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Goughfather
26-02-2004, 11:37 PM
I thought that I might provide a forum here for people to talk about their thoughts about the abovementioned film. Since we have a diverse range of backgrounds on this BB, it will be interesting to see what people have thought. I'm still processing through it all, so I think that I may provide a detailed analysis of what I thought about the film in the not too distant future.

Cat
27-02-2004, 12:08 AM
I haven't seen the film yet but my reading is that the film is anti-semitic, is gratuitously violent and is simply re-writing history. I will see the film and I hope my initial impressions are wrong.

Kevin Bonham
27-02-2004, 01:00 AM
I haven't seen the film yet but my reading is that the film is anti-semitic, is gratuitously violent and is simply re-writing history.

Sounds like a very faithful book-to-film conversion then. :hmm:

arosar
27-02-2004, 07:45 AM
Why see this film? Go see Irreversible instead.

AR

Goughfather
27-02-2004, 10:34 AM
Hi David,

From my reading prior to seeing the film, these seem to the main accusations directed at the film. I've read reviews from Protestants, Catholics and non-Christians and there are varying opinions within each of these groups. I did have some preconceptions about how the film would be, and while some of my expectations were met, others were not.

The following post isn't meant to be a rebuttal, or an argument about the legitimacy of the three main critiques of this film, merely what I derived from the film while watching it, and while reflecting upon it afterwards. Most likely, others who see the film will draw much different conclusions than what I did. Because I am sure that there are many people on this board who wish to see the film to decide for themselves, I'll be deliberately vague about the specifics of the film. After all, I wouldn't want to spoil the ending! :lol:

Anti-Semitism

Sure enough, this film is by no means politically correct. Caiphas, the Jewish High Priest is portrayed as being manipulative and corrupt. Judas Iscariot is also given fairly harsh treatment. However, for every Jewish character seen in a particularly negative light, there is another Jewish character who is portrayed as honourable, upright, and full of integrity. Simon of Cyrene, the man who is said to have carried Jesus' cross particularly stood out to me. Of course, it goes without saying that Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of Jesus, and Jesus himself were all Jewish characters portrayed in a positive light.

At the time of the initial outcry, many felt that Gibson's inclusion of the phrase "His blood be on us and on our children" (Matthew 27:25) uttered by the Jews who demanded Jesus crucifixion was distinctly anti-Semitic. For this reason, I was looking out for this quote, but it was surprisingly absent. I don't really think that it would have contributed to the passion narrative in any meaningful sense, so it was probably good in the end that it was omitted.

Gratuitous Violence

Indeed, the violence is quite brutal at certain points. The fact that it was directed towards one man makes it even worse. The film is, without a doubt, unashamedly graphic.

I guess the real question is whether such violence was gratuitous. My feeling is that your view will be largely mediated by the perspective from which you are coming. If you see this as some poor guy getting beaten and tortured senselessly for no obvious reason, then of course you will view the violence as being gratuitous. Personally, I found the violence upsetting, not because of the graphic nature of it, but because of who the violence was being perpetrated upon. However, for me, Jesus' torture and execution had a purpose, and for that reason, I saw it as contextualised. Some may say that such a point could have been expressed just as clearly without the level of violence in the film. I respectfully disagree. To sanitise what would have been a horrendous ordeal for Jesus would have been missing the point completely, and would have undermined the lengths to which Jesus went to redeem us, not to mention the depth of his love for us.

Historical Inaccuracy

Interestingly enough, most critique has been quite divided on this issue. The Pope was widely publicised for stating "It is as it was", before his minders made an official statement saying that he had never said this. Of course, Gibson clearly stated that he was aiming for realism and historical accuracy in the passion narrative, so it is important for this critique to be critically examined.

It was clearly evident that Gibson has put extensive research into this project. Nonetheless, there are a significant number of events portrayed in the film that not found within the Gospel tradition, nor, at least in any detail, as written by the historians of the era. The film at points tries to inductively fill in the gaps between the narratives, but there are also elements of apocryphal writings, and Catholic tradition in the mix. If one regarded the film as a historical narrative in the most literal sense, there are clearly aspects which are lacking. This said, I didn't have any real problem with it, because I attributed it to artistic licence, which I regarded as valid in the context of the film.

Anyway, it shall be interesting to see what more people think once they have seen the film. If nothing else, it is providing an interesting discussion piece and helping to awaken the sense of apathy that many people have about what is, in any way you look at it, a most significant event in human history.

Regards,
Goughfather

arosar
27-02-2004, 02:49 PM
Cheers Maccha. I didn't wanna see this film cos I thought it might be too bloody depressing and all that.

Dunno if you blokes know this - but on the anti-semitic angle, Mel's father, Hutton Gibson, actually came out and said that the Holocaust business was just exaggerated. Then he crapped on the usual about how them Jews want to create a Jew-dominated world, one religion, etc, etc. That obviously didn't help!

AR

Oepty
27-02-2004, 02:59 PM
I have not seen the film and I really doubt I will see the film.
I will though state, I think that it would be impossible to do an accurate protrayal of the passion of Chirst with out protraying some Jews in a negative light. I don't though think this nesscessarily means the film is anti-semitic. Not having seen it I am not sure wether it is or not. If a film protrays an Australian or a group of Australians in a negative light is it anti-Australian. It may be or may not be.

As for the violence. What Jesus is recorded to have gone through would have killed most Australians before they were half way through it. Jesus would have been an extremely fit man by todays western standards. There would have been plenty of blood and perhaps flesh flying around during the beatings. I therefore think that the violence, although undoubtably upsetting to alot if not most people could not be avoided if a claim to accuracy of the Biblical accounts could be taken seriously.

Having said all of this from reports I have heard of the film I think that is probably lacking in some areas.
Scott

Rincewind
27-02-2004, 03:11 PM
Goughfather,

Firstly, I probably won't be rushing out to see this film in the cinemas. I don't see it as a partiularly important work (although it is a very well marketed one) and will be waiting for it to make it to video. I do have an interest in the subject area so it will pique my interest enough to warrant hiring it from the local shop.

Regarding your three catgories I'd just state the following opinions.

Anti-semitism. The use of the gospels to justify anti-semitism is nothing new of course. A line has to be drawn between works which promote anti-semitism vs those which may be used and abused by those with an anti-semitic agendas. Judging by what I've heard to date, it sounds like Gibson's Passion is more likely the second.

Gratuitous Violence. It seems unequivocally clear that this is a violent film. Regading whether such violence is gratuitous or not is a personal thing. I think certain people (especially those raised in a christian tradition) will cite mitigating factors and interprete the violence as non-gratuitous. However, those raised in other traditions may or may not share this view depending on their own orientation.

Historical Accuracy. I assume you mean accuracy to the early gospel texts from C2AD. Whether you actually term this "historical" accuracy is probably a sematic point which we could spend some time discussing further, but won't. ;) Obviously, some license is necessary to adapt the story from these early texts to the cinemagraphic medium.

PHAT
27-02-2004, 05:54 PM
Dear all, If you haven't seen the film, SHUT UP!

See the film, THEN post.

:wall:

Rincewind
27-02-2004, 06:01 PM
Dear all, If you haven't seen the film, SHUT UP!

See the film, THEN post.

From the office of Mel Gibson's publicist.

But saying those who haven't seen the film have no right to comment on it is rank elitism. Surely we have a right to voice opinions regarding issues in the public space. You have to have been a survivor contestant to have not been exposed to the issues raised by the film over the last 2 weeks.

As I said I am making a conscious decision not to watch the film at the cinemas. Mainly because I don;t think it will have anything new to say on the topic but also partially because I abhor the marketing strategy being employed for this film.

I say DON'T go see the film! POST here INSTEAD!!! :p

Cat
27-02-2004, 06:58 PM
Even Tolkien described the New Testament as a 'wonderful' myth ( but one rooted in reality he thought). He said the texts contain all the essential elements of excellent mythology (I'm paraphrasing).

Quite simply, crucifixion is a Roman act. There is no Jewish tradition that I am aware of that includes crucifixion and the only reference to Pilate by Josephus describes how he slaughtered and brutalised 2000 rebellious Gallileans, with no mention of a messiah, or the Jews being involved in the slaughter.

By the time Eusabius published his canon gosbels in 400 ad it was unthinkable that the Romans had murdered their own God, so Pilate is supposed to have 'washed his hands' of the affair and the Jews were the ones now demanding Jesus' blood.

It was to ignite 1500 years of European anti-semitism culminating in the Nazi holocaust. The issue hasn't ever really been raised (to this degree) since the war, and I fear it may provoke another round of religious intolerance.

PHAT
27-02-2004, 07:44 PM
From the office of Mel Gibson's publicist.

But saying those who haven't seen the film have no right to comment on it is rank elitism. Surely we have a right to voice opinions regarding issues in the public space.



Hang on. The thread is "The Passion of Christ", is it not. We are talking movie, we are talking effects of said movie, we are talking Art Vs History Vs Jew. Unless one sees the film, one cannot claim to have a balanced view on this three way. I will not make any comment UNTIL I see the film.

If someone wants talk about anti-Semitism, Gratuitous Violence , or Historical Accuracy, start another thread. Using TPOC in support of your postion, whatever it may be, is simply not on - unless you have seen the film.

:wall:

Rincewind
27-02-2004, 10:38 PM
I will not make any comment UNTIL I see the film.

Good for you! :clap:


If someone wants talk about anti-Semitism, Gratuitous Violence , or Historical Accuracy, start another thread. Using TPOC in support of your postion, whatever it may be, is simply not on - unless you have seen the film.

Rubbish! You don't have to have seen the film to have been exposed to the most hyped film in living memory. I don't think it is inappropriate to voice an opinion on the hype nor to clarify the unclear sematic points in Goughfather's original post. In fact as I was referencing these points in my post I would strongly argue that this thread was the most appropriate place to post that message. The only thing where seeing the film would have made a difference to my post was with regarding anti-semitism and I clearly flagged it as opinion based on what was reported in the media and not first hand.

So get off your high horse, take the blinkers off and put them on the horse, for a change!

PHAT
27-02-2004, 10:55 PM
Rubbish! You don't have to have seen the film to have been exposed to the most hyped film in living memory. I don't think it is inappropriate to voice an opinion on the hype nor to clarify the unclear sematic points in Goughfather's original post. ...So get off your high horse, take the blinkers off and put them on the horse, for a change!


OK. It is fine to talk about the hype, and butcher Goughfather - even if his post was very reasonable. I mean, who really needs a good reason to stab a believer in the throat with a carving fork.

