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Mark 3:7-12

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Mark 3:7-12

Postby Milo » Sat Nov 19, 2011 3:50 pm

7 But Jesus withdrew himself with his disciples to the sea: and a great multitude from Galilee followed him, and from Judaea,
8 And from Jerusalem, and from Idumaea, and from beyond Jordan; and they about Tyre and Sidon, a great multitude, when they had heard what great things he did, came unto him.
9 And he spake to his disciples, that a small ship should wait on him because of the multitude, lest they should throng him.
10 For he had healed many; insomuch that they pressed upon him for to touch him, as many as had plagues.
11 And unclean spirits, when they saw him, fell down before him, and cried, saying, Thou art the Son of God.
12 And he straitly charged them that they should not make him known.


This passage is full of Markean themes- sea of Galilee, crowds, healing, demons, and the charge to keep silent. How much talking can an unclean spirit do? Many of us are so used to reading about demons in the gospels that we don't even notice it. Christians maintain that the gospels are the literal truth and yet gloss over the demons. Demons talking, demons causing disease, demons causing mental illness. We all know there are Christians who believe we live in a demon infested world but for most of us this points to how unreliable the bible is. Demons as a primitive way of describing germs doesn't fly either. Jesus talks to the demons and they talk back. The demons recognize Jesus as the Son of God. Germs don't do that.
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Re: Mark 3:7-12

Postby freed » Mon Nov 21, 2011 9:45 pm

Many of us are so used to reading about demons in the gospels that we don't even notice it. Christians maintain that the gospels are the literal truth and yet gloss over the demons.


Most Christians have not encountered a demon which may be the reason they tend to gloss over them even though
they believe in their existence. If you find one that has encountered a demon, they would have plenty to say.

We all know there are Christians who believe we live in a demon infested world but for most of us this points to how unreliable the bible is.


You allowing questions yet? :D
Just for my edification, please explain this statement. How does this point to how unreliable the Bible is?
To avoid deception, Christianity instructs people to study the Bible and believe what God says. Religion requires belief in what man says God says. When people without discernment, submit to men who are naturally prone to error, they are easily deceived
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Re: Mark 3:7-12

Postby Milo » Mon Nov 21, 2011 10:35 pm

Freed! Finally, I was going to send a search party after you. :P

You allowing questions yet?
Just for my edification, please explain this statement. How does this point to how unreliable the Bible is?


Because, we are barely into chapter 3 and already we have had multiple demon encounters. No one acts surprised, no explanations are given. The crowd is amazed that healings occur, but not that an unclean spirit makes an appearance. We know today that disease isn't caused by demon possession. The demons are part of the point that Mark is trying to make, a literary device. Therefore, Mark is not describing a historic event but writing a religious document. Mark's story does not conform to reality.
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Re: Mark 3:7-12

Postby freed » Tue Nov 22, 2011 2:00 pm

Milo wrote:Freed! Finally, I was going to send a search party after you. :P


:D
Well, I'll tell you...you make it very difficult to find a place to jump in and discuss. I mean
that in a good way...such as you just state the text with very little "opinion" and it makes reading
you very enjoyable. I think froggie pointed out how good you are..a master..or something to that
effect. If I remember correctly, I believe you took part someplace in Genesis and I remarked at that time that you did good,
so I was really looking forward to you doing Mark. I hope you will continue with the other books of the
Bible.
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Re: Mark 3:7-12

Postby Chaplain Entrekin » Thu May 02, 2013 9:56 pm

Milo wrote:
7 But Jesus withdrew himself with his disciples to the sea: and a great multitude from Galilee followed him, and from Judaea,
8 And from Jerusalem, and from Idumaea, and from beyond Jordan; and they about Tyre and Sidon, a great multitude, when they had heard what great things he did, came unto him.
9 And he spake to his disciples, that a small ship should wait on him because of the multitude, lest they should throng him.
10 For he had healed many; insomuch that they pressed upon him for to touch him, as many as had plagues.
11 And unclean spirits, when they saw him, fell down before him, and cried, saying, Thou art the Son of God.
12 And he straitly charged them that they should not make him known.


This passage is full of Markean themes- sea of Galilee, crowds, healing, demons, and the charge to keep silent. How much talking can an unclean spirit do? Many of us are so used to reading about demons in the gospels that we don't even notice it. Christians maintain that the gospels are the literal truth and yet gloss over the demons. Demons talking, demons causing disease, demons causing mental illness. We all know there are Christians who believe we live in a demon infested world but for most of us this points to how unreliable the bible is. Demons as a primitive way of describing germs doesn't fly either. Jesus talks to the demons and they talk back. The demons recognize Jesus as the Son of God. Germs don't do that.


