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Your thoughts on the soul, spirit and body


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33 minutes ago, Brahms said:

Hard for us to see the truth sometimes when trying to understand what ancient people believed.  That's why we need prophets and apostles and the gift of the Holy Ghost that only they can give us through the keys of the priesthood of God.  We have a lot of evidence that ancient people often had trouble learning and living after the true order of God.  Many accepted ideas they should not have accepted, as many people still do today.

 

Well, I think this is just a different way of understanding/interpreting the fact that theology and doctrine always evolves. What's driving the evolution? Revelation from God? Something more memetic in nature? Syncretizing pressured from cultural interactions? Biblical scholarship really only talks about the last two items. Revelation from God is of course a matter of personal faith.  

Of course ancient Hebrew prophets believed very different things than any of us believe. Same goes for first century Christian and Jewish figures like Paul and Peter and Jesus. 

 

33 minutes ago, Brahms said:

I testify to the former.  We shouldn't believe people when they tell us something which is not true.

What's true for you may be untrue for someone else, and vice versa. When it comes to matters of faith, it comes down to personal conscience. 

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4 hours ago, Eschaton said:

Interesting choice - if you look at a better translation it actually supports what I was saying:

Job 32:8 But it is the spirit in a person, the breath of the Almighty, that gives them understanding.

This still supports my point, which is that the spirit of man is his center of understanding.  The wordplay in this verse makes it all the more interesting.

4 hours ago, Eschaton said:

Having said that, not every figure of the New Testament believed in an immortal human spirit either. Per Bart Ehrman, Jesus did not, but instead was an annihilationist. Paul was also an annihilationist, but his views on the afterlife shifted somewhat over time. 

Of course Bart Ehrman is wrong about Jesus :) (or at least many of his views on Jesus).  A person can isolate verses and try to make them sound like annihilationism, but when looking at how the symbolism and language is being used and in the greater context of the individual's teachings, it's really not annihilationism.  "Annihilationism asserts that God will eventually destroy the wicked, leaving only the righteous to live on in immortality." (wikipedia definition).   If Jesus was really an annihilationist, why did he tell the the Pharisees, who cheat widows out of their property and then pretend to be pious by making long prayers in public, that they shall “receive a greater damnation”? (Mark 12:38-40 and also Luke 20:46-47).  What "greater damnation" is there than annihilation?  What's he going to do, annihilate them twice?

Latter-day Saints understand that there is a physical "destruction of the wicked" from off the face of the planet (physical death), but this doesn't annihilate their spirits, and they will still be resurrected from the dead (all men are resurrected).  There is also an "everlasting destruction" of any contact to God and his people.  This isn't an annihilation of the individual, but it cuts them off from the righteous (as illustrated in 2 Thes 1:8-9, or Psalm 37:9, 22, and 34, where the wicked are "cut off" from the land and from God's people).  

4 hours ago, Eschaton said:

The "spirit" doesn't go to Sheol in the Hebrew Bible - it's only the "shade." The spirit or breath of God returns to God - it's God's breath after all. The "shade" lives an empty kind of half life in Sheol. No feeling - kind of a depressing existence with no change in sight. 

The parable in Luke is somewhat different, representing an evolving concept with roots in Egyptian mythology. In this version, there are separate underground chambers where the dead reside - those who were evil are temporarily punished until the resurrection. This only appears in Luke and probably doesn't represent the views of the historical Jesus. 

https://isthatinthebible.wordpress.com/2016/03/01/is-the-parable-of-the-rich-man-and-lazarus-a-fable-about-the-afterlife/

I appreciate the interesting article on the Lazarus parable.  But I still think your views on the Hebrew understanding of Sheol are rather narrow.  Consider the Jewish Encyclopedia article on Sheol, a portion of which I am pasting below (with emphasis added).  I present this simply to show the variety of verses involved that produce a broader perspective on how individuals exist in that realm.  The picture presented here sounds exactly like the way Jesus described the situation of Lazarus and the rich man:

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SHEOL (image.jpeg.bbb41fd016a286c07b8360e67dc29790.jpeg)

By: Emil G. Hirsch

Position and Form.

Hebrew word of uncertain etymology (see Sheol, Critical View), synonym of "bor" (pit), "abaddon" and "shaḥat" (pit or destruction), and perhaps also of "tehom" (abyss).

