Conversations With christians - Beth 3 - Where Do We Go From Here? EDIT

pics or it didn't happen

I got another email from Beth! We are still on the topic of cherry-picking, but deal with a few more issues. Here you go, my friends. Your comments are always welcome.

EDIT: Johnny and GMNightmare commented below and I agreed completely with what they said. So I sent her another email a minute ago with that information as an addendum. Since I felt it was important and also sent it to Beth, I wanted to add it to the post, because it all fits right in. Thanks, guys, you're so awesome!
This "cherry picking" issue is really starting to bug me, honestly. I always viewed cherry picking as using only certain parts of things instead of incorporating the whole for your own convinence. If that is the case, I can assure you I am not. It would only be such if I were to view the Bible as entirely true and without flaws, which I do not. If I were honestly picking and choosing for my benefit then I would be saying all of it was authentic, but then excluding parts of it that redefined the selected part. For example, saying that Jesus was a real man who lived and taught as described in the New Testament does not change anything in the Old Testament. Jesus never stated that the Old Testament laws were the laws of the God he was referring to. I do not mean to sound rude, but I study the Bible very often and it baffles me where you heard such a thing. He does speak of Moses, however that is about the only specific reference that points to the earlier books. He also reads from Isiah, but that does not deal with the law of God, it is mainly about his nature.

Cherry-Pick: Verb: to choose the best items from a selection for oneself, often in an unfair manner.

And what part of selecting choice bits of the bible that you see fit to use, and discarding the rest is not cherry-picking? It's the very definition thereof. But no amount of definitions, or explanations or logic can budge you from your worldview, so let's move on. It doesn't matter why you choose choice bits and throw the rest out, the fact is that you do, at your personal discretion.

Jesus refers to the law of the old testament and the prophets:
Matthew 5:17-18 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
~ Jesus says he approves of the old testament laws and the prophets. He has no objection to the cruelties of the old testament, and he says those laws are binding on everyone forever.
The Bible in itself is nothing more then a bunch of documents gathered and put together to make sense. Therefore, to say I disregard them all in favor of just a few is rather silly. Examining each as individuals is how I operate. Also, there is the chance certain books were removed due to the people who edited it. It is not beneath human beings to take out what they don't like or only put in what they do, regardless if it would significantly change anything.

Well, I don't know about making sense. That is your opinion, certainly not mine. But I digress. I never said you disregard them all, you just disregard whatever doesn't go along with your already predetermined idea of what is "true" and "right" to you. And yes, it is true that books were removed and added to the original codex, and that it was edited over time to become what it is today. All the more reason to disregard it as a holy book, since it most assuredly was written by men. But you agree with me there, so we don't need to go there.

May I suggest studying The Codex Sinaiticus which is the oldest bible known to exist, and which is now available online?

My rewording of what GMN said below: This is a very interesting point. If you can determine, without being a biblical scholar with a degree in such things, what is authentic in the bible and what is not, why do you even need the bible? You’re basically saying you know more than whoever put the bible together. You’re saying that you know the “mind of god”, and what he intends and what he feels and thinks. You don’t need the bible at all.
Now to return to the mystery of Jesus issue. I will be truthful. I am still studying this subject. It seems a new challenge to his existence is presented every year and so in follows a rebuttle to the claim. As far as plagarism goes, I believe it really should be a dead argument. It has already been disproven. I did read your article and many others similar to it. Jesus was not a mythological figure that was a compilation of other ones. Most accusations are exaggerated or aren't even dated correctly. It is never said in the Bible that Jesus was born Decemeber 25th or that he had 3 wise men attend his birth. However, considering you seem firm in the fact that he never lived I will do my best to address any problems you have with him being real. Although I do have a question, not intended to support my own side, but out of genuine curiousity: why would a history book claim Jesus lived if it is clear (from your perspective) that he hasn't? I bring this up because I remember in the 10th grade reading from my textbook and Jesus being mentionned as if he truly was a person who walked this earth. The same as any president or dictator. Once again, just wondering.

Who has disproven what? Read the myths from the surrounding areas around the time that jesus supposedly lived and died, and a hundred years after. The early christians were definitely borrowing from the Hellenistic and Egyptian myths, Mithras, etc. Who told you that jesus was a real person? No one knows that. There is no evidence of his existence anywhere.

No, the early christians decided jesus was born on December 25th to help convert pagans to their faith, since they were already celebrating the Winter Solstice on that date. It was a way to increase their numbers by incorporating other traditions and myths into their stories, to get them to convert. It's all myth. That's what I'm saying. What about jesus is based in fact? Where is it corroborated anywhere outside of the bible?

Did you go to a religious school? Because talking about religion in a public school is against the separation of church and state. And simply because one person was thoughtless enough to take the bible as fact and put Jesus into a school textbook like any other person does not make him real. It just means whoever wrote that into the book blindly believed as you do. Lots of people believing a lie or a myth doesn't make it true. And reading something in a book, even a history book, doesn't make things necessarily true either. Information in history needs to be corroborated. Facts need to be checked and verified from different sources. Just like science needs to be peer reviewed.

I do find it interesting that you'd say jesus was mentioned as true just like any president or dictator. That's kind of funny. But the difference is that there is lots of evidence from multiple sources about dictators and presidents. That's how we know what we know. But even then, we must always keep in mind, history is written by the winners.

