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darwin

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  1. THE FALLIBILITY OF THE GOSPELS amount of his material from the Mark gospel, is is virtually impossible to believe that the original tax-collector Matthew, represented as having known Jesus at first hand, and having travelled with him, would have based his gospel on an inaccurate work whose author clearly had no such advantages. Bluntly, the original disciple Matthew could not have written the gospel that bears his name. Whoever wrote it must have been later than Mark. As a result of such reasoning, the German theologians began increasingly to date the origination of all three synoptic gospels to well into the second century AD. In turn the John gospel came under similar scrutiny. The long speeches in fluent Greek attributed to J esus were considered by German theologians to be Hellenistic in character, compatible with the gospel's traditional prove- nance, the Hellenistic city of Ephesus in Asia Minor. Since even Church tradition acknowledged the J ohn gospel to have been written later than the rest, it was thought to be most likely to date from close to the end of the second century .However, the one apparent crumb of comfort, that the Mark gospel, despite its geographical flaws, seemed to offer a less fanciful version of J esus' life than the rest, was in turn swept away with the publication, in 1901, of Breslau professor Wilhelm Wrede's The Secret of the Messiahship. Wrede argued powerfully that whoever wrote Mark tried to present Jesus as having deliberately made a secret ofhis Messiahship during his lifetime, and that most of his disciples failed to recognize him as the Messiah until after his death. While not necessarily giving this idea their full endorsement, most modern scholars acknowledge Wrede's insight in establishing one funda- mental truth -that even the purportedly 'primitive' Mark gospel was more concerned with theology, with putting over a predetermined theological viewpoint, than with providing a straight historical narrative. Five years after Wrede's publication, in a closely written treatise From Reimarus to Wrede, translated into English as The Quest for the Historical Jesus, Albert Schweitzer, later to become the world-famous Lambarene missionary, sum- marized the work of his fellow German theological predecessors in these terms: There is nothing more negative than the result of the critical study of the life of Jesus. The Jesus of Nazareth who came forward publicly as the Messiah, who preached the ethic of the Kingdom of God, who founded the Kingdom of Heaven upon earth, and died to give his work its final consecration, never had any existence ...This image has not been destroyed from without, it has fallen to pieces, cleft and disintegrated by the concrete historical problems which came to the surface one after another. .. 37 THE FALLIBILITY OF THE GOSPELS If all these new discoveries seemed damaging enough, within two decades on to the scene at Germany's Marburg University stepped Rudolf Bultmann, acknowledged by many as this century's greatest New Testament theologian, bringing with him a new and yet more devastating weapon, Formgeschichte or 'form criticism'. This followed on from the work ofKarl Ludwig Schmidt, a German pastor who had noted that a particular weakness of gospels such as Mark's lay in the link passages, which appeared to have been invented to give an impression of continuity between one episode or saying and the next. Bultmann set his sights to trying to reconstruct what material, if any, might be authentic between the links. His approach was to try to assess each gospel element- birth story, miracle story, ethical saying, etc. -in order to establish whether it was original or had been borrowed from the Old Testament, or from contemporary J ewish thought, or merely invented to suit some parti- cular theological line which early Christian preachers wanted to promulgate. For Bultmann anything that savoured of the miraculous -the nativity stories, references to angels, accounts of wondrous cures of the sick, and the like - could immediately be dismissed as prompted by the writer's concern to represent Jesus as divine. Anything that appeared to fulfil an Old Testament prophecy -Jesus' birth in Bethlehem, his entry into Jerusalem on a donkey, his betrayal, and much else -could be rejected as a mere attempt to represent his life as fulfilling such prophecies. If anything that J esus was reported to have said could be traced to the general J ewish thinking of his time, then it was unacceptable as necessarily originating from him. For instance, Jesus' famous saying, '. ...always treat others as you would like them to treat you; that is the meaning of the Law and the Prophets' (Matthew 7: 12) may be found mirrored almost exactly in a saying of the great J ewish Rabbi Hillel, from less than a century before Jesus: 'Whatever is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow-man. This is the whole Law [Torah] ...' We cannot therefore be sure that this was ever said by Jesus. Similarly, in Mark's gospel, Jesus is reported as telling a paralytic: 'Your sins are forgiven' (Mark 2: 5). Jewish scribes were then said to have challenged Jesus' right to offer such forgive- ness, on the grounds that only God can forgive sins. According to Mark J esus went on to cure the paralytic regardless. Bultmann argued that this story was probably invented by early Christians to bolster their own claim to be able to forgive sins. By a series of deductions of this kind he concluded that much of what appears in the gospels was not what J esus had actually said and done, but what Christians at least two generations removed had invented about him, or had inferred from what early preachers had told them. Not surprisingly, Bultmann's approach left intact little that might 38 THE FALLIBILITY OF THE GOSPELS have derived from the original J esus -not much more than the parables, J esus ' baptism, his Galilean and J udaean ministries and his crucifixion. Recognizing this himself, he condemned as useless further attempts to try to reconstruct the Jesus of history: I do indeed think that we can now know almost nothing concerning the life and personality of J esus, since the early