Who is "The Adversary" and is it a real entity?

Discussion in 'Abrahamic Religions' started by Skeptic44, Aug 27, 2003.

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  1. Skeptic44

    Skeptic44 New Member

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    One of the debates in Christianity is whether there is actually a being called "Satan" - or "The Adversary" - or is it a generic term for evil in the world.

    a verse on point is:

    Luke 22:1
    And the feast of the unleavened food was coming nigh, that is called Passover,

    Luke 22:2
    and the chief priests and the scribes were seeking how they may take him up, for they were afraid of the people.

    Luke 22:3

    >> And the Adversary entered into Judas, who is surnamed Iscariot, being of the number of the twelve,

    Luke 22:4
    and he, having gone away, spake with the chief priests and the magistrates, how he might deliver him up to them,

    Luke 22:5
    and they rejoiced, and covenanted to give him money,
    ______________________-

    So, before Judas agreed to betray Jesus...

    did a supernatural being take possession of him and force him to act in this way?

    Or am I misreading this?
     
  2. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Staff Member

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    Interesting point. It's also a point of note that if it was requierd that Jesus be crucified, then would there really need to be an adversary to YHWH?

    Or is Judas betraying Jesus really a big trick that YHWH played on "the adversary", to ensure "the adversary" was defeated??

    I think the first clear reference to "the adversary" was in the Book of Job - as a prosecutor of Man, rather than an opposer of God. And, so far as I can tell, the Book of Job is never intended to be a literal historical work either, but instead a parable.
     
  3. Skeptic44

    Skeptic44 New Member

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    This question came up in a discussion of Mel Gibson's "The Passion," described as a serious attempt to put the Gospel account on film.

    So, it seems to be that the Devil (Satan) has a speaking role and would appear as.... what? (This is Young's Literal from biola's unbound bible)


    Luke 4:1
    And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, turned back from the Jordan, and was brought in the Spirit to the wilderness, forty days being tempted by the Devil, and he did not eat anything in those days, and they having been ended, he afterward hungered,

    Luke 4:3

    >> the Devil said to him, 'If Son thou art of God, speak to this stone that it may become bread.'

    Luke 4:4
    And Jesus answered him, saying, 'It hath been written, that, not on bread only shall man live, but on every saying of God.'

    Luke 4:5
    And the Devil having brought him up to an high mountain, shewed to him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time,

    Luke 4:6
    and the Devil said to him, 'To thee I will give all this authority, and their glory, because to me it hath been delivered, and to whomsoever I will, I do give it;

    Luke 4:7
    thou, then, if thou mayest bow before me -- all shall be thine.'

    Luke 4:8
    And Jesus answering him said, 'Get thee behind me, Adversary, for it hath been written, Thou shalt bow before the Lord thy God, and Him only thou shalt serve.'

    Luke 4:9
    And he brought him to Jerusalem, and set him on the pinnacle of the temple, and

    >> the Devil said to Jesus, 'If the Son thou art of God, cast thyself down hence, for it hath been written -- To His messengers He will give charge concerning thee, to guard over thee, and -- On hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou mayest dash against a stone thy foot.'

    Luke 4:12
    And Jesus answering said to him -- 'It hath been said, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.'

    Luke 4:13
    And having ended all temptation, the Devil departed from him till a convenient season.

    Luke 4:14
    And Jesus turned back in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and a fame went forth through all the region round about concerning him,
     
  4. gatherer

    gatherer New Member

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    I don't understand the debate. As you posted in the book of Luke, as well as in other books, Jesus was tempted, and spoken to, by a real entity, the devil. So it boils down to "is the bible factual or fantasy?" For if you are to believe the words of the bible, it answers your question. And if you are not to believe the words, it answers your question.. (well kind of) ;)
     
  5. Skeptic44

    Skeptic44 New Member

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    ______________

    I was more curious about....

    well, in Christian homes with small children, when the parents read these passages and the children ask, "Did Jesus really talk to Satan?", how do the parents answer?

