Christianity’s Fortuitous Accident.

How many man hours over the past thousand years have been spent reading the Bible, teaching it and discussing it?  The number would have many zeros.

The Bible is such a central part of Christianity it is hard to imagine the faith without it.  But, there must have been hundreds or thousands of faiths before writing and parchment.

With so much preoccupation in the Bible, it is inseparable from the faith.   Christianity became popular because it stumbled into history just at the right time.  Had a Jesus character in a religious story died before writing and parchment, and many god figures probably did, we never would have heard about it.

Preoccupation with the Bible causes a failure to recognize how insignificant the Christian faith is in the history of humans.  I have the impression many have come to believe the history of man began during Biblical times.

Even the cave drawings date from 30,000 years ago are relatively recent in the known history of mankind.

The appeal of Christian writing is its focus on the “me”, the god knows me.  By extension, there is focus on the “us”, we who share in the experience of reading the Bible are special people in the history of human kind.

Just as parchment and paper replaced writing on cave walls, something will replace  paper.  Today, it seems like it will be the electronic impulse I am using.

It will be hard for the electronic impulse to hold the same sway over believers.

Avatar of Jon Lindgren

About Jon Lindgren

I am a former President of the Red River Freethinkers in Fargo, ND, a retired NDSU economics professor and was Mayor of Fargo for 16 years. There is more about me at Wikipedia.com.
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72 Responses to Christianity’s Fortuitous Accident.

  1. Stan says:

    Stumbled huh? Sounded like it was preordained. The timing was perfect.

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      Stan 12:06 “Sounded like it was preordained.”

      Ah, yes. Makes the point of my blog. “‘We’ are important. ‘It’ is important.” No way are “we” just part of the passing parade of time.

      • Stan says:

        And how do you answer my perfect timing, with spin. yet you accuse us of going off topic. You call it accident, we call it God. We won’t know until we meet Him face to face.

        HE is important, His love for US is important. Do you think I would spend as much time working retreats for ME? According to our theology I don’t have to, I am saved, but I am called to help others.

        Me is the atheist dogma. I am smarter then everyone else. I control my destiny. I don’t need help. There wouldn’t be a church if everything was for ME. We wouldn’t need community.

        • Stan says:

          In the rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar the question is asked:

          Every time I look at you
          I don’t understand
          Why you let the things you did
          Get so out of hand
          You’d have managed better
          If you’d had it planned
          Now why’d you choose such a backward time
          And such a strange land?

          If you’d come today
          You could have reached the whole nation
          Israel in 4 BC had no mass communication.

          Maybe it was the proper time, before mass communication, so it wasn’t spread not by paper but by community and teaching.

  2. Wanna B Sure says:

    Jon; Your ” It will be hard for the electronic impulses to hold the same sway over beleivers”. I don’t believe that is true. The content is what is important, not the medium. “War and Peace” on E-book is the same as on paper, as are all the other available titles. More available and cheaper.

    You are partly right though on the emphasis of “me”. The trend within some of the neo evangelicals (pietism), does emphasize the “Me”. The “Me” to him, rather than the He to Me. Where man is the initiator, and God responds. Quite unlike the historical orthodox understanding where God is the iniator, and we respond with acceptance or rejection. We have been here before.

  3. entech says:

    Just one of many sets of books about one of many sets of religious ideas by and about one of many sets of believers, no reason to believe it is true any more than the Avesta or the Vedas or the Koran. Even if a convincing argument could be made for the existence of a creator, there is no way that this could be extrapolated into to being any particular god or idea of a creator.

    • Stan says:

      the Avesta or the Vedas….who? what? 999 out of 1000 have no idea what they are in the western world. ASk anywhere in the world and I think you would get better odds asking them what is the Christian Bible. Even people of other religions.

      • entech says:

        Is the Western World the only one that exists? Do the 1.2 Billion people in India that have heard of and revere the Vedas of no account because they are not part of the West? Indonesia has a long history with Hinduism and even though more than 3/4 are now Muslim they know their history and would have heard of the Vedas.

        Because it is widely known has no bearing on the truth of the Bible (or the Koran or the Vedas).

        Speaking of Western Religions do you know the origins of yours, I’ll give you a hint, it wasn’t on the western side of the Atlantic, or even the Western end of the Mediterranean.

        • Stan says:

          Think of it as “survival of the fittest.” Not only has it survived but it survives or grows everyplace it is taught.

          • entech says:

            Think of it as “survival of the fittest.”

            Unfortunate choice of words, sounds a bit like some kind of Spiritual Eugenics – burn of the bad blood, the ones that are so depraved they don’t agree with the orthodoxy of the time and place.

