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The problem is both the filters through which we perceive those Truths and the influence that our own desire may have on those truths.

I fully agree.

the list is long for those who were genuinely in contact with some inner source and who inspired followers to go over the cliff with them.

This is the reason why we need Scripture IMO. If we accept rules given like the Ten Commandments and as its summary and extension the "Love thy neighbour as yourself and God above all else," and what else has been revealed in Scripture (that may have suffered from human desire ; i.e. been altered - but it's still all we have...)), we have a frame that we may well question but we will be kept save when we remain within its boundaries.

The suggestion to take ones life, has no room therein; neither have reincarnations of Jesus and his disciples, no matter the impressiveness of the words they may say or miracles they will do. ...

Like all spiritual truth, when we remain within God and His word, we will "know" by the spirit...

(and I will try to "frame" the 'spirit thing' for rg, later still...)  

by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Thu Nov 27th, 2008 at 04:26:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This is the reason why we need Scripture
This is an evasion of the problem.  All of those I cited had Scripture and, with great sincerity, (mis)used it in furtherance of their (mis)deeds.  Scripture, even if it can be read in the language in which it was composed, has to be interpreted.  A translation is an interpretation in and of itself, not least because it is not only the language that must be translated but also the cultural context.

In her seminal work The Chalice and the Blade Riane Eisler cites a story from Genesis 19:8.  Two Angles of the Lord have been invited by Lot to spend the night in his house.  A mob gathers outside demanding to see and threatening the two guests.  Lot is bound by the custom of hospitality to protect his guests, so Lot offers  as a distraction his two  virgin daughters to the crowd to be gang raped and killed. Fortunately for the daughters the crowd instead rushed the door. In the end the angels smite the crowd with blindness and order Lot to leave with his family.  Only this upright man is saved when Sodom is destroyed.  Such a morality tale!

Eisler makes this story comprehensible, if not palatable, by placing it into the context of a rigidly male dominated society in which wives and daughters were seen as property and as disposable economic assets.  Those who approvingly put this story in Genesis were embedded in that culture and Lot's offer seemed perfectly reasonable.  From their account it would appear that God and his Angles concurred, as they saved Lot and his family alone from the destruction of the cities of the plain.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Nov 28th, 2008 at 06:04:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I hope you had a good Thanksgiving!

It is not that Scripture = Scripture. First, it is true that all Scripture has been altered by translations and the maybe not always honest process of copying original texts. Second, some texts need explanation and interpretation to be understood.

This gets done and doesn't render Scripture invalid. It is still all we have. With regards to the Bible, the Old Testament contains historic facts, and the story of God with His chosen people; it is the story of God before IMO prophecies of the coming Messiah were fulfilled. Text, beginning with Jesus' birth is much more accessible, addresses the simple mind, i.e. everyone in God's new, extended covenant with all people. There are, however, different interpretations, e.g. with regards to the role of women in society. There are arguments among Christians about certain interpretations. In these cases I consider the Holy Spirit to serve us as a user(-friendly) guide.

But it's no guarantee against abuse.

by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Fri Nov 28th, 2008 at 06:24:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Lilly
I hope you had a good Thanksgiving!
Thank you for your kind wishes.  We did have a good Thanksgiving.  Had an early dinner with our neighbors, their eldest son, his wife and beautiful 16 year old daughter.  We left about 2:00 PM.

I had spent most of my time since Sunday buying materials and building a ramp for a motorized cart and a platform for an E-Z chair in preparation for the arrival of my wife's identical twin, who has MS and now suffers also from lung cancer.  (She never smoked but did have environmental exposure for a couple of years in one job.) She and her traveling companion arrived at 1:00 AM by train from Tacoma Washington at Walnut Ridge, Arkansas, down in the delta.  

I met them with my SUV and a tilt trailer in which we could transport her mobility cart, we spent the night at a motel in Pocahantas, 15 miles north of Walnut Ridge and drove back to Mountain Home the next morning.  It is only about 130 miles, but, over winding two lane Ozark roads, it takes about three hours.  Last night I got 8 hrs sleep for the first time in days and the wife's twin seemed to recover well from the rigors of the trip by this morning.

I enjoy both my sister-in-law and her traveling companion and friend and my wife and her twin are never so happy as when together, so it has been a very good Thanksgiving.  Company will remain for another week and we intend to visit Branson, Missouri, which has lots of entertainment, and may get down to Hot Springs, AR, which was the first area protected, (1832,) as part of what eventually became the National Park Service.  Lots of history there.

But there is another subject with a long history with  which I have more familiarity.  It is sometimes called "higher criticism of the Bible," and an early example was The Jefferson Bible.  My wife was once involved in a home study program that included much of the reading material from a first year Jesuit seminary program.  The Jesuits were keen to expose seminary students to higher criticism at the beginning of their studies. That is where we acquired much of our biblical library, including a Concordance, a Bible dictionary and several works of biblical criticism.  I naturally used or read many of these books also. They complemented and provided a contrast to much of what I had learned in my grad school history  studies.  

Throughout the 80s and 90s there was an ongoing project, The Jesus Seminar Fourm, amongst academic and church based theologians who were attempting to achieve consensus on which of the saying attributed to Jesus were likely genuine and which might have been words put in his mouth by copyists, etc.  (Leading candidate in the latter category: "A little wine for thy stomach's sake.") While this forum included a broad range of views, those who view the Bible as the inerrant Word of God naturally self selected out of the project.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Nov 29th, 2008 at 02:12:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thank you. I, we here have fond memories of celebrating Thanksgiving in the US - with a huge turkey that hardly fit into our huge oven. We tried to import it (not the turkey!) but the project failed, and we now have the European-size turkey for Christmas.

On the on-topic: I am familiar with 'higher criticism', used and still use concordance and Bible dictionary. As a matter of fact, I have never actually met anyone who didn't apply critical thinking when reading/studying the Bible*, and that ranged from comparing different translations to debating interpretations. If theologians hadn't worked on the Bible, we wouldn't have any readable version today.

While I don't put too much energy into comparing and analysing biblical texts, I'm still sometimes surprised at how much tone and meaning sometimes vary between modern languages (English, French, German in my case). I think of a verse, look it up in German and then look at the English translation and it doesn't say what I had been looking for.

Such observation has actually been one of the reasons that motivated me to write this diary: Theologians have found that there had been (more) references in the Bible describing a worldview including the concept/reality of reincarnation. It has been suggested that most of these passages had been systematically deleted from Scripture.

Thanks also for the links to the Jefferson Bible (I'm not aware of having heard of it) and The Jesus Seminar Forum.

* Maybe Europeans are generally more critical and sceptical while there is still room in the US for this more naïve access to Scripture and faith.

by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Sat Nov 29th, 2008 at 05:54:36 PM EST
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