I’m afraid I will not be able to dedicate as much time as I would like to discussion. I have familial things I need to attend and a busy season coming up for outdoor activities. I have deeply enjoyed our conversations and will pop in when time allows. The atmosphere here is much more pleasant than on some of the free boards.
In response to your comments and questions over the weekend:
Michel S. - I started attending with my father who was not at all religious during my formative years, but when my mother suffered two strokes in one night, he went seeking answers. He found a church he thought was non-denominational, but it turned out to be Assemblies of God. He took me one Sunday when I was 9 or 10 and I continued going because I liked the music. I attended both his and my mother’s churches according to my mood. When I felt quiet and peaceful, I went with mom. When I wanted to dance and sing, I went with dad. Ultimately, I left the AoG church when I was 16 because I didn’t believe God wanted me broken and weeping every Sunday, feeling as though I was damned. It did not mesh and there did not seem much room for inquiry.
BTW, I have enjoyed our conversations very much.
Occam - No Sir, I am not constitutionally incapable of understanding what paragraphs are. I do tend to get caught up in the content and context of my compositions and am often distracted by my surroundings, which are frequently quite busy. For these reasons, I do not always put the greatest emphasis on format. Again, I apologize.
As Moderator, I am certain you read numerous posts. My ramblings must put an unnecessary strain on your eyes. I assure you, it is not my desire to frustrate you. I will keep further posts as brief as possible and will pay more attention to the “Enter” key. A thousand pardons for my negligence.
Affluenza - Thank you for noticing my failed, but earnest attempt to be more readable.
ExMachina - It says in the Bible that 500 witnessed His resurrection. Hundreds witnessed the miracle of the loaves and fishes. He was at a wedding party when He turned water to wine. The accounts were taken within the lifetimes of those who traveled with Jesus. Keep in mind that these were grown men when they started following Him. That their accounts were taken as close to those encounters as they took place is quite remarkable. Much of the New Testament is not really testimony, so much as letters between the apostles and the churches in various areas, giving them counsel and encouragement. It was a difficult time for the Christian church because there was so much political persecution.
I am not a Biblical scholar. I follow the point you are making about just one guy writing things down and saying hundreds witnessed the miracles. The New Testament was written in different times by different authors. It is an anthology. The earliest of its writings were being composed around 50 AD. The year of Jesus’ death is between 34 and 36 AD. Jesus was still alive when John the Baptist was executed for his criticism of the marriage of Herod and Herodias. Their marriage took place in 34 AD. So, now we have a better comparison of the passage of time. It was a mere 16 years, or so, between the death of Jesus and the earliest texts of the New Testament. The latest texts were added mid second century. Oral tradition was prevalent in that day and age and the spreading of the gospel began before the texts were written. I do not know if this answers any questions, but I hope it helps.
Thank you for your compliment. I have also crossed blades with fundies. I have family who are stereo-typical fundies. They follow only what the Bible says and do not consider history, context, or audience. Where scripture falls in the grand scheme of things and how it pertains to us are not even factors for them, so I understand the frustration. Fortunately, my pseudo adopted mother in law is a Christian, who also happens to have degrees in chemistry and psychology. She was a chemist for years and has a much greater understanding of science than I and we enjoy weekly discussions about Christianity, science, music, books, etc.
Equal Opportunity Curmudgeon - Luke was not one of the original 12. Agreed. He was a physician and likely well educated, based upon his writing style and structure. He wrote between 59 and 70 AD, and the Gospel was addressed to a man named Theophilus. The purpose of Luke’s gospel was to present the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, from a historical and chronological perspective. It is, in essence, a biography - like what one might find in a history book. It is as reliable as any written testimony/history/book published after the death of any historical individual. Sure, we can question the testimonies, but then we need to consider recalling every history book and text not written within the lifetime, or shortly thereafter, by someone who was a constant companion to the figure in question.
To All - I want to thank everyone who took the time to forage through my poorly composed posts. I apologize for making them difficult to read and appreciate your efforts and input. This forum has done well in confirming that questions and inquiries are powerful tools. I have discovered answers to questions I have carried for nearly 20 years. One must seek to find. Thank you.
You have been so responsive and polite. The atmosphere here, as I stated before, is much more conversational and not at all as insulting as on some other boards. I will read when I have time, and post as I am able. Best wishes to you all.