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Spirituality And The Facts October 24, 2006

Posted by rattazzimedia in Christianity, Church, God, Religion, Spiritual, Spiritual Overview, Spiritual Study, Spirituality, Theology.
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Last post talked some on unity and thoughts on removing obstacles to unity.  I plan to get back to the idea of simplification and narrowing our discussion to a short list of items we all can firmly agree on in later posts.  Today I want to discuss facts.  Often on news programs they will interview representatives of opposing viewpoints concerning some controversial or breaking news issue.  Sometimes these representatives will debate with each other their opposing views.  Many times this “debate ” will disintegrate into a useless and uninformative argument.   We’ve all seen this sort of thing on various TV news programs.  One thing that often occurs as these discussions deteriorate is the opposing combatants start each quoting “facts” that are immediately contradicted by the other.  When this happens I amuse myself with thoughts like: isn’t this a news program?  The least we can expect is a clear statement of the facts.  Sometimes on PBS their will be an attempt to establish a factual base for the discussion and the moderator will not let the hired pundits stray too far from the facts.  This unfortunately is rare.

The same thing happens when discussing spiritual topics.  I know that spirituality deals with thinking on eternity and therefore it is more difficult to pin down the facts, but we could further the cause of unity if we made every effort to agree on the important facts.  For example; Jesus Christ, historical figure or made up character?  This man actually did exist and contemporary historians (like Josephus) recorded this fact.  So if you consider the reports contained in the New Testament unreliable due to the obvious bias of the writers, there are facts to consider.  But let’s talk about facts concerning the Bible for a moment.  One strong indicator that God is the spiritual driving force behind the Bible is the time span over which the various books of the Bible were written.  Things were spoken of in the texts that had their fulfillment years later, sometimes many hundreds or a thousand years later.  The facts concerning the dates that these books were written have been studied and examined by many authoritative institutions.  Some of the books are difficult to date but some contain very specific information concerning the time they were written in.  It takes some work to examine this information but in this day and age with tools like the Internet at our disposal the job is much easier.  The point is the 66 books of the Bible were written over a period of perhaps fifteen centuries and the most conservative estimates of the time frame still indicate more that a thousand years.

So this is a fact that can be reliably established and once understood can be helpful in expanding our understanding of the truth and quiet certain debates.  Also once the importance of this fact is understood you can examine other texts to see if they are able to boast a similar pedigree.  Let me know what you find out.  I am always in the market for facts.  We can take some important steps toward spiritual unity by making every effort to agree on the facts.

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1. Tristan Havelick - October 24, 2006

I Agree that a spiritual debate needs have at least some basis in fact. Of course, by their very nature certain things regarding the spirit realm will be inherently unproveable, thus History and Science, the stuff of “facts” are no help.

I recall Eckart Tolle quoting someone (I can’t recall who) as saying something like:

“The true measure of spiritual progress is to examine the level of peace you feel in and around you”

This can help us move a spiritual dialogue forward. Also, certain rationalist arguments, such as The Unmoved Mover can help us come to some semblance of truth.

I have to disagree on your argument for the Godliness of the Bible. Historically, the Bible, as I understand is a collection of books, letters etc, that were written independently, then compiled by Priests and Rabbis long after they were written. Thus, my college philosophy textbook would be even holier than the Bible by your argument, as it covers a much more expansive time period than the “Judea/Christian” bible. Also, it would imply that the Koran and Book of Mormon were even more holy than the Bible. Although Muslims and Mormons might agree, I’m sure a Christian would object.

If you want to read more about my views, please take a moment to visit my blog, which discusses my thoughts on the subject of my spiritual growth as it happens.

2. rattazzimedia - October 24, 2006

Tristan,
Thank you so much for your comments, the point you make in disagreement indeed proves my point, the need for agreement on the facts. My understanding is that the books of the Bible were compiled very shortly after the New Testament was completed. Which impression is correct according to the record of history? Does the Koran and the Book of Mormon fall into the same category of writing? In other words are these two books more tied to a specific author and time period as opposed to the Bible whose time of composition spans fifteen centuries? These questions can be answered with a little study. Then we can agree on the facts and move on from there together. Your point about your college philosophy textbook is an interesting one but such a book would represent a variety of ideas and some of them in conflict as opposed to the Bible which presents a consistent view of humanity from start to finish. Thank you again, and I will certainly visit your blog, I very much enjoy an open exchange of ideas. Please continue to read and contribute your comments.
James Rattazzi


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