Christian sources show no interest in either, are moreover fragmentary and often legendary . Bultmann's recourse was to the Lutheran concept of a Christ of faith, in his view a concept far superior to anything relying on works of history .And he and his colleagues seem to have happily accepted a divine J esus while rejecting most of the historical evidence for his existence. Dr Geza Vermes, a leading present-day Jewish scholar, has neatly summarized the Bultmann position as having 'their feet off the ground of history and their heads in the clouds of faith'. Bultmann died in 1976, at the age of ninety-two. A whole generation of modern New Testament scholars, among them his Marburg successor Wer- ner Kiimmel, Bristol University's Dennis Nineham, Harvard University's Helmut Koester, and others, acknowledge an immense debt to him for introducing a whole new school of thought in theological research. Others, however, recognize that Bultmann went too far, and have challenged his rigid, unshakable attitudes: in Britain, while acknowledging that each gospel per se may have been written at second hand, several scholars have devoted great attention to the detection of underlying first-hand sources. Not long after Bultmann had begun his professorship at Marburg, across the Channel at Queen's College, Oxford, a shy and retiring Englishman, Canon Burnett Streeter, quietly put the finishing touches to The Pout Gospels -A Study in Origins. By this time, thanks to both British and German theological re- search, it was already recognized that the authors of Matthew and Luke, in addition to drawing on the gospel of Mark, must have used a second Greek source, long lost, but familiarly referred to by scholars as 'Q' (from the German 'quelle', meaning source). It was even possible to reconstruct Q's original content from passages in which Matthew and Luke bore close resemblance to each other, but not to Mark. While reaffirming this thinking, Streeter postulated at least two additional sources: 'M', which seemed to have provided material peculiar to the Matthew gospel, and 'L' which furnished passages exclusive to Luke. Streeter evolved a chart of the synoptic gospels' possible interrelationship and dependence upon such sources (see over). 'M' and 'L' may well have been written in Aramaic, the spoken language of Jesus and his disciples. 39 Streeter died in 1937, but his line of thought was developed by other major British theological scholars, among them Professor Charles Dodd, who went on to make his own special contribution to an understanding of the John gospel. To this day the broad outlines of Streeter's hypothesis remain the basis for much synoptic literary criticism. And the clues to underlying Aramaic sources are indeed there. In the Luke gospel, for instance, which includes 'exclusives' such as the parables of the Good Samaritan and the Prodigal Son, there occurs the following saying: Oh, you Pharisees! You clean the outside of cup and plate, while inside yourselves you are filled with extortion and wickedness. ..Instead give alms from what you have and then indeed everything will be clean for you. (Luke I I: 39-41). 'Give alms' appears to make no sense, yet it occurs in the very earliest available Greek texts. All becomes clear, however, when we discover that in Aramaic 'zakkau' (to give alms) looks very similar to 'dakkau' (to cleanse). That the original saying referred to 'cleansing' rather than 'giving alms' can be checked because Matthew includes a parallel passage in what we may now judge to have been the correct form: 'Blind Pharisee! Clean the inside of cup and dish first so that the outside may become clean as well. ..' (Matthew 23: 26). As has been remarked by Cambridge theologian Don Cupitt, this tells us more clearly than any amount of scholarship that whoever wrote Luke was not inventing his material, but was struggling with an Aramaic source that he was obviously determined to follow even if he did not fully under- stand it. A similar misunderstanding is detectable in the Matthew gospel, notable for its remarkable' Sermon on the Mount' passages, some of which, when 40 THE FALLIBILITY OF THE GOSPELS translated from Greek into Aramaic, take on such a distinctive verse form that Aramaic must have been the language in which they were first framed. It is like translating the words 'On the bridge at Avignon' back into their original French. Surprisingly, despite having been dismissed by the Germans as very late and very Greek, the gospel which would seem, in part at least, to have the most authentically Aramaic flavour of all is that of J ohn. The first shock to the nineteenth-century Germans, with their dismissive attitude towards the John gospel, came with the discovery and publication of the Rylands frag- ment. If a copy of the John gospel was in use in provincial Egypt around 125 AD, its original, if it was composed at Ephesus (and at least no-one has suggested it was written in Egypt), must have been written significantly earlier, probably at least a decade before 100 AD, as most scholars now recognize. A second shock was the discovery of the much publicized Dead Sea Scrolls. Although generally thought to have been written by the Essenes, a J ewish sect contemporary with J esus, they proved disappointingly to throw little new light on J esus and early Christianity , at least in any direct way. The Scrolls contain no recognizable mention of J esus, just as the Christian gospels, surprisingly, fail to refer to the Essenes. But the intriguing feature of the Scrolls is that their authors, undeniably full-blooded J ews, were using in Jesus' time precisely the type of language and imagery previously thought 'Hellenistic' in J ohn. As is well known, the J ohn gospel prologue speaks of a conflict between light and darkness. The whole gospel is replete with phrases such as 'the spirit of truth', 'the light of life', 'walking in the darkness', 'children of light', and 'eternal life'. A welter of such phrases and imagery occur in the Dead Sea Scrolls' Manual of Discipline. The John gospel's prologue, He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things came to be, Not one thing had its being but through him. (John I: 2-3) is strikingly close to the Manual of Discipline's All things come to pass by his