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  1. #171
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    Quote Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
    Hell was not created for mankind but for the angels who chose to leave heaven, known as the fallen angels. God weeps over humanity going to hell more then anyone. He will not force humanity to live with Him in His Kingdom, but desires that all should have eternal life with Him and the entire family. Because there are only two Kingdoms: Kingdom of Light (His) and the Kingdom of Darkness (hell- led by satan), we choose which we want to be in relationship with.
    Choose Him as Father- His Kingdom is real. It is an incredible life!!!
    I've heard this argument a thousand times. Unfortunately, it's entirely incoherent with everything else Christians traditionally teach. If God doesn't want me to go to hell, and I don't want to go there, then who is going to force me to go there? I would love to live with God forever if Christianity were the truth. So if I find out it is true when I die, then great! You say that God won't throw me into hell, and I certainly won't do it myself, so unbelievers have absolutely nothing to fear if we follow your logic.

    Of course, it seems pretty unlikely that you actually believe what you wrote. It is most likely that you believe it will be too late after I die. My fate will have been sealed, so that when I finally have PROOF of the truth, it will be too late to change my course (how perverse is that?). That's the standard Christian teaching. That's why there's all the weeping and gnashing of teeth at the FINAL JUDGMENT that determines who gets thrown into the Lake of Fire. Does that sound like a place anyone would "choose" to go? Of course not. You attempt to rationalize the doctrine of hell is a total and complete failure that makes a mockery of God as the Supreme Judge. It contradicts both logic and the traditional Christian teachings.
    • Skepticism is the antiseptic of the mind.
    • Remember why we debate. We have nothing to lose but the errors we hold. Who but a stubborn fool would hold to errors once they have been exposed?

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  2. #172
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    Quote Originally Posted by Codebreaker View Post
    Let me nail my colours to the mast: I am a devout follower of the Lord Jesus Christ, and as such, I am deeply sorry to hear of your loss of faith in Christianity. However, as you sound like a deeply spiritual man I know that you will one day find what you are searching for spiritually.
    I believe that religion is a very private affair. My relationship with God is between God and me, so I no longer
    ponder and question certain passages of the Bible because I know that God exists. I have seen His glory.
    Hey there Codebreaker,

    Thanks for letting us know where you stand on these issues.

    Quote Originally Posted by Codebreaker View Post
    Regarding your grounds for disbelief in God within the Judaic-Christian tradition:-

    1. "The Doctrine of Hell"
    In my opinion, hell is not a locality in some alternative universe which we are relegated to after we die.
    Hell is a state of being which some people live daily. Hell is HERE AND NOW for many because they feel separated
    from God, their Creator. Hell is not living one's life to its full potential, not savouring the beautiful moments and seeing God actively at work in the world around us. Hell is always procrastinating until the ultimate dead line, DEATH.
    Your answer exemplifies why I say there is on such thing as "Christianity" but only various "Christianities" that overlap to some degree. If your view of hell were the doctrine of traditional Christianity then I would have no complaint. And there are problems with your view. If hell is only in this life, then why do Christians and the Bible warn of a judgment followed by hell in the afterlife? And if there is no such judgment, then what's the point of Christ dying? Are you a universalist who believes that everyone goes to heaven in the afterlife? Or do you deny there is an afterlife? I'm very confused by your views.

    Quote Originally Posted by Codebreaker View Post
    2. "The Bible contains many errors, contradictions, logical absurdities, and moral abominations attributed to God"
    Yes, you are right. But the Bible was, after all, written by rational men who were inspired by the Holy Spirit.
    But they were human beings interpreting in a distinctive way events that are themselves capable of being interpreted either historically or religiously. Your point indirectly brings up the problem of evil as far as the Judaic-Christian faith is concerned. Yes, the problem of evil poses a dilemma. If God is all loving, He would abolish evil. Yet evil still exists. I cannot give you a definitive answer on the problem of evil. However, I believe much of the evil in this world - human wickedness and madness - can always be traced back solely or partly to our misused freedom. It all boils down to a man's reaction to his given circumstances. That is his free choice.
    You comment confuses me. If the men who wrote the Bible included errors, and they were inspired by the Holy Spirit, does that not imply that the Holy Spirit inspired them to write errors?

    I don't have any problem with the "problem of evil" per se. The evil in this would could ultimately work out for the good. The problem comes in when Christians teach that God never reconciles the evil, and that it will exist forever as all the sinners suffer eternal conscious torment in hell. That's an infinite and eternal evil. That's the problem.

    And unfortunately, I cannot trace the evil to humans who have "misused" their freedom. On the contrary, it is God himself who commanded violence and genocide and the taking of virgins, etc. If we look at the Bible, we see that God is totally into VIOLENCE as the solution to everything. Moses said the Lord is a "man of war" and the Bible proves that in spades. We see nothing but war and violence from Genesis to Revelation, where God delights in the destruction of sinners to such a degree that he calls it the "Great Supper of the Lord" and all the angles and saints rejoice to see the slaughter of unbelievers.

    Quote Originally Posted by Codebreaker View Post
    3. "God does not, as a general rule, answer prayers"
    I disagree. God has answered my prayers. (Most people would say answers to their prayers prove the reality of God. It's a fact that even the biggest sceptic would be moved to believe in God if their prayers were answered. But I cannot force someone to believe in God if that person lacks that belief.)
    I not only believe that God ALWAYS answers prayers, I KNOW it. If a man believes that God does not answer his prayers, this man is misunderstanding the will and nature of God. (A negative view of prayer is a self-fulfilling prophecy.)
    Our prayers are answered BEFORE we even ask them.
    I'm always rather bemused by how confidently Christians claim that God answers their prayers. But if that's true, then it must mean that you've never met an amputee, or if you did you didn't care enough to pray for their healing. The simple fact is that God does not, as a general rule, answer any prayers that can be objectively verified. The fact that Christians deny this fact makes them look like they are deluded. Please take no offense, as none is intended. But we should speak plainly about the truth of these matters. Have you ever seen the Benny Hinn $alvation and Healing Carnival? Thousands of people have gotten on his stage and claimed divine healing. Hank Hanegraaff, the Bible Answer Man, asked Benny for only his three miracles with the best confirmation. Not one could be verified!

