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## Reading holy books for fun

 Quote by TVP45 Isaac was sacrificed, went somewhere for 3 days, and was resurrected. When you add to this the fact that Isaac carried the wood up the mountain for his sacrifice,
Being tied to a tree for a few days and surviving to gain godlike superpowers isn't exactly original either.

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 Quote by EnumaElish So Jews descended from Isaac and Muslims from Ishmael, Isaac's older brother (according to the Muslim faith). There may be some interfaith disagreement over whom Abraham intended to sacrifice, Isaac or Ishmael.
Interesting. Though, the possibility of having mixed up two brothers with similar sounding names in the retelling of a story is the least of inconsistencies that would bother me...that actually sounds highly plausible (anyone with siblings close in age to them will appreciate how frequently this could happen).

 According to the Muslim faith, each prophet taught God's word to his generation and they were all true religions, but men forgot or corrupted those teachings over time. Finally God said "enough is enough," and sent Koran as his "final word."
Or at least until the next time God sends a prophet telling them that man has forgotten or corrupted Mohammed's teachings. It seems each of the holy books is written from this perspective, that God has gotten fed up with the misinterpretations of his instructions and sent someone down to explain them to the people. (I wonder when He'll figure out that he has to illustrate the instruction manuals with pictures if He wants man to follow them? )

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 Quote by iansmith ...and that Marry was not married to Joseph.
The Christian Bible also never states that they were married. They were betrothed (in modern language, the equivalent of either an engagement, or an agreement for an arranged marriage). There's no mention of them ever getting married, nor any indication of whether they even lived together as husband and wife....as far as I've read, it's pretty open for interpretation.

 Quote by Moonbear The Christian Bible also never states that they were married. They were betrothed (in modern language, the equivalent of either an engagement, or an agreement for an arranged marriage). There's no mention of them ever getting married, nor any indication of whether they even lived together as husband and wife....as far as I've read, it's pretty open for interpretation.
Matthew 1 is pretty clear that Joseph married Mary but waited until after the birth of Jesus to have sex.

 Quote by mgb_phys I remember something from school about betrothed meaning something like engaged - promised to but not actually married. On a related point there is a passage something like "Apostle: Jesus your brothers and sisters are here to see you, Jesus: All who follow me are my brothers and sisters" Implying that Mary didn't remain a virgin for long. Unfortunately I was taught RE by nuns who felt that theological discussion should be closely linked to corporal punishment so I never got a good answer about what the apostle meant by brothers and sisters, although I read explanations that it meant cousin or people from the same village.
You're not alone. I got tossed out of a Baptist church for wondering whether Jesus ever showed any interest in women.

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 Quote by TVP45 You're not alone. I got tossed out of a Baptist church for wondering whether Jesus ever showed any interest in women.
The nuns used to carry long wooden pointers with rubber tips, and not just for pointing at the blackboard. When one of them said that God can do anything, I raised my hand and asked if God could sin. (After all, that's what we being taught - a hierarchy of severity of sins that could get you damned to hell or lock you up in purgatory for a long time.) That nun was old and rotund, but she was lightning fast with that pointer. My poor knuckles.

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 Quote by Moonbear The Christian Bible also never states that they were married. They were betrothed (in modern language, the equivalent of either an engagement, or an agreement for an arranged marriage). There's no mention of them ever getting married, nor any indication of whether they even lived together as husband and wife....as far as I've read, it's pretty open for interpretation.
My bad, I should have been more specific. Just to add to the details, Joseph is not mentioned in the Qur'an.