knowledge, He establishes all things by his design And without him nothing is done. (Manual I I: I I) This is but one example of a striking similarity of cadence and choice of words obvious to anyone reading gospel and Manual side by side. 41 THE FALLIBILITY OF THE GOSPELS Even before such discoveries Oxford scholar Professor F. C. Bumey and ancient historian A. T. Olmstead had begun arguing forcibly that the J ohn gospel's narrative element, at least, must originally have been composed in Aramaic, probably not much later than 40 AD. One ingenious researcher, Dr Aileen Guilding, has shown in The Fourth Gospel and Jewish Worship that the gospel's whole construction is based on the Jewish cycle of feasts, and the practice of completing the reading of the Law, or Torah, in a three-year cycle. That the gospel's author incorporated accounts provided by close eyewitnesses to the events described is further indicated by detailed and accurate references to geographical features of J erusalem and its environs before the city and its Temple were destroyed in 70 AD, after Roman suppres- sion of the Jewish revolt which had broken out four years earlier. It is John who mentions a Pool of Siloam (John 9: 7), remains of which are thought to have been discovered in Jerusalem, and a 'Gabbatha' or pavement, where Pilate is said to have sat in judgement over Jesus (Chapter 19, verse 13). The Gabbatha is identified as a pavement now in the crypt of the Convent of the Sisters of Our Lady of Sion in J erusalem, undeniably Roman, though not conclusively dating from the time of J esus. While some elements in the gospels are clumsily handled and suggest that their authors were far removed in time and distance from the events they are describing, others have a strikingly original and authentic ring. In some instances it is as if a second generation has heavily adulterated first-hand material. Support for such an idea exists, at least in the case of the Matthew gospel, in the form ofa cryptic remark by the early Bishop Papias (c. 60-130 AD): 'Matthew compiled the Sayings in the Aramaic language, and everyone translated them as well as he could.' This has been interpreted as suggesting that all that Matthew might have done was make a collection, in his native Aramaic, of those sayings of J esus that he had heard, a collection, perhaps in form at least, very like those discovered in the Nag Hammadi Thomas gospel. Someone else, perhaps several others, would then have translated them and adapted them for their own literary purposes. This might readily explain why the Matthew gospel bears his name without, at least in the form it has come down to us, ever having been written by him. The crunch question, though, is why this situation should have come about. Why should original eyewitness material, emanating from J ews who had actually spoken with J esus and observed his doings, have been adulterated and effectively buried by what were probably Gentile writers of a later time? The answer appears to lie in one event, the J ewish revolt of 66 AD, which had its culmination four years later in the sacking of J erusalem, the burning 44
  2. gHari prabhu, You're right. I am sorry I said it that way. I just took the time to read your Romans post. I am very impressed. You remember, you and I have had long biblical discussions before, on VNN. My frustration is that I think there needs to be more to all this than books and quotes. I scanned and posted part of a book I want you to read. I think you will agree with the author. It's in the Pilgrimage For Crows. [This message has been edited by darwin (edited 10-28-2001).]
  3. Your right. How's this: "It is amazing how you took our dull discussion of biblical passages, and injected what you feel Jesus really said and meant, thereby fulfilling the purpose of this topic and making this topic nicely fit into it's category of spiritual discussions." [This message has been edited by darwin (edited 10-28-2001).]
  4. Jesus: The Evidence By Ian Wilson INTRODUCTION We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father. Through him all things were made. . EVER y week, in Christian churches throughout the world, countless Protestant, Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox believers, in surpris- ing unity , repeat this formula, the so-called Nicene Creed. I t represents part of their common profession of faith. Although few reflect on it this way, it also represents the point of division between Christianity and every other form of belief. While J ews and Moslems would have little difficulty in accepting the immediately preceding words, We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth (although Moslems would tend to balk at the concept of God as 'Father'), those relating to Jesus are of a different order. They demand the belief that a man who to all appearances was merelyan obscure Jewish teacher of two thousand years ago, has in fact been co-creator and co-ruler of our multi- million galaxy universe throughout its entire existence. Such a concept has not only been dismissed as hopelessly irrational by atheists and agnostics, it has also quite understandably been rejected by Jews and Moslems as incom- patible with their fundamental belief in the singularity of God. To what extent should even a Christian cling to such a formula as a true expression of his or her beliefs? The Nicene Creed, which even the great 9 INTRODUCTION Martin Luther left unscathed, is to be found in no gospel. It derives from no recorded utterances of J esus, some of the remarks attributed to him being, in fact, in direct contradiction to its message. As is well known, the Creed sprang from a bitter theological feud, the Arian controversy, which raged during the fourth and fifth centuries AD. When it was first formulated at the Council ofNicaea in 325 AD, following the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great's apparent conversion to Christianity, not a few people felt that some- thing of the original J esus and the spirit of his teaching had been fatally compromised. The die had, however, been cast. It would become the norm for matters of individual Christian belief to be decided by a council of bishops, and the Nicene Creed reached its near final form in 45 I AD at the Council of Chalcedon, when