    Personally, it took me a very long time before i caught on, and decided it was "okay" not to believe that Satan really exists. Because all the pressure from - well, almost everyone - never to acknowledge the possibility to children that anything in the Bible might not be literally true.
     
  6. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Staff Member

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    Sounds like you've been growing up in a pressured environment - which quite explains why you have developed fairly strong convictions.

    Always a little hard for myself to understand, as the UK is generally so moderate.
     
  7. Skeptic44

    Skeptic44 New Member

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    _______________-

    I've read what the Bible says.

    Thought I might be missing something, that there was another explanation that isn't obvious.

    Such as, Jesus wandering through desert for 40 days before he talks to Adversary, so it might be a heat delirium thing.

    To you, the answer might seem obvious. To someone who isn't familiar with...

    OK, let me think of an example.

    When the Hebrew God YHWH says, "You shall have no other gods before me," does that mean there are other gods?
     
  8. bananabrain

    bananabrain awkward squadnik

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    as in all translations...

    nope. unless you know biblical hebrew and a certain amount of context, it is very difficult to understand what a particular pasuk (verse) means, especially in isolation. the hebrew "LO YiHYeH-LeCHa ELoHIM AKHeRIM 'AL-PaNaY" translates literally as "there shall not be for you other gods upon My Face", where the phrase 'on My Face' is the bit translated as 'before Me', but for me implies something a bit closer to "don't dress something else up and call it G!D, because it ain't". which, if you like, tells us a lot more about *humans* than it ever does about the nature of the Divine. when the Torah and Tanach refers to things generally translated as "other gods", it *doesn't* mean that the "hebrew god" is one of many. G!D Is G!D Is One. the local 'gods', baal etc are regarded as fakes, or "ELILIM", approachable "god-lite" constructs that people find a lot easier to deal with than the Ultimate Reality.

    "BeNeI ELoHIM" are sometimes referred to - usually understood by traditional jews as "celestial beings" - as opposed to angels, which are a whole different thing altogether - covering, basically, anything else there is floating around which isn't a human or an angel. the idea being that the Divine Is infinite, indivisible, etc. however, it is generally understood as per the explanation of thinkers such as the RaMBa"M (maimonides) that the reason idolatry started was that people started worshipping things which were perceived to be intermediaries to the Divine out of a desire to take spiritual shortcuts, if you see what i mean, rather than doing the hard work of coping with the Infinite Divine, which can be pretty hard to conceptualise, let alone have an intimate relationship with, hence the need for spiritual intermediaries. in other words, it's about a laudable desire diverted towards an unworthy end. either way, they're *not*, repeat not a pantheon of rival gods. G!D, as far as we are concerned, doesn't have competition.

    finally, when the text of the Torah or Tenach commands "YOU" to do something, it's talking to *us*, the jews. it's our Law! there are only seven commandments that *all* humans are obliged to obey (the so-called "noachide laws") and if you're a normal, reasonable human being you are undoubtedly carrying them out anyway, like when you, during the course of your everyday life, refrain from murdering people and stealing stuff. and this particular commandment is one that is especially applicable to us. like muslims, we are not allowed to consider anything but G!D as being worthy of worship. when these statements get universally applied out of context all sorts of stupidity occurs.

    b'shalom

    bananabrain
     
  9. Skeptic44

    Skeptic44 New Member

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    _____________

    That's one opinion.

    And a different opinion is that the OT was composed of books written by men who were separated by centuries in time, and their idea of "God" or "Elohim" actually changed over time.

    At one time, in some books, Elohim was one God among many, and not even the most important one.

    So when the text refers to "celestial beings" - it means something quite different than the accepted "faith" explanation today.

    In the OT, there's a book about JOB,

    Job 1:1
    A man there hath been in the land of Uz -- Job his name -- and that man hath been perfect and upright -- both fearing God, and turning aside from evil.

