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JosephM

True Gospel message? (enlightenment from one progressive Christian perspective)

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30 minutes ago, thormas said:

I know one 'element' of Christianity 'won out' and presented their version. But I also recognize that we are not dealing with 'history' in any traditional sense of the word. 

Then what have we been discussing for days!  You say the 'gist' of Jesus is accurate as portrayed by the Gospels - I say there is room for error because a particular element of Christianity won the day and their writings are what eventually became regarded as accurate (or accurate enough).  But even then, what their actual writings were and what the end product we finally received looks like, could be very different things.  For me it is not always enough to say that because the Gospels seem to present a 'gist' of Jesus that they are necessarily accurate of that 'gist'.  But that only becomes a problem (in my opinion) when it causes people to believe what I consider harmful to others.  But that is how things speak to me.  I think you see it similarly, except you put a little more validity to it because it speaks to you or resonates.  Much resonates with me too but I still regard it as a personal thing and not necessarily accurate of Jesus.

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50 minutes ago, PaulS said:

Then what have we been discussing for days!  You say the 'gist' of Jesus is accurate as portrayed by the Gospels - I say there is room for error because a particular element of Christianity won the day and their writings are what eventually became regarded as accurate (or accurate enough).  But even then, what their actual writings were and what the end product we finally received looks like, could be very different things.  For me it is not always enough to say that because the Gospels seem to present a 'gist' of Jesus that they are necessarily accurate of that 'gist'.  But that only becomes a problem (in my opinion) when it causes people to believe what I consider harmful to others.  But that is how things speak to me.  I think you see it similarly, except you put a little more validity to it because it speaks to you or resonates.  Much resonates with me too but I still regard it as a personal thing and not necessarily accurate of Jesus.

Exactly, it is the 'orthodox' version (for example differing from gnosticism or Marcionism versions on issues like secret knowledge or the Jews) but what is consistent in the versions of the 4 gospels is the gist (the essence of who Jesus is and what he does) and actually that same gist is present in some other gospels, for example, the sayings gospel of Thomas. There seem to be differences (again gnosticism) but there is also a consistency on the essence of Jesus. What I argue against is someone who 'sees' or creates a Jesus whose essence is so at odds with the NT gospel, that he supports, approves or justifies the 'sinful' actions of Christians.

Merely because someone 'sees' this, it does not follow that ii is accurate. You seem to think it does and it is. and, as you have demonstrated, people have used their 'versions' to justify the harm they have done throughout the history of Christianity.

 

Edited by thormas

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1 hour ago, thormas said:

Exactly, it is the 'orthodox' version (for example differing from gnosticism or Marcionism versions on issues like secret knowledge or the Jews) but what is consistent in the versions of the 4 gospels is the gist (the essence of who Jesus is and what he does) and actually that same gist is present in some other gospels, for example, the sayings gospel of Thomas. There seem to be differences (again gnosticism) but there is also a consistency on the essence of Jesus. What I argue against is someone who 'sees' or creates a Jesus whose essence is so at odds with the NT gospel, that he supports, approves or justifies the 'sinful' actions of Christians.

Merely because someone 'sees' this, it does not follow that ii is accurate. You seem to think it does and it is. and, as you have demonstrated, people have used their 'versions' to justify the harm they have done throughout the history of Christianity.

The orthodox version which developed from the proto-orthodox version as Erhman would say.  The gist of the 4 x Gospels being relatively consistent is not surprising - that's why they were chosen by those who won the day as the 4 x gospels representing Christianity.  

But what I actually think is that because the 'gist' is somewhat vague (if everyone wrote a paragraph on the gist I am certain there would be differences) and there are elements of the Gospels that are either contradictory or at the very least very open to interpretation, that there is risk in saying that the Gospels are an accurate representation of Jesus.  I agree they are pretty much all we have, but that doesn't mean that haven't excluded an essential view or actiosn of Jesus that could provide some differences in understanding him.  You are content acknowledging elements could be wrong, but in general the Gospels 'speak' to you.  I think there is room for error, irrespective of whether the teachings speak to one or not.  Certainly others come away with a different gist of Jesus - you seem to fail to acknowledge that, but rather simply say they have understood the gist wrongly.  That seems to be denying them the fact that the Gospels speak to them differently.

Further, I don't know that the gist you believe is the same as Jesus' necessarily.  Again, there is room for error because:

a) we're relying on the only versions we have, but we do know there were alternate or various other voices drowned out in the decades following Jesus

b) we don't know and can't validate the accuracy of the original authors of the gospel or the writings.  We might be able to make an educated guess, but it's not 100% (which you acknowledge), but this does create room for error (e.g. should I believe one must accept Jesus to get to God, can I have a hissy fit and attack a legal business if I think it goes against what God wants, etc).

c) who knows how any originals were amended or tampered with over the extensive decades between their alleged penning and the oldest actual copies we have.

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Actually, the essence (i.e. gist) of Jesus is not vague at all for most Christians or many other human beings.

The paragraphs would capture the essence of Jesus; what they wouldn't contain is the interpretations of a Jesus, that you suggest are valid, whose actions and teachings provide approval for the harms you listed many posts ago. The Good Samaritan, the Prodigal Son, The Beatitudes, the Lord's Prayer, the healings and the Cross - are much more familiar than your fig tree, praying in the closet or even the Temple cleansing and - reveal the gist/essence of Jesus.

Of course there are contradictory elements, including what Sanders calls pericopes that are placed in different places by the writers for theological purposes and of course there are writings that need further explanation, including the aid of scholarly research (like the fig tree, the closet, the family and the cleansing) but ...........the essence of Jesus is consistent throughout. Whether he is portrayed as the Beloved Son at his Baptism or this is pushed back to the eternal Word present before creation; whether he is the secretive Messiah of Mark, the new Moses of Matthew or the exalted Lord of John - the essence remains.

 

Edited by thormas

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1 hour ago, thormas said:

Actually, the essence (i.e. gist) of Jesus is not vague at all for most Christians or many other human beings.

The paragraphs would capture the essence of Jesus; what they wouldn't contain is the interpretations of a Jesus, that you suggest are valid, whose actions and teachings provide approval for the harms you listed many posts ago. The Good Samaritan, the Prodigal Son, The Beatitudes, the Lord's Prayer, the healings and the Cross - are much more familiar than your fig tree, praying in the closet or even the Temple cleansing and - reveal the gist/essence of Jesus.

Of course there are contradictory elements, including what Sanders calls pericopes that are placed in different places by the writers for theological purposes and of course there are writings that need further explanation, including the aid of scholarly research (like the fig tree, the closet, the family and the cleansing) but ...........the essence of Jesus is consistent throughout. Whether he is portrayed as the Beloved Son at his Baptism or this is pushed back to the eternal Word present before creation; whether he is the secretive Messiah of Mark, the new Moses of Matthew or the exalted Lord of John - the essence remains.

 

Rather than vague I should say 'open to interpretation'.

I know you want to focus on the 'good' Jesus stuff (as outlined above) but just because the other aren't as familiar doesn't discount them or indeed acknowledge that they do confuse the image of Jesus at the very least, to some degree.

It seems this 'essence' you refer to is determined because of some stories but not all.

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