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Ask a Theologian II

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Plotinus, May 9, 2008.

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  1. El_Machinae

    El_Machinae Colour vision since 2018 Retired Moderator

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    Doesn't Matthew have more of Jesus's birth in it?
     
  2. MagisterCultuum

    MagisterCultuum Great Sage

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    I believe he has explained several views on homosexuality and the bible before (including a view that Paul did not mean to ban homosexuality in general but only pederasty), but not really endorsed any.

    I think a much stronger case that it refers only to penetrative homosexual intercourse could be made for Deuteronomy than the writings of Paul. For one thing, the Old Testament never says anything against female homosexuality, while Paul seemed to portray lesbianism as possibly even more depraved than male homosexuality. Paul also does not only condemn homosexual sex, but males acting effeminate in general. Greek culture actually did not look to fondly on penetrative gay sex, but relationships between men and boys which included frottage and fellatio were encouraged. Paul clearly disapproves of that.

    He has stated that he is an agnostic, and would like to say that he would be Eastern Orthodox or Roman Catholic if he were a Christian but would probably just be an Anglican.
     
  3. Fifty

    Fifty !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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    Did any expressly literary works (e.g. Paradise Lost, The Divine Comedy) have a strong influence on serious theology? If so, which works are those and what influences did they have?

    Don't include stuff like the Bible or Platonic dialogues in your definition of a literary work for the purpose of this question.
     
  4. Tekee

    Tekee Bahama Mama

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    Do Muslims make better Christians?
     
  5. Moss

    Moss CFC Scribe Retired Moderator

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    Paul writes in 1st Corinthians 15:3-6:

    1st Corinthians (and correct me if I'm wrong) was written about 15-20ish years after Christ's death. Does the fact that the Paul mentions witnesses that the people of the church who are reading this letter could still go and talk to give any extra credence to the factuality of what Paul is saying? By that I mean, if Paul didn't believe what he was saying to be true, do you think that he would have been so forthright in mentioning all of the witnesses...or could Paul have just been saying that hoping no one would go and try to collaborate his story about the witnesses?
     
  6. Maimonides

    Maimonides Chieftain

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    My 1st post here since CFC's ads uploaded a load of viruses & destroyed my hard drive many weeks ago... Took a good thread to draw me back out.:)

    It's a stretch to translate that phrase as "G-d divided/separated the heaven and the earth," but, if one did, it still means that He created the Earth in the sense that "the heavens" were all that existed before &, afterwards, the Earth was there in contrast. It's totally clear that the phrase is not intended to mean that G-d chopped Heaven & Earth in two.:rolleyes:

    "Bara" is singular &, in that phrase, it refers to "Elohim" which immediately follows. "Baru" is the plural form of the word, but it's never used in that form to refer to G-d.

    There are places in the Hebrew Bible when "elohim" is used as a plural-when referring to the pagan gods of the Israelites' neighbors. When "Elohim" is used referring to G-d, it's always accompanied by singular grammar such as an adjective & it's quite clear from the context.

    It is odd, though, that a plural word meaning "gods" was used at all for G-d... I haven't a clue why.

    The singular version, "El," was also used for Him. It's not a coincidence that the Aramaeans used "El" for one of their most powerful gods. The Hebrews borrowed the name & the term from them.

    The reaction of somebody who knew the language in question would have carried far more weight.

    She doesn't know what she's talking about. A 3rd grade education in Hebrew would set her straight.


    Because it's more accurate.

    I've said this before in this thread, but Biblical Hebrew & modern English are very, very different languages. There are many words that simply don't have an exact counterpart. The grammar differences are like night & day. A person who seriously wants to study the Hebrew Bible learns Biblical Hebrew. Period.

    Translations are meant for the uneducated for various reasons. The best they can do is get close, hence, the "traditional phrase."

    It's neither. It's simply a matter of linguistics & your "Dutch feminine Catholic theologian" should stick to Dutch.

    Yup.

    Plot, this is the line that really caught me while lurking & had a domino effect upon my evening.:p:)

    I couldn't think of an example so I asked my wife who teaches Hebrew. She couldn't, either, & suggested I call her brother-in-law who is a rabbi. I argued that this is a linguistic matter, not a religious one. She argued that he still knows a boatload about Biblical Hebrew. She was right & I was wrong which is the general theme of every marriage.:lol:

    I called, but my sister-in-law said the rabbi was asleep. She had a very religious upbringing, spent several years of schooling in Israel & is married to a rabbi so I put the question to her. The answer she gave just pissed me off...:lol:

    She argued that the "im" in "Elohim" may not be plural. I countered with the fact that it indicates plurality in EVERY other instance. She countered with the only answer any of us were able to come up with tonight: mayim. It means "water" in Hebrew.

    I argued that mayim is a plural word based on the grammar & that it's easy to imagine that the ancients regarded a liquid in plural terms. She argued that nobody asks for a glass of "waters." I argued that, while we don't now, the ancients did. She couldn't wrap her brain around the idea of an ancient culture viewing liquid in plural terms & I couldn't bang it into her head so we agreed to disagree & we agreed that, while it's not a very good example, it's all we could come up with at the time.