And yes, I was/am making a pre-emptive USAesk cavalry strike at those who would condem the film unseen.

Paul S
27-02-2004, 11:06 PM
Dear all, If you haven't seen the film, SHUT UP!

See the film, THEN post.

:wall:

Well said, Matthew! :cool: :clap: :)

Bill Gletsos
27-02-2004, 11:14 PM
You don't have to have seen the film to have been exposed to the most hyped film in living memory.
I would think that there would be many other movies that have been hyped more than this film.

Rincewind
27-02-2004, 11:15 PM
OK. It is fine to talk about the hype, and butcher Goughfather - even if his post was very reasonable. I mean, who really needs a good reason to stab a believer in the throat with a carving fork.

I wouldn't say I did that exactly. Just clarified a minor point to set the context of measures of "historical accuracy". There was a lot more I could have said but that would not have been about the film. ;)


And yes, I was/am making a pre-emptive USAesk cavalry strike at those who would condem the film unseen.

Perhaps you should have taken the British approach of just bugging everyone's office instead. Still, horses for courses. (Notice how the comments seem to have taken an equine flavour tonight).

Rincewind
27-02-2004, 11:28 PM
I would think that there would be many other movies that have been hyped more than this film.

This is starting to drift, but there have been no doubt other films publicised in the conventional sense more than this film. However, I can't think of another film that has marketed itself so well with the less conventional strategies as employed in this case.

In many cases the controversy come with the subject matter but I think the publicist has done nothing to water down tensions and everything to create story opportunities in the press.

I think these tactics are no doubt good for business but doesn't do much for artistic credibility because it make one question the motivations for making the film, and the motives for various directorial and editorial decisions made during the film making process.

These are issues with all films but when you start discussing an artistic work in terms of racism, gratuitousness and historical accuracy then I think they are revealed in a sharper relief than would otherwise be the case.

It seems clear the publicity campaign has been directed at manupulating the public into having thes debates so the question then is, how much are we being manipuated?

Cat
28-02-2004, 06:50 AM
I'm with Barry on this. It's very appropriate to consider the pre-release comment & criticism about the film, after all that's what's being used to sell this film. There's a moral point to consider even before going to see this film, am I contributing to the spread of anti-semitism and ignorance (albeit a small contribution) by going to see Gibson's film. After all, don't we all make value judgements about all films we are considering seeing? If I consider seeing a film, I would read the critical appraisals probrably, consider who the directors and actors were, ensure the film hadn't been produced in Hollywood, in order that I protect myself from dros.

In this case there's an added dimension in that one could be contributing (in a small way) to the spread of evil in the world. Our collective response to the pre-media hype will indeed determine the films box office 'success' and then likely it's notoriety. On balance I will probably see the film, and I hope recieve it fairly.

PHAT
28-02-2004, 08:53 AM
... am I contributing to the spread of anti-semitism and ignorance (albeit a small contribution) by going to see Gibson's film?


No you will not - unless you take some "anti-semitism and ignorance" out of the cinema with you.

Cat
28-02-2004, 10:37 AM
No you will not - unless you take some "anti-semitism and ignorance" out of the cinema with you.

And there are those that will Matt, for sure there are those that will.

Alan Shore
29-02-2004, 07:53 PM
And there are those that will Matt, for sure there are those that will.

Well said.. I understand Matthew's point and I wish it were the case for all watchers, it's just a pity that David is right.

I saw the film today.. from a cinematic perspective there were some powerful scenes. The violence was indeed intense and dare I say, exaggerated for effect but the point was made. It did drag a little but this only served to highlight the scenes of suffering. I think perhaps Judas's persecution by little devil children and the humorous performance by Barabbas would have been very nice little additions in any other film but this one; it kind of took the watcher's attention away for a moment - when I felt I wanted the overall intensity of the film to remain with you the whole way through. As for the anti-semitism, I think I'd agree with Goughfather's assessment that yes, while there were incidents portraying some heartlessness and intolerance there were equally a number of Jews arguing against the flow. Since the film centred so much on the suffering of Jesus rather than the teachings (and indeed the resurrection at the end encompassed about 30 seconds of screen time), something was lost, in that it could have been any person in history suffering through a torturous ordeal, indeed I'm sure some have suffered more than that (i.e. at the hands of Vlad the Impaler, Holocaust victims, etc.) and it wasn't as special in that respect. Still, not a bad effort Mr Gibson and full credit for not filming it on English. 7/10.

Goughfather
29-02-2004, 08:51 PM
As I explicitly stated before, my remarks about the film were simply the perspectives that I carried away with me after viewing it, not immutable fact. I already remarked that many will perceive the film quite differently from what I did, and their responses will generally be legitimate.

This said, just a few things that I felt I made abundently clear before, but obviously have to clarify:


I assume you mean accuracy to the early gospel texts from C2AD. Whether you actually term this "historical" accuracy is probably a sematic point which we could spend some time discussing further, but won't.

Is that Semitic, or semantic? Anyway, when I was talking about historical accuracy, I was not necessarily talking about fidelity to the Synoptic and Johannine traditions. Admittedly, I have the personal view that the two can tend to correlate quite strongly, but this is probably a semantic point which we could spend some time discussing further, but won't. Rather, I was talking in more general terms about the representation of the individual characters, the portrayal of the theo-political context of the era and of the specific controversy, as well as the study which had gone into the Aramaic and Latin script.

That said, while we are on the subject of historicity, I found the following quote rather interesting:


Quite simply, crucifixion is a Roman act. There is no Jewish tradition that I am aware of that includes crucifixion and the only reference to Pilate by Josephus describes how he slaughtered and brutalised 2000 rebellious Gallileans, with no mention of a messiah, or the Jews being involved in the slaughter.

By the time Eusabius published his canon gosbels in 400 ad it was unthinkable that the Romans had murdered their own God, so Pilate is supposed to have 'washed his hands' of the affair and the Jews were the ones now demanding Jesus' blood.

There is, quite obviously, some truth mixed in with much fallacy in this statement. David is right in suggesting that crucifixion is a Roman act. In this sense, the Romans can be fairly easily and accurately implicated in the proceedings of Jesus' death. This, however, is only half the story.

The Torah stipulates that blasphemy is punishable by stoning. Because of the claims that Jesus made concerning his own divinity and messianic mission, the Jewish hierarchy set out to kill him (see John 5:18, 10:31). However, under Roman Law, ethnic groups within the region could not carry out their own death sentences (see John 18:31). In the wake of a revitalised Jewish nationalism and Orthodox form of Judaism after the Macabean revolt, and resentment with the Imperial rule of Rome, it is clear that there existed a significant group of Jews who belonged to well organised zealot organisations, and others who conscientiously objected to Imperial Rule by continuing with Jewish capital punishment, albeit surreptitiously (see John 8:5, Acts 7:58). At several points during the early periods of Jesus' ministry, unsuccessful assassination attempts were made upon him (see John 8:59), but it appears that during the latter part of his ministry, the ruling Party - the Sadducees, attempted to do things by the book. My suggestion is that while Jesus supporter base was still growing in the early stages of his ministry and such action would have effectively put down any resistance towards their authority, towards the end his support base has grown to such an extent that to stone Jesus would have provoked retaliation of significant proportions.

Of course, blasphemy is a Jewish charge, not a Roman one, and therefore, no justification for a crucifixion. It was not, as a blasphemer that Jesus was crucified, but rather as an insurrectionist - a political prisoner. Because of his Messianic claim to be the King of the Jews, this was reinterpreted as an insurrectionist claim, as can be observed in the following extracts:

"If you release this man, you are no friend of Caesar; everyone who makes himself out to be a king opposes Caesar." ... "Shall I crucify your King?' "The chief priests answered, "We have no King but Caesar." - John 19:12, 15

If you read closely enough between the lines, the authors, especially John make mention of Roman involvement along with Jewish implication. It's there, and what's more, the way in which the authors record the passion is consistent with all the relevant social, religious and political considerations of the day.

Of course, I could have bypassed my brief history lesson by answering the direct charge from David, that the canonical gospels were distorted in 400 AD by Eusebius. It is, even with an elementary knowledge of the subject matter a claim which to use David's own words "wonderful ... mythology" which is "not reconcilable with historic fact". Those who adhere to this blind faith have a responsibility to explain away the literally hundreds of manuscripts of the synoptic and Johannine traditions in existence dated before 200 A.D. It's simply a conspiracy theory which has no basis in historical fact.

Indeed there are many suggestions as to the relatively light treatment that the Romans receive, especially in the Synoptic tradition. It should be considered that the synoptics were written in a period ranging roughly from 55 - 75 AD. Because these texts were written amidst an era of persecution at the hands of the Romans, particularly that of Nero, and the impending fall of the Temple in 70AD, the authors of the synoptics probably toned down the extent of Roman implication with the intention of convincing Rome that the newly formed religion was in no way a threat to the Roman Empire.

One must remember that this consideration works both ways. The passion narrative in Mark is widely regarded by scholars as the earliest of the New Testament texts, dated in some cases no later than eighteen months after the crucifixion of Jesus. Noticably absent is the specific mentioning of the name of the High Priest Caiaphas, presumably because at this point in time, Caiaphas was still alive and still held a position of influence. To name Caiaphas would have placed Mark individually at considerable risk.

Amidst all these claims of Anti-Semitism, it seems that only PaulB recognises the important fact:


d) One for the theologians: As for the ludicrous obsession with "who killed Christ", isn't it the case that if "the Jews" or "the Romans" hadn't done it, then Christ wouldn't have died for our sins (presumably expiring from old age wouldn't count) and so we'd still be stuffed? Tough work, but someone had to do it?

Of course, Paul is absolutely correct. It might be interesting to observe the comments of evangelist Billy Graham about "The Passion" regarding the accusations of Anti-Semitism:

"The film is faithful to the Bible's teaching that we are all responsible for Jesus' death, because we all have sinned," the 85-year-old evangelist said. "It is our sins that caused his death, not any particular group."

In this respect, the Jews and the Romans are not solely responsible, but instead are the mediators of our own actions towards Jesus. Methinks that those that make claims of Anti-Semitism should consider this facet of the Christian message next time they wish to point the finger.

Regards,
Goughfather

Rincewind
29-02-2004, 09:02 PM
Is that Semitic, or semantic? Anyway, when I was talking about historical accuracy, I was not necessarily talking about fidelity to the Synoptic and Johannine traditions. Admittedly, I have the personal view that the two can tend to correlate quite strongly, but this is probably a semantic point which we could spend some time discussing further, but won't. Rather, I was talking in more general terms about the representation of the individual characters, the portrayal of the theo-political context of the era and of the specific controversy, as well as the study which had gone into the Aramaic and Latin script.

