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Author Topic: Religion and figurative language
Frisco
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I'm not sure about it being authoritative, but it is a very nice story.
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eslaine
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Yes. It is full of symbolism and subtext.
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TomDavidson
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There's action, adventure, romance, damsels in distress, and even a bit of deus ex machina. What more could you want? [Smile]
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Frisco
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A car chase would have been nice.
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dkw
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(psst, Frisco. Check out Exodus 14, Judges 4, or 2 Kings 9)
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TomDavidson
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While there are no cars, there's a dramatic moment in which a bunch of chariots chase a fleeing mob through a dried-up seabed.
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eslaine
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[ROFL]
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dkw
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To get back to the original post in this thread, no I donít think fundamentalism is born solely from a literal reading of religious texts. Here is an article for further musing:

quote:
It's long had a bad reputation, but fundamentalism has become an especially dirty word since Sept. 11. But does fundamentalism necessarily equal violence? Four experts on the subject, from all three Abrahamic traditions, gathered at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City on Nov. 17 [2001] for a conversation on the religious and political roots in Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.

[Link to dialogue Ė Fundamentalism and the Modern World ]


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pooka
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See, I don't even know if I can interpret this thread because I'm ignorant of the superior qualifications of various participants.

My main motive for reading the scriptures used to be training my feelings, to develop a sense for the Holy Spirit. I'm not sure if it still is or not. It's been a long time since I thought about it.

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Dan_raven
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When I hear Fundamentalist I don't believe assume we are talking to people who take every word of the bible as fact.

I beleive that the term refers to people wanting to go back to a more historical view of the world, easier to understand, black and white, good and bad. One easy way to do this is be refering to the Bible as the source of determining good and bad.

Homosexuality--don't worry about genetics/environment/or other uncontrollable causes, if it says its bad in the Bible, then it is evil.

Women--Don't worry about equality or personal abilities, if it says they should obey the man that is all they should do.

Jews/Muslims/Aethists/Agnostics/Hindu's etc. There is only one God, there fore there is no Truth, no trace of God, no worth, in their beliefs or thier ideas or their morality.

Its all very simple.

Once they take the Bible as their sole source of determining relative good or bad, they defend that book. If it proves other than 100% God given accurate, their whole moral life is in question.

A few take this simple view and create some excellent intelligent rationales and ideals that have merit and truth in them. Most, however, just want to keep things simple.

THIS IS JUST MY OPINION, based on the people I've met.

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Jacare Sorridente
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dkw- great link. I think that this was the most telling quote of the discussion:
quote:
I think prophetic faith is, finally, the best counterpoint to fundamentalist religion. You bring your faith into the public square in a way that says your political conviction is because of your faith. But to win, you have to win a democratic argument about why the policies you propose are better for the common good. That's the discipline religion has to be under when it brings its faith to the public square. Some fundamentalists haven't learned that yet. But they shouldn't be told to be quiet or to take over. They should be told to win in a democratic arena by offering their faith as their deepest conviction.
The harm of fundamentalism is in attempting to appropriate the organs of state without making the argument for why their way is best.
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rivka
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*follows dkw's link*

*winces*

I would argue with almost everything Susannah Heschel said. Starting with her choice of the words "ultra-orthodoxy" and the idea that it is in any way a recent creation.

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littlemissattitude
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Thanks for the link, dkw. I don't have time to read the whole thing right now, so I printed it out for later. Having said that I haven't read it yet, there is something that I'd like to say about the violence issue.

I think the problem is not really fundamentalism or religious extremism, actually. I think the problem is extremism, period. The danger of violence arises whenever an indivudal or a group becomes convinced that they have The Answer. This attitude poses the danger of leading to the idea that it is all right to try to force others to abide by their Answer, whether or not others assent to that Answer.

Because religion claims to have the imprimatur of God, it makes those who believe they have a religious Answer may be more likely to believe they have the right - or the responsibility - to make others conform. After all, it is "what God wants".

However, this danger isn't exclusively the domain of religious believers. Those who belive they have the political, or social, or psychological, or any other Answer may also evolve to the position that they have a right or an obligation to impose that Answer on others.

Edit for clarity, I hope.

[ October 20, 2003, 01:57 PM: Message edited by: littlemissattitude ]

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Robespierre
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quote:
Those who belive they have the political, or social, or psychological, or any other Answer may also evolve to the position that they have a right or an obligation to impose that Answer on others.

