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Today's poll. Do many American's have trouble thinking for themselves?(57 posts)

Today's poll. Do many American's have trouble thinking for themselves?Kristin
Apr 1, 2003 8:49 AM
And before you get in a huff, I count myself among the non-thinking masses. The post above about congress is a perfect example. When I read it, I thought, "Oh my GOD! This is terrible. What kind of country do we live in that so many crooks could be in office? Is America going to end tomorrow?"

But then I read the rebuttal (so kindly posted by Sacheson) and I realized that I was way to quick to rush to judgement. I simply believed what I read as if it were gospel--though the author is completely annonymous. Why is that? Questioning drivel like that should be a basic no-brainer. And I'm not alone in this. At least 2 other people bought into those statements, hook line and sinker. I see lots of evidence on this board that people primarily believe whatever they read/hear--unless an opposing opinion presents itself and derails the process of mindlessly accepting the statements of others.

I find myself identifying with a little snipit from the text found in the bible, "Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming."

I feel exactly like this so often. I'm just continuously swayed by the beliefs and opinions of others with nothing to anchor me, or give me a solid place to stand.

I supose the problem is that I don't know what I believe, and therefore am suseptable to be influenced by others. Only recently have I allowed myself to begin entertaining some real doubts. (And they are real doubts in that they were below the surface all along...I was simply ignoring them.) Let me tell you, there are "concerned Christians" coming from the woodwork...afraid for my soul. Afraid that I'll go to hell?!?!?! Why is doubting and questioning with a critical eye seen as such a dangerous thing? The opposite--mindlessling believing--is much more frightening in my opinion.

So do you think that (overall) American's are thinking less critically than our ancestors? Are we more inclinded to believe whatever they hear, than others around the world? What are the consequences? (negative and positive)
re: Today's poll. Do many American's have trouble thinking for themselves?Jon Billheimer
Apr 1, 2003 8:59 AM
I think human nature is pretty universal. We all form our opinions on the basis of the information that is consistently fed to us, and we are all social animals, so we yield by and large to social pressures to conform.

I don't think previous generations were any different or that the American people are any more or less gullible than anyone else. On the positive side, actually more information from a variety of points of view is available now probably than at any other time or place in history, so there is probably a greater plurality of opinion in America today than in past decades.
Let me check with Miss M, I'll get back to you on this. ;-) nmMB1
Apr 1, 2003 9:06 AM
having a foundation helpsDougSloan
Apr 1, 2003 9:08 AM
Do you have a core set of beliefs that guide you through life? If you do, (right or wrong) it helps when you encounter new issues or problems.

In any situation, there are some questions you might ask yourself that help to analyze:

1. Are the premises of the person's statements true? If not, the argument fails along with the facts asserted. Many people build "strawman" arguments on false premises.

2. Is the person biased, have something to personally gain, from a viewpoint? To me, that makes everything they say more suspicious.

3. Are the facts asserted consistent with other things you know? When something is "way out of left field," that doesn't make it false, but at least I'd be more skeptical.

4. Is the person a proven liar? As the saying goes, "when you take a drink of milk and you find that it's sour, you don't have to drink the whole carton to know the rest of it is sour, too." People who have lied before lose credibility.

5. Is the person spouting pure dogma? Parroting beliefs that are automatically accepted as "truth" isn't very helpful, without some additional proof or insight.

6. Facts from several (especially unrelated) sources tend to be more likely to be true than facts from only one source. Notice I said "tend to," as it's not always true.

7. It's ok to change your beliefs. I suspect that most thinking people go through some big transistion in their lives. That doesn't mean you waft in the wind with each minor statement you hear, but leave yourself upon to question what you believe. Often, when a belief is open to question, you over time become more convinced that it is true (like religious beliefs). With the events of the last couple of years, hardly a day goes by when I don't question the nature of God, even if not the existence. The old "how could God let this happen?" question is a very difficult one. I'm not sure we can know some of the answers, though. (BTW, when I am with my son every day, those questions are answered for me.)

I doubt we are thinking any less critically than those before us. If anything, maybe the opposite. Beliefs held these days are constantly challenged, and there is little in the way of universal dogma.

do you know everything?mohair_chair
Apr 1, 2003 9:26 AM
You can't know everything, so you will often encounter situations where you have to go with your instincts. It's no surprise that there are people out there (marketing) who know this and try to take advantage of this situation. I think this is what you are talking about.

