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A prof has resigned from Bethel College

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At the Daily Beast, Karl Giberson tells us,

In a story becoming all too familiar, another pro-evolution faculty member has been forced to leave his evangelical institution. Jim Stump, longtime professor of philosophy, productive scholar, and popular, award-winning teacher at Bethel College in Indiana, resigned his position in June because of pressures put on the college by its sponsoring denomination, the Missionary Church.

The issue, once again, was evolution. Most members of the Missionary Church reject Darwin’s theory of evolution in favor of a literal interpretation of the creation story in the Book of Genesis. But many faculty members at Bethel College accept evolution and consider it part of their “teaching ministry” to help their students do the same, within the context of their faith. Such divergences exist in most evangelical denominations that sponsor liberal arts colleges but as long as faculty members are clearly evangelical in their faith the tensions are often manageable and an uneasy peace can be maintained.

First, it would help if Christians for Darwin groups were completely discredited, as they deserve to be, in these times of ferment around Darwinism.

Predictably, we are told,

Deborah Haarsma, the president of BioLogos, describes the organization she leads as “disheartened” by developments that put Stump “in the painful situation of having to choose between the scholarship to which he feels called and the academic community to which he has belonged for decades.” More.

Yes, this is all painful. But it raises a couple of questions: First, didn’t the guy notice after all these years how his denomination felt about these matters? Stump should be free to follow whatever scholarship he feels called to. But it doesn’t follow he can teach at an institution explicitly committed to a different vision.

What if I, a Catholic, were teaching at a Jehovah’s Witness institution, and promoting the views of the Catholic Church instead of those of the JWs? What should I reasonably expect to happen?

That is just the market functioning the way it is supposed to.

The many ID theorists driven out of institutions are actually in a quite different position from Stump: Their institutions accept the tax or donation dollar claiming that they do not support metaphysical naturalism in principle. But then it turns out they do, when anyone challenges them on an evidence or probability basis!

(At some Christian schools, you can holler all you want for Jesus, as long as it doesn’t make any sense.)

They just don’t want that to be generally known. Bethel was laudably clear as to what the institution exists to affirm.

If Stump is as good a prof as—so one gathers—he is, there should be no shortage of institutions happy to grab him.

See also: Theologian Peter Enns talks about why BioLogos did not renew his contract

and

Bill Dembski on the Evolutionary Informatics Lab – the one a Baylor dean tried to shut down (See Holler for Jesus as long as it makes no sense.)