    When you say that you know God answers prayers, I suspect you mean that he answers "Yes, No, or Wait." Is that correct? If so, you would get the same results praying to a milk jug, as explained in this video.



    All the best,

    Richard
    • Skepticism is the antiseptic of the mind.
    • Remember why we debate. We have nothing to lose but the errors we hold. Who but a stubborn fool would hold to errors once they have been exposed?

    Check out my blog site

  3. #173

    Bible Contradictions

    2) The Bible contains many errors, contradictions, logical absurdities, and moral abominations attributed to God.[/B]
    This point covers a very large class of problems. Many recent threads deal with them. The most significant to me are the moral abominations attributed to God, such as his command to kill all the men, women, and children of people in Canaan.

    Hi Richard,

    Am not sure how well this will work, especially the scripture quotes (??) - my first attempt at a post (as promised, a fairly simple one on one of the "easy contradictions" in the Gospels):



    Bible 'Contradictions' - Part I

    The conflicting stories of the thieves who were crucified with Jesus.

    In Matthew's gospel, both thieves taunt Jesus:

    44 Even the robbers who were crucified with Him reviled Him with the same thing. 1


    In Luke's gospel, one of the thieves recognises Jesus as 'Lord':

    39 Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, 'If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us.'
    40 But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, 'Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong.' 42 Then he said to Jesus, 'Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.'
    43 And Jesus said to him, 'Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.'
    2

    Interpretation

    Either the two accounts are accounts given by different witnesses, who recalled the events differently

    OR, BOTH ACCOUNTS are TRUE viz. Both thieves were insulting and taunting Jesus, but one of them, even at the lowest point in Jesus' life, recognised something of who and what Jesus eas ie he recognised at least enough to figure out that dying tortured Jesus was a king who was headed for a kingdom, either in the next world, or resurrected into this world, or both.

    To conclude that the conflicting stories are incompatible is to make an assumption, viz that the 'conflicting eye witness accounts' is the only way to interpret the different stories. That assumption ignores the evidence in the story itself which points to a staggering piece of perception.
    If JC had been in the middle of walking on the water, or divvying up a couple of bread rolls to feed thousands of people, doing the transfiguration thing with Moses and Elijah showing up for a chat, then the agonised and tortured thief's moment of revelation might have some natural logic to it.

    But for the guy to have a change of heart while Jesus was being tortured to death on the rock above him, is extraordinary.
    It is worth examining if anyone else had an inkling of something supernatural that day.

    The Romans
    The Roman soldiers who executed Jesus were some of the worst thugs in the Roman army nobody wanted to be posted to Judaea where the locals (the Jews) hated the soldiers, so the regular units were kept in Damascis or down on the coast in Caesarea, where they didn't have to mix with 'those obnoxiou Jews'.
    To be posted to Jerusalem was for a Roman soldier like being posted to Northern Ireland for someone in the British army Judaea was a trouble spot. So it tended to ne the thugs who were posted there something which is pretty obvious from the one the whole Roman unit tortured jesus, and then paraded in front of him, clubbing him over the head, and bowing before him as the :King of the Jews'. They hated the Jews, and delighted in an opportunity to express their hate, contempt and sadism on any of them who became legal victims eg for an execution.
    So after that flogging, beating, torture, mockery, and then the viciousness of Jesus' forced march to the execution site, and then nailing him to the cross, this bunch of thugs cops the 'Father forgive them' line from Jesus.
    Then they listen in amazement as one of the crims dying in agony has a change of heart and asks Jesus to welcome him into His kingdom.

    Then, in the middle of the day, with the sun still there, the whole region goes pitch black they have to send for torches from 'HQ' back at the Antonia fortress just to be able to see what is going on.
    The Romans know the runours that this guy they are torturing to death claims to be the son of God. They look at the blackened sky at the sun that can no longer give them any light and are starting to feel like doing the Roman equivalent of crapping their togas.
    The afternoon goes on, and then in the darkness, they hear Jesus reciting Pslams. They need a translator, but they know they are well and truly witnessing something paranormal.
    And then the voice booms out, like the voice of God, and the rocks start to shake and split. A split second later, the source of that voice is dead, right there in fron of them, and the whole city is shattered by an earthquake.
    Withinin 15 minutes the news has come from within the city that the Jews' temple was hit, and their sacred Holy of Holies has been damaged. They look at the crack in the rock that has opened up from the cross hole below Jesus' body.
    The soldiers who tortured and abused this dead Jew in the Antonia Fortress a few hours ago, are nervous about what fate will befall them if their victim was someone that special.
    The Centurion in charge of the execution reaches a similar conclusion to the thief that this was the son of God whom they just killed.
    Out of respect for him the soldiers either allow Jesus' head to be covered, or they do it themselves the 'napkin' that is described in the resurrection story.
    Soldiers from the same bunch of thugs who abused, tortured and mocked Jesus are assigned to guard Jesus' tomb. On the morning of the resurrection, they are confronted with angels, another earthquake, bolts and the seal on the tomb being shattered, and this massive stone being rolled along its track in front of them.