Through manipulation of facts, images, sounds, etc., you can be influenced to think a certain way. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, especially in the arts. Star Wars wasn't real, but it sure was fun to watch (the original, anyway).

There is so much media today that I believe it is easier than ever to influence thought, so I guess my answer to your question is yes. From my own experience (4 out of 5 mohair_chairs think...), I think the current generation in general has a lesser degree of general knowledge than the previous ones. That doesn't mean they are stupider, but they are less well rounded, and that makes them more easily duped or influenced. There are limits, however.

I'm not one who believes that a TV show can influence a kid to kill. But in terms of thought, it doesn't take much today to put out facts that are totally wrong and say they are right, and get millions of people to believe them. This is actually a nasty tactic for campaigns and trials. Suggest something bad about your opponent, then correct it later. Regardless of how emphatic the correction is, the original suggestion will never be forgotten.

Your only defense is to seek out knowledge for the sake of knowledge. Soak up all you can, in all fields of study, and you will be better equipped to think for yourself. Travel the world and see how things are for your eyes, rather than how NBC News or "Wild On" wants you to see them. Go live in a foreign country for a year and you'll never be the same when you come home again.
I almost think the oppositeCaptain Morgan
Apr 1, 2003 11:02 AM
I do not know what original post you are referring to that created this question. However, I deal with a lot of elderly people in my line of work. I think that in some respects our ancestors were actually LESS inclined to question things, particularly questioning of authority. However, I think people today are more inclined to give knee-jerk reactions to what they hear and read. Our ancestors were probably more refined, but I think this was more of the result of their acceptance as opposed to their critical thinking.

Regarding Christianity, there are religions that say that the Bible is to be taken literally, whereas others allow for interpretation. I believe that religion is more on a personal level and allows for personal interpretation. I am sure that some people want you to accept only their own views of the Bible without your own interpretation, but that doesn't make their views right or wrong. Who cares if they think you are going to hell? Some religions say we are infidels and going to hell anyway. That doesn't make them right or wrong.

Lastly, I find that some people hide behind the auspices of "critical thinking," yet their actions are contrary to that mind set. Case in point: Atheists. They are supposedly looking for an answer to whether there is a God. Are they really? It seems to me that a good place to look for clues would be churches, yet I think most do not attend. It seems to me that they are searching for reasons why God does NOT exist, yet do not look as hard for reasons to believe that he DOES exist.

Just by virtue of the fact that you are questioning these things shows that you are not the mindless follower!
OT: Atheists.czardonic
Apr 1, 2003 11:33 AM
Who said atheists "supposedly looking for an answer to whether there is a God"? By definition, they don't beleive in the existance of God.

See Doug's question 1.
Correction: Agnostics. (nm)Captain Morgan
Apr 1, 2003 12:41 PM
Got it. Turning the tables on your question. . .czardonic
Apr 1, 2003 1:05 PM
. . .do religious people spend as much time trying to find evidence that God does not exist as they do affirming their faith in God's existance?
Actually, yesCaptain Morgan
Apr 1, 2003 1:20 PM
Of course, there are some people who take the existence of God at face value because either 1) they are afraid of the consequences, or 2) don't want to put forth the mental effort. For myself, in some ways I question it sometimes. Of course, I admit that I do not attend Agnostic meetings.
I think both questions are framed poorly.Kristin
Apr 1, 2003 1:24 PM
If a person goes out looking for evidence to support the thing that they want to believe, then they are starting off on the wrong foot. But rather we should go out with an open mind desiring to discover the truth about the existence of God, or the lack there of; and being brave enough to own the truth once it becomes clear.

Many people on both sides of the fence are afraid to gaze for long at their beliefs. What if it all fell apart? And I will tell you first hand that it's VERY scary to hold that gaze, or to ask that difficult question that's been lingering in the back of your mind. But there is some payoff for doing so.

I used to proclaim my beliefs with no real assurance that any of it was true. (I simply supressed those fears as they rose into my throat.) Now I am unsure about most things, yet I am VERY confident about a couple things. That's more than I had before.
I wouldn't go that far.czardonic
Apr 1, 2003 2:07 PM
There is nothing wrong with trying to affirm your beliefs. Its when you start rejecting things simply because they do not affirm your beliefs that you get into trouble.

