lapwing

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Qu'ran Surah 86 "loins and the ribs"
This is another case where the Moslem scholars have different views -
see for instance http://wikiislam.net/wiki/Qur'an_and_Semen_Production_(Qur'an_86:7
It appears to be using poetic, not scientific language.
I don't think one should judge such texts using a modern scientific mindset.

Mormonism and the Book of Mormon
It is apparent that this religion cannot be considered as normatively Christian. Polygamy (now rejected by CofLDS), humans becoming gods, rejection of the orthodox understanding of the Trinity, baptism for the dead. Much of the Book of Mormon is denied by archaeology -
see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archaeology_and_the_Book_of_Mormon

However, I'm not sure this is the way forward for our discussion.
One could always produce one more religion which has miraculous claims.
What would that prove or disprove? The existence of religions with false claims of miracles does not invalidate the truth of Christianity. Anyone can make up a false religion anytime. I could make up a false theory of relativity
but that wouldn't, of itself, invalidate Einstein's theory.

"Talking donkey" i.e. Balaam's donkey
There are other difficulties in this passage (Num 22:22-35) with an apparent change of mind by God from v20 to v22. Some commentators hold that this passage comes from a different tradition about Balaam, a person for whom there is archaeological evidence at Deir Allah. However, the meaning of the whole passage is clear: Israel's enemy Balak sent for Balaam (from the Euphrates area - Iraq?) to curse Israel but Balaam could not comply and so go against God's will.

I think one should be wary of having a modern hierarchy of believableness for miracles. So Jesus healing the sick might be considered more acceptable than Balaam's ass or Jonah's whale. An almighty creator God is clearly capable of doing any miracle. It is better to consider the context, meaning and nature of each passage.

Lot's wife - Josephus (Antiquities I:12) claimed to have seen this in his time, but clearly one could say it was a natural formation such as occur in the Dead Sea area. The above argument applies.

"The differences show that there isn't really a way to know which doctrine is right."
But maybe you're being too scientific. Theology is not like double entry book keeping and there are bound to be differences of opinion. If God were to prescribe the exactly-right-set-of-Christian-beliefs (and I'm not convinced that such a concept is necessarily valid) would that not vitiate man's free will and use of his own mind. God asked Adam to name the animals
i.e. to think for himself.

Witches, leprechauns and faeries
The Bible describes evil spirits so some of these manifestations may be those. One has to weigh the evidence in each case. Witches are human beings who claim magic abilities - there are instances of this in the Bible but they are rare. Medieval witch trials - there are cases where such charges were trumped up in order to settle more mundane disagreements.

I've just finished Letters and Papers from Prison by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. A refreshing read from a theologian who was not afraid to tackle the difficulties of Christianity and think outside the box, but who clearly found support through his faith. A good book for you to read I would think.

For by one sacrifice Jesus has made perfect forever those who are being sanctified.

"Those who are still afraid of men have no fear of God, and those who have fear of God have ceased to be afraid of men"
"If the world refuses justice, the Christian will pursue mercy"
Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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lapwing wrote:

Qu'ran Surah 86 "loins and the ribs"
This is another case where the Moslem scholars have different views -
see for instance http://wikiislam.net/wiki/Qur'an_and_Semen_Production_(Qur'an_86:7
It appears to be using poetic, not scientific language.
I don't think one should judge such texts using a modern scientific mindset.


This idea can be used to justify just about any idea out there. How can one tell the sense in which that passage was to be read say 1000 years ago? Or do we conclude that it is poetic language because we now know it to be false?

lapwing wrote:

Mormonism and the Book of Mormon
It is apparent that this religion cannot be considered as normatively Christian. Polygamy (now rejected by CofLDS), humans becoming gods, rejection of the orthodox understanding of the Trinity, baptism for the dead. Much of the Book of Mormon is denied by archaeology -
see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archaeology_and_the_Book_of_Mormon

However, I'm not sure this is the way forward for our discussion.
One could always produce one more religion which has miraculous claims.
What would that prove or disprove? The existence of religions with false claims of miracles does not invalidate the truth of Christianity. Anyone can make up a false religion anytime. I could make up a false theory of relativity
but that wouldn't, of itself, invalidate Einstein's theory.

