An apology to non-Christians and an incitement to Christians

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Discussions' started by uncle janko, Mar 4, 2004.

  1. uncle janko

    uncle janko member

    Hello ladies, gentlemen, and others:

    No, this is not another theological thread. Despite many valiant attempts by several posters (I do not include myself in their number) to cite academically responsible materials pertaining to biblical studies and other Christian intellectual concerns, an impression has been created that the method of doing academic research in Christian matters is to hunt out books which agree with one's own theology or personal agenda, or at least are known to stand outside of responsible scholarship, and then claim the discovery of secret wisdom or hidden truth.

    This is not so. In matters pertaining to Christian studies, as in any other field, the arbitrary assertion of scholarly vindication is a sign, not of the scholar, but of the amateur and the dilettante. Citation of small numbers of isolated secondary texts, often severely outdated, is not acceptable scholarly practice in ANY accredited or otherwise intellectually responsible Christian theological school--regardless of denomination, doctrinal views, or placement on any ideological spectrum.

    As a Lutheran, it pains me that the cultural icon of "Luther as rebel", combined with later romantic prometheanism, has allowed some intellectually irresponsible Christians to see themselves as brave rebels or noble dissenters or rescuers of suppressed truth, when in fact they are sloppy scholars engaging in the worst forms of special pleading. I am as happy as anyone to engage in theological polemic. No theological polemic, absolutely none, gives any warrant to make up facts, to distort what is and is not academically responsible inquiry,to misrepresent scholarly consensus to serve one's own ends, or to use strategically convenient ignorance as an excuse when caught in the act of intellectual shabbiness.

    This is, after all, a distance education board, even in its off-topic section. I do not have any intellectual or emotional need for people to agree with me. I am quite sure that the posters on this board whose scholarship and research I am bound to respect--by their demonstration of fact, diligence, and critical thinking--disagree with me on any number of profound theological, political, and ideological issues. I should not like anyone to be constrained in the civil expression of opinion. Christian posters, do not assume the mantle of scholarship beyond your actual fields of academic inquiry. Opinion is one thing, scholarly inquiry and scholarly findings quite another. Please be careful to distinguish between them. If you have been doing so, wonderful. If not, begin.

    Christians, before you dismiss this as the railing of a cranky Carpathian, consider your own scholarly honor and the reputation of your religion, and govern yourselves accordingly. Non-Christians, please give us the benevolence of recognizing our best scholarship, not just our worst eccentricities (I do not propose you ignore these), in forming your opinions of our religion. Multumesc foarte mult.

    Best wishes,
    Janko the non-scholar
  2. Well now...

    THAT was certainly well said janko.

    - Carl
  3. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Well-Known Member

    An apology from one from whom no apology is, or ever has been, due.
  4. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Par excellance! from someone I may not always agree with but someone I certainly consider a scholar.
  5. gmanmikey

    gmanmikey New Member

    Uncle Janko, you have always been a class act on this board. You have no need to apologize to me; I think of you as one of the good guys here.
  6. skidadl

    skidadl Member

    This is, after all, a distance education board, even in its off-topic section.

    Janko, surely you know that you are not the one who gets to decide what is discussed here or what is appropriate for that matter.

    or to use strategically convenient ignorance as an excuse when caught in the act of intellectual shabbiness.

    Maybe some are making their best effort to jump right in the discussion in defense of what they believe and know. Why is it a problem for those, even if they are wrong, to try their best to join in on the action. I would think that at some point during your development you were wrong when arguing a point with someone. This would only aid in the strengthening of that person's knowledge. Something I would hope that you would encourage as a follower of Christ.

    If you have been doing so, wonderful. If not, begin.

    Hold on there big man, nobody has to do anything but discuss anything they want to without qualifying it or running it by you.

    consider your own scholarly honor and the reputation of your religion, and govern yourselves accordingly

    Janko, I am pretty darn sure that you will take some things I said personal and use some big fancy put down words that I can't even find in the dictionary. (that was supposed to be funny by the way. Shoot, i had to try!) The truth is my friend, I kinda like you in a strange kinda way. My biggest concern is that you seem more interested in representing your religion from an intellectual and scholarly standpoint without considering that many non-Christians read this and pick up what may be considered cold and non caring. Christ never talked down to people or attempted to belittle them because they were less knowledgeable or less educated. I would hope that you would be concerned with being Christ like first and scholar second. When you say that a person is not even response worthy, as you have done to me, you probably are not doing the theologically responsible thing. If people who aren't Christians see that type of treatment towards others, why would they ever want to become a Christian? I have to assume from the several private messages I have received that there are more than a few who agree with me and have advised me to stay away from arguing with you and a few others because it will never end and even IF I am right it is useless to even try. I would be more interested to hear some feedback from you that is more from a fruit of the spirit stand point. I'm not sure if that is possible but it sure would be nice to see the Janko that cares more about people than intellect.
  7. pugbelly

    pugbelly New Member

    Uncle Janko:

