|Σε αυτό το βιβλίο [Έρευνα περί της Μοναρχίας του Charles Maurras], το βαθύτατα αντιχριστιανικό, διάβασα στο πρόγραμμα του 1903 της L’ action Franjaise, ότι ένας πραγματικός εθνικιστής βάζει την πατρίδα του πάνω απ’ όλα, και τελικά συλλαμβάνει, διεκπεραιώνει και επιλύει τις πολιτικές υποθέσεις σύμφωνα με τη σχέση τους προς το εθνικό συμφέρον. Πράγμα που όταν το διάβασα θυμήθηκα εκείνο που λέει: «Το βασίλειό μου δεν είναι του κόσμου τούτου», και σκέφθηκα ότι ένας πραγματικός «χριστιανός» —αν είναι δυνατό να υπάρξει πραγματικός χριστιανός στην πολιτική ζωή—, πρέπει την κάθε υπόθεση, πολιτική ή οτιδήποτε άλλη, να την συλλαμβάνει, να την διεκπεραιώνει και να την επιλύει σύμφωνα με τη σχέση της προς το ατομικό συμφέρον της αιώνιας σωτηρίας, δηλαδή της αιωνιότητας. Κι αν χάνεται η πατρίδα; Η πατρίδα του χριστιανού δεν είναι του κόσμου τούτου. ‘Ένας χριστιανός πρέπει να θυσιάζει την πατρίδα στην αλήθεια.
Miguel de Unamuno, Η αγωνία του Χριστιανισμού, σελ. 21.
|Translated from the Greek. If somebody has the original, please provide it with a comment.
In this deeply anti-Christian book [Enquête sur la monarchie by Charles Maurras], I read in the program of the 1903 L ‘action Franjaise, that a true nationalist places his country above all, and finally captures, handles and resolves civil cases according to their relation to the national interest. Which reminded me of the saying: “My kingdom is not of this world”, and I thought that a real “Christian” —if somebody can be a real Christian in politics— must capture, handle and solve each case, political or other, according to its relation to the interest of eternal salvation, that of eternity. And what if his country is in peril? The country of a Christian is not of this world. A Christian should be sacrificing his country for the truth.
Miguel de Unamuno, The Agony of Christianity, p. 21.
This post is the answer I gave to Phillip J. Long’s original (and very interesting) post, Did Disciples of Jesus Keep Notebooks?
Actually these are the words of Claude Tresmontant. He writes:
However that may be, it is established and certain that there were some educated men among the actual disciples of Jesus. Certainly there were also educated people among those who followed and observed him, who listened to him, and who, on occasion, challenged and criticized him.
It would also seem to be evident a priori, indeed wholly certain a priori, that among the educated people who heard Jesus at first hand, some would at some point have taken down some notes. This would have been the most natural thing in the world for those who spent virtually their whole lives studying the sacred Hebrew texts. Some of the immediate disciples of Jesus were of that number.
The hypothesis that no one actually hearing Jesus could or would ever have taken down any notes is simply absurd—psychologically as well as historically, especially when we consider the Jewish milieu of the time and the unusually high density of men in that milieu who knew how to read and write.
The oracles or preaching of the ancient prophets, of Amos, Hosea, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and the others, were all set down in writing, either by the prophets themselves or by their disciples.
How is it possible to imagine—why would anyone want to imagine—that among the disciples of Jesus who knew perfectly well how to read and write and who, indeed passed a good part of their lives studying the holy Scriptures, there would never have been even one who was moved to take down anything of what he had heard from the lips of the Galilean rabbi? The notion is even more incredible when it is remembered that this Galilean rabbi came to be considered by them not as just another prophet in the category of the ancient prophets, but as much more than just another prophet. All four of those who did take down notes—notes that were translated from the original Hebrew into the Greek of the Gospels we have ascribed to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John—expressly recorded the conviction that Jesus was more than just a prophet.
It is an a priori absurdity to assume that disciples such as these never took down any notes, were somehow constrained or forbidden or prevented from taking down any notes. They considered their Galilean rabbi to be greater, much greater, than Amos, Hosea, Isaiah or Jeremiah. Yet the words of all these prophets had been taken down.
These notes or collections of notes were written in Hebrew because Hebrew was the written language, the sacred language. In the eyes of the educated disciples of the Galilean rabbi, the words, acts, and gestures of their master were nothing if not sacred and holy; they were in the tradition of the holy prophets of the past, whose words and oracles were all noted down and preserved. In the eyes of the disciples, however, this rabbi, Yeshua ha-nozeri (a phrase that we forbear from translating as, simply, “Jesus of Nazareth”) was a great deal more than a prophet. He was, in Aramaic, bar elaha, that is, the Son of God. If all the words and oracles of the ancient prophets were duly noted down and preserved, those of the rabbi who was none other than the expected “son of David” himself were all the more likely to have been noted down and preserved.
It is completely absurd to suppose that disciples of Jesus who were educated would not have written down something about the acts and gestures, the teaching and hence the actual words, of their Lord and Master.
We know that crowds of people, common people, flocked to see our Lord and to hear him speak; many of these people no doubt knew neither how to read nor how to write. Nevertheless we also know that some of the disciples of Jesus were learned men, students of the Book. The author of the fourth Gospel depicts some of these educated disciples. It is a priori impossible that those disciples who did know how to read and write, and who spent their lives in the study of the sacred Hebrew Scriptures, would never have taken notes on what Jesus said, or written down what he did. The sayings of the ancient Hebrew prophets had, after all, been set down in writing. And the disciples of Jesus considered him to be much, much greater than any of the earlier prophets. Thus they would surely have written down his words, his teachings and his actions almost as soon as they had issued from him.
It is the opposite hypothesis that is unthinkable and absurd, namely, that nothing was ever written down about Jesus by his contemporaries, especially when we take into account the milieu in which our Lord lived and worked. He did not appear among some primitive Amazon tribe; the Jewish people probably boasted the highest literacy rate of antiquity when we consider the seriousness with which the Jews studied the Hebrew sacred Scriptures.
Claude Tresmontant, The Hebrew Christ: Language in the Age of the Gospels, pp. 4-7, 192, 193.