You are right that there are a number of Markean themes present (and have been so far). Tim Keller sums this up well in his book, Kings Cross.

"Mark weaves his account into the shared history of his readers by drawing parallels between the Hebrew Scriptures and the life of Jesus. In Genesis: The Spirit moves over the face of the waters,God speaks the world into being, humanity is created, and history is launched. What’s the very next thing that happens? Satan tempts the first human beings, Adam and Eve, in the Garden of Eden.

Now here in Mark: The Spirit, the water, God speaks, a new humanity, history is altered, and immediately the pattern continues with Satan tempting Jesus in the wilderness. Mark’s choice of words is pointed; he says that Jesus was “with the wild animals.” At the time Mark was writing his Gospel, Christians were being thrown to wild animals. Not surprisingly, many surviving Christians were tempted to doubt their beliefs, tempted to hedge their commitment to God. But here they see Jesus, like Adam, experiencing a spectacular relationship with God and then having to contend with a threat of his own.

You see, the wilderness isn’t just a random detour into trouble—it’s a battleground.

Temptation isn’t impersonal—there is an actual enemy doing the tempting. Mark treats Satan as a reality, not a myth. This is certainly jarring in contemporary cultures that are skeptical of the existence of the supernatural, let alone the demonic. To us, Satan is a personifi cation of evil left over from a pre-scientific, superstitious society. He’s just a symbol
now, an ironic way to defl ect personal responsibility for evil. But if you believe in God, in a good personal supernatural being, it is perfectly reasonable to believe that there are evil personal supernatural beings.

The Bible says that in the world, there are very real forces of evil, and these forces are tremendously complex and
intelligent. Satan, the chief of these forces, seeks to draw us away from God. That’s what we see with Adam in the Garden of Eden, and again with Jesus in the wilderness."


What is interesting is that you equated the text as saying that the demons were the causes of the sickness. And I'm sure you and I have heard some people claim that. But that is not what the text says. There is a statement about the sick, who pressed all around him to touch him. And there is a separate statement about unclean spirits, or demons, whom Jesus exercised dominion over, commanding them to come out and be silent.

So this short section shows us that Jesus is about the work of healing that which is broken and removing that which caused the breaking in the first place.

Keller's statement above that, ..."if you believe in God, in a good personal supernatural being, it is perfectly reasonable to believe that there are evil personal supernatural beings." is very logical, regardless of whether you personally believe in the supernatural or not. Likewise, to say that, "Mark's story does not conform to reality." is really an opinion, based on the lens that you view the world through. I am not saying it is an unpopular opinion. I am not even criticizing your opinion. But it does hold an implicit, though not offensive to me, arrogance that assumes that you, yourself, are the sole possesser of "reality."

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Re: Mark 3:7-12

Postby BaldySlaphead » Thu May 02, 2013 10:05 pm

Surely the word 'reality' implies things that are real?

Demons or unclean spirits are not demonstrably real. I suppose, being generous, we might allow that there are people who have offered up examples of what they claim are demons\ unclean, but they are certainly not established to what most people would regard as being beyond a reasonable level of doubt.

In examples I've seen, it seems to have involved the exploitation of the vulnerable by the credulous.
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Re: Mark 3:7-12

Postby Chaplain Entrekin » Thu May 02, 2013 10:54 pm

BaldySlaphead wrote:Surely the word 'reality' implies things that are real?

Demons or unclean spirits are not demonstrably real. I suppose, being generous, we might allow that there are people who have offered up examples of what they claim are demons\ unclean, but they are certainly not established to what most people would regard as being beyond a reasonable level of doubt.

In examples I've seen, it seems to have involved the exploitation of the vulnerable by the credulous.



I agree with you that the word 'reality' implies things that are real.

But, we bring our own lenses to the table in evaluating what is real. Or better yet, what we believe "CAN" be real.

E.g. Angler fish have no conception of life out of water. No idea of what air, or land, are. Yet, air and land are real, even if the Angler fish CANNOT have those things be part of reality.
or, to put it in reverse,
There are many places in the world where if you showed up and said that "demons/unclean spirits are not established to what most people would regard as being beyond a reasonable level of doubt," they would look at you as if you were a crazy man who was out of touch with reality.

(and I must add quickly that the implication that only vulnerable people would hold to the reality of demons is an example of the arrogant view of reality I mentioned before. Please note that I am not calling you arrogant. But do you see how it works? If your view of "X" does not match what I hold as reality, then the deficiency is yours, not mine.