    I am more than slightly alarmed by your post. All people on this board are not equal in terms of their education level. We have people seeking undergraduate degrees, graduate degrees, and post-graduate degrees. I hope you are not expecting the same type of argument to be presented by a first year theology student as you would from someone finishing their doctorate. I understand the motive of your post, but the reasoning is way off base. Don't you remember the saying, "'there are no stupid questions?" What is the harm in allowing someone to debate an issue, even if the ground upon which their argument is based is weak? If the debate is handled properly, which is not always guaranteed on this board, everyone learns. The arrogance expressed by some on this board can be sufficating. The purpose of theological study (and debate) is to better know our God, so that we might better serve and glorify Him. All too frequently I see scholars on this board speak down to other members, completely dismissing their opinions, belittling their value or worth in academia, so that they can boast of their own "skill" and demonstrate their own "superior" intellect. This glorifies no one but one's self.

  8. roysavia

    roysavia New Member

    Expressed like a true scholar Uncle. But there was no need for an apology. You've always expressed your opinions in a reflective and scholary manner. I've always appreciated them.
  9. me again

    me again Well-Known Member

    I have not engaged in any of the religious discussions on this board because most of them are academically way above my head. I have never studied Christianity from an academic or scholarly setting. I have read the bible, but have not studied outside of it, which is required for theological degrees. Having admitted my scholarly deficit in this area...

    Academic References
    We get posters who cite their “sources,” whether they are outdated or weak or whatnot. If the source supports an opinion, then it is a valid source to one camp; but if it counteracts the opposing viewpoint, then it might be viewed as outdated or weak, from a scholarly perspective. The scholarly nature of the source (or lack thereof) may depend on who you ask. ;)

    Empirical Studies
    In almost all the other disciplines (business, criminology, etc.), it is possible to conduct empirical studies to validate or discredit a theory. But I speculate that it is impossible for theology students to conduct similar empirical studies to corroborate their viewpoint(s). How can we empirically validate the resurrection of Jesus or the belief that all men will be resurrected? These are some deep theological questions that can't be empirically validated in a laboratory. Do theology students ever conduct empirical studies of any sort? I doubt it...

    Building upon Scholarly Anecdotal Opinions?
    It seems to me that all theology students will end up with anecdotal experiences, which they support by doing a scholarly search of the existing religious literature. But when they do this to support their theory, then aren’t they simply referencing the anecdotal experiences of other theological writers? LOL :D

    While I believe that the Lord Jesus is the Christ and that He did rise from the dead and is going to return to this earth in power and in glory -- I cannot empirically prove it. Concerning the resurrection of Christ, I believe it because I have read about the anecdotal observations of others who witnessed it, as it is recorded in the bible. Aren't most of our religious opinions anecdotal?

    Having said all that... I am a Calvinist. "Sometimes the Gospel is not presented clearly enough for the non-elect to reject it."
  10. Bill Grover

    Bill Grover New Member

    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 5, 2004
  11. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Re: Re: An apology to non-Christians and an incitement to Christians

    I don't think "Bozo" was taken from "Why God Became Man," Bill. Thanks for the moniker!

    You will continue to interpret John 1:18 your way, and I will do so my way. This verse simply says, "No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him."

    What's so complicated about that? What's so hard for a brilliant scholar such as yourself to understand about such a simple verse?

    This verse DOES NOT support the Trinity at all because,

    The New International Version says, “No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known.”

    The New American Standard Bible says, “No man has seen God at any time; the only begotten God, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.”

    Both, Bill, BOTH of these translations support scholars who believe the original text read “ho monogenes theos, ” which means, as you should know, “the unique, or only begotten God.”

    The King James Version supports scholars who believe the original text said “ho monogenes huios,” which, as you, Bill, should know, means “the only begotten Son.”

    Don't you know that the Greek texts don't all agree! Didn't you learn that! Don't you know that there are varities of the Greek texts such as the Alexandrian text type and the Western, Byzantine, Caesarean, and secondary Alexandrian texts?

    Have you ever read The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture, by Bart Ehrman? No, this is not "outdated" it was published in 1993.

    Sincerely yours,

  12. Ed Komoszewski

    Ed Komoszewski New Member

    Re: Re: Re: An apology to non-Christians and an incitement to Christians

    Bart Ehrman's view of John 1:18 doesn't pass muster. See the article here.
  13. Ed Komoszewski

    Ed Komoszewski New Member

    But the resurrection of Jesus can be demonstrated to be historically probable. Scholars like William Lane Craig, for example, have taken C. Behan McCullagh's criteria for assessing historical reliability* and shown that the fact of the empty tomb (which the overwhelming majority of scholars--Christian or otherwise--affirm) is most satisfactorily addressed by the explanatory scope and power of a miraculous event.

    I am not purely rationalistic when it comes to such matters. But I do want to stress that belief in the resurrection is not a matter of blind faith as so many suppose.


