Tree Of Life, Systems, & Angels & Demons

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Postby ryguy » Wed Oct 03, 2007 12:40 pm

http://www.catholicleague.com/research/abuse_in_social_context.htm


Finally, in the authoritative work by Penn State professor Philip Jenkins, Pedophiles and Priests, it was determined that between .2 and 1.7 percent of priests are pedophiles. The figure among the Protestant clergy ranges between 2 and 3 percent.[xxii]

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Rabbi Joel Meyers, executive vice president of the Conservative Rabbinical Assembly, reports that 30 percent of rabbis who changed positions in 2000 did so involuntarily, and that sexual abuse was a factor in many instances.[xxiv] The Awareness Center devotes an entire website to “Clergy Abuse: Rabbis, Cantors & Other Trusted Officials.” It is a detailed and frank look at the problem of sexual abuse by rabbis.[xxv]

The problem of sexual abuse in the Jehovah’s Witnesses is evident among church elders but most of the abuse comes from congregation members. “The victims who have stepped forward are mostly girls and young women,” writes Laurie Goodstein in the New York Times, “and many accusations involve incest.” There is a victims support group available, “silentlambs,” that has collected more than 5,000 Witnesses contending that the church mishandled child sexual abuse.[xxvi]

According to one study, .2 percent of athletic coaches nationwide have a criminal record of some sort of sexual offense. This translates to about 6,000 coaches in the U.S. who have been tried and found guilty of sexual offense against children.[xxvii] It is not known how many more offenders have escaped the reach of law enforcement.

Between 3 and 12 percent of psychologists have had sexual contact with their clients. While today virtually every state considers sexual contact with a client as worthy of revoking a psychologist’s license, as recently as 1987 only 31 percent of state licensing boards considered sexual relations between a psychologist and his or her patient grounds for license revocation.[xxviii] What makes this statistic so interesting is that many bishops in the 1980s took the advice of psychologists in handling molesting priests.

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One of the nation’s foremost authorities on the subject of the sexual abuse of minors in public schools is Hofstra University professor Charol Shakeshaft. In 1994, Shakeshaft and Audrey Cohan did a study of 225 cases of educator sexual abuse in New York City. Their findings are astounding.

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The issue of child sexual molestation is deserving of serious scholarship. Too often, assumptions have been made that this problem is worse in the Catholic clergy than in other sectors of society. This report does not support this conclusion. Indeed, it shows that family members are the most likely to sexually molest a child. It also shows that the incidence of the sexual abuse of a minor is slightly higher among the Protestant clergy than among the Catholic clergy, and that it is significantly higher among public school teachers than among ministers and priests.


Which all proves what? It proves that every human being on the face of this earth are vulnerable to falling prey - regardless of belief, spiritual or religious affiliation, gender, race, or class.

-Ry
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Postby ScaRZ » Wed Oct 03, 2007 12:44 pm

I've been reading the post in this thread and only wish I could add something to the conversation. I just know so little about the Catholic faith I would just be a fool to enter. I feel there are those in every Christian faith based system that are indeed pushing their own agenda.
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Postby ryguy » Wed Oct 03, 2007 1:02 pm

Although, Ray, with all that said - I'm being rude here... This thread is for laying out how the concepts of Angels/Demons can be incorporated into the TOL. We've gone off on a tangent. I only wanted to respond to those last few allegations, but I'm not going to keep going on here - I am actually interested in how you were going to expand on the concepts you were discussing earlier. I don't want this recent tangent to make you think that I'm personally dismissive of your ideas.

I'm interested in reading more, and I'll work harder at stifling my immediate knee-jerk reactions... lol

Please continue and ignore the crazy man behind the curtain... :)

-Ry
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Postby You Can Call Me Ray » Mon Oct 15, 2007 2:45 pm

Hi Ry,

ryguy wrote:Although, Ray, with all that said - I'm being rude here... This thread is for laying out how the concepts of Angels/Demons can be incorporated into the TOL. We've gone off on a tangent. I only wanted to respond to those last few allegations, but I'm not going to keep going on here - I am actually interested in how you were going to expand on the concepts you were discussing earlier. I don't want this recent tangent to make you think that I'm personally dismissive of your ideas.


It's OK. Passion about our beliefs often leads to passionate discourse. No problem with that. And on your last offerings, I believe I said earlier that yes, we all know that HUMANS are fallible. But my point about the child molestation issue with the Catholic Church was the obvious failing of the CHURCH itself in disclosing these crimes and causing the involved priests to face criminal charges. My point was about your claim about where the infallibility of the Church stops. Clearly, it doesn't, as we see in this case. And to this day we see the Church paying-off victims but NOT causing those who committed these crimes against innocents to face mortal judgment, in accordance with secular laws AND the Church Law.

There is much about the Church that I accept, admire, and espouse, just as I espouse the core message of Christ. But just as in all forms of politics, there are "sacrosanct" positions and belief structures (not to mention dogma) that are forced upon the congregation which have no basis in reality, morality, or an honest telling of history. These are remnants of the Church's earlier failings which have not been excised. And I do believe that the exclusion of at least some of the apocryphal texts from the Canon were politically motivated. Given the Church's views on homosexuality, why would it be so difficult to accept that Mary Magdalene could have been the "first among equals" rather than Peter? And what of the "lost years" of Christ prior to his public life?

The book is not closed on the Catholic Church, Ryan... at least not yet. :)

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Postby ryguy » Mon Oct 15, 2007 4:04 pm

You Can Call Me Ray wrote:My point was about your claim about where the infallibility of the Church stops. Clearly, it doesn't, as we see in this case. And to this day we see the Church paying-off victims but NOT causing those who committed these crimes against innocents to face mortal judgment, in accordance with secular laws AND the Church Law.


Ahh...ok I think I understand where our discussion became fumbled. I'm not sure how this became about the Catholic Church, but it may have been my fault because I referred to the "Church" - however my comments regarding infallibility had to do with the overall Christian religion (not just one denomination) and the infallibility of the message of Christ as portrayed in the bible by the writings of his disciples. Those proverbs, his teachings, and his message (which, by the way, had less to do with elevating "self" than with elevating others around us through sacrifice and love) were infallible, and still are today.

These are remnants of the Church's earlier failings which have not been excised. And I do believe that the exclusion of at least some of the apocryphal texts from the Canon were politically motivated.


The issue of the exclusion of apocryphal texts are steeped in conspiracy-theories, inaccurate history, and all too often stem from a misunderstanding of events at the time. In some cases particular texts were actually hidden for the purpose of protection from those who were intent on destroying the Christian religion and its writings - in other cases the works simply were not proven to be authentic direct accounts. There are certainly political issues throughout history - but if one is to honestly examine those historical events, the Catholic Church alone can not be blamed for everything (as is very common and the popular thing to do these days). Doing so presents an inaccurate version of history. Not saying this about you btw...just a preliminary warning, because I've been down this Church Conspiracy-Theory road many times... especially since people have started watching (and believing) the fictional account offered in the Da Vinci Code.

