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Nobleronin4
08-02-2004, 09:20 PM
Above all this is done out of love...please scroll down to the bottom and click on (One Couple's Testimony)
http://members.tripod.com/christianjujitsu/New_and_Interesting/New_and_Interesting.html

Chuck.Gordon
08-03-2004, 03:39 AM
Oh my.

Sorry. Despite Danzan Ryu's well-documented and deserved place in budo (and I've trained with some very good DZR folks), I resent the proseletyzing and the condescending tone of that piece.

To me, Christianity has NOTHING at all to do with budo. Period. It has no place in the dojo.

Or the schools, the workplace or our government, for that matter. YOUR faith is YOUR business, and is a deeply personal thing. I have my own beliefs (or rather, a lack of superstitions and lack of faith in mythology), and don't care to have your beliefs thrust upon me.

Most budo have fairly specific ties to traditional Japanese (in the case of Japanese arts, of course) spirituality. These ties, in typical Japanese fashion, are built into the practice and theory of the arts. That's OK. I can appreciate the philosophical and spiritual underpinnings of the budo without having to BELIEVE them. The best teachers I've known have never, EVER proselityzed their beliefs on the mat (unless it were their personal budo philosphies -- rather than religion proper).

Now, to the letter you pointed to: As the writers noted, Christianity offers only two options, everlasting joy or everlasting torment.

Both are, pardon my crudity, BS.

Religion (most religions, not just Christianity) preys on the normal fears of humanity, offers solace and ease of suffering, in exchange for obedience. As long as you obey, you're guaranteed a place in the respective version of paradise offered by that faith. If not, you face temporal sufffering and eternal spiritual torture. In order to avoid the suffering, you must obey (oh yeah, and pay your tithes, etc), so that you might experience joy and avoid suffering ...

It's a vicious circle, and one which must be broken if religion has any hope of evolving past its stone-age roots and medieval mythology (which was mostly designed to control populaces, secure power bases and keep the 'infidel' at bay.

As for archeological and historical accurasy, the Bible is rife with inconsistency and error. Take a good look at: http://www.skepticsannotatedbible.com/index.html. Good source for some very detailed analysis of what the Bible actually says (and doesn't).

The writers of the testimony also say:

In every instance where questioned on historical veracity, evidence from archeology, and secular historians of the age have validated the historical truth of the Bible


But they fail to give any credible reference or source. That statement in fact, is erroneous, not false, just erroneous. The Bible, or parts of it anyway, do recount the history and mythology of a particular tribe in the Middle East. However, it's been revised, rewritten, rearranged and adapted so much, by so many factions ... and then, which VERSION do we acept as 'gospel'. Most real scholars today have serious reservations about whether or not most of it was actually written by the people tradition says wrote it. The earliest forms of Judeo-Christian scripture are, at best, thrid-hand reporting of tribal oral traditions and mythologies. Later revisions were designed to support the priestly class and their power base, and still later, were used to promote and spread the growning cult of the Messiah. Still LATER, the scriptures were rewritten yet again (and again) to support the growing 'Catholic' Church and the political power base it offered the 'Holy' Roman Empire (see Constantine and Nicea). And still later, it was rewritten, re-interpreted and reorganized to support the Protestant movement. The history of the Bible if fascinating, and studied empirically, offers as great an insight into political machination as anything Machiavelli wrote.

The testimony from the website also says:

there is not one shred of archeological evidence that contradicts the Bible to our knowledge


This is absolutely untrue ... well, maybe not. They DO say 'to our knowledge' -- methinks they should read a bit more, so that statement can be corrected. There's a wealth of evidence countering the infallibility of the bible as a historical document.

Look up the book: It Ain't Necessarily So: Investigating the Truth of the Biblical Past
by Matthew Sturgis. It's good archeology written accesibly and clearly. It's a good start.

And let's not even get started on prophecy. Even the Bible itself contradicts its own prophecies. Any sufficiently vaguely worded prohpecy has a good chance of being interpreted as having been fulfilled.

Heck, even Jeanne Dixon was right part of the time.

And that whole Chinese language thing -- come ON now. Get a grip. That's stretching .. real hard .. for a connection. The fact of the matter is that we ARE all products of a dispersion, but one far more ancient than the Genesis accounts. Humans are humans and we developed similar mythologies, ideologies and ideas. With such vague and obviously biased inquiry as this, one could read just about anything into just about anything. It's Christian apologetics at its best.

Reminds me of the fallacies and twisted interpretations found in Nishobe's wonderfully misleading book Bushido: The Soul of Japan.

As for the good Dr. Eby dying and being ressurected, isn't that against Christian dogma in the first place? And, personally, I'd like to see solid clinical records to back up his story. It just doesn't wash. Sorry.

Oh my. And the Hidden Bible Codes! That particulary juicy bit has been solidly debunked well and deeply by secular AND Christian researchers. Look here:
http://www.csicop.org/si/9711/bible-code.html,
http://cs.anu.edu.au/~bdm/dilugim/minskip.html,
and here http://www.ams.org/notices/199708/review-allyn.pdf.
For starters.

They say in summary: 'when you select a church to attend, pick one that literally interprets the Bible'

This is problemmatic. Which part? Which interpretation of which version? Sorry, but the Bible is not a monolithic, infallible document. It has been changed, it has been falsified and rewritten time and again. If you pay attention, you will be told to do one thing in this book, another in the next. Even the four 'gospels' cannot agree on what constiitutes salvation, about the story of Jesus and the roles of the various apostles. The inconsistency and incongruity in (and between) the Old and New Testaments are far too numerous to go into here (the three differing versions of the 10 commandments, for instance).