          • Stan says:

            We haven’t burned anyone for a long time, do I have to pull up Stalin and friends again? Or just the Muslim Brotherhood.

          • entech says:

            I know you don’t burn people and have not for a long time. I know that you are supporters of scientific research and many other good things. I also know that this was always the case, there has been much advancement and (IMHO) more needed, but you cannot deny the past.

            No need to bring up the others past, present or future, I am aware of the horrors done in ideologies name, I would not support any of them. When you brought up Survival of the Fittest, I thought of all the lies that people tell about Darwin – not you I know, so I apologize for the burn comment.

        • Stan says:

          Accepted. I was merely saying that the one people find does the most good or provides the most comfort wins. I have met many people who were new agers and would sometimes jump week to week to “new” truths. Or they carried several beliefs at once. When they came to Christianity they stopped. They had found the one they needed.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            exellent point.

          • entech says:

            Check Youtube and see how many Muslims are claiming the same thing. Everyone makes claims about what they want, more are becoming Christian, more are becoming Muslim, or from the other side there is a mass retreat from religion in general.
            Pay you money take your pick.

          • Stan says:

            That’s right Entech. And if the non-believers would stop making disparaging remarks we all would live a little easier.

          • Stan says:

            PS. Muslims are still using force and threats in conversions. I have not heard of Christians in the last couple of hundred years killing someone who quits the religion, but I hear almost daily of apostates to Islam being executed.

          • entech says:

            Stan, 10:17 Bob hasn’t said a word for a long time, other people simply point out possible alternative interpretation and express doubt. If you take disagreement as disparaging you are, perhaps, a little oversensitive.

            Probably even longer than 200 years, but even though temporal penalties cannot be applied anymore, the threat of eternal death and damnation is still held over the heads of the faithful.

          • Stan says:

            Entech, the insinuation that believers are idiots, uneducated, robots and other things happen very often in this blog, coming from Jon and you. Don’t pee on my leg and tell me it’s raining.

            “damnation is still held over the heads of the faithful.” No it isn’t Entech. The faithful who accept God as our Lord and Christ as our savior do NOT have hell and damnation held over us. We are saved by HIS grace. We are doing our best to help the ones who are searching also be saved. While there are smaller denominations who do believe that you can be thrown into Hell after being saved, most don’t to my understanding.

            Interesting how non-believers are always telling us what our theology says.

          • entech says:

            Simply not true from me Stan, I disagree, I do not believe as you do, but it is just as possible I am wrong as I believe you to be.
            The “threat of damnation” was meant to refer to apostates, didn’t turn at as I intended.

    • Wanna B Sure says:

      Yes, The Bound Will would have a problem with that.

  4. entech says:

    I have the impression many have come to believe the history of man began during Biblical times.
    As Christianity would hypothesize that creation was recorded in their bible that is more than an impression, they must believe it, some even put a date and time of day to it. And just for them, oh the vanity of it all.

    • entech says:

      “We know from Moses that the world was not in existence before 6,000 years ago.” Martin Luther.

      • Wanna B Sure says:

        Said 500 years ago. Biblical understanding has expanded since, as has many more and older ancient texts been discovered sheding more understanding in exegesis,

        In the area of non-belief, one need not revisit things said by them that reveals ERROR within their works . Or, maby we should. Certain hoaxes come to mind which were believed to be true also. Even all the Church Fathers were not fully formed or informed in all the peripheral teachings. That being said, the age of the earth has no bearing on the central doctrines of the Church Universal.

  5. Wanna B Sure says:

    One must ask; What is meant by “Biblical times”, and when did “Biblical Times” start. What is meant by all the metaphores leading up to “Biblical Times”. The “date and time of day” was a creation of an Englishman who even when alive was ridiculed by many as to the foolishness of his speculation. A few still hang on to it in spite of evidence to the contrary. Then higher criticism asks “how can this be”, rather than “What does this mean.”Arguing away any solution to the question, adding more speculation. Both sides paint themselves into a corner. There are many questions left unanswerable, with even more speculation to fill in. If it can’t be known, it’s best to simply say “I don’t know.”

  6. Buzz Marick says:

    GOD=Good Orderly Direction

  7. Henry says:

    Jon: “How many man hours over the past thousand years”

    Are freethinkers pro-women? Doesn’t seem so. We’ve discovered this in the past on this blog.

    • entech says:

      Merriam Webster dictionary:
      Definition of MAN-HOUR
      : a unit of one hour’s work by one person that is used especially as a basis for cost accounting and wages.