The trouble starts, just as you say, when fundamentalists, or anyone act to impose their answer upon others. However, just having an Answer, is not the problem. It is okay for an individual to form an opinion, and then feel that they have the Answer. If this person does not listen to other arguments, this person is still fine. Maybe not reasonable, but morally okay, with me at least. When this person demands that others think in the same way and threatens force when they do not, then there is a problem.
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littlemissattitude
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Thanks for clarifying my position. I thought that was what I said, but I've been a bit busy this morning and may not have said exactly what I thought I said.

As you said, having an Answer is fine. I wish I had some, but that's just me. My unofficial theme song is "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For." [Smile] The problem comes when someone who has an answer for him or herself decides that this means an Answer has been revealed for all, no matter what those others think about it.

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Ron Lambert
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Jacare, there is a flaw with the idea that "to win, you have to win a democratic argument about why the policies you propose are better for the common good." This depends upon the wisdom and sound judgment of humans, and upon the honesty of the majority. What if humans refuse to accept counsel from God because it humbles their pride, and the majority have chosen to exalt themselves and reject any source of authority than their own self-serving opinions?

Have there never been any times in history when the minority was right and the majority was wrong? Are martyrs fools to give their lives rather than yield to the majority view?

Also, I wish to comment on your observation: "The harm of fundamentalism is in attempting to appropriate the organs of state without making the argument for why their way is best."

Greatly to be feared is the return of the time when churches can have recourse to the enforcement power of the secular state. That was the state of affairs that produced the Dark Ages. The non-establishment clause of the First Amendment is designed to prevent any church from ever again seizing the reigns of power of the state.

However, every belief system competes in the open marketplace of ideas, and the competition to see whose influence will prevail in society at large is a fair and proper one. It is the dominant influence of the Christian religions that underlies almost all of our laws in America, and Western Civilization in general. When this dominant influence is challenged, then laws and accepted norms of behavior can change. But Christian fundamentalists have just as much right to defend and seek to preserve the influence of Christianity on our culture as secular humanists have of trying to impose their influence on our culture.

What is unfair is when anyone says that fundamentalists do not have the same right as everyone else to contend for the influence of their belief system to prevail. That, I think, is the real problem: the hypocrisy of those who keep denouncing fundamentalists, when they themselves are the ones being authoritarian and arbitrary.

The problem is not that fundamentalists may not use persuasive arguments. That is self-defeating anyway. Society is not threatened by fundamentalists using unpersuasive arguments; society is threatened by anyone who uses high-handed and unfair methods of squelching anyone who disagrees with them, such as by ridiculing fundamentalists and saying they should not be given a fair hearing.

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asQmh
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I'm just going to pop in and recommend a pretty nifty book by V. Philips Long called The Art of Biblical History. While he probably over-uses the painting metaphores (BOY does he), all in all, it's a nice work dealing with various hermeneutical approaches, merits and flaws. Just some peripheral reading for those interested.

*giggles at the thought of dkw not being conversant with theological literature*

Ron, I think you ran into some of the teachings of D. F. Strauss (c. 1835) and let him speak for all "higher critics."

Q.

[ October 20, 2003, 06:58 PM: Message edited by: asQmh ]

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twinky
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Thanks for the interesting posts. I'm enjoying reading this thread. [Smile]
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Jacare Sorridente
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quote:
Jacare, there is a flaw with the idea that "to win, you have to win a democratic argument about why the policies you propose are better for the common good." This depends upon the wisdom and sound judgment of humans, and upon the honesty of the majority. What if humans refuse to accept counsel from God because it humbles their pride, and the majority have chosen to exalt themselves and reject any source of authority than their own self-serving opinions?
Certainly you are right. In fact, if the time comes that the majority choose wickedness then things are dark indeed for the minority. It has happened before and will no doubt happen again.

quote:
Greatly to be feared is the return of the time when churches can have recourse to the enforcement power of the secular state. That was the state of affairs that produced the Dark Ages. The non-establishment clause of the First Amendment is designed to prevent any church from ever again seizing the reigns of power of the state.
I certainly think that this is a danger. Yet it is one that to my mind becomes more possible as the ends of the political spectrum become more polarized.