The whole of that letter is sadly uninformed fundamentalist evangelical Christian dogma. It's patently wrong, misleading and terribly under-researched.

Fortunately, there are some wonderful, progressive thinkers working hard to bring Christianity (kicking, screaming and wailing) into the 20th century. Read some of Bishop Shelby Spong's writings for starters. Wonderful, loving, intelligent man who is a shining light in the Christian world. He and others like him are struggling to bring Christianity out of the Dark Ages and into the light.

If we are to evolve as a society, we must either evolve in our faith as well, or that faith must be discarded as an impediment ot progress and civililation.

Chuck
Whose thought sare turning toward organizing a National Day of Reason (http://www.nationaldayofreason.org/) celebration next year.

PeterR
08-03-2004, 05:32 AM
So Chuck - why don't you tell us how you really feel? ;)

If you are so inclined I see no contradiction between being Christain and studying Budo but I also get my hackles up when someone tries to forcefully mash the two togeather.

Judeo-Christianic interpretation of Ueshiba M.'s philosophical mutterings included.

Chuck.Gordon
08-03-2004, 05:51 AM
Peter Rehse wrote:

Heya Peter! Long time no type. Hope all's well with you and yours. So you're in Greece again/still or what? When you going to come visit bavaria so I can corrupt, er, spoil you?


So Chuck - why don't you tell us how you really feel? ;)


Actually, I was being fairly gentle.

If you are so inclined I see no contradiction between being Christain and studying Budo but I also get my hackles up when someone tries to forcefully mash the two togeather.


Agreed.


Judeo-Christianic interpretation of Ueshiba M.'s philosophical mutterings included.


Yep. That's just ... weird.

Kind regards, and the invitiation to come visit and play is always open.

Chuck

Michael Cardwell
08-03-2004, 06:19 AM
Chuck, I must disagree with part of your statement, while I agree that Christianity has no place in the dojo or on the mat, I think it has some part in Budo. My Sensei always tells me that the samurai's training included more than just martial classes, they had to learn poetry, calligraphy and tea ceremony so that they were a more rounded person. To me that says that Budo is about self improvement and not just learning how to hurt people. isn't Christianity so posed to be about self improvement to make yourself into a better person?

Chuck.Gordon
08-03-2004, 06:44 AM
Michael Cardwell said:

Heya Michael. Snake River Dojo. What a great name! Where's that?


... My Sensei always tells me that the samurai's training included more than just martial classes, they had to learn poetry, calligraphy and tea ceremony so that they were a more rounded person.


More or less, yeah. But there was no single samurai class, or rules for their behavior and training. Sometimes the ONLY thing they were required to do was kill and die for their leaders.

Sometimes, they were local farmers, landowners who rose through the ranks and had real ties to their duties.

In later history, they were almost purely a class of bureaucrats who seldom touched a sword except in the most ceremonial of circumstances. That is the environemnt from which comes the infamous Hagakure, for instance. That sad little tome, BTW, has little to do with actual warriorship, and lots to do with a disgruntled bureaucrat being denied the 'privilege' of following his lord into death and his vast disappointment at never having opportuntiy to display his martial valor on the field of combat.

And it had less to do with being a better person than with being a well-rounded person. Semantic quibble, I know, but I think it's an important one.


To me that says that Budo is about self improvement and not just learning how to hurt people.


Bingo.

Now whether or not any religious education has a place in budo ... no, I don't think so. I do think it is useful (and necessary) to explore and understand (doesnt mean accept and believe) the spiritual underpinnings of the budo you study.

Does that mean you can graft onto it anything that tickles you? Well, sure you CAN, but what happens to the art when you start changing the core like that?

Can bud training be part of personal spiritual relization? Sure. So can art appreciation or playing the guitar. Does that mean it's OK to make it part of your dojo culture? Not if you want to continue calling what you teach 'budo' and maintain the historical/traditional trappings that make it budo (as opposed to generic physical combatives, say).


isn't Christianity so posed to be about self improvement to make yourself into a better person?

Well, that's part of the debate isn't it? DOES Christianity make for better people? According to a recent survey of US prison populations (which is the highest its ever been, sadly), the VAST majority were Christian (or at least professed Christian religious training and affiliation).

Oddly enough, the population of the godless -- atheists and non-aligned folks -- was almost infinitesimal. I can post references and pointers to that study if anyone's interested.

As I said to Peter, I have no problem if YOU are Christian. It's a personal choice.

However, presenting Christianity as part of budo education is sort of non sequitor, I think.

To paraphrase the old feminist joke:

A budoka needs Christianity like a fish needs a bicycle.

Chuck

Jorge Garcia
08-03-2004, 07:00 AM
Above all this is done out of love...please scroll down to the bottom and click on (One Couple's Testimony)
http://members.tripod.com/christianjujitsu/New_and_Interesting/New_and_Interesting.html

Dear Mark,
Good try brother but as you can see from Chuck Gordon's response, it probably won't work here. In Chuck, you have run into a professional skeptic so to continue in this forum will be unproductive and only serve to confuse those you are trying to reach.