    *Justifying Historical Descriptions (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1984).
  14. uncle janko

    uncle janko member

    Now he raids Anselm!
    Stupor mundi! (Yeah, yeah, I know that was Albertus Magnus.
    This ain't the Dominican republic.)

    Thanks to those who read what I said (whether or not you agreed), rather than getting huffy or self-congratulatory over what I did not say. Sorta proves my point.

    I said, inter alia, that I would not like anyone to be constrained in the civil expression of opinion. I also said that there is a difference between personal opinion which suits one's fancy and the results of research which give due consideration to scholarly consensus. That difference is regularly maintained in discussions which relate directly to DL. One could not "get away" with saying that St Regis is the academic equivalent of Stellenbosch, for example, just because it felt good to assert something, which was eminently unprovable under the most rudimentary consideration of fact, and utterly out of accord with the properly researched findings of those who have bothered to look into the matter with seriousness and scholarly heft.

    To use one's Christianity as an excuse for failing to distinguish between the excrement of opinion and the shoe polish of solid research is shameful. Now, does it feel good, nay, is it not essential to take a sh*t? Of course. Should you put it all over your shoes? Likely not. Nor anywhere else on the whole armor of God.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 5, 2004
  15. uncle janko

    uncle janko member

    Yes, there are stupid questions. There are also stupid answers.

    Thunder. Lightning. Large amounts of water falling from the sky in profuse droplets. Person and clothing alike being drenched.

    Is it raining? (Stupid question)
    No. (Stupid answer)
  16. Bill Grover

    Bill Grover New Member

    Re: Re: Re: An apology to non-Christians and an incitement to Christians

    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 5, 2004
  17. pugbelly

    pugbelly New Member

    << I said, inter alia, that I would not like anyone to be constrained in the civil expression of opinion. I also said that there is a difference between personal opinion which suits one's fancy and the results of research which give due consideration to scholarly consensus. >>

    Uncle Janko, thank you for the clarification. I agree with this. However, I still stand by my earlier post in that the arrogance and belittling nature from some of the board's scholars gets pretty bad. Maybe we should all just try a little harder to remember our manners.
  18. me again

    me again Well-Known Member

    25 watts vs. 12 volts

    My brain operates at about 35 watts, the same as a light bulb on the front porch. :D

    But these heavy theological debates run at about 12 volts, which quickly drains me. :rolleyes:

    < sigh >
  19. Guest

    Guest Guest

    First and foremost, I said I wasn't going to post and I meant it as I have my courses to complete.

    But, I don't want to be rude.


    This proves my earlier points exactly. Scholars will disagree. Each of us has our own scholars we cite, agree with, and think their scholarship is superior.

    Ehrman is considered a great theological scholar and his writings have received critical acclaim by other professors at Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Duke, Notre Dame, Boston University, and others.

    His work may not "pass muster" in some scholarly circles but it does in others. That's the hallmark of academic freedom, scholarly insight, research, and scholastic inquiry, Ed.

    There are Ph.D.'s out of Harvard, Princeton, and Yale who are theological scholars. There are Ph.D.'s out of Fuller, Dallas, Bob Jones who are religious scholars.

    You can bet your bottom dollar the first group will not agree with the second group on matters of Biblical interpretation and other theological issues.

    Are the Jewish scholars idiots, Ed, because they don't accept the scholarship of Christian theological scholars? Are the Christian theological scholars idiots because they don't agree with the Jewish theological scholars?

    Does one group "pass muster" and the other doesn't? What about Muslim, Buddhist, Taoist, Bahai, Confucian, Shinto, Sikh, etc., scholars? Are they wrong?

    Ehrman is the Bowman and Gordon Gray Professor of Religious Studies at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. So, I don't think he is stupid or away off base.

    There are more web sites critical of Wallace than Ehrman. Look at this for instance.

    A scholar is a scholar is a scholar. The writings, theories, beliefs, and "proofs" to which each of us chooses to subscribe is a matter of personal choice and should not be condemned.

    Now to Bill, you used the term "Bozo" in your earlier post. Look at it, it's at the bottom of your post. You used "Boso" throughout except at the bottom. As a matter of fact, here it is,

    Was this a Freudian slip?

    Your statements on the Septuagint are, to some extent, accurate. Why don't all translations of the Bible agree, Bill, if everyone interprets the Greek the same?

    You continue to use "Strawman Arguments," Bill.

    Now, please don't ask me any questions, anyone, because I won't be answering them. I need to finish my M.S. work.

    If you do, please don't consider me rude for not responding. I will in a few months or so, so just wait.
  20. Guest

    Guest Guest

    I forgot to add to my last post that, and I repeat, my areas of expertise are in pastoral and Christian counseling.

    The bulk of my work for the Th.M. and M.Div. degrees was in these areas and my Ph.D. focus was strictly pastoral and Christian counseling.

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