What I've done shows the problems with the sorts of stories found in religious texts. Sure the existence of religions with false claims doesn't invalidate Christianity but why should the fantastic stories in the Bible be believed while that of other religions discarded? Is there some other method of deciding which stories are believable?

lapwing wrote:

"Talking donkey" i.e. Balaam's donkey
There are other difficulties in this passage (Num 22:22-35) with an apparent change of mind by God from v20 to v22. Some commentators hold that this passage comes from a different tradition about Balaam, a person for whom there is archaeological evidence at Deir Allah. However, the meaning of the whole passage is clear: Israel's enemy Balak sent for Balaam (from the Euphrates area - Iraq?) to curse Israel but Balaam could not comply and so go against God's will.

I think one should be wary of having a modern hierarchy of believableness for miracles. So Jesus healing the sick might be considered more acceptable than Balaam's ass or Jonah's whale. An almighty creator God is clearly capable of doing any miracle. It is better to consider the context, meaning and nature of each passage.

One thing that is clear is that we understand the world better now than 2000 years ago so why should one be more accepting of those things that we would be skeptical of now? I see no reason why I should consider Jesus' miracles as being more believable than Jonah's whale or Balaam's ass.

Sure an almighty creator is capable of doing any miracle but is there a reason for one to be reasonably justified in saying that he performed a particular miracle?

lapwing wrote:

Lot's wife - Josephus (Antiquities I:12) claimed to have seen this in his time, but clearly one could say it was a natural formation such as occur in the Dead Sea area. The above argument applies.

Maybe he too was wrong? After all, he was partly Jewish and maybe he too believed in that myth. If it was a natural formation, then it wasn't Lot's wife and thus more cracks appear in those stories too. Unless of course you wish to now turn it into poetic language.

lapwing wrote:

"The differences show that there isn't really a way to know which doctrine is right."
But maybe you're being too scientific. Theology is not like double entry book keeping and there are bound to be differences of opinion. If God were to prescribe the exactly-right-set-of-Christian-beliefs (and I'm not convinced that such a concept is necessarily valid) would that not vitiate man's free will and use of his own mind. God asked Adam to name the animals
i.e. to think for himself.

I don't see anything wrong with being scientifically minded (in the general sense) especially when we consider how successful it has been. The problem with the differences of opinion in theology is that there is no way to solve them because even the subject of discussion is questionable.

If God were to make those prescriptions, I don't see how it affects free will. After all, he is said to have given moral, dietary and clothing prescriptions. These don't seem to have affected free will have they?

lapwing wrote:

Witches, leprechauns and faeries
The Bible describes evil spirits so some of these manifestations may be those. One has to weigh the evidence in each case. Witches are human beings who claim magic abilities - there are instances of this in the Bible but they are rare. Medieval witch trials - there are cases where such charges were trumped up in order to settle more mundane disagreements.

But do you believe in them? If there are witches, then according to the Bible, they have to die. Have you considered that maybe leprechauns and faeries are mythical creatures just like unicorns and fire-breathing dragons?

lapwing wrote:

I've just finished Letters and Papers from Prison by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. A refreshing read from a theologian who was not afraid to tackle the difficulties of Christianity and think outside the box, but who clearly found support through his faith. A good book for you to read I would think.



Hmm. I don't think I'll be able to read it though I'll be willing to discuss the ideas he presents in the book that you find convincing.

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"How can one tell the sense in which that passage was to be read say 1000 years ago?" Caesar's Gallic Wars are not to be read in a poetic sense. Arguing that that is because it doesn't contain miracles is suspect since one can find poetry in the Bible that does not have miraculous content e.g. Proverbs.

"Why should the fantastic stories in the Bible be believed while that of other religions discarded?" You are yet to produce a fantastic story from another religion that is comparable in style and context to the accounts of miracles in the Bible.

"we understand the world better now than 2000 years ago" In scientific terms yes but less so in other fields.

"I see no reason why I should consider Jesus' miracles as being more believable than Jonah's whale or Balaam's ass." I agree a priori. It all depends on the text: God can perform any miracle.

I don't consider Josephus work poetic. However, from your own words the "cracks" may or may not be there.

"The problem with the differences of opinion in theology is that there is no way to solve them" Ah the scientific mindset again. Something that cannot be solved scientifically is not worth investigating. Wrong! The point of theology and philosophy is that the questions are so important they ought to be asked unless you think that asking questions like "Why am I here" has no value.

Moral "prescriptions" such as "love your neighbour" still leave people with the choice of how to obey, but we are talking about disagreements such as infant vs adult baptism. These are not the same type of thing.