    "Mayim." That's the only example four educated Jews (one of us asleep) could come up with & it's not a very good one. In modern Hebrew, it means "water," but, in Biblical Hebrew, it's sometimes translated as "waters" depending on the context. Grammatically, it's definitely plural, no matter what my sister-in-law says.:D

    Sorry about the long story, but I wanted you to know how your insignificant little comment got my gears turning & affected the lives of innocent people half the world away.:p:)

    "Some people" have too much time on their hands.

    :goodjob:

    "Indeed" is definitely extraneous.

    Again, it's not possible to translate it verbatim & have it sensibly convey it's intended meaning, but that's close enough.


    Sounds like you've either seen the inside of a Torah scroll or learned from someone who has.:goodjob:

    I could have used you when I was arguing with my sister-in-law.:lol:

    I'm not 100% sure about the 1st line, but :goodjob:.

    "Some" have tried to argue that Led Zeppelin couldn't rock.

    "Elohim" predates Christianity by many centuries.

    Judaism agrees that G-d has no gender, although He was always referred to in the masculine. Since the women lib movement of the 60s & 70s, a Jew will sometimes say "She" referring to G-d, but that's more about human gender equality than G-d having a gender. It's not offensive to us because it makes no difference either way.

    Getting too complicated & too late @ night.:) No comment at this time.

    I definitely need you with me when I talk to my sister-in-law!:lol:

    Sounds about right to me. I think what may be more important in understanding this is what "El" meant to the Aramaeans since Hebrew just borrowed that name from them.

    "Kadosh" is the Hebrew word for "holy" & there is an important phrase in the canon that repeats it three times to indicate that G-d is the most holy, but I can't think of any other examples of this & I'm limiting myself to one Jew survey per night.:lol:

    I agree with your pastor on the "OT," but I would think that Isaiah is important reading for a Christian since most Jewish messianic prophesy is in there & that's what laid the groundwork for Christianity's beginning.

    If your friend really is that lazy about reading or learning, just get him one of those illustrated bibles for kids so he can just look at the pictures & read it like a comic book.:lol:

    Those aren't really distinct cultures. Several of them are Israelites:

    Simeonites-Just means the tribe of Simeon.
    Reubenites-Just means the tribe of Reuben.
    Shaulites-Means "people of Saul." Refers to his family/descendants.
    Shimronites-Israelites that lived in Shimron.
    Gileadites-People who lived in Gilead. Could be Israelite or Canaanite.
    Asrielites-Has to be a bad translation of misspelling. Should be Israelites.
    Shechemites-Either Israelites or Canaanites that lived in Shechem. I can't remember if it was previously a Canaanite site.

    The Moabites were distinct. They occupied the area east of the Dead Sea.

    There are several on that list I don't recognize at all which makes me wonder if you have a whacky translation. There are also some very important ones that are missing.
     
  7. El_Machinae

    El_Machinae Colour vision since 2018 Retired Moderator

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    Does it lead you to believe that he actually talked to some of the '500'? Or is he merely repeating rumors he's heard, and that he finds them credible?
     
  8. Moss

    Moss CFC Scribe Retired Moderator

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    I don't see how Paul couldn't have talked to some of those 500? He traveled a lot, was deeply involved in the church, and had dealings with Peter and the church in Jerusalem. So at the very least, he heard first hand Peter's testimony but I see no reason to not believe that he talked to at least a few of the 500 himself.
     
  9. Erik Mesoy

    Erik Mesoy Core Tester / Intern

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    Definitely not distinct cultures. Most of that list above consisted of sub-tribes of Israelites, and I wasn't bored enough to be thorough. ;)

    Relevant paragraph in NKJV for Asrielites:
    Bold mine. It says "Asriel" also in NIV, ESV and MSG.
     
  10. MagisterCultuum

    MagisterCultuum Great Sage

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    Wouldn't Shimronites actually be Samaritans? Or rather, the people who lived there before the diaspora? (Jews claim that Samaritans are actually the descendants of a group of Assyrians who moved in after the diaspora while Samaritans say they are descended from the majority of Israelites who never left their homeland. Genetic studies seem to show that they are both right, as Samaritans tend to have the Y chromosome genetic markers of Jews, even Levites, but mitochondrial DNA more like that of Syrians, indicating they descend mostly from Israelite men who took non-Jewish wives.)



    There's a Monosodium Glutamate version of the bible? :rolleyes:
     
  11. Erik Mesoy

    Erik Mesoy Core Tester / Intern

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    Sigged. :lol:

    MSG is The Message, a translation using more modern and common English. Genesis 1 in it:
     
  12. MagisterCultuum

    MagisterCultuum Great Sage

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    Oh yeah, I've heard of The Message but never read it. While it certainly seems rather dumbed down, I'm surprised to see that some parts of it seem to be more of a formal equivalence (word for word) translation than more common versions (assuming that the Vulgate is as verbatim as usual). I thought most modern translations were increasingly using dynamic equivalence (i.e., they are paraphrases instead of real translations as they ignore the grammar and instead try to portray the meaning or general idea of the verse as understood by the translators, often adding a significant bias to the text.) I guess this might actually be a good translation for children to use.
     