    Since the cruxifiction the stories have been flying that the living dead are loose in the cemetry nearby people have been resurrected from the dead and have been moving around the tombs since the wopping great earthquake when Jesus died. Every military unit has at least a couple of guys who are superstitious and since about midday, on the crucifixion day ie when the darkness came the superstitious guys in the unit have been revving up the others.

    The guards on the tomb freeze at first. And when they get over that, they don't hot-foot it back to HQ and their commanders they head straight for those religious Jews. They know they are dealing with the supernatural, and head straight to the 'experts' they have witnessed an ongoing saga of earthquakes, 'zombies' apparently running loose in the tombs and now in the city, they have seen angels waltzing through an armed Roman guard, and ASAP the thugs want some answers.

    The Jewish priests reassure them 'don't quite crap your togas yet boys, all is under control!'
    'Yeah Right!'

    The priests calm the guys down and promise to fix things with the governor which could only happen if the priests agreed to tell the governor that the angels, the earthquakes, the whole business was paranormal and supernatural otherwise the soldiers could have faced execution for dereliction of duty Roman army discipline was notoriously brutal.

    So, if the tough Roman soldiers conceded that Jesus was someone supernatural, a 'son of God' as their commander called Him, if the Jewish leadership conceded to the soldiers that they were dealing with the paranormal around Jesus and His death, is it unreasonable to conclude that the dying thief also perceived something in Jesus.
    We have a choice between two assumptions the 'conflicting eyewitness account option', or the 'eyewitness accounts jive with the other witness's perceptions option'.

    If we had to make a bet on the different options, which way would be calculate the odds?

    70/30, or 80/20, or 90/10, or 100/0?

    The Roman soldiers seemed willing to risk their lives on the 100/0 odds.

  4. #174
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    Hi refugeeguru,

    Welcome to our forum!



    I've been working all day on a few difficult bugs with the forum software so I haven't had much time to answer posts. I just wanted to say hi and let you know that I will answer your post tomorrow.

    All the best,

    Richard
    • Skepticism is the antiseptic of the mind.
    • Remember why we debate. We have nothing to lose but the errors we hold. Who but a stubborn fool would hold to errors once they have been exposed?

    Check out my blog site

  5. #175
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    Father's Milk !

    Quote Originally Posted by RAM View Post
    When you say that you know God answers prayers, I suspect you mean that he answers "Yes, No, or Wait." Is that correct? If so, you would get the same results praying to a milk jug, as explained in this video.
    All the best, Richard

    Father's milk, or Mother's milk?

    I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. 1Cor3:2

    Heb5:12 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. 5:13 For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.

    1Pet2:1 Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, all evil speakings, 2:2 As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: [That would be the Father's Milk, wouldn't it?]

    Isaiah 28:9 Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine?
    Them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts.
    Dux allows: "It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out the matter". Pr25:2

  6. #176
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    Quote Originally Posted by refugeeguru View Post
    2) The Bible contains many errors, contradictions, logical absurdities, and moral abominations attributed to God.[/B]
    This point covers a very large class of problems. Many recent threads deal with them. The most significant to me are the moral abominations attributed to God, such as his command to kill all the men, women, and children of people in Canaan.

    Hi Richard,

    Am not sure how well this will work, especially the scripture quotes (??) - my first attempt at a post (as promised, a fairly simple one on one of the "easy contradictions" in the Gospels):

    Bible 'Contradictions' - Part I

    The conflicting stories of the thieves who were crucified with Jesus.

    In Matthew's gospel, both thieves taunt Jesus:

    44 Even the robbers who were crucified with Him reviled Him with the same thing. 1


    In Luke's gospel, one of the thieves recognises Jesus as 'Lord':

    39 Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, 'If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us.'
    40 But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, 'Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong.' 42 Then he said to Jesus, 'Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.'
    43 And Jesus said to him, 'Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.'
    2

    Interpretation

    Either the two accounts are accounts given by different witnesses, who recalled the events differently

    OR, BOTH ACCOUNTS are TRUE viz. Both thieves were insulting and taunting Jesus, but one of them, even at the lowest point in Jesus' life, recognised something of who and what Jesus eas ie he recognised at least enough to figure out that dying tortured Jesus was a king who was headed for a kingdom, either in the next world, or resurrected into this world, or both.

    To conclude that the conflicting stories are incompatible is to make an assumption, viz that the 'conflicting eye witness accounts' is the only way to interpret the different stories. That assumption ignores the evidence in the story itself which points to a staggering piece of perception.
    If JC had been in the middle of walking on the water, or divvying up a couple of bread rolls to feed thousands of people, doing the transfiguration thing with Moses and Elijah showing up for a chat, then the agonised and tortured thief's moment of revelation might have some natural logic to it.

    But for the guy to have a change of heart while Jesus was being tortured to death on the rock above him, is extraordinary.
    It is worth examining if anyone else had an inkling of something supernatural that day.
    First, it is important to understand that I do not think differences between parallel passages should always be thought of as "contradictions." On the contrary, such variations are common and expected anytime we have independent reports from different points of view. Case in point: Luke refers to two "malefactors" (kakourgos = evil doers) crucified with Christ, whereas Matthew and Mark call them "thieves" (lestes). I don't see this as a problem at all since any thief could just as well be called a malefactor. This is why I don't use things like that as examples of "contradictions" in Scripture.

    As an aside, you might be interested in a thread called The Calvary "5" by our friend duxrow who interpreted these differences as implying that there were really four people crucified with Christ, two on the left, and two on the right. I think splitting hairs like that obscures the plain meaning of the text and makes it impossible to have any certainty about what it really says. You have given your interpretation, duxrow gives his. But no one really knows what the truth is. And that's the real problem with taking a book like the Bible as the "final authority" - it doesn't work that way. The "final authority" is always the one who interprets Scripture.