As for Christianity and budo, I think that Christians are like all groups with religious orientation in that they are trying to spread their message. Christians can do whatever they like and have a right do it, no matter what anyone says. In one sense, they are like the Shinto religion in that they try to integrate their world view into whatever is at hand. It isn't wise though to come on to an audience that is here for one purpose and insert one that is out of the stream they are in because you may be tossing your valuable beliefs in front of those who have cannot appreciate them. In that case, you will do the opposite of what you hoped to accomplish.
I am a Christian and I practice budo and they relate to each other in my world. I also lead a dojo and I don't force my beliefs on anyone. I just try to live them so that those who train with me can see how my beliefs have affected my life and how my faith causes me to treat other people, even those of religions I don't like or agree with. Just because I step on the mat doesn't mean I can't be a Christian nor does it mean I have to become a member of an eastern religion. Many aikidoists are Buddhist and I have seen many a Buddhist ceremony, meditation etc. held after seminars and at camps, etc. My own Japanese teacher prays to his God before every class in front of all of us and he is no Christian. I allow him and others to be who they are and I must also be allowed to be who I am. I don't check out half of who I am at the door. I come on the mat as a whole human. I just try to act in such a way, that even a person like Chuck can train with me and not feel the need to tear me apart in order to feel like he still has his private space.
That's all I will say on the matter. I suggest we all go on to another topic.
Best wishes to all,

Chuck.Gordon
08-03-2004, 07:42 AM
Jorge Garcia wrote:

Hola Jorge! Have we met? I've been in and out of Texas a bit in recent years, married an Austin native (who'd trained with the Seidokan folks there), and I taught at the first AIkido List Seminar in San Antonio.

In fact, I'm an adopted Texan, these days, and will likely -- eventually -- return to Austin someday.

Do you ever get to cross hands with Craig Hocker? Love training with him. Great guy.


In Chuck, you have run into a professional skeptic so to continue in this forum will be unproductive and only serve to confuse those you are trying to reach.


Oh, now you're flattering me. No pro, only an enthusiastic amateur.


Christians can do whatever they like and have a right do it, no matter what anyone says.


I agree, unequivocally ... as long as they do not force it on anyone. Like my grandpa used to say: My rights end where your nose begins.


In one sense, they are like the Shinto religion in that they try to integrate their world view into whatever is at hand.


And as long as that is a personal integration, I'm all for it. However, grafting Christianity onto budo practice is a different thing.


I also lead a dojo and I don't force my beliefs on anyone. I just try to live them so that those who train with me can see how my beliefs have affected my life and how my faith causes me to treat other people ...


Bless you for that. There should be more like you.


because I step on the mat doesn't mean I can't be a Christian


Bingo! Now, if the obverse (you can only train here if you ARE Christian) were true, would you want to continue training in that environment?


act in such a way, that even a person like Chuck can train with me and not feel the need to tear me apart in order to feel like he still has his private space.


A person like Chuck! Oh my. What have I become (grinning).

I do think we could train together happily, Jorge. In fact, I have in my dojo right now an Army chaplain (Episcopal), a devout Catholic, a practicing Zen Buddhist, among others.

And, most likely, we'd have more interesting discussions about what aikido is, isn't and ought to be than we would about religion.

I'm all about choice and egalitarianism ... rabidly so. I'm also convinced that the path to true egalitarianism is built of tolerance, rational thought and open dialogue.


That's all I will say on the matter. I suggest we all go on to another topic.


We could, but this topic sort of leads into other aspects of dojo life ... the 'to bow or not to bow' debate, the existence of ki (and whether it's a force for good or evil), training with members of the opposite gender, etc.

All of which, ultimately are based on religious thought and all of which could impact anyone teaching Japanese budo.

Chuck

justMe
08-03-2004, 07:53 AM
Chuck Gordon and Jorge Garcia have given us an exquisite example of “two-sides-of-the-same-coin!” Chuck appears to not bring Christianity or indeed any spiritual perspective, in a religious sense, to his Budo. Jorge does seem to be very spiritually inclined and so naturally that reflects in his Budo. Here is the wonderful part…it works for both of them!

The long and short of it, as I see it, is that spirituality is a very deep and personal part of an individual’s life. Even Chuck seems as deeply committed to his non-spiritual stance with the same fever as the most devout Christian/Buddhist/Taoist/etc. is to spirituality.

It is impossible for such strong and deep-running convictions to not be reflected in our characters. That character is who we are…it is presented to every situation we encounter and so taints our interpretations of them. In other words, it makes our perspectives of any given situation unique. And rightly so! I believe strongly in individuality and as with most things, Aikido would be lame if we all held the same view of it or trained from the same general foundations of belief or intent.

Using individuals as examples based on a couple of posts without knowing them well is a risky endeavor. If I have misinterpreted or misunderstood either Chuck’s reply or Jorge’s it was unintentional and so if I am misrepresenting either of you in the above I am heartily sorry.

Jorge Garcia
08-03-2004, 08:49 AM
Chuck Gordon and Jorge Garcia have given us an exquisite example of "two-sides-of-the-same-coin!" Chuck appears to not bring Christianity or indeed any spiritual perspective, in a religious sense, to his Budo. Jorge does seem to be very spiritually inclined and so naturally that reflects in his Budo. Here is the wonderful part…it works for both of them!

The long and short of it, as I see it, is that spirituality is a very deep and personal part of an individual's life. Even Chuck seems as deeply committed to his non-spiritual stance with the same fever as the most devout Christian/Buddhist/Taoist/etc. is to spirituality.