  13. Flying Pig

    Flying Pig Utrinque Paratus Moderator

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    Can you be a christian without believing in the idea of heaven and/or hell?
     
  14. Moss

    Moss CFC Scribe Retired Moderator

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    No. That's a major part of Christian theology (granted, there are many disagreements about the exact details of Heaven and Hell among the denominations and sects) but I would say that to be a Christian you have to believe in Christ's redemptive work on the cross, that he died so that those who believe in him would have eternal life. Christ himself talks about eternal life, so I would think a Christian would be one that follow's Christ's own words.

    If you take away Christ's resurrection (and I don't know anyone that believes in Christ's resurrection that doesn't believe that Christ's purpose was as a Savior) you don't have Christianity - you have just another crazy guy.

    Granted, Plotinus may disagree with me. But I doubt you will find a Christian that would ever call someone who didn't believe in Heaven and Hell (or at least, Hell as an eternity without God) a fellow Christian.
     
  15. Flying Pig

    Flying Pig Utrinque Paratus Moderator

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    Hell as an eternity without god makes sense, but the idea of being with god doesn't. I may have to either invent some wacky metaphorical interpretation of the whole redemption thing or just give up.
     
  16. Moss

    Moss CFC Scribe Retired Moderator

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    How come? If you believe Christ died and was resurrected (not sure if you do or don't), why not believe that God will come out of Heaven and dwell with us?

    It's too long to quote: but Revelation 21 and 22 are probably the best description of "Heaven" in the Bible. (and Revelation 20 the best description of "Hell").

    http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation+20&version=ESV
     
  17. Flying Pig

    Flying Pig Utrinque Paratus Moderator

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    I think I fail at christianity - I don't believe in the genesis story, don't think christ 'came back to liife after he died' (therefore I can debate what it means by resurrected) and think that when you die you stay dead. I prefer vague theism and just putting 'other' on the census form
     
  18. Erik Mesoy

    Erik Mesoy Core Tester / Intern

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    You could get technical on Hell by being an annihilationist who holds that it isn't really a state or place, but a destruction of the soul (probably by metaphysical fire). Annihilationism is defensible in Christianity, AFAIK, though I don't agree with it.
     
  19. Eran of Arcadia

    Eran of Arcadia Stormin' Mormon Retired Moderator

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    Accepting the Genesis story isn't necessary to Christianity - in theory none of the Bible is, though in practical terms I don't think there is a Christian who rejects all of it.
     
  20. MagisterCultuum

    MagisterCultuum Great Sage

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    It is quite possible to be a Christian without believing in Hell.

    The traditional view of Hell is largely of Pagan origin. Many of the earliest church fathers considered the belief that the soul was naturally immortal to be heretical. The bible (I Timothy iirc) actually explicitly declares that God alone is immortal. Justin Martyr and Tatian criticized pagans and heretics for claiming that the soul was mortal, while maintaining that the soul could become immortal if it remains in Christ. To them, hell was simply the state on non-existence. Considering that existence is a fundamental quality of God (the Tetragrammaton, perhaps the most holy name of God, is made of the first letters of the verb to be in each of the Hebrew tenses, and may very well simply mean "Existence"), it is not unreasonable to conclude that separation from God is equivalent to non-existence.

    Some would say that God destroys the souls of the wicked (Annihilationism), while others claim that a soul separated from the divine simply withers away on its own (Conditional Immortality). Some would say that wicked souls will be destroyed in the last days while others say that all souls die with the body but will be recreated in the last days, after which the righteous will become immortal while the wicked die again. (In both cases the latter option seems closer to what the bible says.)

    The belief in the Resurrection is however essential to genuine Christianity. I don't only mean the resurrection of Christ, but our bodily resurrection in the last days. This stays close to the ancient Jewish perception of the afterlife, as literally another life that will happen on this earth as opposed to the endurance of the soul in another world. Jews were the one people in the ancient middle Mediterranean who did not believe in a soul separate from the body. Their ancient conception of the living soul could possibly be better described as the forms and patterns that define us rather than as a substance. It may even be closer to the modern view of neural patterns in the brain than the traditional dualistic interpretation.

    The nature of our future bodies is widely disputed. Some wold argue that it is not physical resurrection at all but spoken of as such to indicate the realness of our risen souls. Others would say our new bodies are just like our old ones. Both are probably a bit heretical, and the vast majority of Christians have argued for something in between. Jesus makes it pretty clear that our new bodies won't be identical to our old ones, but rather like those of the angels. There will be no marriage in the resurrection, probably indicating that we will be asexual beings without the ability to reproduce. The epistles also make it clear that our new bodies will be immortal and incorruptible. Our bodies are supposed to be like that which Christ had when he was resurrected, so they presumably will have the ability to interact with physical matter (yet also move though solid walls) and even eat food. Of course, the old heaven and the old earth will pass away and be replaced, so our new bodies may be better designed for the new universe with its new laws of physics.
     
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