Sorry, Semantic. ;) Perhaps all those anti-semitic's affected my spelling.

As I said this is quite a long discussion and not one I'm not too interested in, just to point out that it a far from uncontentious area and should not be taken as read.

Goughfather
29-02-2004, 09:29 PM
My last post was getting rather long, so I thought I might address a few new subjects in a new post.


Rubbish! You don't have to have seen the film to have been exposed to the most hyped film in living memory. I don't think it is inappropriate to voice an opinion on the hype nor to clarify the unclear sematic points in Goughfather's original post. ...So get off your high horse, take the blinkers off and put them on the horse, for a change!

Perhaps a few things warrant mentioning. Firstly, the hype concerning this film has been largely propagated by the critics, not the publicists themselves. Secondly, it is clear that because of the highly emotive nature of the film and of its content, one must consider the agendas behind the reviews. Whether one is a Christian, a Jew, or otherwise, its incredibly difficult to remain objective about this film. The hype started even before the film was even seen, with, as Amiel rightly pointed out, reference to the Anti-Semitic leanings of Mel Gibson's father. Further wood was put on the fire when certain critics found access to extracts of the scripts. In my view, presuming to know about the film without seeing it and merely relying upon the reviews of those with obvious ideological leaning is not only placing an incredible amount of faith in the legitimacy of the reviewers somewhat subjective comments, it is also an unconscionable neglect of one's intellectual responsibility to make a comment upon what one has seen themselves.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthew Sweeney
No you will not - unless you take some "anti-semitism and ignorance" out of the cinema with you.


And there are those that will Matt, for sure there are those that will.

The intriguing thing I that I have not heard one person coming out of the film thankful that they can now hold their anti-semitic viewpoint with confidence, much less someone who had been "enlightened" concerned the virtues of anti-semitism that they once found abhorrent. One will only take "anti-semitism and ignorance" out of the cinema if they take it into the cinema in the first place. It would seem that the only people who find the film "anti-semitic" are those which hold either a zealously "pro-Semitic" or an anti-Christian agenda. One must take these comments with a grain of salt.

Rincewind
29-02-2004, 09:34 PM
The intriguing thing I that I have not heard one person coming out of the film thankful that they can now hold their anti-semitic viewpoint with confidence, much less someone who had been "enlightened" concerned the virtues of anti-semitism that they once found abhorrent. One will only take "anti-semitism and ignorance" out of the cinema if they take it into the cinema in the first place. It would seem that the only people who find the film "anti-semitic" are those which hold either a zealously "pro-Semitic" or an anti-Christian agenda. One must take these comments with a grain of salt.

Then again maybe you just move in the "wrong" circles. ;)

Goughfather
29-02-2004, 09:50 PM
Then again maybe you just move in the "wrong" circles. ;)

Quite possibly, since my "circles" as a rule don't tend to be reflective of a broad cross-section of mainstream society, and as such, I don't tend to come into contact with too many redneck anti-Semites. I'd be very interested to know if other people on this board have anti-Semitic friends who have seen "The Passion" though.

Cat
29-02-2004, 11:17 PM
Everyone's going to hate me for doing this, but I'll respond to you Godfather. For better or worse, the film is out there, so we'll just have to live with it.




[QUOTE]
There is, quite obviously, some truth mixed in with much fallacy in this statement. David is right in suggesting that crucifixion is a Roman act. In this sense, the Romans can be fairly easily and accurately implicated in the proceedings of Jesus' death. This, however, is only half the story.

The Torah stipulates that blasphemy is punishable by stoning. Because of the claims that Jesus made concerning his own divinity and messianic mission, the Jewish hierarchy set out to kill him (see John 5:18, 10:31). However, under Roman Law, ethnic groups within the region could not carry out their own death sentences (see John 18:31). In the wake of a revitalised Jewish nationalism and Orthodox form of Judaism after the Macabean revolt, and resentment with the Imperial rule of Rome, it is clear that there existed a significant group of Jews who belonged to well organised zealot organisations, and others who conscientiously objected to Imperial Rule by continuing with Jewish capital punishment, albeit surreptitiously (see John 8:5, Acts 7:58). At several points during the early periods of Jesus' ministry, unsuccessful assassination attempts were made upon him (see John 8:59), but it appears that during the latter part of his ministry, the ruling Party - the Sadducees, attempted to do things by the book. My suggestion is that while Jesus supporter base was still growing in the early stages of his ministry and such action would have effectively put down any resistance towards their authority, towards the end his support base has grown to such an extent that to stone Jesus would have provoked retaliation of significant proportions.

Of course, blasphemy is a Jewish charge, not a Roman one, and therefore, no justification for a crucifixion. It was not, as a blasphemer that Jesus was crucified, but rather as an insurrectionist - a political prisoner. Because of his Messianic claim to be the King of the Jews, this was reinterpreted as an insurrectionist claim, as can be observed in the following extracts:

"If you release this man, you are no friend of Caesar; everyone who makes himself out to be a king opposes Caesar." ... "Shall I crucify your King?' "The chief priests answered, "We have no King but Caesar." - John 19:12, 15

If you read closely enough between the lines, the authors, especially John make mention of Roman involvement along with Jewish implication. It's there, and what's more, the way in which the authors record the passion is consistent with all the relevant social, religious and political considerations of the day.

Whether its the Gospel according to Mel or the Gospel of the Godfather, it ain't history. Maybe you should spend more time in the lines and less time between them, then you'd sound more credible.

The question you should probably be asking yourself is does this film add or detract from the Christian message? The value of the Christian message is in it's allusive nature. Once a concrete image is created, criticism is bound to follow. Is Mel really the best person to be representing mainstream Christianity? Is this great big edifice going to implode under its own weight?


Of course, I could have bypassed my brief history lesson by answering the direct charge from David, that the canonical gospels were distorted in 400 AD by Eusebius. It is, even with an elementary knowledge of the subject matter a claim which to use David's own words "wonderful ... mythology" which is "not reconcilable with historic fact". Those who adhere to this blind faith have a responsibility to explain away the literally hundreds of manuscripts of the synoptic and Johannine traditions in existence dated before 200 A.D. It's simply a conspiracy theory which has no basis in historical fact.

Actually they were Tolkien's words. He had an immense distaste for populist Christianity, even though a devout Catholic. I'm sorry if I gave the impression that the cannon texts were distorted by Eusebius - it was of course only a moment in a whole line of corruption. As for gnostic scripture, the oldest intact manuscripts were found relatively recently in a library near Alexandria. It was the 'Gospel of Thomas' dated I think around 90-100 AD. Iraneous made a pretty good job at destroying the bulk of the gnostic writings. It does mention the Messiah! but again, one cannot be sure whether it really represents an individual or is just simply reflecting a people's desire to see ancient prophesy fullfilled. I don't know whether there's any mention of the crucifixion, but the Gospel is on the internet for anyone interested in antiquity.

So what text is available to corroborate Mel's depiction. The oldest surviving intact manuscripts belong to Seutonius, a scribe to Hadrian who lived from about 60-70 ad to 130ad. He mentions the Christians breifly, causing a disturbance at the time of Nero. He writes they were followers of 'Crestus', but that's all there is.

So what about Josephus? A renown Jewish historian around 70ad, thought to have converted to Christianity. He wrote pages and pages on the history of the Jews and the War of the Jews. I don't know how old the surviving manuscripts are, but the translation to English was made around 1770.

In 'The War of the Jews' Pilate is mentioned a few times, and there is mention that he slaughtered 2000 rebellious Gallileans. But there is better news in 'The History of the Jews' an enormous tome going back to Abraham. There is in fact a whole paragraph devoted to the Christ of Gallilee, who was said to be a wise and good man.

Now the cynic in me might suggest the paragraph was inserted, given there are otherwise only a couple of scant references to the 'Christ' in an ocean of text. However, I am open minded about the issue. Sadly, there is no information beyond this.


Indeed there are many suggestions as to the relatively light treatment that the Romans receive, especially in the Synoptic tradition. It should be considered that the synoptics were written in a period ranging roughly from 55 - 75 AD. Because these texts were written amidst an era of persecution at the hands of the Romans, particularly that of Nero, and the impending fall of the Temple in 70AD, the authors of the synoptics probably toned down the extent of Roman implication with the intention of convincing Rome that the newly formed religion was in no way a threat to the Roman Empire.

One must remember that this consideration works both ways. The passion narrative in Mark is widely regarded by scholars as the earliest of the New Testament texts, dated in some cases no later than eighteen months after the crucifixion of Jesus. Noticably absent is the specific mentioning of the name of the High Priest Caiaphas, presumably because at this point in time, Caiaphas was still alive and still held a position of influence. To name Caiaphas would have placed Mark individually at considerable risk.

Most people would place Mark at best around 70ad. However, the oldest intact manuscripts are later than 400ad. Fragments are fascinating of course.

Rincewind
29-02-2004, 11:42 PM
As for gnostic scripture, the oldest intact manuscripts were found relatively recently in a library near Alexandria. It was the 'Gospel of Thomas' dated I think around 90-100 AD.

Note too that the geographic location of this find is largely irrelevant as texts were shipped around the ancient world on a regular basis. The Alexandrian text could have been written almost anywhere in the ancient world. Especially any of the major cities like, I don't know, Rome, for example. :D

paulb
01-03-2004, 12:24 AM
Haven't read all the posts, or seen the film, but could someone give me some brief answers?

a) Is the film unfaithful to the New Testament?
b) If so, in what way?
c) If it is faithful to the Gospels, and it is anti-semitic, does it not follow that the Gospels are anti-semitic?
d) Some have criticised the level of violence. Again, does it exaggerate the violence depicted in the New Testament? If not, surely criticism of the film amounts to criticism of the New Testament?
e) Is anyone suggesting that the film is faithful to the New Testament, but should not be shown? Would anyone deny the right of another religious group to make a film of their holy book?
f) My (imperfect) understanding was that Christ was arrested by Romans, then there was some discussion between Jewish and Roman leaders, and eventually the (presumably Jewish) crowd chose Christ to die over Barabas. Correct?
f) If so, there is a sense in which "Jews killed Christ" but it's pretty much the same as "Americans killed Martin Luther King" ... ie, damning a whole group for the actions of a few.
g) Of course, even if "the Jews killed Christ", that's perfectly in line with the standard behaviour of western religious types up until the 18th century or so ... ie, Christ, by Jewish standards, was (and is still) a heretic, a false prophet. The Christians have killed heaps of "heretics" in their day, probably Moslems too.
h) Am I the only one who thinks that Jewish complaints about this film probably do more to incite anti-semitism than the film, ignored, would have done?
i) Does anyone other than those who are already anti-semitic really care who killed Christ?

