, 12:06:54 AM »

re. alleged parallels between Christianity and pre-Christian paganism

Over zealous comparisons between Christianity and pre-Christian paganism have long been a pet-peeve of mine.  I think EnkhristosAnesti has done an excellent job addressing this (and so many other) issue, but I'd still like to throw in my two cents on this narrow aspect of the debate.

A lot of the contemporary comparison "scholarship", at least on a popular level, is being authored by an individual going under the pen name "Acharya S."  A minimally informed reading of their materials reveals quickly, that they're incredibly ill read, particularly in their treatment of pagan mythological subjects.

- The comparisons to the demi-gods of Greco-Roman mythology fall short, because the only vague similarity between them (like Dionysius and Heracles) and the Gospel narrative of Christ's miraculous conception-virgin birth, is that they were somehow the result of a union between a "higher than human" entity and a human being.  However after this most vague similarity (which is no more illustrative than the fact that most religions involve some form of "worship"), the comparison completly breaks down.  In fact the comparison breaks down even in these "conception stories" themselves, since said Greco-Roman "godlings" were the result of some kind of sexual commerce between Zeus and a mortal human female (which is very clearly not the narrative one will find in the Holy Scriptures regarding our Lord Jesus Christ - that He was somehow conceived via some marital relation between "YHWH" and the Blessed Virgin.)  Also, there is simply no meaningful parallel between the "demi-god" status of the fruit of Zeus's loins and human women, and the Incarnation.  Only an ignorance of one or both would allow for such comparisons.  As for the lives/adventures of these Greco-Roman deities, they bear no resemblence to the traditions regarding our Lord Jesus Christ and His earthly life and works.

- The comparisons to Mithraism are equally unimpressive.  Mithraism as a "mystery cult" with certain rites of initiation (like the bathing in a bull's blood) is contemporary to (and likely begins after) the emergence of Christianity throughout the Roman Empire.  It also goes without saying that the concepts of salvation involved are radically different.  Mithraism was essentially astrological in it's orientation, and like many pagan religions (like the Egyptian mysteries surrounding Osiris), was basically "a-historical" - this meaning that the mythos was tied to re-occuring events, so called "mysteries of nature": this is quite unlike Christianity, which like Judaism is a "historical religion", which makes claims that are tied to very specific historical events (like the giving ot the Torah at Mt.Sinai, or the Descent of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost.)  As EnkhistoAnesti has indicated already, the mythology of Mithra himself (which does have it's origins in the pre-Christian paganism of ancient Persia) has little similarity to the story of Christ's Incarnation - Mithra basically popped out of a rock.  What similarity that has to Christ being conceived of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary is beyond me.

- Comparisons to the Krishna mythos are particularly baffling to me, as for a variety of reasons I've made myself "unusually" familiar with the myths and philosophies of what the west commonly calls "Hinduism" (which is really a conglomeration of cults whose only meaningful similarity in some cases is their veneration of the Vedas and some shared mythology - however the rest, including the philosophical elements, cosmology, and specific mythologies vary wildly amongst the basic branches of Hinduism, which includes things like Vaishnavism, Shaivism, Shaktism, and Smartism - and each of these has many differing sub schools).  The cult surrounding the deity Krishna is a part of Vaishnavism, and how it is understood differs amongst various Vaishnavas - some (like the Gaudiya Vaishnavism) believe he is the "supreme god", a personal god (as opposed to the impersonalism of Shaivism and some forms of Vaishnavism - it's a mistake made by many westerners to believe that all Hindus are impersonalists); others believe he is an avatar of Visnu, one of the important deities talked about in the Purrannas.  Most scholars will tell you plainly that most elements of the basic "hindu orthodoxies" did not originate until the early part of the first millenia A.D., and that many key elements of the Hindu cults that survive to the present day did not take their final forms until the close of the first millenia or later!

- As for the Krishna cult in particular, more things need to be said.  The first mention of "Krishna" that can be found in any of the Vedas, does not appear to speak of the cult figure known to the world today.  You have to keep in mind that in ancient sanskrit, the name simply means "black", and "Krishna" probably started off simply as a hero-deity characterized by his having black skin (which could very well have been a result of some Indians using obsidian or similar dark stones as the medium for creating his idols.)  The oldest document which details anything to do with Krishna's adventures is the Bhagavad-Gita.  This is primarily a philosophical work, set in the context of a battlefield conversation, held between the "deity" and his friend/devotee Arjunna (an Indian prince.)  The work says precious little about Krishna's background, or any of the mythos connected to him in later times.  It also bares distinct marks of being the composition of at least two authors - the first part being composed much earlier (and being much more philosophical in tone), while later chapters appear to have been added on to make the text appeal more to the popular "Krishna cultus" that was appearing (and hence has less of a philosophical character, and portrays Krishna as advising all sorts of nasty/sneaky military tactics which are actually out of keeping with the philosopher-sage-god of the earlier part of the text.)  At the earliest, the Bhagavad-Gita was composed perhaps a couple of centuries B.C. (at least the older, primary part of this work), at latest during the opening centuries of the Christian era.  If we just take the Bhagavad-Gita at it's word, it seems uninterested in making the Krishna character fit into some syncretistic, broader mythology of gods - he is simply portrayed as the "supreme deity", who has taken the form of Arjunna's charioteer, present to help him and give him wisdom.  Suffice it to say, the system of salvation proposed by Krishna (which is basically an amoral detachment from one's activities, so as to avoid the reactionary-fruit or "karma" which they produce, whether good or bad) is not that of Christianity.