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 Quote by Greg Bernhardt I don't adhere to any religion nor have I been conviced there is a God. However I have recently decided that in order to better understand human history and current world affairs it would be very benefical to read the major holy books. My GF is currently reading the Bible and I am about 100 pages into the Qur'an. I also picked up the Upanishads and would like to get a Torah. Now, finishing all these will likely take me a couple years (with the Qur'an I can only handle reading maybe 15 pages at a time!). Does anyone else read holy books for "fun"?
Given a goal of relating to current world affairs, I'd highly recommend digging into some of the early western cannon - some of those authors are fundamental to understanding how Christianity developed. These authors framed some of the famous ideas and even create some of the common language. (Milton's invention of Satan's revolt against God & the temptation of Jesus - mythology not in the bible). I'd start with Augustine's the 'City of God' and then 'On Christian Doctrine'. Augustine lived a fascinating life - born in N. Africa in the last days of the Roman empire and wrote in the context of Alarics's sack of Rome. Deep debates with Roman officials and the neo-Platonists of the time. I think you'll get more for your time if you closely couple the Biblical reading w/ Augustine. Example: On Christian Doctrine III Chap. 10 "...to find out whether a phrase is literal or figurative...". Hope this helps.

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 Quote by mheslep Given a goal of relating to current world affairs, I'd highly recommend digging into some of the early western cannon - some of those authors are fundamental to understanding how Christianity developed. These authors framed some of the famous ideas and even create some of the common language. (Milton's invention of Satan's revolt against God & the temptation of Jesus - mythology not in the bible). I'd start with Augustine's the 'City of God' and then 'On Christian Doctrine'. Augustine lived a fascinating life - born in N. Africa in the last days of the Roman empire and wrote in the context of Alarics's sack of Rome. Deep debates with Roman officials and the neo-Platonists of the time. I think you'll get more for your time if you closely couple the Biblical reading w/ Augustine. Example: On Christian Doctrine III Chap. 10 "...to find out whether a phrase is literal or figurative...". Hope this helps.
That would be more related to the New Testament, since Alaric sacked Rome in roughly 400 AD.

So do we discuss the Old Testament or the New Testament? Perhaps progressing through both chronologically would be best.

 Quote by Evo Since I was raised Catholic, I had never read or owned a Bible. My youger daughter was given one, so I started reading it. It's frightening and interesting what was considered acceptable back then, I'm reading it as a form of history.
catholics aren't allowed to read the bible?

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 Quote by iansmith Actually, Islam denies that Jesus was crucified (Qur'an 4:157) and, therefore, Jesus never died and resurrected. Based on islamic tradition, someone else (i.e. a double) was used instead of Jesus. The Qur'an also mention that Jesus was able to talk only a few hours/days after birth and that Marry was not married to Joseph. Other interesting "holy" scripture, as someone mention are Apocryphon (i.e. the gospel that didn't make it in the bible). These writings are quite interesting and some of those gospels influence the Qur'an. For example, as a youth Jesus is a "demon" child and uses is "magical" power to play trick on people. Other interesting "holy" scripture would be the gnostic writings since they do include Jesus and other Abrahamic religion into their believe
 Quote by Moonbear The Christian Bible also never states that they were married. They were betrothed (in modern language, the equivalent of either an engagement, or an agreement for an arranged marriage). There's no mention of them ever getting married, nor any indication of whether they even lived together as husband and wife....as far as I've read, it's pretty open for interpretation.
 Quote by iansmith My bad, I should have been more specific. Just to add to the details, Joseph is not mentioned in the Qur'an.
I am not a Koranic scholar by a very long shot. Muslims see Jesus as a holy human being. Although he is not god, he is a special prophet1 because he was the one before the last (Mohammad) and he promised to return. So he is the messiah.2 He is seen as having born a human child to a human mother from a human father (albeit through divine intervention).3 Muslims do refer to him as "our lord Jesus," whereby "lord" means "holy man" (similar to Mary[am] being venerated as "the Lady of the women of the world").

 Quote by iansmith Other interesting "holy" scripture, as someone mention are Apocryphon (i.e. the gospel that didn't make it in the bible). These writings are quite interesting and some of those gospels influence the Qur'an. For example, as a youth Jesus is a "demon" child and uses is "magical" power to play trick on people.
First time I've heard of these. Islamic tradition holds satan (shaitan) more as a desperate trickster than anti-God or "praxis of Evil" (pun intended) -- with subtle political connotations (Iran's notion of U.S. as the "great shaitan" $\ne$ Bush's notion of Iran as "pure evil"). I wonder whether these could be Christianity's version of "satanic verses."