quote:
However, every belief system competes in the open marketplace of ideas, and the competition to see whose influence will prevail in society at large is a fair and proper one. It is the dominant influence of the Christian religions that underlies almost all of our laws in America, and Western Civilization in general. When this dominant influence is challenged, then laws and accepted norms of behavior can change. But Christian fundamentalists have just as much right to defend and seek to preserve the influence of Christianity on our culture as secular humanists have of trying to impose their influence on our culture.
Agreed. It has always been a difficult balancing act to allow the majority to drive policy without trampling the minority.

quote:
What is unfair is when anyone says that fundamentalists do not have the same right as everyone else to contend for the influence of their belief system to prevail. That, I think, is the real problem: the hypocrisy of those who keep denouncing fundamentalists, when they themselves are the ones being authoritarian and arbitrary.
It is the hypocrisy most people indulge themselves in. You must be tolerant of what I think is right but I will eradicate your viewpoint.
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Dagonee
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quote:
originally posted by Ron Lambert
Greatly to be feared is the return of the time when churches can have recourse to the enforcement power of the secular state. That was the state of affairs that produced the Dark Ages.

Hmmm, the dark ages didnít have anything to do with an indiscriminate tearing down of the only real civil authority to exist for over 500 years (the Roman empire)? They didnít have anything to do with continuous invasions by barbarians that forced people to spend there time fighting for their lives rather than preserving the empires collection of knowledge? They didnít have anything to do with the increasing concentration of all means of production in the hands of feudal overlords and the consequential near-enslavement of the majority of the food-producing population?

Your statement is a gross simplification of a very complex set of historical forces.

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Ron Lambert
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No Dragonee, none of those things produced the Dark Ages. Some of them were symptoms of it, and some of them were the same old thing that humanity has always had to contend with.

The sole cause of the Dark Ages was the mental tyranny imposed by the hierarchy of the medieval church, made possible by the use of secular power to enforce the opinions and superstitions of clerics as overshadowing truth, and denied the right of common people to know anything apart from what they were told in any area, and above all in spiritual matters, to the point where mere possession of the Bible by the common people was a crime punishable by death. (Knowledge of the Bible would have revealed the wrongness of the church's behavior and of many of its teachings.)

The beginning of the end of the Dark Ages was the invention of the printing press, which made possible both the Renaisssance, and by putting the Bible in the hands of the people, made possible the Protestant Reformation. The Dark Ages finally ended when the tyrannical power of the church over people's minds was broken by the Renaissance and the Protestant Reformation. It also took decades of warfare that engulfed most of Europe, to establish the right of everyone to have a free mind.

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fugu13
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Sorry, Ron, but I'm laughing so hard I won't be able to respond coherently for a while. Unless someone else takes care of it first, expect a fairly lengthy reply from me on why your ideas are at the very least more than a bit silly.
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eslaine
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quote:
*giggles at the thought of dkw not being conversant with theological literature*
I was a little taken aback at the ignorance and suppostition of the statement, Q (not yours). Pretty arrogant in general.

But I digress...

[ October 21, 2003, 01:19 PM: Message edited by: eslaine ]

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Dagonee
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Ron,

I look forward to fuguís reply. For starters, the printing press was invented around 1450, about 450 years after the end of the dark ages.

See http://mrsedivy.com/med_hist.html for a start. I realize itís conclusory, but I really donít have time to recreate an entire history text for you.

quote:
The Dark Ages
Early scholars gave the name "Dark Ages" to the period in Europe after the fall of the Roman Empire. During this period, barbarian Goths, Vandals, and Huns swept down on Europe from the north and east. They destroyed many fine buildings and works of art that had existed during Roman times. During the Dark Ages, knowledge survived only in monasteries, and there were very few schools. Many of the old arts and crafts were lost. This is why the time was called the "Dark Ages."

The eastern Roman Empire was not conquered by the barbarians. There, the arts still flourished. People were still thinking and making fine works of art in other parts of the world. In China and India, great civilizations grew and spread. In the 1000s, Europe began to slowly recover from its artistic darkness. The lost knowledge of the ancient Greeks and Romans was found again. There was a new interest in learning, and the richer life of the Middle Ages began.

I also recommend How the Irish Saved Civilization if youíre interested in actually learning history and not a figment of your imagination.

Dagonee

PS, of course, there were problems caused by the Church during that time. Iím not arguing that - Iím specifically referring to your thesis that ďThe sole cause of the Dark Ages was the mental tyranny imposed by the hierarchy of the medieval churchĒ.

