Religiosity tangent from voter suppression thread

Discussion in 'The Red Room' started by Asyncritus, Apr 1, 2021.

  1. Asyncritus

    Asyncritus Expert on everything

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    Not sure what changes Paul made to Christianity. I have heard that said by so many people, but no one has ever been able to come up with anything specific. The best anyone ever did was pointing out where Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians that a given policy was his own opinion rather than something actually imposed by Christ, since Christ hadn't said anything about it either way. Which doesn't exactly qualify as a "change"...

    So what changes are you talking about?
  2. Tuckerfan

    Tuckerfan BMF Staff Member Moderator

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    Folks not needing to keep kosher or be circumcised, for example. And if you’re adding something that wasn’t talked about by the founder of the religion, you most certainly are making a change. It might not be large or very important, but it still is a change, especially if it becomes a practice that is widely followed by members of the religion.
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  3. Asyncritus

    Asyncritus Expert on everything

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    That change was already made by Jesus (Mark 7.19), so although it is a change to Jewish practices, it certainly is not a modification of Christianity.

    Circumcision was primarily a sign of belonging to the Jewish nation. Paul only insisted that circumcision is not necessary for salvation and that non-Jews therefore do not have to be circumcised. (He personally circumcised Timothy, who was Jewish because of having a Jewish mother, but who was not circumcised up until then.) Not circumcising Gentiles is not a change; it is requiring them to be circumcised that would be a change.

    And in any case, the principle that circumcision is not something that Gentiles need was also made before Paul had any particular influence in Christianity, as can be seen very clearly in Acts 10 and 11.

    You're going to have to do better than that to show that "Paul changed Christianity".
  4. Tuckerfan

    Tuckerfan BMF Staff Member Moderator

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    Jesus, however, was a Jew. There's lots of debate amongst religious scholars whether Jesus was actually trying to create a new religion, or merely modifying Judaism. This all, of course, is predicated upon the idea that what we have in the Gospels is an accurate account. We have no idea if they are. We can be certain that some aspects of the Gospels are true (that the places existed, and certain figures did), but as for what any individual might have actually said, there's no way to objectively verify that.

    Circumcision was primarily a sign of belonging to the Jewish nation. Paul only insisted that circumcision is not necessary for salvation and that non-Jews therefore do not have to be circumcised. (He personally circumcised Timothy, who was Jewish because of having a Jewish mother, but who was not circumcised up until then.) Not circumcising Gentiles is not a change; it is requiring them to be circumcised that would be a change.

    And in any case, the principle that circumcision is not something that Gentiles need was also made before Paul had any particular influence in Christianity, as can be seen very clearly in Acts 10 and 11.[/quote]Again, this is predicated upon the idea that the text is an accurate account. What's your independent verification of this?

    How about this site that claims Paul was willing to spread the faith to non-Jews? Yeah, Jesus made a few overtures in that direction, but wasn't quite as bold about it as Paul was.

    You want to play with some fiddly bits, there's the section in 1st Timothy where Paul says that women shouldn't hold leadership positions in the church. Dayton always claimed that this was a "local custom" and not something that Paul was broadly endorsing, and there's other sections where Paul seems to support the idea of women being leaders in the church. Some scholars claim that Jesus heavily relied on women to spread his message, and that he would have considered them to be the equal of any of his male disciples. There are certainly a number of texts outside of what are considered canonical where women do serve a role in spreading the gospel equal to any of the men mentioned in the accepted works. What's the objective test to know who is right? There are Biblical scholars who claim that Simon Magus is actually a caricature of Paul and that anything Paul says is to be disregarded. Are they right? I don't know. Why should we consider the works in the New Testament to be more accurate than some of the works that have been found in the Nag Hammadi Library or the Dead Sea Scrolls? Not to mention the whole issue of the various Apocrypha texts, some of which are accepted by mainstream branches of Christianity, such as Catholicism, Greek Orthodoxy, Russian Orthodoxy, or Ethiopian Orthodoxy, yet aren't accepted by any of the Protestant religions. What's the objective test for those?