    The fact that there are contradictions in Scripture is impossible to deny. For example:

    Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he began to reign, and he reigned in Jerusalem three months. (2 Kings 24:8)
    Jehoiachin was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned three months and ten days in Jerusalem: (2 Chronicles 36:9)

    Folks who defend the Bible will say that this contradiction was a mere scribal error, and that's certainly possible. Indeed, I think it is likely. But it could have been an error in the original manuscripts. There's no way to know. So the only thing we can know with certainty is that the Bible does indeed contain contradictions and so cannot be the "inerrant and infallible Word of God."

    Now more to the point: there are real problems with the four versions of the crucifixion. They cannot all be true. We talked about this in a thread called Dan Barker's Resurrection Challenge which simply asks for someone to explain what happened when Christ was resurrected without leaving out a single detail mentioned in the four Gospels. Here's how he posed it:
    The conditions of the challenge are simple and reasonable. In each of the four Gospels, begin at Easter morning and read to the end of the book: Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24, and John 20-21. Also read Acts 1:3-12 and Paul's tiny version of the story in I Corinthians 15:3-8. These 165 verses can be read in a few moments. Then, without omitting a single detail from these separate accounts, write a simple, chronological narrative of the events between the resurrection and the ascension: what happened first, second, and so on; who said what, when; and where these things happened.
    To my knowledge, no one has ever met this challenge. If you think you are up to it, I invite you to try.

    Quote Originally Posted by refugeeguru View Post
    So, if the tough Roman soldiers conceded that Jesus was someone supernatural, a 'son of God' as their commander called Him, if the Jewish leadership conceded to the soldiers that they were dealing with the paranormal around Jesus and His death, is it unreasonable to conclude that the dying thief also perceived something in Jesus.
    We have a choice between two assumptions the 'conflicting eyewitness account option', or the 'eyewitness accounts jive with the other witness's perceptions option'.

    If we had to make a bet on the different options, which way would be calculate the odds?

    70/30, or 80/20, or 90/10, or 100/0?

    The Roman soldiers seemed willing to risk their lives on the 100/0 odds.
    You are a very good writer. You captured the story well, and with lots of vivid language and emotion.

    But there is a hidden assumption in your question. You have assumed that the Biblical record is true when it describes the reactions of the Roman soldiers and Jews. But if we begin with the assumption that everything in the Bible is true, then there is no need to "calculate the odds" since we began by assuming what was to be proved.

    We have to remember that the Gospels are really "religious tracts" written by believers with the hope of converting people. You wouldn't believe everything a Mormon religious tract says about Joseph Smith and the Angel and Golden Plates, would you? So neither would an unbeliever simply accept such fantastic stories written by the early Christians.

    All the best,

    Richard
    • Skepticism is the antiseptic of the mind.
    • Remember why we debate. We have nothing to lose but the errors we hold. Who but a stubborn fool would hold to errors once they have been exposed?

    Check out my blog site

  7. #177
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    Scuse plz for butting in, but want to inject a scripture here:

    Isa8:14 "And he shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence" -- which is what I believe these so-called discrepancies to be. Not fully convinced they have a "best two out of three" connection, considering 1Cor1:25.

    My wife said she would scream if I said anything further about the Rooster crowing twice, and likewise about the malefactors & thieves.

    But thanks, Ram, for the 8/18 about Coniah -- I hadn't seen that before.
    Dux allows: "It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out the matter". Pr25:2

  8. #178
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    Quote Originally Posted by duxrow View Post
    Scuse plz for butting in, but want to inject a scripture here:

    Isa8:14 "And he shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence" -- which is what I believe these so-called discrepancies to be. Not fully convinced they have a "best two out of three" connection, considering 1Cor1:25.

    My wife said she would scream if I said anything further about the Rooster crowing twice, and likewise about the malefactors & thieves.

    But thanks, Ram, for the 8/18 about Coniah -- I hadn't seen that before.
    You could have made an even better case if you had quoted the verse in the context where Peter used it:

    1 Peter 2:8 and "A stone of stumbling And a rock of offense." They stumble, being disobedient to the word, to which they also were appointed.

    And you know, I would have agreed with you a few years ago. I always liked to say that the Bible had everything a believer needed to believe, and everything an unbeliever needed to unbelieve. Indeed, that was pretty much all the thought I gave to the "discrepancies" since I felt I had incontrovertible proof of God's hand on the overall design of the Bible. So I felt pretty confident that God put/let the discrepancies in the Bible to confound unbelievers. On the other hand, I never would assert that the Bible was the "inerrant and infallible Word of God" because that would be impossible if God himself put discrepancies in his book! So I was satisfied to say that the Bible was "God's Book" and that it was the "Word of God" without trying to impose a man-made doctrine like inerrancy upon it. Who are we to tell God what he could do with his book?

    But after years of reflection I have come to realize that I really don't believe the Bible to be an accurate representation of the true God. Most of the explanations that I've heard sound like deceptive sophistry that would convince only those who already believe, and that makes me feel embarrassed for the apologists who propagate them.
    • Skepticism is the antiseptic of the mind.
    • Remember why we debate. We have nothing to lose but the errors we hold. Who but a stubborn fool would hold to errors once they have been exposed?

    Check out my blog site

  9. #179

    Bible Contradictions

    Hi Richard,

    Thanks for the compliment on the writing.