Goughfather
01-03-2004, 11:41 AM
Hi paulb,

I'll try to give you answers that are as brief as possible:


a) Is the film unfaithful to the New Testament?
b) If so, in what way?

It's relatively faithful, but those with a keen eye will realise that Mel's measuring stick is the "14 Stations of the Cross", rather than the Gospel tradition. The fact is, that for the most part (with the notable exception of Veronica, who appears nowhere in the gospels), these "stations" correspond relatively well with the passion narrative as recorded in both the Synoptic and Johannine traditions.


c) If it is faithful to the Gospels, and it is anti-semitic, does it not follow that the Gospels are anti-semitic?

Logically, it would follow, if the above two criteria were satisfied. As I said, I don't think that it shows complete fidelity to the Gospels, and is not anti-Semitic.


d) Some have criticised the level of violence. Again, does it exaggerate the violence depicted in the New Testament? If not, surely criticism of the film amounts to criticism of the New Testament?

A few relevant considerations here. It is very important to consider the relevant media involved. Because the Bible is a book and a film is a directly visual medium, usually standards are different. For example, though Bryce Courtenay's "Tandia" (the sequal to "The Power of One") contains scenes of rape, graphic violence, racism, intensely coarse language and drug use, it remains on the stands available for any twelve year old to buy, should they wish to. If the book was faithful adapted to film, then there is little doubt that the film would be rated R - restricted to those above 18 years of age. Perhaps this could be an interesting discussion piece - is there a significant difference between adult themes in literature, and that of visual media that warrants such a difference.

That said, as I believe, "The Passion" was a toned down version of the events that lead to the crucifixion of Jesus. That said, I have fairly liberal views on censorship, especially of those depictions which are said to portray historical events.


e) Is anyone suggesting that the film is faithful to the New Testament, but should not be shown? Would anyone deny the right of another religious group to make a film of their holy book?

I haven't heard the call this film to be banned, despite its fidelity to the Gospel traditions, though there may well be some. I have heard a number of pastors who have either explicitly discouraged their congregation from seeing their film or have at least not encouraged them to do so after they had seen it.

With regard to your second question, I think that to deny the right of another "religious" group to make a film of their own holy book would be hypocritical, so I would personally disagree with such prohibition. This said, I have no idea what others have said on the matter.


f) My (imperfect) understanding was that Christ was arrested by Romans, then there was some discussion between Jewish and Roman leaders, and eventually the (presumably Jewish) crowd chose Christ to die over Barabas. Correct?

Brought into custody by the Jewish leaders, handed over to the Romans, and then, because only Rome could execute prisoners, indicted and sentenced on the charge of insurrection (ironically, chosen to die over Barabbas, another insurrectionist). He was then executed by the Romans, using a Roman punishment, crucifixion.


g) Of course, even if "the Jews killed Christ", that's perfectly in line with the standard behaviour of western religious types up until the 18th century or so ... ie, Christ, by Jewish standards, was (and is still) a heretic, a false prophet. The Christians have killed heaps of "heretics" in their day, probably Moslems too.

Lamentably true.


h) Am I the only one who thinks that Jewish complaints about this film probably do more to incite anti-semitism than the film, ignored, would have done?

Agreed. But of course, for those that make the charge of anti-Semitism, this is a small price to pay.


i) Does anyone other than those who are already anti-semitic really care who killed Christ?

On the balances of probabilities, I'd say so. Protestant Reformer Martin Luther has the tainted heritage of anti-Semitism. For me, however, the fact that Jesus died is significant, not those who (directly) killed him.

Trent Parker
01-03-2004, 12:00 PM
Hi paulb,
A few relevant considerations here. It is very important to consider the relevant media involved. Because the Bible is a book and a film is a directly visual medium, usually standards are different. For example, though Bryce Courtenay's "Tandia" (the sequal to "The Power of One") contains scenes of rape, graphic violence, racism, intensely coarse language and drug use, it remains on the stands available for any twelve year old to buy, should they wish to. If the book was faithful adapted to film, then there is little doubt that the film would be rated R - restricted to those above 18 years of age. Perhaps this could be an interesting discussion piece - is there a significant difference between adult themes in literature, and that of visual media that warrants such a difference.

What was the rating of "The potato factory" when it went to air as a miniseries? it had prostitution and some violence in it. but they were able to tone it down. perhaps tandia wouldn't be R rated. Maybe this comment is a bit beside the point.....

Oepty
01-03-2004, 12:23 PM
I haven't seen the movie but I will answer Paul from what I have heard of the reports of the movie.

a) Definitely not if the depiction of satan is as I have heard described. It would be totally unscriptual

b) see a)

c) The reasoning seems correct.

d) I have seen it, but it would be very hard to out to the Bible's account as far as violence goes.

e) I have heard noone calling for it to be banned. I would not want movies made of other religions banned just because they are religous.

f) As Goughfather stated he was arrested by the Jews. In his trial before Caiaphas, Caiaphas broke Jewish law many times, including by his use of false witnesses and renting his clothes, if the Bible accounts are to be believed. I think Pilate really didn't want anything to do with Christ but couldn't get rid of him. This does not though remove from him his part in Jesus death. In the end Jesus was killed by a group of people, some who happened to Jewish and some who happened to be Roman. It should have no effect on how we treat Jews or the decendents of the Romans today. As also has be stated in this thread, the reason Jesus needed to die was the sin of all of us.

g) Jesus Christ was never a Jewish heretic. His actions where not against the OT, but were instead in fulfillment of the OT. The Roman Catholic Chruch does have a very bad record regarding perseccusion, but as I am not a Roman Catholic it is not fair to hold that record against me (I have enough faults of my own). The actions of RCC were unscriptural, wrong, sin in my view.

h) and i) I don't know

Scott

Paul S
01-03-2004, 02:04 PM
Dear all, If you haven't seen the film, SHUT UP!

See the film, THEN post.

:wall:

For f**** sake you guys, follow Matthew's advice and see the movie before commenting on it (and therefore stop wasting space and people's time on this BB).

:wall: :mad: :p :hand: :rolleyes:

Oepty
01-03-2004, 03:34 PM
For f**** sake you guys, follow Matthew's advice and see the movie before commenting on it (and therefore stop wasting space and people's time on this BB).

:wall: :mad: :p :hand: :rolleyes:

Well Paul. I don't plan to see the movie so I am not posting before I see it. If I don't post now I won't ever be able to post so shut up if you have nothing to do but criticise.
Scott

arosar
01-03-2004, 03:37 PM
I disagree with you and Matty, Paulie.

AR

Alan Shore
01-03-2004, 03:53 PM
g) Jesus Christ was never a Jewish heretic. His actions where not against the OT, but were instead in fulfillment of the OT.

Scott

OK Scott, we're in disagreement. It's my contention Jesus was a radical, who interpreted the Jewish law in his own way. I refer you to when Jesus expressed his views on adultery. 'It has been said, "Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce." But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, causes her to become an adulteress, and anyone who marries the divorced woman commits adultery.' (Matthew 5:31-32).

Now then, this view caused a lot of friction with the Pharisees of the time, as it was commanded that the Torah was not to be altered in any way (Deuteronomy 13:1). There were many more indiscretions too of which I'm sure you'd be aware of from reading your Gospels.


As for 'fulfilling' the OT, if you're referring to fulfilling the requirements of the Messiah, tell me how many of these things Jesus did:

"The moshiach will bring about the political and spiritual redemption of the Jewish people by bringing us back to Israel and restoring Jerusalem (Isaiah 11:11-12; Jeremiah 23:8; 30:3; Hosea 3:4-5). He will establish a government in Israel that will be the center of all world government, both for Jews and gentiles (Isaiah 2:2-4; 11:10; 42:1). He will rebuild the Temple and re-establish its worship (Jeremiah 33:18). He will restore the religious court system of Israel and establish Jewish law as the law of the land (Jeremiah 33:15)."

Of course you would say 'this is all coming in Jesus' second coming'. I'm sure it is. I'll be waiting. :)

arosar
01-03-2004, 04:14 PM
Hey, wasn't there already some kinda messiah or something - that one that the Lubavitchers follow - whatever his name was? He died a few years back. Sheerson or some such.

AR

paulb
01-03-2004, 04:30 PM
g) Jesus Christ was never a Jewish heretic. His actions where not against the OT, but were instead in fulfillment of the OT. ...
Scott

Scott, through your Christian eyes, of course Christ is not a heretic. But isn't it obvious that a devout and logically consistent Jew would have to regard him as such? After all, Christ is a false Messiah in such eyes, is he not? (This is a matter of what people believe, not of what is true).

It should be noted, also, that whatever Roman Catholicisms failings (and they are many) it has been noticeably conciliatory towards other faiths in recent years, in stark contrast to some protestant churches.

xxx

Regarding anti-semitism, there's one sense in which the new testament is obviously anti-semitic: by asserting that Christ's teaching augments and completes the Old Testament doctrine, it implies that Christianity is superior to "unfinished" Judaism. But probably most (all) religious books contain this kind of claim/insult

Goughfather
01-03-2004, 05:08 PM
Hey all,

The questions concerning the perception of Jesus within 1st Century Judea really are quite fascinating. I don't think that it is any particular doctrine that Jesus taught that caused such friction, with the obvious exception of his Messianic claims. Indeed there is strong evidence to suggest that Jesus was more closely aligned with the "old enemy" - the Pharisees, than any of the other 1st Century Jewish Sect. If one observes the writings of other prominent Jewish scholars in the 1st and 2nd Centuries, they often bear an incredible resemblance to the teachings of Jesus. It would appear that Jesus' major clashes with the establishment were over the issues of Sabbath Day observance and that of ritual purity, of which he arguably held a considerably more liberal view.

Jesus' claim was that he had not distorted the Torah, but that it was the establishment that was guilty in this respect. Because Jesus accused the establishment of following the traditions of men, rather than the Law of the living God, he was calling into question the legitimacy of their authority. As the Jesus movement grew and more people began to question the legitimacy of the establishment, their grasp on power became more vulnerable. This, provided their motive, and Jesus' Messianic claims gave them a means by which to eliminate Jesus.

Regards,
Goughfather

Oepty
02-03-2004, 11:23 AM
I agree that the Jews viewed him as a heretic, but they really had no understanding of the OT. They new word by word, but had surrounded with so many extra rules that the were caught up in legalism and show. Something every Christian, including me, today has to be careful not to do as it is very easy to do.