I do, however, agree wholeheartedly with your following statement: ". . .rather we should go out with an open mind desiring to discover the truth about the existence of God, or the lack there of; and being brave enough to own the truth once it becomes clear."

Personally, I don't believe that humans are capable of understanding all of the mysteries of life and the universe. There will always be an unknown. Whether or not to fear it is up to the individual.
you're confusing faith with "truth"ColnagoFE
Apr 1, 2003 3:49 PM
You have faith god is real and that may be the truth for you, but it isn't THE TRUTH. No way you can prove God exists without that leap of faith since He isn't exactly appearing on the 10pm news announcing Himself. Some are comfortable with that, some are not. Here's a little example. Let's say I have always been blind. Someone can tell me that I am wearing a red sweater. I can't see it so I have to take their word for it that it is indeed red. If enough people tell me it is red then i start to believe it is red even though i can't see the color for myself, but what if it's not? I have to take on faith that what they are telling me is true. If 50% start saying that it's blue then I depend even more on faith to think that it's still red or i change my mind and say it's blue. i might even decide that i don't believe any of them and that colors don't exist at all.
that's us on the fence "agnostics" he's talking aboutColnagoFE
Apr 1, 2003 12:46 PM
i've been to plenty of churches...still don't have it figured out and think that if people weren't so concerend about "going to hell" they might question their faith more. i decided long ago that any god who would send his creation to hell for the crime of "not believing" in him is not worth being with anyway. when you think about it...that is downright cruel.
That's not really what the Christain faith teaches or believes.Kristin
Apr 1, 2003 12:52 PM
If that were the case, the "church" wouldn't still be around after 2000 years. Not many people are so void of independance that they would follow a bully...not past the age so 20, at least.
I don't know about that. Fear is a powerful motivater. (nm)czardonic
Apr 1, 2003 1:03 PM
That's not what that church teachesKristin
Apr 1, 2003 1:09 PM
Perhaps somewhere in the church--in extremely fundamental or legalitic--denominations, that might be taught. But that is not at all what is taught in most churches. Its just not. I've been attending churches for over 12 years now. I attended a bible collage--albeit, a slightly legalistic one--and I have discussed this topic directly with some of the brightest and most well respected minds in the American Christian church today. Does that qualify me to comment on this?
Oops. "That's not what THE church teaches" nmKristin
Apr 1, 2003 1:10 PM
Maybe not today.czardonic
Apr 1, 2003 2:42 PM
I think that religion has lightented up in order to retain better educated and less superstitious congregations. You're undoubtedly better qualified than I to comment on this, but I took a few courses on early American (think Salem) and Medieval European History that suggest that Christian Chrches have relied on the fear of a lot more than Hell to maintain their influence in society.
I think the big change between then and now is...Kristin
Apr 1, 2003 2:50 PM
Is that being clergy is no longer a position of wealth and power. I suspect that in the Salem days, clergymen were much more like today's polititian's and corporate exec's. (No offense to LenJ...he's a notch above!)
tell that to the vatican...ColnagoFE
Apr 1, 2003 3:32 PM
maybe not the wealth and power they once had, but definately wealth and power nonetheless.
church is also a social activity for someColnagoFE
Apr 1, 2003 1:26 PM
I know that to not belong or go to church regularly in small conservative midwestern towns is akin to social suicide. The shopkeepers have to maintain images and keep business contacts. Some like to sing in the choir. Some go for the sake of their children. Nothing wrong with any of that, but to say that the only reason people go is to praise God is not entirely true either.
God doesn't ask me to leave my brain at the doorMcAndrus
Apr 2, 2003 6:33 AM
If I can expand on Kristin's thought (I hope I'm reading it correctly), the Christian church - as a body, and admittedly it's a pretty diverse body - does not ask me or any other believer to leave my brain at the door.

In fact, for those who haven't, read the Book of Romans 10 or 12 times if you want to see philosophy and logic at one of its highest points of development in human history.

Yes, there are people who believe out of fear. Yes, there are people who believe because it is their nature to be superstitious. Yes, there are agnostics who attend church because it is their social environment.