Usually, when dating texts, particularly the New Testament texts, which interests us directly, the use of present tense in relation to Judaic elements of worship is a very strong point in favor of dating the specific text before the destruction of the Jewish system in 70 CE. However, M. Gkoutzioudis in his book The biblical text in the passage of the time. The case of the Epistle to the Hebrews, (pp. 37, 38), provides us with an important clue in relation to the use of the present tense and textual chronology. He writes:
|Συνήθως, κατά την χρονολόγηση κειμένων, ιδιαίτερα της Καινής Διαθήκης, η οποία μας ενδιαφέρει άμεσα, η χρήση ενεστώτα χρόνου σε σχέση με ιουδαικά στοιχεία λατρείας αποτελεί ένα πολύ ισχυρό στοιχείο υπέρ της χρονολόγησης του συγκεκριμένου κειμένου πρό της καταστροφής του ιουδαϊκού συστήματος το 70 Κ.Χ. Ωστόσο, ο Μ. Γκουτζιούδης στο βιβλίο του Το βιβλικό κείμενο στο πέρασμα του χρόνου. Η περίπτωση της προς Εβραίους επιστολής (σελ. 37, 38), μας παρέχει ένα σημαντικό στοιχείο σε σχέση με τη χρήση ενεστώτα και τη χρονολόγηση των κειμένων. Γράφει:
This is another issue that raised many objections among the critics of the Bible. Another chance to disprove and discredit the Bible. I googled a little about this problem but I didn’t find anything positive, other than some try to equate Mount Hor with Moserah. Yet, that seems quite improbable since “there is a significant amount of travel between these two points”, as Wikipedia rightly observes. So here is a quite satisfying interpretation:
For example, one of the many objections raised against the historical reliability and integrity of the Pentateuch dealt with an alleged conflict of tradition in regard to the place where Aaron died. According to one of the sources that scholars purported to identify, he died on Mount Hor (Num. 20:22; 21:4; 33:33; Deut. 32:50), but according to a “different” tradition he died at Moserah (Deut. 10:6). A careful reading of the text shows that in point of fact there is absolutely no conflict in the tradition concerning the death of Aaron at all. The word מוֹסֵרָה in Deuteronomy 10:6 means “chastisement”, thus describing the place of his death in terms of a value judgment. This allusion makes it clear that his decease on Mount Hor constituted a reproof for the trespass at Meribah (Num. 20:24; Deut. 32:51), and that, like Moses, he was excluded from the Promised Land because of his rebellion against God. The two supposedly conflicting traditions are thus in complete harmony, and preserve the facts that Aaron died on Mount Hor while the people encamped below in mourning. In order to mark this sad occasion, which, with his own exclusion from the Promised Land, lay heavily upon the mind of Moses (Deut. 1:37; 3:23ff.), the incident and the camp-site were designated Moseroth (Num. 33:31; Deut. 10:6).
In this connection it should be noted that the various references to the death of Aaron (Num. 20:22ff.; 33:38f.; Deut. 10:6; 32:50f.) are supplementary rather than contradictory. While they are rather different in nature, they are by no means inconsistent in their presentation of fact. Although in the strictest sense Mount Hor was the physical scene of the death of Aaron, the name “Moserah” or “Moseroth” described the character of that event as “chastisement” (G. T. Manley, EQ, XXVII (1955), pp. 201ff). That this word was used as a common noun is indicated by the plural form in Numbers 33:30f. Like Massah, Meribah, and Taberah it denoted the nature of the event as well as the place where the incident occurred.
While I was reading something, I stumbled upon the following statement by Karl Marx:
This statement was quite a surprise to me, given Karl Marx’s beliefs. We all know that he opposed God, theology and religion. His other statement that religion is the “opium of the people” is very well known too. Since we hardly compare ourselves with something we detest and oppose and believe that it is a big lie and illusion, comparing himself to God and to the creator came as a surprise to me.
In my opinion, this reveals part of the inconsistency and confusion that troubled many of these well renowned men. Just like Friedrich Nietzsche who wrote a poem entitled To the unknown God which reads:
I want to know you, unknown one,
You who have reached deep within my soul,
Wandering through my life like a storm,
You incomprehensible one, akin to me!
I want to know you, even serve you.
There is a saying that reads thus: “The killer always returns to the crime scene”.
It seems that men like Marx and Nietzsche never even left…
 Cited be Charles S. MacKenzie, Marxism: A communist society, in Building a Christian world view, vol. 2, p. 319.
 Some translate the same statement thus: “Like unto a God I dare / through that ruined realm in triumph roam. / Every word is Deed and Fire, / and my bosom like the Maker’s own.”
Some time ago, I posted a couple of thoughts about atheism, showing that it is not adequate as a worldview. In fact, it is seriously flawed. Now, it is time to post a couple of thoughts about skepticism. Is skepticism a more viable worldview?
Let’s read what John Blanchard has to say on the subject:
Skepticism obviously falls foul of both theism and atheism, each of which says we do have sufficient data to come to a judgment. The issues are so important and complex that skepticism sounds commendably humble and perfectly reasonable — but is it either? It can hardly claim to be humble. No reasonable theist, however zealous, would seriously suggest that anyone can know everything there is to know about God, and such a person will freely admit that there are grey areas within his overall belief system. Yet that is not the same as skepticism; there is a difference between a mystery and a mirage! The sceptic, on the other hand, makes the bold claim that he alone has a clear picture, in which the truth is that no truth is knowable. Yet this makes the sceptic every bit as dogmatic as the theist (or, for that matter, the atheist). He is a believer; he is convinced that we can know nothing about God. But surely nobody can ever know that he can know nothing about God? After all, the sceptic can hardly shelter behind the principle that the burden of proof lies with the theist, because the burden of proof is always on the one who believes any idea — and the sceptic is a believer. Far from being a modest position, full-blown skepticism is exactly the opposite.