—Biblical Data:

It connotes the place where those that had died were believed to be congregated. Jacob, refusing to be comforted at the supposed death of Joseph, exclaims: "I shall go down to my son a mourner unto Sheol" (Gen. xxxvii. 36, Hebr.; comp. ib. xlii. 38; xliv. 29, 31). Sheol is underneath the earth (Isa. vii. 11, lvii. 9; Ezek. xxxi. 14; Ps. lxxxvi. 13; Ecclus. [Sirach] li. 6; comp. Enoch, xvii. 6, "toward the setting of the sun"); hence it is designated as image.jpeg.bac572f33be994a7918c16bc515e22d6.jpeg (Deut. xxxii. 22; Ps. lxxxvi. 13) or V11p282004.jpg.4fde7bda2900ed5a7d40c5e22a5efc11.jpg (Ps. lxxxviii. 7; Lam. iii. 55; Ezek. xxvi. 20, xxxii. 24). It is very deep (Prov. ix. 18; Isa. lvii. 9); and it marks the point at the greatest possible distance from heaven (Job xi. 8; Amos ix. 2; Ps. cxxxix. 8). The dead descend or are made to go down into it; the revived ascend or are brought and lifted up from it (I Sam. ii. 6; Job vii. 9; Ps. xxx. 4; Isa. xiv. 11, 15). Sometimes the living are hurled into Sheol before they would naturally have been claimed by it (Prov. i. 12; Num. xvi. 33; Ps. lv. 16, lxiii. 10), in which cases the earth is described as "opening her mouth" (Num. xvi. 30). Sheol is spoken of as a land (Job x. 21, 22); but ordinarily it is a place with gates (ib. xvii. 16, xxxviii. 17; Isa. xxxviii. 10; Ps. ix. 14), and seems to have been viewed as divided into compartments (Prov. vii. 27), with "farthest corners" (Isa. xiv. 15; Ezek. xxxii. 23, Hebr.; R. V. "uttermost parts of the pit"), one beneath the other (see Jew. Encyc. v. 217, s. v. Eschatology). Here the dead meet (Ezek. xxxii.; Isa. xiv.; Job xxx. 23) without distinction of rank or condition—the rich and the poor, the pious and the wicked, the old and the young, the master and the slave—if the description in Job iii. refers, as most likely it does, to Sheol. The dead continue after a fashion their earthly life. Jacob would mourn there (Gen. xxxvii. 35, xlii. 38); David abides there in peace (I Kings ii. 6); the warriors have their weapons with them (Ezek. xxxii. 27), yet they are mere shadows ("rephaim"; Isa. xiv. 9, xxvi. 14; Ps. lxxxviii. 5, A. V. "a man that hath no strength"). The dead merely exist without knowledge or feeling (Job xiv. 13; Eccl. ix. 5). Silence reigns supreme; and oblivion is the lot of them that enter therein (Ps. lxxxviii. 13, xciv. 17; Eccl. ix. 10). Hence it is known also as "Dumah," the abode of silence (Ps. vi. 6, xxx. 10, xciv. 17, cxv. 17); and there God is not praised (ib. cxv. 17; Isa. xxxviii. 15). Still, on certain extraordinary occasions the dwellers in Sheol are credited with the gift of making known their feelings of rejoicing at the downfall of the enemy (Isa. xiv. 9, 10). Sleep is their usual lot (Jer. li. 39; Isa. xxvi. 14; Job xiv. 12). Sheol is a horrible, dreary, dark, disorderly land (Job x. 21, 22); yet it is the appointed house for all the living (ib. xxx. 23). Return from Sheol is not expected (II Sam. xii. 23; Job vii. 9, 10; x. 21; xiv. 7 et seq.; xvi. 22; Ecclus. [Sirach] xxxviii. 21); it is described as man's eternal house (Eccl. xii. 5). It is "dust" (Ps. xxx. 10; hence in the Shemoneh 'Esreh, in benediction No. ii., the dead are described as "sleepers in the dust").

 

Edited by InCognitus
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4 hours ago, Eschaton said:

Interesting choice - if you look at a better translation it actually supports what I was saying:

Job 32:8 But it is the spirit in a person, the breath of the Almighty, that gives them understanding.