Johnny adds: Mithra was one of the main deities worshiped in the same location, and just prior to Jesus. His birthday was December 25th on the Gregorian calendar; or at the time of the winter solstice (as were several other gods). The winter solstice was often celebrated as a birth or rebirth of the sun by many cultures, since it is the shortest day of the year and afterward the days start to get longer. In about 350AD, Pope Julius I declared December 25th as Christ’s birthday in attempt to help smooth the acceptance of Christianity by cultures practicing other religions.

Matthew – [2:1] Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, [2:2] Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. … … [2:11] And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh.

If not the birth itself, they were there shortly after according to the Bible.

Johnny adds, regarding the history book claim: There were a couple historians who included reference to Jesus in historical documentation. They were proven to be fraudulent additions made after-the-fact. Unfortunately they are still cited though. Some history books continue to include Jesus as a historical figure (with no religious intent); but have received poor feedback for doing so.

Now there are some documents that provide hints and innuendos; and this is why even atheist scholars speculate that an “apocalyptic prophet in the Danielic apocalyptic tradition” name Yeshua probably did exist. Even some (of the intelligent) theist scholars concede that his deeds are most likely a compilation of multiple apocalyptic prophets. BUT there is no solid reliable evidence that he existed.
I think I covered everything. Oh, by the way, I checked the New Testament again. Jesus never said anything about homosexuality being a sin. Also, he never specifically says the laws in the Old Testament are the ones he is talking about. If so, he would reitterate that gays are going to be punished for their lifestyle and he never does. He would also say eating shellfish is wrong, haha.

No, jesus never said anything about homosexuality or shellfish. But he did say he upheld the law (see above: Matthew 5:17-18). So why would he need to reiterate every law from the old testament? He simply had to say the law was fine the way it was, and to say everyone was to follow that law until the end of time. It's very clear.

What do you think about the resurrected Jesus telling his disciples that he would be back before they died? And that they were to go forth and perform miracles and cures just like he did?

Johnny adds a very valid point I should have mentioned: Something so few Christians don’t seem to contemplate about Jesus (if he existed): Jesus was NOT a Christian! He was Jew!! Whether he was a rabbi, a prophet, or both; most scholars agree that (if he existed) he was probably well versed in the Tanakh (aka the Old Testament). So as Neece mentions (Matthew 5:17-18), when he says none of the laws shall be destroyed, there is no reason to doubt he is talking about all the laws of the Tanakh.

~

Ok... so that's the newest exchange. My comments were sent to Beth at the same time I posted this, so she hasn't had a chance to respond yet. Hopefully we'll be done with the cherry-picking issue soon. That poor dead horse has been beaten down to nothing!

14 comments:

  1. I have to repeats of course:
    If she can determine what was false and not authentic from the Bible, what use does she have of the Bible? It amounts to saying, "I know what god really intends" and if you already know what god intends, there is no purpose to the Bible.

    I think I was going to say something else... but in reality, I think that really just covers it all. It's my favorite argument now actually.

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  2. Wow, what great information! Thank you Johnny, my favorite scholarly superhero! I'm emailing her again with this information from you. :D

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  3. I'm glad you keep bringing this argument up, GMN. I am sending an email with Johnny's information and this argument to her now, as added response. :)

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  4. At this point Christ has already been artificially injected into history long ago. So similarly, but in reverse, to trying to retcon the holocaust, Hitler, and the founding fathers - Christians are fighting to keep Christ in history even though evidence indicates otherwise.

    Another note on the "history books"... I came across a book in the public library a few months back, titled something like "Religions of the World." It was a large book that was mostly illustrated with art and drawings, or pictures of the art and drawings, but with plenty of informative text. Being the mythology buff that I am, I opened it and flipped through it. It covered Norse, Greek and Roman, Aztec, Indian, Native American, and more. What interested me was when I came to the Jewish and Islam section, the book referred to them in a past-tense and as mythological. However, when I came to the section on Christianity, it indicated all Christian history as fact (including the gospels). It also referred to many things in a more present-tense wording. At this point I let loose a scoffing laugh and thumped the book back onto the shelf. An author that biased towards Christianity would indicate bias against any other religion; so I considered it an unreliable source.

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  5. If I read her right, it's only cherry picking if you don't believe some of the stuff you've already picked out as stuff you believe; or something like that. OK - so I don't get it at all, but my brain is working it over. And over. And over. I wish it would stop.

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  6. Devils advocate a little, We know what a ruler intends but we still need one to draw a straight line. I can see a christian argueing for the bible as a learning/teaching "tool" from this angle.
    Does that make sense? "We do know in our hearts what God intends, but we can still read and learn from the bible... blah ba-dee blah... "

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  7. The mind... it reels...

    Like beating your head against a wall because it feels so good when you stop.

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  8. That's contradictory in itself.

    Learning means you learned something new. Meaning you didn't know gods will. Also, since you learned god's will from it then, you shouldn't be able to nitpick what you want from it.

    Shouldn't have to teach what people already know.

    Of course the amazing amount of difference between people on what is right and what is not even from the Bible standpoint should be a clue that their all a little delusional, but hey, never stopped them before.

    Not that I wouldn't hear it, I'm sure somebody would say it.

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  9. I have to agree with you, GMN. If you know god's will, you certainly have no need of a musty old 2,000 year old book that is extremely contradictory.

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  10. Excellent points, Steve. :)

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  11. That book sounds exceedingly biased. I see stuff like that all the time. Funny how older "religions" are now called myths but christianity is still valid to christians. Maddening!

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  12. Yeah, I love beating my head against the wall! You're right! Excellent analogy. :D

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  13. Sorry Eli, it boggles the mind, doesn't it? I get a headache with every email, and an eye tic. :P

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