Any religion that is based on fear, superstition, or nothing but culture will collapse in on itself. History is littered with the carcases of failed religions. The Christian, Jewish, Moslem, Hindu, and Buddhist faiths have survived for hundreds and thousands of years. This leads me to believe there is more to be found here than superstition and fear.
People are uncomfortable with uncertaintyColnagoFE
Apr 2, 2003 6:43 AM
I'm guessing a big factor in people believing in a god is that people do not like to wonder about things. They want to have things all tied up and explainable. What happens after death is one of our big mysteries. Do we have a soul or do we just become plant food? Where did the first "thing" come from if there is no God? These kinds of questions drive people to find something (like religion or superstition) to explain them so they won't have to just admit that they don't know and are likely to never know the answers.
Again. I disagree.Kristin
Apr 2, 2003 7:03 AM
That's not why I believe. Perhaps there are some people out there who believe for all the reason's you've stated. But I can tell you unequivically that this is not true for me. Honestly, it sounds like these statements have become good excuses for you to dismiss the idea of a God. If so, what can you do when you encounter people who don't fit into the stereo-type you've embraced? I believe because I've had some seriously radical experiences that can be best explained if there is a God--not only a creator, but a God who is actively doing stuff that impacts my life in a personal and meaningful way. Right now, for me, the bigger reach would be to deny the existence of God.
I suppose it comes down to how you define "God"ColnagoFE
Apr 2, 2003 7:48 AM
I don't dismiss the idea of God though my god isn't the Christian God. Pretty sure of that. Nor is it defined in any of the other major world religions though some of the eastern religions such as buddhism come close to expressing what i feel. I have plenty of friends and family who believe differently than I do. I don't impose my views on them or think any less of them for what they believe though sometimes it seems they feel the need to convert me to their way of thinking. I think it's great that you have a personal relationship with your God. Myself...I've never had that expreience. I suppose I might change my tune dramatically if that was the case, but I'm not going to believe in something that doesn't seem real to me just because a book, the Church, or somebosy else tells me it is so.
I agree with everything you saidKristin
Apr 2, 2003 6:56 AM
The reason I posted what I did was to rebut Colnago's statement that, "[he] decided long ago that any god who would send his creation to hell for the crime of "not believing" in him is not worth being with anyway."

I fear Mr. Colnago does not understand the true concept of Christian "salvation"--to use a buzz word I very much dislike. Perhaps he has had the misfortune of attending only the strictest or loopiest fundamental churches, or perhaps has allowed himself to buy into this popular Christian stereotype. The weak minded masses, and all of that... But the fact is that the majority of people who would call themselves, "Christ followers," do not believe and follow because they fear some sort of eternal punishment. That type of logic will fail even the weakest mind eventually.
So how do you get into heaven then?ColnagoFE
Apr 2, 2003 8:00 AM
Salvation...Christ died for all our sins and all who believe in him, yet he be dead, so he shall live....BUT if you reject the holy trinity then what? Hell awaits right? Your good deeds don't amount to anything unless you "believe" that Christ died for your sins. Not sure what it is that is so hard to understand? Sure there are slight variations on this from Church to Church. Catholics and their Purgatory...but it all boils down to Christ dying on the cross and wiping the slate clean for us sinners so we can undo the curse of original sin committed by Adam and Eve (talk about a couple who were set up to fail).
So how do you get into heaven then?Captain Morgan
Apr 2, 2003 8:40 AM
The scripture does discuss this. Do you remember the parable where there was someone on the side of the road who needed assistance? One person (who supposedly was a holy person) just passed him by and prayed for him. A second person, a pagan, actually stopped and assisted him. Who actually did God's will? I read this as saying that you, who actually does good deeds, will fare better than someone who "believes" yet does not perform.

In accounting there is an important principle: "substance over form."
But which one will go to heaven?czardonic
Apr 2, 2003 10:58 AM
It seems like the pagan is doing "God's will", but does that mean he gets into heaven without accepting God?
YupCaptain Morgan
Apr 2, 2003 11:20 AM
Luke 10:30-37

Although theoretically, how do you do God's will without accepting God?
Apr 2, 2003 11:41 AM
What denomination are you? It sounds like you're saying a doctrine of works gets you to heaven. A Calvinist would say faith in Jesus (God, if you will) will get you to heaven. Good works will get you rewards in heaven.

"No one comes to the Father but through me." (I hope I got that right.) This one point - salvation through Jesus is a huge sticking point for many and Kristin points out below the moral problem for many. What happens to the good person who never even hears of Jesus?