it was agreed by both Eastern and Western bishops that Jesus had been fully human and""fully divine. In Rome it gradually became established that one man, the Bishop of Rome, had the right to make decisions for all Christendom. Those in the East objected to the idea of Roman supremacy and went their own ways, but in the West Christian doctrinal practice remained intact until the sixteenth century, when the great Martin Luther issued his challenge by nailing up his ninety-five theses on the door of the Schlosskirche at Wittenberg. Even when he did so his 'protest' was against the prevailing ecclesiastical authority rather than the basis of its theology. The Nicene formula was left unscathed. Yet, as he could perhaps never have anticipated in his lifetime, Luther had set in train a whole new wave of critical attitudes towards some of the most fundamental tenets of Christian belief, even among those well placed within the Christian Church. Such criticism was particularly strong among Luther's own countrymen, some of whom, during the last century, even sacrificed academic preferment in their earnest endeavours to reach the real truth about Jesus. In an age less fettered by dogma, we are the enlightened beneficiaries of those endeavours. Our knowledge of the life and times of Jesus has also been immensely enriched by recent discoveries from Israeli archaeology, from chance manuscript finds, from the researches of independent-minded J ewish scholars, and, not least, from a greater understanding of human psychology. So who exactly was J esus? Did he even exist? What did he really teach? Would he have been prepared to endorse the Nicene decision? Or might he have found himself more at home in modern J udaism? I t is in an honest, fair-minded attempt to answer these questions and more that Jesus: the Evidence has been written. II THE FALLIBILITYOF THE GOSPELS IT is perhaps a reflection of today's emphasis on a J esus of faith that most modern Christians, practising and non-practising, are quite unaware of the sort of conflicts that have riven the world of gospel studies during the last century or so. Few realize, for instance, that despite the fact that the canonical gospels bear the names Matthew, Mark, Luke and J ohn, these names are mere attributions, and not necessarily those of their real authors. The earliest writers who referred to the gospels significantly failed to mention names of authors, it being apparent that each gospel, both those surviving and those that have failed to survive, was originally designed as the gospel for a particular community. A canon of the four 'recognized' gospels only gradu- ally came into general usage, at the same time acquiring associations with specific names from Christianity's earliest years, though the connection was not necessarily legitimate. It should also be borne in mind that the earliest texts had none of the easy identification features that they bear now. Every- thing, without exception, was written in capital letters. There were no headings, chapter divisions or verse divisions, refinements which were not to appear until the Middle Ages. To make matters difficult even for the modern scholar, there was practically no punctuation or space between words. Given such considerations it does not need anyone with a Ph.D. in theol- ogy to recognize that the Christian gospels can scarcely be the infallible works fundamentalists would have us believe. Examples of one gospel's inconsistency with another are easy enough to find. While according to the Mark and Luke gospels Jesus stayed in Peter's house, and afterwards healed the leper (Mark I: 29-45; Luke 4: 38 ff; Luke 5: 12 ff), according to Matthew (8: 1-4 and 14 ff) Jesus healed the leper first. While according to Matthew the Capernaum centurion spoke man-to-man with Jesus (Matthew 8: 5 ff), according to Luke (7: I ff) he sent 'some Jewish elders' and friends to speak on his behalf. Although according to Acts Judas Iscariot died from an 32 THE FALLIBILITY OF THE GOSPELS accidental fall after betraying Jesus (Acts I: 18), according to Matthew he 'went and hanged himself' (Matthew 27: 5). Disconcerting though such inconsistencies are, the fair-minded sceptic might be disposed to regard them as no worse than the sort of reporting errors which occur daily in modern newspapers. But New Testament criti- cism has gone much deeper than pointing out flaws of this order, there having been, in some quarters at least, a fashion for each new critic to be bent on outdoing his predecessors in casting doubt on the gospels' authen- ticity. The first forays into understanding the men and facts behind the gospels The parallel passage technique MARK 16: 2-5 ...very early in the morning on the first day of the week they went to the tomb just as the sun was rising. They had been saying to one another 'Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?' But when they looked they could see that the stone -which was very big -had already been rolled back. On entering the tomb they saw a young man in a white robe seated at the right-hand side. LUKE 24: I -4 On the first day of the week, at the first sign of dawn, they went to the tomb with the spices they had prepared. They found that the stone had been rolled away from the tomb, but on entering discovered that the body of the Lord Jesus was not there. As they stood there not knowing what to think, two men in brilliant clothes suddenly appeared at their side. .. MATTHEW 28: 1-4 ...towards dawn on the first day of the week Mary of Magdala and the other Mary went to visit the sepulchre. And all at once there was a violent earthquake, for the angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, came and rolled away the stone and sat on it. His face was like lightning, his robe white as snow... Careful comparison of the three gospel passages above reveals a fundamental common ground - the time of morning, the day of the week, the rolling away of the stone, the visit to the tomb by women. But it also discloses some equally fundamental differences which serve to tell us something about the gospel writers. The Mark author, for instance, speaks merely of 'a young man in a white robe', with no suggestion that this individual was anything other than an ordinary human being. In the Luke version we find 'two men in brilliant clothes' who appear 'suddenly'. Although not absolutely explicit, there is already a strong hint of the supernatural. But for the Matthew writer, all restraints are abandoned. A violent earthquake has been introduced into the story, Mark's mere 'young man' has become a dazzling 'angel of the Lord. ..from heaven', and this explicitly extra-terrestrial visitor is accredited with the rolling away of the stone. 