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Ron Lambert
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I stand by the complete accuracy of what I said. There are people who are engaged in re-writing history to try to spin-doctor the real role the hierarchy of the medieval church played, so it does not appear to be as evil as it really was. Around 1950 or so, you will notice a striking change in the tenor of articles written about such issues in mainline encyclopedias such as Brittanica and Americana.

When you define the Dark Ages falsely, of course you will come up with different dates for when it began and ended. But the Dark Ages was nothing else but a time of mental tyranny when people were not allowed to have free minds, lest they question the authority of the church. That is it, that is the whole issue, and anyone who says any different is misled. The darkest point of the Dark Ages was the 13th century, contrary to what you may now read in some accounts. That was also the century when the church hierarchy enjoyed its greatest degree of authority over the secular states of Europe. As one writer put it, "The noontide of the papacy was the midnight of the world."

By the way, I stand by what I said to dkw, too. If she is in any way involved in theology professionally, and is unaware of the serious schism now affecting virtually every theological seminary in our country over the sharp and severe conflict between a liberal higher criticism and a conservative grammatical-historical criticism, then she either does not get out much, or else she is trying to gloss things over and make it look like everyone in her profession is really a converted Christian. I know what I am talking about, and I have encountered the arguments I used for examples, coming from people trying to promote higher criticism.

[ October 21, 2003, 05:11 PM: Message edited by: Ron Lambert ]

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TomDavidson
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"That is it, that is the whole issue, and anyone who says any different is misled."

Wow. Ron, you really DO argue like your brother. [Smile]

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Ron Lambert
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Tom, that was not an argument, that was a conclusion, based on what I have observed. To which I am surely entitled.

But thanks, anyway. Wm and I do not share religions or political views (not exactly, anyway), but people are entitled to the courage of their convictions, something that seems to affront those who expect to be able to brow-beat all opposition into submission.

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TomDavidson
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The problem, Ron, is that your argument amounts to this:

I believe the following things, for reasons I won't explain, because I've done research on 'em. These things are all true. I refuse to accept the possibility that these things are not true, so if you want to continue this discussion with me, you will have to accept these things are true or put up with my CONTINUALLY insisting that these things are, in fact, true. [Smile]

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Dagonee
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quote:
Originally posted by Ron Lambert
Tom, that was not an argument, that was a conclusion, based on what I have observed. To which I am surely entitled.

But thanks, anyway. Wm and I do not share religions or political views (not exactly, anyway), but people are entitled to the courage of their convictions, something that seems to affront those who expect to be able to brow-beat all opposition into submission.

So you are entitled to redefine the historically accepted boundaries of the Dark Ages, cite no sources except the entire encyclopedia, provide no analysis, refute no competing points, and tell those who disagree by suggesting other causes of the dark ages and providing at least some sources that they are browbeating you.

From a strict 1st Amendment point of view you are entitled to, but we are just as entitled to dismiss you as ignorant.

Iím not even going to go into the anti-Catholicism which runs rampant through fundamentalist historical revisionism because you havenít even presented a prima facie case for your views deserving of a detailed refutation.

Dagonee

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Ron Lambert
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Tom, you are doing what you accuse me of doing.

When it comes to past history, we can quote sources and show where the weight of the evidence is, but there are also contrary sources because some people lie about history. We can also point out principles involved which people can judge for themselves as to their reasonableness as an explanation for what happened. Other people will claim other principles were really operant. Ultimately it is a choice people can only make for themselves, though some people try to make it for them.

As for me, I am sure of what I know. That does not mean I have a closed mind or will not listen; but it does mean you will not overthrow my settled convictions with frivolous or otherwise specious arguments, no matter how learned they may be dressed up to seem. I can read and analyze pretty well.

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Ron Lambert
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Dragonee, you merely use ridicule and name-calling. What I said is nonetheless true.

Funny you refer to "fundamentalist historical revisionism," when in fact the views I set forth are the ones that were the original ones, going back hundreds of years, and evident in virtually all history texts more than 50 years ago. The revisionism is what is evident now, in the new order of books being produced by spin-doctors masquerading as historians.

[ October 21, 2003, 05:47 PM: Message edited by: Ron Lambert ]

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BannaOj
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can't wait for fugu's response
am wondering if dkw is going to further grace this thread with her presence
if I were her I don't know if I would
but I wonder what she would say

AJ

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BannaOj
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Ron, can you name some current historians you respect?

