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 Post subject: Defending the Bible
PostPosted: Sat Aug 22, 2015 2:05 pm 
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I am not sure how to address two of the biblical concerns typical of the secular ilk:

1. Church leaders chose the books most favorable to their worldview.
2. The supernatural claims of one religious text do not have an inherent veracity exclusive to those of another.

At the time I joined this forum I had given into these concerns and as a result had temporarily left the Church. But, due to the extraordinarily insightful answers on this forum I vigorously returned to the Church. Alas, I cannot remember/find those insights now.

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 Post subject: Re: Defending the Bible
PostPosted: Sat Aug 22, 2015 9:46 pm 
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Will Storm wrote:
I am not sure how to address two of the biblical concerns typical of the secular ilk:

1. Church leaders chose the books most favorable to their worldview.
2. The supernatural claims of one religious text do not have an inherent veracity exclusive to those of another.

At the time I joined this forum I had given into these concerns and as a result had temporarily left the Church. But, due to the extraordinarily insightful answers on this forum I vigorously returned to the Church. Alas, I cannot remember/find those insights now.


Concerning 1, why do you believe someone else saying that? What is their 'proof'?


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 Post subject: Re: Defending the Bible
PostPosted: Sun Aug 23, 2015 6:41 am 
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1) The Church leaders look really bad throughout most of the Gospels. They're always a few steps behind Jesus if they're not actively headed off in the wrong direction entirely. If you were trying to set up a narrative to enforce your authority, wouldn't you want to look better? This holds true even if it's people claiming successorship to the apostles who are making that decision. Wouldn't you want the people whose mantle you are claiming to look good?

More or less the same can be said about the OT.

2) I have typed and erased three different answers because I am not at all sure what you're asking. Can you try again?

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 Post subject: Re: Defending the Bible
PostPosted: Sun Aug 23, 2015 6:57 am 
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Is it....there are lots of different religions, all with their own texts, all of which claim some kind of supernatural status and all of which report all kinds of miraculous events. Why privilege one over the other?

If that's the question, then the answer (in part, and as directed to a secular critic) is: because the evidence supporting the claims in that one is better than the evidence supporting the claims in the others.

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 Post subject: Re: Defending the Bible
PostPosted: Sun Aug 23, 2015 7:35 am 
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Will Storm wrote:
2. The supernatural claims of one religious text do not have an inherent veracity exclusive to those of another.


Fist of all, so what if they don't? Why should we discount the bible as source of evidence for supernatural claims? That's like saying, "you have to proof that he is the murderer but you don't get to use his murder weapon as evidence."

Second of all, we have written account of church fathers and pagan writers attesting supernatural claims (well, the supernatural claims attested by pagan writers is the supernatural incident that happened when the Jews, supported by Julian the Apostate, to rebuild the Jewish Temple in order to discredit Christian claims that since Christ died, the temple is not necessary*).


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*http://bibleprobe.com/rebuildingthetemple.htm

    Then they began to dig the new foundation, in which work many thousands were employed. But what they had thrown up in the day was, by repeated earthquakes, the night following cast back again into the trench. "And when Alypius the next day earnestly pressed on the work, with the assistance of the governor of the province, there issued," says Ammianus, "'such horrible balls of fire out of the earth near the foundations,' which rendered the place, from time to time, inaccessible to the scorched and blasted workmen. And the victorious element continuing in this manner obstinately and resolutely bent as it were to drive them to a distance, Alypius thought proper to give over the enterprise."


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 Post subject: Re: Defending the Bible
PostPosted: Sun Aug 23, 2015 10:54 am 
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Tired wrote:
Concerning 1, why do you believe someone else saying that? What is their 'proof'?


This is actually a point I agree with: I would hope that those members of the councils that arranged the books of the Bible chose according to their worldview and not in opposition to their worldview. The real question, I suppose, is whether a certain member's worldview was virtuous and reflective of reality. Put another way, the issue here is really this: What is to keep a disingenuous member from negatively affecting the selection of books included in the Bible?

gherkin wrote:
If that's the question, then the answer (in part, and as directed to a secular critic) is: because the evidence supporting the claims in that one is better than the evidence supporting the claims in the others.