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Comments
Mapou, Your post @ 78 cleared up a lot. Incidentally, since you like to "roll your own," I think you'd find the differences between the Masoretic text of the Tanakh and that of the Septuagint and Dead Sea Scrolls interesting. Thanks, -QQuerius
July 29, 2015
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computerist @79, You are welcome.Mapou
July 29, 2015
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Thanks Mapou.computerist
July 29, 2015
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Computerist, I have a love-hate relationship with the Catholic Church (and the Protestant Churches). Catholics have presided over some of the most horrific wars in history. They've distorted the message of Yahweh to the point that it is now almost unrecognizable. They introduced abominations into the Christian religion such as "saints" worship (especially the Virgin Mary cult), priesthood (we don't need no priests, Jesus is our priest), confessions, Church communions, and other worthless sacraments that make a mockery of the sacrifice of our savior. What is worse, in my opinion, is that they gave their blessing to the most evil economic system in the history of the world when they introduced the idea that the land should be divided and sold for a price rather than being divided among the people for an inheritance as God intended it. Then, when this Satanic system of "fortresses" (i.e., rampant competition and hostility between the classes and the nations) turned the world into the 1% haves cruelly lording it over the 99% have-nots (the slaves), there is always a Pope somewhere to remind us that we should give to the poor and the homeless. More than Protestant Churches, the Catholic Church sees itself as an essential cog in the mechanism of salvation. Your sins are not forgiven until some weirdo in a funny robe who does not like the company of women hears your confession and acts as if he speaks for God. Where did all this crap come from? It's evil. It's an abomination. The prophet Daniel spoke of the Catholic Church and the way they despised "the desire of women." Nobody is stupid. If you are a man and you don't like women, there is something wrong with you and you should not be advising people on how to run their families. Having said that, I have to concede that Catholics are indeed Christians and have accomplished beautiful architectural wonders in the name of God and they have not denied his name. That should count for something, I think. But, as I said, God is sending Elijah to prepare the way before him and he will restore all things. I hope for their sake that the Christian Churches clean up their act before Elijah shows up on the world scene because my understanding is that he will not take shit from anybody.Mapou
July 28, 2015
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Mapou, I agree with you on much, but do you think Christianity would have survived and preserved if it wasn't for the catholic church including catholic nations who fought for freedom and against tyranny throughout the centuries? I understand you feel hatred towards organized religion, but I have come to the conclusion it's vital. Didn't you once say: "may the best religion win"? Now I admit that the catholic church (like most organizations that have ever existed) has many flaws, but I personally think what it stands for atleast in principle, deserves some respect. Catholic nations of today remain some of the most religious and peaceful in the world. As much as I love America, I cannot say the same for it as a so called "Christian" nation. I do not feel that so called "Christian" America even knows what it means to be religious, or "Christian" for that matter, despite the statistics. In Poland (as one example of a very catholic nation), hundreds of thousands of people gather lighting candles to mourn the dead. You don't see that in America often.computerist
July 28, 2015
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Querius, You misunderstand me. I was talking about what it would take to make me believe in the Pope (or any other preacher man), not God. I already believe in God. Here's what I wrote:
I want to see the Pope walk on water. Until then, he’s just another man wearing a funny robe to me. Same goes to all other preachers in every religion on earth.
Now, when Elijah comes, he will restore all things to what they used to be, including the Catholic Church. And I can assure you that Elijah will not be some sanctimonious, pious looking, "don't like having sex with women" impostor. He'll be nobody's "female dog", as they say.Mapou
July 28, 2015
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Mapou,
Querius, I want to see it with my own eyes. No videos, no pictures, no witness testimonies, no tricks. Not even a superhero cape. And while we’re at it, commanding Stephen Hawking to get up from his wheelchair and do a breakdance would be very impressive too. LOL.
Your words. -QQuerius
July 28, 2015
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Querius, you are beginning to sound like a preacher man. "to meet God on his own terms?" That's preacher man talk. All God wants from me is faith. And that's just between me and God.Mapou
July 28, 2015
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And a million dollars in my bank account, and a personal invitation from (fill in the blank), a voice from heaven, and a brand new car. And then you would have "faith." Did I get it right? You would simply tell yourself that you were "lucky," which of course is improbable, but Bound to Happen somewhere in the world to someone. Of course if a bunch of Really Bad Things would happen to you all at once, most people would likely blame God right away. So. Between those two choices---really amazing and wonderful, or really horrible and devastating---what would get Mapou's attention, resulting in a sincere desire to meet God on his own terms. Be completely honest with yourself! My guess is neither. -QQuerius