    Assuming, for the sake of argument, that Martin Luther got things right, why did everyone else get it so wrong for so long? Or, hypothetically speaking, how did one of the other groups get it right, while the others didn't? There are Biblical scholars who claim that James, the brother of Jesus, didn't like Paul, and clues to this are sprinkled through the various texts. Are they right? How can one objectively prove this? How can one objectively prove that they're wrong?

    Let me throw out something to illustrate a problem we have sorting out fact from fiction when dealing with things long ago that doesn't involve a particular religion 99.999% of people would consider to be a credible belief system, yet changes aspects of it in our interpretations of the texts. There are some scholars who argue that the use of "horse" as it relates to the Trojan Horse in The Illiad and The Odyssey is a colloquialism for "ship." Meaning that the Greeks didn't build a giant wooden horse to give to the Trojans as a way to get inside the walls of Troy, but that they built a ship and hid inside the ballast of it while it was brought inside the walls of Troy. That actually makes a lot of sense. I mean, WTF good is a giant wooden horse, but a ship, especially for a nation that's basically the crossroads for important trade routes, would be pretty valuable. Absolutely they'd want to bring that inside the walls.

    Does swapping out a ship for a wooden statue of a horse change the story in a hugely significant manner? Not really. After all, what you're talking about is that Group A figures out that there's a thing Group B considers to be so important that they'd bring it inside their defenses and that this would allow Group A the opportunity to overwhelm the defenses of Group B in order to defeat them. But if you're talking about a belief system where minutiae can determine if one group reaps a great reward or not, then it can be very important. How do you objectively prove that one interpretation is correct and one is wrong? That's not easy to do when you're dealing with fragmentary texts recounting events that might have occurred decades, if not more before anything was written down.

    Ages ago, and I wish I could remember where I read it, as well as the specifics of it, I read a piece by linguists that talked about heroic tales in societies that were largely pre-literate (even if a select few could read and write) that described how long it would take for someone who wasn't a member of the established hierarchy (ie they were neither a priest or government official) to have the tale of their life written down. Assuming, for the sake of argument, that they were correct, if one were to apply this methodology to Christianity, then we've got the chronology all wrong. Jesus would have lived roughly a century or more than before he is commonly thought that he did. This also means that any accounts we have of him would be wildly inaccurate. Are they completely wrong (regardless of the figure they're talking about)? Are they right in every other case, save when they're speaking about Jesus? How do you prove it? And how do you ensure that the proof is unique to not only to Christianity but also one particular form of Christianity?
  5. Asyncritus

    Asyncritus Expert on everything

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    ^ There's something funny about that post so that when I try to reply to it, it doesn't come out right for the quotes, so I'll just reply this way:

    Without trying to respond to everything in that wall of text, I want to point out three things:

    1) You can't claim Paul changed Christianity, based on what the New Testament says about him, and then say "but maybe the NT isn't true" when it is pointed out that, according to the NT, Paul didn't change Christianity. If you're going to take the route that the NT isn't reliable in order to show that Paul changed Christianity, you need independant information, from outside the NT, to show that he did it. You have utterly failed to show it and I am not aware of much reliable information from any ancient sources outside of the NT about what Paul did or didn't do. There are independant references to Jesus, but not many at all about Paul.

    2) You throw around an awful lot of "some scholars claim", but I'm not seeing where any of that shows any serious indications that Paul changed Christianity. It might be pertinent to a debate on whether or not Christianity is valid (and might not; "some scholars claim" that global warming is a fraud, too...), but it certainly seems to me to come across as changing the subject rather than backing up your claim that Paul changed Christianity.

    3) You claim that Paul changed Christianity by taking women out of leadership positions, but that isn't true. No one in the New Testament speaks more about women in leadership roles, sometimes as close co-workers and in glowing terms, than Paul. Furthermore, you haven't shown how that would be a "change to Christianity" even if it was the case, because the best you have is that "some scholars claim Jesus relied heavily on women". But since Paul also relied heavily on women, that is not a change.