 

Christians had a somewhat different understanding of spirit than ancient Hebrews. You can't look to their thoughts on the matter to understand 5th century BCE Israelite beliefs any more than you could look at at a modern Evangelical's beliefs to tell you what a Muslim from 1500 CE believed.  As I said, the Bible is not univocal in content. 

Having said that, not every figure of the New Testament believed in an immortal human spirit either. Per Bart Ehrman, Jesus did not, but instead was an annihilationist. Paul was also an annihilationist, but his views on the afterlife shifted somewhat over time. 

 

 

The ancient Hebrews believed that it was life force or breath. I make no claims about what the human spirit actually is - that's subjective, subject to individual personal beliefs. I was just giving some historical context. 

 

 

The authors did not have the "millennial reign of Jesus" in mind when they wrote Isaiah. Christians from the first century CE onward certainly saw Jesus in those texts and interpreted them that way. 

 

The "spirit" doesn't go to Sheol in the Hebrew Bible - it's only the "shade." The spirit or breath of God returns to God - it's God's breath after all. The "shade" lives an empty kind of half life in Sheol. No feeling - kind of a depressing existence with no change in sight. 

The parable in Luke is somewhat different, representing an evolving concept with roots in Egyptian mythology. In this version, there are separate underground chambers where the dead reside - those who were evil are temporarily punished until the resurrection. This only appears in Luke and probably doesn't represent the views of the historical Jesus. 

https://isthatinthebible.wordpress.com/2016/03/01/is-the-parable-of-the-rich-man-and-lazarus-a-fable-about-the-afterlife/

If the the ancient Hebrews didn't believe in a spirit that lived after death, what do you make of the seemingly popular mediums and necromancers who communed with the dead?

Quote

Isaiah 8:19 ESV 
And when they say to you, “Inquire of the mediums and the necromancers who chirp and mutter,” should not a people inquire of their God? Should they inquire of the dead on behalf of the living?

In regards to Jesus being an annihilationist, I don't see it.  He seems to suggest that the soul can live apart from the body:

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Matthew 10:28 ESV 
And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.

He also cast off evil spirits which possessed the living.  These evil spirits had names and personalities.   It seems from these passages that Jesus didn't possess the view that the spirit is merely a life force or breath from God, or that spirits couldn't exist beyond the body.  
 

Edited by pogi
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22 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

Watch it, some day they may bust you for over occupancy.

THAT would be an interesting case in court!  

But what a life!  I am jealous, except on case of a hurricane!  😱

I know I don't have any life vest for the cats. Well it's only one cat now Benny passed away.

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4 hours ago, Brahms said:

I believe mortal bodies can reproduce mortal bodies, especially when males and females are involved in the process.  If an unexalted spirit reproduced another unexalted spirit, what good would that do?

I think we need at least a couple of exalted spirits involved in the process to help the unexalted spirits to become exalted.

Those may be your beliefs. Odd you would ask if you already had an answer 

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35 minutes ago, rodheadlee said:

I know I don't have any life vest for the cats. Well it's only one cat now Benny passed away.

Aw, sorry! Pets become family members 

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24 minutes ago, Brahms said:

No, they become family pets.  They are not related to us.

pets=pets conveys no information. Look up the word "tautology".  Also look up "family" and see how many meanings it has.

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42 minutes ago, Brahms said:

I studied law for a while.  I was told to not ask questions in court unless I already knew the answer.  The point is to see how other people answer a question.  One need not be ignorant.

No, just devious and unteachable, since you already have the answer, at least in your own opinion.  That is wasting the time of others trying to help you.   This is not a court room.  

If you have a real question, just ask.   But it's good to know you do what you are told.

Edited by mfbukowski
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On 10/11/2022 at 3:58 AM, Navidad said:

Why do humans seem to inevitably need to rank, create in- and out-groups, etc.? I simply (not) am trying to figure out how to get to the source of it all... We need to figure out the cause to figure out the cure. We are stuck on trying to cure the disease by eliminating the symptoms.

This might be a little off the beaten path...

I think the root cause of “US versus THEM” thinking in all its varied manifestations is the belief in separation. The belief that we are each separate from everyone else (and separate from God) is probably taken for granted by just about everyone, because to all outward appearances we are clearly separate and there is very little evidence that we are NOT separate. But as long as I see you and me as separate, my best interest is not aligned with your best interest, which makes conflict (internal or external) inevitable if we interact for long enough. This taken-for-granted belief in separation (and competing interests) permeates just about every aspect of our lives.