July 28, 2015
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Querius, I want to see it with my own eyes. No videos, no pictures, no witness testimonies, no tricks. Not even a superhero cape. And while we're at it, commanding Stephen Hawking to get up from his wheelchair and do a breakdance would be very impressive too. LOL.Mapou
July 28, 2015
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Mapou retorted,
He could fly around like superman but buck naked. That would convince me.
Actually, I don't think so. After all, images can be Photoshopped and YouTube videos can be faked. Be honest with yourself. You'd first think it was an obvious spoof; later on, a clever one. For example, consider this: http://www.miraclesofthesaints.com/2010/10/levitation-and-ecstatic-flights-in.html Notice that the (sometimes hostile) witnesses included the Pope. Convinced? Didn't think so. ;-) -QQuerius
July 28, 2015
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That would be interesting, wouldn’t it. Although, even if he did that, I doubt I would place any faith in him. Miracles can be faked.
He could fly around like superman but buck naked. That would convince me.Mapou
July 28, 2015
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Mapou: Good luck with yours.
Thanks. You too.mike1962
July 28, 2015
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mike1962 @67, Like I said, it's all a matter of interpretation and we all have our own. Good luck with yours.Mapou
July 28, 2015
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Mapou: I want to see the Pope walk on water.
That would be interesting. Although, even if he did that, I doubt I would place any faith in him. Miracles can be faked. And Satan, assuming he exists, is presumed to have great powers that will be manifested in the last days.
Pharaoh’s priests could turn water into blood and sticks into serpents.
Assuming the story is literally true in the first place. I have my serious doubts given the dirt history of the Levant. I consider the Exodus to be a morality play of sorts, that gave Israel a "history of origin" and contained prophetical and future soteriological elements. But this probably isn't the time nor place.mike1962
July 28, 2015
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I want to see the Pope walk on water. Until then, he's just another man wearing a funny robe to me. Same goes to all other preachers in every religion on earth. At least, Pharaoh's priests could turn water into blood and sticks into serpents. I would have much more trust in Pharaoh's priests and Gods than in the Pope.Mapou
July 28, 2015
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Mike1962: You are the highest authority for yourself in what you will accept SA: True, but that’s completely different from being the highest authority on what the true interpretation of the Bible is.
I never claimed otherwise. Sidebar: The effective difference is moot. There is no way to settle the argument over who or what might be the ultimate interpreter. Honest people do what they can. And in the end, it all boils down to an individual choice about what individuals think and believe about what or who the ultimate arbiters are and are not. That you place your trust in a body of men who claim to be divinely sanctioned to be the "true interpreters" neither settles the issue of ultimate interpreters, nor does it get you off the hook for your own personal responsibility. At any rate, if you sincerely believe the Magisterium of the RCC is the ultimate interpreter, that is fine and dandy. But you are still in the position of ultimate arbiter for yourself since you have a choice of whether or not you accept them as such. You are the "presiding judge" for yourself, as it were, and it cannot be otherwise.mike1962
July 28, 2015
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SA: I have very limited capabilities to determine exactly what the apostolic tradition is in many cases... Because the Church is established by Christ
What you mean really is that you believe the Roman Catholic Church is the church that was established by Christ, right? Using your "very limited capabilities" how did you come to the conclusion that the RCC is the church established by Christ? And are the "very limited capabilities" you used in determining this infallible? My point here should be obvious, which came first, an uncritical trust in the divine sanction of the Magisterium, or an independent conclusion of yours about the divine sanction of the Magisterium? Moreover, if it turns out you are wrong about either an uncritical faith in the Magisterium, in the first case, or and incorrect assessment in the latter, who is responsible for any consequences following those choices?mike1962
July 28, 2015
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mike1962
You are the highest authority for yourself in what you will accept
True, but that's completely different from being the highest authority on what the true interpretation of the Bible is. You're arguing a different point.Silver Asiatic
July 28, 2015
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mike1962
Are you saying you uncritically accept everything they pronounce as true doctrine? If so, we’ve come to the end, because somehow you dispensed with your ability to critically analyze them.
I have critically analyzed every doctrine the Catholic Church teaches, to the best of my ability. But the fact is, I have very limited capabilities to determine exactly what the apostolic tradition is in many cases. So most of my belief is trust. Because the Church is established by Christ, and I have reason to believe in his divine nature, I have reason to uncritically accept the doctrines. At the same time, the Catholic doctrines are fixed. It's a finite, unchanging set of beliefs given by Christ. Once I accept the consistency and evidence of authenticity of those beliefs, I don't need to keep critically judging them. The only thing I would judge if is the Catholic Church was ever inconsistent with itself - in other words, if it reversed something that was already defined in a Council, Creed or official papal text. Then the authority of the Catholic Church would collapse. But that has never happened in the 2000 year history, so I feel my trust is well-placed.
