10/1/99

Hello and happy Monday,

I've had my coffee so I'm at least half awake.

Some popular Bible translations are "word for word", which means the translators have to select a single English word to replace a single original word. Often, that's a problem. For example, there are four Greek words that translate to "love" and they all have different connotations, e.g. sexual love, love between family, love between friends and something that might be termed "tough love". There's a very interesting interplay of two of those words when Jesus asks Peter if Peter loves him. Most of the interplay is lost in the English translation.

To the point. Genesis 2:5 mentions "plant of the field" and "herb of the field". The Hebrew word "field", in the original, has the strong connotation of "cultivated field". Perhaps a paraphrase of the beginning of verse 5 would be: "when there was not yet any cultivated crops or gardens . . . ". This and all the rest of Chapter 2 deals solely with events in the Garden of Eden.

I mentioned the Deal Sea Scrolls because I thought you were talking "Old Testament". Prior to the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, it was popular to critize the Bible as an inaccuate copy of a copy of, etc. The Dead Sea Scrolls illustrated how carefully the copies were made.

I don't know a lot about the early New Testament manuscripts, but I will investigate. I know that there are pieces of the New Testament dating back to the 2nd century. The question you raise, I guess, is "can a imperfect church have been used by God to create an inerrant Bible?". It's similar to the question "can an imperfect Constantine have been used by God to save His church?"

I may be quite dense, but I still don't understand something about what you wrote:

"I wasn't being sarcastic at all about saying that people want someone to rule their lives for them. I honestly don't believe that this is in anyway a reason to want to disbelieve in a god. From what I've heard, this is a very comforting thought and a reason to accept the Christian god...."

There undoubtedly are people like that in the world, but are you saying that you likewise desire to have someone rule your life for you?

My personal experience began with a recognized passion within myself. I had read of Augustine's descriptions of his own inner struggles. He talked about "not finding rest until we find our rest in God". That powerfully resonated within me; I instintively knew exactly what he was speaking about. The passion within me was to "know the God that created me". If God exists, I am very sure that there is nothing else as important than to "know Him". Reason says that I will never find Him if I confine myself to look only at nature, i.e. only use scientific methods. Since God created nature, why would He bind Himself to nature's laws? I have to look for methods that God might have used (or uses) to reveal Himself. In that respect, the Bible offers, by far, the best credentials.

If I have a passion to personally know God, then I wouldn't be interested in a "mystic" religion or "new age spiritualism". Christianity offers, by far, the best opportunity to know a personal God. That's all I can write for now,

Cheers,
Lynn

10/4/99

Hello,

I realize that in translating something word for word, you're going to have probalems, and I have no problem with the discrepancy between "plant of the field" and "herb of the field". What I'm getting at are the discrepancies that - without some creative interpretation - cannot just be explained away. The contradictions are black and white, like the one I gave to you. They aren't a matter of word for word interpretations.

So my point about the bible is that it is not the word of god, it's ultimately the work of the church trying to promote their religion. If the bible was the cut and dry word of god, my opinion is that despite translation errors, there wouldn't be any contradictions and only one way to interpret it. Instead, everyone has their own individual and very different ways to interpret the bible. (How many different ways can you interpret the US Constitution?) Why would the church feel the need to edit what stories got in? Basically they decided by closing their eyes and pointing, or including which stories were more popular with the people. You know that I'm not a bible scholar at all, but I am more familiar with the New Testament. The OT I have yet to study.

I can say truthfully that even if I did believe in a god, I would not be able to believe in much that the bible has to offer.

You're not dense at all, by the way, but I'm wording what I'm saying wrong I think. When you ask if I desire to have someone rule my life for me, as in Christianity, I have to say I don't know. That's because the definition of ruling your life is different according to peoples' interpretation of their religion. What you might say is that the god I don't believe in is kind, loving, watches over, listens to, and helps me. If this is what you mean by desiring someone to rule your life, then I do. That's a very comforting thought, and what I believe to be a big reason why people choose Christianity. It was probably a good reason why it caught on after the "you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours" philosophy of Roman paganism. But even though it's a great thought, I am still an atheist because the idea of a god is preposterous to me.

So when I asked you, why Christianity? you responded by saying that you wanted to know the god that created you. You want a personal relationship with god. You said that "the Bible offers, by far, the best credentials" and that "Christianity offers, by far, the best opportunity to know a personal God." I don't know if this was your intention, but it sounds as if you went shopping for religion. And as with anything else, you chose what was best for you. I'm not saying that anything is wrong with this.

Let me see if I can put into words what I'm thinking...Christianity was designed to include the most desirable aspects of religion, to suck people in, to gain control, power, money, etc. At least, that's how I see it. You see it as the one true religion, yet you went with it only because of what it offered you. What I'm wondering is, out of all of the religions of the world, past and present, what makes you think yours is true when you only joined it because it offered you what you wanted?

I hope I worded that right and didn't offend you at all. My intention is to see what makes people join certain religions and be dead sure that theirs is the right one. I have a particular interest in what and why you believe because you seem to have thought about it and made an educated decision, whereas many people have been brainwashed in childhood and don't know why they believe why they believe. I appreciate that you have talked to me as candidly as you have!

My brain is frazzled from midterms so I'm going to sign off now...enjoy the remainder of your Monday!

Meretricula

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