Given the Church's views on homosexuality


lol...excuse me?

...why would it be so difficult to accept that Mary Magdalene could have been the "first among equals" rather than Peter?


Let's discuss the possibility then...all documents presented as evidence for that historical hypothesis, btw, need to be accepted as historically authentic and accurate...The "Da Vinci Code" doesn't count as historically accurate, btw.

Here's some reading until next time:

Peter Flint - Dead Sea Scrolls & Da Vinci Code

March 15, 2007:

Part Two: A Scholar Considers the DaVinci Code

“The book by Dan Brown is a fast-paced retelling of a story that has been around for a long time. It is a well written and exciting story.”

And then Peter gave briefly the whole story plot.

He showed a picture of the famous glass and steel pyramid at the entrance to the Louvre and how Dan B. claimed it had 666 glass planes. Peter said an acquaintance went there and counted them all, totaling 687. [My wife and I were there five years ago, but at the time it was no big deal. Back then the glass panes were not world famous.]

Jesus in the DaVinci Code

Dan Brown claims that in his book, “All information on art, architecture, and Jesus is historically accurate.”

Dan Brown says,

1) Jesus was a great man but not the Son of God. The church invented this.
2) The idea of Messiah was invented by the Church.
3) Constantine invented the Divinity of Jesus Christ.
4) The virgin birth is a lie and myth.

[snip...]

Jesus and Mary Magdalene

The Lost Tomb of Jesus is in the same genre.

It is claimed that Jesus had a special relationship. In the painting of The Last Supper, it is not John but Mary Magdalene. Mary is the lover. Jesus and Mary had children together. The Holy Grail is the womb of Mary. The descendants of the physical relationship have survived to this day.

The Da Vinci Code Opposes the Christian Faith by contradicting basic Christian beliefs

According to traditional Christian belief, Jesus is the Son of God, died on the cross, and rose again. Dan Brown says these are all lies. I am not a Catholic, but I see that Dan Brown hates the Catholic Church.

Ancient evidence from the Dead Sea Scrolls

1) Dan B. mentioned the scrolls were found in the 1950s in a cave. But the Scrolls were found in late 1946 or in early 1947. Eleven Caves at Qumran contained scrolls.

2) Dan B. says the scrolls speak of Christ’s ministry. But the Scrolls never mention Jesus directly. They were written between 250 B.C. and A.D. 68.

3) Dan B. teaches that sacred prostitution was involved in the worship of Yahweh. This is an outrageous claim. There is no evidence of sacred prostitutes as part of early Jewish worship of Yahweh

4) Dan B. declares the sacred Tetragrammaton is an androgynous physical union between the masculine Jah and the pre-Hebraic name for Eve, Havah. This is sheer fantasy according to Biblical scholars. It is an outrageous, stupid statement. In fact, the name Yahweh probably means, “the One who causes to be.”

5) Dan B. claims that Constantine tried to eradicate other gospels. But Constantine never attempted to eradicate or suppress any Gospels or other Scriptures.

At this point, Peter spoke briefly about the Nag Hammadi Codices, found in Egypt, dated 2nd to 4th cent. A.D.

The Vatican had nothing to do with the suppression of the Dead Sea Scrolls. The real reasons involved lack of funding and the editors’ protection of their scholarly turf.

Not one of our ancient sources states Jesus was married or had sexual relations.



Actually - this article is even better - and details an important event which many anti-Christians use to argue against the divinity of Jesus:

http://www.christianitytoday.com/history/newsletter/2003/nov7.html

Breaking The Da Vinci Code
So the divine Jesus and infallible Word emerged out of a fourth-century power-play? Get real.
By Collin Hansen | updated 04/26/2006

I guess Christians should be flattered. Who knew the Council of Nicea and Mary Magdalene could be this hot? Thanks in large measure to Dan Brown's fictional thriller The DaVinci Code, early church history just can't stay out of the news.

If only a more worthy work could have prompted such attention. Brown first grabbed the headlines and prime-time TV in 2003 with his theory that Jesus married Mary Magdalene. But The DaVinci Code contains many more (equally dubious) claims about Christianity's historic origins and theological development. It's left to the reader whether these theories belong to Brown's imagination or the skeleton of "facts" that supports the book.

Brown claims "almost everything our fathers taught us about Christ is false." Why? Because of a single meeting of bishops in 325, at the city of Nicea in modern-day Turkey. There, Brown argues, church leaders who wanted to consolidate their power base (he calls this, anachronistically, "the Vatican," or "the Roman Catholic church") created a divine Christ and an infallible Scripture—both novelties that had never before existed among Christians.

Watershed at Nicea

Brown is right about one thing (and not much more). In the course of Christian history, few events loom larger than the Council of Nicea in 325. When the newly converted Roman Emperor Constantine called bishops from around the world to present-day Turkey, the church had reached a theological crossroads.

Led by an Alexandrian theologian named Arius, one school of thought argued that Jesus had undoubtedly been a remarkable leader, but he was not God in flesh. Arius proved an expert logician and master of extracting biblical proof texts that seemingly illustrated differences between Jesus and God, such as John 14:28: "the Father is greater than I." In essence, Arius argued that Jesus of Nazareth could not possibly share God the Father's unique divinity.

In The Da Vinci Code, Brown apparently adopts Arius as his representative for all pre-Nicene Christianity. Referring to the Council of Nicea, Brown claims that "until that moment in history, Jesus was viewed by His followers as a mortal prophet … a great and powerful man, but a man nonetheless."

In reality, early Christians overwhelmingly worshipped Jesus Christ as their risen Savior and Lord. Before the church adopted comprehensive doctrinal creeds, early Christian leaders developed a set of instructional summaries of belief, termed the "Rule" or "Canon" of Faith, which affirmed this truth. To take one example, the canon of prominent second-century bishop Irenaeus took its cue from 1 Corinthians 8:6: "Yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ."

The term used here—Lord, Kyrios—deserves a bit more attention. Kyrios was used by the Greeks to denote divinity (though sometimes also, it is true, as a simple honorific). In the Greek translation of the Old Testament (the Septuagint, pre-dating Christ), this term became the preferred substitution for "Jahweh," the holy name of God. The Romans also used it to denote the divinity of their emperor, and the first-century Jewish writer Josephus tells us that the Jews refused to use it of the emperor for precisely this reason: only God himself was kyrios.

The Christians took over this usage of kyrios and applied it to Jesus, from the earliest days of the church. They did so not only in Scripture itself (which Brown argues was doctored after Nicea), but in the earliest extra-canonical Christian book, the Didache, which scholars agree was written no later than the late 100s. In this book, the earliest Aramaic-speaking Christians refer to Jesus as Lord.