If not, what is the limit of what you would tolerate before deciding they are not what you currently think they are?
As above, if an official teaching conflicted with any defined Catholic doctrine, then there would be an inconsistency that Christ's promise was false (that the gates of hell would never prevail against his church). That would be an indication that Christ is not divine and therefore not worthy of belief. That is another reason why private interpretation doesn't work for me. If nobody can know for certain what the true, required teachings of Christianity really are, and people are free to come up with whatever opinions they want in interpreting doctrine, then Christ did not leave much of a religion for anyone to follow. This is a major problem, as I see it. We could say "you can find out for yourself" but clearly that's not the case since sincere Christians come up with radically different ideas. If we said that "none of the doctrines that people disagree about are really important", then that would eliminate the need for huge parts of the Bible itself.Silver Asiatic
July 28, 2015
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SA: Assessing and choosing a different instructor does not automatically make you the ultimate teacher and authority for flying airplanes.
I didn't say I was the "ultimate teacher." As for being an ultimate authority, then yes, in the sense that for myself I am the one who ultimate determines what I believe and accept. How could it be any other way? Here's how this all started:
Mapou: I refuse to allow anybody to preach to me or to interpret anything for me. I’ll take my chances with my own interpretation, thank you. You: This would tell me that you believe yourself to be the highest possible authority in determining what is correct in the Bible. Right? Me: He is for himself. As you are for yourself. If you have a choice, there can be no other way.
Now, Mapou, like myself, is open minded to all kinds of sources and opinions on a matter, as he said, "All I’m saying is keep searching always. And there is nothing wrong with comparing notes with others. I often take a look at the opinion of others."
SA: That’s a different issue. You’ve gotten on to this notion of following blindly. As above, a person recognizes and chooses an authority greater than himself, that means he is not the highest authority.
You are the highest authority for yourself in what you will accept even from someone whom you consider to be an authority. Just like presidents do with their cabinet advisors. But the buck stops with you with regard to what you finally accept. That deserves the adjective of "ultimate."
The people submitted to and obeyed the authoritative teachers. They didn’t make up their own interpretations and just follow that.
I don't say they did. It's not about making up whatever interpretation willy nilly you happen to fancy or wish for. It's about honestly trying to find the right one, then accepting it for as long as it appears to be the right one. Ultimately (and that is the key word here) the buck always stops with the individual. Sometimes we make mistakes and have to change what we think is true and who we think a valid authority is. This is because our rational critical analyzer is still properly functioning, unless we have allowed our emotions to cloud our reason. As it should be. The buck stops here (for myself.)mike1962
July 28, 2015
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mike1962
Silver, you think the Roman Catholic Magisterium is the only God-sanctioned interpreter of the Bible, right?
When it comes to the teachings that are required for Christians to follow - yes. That's part of the religious belief I adhere to. I have tested that authority and found it trustworthy, so I surrender my personal opinion to an authority that I accept as greater than myself. I am not the ultimate authority on the interpretation of Scripture, but the Church is, through what has been handed down from Christ to the Apostles and their successors. So, while we can't talk with the original 'songwriter' directly, we have an authoritative linkage to the 'songwriter' through the succession of teachers who were promised to never fail in providing the true teaching of Christ. So, I accept Christ on evidence I see about his life, and then accept the Church he established as having authority to speak in the name of Christ. If the question is with regards to various concepts and ideas in the Bible that I could apply to my own life, I'm free to, and am encouraged to, interpret them for myself. But I'm not the ultimate authority on the true interpretation and if my opinion conflicted with official church teaching, I would give up my opinion and accept the church (if required, which would only be on necessary doctrines - the resurrection, the Trinity, etc). I arrived at the choice to obey the Church of Christ, not because I am the ultimate authority in interpreting the Bible, but because the evidence showed the church to be a higher authority than I am (and worthy of trust). If the Catholic Church could be shown to be wrong about this authority, then Christianity would be a jumble of contradictory, subjective opinions (as I've suggested) which would ultimately be meaningless and therefore a false religion.Silver Asiatic
July 28, 2015
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mike1962
I don’t give up my faculty of assessment just because I decide to acknowledge an authority,