As to the divorce. Going on my memory, so I might make an error here.
Divorce was not allowed under the Law of Moses, but God at one point made a concession to the Jews, because of the hardness of their heart I think is the phrase, and allowed some divorce at some stage.
The Jewish leaders had come up with various laws regarding divorce that really were not supported by the OT. Jesus in Matthew 5 was critising them for there view. I would say that this is not a reinterpretation, but the correcting of a wrong interpretation. I will try and remember to have a bit more of a look at this issue and check whether my memory is correct

I will leave the rest till later, maybe
Scott

Alan Shore
02-03-2004, 11:54 AM
I agree that the Jews viewed him as a heretic, but they really had no understanding of the OT. They new word by word, but had surrounded with so many extra rules that the were caught up in legalism and show. Something every Christian, including me, today has to be careful not to do as it is very easy to do.

Scott

So now you do agree they viewed him as a heretic, fine. But to say Jews had "No understanding of the OT" ???? It's like me saying "Christians have no understanding of the NT". There were indeed some who were bad, yet for the most part the Torah was a way of life and I believe they had a fine understanding of it.



As to the divorce. Going on my memory, so I might make an error here.
Divorce was not allowed under the Law of Moses, but God at one point made a concession to the Jews, because of the hardness of their heart I think is the phrase, and allowed some divorce at some stage.
The Jewish leaders had come up with various laws regarding divorce that really were not supported by the OT. Jesus in Matthew 5 was critising them for there view. I would say that this is not a reinterpretation, but the correcting of a wrong interpretation. I will try and remember to have a bit more of a look at this issue and check whether my memory is correct


OK Scott, you're right about making an error, you've got yourself a little confused on this one. Deuteronomy 24:1-4 explains thet divorce is perfectly permissable under Jewish Law.

Now I'm sure what you were thinking of as this: Matthew 19:8 "Jesus replied, "Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning." Hence the contradiction with Jewish Law, something explicitly not allowed.

PHAT
02-03-2004, 03:29 PM
Is it only me who thinks this BB is infested with booked-up bible bashing would be preachers? Bruce, Scott, CL, Goughfather, David, Tal-max, .....

Goughfather
02-03-2004, 05:20 PM
Is it only me who thinks this BB is infested with booked-up bible bashing would be preachers? Bruce, Scott, CL, Goughfather, David, Tal-max, .....

I think that's the closest that I'm going to get to receiving a compliment from Matthew!

Alan Shore
02-03-2004, 06:49 PM
Is it only me who thinks this BB is infested with booked-up bible bashing would be preachers? Bruce, Scott, CL, Goughfather, David, Tal-max, .....

Mr Sweeney, I'm well versed in many things but fear not, you won't find me preaching :)

ursogr8
02-03-2004, 09:22 PM
Is it only me who thinks this BB is infested with booked-up bible bashing would be preachers? Bruce, Scott, CL, Goughfather, David, Tal-max, .....

Matt

I noticed the same thing when I first joined the BB about 6 months back. But then some poster used the word God-botherers, and I didn't understand whether the preachers were the word or whether those who attempt to convert them to rationality (KB, BC, PaulB) were they. So I gave up following the battle.

Now when I reflect on it, it was your word I think? What does it mean?


And why do they do it? Dunno. Might have something to do with the fact that they are combative chess-players and the rules in the Bible make for a good game to argue over.
I mean, they could hardly argue over a painting could they. (An artistic painting I mean; not a firegoat painting <of chess rooms>).
The good book is a great arena to argue over it seems.

starter

Cat
02-03-2004, 09:30 PM
I'm certainly not a bible baser, but as KB suggested an armchair historian. A pontificator rather than a preacher maybe. My beef is the defence of historical accuracy - knowing history is to learn from other peoples mistakes.

There is no doubt that if 'the Christ' was a person (not a tapestry of heroic Jewish deeds against Roman oppression) and that is a big if, he would have been considered a sage by his own people. The enemy was Roman oppression and all Jewish minds were focused on liberation.

There is no evidence I am aware of that early Christians were considered heretics. Central to the Jewish faith was The Temple in Jerusalem - this was the seat of Godliness, almost the embodiment of God on earth. When Vespasian sacked Jerusalem in 75 ad and destroyed The Temple he essentially destroyed the Jewish religious tradition. No significant network of churches and temples existed, Jerusalem was occupied and the faith was in crisis.

From this chaos the Jewish Rabbinic tradition was born, rabbis preached in home and houses because there was no other forum existed. This period co-incided with the earliest migration of Christian teaching into Asia Minor, Greece, Syria and Alexandria. In other words the 2 new traditions developed in parallel, the collapse of Jerusalem giving birth to Christian and Rabbinic traditions.

I agree with Scott that 'the Christ' is partly a fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy. Remember the Jews firmly believed they were God's chosen people. To be conquered by the Romans and to see their Sacred Temple desecrated was almost to think the unthinkable - 'My God, why hast thou deserted me?' Jewish writers had a tradition of using symbolism to convey tradition and what better way to represent that tradition than the depiction of 'the Christ' and the 'Holy Spirit' of the Jewish faith.

As for anti-semitism, there have been repeated Jewish persecutions in Europe over many centuries. The Jews were hated as they were money lenders, but the blame for the execution of the Christian God has also been a recurrent theme. If I were a Jew looking at this film I'd think 'Oh no, not again'. As I see it this depiction is a pointless exercise that can only serve to irritate anyone who isn't a fervent Christian - an own goal I'm afraid.

PHAT
02-03-2004, 09:31 PM
Matt

I noticed the same thing when I first joined the BB about 6 months back. But then some poster used the word God-botherers, and I didn't understand whether the preachers were the word or whether those who attempt to convert them to rationality (KB, BC, PaulB) were they. So I gave up following the battle.

Now when I reflect on it, it was your word I think? What does it mean?



I am not sure if I used "God-botherers", maybe i did. Anyway, they are those who keep on praying to him night and day, keeping him on the hop with their requests - yes, bothering Him.

I like the term "happy clappers", but that is a little more narrow, refering more to the evangelical end of the psychic sewer.

PHAT
02-03-2004, 09:33 PM
I think that's the closest that I'm going to get to receiving a compliment from Matthew!

Ok, here is another; you are tenacous. [spelling?]

[Edit] and well mannered.

Alan Shore
02-03-2004, 09:49 PM
There is no evidence I am aware of that early Christians were considered heretics. Central to the Jewish faith was The Temple in Jerusalem - this was the seat of Godliness, almost the embodiment of God on earth.

This depends upon how early you mean 'early Christians' to be. For sure, nearly all of the first Christians were Jews, who, believing Jesus to be the Moshiach, followed his teachings while still following all the Jewish laws. It was really only with Paul and his writings in Romans that made the sharp distinction of abandoning the old traditions that made the religion a separate entity. As for the Temple, it was my original contention it was quite central to the religion but as I read more into it, the traditions of reading and studying the Torah were just as central to the Jewish faith as the ritual side of things.

Cat
02-03-2004, 10:14 PM
This depends upon how early you mean 'early Christians' to be. For sure, nearly all of the first Christians were Jews, who, believing Jesus to be the Moshiach, followed his teachings while still following all the Jewish laws. It was really only with Paul and his writings in Romans that made the sharp distinction of abandoning the old traditions that made the religion a separate entity. As for the Temple, it was my original contention it was quite central to the religion but as I read more into it, the traditions of reading and studying the Torah were just as central to the Jewish faith as the ritual side of things.

I was really talking about events up to and around 75 ad. As for Paul's letter's, its really hard to know how much was written by Paul, how much by the early Greek Christians and how much by the Roman church much later. The earliest intact manuscripts available date from much later.

Yes the Torah was central, but the peoples were dispersed, violated dazed and confused. The Torah may have been the glue that held them together, but in a very different form.

Kevin Bonham
02-03-2004, 11:24 PM
I like the term "happy clappers", but that is a little more narrow, refering more to the evangelical end of the psychic sewer.

I prefer "happy-clappies" for that sort actually. :clap: But that's only a subset of the evangelical end. Used to have a lot of run-ins with them at the markets here but their skills in the field of abuse left much to be desired. Probably the funniest, but also the most disturbing, was the one who tried talking in tongues at me at point blank range. I said "that's just mindless repetitive babble" and she said "Get thee behind me, Satan" and stormed off in a huff. :rolleyes:

Oepty
03-03-2004, 01:07 PM
Well, I did make quite a sweeping statement in my previous post, but it wasn't meant to be quite as sweeping as I made it. When I said Jews didn't understand the OT, I meant Jewish leaders, in particalur the ones who constantly show totall lack of understanding when they argued with Jesus. There were certainly were Jews who had a better understanding of the OT, Mary the mother of Jesus would have been one of them. Sorry for that.

Bruce. It appears you are right, but I will have a look. Haven't had a chance since yesterday

Scott

Goughfather
04-03-2004, 12:06 AM
I was really talking about events up to and around 75 ad. As for Paul's letter's, its really hard to know how much was written by Paul, how much by the early Greek Christians and how much by the Roman church much later. The earliest intact manuscripts available date from much later.

Here's the way I, and a majority of scholarship see the whole issue of Pauline authorship:

Definites: Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians, Philemon

Probables: Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians

Possibles: 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus

In the King James Version, Hebrews is attributed to Paul, despite the fact that unlike his other epistles, Paul does not explicitly identify himself as the author. However, since the Reformation, it has become apparent that Pauline authorship is an impossibility.

There is a minority view suggesting that even in those epistles which are regarded as definitely Pauline, certain passages have been added to the original text. This is a view which has been relatively unsuccessful in receiving support.

Regards,
Goughfather

Cat
04-03-2004, 06:27 PM
This is a view which has been relatively unsuccessful in receiving support.

Regards,
Goughfather

Oh come on now!!!

Goughfather
05-03-2004, 12:31 AM
Oh come on now!!!

Perhaps you might like to elaborate more upon your surprise.

Eagerly awaiting your response,
Goughfather

Cat
06-03-2004, 12:46 AM
Perhaps you might like to elaborate more upon your surprise.

Eagerly awaiting your response,
Goughfather

Maybe this'll help
http://members.iinet.net.au/~quentinj/Christianity/Gospel-Timeline.html

Goughfather
06-03-2004, 10:03 AM
Maybe this'll help
http://members.iinet.net.au/~quenti...l-Timeline.html

Well, it did help me understand one of the sources of your position. Unfortunately, however, this author seems to be ignorant of Pauline theology. He also neglects the internal evidence of the gospels which suggests, along with the external evidence, a dating of roughly 60-70AD for the synoptics, and 90AD for the gospel of John (though some, including Paul Barnett have argued for a dating in the 70's).