In addition, pre-Nicene Christians acknowledged Jesus's divinity by petitioning God the Father in Christ's name. Church leaders, including Justin Martyr, a second-century luminary and the first great church apologist, baptized in the name of the triune God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—thereby acknowledging the equality of the one Lord's three distinct persons.

The Council of Nicea did not entirely end the controversy over Arius's teachings, nor did the gathering impose a foreign doctrine of Christ's divinity on the church. The participating bishops merely affirmed the historic and standard Christian beliefs, erecting a united front against future efforts to dilute Christ's gift of salvation.

"Fax from Heaven"?

With the Bible playing a central role in Christianity, the question of Scripture's historic validity bears tremendous implications. Brown claims that Constantine commissioned and bankrolled a staff to manipulate existing texts and thereby divinize the human Christ.

Yet for a number of reasons, Brown's speculations fall flat. Brown correctly points out that "the Bible did not arrive by fax from heaven." Indeed, the Bible's composition and consolidation may appear a bit too human for the comfort of some Christians. But Brown overlooks the fact that the human process of canonization had progressed for centuries before Nicea, resulting in a nearly complete canon of Scripture before Nicea or even Constantine's legalization of Christianity in 313.

Ironically, the process of collecting and consolidating Scripture was launched when a rival sect produced its own quasi-biblical canon. Around 140 a Gnostic leader named Marcion began spreading a theory that the New and Old Testaments didn't share the same God. Marcion argued that the Old Testament's God represented law and wrath while the New Testament's God, represented by Christ, exemplified love. As a result Marcion rejected the Old Testament and the most overtly Jewish New Testament writings, including Matthew, Mark, Acts, and Hebrews. He manipulated other books to downplay their Jewish tendencies. Though in 144 the church in Rome declared his views heretical, Marcion's teaching sparked a new cult. Challenged by Marcion's threat, church leaders began to consider earnestly their own views on a definitive list of Scriptural books including both the Old and New Testaments.

Another rival theology nudged the church toward consolidating the New Testament. During the mid- to late-second century, a man from Asia Minor named Montanus boasted of receiving a revelation from God about an impending apocalypse. The four Gospels and Paul's epistles achieved wide circulation and largely unquestioned authority within the early church but hadn't yet been collected in a single authoritative book. Montanus saw in this fact an opportunity to spread his message, by claiming authoritative status for his new revelation. Church leaders met the challenge around 190 and circulated a definitive list of apostolic writings that is today called the Muratorian Canon, after its modern discoverer. The Muratorian Canon bears striking resemblance to today's New Testament but includes two books, Revelation of Peter and Wisdom of Solomon, which were later excluded from the canon.

By the time of Nicea, church leaders debated the legitimacy of only a few books that we accept today, chief among them Hebrews and Revelation, because their authorship remained in doubt. In fact, authorship was the most important consideration for those who worked to solidify the canon. Early church leaders considered letters and eyewitness accounts authoritative and binding only if they were written by an apostle or close disciple of an apostle. This way they could be assured of the documents' reliability. As pastors and preachers, they also observed which books did in fact build up the church—a good sign, they felt, that such books were inspired Scripture. The results speak for themselves: the books of today's Bible have allowed Christianity to spread, flourish, and endure worldwide.

Though unoriginal in its allegations, The Da Vinci Code proves that some misguided theories never entirely fade away. They just reappear periodically in a different disguise. Brown's claims resemble those of Arius and his numerous heirs throughout history, who have contradicted the united testimony of the apostles and the early church they built. Those witnesses have always attested that Jesus Christ was and remains God himself. It didn't take an ancient council to make this true. And the pseudohistorical claims of a modern novel can't make it false.



http://www.davinci-codes.org/

Author, Dan Brown, claims in the book, The Da Vinci Code, that the book is "factual." When pressed, in several television, radio and newspaper interviews, he openly admits that the book is "pure fiction." Dan Brown knows how "dark the con of man" really is, and he and Ron Howard (director of the movie) are laughing all the way to the bank!


The above website, by the way, does a phenomenal job laying out all of the incorrect "facts" cited in the Da Vinci Code....but Brown can simply defend himself by saying "well it's only fiction."

That doesn't stop those who don't know the truth about the inaccuracies to believe everything they read without following up and verifying for themselves.

-Ry
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Postby You Can Call Me Ray » Tue Oct 16, 2007 5:57 pm

Hi Ry,

ryguy wrote:Ahh...ok I think I understand where our discussion became fumbled. I'm not sure how this became about the Catholic Church, but it may have been my fault because I referred to the "Church" - however my comments regarding infallibility had to do with the overall Christian religion (not just one denomination) and the infallibility of the message of Christ as portrayed in the bible by the writings of his disciples. Those proverbs, his teachings, and his message (which, by the way, had less to do with elevating "self" than with elevating others around us through sacrifice and love) were infallible, and still are today.


I see, understand, and agree. The "core" teachings of Christ are a viable and effective spiritual model to follow. This has always been my contention, with the distinction that all of the "add-on" from the obviously fallible man-made Church is questionable, at best, and downright deceptive and manipulative in some instances. As to a choice of "elevating self" or "elevating others", I do not think the reality of life suggests this is an either/or proposition. One of the tenets of psychology indeed teaches us that we must first have a healthy self-esteem before we can possibly hope to respect and/or help others. This simple logic applies in most avenues of life. Indeed, even in the life of Christ he taught to lead by example. This means that, on the spiritual level, we must first "get ourselves straight" with our Creator before we can hope to (righteously) assist others with love and sacrifice. This is the essence of the "white magician" gnostic teachings... and it "borrows" and employs a great deal from the teachings of Christ (or vice versa, depending on how you view the spreading of Christ's message).


The issue of the exclusion of apocryphal texts are steeped in conspiracy-theories, inaccurate history, and all too often stem from a misunderstanding of events at the time.


This can certainly be true, but I must point out that such "misunderstandings" can and do rub both ways. There is no way to deny that the Catholic Church was a defacto political institution from the time it became the "official" religion of Rome and throughout the Dark Ages. The Church controlled your life through edict in much the same way that many Islamic belief structures continue to control the lives of their congregations today. To claim that the politics of the Church played no part in the selection of Canonical texts is tenuous, at best. We must also understand the amount of time that passed between "canonical" events. While an informal baseline for the NT was "in place" by the early 3rd century, it was not until the Council of Trent in the early 1500s that the official Canon was sanctioned. That not only leaves a LOT of time for the details to be changed (or hidden), and political influences to be exercised, but one can also not deny that language in and of itself changes fairly drastically over these kinds of periods of time.

There are certainly political issues throughout history - but if one is to honestly examine those historical events, the Catholic Church alone can not be blamed for everything (as is very common and the popular thing to do these days). Doing so presents an inaccurate version of history.