Assessing and choosing a different instructor does not automatically make you the ultimate teacher and authority for flying airplanes.
To not question and critically assess your chosen authority’s output is dangerous.
That's a different issue. You've gotten on to this notion of following blindly. As above, a person recognizes and chooses an authority greater than himself, that means he is not the highest authority.
Even Yahweh in the Old Testament told his people to test the prophets’ ...
True. But the people didn't decide for themselves whatever they wanted. They were required to follow and obey the teaching of the Prophets. As Jesus said -- "So practice and obey whatever they tell you, but don't follow their example. For they don't practice what they teach." Matthew 23:3 The people submitted to and obeyed the authoritative teachers. They didn't make up their own interpretations and just follow that. In any case, it seems we're misunderstanding each other or something like that, so feel free to have the last word. I can't really say much more on this. Thanks.Silver Asiatic
July 28, 2015
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SA to Mapou: As I explained elsewhere – it’s like if you wanted to know what the lyrics to a song meant and you interpreted it for yourself and refused to listen to what the songwriter actually intended the lyrics to mean. That’s saying that you are the ultimate authority — your own opinion has the highest value in what you will believe.
Unfortunately, the "songwriters" of the ancient texts are not around for a personal interview, so we have to do the best we can when assessing the text. I, for one, do not live in a bubble and I study lots of relevant scholars in an attempt to glean the meaning of any particular text, biblical or otherwise. In the end, I have to come to a conclusion. And sometimes the conclusions change over time. But let's cut to the chase here, Silver, you think the Roman Catholic Magisterium is the only God-sanctioned interpreter of the Bible, right? (I don't.) Are you saying you uncritically accept everything they pronounce as true doctrine? If so, we've come to the end, because somehow you dispensed with your ability to critically analyze them. (I would find that difficult to believe, but I will admit the possibility.) If not, what is the limit of what you would tolerate before deciding they are not what you currently think they are?mike1962
July 28, 2015
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SA: When learning how to fly an airplane, I trust the flight instructor and obey the directions given. I cannot claim to be the ultimate authority on how to fly a plane merely because I trusted a flight instructor to teach me.
Now, if after having hired what you decided to accept was a qualified flight instructor, you discover he has a drinking problem and is impaired as you are about to get into the plane with him for a session, you might change your mind about him being the right instructor for you, and find a new instructor. I would. Or perhaps you began to study all the relevant flight instruction manuals and discuss with other instructors some discrepancies between your chosen instructor and the training manuals. You might change your mind about your original choice of instructor. I would. Why? Because I don't give up my faculty of assessment just because I decide to acknowledge an authority. Do you? I hope not. It's dangerous. Are you telling me that when you decide to allow someone else to be an authority for you, you turn your brain off and stop critically analyzing the authority's output? I sure hope not. Because you may discovery you were wrong in the first place to put your trust in your chosen authority, removing the legitimacy of your first decision. Or are you saying you can infallibly determine who the proper authority is? To not question and critically assess your chosen authority's output is dangerous. Even Yahweh in the Old Testament told his people to test the prophets' and put them under a pile of stones if the the prophets strayed from the Torah or made false predictions. How could the people do that if they "parked their brains at the door of the synagog", so to speak? Bottom line is, unless you have somehow shut off your critical rational capacity with regards to your chosen authority, you are still judging and assessing your chosen authority, and may come to change your mind about his/her/their legitimacy, making you the ultimate arbiter for yourself.mike1962
July 28, 2015
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Silver Asiatic:
Ok, but that’s merely your opinion and as you said, it could change. As such, nobody would have any reason or need to follow it. There’s actually no reason even to discuss it. If I merely said my opinion disagrees with yours, that would be the end of the conversation. My opinion is just as right or wrong as yours since nobody could really know what the Bible means anyway. It’s all just changeable opinions.
No. My (or anyone else's) opinion or interpretation is neither right nor wrong. All I'm saying is keep searching always. And there is nothing wrong with comparing notes with others. I often take a look at the opinion of others, even the preachers. Just don't preach. Nobody has that authority unless he or she can walk on water, predict the future or do something that knocks everyone's socks off. Wearing a collar, a crucifix or a robe does not cut it.Mapou
July 28, 2015
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Mapou, What I mean by the authority to interpret the bible is that when you decide what something means, you follow your own opinion. By this, your own opinion of what the bible means has the highest authority level. As I explained elsewhere - it's like if you wanted to know what the lyrics to a song meant and you interpreted it for yourself and refused to listen to what the songwriter actually intended the lyrics to mean. That's saying that you are the ultimate authority -- your own opinion has the highest value in what you will believe.
