"holy scriptures"

Discussion in 'Abrahamic Religions' started by IowaGuy, Sep 16, 2011.

  1. IowaGuy

    IowaGuy Hunter-Gatherer

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2011
    Messages:
    660
    Likes Received:
    2
    The recent threads discussing the Book of Thomas and Revelations has me thinking about "revealed" texts and "holy" scripture.

    How does one in the Abrahamic faiths distinguish from the many texts? Holy Bible, Book of Thomas, miscellaneous apocrypha, Book of Mormon, Quran, Bahai scriptures, etc.

    Why are some of these considered "holy" (and taken VERY literally by some followers), yet others are dismissed as not a Revealed source?

    How can we know, 2,000 years after many ancient scriptures were written (or Revealed), which are truly God's word (or "inspired" by God) and which were simply the creation of a human (which my Southern Baptist family would argue is the case with the Book of Mormon or Bahai scripture).

    Why do modern Christians place so much disproportionate weight on the bible, and therefore on the decision-making process a couple thousand years ago of the Jews (OT) and Catholics (NT) when they decided which works to include in the respective canons?

    What evidence exists that the bible or Quran is any more "Revealed" or "inspired by God" than the writings of Baha'u'llah or Joseph Smith?
     
  2. ciel_perdy

    ciel_perdy New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2011
    Messages:
    62
    Likes Received:
    0
    I think for me what matters, whether it's OT, NT, Qu'ran, Book of Mormon, Budhist or whatever, what one needs to look for is truth. Each religion and each book contains it. I believe we should be trying to build upon the truth we know, and as such should always be open to more truth.

    I don't go in for churchianity as my friends and I like to call institutional christianity. Religion to me is completely opposite to the Kingdom of Heaven, and as such I don't feel too qualified to discuss religious issues e.g. respective cannons etc.

    I would say that any book that has truth in it, that can help you to live more of a life of love towards others, truth that will show you how to change for the good, would surely be a revealed and inspired by God (whether the writer ever knew it or not).

    There is one fantastic test (for the scientific people out there) that one can do to find out what is revealed or inspired by God and what is just man's limited opinion. Jesus said, ''IF you want to find out whether what I say comes from God, or whether it's my own doctrine, just do it''. I have personally have found these words to be amazing in my spiritual walk. It's so easy to rationalize away following his teachings or even other truths that we may read in other books, all on the premise that they ''might not actually be Jesus' or whoever's real words'', that, ''what if it was just a mans thoughts, and not truth?'', etc. Well, best way to find out is to try it. Either it works or it doesn't, either it's from God or it isn't. And the best way to discover it is to obey.

    Last thought, as far as revelation in terms of prophecy, there is a lot of cohesive similarities in many world religions in terms of what is to come.
     
  3. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2005
    Messages:
    21,270
    Likes Received:
    1,689
    While I like the bible as major source.... I think we can find divinely inspired text in some movies, tv shows, cartoons, children's books... the only begotten is continously begottten.
     
  4. ciel_perdy

    ciel_perdy New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2011
    Messages:
    62
    Likes Received:
    0
    Very true. Truth, light, words that point us to love and lessons to be learn't can be found anywhere. Even the drunk who shout's ''shit happens'' is speaking truth!
     
  5. arthra

    arthra Baha'i

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2003
    Messages:
    3,623
    Likes Received:
    112
    How does one in the Abrahamic faiths distinguish from the many texts? Holy Bible, Book of Thomas, miscellaneous apocrypha, Book of Mormon, Quran, Bahai scriptures, etc.

    Why are some of these considered "holy" (and taken VERY literally by some followers), yet others are dismissed as not a Revealed source?


    Well this is a good question.. For Baha'is it has to do with what we can authenticate as being revealed..

    So we know that in the case of Qur'an the revelations through Prophet Muhammad that revelations were memorized by companions and set down by scribes.. Reciting these revelations was repeated during the lifetime of the Prophet and when the Qur'an was standardized at least in terms of the order of the Suras and so on even Ali ibn abu Talib acknowledged this.. Ali had been with Muhammad from the inception.

    In the case of the Bab and Baha'u'llah we have the original documents extant from the Their revelations in the original language(s). As Baha'is we also have what we call "pilgrim notes"..they are notes taken by people on pilgrimage to the Holy Land..while some of them are interesting to us they are not given much weight compared with authenticated writings.