Again, I agree to an extent, if for no other reason than the split between the Western and Eastern Orthodox Church caused even greater confusion as to WHO would determine what is canonical. However, to infer that we have an "accurate version of history" when it comes to the process by which texts were admitted to the Canon is just as tenuous. We weren't there, and what we DO know about political machinations is that people who are so inspired by their own motivations will always avoid reporting the history of their politically motivated actions in an honest and accurate way. What's the old quote "Those who are in power write the history books." So while you cannot blame the Catholic Church ALONE, as I say above it WAS the defacto power structure through the Dark Ages. W e have little to no ability to state with certainty that books excluded from the Canon (such as texts discovered at Nag Hammadi) were not done so with a political malfeasance at its basis.

Not saying this about you btw...just a preliminary warning, because I've been down this Church Conspiracy-Theory road many times... especially since people have started watching (and believing) the fictional account offered in the Da Vinci Code.


Oh believe me, I FULLY understand this point that you are making. Furthermore, you will NEVER see me pointing to ANY work by Dan Brown or the Da Vinci Code to support my call for a closer look at the Gnostic texts from Nag Hammadi. Brown certainly took this information an "embellished" it in his stories. But when you look at the Gnostic texts themselves (and supporting documents) you can clearly see that Peter did not necessarily like Mary Magdalene as far as her close relationship with Christ. Moreover, when you add to this the political view towards women of that day, as you have rightly pointed out before, it is quite simple to see motivations were present that cannot be trusted to accurately tell whether or not Mary Magdalene was an important force in the Church. In my view, one must again go back to the "core" teachings of Christ himself... not the politcized stories. Did or would Christ condone the dimunition of women? if Christ was preaching about his Father, the Creator, how could the ultimate message of Creation NOT include the equal importance of man and woman, especially given the obvious biological mechanisms? It just does NOT make sense that Christ would preach a "male only" reality of his Father's kingdom as the disconnect with the natural processes of Creation are immediately recognized.

lol...excuse me?


:) What did you not understand? I think it is fair to pit the Church's moral stance on homosexuality against the thought/belief/idea that a woman could have been just as close to Christ (if not moreso) than the "canonical" list of men adopted by the Church.

Let's discuss the possibility then...all documents presented as evidence for that historical hypothesis, btw, need to be accepted as historically authentic and accurate...The "Da Vinci Code" doesn't count as historically accurate, btw.


I agree, but the Nag Hammadi texts certainly present a historical record of one of the competing elements to the "Early Church Fathers" (there is that male-dominance thing again). :)

Again, let me be clear I am NOT relying on anything related to Dan Brown or Da Vinci code. I look to the original texts and the Canon as deemed by the Church. The simple fact that the Revelation of Peter (whom Christ himself denoted as the Rock upon which is Church would be formed) was rejected from the Canon and yet the Epistles of Paul (whom did not know Christ and was not "converted" until after his death an resurrection) should cause one to question the political motivations of how the Church established its Canon. Indeed, some people refer to Christianity by a more descriptive phrase of "Pauline Christianity" for the very fact that there were many early Christians whose belief structures included a lot more of Judaic beliefs and practices than what Paul preached. In effect, Paul most certainly wanted to distinguish and distance the Christian Church from any connection to Judaic spiritual traditions.

In fact, the entire "acceptance" of Paul as a primary force and "Father of the Church" is easily questionable solely by an honest examination of his "conversion" on the road to Damascus. The Church simply calls us to BELIEVE Paul and his teachings because he was "converted by Christ". In my "puritanical" view :) this purposefully draws one away from the "core" message of Christ, and is one of the first "detours" that the early Chuch took by claiming that Paul (and not Peter and subsequently James) was the authoritarian figure of the Church.

But I do agree I should get back to more of my TOL stuff and its connections to science and the angels and demons work by ScaRZ. This stuff is interesting to me, and I am trying to get the point across that you can STILL follow the core message of Christ and come to understand that the Gnostics were not "heretical" nor completely "out to lunch" and that science is beginning to support a good body of the Gnostic texts.

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Postby You Can Call Me Ray » Tue Oct 16, 2007 7:48 pm

Ry,

Here is what I believe to the the crux of my argument in these last few posts:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gnostic_Gospels

The name "Christian gnostics" came to represent a segment of the Early Christian community who believed that salvation lay not in merely worshipping Christ, but in psychic or pneumatic souls learning to free themselves from the material world via the revelation.[4] According to this tradition, the answers to spiritual questions are to be found within not without.[2] Furthermore, the gnostic path does not require the intermediation of a church for salvation.


That last statement is my main point, and I believe is totally in concert with the message of Christ. Nowhere did Christ say that one must look to the Church for salvation, but rather to God and to Christ's teachings. THIS is where I became "enlightened" to how the Church purposefully (in its structure and its Laws that are above and beyond Christ's teachings) & actively holds its congregation back by setting itself up as the intermediary. Gnosticism does not discount or remove the teachings of Christ, but rather disputes the authority of the Church to intervene in any one person's salvation.

Hopefully this clarifies my position in this matter. :)

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Postby ryguy » Wed Oct 17, 2007 3:15 am

In fact, the entire "acceptance" of Paul as a primary force and "Father of the Church" is easily questionable solely by an honest examination of his "conversion" on the road to Damascus. The Church simply calls us to BELIEVE Paul and his teachings because he was "converted by Christ". In my "puritanical" view this purposefully draws one away from the "core" message of Christ, and is one of the first "detours" that the early Chuch took by claiming that Paul (and not Peter and subsequently James) was the authoritarian figure of the Church.


The above simply isn't true - I actually must say it's a gross misrepresentation of the earliest writings of the Church Fathers. They never offered Paul up as a primary force...if you read the writings from the first 500 years of the Church, you'll see who they viewed (and still view today) as the primary force and "Father of the Church". Honestly - I'm really very surprised by the paragraph that you wrote above...it couldn't be furthest from the reality of the early church!

You Can Call Me Ray wrote:That last statement is my main point, and I believe is totally in concert with the message of Christ. Nowhere did Christ say that one must look to the Church for salvation....[snip]


He did indeed make mention of his Church and its importance. In particular in the very reference to Peter in the most well-known quote in Matthew's account which you alluded to above! I will submit to you that there are plenty of other alleged writings that may or may not have made it into the Canon - but again, to assume the purposes behind it were malevolent is premature unless we examine the actual writings under consideration. Some of them may have clearly been forgeries, hoaxes, etc... It was important for early Christianity to make certain that the accepted witness accounts were not tained by false or fake accounts - it's even more important to keep in mind that early Christianity was under attack and persecution from all sides.

Peter was always, and still is, considered the first Pope. The following are quotes from writings of the first 500 years of the Church that clearly refer to either Jesus' own words or Peter's own words, referring to him (Peter) as the Rock of the Church as was ordained by Christ himself. And in all cases below you can clearly see how Peter has always been considered the "Father of the Church".