My Calvinist buddies will say, "we don't know."
Perhaps "we don't know" is a more accurate statementCaptain Morgan
Apr 2, 2003 11:54 AM
because no one really knows. My comment was a matter of personal interpretation.

However, in the Pope's book (I forget the name -- it is about 10 years old), he writes about how he admires some of the other religions of the world and sometimes even has dialogues with them. I don't think he viewed them as hell bound.

Don't know what a Calvinist is, but if the "rewards in heaven" belief is something they need to do good deeds on earth, more power to them. Religion, to me, is a personal relationship, and cannot be defined solely by denomination.
I have been told by a friend that I was going to Hell. . .czardonic
Apr 2, 2003 12:06 PM
. . .simply because I didn't believe in God. Other than that, we were on very good terms.
Don't tell my pastorMcAndrus
Apr 2, 2003 2:20 PM
but no denomination has it exactly right. (In my humble opinion, of course.)

Presbyterians are the most common form of Calvinists. Many Baptist sub-denominations are strongly Calvinist. There are many smaller denominations as well.

As to the personal relationship thing, I think it's necessary but not the completely defining thing, because it leaves too much open to the individual's interpretation. In which case, I might as well believe that my credenza is God.

Calvinists most often debate free will versus predestination, how can God be good if evil exists, and the doctrine of election.

I don't need a response, I just thought I'd explain a couple of things.
Doing God's will without acceptance of God.czardonic
Apr 2, 2003 11:56 AM
I'm not trying to put words in your mouth, so correct me if I am wrong, but it sounds like you are assuming that only those with faith in God can truly recognize good/bad right/wrong etc. I submit that such concepts are fairly self-evident and can be deduced from experience and observation.

Question: Which would God view more favorably? A believer who does God's will because he has been taught that it is God's will? Or a non-believer who does God's will after determining for him(or her)self that it is the right thing to do?
Very good questionKristin
Apr 2, 2003 11:33 AM
And I have no answers myself. Only more questions. This is a huge theological sticking point for me right now. On one hand, I have experiences that seem to indicate that Jesus is the God whom I have encountered...based on lots of stuff that studied in the gospels. Jesus is this guy who hung out with regular people and didn't follow the self-righteous crowd. He was generally laid back and accepted everyone where they were at, yet challenged them towards growth and improvement. He never was cruel and it does not appear that he ever said something intended to injure or shame anyone. At the same time he was honest, straight-forward and set excellent personal boundaries. Neither dependant or co-dependant. (Yes, psychobabble, but also very important observation that goes a long way to authenticating the gospels.)

I know there are parts of the bible that read as if we will suffer some horrible consequences for not "turning" to God--whatever that means. And I'm not admitting here that those texts are incorrect somehow. But the way I have always interpretted them doesn't mesh with my experiences and studies of Jesus' approach to people. I simply can't claim with confidence that some guy who grew up in a tribe and New Guinea will be forced to suffer eternal misery because he never heard the name Jesus uttered. I can't. My gut feeling tells me that this bible thing is really God's message to people, but I think we easily misunderstand so much of it. Its easy to project our negativity onto God, so that we presume he is really evil at his core, instead of being good and desiring good things for the humans he created all of this for.
If Jesus were alive todayColnagoFE
Apr 2, 2003 11:43 AM
If Jesus were alive and doing today exactly what he did back then I'd imagine most would write him off as a nutjob along the lines of David Koresh or Jim Jones. I would imagine that being one of his disciples (who were forced to leave family and friends and come follow Jesus) was akin to someone joining a cult today. Jesus must have seemed like quite the radical dude in his time. Hung around with prostitutes, pissed off the Pharasees...
Chicken or egg?czardonic
Apr 2, 2003 12:03 PM
In todays (American) society, Jesus would no doubt be written off as a kook. But, much of that intolerant attitude is based on twisted versions of his own teachings.
Here's what the Catholic view isCaptain Morgan
Apr 2, 2003 11:46 AM
When I converted to Catholicism when I got married 15 years ago, I had to go through a whole learning process with the Catholic church. It was explained that people who have never been exposed to JC are not hell bound. This includes innocent children, retarded persons, as well as a tribal New Guinean.