      Actually a generic term these days, could be thought of as an abbreviation of human-hour. Nonetheless not a bad attempt at an attack simply for the sake of it. As is so often the case says more about the the writer than the one written about.

      • Stan says:

        Congressman was a general term and so is a manhole cover but laws have been written to change them. Ad to that postman and fireman.

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      Henry 4:19 re: man hours

      Women are not qualified to hold officer positions in the Catholic church, Southern Baptist, Missouri Synod and many others. So, it really referred to man hours. There are atheists who don’t respect women. However, I’ve been corresponding lately with the head of Freedom From Religon Foundation, Annie Laurie Gaylord. She would not have that post in the Catholic Church.

      • Wanna B Sure says:

        Re. LCMS . Your “Women are not qualified to hold officer positions in….” False and uninformed statement. Women can hold (((( any)))) “officer position” with the exception of administration of the Office of the Keys. That includes the Synodical AND congregational levels.

        • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

          Wanna 12:45 Missouri Synod women

          I concede, that can hold some offices, not the “administration of the Office of the Keys” (whatever that is). Are you not embarassed women are discriminated against in that way?

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            No. Better yet, ask the women if they are “discriminated” against.
            And you don’t know what the Office of the Keys is? Better that you comment in an area in which you know the material.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            Ask my wife. She is free to talk, and not afraid to express her opinion. Nor do I supress her thoughts. After being married over 50 yr. do you think she is a robot? No ! Her freedom of opinion has been contributary to our life together. Unless you assume knowlege which you don’t have. She is a good discussion partner, and her wisdom surpasses mine.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            Jon; Just as many men do not hold the “Office of the Keys”. Do they “feel discriminated against”? Answer ; NO ! Almost all don’t want the responsibility, or have a calling to it. In many instances in other churches where they insist to hold that office, clearly there is an element of an unhealthy ego behind the insistance. That goes for men AND women. Some churches don’t have a clear understanding of the “Office of the Keys”, and it is something of indifference. They are free to their own devices. If you wish to change our position, come and join us, and bring your book of “Jon”. See how that works.

          • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

            Wanna 2:24 re: No women in the “Office of the keys.”

            I’m sure there are men who do not want to hold some offices or are not a good fit. And, I’m sure they do not feel discriminated against–they were not rejected at birth. I don’t see why your church would be harmed by applying the same rule to women–they could turn down the opportunity or go for it, just like men.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            That is our position, and none of your business, as you obviously won’t become a part of us. Want to talk to my wife?

          • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

            Wanna 3:12 “That is our position, and none of your business, as you obviously won’t become a part of us.”

            I was just wondering why women are not treated equally under church rules. Can’t stop myself from being curious.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            You are not in a position to make a judgement call if you don’t even know what the “Office of the Keys” is about. You are over your head.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            All people; men women and children equally share in salvation through faith in Christ. What we are, who we are, what we do, or wish to do has no bearing on what you think , wonder , or are curious about. Frankly, we don’t really care what you “wander” about. Move along now little doggie.

          • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

            Wanna 9:44 “Frankly, we don’t really care what you wonder about. Move along now little doggie.”

            I thought you would quote the Jesus character when he told his men to leave their families and hit the road with him. Or, when he chewed out his mother. But then, you could have done what the United Church of Christ would do, show the character Jesus as kind and respectful of women. Both messages are there for any denomination to pick and choose from. Yours must be more the former than the latter, but I guess I’ll never know.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            There is a lot you will never know, but know this; I am not answerable to the UCC, an ecclectic montage of etherial material, and a conservative version of UU. No need to quote Jesus as you discount anything you say he didn’t say. Ha.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            Jon; Any more trite tripe? I’m waiting.

      • Henry says:

        Wow, look at the atheists/freethinkers fall all over themselves defending the term “man hours”. Then, the usual retort of tu quoque.

  8. Michael Ross says:

    “Just as parchment and paper replaced writing on cave walls, something will replace paper. Today, it seems like it will be the electronic impulse I am using.”

    The Gutenberg press of 1450 replaced handwritten manuscripts and the first book off the press was the Bible. It could now be mass produced and in the hands of ordinary people which led to the Reformation which led to the first biblically literate society, America. “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” Jesus said. America was the freest, most prosperous civilization the world had has seen to date.

    • entech says:

      Mass printing allowed the same mistakes to be propagated with fewer additional mistakes.

      However, I would argue against it putting the Bible in the hands of the people, it was, after all, in Latin. Actually many of the people that did actually try to translate it into the vernacular, so that people could actually read it for themselves paid dearly for their efforts.
      It was almost a hundred years later that Tyndale’s Bible was printed in English, about the same time as Luther’s translations into German.
      Incidentally Luther said of Henry’s Bible of 1540, if it disagrees with me it is wrong – an attitude that many carry on to this day.