From this link

Origins of Peter as Pope

The New Testament contains five different metaphors for the foundation of the Church (Matt. 16:18, 1 Cor. 3:11, Eph. 2:20, 1 Pet. 2:5–6, Rev. 21:14). One metaphor that has been disputed is Jesus Christ’s calling the apostle Peter "rock": "You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it" (Matt. 16:18).

Some have tried to argue that Jesus did not mean that his Church would be built on Peter but on something else.

Some argue that in this passage there is a minor difference between the Greek term for Peter (Petros) and the term for rock (petra), yet they ignore the obvious explanation: petra, a feminine noun, has simply been modifed to have a masculine ending, since one would not refer to a man (Peter) as feminine. The change in the gender is purely for stylistic reasons.

These critics also neglect the fact that Jesus spoke Aramaic, and, as John 1:42 tells us, in everyday life he actually referred to Peter as Kepha or Cephas (depending on how it is transliterated). It is that term which is then translated into Greek as petros. Thus, what Jesus actually said to Peter in Aramaic was: "You are Kepha and on this very kepha I will build my Church."

The Church Fathers, those Christians closest to the apostles in time, culture, and theological background, clearly understood that Jesus promised to build the Church on Peter, as the following passages show.

Tatian the Syrian

"Simon Cephas answered and said, ‘You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.’ Jesus answered and said unto him, ‘Blessed are you, Simon, son of Jonah: flesh and blood has not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say unto thee also, that you are Cephas, and on this rock will I build my Church; and the gates of hades shall not prevail against it" (The Diatesseron 23 [A.D. 170]).


Tertullian

"Was anything withheld from the knowledge of Peter, who is called ‘the rock on which the Church would be built’ [Matt. 16:18] with the power of ‘loosing and binding in heaven and on earth’ [Matt. 16:19]?" (Demurrer Against the Heretics 22 [A.D. 200]).

"[T]he Lord said to Peter, ‘On this rock I will build my Church, I have given you the keys of the kingdom of heaven [and] whatever you shall have bound or loosed on earth will be bound or loosed in heaven’ [Matt. 16:18–19] . . . . What kind of man are you, subverting and changing what was the manifest intent of the Lord when he conferred this personally upon Peter? Upon you, he says, I will build my Church; and I will give to you the keys" (Modesty 21:9–10 [A.D. 220]).

The Letter of Clement to James

"Be it known to you, my lord, that Simon [Peter], who, for the sake of the true faith, and the most sure foundation of his doctrine, was set apart to be the foundation of the Church, and for this end was by Jesus himself, with his truthful mouth, named Peter" (Letter of Clement to James 2 [A.D. 221]).


The Clementine Homilies

"[Simon Peter said to Simon Magus in Rome:] ‘For you now stand in direct opposition to me, who am a firm rock, the foundation of the Church’ [Matt. 16:18]" (Clementine Homilies 17:19 [A.D. 221]).

Origen

"Look at [Peter], the great foundation of the Church, that most solid of rocks, upon whom Christ built the Church [Matt. 16:18]. And what does our Lord say to him? ‘Oh you of little faith,’ he says, ‘why do you doubt?’ [Matt. 14:31]" (Homilies on Exodus 5:4 [A.D. 248]).

Cyprian of Carthage

"The Lord says to Peter: ‘I say to you,’ he says, ‘that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell will not overcome it. And to you I will give the keys of the kingdom of heaven . . . ’ [Matt. 16:18–19]. On him [Peter] he builds the Church, and to him he gives the command to feed the sheep [John 21:17], and although he assigns a like power to all the apostles, yet he founded a single chair [cathedra], and he established by his own authority a source and an intrinsic reason for that unity. Indeed, the others were that also which Peter was [i.e., apostles], but a primacy is given to Peter, whereby it is made clear that there is but one Church and one chair. . . . If someone does not hold fast to this unity of Peter, can he imagine that he still holds the faith? If he [should] desert the chair of Peter upon whom the Church was built, can he still be confident that he is in the Church?" (The Unity of the Catholic Church 4; 1st edition [A.D. 251]).

"There is one God and one Christ, and one Church, and one chair founded on Peter by the word of the Lord. It is not possible to set up another altar or for there to be another priesthood besides that one altar and that one priesthood. Whoever has gathered elsewhere is scattering" (Letters 43[40]:5 [A.D. 253]).

"There [John 6:68–69] speaks Peter, upon whom the Church would be built, teaching in the name of the Church and showing that even if a stubborn and proud multitude withdraws because it does not wish to obey, yet the Church does not withdraw from Christ. The people joined to the priest and the flock clinging to their shepherd are the Church. You ought to know, then, that the bishop is in the Church and the Church in the bishop, and if someone is not with the bishop, he is not in the Church. They vainly flatter themselves who creep up, not having peace with the priests of God, believing that they are
secretly [i.e., invisibly] in communion with certain individuals. For the Church, which is one and Catholic, is not split nor divided, but it is indeed united and joined by the cement of priests who adhere one to another" (ibid., 66[69]:8).

Firmilian

"But what is his error . . . who does not remain on the foundation of the one Church which was founded upon the rock by Christ [Matt. 16:18], can be learned from this, which Christ said to Peter alone: ‘Whatever things you shall bind on earth shall be bound also in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth, they shall be loosed in heaven’ [Matt. 16:19]" (collected in Cyprian’s Letters 74[75]:16 [A.D. 253]).

"[Pope] Stephen [I] . . . boasts of the place of his episcopate, and contends that he holds the succession from Peter, on whom the foundations of the Church were laid [Matt. 16:18]. . . . [Pope] Stephen . . . announces that he holds by succession the throne of Peter" (ibid., 74[75]:17).

Ephraim the Syrian

"[Jesus said:] ‘Simon, my follower, I have made you the foundation of the holy Church. I betimes called you Peter, because you will support all its buildings. You are the inspector of those who will build on earth a Church for me. If they should wish to build what is false, you, the foundation, will condemn them. You are the head of the fountain from which my teaching flows; you are the chief of my disciples’" (Homilies 4:1 [A.D. 351]).

Optatus

"You cannot deny that you are aware that in the city of Rome the episcopal chair was given first to Peter; the chair in which Peter sat, the same who was head—that is why he is also called Cephas [‘Rock’]—of all the apostles; the one chair in which unity is maintained by all" (The Schism of the Donatists 2:2 [A.D. 367]).

Ambrose of Milan

"[Christ] made answer: ‘You are Peter, and upon this rock will I build my Church. . . . ’ Could he not, then, strengthen the faith of the man to whom, acting on his own authority, he gave the kingdom, whom he called the rock, thereby declaring him to be the foundation of the Church [Matt. 16:18]?" (The Faith 4:5 [A.D. 379]).

"It is to Peter that he says: ‘You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church’ [Matt. 16:18]. Where Peter is, there is the Church. And where the Church is, no death is there, but life eternal" (Commentary on Twelve Psalms of David 40:30 [A.D. 389]).