I believe you properly represented the question. Are you saying there is better evidence for every biblical supernatural claim than there is for any non-biblical supernatural claim? You might be right, but I have never heard anyone make that claim before.

beng wrote:
Fist of all, so what if they don't? Why should we discount the bible as source of evidence for supernatural claims? That's like saying, "you have to proof that he is the murderer but you don't get to use his murder weapon as evidence."


I'm not sure that quite addresses that problem presented. This problem concedes that we can, at least initially, look to the Bible for evidence of the supernatural. But, by the same token, we must also take other religious texts, even opposing religious texts, in the same way. If Jesus divided the fish and the loaves what is to keep Muhammad from dividing the moon? At that point, I agree with gherkin that it is a matter of evidence.


Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
The Church leaders look really bad throughout most of the Gospels.


Are the Church leaders described in the Gospels? Are you saying that generally, religious leaders such as the Pharisees and the Sanhedrin were not highly regarded and therefore future ingenuous Church leaders would not have accepted those books that didn't regard them highly? I am not sure the link between the Church leaders described in the Gospel (or anywhere else in the New Testament) and those who did the choosing of which books made the cut is very strong.


Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
2) I have typed and erased three different answers because I am not at all sure what you're asking. Can you try again?


Happy to. To believe the supernatural claims of the Bible we must accept the existence of the supernatural. At the point at which I am now open to supernatural events, how am I to decipher between one religion's claim over another? Surely the evidence for each and every miracle attributed to the one true God is not greater than those attributed to something else?

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 Post subject: Re: Defending the Bible
PostPosted: Sun Aug 23, 2015 11:19 am 
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Quote:
Are the Church leaders described in the Gospels? Are you saying that generally, religious leaders such as the Pharisees and the Sanhedrin were not highly regarded and therefore future ingenuous Church leaders would not have accepted those books that didn't regard them highly? I am not sure the link between the Church leaders described in the Gospel (or anywhere else in the New Testament) and those who did the choosing of which books made the cut is very strong.


To your last question: St. Irenaeus described quite well the tradition and handing down of the faith from the apostles and connection to those who came before. In his time most of the canon was accepted as Scripture.

First question: yes. Second question: your question is incomprehensible. I think the answer you are looking for is that there are many disagreements amongst the faithful and Church leaders in the New Testament.

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 Post subject: Re: Defending the Bible
PostPosted: Sun Aug 23, 2015 11:23 am 
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With respect to #1, I am saying that St. Peter and the other Apostles don't look good. They are constantly confused, fighting for position among themselves, and abandon Christ when trouble arrives. Their leader, St. Peter, denies even knowing Christ three times. Those aren't the people you want to point to as your leaders.

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Surely the evidence for each and every miracle attributed to the one true God is not greater than those attributed to something else?
It doesn't have to be evidence for each and every. It starts with the evidence for the Resurrection, which is overwhelming to anyone who approaches the matter honestly. If that is true, then there is a priori reason to find the rest of the miracles credible, because if Jesus truly rose from the dead, what could be impossible to Him?

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 Post subject: Re: Defending the Bible
PostPosted: Sun Aug 23, 2015 11:54 am 
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Last edited by Jack3 on Tue Jun 18, 2019 1:34 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Defending the Bible
PostPosted: Sun Aug 23, 2015 12:38 pm 
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Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
With respect to #1, I am saying that St. Peter and the other Apostles don't look good. They are constantly confused, fighting for position among themselves, and abandon Christ when trouble arrives. Their leader, St. Peter, denies even knowing Christ three times. Those aren't the people you want to point to as your leaders.

Quote:
Surely the evidence for each and every miracle attributed to the one true God is not greater than those attributed to something else?
It doesn't have to be evidence for each and every. It starts with the evidence for the Resurrection, which is overwhelming to anyone who approaches the matter honestly. If that is true, then there is a priori reason to find the rest of the miracles credible, because if Jesus truly rose from the dead, what could be impossible to Him?

