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Ask a Theologian III

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Plotinus, Nov 7, 2009.

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  1. Slim_Shady

    Slim_Shady Quebec Extremist

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    Why do you underestimate my ethos? Are you certain I am just a random guy that wondered in from the Internet with absolutely no experience in the Christian faith?
     
  2. MagisterCultuum

    MagisterCultuum Great Sage

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    Technically, the Oral Law refers not to the Talmud but to the tradition from which the Talmud later emerged. Rabbinic Judaism claims that the Oral Law dates all the way back to Moses and was passed on together with the written Torah.

    Karaites argue that the Tanakh itself declares that not a single word of the Oral law could date back to Moses, based on this:

    However, they tend to agree that the Talmud contains some very useful wisdom, but it is not authoritative. They believe that all interpretations should be held up to the same standard regardless of the source. Interpretations that conflict with the plain reading of the text or are internally inconsistent must be rejected even if they come from a great morally upright scholar, and interpretations from ignorant pagans ought not be rejected based on their source alone.


    There aren't a lot of Karaites around today. Most of them are in Egypt or have recently returned to Israel. There is however a group in California that run the Karaite Jewish University in order to spread Kariaite beliefs. Two years ago they won the first new converts to Karaite Judaism since 1465.


    Although it is not clear that the Karaites date back further than Islam, their ideas do seem to go back at least as far as Rabbinic Judaism. Two thousand years ago it seems that only the Pharisees accepted the (pre-Talmud) Oral Law, while most sects had view closer to those of the Karaites. (The Pharisees were a minority then, but they outlasted their competitors. Even Christianity is derived largely from Pharisee teachings, thanks in large part to the Apostle Paul who continued to call himself a Pharisee after becoming a Christian. It seems that most of Jesus's allies in the Sanhedrin were Pharisees and that he agreed with them more often then the Saducees, yet denounced their use of the Oral Law and tradition instead arguing similar positions from the Tanakh alone.) The Samaritans of course took this to an extreme, rejecting everything but the five books of Moses. (They of course also use a slightly different version of the Torah, emphasizing that Mount Gerizim was the mountain of the Blessing and Mount Ebal the mountain of the Curse, claiming that Gerizim is Moriah and the only valid site for the Temple. Some scholars think the Samaritan Torah may be more accurate. It does usually agree with the Septuagint and Dead Sea Scrolls where those disagree from the Masoretic Text (which was preserved by Karaites), and its script is closer to the original paleo-Hebrew which could minimize transcription errors. Although I don't think that worshiping on Gerizim should be in the Ten Commandments, from what I've read they are likely right about Gerizim instead of Jerusalem's temple mount being Moriah. Jesusalem was already a city ruled by Melchizedek, but the text says that he took Isaac out into the wilderness.)
     
  3. ParkCungHee

    ParkCungHee Chieftain

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    Continuing with the discussion of sin's relationship to evil, I have two further comments.

    1) It seemed to me that while evil is not a "thing" sin certainly is, at least from a catholic perspective. Sin weighs on you until confession, Mortal Sins are a "thing" which can prevent you from receiving the Eucharist, it it is something that Baptism washes away. I don't know how, with all that, sin is not a "thing"

    2) Evil on the other hand, while seeeming to be an action, does not at least in my mind does not follow every sin. Neglecting to go to mass on Sunday is a serious sin, for example, would most christian theologians say it is also a very serious Evil?
     
  4. Eretz Yisrael

    Eretz Yisrael Korean Conscript

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    Spoiler :


    I meant adherents to the Talmud when I meant normative Judaism, also another question: Is the Kosher wayof butchering animals painful or painless? I used to get stuck on that idea for a while, so did some research; the results were clearly biased, with secular studies it was extremely painful and religiously-motivated studies declaring it painless.
    (Also feel an urge within me to drag you to church, but that's just my Christian ethics;))
     
  5. Eretz Yisrael

    Eretz Yisrael Korean Conscript

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    Crap, I havent been to church for a three weeks now. You're making me freak out.;):(
     
  6. Camikaze

    Camikaze Administrator Administrator

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    So I was discussing my minister's church sermon with my mum, and she was quite adamant in the fact that there were third-party, even secular, historical accounts and validations of the resurrection of Jesus. I would've thought that to be a bit odd. Are there in fact any accounts of Jesus being resurrected other than that in the Bible?
     