Pope Damasus I

"Likewise it is decreed . . . that it ought to be announced that . . . the holy Roman Church has not been placed at the forefront [of the churches] by the conciliar decisions of other churches, but has received the primacy by the evangelic voice of our Lord and Savior, who says: ‘You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it; and I will give to you the keys of the kingdom of heaven. . . . ’ [Matt. 16:18–19]. The first see, therefore, is that of Peter the apostle, that of the Roman Church, which has neither stain nor blemish nor anything like it" (Decree of Damasus 3 [A.D. 382]).

Jerome

"‘But,’ you [Jovinian] will say, ‘it was on Peter that the Church was founded’ [Matt. 16:18]. Well . . . one among the twelve is chosen to be their head in order to remove any occasion for division" (Against Jovinian 1:26 [A.D. 393]).

"I follow no leader but Christ and join in communion with none but your blessedness [Pope Damasus I], that is, with the chair of Peter. I know that this is the rock on which the Church has been built. Whoever eats the Lamb outside this house is profane. Anyone who is not in the ark of Noah will perish when the flood prevails" (Letters 15:2 [A.D. 396]).


Augustine

"If the very order of episcopal succession is to be considered, how much more surely, truly, and safely do we number them [the bishops of Rome] from Peter himself, to whom, as to one representing the whole Church, the Lord said, ‘Upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not conquer it.’ Peter was succeeded by Linus, Linus by Clement. ... In this order of succession a Donatist bishop is not to be found" (Letters 53:1:2 [A.D. 412]).

Council of Ephesus

"Philip, the presbyter and legate of the Apostolic See [Rome], said: ‘There is no doubt, and in fact it has been known in all ages, that the holy and most blessed Peter, prince and head of the apostles, pillar of the faith, and foundation of the Catholic Church, received the keys of the kingdom from our Lord Jesus Christ, the Savior and Redeemer of the human race, and that to him was given the power of loosing and binding sins: who down even to today and forever both lives and judges in his successors’" (Acts of the Council, session 3 [A.D. 431]).

Sechnall of Ireland

"Steadfast in the fear of God, and in faith immovable, upon [Patrick] as upon Peter the [Irish] church is built; and he has been allotted his apostleship by God; against him the gates of hell prevail not" (Hymn in Praise of St. Patrick 3 [A.D. 444]).


Pope Leo I

"Our Lord Jesus Christ . . . has placed the principal charge on the blessed Peter, chief of all the apostles. . . . He wished him who had been received into partnership in his undivided unity to be named what he himself was, when he said: ‘You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church’ [Matt. 16:18], that the building of the eternal temple might rest on Peter’s solid rock, strengthening his Church so surely that neither could human rashness assail it nor the gates of hell prevail against it" (Letters 10:1 [A.D. 445]).


Council of Chalcedon

"Wherefore the most holy and blessed Leo, archbishop of the great and elder Rome, through us, and through this present most holy synod, together with the thrice blessed and all-glorious Peter the apostle, who is the rock and foundation of the Catholic Church, and the foundation of the orthodox faith, has stripped him [Dioscorus] of the episcopate" (Acts of the Council, session 3 [A.D. 451]).

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Postby You Can Call Me Ray » Wed Oct 17, 2007 3:28 pm

Ry,
ryguy wrote:The above simply isn't true - I actually must say it's a gross misrepresentation of the earliest writings of the Church Fathers. They never offered Paul up as a primary force...if you read the writings from the first 500 years of the Church, you'll see who they viewed (and still view today) as the primary force and "Father of the Church". Honestly - I'm really very surprised by the paragraph that you wrote above...it couldn't be furthest from the reality of the early church!


Were you there to ascertain the reality & truth, Ryan? I must say, you are coming off as "defender of the faith" and not an unbiased researcher who can consider all the facts. And do not mistake my point, as had occurred earlier: My point is NOT that other Church Fathers offered-up Paul as a primary force. My point is that the very influence and activities of Paul himself SHAPED a great many facets of Christianity and the Church. Do you deny this? His influence was so heavy that we even have a term for it today: Pauline Christianity. And certainly, as you will read, the scholars are NOT in agreement that the Catholic Canon is the final word on all aspects of what was true in the early Church:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pauline_Christianity

Pauline Christianity is a term used to refer a branch of Early Christianity associated with the beliefs and doctrines espoused by Paul the Apostle through his writings. Most of mainstream Christianity relies heavily on these teachings and considers them to be amplifications and explanations of the teachings of Jesus. Others perceive in Paul's writings teachings that are radically different from the original teachings of Jesus documented in the canonical gospels, early Acts and the rest of the New Testament, such as the Epistle of James.


It is hard to deny the fact that, were it not for Paul's influence it is dubious as to whether Rome would have formally adopted Christianity under Constantine. It is also pretty much impossible to deny that Paul's "flavor" of Christianity was steered towards gentiles, and moreover was slanted to "deprive Jews of admission to Christianity". In fact, a great many evangelical movements of today rely heavily on the writings of Paul to support the evangelical activities.

But one does not even need to look beyond Canonical texts to see there was a schism, or at least a tension, between Paul and the apostles. You can find several differences between Paul's epistles and the writings in the Acts of the Apostles. And there are plenty of examples where Paul contradicts the teachings of Jesus:

http://www.geocities.com/paulntobin/pau ... tml#contra

As an example Jesus, believing in the imminent coming of the kingdom during his lifetime, taught his followers not to worry about what tomorrow would bring and to first seek the kingdom of God:
Matthew 6:25-34
"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink, or about your body, what you will wear...So do not worry, saying 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?'. For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself."


Whatever we may feel about the merits of such teachings, its message is obvious: Jesus is telling his followers to eschew the normal everyday life of working for a living and to live the absolute ethic straight away while looking for the kingdom of God. But Pauline theology (written probably by one of Paul's disciples) opposes this and calls for believers to work for a living: [7]

II Thessalonians 3:6,10
In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers, to keep away from every brother who is idle and does not live according to the teaching you received from us...For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: "If a man will not work, he shall not eat."



ryguy wrote:He did indeed make mention of his Church and its importance.


You are arguing a minor issue and you know this was not the crux of my point. Strawman. I am not saying the Church is not important. What I am saying is, again, perfectly captured by the quote I provided:

Furthermore, the gnostic path does not require the intermediation of a church for salvation.


The italicized/bold is my point. Argue that, and not something I was not asserting please. :)

I will submit to you that there are plenty of other alleged writings that may or may not have made it into the Canon - but again, to assume the purposes behind it were malevolent is premature unless we examine the actual writings under consideration.


Your argument approaches circular, Ryan. You appear to draw only on canonized texts, and you make assertions that they are "true" and represent the totality of reality. The simple fact is, and I have pointed it out more than once and you have not addressed it, is that there were HEAVY political influences that were obviously present throughout the entire history of the Church. My contention is that they BEGIN with the works of Paul and stretch all through the Dark Ages. You cannot deny this. To make a case that one should NOT even consider malevolent intent in the establishment of the canon is to ignore that there were certainly political forces that shaped the Church.

