(Closed) And this is why I have an issue

posted 10 years ago in The Lounge
Post # 47
Member
101 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

@Dollygold: The Vatican and that Catholic Church have been around for close to two thousand years in a direct chain-of-command from Jesus himself (this is an objective historical fact, by the way; you don’t have to believe it means anything about God or the universe, but it remains a cold hard fact). If you honestly believe that the Pope changed his mind about condoms because of “backlash,” you are mistaken, and offensive – even though I’m not sure you mean to be. People really don’t understand how the Catholic Church works because it’s organized differently from every other religion I know. 

The Pope is a man of God who truly believes that he needs to find the right answers for his Catholic flock based on this church’s interpretation of Jesus’ life. He would be a heretic and failing his duty if he based his decisions on public opinion. I know a lot of people believe a lot of “conspiracy theories” about the Catholic Church, but just know that if you do, you’re out on a really shaky limb. I believe that the Pope has no ulterior motives; I don’t believe in conspiracy theories.   

The Catholic Church is the first to admit that yes, it “changes its mind” because it is always studying the way the life of Jesus interacts with modern life. It changes slowly, because they want to be careful. For some people it doesn’t move fast enough, so they choose other denominations. For others, that feels just right, so we choose to be Catholic. The Pope has lots of well-trained scholars who have devoted their lives to studying the intersection of the life of Jesus and modern life; that’s what goes on in the Vatican. They are honest that they haven’t finished examining some issues, like what to do with frozen fetuses. There is no answer yet. They are working on it. I find that care and honesty in line with my beliefs, but it’s not right for everyone. 

The Pope does not think that condoms are right for Catholics to use. It comes from a philosophy called the Theology of the Body. However, as the Pope stated, condoms can be a first step on the path towards that belief system. It took a long time, and a lot of scholarly research and debate, to reach this conclusion. But it was not because of “backlash.”

I just think a lot of people don’t understand how Catholicism works, which in turn I understand, because it’s very dissimilar from most every other religion like that. 

By the way, the Dalai Lama doesn’t believe that Buddhists should use any form of birth control, is against homosexuality for Buddhists, and also says that couples can’t even use hands or mouths during intercourse. I don’t often hear people in America screaming about how horrible he is or how much they hate Buddhists. Yet somehow it’s all right to do to Catholics.

Another well-respected person who was against all forms of birth control? Gandhi. Look it up. He made some very powerful statements about it. I’ve never heard anybody with the guts to say that Gandhi was a big jerk. Have you? No. This is an unfair double-standard against Catholics, and that is called bigotry.   

 

Post # 48
Member
206 posts
Helper bee

View original reply
@Lapeaudesoie: Clearly I have struck a chord with you in more than one post now. My apologies for that.

I’m not looking for a lesson in theology or to be convinced that absolutely anything to do with the bible is “cold hard fact”, I am responding to being indirectly called ignorant. You are right, I don’t know why the Pope changed his statement regarding condoms… but he did. Plain and simple. And that is all that I am saying, I never claimed more.

You can be as slow as you want making your decisions, however, proclaiming that condoms are not a viable option in a continent ravaged by the devastating effects of HIV/AIDS is certainly a statement that would discredit ANYONE in my mind. It doesn’t require years of religiously funded research to figure out that condoms are the most practical option to saving millions of lives in that situation. It’s common sense.

Chill out with throwing the word “bigot” around. Pretty tall accusation if you ask me. This thread has nothing to do with other religions and has gotten totally off-topic. Let me pull this full circle though… I agree with the OP.

 

Post # 49
Member
101 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

@Dollygold: Honey, I’m not Bible-thumper. I’m not trying to convince you that anything in the Bible is cold, hard fact. This is history – the books I’m referencing is are history books. I think you should read a little more carefully. If you don’t like my posts and don’t want to read them, then don’t respond. 