AJ

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dkw
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Ron, I donít deny that there is a sharp division over which methods of criticism are proper, although I disagree that there are only two sides to the argument. My concern is that you are misrepresenting your opponents. I asked you for a specific example of any scholar making claims such as you put in the mouths of the ďhigherĒ critics. Iím still waiting for one.
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littlemissattitude
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Ron...you've quoted or cited only two Bible translations (KJV and NKJV), the First Amendment, and two encyclopedias ( Britannica and Americana), none of which, as far as I can see, which actually speak to your accusations of "...rewiting history to try to spin-doctor the real role the hierarchy of the medieval church played" in the darkness of the Dark Ages and of "...books being produced by spin-doctors masquerading as historians...".

I wish you would explain why we are supposed to take your statements as anything more than personal opinion without some sort of documentation. Why, without that documentation backing up your assertions, should we just take your word, accept that you are right and all those scholars with all that professional experience are wrong?

I am not saying that you are not entitled to your opinion. You are. But without some sort of sense that it is an informed opinion, which would be demonstrated by particular citations to particular books, I for one am not inclined to take your opinion as anything more than personal biases. I am sorry if this seems harsh, but I was trained to back up my assertions, particularly controversial ones, with some sort of evidence that others can go look up and verify independently.

I don't claim that any of the things I have said in my posts in this thread are anything more than personal opinion, formed by personal experience. You are claiming much more than that - moral and historical certainty - and you are making some pretty heavy charges of historical revisionism. These charges, at least, require backup with more specific information from specific sources.

Edited to insert missing parenthesis.

[ October 21, 2003, 11:32 PM: Message edited by: littlemissattitude ]

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Dagonee
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quote:
Originally posted by Ron Lambert
Dagonee, you merely use ridicule and name-calling. What I said is nonetheless true.

Funny you refer to "fundamentalist historical revisionism," when in fact the views I set forth are the ones that were the original ones, going back hundreds of years, and evident in virtually all history texts more than 50 years ago. The revisionism is what is evident now, in the new order of books being produced by spin-doctors masquerading as historians.

I used a little name-calling after your statement that ďanyone who says any different is misledĒ while still not citing ANY sources. So, you called me misled, I called you ignorant. I apologize for name calling, but not for the stridency of my arguments.

I cited one source which represents a pretty commonly accepted view of history. I also suggested a book which speaks to this issue in a novel way. You gave me one quotation with no attribution and a vague charge that a new revisionist movement is trying to hide this truth that seemingly only you know and wonít provide sources to.

So, either point me to a source describing this great historical revision and how the Church was the ďsoleĒ cause of the dark ages or give some other basis for your claims. This is a discussion board, not an assertion board. If you wonít provide ANY backup for your position, no discussion is possible.

Dagonee

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TomDavidson
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Ron, please recognize that some of your statements here -- that fundamentalist historians are the only ones to document the "true" history of the Church, that Catholicism was responsible for the Dark Ages, and the like -- are not being presented to us as logical conclusions, but rather as premises on which you're building other arguments. You are then asking us to take these premises on faith.

Unfortunately, since the rejection of these premises is absolutely central to some of the arguments against your conclusions, people cannot do so.

In situations where this is not true, people are generally happy to take your statements at face value; however, when you're asking them to scuttle their entire set of dialectical premises just because you think yours are BETTER, you need to give them compelling reasons.

It's always been my belief that the key to being a powerful and persuasive debater is not necessarily in being charismatic or even having encyclopedic knowledge of the subject; it's being able to recognize which premises you and your audience do not share, and working to reconcile those.

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Caleb Varns
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I'm still waiting for a REASON that the Bible must be the whole and complete Truth of God.

In that every reference within the Bible that could be interpreted as saying that the Bible is god-breathed or perfect or whole or complete was written long before our modern 66-book compilation was ever collected in one place, much less understood to be "scripture", I need a reason OUTSIDE of the Bible to explain why it holds such a lofty position in modern Christianity. At what point did the Creator make clear that this collection of documents--noting also the exclusion of many other related texts--is His complete and inerrant Scripture?

On what do you base this belief, Ron?

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ClaudiaTherese
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Caleb, if you haven't come across it yet, you would love Elaine Pagels' work. She's a thorough, careful academic who has looked into some of the non-canonized Christian literature of the early Church, and she discusses the decision-making process in depth.