    Job 1:3
    and his substance is seven thousand sheep, and three thousand camels, and five hundred pairs of oxen, and five hundred she-asses,
    _____________

    I don't know if owning 7,000 sheep and 3,000 camels impresses anyone today, but... the action switches to what I take to be a throne room, where the God YHWH has a conversation with his sons...
    ______________


    Job 1:6
    And the day is, that sons of God come in to station themselves by YHWH, and there doth come also the Adversary in their midst.

    Job 1:7
    And YHWH saith unto the Adversary, 'Whence comest thou?' And the Adversary answereth YHWH and saith, 'From going to and fro in the land, and from walking up and down on it.'

    Job 1:8
    And YHWH saith unto the Adversary, 'Hast thou set thy heart against My servant Job because there is none like him in the land, a man perfect and upright, fearing God, and turning aside from evil?'

    Job 1:9
    And the Adversary answereth YHWH and saith, 'For nought is Job fearing God?

    Job 1:10
    Hast not Thou made a hedge for him, and for his house, and for all that he hath -- round about?

    Job 1:11
    The work of his hands Thou hast blessed, and his substance hath spread in the land, and yet, put forth, I pray Thee, Thy hand, and strike against anything that he hath -- if not: to Thy face he doth bless Thee!'

    Job 1:12
    And YHWH saith unto the Adversary, 'Lo, all that he hath [is] in thy hand, only unto him put not forth thy hand.' And the Adversary goeth out from the presence of YHWH.
    ______________

    IMO, one of the most interesting parts of Bible research is discovering how the concepts changed over time.

    Translation is Young's Literal from Unbound Bible at Biola:
    www.biola.edu
    ____________________
    There are several options, including a Transliterated Hebrew:


    Job 1:6
    vyhy hyvm vyb'v bny h'lhym lhty&b jl-yhvh vybv' gm-hs+n btvkm.

    Job 1:6
    And the day is, that sons of God come in to station themselves by YHWH, and there doth come also the Adversary in their midst.

    Job 1:7
    vy'mr yhvh 'l-hs+n m'yn tb' vyjn hs+n 't-yhvh vy'mr msv+ b'r& vmhthlk bh.
    ___________________

    So, one of the words is translated into English as yhvh and another one is hyvm, and from this, we're supposed to draw the conclusion that the author actually had credible information about a conversation God had with the Adversary... so, my original question, what is The Adversary????

    My hunch, suspicion, off the cuff guess, is that there was a series of stories about YHWH and The Adversary, so that the people who read Job already knew who the characters were. And we only get a chapter from the middle.
     
  10. bananabrain

    bananabrain awkward squadnik

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    ahem....

    there's no need for you to try and patronise me or quote big chunks at me - references will do fine; i have the texts at hand. i know all about the documentary hypothesis, wellhausen et al. (and the unbound bible, which is a great site and one i use all the time) they certainly don't need *my* help. the opinions i am referring to are those held by many of the people coming at it from a *traditional* jewish perspective, in which Torah (as opposed to the OT) was given at sinai and remains unchanged to this day as far as we are concerned.

    i am simply pointing out that these are not opinions you are likely to have access to unless you live in the traditionally observant jewish community, as i do. the DH is a theory (in other words, an opinion) that originates in the academic categories derived from a priori greek philosophical thought - which is contemporaneous with but often predated by jewish religious thought. i'm just trying to give a perspective that will allow people to appreciate how this text is used by the people it was given to and continue to attempt to live by it to this day. and, if you'll pardon me, taking the approach of jumping straight into a translation like this and extrapolating without reference to context is rather like making assumptions about the family of an engine designer from reading a manual about an engine he designed. this just isn't how the text is designed to be read. it's not linear, it's not european and you're looking at *a translation of the lecture notes*, not hearing the lecture. now, it is entirely possible that you could use the cliff notes to speculate about the family life of charles dickens, but better to actually know the family and read, say, 'bleak house' in its socio-political (or, in this case, religious) context.