It is impossible for such strong and deep-running convictions to not be reflected in our characters. That character is who we are…it is presented to every situation we encounter and so taints our interpretations of them. In other words, it makes our perspectives of any given situation unique. And rightly so! I believe strongly in individuality and as with most things, Aikido would be lame if we all held the same view of it or trained from the same general foundations of belief or intent.
Thanks Shawn. You did a good job!
Best wishes,

Jorge Garcia
08-03-2004, 08:59 AM
Hola Jorge! Have we met? I've been in and out of Texas a bit in recent years, married an Austin native (who'd trained with the Seidokan folks there), and I taught at the first Aikido List Seminar in San Antonio.

In fact, I'm an adopted Texan, these days, and will likely -- eventually -- return to Austin someday.

Do you ever get to cross hands with Craig Hocker? Love training with him. Great guy.

I do know Craig Hocker. We had dinner a week ago at a local Japanese kitchen. As for San Antonio, I used to live there but we probably haven't met unless you were ever at an Aikido of San Antonio seminar. I know someone (Scott Reese) from the Seidokan group but my only training in Austin was at Aikido of Austin, the USAF group.

Chuck.Gordon
08-03-2004, 09:18 AM
Next time you see Craig, give him a koshi (or a hug, whichever) from me and Emily.

Take good care!

Chuck

kironin
08-03-2004, 10:16 AM
Regardless, I think numerous thoughtful Christians would have many problems with this page, and the following sums up why:


All of the authors of the books I've recommended are literal Bible believers. There is good reason for this: because the Bible says it is literally accurate, and because archeology, science, and history have proven this correct. Do not refer to sources of those who are not literal Bible believers. They will mislead you! Prof. Bud Estes said so! ...

We should warn you that not all the truths revealed in the Bible are fully understood yet. The ONLY man we knew who understood and could explain them all, was Bud Estes



I am always kind of puzzled why people who want to prove to you that their religion is true don't want you to look at all the evidence. And why if their religion comes down to Faith in a non-material reality do they spend so much energy on trying to prove their faith to you with material evidence.
Especially when every bit of material evidence there is is subject to interpretation so they cannot possibly convince anyone who does not already share their beliefs. Every scientist, archeologist, or historian with any integrity will do their best to acknowledge their own beliefs and set them aside while studying their subject matter. They will then attempt to publish in peer reviewed high profile journals, so as to hopefully, ideally, recieve a wide range of opinion on the raw data and their interpretation. If a community of people with DIFFERENT beliefs can tentatively agree, acceptance comes and work continues. If not, controversy comes, and further work must occur. I suspect a lot of evidence on the scientific or historical evidence mentioned on this page falls in the highly controversial arena. People write books rather than publish in journals because there is no peer review for a book, there is only the criteria that there is a market for it. Yet the public will believe you are a knowledgable expert because you write a book while at the same time experts in the field you have written on are using it for toilet paper. For example, things like bible codes are easily explainable once one steps outside the belief system and examines the implicit assumptions being made.

of course,
I am not Bud Estes! ;)

kironin
08-03-2004, 10:19 AM
Next time you see Craig, give him a koshi (or a hug, whichever) from me and Emily.

Take good care!

Chuck


I prefer a koshi.

Emily can give me hug. :p ;)

best,
Craig

Jorge Garcia
08-03-2004, 11:02 AM
I am always kind of puzzled why people who want to prove to you that their religion is true don't want you to look at all the evidence. And why if their religion comes down to Faith in a non-material reality do they spend so much energy on trying to prove their faith to you with material evidence.
Especially when every bit of material evidence there is is subject to interpretation so they cannot possibly convince anyone who does not already share their beliefs. Every scientist, archaeologist, or historian with any integrity will do their best to acknowledge their own beliefs and set them aside while studying their subject matter. They will then attempt to publish in peer reviewed high profile journals, so as to hopefully, ideally, receive a wide range of opinion on the raw data and their interpretation. If a community of people with DIFFERENT beliefs can tentatively agree, acceptance comes and work continues. If not, controversy comes, and further work must occur. I suspect a lot of evidence on the scientific or historical evidence mentioned on this page falls in the highly controversial arena. People write books rather than publish in journals because there is no peer review for a book, there is only the criteria that there is a market for it. Yet the public will believe you are a knowledgeable expert because you write a book while at the same time experts in the field you have written on are using it for toilet paper. For example, things like bible codes are easily explainable once one steps outside the belief system and examines the implicit assumptions being made.

Speaking as a Christian, I can say that this kind of peer review is exactly what happens at the scholarly level. I think that non professional or laypeople have less primary knowledge and therefore trust secondary sources more and end up taking more "faith based" positions. Scholars also have to take faith based positions but they are able to do so with a wider "evidence based" foundation than someone who doesn't have the time to do that kind of research.
When a skeptic though seeks to debunk something, if he goes to sources that only critique something externally without really understanding the basis of the epistemological construct he is against, he commits the same error that the layperson does when he goes to a poor secondary source. You don't have to be a theologian or scholar to be a spiritual person or to have rational faith. You just have to do like you do in martial arts. Don't teach until you know what you
are talking about and keep studying. If you want to share your faith, do so humbly, and under the supervision of a qualified person and only to those want to hear from you.
I must add that even the most educated and knowledgeable people disagree completely and can't come to a common agreement, even with peer review, because of fundamental differences with their foundational presuppositions. That's why Bishop Jack Iker will never agree with Bishop Spong and I can never agree with the positions taken by my new friend Chuck. Because of that, these kinds of discussions will ultimately go in a big circle and no matter who you are, we will all end up back where we started from.
I think it's best for us to live our beliefs and then let our lives be out there as our representatives in the market place of ideas. Then people can choose for themselves. That's what Jesus Christ did and a lot of people have chosen to follow Him because of it. Admittedly, we, His followers represent Him poorly and often misspeak in His name but if folks like Chuck will have patience with us, we'll do better someday, with God's help.
Best wishes,

PeterR
08-03-2004, 11:11 AM
The long and short of it, as I see it, is that spirituality is a very deep and personal part of an individual's life. Even Chuck seems as deeply committed to his non-spiritual stance with the same fever as the most devout Christian/Buddhist/Taoist/etc. is to spirituality.
It is a big mistake to equate a lack of religious affiliation with lack of spirituallity. If I may be so bold Chuck has said nothing contrary to anyones right to religious beliefs just their right to force those beliefs on others.

