Hamblin & Peterson: Reading other people's scriptures requires sympathy, not just facts

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  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    April 24, 2013 9:31 a.m.

    @ sharrona

    Clearly your background should have precluded you from making the statement you did.

    RE: Buddhist agnosticism - is because Buddhists only believe what they can verify for themselves. And centuries of deep spiritual & meditative practice have demonstrated (to them) that while we can enjoy many profound spiritual experiences – most of which sound far more advanced than almost anything seen in western religion – those experiences do not justify making objective truth claims about God, an afterlife, visions, souls, the world and how it was created, the validity of scared books, etc. etc, etc…

    In fact the Buddha, during his 40 year ministry, was often asked questions like yours (pantheism), and his answer was always the same - the question was irrelevant to our task of awakening or enlightenment.

    As to your last comment about the Bible, I view any appeal to the Bible as ultimately circular, as it will always come down to a form like this:

    “How do you know the Bible is true?”

    “Because God wrote/inspired it.”

    “How do you know that?”

    “Because the Bible says so.”

  • sharrona layton, UT
    April 23, 2013 9:14 p.m.

    RE: Tyler D,you know little about other religions?

    I lived in Bangkok,Thailand. I have Theravada Buddhists and Christian close relatives in chiang mai.

    Buddhism is best understood as a philosophy rather than a religion do to the fact the Buddhist does not necessarily embrace a God.

    Christianity’s Westminster confessions ,“mans” chief purpose is to glorify God and enjoy him forever.
    Versus, The Buddha’s “noble truths have nothing to do about accentuating that positive; they are about suffering(Dukkha) how to eliminate the negative.

    Buddhists also tend to be agnostic about how the world began since all matter in one sense is illusion and origin issue are irrelevant to the task of enlightenment.

    I also study comparative Religion. Example, In Mt:24 the Greek Manuscripts contain pericopes Which are essential for eschatological discernment . Yet Joseph Smith's Mt:24 lacks pericopes.

    @Tyler,Do you believe? The Hindu system of belief (Pantheism=all god),Everything is God and everything is in God. Or The LORD(YHWH) our God, the LORD is one(Deu 6:4).

    The Bible says you are without excuse to be agnostic( against knowledge).

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    April 23, 2013 9:44 a.m.

    @sharrona – “However, in comparison with any other ancient literature, the NT is without a peer"

    This statement suggests you know next to nothing about other religious traditions, especially the Vedic Sanskrit writings of ancient India, the Buddhist Pali Cannon, and the vast library of writings from the 5000 year old civilization of China.

    Argue for the excellence of your own tradition all you want, in fact this is laudable - but when you cross the line into trying to argue for the superiority of your beliefs (or sacred books), especially when you know little about other religions, you do yourself and your religion is huge disservice.

  • sharrona layton, UT
    April 22, 2013 10:07 p.m.

    RE: Tolstoy,” Why should I treat his books about religion any differently than I treat any other book about a religion other than my own.”

    No ancient literature has survived in its original form; everything we have is derived from copies of the originals. The NT is no exception. However, in comparison with any other ancient literature, the NT is without a peer—both in terms of the chronological proximity and the surviving number. Several ancient authorities are preserved in only a handful of manuscripts. Not so with the NT. There are approximately 5,500 Greek witnesses, ranging in date from the second century AD into the middle ages. Besides the Greek evidence, there are nearly 30,000 versional copies (e.g., Latin, Coptic, and Syriac), and over 1,000,000 quotations from the NT in the church Fathers.

    Tolstoy: Reading other people's scriptures requires sympathy, not just facts’. I could only read a few word from the Anton Lavey’s Bible but couldn’t. Tolstoy, could You?

  • Tolstoy salt lake, UT
    April 22, 2013 11:31 a.m.

    @ sharrona: In case you missed it - your first remark in your second comment is arguing my point.

    As for your second remark in your second comment: Why not? Why should I treat his books about religion any differently than I treat any other book about a religion other than my own? What part of this article did you not understand?

  • sharrona layton, UT
    April 22, 2013 9:54 a.m.

    RE: Tolstoy, Jews believe that their scriptures have not yet been fulfilled.

    They will,The Day of Atonement/Yom Kippur; Israel Turns to Her Messiah.

    And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn.( Zech 12:10).

    so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.( Hebrews 9:28)

    @Interesting that on an article about Sympathy and respect towards other religions the first comment is you attacking those who believe differently than you.
    Do you have Sympathy for books by Anton Lavey ?

  • Tolstoy salt lake, UT
    April 21, 2013 7:58 p.m.

    @ sharrona: YOU believe the Bible to contain fulfilled prophecy - not everyone does. Jews believe that their scriptures have not yet been fulfilled. Muslims believe Christians to be mistaken in their beliefs about Jesus and religion. Wiccan and Pagan believers don't believe in the Bible at all.

    Interesting that on an article about sympathy and respect towards other religions the first comment is you attacking those who believe differently than you.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    April 21, 2013 12:22 p.m.

    Reading from other traditions is great idea, if for no other reason than to see our common humanity. But from my own experience, it is absolutely possible to read any scripture and say “this is profoundly inspiring” and at many other times think “how can people believe this stuff?”

    People who usually say the later are often folks whose incredulity is simply stronger than their sympathies with writers who literally thought (among other superstitions) that heaven was in the clouds, people were possessed by demons, and death was utterly baffling almost any time someone perished due to something other than being stabbed with a sword.

  • gcrobmd GADSDEN, AL
    April 20, 2013 7:30 p.m.

    I don't think we need to fear losing our own testimony of the gospel by understanding the awe that those of another religion have in their own scriptures or holy things. Rather, I think it would strengthen our own testimony and understanding. Whenever I have had a serious discussion with a person of another religion, I understand my own better.

    Alma declares in Alma 29:8 that God grants to all nations, of their own nation and tongue, the word that He sees fit in His wisdom to impart. I am inclined to believe that the Quran has God's wisdom for those people that was appropriate at that time. I have witnessed the great joy my Muslim friends have in telling about the Quran or when returning from the Hajj. I understand. I have been to the Sacred Grove. I would like to see the Kabba, though I would not want to desecrate that which is holy to them.

    Yet I want to bless them with knowledge of the plan of salvation. I am sure that will eventually happen when God sees fit. I have shared the Arabic Book of Mormon.

  • sharrona layton, UT
    April 20, 2013 3:20 p.m.

    Reading other people's scriptures requires sympathy, not just facts.

    What makes the Bible Holy(Separate) from other religious books is fulfilled prophecy.

    Overview of feasts in Judaism: The seven feasts commanded in Lev 23, are still observed by our Jewish neighbors. The feasts as given to Israel bore a three-fold significance. 1. There was the seasonal aspect of each holiday;2. then the feasts were to be a memorial of God’s dealings with the Hebrews;3. and finally there was the prophetic symbolism of God’s dealing with His Church,which is made up of believing Jews and Gentiles.

    A study of theses feasts will teach Christians God’s plan of redemption, Passover, Unleavened bread, First fruits, Pentecost, Trumpets, Day of Atonement and Booths. Fulfilled by Jesus in the New Covenant.