    anyway, the problematic verses you are talking about are naturally not unknown to the traditional commentators - but it is axiomatic to us that G!D Is One and that where you see references to 'bene elohim' it cannot possibly mean "sons of G!D"! biblical hebrew of whatever period simply *cannot* be read in the way you suggest without doing violence to both its context and its grammar - let alone its intent. the language itself contains many ways of referring to the Divine, both direct and indirect. i was thinking about this particular argument during morning prayers today and came across the following phrase from psalm 82:

    "ANI AMaRTI ELoHIM ATeM: UBNeI 'ELYON CuLCheM:
    ACHeN KeADaM TeMoTOuN: U'Cha'AKhaD HaSaRIM TiPoLOu:"

    usually translated something along the lines of:

    "I Said that you are like the celestial beings and like all higher beings, but you shall die like adam and fall like one of the princes".

    but what you are failing to understand is a set of three categories, where G!D Is at the top, humanity is at the bottom and there is an *intermediate* category inbetween of enlightened or 'higher' beings. this parallels the demarcation of mt. sinai in exodus ch.19 (and, if you agree with mary douglas, the subsequent threefold division in the sacrificial animals, but that's another argument) but the important thing about it is that the second category is one which humans can ascend to (as moses and aaron both do at sinai) but cannot be maintained without the appropriate level of spiritual development - which even the "princes" (ie those who find themselves by default in this elevated category) cannot always maintain. for example, adam was in this category by default, but he became mortal, with all its implications of work and suffering and pleasure.

    now *angels*, in jewish thought, are an *entirely separate category*, of which Ha-SaTaN, the "adversary", is one. they are not some kind of higher being, but a restricted, limited being, almost like a machine. they have no free will (or knees, or thumbs, or nadgers, incidentally) and can only carry out the job that they were assigned, which, in the case of ha-satan, is essentially to be the D.A.'s office, or DPP if you're a brit. you cannot be accused of anything you haven't actually done and you cannot be tricked - all that ha-satan can do is report upon the revelation of your inner nature through your behaviour.

    well, if you know anything about biblical hebrew, yes, of course! "yhvh" is a transliterated Divine Name using the letters Yod, Hei, Vav and Hei (also known as the 'Tetragrammaton') which is a Name that nobody is permitted to pronounce. "hyvm" is the word "HaYOM" - capital letters representing letters and small letters representing the vowels in this case which means "that day". job is a *prophetic* book, meaning that it was the result of writing down a prophetic revelation - traditional opinion is divided as to who actually was the prophet concerned and when it was written down, in fact, like many of the books in NaCh (the term signifying the parts of the TeNaCH, or hebrew bible, apart from the "pentateuch" or Torah). the thing is, you're not supposed to "draw a conclusion that the author actually had credible information" - the starting point is this very assumption, that this text was revealed by G!D to a prophet. it's a mytho-poetic text and you're treating it forensically, like an autopsy protocol or something. it's a bit like using a musical instrument for firewood, if you see what i mean.

    actually, the truest thing you've said so far is this:

    the book of job is the main attempt our tradition makes to approach the problem of theodicy (why horrid stuff happens to nice people) and, in the end all it does is give a worked-through illustrative (but not exhaustive) example. the characters are in fact rather incidental - traditional commentators even question whether there was an actual job (as opposed to, say, jacob or solomon) - the theological issue being raised is the important thing. it's not a prescriptive answer; it never tells you why nor, more importantly, does it refute job's right to question Divine justice. the "adversary" is a completely incidental construct. it's just not something we are obsessed by.

    now, of course, if you want to ignore traditional opinions and construct a straw man, you are free to do so, but don't try to make out that it's somehow more authoritative for being modern or academic, totally ripped out of its context or the fact that you know nothing about biblical hebrew. i'm sure a CD doesn't make a great deal of sense if you haven't got a CD player and will end up being used as a coaster.

    b'shalom

    bananabrain
     
  11. Skeptic44

    Skeptic44 New Member

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    ____________

    This certainly is the best answer I've ever received to this particular question. Bear with me for pulling out certain points... the sheer # of words in this tiny reply window is a bit baffling at times.

