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What does the case of Edgardo Mortara tell us about religious beliefs?

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What does the case of Edgardo Mortara tell us about religious beliefs?

Post by Ivan on Fri Nov 18, 2011 4:14 pm

In 1858, Edgardo Mortara, a six-year-old Jewish boy living in Italy, was legally seized by the papal police acting under orders from the Inquisition. He was forcibly dragged away from his distraught parents and thereafter brought up as a Roman Catholic. Aside from occasional brief visits under close priestly supervision, his parents never had contact with him again.

Edgardo’s story was by no means unusual in Italy at the time, and the reason for these priestly abductions was always the same. In every case, the child had been secretly baptised, usually by a Catholic nursemaid, and the Inquisition later came to hear of the baptism. It was a central part of the Roman Catholic belief-system that, once a child had been baptised, however informally and clandestinely, that child was irrevocably transformed into a Christian. To their mentality, to allow a ‘Christian child’ to stay with his Jewish parents was not an option.

Edgardo had once been looked after by Anna Morisi, an illiterate Catholic girl who was then fourteen. He fell ill and she panicked in case he died. Brought up in a stupor of belief that a child who died unbaptised would suffer forever in Hell, she threw some water from a bucket on little Edgardo’s head and said: “I baptise you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost'. From that moment, Edgardo was legally a Christian. When the priests of the Inquisition learned of the incident years later, they acted promptly and decisively, giving no thought to the sorrowful consequences of their action.

Such stories were distressingly frequent in nineteenth-century Italy, which leaves one asking the obvious question. Why did the Jews of the Papal States employ Catholic servants at all, given the appalling risk that could flow from doing so? Answer: because the Jews needed servants whose religion didn’t forbid them to work on the Sabbath.

This story is particularly revealing of the religious mind, and the evils that arise specifically because it is religious. First is the idea that a sprinkle of water and a brief verbal incantation can totally change a child’s life, taking precedent over parental consent, the child’s own consent, the child’s own happiness and psychological well-being. Second is the extraordinary fact that the priests, cardinals and Pope seem genuinely not to have understood what a terrible thing they were doing to poor Edgardo Mortara. Such is the power of (mainstream, ‘moderate’) religion to warp judgement and pervert ordinary human decency.

Third is the presumptuousness whereby religious people know, without evidence, that the faith of their birth is the one true faith, all others being aberrations or downright false. The Mortaras could have had Edgardo back, if only they had accepted the priests’ entreaties and agreed to be baptised themselves. But they couldn’t, because they had been brought up in a (moderate) religion, and therefore took the whole religious charade seriously.

Fourth is the assumption that a young child can properly be said to have a religion at all, whether it is Jewish or Christian or anything else. To put it another way, the idea that baptising an unknowing, uncomprehending child can change him from one religion to another at a stroke seems absurd - but it is surely no more absurd than labelling a tiny child as belonging to any particular religion in the first place. What mattered to Edgardo was not ‘his’ religion but the love and care of his parents and family, and he was deprived of those.

(Adapted and abridged from ‘The God Delusion’ by Richard Dawkins, Bantam Press, 2006, pp 311-315.)

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Re: What does the case of Edgardo Mortara tell us about religious beliefs?

Post by oftenwrong on Fri Nov 18, 2011 5:31 pm

Numbers of British orphans were sent to Australia in the 1930s by religious organisations, where Aborigines had already been institutionalised.

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Re: What does the case of Edgardo Mortara tell us about religious beliefs?

Post by True Blue on Sat Nov 19, 2011 2:49 am

I'm rather unimpressed with the emotionally charged Dawkins as abridged above. It seems to suggest that all the ills of the Inquisition were born of religion and not human motives and conviction.

And as to the matter of institutionalisation, it was going to happen some how anyway... via our culture, our politics, our laws, our education systems.

The idea of assigning to religion the negative nature and motives of humanity is completely lacking in intellectual vigour and academic honesty. Yes religions have done appalling things, but appalling things happen with or without religion and that will not change.