The fact that Jesus existed as a human being? That’s historical fact. Go to any university and ask a history professor. The fact that Jesus founded what’s now the Catholic Church. That’s historical fact. Again, you don’t have to believe he was anybody special, or that the church he founded is worth a hoot, but that he was here and made an institution just is what it is. So don’t accuse me of trying to make you believe anything in the Bible is true. I’m not that evangelical.

You did, in fact, attribute the Vatican’s change to “backlash.” That’s what I was addressing. 

I was making a point of comparison between the Catholic Church and other religions that have the same beliefs about marriage and birth control. I believe that comparing and contrasting is actually on-topic, a common form of rhetoric, actually.  

And you should get a lesson on theology if you’re going to go attacking a religion. Before you talk about somebody’s belief structure and judge it, you should know what you’re talking about. That is the responsible and respectful thing to do.

Post # 50
Member
1480 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: December 2010

View original reply
@Lapeaudesoie: “The fact that Jesus existed as a human being? That’s historical fact. Go to any university and ask a history professor. The fact that Jesus founded what’s now the Catholic Church. That’s historical fact.”

Uh… no it’s not. And if you knew anything about history, you would know that until quite recently, very little of human history can be pinned down as a “cold hard fact.” And no, not every historian agrees about anything to do with Jesus. Here are just a few opinions from scholars:

White, L. Michael. From Jesus to Christianity. HarperCollins, 2004, pp. 3–4: “This is one of the problems with the story. We have no writings from the days of Jesus himself. Jesus never wrote anything, nor do we have any contemporary accounts of his life or death. There are no court records, official diaries, or newspaper accounts that might provide firsthand information. Nor are there any eyewitnesses whose reports were preserved unvarnished. Even though they may contain earlier sources or oral traditions, all the Gospels come from later times. Discerning which material is early and which is late becomes an important task. In fact, the earliest writings that survive are the genuine letters of Paul. They were written some twenty to thirty years after the death of Jesus. Yet Paul was not a follower of Jesus during his lifetime; nor does he ever claim to have seen Jesus during his ministry.”

THE POLITICS OF CHRISTIANITY: A TALK WITH ELAINE PAGELS The problem I have with all these versions of the so called “historical Jesus” is that they each choose certain early sources as their central evidence, and each presents a part of the picture. My own problem with this, as a historian, is that none of the historical evidence actually goes back as far as Jesus—so these various speculations are that, and nothing more.

Ehrman, Bart. Jesus Interrupted p. 148 “…if Jesus lived and died in the first century (death around 30CE), what do the Greek and Roman sources from his own day through the end of the century (say, the year 100) have to say about him? The answer is breathtaking. They have absolutely nothing to say about him. He is never discussed, challenged, attacked, maligned, or talked about in any way in any surviving pagan source of the period. There are no birth records, accounts of his trial and death, reflections on his significance, or disputes about his teachings. In fact, his name is never mentioned once in any pagan source. And we have a lot of Greek and Roman sources from the period: religious scholars, historians, philosophers, poets, natural scientists; we have thousands of private letters; we have inscriptions placed on buildings in public places. In no first-century Greek or Roman (pagan) source is Jesus mentioned.”

 

 

Post # 51
Member
101 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

View original reply
@jayce: You’re right about human history: saying “cold, hard fact” was a little bit of a shortcut for the purposes of a WeddingBee board to quickly differentiate myself from someone who was a real literalist about the Bible. In a forum like this, I didn’t want to get into epistemology and go on and on and did overgeneralize. In an academic sense or setting, I would not use that phrase. I definitely approve of your edit, though you didn’t have to say “if you knew anything about history…” That’s a bit of snark. 

The scholars you quoted are respected scholars and I don’t discount their research even if I’m not sure about their conclusions. The general consensus of historians, past and present, Christian as well as fully removed from theistic beliefs, is that Jesus was – historically – a pretty inconsequential citizen for which there is, understandably, reasonably, and believably, a small but very present and acceptable nugget of information. There is information about him – just as much as you might expect for someone who, in his time, wasn’t very important. Ehrman can contest that evidence, but there are more ancient history professors and scholars worldwide who support it by a long shot. 