    I've seen the term "angels" described as less correct than "Messengers" - is that what you're talking about? These restricted, limited beings that have no free will and can only carry out the job they were assigned???

    Moving on, is it correct that there was a "rebellion" in heaven where 1/3 of the messengers followed some kind of a leader and were thrown out of heaven? Or is that a mis-reading? Or is it New Testament and not part of your tradition?

    What about exorcism and possession? The "unclean spirits" (pneumas) that Jesus encountered? Are they only doing a job they've been assigned?
    __________

    By the way, because this is a message board, I included the link to biola as a courtesy to people who might read this without posting. Didn't mean to talk down to you. Just adding a few hints for the others.
     
  12. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Staff Member

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    I've taken the liberty of taking the question about angels as a quote to a new thread about the subject - this is an area that may be far better addressed in its own specific topic:

    Angels
     
  13. bananabrain

    bananabrain awkward squadnik

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    angelololology

    exactly. it is said that beside every blade of grass stands an angel whispering "grow, grow" (midrash berei**** rabbah 10:6) - the word usually translated as "angel" in english is MaLaCh, which usually means "messenger" or "that which is sent". angels are normally considered to be *less* than human because of their lack of free-will - they are unable to do anything but carry out their orders, whereas humans can always choose to disobey.

    i'm pretty sure that this source is chapter 12 of the book of revelations and, as such, is not a jewish source at all. jewishly, it wouldn't really make sense. there were a lot of quasi-jewish, gnostic and apocalyptic movements around in the first century, like the qumran sect (hence the battle between "the sons of light" and the "sons of darkness") but the closest we have in our own tradition at least as far as i'm aware is stuff about the "birth pangs of the messiah" and the war of gog and magog - and messianic stuff is by no means cut and dried, nor are we really supposed to speculate about it. either way, it doesn't include a rebellion of angels against the Divine. only humans are considered to have this capacity.

    well, we definitely have stuff to do with exorcism and possession, especially in the chasidic world, usually by a spirit known as a "dybbuk" (see the famous yiddish play of the same name, an earlier precursor to "the exorcist") which would usually be exorcised by a wonder-working rebbe (chasidic rabbi) using his knowledge of the mystical tradition. there are also a lot of "demons" and "evil spirits" of various sorts, like lilith, floating around the place. since everything - including evil - is created by G!D, it therefore follows that either this is their job (don't ask me why, that's one of the things about ineffability, which brings us back to the issue the book of job is trying to address) or that somehow these are some kind of souls without bodies (which explains ghosts and possessions) which must be directly encouraged to move on to their next gilgul or transmigration, where they can do teshuvah (ie atone) for their behaviour. however, this stuff is pretty far out of the mainstream these days, although it was pretty common 2000 years ago and by all accounts jesus was considered a bit of a wonder-worker or "ba'al Shem tov" (master of Divine Names), which would make this very much his bailiwick. either way it's nothing for jews to get especially excited about IMO.

    b'shalom

    bananabrain
     
  14. Skeptic44

    Skeptic44 New Member

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    _______________

    I had an e-mail from Brian asking me not to describe Christianity as a con game or Jesus as a fraud any more.

    But I don't see how, in good conscience, I can respond to your post without using my brain.

    This stuff about "evil spirits like lility" floating around the place, and souls without bodies which must be encouraged to move on...

    ...it never worries you that someone might be making this stuff up?

    The problem - the HUGE problem - is that "religion" in all its forms has the power to keep people from asking the right questions.
     