But nobody gets in without righteousness either. If Yahweh did not pay that debt for us, we would all be doomed.
Ok, but that's merely your opinion and as you said, it could change. As such, nobody would have any reason or need to follow it. There's actually no reason even to discuss it. If I merely said my opinion disagrees with yours, that would be the end of the conversation. My opinion is just as right or wrong as yours since nobody could really know what the Bible means anyway. It's all just changeable opinions.Silver Asiatic
July 28, 2015
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mike1962
From that they judged and chose to follow him, and so are ultimately responsible for what follows from placing their trust into someone else’s hands.
We're talking about two different things. In one case, you're talking about the choice to accept and follow an authoritative guide or not. In the other case, we're talking about a claim that one's own personal judgements are equivalent to that of an authoritative guide. So, these are different points. The difference is, when interpreting the Bible, am I the ultimate authority for what it means or is there a greater authority? By merely choosing a greater authority than myself is not equivalent to claiming my interpretations of the Bible are the correct ones. It's the difference between submission or obedience to a higher authority versus subjectively following my own ideas as authoritative. When reading Shakespeare, is the individual reader the ultimate authority for what the author intended, or does the author himself have a greater authority about what the text was intended to mean? If I accepted Shakespeare's interpretations (if I was alive with him) would that mean "I already knew what his plays meant and he just validated it"? I don't think so. Even if I didn't understand, or disagreed with him, I would accept that he was the ultimate authority and therefore, he had the correct interpretation.
You are still the final authority for yourself.
Well, if that were the case, then I wouldn't need a guide to religion, like the Bible, at all. I would possess all the authority of right judgement in myself. This seems similar to Mapou's point of view - he rejects religion and will not be preached to and interprets the Bible in his own unique way. A religious authority directs us truths we couldn't know by our self. There's a very big difference between being taught something by an acknowledged authority and deciding that you already know what is right by yourself. When a person chooses to follow and obey an authoritative teacher, it doesn't mean the person is judging for himself what is right. When learning how to fly an airplane, I trust the flight instructor and obey the directions given. I cannot claim to be the ultimate authority on how to fly a plane merely because I trusted a flight instructor to teach me. In the Bible there are many examples of how God expected the people to follow commands of the authoritative teachers. This is quite a lot different than the people asserting that they, themselves, are the highest authority. This argument is very similar to the discussions we have about subjective morality. In those cases, the person asserts that the individual is the highest authority in judging what is morally good or not.Silver Asiatic
July 28, 2015
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Silver Asiatic @49, I think you are putting words in my mouth. I consider myself to have no authority whatsoever. This is why I search always. You don't know how many times I have changed my mind about doctrine. After all, the man said "search and you shall find". And believe it or not, I have found some very interesting things. For example, my current understanding of the functioning of the brain and intelligence comes almost entirely from a couple of Biblical books. And that's just the tip of the iceberg of scientific knowledge that is in the Bible. My current interpretation of the mechanism of salvation is this. The most important thing one can have is faith. Nobody makes it into the kingdom of Yahweh without faith. Either you have it or you don't. Our righteousness is worthless because we don't have any. But nobody gets in without righteousness either. If Yahweh did not pay that debt for us, we would all be doomed. This being said, I don't mind seeing anybody else, including the Churches, interpreting the Bible. But they should at least admit to their congregations that this is what they are doing and they should encourage them to come up with their own interpretation and provide them with the tools they need to do so. Imposing dogma on the flock is evil, IMO. The Churches have no authority whatsoever in matters regarding salvation or interpretation of scripture.Mapou
July 28, 2015
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SA: The disciples were taught by Jesus because they believed him to have the authority to teach the correct interpretations. They didn’t follow their own interpretations.
Something he said or did comported with a pre-existing set of "facts" they had in their minds. From that they judged and chose to follow him, and so are ultimately responsible for what follows from placing their trust into someone else's hands. Some stopped following him when he starting teaching about "eating my body and my blood." If the Roman Catholic Magisterium came out that all Catholics must sacrifice their firstborns, you would probably balk and withdraw your support. This probably won't happen, but do you or do you not reserve the right to judge their pronouncements as valid or not? I would find it very bizarre indeed if you personally answer anything other than "yes" to that question. You are still the final authority for yourself. No way around it, unless your reason and will are gone.mike1962
July 28, 2015
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