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[at-l] OFF TOPIC: Extinction?

In a message dated 4/9/2005 9:17:37 AM Eastern Daylight Time,  
jbullar1@twcny.rr.com writes:

No,  actually that is another article of faith. There is no record of what  
happened to the disciple John. The 'history' you refer to is 'inferred'  
from interpretations which are the subject of debate among Biblical  
historians. Authors of apocalyptic writings frequently used pseudonyms  
taken from heroic figures in their tradition. Some *believe* that it was  
the same John but no one *knows* that as a historically demonstrable fact.  
It could just as easily have been someone using his name, which is what my  
mother was told in divinity school.

Divinity School -- I went to one of those.  Lately there have been a  whole 
series of people who have gone to Divinity School who are promoting  another 
view of Christianity than that taught in the Church over the  years.  Some 
people, in order to get their Ph.D.s or Th.D.s have felt it  necessary to surmise 
and stretch for a new idea and in the struggle for  accreditation have begun to 
become something different -- an evolving of the  faith if you will -- and so 
the story expands and the original beliefs get  challenged.  It was so simple 
years ago.  Now, there is an  uncertainty that has been introduced so that 
Kierkegaard's "Leap of Faith" has  ramifications that extend beyond a mere 
belief in God to whatever it is one  holds as true.  Revisionist factions are prone 
to come up with  something new and different.  
Proof is always the challenger's task.  The early church in the  
establishment of the Canon stated that The Apostle John was the author of the  Gospel of 
John, the Letters of John (I,II,and III), and The Revelation of  John.  Later 
Scholars, in modern times, have challenged the earlier  held beliefs.  The 
proof that they have come up with is speculation at best  and fraud at worst.  
Some sincerely wanted to earn their doctorates in  Theology or Philosophy.  The 
criteria is that something new has to be  discovered.  The method was that old 
beliefs about the Apostles and their  writings had to be replaced by a new set 
of beliefs.  Hence, we have a  never ending source of "new knowledge" which 
is not necessarily knowledge but  conjecture, albeit from a scholarly 
investigation that yields "possibilities"  rather than absolute knowledge.
I maintain that if one wants to start a new religion then the  
Judeo/Christianity religion is a good place to begin for it provides basic  themes of 
universal reality and gives a foundation that can be utilized in  producing new ways 
of thinking.  Don't want to believe in accountability  for your actions?  
Throw out the original prohibition and replace it with a  softer, easier set of 
expectations.  Can't take the brutality of the  crucifixion?  Change the view.  
Don't want to believe in an actual  resurrection?  Spiritualize it so that it 
is easier to believe.  Does  the prohibition against certain life styles as 
portrayed in the Old and New  Testaments offend or condemn?  Challenge their 
validity and interpret the  words differently.  
The beginning point of entry into the life of faith is one which each  person 
is able to choose or reject for themselves.  It is perhaps easier to  believe 
in a God -- some entity in control -- who is caring and good and who has  an 
ultimate purpose in mind, than nothing.  We all have a sense that there  is a 
life force that makes life worthwhile.  There are medical doctors who  care 
about keeping people alive and well and yet who do not believe in a God,  but 
who do recognize the value of the individual and ascribe to societal  standards 
of doing no harm in order to promote life.  Of course there are  those who do 
not care about the "ultimates" and just find the practice of  medicine 
exciting and an end in itself.  This would be similar to those who  work for a living 
without regard to any end purpose of their production but who  simply like 
what they do and enjoy living well on their earnings.  Some see  miracles in 
life and others do not.  Some see confusion, chaos,  and disorganization, while 
others see order, intention, and purpose.   Like a kaleidoscope the turns of 
experience enable many to see different colors  and patterns. 
There are some vital themes that religious people hold in common, but  so do 
those who hold to an ethical culture.  Love of family and friends and  
extending to wider circles of society, caring of the weak and infirm, and those  who 
need protection from society at large or from "big business": or dishonest  
business practices, etc.,  productivity, sacrifice for the good of others,  
purpose in living and working, enjoyment of nature and advocacy of preserving  
what we have, accumulation of knowledge and discovery (including exploration  and 
examination) of the natural world, Ethical practices in lifestyle  and high 
ideals for living.  Because no one is perfect we all fail at our  ideals and we 
have doubts that creep in and corrupt our belief systems.   The actions of 
people of faith (whatever leap in the dark one takes) molds and  builds 
character and assists in the progress that mankind makes over the eons of  existence.  
At each juncture (each one chooses) there will be failure  experienced and so 
the old "two steps forward and one step back" slows progress  at times and 
almost smothers it at other times and yet when one examines history  we see a 
progression.  The color of your tinted glasses of vision will tell  you how much 
or how little you see.
Thank God (oops) for the delete button!
Skylander Jack