    We are in agreement or several points:

    • I wouldn't believe everything the Mormons said, either
    • Joachin's chronology is probably either a scribal error, or a reference to a period of regency til he turned 18 - either way, it doesn't affect things much (will explain more below)
    • Whether one gospel calls them crims, and another calls them footpads, hoodlums or thugs, doesn't matter much - whatever they were, criminals do do evil, so malefactor is as good a description as any
    • You are right about my assumption - I do not hide it in any way. I do assume that the apparently conflicting gospel stories are all true, but I don't make the assumption lightly (more to follow on that!), I think you put it quite well, that if I assume that, then, of course, the difference in the two stories, has to be resolved. And flip side, if you assume that the different accounts are the result of different recollections, then you reach the conclusion that the stories are contradictory - either way, the conclusion is coloured / driven by our assumptions. I chucked in teh reference to the interaction between the toga squad and the felafia to give myself a few brownie points in favour of my interpretation - but you are right, our conclusions are based on our assumptions.


    The fact that there are contradictions in Scripture is impossible to deny. Agreed! - game set match! But:

    • Where those contradictions occur is important - eg I wouldn't get too fussed of one of Job's friends said something that contradicted something elsewhere in the Bible - on teh grounds that God read the riot act at them anyway over some of their comments. I am cherrypicking for an eeasy example here, but it is a point I will elaborate on in future posts - Christian scholars' classification of teh Bible into its differnet "categories" or divisions is faulty - abd that failty classification system helps blind the standard interpretations used by Christians. Jesus had a similar problem with the Apostles re the loaves and fishes miracles - on teh boat one night, Jesus asked them (paraphrased into modern English), "can you really be that thick that uou still don't understand?!"
    • As I mentioned in our earlier correspondence on the blog, the contradicyions, or apparent contradictions, are teh absolute gold and treasures in the Bible - they often hold mysteries within them


    So, yes, there almost certainly are some scibal errors, but most of the errors are intentional.


    From your post:
    "Now more to the point: there are real problems with the four versions of the crucifixion. They cannot all be true. We talked about this in a thread called Dan Barker's Resurrection Challenge which simply asks for someone to explain what happened when Christ was resurrected without leaving out a single detail mentioned in the four Gospels. Here's how he posed it:
    The conditions of the challenge are simple and reasonable. In each of the four Gospels, begin at Easter morning and read to the end of the book: Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24, and John 20-21. Also read Acts 1:3-12 and Paul's tiny version of the story in I Corinthians 15:3-8. These 165 verses can be read in a few moments. Then, without omitting a single detail from these separate accounts, write a simple, chronological narrative of the events between the resurrection and the ascension: what happened first, second, and so on; who said what, when; and where these things happened.
    To my knowledge, no one has ever met this challenge. If you think you are up to it, I invite you to try. "


    I kind of laughed when I read that and thought of what I should reply viz. :

    "Yeah! Been there, done that and aced it!" (will qualify that slightly in a moment).

    That is kind of why I am contributing to the forum - because I can, and have met that challenge - and why I am (apparently over-)confident about being able to resolve the contradictions in the Gospels. I don't make that claim lightly - I am fully aware of the enormity of what I just claimed. I also referred (in passing), back in our correspondence on your blog, to the chronology problems in the crucifixion week stories, and to those chronology problems hiding mysteries and treasures. I meant what I wrote -- those apparently conflicting accounts hold within them some of the (maybe just "the") greatest spiritual and other treasures humanity has ever been given access to.

    To grasp those secrets requires years of education -- my estimate is that it would take us (I am part of a small group of scholars in NZ) up to 20 years to bring someone up to the point of being able to grasp what is there. Because of the old "pearls before the masses" situation, (an trying to phrase it nicely!), I am not going to let that level of hidden secrets out on a public forum, but I will try and do a step by step process through some of the basics that lead to it.

    And, as I mentioned before I wanted to qualify the "Yes, Been there, done that and aced it!" statement above. I have to confess that I only bothered to do "the chronology fix" based on the four Gospels - I didn't bother working through the Acts material or St Paul's stuff. So I can probably only claim to have, so far, anyway, met about 90% of the challenge.

    And I don't claim the credit for learning what I have -- I was a refugee (why I used the name for the posts) on the run, living out in the open for many years. Out there in those NZ mountains, I started dreaming in languages that I didn't know - and with a lot of added understanding of the Bible. There was an element of the supernatural in it, ditto for the understanding of what many of the "contradictions" had hidden under them.

    My "plan" is to chuck a couple more easy to resolve anomalies (eg when Jesus appeared to foul up in the prophecy business) your way over the next couple of posts, )again, as demos of how our assumptions slant our interpretations) and then use one of them as a back-door into some deeper stuff re God's attitude to women, and how, for God, women and the female side of creation is sort of the "business end of the equation" (I know, quite contrary to what the standard "God must be some loopy misogynist" interpretation says!)

    Have a good week,

  10. #180

    Jesus Was a Dunce at Geography - Little Miss Queen of Sheba

    Hi Richard,

    The next one in the series -- the post after this one will lead off from Solomon's 420 talents of gold into one of Jesus' "failed prophecies".

    [I tried to post a couple of diagrams - Chinese and Hebrew characters - re some of the links between spiritual traditions in Asia and the Middle East, but 'wiped out" on the no attachments permission - over on teh Kung Fu video thread. Anyway, back to teh Queen of Sheba for now.]



    All Knowing, All Wise, Son of God, God Incarnate, Lord of Lords, King of Kings, Omni-Potent, Omni-this and Omni-that . . . . But "he woz a dunce at geography, ya know!"