Aboriginals, since they were mentioned, have no religion (Dreamtime is not religion), yet were known to abuse their women and children because they were deemed inferior. In some outback locals... that culture of abusing the less strong still thrives... hence the Interventions that are taking place. Now, you can justify some of the cruelty as being born of their semi nomadic life which was harsh, but that doesn't account for all of the cruelty and certainly it accounts for none of the cruelty that currently happens.


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Re: What does the case of Edgardo Mortara tell us about religious beliefs?

Post by Shirina on Sat Nov 19, 2011 9:21 am

The idea of assigning to religion the negative nature and motives of humanity is completely lacking in intellectual vigour and academic honesty.

I have to disagree. While yes, it is true that the base wickedness of some Men will cause death and destruction due to their nature, the fact is - that is their nature. Religion is not the root cause of the actions of a sociopath or a psychopath.

HOWEVER - religion gives unimpeachable justification for otherwise good people to commit horrific atrocities in the name of their God. No other force can motivate good people to do evil things like the threat of an angry God or the terror of eternal damnation. Nothing. Not money, not power, not possessions. For the true believers, displeasing God is their greatest fear.

Even the worst Nazis understood that what they were doing was wrong. This is why they hid the existence of the camps from the rest of the world, why they even set up a fake camp stocked with healthy, smiling Jews in order to hoodwink the Red Cross. Every last one of them who did not commit suicide knew they would be tried for war crimes, and if they were not ashamed, there would be no such thing as "Holocaust Deniers."

A man sure of his faith, strong in his convictions, and wrapped in a cloak of Divine righteousness would commit the same atrocities as the Nazis only he would stand up and proudly declare the "rightness" of his actions. Because God through faith commanded it. Any punishment meted out to this man would raise him to the level of martyr in the eyes of his fellow believers, and no punishment is harsh enough to dissuade this man from the course God has given him.

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Re: What does the case of Edgardo Mortara tell us about religious beliefs?

Post by oftenwrong on Sat Nov 19, 2011 10:25 am

The earlier, XVI Century, Auto da Fe Spanish Inquisition was of course carried out in the Catholic Church, but was primarily a political device to maintain continuing supremacy over the defeated Moors.

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Re: What does the case of Edgardo Mortara tell us about religious beliefs?

Post by True Blue on Sat Nov 19, 2011 11:23 am

Shirina wrote:
The idea of assigning to religion the negative nature and motives of humanity is completely lacking in intellectual vigour and academic honesty.

I have to disagree.

HOWEVER - religion gives unimpeachable justification for otherwise good people to commit horrific atrocities in the name of their God. No other force can motivate good people to do evil things like the threat of an angry God or the terror of eternal damnation. Nothing. Not money, not power, not possessions. For the true believers, displeasing God is their greatest fear.

In the example provided above, for those who know their New Testament, baptism was an act of mutual consent between the baptiser and baptised. The Old Testament teaches that the greatest gift given to Humanity is that of choice. Yet the Catholic Church went against the intentions of God the Father and God the Son to baptise those incapable of consent.... and therefore it was not done in the name of God, but in the name of Man's Will to have his minions.

Even the worst Nazis understood that what they were doing was wrong.

No, not necessarily. What the worst Nazis understood was that other cultures did not appreciate Aryan superiority and ethnic cleansing. Perhaps those who were compelled into Nazism appreciated the wrongness of their ways... but not the worst of them.

A man sure of his faith, strong in his convictions, and wrapped in a cloak of Divine righteousness would commit the same atrocities as the Nazis only he would stand up and proudly declare the "rightness" of his actions. Because God through faith commanded it. Any punishment meted out to this man would raise him to the level of martyr in the eyes of his fellow believers, and no punishment is harsh enough to dissuade this man from the course God has given him.

Christianity as taught by Jesus understood through the words of his disciples does not promote atrocities. At its worst it promotes socialism.

There is a difference between doing in the name of Religion and merely claiming same.

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Re: What does the case of Edgardo Mortara tell us about religious beliefs?

