Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Questions and Answers 108 - 112

Contradictions in the Gospels

Question 108: In the Gospels we have eye-witness accounts, yet there are contradictions in the accounts, such as in the accounts of the Resurrection of Christ. How do you explain this and does not this prove the Gospel accounts are untrustworthy?

Answer: In 1912 the Titanic sank. According to eye-witness accounts of the time, some said the Titanic sank in one piece, while others said the ship broke in half before it sank. We know now that the Titanic broke in half, then sank. Does this contradiction from the eye-witnesses mean that the Titanic never existed? Or that the Titanic never sank? Or that the eye-witnesses were lying and were untrustworthy? To all these questions, the answer is no, of course not. The reason this is so is because the eye-witnesses saw the sinking of the Titanic from different perspectives and vantage points. If you saw the Titanic sink from the front or back, or perhaps from a far distance, then you probably saw the Titanic sink as one piece from your perspective and vantage point, but if you saw it sink from the side, then you saw it break in half. Similarly in the Gospels, you have different eye-witness accounts written from different perspectives and vantage points, with apparent contradictions. For example, in one Gospel it says the Myrrhbearing women encountered two angels at the empty tomb of Christ, while another Gospel says there was one angel. This is an apparent contradiction, but it is in fact not a contradiction but a difference. In one Gospel account it says there are two angels, but only one angel is recorded to speak, but in the other Gospel account it only records the one angel speaking. The account which speaks of the one angel never says that there was only one angel, but it just stresses the fact that one angel spoke, and there could very well have been two angels, but it was not necessary to record there were two angels, whereas the other account wanted to be clear that there were in fact two angels. Yet we must also remember, none of the Myrrhbearers wrote a Gospel, so the Gospel writers were not recording something they saw or witnessed, but they are interpreting the oral account they heard, and so one emphasized one thing while the other emphasized something else about the same thing. Similar things can be explained with all the other apparent contradictions in the Gospels. What I would be more worried about is if all the accounts were in total agreement from perspective and vantage point, cause then they would be accused of conspiring and colluding.

The United States Withdrawing from Northern Syria

Question 109: Do you think the United States should leave Northern Syria to the Turks?

Answer: Without going into the details of the background of this situation, I will just get right to the answer. The Turkish government expressed its intentions to the White House that it will invade Northern Syria. Though this is unfortunate and a bad decision on the part of Turkey, the United States has only two options. One, you fight a fellow NATO ally, which goes against the basis of what NATO is all about, or you pull out and keep to the NATO treaty. The White House has decided to not fight a NATO ally, because all NATO allies are supposed to be our friends, and will pull out as long as Turkey meets certain conditions, such as keeping ISIS in check and not harming the Kurds. Did the White House make the right decision? Yes, of course. If being a NATO ally means anything, it was the only option really available. The only other possible option is to get all the NATO allies to agree to oust Turkey out of NATO. But there is no good reason at this moment to do so. In the future, possibly, but for now, not really. We will have to see if they keep to their agreement first. As for the Kurds, they will always be threatened as long as they don't have their own nation state. Then they could possibly be considered a Major Non NATO ally, but for now they are less of an ally to the United States than Turkey, which is a relationship bound by a treaty. The United States should not be held perpetually responsible for them with a physical presence until this happens, though they can always be a friend and help them when needed, and they should help them. But there are other options for the Kurds, such as uniting with Damascus, and now they will be forced to make a decision. Besides, many Kurds have been living in Turkey for years already, so we don't know if Turkey is looking to go after them. Kurds are also responsible for terrorist activity in Turkey, so often what you get is Turkey retaliating against these attacks. Meanwhile, with the United States pulling out, Turkey is forced to compromise with Russia, and other Russian allies in the Middle East may turn on each other, which is a good thing for U.S. foreign policy. And it is good for Israel as well, our greatest ally in the Middle East, since Iran will now focus more on Turkey. The wisest possible decision in this situation is for the United States to pull out of Northern Syria. Otherwise, a great war is likely. Only a warmonger it seems would think otherwise.

David Bentley Hart

Question 110: What do you think of David Bentley Hart as an Orthodox Theologian?

Answer: Orthodox Theologian? David Bentley Hart? You gotta be kidding me. Just because someone calls themselves an Orthodox Christian or a Theologian does not make them either one or the other. Maybe he is an Orthodox Christian, I don't know, but I've seen nothing that makes him an Orthodox Theologian. I've struggled to read (mostly skim) his stuff as one who is Orthodox, and by the time I'm done I always conclude two things: there is nothing that distinguishes him as an Orthodox Christian, from what I've read, and his writing style is insufferably boring with its wordiness, though his writing style is what probably attracts people that confuse a lot of big words with something that is aesthetically pleasing and intelligent, though his style can be suitable for opinion articles and novels. I was introduced to him by an Evangelical friend years ago, among whom he is very popular as a philosopher, and most of what I've read from him comes from Catholic sources, which should say a lot, but I don't know any respectable Orthodox Theologian who takes him seriously as a fellow Orthodox Theologian, nor should they.

William Dembski

Question 111: What do you think of William Dembski? I read that he was once an Orthodox Christian. Is this true?

Answer: I met William Dembski in 2000 at an Intelligent Design conference I attended in Atlanta. His presentation was brilliant and interesting, and he was a very nice guy as well. Though I have issues with Intelligent Design as a movement, that doesn't negate his great intelligence as one who holds a doctorate in mathematics and a doctorate in philosophy. From my communication with him a while ago, I found out he was an Orthodox Christian for a short time, but decided to return to Evangelicalism because his message was more supported by Evangelicals and with them he could have a greater outreach and impact, though he still has a high regard for the Church Fathers and the teachings of the Orthodox Church. He is one of those examples of Orthodox Christian converts who never entirely converted and probably should have never been received into the Church to begin with. I hope one day he will return to Orthodoxy with a full conversion, especially now that I've heard he has abandoned teaching theology and intelligent design as an academic, last I heard, out of frustration in dealing with academia.

Jesus and the Jewish Feasts

Question 112: On your website do you have information about how our Lord Jesus Christ has fulfilled the Jewish feasts?

Answer: Sort of, but that information can be found in various posts, and is not located in just one post. I'll keep your question in mind for a future post.

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