December 23, 2009 8:12:24 PM CET
lissa0915 (Dec 7 2009, 06:00 AM) said: > original post
There isn't a scientist in the world who will announce that any evidence/theory/fact is absolute. You yourself stated that sometimes scientists must change the facts when new light is shed on any given subject.
Man is limited and for some people this is very annoying, I know. But there are great mysteries that will never be solved, even Einstein himself had to admit this. Science can never disprove God, because science is limited because man himself has limits. And millions of people will continue to believe in God because of their own personal experience.
It is my opinion that those who try to preach to others in order to change their way of thinking about God are quite arrogant. You do not have the truth about God, you have only your personal experience and opinions. While it is relevant to you and your way of life, you should allow for others to have their own experience and opinion.
In order to think philosophically, you must allow the barriers in your mind to come down. Be open minded and consider that you do not know everything, that you may learn from those who think differently, and that you are willing and able to accept that although you may truly feel you have found the truth about God and religion- that others may have their own beliefs and find out for themselves.
I did not say that I know everything. I did not say science leads to absolute truth. In fact, science leads to relative truths, which are accepted till they are proven false (but if they are not proven false, they are highly likely to be true). As Popper said, one cannot prove that something is true, but one can prove that something is false. So, science is about having less and less false theories.
About the Bible and religion: they can and they are studied scientifically. There are a lot of New Testament and Old Testament scholars which analyze these texts critically and historically. They have shown that from the books of the New Testament, we are certain about the authors of only eight books: the seven undisputed Pauline letters and the Revelation of John (the Revelation does not say that John was an apostle, it only says that the name of the author was John, a very common name in that time).
I have downloaded from Usenet the books of Ehrman (Misquoting Jesus, God's Problem and Jesus, Interrupted), and I find them very interesting. At least, such books changed my mind about Jesus and I am prepared to accept as historically evident the fact that he existed.
Ehrman talks about C.S. Lewis' trillema: Jesus told that he is God, therefore there are three possibilities: this was untrue and he knew it (liar), this was untrue and he did not knew it (lunatic) or this was true (Lord). C.S. Lewis argues that Jesus was neither a liar nor a lunatic, therefore he is the Lord. Ehrman notices that in the evidence available about the historical Jesus, Jesus never claimed that he were God. He claimed that he was the Son of God, but in Judaism "Son of God" meant either the people of Israel, or the king of Israel, or a special person elected by God to do his will on Earth (i.e. Moses, Joshua and the prophets are the Sons of God). Therefore Ehrman, although he accepts that it is proven that Jesus really existed, he says that is it mere legend that Jesus were God. The three synoptic Gospels never mentioned that Jesus were divine and this makes it highly probable that Mark, Matthew and Luke never thought that Jesus could be divine. Only the Gospel of John claims that Jesus is God, but this Gospel was written much later than the synoptic Gospels, and it is historically seen highly dubious in rendering testimony about the historical Jesus. No Gospel from the New Testament claims to be written by direct witnesses to Jesus' deeds, since all such stories are never told in the first person, but only in the third person. As Ehrman says, the Gospels were written by people who talked Greek, not Aramaic, who lived in other countries than Jesus, 35 to 65 years after the death of Jesus, and have all their stories about Jesus collected from hearsay. In fact, all the authors of the Gospels knew about Judaism was from reading the Septuagint, this is evident in how they miss points which were obvious for practicing Jews of that time. Ehrman says: imagine children playing "telephone" not in one language, but in many different languages, among many different countries, and for 40 years long, and you get a sense of how reliable are the stories of the Gospels, which were collected from oral tradition about Jesus. But, historians devised criteria for extracting the authentic historical information about the historical Jesus, and this is what New Testament scholars are doing in analyzing critically and historically the books of the New Testament.
They don't assume that all the information therein was inspired by God, they don't assume that the Bible does not contradict itself (in fact, they noticed plenty of contradictions), they don't assume that all the books of the Bible are authentic (written precisely by who the tradition claims they have been written -- the Gospels were anonymous writings).
They study the books of the Bible as literary texts and historical documents, although rather unreliable historical documents, since when we compare the stories from one Gospels with the stories from other Gospels, they may disagree on details and even upon highly relevant theological issues. Ehrman says that Matthew and Luke used Mark as a source, but in doing so they edited the words of Mark in order to suit their own purposes, in order to make other theological points that Mark did. Since they were different people, they meant different things and had different views upon who Jesus was and upon what his sacrifice meant. For one Gospel author (John), Jesus is the Passover lamb, sacrificed for the sins of many, but for other Gospel authors (such as Luke), it is not the death of Jesus which redeems people, but redeeming is the repentance produced by the awareness that Jesus was punished while he was innocent.
The point of the synoptic Gospels was that the Kingdom of God were soon to arrive (soon in human terms, i.e. during only one generation, not "soon" as in godly time). Jesus was an apocalyptic prophet who thought that the Son of Man were to come very soon and redeem Israel from the Roman occupation, and establish the kingdom of God, wherein the Jews would rule under the Messiah, who rules upon the twelve apostles, who rule of the restored 12 tribes of Israel. Jesus may have secretly meant that he was the Messiah, and Ehrman suspects that when Judas betrayed Jesus, Judas told the authorities that Jesus told secretly that he was the Messiah. Claiming to be the liberator of Israel was not something the authorities liked, in fact it was like admitting that Jesus leads the insurrection against the Romans, while in fact Jesus meant that not him (Jesus), but the Son of Man, who lead the angels, would liberate Israel. Jesus never said that he was the Son of Man, although Christian theologians assumed later that Jesus were the Son of Man.