Originally Posted by TheFightingPikachu
I'm going to refer to this site again: http://www.tentmaker.org/books/GatesOfHell.html
OK, why did I link that? I'm aware that it is a very long read, but there are 2 major issues. Translating words such as 'Sheol' and so on into Hell. Not only that, but the greek word aeonian is mistranslated into eternity, rather than an indefinite, or long period of time. Put together, you get Bible verses suggesting an eternity in Hell. Furthermore, people may have their own agendas with going for inaccurate translations, such as scaring people into believing God with threats of eternal punishment, or more sinister people may use it as a tool to control people with a false, modified religion. The entire doctrine of Hell popped up with these translations, and it is by far the most damning doctrine against Christianity today. While it is not possible to understand how the mind of God works, and hence rendering judgment is nigh-impossible, when it comes to matters that deal with effects that last forever, judgment of character is possible. Eternally punishing anyone is inconsistent with the character of a perfect, good, all-powerful being that is supposed to have infinite/maximum love. A lot of the other things God does in the Bible, along with letting evil events happen, may well have hidden reasons that go way into the future that we cannot see, but with eternal punishment, it stops making sense. This sort of mistranslation proves my point that there IS a massive potential for corruption. The doctrine of eternal punishment is an error, and a corruption, of truly cataclysmic proportions. It's brutally defamatory to God. I'm not surprised that people that believe this doctrine is a part of Christianity end up leaving it. Not only that, but this doctrine of Hell corrupts the central doctrine of Christianity. What is Jesus Christ REALLY supposed to be saving humanity from, if not an eternity in Hell? I'd say the answer is sinful behaviour that leads people, and people around them, to ruin, which would mainly be due to ignorance of God's teachings for humans (regardless of whether or not the teachings came from the Bible, or elsewhere).
I do not deny that there is some potential for error in translation. I believe some translations are better than others (though I am gaining some respect for translations that I had previously heard negative things about). However, the very fact that there are many translations allows us to compare them. Such a comparison shows that corruption has not occurred on any kind of scale. It is not as though the original Christians worshiped a goddess, or that translators added most of Jesus' sayings, or that translators made up many of the miracles in the Bible.
As I said above, I'd have to disagree. The doctrine of eternal punsihment fails to make sense when logically analysed. It contradicts the loving character of a pure good god. It also blatantly contradicts justice as eternal punishment is a supremely disproportionate punishment. Applying 1 Thessalonians 5:21 to the doctrine of Hell causes it to fall apart like a pack of cards.
Since I'm not sure what you meant in your post, please bear with me because I'm starting out by responding to something I'm not sure you mean: If you mean that different translations of that verse give different numbers, I just want to point out that all the translations on that page quoted that verse as saying that there were 550 chief officers/officials/supervisors. That would disprove claims that the verse as we now have it has been garbled as a result of translation.
See mattj's rebuttal. It's interesting to note that similar uses of language can lead people into the logical fallacy that they refer to the same group of people. There are actually no contradictions here.
Now, I will move on to what I'm pretty sure you are
saying. For the moment, and for the sake of argument, I'm going to assume these passages are contradictory. This does not prove that any one of them is the result of anything that people should label "corruption." There does not appear to be any manuscript or translation issue here. You haven't shown that these texts got this way by some process of tampering. If I agreed that these verses contradicted, I would have to conclude that they most likely contradicted as long as each text has been in existence. If I believed this were the case, it would be best to label this, not a corruption
, but an error
in the text.
In the definition of corruption I used, I included 'error' in it. Errors corrupt the truth, and render logical arguments faulty.
However, consider the fact that there are some commentaries on that webpage, and some of them seek to explain that apparent discrepancy. I'm not going to get into the issue, but it is possible that these different texts are counting different things. There are passages in the gospels which confuse me waaaaay more than the ones you cited.
I did mention the need to check them out yourself, a lot of 'contradictions' are resolved with the right sort of critical analysis.
I really want to thank you for pointing this out. Indeed, those are two of my favorite verses. In any case, I'm glad to be able to say that, even if we don't agree on everything, we agree on some things.
First, I'd like to say that the webpage does not argue that any teachings were, properly speaking, added to the Bible. Take note of what the author does say:
Here he says, not that people changed the biblical texts, but that they simply misinterpret them. Once again, this is not the same as corruption. If, to take a really bizarre example, Shakespeare's play Romeo and Juliet
had never said that anybody died in the end and people simply misinterpreted it as saying that these two lovers died, that would not mean that Romeo and Juliet
had been corrupted.