  15. bananabrain

    bananabrain awkward squadnik

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    heh

    in reference to this, you are entirely entitled to your opinion IMHO - likewise about judaism. brian, if this is the case, i have to say - any belief system worth espousing ought to be able to handle serious, intelligent questioning and scepticism. if it can't stand up to the questions posed, it has no business making claims on one's behaviour or one's belief. in other words, i'm a grownup and i don't get offended by people disagreeing with me! fortunately, in my belief system i am not obliged to believe that because someone disagrees with me, they are *necessarily* a bad person - although they may, of course, be. it's not a case of "anything goes". this sort of thing makes me smile. however, it is a bit less pleasant when people assume that because one believes in X or Y, one must necessarily be an imbecile. that's just as bad as believing that someone is going to hell for their beliefs - and it's rude, too, because you are essentially rolling into an integrated system and going "OK, what you believe in is a lie, what your ancestors believed in was all lies and you should all be ashamed of yourself for being so stupid". now, call me wishy-washy, but i think there are ways of making one's point without having to insult other people's intelligence or traditions. of course, there is a point where one has eventually to *conclude* that X or Y group are either deluded or ignorant, but one shouldn't start off with such an assumption - because it flies in the face of logic and rationalism in terms of a priori reasoning!

    er... that's kind of my point. where exactly do you get off implying that i'm not? i mean, i've been through the western education system - i have an undergraduate degree in critical theory and two postgraduate degress - and this still doesn't prevent me from believing stuff that you think is stupid. i don't take your refusal to countenance anything that isn't validated by the categories of western rationalism and science as evidence of you not thinking. it's just your axiomatic - dare i say dogmatic - starting point; unlike with the number of science PhDs i know who are nonetheless religiously observant and not so insistent that scientific evidence precludes the spiritual and agree with me that judaism and a lot of other religions are rigorous, tough-minded and intellectually challenging. so let's not circumscribe the argument in advance, shall we?

    it might be argued with my science hat on that in the same way that a decaying body gets recycled by the earth, conservation of energy might work the same way and, by extension, conservation of spiritual energy. but it doesn't especially bother me - but i certainly wouldn't expect science to validate it. that's not science's job. nor is it my job to shoehorn esoteric thinking about the ma'aseh bereisheet into the current scientific thinking about the "big bang" - although it's surprising how similar they are.

    not like that it doesn't. beliefs don't worry me nearly as much as human behaviour does. judaism is a behavioural code at its most elemental level - what, how, where and when are prescribed, but the why, the theological bits are largely reasoned out post hoc. suffice it to say, there are enough good systemic reasons to do the stuff you're supposed to let the theology take care of itself - plus because we're not a theology-first, behaviour-later religion, there is a certain amount of non-prescriptive theological pluralism that gives a lot of wiggle room, which we refer to as the "seventy faces of Torah". in other words, some people say we have to do A because of X, but some say we have to do A because of Y or Z - although everyone agrees we have to do A. does this make it a little clearer?

    absolutely, but judaism doesn't work like that - it's based on questions and argument. you just won't see the argument necessarily in the written Torah, unless it's something obvious like abraham arguing with G!D so sodom and gomorrah won't be destroyed. if you bring specific examples i can tell you how we approach them from inside the tradition, but blanket statements about how religious people are just unquestioning sheep really doesn't match up to the internal reality as i live it, where "arguments for the sake of heaven" are praised! come on - you can ask much tougher questions than this.

    b'shalom

    bananabrain
     
  16. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Staff Member

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    The issue there is that these forums aim to encourage respectful inter-faith dialogue. There are different ways to couch criticisms and objections. Repetitive statements that Jesus was a fraud is likely to be overtly offensive to Christians, hence why I made that particular request to Skeptic 44.

    I have no interest in protecting and favouring any particular faith on it's strengths and weaknesses - but instead intend to work within a general blanket of accomodation.

    By keeping to a simple ethic of mutual respect, that is precisely the sort of environment to foster any form of intelligent interfaith dialogue. And that is the particular aim of this forum.