    Bottom line is that you apparently don't have anything more concrete for your claim that "Paul changed Christianity" than anyone else. It's just one of those things that people throw out there, and expect it to be accepted without question. But in fact there doesn't seem to be any basis for it.
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  6. Tuckerfan

    Tuckerfan BMF Staff Member Moderator

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    Sure I can. Let's hit this from another angle, so you'll perhaps see the point. Take the works of Homer. We know that the odds that the texts we have of The Iliad and The Odyssey are not, precisely, the same words that he would have sung are pretty high. Assuming, of course, that there was a Homer, and that he's the author of both works. We don't know for sure. Stylistically, the two works are wildly different, and some have argued that they're not by the same author. Regardless of if there actually was a Homer, or if he was the author of both works, or even if the works accurately reflect the tales he sang, we can say that Homer had a large influence on Greek culture. The same can be said of Paul. He may not have been real, or the works we have attributed to him may not reflect what he said and did, but they still had an impact upon Christianity.

    Yeah, I'm not going to run down the rabbit hole of picking out who said what that I've read over the years, not only because I don't have the time, but also because it won't change your mind about your beliefs. If you want to do some digging on your own, I'll point you to the Bible Geek podcast by Dr. Robert M. Price. His politics are reprehensible, but his Biblical scholarship is excellent, and he just loves to name-drop the scholars he references. Bart Ehrman is another biblical scholar who loves to go into greater detail on such subjects (he, BTW, thinks that both Paul and Jesus were real figures and that the gospels provide some insight into what actually happened).

    You're talking about the same Paul who supposedly said this?
    If you're telling someone that 50% of the population can't tell the other 50% of the population what to do, but that the other 50% of the population can tell 100% of the population what to do, that's hardly elevating them to a leadership position.
  7. Asyncritus

    Asyncritus Expert on everything

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    Once again most of your post is directed to whether or not Christianity is valid and the New Testament is historically trustworthy, which is not a subject I want to debate right now, nor was it the point I asked you to prove. But the above quote is at least somewhat relevant to the claim that Paul changed Christianity (though it would have to be demonstrated that Paul's influence reduced the impact of women in Christianity, which you have failed to demonstrate so far beyond a vague reference to "some scholars claim") so I will respond to that.

    Paul wrote: "διδάσκειν δὲ γυναικὶ οὐκ ἐπιτρέπω, οὐδὲ αὐθεντεῖν ἀνδρός, ἀλλ᾽ εἶναι ἐν ἡσυχίᾳ". That can be translated more or less literally as "But I do not turn it over to women to teach, or to rigorously dominate men, but to be in tranquility". Given that Christianity was a very rare religion indeed in letting women participate in the same services as men, side by side (it was Paul who wrote that "in Christ there is neither male nor female"), it would appear that some women didn't know their place and were trying to take over everything. Paul has no problem with women speaking in public services (he wouldn't say that women not wearing their headcoverings when they pray or prophesy was a problem, as he did in1 Corinthians 11:5, if he thought they should never pray or prophesy) or with teaching (he works very closely with Priscilla and Aquila, and in Acts 18:26, it was Priscilla and Aquila — not Aquila alone, and not even "Aquila and Priscilla" — who taught the finer points of Christian theology to the man who succeeded Paul as the primary teacher in the church at Corinth), but he doesn't want them trying to take over, disrupt things, and push men out of the way.

    The fact that Christian tradition has usually translated that verse in a way that gives men flagrant preeminence over women says more about the mindset of "Christianity" for centuries than it does about what Paul thought. The text is still there for all to read, and the context of a man who speaks so often and so glowingly of his women co-workers certainly doesn't favour that interpretation. It is fun to take one very debateable verse out of the contexte of all of what Paul had to say on the subject of women and pretend that somehow proves something, but it is very shaky logic.