Chuck - two more days here and back to Japan. And for those that think I am a unspirutal person because I am in complete agreement with Chuck. I am sitting just above the room where I had tea and cookies with the head of the Greek Orthodox Church and 5 miles from a monastary where I discussed partical physcis and evolution with the Abbot. I may not share their faith but I respect them for theirs and they seem ok with mine. Frankly an attitude missing in that One Couples Testimony.

Maybe not Bavaria but one day Chuck.

Nobleronin4
08-03-2004, 09:46 PM
My purpose in acknowledging the site was to share one couple's personal testimony of Jesus Christ. No one person can force any other person to read or listen to anything. We do not all have to agree, however I am thankful when someone wants to take the time to share their beliefs with me.

As for the (skeptics annotated bible), most any person that takes the time to read the Word Of God, The Bible, thoroughly will find that the precepts of the majority of the topics are highly circumspect. And the Bible I am referring to is the one that says that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, he was crucified, dead and buried. On the third day he arose from the dead. If anyone will admit they believe in him as the Son of God, repent and ask him into their hearts they shall have eternal life.

If any of you disagree......that is entirely your right. I will shake your hand and train anyway.
God is not mocked

MikeE
08-03-2004, 10:16 PM
You know what....Gambatte. I have always loved Aikiweb for its show of etiquette.

"When in polite conversation, never speak of religion or politics" --My grandma (and probably a million others)

Chuck.Gordon
08-04-2004, 02:47 AM
I prefer a koshi.

Emily can give me hug. :p ;)

best,
Craig

We hope to be in DC, Austin and maybe Colorado late next spring. Maybe we can take you up on that. We need to swing some swords, tell some tales and fling each other around a bit. Been way too long bro'.

Chuck

Chuck.Gordon
08-04-2004, 03:41 AM
Mark Jackson said:

Hey Mark,


My purpose in acknowledging the site was to share one couple's personal testimony of Jesus Christ. No one person can force any other person to read or listen to anything.


That's clear, but by posting the link, you did intend for folks to go read it, yes? I did, and responded with my comments. This is a forum for discussion.

Understand, I'm not anti-christian, despite my own lack of belief. Much like aikido, I think Christianity could be/should be more than what it is. I'm glad there are some folks in the Christian community who are open to critical examination of the faith, who are working hard to make it something viable for a civilized, modern community of rational beings.

Personally, I see most religions/faiths/beliefs as they are currently practiced as being counterproductive to our evolution as a society. Especially when those professing that faith persist in ignoring the truth and insist on building complex apologia to keep the faithful deluded.


As for the (skeptics annotated bible), most any person that takes the time to read the Word Of God, The Bible,


Mike, rest assured that I have read the Bible, in a couple of different translations and I even labored through the four gospels in old Greek at one time. Having read it several times, and having failed to reconcile the (to me) glaring discrepencies for myself, I started to question clerics and Christian scholars and found the answers falling short.

A religion that cannot withstand critical questioning begs even more critical examination, and the deeper I sought, the less satisfied I was with the answers. After many years of seeking, and many years of fence-sitting I finally faced facts:

the Bible is not infalllible, it's not accurate, it's not what it purports to be, not written by the people tradition say wrote it, it fails the test of critical inquiry and it's not even particularly well written.


And the Bible I am referring to is the one that says that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, he was crucified, dead and buried. On the third day he arose from the dead. If anyone will admit they believe in him as the Son of God, repent and ask him into their hearts they shall have eternal life.


As far as I know, most standard translations of the Bible say that in some form. However, there's disagreement, even amongst the four Gospels as to how salvation is supposed to work.

If the story was as simple and straightforward as your statement, it'd hold more water.

However, it isn't and it doesn't. If the Bible is infallible, then it is ALL infallible. If any part of it is incorrect or contradictory, then it is ALL suspect.

Contradictory statements about the core tenets of Christianity within the principle scriptural document of the faith cannot be reconciled within that same document. The internal logic is inconsistent.

As you say, we all have our beliefs (or not) and are free to exercise them. I won't bore ya'll anymore with the skeptics' approach, but the bottom line is this: This is a forum for discussion of spiritual issues, as they relate to aikido and budo.

The operative word there is discussion. If you want to discuss, Christianity and how it relates to the practice of Japanese martial arts, that's good.

Present your views, open them for discussion and questioning, and expect to see them debated, queried, questioned and examined.

If however, your purpose was to solely to evangelize, this isn't your best choice of forums.