34 THE FALLIBILITY OF THE GOSPELS began harmlessly enough. Many incidents concerning Jesus are related in two or more of the gospels, and an early research technique, still extremely valuable, was to study the corresponding passages side by side, the so-called 'parallel passage' technique. This method is useful for showing up which episodes are common to all gospels, which are peculiar to a single gospel, the variations of interest or emphasis between one writer and another, and so on. It is immediately obvious that while Matthew, Mark and Luke have a great deal in common, describing the same 'miracles', the same sayings, essentially sharing a common narrative framework, the John gospel is a maverick, describing different incidents and devoting much space to lengthy, apparently verbatim speeches that seem quite unlike Jesus' pithy utterances reported elsewhere. In about 1774 the pioneering German scholar Johann Griesbach coined the word 'synoptic' for the Matthew, Mark and Luke gospels, from the Greek for 'seen together', while that of John has become generally known as the Fourth Gospel. I t has always been regarded as having been written later than the other three. As different theologians pursued the underlying clues to the gospel writers' psychology revealed by the parallel passage technique, so increasing scepticism developed, particularly in Germany during the early nineteenth century. There, a century earlier, a faltering start on a critical approach had been made by Hamburg University oriental languages professor Hermann Samuel Reimarus. In secret Reimarus wrote a book, On the Aims of Jesus and his Disciples, arguing that J esus was merely a failed J ewish revolutionary, and that after his death his disciples cunningly stole his body from the tomb in order to concoct the whole story of his resurrection. So concerned was Reimarus to avoid recriminations for holding such views that he would only allow the book to be published after his death. His caution was justified. Following in the critical tradition, in the years 1835-6 Tiibingen University tutor David Friedrich Strauss launched his two-volume The Life of Jesus Critically Examined, making particularly penetrating use of the parallel passage technique. Because of the discrepancies he found, he cogently argued that none of the gospels could have been by eyewitnesses, but instead must have been the work of writers of a much later generation, freely constructing their material from probably garbled traditions about J esus in circulation in the early Church. Inspired by the materialistic rationalism of the philoso- phers Kant and Hegel -'the real is the rational and the rational is the real' -Strauss uncompromisingly dismissed the gospel miracle stories as mere myths invented to give Jesus greater importance. For such findings Strauss was himself summarily dismissed from his tutorship at Tiibingen, 35 THE FALLIBILITY OF THE GOSPELS and later failed, for the same reason, to gain an important professorship at Zurich. But the incursion into theology of the increasingly scientific outlook of the age was not to be checked so easily, particularly among Protestants. Under the professorship of the redoubtable Ferdinand Christian Baur, a prodi- giously productive theologian who was at his desk by four o'clock each morning, Tubingen University in particular acquired a reputation for a ruth- lessly iconoclastic approach to the New Testament, an approach which spread not only throughout Germany, but also into the universities of other predominantly Protestant countries. Traditionally the Matthew gospel had been regarded as the earliest of the four New Testament gospels, and it went virtually unquestioned that its author was Matthew, the tax-collector dis- ciple of Jesus. In 1835 Berlin philologist Karl Lachmann argued forcefully that the Mark gospel, simpler and more primitive, was the earliest of the three synoptics. Lachmann became swiftly followed by scholars Weisse and Wilke, later in the century the argument was taken up by Heidelberg theo- logian Heinrich Holtzmann, and by the end of the century Mark's priority (even though not without challengers to this day) had become the most universally accepted theological discovery of the age. And this raised immediate problems concerning the authorship of Mat- thew. The Mark gospel, which from internal and external clues was almost certainly written in Rome, ostensibly offers the least claim of all the synoptics to eyewitness reporting. Traditionally, Mark is claimed to have been at best some sort of secretary or interpreter for Peter. The connection with Peter, ifit existed at all, cannot have been that close, however, for the Mark gospel exhibits a lamentable ignorance of Palestinian geography. In the seventh chapter, for instance, Jesus is reported as going through Sidon on his way to Tyre to the Sea of Galilee. Not only is Sidon in the opposite direction, but there was in fact no road from Sidon to the Sea of Galilee in the first century AD, only one from Tyre. Similarly the fifth chapter refers to the Sea of Galilee's eastern shore as the country of the Gerasenes, yet Gerasa, today Jerash, is more than thirty miles to the south-east, too far away for a story whose setting requires a nearby city with a steep slope down to the sea. Aside from geography, Mark represents Jesus as saying, 'Ifa woman divorces her husband and marries another she is guilty of adultery' (Mark 10:12), a precept which would have beeen meaningless in the J ewish world, where women had no rights of divorce. The author of the Mark gospel must have attributed the remark to J esus for the benefit of Gentile readers. Since it is demonstrable that the author of Matthew drew a substantial 36 [This message has been edited by darwin (edited 10-28-2001).] [This message has been edited by darwin (edited 10-28-2001).]