I found the following quotes interesting:


Paul shows absolutely no knowledge of Jesus of Nazareth or the Gospel events. G.A. Wells notes : "These letters have no allusion to the parents of Jesus, let alone to the virgin birth. They never refer to a place of birth (for example, by calling him 'of Nazareth'). They give no indication of the time or place of his earthly existence. They do not refer to his trial before a Roman official, nor to Jerusalem as the place of execution. They mention neither John the Baptist, nor Judas, nor Peter's denial of his master. (They do, of course, mention Peter, but do not imply that he, any more than Paul himself, had known Jesus while he had been alive.) These letters also fail to mention any miracles Jesus is supposed to have worked, a particularly striking omission, since, according to the gospels, he worked so many... Another striking feature of Paul's letters is that one could never gather from them that Jesus had been an ethical teacher... on only one occasion does he appeal to the authority of Jesus to support an ethical teaching which the gospels also represent Jesus as having delivered. "

Interestingly enough, Paul states:

"Therefore from now on we recognize no man according to the flesh; even though we have known Christ according to the flesh we know Him thus no longer." - 2 Corinthians 5:16

The suggests two things:

i) Paul makes a claim to knowing the earthly ministry of Jesus
ii) Paul considers this earthly ministry as largely irrelevant to his theology of the risen Jesus

While ii) can not be doubted, since it is consistent with Pauline linguistic style, the claim of i) must be examined. It could be argued that Paul simply makes this claim deceitfully with no real knowledge of the sayings of Jesus. In this instance, the author is right in suggesting that the majority of his epistles were written before the gospels - he was martyred in 64AD.

We find the suggestion that Paul was aware of the teachings and life of Jesus of Nazareth in Galatians. The dominant view on the dating of Galatians is that Paul wrote the epistle in 49AD, slightly before he attended the "Council in Jerusalem", which is markedly absent in this letter. After being converted, Paul states that he took a three year sojourn in Arabia (Galatians 1:17). What happened during this period is anyone's guess, since Paul never gives us any suggestion as to his itinerary during his time away. He states however in the next verse that he "went up to Jerusalem to become acquainted with Cephas (Peter) and stayed with him fifteen days. But I did not see any other of the apostles except James, the Lord's brother." - Galatians 1:18-19. Interestingly enough, and I don't know what to make of it, Paul continues on to say "Now in what I am writing to you, I assure you before God that I am not lying" (Galatians 1:20). Originally, it could be perceived that Paul was indeed lying, and hence trying to cover his tracks, but this explanation doesn't wash. This is because Paul's intent in the first chapter of Galatians is to demonstrate his independance from Jerusalem and the legitimacy of his own apostolic authority. Therefore, to lie about his Jerusalem connections seems to be rather implausible.

You might like to read http://www.tektonics.org/tekton_02_02_02.html . You may not agree with what it has to say, but at least it's another perspective.

Regards,
Goughfather

Cat
06-03-2004, 12:39 PM
Well, it did help me understand one of the sources of your positionRegards,
Goughfather

Actually, I stumbled upon this for the first time yesterday. I don't know who he is, but he's put in a lot of work, the timeline is historically sound and I thought it might provoke some reaction, albeit predictable.

I can see how much faith you have in Paul's accounts, but remember faith is not history. If I were a Christian I would be using my faith, not history as my foundation. I would be looking at the value of Christianity in peoples lives as the basis for espousing belief, not a dogmatically literal interpretation of biblical text. To rely on the history of the early Christian church as a message for christian belief is to stand on quicksand.

Goughfather
06-03-2004, 03:19 PM
Actually, I stumbled upon this for the first time yesterday.

This really says it all, doesn't it?


I don't know who he is

You didn't check out his credentials? Blind faith, perhaps?


the timeline is historically sound

Only if one makes a series of implausible assumptions.


and I thought it might provoke some reaction, albeit predictable.

You'd probably get more of a reaction if you attempted to do some research, rather than simply cutting and pasting links - that would really surprise and shock me. I only offered my link as further reading after I had already made my critique.


I can see how much faith you have in Paul's accounts

Well, if we use the Greek word used, pistis, a confidence placed in reasonable evidence, then I guess I do. But it doesn't correspond with the faith that you are accusing me of.


but remember faith is not history.

If only you could be as discerning with your own work ...


If I were a Christian I would be using my faith, not history as my foundation.

Then your foundation would be weak, and your faith wouldn't survive for very long.


I would be looking at the value of Christianity in peoples lives as the basis for espousing belief

Of course, this is an important element of the Christian life, but by itself, wish fulfillment is a hopelessly dishonest way of expressing belief.


not a dogmatically literal interpretation of biblical text.

When were we talking about systematic theology and hermeneutics? Besides, you make the assumptions about the means by which Christians construct their theology which is completely false. It's very easy to set fire to strawpeople, but in your zeal you direct your aggression in the wrong direction.


To rely on the history of the early Christian church as a message for christian belief is to stand on quicksand.

Well, as we have already established, you're very good at criticising, but pretty poor at expressing why a particular position is erroneous. You might like to start by dealing with the content of my last post, rather than simply making ad hominem attacks and saying that I am wrong.

Regards,
Goughfather

arosar
06-03-2004, 03:34 PM
Yo Dr Richards mate. The other night I saw this news report about some woman in SA who finally managed to fall pregnant after many years of trying and all thanks to acupuncture. What's the latest scientific research/oponion on that mate (about acupuncure I mean)? Any good? Does it really work or just a bit of hocus-pocus?

AR

Rincewind
06-03-2004, 04:50 PM
What's the latest scientific research/oponion on that mate (about acupuncure I mean)? Any good? Does it really work or just a bit of hocus-pocus?

My understanding is that if it does do something it is not for the reasons purported by acupucturists.(IE chee balancing). That is pure hocus-pocus in my book. I would say, most of the effect is placebo.

antichrist
06-03-2004, 05:58 PM
[QUOTE=ScottColliver]I haven't seen the movie but I will answer Paul from what I have heard of the reports of the movie.

f) As Goughfather stated he was arrested by the Jews. In his trial before Caiaphas, Caiaphas broke Jewish law many times, including by his use of false witnesses and renting his clothes, if the Bible accounts are to be believed. I think Pilate really didn't want anything to do with Christ but couldn't get rid of him. This does not though remove from him his part in Jesus death. In the end Jesus was killed by a group of people, some who happened to Jewish and some who happened to be Roman. It should have no effect on how we treat Jews or the decendents of the Romans today. As also has be stated in this thread, the reason Jesus needed to die was the sin of all of us.

Reply:
No, this was the scenario envisaged by God before He created humans so don't blame us. We are just God's pawns. He knew that Angel Lucifer would evolve into Satan and the rest is history.

g) Jesus Christ was never a Jewish heretic. His actions where not against the OT, but were instead in fulfillment of the OT.

Reply: the Jews don't think he was fullfilment of the OTso, and it is culturally insensitive for you to re-interpret their Book for them.

antichrist
06-03-2004, 06:06 PM
[QUOTE=David_Richards]Everyone's going to hate me for doing this, but I'll respond to you Godfather. For better or worse, the film is out there, so we'll just have to live with it.

So what about Josephus? A renown Jewish historian around 70ad, thought to have converted to Christianity. He wrote pages and pages on the history of the Jews and the War of the Jews. I don't know how old the surviving manuscripts are, but the translation to English was made around 1770.

In 'The War of the Jews' Pilate is mentioned a few times, and there is mention that he slaughtered 2000 rebellious Gallileans. But there is better news in 'The History of the Jews' an enormous tome going back to Abraham. There is in fact a whole paragraph devoted to the Christ of Gallilee, who was said to be a wise and good man.

Now the cynic in me might suggest the paragraph was inserted, given there are otherwise only a couple of scant references to the 'Christ' in an ocean of text. However, I am open minded about the issue. Sadly, there is no information beyond this.

Reply:

RCC experts have conceded that this mention of Jesus in an interpolation but Prodos don't like to hear this, because they believe more seriously. I have read it and it sounds completely out of context.

antichrist
06-03-2004, 06:20 PM
My understanding is that if it does do something it is not for the reasons purported by acupucturists.(IE chee balancing). That is pure hocus-pocus in my book. I would say, most of the effect is placebo.
Reply:
Wrong, my mother had Bells Pausey (??) which conventional treatment did not help. With modern acupuncture, ie with electrified needles, it made the paralysis vibrate with the very strong current, then after about 20 minutes the paralysis started to break.

Rincewind
06-03-2004, 06:44 PM
Reply:
Wrong, my mother had Bells Pausey (??) which conventional treatment did not help. With modern acupuncture, ie with electrified needles, it made the paralysis vibrate with the very strong current, then after about 20 minutes the paralysis started to break.

Gee antiX, I thought you would know what anecdotal evidence is and why it is not reliable. :wall:

antichrist
06-03-2004, 07:35 PM
Gee antiX, I thought you would know what anecdotal evidence is and why it is not reliable. :wall:

I know. But the challenge is there, you get a similar patient and try the same trick - but I admit the current was very strong. Maybe it has been checked out in China. If not checked out locally Aussie patients may be losing out. It made a hell a lot of difference re quality of life of my mother who was a bit of a public figure. The western doctors of Chinese origon in the western suburbs of Sydney are making a fortune with their acupuncture from Aussies . I think it was recognised for lower back pain a few years back by specialists.

Goughfather
06-03-2004, 08:02 PM
Hi AntiChrist,

I was just remarking to myself that you hadn't been involved in any "religious" threads lately and here you are! I'm glad you've responded, because it makes life on the BB a little bit more interesting.


Reply:
No, this was the scenario envisaged by God before He created humans so don't blame us. We are just God's pawns. He knew that Angel Lucifer would evolve into Satan and the rest is history.

This misunderstands the difference between God's permissive and express wills. I'd suggest reading up on a bit of John Calvin. Start with "Institutes of the Christian Religion" and work your way from there.


Reply: the Jews don't think he was fullfilment of the OTso, and it is culturally insensitive for you to re-interpret their Book for them.

It's not culturally insensitive to offer a different interpretation. In fact, Christian theology thrives upon the fact that theology and interpretation is so scrutinized and debated.


Reply:

RCC experts have conceded that this mention of Jesus in an interpolation but Prodos don't like to hear this, because they believe more seriously. I have read it and it sounds completely out of context.