Actually, when he refers to no text in scripture, properly understood, being consistent with Christianity, I'm certain he's referring to the original text, not all texts out there. Some modern texts clearly mention eternal punishment, which cannot be true (Revelation 20:15 for example). Translators themselves are vulnerable to misinterpreting scripture, especially if they are not really adept with the language they are translating from, and the language they are translating to.
But to examine some of his specific claims, note a few very important things that he says early on. In the section on Adam's punishment, he rightly points out that the text never specifies an afterlife as the punishment for disobedience. However, note one of the scholars he quotes in the next section
Mark these words carefully, for they do not deny simply eternal punishment, but also eternal reward. If we are to take the alleged silence of the Old Testament as evidence against an afterlife with punishment for evildoers, it would also be evidence against an afterlife with rewards for the righteous. Yet the author himself does not wish to take that conclusion. thus his usage of that quote, as well as of that general area of data, is not honest.
Let's look at another example, from his discussion of "the strait gate"
. First, he quotes Luke 13:23, which I will not discuss. In any case, he goes on to quote Matthew 7:13-14:
It is one thing to point out that this passage doesn't specify any punishment being eternal. Yet it does not allow for everyone eventually being saved. His argument is very much inaccurate. To say that all who believe the wicked will be punished eternally also believe that many will be saved is simply an inaccuracy. In fact, when the author says he believes that few were being saved in Jesus' day
, he sets fire to his own argument. Think of all the nonbelieving pagans who lived in Jesus' day. Though extremely few worship the Roman gods today, could we possibly believe that the billions of Hindus, Muslims, and name-only Christians do not outnumber the Christians who are saved? Also, it is entirely arbitrary to take the verse as being only about "the exacting nature of the religion." It doesn't just say that the gate is narrow; Jesus makes it plain that many choose the path of destruction.
I'm sorry if I'm skipping over things a bit too quickly, but it's hard to get at the Bible verses I need at times. A lot of what happens after death, from Adam to the future, would appear to be resolved in the future. I'm not saying I agree with everything on the website I linked, but I am saying that I agree Hell is a false doctrine, and universalism will result in everyone getting saved at the end, so there must be some form of resurrection along the way.
There are just a few more things I'd like to point out. In the section on "The Bad Cast Away
," the author makes more erroneous statements. It is amazing that he quotes a scholar presumptuous enough to say that we can know for sure that no Christians died in the 70 A.D. destruction of Jerusalem. Now that
is uncritical thinking. Also, he is inaccurate to say that the Bible never says the world will end. Since II Peter 3
and Revelation 20
speak of earth and heaven being completely gone, and new heavens and a new earth replacing them, the Bible does indicate that the world will end, even if the word "world" is not used there.
I'm not going to claim that everything said by that author is accurate, but some of the points do make sense. As for heaven and earth passing away, is there a possibility that this is symbolic, rather than literal, especially considering Revelation is full of symbology?
Finally, he simply doesn't deal properly with Matthew 25:41. In this section
, he argues that the punishment described in most translations as "eternal" or "everlasting" cannot be so because of grammar, despite the fact that many translations agree in using this term
. Additionally the author is spouting insane things by arguing that this passage could speak of a remedial
punishment, since it expressly says that this fire is prepared for the devil and his angels!
Actually, I'm going to disagree here. I feel that the majority of translations are actually incorrect, on the grounds that they fatally contradict God's character. I cannot ignore contradictions, even if everybody else claims it is the truth. However, some of the stuff I see there stops making sense. I don't agree with the part about Jesus's second coming being spiritual, and having already occured in the past. Any punishment that isn't remedial (all of them would have to be, part of the whole point of punishment is to correct the person being punished) does not make sense. As for the fire being for Satan and his fallen angel buddies, they may be there for imprisonment, not simply a remedial punishment. They would be very different from humans, so different measures would be needed to deal with them. BTW, I might not be able to respond to everything right now, please tell me if there's anything I haven't responded to in your next post.
I'm going to note a few things. First, you have loaded down your argument with beliefs about the goodness of God and the inborn nature of homosexuality. I would agree that God is good, but I would disagree that homosexuality is inborn. In addition, I would not argue that it is right to start translating with the perspective that "we know God is good, therefore we must avoid translations that make Him sound bad." Translation should be done objectively, and if a passage does not square with what people believe about God, then we are left with something difficult.