And the burden of proof argument here does not apply in either direction. Because no amount of proof will suffice. I don't say that as a complaint against anyone, but as a reality for all involved. We should all be able to recognize that if a person starts with the presupposition - "Nothing supernatural can be real," then no amount of proof (anecdotal or otherwise) will change that person's mind because there is nowhere for that data to go. Anytime that person reads or hears about a personal transcendent God, or Satan, or demons or angels, they will immediately dismiss it as nonsense (b/c Nothing supernatural can be real), or seek to reinterpret those things as allegory, metaphor, uneducated primitive thinking, etc (b/c Nothing supernatural can be real).

It is one thing to say "I do not believe what Mark says." It is quite another to claim "Mark's story does not conform to reality." The first statement is one of ownership and puts us on the hook. The second statement is one of objective judgment (which is not possible) and puts Mark on the hook. You can see why people are more comfortable, though not entitled, to make the second one.

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Re: Mark 3:7-12

Postby BaldySlaphead » Thu May 02, 2013 11:56 pm

Chaplain Entrekin wrote:
BaldySlaphead wrote:Surely the word 'reality' implies things that are real?

Demons or unclean spirits are not demonstrably real. I suppose, being generous, we might allow that there are people who have offered up examples of what they claim are demons\ unclean, but they are certainly not established to what most people would regard as being beyond a reasonable level of doubt.

In examples I've seen, it seems to have involved the exploitation of the vulnerable by the credulous.


]I agree with you that the word 'reality' implies things that are real.

But, we bring our own lenses to the table in evaluating what is real. Or better yet, what we believe "CAN" be real.

E.g. Angler fish have no conception of life out of water. No idea of what air, or land, are. Yet, air and land are real, even if the Angler fish CANNOT have those things be part of reality.
or, to put it in reverse,
There are many places in the world where if you showed up and said that "demons/unclean spirits are not established to what most people would regard as being beyond a reasonable level of doubt," they would look at you as if you were a crazy man who was out of touch with reality.


True. You're right to say there are people who are convinced that demons exist, and maybe I'm guilty of making a claim based upon my own culture and society; within that it is certainly true to say that most people would agree it's not established beyond reasonable doubt. I emphasise the caveats to make the point that caveats were there, and I wasn't assuming everyone would accept my view on the matter.

(and I must add quickly that the implication that only vulnerable people would hold to the reality of demons is an example of the arrogant view of reality I mentioned before.


I didn't say that only vulnerable people would hold to the reality of demons. I said that the examples I'd seen it appeared to involve the exploitation of the vulnerable; clearly those attempting to treat or banish or otherwise commune with these supposed spirits also believe in them (unless they're utter con artists). I have no doubt that credulous congregations believe in anecdotes about demons too.

Please note that I am not calling you arrogant. But do you see how it works? If your view of "X" does not match what I hold as reality, then the deficiency is yours, not mine.


Which is why we look to evidence, to alternative explanations; thesis, hypothesis, antithesis. To try and remove ourselves as much as possible and attempt to be objective in appraising the scenario. Look at it philosophically and scientifically.

And the burden of proof argument here does not apply in either direction. Because no amount of proof will suffice. I don't say that as a complaint against anyone, but as a reality for all involved.


If your deity existed, it would know the level of evidence required for me to believe in it (which is not to suggest it would give a toss about supplying me with such evidence (I don't believe in it because I have no evidence to suggest holding such a belief is worthwhile, not because I couldn't)), but unquestionably the requisite amount of evidence could easily be produced if your deity were real.

We should all be able to recognize that if a person starts with the presupposition - "Nothing supernatural can be real," then no amount of proof (anecdotal or otherwise) will change that person's mind because there is nowhere for that data to go.


I don't believe that "nothing supernatural can be real", which is not to say that I've any reason to think that it is, but I don't entirely reject the possibility that something supernatural *could* be real.

Anytime that person reads or hears about a personal transcendent God, or Satan, or demons or angels, they will immediately dismiss it as nonsense (b/c Nothing supernatural can be real), or seek to reinterpret those things as allegory, metaphor, uneducated primitive thinking, etc (b/c Nothing supernatural can be real).


I do dismiss the Judeo-Christian god as a fiction (not even a particularly good or original one, at that) but that doesn't close down the possibility of entities analogous to demons.

It is one thing to say "I do not believe what Mark says." It is quite another to claim "Mark's story does not conform to reality." The first statement is one of ownership and puts us on the hook. The second statement is one of objective judgment (which is not possible) and puts Mark on the hook. You can see why people are more comfortable, though not entitled, to make the second one.