Most scholars suggest that extracts of that paragraph are interpolated, but that other parts of the paragraph can be authentically attributed to Josephus because of the stylistic similaries between this passage and other writings of Josephus. Of course, since there is no record of Josephus converting to Christianity, it would be sensible to regard the passage "He was the Christ" to be an interpolation. Others suggested that in the original manuscript, Josephus wrote "He was called the Christ". Don't have my original source with me atm, but I may be able to outline the position in more depth later on.

Regards,
Machiavelli

Rincewind
06-03-2004, 11:19 PM
I know. But the challenge is there, you get a similar patient and try the same trick - but I admit the current was very strong. Maybe it has been checked out in China. If not checked out locally Aussie patients may be losing out. It made a hell a lot of difference re quality of life of my mother who was a bit of a public figure. The western doctors of Chinese origon in the western suburbs of Sydney are making a fortune with their acupuncture from Aussies . I think it was recognised for lower back pain a few years back by specialists.

I believe acupuncture can be quiet beneficial in the area of pain management. However, when it comes to effectiveness in curing illness (instead of managing pain) the results are much more problematic. Furthermore, as there does not seem to be any standard of training or governing body enforcing a particular level of training or prescribing treatment standards, the results would seem to be largely hit and miss.

Anyway, my main argument was that the claim as to the reason why acupuncture supposed to work is bogus. In the main, acupuncturist claim there is a life force movnig through the body called Qi (or chee as I mispelt it in my previous post). The acupoints provide access into the Qi flows with which the acupuncturist may alter the flow for the (assumed) benefit of the patient and by doing so the acupuncturist is able to treat illnesses. It goes without say that (by and large) the claim is that all illnesses can be treated by re-plumbing the Qi flow is some way or other.

My understanding is that all reliable medical studies into it to date show acupuncture can sometimes provide reasonably good pain management for those with conditions of cronic pain. However, no cures have been definitely attributed to acupuncture and for the reasons previously stated regarding industry regulation, I would be very cautious before allowing someone to stick pins into me. Although if I was cronically ill and in great pain and I felt the pain management I was receiving under conventional medicnie was inadequate then why not. However, I would not be under misapprehensions that there may be the possibility of a cure by such means. I think it is in peddling this false hope to the cronically ill that acupuncture (and other pseudo-medicines) do their most harm.

PHAT
06-03-2004, 11:57 PM
Looky here. Inacurite puncture is 95% psychosommatic and 5% ummm i cannot remmember the name but i'llremember it later ... touchstimulation fatugur=e sone thing. DOEsn't matter. If you feel better the n good. HOWEVER, if this bogus fell good stops you getting REAL PROPER treatment then itis B_A_D ,bad.!!

Cat
07-03-2004, 07:57 AM
Accupuncture is useful for muscle spasm. Stick a needle in a muscle and it relaxes relieving pain from spasm. The length of time the needles have been inserted or electrical stimulation have not been shown to affect outcome. The only thing that mproves results is twiddling the needles a bit. Beyond that it is thought to be a placebo with as Matt says the added contribution from human contact.

Anecdotes are interesting certainly, but Bell's palsy resolves spontaneously in most cases.


RCC experts have conceded that this mention of Jesus in an interpolation but Prodos don't like to hear this, because they believe more seriously. I have read it and it sounds completely out of context.

Maybe it was God's will that it was inserted?

antichrist
07-03-2004, 08:38 PM
[QUOTE=Goughfather]Hi AntiChrist,

I was just remarking to myself that you hadn't been involved in any "religious" threads lately and here you are! I'm glad you've responded, because it makes life on the BB a little bit more interesting.

Reply: I have been working up to 17 hours a day, seven days a week, became totally exhausted. But over now thank G-O-D



This misunderstands the difference between God's permissive and express wills. I'd suggest reading up on a bit of John Calvin. Start with "Institutes of the Christian Religion" and work your way from there.

Reply:
I think it is stepping way over the mark presuming what is God's will, we are only humble humans. You must first have substance before essence. Books that are in complete contradiction to science are useless. What I am getting at is that you can't even get to square one so don't mislead people that you know what you are talking about.



It's not culturally insensitive to offer a different interpretation. In fact, Christian theology thrives upon the fact that theology and interpretation is so scrutinized and debated.

Reply:
It does not thrive because it is re-interpreted by Muslims, only lead to wars. Nor thrived because re-interpreted by Prodo's, only led to holy wars. Because can be re-interpreted means that it is all only relative to time and place. That is you are all wasting your time. If you were born in different time and place (10,000 years ago) you would believe something entirely different. The difference with the atheist is that we disbelieve something entirely different. It would be very culturally insensitive for us to re-interpret Aboriginal teachings, it is not our culture to muck around with. Which is why I have the authority to put the poop on Christianity.



Most scholars suggest that extracts of that paragraph are interpolated, but that other parts of the paragraph can be authentically attributed to Josephus because of the stylistic similaries between this passage and other writings of Josephus. Of course, since there is no record of Josephus converting to Christianity, it would be sensible to regard the passage "He was the Christ" to be an interpolation. Others suggested that in the original manuscript, Josephus wrote "He was called the Christ". Don't have my original source with me atm, but I may be able to outline the position in more depth later on.

Reply: forget what Josephus is supposed to have actually said, judge if what is writted in sensible. I don't accept the Bible, which is scientifically nonsense, has the authority to declare that someone broke the laws of nature -- at that time the religious writers did not even know the laws of nature. Oh, have you ever seen such ignorance, as our dear friend Greenbottle would say.
]

antichrist
07-03-2004, 08:47 PM
I agree I doubt if acupuncture can cure anything but is extremely useful and usually with no side effects. But what would you do with Bells Pausey if you could not break the paralysis?? Would you visit a proper acupuncturist, watch him/her treat many such patients, see the (maybe) excellent result and then turn your back on the patient???

I don't believe in Qi either, but this is unimportant, the result is important not the how.

antichrist
07-03-2004, 08:52 PM
Anecdotes are interesting certainly, but Bell's palsy resolves spontaneously in most cases.

I have been told this before, but too much of co-incidence for me. My observation was that the palsy slowly weakened until completely gave away (about 90%). Surely there is an onus on western medicine to check this out!!!



]

Cat
07-03-2004, 10:08 PM
Anecdotes are interesting certainly, but Bell's palsy resolves spontaneously in most cases.

I have been told this before, but too much of co-incidence for me. My observation was that the palsy slowly weakened until completely gave away (about 90%). Surely there is an onus on western medicine to check this out!!!



]

Accupuncture has been exhaustively investigated by 'western medicine'. In fact it is commonly used in pain clinics for muscle spasm as I described. But as with all alternative therapies, when double-blind trials are conducted it is difficult to demonstrate an effect beyond placebo.

As for term such as 'alternative' or 'natural', medicine is a science, not a faith. If scientific proof exists for any treatment rational, then of course it will be applied.'Natural' or 'alternative' therapy is simply the application of therapy without knowledge, and sadly often without wisdom.

Goughfather
07-03-2004, 10:19 PM
I think it is stepping way over the mark presuming what is God's will, we are only humble humans.

While I understand your point, I believe in a personal God. That is, a God who communicates with His creation and with each of us individually. That said, as "humble humans" we can get our lines of communication crossed and are frequently wrong about what we feel God is communicating to us. However, this is not the point I am trying to prove to you, nor one that I adopt a priori when discussing with atheists.

The equation of "passive will" versus "express will" revolves around the nature of the "free will" of humanity. Theologians have long discussed this equations, and its particularly complex. Of course, some things occur in this world that God doesn't like, but still fall under the concept of God's "permissive will". Perhaps you could explain how we eliminate evil in the world without eliminating free will.


Books that are in complete contradiction to science are useless. What I am getting at is that you can't even get to square one so don't mislead people that you know what you are talking about.

This assumes that the Bible is meant as a scientific textbook, which it isn't.


It does not thrive because it is re-interpreted by Muslims, only lead to wars. Nor thrived because re-interpreted by Prodo's, only led to holy wars.

Interpretations don't kill people - people kill people.


Because can be re-interpreted means that it is all only relative to time and place. That is you are all wasting your time. If you were born in different time and place (10,000 years ago) you would believe something entirely different.

This assumes that the Bible is static document, which it is not.


The difference with the atheist is that we disbelieve something entirely different. It would be very culturally insensitive for us to re-interpret Aboriginal teachings, it is not our culture to muck around with. Which is why I have the authority to put the poop on Christianity.

You do, but not because you come from a so-called "Christian culture". You have the right because you have something (whatever that may be) to the continuing discussion. There is no intellectual property in interpretation.


Reply: forget what Josephus is supposed to have actually said, judge if what is writted in sensible.

This is exactly what scholars have done when they have distinguished between what is interpolated and what is genuinely from Josephus.


I don't accept the Bible, which is scientifically nonsense, has the authority to declare that someone broke the laws of nature -- at that time the religious writers did not even know the laws of nature. Oh, have you ever seen such ignorance, as our dear friend Greenbottle would say.

1) Your premise incorporates an a priori anti-miraculous bias
2) Your premise assumes that the Bible is regarded by all Christians as a scientific textbook, which it is not
3) Your premise presumes that the events recorded are meant to be regarded as literal, rather than metaphorical

Regards,
Goughfather

Cat
07-03-2004, 10:42 PM
What are you going to do now AC? Godfather's God is untouchable, invisible - every time you think you've nailed him he'll come back again. An omnipresent chameleon! He ain't scientific, he's metaphorical. He's not mythical, he's historical. To deny him only proves your ignorance, next you'll be recieving the 'a' adjectives. Belief is the only escape.

Alan Shore
08-03-2004, 12:05 AM
Goughfather, good post, for the most part, well said. Just a couple of points I'd like to discuss:

When you were talking about free will, an alternative philosophical ideal I have that can incorporate God, is that determinism will hold except for the influence of God on one's life (a Universal God, yet at the same time, as you say, a personal God) which will lead one on a path better than that for which he may have been destined. So why you may ask, does God only influence rather than control? Does God have a sense of humour? One answer is to promote learning - all mistakes of the past serve as lessons for how things can go wrong and what not to do. With these in mind, the pursuit of good can only become clearer. A clearer explanation for why God intervenes could be seen in an analogy with a spinning top. God created the spinning top and spins it on a table, watching it deviate slightly due to the imperfections on the surface. When it gets to close to the edge, it's given a gentle push to get back on course.