Also, it is important to note that JC did not write the scriptures. As you know, they were transferred verbally and not even written down until hundreds of years after his death. Perhaps the hell part was interjected by the authors based on their own beliefs at the time. Of course, this is just my own theory/interpretation, because I really don't believe in hell and the concept of hell is not useful to me in my own personal spirituality.
Information about the scripturesKristin
Apr 2, 2003 12:02 PM
It is not true that it was a verbal tradition. This may have been true for some of the old testament documents. However, ALL of the writings attributed to Paul were letters that Paul wrote to the churches. They even state so much. Also, it is certain that if John really wrote John 1,2 & 3 and Revelation, that it was definately penned by the man himself. He was exiled on a prison island--something verified by other historical works. He certainly didn't con any guards into memorizing dictation and then going to a local church to tell the people what John said. Writing was the primary means for communicating over distances in the later days of the Roman empire, and verbal tradition--memorizing dictation and then taking to another person--is much less likely to have occured at that time. And all of the epistles claim in the first paragraph to be written pen and ink.
I don't think so - I thought they were oralCaptain Morgan
Apr 2, 2003 12:20 PM

I am by no means a biblical scholar, but this matches what I have read in the past. But even if they WERE originally penned, they still have gone through numerous translations, revisions, etc. which bring into them significant personal interpretation.
I don't think that website is saying that ALL of the NT wasKristin
Apr 2, 2003 12:54 PM
first oral tradition. It can't be. See for youself:

Luke 1:1-4 "Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught."

Acts 1:1 "In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach 2until the day he was taken up to heaven..."

John 21:22-25 "Because of this, the rumor spread among the brothers that this disciple would not die. But Jesus did not say that he would not die; he only said, "If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?"
This is the disciple who testifies to these things and who wrote them down. We know that his testimony is true.
Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written."

Acts 15:25-27 "So we all agreed to choose some men and send them to you with our dear friends Barnabas and Paul--men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore we are sending Judas and Silas to confirm by word of mouth what we are writing."

Romans 16:20-22 "The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.
Timothy, my fellow worker, sends his greetings to you, as do Lucius, Jason and Sosipater, my relatives. I, Tertius, who wrote down this letter, greet you in the Lord." (Transcribed for Paul)

1 Corinthians 16:21 "I, Paul, write this greeting in my own hand."

Galatians 1:20 "I assure you before God that what I am writing you is no lie."

Galations 6:11 "See what large letters I use as I write to you with my own hand!" I'm not sure what the cultural significance of large letters was.

Colasians 4:18 "I, Paul, write this greeting in my own hand. Remember my chains. Grace be with you."

2 Thes. 3:17 "I, Paul, write this greeting in my own hand, which is the distinguishing mark in all my letters. This is how I write."

1 Timothy 3:14 "Although I hope to come to you soon, I am writing you these instructions so that..."

Philemon 1:19 "I, Paul, am writing this with my own hand. I will pay it back–not to mention that you owe me your very self."

1 John 1:4 "We write this to make our [Some manuscripts your] joy complete."

1 John 2:7 "Dear friends, I am not writing you a new command but an old one.."

2 John 1:12 "I have much to write to you, but I do not want to use paper and ink. Instead, I hope to visit you and talk with you face to face, so that our joy may be complete."

Jude 1:3 "Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints."

Revelation 21:25 "He who was seated on the throne said, "I am making everything new!" Then he said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true."
Now lets check the Greek lexicon to be sureKristin
Apr 2, 2003 1:02 PM
All of the forms of the word "write" in the verses I've selected are translations of the Greek word grapho which means "to delineate (or form) letters on a tablet, parchment, paper, or other material..."

A complete definition of grapho can be viewed here:

It is certainly a litteral type of in someone writing down a letter onto paper. No mistaking it.
as well as written by a number of peopleColnagoFE
Apr 2, 2003 1:50 PM
some books reputed to have been written in chunks by more than one person. likely not even the apostles themselves.
Well at that point you must disgard the entire thingKristin
Apr 2, 2003 2:01 PM
There are many books that claim to be written down (pen and ink) by just one person. So then if that is matter how well intentioned...the whole thing becomes untrustworthy.