    One of the humorous (for me) quirks of standard Christian belief is that the Churchian community can in the same mind, believe that Jesus was all the things they say He is (God incarnate, Lord of Lords, King of Kings, creator of the universe etc), and simultaneously believe that Jesus thought that Ethiopia was "the ends of the earth" (ie via Jesus' comment about the Queen of Sheba coming from the ends of the earth to see Solomon). They may as well say that their creator was such a clown and a retard, that He was a "flat earther" who thought you would fall off the edge once you got much past the Sudan.

    The late 19th century saw the growing popularity, in Europe, and in the English speaking world, of evolutionary ideas (ie the theory of evolution), and the accompanying ideas of 'survival of the fittest'. According to this 'survival of the fittest' doctrine, European civilisation was the highest point yet achieved in human history because Europeans must have been so obviously more inventive, more organised, more disciplined, more hard-working, more visionary and, of course, more intelligent than the rest of the human population etc etc.

    'Ya know, even dems Latin races is all too hot blooded and excited, Dat's why dey run out into the street at a moment's notice, swearing everlasting loyalty to wotever thug, wot's in power dat weekend!'

    'As for dem slant-eyes, deys not like us, ya know. Yeah, just give'em a bowl of rice and off dey go, working away out in dose rice paddies for 16 hours a day, never a word of complaint. Yeah, dey iz happy being coolies. Not like us, dat lot weeze has vizhun, and imajinashun. Yeah, weeze is edookayted!'


    In, perhaps slightly better phrased English, colonial administrators saw the people they colonised as living a life, before contact with Europeans, as being 'Nasty, brutish and brief'.

    Writers and academics, again, may have phrased it better, but they pushed the same line that western culture, with its logic and reason, with its factories and mass production, was the high-point in the evolutionary climb.

    As a schoolboy in Sydney, my bedroom window over-looked the carpark of a yacht club. The dining room in the yacht club was a popular dining spot for Australian federal politicians. One night in 1966 or 1967 (I have forgotten just when) there was a conversation in the dining room, between a couple of those federal politicians about Australia's Aborigines.

    Almost every Aboriginal tribe had its own language meaning there were MANY languages spoken across Australia. It was considered polite to be able to understand your neighbouring tribe's language but rude to speak it in front of them. It was quite a sophisticated communication network, even without the psychic and telepathy skills which the Aborigines possessed.

    Meaning no disrespect to the Aborigines he was quite sympathetic to their plight our federal polly expressed his shock and amazememt when he was told that Australia's Aborigines 'even had a language'. Presumably he assumed that they had communicated in grunts and sign language before Europeans arrived and taught English to the Aborigines. His thinking was a product of how his mind had been programmed / educated ie the standard British colonial notion that the rest of the world was barbaric and primitive until English justice, health-care, language and justice arrived.

    If you work as a writer or academic, you know that coming up with, and publishing, the 'correct conclusions', does wonders for your academic tenure, and for your having your research grant renewed again next year.

    So the books and the textbooks peddled the stuff about survival of the fittest and evolution, all with a view to presenting the financiers and industrialists, the robber barons of the post civil war boom in the US, and the finaciers in London, as obviously the 'most fit' because they were the most successful. Tickle their egos by telling them that they were the greatest evolutionary highpoint in history, and bingo, you get another research grant.

    The fundamentalists screamed and yelled, but they were fighting a losing battle in most organisations, the guy who controls the chequebook sets the agenda so the school and university textbooks pushed the survival of the fittest agenda into western education, especially in the English speaking world, and in Germany. Hitler and his band of 'master race' supporters loved these notions and used them to justify some of their racial theories and what the SS did in the camps.

    As usual with school-teachers, our 20th century lot peddled the official line, with no questions asked. The fundies still screamed and now and again a court case bobbed up between the loopy fundies and the 'monkey' faction but the wins usually went with the Darwinians.

    [The debate was not helped by the programmed ignorance of both sides eg unbeknown to the fundies, the Bible hints strongly at evolution, and is almost explicit about 'reverse evolution', ie that some monkeys are descended from humans. Ditto for the age of the universe God taught Moses how to calculate the age of the universe, and the calculated figure shows up in both the Book of Genesis, and in the Gospels. But, Pastor Fred, who got his Diploma in Theology from a mail order degree factory, or was it from the back of a cereal box(?), teaches his local holy rollers that the universe is only 6,000 years old, so of course, Pastor Fred is more infallible than the Bible . . . The Darwin faction don't do much better they fudge and exaggerate, milking the evolutionary dogma for more than can be justified by the geology and palaeontology. All of that is probably worth a separate post in the future but for now, it is back to the plot, and to the school curriculum.]

    Western education, and the media has bombarded westerners with images and pictures which make up the frame of reference in which westerners absorb information.

    I was at an American university (California) in the early 1970's. Coming into the USA as a foreigner, one of the things that struck me was the constant barrage of information saying that America was wonderful, successful, and that Americans were lucky to be the beneficiaries of the wonderful American way of life. In light of American success, wealth and optimism, that was not a hard message to sell but as a foreigner, the almost over-powering effort through the US media, to re-inforce the message, was something that stood out for me as if the message had a flshing neon sign around it. I found it hard not to believe that American kids absorbed that message into their psyche and tended to judge the rest of the world against what was important in the American frame of reference ie the success, the condo, the promotion, the business, the wealth, the platinum blonde trophy wife, the being a 'winner' no matter what it costs, etc.

    We all carry pictures in our mind, pictures that have been instilled in us through advertising, through the media, through school, through Disney cartoons etc pictures like that of 'young Chris', that visionary who understood the world was round when all his dumb contemporaries thought it was flat, sailing his three boats across the ocean, and discovering a bunch of indolent, brutish, ignorant natives who knew nothing of the world beyond their horizon.