More importantly, is it reasonable? The modern philosopher B. A. G. Fuller points out that ‘the role of skepticism is to remind men that knowing with absolute certainty is impossible.’ But if this is the case, how can we know this statement with certainty? Skepticism claims that there is no objective truth, but in doing so it trips over its own feet. If the claim is true, then we can be sure about at least one thing, the claim itself, and if we can be sure about the claim, the claim itself must be false. Skepticism is self-contradictory, yet it seems happy to live with this, as it avoids the need to defend a dogma. It says that we must accept as certain truth that there is no such thing as certain truth and that we must cast doubt on everything except the statement that we must do so. Peter Kreeft and Ronald Tacelli, two professors of philosophy, pinpoint the clear contradictions in all forms of skepticism: ‘They all amount to saying that it is true that there is no truth, or we can know that we cannot know, or we can be certain that we cannot be certain, or it is a universal truth that there are no universal truths, or you can be quite dogmatic about the fact that you can’t be dogmatic, or it is an absolute that there are no absolutes, or it is an objective truth that there is no objective truth.’
John Blanchard, Does God Believe in Atheists?, pp. 35, 36.
This is a brief assessment of the subject. More to come.
Many people are scandalized by the Old Testament. Mr. Richard Dawkins is a very well-known example. They say that it depicts a cruel, monstrous God. Similarly, they say that many atrocities were committed in the name of God and that ancient Israel was a blood thirsty nation.
Similar views can be found all across the internet.
A verse that is frequently quoted to argue that human sacrifices took place in ancient Israel, is Leviticus 27:29. It reads:
No one devoted, who is to be devoted for destruction from mankind, shall be ransomed; he shall surely be put to death. (ESV)
None devoted, which shall be devoted of men, shall be redeemed; but shall surely be put to death. (KJV)
This, plus the Jephthah story are used to backup this claim. Is that correct, though? Is this the right interpretation of this verse?
Let’s see what some commentaries have to say on the subject:
Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers: None devoted, which shall be devoted of men.—Better, Every one banned, which shall be banned of men, that is, every one banned from amongst men, or every human being banned, is not to be redeemed. Like the cattle and the patrimonial estates, when once devoted to God by a vow of banning, the man thus banned by a vow comes irretrievably under the class of “most holy unto the Lord,” or one irrevocably withdrawn from the power of man.
But shall surely be put to death.—Not as a sacrifice to God, but, on the contrary, to be removed out of His sight. This is the apparent import of the passage, and seems to be confirmed by the melancholy narrative of Jephtha and his daughter (Judges 11:30). This seems to have been the interpretation put on the law in question during the second Temple, since it is embodied in the Chaldee Versions, which render the verse as follows: “Every vow that shall be vowed of man, shall not be redeemed with money, but with burnt offerings and with hallowed victims, and with supplications for mercy before the Lord, because such are to be put to death.” It is, however, supposed that this Awful vow of banning could only be exercised on notorious malefactors and idolaters as dangerous to the faith of the Israelites, that it could not be made by any private individual on his own responsibility, and that when such cases occurred the community or the Sanhedrin carried out the ban as an act of judicial necessity, thus showing it to be “most holy unto the Lord.” Accordingly, Leviticus 27:28-29 treat of two different cases. The former regulates objects “banned unto the Lord,” which differs from the vow of dedication discussed in Leviticus 27:2-8 only in so far that it is unredeemable, whilst Leviticus 27:29 regulates the banning enacted by the law itself (Exodus 22:19), or pronounced by the court of justice on a man who is irretrievably to be put to death.
Benson Commentary: Devoted of men — Not by men, as some would elude it, but of men, for it is manifest both from this and the foregoing verses, that men are here not the persons devoting, but devoted to destruction, either by God’s sentence, as idolaters, Exodus 22:20; Deuteronomy 23:15; the Canaanites, Deuteronomy 20:17; the Amalekites, Leviticus 25:19; 1 Samuel 15:3; 1 Samuel 15:26; Benhadad, 1 Kings 20:42; or by men, in pursuance of such a sentence of God, as Numbers 21:2-3; Numbers 31:17; or for any crime of a high nature, as Jdg 21:5. But this is certainly not to be understood, as some have taken it, as if a Jew might, by virtue of this text, devote his child or his servant to the Lord, and thereby oblige himself to put them to death. For this is expressly limited to all that a man hath or which is his; that is, which he hath a power over. But the Jews had no power over the lives of their children or servants, but were directly forbidden to take them away, by that great command, thou shalt do no murder. And seeing he that killed his servant casually by a blow with a rod was surely to be punished, as is said, Exodus 21:20, it could not be lawful wilfully to take away his life upon pretence of any such vow as this. But for the Canaanites, Amalekites, &c., God, the undoubted Lord of all men’s lives, gave to the Israelites a power over their persons and lives, and a command to put them to death. And this verse may have a special respect to them, or such as them.
Barnes’ Notes on the Bible: Devoted thing – The primary meaning of the Heb. word חרם chērem is something cut off, or shut up. Its specific meaning in the Law is, that which is cut off from common use and given up in some sense to Yahweh, without the right of recal or commutation. It is applied to a field wholly appropriated to the sanctuary Leviticus 27:21, and to whatever was doomed to destruction 1 Samuel 15:21; 1 Kings 20:42. Our translators have often rendered the word by “cursed,” or “a curse,” which in some places may convey the right sense, but it should be remembered that the terms are not identical in their compass of meaning (Deuteronomy 7:26; Joshua 6:17-18; Joshua 7:1; Isaiah 34:5; Isaiah 43:28, etc. Compare Galatians 3:13).
Of man and beast – This passage does not permit human sacrifices. Man is elsewhere clearly recognized as one of the creatures which were not to be offered in sacrifice Exodus 13:13; Exodus 34:20; Numbers 18:15. Therefore the application of the word חרם chērem to man is made exclusively in reference to one rightly doomed to death and, in that sense alone, given up to Yahweh. The man who, in a right spirit, either carries out a sentence of just doom on an offender, or who, with a single eye to duty, slays an enemy in battle, must regard himself as God’s servant rendering up a life to the claim of the divine justice (compare Romans 13:4). It was in this way that Israel was required to destroy the Canaanites at Hormah (Numbers 21:2-3; compare Deuteronomy 13:12-18), and that Samuel hewed Agag in pieces before the Lord 1 Samuel 15:33. In all such instances, a moral obligation rests upon him whose office it is to take the life: he has to look upon the object of his stroke as under a ban to the Lord (compare Deuteronomy 20:4; Galatians 3:13). Therefore, there can be neither redemption nor commutation.