    So once again, I am not seeing any indication whatsoever that Paul changed Christianity.
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  8. Diacanu

    Diacanu Comicmike. Writer

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    (As Async)
    ...and if I fold this painting of a rape orgy like a Mad Magazine fold-in.....it's just an adorable snowman! :soma:
    :async:
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  9. Asyncritus

    Asyncritus Expert on everything

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    Do you disagree with my translation?
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  10. Diacanu

    Diacanu Comicmike. Writer

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    Answered in both rep and satire.
    :bailey:
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  11. Asyncritus

    Asyncritus Expert on everything

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    Then give me your translation, since you apparently know Greek so much better than I do.

    Or is your "scholarship" limited to making fun of people who actually studied a subject in detail?
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  12. Ancalagon

    Ancalagon outta my way Administrator Formerly Important

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  13. Asyncritus

    Asyncritus Expert on everything

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    Personally, I would love it.

    Edit to add: But to make it comprehensible, that thread should also include the debate about whether or not deliberately deformed science can be used as a basis for war, since that's what led into the claim that science can't be "faked" as easy as religion (true in general, but it is still possible to misuse it), and from there to "Paul changed Christianity", a claim I will always ask for clarification about, since I've heard it so often and never been given any actual facts to back up that claim.
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  14. Diacanu

    Diacanu Comicmike. Writer

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    I'm not an expert, but I can call my own experts.

    I call to the stand, every other Bible translator.

    Every other Bible translator- *Gives Async the thumbs down, and a raspberry noise*

    Guilty. Haul him away. :bailey:

    *Court officers drag Async away, Async screams, growls, and tries to bite the cops*
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  15. Asyncritus

    Asyncritus Expert on everything

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    IOW, you cite the "experts" who say what you want them to say (though I could point out quite a few who don't translate it that way, so you are factually wrong in saying it is "every" other — you are simply showing your ignorance by saying that).

    You are much more like Oldfella than you think: you are not willing to even entertain the notion that the narrative you have been fed might not be true. As long as it gives the conclusions you want, you accept it and dismiss out of hand any other explanations.

    By the way, accepting without question the conclusions of people you are incapable of verifying, simply because they say what you want to hear, is called "faith". And it's not even reasonable faith. It's blind faith, which is the very worst kind.

    I have pointed it out to you before, but you could actually do a much better job of making your points if you wanted to. But you seem to be afraid to actually defend your opinions. You settle for insulting and making fun of those you don't agree with, and hope no one will notice you never actually make your own points.

    If you actually tried to make your own translation, or even quote those "experts" who say what you want them to say, I could ask you why Homer, Plato, Thucidius, Xenophon, or other Greek writers use those terms some other way. (For example, the verb "ἐπιτρέπω", which I'm sure you want to translate "permit" simply because the Bible translations that happen to suit you translate it that way, but which etymologically means "turn over" and which Greek writers generally use to mean "abandon to".)

    So you make fun of those who actually know something because you are too afraid to have your little thought system upset. Then you declare yourself right (a poor debate technique, and a catastrophic logical technique), and think that by being "cute" you have somehow made your point. You are so afraid of someone being able to show you wrong that you never dare put forth your own arguments.

    It's a shame, actually, because you aren't as dumb as you pretend to be. You could go way beyond the third-grade childishness you display (even when I agree with you, which I often do). But you are way too afraid of having to actually change your mind on anything.

    Like I said, you are much more like Oldfella than you would like to admit.
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  16. Asyncritus

    Asyncritus Expert on everything

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    ^ Of course it's too long for you to read, @Diacanu. As I said, you can only handle cute little comments. True scholarship is not your thing.

    But thinking that somehow gives weight to your arguments is mere wishful thinking.
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  17. Diacanu

    Diacanu Comicmike. Writer

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    TLDR version, "you're a big dumb doody-head, and I'm Smarty McSmartperson! :nono:".

    Well, maybe you ARE smarter than the people that translated every goddamned Bible I ever had in every goddamned hotel room.

    ....but it's really probabilistically unlikely.

    Really? The genius who has the whole "was Paul really a misogynist?" riddle cracked graces ...Wordforge????