I really, really, really think you'd like her. [Smile]

[ October 22, 2003, 10:10 AM: Message edited by: ClaudiaTherese ]

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Noemon
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I'll second CT's vote for Pagels. Her work is fantastic. She's a fairly interesting speaker too (I was fortunate enough to get to see her when she spoke at the University of Kansas a few years ago).
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Caleb Varns
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Thanks for the recommendation, CT. Which work of hers would be the best to start with? The Gnostic Gospels?
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ClaudiaTherese
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The Gnostic Gospels is a good start. It introduces the reader to the huge controversy over the Dead Sea scrolls.

Noemon, I saw her speak as well, and I had the joy of sharing a dinner with her (along with many other people). Like OSC, she was one of the bright lights that was brought to my alma mater, thanks in good part to the work of my mentor. We had an awesome discussion series.

------------------------------------------------

Edit: I haven't read her latest, Beyond Belief: The Secret Gospel of Thomas, but I heard her speak about it on public radio. On reading the editorial reviews at amazon.com, I think this may be where you might want to start. (See excerpt below.) She has an avid and sincere interest in Christianity, and she writes out that passion with an amazing depth of critical analysis.

quote:
Elaine Pagels, one of the worldís most important writers and thinkers on religion and history, and winner of the National Book Award for her groundbreaking work The Gnostic Gospels, now reflects on what matters most about spiritual and religious exploration in the twenty-first century. This bold new book explores how Christianity began by tracing its earliest texts, including the secret Gospel of Thomas, rediscovered in Egypt in 1945.

When her infant son was diagnosed with fatal pulmonary hypertension, Elaine Pagelsís spiritual and intellectual quest took on a new urgency, leading her to explore historical and archeological sources and to investigate what Jesus and his teachings meant to his followers before the invention of doctrineĖand before the invention of Christianity as we know it.



[ October 22, 2003, 10:49 AM: Message edited by: ClaudiaTherese ]

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Caleb Varns
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"Elaine Pagelsís spiritual and intellectual quest took on a new urgency, leading her to explore historical and archeological sources and to investigate what Jesus and his teachings meant to his followers before the invention of doctrineĖand before the invention of Christianity as we know it."

Well I just might look into this one, because it's long been my contention that "what Jesus and his teachings meant to his followers" was something wholly different from the version we get with "the invention of doctrine...and Christianity as we know it".

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Ron Lambert
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Answering every demand people have made of me here would require that I devote my entire career to documenting the things I have said and revealing all the changes that have taken place in history texts. Even then some people would just continue arguing out of habit or a dedication to debate.

I do wish to jar the paradigm of history many people assume to be true, and let them know there is another view of history than the one they have been given. The reason why this is so important is that if we do not know true history, we cannot learn the lessons that need to be learned from it, and to borrow from Santanya, we would be condemned to repeat the errors of history.

If people do not realize that the real lesson of the Dark Ages is that church must never be allowed to mingle with state, because the result is mental tyranny where force is used to compel individual conscience and no one can be free, then nothing will prevent it from happening again. The Dark Ages will return, and dissenters will be martyred once more.

The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was adopted because the founders of our country did know the true lesson of the Dark Ages, and sought to guard against any church or all churches ever again being able in this country to use the secular power to enforce church edicts and impose institutions or any other "establishment" of the church on those who dissent. Because this true view of history has been lost sight of by present generations, the lesson has been forgotten, and the chorus of voices is growing that denounces the First Amendment's implied principle of "separation of church and state." It is a shattering irony that the loudest voices calling for a weakening of the First Amendment are fundamentalist Protestants.

Let this continue, and the First Amendment will come to be set aside, and church-inspired edicts will be enforced, requiring everyone to attend church and observe various traditions of the churches, for the "moral good" of society. Anyone who then dissents will be branded a betrayer of the public good, and the fires of persecution will be rekindled. Not only could it happen in America, it is in the process of happening. The last bulwarks of resistance against this are crumbling, and all but gone.

Take my warning seriously, or not, as you will. We will all live with the consequences.

[ October 22, 2003, 12:32 PM: Message edited by: Ron Lambert ]

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Dagonee
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quote:
Originally posted by Ron Lambert
Answering every demand people have made of me here would require that I devote my entire career to documenting the things I have said and revealing all the changes that have taken place in history texts. Even then some people would just continue arguing out of habit or a dedication to debate.