I think it would take a major paradigm shift for humans to stop seeing “US versus THEM” and instead see only “US”. I think this is more likely to happen on an individual scale than on a societal scale, at least at first.

Many years ago there was a great teacher who said, “Love your neighbor AS YOURSELF” (emphasis mine). For centuries this has been taken as an injunction to be kind to others, rather than as a paradigm-shattering mega-thought. But what if these simple words are also a higher teaching which has been hidden in plain sight? What if we are to love our neighbor “AS ourself” because our neighbor really IS ourself?

Let's take a look through this lens. If your neighbor is yourself, perhaps on a different timeline, then “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” takes on vastly deeper meaning because you ARE doing it unto yourself! And that person who strikes you for no reason – IF that was you on a different timeline having a bad day, THEN it might actually make sense to “turn the other cheek”. Likewise that person who wants you to walk a mile with them, or who wants your property, or who wants to borrow from you – if that was you on a different timeline having a bad day, then it would make sense to help them out regardless of the probability of repayment. It might even make sense to forgive another “seventy times seven”, if that other was actually YOU having a bad day (well, multiple bad days).

Near-death experiencers sometimes report reliving events in their life review as if they were literally the other person. Some report an experience of transcendent oneness which is reminiscent of “I am the vine, ye are the branches.”

That being said, imo this is an idea for which the external evidence is not overwhelming. You would presumably have to try it out to see whether or not it has utility for you. I have lived with the idea that there is really only one of us for some time, and have found it to be useful in transitioning my perspective from “US versus THEM”, to the perspective of, there is only “US”.

@Navidad, I don't know whether the virtually universal belief in separation is the root cause of what you describe, nor whether this somewhat radical interpretation of “love your neighbor as yourself” is the cure, or part of it. I can only report that I have found it useful in shifting my perception of “other” people and their behavior.

Edited by manol
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16 hours ago, Brahms said:

Your idea that theology and doctrine always evolves seems to run counter to some of my beliefs.  For example, I believe Adam and Eve learned the gospel truth soon after they left the garden of Eden. In what way do you think it evolved?

 

These aren't my ideas - I'm drawing from academic Biblical scholarship. I know the idea that Adam and Eve were taught the Christian gospel is a matter of LDS faith starting from Joseph Smith. That idea can't be squared with Biblical scholarship (in other words, there is no historical or textual evidence to support pre-Christian Christianity, or indeed a historical Adam and Eve). But I certainly have no quarrel with anyone's faith position. 

 

16 hours ago, Brahms said:

I've also seen evidence of people falling away from truth they once accepted.  False teachings arising from apostasy. In what way do you think that is evolving?  I don't think of apostasy as evolution.

All change is evolution. Some ideas survive and multiply, others die out. It's survival of the fittest even in the world of ideas. 

 

16 hours ago, Brahms said:

 

No, that is not true.  Of course ancient Hebrew prophets believed very different things than some of us believe.  I'll give you the benefit of my doubts and consider you to be using some hyperbole now. 

No hyperbole. While of course there are some beliefs in common, they also held beliefs different from any modern tradition that I'm aware of. 

 

16 hours ago, Brahms said:

 

I see truth mixed with error in this statement you are making, too.  I'll hope to see some evolution in your own beliefs as you come to better understand what is true.

 

Again, I'm not expressing my personal beliefs. Perhaps that's causing some confusion, as most people seem to be sharing personal thoughts and I'm just passing on material one might learn in an academic setting. 

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16 hours ago, InCognitus said:

This still supports my point, which is that the spirit of man is his center of understanding.  The wordplay in this verse makes it all the more interesting.

I disagree - I was saying that the spirit is the "breath of life" and this says explicitly that. 

 

16 hours ago, InCognitus said:

Of course Bart Ehrman is wrong about Jesus :) (or at least many of his views on Jesus).  A person can isolate verses and try to make them sound like annihilationism, but when looking at how the symbolism and language is being used and in the greater context of the individual's teachings, it's really not annihilationism.  "Annihilationism asserts that God will eventually destroy the wicked, leaving only the righteous to live on in immortality." (wikipedia definition).   