    Pardon my skepticism.
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  18. oldfella1962

    oldfella1962 high speed, low drag

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    And you are much more like a bottle of Sominex than you would like to admit. :zzz:
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  19. The Ghost of Crazy Horse

    The Ghost of Crazy Horse Soul Rebel

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    Finally we agree on something.:techman:
  20. Asyncritus

    Asyncritus Expert on everything

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    If your basis for "every Bible translator ever" is "Bibles I had in hotel rooms", I understand your problem. It is akin to someone saying "Every news commentator I ever saw on Fox News says this, so it must be true".

    If you were a Christian, you would be a die-hard funadmentalist, unable and unwilling to even imagine that your preferred interpretations might not be "The Only Possible Truth". I feel for you. I grew up with fundamentalism, too. The first time I heard someone explain what the Greek text of that verse actually says (getting near 40 years ago now), I was very surprised and somewhat skeptical. I didn't take it to the level of insulting him because "every other Bible scholar says otherwise", but I was nevertheless very surprised and wanted to check it out very carefully before admitting he might be right.

    What you don't know, however, if your Bible knowledge is based only on translations you find in hotel rooms, is that the meaning of that and similar passages is hotly debated in Christian circles today. The conservative fundamentalists react pretty much the way you do, while those who are willing to entertain other ideas are quick to point out that the traditional translations are based more on the misogynistic tendancies of over 1000 years of a church that denies women any role in ministry, at one time argued that women don't even have souls, and venerates a woman only by claiming that she was a virgin her whole life and thus didn't do anything "womanly".

    You would sound more informed on the issue, however, if you checked out a much larger number of commentators and translators on the subject. While my take on that and other such verses doesn't suit the fundamentalists, it is far from unique, as you pretend. And I will go head-to-head with any Greek scholar you can find who wants to try to defend the fundamentalists' interpretation, because I do know Greek.
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  21. Asyncritus

    Asyncritus Expert on everything

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    Actually, there are some other points we agree on.

    And I have never once accused you of being a kid, or even thought that particular claim was anything other than trolling. So that is a major point we agree on.
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  22. The Ghost of Crazy Horse

    The Ghost of Crazy Horse Soul Rebel

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    28E30B1F-A88A-4F8E-AD88-0E8B76653964.jpeg Happy Easter.
  23. Asyncritus

    Asyncritus Expert on everything

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    Well, I don't dislike you...
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  24. Diacanu

    Diacanu Comicmike. Writer

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    And here's where I'll always tune out.
    Leave the "you're a doody head! :shakefist: crap out of it.

    It makes it look like it's all about your ego.
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  25. Asyncritus

    Asyncritus Expert on everything

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    ^ And because anything longer than a bumper-stick is too long for you to read, you will never truly be informed.

    To really understand an issue, you have to find what people are saying on both sides of it, not just the side you happen to agree with.
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  26. Jenee

    Jenee Ind. Jenee of Winterfell

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    Async isn't wrong. Like fundamentalists, you take your beliefs on as if they are somehow a part of you - if anyone disagrees with that belief, you feel it's a personal attack on you. This is why it's difficult to discuss the bible with fundamentalists. Put science stuff up and you are more than happy to debate that science. But, when you post a statement that is just your belief, you get defensive and eventually resort to insults.

    It's not just you. It's human nature.

    The first step to fixing a problem, is acknowledging it exists.
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  27. Diacanu

    Diacanu Comicmike. Writer

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    What did I just tell you?
    :nono:
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  28. Diacanu

    Diacanu Comicmike. Writer

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    I tested out going down the philosophical rabbit hole with Async.
    The topic was abortion.
    It was....unproductive.
    I will not get sucked into that ever again.
  29. Jenee

    Jenee Ind. Jenee of Winterfell

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    There's no "belief" about that. An electrical impulse does not prove human life. A baby isn't a baby until it can survive outside a woman's body. Until then, it's a cluster of cells and part of a woman's body.
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  30. Diacanu

    Diacanu Comicmike. Writer

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    Agreed.

    The whole "God" thing goes down a similar rabbit hole.
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