Post by Shirina on Sat Nov 19, 2011 6:57 pm

Christianity as taught by Jesus understood through the words of his disciples does not promote atrocities. At its worst it promotes socialism.
That's a matter of interpretation, don't you think? The OT and NT are very different books, but both are considered the Word of God. As you said, one of our greatest gifts is the freedom to choose, and far too many exercise this with great vigor by choosing which of the testaments we base our morality upon. Whether one chooses to adhere to the gentle teachings of Jesus or obey the wrathful commandments of an angry God is left up to us. In the USA, it would seem the most active and vocal Christians choose the OT with all of its death, destruction, and war. Nothing is off the table when one is emulating a God that wiped out all of humanity in a fit of rage - which he later regretted.

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Re: What does the case of Edgardo Mortara tell us about religious beliefs?

Post by True Blue on Sat Nov 19, 2011 7:27 pm

Shirina wrote:
Christianity as taught by Jesus understood through the words of his disciples does not promote atrocities. At its worst it promotes socialism.
That's a matter of interpretation, don't you think? The OT and NT are very different books, but both are considered the Word of God. As you said, one of our greatest gifts is the freedom to choose, and far too many exercise this with great vigor by choosing which of the testaments we base our morality upon. Whether one chooses to adhere to the gentle teachings of Jesus or obey the wrathful commandments of an angry God is left up to us. In the USA, it would seem the most active and vocal Christians choose the OT with all of its death, destruction, and war. Nothing is off the table when one is emulating a God that wiped out all of humanity in a fit of rage - which he later regretted.

Actually, Christians follow the teachings of Christ. The OT is bible history for Christians and the real deal for Jews. That there are different Christian groups has more to do with their different focus on the teachings of Christ. Catholics for example believe that they are truly sipping the blood and swallowing the flesh of Christ, whereas Pentecostal faith holds that the gift of tongues, healing and prophesy are still valid and not given exclusively to the disciples... and so it goes. What ever the Christian faith tho... it is the focus on Christ's teachings that separates it from Judaism and Islam.

Oh... and Jesus was not gentle... not by any stretch of the imagination.

Matthew 10:34-39
New International Version (NIV)
34 “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to turn

“‘a man against his father,
a daughter against her mother,
a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—
36 a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’[a]

37 “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.

Also, I don't want to confuse this with Fundamentalism, which in unhealthy in any of its manifestations... religious or otherwise. So where it is that you speak of the most vocal in the USA, I suspect that you speak of the Fundamentalist who have perverted religion.

Finally, I think I need to fess up... I'm an Atheist. I don't believe any of this stuff, but I do respect a persons right to hold such beliefs.

What I am not is a Fundamentalist... but judging by the writings by Dawkins, he is!


Last edited by True Blue on Sat Nov 19, 2011 7:54 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: What does the case of Edgardo Mortara tell us about religious beliefs?

Post by Guest on Sat Nov 19, 2011 7:43 pm


True Blue, regarding these comments,

True Blue wrote:
… for those who know their New Testament, baptism was an act of mutual consent between the baptiser and baptised. The Old Testament teaches that the greatest gift given to Humanity is that of choice. Yet the Catholic Church went against the intentions of God the Father and God the Son to baptise those incapable of consent.... and therefore it was not done in the name of God, but in the name of Man's Will to have his minions.

Well said.

You’ve said “The Old Testament teaches that the greatest gift given to Humanity is that of choice.” In fact, this teaching is found in the first OT reference to humankind, man (gender inclusive).

“Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in our image, after our likeness…’ God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”

Genesis 1:26-27


As God, inherently possess freedom of choice, humankind, man (gender inclusive), in his image, must be endowed with freedom of choice.

You’ve said, “[in] their New Testament, baptism was an act of mutual consent between the baptiser and baptized.” The baptism of the Ethiopian eunuch, Candace’s “prime minister”, is a clear example of this truth.


“And the angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, saying, ‘Arise, and go south to the road that descends from Jerusalem to Gaza’, which is desert.