Ah - so you endorse cultural relativism? Animism cannot be dismissed as not conforming to reality, for example? I mean in the sense of animism being genuine, not in the sense of some people believe it, which is obviously true. Paganism cannot be dismissed as not conforming to reality? Etc etc?

I'm completely comfortable with saying Mark's story doesn't conform to reality, and see nothing arrogant about saying that unless some evidence can be presented to support such claims, we're entitled to explain them as myth or analogy or misdiagnosis or whatever credible alternatives there might be for the phenomenon under discussion rather than accepting them at face value.
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Re: Mark 3:7-12

Postby zilch » Fri May 03, 2013 6:50 am

Chap: welcome back. And thanks for arguing carefully- not everyone does.

I can't add much to what Baldy said, but there's one point I'd like to emphasize. You say:

Anytime that person reads or hears about a personal transcendent God, or Satan, or demons or angels, they will immediately dismiss it as nonsense (b/c Nothing supernatural can be real)...

Do you believe in the opposite of this statement, that is...

Anytime that I read or hear about a personal transcendent God, or Satan, or demons or angels, I immediately accept it as truth (b/c everything supernatural is real)...

... or do you take a position in between, and also reject at least some supernatural claims as nonsense? Baldy mentioned paganism. What about Uri Geller? Muslims? Jeanne Dixon? Maharishi?

If you immediately, or even after some thought, dismiss at least some of these claims as nonsense, what are your criteria for doing so? Do you use logic and evidence, or the Bible, or both? Do you reexamine claims for the existence of, say, leprechauns, over and over, every time you hear them? At some point you have to get on with life.

As Baldy also said, I don't reject claims for the supernatural out of hand. I'm still open. But what I've seen so far, over and over and over, is claims for the supernatural being held for the purpose of fitting in, or earning money, or feeling that one is right, or taking away the fear of death. There's an obvious attraction to all these things, so we should be skeptical of such claims, just as we should be skeptical of lottery ads showing happy winners. So far I have seen no good evidence for the existence of any of these supernatural entities, powers, or realms, but lots of evidence that people make up such stuff all the time. Don't you believe that people often just make up stuff about gods and demons and trolls and dragons? Might not the same be true of your gods and demons, at least theoretically? How is one to know?

Looking for explanations in the real world instead of in supernatural worlds has given us the ability, for instance, to hold transatlantic cyberchats. And although I don't understand many many things, I haven't seen anything so far that cannot be explained, even if not fully, at least as well, usually better, by science than religion. Thus, I'll stick with the real world, until I see reason to believe otherwise.

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Re: Mark 3:7-12

Postby Chaplain Entrekin » Fri May 03, 2013 11:35 pm

Zilch,

You bring out a wonderful dividing line, which I will try to slim down even further (and perhaps expose a false dichotomy we don't need):

1. regarding subject "X", it must not be true (b/c nothing X can be real)
2. regarding subject "X", it must be true (b/c everything X is real)

or a better way,

3. regarding subject 'X", it may or may not be true (b/c X can be real)

My hope is that all of us would fall under category 3 above. But it seems that often times in speaking with atheists (which I recognize not everyone here is), when "X" above is supernatural (especially, a personal transcendant God), the 3's jump up to 1's above. This leads to lots of ridicule of "X" as nonsense, or leaps of varying degrees to explain away "X", including re-interpretation as allegory, metaphor, myth, primitive thinking, etc.

(I will quickly admit that when "X" is the supernatural, a lot of 3's jumping to 1's is probably due to how poorly Christians come across as ignorant, un-thinking 2's above).

My original point regarding the reality statement was that the comment, "Mark's story does not conform to reality" strikes me as a 1. statement. I would ask, "Why does it not conform to reality? Because he is referencing demons? Is that why this cannot be a description of a real historic event?"

[hmmm...Mark is writing about demons, which I determine cannot be real (b/c nothing re: demons CAN be real). Therefore, it must just be a literary device.] This, to me, is 1. thinking above.

The statement, "I don't believe what Mark is saying," is, too me, a 3. statement. It is not making a declaration of what reality is (what CAN or CAN NOT be), but what a person believes. Beliefs are not Reality. Our beliefs are informed and colored by reality. (e.g. every experience I have had with the supernatural has turned out to be fake, charlatans, or better explained by science).

But reality cannot be dependent (CAN be or CAN NOT be statements) upon our beliefs. Otherwise, we end up with multiple realities, which is impossible.

Reality is reality whether we believe it or not. I recognize that statement cuts both ways, and it should.

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