Witches, leprechauns, faeries

Do you mean do I believe in witchcraft? As I said before any valid observations may be due to the action of evil spirits. Of course, belief in leprechauns and fairies can be traced to myths. However, as C S Lewis discussed, there are such things as "true myths". That doesn't mean I necessarily hold that the myths of leprechauns and faeries are true.

For by one sacrifice Jesus has made perfect forever those who are being sanctified.

"Those who are still afraid of men have no fear of God, and those who have fear of God have ceased to be afraid of men"
"If the world refuses justice, the Christian will pursue mercy"
Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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lapwing wrote:

"How can one tell the sense in which that passage was to be read say 1000 years ago?" Caesar's Gallic Wars are not to be read in a poetic sense. Arguing that that is because it doesn't contain miracles is suspect since one can find poetry in the Bible that does not have miraculous content e.g. Proverbs.



Do we conclude that the passage is in poetic language because it is false? I ask because I don't see how that passage was being poetic.


lapwing wrote:

"Why should the fantastic stories in the Bible be believed while that of other religions discarded?" You are yet to produce a fantastic story from another religion that is comparable in style and context to the accounts of miracles in the Bible.


I presented you with one from the Book of Mormon. Is that to be believed? Though the stories may vary in style due to the differences in their authorship, my question still remains on how one can justify believing in one but not the others without committing logical fallacies or being inconsistent.


lapwing wrote:

"we understand the world better now than 2000 years ago" In scientific terms yes but less so in other fields.


Less so in what fields? I thought that pretty much all acceptable fields of knowledge have made huge improvements even if the improvements may be more in some fields than others.


lapwing wrote:

"I see no reason why I should consider Jesus' miracles as being more believable than Jonah's whale or Balaam's ass." I agree a priori. It all depends on the text: God can perform any miracle.


Saying "God can perform any miracle" is no justification because that would also apply to those miracles you do not believe. He could have performed them too.


lapwing wrote:

I don't consider Josephus work poetic. However, from your own words the "cracks" may or may not be there.


No, from my words, the cracks are there.


lapwing wrote:

"The problem with the differences of opinion in theology is that there is no way to solve them" Ah the scientific mindset again. Something that cannot be solved scientifically is not worth investigating. Wrong! The point of theology and philosophy is that the questions are so important they ought to be asked unless you think that asking questions like "Why am I here" has no value.

Moral "prescriptions" such as "love your neighbour" still leave people with the choice of how to obey, but we are talking about disagreements such as infant vs adult baptism. These are not the same type of thing.


I'm not saying that something that cannot be solved scientifically isn't worth investigating, what I'm saying is that in the case of theology, the subject under discussion (God) is questionable.

A philosopher may ask "why am I here" a theologian tries to answer it by introducing his questionable God.

Well, philosophy and theology aren't the same type of thing so I don't see why you're lumping them together. Theology as I see it, tries to talk about what theologians claim they themselves do not or cannot ever fathom.


lapwing wrote:

Witches, leprechauns, faeries

Do you mean do I believe in witchcraft? As I said before any valid observations may be due to the action of evil spirits. Of course, belief in leprechauns and fairies can be traced to myths. However, as C S Lewis discussed, there are such things as "true myths". That doesn't mean I necessarily hold that the myths of leprechauns and faeries are true.



No, I mean do you believe that there are people that can be pointed at who turn out to actually be witches? Saying that about valid observations pretty much enables those so inclined to say that volcano eruptions, tsunamis, total eclipses etc are the works of these witches.
Why don't you hold the idea of leprechauns and faeries as true?

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lapwing

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"Do we conclude that the passage is in poetic language because it is false?"

If you are referring to Surah 86, then surely your statement that it is false, is only true if you read it in a scientific way (even though it was written in a pre

scientific age). Surely, it is better to first determine the nature of the text, taking the views of Koranic scholars into account.

The Bible, The Koran and the Book of Mormon.

Although each of these books are the books on which the corresponding religions are founded, the Bible is significantly different from the other two in that it is a set of books (lit a library) written by several human authors rather than a single book either written or discovered by a single person. So which book(s) of the Bible is like the Book of Mormon in your opinion? The inclusion of horses, elephants, cattle, goats, swine, barley and wheat in the BoM before they were introduced to the Americas is a type of weakness not shared with the Bible.

"Less so in what fields?"