- As for the popular mythology surrounding Krishna, all of this is post-Christian.  The primary source for this is in a popular late Purranic work called the Srimad Bhagavatam (aka. Bhagavad Purrana).  The character presented in this is markedly different than the Krishna of the Bhagavad Gita, but the two are clearly meant to be identified as one in the same in the Hindu tradition.  He is portrayed as an "avatar" of Visnu.  "Avatara" is a Hindu doctrine (typical of Vaishnavism, which sucked up all sorts of different cults to various gods by claiming all such deities/persons, including the Buddha, were in fact avatars of Visnu) often compared to the Christian Incarnation, but they are not really the same.  Avatara rejects the Incarnation, since it takes place in a basically pantheistic frame work - the "god" does not really become a man, but rather masquerades in the form of one.  In fact if you were to try and draw comparisons with the Incarnation, you'd offend many knowledgable Krishna devotees, precisely because they believe matter and the material world are contaminants and filled with ignorance - things they believe their god could never entangle himself in.  As for the Krisnha mythology itself, Krishna is portrayed to be the child of a normal married couple, a god who jumped into his mortal mother's womb, but then had himself switched around at the last second to be raised by foster parents (why he had to do this is never really adequately explained.)  His childhood is filled with him partaking in all sorts of naughty past times, including urinating in the houses of the people of his village, and stealing yogurt and butter from milkmades, or frolicking with other children and beating up demonic monsters in the forest.  When he gets a little older, his activities include fornicating and frolicking with legions of shepherd-maidens (gopis), and a little later still, basically acting like Heracles and fighting all sorts of monsters and "demon kings" (kings who were called "demons" because of their bad karma, and their opposition to the worship of the vedic gods).  I really don't see the similarities here, with the Gospel.

- One particular thing to keep in mind though, is that there is good grounds to believe that the Hindu religion in it's various forms was somewhat influenced by the spread of Christianity.  Though always a minority religion, there was a time when the Thomas Christians (ancient Christians in India who were the result of St.Thomas the Apostle's missionary activities in India) were more populous than they are now, and it's believed that the emphasis upon the worship of a "personal Lord" and a strong attachment to the idea of attaining "salvation" were the result of Christian influences, not vice versa!  Actually, there's an interesting aside here which deserves consideration: in Hinduism, "Lord" is rendered "Isa" or some variant of this.  It's been argued by some researchers that there was a considerable Vedic/Hindu influence in the pre-Islamic Middle East (there is apparently some evidence of Hindu type artifacts in Mecca for example; in fact some have been so bold as to argue that the "Kabba stone" is in fact a recycled Shiva lingam, or erect standing stone), and that this title "Isa" or "Lord" was not unknown there.  Why is this so interesting?  Well, it's been a puzzle for some time as to why in the Arabic Koran and Islamic tradition, our Lord Jesus (Yeshua or Yehoshua in Aramaic/Hebrew) came to be known as "Isa" in the Koran.  Etymologically this doesn't make a lot of sense.  Even some Islamic apologists recognize this problem, and try to claim that the name "Isa" is a translation of "Esau", which they in turn try to claim was our Lord's real name, since at least those two words kind of sound the same (which is of course, nonsense.)  However, if a bunch of people were running around calling Jesus "Lord" in Sanskrit ("Isa") it would make some sense...