“And he arose and went: and, behold, there was an Ethiopian eunuch, a court official of great authority under Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who had charge of all her treasure, and he had come to Jerusalem to worship, and he was returning and sitting in his chariot, and he was reading Isaiah the prophet.

“Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join yourself to this chariot. Philip ran up to him and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet, and said, ‘Do you understand what you are reading?’ And he said, ‘How can I, except someone should guide me?’ And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.

“The place of the scripture which he read was this, ‘He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb before his shearer is silent, so he opened not his mouth. In his humiliation his judgment was taken away, and who shall declare his generation? For his life is taken from the earth.’ The eunuch answered Philip and said, “Please tell me, of whom does the prophet speak this? Of himself, or of someone else?’

“Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at the same scripture, he preached Jesus to him.

“And as they went on their way, they came to some water, and the eunuch said, ‘See, here is water. What prevents me from being baptized?’ And Philip said, ‘If you believe with all your heart, you may.’ And he answered and said, ‘I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.’

“And he commanded the chariot to stop, and they both went down into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him. And… the eunuch… went on his way rejoicing.”

Acts Chapter 8 Verses 26-39

True Blue wrote:
Christianity as taught by Jesus understood through the words of his disciples does not promote atrocities.

Well said.

Jesus said to his disciples, “If you love me, keep my commandments.” Jesus’ commandment to his disciples, in his words, is “Love one another as I have loved you.” Later on, Jesus taught his disciples to make disciples (unto Jesus) of all nations (ethnicities), to baptize these new disciples in the name (singular) of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, to teach these new disciples to observe all things whatsoever that Jesus had taught them.

I see no commandment or teaching of Jesus wherein he directs his disciples to “promote atrocities.”


Last edited by RockOnBrother on Sun Nov 20, 2011 6:04 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: What does the case of Edgardo Mortara tell us about religious beliefs?

Post by True Blue on Sat Nov 19, 2011 8:28 pm

Thank you Brother. I'd also point out that that reference to consensual baptism you have provided is not the only reference in the NT.

What Dawkins has done is as I said, presented an argument that lacks intellectual vigour and academic honesty... and we are started to see why that is.

He is assigning the Dogma of the Catholic church which has been built up over centuries, to Christianity... and it just aint so. The dogma is man made belief, most often designed to increase the numbers of the 'flock'... hence the reason why so many Catholic Celebrations have their Pagan counterparts. Much easier to convert a Pagan if you allow them their festivities only with a Christian twist. The idea of baptising those incapable of consent, so that they have no choice is a dogmatic belief also and not of the Religion itself.

Where I do agree with Dawkins is when he speaks of the flaws in the Catholic Tradition (as opposed to Christianity) such as Celibacy and the denial of contraceptives. I would argue that such rules are crimes against humanity which have caused great suffering. Not even Jehovah Witnesses (well known for their literal take on both the OT and NT so not exactly Christians), who also hold life as sacred, go that far. They argue that you can use contraceptives which prevent conception, but not those which abort a human conceived.

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Re: What does the case of Edgardo Mortara tell us about religious beliefs?

Post by oftenwrong on Sat Nov 19, 2011 10:18 pm

Where you have opposing viewpoints who simply KNOW they are right, discussion can continue until death supervenes.

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Re: What does the case of Edgardo Mortara tell us about religious beliefs?

Post by True Blue on Sun Nov 20, 2011 5:13 am

oftenwrong wrote:Where you have opposing viewpoints who simply KNOW they are right, discussion can continue until death supervenes.

On the matter of opinions there are no right answers; there are persuasive and compelling arguments instead. (This is not taking into account bad or incomplete arguments.) However, just because someone can present a compelling or persuasive argument, that should not cause others to seek to shut down discussion with comments such as yours OW.

Now I don't know to whom your comments relate, but, they are disparaging and assume a black and white reality of rights and wrongs. Yet if that were true, all the world would be ablaze with cogent syllogisms deciding the fate of a topic in record time.