    'Coz, ya know, that's wot Mrs McFart taught us in 3rd grade so it MUST be so!'

    Then it turns out that the Vikings have been in Iceland for yonks, and that some of them made the short boat trip from there across to Greenland, and then across to the east coast of Canada. And, wonder of wonder, those Vikings who sailed all the way from Scandinavia across the ocean, might have managed to sail further along the east coast of America. And all of that, several hundred years before young Chris made the trip.

    'Well I never . . . . Well fancy dat! All dat way, back den, in dem ignorant pwimitive dayz!'

    Most British school kids have heard of '1066 and all that', how the Normans invaded Britain, and defeated Harold, the local king. But few people realise that there were three armies fighting in Britain at the time prior to losing to William the Conqueror, Harold and his army had defeated another invading army.

    That pther army was another Viking invasion force, led by a Viking who had had a remarkable 'career'. He wanted more than his impoverished village and region in Scandinavia could offer, so he became a mercenary in Russia. He fell in love with a Russian princess, but, let's face it, for a chick used to the niceties of court life in Russia, a future spent freezing her butt off through the winters, making Danish pastries in some miserable wooden shack in Scandinavia, did not have much appeal. So her would-be hubby decided to get himself a kingdom, and conquer Britain (he tried Denmark first, closer to home and all, but that effort went pear-shaped) presumably in the hope that his prospective in-laws would now welcome him, as master of Britain, into the family fold.

    'Nyet, Comrade Norvenski, just how many rooms are there in your Norvegian palace, vere our daughter vill be queen?'

    'Er, would you believe, er, ONE?!'


    But before he got to conquering and pillaging in Britain, he had fought as a mercenary as far away as the Persian Gulf. According to the paradigm we are indoctrinated with at school, people were not, nearly 1,000 years ago, commuting from Russia to Scandinavia, to the Middle East, and the Persian Gulf, and on to Britain. But it happened.

    A few hundred years before our prospective groom had presumably swapped his Viking winter clothes for shorts and running shoes down in the Gulf, Indonesian mercenaries were fighting in the same Gulf. The story is well documented, and is no great surprise if you know some Islamic history.

    Islam descended into something of a bun-fight soon after it was founded eg the Sunni vs Shi-ite division we see being played out in Iraq today. To escape the strife, several members of Mahomed's family packed up and headed for Malaysia in the interests of their own safety. Their descendants are still there today something that is well known and which gives those descendants some extra/ bonus status in Indonesian or Malaysian society to this day.

    So contrary to the shool history model, there were trade routes, and contacts operating from the Indonesian archipelago, across to the Middle East around the time of Mahomed. A few hundred years before that, Thomas the Apostle was making converts in India.

    And about 200 hundred years before Thomas, as Egypt stabilised and started to boom under the Ptolemies (ie after the upheavals of the break-up of Alexander's empire), Egypt was sending expeditions across the Indian ocean to explore Indonesia and the Pacific. The Polynesians still know the names of their ancestors who were on the boats, and the genealogies across the intervening 2200 years I know because I have heard those histories first hand.

    Those Egyptian expeditions were not heading into uncharted territory. The Pacific had been sailed before, about 700 years earlier, when things were also stable and prosperous in the Middle East. SO, the Egyptian sea captains had the old maps, and knew where they coud find land and fresh-water.

    In the eyes of their crews, these captains were like magicians, who could seemingly dredge up land in the middle of a vast ocean. So their 'feats' became the stuff of legend in one of those legends, a brilliant Egyptian navigator named Maui was able to 'dredge up' island after island. So he became a 'god' in Pacific tradition even got his own island named after him!

    All of this is just general knowledge and history in the part of the world I grew up in, and live in (I was exiled on the late 1990's, so I now live a few thousand miles further east from where I once did). But in the Euro-centric, 'everything else was primitive, ignorant and savage before the blessings (!) of colonisation' mindset, trade and travel across Asia and the oceans could not have happened.

    An Egyptian Pharoah was trained to, and expected to be able to, speak all 70 of the major language groups on earth. That ability was one of the qualifications for the job. Why would he need that ability unless there was trade and contact between Egypt and the rest of the world.

    Solomon's ships took 3 years on their round trips but scholars still want to claim that the ships were sailing no further than the Persian Gulf or East Africa. With three years to play with, the guys could have stayed on the shoreline, and made the trip, there and back, on pogo sticks with plenty of time for some R & R on the Gulf of Aqaba, before pogo-ing their way back to Jerusalem.

    The ships were gone for THREE YEARS, and came back laden with spices, monkeys, stacks of gold and a bundle of other goodies => they were making long ocean voyages to places where you could find spices, monkeys etc.

    Solomon's ships were not exclusively crewed by Hebrews. The accounts state that there were sailors from the Mediterranean coast (Phoenicia) on the boats.

    27 Then Hiram sent his servants with the fleet, seamen who knew the sea, to work with the servants of Solomon. 28 And they went to Ophir, and acquired four hundred and twenty talents of gold from there, and brought it to King Solomon. 1

    So what are the odds that those crews might name a new island in the Pacific after one of the islands back home, like Samos, or after one of the local gods, like Apollo?

    Anybody ever heard of Samoa, or the island of Upolu, where Western Samoa's capital, Apia, is located?

    Yeah, yeah, just a co-incidence, like the name Pharoah, for the Egyptian monarch. The word meant house in Egyptian, so the guy in the biggest house (ie the palace), got to be known as the Pharoah. The word still means house in Te Reo, the language spoken by NZ Maori they pronounce it Pharee it is usually spelled in NZ English as 'Whare'.