 

There is certainly support for annihilationism in the synoptic gospels  A prime example:

Matthew 10:28: 28 “Don't be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in Gehenna."

However, some scholars see allusions in Matthew to the divine afterlife punishments in the Enoch tradition, although scholars don't say that this idea goes back to Jesus, only that it's present in Matthew. I could go either way on it, but Ehrman makes good arguments on the issue. 

 

16 hours ago, InCognitus said:

If Jesus was really an annihilationist, why did he tell the the Pharisees, who cheat widows out of their property and then pretend to be pious by making long prayers in public, that they shall “receive a greater damnation”? (Mark 12:38-40 and also Luke 20:46-47).  What "greater damnation" is there than annihilation?  What's he going to do, annihilate them twice?

The idea was that the wicked would be tortured and die a painful and ignoble death. One can easily imagine different levels within that paradigm. 

 

 

16 hours ago, InCognitus said:

Latter-day Saints understand that there is a physical "destruction of the wicked" from off the face of the planet (physical death), but this doesn't annihilate their spirits, and they will still be resurrected from the dead (all men are resurrected).  There is also an "everlasting destruction" of any contact to God and his people.  This isn't an annihilation of the individual, but it cuts them off from the righteous (as illustrated in 2 Thes 1:8-9, or Psalm 37:9, 22, and 34, where the wicked are "cut off" from the land and from God's people).  

Yes, this comes from  Hellenistic influence into the tradition, drawing on Plato and Tartarus and so forth. That enters into the later Jewish and Christian traditions, but of course its influence is not universal (and it's not present at all in any of the Psalms). Psalms has a physicalist bent - to be cut off from the people means to be killed or exiled. 

 

16 hours ago, InCognitus said:

I appreciate the interesting article on the Lazarus parable.  But I still think your views on the Hebrew understanding of Sheol are rather narrow.  Consider the Jewish Encyclopedia article on Sheol, a portion of which I am pasting below (with emphasis added).  I present this simply to show the variety of verses involved that produce a broader perspective on how individuals exist in that realm.  The picture presented here sounds exactly like the way Jesus described the situation of Lazarus and the rich man:

 

What sheol means will depend on which era you're talking about. Sometimes it just means "the grave." Later it came to be thought of in terms of what we might associate with pergatory. 

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16 hours ago, pogi said:

If the the ancient Hebrews didn't believe in a spirit that lived after death, what do you make of the seemingly popular mediums and necromancers who communed with the dead?

Some of them did believe in the "shades" of the dead, which is not quite the same concept as our modern "spirit".  Typically shades are lacking in thought and feeling, but they can be temporarily roused by magical means. 

 

16 hours ago, pogi said:

In regards to Jesus being an annihilationist, I don't see it.  He seems to suggest that the soul can live apart from the body: Matthew 10:28 ESV 
And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.

This is actually a prime annihilationist passage - Jesus talks about both the soul and body being destroyed. But by soul, what does he mean? Does he mean the breath of life - meaning that the body couldn't be raised from the dead? Ehrman would say yes. 

 

16 hours ago, pogi said:

He also cast off evil spirits which possessed the living.  These evil spirits had names and personalities.   It seems from these passages that Jesus didn't possess the view that the spirit is merely a life force or breath from God, or that spirits couldn't exist beyond the body.  
 

Evil spirts aren't human spirits - they were thought of as, for lack of a better term, supernatural entities. 

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20 hours ago, Brahms said:

We have a lot of evidence that ancient people often had trouble learning and living after the true order of God. 

I don't believe I have heard the phrase "the true order of God" before. Could you explain what you mean by that, or what it means to you? Is it possible for a non-LDS Christian to live "after the true order of God?"

 

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7 minutes ago, Navidad said:

I don't believe I have heard the phrase "the true order of God" before. Could you explain what you mean by that, or what it means to you? Is it possible for a non-LDS Christian to live "after the true order of God?"

 

For what it's worth, I don't think I've ever heard that phrase, either. "True order of prayer," yes, but not that.

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43 minutes ago, Brahms said:

...and accepting the scholarship that supports your ideas on this issue.  I did not say those ideas are only your own ideas.  I know other people agree with you, and you agree with them, vice versa.  There is also scholarship refuting that scholarship.