Some people argue that the finest plays ever written were those of Aeschylus, Euripides and Sophocles. Aristotle still figures greatly in the teaching of western philosophy. This also points to a difference between science and the arts. Science mostly builds on previous work whereas in the arts there may be a progression of genres but it is harder to argue that, say, the plays of Beckett are better than those of Shakespeare.

"from my words, the cracks are there."

No you can only say they may be there. You didn't see what Josephus saw and you don't know why he wrote that he saw the salt pillar believed to be Lot's wife.

"valid observations"

I was thinking more in terms of demon possession of people as recorded in the gospels and the biblical descriptions of witchcraft e.g. the Egyptian sorcerers in contest with Moses before Pharaoh. It is important to realise that the power of evil spirits and witches are fearful but not unlimited.

"Why don't you hold the idea of leprechauns and faeries as true?"

I don't say that they are necessarily true or false. A belief that depends on myth (e.g. King Arthur) may have some basis in fact. Some people hold that the Arthurian myth is based on a real person or persons.

For by one sacrifice Jesus has made perfect forever those who are being sanctified.

"Those who are still afraid of men have no fear of God, and those who have fear of God have ceased to be afraid of men"
"If the world refuses justice, the Christian will pursue mercy"
Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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lapwing wrote:

"Do we conclude that the passage is in poetic language because it is false?"

If you are referring to Surah 86, then surely your statement that it is false, is only true if you read it in a scientific way (even though it was written in a pre

scientific age). Surely, it is better to first determine the nature of the text, taking the views of Koranic scholars into account.



What if the views of these scholars changed with the gain in scientific knowledge? If they used to believe it was literally true in the past but now believe due to science that it isn't literally true, what then are others to believe?


lapwing wrote:

The Bible, The Koran and the Book of Mormon.

Although each of these books are the books on which the corresponding religions are founded, the Bible is significantly different from the other two in that it is a set of books (lit a library) written by several human authors rather than a single book either written or discovered by a single person. So which book(s) of the Bible is like the Book of Mormon in your opinion? The inclusion of horses, elephants, cattle, goats, swine, barley and wheat in the BoM before they were introduced to the Americas is a type of weakness not shared with the Bible.


Take the book of Matthew for instance. It mentioned earthquakes and dead people roaming the streets following Jesus' death and the Book of Mormon talks about darkness over the entire earth following his death. Are we to believe them too? The issue of horses and elephants appearing in the Americas before their time is like in Genesis with plants appearing before the sun.


lapwing wrote:

"Less so in what fields?"

Some people argue that the finest plays ever written were those of Aeschylus, Euripides and Sophocles. Aristotle still figures greatly in the teaching of western philosophy. This also points to a difference between science and the arts. Science mostly builds on previous work whereas in the arts there may be a progression of genres but it is harder to argue that, say, the plays of Beckett are better than those of Shakespeare.


I would think that we understand those plays better now than they did 2000 years ago. Nowadays, with the wealth of information from the expansion of genres, other routes of self expression, increased knowledge of human psychology, I would say that we do in fact understand them better now than previously.

On a side note, are you saying that we are to take the information in the Bible such as is in Genesis and Exodus as being art or poetry rather than actual history? If so, why? Those are the sorts of folk knowledge that was available in those times.


lapwing wrote:

"from my words, the cracks are there."

No you can only say they may be there. You didn't see what Josephus saw and you don't know why he wrote that he saw the salt pillar believed to be Lot's wife.


I can say that because whatever he saw wasn't Lot's wife. He may have believed it was but it actually wasn't. He was simply reporting folk knowledge. These are things that we simply wouldn't accept.


lapwing wrote:

"valid observations"

I was thinking more in terms of demon possession of people as recorded in the gospels and the biblical descriptions of witchcraft e.g. the Egyptian sorcerers in contest with Moses before Pharaoh. It is important to realise that the power of evil spirits and witches are fearful but not unlimited.


So are we to take the biblical descriptions of these Egyptian sorcerers as being historically accurate?

Do you have any idea of what witches and evil spirits can do?


lapwing wrote:

"Why don't you hold the idea of leprechauns and faeries as true?"

I don't say that they are necessarily true or false. A belief that depends on myth (e.g. King Arthur) may have some basis in fact. Some people hold that the Arthurian myth is based on a real person or persons.



Sure the Arthur story may have been based on a person but does that mean that someone should also believe the stories about Excalibur, the witch and other ancillary stories?
Are you saying that these leprechauns and faeries are based on evil spirits?