  7. Birdjaguar

    Birdjaguar Entangled Retired Moderator Supporter

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    If your first post above is any indication of your knowledge of Christianity, the second one must be a pretty good description of you.

    And I suggest that you tone down your aggression. Plotinus does us all a service with his thoughtful and provocative answers, please be civil. You might have phrased your question like so:

    "There is evidence that the Catholic Church has used the Bible, as well as, its civil and spiritual power to empower and enrich itself through tithes and offerings made through coerced belief. Is there any evidence of that same behavior in the early church before the books of the new testament were formalized or in the Jewish tradition of the old testament?"

    Then, of course, you would provide some evidence of the con artistry and Catholic coercion. :)
     
  8. ParkCungHee

    ParkCungHee Chieftain

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    Actually, an informed one wouldn't give you a reason not to like them either. They're a valid, apostolic church, and we still consider them part of the church. We think they're wrong to not recognize papal authority, but you certainly should like them.
     
  9. Maimonides

    Maimonides Chieftain

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    I guess that depends on what you think a Karaite is. There are lots of Jews today with little regard for the Talmud.

    It looks like you are quoting a 1950s encyclopedia...

    There are VERY few Jews in Egypt today, Karaite or otherwise. They hide their religion & practice it in secret. I have no idea why they stay there. It is totally false to say that most Karaites live in Egypt today.

    That's interesting. I've never heard of that university... According to their website, they only offer one course, are trying to get nonprofit status & hope to offer certificates & degrees someday...:rolleyes: They don't even have a post office box listed.

    Apart from seminaries, American Jewish University in Los Angeles & Brandies University in Massachusetts are the only Jewish universities in the U.S. I've been to both campuses.

    This statement is beyond absurd.

    I'm sorry, but apart from the last bit, your entire post looks like it was lifted from a Wikipedia article or an old encyclopedia.

    Ah. In that case, their faith isn't bothered at all by what others think.

    OK, this is a big question. I'm uniquely qualified to answer this one. My great grandfather & grandfather were in the meat packing business. My father & I are trained butchers. I have visited several meat packing plants. I used to own a kosher butcher shop. I own a grocery store containing a butcher shop.

    Short answer: it is painful, but it is quick & not as painful as lots of other methods that are used.

    Long answer:

    The kosher method of slaughter for large animals such as cattle & sheep is making an incision in the animal's jugular vein & allowing it to bleed out. The animal loses consciousness before death & the whole thing only takes a few seconds. This is done by a shochet-a professional slaughterer. The shochet keeps his blade very sharp, inspecting it for nicks or dullness between every animal & has learned to hit the right vein on the 1st attempt. The animal feels the pain of the incision, but the quick blood loss means that it isn't conscious at time of death. The goal is to be as humane as possible & not make the animal suffer needlessly.

    Meat from hunted animals is not considered kosher.

    Here are the methods I've seen at non-kosher slaughter operations:

    -Wrapping a chain around the animal's neck, attaching the chain to a forklift, lifting the fork & hanging the animal until it dies.
    -Firing a rifle or shotgun into the animal's skull. This is very dangerous for the slaughterer, though.
    -Firing a nail gun into the animal's skull. The nail sometimes misses the brain making further shots necessary. This is probably the most widely-used method I've seen.
    -Passing high voltage electricity through the animal's head.
    -Slitting the animal's throat-windpipe & veins.

    I've heard of other methods, but haven't witnessed them.

    There is no totally painless way to slaughter an animal. The kosher method is the most humane that I've heard of or seen.

    Animal rights groups are lobbying hard in Europe to have kosher slaughtering banned. Observant Jewish groups see this as a return to the days of anti-Jewish laws, but those animal rights groups really want all slaughtering banned, not just the kosher method.

    Do try to fight that urge. Christians have been doing that to us for nearly two thousand years & we're pretty much fed up with it.
     
  10. Eretz Yisrael

    Eretz Yisrael Korean Conscript

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    Spoiler :


    So, the ideal method of the Kosher method is to let the animal faint from blood loss so as to not feel the pain...but if the method gets used a non-professional, a less-than-average- amount of blood loss would proabbly make the animal feel the pain, no?
    Also, wont try to convert. You guys are going to Heaven anyway (not too sure about it though; considering G-d's Covnant with Abraham, I would say 50-50; a Methodist preacher I knew used to scold me every time for havin thoughts like this, saying salvation can only be acheived through Christ)
    Also, I am a Zionist, hence the user name. ( :hide: )
     
  11. Plotinus

    Plotinus Philosopher Administrator

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    It's not a fact, and certainly I deny it.