    The Bible while we Baha'is accept it as inspired and containing revealed truths do not feel it is as authentic since much of it was passed down verbally over some years before it was committed to writing and then today scholars tell us there were likely errors in transmission...

    As to Joseph Smith we Baha'is do not acknowledge him as a prophet... perhaps a seer though.. According to him the angel Moroni returned the Golden Tablets to heaven so they don't have the original documents.

    There are also many traditions associated with the major religions that acknowledge they are hear say and passed down over time.. these may be of interest to some but are not necessarily authentic.
     
  6. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2003
    Messages:
    10,556
    Likes Received:
    1,542
    Actually, what you're talking about is personal inspiration, not divine revelation.

    God bless,

    Thomas
     
  7. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2007
    Messages:
    3,808
    Likes Received:
    61
    IG,

    I think all of the great books -- the Bible, the Hindu Vedas, the Buddhist sutras, etc. -- have some divine inspiration in them. They also have had some mistakes which have creeped into them over the centuries. The trick is to figure out which parts are divine and which parts are mistakes. The best way to do this is to compare them to each other and see where they all agree. All of these books have a lot more in common than most people think.
     
  8. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2005
    Messages:
    21,270
    Likes Received:
    1,689
    Seriously?

    So when was the last divine revelation?

    You think there aren't any producers, directors or writers that have taken what they have heard from within and put it into modern media?
     
  9. radarmark

    radarmark Quaker-in-the-Making

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2011
    Messages:
    3,212
    Likes Received:
    2
    I experience Revelation all the time (Franz Rosenzweig (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy) or any other reference to "Star of Redemption"). The problem as I (and Rosenzweig) see it is that historicizing Relevation (fixing it is time) short-shrifts G!d's ability to communicate.

    No, the Divine reveals itself to us every day in every way.

    Pax et amore viomnia vincunt.
     
  10. IowaGuy

    IowaGuy Hunter-Gatherer

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2011
    Messages:
    660
    Likes Received:
    2
    How do we modern humans know the difference when reading ancient texts? How would we know which of the following were written via personal inspiration or divine revelation:

    Book of Revelations
    Book of Thomas
    Quran
    Baha'u'llah "revelations"
    Book of Mormon

    If they all claim to be divine revelation, are they?
     
  11. IowaGuy

    IowaGuy Hunter-Gatherer

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2011
    Messages:
    660
    Likes Received:
    2
    I agree that most ancient "holy" texts contain truths. While there are many similarities between ancient texts, there are also some major differences and contradictions.

    For instance, buddhist writings state there are no supernatural deities; whereas the bible states there is a "God" that is all-powerful & all-knowing. Which one of these 2 statements is true?

    Do you give more weight to the teachings of certain "holy" books over others? If so, why?
     
  12. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2005
    Messages:
    21,270
    Likes Received:
    1,689
    but not the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth...
    I'd suppose it would depend on your definitions of supernatural, deities, and G!d.
    yes
    because I've spent time with them. Most of my lack of understanding of other things comes from ignorance.

    The more I learn, I find what I don't know to become ever expanding....

    I long for those teen years when I knew everything....
     
  13. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2003
    Messages:
    10,556
    Likes Received:
    1,542
    Yes, seriously.

    You might have your own definition of 'revelation', but for Christianity, that's the meaning of the term, for the sake of precision.

    A 'Divine Revelation' is the communication of truth to a rational creature via means which are beyond the ordinary course of nature. The essence of Revelation lies in the fact that it is the direct speech of God to man.

    God does not require 'movies, tv shows, cartoons, children's books' to make His will known to man, and if He did, He would not be a God worth bothering with. What you're talking about, in that instance, is an indirect inspiration or insight, triggered by something outside of yourself ... I've had a few of those myself, and some can quiet literally 'rock your world'.

    I have no idea ... it's not a topic I pursue.

    Undoubtedly, but the voice within is not divine revelation.

    If God wants something known, He makes it known; if he doesn't, it stays unknown ... He is not dependent upon the entertainment industry to get His messaging across, and as someone who works in the media, I wouldn't trust them myself, either.