If we assume that homosexuality is not inborn as a part of a nature of some humans, then this begs the following question: Why on Earth would anyone want to engage in relationships where they get ostracised, relationships where private parts are used in a non-standard way, relationships were procreation is completely impossible, relationships were there should be no natural attraction to physical bodies? The problem is, this question has no answer, barring complete ignorance of the facts within it. As the question has no real answer, then the assumption must be faulty. Humans are not all created 'normal', some humans do have very different natures. People with Autism, for example, think very differently about things, and tend to be introverted, by their NATURE. I should know, I've been Autistic my entire life. I can see no real evidence to support the suggestion that homosexuality is not a part of the nature of some humans, but plenty of evidence to the contrary. People engage in homosexual relationships despite it deviating from the norm of heterosexuality, and the only logical explanation I can think of is because their nature deviates from the normal nature. I cannot believe that this makes them sinful. Nature is not something that can be changed easily, if at all.
To take an example, I don't believe David and Jonathan were gay. However, I facepalm at non-gay Christians who simply argue, "That translation can't be correct because the Mosaic Law condemned homosexuality and we don't hear anything about them being in trouble with the law on that account." Since the meaning of passages in the Mosaic Law is also being debated by just about everyone who thinks David and Jonathan were gay, this is to ignore the basic problem that each text needs to be analyzed without assuming that all these other texts support the traditional view.
Second, I'd like to see a neutral Hebrew source that indicates that "taboo" is the meaning, not "abomination." With only pro-gay sources, I have strong grounds for believing that this is just a pro-gay revision.
BTW, I would advise you to analyse the argument on its own merits. You can choose to use potential bias as a means for reducing the probability that it is true, but to go as far as to dismiss it as false is a logical fallacy. Ad hominem arguments are limited to altering evidentiary weight of some arguments, but not for going all the way to definitely true/false. Furthermore, now this is just a guess, I suspect that maybe, you may be quick to dismiss pro-gay sources because there is the possibility that you may have a bias, due to homosexuality being radically different to heterosexuality. There are parts that I would find very different to my own nature too, and I wouldn't want to act in a way that matches their nature, because it does not match my own nature (which is heterosexual). Also, given what I have said previously, I seriously doubt that pro-gay people are like that because they want to choose sin, they would be like that because homosexual nature is part of who homosexual people are, and I don't see any evidence that suggests otherwise.
Third, I'd like to point out that the word that pro-gay Christians like to translate as "bed" is a word that clearly indicates sex. Even with the woodenly literal, hardly English that the pro-gay sites tend to use for that passage, the meaning would be "You shall not lie (sexually) with a man in the lying (sexually) of a woman." The attempt to remove the condemnation of homosexual actions does not work; it is undoubtedly the result of modern people who have a motive for avoiding this conclusion. There is a reason why this claim is proposed by pro-gay websites.
For starters, the passage deals with men lying with other men, what about women? There's something fishy about the law being gender-specific here, if it is supposed to condemn homosexuality. Furthermore, if homosexuality was being condemned, then why not simply say do not engage in homosexual relationships explicitly? Other verses are quite explicit about what is not acceptable, why wouldn't this one be?
Regarding your argument about Romans 1, I'm first going to agree with mattj, the passage doesn't say anything about something being "natural for you." When natural is used in that way, the meaning refers to things that are natural for humanity
, not for any one
human's tendencies. Natural does not mean "something that isn't artificial" (so as to condemn the drinking of canned soda), nor does it mean "existing or taking place in the natural world" (which would mean everything in the world
Note that Romans 1, there were people exchanging their existing heterosexual relationships for homosexual ones. i.e. People, with the normal nature, goes for an alternative one that is in violation of their own nature. That sounds like a recipe for disaster.
Also, I'd like to point out that that passage does not say anything about pagan sex orgies. It also fails to say that these God-ignoring people only did these things at certain times, as something like a temple ritual might indicate. It uses the word "abandoned," which very strongly indicates that these people were not just doing all sorts of bad sexual stuff on-again-off-again. They abandoned natural sexual relations, the ones that have been around just about as long as humans have.
They may well not have cared about doing what is natural, they may have been more about 'I'll just do what feels fun, and follow my urges', throwing all caution to the wind. Some people are like that.
Originally Posted by TheFightingPikachu
It's still a translation issue that would be confusing, I might have to investigate later to see if strange and other are supposed to be synonymous here.
Also, take as long as you need in responding to me! I just want to add that even though there have been plenty of areas about which we have disagreed, you have explained your view calmly, and generally been an enjoyable guy to debate. For that, I give you thanks!
NP, I may not have answered all the points adequately, as this is eating up a lot of my time. You may need to respond with more points later.