Peter was always, and still is, considered the first Pope. The following are quotes from writings of the first 500 years of the Church that clearly refer to either Jesus' own words or Peter's own words, referring to him (Peter) as the Rock of the Church as was ordained by Christ himself. And in all cases below you can clearly see how Peter has always been considered the "Father of the Church".


In the canonized texts, of course! This is why I say your argument is approaching circular. Question: Why was the influence of James (the brother of Jesus) essentially excised from the Canon but for one epistle? What does your "reality" say to that, Ryan? Why were there arguments about the writings of James potentially being heretical? Why was there even a need (which was validated by Paul himself) for there to be a split where Peter & James were to minister to the Jews while Paul was to minister to the Gentiles? That fact, in and of itself, is all the evidence one needs to consider political wranglings and how they shaped the early Church. Whether you wish to admit it or not, there was a power struggle going on, and Paul was "in on it".

I think it is time to just drop this, because it is clear we are taking two very different approaches to this. I know my mind is open because I am willing to question Canon. I don't see that you are willing to do so, and I can understand why since it is part of your beliefs. Regardless of that, it is quite clear that the teachings of Christ were to seek out the Kingdom of God, yet Paul was the major force which reshaped this message into a focus on the belief in Christ first and foremost. Without relying on reasons for exclusion of other texts, one only needs to consider the inclusion of the letters of Paul to know that the arbiters of Church Canon viewed the teachings of Paul as a means to "extend" (change?) the core teachings of Jesus. The record is clear on this, and by that I mean even the Canonical record.

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Postby ryguy » Wed Oct 17, 2007 4:09 pm

You Can Call Me Ray wrote:I think it is time to just drop this, because it is clear we are taking two very different approaches to this. I know my mind is open because I am willing to question Canon. I don't see that you are willing to do so, and I can understand why since it is part of your beliefs.


I agree with you that it's probably time to drop it - not because either of our minds are closed, but because you assume that one of our minds is closed. I know mine is open because I am willing to both accept and/or question Canon based on verified historical documents (not claims without supporting historical authentic texts). But I also refuse to attack the Church for the sake of attacking it - and simply accepting documents that support that stance without true authenticity of the witness account or historical record. In this business - that's the name of the game. If you believe the argument is circular, it's because I find I have to repeat myself here.

Trust me, as I said before I have gone down the road of questioning Canon, and it may surprise you to know (or it may not) that there are large sections of it that I disagree with. However the parts you are questioning here - that view is simply not supported by both historical fact and authentic documents.

Regardless of that, it is quite clear that the teachings of Christ were to seek out the Kingdom of God, yet Paul was the major force which reshaped this message into a focus on the belief in Christ first and foremost.


That is a far-reaching statement to make without providing anything to support it. In fact, that point of view is a huge source of debate among scholars, and your claim that this side of it is "quite clear" is not true. I understand the point you are making...but the point is far from proven...and certainly far from being very "clear".

Without relying on reasons for exclusion of other texts, one only needs to consider the inclusion of the letters of Paul to know that the arbiters of Church Canon viewed the teachings of Paul as a means to "extend" (change?) the core teachings of Jesus.


So you have a problem with the inclusion of certain documents, and a problem with the exclusion of others? Were you there Ray? Do you really understand the reasoning behind it? The chain of custody...verification of authenticity? Yet you cite the inclusion of Paul and the exclusion of other alleged accounts as reasons that you believe the Church "changed" the core teachings of Jesus. I don't use Strawmen arguments...but that appears to be a clear representation of your above statement, and I couldn't disagree with it more. There were a multitude of reasons various texts were included or not included - you ask how would I know the reasons...excellent point Ray. So the same question goes to you - how would you know? Why are you so quick to assume malevolent or deceitful reasons?

The record is clear on this, and by that I mean even the Canonical record.


It's clear we disagree on that. It's also clear that we are both just as stubborn as eachother...lol. I understand your position here, I'm sure by now you understand mine. It's clear that we disagree, and without analyzing all of the documentation that supports each side of our disagreement, we'll never get anywhere. I'm sure you don't have the time, and I sure as heck don't at the moment. So it probably is best for us to just accept that we understand eachother's positions and move on. Not because either of us has a closed mind, I would never say that about you, and I find it completely insulting (and very surprising) that you would throw out an ad-hominem attack like that. Using one's religion against them in that way is one of the cheapest shots ever - regardless of topic. Many people do not choose their religion lightly, Ray...and believe it or not, a number of people do base that decision on the evidence provided by historical evidence and records.

You are right, the safest thing to do is to just accept that we're both very confident in our positions and move on.

-Ry
Last edited by ryguy on Wed Oct 17, 2007 11:24 pm, edited 8 times in total.
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Postby ryguy » Wed Oct 17, 2007 4:30 pm

From here:

Paul, ready for the end

Paul comes next. Paul Meier, a conservative, says he is a co-founder of the faith. Marvin Mayer says Jesus did not found Christianity, but Paul. This is an old view, but the bifurcation of Paul from Jesus is highly unlikely. No one can explain Paul's conversion nor his theological development without continuity with Jesus. The portrait of Paul starts with him as persecutor and then moves quickly to the Damascus Road. Paul had a "sudden and bizarre experience" on the way to Damascus. Rev. Calvin Butts says he heard a voice. Saul changed as a result and his name changed as well.

[snip...]

Paul, fully Jew and fully Christian

The apostles are discussed next and their initial jealousy of Paul, something Acts also notes at first. This is portrayed in the special more as a running battle, an overhang of the old nineteenth century view of F. C. Baur, but one that is less than likely, given that 2 Peter discusses Paul with respect while recognizing how difficult his letters are. The idea that Paul preaches a faith that seeks out Jews and belief in Jesus as an extension of Judaism is correct. His preaching in the synagogue in Acts 13 suggests as much.

What caused the new movement to become Christianity as opposed to an extension of Judaism? Historically, it was the refusal of many Jews in the synagogues, forcing the new movement to take on an independent structure as Acts also notes. However, to attribute the extension of the new movement to Gentiles to Paul alone is also misdirected. Acts notes that Peter and a group of Hellenists were already there. What Paul did was to give this movement to Gentiles its theological development and make it a point of focus for his ministry.

The idea that circumcision led to the split toward Christianity is oversimplified. There were views about Messiah and God's Son also at play here, no minor details. In addition, the special says Paul changed the rules on circumcision. Again Acts makes it clear that this move was not just Paul's argument. Peter argues that God showed this when Cornelius came to faith, and the all important Spirit showed up to indwell them. The church as a whole accepted this fairly quickly. Paul was one of those who most forcefully made the argument. However, he was not the only one making it and was not the innovator here as the special implies. This is a nuance, but nuances are important when they deal with ideas around which the church was unified.