  5. . [This message has been edited by darwin (edited 10-27-2001).]
  6. Satyaraj prabhu, It is amazing how you took our dull discussion of biblical passages, and injected a Krishna Conscious subject into it in a manner to make the discussion turn back to the original point of this forum, spiritual discussions. While many of us were searching our databases working to come up with dry, alleged "Jesus quotes", (as if Jesus would want us to use quotes instead of just trying to speak the truth!) you bravely took matters into your own hands, and chastising us for thinking we know the full truth or thinking we can come to full truth through books and words, you were able to force us to contemplate the full truth of the impersonal effulgence or whatever, and by being just abrasive enough, do us the favor of making us come to the defense of Krishna consciousness personalism. Satyaraja dasa wrote: [This message has been edited by darwin (edited 10-27-2001).]
  7. Let's go over some of the reforms we have been working on: Brahmins to become full vegetarians. Milk produced for deities by protected cows with protected calves only. Milk prasad given to guests and children first. Milk produced in this honest and humane way to be given a prominent role in Temple ceremonies and used as a preaching tool. No more stealing, killing and machine driven suction gang rape of a grieving mothers udders to get milk. Temporarily looking to the original vedic system, by being more understanding of certain castes eating meat, including adult cow/bull meat, with a completely vegetarian human society as the end goal. Our Brahmins to put the weight of their preaching to stopping the killing of baby cows and the machine driven suction gang rape of their grieving mothers udders to get milk. This will help prevent our Brahmins from being corrupted by the milk/rape/veal industry. Brahmins will also make sure that as more people become vegetarian, the farm animals that they used to eat are not becoming extinct. Brahmins to provide praise and emotional support to companies trying to come up with an honest, humane solution to our milk crisis. Brahmins will support companies that are trying to genetically engineer a cow that can produce milk without the machine driven suction gang rape of a grieving mothers udders after having all of it's children murdered every year.
  8. I don't know if it's 5% or 10%, but there sure are allot of gay animals out there. Biological Exuberance article in Salon. Biological Exuberance at Amazon.com. More gay animal links.
  9. jndas prabhu, Why do you think that I am "looking for" a certain conclusion? What would be my motive? Wouldn't I would be thrilled if Sadaputa Das's views on evolution were true? Wouldn't I, just like you, want ISKCON's scientific teachings to be correct? Please visit the science page on my website. I have a couple of links to pages that successfully refute "Forbidden Archeology". "Forbidden Archeology" is about as scientific as a Flintstones cartoon. [This message has been edited by darwin (edited 10-24-2001).]
  10. Please visit the Bhaktivinoda Thakur page on my website. Bhaktivinoda Thakur was favorable to modern science. Also visit Sadaputa Dasa's Mysteries of the Sacred Universe website. Make sure to read this overview page on the website. Sadaputa Dasa tells us that it's ok to acknowledge that the earth is not flat. I am not sure what he says about the moon stuff, but these issues are probably related. Sadaputa Dasa tells us that the Vedas don't really mean that the earth is flat, they mean that a map of the earth is flat. I think that his book goes on to say that the map is a complicated projection map so that all the distances come out wrong, just like a wall map makes the US. and Canada look bigger than Africa. I think he also says that it's got 2 or more maps thrown together into the same map, leaving us hopelessly confused. Until Sadaputa Dasa's book, of course. Let us hope that Sadaputa Dasa will now use his brilliant method to analyze the Vedas to show us how they support the theory of evolution and the fact that we evolved from apes. Namah, how come you get to have two? [This message has been edited by darwin (edited 10-24-2001).]
  11. valaya wrote: These are somehow connected in your mind??? I think that committing murder is a greater sin than having sex. recruit wrote: Yes, it is indeed unfortunate that ISKCON has neglected it's farming communities, sold them off mostly, and neglected cow-protection. Again, this is only the tip of the iceberg of ISKCON neglect. The children have been neglected too, and the women, as well as the protection of any dependent members. I would like to see this change, but how likely is that? As far as I can tell, the official ISKCON farming/cow/milk formula just doesn't add up. It is as out of touch with reality as the idea that the moon is farther from the earth as the sun is. We should begin by correcting this error. But that doesn't change the fact that the devotees buying milk for offering to Their Lordships benedicts the cows the milk comes from. Like the parents of children who were molested in gurukula were benedicted? In this society, where they are all slaughtered in the end, their only hope is getting some of their milk onto an altar of transcendental devotional service to Sri Krsna! A cow having it's baby killed and it's babies milk stolen and then offered is being done a good service? Maybe we should ask murderers to bring us some of their victims money for us to offer? paul108 wrote: Devotees cannot stop offering milk to Krishna, but they should do their best to acquire pure milk for His pleasure. I totally agree, but I think that we probably should only offer honestly acquired milk. Most milk purchased from the grocery store is not vegetarian, having vitamin D added in the form of fish oil. I know that Organic Valley milk and cheese are fortified with vitamin D from wool. Isn't that like telling a murderer to careful to not step on an insect while he is killing someone? Whenever we offer milk to Krishna, it would be very nice if we were to pray that somehow cow slaughter can be stopped. Should we also eat a Mcdonalds hamburger while praying that cow slaughter somehow be stopped? It would not benefit anyone to stop offering milk to Krishna. The cows must love it. Do you think a parent would enjoy having their child killed so that the child's toys can be "offered"? A crime so against natural order and the decency of life, so shameless a violation of individual boundaries and affront to personal and family privacy it would shock Dracula. To kill her baby and then keep pumping away at her breast, not even giving her a chance to grieve. Totally unacceptable. The most grievous form of parasitism found in the entire animal kingdom.