I agree with Father.

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 Post subject: Re: Defending the Bible
PostPosted: Sun Aug 23, 2015 2:57 pm 
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Bombadil wrote:
Second question: your question is incomprehensible. I think the answer you are looking for is that there are many disagreements amongst the faithful and Church leaders in the New Testament.


You're right. It should read "The supernatural claims of one religious text do not have an inherent veracity exclusive to that particular text." So, the answer I am looking for would need to address disagreements between different religious groups about supernatural events.

Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
I am saying that St. Peter and the other Apostles don't look good. They are constantly confused, fighting for position among themselves, and abandon Christ when trouble arrives. Their leader, St. Peter, denies even knowing Christ three times. Those aren't the people you want to point to as your leaders.


Got it. Thank you for explaining. And so by the time the last Apostle died (which I believe is John in the late 1st century) what was the state of the Bible? Did such a thing exist?

Jack3 wrote:
Their worldview=orthodox Apostolic doctrine
Opposition to their worldview=nefarious heresy

Substitute these words in the question.


Precisely! Does this not present a cart before the horse issue? The question then is how do we know the worldview they held was orthodox Apostolic doctrine?

Jack3 wrote:
I guess people are not idiots and can find heresy if it is there.


Heresy according to who? How is one to measure heresy in such a circumstance?


gherkin wrote:
It doesn't have to be evidence for each and every. It starts with the evidence for the Resurrection, which is overwhelming to anyone who approaches the matter honestly. If that is true, then there is a priori reason to find the rest of the miracles credible, because if Jesus truly rose from the dead, what could be impossible to Him?

I agree with Father.


I also agree with Father. So, perhaps I ought to brush up on my knowledge of the overwhelming evidence of the resurrection. I believe the possibilities are: Swoon, Lie, Myth, Hallucination, or Resurrection.
I guess I would like to know more about who wrote the Gospel accounts and how we came to have them today.

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 Post subject: Re: Defending the Bible
PostPosted: Sun Aug 23, 2015 3:20 pm 
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And so by the time the last Apostle died (which I believe is John in the late 1st century) what was the state of the Bible? Did such a thing exist?
The Old Testament, yes. Everything in the New Testament was written, but the process of identifying what was Scripture took time--centuries, in fact. One should note, however, that the disputes over what was and wasn't Scripture never centered on obvious garbage like the alleged "Gospel of Thomas"; it was over things like the "Epistle of Barnabas," the letters of St. Ignatius of Antioch, and the letter of Pope St. Clement, all of which had some plausible connection to Apostolic teaching.

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 Post subject: Re: Defending the Bible
PostPosted: Sun Aug 23, 2015 3:47 pm 
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Will Storm wrote:
1. Church leaders chose the books most favorable to their worldview.


I guess I don't really understand what you mean by this. Are you referring to the common, History Channel theory that the canon was fluid, that there were multiple versions of Christianity floating around, that all of them were equally valid, but that a power hungry "orthodox" party emerged which ended the good times and declared all the other versions to be heretical and suppressed them, and then made a biased canon that only reflected their views?

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 Post subject: Re: Defending the Bible
PostPosted: Sun Aug 23, 2015 6:21 pm 
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:laughhard

Well put, and accurately. That is exactly what they say, but I can't help laughing about the ridiculousness of it.

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 Post subject: Re: Defending the Bible
PostPosted: Sun Aug 23, 2015 9:30 pm 
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Will Storm wrote:

Jack3 wrote:
Their worldview=orthodox Apostolic doctrine
Opposition to their worldview=nefarious heresy

Substitute these words in the question.


Precisely! Does this not present a cart before the horse issue? The question then is how do we know the worldview they held was orthodox Apostolic doctrine?

Jack3 wrote:
I guess people are not idiots and can find heresy if it is there.


Heresy according to who? How is one to measure heresy in such a circumstance?

There were teachings passed down by word of mouth.