It is evident that the righteousness of this law is not involved in the sin of rash or foolish vows, such as Saul’s 1 Samuel 14:24 or Jephthah’s Judges 11:30. And it seems hardly needful to add that sacrifice, as it is represented both in the Law and in the usage of the patriarchs, is something very different from consecration under a ban, though a tiring to be sacrificed might come under the designation of חרם chērem in its wider sense. The sacrifice was always the offering up of the innocent life of a creature chosen, approved, and without spot or blemish.
Matthew Poole’s Commentary: Of men, not by men, as some would elude it; but of men, for it is manifest both from this and the foregoing verses, that men here are not the persons devoting, but devoted.
Quest. Was it then lawful for any man or men thus to devote another person to the Lord, and in pursuance of such vow to put him to death?
Answ. This was unquestionably lawful, and a duty in some cases, when persons have been devoted to destruction either by God’s sentence, as idolaters, Exodus 22:20 Deu 13:15, the Canaanites, Deu 20:17, the Amalekites, Deu 25:19 1 Samuel 15:3,26, Benhadad, 1 Kings 20:42; or by men, in pursuance of such a sentence of God, as Numbers 21:2,3 31:17; or for any crime of a high nature, as Judges 21:5 Joshua 7:15. But this is not to be generally understood, as some have taken it, as if a Jew might by virtue of this text devote his child or his servant to the Lord, and thereby oblige himself to put them to death, which peradventure was Jephthah’s error. For this is expressly limited to all that a man hath, or which is his, i.e. which he hath a power over. But the Jews had no power over the lives of their children or servants, but were directly forbidden to take them away, by that great command, Thou shalt do no murder. And seeing he that killed his servant casually by a blow with a rod was surely to be punished, as is said Exodus 21:20, it could not be lawful wilfully and intentionally to take away his life upon pretence of any such vow as this. But for the Canaanites, Amalekites, &c., God, the undoubted Lord of all men’s lives, gave to the Israelites a power over their persons and lives, and a command to put them to death. And this verse may have a special respect to them, or such as them. And although the general subject of this and the former verse be one and the same, yet there are two remarkable differences to this purpose:
1. The verb is active Leviticus 27:28, and the agent there expressed, that a man shall devote; but it is passive Leviticus 27:29, and the agent undetermined, which shall be devoted, to wit, by God, or men in conformity to God’s revealed will.
2. The devoted person or thing is only to be sold or redeemed, and said to be most holy, Leviticus 27:28; but here it is to be put to death, and this belongs only to men, and those such as either were or should be devoted in manner now expressed.
Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible: None devoted, which shall be devoted of men, shall be redeemed—This is said, not of such men as are devoted to the Lord, as in the preceding verse; for it is not said here as there, “none devoted unto the Lord”, but of such as are devoted to ruin and destruction, for whom there was no redemption, but they must die; nor is it said, “which is devoted by men, but of men”, or from among men; whether they be devoted by God himself, as all idolaters, and particularly the seven nations of the land of Canaan, and especially the Amalekites, who therefore were not to be spared on any account, but to be put to death, Exodus 22:20. So in the Talmud (o), this is interpreted of Canaanitish servants and handmaids; or whether devoted by men to destruction, either by the people of Israel, as their avowed enemies they should take in war, whom, and their cities, they vowed to the Lord they would utterly destroy, Numbers 21:2; and of such Aben Ezra interprets the words of the text; or such as were doomed by the civil magistrates to die for capital crimes, by stoning, burning, strangling, and slaying with the sword. And this sense is given into by many; because the judges kill with many kinds of death, therefore, says Chaskuni, it is said “every devoted thing”, as if he should say, with whatsoever of the four kinds of death the judges pass sentence of destruction on a man, he must die that death; so Jarchi and Ben Melech interpret it of such as go out to be slain, i.e. by the decree of the judges; and if one says, his estimation, or the price of him be upon me, he says nothing, it is of no avail.
but shall surely be put to death—As the same writer observes, he goes forth to die, he shall not be redeemed, neither by price nor estimation. The Targum of Jonathan is,”he shall not he redeemed with silver, but with burnt offerings, and holy sacrifices, and petitions of mercy, because he is condemned by a sentence to be slain. “And of either, or of all of these, may the words be understood, and not as they are by some, as if Jewish parents and masters had such a power over their children and servants to devote them to death, or in such a manner devote them, that they were obliged to put them to death; for though they had power in some cases to sell, yet had no power over their lives to take them away, or to devote them to death, which would be a breach of the sixth command, and punishable with death; even a master that accidentally killed his servant did not escape punishment; nay, if he did him any injury, by smiting out an eye, or a tooth, he was obliged to give him his freedom, and much less had he power to take away his life, or devote him to destruction. Some have thought, that it was through a mistaken sense of this law, that Jephthah having made a rash vow sacrificed his daughter, Judges 11:30; but it is a question whether he did or not.
Taking into account all the available information we can gather from the Old Testament about human conduct, it hardly seems probable that this verse justifies human sacrifices. Such an interpretation is a gross misinterpretation of the facts. This must not cause any surprise, since the same thing has been done for centuries. Even apostle Peter commented on the same thing when he wrote: “And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures” (2 Peter 3:16). Plus, let’s not forget that this fact (the lack of understanding) was also prophesized for all those that do not have the right kind of heart, and our Lord Christ Jesus acknowledged it when he said: “Indeed, in their case the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled that says: “You will indeed hear but never understand, and you will indeed see but never perceive”. For this peoples heart has grown dull, and with their ears they can barely hear, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and turn, and I would heal them” (Mat. 13:15).
So, we do what we have to do, that is “in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15) and let God do his part, that is, “give the growth” (1 Cor. 3:5).
Our philosophical system is usually nothing but the story of our heart.
Johann Gottlieb Fichte
I had a good trip, I was shipwrecked.
The German poet, thinker and philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) is known worldwide for his robust, groundbreaking thinking and original, subversive perception on many issues. His philosophy, with its two main axes-mottos that dominated the 20th century, like Gott ist tot and Thus spoke Zarathustra, that is, the imposition of “the will of the power of super-humans with an ethic beyond good and evil”, is well known. Mankind has reaped the fruits of such slogans, implemented through Nazism, the so-called social-Darwinism and naturally, anarchism-nihilism, since his philosophy was a precursor of these…
Nietzsche said several interesting and perhaps, right things on the topics of art, philosophy, metaphysics. He catalytically criticized conformism and revealed some painful truths, fighting mercilessly against hypocrisy and demolishing the known idols.