    I'll be re-ordering the boards tomorrow, and will try and make clearer something of how to utilise the different areas to best effect and expression.
     
  17. Skeptic44

    Skeptic44 New Member

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    _____________________

    First, nothing in my statements were repetitive. I always attacked the subject from an original perspective and, guess what.... it came out to the same result.

    Chapter 5 of Acts - Peter takes the bodies of two members of his cult outside and buries them, three hours apart.

    I suggested that you couldn't ignore the possibility that something was wrong in this cult, a cult led by Peter, who told it's members "the end of all things is at hand".... but this is NOT - and should NOT be considered - as a lack of respect for the people in this discussion.

    Peter died ~65 AD. Surely I don't have to worry about offending HIM????

    But... since you raised the question.

    What if Jesus WAS a fraud?

    Who am I hurting by bringing up that possibility?

    Jesus has been dead for a long, long time. Roughly, 20 times as long as anyone here has been alive.

    There's an important issue at stake, a balance between (a) respect for a man who had conversations with invisible spirits in front of dozens of witnesses, and (b) the importance of recognizing a CON game as a CON game before we fall for it.

    Because.... the idea of a con game.... is that you FOOL the victims into thinking you're legitimate. "Matchstick Men" just opened, and as Nic Cage's character says, "I'm not a con MAN. I'm a con ARTIST."

    Some con men are artists. They take great pride in their cons. I could name a few - David Copperfield, David Blaine - who take their cons on television and get huge ratings.

    If a group of con "artists" pulled off a good one, there's no reason why we shouldn't sit back - two thousand years later - and admire how they did it. How they fooled so many for so long. It isn't disrespect - except for the small part about the two bodies Peter buried, and the question of how Peter knew God was going to kill Sapphira before it happened.

    Doesn't that make you THINK?
     
  18. Skeptic44

    Skeptic44 New Member

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    ________________

    Now, what I'm seeing here is a "religion" that has, as part of ( ),

    ... humanity - ie, human beings, including me - is the lowest level of beings.

    God is in a separate category, at the top.

    But there is also a category between humanity and (God), composed of enlightened or "higher' beings.

    And I am NOT to raise the possibility that this is a con game?

    IMO, this seems like the ONLY intelligent reply to what you posted.

    The idea that the men who wrote the OT, Torah, whatever the written source of these ideas, the men who wrote them...

    (and this is one possibility)

    were (a) writing stories ABOUT their idea of God, as a way of showing what the universe would be like IF they were right about God, but these stories should not be taken as a source of wisdom or anything else other than a story, and

    (b) after a "religion" was formed, using these stories as their sacred writings, the "word of God," it became a con game. That a great number of people are being fooled, and we can't get past a certain point because the "thought police" make a stink... I'm thinking of an evening talk that Hugh Ross gave. I made a point and Ross said, "If what you said is true, then everything I've said here tonight is wrong." And then I was not allowed to ask any more questions. Because they didn't want to hear it. They couldn't process the information. They had a ( ) that they were proud of and, even if it was wrong, they didn't want to admit they had been conned. At least, not right then and there.

    Possible? Worth talking about?

    My problem was, How can I write an intelligent response to your post without mentioning this possibility?
     
  19. Skeptic44

    Skeptic44 New Member

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    (Sorry, ran past time limit for editing)

    What is the alternative?

    How do I rationally discuss the possibility that creatures "above human" on the scale of divinity exist?

    What could I possibly say that would advance this conversation?

    I see ONLY one proper response.

    This is a "story" - a product of someone's imagination - and the only "bad" thing occurs when you attempt to elevate this story from "imagination" to "inspired Word of God."
     
  20. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Staff Member

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    The problem is that this is an forum dedicated to promoting inter-faith dialogue. There's a purposeful meaning to words such as "respect".

    There are respectful ways to communicate objections or criticisms - but your overtly referencing religious figures as "fraud" or "con" is not to be tolerated here.

    Thread closed.
     
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