Kindest regards,

Chuck

happysod
08-04-2004, 04:08 AM
Suddenly feels the need to start a Chuck Gordon fan club (but personally feels that well reasoned argument coupled with personal experience and backed up with cited examples will never win over a "seeker of truth" so looks forward to Marks riposte)

kironin
08-04-2004, 11:42 AM
Mark Jackson said:
Mike, rest assured that I have read the Bible, in a couple of different translations and I even labored through the four gospels in old Greek at one time. Having read it several times, and having failed to reconcile the (to me) glaring discrepencies for myself, I started to question clerics and Christian scholars and found the answers falling short.


I think one mistake often made about skeptics by the faithful is too assume we haven't read the text extensively also. That in this Judeo-Christian culture we have not perhaps been raised in a church and very familiar with the Bible. That as we mature into adults we haven't gone through a great deal of process to get the place we are. Personally, in that process, I have studied not just the Bible, but other texts of the eras it was written. Historical data about the people and times in which these texts arose, the fragments of hundreds of non-canonical gospels, the Gnostics, the evolution of Christian thinking from Paul to Augustine and the debates swirling around them, etc. If you are indoctrinated with this stuff as a child, it's hard not to be fascinated by it even when you finally assess it to be truly wanting especially so as it really permeates the culture.

For those open minds in the process,
I recommend,

"The Unauthorized Version : truth and fiction in the bible"
Robin Lan Fox
Vintage Books 1991

"The Lost Gospel
The Book of Q & Christian Origins"
Burton L. Mack
HarperCollins 1993

for those who think they need to look outside their own traditions for inner spiritual practice here is a book a friend who is a Catholic theologian lent to me
"The Other Side of Silence : A Guide to Christian Meditation"
Morton T. Kelsey
Paulist Press 1976

I don't have it on my shelf here, but I also recommend strongly to any Christian, a book written by a Jesuit scholar in Sri Lanka for Christians called, "Buddhism Made Plain"
Really worth a read by anyone.


anyway, I think Chuck's reacting to idea of mixing budo with Christianity that some evangelical groups seem determined to do is right on target.

as to beliefs in infallibility of the Bible much less to thinking of it as literally true, time to put away childish things.

Jorge Garcia
08-04-2004, 12:25 PM
As a person who has studied religion and theology for 30 of my 48 years, as an Episcopal priest who attended the one of the most ultra liberal seminaries where all the works Craig referenced are freshman reading, and as a possessor of more than 7000 books on the subject at hand, I respectfully disagree with my friend Craig. My examinations and reflections still leave me convinced that the Bible is indeed the Word of God as defined by the Chicago Statement of Biblical Inerrancy. I respect Craig and Chuck and their right to be sceptics. They have done a good job of studying skepticism. I was blessed with great teachers who showed me the other side of the coin like Dr. Gregory Bahnsen who debated academic skeptics like Dr. Anthony Flew and Dr. Gorden Stein and left them speechless before packed audiences in California Universities.
I have no desire to convert the skeptic and I am sure the skeptic has no desire to be converted. That's why I see this as a fruitless discussion because even the less informed Christian, ignorant as he may be, won't be converted either because of his so called ignorance so then that leaves us with a lot of typing in a big circle. I'd like to stay friends with skeptic and believer alike and enjoy the commonality that we have in Aikido. Those who want to become believers know where to go and those who want to be skeptics can find that as well. I hope we can leave it at that.

Don_Modesto
08-04-2004, 02:27 PM
....the Bible is indeed the Word of God

What are some other examples of the word of God, if any, besides the Bible?

Thanks.

Jorge Garcia
08-04-2004, 03:21 PM
What are some other examples of the word of God, if any, besides the Bible?

Thanks.
Don,
Being a finite human being with a short life span to live, I have not had the time or facility to find other examples of the "Word of God" other than the Bible. The one I verified to my satisfaction will be all I can handle in my 80 or 90 years if I live that long. I do believe that God has spoken to men in "infallible" ways outside of the biblical record but I have no concrete or scientific way to verify that or to make a judgment that would satisfy me because all those "ways" are outside my range of access or adequate source material.

kironin
08-04-2004, 05:28 PM
Jorge,

I wasn't suggesting that was the end all be all of someone's reading, just what was in easy reach that might be informative to some who might be interested but not planning to become a full time seminary or graduate student. Having been baptized and confirmed in the Epsicopal Church, as a child, have since had quite a few discussions as a parishner and scientist with Epicopal priests. I know they are quite intelligent and well-read. However my examinations and reflections over decades have left me not convinced, in fact just the opposite. I respect your personal conviction in the Chicago Statement,

I hope you can respect that as a professional scientist I completely disagree with this part and many other parts of that Statement:


WE AFFIRM that Scripture in its entirety is inerrant, being free from all falsehood, fraud, or deceit.

WE DENY that Biblical infallibility and inerrancy are limited to spiritual, religious, or redemptive themes, exclusive of assertions in the fields of history and science. We further deny that scientific hypotheses about earth history may properly be used to overturn the teaching of Scripture on creation and the flood.


a thought...
Academic debate is only one human method of seeking out truth and there can be many reasons for why one becomes speechless.

By the way, I might mention, that my Catholic theologian friend who is now a Professor at a well known Catholic University (fluent in Greek, Latin, German and Hebrew) after reaching ikkyu in Aikido decided that Aikido was not compatible with his faith and disposed of all his budo equipment and left the dojo even though he enjoyed the practice and considered everyone there dear friends (his words). Believe me when I say I am not a stranger to very sophisticated debate on the matter. I was also left speechless by how convoluted the debate can get when someone's beliefs are at stake.