- Osiris, Egyptian religion, etc.  Like the Mithra cult, Osirian mysteries were astrological, or more accurately, solar.  The only historical angle, was that at one point the Pharoahs started claiming descent from Osiris (though even this had a certain cyclical/non-historical element to it.)  Osiris was the child of Geb and Nut (older gods), and brother of Set, who became his mortal enemy.  The mythos evolved and changed over time (reflecting political changes in Egypt; the same was true of Set's falling from favour - being transformed from a popular deity into a demonic foe of Osiris), but the basics are that Osiris founded Egyptian civilization (and typical of ancient chauvenism, human civilization in general), had a goddess spouse named Isis, and was murdered in a coup by his jealous brother Set.  Set had his body dumped in the river Nile, and Isis recovered it.  Set got a hold of the corpse again, but this time hacked it into little pieces.  Isis again recovered the body parts, recovering everything but Osiris' genitals.  Somehow however, she still managed to revive him momentarily through magical rituals, long enough to have sexual relations with him and be impregnated (how they did this without his genitals I'm not quite sure).  This resulted in Osiris' son Horus being conceived, who with his mother eventually caused the elders of Egypt to put Set in his place, and allow Horus to assume his father's throne as Pharoah.  Eventually in Eygpt this played a cyclical role - the reigning Pharoah being viewed as the embodiment of Horus, while the recently deceased one was viewed as the new Osiris.  Osiris himself was believed, after his death, to have assumed the role similar to the Greek Hades, as "lord of the dead", who those who managed to make it into the afterlife had to face (which was no easy thing in ancient Egyptian mythology - they believed to even make it to Osiris required mummification and the employing of all sorts of special burial rites and magical incantations).  If they made it past Osiris' judgement, two key parts of their "soul" (the ka and ba) would be re-united, and they would become one of those little "ankhs" you see surrounding Osiris in some pictures.  Now, just what meaningful similarity any of this has to Christ, or His Gospel, I do not know.

Unfortunately, people will hear talk of "parallels" and take it very seriously, typically because it comes out of the mouths of people we'd like to think would know better than repeat such nonsense (let alone get published peddling such baloney).  But alas, you cannot believe everything you read in the papers, or think that because "it's in print" that it must be true.

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« Reply #71 on: March 30, 2005, 12:05:36 AM »

JosephofMessiah,

I notice you haven't been logged in since the Evening after EkhristosAnesti posted. We're both waiting for a response if you're still around.
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« Reply #72 on: March 30, 2005, 01:50:04 AM »

I should be fair and explain the possible reason for Joseph’s prolonged response. I emailed him straight after I posted my response on Wed. 23rd, in order to notify him that it had been posted; as he specifically requested me to do so. I also requested a favour of him; that he delay a response till Wed. 30th so that I can concentrate on an upcoming assignment. In response he told me that he would probably need more time than Wednesday 30th in any event, in order to do the research he requires, such that he may respond in a “meaningful light” (to quote his words).

I’m certainly looking forward to hearing from him anytime soon (..no pressure),

Peace
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« Reply #73 on: April 02, 2005, 05:48:20 PM »

I should be fair and explain the possible reason for Joseph’s prolonged response. I emailed him straight after I posted my response on Wed. 23rd, in order to notify him that it had been posted; as he specifically requested me to do so. I also requested a favour of him; that he delay a response till Wed. 30th so that I can concentrate on an upcoming assignment.

True.

Quote
In response he told me that he would probably need more time than Wednesday 30th in any event, in order to do the research he requires, such that he may respond in a “meaningful light” (to quote his words).

Yep, and I still am no where near complete with my response, but there is other reasons I did not post yet...

Quote
I’m certainly looking forward to hearing from him anytime soon (..no pressure),

Peace

In light of Easter coming upon us, and then with the death of the Catholic Pope upon the world's hearts, I have no place to be posting attacks against this particular theological set.  It would be nothing more than vindictive of me to do so, you do not kick others when their hearts are exposed, it would be unforgiveable.  I realize perhaps that Orthodox Christianity does not fall under the Pope, but even myself as a non-christian person am moved by the heartfelt response seen around the world at this man's death.  I can not bring myself to continue in this discussion until this time of sadness has past us...and it is with a heavy heart that I ask everyone here to forgive if I upset them in any manner for in true honesty I believe we are all in a great hope that what we do in this life is honorable to the actual Deity that exists.

I will continue to work on my reponse and return after a respectable amount of time has gone by to post it.

Joseph
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« Reply #74 on: April 02, 2005, 09:18:07 PM »

JosephofMessiah,

We appreciate your thoughtfulness and consideration; the Pope truly was a great man, and his departure does sadden the heart of many Orthodox Christians along with our Catholic brethren, yet we also along with the Catholics, feel the joy of his entering into the presence of Christ.

However, I can see no harm done by you posting your response in any event - it would not be construed as disrespectful - life goes on, and these forums certainly have not come to a stop - so feel free to post it once it is finalized.

Peace.
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« Reply #75 on: April 14, 2005, 08:32:34 PM »

Joseph, are you there?
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« Reply #76 on: July 01, 2005, 03:58:10 PM »

I guess he's still grieving - he must have really loved John Paul II  Wink
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« Reply #77 on: July 03, 2005, 01:09:25 PM »

EkhristosAnesti......and to all the Others here......excellent reading.