    (Actually, when people start talking about receiving messages from tv shows, the radio, etc, you're invariably looking at some order of mental illness.)

    God bless,

    Thomas
     
  14. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2003
    Messages:
    10,556
    Likes Received:
    1,542
    I would say that's more personal affirmation.

    God bless,

    Thomas
     
  15. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2003
    Messages:
    10,556
    Likes Received:
    1,542
    That's what we believe.

    Well the similarities are usually because man is the same everywhere. The 'distinctions' are particular to the Revelation, if indeed the text is authentically a Revealed text ... so comparing texts to see where they all agree is a fallacy ... all you're doing is cancelling out what is unique, insightful and sublime, and all you're left with is the mundane.

    Most of the subjects of such texts — Christ, Buddha, and so on, would be no more than thoroughly decent blokes, with some wacky ideas ...

    God bless

    Thomas
     
  16. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2005
    Messages:
    21,270
    Likes Received:
    1,689
    hmmmm.....I would say then that we've got 66 books (the then version of the latest media available) that we might as well toss in the garbage if what you say is true.....but
    It appears you beat me to it.
    I wasn't saying I get divine revelations or messages from books, tv shows, cartoons or the radio, but that there could easily be occurences where the writers, producers and/or directors have tried to put out a story (like the book of Jonah) which contains some truth to be deciphered by the reader....
     
  17. IowaGuy

    IowaGuy Hunter-Gatherer

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2011
    Messages:
    660
    Likes Received:
    2
    And how does one determine this? Book of Revelations compared to Book of Mormon, for example...
     
  18. bob x

    bob x New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2003
    Messages:
    2,618
    Likes Received:
    0
    And so have I. Some get these inspirations more intensely than others; in my case a blazing circle of light would take over my vision, and a commanding voice would speak enigmatic words to me; I do not believe that this was very different in kind from Paul's experience. You think that certain Mideastern authors received inspirations which were different not just in intensity, but different in kind, from what other humans get. Why, exactly, would it make sense for God to single out just a handful of people for such communications?
    Exactly. You think the Christian message is true, but God hasn't shown me any such thing; instead, according to you, he has left the conveyance of that message to intermediaries, whom I have strong reasons to distrust, and no reason to think superior in understanding to any other humans.
     
  19. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2003
    Messages:
    10,556
    Likes Received:
    1,542
    I think art tries to convey some 'truth' to their audience (I distinguish here between 'art' and 'entertainment'), but I doubt the artist would, for the most part, claim any other inspiration than his or her own.

    How would you distinguish between a divine revelation, and personal inspiration?

    Don't get me wrong, I get inspired often, and profoundly, and I thank the Holy Spirit when it happens, as its source. I suppose I draw a distinction between divine revelation — something made known to man that man could not know by his own intellectual lights (such as the Blessed Trinity) — and inspiration, when I discover something new to me, but which is not beyond the realms of intellectual capability, and probably not news to a lot of other people.

    For that reason I discount art as revelation — I cannot comprehend how a deaf composer can write Beethoven 9th, but it's not beyond the capacity of the human so to do.

    The emphasis in Christian metaphysics is on 'revelation' as something revealed to man which is beyond his ken ... that's the distinction I draw, but as I think I've mentioned before, it's an area wide open for theological development in the light of modern understandings.

    I have said before, I distinctly remember a TV programme in which a scientist was explaining that the heavy atoms were created in stellar furnaces, and those atoms in us (carbon, for one) can only be made in stars. "We really are," he said, "made of thw stuff that stars are made of".

    It was one of those moments when, for me, the earth tips on its axis — I knew this already, but somehow, in that moment, the knowing penetrated somewhere else in my being — a moment of pure bliss — but was that divine inspiration? I would not classify it so.

    Same with theology — sometimes I've realised amazing stuff, but ...

    Thomas
     
  20. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2003
    Messages:
    10,556
    Likes Received:
    1,542
    There's not a science, that's the point. There's not a litmus test of authentic revelation. So you have to look at the text, listen to the commentary, and make a call from there.

    It does not mean the text is inauthentic if it does not speak to you. I've read Buddhist texts, and I have and can say nothing against them, but they don't talk to me as Christian texts do ... same for Sufi texts.

    God bless,

    Thomas
     

Share This Page