If you mean Christian apologetics, that's a completely separate category from academic Biblical scholarship. The latter must follow historiographical rules regarding textual and historical evidence, and must be critical in nature. Apologetics is more akin to something like a defense attorney for a faith position - in other words focuses on supporting a predetermined outcome favorable to some faith position rather than a strictly methodological approach that treats all evidence the same way.   

 

43 minutes ago, Brahms said:

Yes there is, if by pre-Christian Christianity you are referring to Christianity before it was called Christianity.  You're simply denying the scholarship supporting those ideas.  The Christ is Greek for what the Hebrews/Jews called the Messiah, and the Christ/Messiah was prophesied to come since the days of Adam and Eve.  Read the Book of Mormon and the collection of Doctrine & Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price.  Expand your sacred library.  The word Bible refers to a library or collection of sacred books and there are more sacred and divinely inspired texts than only the Old & New Testaments you seem to accept.  We should live by every sacred and divinely inspired word of God.

Christianity of course didn't emerge from nothing - it comes out of the apocalyptic and messianic Jewish tradition. But having a few points in common with those traditions doesn't mean it is identical to that tradition. Two primary differentiators about Christianity are the idea of a suffering/slain messiah, and the idea that certain confessional beliefs, not just good deeds, are what is important for securing divine favor.  And it continued to evolve from there, while retaining always some apocalypticism. 

 

43 minutes ago, Brahms said:

Yes you do.  You began this quarrel with my faith position when you denied what my faith assures me is true.  God has told us through inspired prophets and apostles that the gospel was known to Adam and Eve, for example.  You deny that based on some scholars who have told you that isn't true, claiming they see no evidence of that fact.  It is right there in God's word, which they apparently do not accept.  Same kind of thing as when many Pharisees and Sadducees denied what Jesus himself told them, which they did not accept as God's word.  You are thick in this quarrel against our faith position.  And if you seriously believe you have no quarrel with us, then you are mistaken. 

I wasn't aware we were having a quarrel? I'm sorry if you took any offense. I thought we were having an interesting discussion? 

Most Christians of all stripes (whether LDS or evangelical or mainline protestant or Catholic) really don't have much exposure to Biblical scholarship. Because of that lack of "inoculation" some might feel shocked when they learn what is taught in a mainstream academic setting. In many cases pastors know this material, but it isn't passed on to the lay members of the church. In the LDS tradition there isn't any training, so almost know one knows it. Some mistakenly feel it's an attack on their faith when they first hear anything about it. However, the vast majority of critical scholars of the New Testament and Old Testament are actually believing Christians. Usually they aren't fundamentalists - the fundamentalists tend to be drawn to Christian apologetics. 

I don't find it productive to take offense when someone expresses viewpoints that are different from my own - if I did so I would spend my life angry and upset, or else I would have to hide from different perspectives. I think on the contrary, exposure to different perspectives can only improve our own.  

 

 

43 minutes ago, Brahms said:

an academic setting bent to persuade people to your perspective, perhaps.  There are academic settings where my faith position is upheld and supported, rather than denied by your type. I suggest you attend one of our Institutes of Religion near you.

By definition, academics doesn't exist to either uphold or attack a faith position. If the goal is to do either, then it's not academic. 

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21 hours ago, Eschaton said:

In fact, the priests at the Elephantine temple were in communication with the priests at the Jerusalem temple. So the tapestry of ideas in the Hebrew Bible can only ever be one slice of the story.

Can/will you recommend good source documents on the Elephantine temple? I have read about it many times, but would like to learn more. Thanks.

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2 hours ago, Eschaton said:

These aren't my ideas - I'm drawing from academic Biblical scholarship. I know the idea that Adam and Eve were taught the Christian gospel is a matter of LDS faith starting from Joseph Smith. That idea can't be squared with Biblical scholarship (in other words, there is no historical or textual evidence to support pre-Christian Christianity, or indeed a historical Adam and Eve). 

History is irrelevant to philosophy.

Religion is philosophy, therefore history is irrelevant to religion.

One may find wisdom in his-STORY as a parable only, because certainly history does not demonstrate wisdom 

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8 minutes ago, Navidad said:

Can/will you recommend good source documents on the Elephantine temple? I have read about it many times, but would like to learn more. Thanks.