    Just like the sun-god yeah, the one known as Ra in Egypt, is still known as, wait for it, Ra in NZ, Ri in China and Ni (as in Nihon or Nippon for rising sun) in Japan.

    Many of us know the story of a general from North Africa, called Chen Baal, Favour of Baal or just plain old Hannibal to you and me, who rode his jumbos over the Alps, and caused plenty of panic in Italy. Hannibal was defeated, as was his home base., Carthage. The account of the battle for control of the Meditterranean Empire, between Roman and Carthage is written up in books describing the struggle as the Punic Wars (the English rendering of the Latin title).

    Punic is short for Phoenician Carthage was part of the Phoenician empire, which is why old Hannibal had such a Baal flavoured (ie Canaanite) name. The Bible refers to those wars across the Mediterranean, as the struggle between the King of the North and the King of the South. And as I said, the Phoenicians came off second best in the struggle with Rome.

    And many of us have heard of the Piri Reis map, which indicates that ancient cartographers had a remarkably good picture of the earth's geography. So who had those ancient maps a prime candidate is Phoenicia.

    Phoenician shipping exploits are legendary, so if those maps were in the possession of ancient Phoenician mariners, it would be no surprise. So, would descendants of the Phoenicians know something of their ancestors' old trade routes?

    Maybe, but how would you know, since the Phoenicians were supposed to have been destroyed by the Romans? Well . . .

    A bunch of Phoenician survivors and refugees found themselves a place to hide out and survive on the edge of a swamp that nobody else wanted. In time, they were able to drain the swamp, and make it a pretty place with isands and canals. And they went back into the family businesses shipping and trading.

    They gave their new settlement a name that was so cleverly disguised that western historians and school history teachers cannot breach its fiendish cleverness and subtlety the settlers, WAIT for it, changed an F sound to a V sound. Oh, the impenetrable brilliance, the unparalleled deviousness!

    Yeah they changed Phoenicia into Venecia, and nearly 2,000 years later, the English speaking world has not yet penetrated such a mind boggling deception (spare me!!). So when the angel visits John on Patmos where he had been exiled by the dominant and fully in power Roman empire, and talks about a power 'which once was, but now is not', then the excuses start:

    11 The beast that was, and is not, is himself also the eighth, and is of the seven, and is going to perdition.

    'Of course, that means the book was edited later, after Rome had lost its empire'. You know, maybe it was just some figure of speech, written by the Vatican, to make sure people thought it referred to the old Roman empire and not to the church. On, and on, yadda, yadda, yadda . . . .

    The verse was talking about the Phoenician trading empire which like its mythical Phoenix bird, was going to rise again, despite being destroyed by the Roman legions, and would soon start to rise to become part of the Roman empire. But, to get back to the descendants of the Phoenicians, now (700 years ago) happily installed in their renovated swamp, and running a shipping empire:

    According to the schoolbooks, an 'EYE-TALIAN' guy by the name of Marco Polo went for a walk for 24 years, and managed to travel all the way to China and India, and then arrive back in Venice bringing us such manifest benefits as pasta, spaghetti and noodles.

    Marco Polo was a Venetian,who knew via oral history, trading routes and maybe, maps, where the old Venetian / Phoenician trading routes led.

    But our western education tells us links and maps like that, are impossible, so when we read this verse, what happens?:

    24 Now all the earth sought the presence of Solomon to hear his wisdom, which God had put in his heart. 2

    Our western mindset kicks in, and we instinctively reject what the text says.

    'Oh, they thought the Middle East was the whole world. That's why they wrote that. They were ignorant. They didn't know about China or oceans'.

    Besides, Mrs Mcfart (remember her from 3rd grade,) and her grandson, Professor Hotair, who was on the current affairs show last week as an expert, told us that they didn't have ocean-going ships in those days.

    So let's get back to Jesus and that chick from somewhere down there past the Sudan, you know, down there where you might fall off the edge if you went for a stroll in the dark.

    42 The queen of the South will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and indeed a greater than Solomon is here. 3

    The reality was that Jesus was saying what was already known among His audience -- that little Miss Queen of Sheba was on a Pacific cruise, when she encountered Solomon's ships, and the traders who spoke of the marvellous young king, and his great wealth and wisdom, back home in Israel. So armed with a shipload (or more) of goodies purchased as presents across Indonesia,
    South East Asia and India, she detoured to Jerusalem on her way back home. Presumably, if the legends are true, she didn't go home again until she knew she carried Solomon's genes in her unborn child.

    To many modern Europeans, the idea that ancient people knew their way around the Pacific, seems ridiculous -- but history in my part of the world says otherwise.

    Omniscient, Omni-Potent, Omni-this and Omni-that . . . . But "he really woz a dunce at geography, ya know!"

    'Yeah, Dem Hebrews woz ignorant and primitive, ya know, just simple goat herders out in da desert.. Same for their wannabe messiah. Pity though, coz He didn't half hav some nice ideas'.

    'Yeah, 'twould be nice if ya could believe what He said'.

    'Yeah, I know, but you can't, can ya?

    I mean, He honestly thought dat bimbo queen lived at da edge of da earth. As for dat Solomon they reckon he woz da smartest geezer wot ever lived yet hiz lot thought Damascus and Cairo woz just about da whole world'.

    'Yeah, ridiculous, izn't it. Dey didn't know as much as a 2nd grade kid duz now, yets dey wants you to believe wotz in deir book'.

    'Not that I want to knock dems dat needz dat sort of spiritual stuff. Yeah, each to his own, ya know, datz wot I alwayz sez'.

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