It would be a really informative debate to me in watching you debate him on the compatibility of Aikido practice with being a Christian who affirms the Chicago Statement of Biblical Inerrancy. Of course, I have no problem with you practicing Aikido and hope you continue.

with respect,

Jorge Garcia
08-04-2004, 09:30 PM
Jorge,

I wasn't suggesting that was the end all be all of someone's reading, just what was in easy reach that might be informative to some who might be interested but not planning to become a full time seminary or graduate student. Having been baptized and confirmed in the Episcopal Church, as a child, have since had quite a few discussions as a parishioner and scientist with Epic opal priests. I know they are quite intelligent and well-read. However my examinations and reflections over decades have left me not convinced, in fact just the opposite. I respect your personal conviction in the Chicago Statement,

I hope you can respect that as a professional scientist I completely disagree with this part and many other parts of that Statement:



a thought...
Academic debate is only one human method of seeking out truth and there can be many reasons for why one becomes speechless.

By the way, I might mention, that my Catholic theologian friend who is now a Professor at a well known Catholic University (fluent in Greek, Latin, German and Hebrew) after reaching ikkyu in Aikido decided that Aikido was not compatible with his faith and disposed of all his budo equipment and left the dojo even though he enjoyed the practice and considered everyone there dear friends (his words). Believe me when I say I am not a stranger to very sophisticated debate on the matter. I was also left speechless by how convoluted the debate can get when someone's beliefs are at stake.

It would be a really informative debate to me in watching you debate him on the compatibility of Aikido practice with being a Christian who affirms the Chicago Statement of Biblical Inerrancy. Of course, I have no problem with you practicing Aikido and hope you continue.

with respect,
I respect you as a scientist but the fact that as a scientist, you may not agree with the Chicago statement is alright. I know lots of scientists that do affirm it. That's why I believe that we as humans do not ultimately possess the ability to consider every factor that comes into play into determining absolute truth. Even the most intelligent and educated among us are finite. The fact remains that faith does play a part at some point. The landing points between the chasm of faith and what I can discover empirically are close enough in my world that I can make the leap. In your world and journey, those points are too far to make that faith leap and I respect that. I don't ask everyone to believe as I do. I ask others to walk their own journey and follow their path. I respect that path-whether it's you, O Sensei, or your Catholic friend. Having said that, I will still peacefully assert my own beliefs that have satisfied my own investigations. I only commented in that last post because there were a lot of suggestions and statements made by you and Chuck that were going unanswered and I felt compelled to express that those websites and books don't prove to me that your arguments are correct. Please forgive me if by mentioning the Chicago Statement, I appeared to be doing the same thing. I in no way hoped to convince anyone by that Statement. In fact, it is not an apologetic but simply a statement of belief.
I consider myself a flexible, non judgmental kind of person when it come to theological debate. I have conservative beliefs but I don't apply them in a censorious way. I have been great friends for a number of years with an Old Catholic priest who practices Buddhism and knows more about it than any human I know. At times, he has drifted into agnosticism and perhaps even into atheism but we have remained the best of friends. As a matter of fact, he has been a better friend to me than most Christians I know. I will never agree with him but I will always try to understand his point of view and I will always love him for being so kind to me when I needed a friend some years ago.
By the way, when I said they were left speechless, I meant that literally. Dr. Bahnsen would take the debate on their territory but sometimes, his opponents would fail to show. His standard practice was to stand at the podium without saying a word facing the empty lectern of his rival and after two minutes, look at his watch and say, "I rest my case!" They used to say of Dr. Bahnsen that he was so intelligent, that he could win a debate, even when he was wrong.
Best wishes,

kironin
08-05-2004, 01:32 PM
They used to say of Dr. Bahnsen that he was so intelligent, that he could win a debate, even when he was wrong.


A pervasive problem among academics. :D

I have no problem with what your are saying for yourself.
However I do have a problem with scientists holding such beliefs acting on them in the arena of education. Aside from that, I am curious because I have met thousands of reputable scientists and I can't recall a single one ever professing to have beliefs anywhere near what is laid out in the Chicago Statement. A caveat, I don't consider "Creation Scientists" to be reputable. Most scientists I know would take a far harder stance than I would put myself and I have never heard an intelligent convincing argument in response to some one with a truly deep current knowledge of biology.

Don_Modesto
08-05-2004, 02:03 PM
I have not had the time or facility to find other examples of the "Word of God" other than the Bible.

Thanks for the response.

Jorge Garcia
08-05-2004, 02:07 PM
There is no doubt that the overwhelming majority support views such as you have but there are in fact lots of scientists among the millions and millions of Christians that support the statement. Do they separate faith from science? I would say that they have to hold faith over science because again, we lack the ability to completely prove every tenant of our belief, scientist or believer. People of faith including scientists that are conservative Christians understand that some things require faith but that doesn't mean that faith has to be unreasonable or without reason. Again, if the jumping point in the chasm is close enough, faith has reason but for others, their information and knowledge is different and the points are too far. My statement is that there are lots of scientists that do support the statement and that is in fact true. I don't have time to qualify the new question of "what is a scientist" because I am getting dizzy from the circle we're running.
By the way, the guy from that service we were talkng about at dinner the other day came by our school this morning but I didn't sign up with him. Maybe I can get back with you on that in the next couple of weeks.
Best,