Isn't that the one where the three blind men met the elephant and then....  ;)

 

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22 hours ago, Brahms said:

I've also seen evidence of people falling away from truth they once accepted.  False teachings arising from apostasy. In what way do you think that is evolving?  I don't think of apostasy as evolution.

A problem I have with this type of thinking is that apostasy--like beauty--is in the eye of the beholder. You seem to forget that the Prophet Joseph Smith is an apostate as considered from the point of view of mainstream Christianity. Or that Jesus Christ was an apostate in relation to the then prevailing Judaic belief and practice.* Indeed, any prophet worthy of the title is an apostate in relation to the prevailing religious view. This is why prophets are persecuted so often. Nobody gives a flying you-know-what about a "prophet" who is crying all is well in Zion.

If one looks at what prophets do, "apostasy" or "heresy" or "evolution" or whatever term one wishes to use is not a negative. In fact, when orthodoxy becomes to rigid, "apostasy" becomes the only way to clear the decks and bring forth a new vision. See here for an example of how this can work.

ETA: *I'm using the term "Judaic belief and practice" in an effort not to have "Judaism" in Christ's time confused of rabbinic Judaism, or what most people think of as Judaism today.

Edited by tagriffy
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7 minutes ago, Brahms said:

...someone said they said an elephant is like only the part of the elephant they were touching... 

Yes, I am sure all here know the parable but after all it has to be historical to be true, right?

Sorry I'm messin' with you, it was a joke...  :)

 

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1 minute ago, Brahms said:

Oh please.  While apostasy, by definition, refers to "the abandonment or renunciation of a religious or political belief," the way we generally use the word refers to a "falling away" from good while embracing evil.  A downhill fall, not an uphill climb.  

I've sort of embraced the term apostate, as I got tired of people using it as an insult, as if following my conscience was a bad thing. I was talking to a friend of mine yesterday who received a phone call from a relative after quite a few years of not having contact. This person apparently thought that it was a good idea to try and harangue my friend back into the church. My friend said, "John, I've been out of the church for almost 15 years, and this is the first time I've actually felt genuinely grateful to be out. My [relative] has always been an angry and bitter person, and still is, and I'm happier than I have ever been. So, I'm grateful I don't have that stuff in my life." So, yes, my friend and I wear the apostate label happily (in the literal sense of that word). 

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2 minutes ago, Brahms said:

Okay, but I would wager that most people who hear you say you accept that you are now an apostate understand you to be saying that you accept that you have "fallen away" from the Church.  Fallen downhill, not climbed uphill.

I frankly don't care what people think. True, I don't talk about my beliefs at church (my wife would kill me), but if people want to say I've fallen and am lost, I'm fine with that. 

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33 minutes ago, mfbukowski said:

History is irrelevant to philosophy.

Religion is philosophy, therefore history is irrelevant to religion.

 

I don't think religion is quite equivalent to philosophy. But Crossan would say bad history leads to bad theology. I kind of agree, just from my observation of the kinds of doctrines that get created from a misreading of scripture vs a a reading informed by historical/textual context. Certainly understanding history is never sufficient to get you to a good theology, but it's a good starting point. 

 

33 minutes ago, mfbukowski said:

One may find wisdom in his-STORY as a parable only, because certainly history does not demonstrate wisdom 

I don't disagree. Ancient people had a very materialistic,  concept of God, one that was ill-equipped to help them understand why they would, for example, be punished by gentile invaders for keeping the law of Moses. I find the innovations of later tradition to be often helpful and edifying. Still, it's also helpful to understand where we started and how we got to where we are. Faith and history are two very different things, though. Both important. 

 

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Just now, Eschaton said:

 

I don't think religion is quite equivalent to philosophy. But Crossan would say bad history leads to bad theology. I kind of agree, just from my observation of the kinds of doctrines that get created from a misreading of scripture vs a a reading informed by historical/textual context. Certainly understanding history is never sufficient to get you to a good theology, but it's a good starting point. 

 

I don't disagree. Ancient people had a very materialistic,  concept of God, one that was ill-equipped to help them understand why they would, for example, be punished by gentile invaders for keeping the law of Moses. I find the innovations of later tradition to be often helpful and edifying. Still, it's also helpful to understand where we started and how we got to where we are. Faith and history are two very different things, though. Both important. 

 

I make a few typos, I don't seem to be able to edit my post to correct them. 

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