Another popular touch appears next in the interview of folks outside of the Vatican about who Paul is. This detail shows what many Christians know, that many people do not know much about Paul. What made Paul distinctive according to the special in a way that made him controversial? Paul is the one who declared that you did not have to be Jewish to be a part of Christian movements.

Tom Wright says that Paul was the one teaching people to sing Jesus' music, a nice image. Nonetheless, the special uses this idea to turn to the conflict between Paul and James and Peter. This conflict is exaggerated. Paul was trumpeting what the church was also saying. There was initial debate on this question, but it was more quickly resolved than the special suggest. The solution even comes with James' favor that seals the deal, as Acts notes and as Paul Meier notes within the special.

It is correct to argue that the idea of salvation without circumcision was revolutionary in a Jewish context, but the point is that it was not Paul alone who was making the argument. As Witherington notes within the special, the "towering figures" came to agreement on the point. Yet the special returns to the conflict between Peter and Paul, a point that is raised in Galatians. The timing of this dispute is itself disputed. Was it before the Council of Acts 15 where the final decision was made or not? Either way, this dispute was quickly resolved with no acrimony in the end.

The idea that Paul laid the foundation of the separation of Christianity from Judaism on his innovative point is another oversimplification, both in the source and the cause. It shows the one glaring omission in the special. There are issues about who and how one is related to God that are involved in the early Christian movement that the special does not focus upon, namely, the uniqueness of Jesus for Paul. Rather the special stays focused on how spirituality and people relate to each other as the key.


----

Anyway - this debate has obviously been going on longer that we've been around. It sure won't be resolved here.

-Ry
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Postby You Can Call Me Ray » Thu Oct 18, 2007 12:25 pm

Ry,

Why are you so quick to assume malevolent or deceitful reasons?


One need only take an honest look at the history of the Church to answer that question. An organization run by (quite fallible) humans.

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Postby ryguy » Thu Oct 18, 2007 12:38 pm

You Can Call Me Ray wrote:One need only take an honest look at the history of the Church to answer that question. An organization run by (quite fallible) humans.

Ray


For a guy who seems to agree with the concept of not making claims without providing appropriate support to back it - that's quite a statement. It smells more of "belief" than of scholarly research, if one is to be "honest". From all appearances it seems you have more against the Catholic church than just it's history. No skin off my back - I'd defend Protestants, Baptists, Episcopals, etc...in much the same way.

Any human group (including gnostics btw) have the same fallibility as any other, Ray. You are no better. Nor am I.

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Postby You Can Call Me Ray » Thu Oct 18, 2007 1:36 pm

ryguy wrote:Any human group (including gnostics btw) have the same fallibility as any other, Ray. You are no better. Nor am I.


Gnostics (among other groups) do not set up an organization that claims to be run by an infallible person who claims to speak for God. Gnostics purposefully avoid setting up such organizations and investing them with power because they understand that humans are fallible, and that absolute power corrupts absolutely.

For a guy who seems to agree with the concept of not making claims without providing appropriate support to back it - that's quite a statement. It smells more of "belief" than of scholarly research, if one is to be "honest".


The evidence and support is there, Ryan. The Crusades. The Inquisition. The moslestation scandal (and how the Church handled it). There is plenty of evidence down through the ages to certainly support the FACT that the Church has taken political actions based on no other motive than to control people. I am sorry if you think I am insulting you by suggesting you are closing your mind to SOME things about the Church. It is not my intent to insult, only to suggest that I actually believe you are being selective in not seeing and admitting where the Church has been less-than-true in following Christ's model. I am NOT attacking you, I am attacking the Church. It is far from perfect, and there are elements of human control that are clearly NOT taught by Christ. I would again point out that nowhere did Christ teach that ministers of his Church had to remain celibate and unmarried.

For instance, could you show me any quotes attributed to Christ where he teaches that one must confess their sins to a member of "his" Church? Do you honestly see the entire structure of the "sacrament" of reconciliation as having NO political motivations (especially when couched in the times of the Dark Ages where the Church was, in fact, a political force for controlling people)?

I think we are obviously not dropping this, and perhaps we should set up a new thread??? What do you think?

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Postby Access Denied » Thu Oct 18, 2007 3:43 pm

You Can Call Me Ray wrote:
ryguy wrote:Any human group (including gnostics btw) have the same fallibility as any other, Ray. You are no better. Nor am I.

Gnostics (among other groups) do not set up an organization that claims to be run by an infallible person who claims to speak for God. Gnostics purposefully avoid setting up such organizations and investing them with power because they understand that humans are fallible, and that absolute power corrupts absolutely.

And to that I would say surely you realize it works both ways? Are you not in some respects claiming to “speak for God” by questioning the foundation of Ry’s belief? This unfortunately is where any discussion of religion starts to go south so consequently I try to avoid the subject like the plague. :)

You Can Call Me Ray wrote:
ryguy wrote:For a guy who seems to agree with the concept of not making claims without providing appropriate support to back it - that's quite a statement. It smells more of "belief" than of scholarly research, if one is to be "honest".

The evidence and support is there, Ryan. The Crusades. The Inquisition. The moslestation scandal (and how the Church handled it).

You seem to be quite fond of repeating that last point. :) I think Ry has a point here, in the RU tradition I would suggest perhaps a more narrowly focused discussion of one aspect of your position at a time rather than making broad blanket statements like that would be more constructive?

You Can Call Me Ray wrote:I think we are obviously not dropping this, and perhaps we should set up a new thread??? What do you think?

I think that’s an excellent idea per above. For example I think the wiki entry on the Gospel of Thomas might be an excellent departure point for a debate on the provenance of the canonical gospels as follows…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gospel_of_Thomas

The Gospel begins with the words, "These are the secret sayings which the living Jesus spoke and which Didymus Judas Thomas wrote down. And he said, 'Whoever finds the interpretation of these sayings will not experience death.'"

The work comprises 114 sayings attributed to Jesus. Some of these sayings resemble those found in the four canonical Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John). Others were unknown until its discovery, and a few of these run counter to sayings found in the four canonical gospels.

When this Coptic version of the complete text of Thomas was found, scholars realized that three separate Greek portions of it had already been discovered in Oxyrhynchus, Egypt, in 1898. The manuscripts bearing the Greek fragments of the Gospel of Thomas (P. Oxy. I 1; IV 654; IV 655) have been dated to about AD 200, and the manuscript of the Coptic version to about 340. Although the Coptic version is not quite identical to any of the Greek fragments, it is believed that the Coptic version was translated from an earlier Greek version.

[snip]

There is currently much debate about when the text was composed with scholars generally falling into two main camps: an early camp favoring a date in the 50s, approximately contemporary with the composition of the canonical gospels, and a late camp favoring a 2nd century date, well after the canonical gospels.

I’m not a biblical scholar so I don’t know what to make of it all but there seems to be some convincing arguments on both sides of the fence as it were.
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