      “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” Jesus said.
      But if you read the next verse does the meaning change from what is inferred in your quote, or is it all so ambiguous that even the locals didn’t understand him. On the other hand it is part of the “cast the first stone” story which everyone quotes and no one used except John, and even then not in the earliest records?
      And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
      They answered him, We be Abraham’s seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free?

      “What is truth”, Pilate said. And a jolly good question too.

      America was the freest, most prosperous civilization the world had has seen to date. No argument with that but I would say it was in spite of being the first biblically literate society rather than because of it.

      • Stan says:

        Look how modern translations are created. They use the oldest examples in Greek, Hebrew and Arimeric they can find, many of them, and compare them to be sure of the greatest concordance. We have many more examples of the individual books of the Bible then we have the works or Aristotle and Plato but no one ever says that those are full of error and mistakes. At the most, differences discovered consist of spelling and grammar. Remember that Hebrew did not have a dictionary as we use to correct spelling now, they used no punctuation and even the words were run together since they didn’t space words. All of those are actually new inventions since the originals were written. Even the spacing of chapter and verse were provided later for easy reference.

        • entech says:

          The writings of Plato and Aristotle are not held up as living proof of the creation and creator. A higher level can be expected/required when such extraordinary claims are made, as Carl Sagan said “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence”.
          The first and second editions of Erasmus translation did not include 1 John 5:7–8 the only thing that can be said to definitely indicate a trinity in the Bible. This was added in later editions after a Greek manuscript was miraculously found that included it. These lines are now (since 1927) admitted to be in doubt. How many others who knows, been around a long time, most are simply spelling and copying errors but a lot appear to be later additions.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            And now you introduce a different element to the topic. The sheer volume of manuscript, including the Dead Sea Scrolls material now available compaired to the classics refutes your claim. And so it goes. Did the Scientific community know about black holes and string theory 500 years ago? Shame on them for not informing the world about the possibility of multiverses, different diminsions, and paralell universes. Or was it possibility a different time? Only the Englishman designated the day and hour from my understanding.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            I should have included “The sheer volume of non-related sources and locations of those sources”. In fact these alone give more validity to the “final product”, than to the very limited sources of the “classic” writers.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            And that is extraordinary.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            And now Erasmus is the final word of The Word? You conveniently ignore the totality of the rest of the Bible. While all three persons of the Triunity of the Godhead are not in one or two connected verses, and not present as in 1 John 5:7-8, this does not at all mean they (plural) , and in context, are not present in the rest of the Bible. A clear example of the will in bondage. Go figure.

          • Stan says:

            Read the Bible Entech, study it. From the beginning of Genesis there is God, The Word (Christ) and the Spirit. It may not be tied in a nice bow for you but all are included through the whole old testament. In the new Christ informs the Apostles that there is one comig who will be with them always. This is the Holy Spirit. Until that time the Spirit was with us when sent by God. This became the New Testament Christ brought.

          • entech says:

            Stan I went to school where the bible was taught as a curriculum subject, daily lessons and assemblies. Since I do not think the God of the Bible that you speak of is an actual real and existing entity then you lose me with your second sentence – with no god there is no genesis, end of story before it begins.

          • Henry says:

            entech: Carl Sagan said “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence”.

            Ok. Let’s see some evidence. Someone once made this extraordinary unproven claim: “The Cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be.”

          • entech says:

            A lot would depend on the definition you apply to Cosmos, but if you apply it to the known universe then you are correct it is an extraordinary claim, and one for which there can be no evidence, any more than for your supernatural claims.

          • Stan says:

            So first you claim that there is no where but 1 John 5:7–8 where the Father Son and Holy Spirit is proclaimed. Then when I explain where you can find it you say you don’t believe anyway so it doesn’t matter. Circular reasoning does not make good argument. It just makes us wonder why we are talking to you in the first place.

            I see you blew off the scholarship of Bible translation. Same argument I suppose. But I was just addressing the claim that you make of mistakes copied over and over again. Do you think the translators are stupid enough to use late copies when it would be easy to show major errors? The religious are both the dumbest sheep and the canniest conspiracy in history. Make up your mind.

          • entech says:

            Guess I bet stop digging, from your viewpoint whatever I say the hole will just get deeper.
            Distance is in the way but I wouldn’t mind a chat over a beer or coffee one day, I think we are separated by language sometimes.

          • Stan says:

            To see the face also makes it easier to understand the meaning.

  9. I do not believe there are any kind of “accidents” in Christianity!!!!
    After all look who is in charge??????

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