The world is not black and white. The world is many shades of grey and that is why discussion takes place; to find common understanding between peoples of differing shades of grey. That means that a 'discussion can continue', revealing along the way many aspects entailed to same, 'until death supervenes.' (or rather, until the topic has been explored in some depth.)

So I hope others don't feel disparaged by your comments OW and I hope they continue to explore this fascinating subject. For my part, I am always open to exploring new ideas respectfully and actively seek them out.

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Re: What does the case of Edgardo Mortara tell us about religious beliefs?

Post by oftenwrong on Sun Nov 20, 2011 10:34 am

What's "new" about ideas which have been discussed ad nauseam for the last two thousand years?

What's wrong with consensus, either?

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Re: What does the case of Edgardo Mortara tell us about religious beliefs?

Post by True Blue on Sun Nov 20, 2011 12:28 pm

You are absolutely right... lets forget about the thread eh? I've certainly lost interest... thanks for that.

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Re: What does the case of Edgardo Mortara tell us about religious beliefs?

Post by Guest on Sun Nov 20, 2011 1:12 pm


True Blue,

Thank you for your kind words.

True Blue wrote:
I'd also point out that that reference to consensual baptism you have provided is not the only reference in the NT.

Thank you. Cornelius comes to mind. Peter’s nearly-inbred racism was challenged in that instance.

True Blue wrote:
Dawkins… is assigning the Dogma of the Catholic church… to Christianity... and it just aint so. The dogma is man made belief, most often designed to increase the numbers of the 'flock'... hence the reason why so many Catholic Celebrations have their Pagan counterparts. Much easier to convert a Pagan if you allow them their festivities only with a Christian twist. The idea of baptising those incapable of consent, so that they have no choice is a dogmatic belief also and not of the Religion itself.

Well said. Paul, an apostle of Jesus the Anointed, who, as were the apostles/disciples present at the time, was charged with the task of teaching disciples all things whatsoever that Jesus taught his disciples, identifies dogma as that from which Jesus’ teachings frees any who follow Jesus’ teachings. The Pharisees had their dogma, the Sadducees had their dogma, the Zealots had their dogma, no doubt the Essenes had their dogma, and, in the inimitable last words of the classic Bo Diddley song below, “ain’t neither one a y’all good lookin’, a-huh-huh.”

`

One key teaching of Jesus, “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free” is under-applied by many. Let’s correct one such under-application: “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free” from the dogma of man, councils of men, or governments instituted among men.

If one believes the Hebrew Bible, one must believe that we are created into freedom of choice as we are created in the image of God.

True Blue wrote:
Where I do agree with Dawkins is when he speaks of the flaws in the Catholic Tradition… such as Celibacy and the denial of contraceptives… such rules are crimes against humanity…

I agree.

True Blue wrote:
… Jehovah Witnesses (well known for their literal take on both the OT and NT so not exactly Christians)…

You are giving far too much credit where no credit whatsoever is due. Jehovah’s Witnesses’ hierarchy promotes the use of an intentionally mistranslated Bible which deviates from the Hebrew and Greek Bibles in such a way as to support Jehovah’s Witness dogma.

When Saturday door-knockers are challenged in those intentionally mistranslated textual areas, they eventually flee. This I know from experience. Hebrew and Greek resources are readily accessible to me, and as these resources were accessed in the presence of Jehovah’s Witnesses door-knockers, they fidgeted as if uncomfortable and soon bid me “good morning” as they departed.

Once again, Jesus sets his disciples free from the dogma of any man, council of men, or governments instituted among men.

Now it’s true that Jehovah’s Witnesses’ hierarchy does not order/command their members to refrain from contraceptives, and in refraining from that directive, they adhere to the principle which all who claim the appellation “Christian” are challenged to practice: When you do it in Jesus’ name, make sure Jesus said it, and do it as Jesus said to do it. The corollary is so obvious that we often miss it: If you’re not doing what Jesus said, or you’re not doing it as Jesus said to do it, then don’t claim that you’re doing it “in Jesus’ name”, “in the name of Jesus.” Seems simple enough.