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"What if the views of these scholars changed with the gain in scientific knowledge? If they used to believe it was literally true in the past but now believe due to science that it isn't literally true, what then are others to believe?"

Too many ifs!

"The issue of horses and elephants appearing in the Americas before their time is like in Genesis with plants appearing before the sun."

I disagree - the book of Mormon passages are not about the creation of the earth. A closer parallel would be say, Abraham chewing tobacco at the door of his tent or the spies bringing potatoes back from Canaan. The Genesis account of the creation is an issue, of course but I don't think it has any parallel with what I said about the BoM.

"It mentioned earthquakes and dead people roaming the streets following Jesus' death and the Book of Mormon talks about darkness over the entire earth following his death."

This sounds more likely - do you have a reference for the BoM passage?

"I would think that we understand those plays better now than they did 2000 years ago"

I was thinking of the ability to write the plays, not understand them. I think "better" should be replaced by "differently".

"whatever Josephus saw wasn't Lot's wife; He was simply reporting folk knowledge."

Josephus said he saw the salt pillar that he believed was Lot's wife. You have a clear presumption against miracles and God's existence.

"Are you saying that these leprechauns and faeries are based on evil spirits?"

No I don't think one can be so dogmatic as per Arthur. I would want to know more about the root of our beliefs in fairies and leprechauns. I'm just putting forward the idea as a possible explanation.

For by one sacrifice Jesus has made perfect forever those who are being sanctified.

"Those who are still afraid of men have no fear of God, and those who have fear of God have ceased to be afraid of men"
"If the world refuses justice, the Christian will pursue mercy"
Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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lapwing wrote:

"What if the views of these scholars changed with the gain in scientific knowledge? If they used to believe it was literally true in the past but now believe due to science that it isn't literally true, what then are others to believe?"

Too many ifs!



That doesn't negate the fact that simply claiming poetic license doesn't get people out of what is considered factual information.


lapwing wrote:

"The issue of horses and elephants appearing in the Americas before their time is like in Genesis with plants appearing before the sun."

I disagree - the book of Mormon passages are not about the creation of the earth. A closer parallel would be say, Abraham chewing tobacco at the door of his tent or the spies bringing potatoes back from Canaan. The Genesis account of the creation is an issue, of course but I don't think it has any parallel with what I said about the BoM.


I think it does. The parallels are that the information both present are incongruent with the times they're referring to. While your parallel may be closer, you've already pointed out that they're written in different styles so I'm simply pointing out that some of what is mentioned as factual simply cannot be considered that way when one understands the time sequence involved.

lapwing wrote:

"It mentioned earthquakes and dead people roaming the streets following Jesus' death and the Book of Mormon talks about darkness over the entire earth following his death."

This sounds more likely - do you have a reference for the BoM passage?


3 Nephi 8 talks about the events following Jesus' death. The darkness occurs in verses 20 to 22.


lapwing wrote:

"I would think that we understand those plays better now than they did 2000 years ago"

I was thinking of the ability to write the plays, not understand them. I think "better" should be replaced by "differently".


I was talking about understanding in general.


lapwing wrote:

"whatever Josephus saw wasn't Lot's wife; He was simply reporting folk knowledge."

Josephus said he saw the salt pillar that he believed was Lot's wife. You have a clear presumption against miracles and God's existence.


Sure I do. That is how I view things for which the evidence is poor or lacking and contrary to what we have learned.


lapwing wrote:

"Are you saying that these leprechauns and faeries are based on evil spirits?"

No I don't think one can be so dogmatic as per Arthur. I would want to know more about the root of our beliefs in fairies and leprechauns. I'm just putting forward the idea as a possible explanation.



For evil spirits to be a possible explanation, we would need to know what spirits are and what leprechauns and faeries are. Leprechauns and faeries look like the usual legends that are available in pretty much all cultures. And for some reason, they tend to disappear with better information and skepticism. But what can one say about spirits before going on to talk about the evil ones?

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We'll have to agree to disagree over your idea that Gen ch 1 parallels the problems with the BoM I delineated. I've only looked at that one chapter 3 nephi 8: it seems derivative of the style of the Bible and uses place names of places that are unspecified.  I don't think it's comparable. I've been to Jerusalem but where is Zarahemla? Also the heading of the chapter contains details that are not obvious from the text.

For by one sacrifice Jesus has made perfect forever those who are being sanctified.