We all know the depravity of the society in which we live in. I want to focus for a while on the subject of homosexuality.
Many people claim that being homosexual is heavily determined by the genes. So, that provides them a “protection” against any criticism. They say that it’s a “nature thing”, etc, etc.
I am not a doctor and I cannot exclude the possibility that this may be true to an extent. Furthermore, I do not have anything against homosexuals. My belief, which is founded upon the Bible, is that what they do is wrong and condemned by God. I myself though, would never harm, offend, or generally treat a homosexual in a bad way. At least deliberately. On the other hand, I sympathize for them and the fact that they have strayed away so much from what God wants and from what nature itself dictates, even though they can’t understand it, feel proud about it or even present it as something completely normal.
Having said that, I found an extremely interesting fact written in Dr Francis Collins’ book The Language of God. On page 260 Dr Collins writes:
“An area of particularly strong public interest is the genetic basis of homosexuality. Evidence from twin studies does in fact support the conclusion that heritable factors play a role in male homosexuality. However, the likelihood that the identical twin of a homosexual male will also be gay is about 20 percent (compared with 2-4 percent of males in the general population), indicating that sexual orientation is genetically influenced but not hardwired by DNA, and that whatever genes are involved represent predispositions, not predeterminations”.
To my understanding, this fact greatly undermines the notion that homosexuality is a “nature thing”. I repeat that I am not a doctor and I cannot exclude the possibility that this may be true to an extent (nor does Dr Collins). In such a case where there really is a natural factor involved, I cannot but sympathize. But… is there any possibility that we use this as an excuse just to hide and cover our own depraved desires and twisted nature? Is there any possibility that we will frankly look into ourselves and speak the truth instead of making excuses for our choices? In my opinion, a homosexual that admits that this is his/her choice instead of trying to find lame excuses, is far more respectable.
I felt that I wanted to share these thoughts. Thank you for reading them. I close this post saying that I condemn the action but not the person.
This post came up after the respective question by a friend of mine.
The account at Acts 9:7 says that the men with Saul heard “a voice” (KJ) or “the sound of a voice.” (NW) Yet, as recorded at Acts 22:9, Paul (Saul) says that the men with him did not hear the voice. When what was said in the two verses is properly understood, there is no contradiction. The Greek word for “voice” (φωνή) at Acts 9:7 is in the genitive case (φωνῆς) and gives, in this verse, the sense of hearing of a voice—hearing the sound but not understanding. At Acts 22:9 φωνή is in the accusative case (φωνήν): the men “did not hear the voice”. They heard the sound of a voice but did not get the words, the meaning; they did not understand what Jesus was saying to Saul, as Saul did.
That is why the ESV Bible has the following comment on verse 9:7: “Saul’s companions heard the voice but saw no one. In his later testimony to the Jews, Paul spoke of them seeing the light but not understanding the voice (22:9). They had no vision of Jesus nor did they hear the message to Paul, but they could testify to a brilliant light and a sound, which pointed to an objective event that was not a matter of Saul’s imagination”, and renders 22:9 as: “Now those who were with me saw the light but did not understand (or hear with understanding) the voice of the one who was speaking to me”.
This knowledge of the Bible’s use of the idea of ‘hearing’ in both senses helps to clear up what would otherwise seem to be discrepancies.
Now, in all this it must be admitted that there is disappointingly little that bears directly upon the Bible record. Egypt was so constantly in contact with Palestine, from the time of Joseph (or even of Abraham) until the fugitives from the Babylonian conquest sought refuge there, that we might have hoped to find some reference to Jewish history in the Egyptian records. In particular it has been natural to look for some reference to the Exodus, that event which burnt itself so indelibly into the Jewish memory. But the fact that such references are wholly wanting admits of explanation. The Egyptians were not historically minded, as the Assyrians were. There are no such chronicle texts as are found in the foundation cylinders of the Assyrian kings, and only exceptionally are there records of campaigns. Autocrats in their self-laudatory inscriptions, of which there are examples enough, do not generally refer to the less pleasing incidents of their reign, Consequently the fact that no reference to the Exodus has been found in Egyptian records proves nothing either way with regard to its historicity.
Sir Frederic Kenyon, The Bible and archaeology, pp. 69, 70.
…scholars sometimes run riot in their dissection of these books, until they seem to reduce them to a mass of small fragments huddled together by an unintelligent editor. Fortunately these efforts of criticism largely cancel out, since no two scholars agree in the details of their dissections. The fault found in nearly all of them, however, is to ignored common sense in matters of literary production. The prevalent critical method would appear to require that a prophet’s utterances were circulated in a number of small leaflets, often of only a few verses, and that these were brought together at haphazard, and subsequently worked over by a succession of editors during a period of centuries, with additions of their own, and that all of these editors and manipulators succeeded in passing off the constantly changing result as the work of the prophet who had produced the original core. And this, it is apparently claimed, was the fate not of one prophet, but of all. Each editor seems to make it a point of honour to dissect his author into a number of different component parts of I different date; but none of them ever seems to take the I trouble to think out a process of publication and circulation which would make such an explanation humanly probable, or would explain why there were not rival editions of the several prophets in circulation, reflecting different stages in the process of accretion and rehandling. The higher criticism should be made bibliographically probable, and conformable to common sense and human nature.
Sir Frederic Kenyon, The Bible and archaeology, pp. 24, 25.
|Unfortunately, this quote is the translation from the Greek edition (apart from the “arrogance”, underlined part, which was found at Google Books). I did not manage to find the English prototype. If somebody can provide the original quote, please do in the comments.