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 Post subject: Re: Defending the Bible
PostPosted: Mon Aug 24, 2015 7:12 am 
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Will Storm wrote:

beng wrote:
Fist of all, so what if they don't? Why should we discount the bible as source of evidence for supernatural claims? That's like saying, "you have to proof that he is the murderer but you don't get to use his murder weapon as evidence."


I'm not sure that quite addresses that problem presented. This problem concedes that we can, at least initially, look to the Bible for evidence of the supernatural. But, by the same token, we must also take other religious texts, even opposing religious texts, in the same way. If Jesus divided the fish and the loaves what is to keep Muhammad from dividing the moon? At that point, I agree with gherkin that it is a matter of evidence.


So, that's what they meant.

well, I'll say that it's no big deal. Let them check other religious texts. If they are honest then they will conclude, unbiasedly, that only the Christian Bible is reliable as evidence.

How is that so? First of all, according to reason alone, only a monotheistic religion is the true religion. This discounts A LOT OF religions (Hindu, Budha [which is not actually a religion], Wiccan etc). We are then left with religion such as Islam etc. But it's still easier to discount them using non-faith based objective criteria. For instance, the Quran makes unsubstantiated historical claims that contradict historical evidence (to make long story short, it is like the Quran is claiming that Benjamin Franklin was the first United State president, that it was Tokyo and Kobe that were bombed by the US, that Hitler never invaded Poland and so on). Not to mention that Quran never report any supernatural miracle.

My point is, one can not compare other religions scripture with the Christian Bible. If one investigates rationally and honestly, one would learn that the only internally and externally consistent scripture is the bible.

Now, Bart Ehrman made the same point [as the non-believers] in his debate with William Lane Craig:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FhT4IENSwac

At 01:03:55 Ehrman asked that if Bill [Craig] believes that the gospel evidences point to a miraculous resurrection, would he then willing to believe other ancient text attesting the miraculous resurrection of other historical figures outside the Christian tradition (ie. Apolonius of Tiana etc). Craig then respond on that point at 01:12:54.

Basically what Craig is saying is other ancient texts tales of supernatural occurrences is not credible for various reasons (one he mention is the long gap between the existence of the text and the event in the tale [hundreds of years], while as the bible is written only a bit more than half a century after any miraculous events).

In short, if we gather all texts/scriptures claiming supernatural occurrence, then honest and objective investigation will show, without a doubt, that only the bible is the credible one.


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 Post subject: Re: Defending the Bible
PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2015 9:24 am 
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Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
Everything in the New Testament was written, but the process of identifying what was Scripture took time--centuries, in fact. One should note, however, that the disputes over what was and wasn't Scripture never centered on obvious garbage like the alleged "Gospel of Thomas"; it was over things like the "Epistle of Barnabas," the letters of St. Ignatius of Antioch, and the letter of Pope St. Clement, all of which had some plausible connection to Apostolic teaching.


I suppose a book on the history of those events would be good. But, due to the timeline you have represented, it seems that the "disputes" did not occur between those who would have subverted texts that did not portray them well. As you say, the disputes all took place after the deaths of the Apostles and Church leaders. But, you also say that the New Testament was largely agreed upon already, which would suggest the Apostles and other Church leaders had already done some disputing and subsequent agreeing. I am convinced of the point.

I would also like to know the universe of documents about which the Apostles and later Church leaders were disputing. You mention a few and I don't necessarily need names, but was it hundreds of texts or a handful? I mean, were they simply reviewing anything they could get their hands on that described Jesus and the formation of the early Church? Again, a book on this is clearly in order. Suggestions would be helpful.


Doom wrote:
I guess I don't really understand what you mean by this. Are you referring to the common, History Channel theory that the canon was fluid, that there were multiple versions of Christianity floating around, that all of them were equally valid, but that a power hungry "orthodox" party emerged which ended the good times and declared all the other versions to be heretical and suppressed them, and then made a biased canon that only reflected their views?