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Re: What does the case of Edgardo Mortara tell us about religious beliefs?

Post by Shirina on Sun Nov 20, 2011 3:20 pm

What's "new" about ideas which have been discussed ad nauseam for the last two thousand years?

OW, telling people they're wasting time talking about religion in a thread designed to ... talk about religion ... is an even bigger waste of time. It isn't my intention to be harsh, but when your posts begin to drive people away, I think a line has been crossed.

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Re: What does the case of Edgardo Mortara tell us about religious beliefs?

Post by astra on Sun Nov 20, 2011 4:11 pm

Shirina, is blue an American or a Brit?

He seems to have taken an American line on very British dry humour.

(and the post in question, was a question! not an open ended statement.


Not taking sides here as OW can fight his own Glen very well but does not a question beg an answer?

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Re: What does the case of Edgardo Mortara tell us about religious beliefs?

Post by True Blue on Sun Nov 20, 2011 5:32 pm

astra wrote:Shirina, is blue an American or a Brit?

Neither.

He seems to have taken an American line on very British dry humour.

Perhaps you could enlighten me as to where that dry humour was lurking, since you can obviously see what I cannot.

and the post in question, was a question! not an open ended statement.

[...] but does not a question beg an answer?

It was answered. I agreed with him that the ideas have been discussed ad nauseam. More than that... I took on board his comments and introduced a topic that has not been discussed ad nauseam. I look forward to his contributions.

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Re: What does the case of Edgardo Mortara tell us about religious beliefs?

Post by oftenwrong on Sun Nov 20, 2011 6:10 pm

I can take a hint.

What is it?

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Re: What does the case of Edgardo Mortara tell us about religious beliefs?

Post by True Blue on Mon Dec 05, 2011 11:53 am

RockOnBrother wrote:
True Blue wrote:
… Jehovah Witnesses (well known for their literal take on both the OT and NT so not exactly Christians)…

You are giving far too much credit where no credit whatsoever is due. Jehovah’s Witnesses’ hierarchy promotes the use of an intentionally mistranslated Bible which deviates from the Hebrew and Greek Bibles in such a way as to support Jehovah’s Witness dogma.

What interpretation of the New Testament do you use? Catholic? Protestant? Eastern Orthodox? They all have differences. To claim that the differences of one are more wrong or less right than the differences of another is just silly... at least from an outsiders perspective... being Atheist an' all.

When Saturday door-knockers are challenged in those intentionally mistranslated textual areas, they eventually flee. This I know from experience. Hebrew and Greek resources are readily accessible to me, and as these resources were accessed in the presence of Jehovah’s Witnesses door-knockers, they fidgeted as if uncomfortable and soon bid me “good morning” as they departed.

None of the interpretations so far identified would pass such as test as you presented the JW's and if the history be known as well, so to would the intention of mistranslation of same be known. It is not fair to pick on one faith for mistranslations when the same can be said of all because translation is not exact and peoples intent not always pure.

Now it’s true that Jehovah’s Witnesses’ hierarchy does not order/command their members to refrain from contraceptives, and in refraining from that directive, they adhere to the principle which all who claim the appellation “Christian” are challenged to practice: When you do it in Jesus’ name, make sure Jesus said it, and do it as Jesus said to do it. The corollary is so obvious that we often miss it: If you’re not doing what Jesus said, or you’re not doing it as Jesus said to do it, then don’t claim that you’re doing it “in Jesus’ name”, “in the name of Jesus.” Seems simple enough.

Surely nobody is so perfect that they can bend it like Jesus. To err is human, even when trying to do it "in Jesus' name".

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Re: What does the case of Edgardo Mortara tell us about religious beliefs?