Another is when you said "Interpretations don't kill people - people kill people." I have to disagree - poor interpretations of things can lead to terrible ignorance and hate, particularly if taught at a young age. People with these wrong ideas in backward civilisations (and even those in civilised countries who refuse to listen to alternatives) are conditioned this way, basic psychology. When reinforced by parents, culture, peers - it has a devestating effect and this cloud of ignorance can spread and spread unless it can be solved with proper education.

After all, there are always two sides to a story, but if one side refuses blankly to even listen to the other side, what hope is there?

Oepty
08-03-2004, 03:24 PM
Sorry for my slow response in this thread.
First of all I would like to clarify what I said about Jesus being a heretic.
Jesus was not a heretic against the Jewish religion. He was though believed to be a heretic by some of the Jewish leaders of the time. Just because someone viewed him as a heretic does not mean automatically he was a heretic.

Secondly on marriage and divorce. I made a real hash of this one. It is quite clear Bruce was absolutely correct, divorce was allowed under the Law of Moses. I apologise for my error.

As to what accupunture has to with the passion of the Christ, I have no idea. The nails that were put through Jesus certainly were bigger than a accupunturists needle.

Scott

Goughfather
08-03-2004, 11:32 PM
Hi Bruce,

Thanks for your reply - I found it to be intelligent and thought-provoking.


When you were talking about free will, an alternative philosophical ideal I have that can incorporate God, is that determinism will hold except for the influence of God on one's life (a Universal God, yet at the same time, as you say, a personal God) which will lead one on a path better than that for which he may have been destined. So why you may ask, does God only influence rather than control? Does God have a sense of humour?

Yes, the whole free-will versus predestination/determinism question is one that truly boggles the mind. I shall look for philosophical perspectives on the convergence of free-will and determinism - two principles which seem at first to be incompatible. I'll give you more information when I find out more.

Regarding the influence that God has when leading one on a better path, there is a large extent to which I agree with you. I do think, however, that there are events in the Bible (not a priori, but interesting, nonetheless) wherein God chose to directly control the actions of certain people. There is also the interesting idea that God chooses to act to the betterment of some, while apparently denying others from this privilege. What to make of this? Personally, as a Calvinist, I don't have a logical problem with this situation, but I can certainly understand why other people would.


Does God have a sense of humour? One answer is to promote learning - all mistakes of the past serve as lessons for how things can go wrong and what not to do. With these in mind, the pursuit of good can only become clearer. A clearer explanation for why God intervenes could be seen in an analogy with a spinning top. God created the spinning top and spins it on a table, watching it deviate slightly due to the imperfections on the surface. When it gets to close to the edge, it's given a gentle push to get back on course.

This is commonly described as the "soul-making theodicy" and I think that it is one of the more sound of all the "theodicies". The idea, as you point out, is that the trials and tribulations of life are not only useful, but absolutely necessary if a person is able to grow and mature. It's pretty flexible, because it accounts from both human and natural tragedies.

The operative question equates to nothing more than a cost-benefit analysis. Basically, are the reasons for the evil that exists in this world more beneficial than the setbacks caused by the evil itself? Because different people will apply different weighting to the various positive and negative aspects of the above equation, they will come up with different responses.


Another is when you said "Interpretations don't kill people - people kill people." I have to disagree - poor interpretations of things can lead to terrible ignorance and hate, particularly if taught at a young age. People with these wrong ideas in backward civilisations (and even those in civilised countries who refuse to listen to alternatives) are conditioned this way, basic psychology. When reinforced by parents, culture, peers - it has a devestating effect and this cloud of ignorance can spread and spread unless it can be solved with proper education.

True, I have answered rather simplisticly, but at this point I was getting rather frustrated with antiChrist. Additionally, I was putting style over substance with my none too subtle allusions to the gun lobby. Perhaps I was being a little self-indulgent in that respect.

Indeed, it would be nice if people were able to hold different interpretations, and still remain united in a cause, or at least realise that it is God's job to judge and that each one of us will ultimately be accountable before Him. Admittedly, this is a rather naive expectation.

Regards,
Goughfather

Kevin Bonham
09-03-2004, 11:48 AM
Yes, the whole free-will versus predestination/determinism question is one that truly boggles the mind.

The only thing about it that boggles this "mind" (which has studied it in detail) is that so many other "minds" are boggled by it. "Free will" as commonly described is a nonsensical fudge. If an event is directed it is caused and therefore determined and hence not free. If an event is not determined it could have happened otherwise and is therefore probabilistic/random and hence not directed. A universe can be deterministic, random, or some combination of these two. No other option exists and no harmony of free will with determinism is possible as an elementary matter of definition. Adding God to the picture changes nothing unless you believe that God can do things that are logically impossible.

Rincewind
09-03-2004, 01:51 PM
The only thing about it that boggles this "mind" (which has studied it in detail) is that so many other "minds" are boggled by it. "Free will" as commonly described is a nonsensical fudge. If an event is directed it is caused and therefore determined and hence not free. If an event is not determined it could have happened otherwise and is therefore probabilistic/random and hence not directed. A universe can be deterministic, random, or some combination of these two. No other option exists and no harmony of free will with determinism is possible as an elementary matter of definition. Adding God to the picture changes nothing unless you believe that God can do things that are logically impossible.

What about quantum mechanics? It appears to be probabilistic until you force it to make a choice and then it makes the choice based on the way you decide to observe it. I think the whole field continues to boggle many great minds today. In fact I think it was Niels Bohr who said (around 50 years ago I think) that if your mind is not boggled by quantum mechanics then you haven't understood it. ;)

Alan Shore
09-03-2004, 02:06 PM
The only thing about it that boggles this "mind" (which has studied it in detail) is that so many other "minds" are boggled by it. "Free will" as commonly described is a nonsensical fudge. If an event is directed it is caused and therefore determined and hence not free. If an event is not determined it could have happened otherwise and is therefore probabilistic/random and hence not directed. A universe can be deterministic, random, or some combination of these two. No other option exists and no harmony of free will with determinism is possible as an elementary matter of definition.

I have no problems with this assessment - for me determinism pretty much holds - it is only perceived free will that we have. This isn't an excuse to sit back and never make a decision in your life though! Then 'your deterministic future' would be pretty boring, no?


Adding God to the picture changes nothing unless you believe that God can do things that are logically impossible.

This is too simplistic for my liking - I think the power exists with God to modify decisions that are indeed logically possible, for instance, there were a number of choices, where you were leaning toward choice a, but still thinking about choosing b (choices c,d and e would be unlikely, barring some revelational life event, which could occur too!). Choosing 'a' however, would stuff up your life, so before you make this decision, you have a think and you might have second thought about it - sure it's the most appealing decision now but where would it leave you long term? Something would trigger this change of heart, be it in the mind, or something unrelated you see that day that makes you think, whatever it may be. Why was this presented to you? Perhaps there is more purpose to your life, and by not choosing 'a' (robbing a bank and getting killed) you instead choose b (to not rob the bank) and go on to discover a cure for cancer. Without that cataclysm, determinism would have sent you on your merry way to death but with a slight divine intervention, you've been shifted onto a new deterministic fate, one that would certainly give much more meaning to one's life and to others lives.

Alan Shore
09-03-2004, 02:08 PM
Barry, not to mention Quantum Mechanics is also incompatible with General Relativity.. now that must really boggle the mind! :hmm:

Kevin Bonham
09-03-2004, 02:35 PM
What about quantum mechanics? It appears to be probabilistic until you force it to make a choice and then it makes the choice based on the way you decide to observe it.

If the resolution is entirely dictated by the way you observe it then it's deterministic.

It was mentioned on another thread that there's no logical obstacle to God (if one exists) "knowing" the outcome of what appears to us to be a probabilistic event. If there was a God and God knew these outcomes that would make QM events fully determined.


I think the whole field continues to boggle many great minds today. In fact I think it was Niels Bohr who said (around 50 years ago I think) that if your mind is not boggled by quantum mechanics then you haven't understood it. ;)

Quantum physics certainly boggles my mind even though I don't understand it. :cool: Quantum physics is the reason I sit on the fence about whether everything is determined or whether some events are random. However it has no implications for the concept of free will (that is both directive and non-deterministic) because there is no way quantum physics, God or anything else can rescue the basic contradictions involved, unless you assume that God can do things that are logically impossible.

Kevin Bonham
09-03-2004, 02:50 PM
I have no problems with this assessment - for me determinism pretty much holds - it is only perceived free will that we have. This isn't an excuse to sit back and never make a decision in your life though! Then 'your deterministic future' would be pretty boring, no?

Making decisions is fully compatible with determinism. All it means is that you don't know enough about yourself to know which decision you'll make, therefore you feel like you are directing the event and could direct otherwise.


This is too simplistic for my liking - I think the power exists with God to modify decisions that are indeed logically possible, for instance, there were a number of choices, where you were leaning toward choice a, but still thinking about choosing b (choices c,d and e would be unlikely, barring some revelational life event, which could occur too!). Choosing 'a' however, would stuff up your life, so before you make this decision, you have a think and you might have second thought about it - sure it's the most appealing decision now but where would it leave you long term? Something would trigger this change of heart, be it in the mind, or something unrelated you see that day that makes you think, whatever it may be. Why was this presented to you? Perhaps there is more purpose to your life, and by not choosing 'a' (robbing a bank and getting killed) you instead choose b (to not rob the bank) and go on to discover a cure for cancer. Without that cataclysm, determinism would have sent you on your merry way to death but with a slight divine intervention, you've been shifted onto a new deterministic fate, one that would certainly give much more meaning to one's life and to others lives.

If God nudges your decision so that you will definitely avoid decision A because you will see that it is a bad move, then your decision not to do A is entirely pre-determined as you could not have chosen to do A given what you have seen. That part of the decision is therefore determined and not a case of free will. It's true that God might have changed a non-determined (random) choice into a determined one in an example like this one, but what I meant when saying that adding God changes nothing is this: regardless of whether or not God exists, all events must be deterministic, random or some combination of these. "Free will" as something distinct from these is incoherent.

Randomness does not necessarily mean equal probability. An indeterministic event could still be heavily weighted towards one outcome rather than the other.

Alan Shore
09-03-2004, 03:09 PM
Yep, I'll agree with that Kevin, it's all good :cool:

antichrist
14-03-2004, 12:28 PM
I want to hear what Gough has to say on this. Bit heavy for me though. Trying to understand the ins and outs of the philosophy is like :doh: :wall: :wall: :confused: :eek: :hmm:

KB
I am too busy and too tight to pay good money arguing with people who have not had a shave with Ocam this centruy.
Off again to play chess and win some money.
Bye