Not quite so dramatic as I am not seeking viewership. Something like this: the canon was fluid or at least not firm, some dispute as to the facts surrounding both Christ's life and the work of the Apostles', but no power hunger or end of good times is suggested by my inquiry (except maybe a punch or two throw by St. Nick). Rather, a party simply emerged as more convincing and popular than the others.
Does the Magisterium ask me to take the agreement and emergence of such a party as a sufficient foundation for my faith?

beng wrote:
My point is, one can not compare other religions scripture with the Christian Bible. If one investigates rationally and honestly, one would learn that the only internally and externally consistent scripture is the bible.


Fair enough. And that is a question of evidence which I think I am able to represent in argument with non-believers, based on the Resurrection.

beng wrote:
In short, if we gather all texts/scriptures claiming supernatural occurrence, then honest and objective investigation will show, without a doubt, that only the bible is the credible one.


I want to be clear: Amen.

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 Post subject: Re: Defending the Bible
PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2015 9:35 am 
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Will Storm wrote:
Does the Magisterium ask me to take the agreement and emergence of such a party as a sufficient foundation for my faith?

It all gets very complicated, but the answer has to be no. Your Faith is a supernatural gift and not based on the evidence. The evidence serves an important role, which has traditionally been called the "motives of credibility." But if your faith is based strictly on the evidence then it's not the supernatural virtue of Faith at all, but rather mere human belief, like your belief that Napoleon existed. Such human belief may be more or less firm, but it's never the same kind of thing as supernatural Faith.

Now, you likely believe that the emergence of the party in question was brought about through the will of God--IOW that we received the Bible we have and not a different one, because God directed the men who made the relevant command decisions. Moreover, as Father pointed out above, there were not really any serious disputes about the books that we can now easily recognize as heretical. The disputes were over such books as Revelation (in!) or the Shepherd of Hermas (out!). So in terms of the content of our Faith--the teaching of the Church--we can more or less see that party as dominant wherever we look in the ancient world. The party you mention above--the one that made the final decisions about the canon--was if anything a sub-section of the dominant party, and in agreement over the substance of the Faith with them. All the relevant historical knowledge here plays a role in helping to show the credibility of the Faith (the orthodox story is the most believable one, all things considered), but again, it is not in itself the basis for our Faith. The basis for our Faith is God.

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 Post subject: Re: Defending the Bible
PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2015 10:50 am 
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The books of the NT were mostly letters and were kept by the churches and read and distributed. Gospel of Thomas and other Gnostic works were not.

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 Post subject: Re: Defending the Bible
PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2019 10:18 pm 
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gherkin wrote:
Now, you likely believe that the emergence of the party in question was brought about through the will of God--IOW that we received the Bible we have and not a different one, because God directed the men who made the relevant command decisions. Moreover, as Father pointed out above, there were not really any serious disputes about the books that we can now easily recognize as heretical. The disputes were over such books as Revelation (in!) or the Shepherd of Hermas (out!). So in terms of the content of our Faith--the teaching of the Church--we can more or less see that party as dominant wherever we look in the ancient world. The party you mention above--the one that made the final decisions about the canon--was if anything a sub-section of the dominant party, and in agreement over the substance of the Faith with them. All the relevant historical knowledge here plays a role in helping to show the credibility of the Faith (the orthodox story is the most believable one, all things considered), but again, it is not in itself the basis for our Faith. The basis for our Faith is God.

Gherkin,
To answer your first statement in the paragraph above, the fact that we received the list of Biblical books that we have is attributed at least in major part to God's will, but there are actually other reasons as well, such as the traditions that were passed down contemporary to the books' writing. Take for example the Shepherd of Hermas that you mentioned - the Muratorian Canon says that it was written "recently" during the term of Pope Pius I, which was in 140-155 AD, after the apostolic age. So it was not considered an apostolic, Biblical writing because those contemporary to it passed down its status directly. Even so, the Shepherd was still widely used in the early period, and I asked some questions about it on my thread that I welcome you to here:
viewtopic.php?f=70&t=169771


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