The alternative to the emergence of life through random processes is the emergence with the intervention of some kind of cosmic intelligence. Such an idea would be rejected immediately by the majority of scientists, although there is no logical argument for such a rejection. With our present knowledge, chemists and biochemists can do things that even ten years ago would have been considered impossible feats of genetic engineering. For example, they can connect pieces of genes from one system to another and to calculate, although in a limited way, the consequences of such connections. It wouldn’t require a very wild guess, or too much imagination to suppose that some cosmic intelligence that appeared in some natural way in the universe may have studied and calculated all the logical consequences of our system. It is human arrogance and human arrogance alone that denies this logical possibility. (Emphasis mine)
|Η εναλλακτική λύση στη συναρμολόγηση της ζωής με τυχαίες και αλόγιστες διαδικασίες, είναι η συναρμολόγηση με την παρέμβαση κάποιου είδους κοσμικής νοημοσύνης. Μια τέτοια ιδέα θα απορριπτόταν αμέσως από τους περισσότερους επιστήμονες, αν και δεν υπάρχει κανένα λογικό επιχείρημα για μια τέτοια απόρριψη. Με τις σημερινές γνώσεις μας, οι χημικοί και βιοχημικοί της Γης μπορούν να κάνουν κάτι που ακόμη και πριν από δέκα χρόνια θα θεωρούνταν αδύνατα κατορθώματα γενετικής μηχανικής. Μπορούν, για παράδειγμα, να συνδέσουν κομματάκια γονιδίων από ένα σύστημα σε άλλο και να υπολογίσουν, αν και με περιορισμένο τρόπο, τις συνέπειες τέτοιων συνδέσεων. Δε θα χρειαζόταν πολύ μεγάλη εικασία, ή πολύ μεγάλη φαντασία, για να πούμε ότι κάποια κοσμική νοημοσύνη που εμφανίστηκε με φυσικό τρόπο στο Σύμπαν, μπορεί να μελέτησε και να υπολόγισε όλες τις λογικές συνέπειες του δικού μας ζωικού συστήματος. Είναι η ανθρώπινη αλαζονεία και μόνο η ανθρώπινη αλαζονεία, που αρνείται αυτή τη λογική πιθανότητα. (Η έμφαση δική μου)|
|Fred Hoyle & Chandra Wickramasinghe, Cosmic Life-Force, p. 181.||Fred Hoyle & Chandra Wickramasinghe, Σύμπαν, κοσμική ζωική δύναμη, σελ. 181.|
This post came up after I read an article by the NYT entitled “Camels Had No Business in Genesis”.
I am amazed at how easily some people draw absolute conclusions from fragmentary evidence (even worst when they claim to be scientists), and how often the same negative arguments about the Bible are revitalized again and again.
Before I quote my evidence on the subject, I would like just to comment the fact that the scientists in this article draw their conclusions from radiocarbon dating. As they should know, this kind of dating is not conclusive, since much things can affect such a dating. Of course this kind of dating is a great resource, and can provide us with useful data, but we must remember to draw conclusions with caution… Times and again, things have proved wrong with this kind of dating, because of the extraneous factors involved. I did not notice such caution from the scientist involved.
So, now I will quote a couple of scholars and their assessment of the subject:
Despite the admission of Albright that sporadic domestication of the camel might have gone back several centuries before the end of the Bronze Age, there are still writers who assume that the few references to camels in the patriarchal sagas (Gen. 12:16; 24:64) are anachronistic. Prior to their full-scale domestication in the twelfth century B.C., camels were used to a limited extent as beasts of burden, a fact that is evident from their mention (GAM.MAL) in an eighteenth-century B.C. cuneiform list of fodder for domestic animals, discovered at Alalakh in northern Syria. In addition, the excavations of Parrot at Mari uncovered the remains of camel bones in the ruins of a house belonging to the pre-Sargonic era (ca. 2400 B.C.). A relief at Byblos in Phoenicia, dated in the eighteenth century B.C., depicts a camel in a kneeling position, thus indicating the domestication of the animal in Phoenician circles some centuries prior to the Amama Age. Albright’s objection that the animal depicted on the relief had no hump and could not therefore be considered a camel was refuted by de Vaux, who pointed out that there was a socket on the back to which the hump and its load had been attached separately. Other evidence for the early domestication of the camel consists of a jawbone recovered from a Middle Bronze Age tomb (ca. 1900-1600 B.C.) at Tell el-Farah, and cylinder seals found in northern Mesopotamia, dating from the patriarchal era and depicting riders seated upon camels. The foregoing ought to be sufficient to refute the commonly held view that references to camels in Genesis are “anachronistic touches” introduced to make the stories more vivid to later hearers.
R. K. Harrison, Introduction to the Old Testament, p. 311.
It was the contention of many archaeologists, Albright included, that the references to camels as included in Abraham’s holdings in livestock (Gen. 12:16) and as employed by his servant who conducted the courtship of Rebekah (Gen. 24:10, 14, 19-20) were anachronistic embellishments coming from later centuries. Likewise the mention of camels as employed by the slave traders who purchased Joseph on their way down to Egypt (Gen. 37:25). This deduction was drawn from a lack of clear extrabiblical reference to camels prior to the twelfth century in any of the archaeological discoveries made before 1950. But like so many arguments from silence, this contention must be abandoned as discredited by subsequent findings. Kenneth Kitchen points out (AOOT, p. 79) that even apart from a probable (but disputed) eighteenth-century allusion to camels in a fodder list from Tell Atshana (as attested by W. G. Lambert in BASOR, no. 160 [Dec. I960]: 42-43), there is undoubtedly a reference to the domestication of camels in some of the lexical lists from the Old Babylonian period (2000-1700 B.C.). An early Sumerian text from Nippur alludes to camel’s milk (cf. Chicago Assyrian Dictionary [I960]: 7:2b). Back in the twenty-fifth century B.C., the bones of a camel were interred under a house at Mari (André Parrot, in Syria 32 : 323). Similar discoveries have been made in Palestinian sites in levels dating from 2000 B.C. onward. From Byblos in Phoenicia comes an incomplete camel figurine dating from the nineteenth or eighteenth century (Roland de Vaux, in Revue Biblique 56 : 9). More recent discovery has further shown this negative judgment to be unjustified. (Cf. R. J. Forbes, Studies in Ancient Technology, vol. 2 [Brill, 1965], chap. 4, pp. 194-213; “The Coming of the Camel,” p. 197). Forbes cites an early Dynastic limestone vessel shaped like a recumbent pack camel; also discovered are pottery camels’ heads from Hierakonpolis and Abydos in the Egyptian First Dynasty (p. 198). Also included is a figurine of a recumbent camel at Byblos during the Middle Kingdom Period (p. 203). Oppenhelm found at Gozan (Tell Halaf) an orthostat of an armed camel rider which was dated 3000 B.C. or at least early 3rd millennium. A small camel figurine discovered at Megiddo closely resembles Dynasty I types. Middle Kingdom camel bones were found at Gezer (p. 209). The Akkadian term for male camel is ibulu/udra/uduru; for female camel, udrate; for dromedary, gammalu (E-G v:116.10); in Coptic, jamūl. (The Sumerian term was ANŠE A-ABBA: “an ass of the sea-lands or dromedary”). Once again the Old Testament record has been vindicated as a completely trustworthy and historical account, despite the temporary lack of archaeological confirmation.