Please state some references when you make these statements. Who reputes that chunks of specific books are written by more than one person? And what evidence do they use to support that claim?
here's another good pageColnagoFE
Apr 2, 2003 3:23 PM
here's one view with biblioColnagoFE
Apr 2, 2003 3:24 PM
Do you know this guy?Kristin
Apr 2, 2003 2:17 PM
At best I know that he is a Computer Science guy from Elkhart, Indiana who is well read, but has no other qualifications to dub himself a bible scholar. I'm not saying he's wrong. But he is just an average Joe who read some books on the subject. I'd have to read every book in his biblio to see if I arrive at the same conclusions before I could accept his claims.

Here is his bio page:
No, but here's another way of viewing itCaptain Morgan
Apr 2, 2003 3:57 PM
JC died in 30 AD. Many historians believe that most of the gospels were written after 70 AD due to references of the falling of Jerusalem, which didn't occur until 70 AD. That means the gospels were written at least 40 years after JC's death. Let's assume that the apostles were at least 20 when JC died. That means they were all at least 60 years old when the first gospel was written. However, during Ancient Rome, the average life span was 22 years, and that figure didn't even reach 43 until the 20th century. Skeletal remains show that very few people during that time frame lived past 45.
Where are you digging up your info?Kristin
Apr 2, 2003 4:01 PM
Average lifespan was 22 years? I've never heard anything of the sort. As a matter of fact I've read lots of stuff, both Christian in origin and not, that would suggest that this statement is simply untrue. You keep posting all these "facts" with no references what-so-ever to give them credance.
Where are you digging up your info?Captain Morgan
Apr 2, 2003 4:52 PM
I have always had the understanding (since I was a kid) that JC was relatively older when he died. To support this, I found this: and this:

The Catholic Church even believes the last book was written in 100 AD, which is 70 years past JC's death, and would place the authors at least 90 years of age:
I think Kristin's correctMcAndrus
Apr 2, 2003 2:32 PM
I've done a substantial amount of research on this question. It's one of the things that caused my conversion. The entire New Testament was written and the early church consolidated the book by something like 200AD (I'll have to look that part up).

There are considerable debates about who wrote which books (if the author claimed is the real author) and whether or not monks in the middle ages inserted a word or two to match their own opinions.

In essence, though, there's good research to show them to be authentic and quite a bit of scholarly work to show that they were very carefully copied from scribe to scribe to scribe. They've found early manuscripts dated from the early 100s that are word-for-word identical to some passages.

My New International Bible is even honest enough to make footnotes when the compilers of the NIV thought there might be something funny in the translation.

Now as to the Old Testament - a lot of it was oral. The first five books (The Pentatuch) were written by Moses and the stories in Genesis were almost certainly oral tradition.
That's a great pointCaptain Morgan
Apr 1, 2003 1:12 PM
Its one that I cannot answer. Perhaps I don't even believe in hell, at least not as a tangible existence after death. I WILL say that in my 15 years of going to church, I can't recall hearing a heck of a lot about hell. Of course, there are many denominations, and perhaps the one you have attended uses the threat of hell as a primary focus. Maybe some people need that as a motivation. If it helps them lead a better life, who am I to say they're wrong?
'Hell' is a big selling point in West Texas churches...Dale Brigham
Apr 1, 2003 2:28 PM
...maybe because the weather there is so similar to that of the House o' Satan. Just the mention of an eternity of duststorms and scalding heat makes West Texan sinners quiver with trepidation. Heck, if they are Baptists or Church of Christers, they even give up dancin' and drinkin' to avoid the eternal damnation of bad weather.

Gratuitous Baptist Joke 1:
Q: Why don't Baptists have sex standing up?
A: Somebody might think they're dancing.

Gratuitous Baptist Joke 2:
Q: What are the differences between the major religions?
A: The Jews don't recognize Jesus as the Messiah, the Catholics don't recognize the Reformation, and Baptists don't recognize each other in a liquor store.

For the record, I was raised as a Methodist, and even in that relatively "liberal" Protestant sect, we heard plenty about Hell (and how that's where we'd end up if we did not shape up this minute!).

Hope I did not offend anyone. Some of my best friends are Baptists.

YesCaptain Morgan
Apr 1, 2003 4:19 PM
That is exactly what I was thinking when I wrote my "hell" post. Having grown up in Texas and going to school in west Texas, I recall the "fire and brimstone" of the Church of Christ and some Baptist congragations.
see this website...funny and scary at the same timeColnagoFE
Apr 2, 2003 6:45 AM

I've seen a few of his tracts around town. Talk about fire and brimstone.