    Well that's a good point. Biblically speaking, of course, sin can be regarded a force that oppresses you. This is how it is characterised in Romans 6 and 7. But that seems to me to be an abstraction or metaphorical way of speaking in some way - surely sin isn't literally some kind of actual stuff or collection of things that sit on you (when I was very young I had a mental image of sins as brown shield-shaped things, for some reason). But it seems to me that what prevents one from receiving the Eucharist, or what gets washed away by baptism, must be the guilt of the sins rather than the sins themselves. I can understand the notion of guilt as a property of a person which may be removed; I can't understand the notion of sin as a literal thing attached to a person which may be removed.

    I suppose they would say that the essence of evil is wilful disobedience of God's commands, and if failing to go to Mass is such disobedience, then it is evil even though it may not have any obvious, visible deleterious effects. I'm just guessing here though!

    No, you're right. As far as I know there are no such accounts that are not obviously based upon Christian testimony. Probably the closest one could get would be the well-known passage in Josephus. There are two references to Jesus in Josephus; one is very brief and the other is quite long, including information such as that he was the Messiah and that he rose from the dead. Since Josephus obviously didn't believe such things it is generally accepted that the passage (at least in the form we have it) is a Christian interpolation, making it of little value as an independent witness to Jesus. The only sources for Jesus' resurrection are Christian, and those outside the New Testament are elaborations upon those inside the New Testament.

    Even if that were true, it wouldn't necessarily mean that salvation is restricted to Christians... have a look in the index for the earlier discussions about Christianity and other religions.
     
  12. ParkCungHee

    ParkCungHee Chieftain

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    Salvation is only achieved through Christ. Christ gets to pick if they get saved though.
     
  13. Erik Mesoy

    Erik Mesoy Core Tester / Intern

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    Because of the evidence, such as your previous post here, and because I took your own advice on credibility:
    --

    No, but I'm not certain Plotinus is a professional theologian either. However, I did look at your post history and found that it was mostly NES and recurring threads such as What Are You Listening To, with very little substantive content.
     
  14. Eretz Yisrael

    Eretz Yisrael Korean Conscript

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    Well, besides the Abrahamic faiths, salvation wouldnt be possible for say, BUddhists, Jains, Hindu,etc.
     
  15. ParkCungHee

    ParkCungHee Chieftain

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    See my post. I see no reason why any christian would not say that Christ himself would be unable to redeem a non-believer. While there is no salvation "outside of christ" a direct intercession by christ is not outside the realm of possibility.
     
  16. Eretz Yisrael

    Eretz Yisrael Korean Conscript

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    True; the apostle Paul is a good exapmle, assuming by my understanding of what you call direct intercession .
     
  17. ParkCungHee

    ParkCungHee Chieftain

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    Essentially, what I mean is that nothing limits the power of God, and if god decides to save you, it doesn't matter if you're Buddhist, Hindu, Shintoist, whatever, you're being saved. Once we've established it as a possibility, we then can only wonder on the probability of Christ saving you through his own mercy, despite your lack of belief.
    Being as Christ was all-merciful I don't think it's unreasonable to think that a sizable group of those faiths might be saved.
     
  18. Plotinus

    Plotinus Philosopher Administrator

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    Why not? As I said, have a look at those earlier discussions. There are and have been plenty of Christians who think everyone will be saved no matter what religion they follow, and this does not necessarily violate the principle that salvation comes through Christ alone, because Christ may not be restricted to Christianity or the "Abrahamic faiths".
     
  19. Eretz Yisrael

    Eretz Yisrael Korean Conscript

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    I read what you recommended, and I say that I agree with Karl Rahner.
    I remember the Greek Orthodox praing Greek acheivements in philosophy & science as proof of them wanting for God, in which the case of the Greeks was Reason. The Orthodox contended that those were imperfect, but not wrong.
     
  20. Eran of Arcadia

    Eran of Arcadia Stormin' Mormon Retired Moderator

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    Well, given that Christ and Christianity are not synonymous, it follows that "salvation through Christ" and "salvation through Christianity" are not either.
     
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