Gleason Archer, A Survey of Old Testament Introduction, p. 144.
The first Biblical references to domesticated camels occur in the stories of Abraham. He owned them (Ge 12:16), and his servant used them as pack animals (24:10). Camels are also mentioned in the stories of Jacob (30:43; 31:34; 32:15) and Joseph (37:25) and were found among the Amalekites, Ishmaelites and Midianites.
Scholars have debated the historicity of these references to camels because most belieeve that these animals were not widely domesticated until approximately 1200 B.C., long after the time of Abraham. Arguments in support of later domestication of the camel include:
Neither the Mari tablets from the eighteenth century B.C. nor the fourteenth-century B.C. Amarna correspondence mentions domesticated camels.
During the patriarchal period the donkey apears to have been the animal primarily used for transport. For example, the “Beni Hasan painting,” which depicts Semites bringing goods to Egypt during the Twelfth Dynasty (1900 B.C.), pictures donkeys rather than camels being used in caravans.
On the other hand, we do see clear evidence of camel domestication in the first millennium, much later than the time of the patriarchs. For example, Assyrian wall relief artwork depicts men riding camels into war.
Other evidence does suggest that at least some camels were domesticated earlier. Bone fragments and other archaeological remains have led some scholars to postulate a third millennium date for camel domestication. Although many scholars regard this evidence as inconclusive because it is difficult to distinguish wild from domesticated animals using only bone samples, other evidence, as described below, suggests that people were relying on camels in some manner:
- A braided cord of camel hair from pre-dynastic Egypt has been discovered.
- A Sumerian text refers to camel’s milk.
- An Old Babylonian text from the early second-millennium Ugarit describes the camel as a domestic animal.
Thus, the evidence does not force us to regard the appearance of domesticated camels in Genesis as anachronistic. Such tamed animals probably were rare during the second millennium, however, and may have been owned almost exclusively by wealthy people.
NIV Archaeological Study Bible, p. 41.
 FSAC, p. 165; cf. J. P. Free, JNES, III (1944), pp. 187ff.
 BHI, p. 72; BANE, p. 204; cf. R. Walz, ZDMG, Cl (1951), pp. 29ff., CIV (1954), pp. 45ff.
 D. J. Wiseman and A. Goetze, JCS, XIII (1959), pp. 29, 37; D. J. Wiseman, The Alalakh Tablets (1953), No. 269:59; S. Moscati, Rivista degle Studi Orientali, XXXV (I960),; p. 116; cf. W. G. Lambert, BASOR, No. 160 (1960), p. 42.
 A. Parrot, SRA, XXXII (1955), p. 323.
 P. Montet, Byblos et VfLgypte (1928), p. 91 and pi. 52.
 W. F. Albright, JBL, LXIV (1945), p. 288; R. de Vaux, RB, LVI (1949), p. 9 n. 4f.
 Ibid., p. 9 n. 8. Cf. C. H. Gordon in Biblical and Other Studies, p. 10.
 The Tell Halaf sculptured relief (LAP, p. 55 and pi. 25) is far from being “one of the earliest known representations of the camel.” For the early domestication of the camel in India see M. Wheeler, The Indus Civilisation (1953), p. 60.
 BHI, p. 72; K. A. Kitchen, NBD, pp. 181ff.
Jonathan Wells about the Miller experiment:
Obviously, the significance of Miller’s experiment—which to this day is still featured in many biology textbooks—hinges on whether he used an atmosphere that accurately simulated the environment of the early earth. At the time, Miller was relying heavily on the atmospheric theories of his doctoral advisor, Nobel laureate Harold Urey.
“What’s the best scientific assessment today?” I asked Wells. “Did Miller use the correct atmosphere or not?”
Wells leaned back in his chair. “Well, nobody knows for sure what the early atmosphere was like, but the consensus is that the atmosphere was not at all like the one Miller used,” he began.
“Miller chose a hydrogen-rich mixture of methane, ammonia, and water vapor, which was consistent with what many scientists thought back then. But scientists don’t believe that anymore. As a geophysicist with the Carnegie Institution said in the 1960s, ‘What is the evidence for a primitive methane-ammonia atmosphere on earth? The answer is that there is no evidence for it, but much against it.
“By the mid-1970s, Belgian biochemist Marcel Florkin was declaring that the concept behind Miller’s theory of the early atmosphere ‘has been abandoned.’ Two of the leading origin-of-life researchers, Klaus Dose and Sidney Fox, confirmed that Miller had used the wrong gas mixture. And Science magazine said in 1995 that experts now dismiss Miller’s experiment because ‘the early atmosphere looked nothing like the Miller-Urey simulation.’”
I asked, “What’s the current thinking of scientists concerning the gas content of the early earth?”
“The best hypothesis now is that there was very little hydrogen in the atmosphere because it would have escaped into space. Instead, the atmosphere probably consisted of carbon dioxide, nitrogen, and water vapor,” Wells said. “So my gripe is that textbooks still present the Miller experiment as though it reflected the earth’s early environment, when most geochemists since the 1960s would say it was totally unlike Miller’s.”
I asked the next logical question: “What happens if you replay the experiment using an accurate atmosphere?
“I’ ll tell you this: you do not get amino acids, that’s for sure,” he replied. “Some textbooks fudge by saying, well, even if you use a realistic atmosphere, you still get organic molecules, as if that solves the problem.”
Actually, that sounded promising. “Organic molecules?” I said. I’ m not a biochemist, but couldn’t those be precursors to life?”
Wells recoiled. “That’s what they sound like, but do you know what they are? Formaldehyde! Cyanide!” he declared, his voice rising for emphasis. “They may be organic molecules, but in my lab at Berkeley you couldn’t even have a capped bottle of formaldehyde in the room, because the stuff is so toxic. You open the bottle and it fries proteins all over the place, just from the fumes. It kills embryos. The idea that using a realistic atmosphere gets you the first step in the origin of life is just laughable.