Weíre not asking you to produce this documentation Ė just tell us where you got these ideas from. Either you created them yourself, which would suggest that you have some primary source documentation somewhere you could point us to, or you read about them somewhere, which would suggest it would be easy to give us the authorís name, title of the book, anything that would support these theories. Which is it?

quote:
The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was adopted because the founders of our country did know the true lesson of the Dark Ages, and sought to guard against any church or all churches ever again being able in this country to use the secular power to enforce church edicts and impose institutions or any other "establishment" of the church on those who dissent.
Actually, the First Amendment was much more directly inspired by Englandís consolidation of secular and religious power. The King of England was considered the head of the Anglican church (still may be, Iím not sure), called Defender of the Faith, etc. Catholics could not hold office (Iím not sure about other religious restrictions) and were the subject of great official and unofficial persecution, up to and including death.

Three colonies were founded primarily to allow their founders to escape religious persecution (Pennsylvania by Quakers, Maryland by Catholics, and Massachusetts by Puritans). Even then, the early Puritans mimicked the integration of secular and theocratic power found in England, merely substituting their own orthodoxy for that of the Church of England. In fact, several New England colonies were founded by people trying to escape religious persecution in Massachusetts.

Remember, all this happened after the Reformation, well outside the confines of the most expansive definition of the Dark Ages. Itís not that there arenít lessons to be learned from the Dark Ages about secular and religious intermingling of power, but that your oversimplification obscures other lessons that are available in our history.

As far as I can tell, no one here has spoken out against the First Amendment or the principles of the separation of church and state. But tying your reasons for such separation to such an easily disputed statement makes it possible for those who oppose separation to argue against it.

A true argument is never helped by inaccuracy. Please, just give us a source, a book, something that will allow us to evaluate your statement on any grounds other than your authority.

Dagonee

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Ron Lambert
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Dragonee, off the top of my head, some of the most important books that contributed to the formation of my understanding of medieval history are Merle D'Aubigne's History of the Reformation, Wylie's History of the Reformation, and a religious/historical text by Ellen G. White, The Great Controversy. I would also have to add the prophecies of Daniel interpreted historically in a manner consistent with the way the text tells you to interpret it. There have been a great many more books and sources besides these. Once you know the right direction to go, it is not hard to find instructive sources.

I am old enough to have read for myself articles in the 1953 Americana and Britannica, and noticed the great changes in what is represented as history compared to modern texts. Look and find out for yourself. That is the best way to be convinced, when you find it out for yourself.

And if anyone wants to know what the founders of our country really thought when they adopted the First Amendment, read what they said, not the spin modern revisionists give it.

[ October 22, 2003, 01:34 PM: Message edited by: Ron Lambert ]

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Caleb Varns
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Elaine Pagels's book on the Gospel of Thomas was still in hard back, selling for 25 bucks. Plus, I looked it over and it seems as if the book comes from a very personal perspective, and while that may make for better reading I think The Templar Revelation, by Lynn Picknett & Clive Prince will better serve my interests at this time... so I bought it instead. I would have gotten The Gnostic Gospels, but they didn't have any copies of it.
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Noemon
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Yeah, The Gospel of Thomas is definitely the most personal of her works, that I'm aware of.
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Dreamwalker
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Just in case anyone is interested:

quote:
Actually, the First Amendment was much more directly inspired by Englandís consolidation of secular and religious power. The King of England was considered the head of the Anglican church (still may be, Iím not sure), called Defender of the Faith, etc. Catholics could not hold office (Iím not sure about other religious restrictions) and were the subject of great official and unofficial persecution, up to and including death.
The Queen of England still is the head of the Anglican church and is the Defender of the Faith. This is why there is religous controversy around her son Charles, whether his divorce from Diana and relationship with Camilla, should or could bar him from being the next King of England. Catholics may not marry into the royal family or hold office such as Govener-General of Australia or N.Z. However, persecuting them to death no longer applies [Smile]
It is only in the last twenty years or so that Catholics have been able to celebrate ANZAC day in N.Z with their peers...

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Dagonee
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Thanks for the update.

Interestingly, Henry VIII was granted the title ďDefender of the FaithĒ by the Pope for publishing an anti-Protestant treatise written by Thomas Moore before Henry broke off from the Church (and later had Moore put to death).

I bet that still grates at the Vatican even today.

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