Think of it this way: if you want to Oxford and said, “I would like to study the life of Jesus of Nazareth and poke around in the Middle East,” they might just give you a grant. If you went there and said, “I would like to study unicorns and go digging for their bones,” you’d be run off the grounds. Why? Because there are tons of respected scholars at a place like Oxford who support the idea of an historical Jesus because of their own work. They would not, of course, in the case of the unicorn, participate in a wild goose-chase just to prove something that they know isn’t really truly isn’t real. Almost all bodies of  academics and research institutions believe that Jesus of Nazareth was a real historical figure. 

Also, by the standards of research as I know them in my own academic field, it’s extremely different to find no evidence for something and to find evidence against the existence something. The former is does not nearly match the value of the proof presented by the latter. 

I really appreciate your careful approach; it’s clear that you have a background in research. 

Post # 52
Member
1309 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: December 2011

To take a break from the immense drama of the thread, which I think I contributed to – sorry 🙁 – jayce brings up interesting points about history. I am actually working on a book (proud dork here) that looks at the role of history as field of study in different cultures and how we “use” history for various purposes (social cohesion, interpreting the past and forecasting the future etc).

Jayce is absolutely correct that there are no pagan records of Jesus. The same was true, until the 20th century, about Pontius Pilate. And that was an especially damning omission because this is a Roman governor we’re talking about here! The Romans loved their records and it is distinctly weird that Pilate isn’t mentioned anywhere except in some later Jewish sources like Josephus which are highly suspect (Josephus does mention Jesus but the controversy is quite intense about the historicity of that passage too).

It was really quite remarkable that a pious Christian scribbler didn’t bother to forge a document concerning Pilate as they had a habit of doing. In any case, Pilate’s historical existence was established in dramatic fashion in the sixties when a block of limestone bearing his name was discovered in Ceasarea. The inscription correctly referred to him as a prefect, while Christian tradition had incorrectly assigned him the title procurator of Judea (only later governors were called procurator).

The whole episode points up the fact that history is a work in progress. Even with modern historians there are problems. If you look at the literature on the reliability of eyewitness testimony, it’s quite disheartening. Two different people can view the same event (whether it be a murder or a speech or a sunrise) and see very different things happening. Human memory is not a perfect recording device and our memories of events begin to decay almost immediately. Historians have to rely on eyewitness testimony, or recordings of eyewtiness testimony, or copies of copies of copies of descriptions of eyewtiness testimony, so you see where pretty big problems arise when doing history.

I think the main argument in favor of Jesus existing inside time and space is that it’s rather difficult to invent somebody like that out of wholecloth. Now you can’t say the same thing about him rising from the dead, but the fact that Christianity spread among Hellenized peoples indicates that they likely thought a good portion of it was historically credible. It is hard to invent a Roman governor, hard to invent the apostles, and so on and so forth.

When it comes down to it, we have about as much evidence for the existence of Jesus as we do for Socrates. Even if neither existed, the words and ideas attributed to them are inherently valuable. Of course as a Christian I think Jesus actually occupied time and space but that is neither here nor there. There is a really great book by Paul Veyne called “Did the Greeks Believe in Their Myths? An Essay on the Constitutive Imagination” which makes clever points too.

Wow, did anybody actually read this post? I am such a weirdo. Well since I spent half an hour typing it out I’m going to press submit 😉

Post # 53
Member
101 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

View original reply
@Magdalena: Read it raptly! Excellent points. I do similar work in looking at the modes, definitions, and uses of the concept of literacy and across cultures, so I find this interesting to no end. 

Ultimately, I think this actually does have to do with the OP. It doesn’t, of course, in the sense of wedding dresses or tabletop bouquets, but it was a loaded topic to begin with. It is very easy to look at any religion from afar and recoil in horror at what seems completely illogical; the fact is that it takes knowledge to discern how believers actually arrived at their position. 

The topic ‘And this is why I have an issue’ is closed to new replies.

Find Amazing Vendors