Post by Guest on Mon Dec 05, 2011 6:21 pm

True Blue wrote:
… Jehovah Witnesses…
RockOnBrother wrote:
You are giving far too much credit where no credit whatsoever is due. Jehovah’s Witnesses’ hierarchy promotes the use of an intentionally mistranslated Bible which deviates from the Hebrew and Greek Bibles in such a way as to support Jehovah’s Witness dogma.
True Blue wrote:
What interpretation of the New Testament do you use? Catholic? Protestant? Eastern Orthodox? They all have differences. To claim that the differences of one are more wrong or less right than the differences of another is just silly... at least from an outsiders perspective... being Atheist an' all.

First things first. The term you’ve used, “interpretation”, has a specific meaning that does not automatically apply to every translation of the Greek Bible. Also, I prefer the appellation “Greek Bible” for its specificity and lack of connotative nuances which my or may not be accurate.

That being said, I use as accurate a set of expository English translations of the Greek Bible as I can reasonably access, including the New American Standard Bible, the King James Version, which is something like eighty percent (maybe more) consistent with William Tyndale’s translation, occasionally the New International Version, and a few others on rarer occasions.

As much as possible, I avoid “translations” generated by those with not-so-hidden ulterior agendas, like “translations” designed to provide “proof texts” fro previously held tenets which these “translation” generators wish “upheld” by what they purport to be unchallengeable” proof. Oddly enough, when I’ve studied with Roman Catholics, their Roman Catholic English translation is surprisingly accurate in areas that contradict tightly-held Roman Catholic dogma.

The Watchtower Society’s “translation”, conversely, contains inaccurate translations of key portions of the Greek Bible that, when “back-engineered”, provide compelling evidence of intent to mistranslate for proof text purposes. Start with John Chapter 1, and start with Verse 1, and one finds a small addition to the text that renders the identification of the Word, Logos, entirely different than in the Greek text. I believe that insertion is meant to deceive. That is my opinion; as I’ve conducted no covert infiltration and investigation of the Watchtower Society, my opinion as stated is the best tha6t I can give on that point.

You might examine the preface of the KJV to see the difference. If my memory is correct, there is reference in that preface to the translators being true to the text rather than their own beliefs about and interpretations of the text. NASB and NIV translators were also so charged, as were the translators of every English translation I use.

Nothing “silly” about it; if I’m going to invest time and brain power studying an English translation of the Greek Bible, it would be foolish to invest said time and brain power studying what I believe to be an intentionally deceitful mistranslation of same. As one of my heroes said, “I might be crazy, but my mama didn’t raise no fool.”

RockOnBrother wrote:
When Saturday door-knockers are challenged in those intentionally mistranslated textual areas, they eventually flee. This I know from experience. Hebrew and Greek resources are readily accessible to me, and as these resources were accessed in the presence of Jehovah’s Witnesses door-knockers, they fidgeted as if uncomfortable and soon bid me “good morning” as they departed.
True Blue wrote:
None of the interpretations so far identified would pass such as test as you presented the JW's and if the history be known as well, so to would the intention of mistranslation of same be known. It is not fair to pick on one faith for mistranslations when the same can be said of all because translation is not exact and peoples intent not always pure.

I don’t “pick” on anyone. That’s not my job. On the other hand, John, an apostle of Jesus the Christ, charged by Jesus the Christ to teach them (those who seek to follow Jesus’ teachings) “to observe all things whatsoever I [Jesus] have taught you [John and the other apostles]”, admonished folks to neither add to nor subtract from these words.

Once again, I might be crazy, but I ain’t fool enough to waste time and brain power studying a book that has added to and subtracted from these words. In my opinion, every textual publication generated by the Watchtower Society falls into that category.

RockOnBrother wrote:
Now it’s true that Jehovah’s Witnesses’ hierarchy does not order/command their members to refrain from contraceptives, and in refraining from that directive, they adhere to the principle which all who claim the appellation “Christian” are challenged to practice: When you do it in Jesus’ name, make sure Jesus said it, and do it as Jesus said to do it. The corollary is so obvious that we often miss it: If you’re not doing what Jesus said, or you’re not doing it as Jesus said to do it, then don’t claim that you’re doing it “in Jesus’ name”, “in the name of Jesus.” Seems simple enough.
True Blue wrote:
Surely nobody is so perfect that they can bend it like Jesus. To err is human, even when trying to do it "in Jesus' name".