  12. Good point, jndas. From the VOICE "Violation Of ISKCON Children Expossed" website: ...For instance there is a statement in which Chaitanya (the founder of the Hare Krishnas branch of Hinduism 500 years ago) says that there are no hard and fast rules. This statement however is quite contradictory to other more prominent statutes and if one were to prefer believing the above quote to the others they would invariably be accused of misinterpreting the books. Suppose that you then inform your ‘accuser’ that by default they are assuming that they are qualified to tell you how to correctly interpret. The quoting battle then begins and the person who can out-quote the other, can claim philosophical rightness. Subsequently you feel even more confused because any choice of quotes requires the use of judgment and interpretation. As children, being forced to defend yourself on the basis of quotes from religious books, is very exhausting, discouraging, and impossible....
  13. Gay Hare Krishna people Message group LGBT Gaudiya Vaishnava Message group Tritiya-prakriti: People of the Third Sex
  14. "We don't treat our most hardened murderers and rapists as abominably as these baby cows are treated." Liberation Magazine From the Vegan Society website : "Once the cow has given birth, her calf is usually removed after a few hours. In nature calves would normally suckle for 6-12 months...As it is the birth of the calf that causes milk production, it is critical for the farmer that the cow becomes pregnant again during lactation and produces the next calf one year after the previous one." The calves are then killed. Iskcon produces almost no milk with their farming formula. Iskcon instead buys mass quantities of milk products from the baby cow killing industry. Why are devotees told that its wrong to buy bread baked by "karmis", when we get all of our milk by killing baby cows? I remember Kirtananda saying how he grinds up cows to feed to his evil dogs. Our devotee society kills and grinds up cows by consuming so much milk products. Shouldn't we at least have the decency, like Kirtananda, to admit we kill cows? Maybe we should change our rules to make cow killing by drinking milk against the regs and get rid of the rule that says we can only have sex 4 or 5 times in our life. I am looking forward to the day when genetic egineering will enable a cow to give us milk without us having to murder it's baby. "Hindus will be judged not by their Tilaks, not by the correct chanting of Mantras, not by their pilgrimages, not by their most punctilious observances of caste rules, but their ability to protect the cow." Gandhi [This message has been edited by darwin (edited 10-27-2001).]
  15. Bin Laden was a part of the CIA. I think that elements of the CIA and others associated with the US government may be involved. However, it is important to remember that even if it was only Bin Ladens group, Bin Ladens group may have planted false leads to frame the US government or Iraq. Read this: Friendly Fire Book: U.S. Military Drafted Plans to Terrorize U.S. Cities to Provoke War With Cuba By David Ruppe N E W Y O R K, May 1 - In the early 1960s, America's top military leaders reportedly drafted plans to kill innocent people and commit acts of terrorism in U.S. cities to create public support for a war against Cuba. Code named Operation Northwoods, the plans reportedly included the possible assassination of Cuban émigrés, sinking boats of Cuban refugees on the high seas, hijacking planes, blowing up a U.S. ship, and even orchestrating violent terrorism in U.S. cities. The plans were developed as ways to trick the American public and the international community into supporting a war to oust Cuba's then new leader, communist Fidel Castro. America's top military brass even contemplated causing U.S. military casualties, writing: "We could blow up a U.S. ship in Guantanamo Bay and blame Cuba," and, "casualty lists in U.S. newspapers would cause a helpful wave of national indignation." Details of the plans are described in Body of Secrets (Doubleday), a new book by investigative reporter James Bamford about the history of America's largest spy agency, the National Security Agency. However, the plans were not connected to the agency, he notes. The plans had the written approval of all of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and were presented to President Kennedy's defense secretary, Robert McNamara, in March 1962. But they apparently were rejected by the civilian leadership and have gone undisclosed for nearly 40 years. "These were Joint Chiefs of Staff documents. The reason these were held secret for so long is the Joint Chiefs never wanted to give these up because they were so embarrassing," Bamford told ABCNEWS.com. "The whole point of a democracy is to have leaders responding to the public will, and here this is the complete reverse, the military trying to trick the American people into a war that they want but that nobody else wants." Gunning for War The documents show "the Joint Chiefs of Staff drew up and approved plans for what may be the most corrupt plan ever created by the U.S. government," writes Bamford. The Joint Chiefs even proposed using the potential death of astronaut John Glenn during the first attempt to put an American into orbit as a false pretext for war with Cuba, the documents show. Should the rocket explode and kill Glenn, they wrote, "the objective is to provide irrevocable proof … that the fault lies with the Communists et all Cuba [sic]." The plans were motivated by an intense desire among senior military leaders to depose Castro, who seized power in 1959 to become the first communist leader in the Western Hemisphere - only 90 miles from