“Now, it’s true that a good organic chemist can turn formaldehyde and cyanide into biological molecules. But to suggest that formaldehyde and cyanide give you the right substrate for the origin of life,” he said, breaking into a chuckle, “Well, it’s a joke.”
He let the point sink in before delivering the clincher. “Do you know what you get?” he asked. “Embalming fluid!”
Lee Strobel, The case for a Creator, p. 37, 38.
Όπως υπέδειξε ο F. Cendrangolo τα βακτήρια που διείσδυσαν στο απροστάτευτο σύστημα του Stanley Miller μπορεί να ήταν η πηγή των αμινοξέων που παράχθηκαν στο σύστημα και νομίζει ότι μια επανάληψη είναι απαραίτητη.
Στην Π. Διαθήκη η κατάρα (קְלָלָה qelalah) δηλώνει, όπως και η αρχαία ελληνική αρά, την επίκληση της θείας εκδίκησης που στηρίζεται στη δύναμη του εκπεφρασμένου λόγου. Η επίκληση αυτή σκανδαλίζει σήμερα τις ηθικές συνειδήσεις, γιατί ερμηνεύεται ως έκρηξη οργής και αγανάκτησης, που προδίδει μνησικακία, κακότητα, εμπάθεια. Αλλά είναι σαφές ότι στη βιβλική χρήση τους οι κατάρες κατανοούνται απλώς ως θλιβερές προειδοποιήσεις και διαπιστώσεις για την τύχη των παραβατών του θείου νόμου και δικαιολογούνται ως ένας τρόπος παιδαγωγικός για την αλλαγή της συμπεριφοράς τους και προσοικείωση της ευλογίας.
Καλαντζάκης, Σταύρος, Ερμηνεία περικοπών της Παλαιάς Διαθήκης.
Ο πατήρ Φιλόθεος Φάρος αποτιμά με λόγο οξύ στην «Κ» τη σχέση μερίδας πιστών με το Θείο και τον ρόλο της Εκκλησίας.
«Ο Χριστός ήταν σαφής όταν είπε πως δεν ήρθε να κρίνει αλλά να σώσει τον κόσμο. Μην κρίνετε ίνα μην κριθείτε. Αντιθέτως, καταδικάζει ξεκάθαρα συγκεκριμένες συμπεριφορές όπως την υποκρισία. Μιλώντας στους Φαρισαίους, οι οποίοι έκαναν όσα κάνουμε εμείς οι κληρικοί σήμερα, στηλίτευσε το ενδιαφέρον τους για τα περίτεχνα κοσμήματα, τα περίλαμπρα άμφια, την επιδίωξή τους να κάθονται στις πρώτες θέσεις των δείπνων αλλά και την εκμετάλλευση φτωχών ανθρώπων. Ο Χριστός συνεχώς καταδικάζει την υποδούλωση στα υλικά αγαθά, τη χλιδή και την πολυτέλεια. Όλα αυτά αφορούν εμάς τους παπάδες. Ζούμε ζωή πριγκιπική, μετακινούμεθα με τις κράισλερ και τις μερσεντές, μας υπηρετεί ένα σωρό κόσμος, φορτωνόμαστε όλα αυτά τα χρυσά και έχουμε και την απόλυτη εξουσία στην ψυχή των ανθρώπων. Είναι ανατριχιαστικά πράγματα αν σκεφτείτε ότι γίνονται στο όνομα του Χριστού που περπατούσε ξυπόλητος και δεν είχε πού την κεφαλήν κλίναι. Ε, λοιπόν, είμαστε ανακόλουθοι με όσα δίδαξε ο Χριστός. Και επομένως το λιγότερο που θα περίμενε κάποιος από εμάς είναι να μην πετάμε πέτρες στους άλλους. Οι δικές μας αμαρτίες είναι εκείνες που κυρίως καταδίκασε ο Ιησούς Χριστός. Πώς να το κάνουμε· δεν μίλησε για τις προγαμιαίες σχέσεις, αλλά είπε ξεκάθαρα πως δεν γίνεται να υπηρετεί κάποιος δύο Κυρίους, τον Θεό και τον Μαμωνά. Είπε επίσης πως όποιος έχει δύο χιτώνες να δίνει τον ένα».
Με έντονη αυτοκριτική διάθεση, ο π. Φιλόθεος καταδικάζει την εξουσιαστική συμπεριφορά ορισμένων κληρικών. «Κοιτάξτε, εμείς οι κληρικοί στο μεγάλο μας ποσοστό εσωτερικά είμαστε τενεκέδες ξεγάνωτοι. Και προσπαθούμε να καλύψουμε την αίσθηση της εσωτερικής μας ανεπάρκειας. Γιατί πολλοί από εμάς, αν μας βγάλετε τα γένια και τα ράσα, δεν είμαστε τίποτα. Θα ήμασταν σκέτα μηδενικά. Όμως με αυτά τα συμπράγαλα που φοράμε αποκτάμε κύρος, μπορούμε να καθορίζουμε τις ζωές των άλλων, κρέμονται οι άλλοι από το στόμα μας, αποκτάμε εξουσία. Και έτσι νομίζουμε ότι θα αυξήσουμε την αυτοεκτίμησή μας. Κούνια που μας κούναγε. Δεν αφορά βέβαια τους πολλούς ότι δεν αυξάνουμε την αυτοεκτίμησή μας. Τους αφορά όμως ότι τους βασανίζουμε και τους οδηγούμε στον Καιάδα των ψυχοφαρμάκων που είναι ένας δρόμος χωρίς επιστροφή. Επίσης, πολλοί κληρικοί θέλουμε να βρούμε κάποιον άλλο τρόπο να δείξουμε ότι έχουμε λόγο υπάρξεως. Ασχολούμαστε με το Σκοπιανό ή με άλλα παρεμφερή πράγματα –άσχετα με την αποστολή μας– για να δείχνουμε ότι κάτι έχουμε κάνει. Έχουν καμία σχέση αυτά με όσα δίδαξε ο Χριστός;».
Επιτέλους, ένας κληρικός με το γνώθι σαυτόν… Εύγε.