"Those who are still afraid of men have no fear of God, and those who have fear of God have ceased to be afraid of men"
"If the world refuses justice, the Christian will pursue mercy"
Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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lapwing wrote:

We'll have to agree to disagree over your idea that Gen ch 1 parallels the problems with the BoM I delineated.



You could disagree though you'd be wrong. As I said, the problem is that something existed somewhere before it was supposed to.


lapwing wrote:

I've only looked at that one chapter 3 nephi 8: it seems derivative of the style of the Bible and uses place names of places that are unspecified.  I don't think it's comparable. I've been to Jerusalem but where is Zarahemla? Also the heading of the chapter contains details that are not obvious from the text.



Why don't you think it is comparable? Is it because you don't know the places being referred to or what? I'm not comparing styles of writing, I'm comparing whether or not believing the claims is justifiable.

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"You could disagree though you'd be wrong."!!

and there I thought theists were supposed to be dogmatic and atheists were reasonable free thinkers. I was wrong.

afaik the BoM does not have any accounts of the creation unless you know otherwise. There is an issue with what you said about Gen ch 1 but it does not have a parallel in the BoM.

Jerusalem and Zarahemla

So are you saying that the fact that no one knows where Zarahemla is irrelevant? Do you know where Zarahemla is - confirmed by archaeology?

For by one sacrifice Jesus has made perfect forever those who are being sanctified.

"Those who are still afraid of men have no fear of God, and those who have fear of God have ceased to be afraid of men"
"If the world refuses justice, the Christian will pursue mercy"
Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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lapwing wrote:

"You could disagree though you'd be wrong."!!

and there I thought theists were supposed to be dogmatic and atheists were reasonable free thinkers. I was wrong.



Sure you were.


lapwing wrote:

afaik the BoM does not have any accounts of the creation unless you know otherwise. There is an issue with what you said about Gen ch 1 but it does not have a parallel in the BoM.


The Book of Mormon doesn't need those accounts, they get that part from the Bible.


lapwing wrote:

Jerusalem and Zarahemla

So are you saying that the fact that no one knows where Zarahemla is irrelevant? Do you know where Zarahemla is - confirmed by archaeology?



It isn't that relevant here. After all, do you know where Mt. Ararat is?
All I'm talking about is looking at the justifications for accepting what is written in such books.

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Mt Ararat is on the border of Turkey, Armenia and Iran nr Yerevan and Ararat.

It's more like a mountain range than a mountain - the highest in the region.

For by one sacrifice Jesus has made perfect forever those who are being sanctified.

"Those who are still afraid of men have no fear of God, and those who have fear of God have ceased to be afraid of men"
"If the world refuses justice, the Christian will pursue mercy"
Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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lapwing wrote:

Mt Ararat is on the border of Turkey, Armenia and Iran nr Yerevan and Ararat.

It's more like a mountain range than a mountain - the highest in the region.



Okay, how about the Garden of Eden? Where is it? Are justified in believing that there was a Garden of Eden?

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Laying the Book of Mormon aside, we can focus on the more relevant question of the historicity of the OT and Genesis in particular. I think most Christians agree that the so called OT historical books (Genesis to Esther) are theological history. Any history book is not an exhaustive account of past events - the historian has to be selective. There is a theological purpose in the OT emphasising Israel's special covenant relationship with God.

Genesis has been the subject of debate for a long time, especially since the Wellhausen J,E,D,P theory was first expounded. This is not the right place to discuss such matters in depth. As I said before Gen ch:1-11 differs from the rest in subject matter. Abraham (not Noah or Adam) is the father of the Jews. The first section serves as an introduction to get to a place where Abram can first appear. One thing to note is that from Abraham onwards, the incidentals ring true e.g. the nomadic pastoralism, importance of wells, caravans going to Egypt. There are miracles but they fit into a believable narrative. The creation, Noah's flood and tower of Babel (Babylon?) do not contain the same level of mundaneity. I'm not convinced by the argument that Jesus spoke of Adam as a real person.

So the bottom line is that I don't know whether the Garden of Eden is intended to be interpreted as a real place or not, and I don't think that we have enough evidence from the Bible to decide this point. This does not apply to the gospel story of Jesus.

For by one sacrifice Jesus has made perfect forever those who are being sanctified.

"Those who are still afraid of men have no fear of God, and those who have fear of God have ceased to be afraid of men"
"If the world refuses justice, the Christian will pursue mercy"
Dietrich Bonhoeffer