Jorge Garcia
08-05-2004, 02:22 PM
PS I did want to clarify that I didn't say that I mixed budo and Christianity, I said that I am a Christan and I practice budo. That is because I am able to practice budo in such a way that my personal convictions of what a Christan is does not violate my conscience. I guess its time to lay off though because I want to continue as I always have. In the ten years I have been in Aikido, I can honestly say I have never discussed these subjects for more than a minute or two with any person and if I did, my objective was to get off the subject as quick as I could because when I go to the dojo, its for another reason. I was just making the point that I'm still a good believing Christian, minding my own business when I'm in there. It doesn't matter to me if someone thinks I'm contradicting myself. I have been very happy reading, thinking about, and trying to practice budo and I see no inherent contradiction between that and my Christian faith.

kironin
08-05-2004, 06:18 PM
To be human is to be full of contradictions. All okay if empathy and humility are present. It would probably be nearly impossible to remove the influence of my Judeo-Christian upbringing on my practice of budo nor remove the influence in how I judge various aspects of it. So I think
mixing has to happen if only in what you are or are not attracted to in budo. I would say it probably is the reason that there remains tension in my mind over the reasons why I practice Iaido. That tension for me is creative and in itself probably drives my interest by forcing me to face my contradictions. (such also arises in Aikido and Systema)

on that other matter, sure give me a call, or do you want me to call you ?

best,

Jorge Garcia
08-05-2004, 10:15 PM
on that other matter, sure give me a call, or do you want me to call you ?

We ought to meet for a working dinner over in the Heights at either Spanish Flower, Andy's Kitchen, Hunan Bo or King Biscuit (take your choice) one of these weekends so I can get the information from you.You can call or email to set things up.

Chuck.Gordon
08-06-2004, 02:58 AM
Who was it said: The mark of an evolved mind is the ability to hold and examine two entirely opposite points of view in mind and not go mad ...

Jorge, I wish more Christians (hell, more people of any faith) were more like you. And yes, more atheists, too. If an idea, any idea, cannot withstand critical examination, it should be discarded ...

This is why I do not say, "Dump religion." -- rather, I say "Religion must evolve."

Chuck

Jorge Garcia
08-06-2004, 08:18 AM
Who was it said: The mark of an evolved mind is the ability to hold and examine two entirely opposite points of view in mind and not go mad ...

Jorge, I wish more Christians (hell, more people of any faith) were more like you. And yes, more atheists, too. If an idea, any idea, cannot withstand critical examination, it should be discarded ...

This is why I do not say, "Dump religion." -- rather, I say "Religion must evolve."

Chuck
Thank Chuck, I appreciate your comments. My pastor and mentor (Jack Carter) in Corpus Christi, Texas has been a great influence in my life. I met him when I was in High School in 1973 and over the last 30 years , I have enjoyed being his student, parishioner and from 1987 to 1992, his associate in the ministry. He was a man who taught me to be afraid of no new idea, never to reject anything until you had thoroughly investigated it,and to dialog and defend your position vigorously without taking anything personally. He also taught me that whenever you study anything that you cannot answer, contradict, or refute, you must change your mind immediately. That last point has been both his strength and his weakness. Over the years, he has adopted many "new positions, taught that to others and then later had to revise what he taught after having studied a better argument!. His parishioners just hated that and would often leave his church saying that no matter what he taught now, they were staying with his old position! I always saw that as his great strength though because it showed me how intensely honest with himself he was. It also showed me the weakness of some of his students who would adopt a position only because of their respect for his scholarship, not because they had studied the issue. Jack always said that on his tombstone, they were going to write, "But then again, on the other hand...."
By the way, he also taught me not to speak when I had not sufficiently researched my position and never to be afraid to say,"I'm not sure" and "I don't know." Every time I visit Jack, he is usually reading ten to fifteen books at the same time. He has a two story home filled with books from floor to ceiling and I always go to his house just to see what I should be reading. Jack is a man who has no enemies in his heart and has the most open mind of anyone I have ever known. He would give a stranger the shirt off his back and many times, when worked with him, I would have to run to answer the door before he did because if a homeless or needy person came to the door and he answered it, I would catch him giving them all the money in his wallet!
When you hear me, you are in part, listening to his voice in me. He was like a father to me. I miss him very much.

Michael Cardwell
03-02-2005, 02:25 AM
Michael Cardwell said:

Heya Michael. Snake River Dojo. What a great name! Where's that?

Chuck

Hey Chuck, sorry I never replied to your question, I must have overlooked it. I was just looking through some old posts when I noticed it. So if you're still posting on Aikiweb here goes.

Snake River Aikido is located in Idaho Falls, Idaho. A long ways away from Germany I know, but if you ever make it to the states look us up. (And now for the rest of my shameless plug for the dojo I train a.). My sensei is Frank Roberto, and we are affiliated with the CAA, under Duran sensei. Come one, come all. :D

Bill Danosky
03-16-2005, 04:31 PM
I have a fundamentalist friend who very firmly believes that the Earth is only 6,000 years old because (I think) the book of Genesis lists the number of generations between Adam and such and such.

In his belief, for example, any fossils currently existing were originally made as fossils and placed in the ground by God. Etcetera.

I do support anyone's right to believe and have faith, but having said that, I find it frustrating that an intelligent person can cover their ears and eyes and absolutely refuse to hear any evidence to the contrary. I'm pretty sure I'm not carrying out Satan's work and I feel that the progress of our understanding is worth the danger we face spiritually.

However- since we've bristled at another's attempt to convert us- I wonder now if I'm just as guilty of trying to change the beliefs of my friend because to me they are ridiculous?

I read the Chicago assertion above and thought I might find someone like-minded to ask if my friend is being overly-literal in his translation, or am I just an A.H.?