Notes:
1Somewhat contradicting this, the Wiki page on Islam states: "A Muslim believes in all the Messengers and Prophets of God without any discrimination," a statement possibly based on [Qur'an 3:144] "Muhammad is but a messenger; messengers (the like of whom) have passed away before him." However, see below.
2"And (Jesus) shall be a Sign (for the coming of) the Hour (of Judgment): therefore have no doubt about the (Hour), but follow ye Me: this is a Straight Way. — [Qur'an 43:61]," which seems to ascribe a special mission to Jesus that is not accorded to other prophets.
3See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maryam_%28sura%29

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 Quote by Benzoate catholics aren't allowed to read the bible?
Not back in evo's day (get's coat and runs ......)

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 Quote by TVP45 Matthew 1 is pretty clear that Joseph married Mary
Ah, you're right. All the versions state he was her husband (quite interesting that it also makes it clear that he is NOT the father of Jesus, yet provides Joseph's geneology, not Mary's, thus we know nothing of Jesus' actual geneology from that accounting).

 but waited until after the birth of Jesus to have sex.
This is not as clear. Only one version I read states it that way. Others phrase it to be the actual marriage, or living together, not necessarily relating it to having intercourse. It seems more that since they weren't yet married, but still engaged, at the time Mary found she was pregnant, and Joseph being convinced not to break it off entirely, they waited until after the baby was born to get married.

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 Quote by Evo That would be more related to the New Testament, since Alaric sacked Rome in roughly 400 AD.
410, Augustine began City of God in 413 in partially in response to those Romans who blamed Christianity for the fall. He writes on both old and new testament questions:
City of God:
Book XV: Genesis from the time of Cain/Abel to the flood
Book XVI: includes Abraham to the Kings of Israel.
Book XVII: includes Kings, Psalms, books of Solomon.

 Quote by Moonbear Ah, you're right. All the versions state he was her husband (quite interesting that it also makes it clear that he is NOT the father of Jesus, yet provides Joseph's geneology, not Mary's, thus we know nothing of Jesus' actual geneology from that accounting). This is not as clear. Only one version I read states it that way. Others phrase it to be the actual marriage, or living together, not necessarily relating it to having intercourse. It seems more that since they weren't yet married, but still engaged, at the time Mary found she was pregnant, and Joseph being convinced not to break it off entirely, they waited until after the baby was born to get married.
Yes, I take your point. The sex is not as clear. I'm going over to the Reform Temple in a week or so and will try to get the Rabbi to fill me in on Jewish marriage customs from that time.

BTW, I do have Mary's genealogy somewhere, courtesy of the LDS. If I recall correctly (a very shaky proposition), she was Joseph's second cousin, so it's pretty much similar.

 Quote by mheslep Given a goal of relating to current world affairs, I'd highly recommend digging into some of the early western cannon - some of those authors are fundamental to understanding how Christianity developed.
Yeah, it's significant to note that many of the doctrines of Christianity don't derive from the Bible itself but come through tradition and interpretation by theologians like Augustine of Hippo there.

Original sin is a big one Augustine authored (although the reasoning is based on citations from Genesis, I don't believe Jews or Muslims hold to it - though I'd be interested to hear otherwise). Just war too, which is kind of interesting given Augustine's involvement in the eradication of the Donatists, an early Christian sect that did not accept the authority of the Church of Rome. This helped to set the tone for the way the Church responded to heresy and schism in the ensuing centuries and millenia.

Augustine is also a major factor in the conventional Christian view that sexuality is sinful. His chief interlocutor at the time, Pelagius, basically responded “Right, whatever. I'll have sex with my wife whenever I want.” (This was before priests were required to be abstinent.) But Pelagius was branded a heretic, so much for that. (Though oddly enough, of the modern sects I'm familiar with modern Catholicism probably takes the most Pelagian view of sexuality.)

Another interesting example of extra-scriptural doctrine is the Trinity. It always amuses me when non-Catholics who decry the Catholic Church, declare that their Christianity is strictly Bible-based, and buy into the “Papacy is the Antichrist” doctrine unblinkingly accept wholly Roman doctrines like the Trinity or the selection of which scriptures are in the Bible as the Word of God and which aren't.

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