In Hebrews Chapter 4, the author states that, in Jesus the Christ, we have a perfect high priest, who, as human as are we, was tempted in all ways as we are but did not sin. Whatever Jesus achieved in terms of his behavior, we can achieve, because we have the same capacity to achieve as did Jesus as he walked the earth. When I err, I cannot blame on my inability to behave as I should; if I am truthful with myself, I must blame it on my unwillingness to behave as I should.

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Re: What does the case of Edgardo Mortara tell us about religious beliefs?

Post by Dr Sheldon Cooper PhD on Sat Oct 19, 2013 8:42 pm

True Blue wrote:I'm rather unimpressed with the emotionally charged Dawkins as abridged above. It seems to suggest that all the ills of the Inquisition were born of religion and not human motives and conviction.

Dr Sheldon Cooper PhD wrote:So anything egregious done in the name of religion is actually not the fault of religion? Sounds dubious to me.
And as to the matter of institutionalisation, it was going to happen some how anyway... via our culture, our politics, our laws, our education systems.

Dr Sheldon Cooper PhD wrote:Ah, well that's all right then. sarcasm 
The idea of assigning to religion the negative nature and motives of humanity is completely lacking in intellectual vigour and academic honesty. Yes religions have done appalling things, but appalling things happen with or without religion and that will not change.

Dr Sheldon Cooper PhD wrote:Then all claims for moral superiority by theists are proven false in that statement, and it begs the question what is the point of religion if that's the case?
Aboriginals, since they were mentioned, have no religion (Dreamtime is not religion), yet were known to abuse their women and children because they were deemed inferior. In some outback locals... that culture of abusing the less strong still thrives... hence the Interventions that are taking place.  Now, you can justify some of the cruelty as being born of their semi nomadic life which was harsh, but that doesn't account for all of the cruelty and certainly it accounts for none of the cruelty that currently happens.

Dr Sheldon Cooper PhD wrote:Again all you're doing is highlighting that theism offers nothing in the way of superior morals, it's axiomatically true that humans are cruel, so what? We also have the ability to empathise, the intellect to reason, and in most cases the will to provide just and decent societies, none of that requires religion, as is clearly proven by your post.


Last edited by Dr Sheldon Cooper PhD on Sun Oct 20, 2013 12:29 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: What does the case of Edgardo Mortara tell us about religious beliefs?

Post by Heretic on Sun Oct 20, 2013 9:49 am

True Blue wrote:Christianity as taught by Jesus understood through the words of his disciples does not promote atrocities.  At its worst it promotes socialism.
Since we don't have Christianity today as taught by Jesus today but Christianity as taught by Paul which is a very different animal. There were large numbers of people in the sixties that as a result of the flower revolution looked at the words of Jesus and saw them as inspirational but when these people with their long hair, sandals and cheesecloth shirts walked into the churches they were either turned away or taught to abandon Jesus to embrace Paul. This loose grouping were called the Jesus People and they came out of the hippy scene on both sides of the AtlanticJesus People, they are not to be confused with the Jesus Army started by Noel Stanton in Northampton Jesus Army. Given that these people, most of them young, were living in the age of the mods and rockers, hells angels and skinheads they were exceptionly brave to stand for a message of peace and love.

True Blue wrote:There is a difference between doing in the name of Religion and merely claiming same.
Yes, the difference is this, if you succeed then you did it in the name of religion, if you failed then you merely claimed the same.

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Re: What does the case of Edgardo Mortara tell us about religious beliefs?

Post by AW on Sun Oct 20, 2013 1:38 pm

'Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from a religious conviction.'

_ Blaise Pascal

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Re: What does the case of Edgardo Mortara tell us about religious beliefs?

Post by Shirina on Sun Oct 20, 2013 6:44 pm

"With or without religion, good people can behave well and bad people can do evil; but for good people to do evil — that takes religion." -- Steven Weinberg

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