U.S. shores. The earlier CIA-backed Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba by Cuban exiles had been a disastrous failure, in which the military was not allowed to provide firepower.The military leaders now wanted a shot at it. "The whole thing was so bizarre," says Bamford, noting public and international support would be needed for an invasion, but apparently neither the American public, nor the Cuban public, wanted to see U.S. troops deployed to drive out Castro. Reflecting this, the U.S. plan called for establishing prolonged military - not democratic - control over the island nation after the invasion. "That's what we're supposed to be freeing them from," Bamford says. "The only way we would have succeeded is by doing exactly what the Russians were doing all over the world, by imposing a government by tyranny, basically what we were accusing Castro himself of doing." 'Over the Edge' The Joint Chiefs at the time were headed by Eisenhower appointee Army Gen. Lyman L. Lemnitzer, who, with the signed plans in hand made a pitch to McNamara on March 13, 1962, recommending Operation Northwoods be run by the military. Whether the Joint Chiefs' plans were rejected by McNamara in the meeting is not clear. But three days later, President Kennedy told Lemnitzer directly there was virtually no possibility of ever using overt force to take Cuba, Bamford reports. Within months, Lemnitzer would be denied another term as chairman and transferred to another job. The secret plans came at a time when there was distrust in the military leadership about their civilian leadership, with leaders in the Kennedy administration viewed as too liberal, insufficiently experienced and soft on communism. At the same time, however, there real were concerns in American society about their military overstepping its bounds. There were reports U.S. military leaders had encouraged their subordinates to vote conservative during the election. And at least two popular books were published focusing on a right-wing military leadership pushing the limits against government policy of the day. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee published its own report on right-wing extremism in the military, warning a "considerable danger" in the "education and propaganda activities of military personnel" had been uncovered. The committee even called for an examination of any ties between Lemnitzer and right-wing groups. But Congress didn't get wind of Northwoods, says Bamford. "Although no one in Congress could have known at the time," he writes, "Lemnitzer and the Joint Chiefs had quietly slipped over the edge." Even after Lemnitzer was gone, he writes, the Joint Chiefs continued to plan "pretext" operations at least through 1963. One idea was to create a war between Cuba and another Latin American country so that the United States could intervene. Another was to pay someone in the Castro government to attack U.S. forces at the Guantanamo naval base - an act, which Bamford notes, would have amounted to treason. And another was to fly low level U-2 flights over Cuba, with the intention of having one shot down as a pretext for a war. "There really was a worry at the time about the military going off crazy and they did, but they never succeeded, but it wasn't for lack of trying," he says. After 40 Years Ironically, the documents came to light, says Bamford, in part because of the 1992 Oliver Stone film JFK, which examined the possibility of a conspiracy behind the assassination of President Kennedy. As public interest in the assassination swelled after JFK's release, Congress passed a law designed to increase the public's access to government records related to the assassination. The author says a friend on the board tipped him off to the documents. Afraid of a congressional investigation, Lemnitzer had ordered all Joint Chiefs documents related to the Bay of Pigs destroyed, says Bamford. But somehow, these remained. "The scary thing is none of this stuff comes out until 40 years after," says Bamford.
  16. darwin

    Run Mr Taliban

    rand0M aXiS, The link you provided depicts anal rape of a man while referring to that man using a term that is American prison slang for a male victim of anal rape. I understand that this is part of your culture and heritage, that to you, such things are no worse than slapping a guy with a towel at the gym, or giving a friend a firm handshake, but please, many of us are from different cultures and we don't do such things.
  17. The Taliban still have nearly 1,000 pick-up trucks, which they will deploy ruthlessly in any future land battle.
  18. "It's the kind of war that makes you wish both sides could loose." Henry Kissinger on the Iran-Iraq war Gauracandra quoted leaflets being dropped into Afghanistan: ...Attention Taliban! You are condemned. Did you know that?... Our forces are armed with state of the art military equipment. What are you using, obsolete and ineffective weaponry? Our helicopters will rain fire down upon your camps before you detect them on your radar. Our bombs are so accurate we can drop them right through your windows. Our infantry is trained for any climate and terrain on earth. United States soldiers fire with superior marksmanship and are armed with superior weapons..... When you decide to surrender, approach United States forces with your hands in the air. Sling your weapon across your back muzzle towards the ground. Remove your magazine and expel any rounds. Doing this is your only chance of survival.... Please, for you own safety, stay off bridges and roadways...
  19. darwin

    test

    test [This message has been edited by darwin (edited 08-30-2001).]
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