EkhristosAnesti were you raised an Orthodox Christian?


May our God  Lord Jesus Christ bless you and all the people here at the forums..
May all our Orthodox Saints and Martyrs pray on our behalf,
And may our Mother of God the Theotokos truly pray for us
Amen.

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Easter......JUST IN CASE!
Orthodox Christianity......One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church celebrate PASCHA.......
Im sorry if the above doesn't make sense...
Glory be to God for all things.
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« Reply #78 on: July 03, 2005, 01:38:21 PM »

May our God  Lord Jesus Christ bless you and all the people here at the forums.....

Helen

This board has so many opinions that it can be distracting when trying to gulp one perspective and can't understand the other persons counter-argument. I kinda view the board to be a mixed blessing when I first encountered it. I assumed every question was going to be answered here, but I was wrong. Because when setting up the issue people have malice to attack someone when the intent of the forum is for like-minded people to have a good discussion.This forum is to have a level-playing field and at the same time trying to work out the bumpy ground. But the board gets ugly once in awhile and we'll have to learn from that. I just want to say don't get barred because your angry at someone and being hostile.
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« Reply #79 on: June 20, 2011, 05:13:02 PM »

Since I dont intend for this particular topic to be personal, I will not address it to any particular person, and would appreciate anyone's participation in this discussion (despite the fact it is in response to a particular link which was posted by our recent forum member and Jewish friend MBZ).

In response to the inquiry concerning the Jewish view of Jesus, posed to MBZ on a recent thread by copticorthodoxboy, the following weblink was given:

http://www.aish.com/jewishissues/jewishsociety/Why_Jews_Dont_Believe_In_Jesus.asp

I believe thoroughly in inter-faith dialogue, and in understanding not only the doctrine of other faiths, but their position with regards to the doctrine of our own selves. The above link is a good and typical example of the general reasons why Jews dont believe in Jesus The Christ, and I have keenly sought to answer the objections presented (except for one sticky point, in which i took a shortcut by linking to a very schorlarly article which addresses the issues in question). If my fellow Orthodox brethren see anything that they can elaborate/expand on or something they feel they need to correct or fine tune, that would be greatly appreciated.

EkhristosAnesti,

I had a discussion on another forum that posted the article you referred to.

They said that if one accepts: the idea that the Messianic prophecies, like accomplishing world peace, need not be accomplished within the Messiah's lifetime, and that a Second Coming concept exists, then this opens the door to other potential Messianic candidates.

Since many other Jews were persecuted, why couldn't any of them be Messiahs?

Some possible reasons:

- Jesus said or suggested that He was the Messiah, while others didn't.
But why does the Messiah absolutely need to say that he is the Messiah?

-Jesus was born in Bethlehem, descended from David, and played a role as a leader.
But some other figures matched that too.

- Jesus spread knowledge of God around the world (2/3 of world follows Christianity or Islam, which sees Jesus as a prophet)
Since Jesus accomplished at least this one thing, does this fact rule out all other candidates for consideration as possibilities?
Is this the only reason why all others must be ruled out?

-Jesus was considered sinless., and this is pretty rare, especially among those over 1-2 years old.
But the NT doesn't explicitly say He was sinless, I think.


What do you think?


I guess I mean - is there anything that would disqualify everyone else, besides the fact that they haven't met the kinds of qualifications that wouldn't matter if one accepts the idea of a Second Coming.
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« Reply #80 on: June 20, 2011, 06:18:38 PM »

They also asked: if God is the father of Jesus, "what's the purpose of these genealogies anyway?"  , adding: The idea that "joseph adopted him"  "does not apply in Jewish law".


The Messiah is sometimes described in the scriptures as a ruling son of David. In practice, selecting the king meant looking to the previous king's oldest male heir. However, I don't know of the scriptures saying that the king must be descended from the king's male line of descendants, or saying that those descended through a king's daughter's line would be excluded.

So I thought that being adopted by Joseph, descended from David as the genealogy says, would show Jesus' kingly paternal descent from David. But then it appears that adoption apparently doesn't count:

Quote
Matters relevant to the child's status are determined by the status of the birth parents, not by that of the adoptive parents. The child's status as a Kohein, a Levi, a Jew, and/or a firstborn, are all determined by reference to the birth parents.
This issue of status is particularly important in the case of non-Jewish children adopted by Jews. According to traditional Jewish law, children born of non-Jewish parents are not Jewish unless they are converted, regardless of who raises them or how they were raised. http://www.jewfaq.org/birth.htm

What do you think?

On a related question, if adoption doesn't make one Jewish, what about St Paul's idea that gentiles became "adopted" into Israel when they became Christian? (see Galatians)
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