Thursday, March 15, 2007

A copy of my review

This is a review of a book I have admittedly only partially read by Ben Witherington III, regarding the church and the Da Vinci code. The name of the book is, The Gospel Code: Novel Claims About Jesus, Mary Magdalene and Da Vinci (Paperback)

But I do want to bring up the importance of the meaning of history in terms of whether one believes in the more literal or more allegorical meaning of the gospels.

"I am not going to say a lot because in all honesty, I need to finish the book. But there is an important statement here I would like to make. So much boils down to what an individual believes is the history of the church. Ben Witherington the III seems to be of the opinion that the gnostic scriptures do not come until later. This is certainly not my understanding of history. And in order to take this view, this stance, of history one must be somewhat apologetic of the Roman Catholic Church, even if one is a protestant. It is stated in the book something to the effect that Constantine became a Christian and presided in a kindly manner over the council of Nicaea. It is certainly questionable whether Constantine ever was a convert in anything more than name. His only conversion was one of convenience to keep Rome from falling apart. It is my understanding of history, that in presiding over the council, Constantine consistently used the power of the sword whenever his view of what Christianity should be was challenged, and Bishops who opposed his point of view were removed from the council by force, and a revote was taken. Can I prove this? No. Not any more than I think anyone can prove otherwise, but the weight of the actions of the church over a 1000 year reign, I think, proves incontroversably, that the church was not interested in truth, but in control. It is without question, over the next 1000 years of the reign of Rome via the church, that multitudes of individuals who questioned the church in any way were tortured horribly and killed. They were furthermore, tortured and killed even if they recanted and admitted they were in error. I don't think anyone can deny this aspect of history. It is too well documented. So why would the church care about preserving the truth? It is also, without question, that the church over the next thousand years, sought out any documents they considered detrimental to the churches rule, and burned those documents. It has been well established that the church added and deleted text from the supposedly cannonical scriptures. Can anyone therefore, affirm incontrovertibly, that the scriptures that have come down to us are the inerrant words of God regardless? I think this is a very dangerous position to take.

It is also questionable whether the gnostic documents came earlier or later. Throughout history there have been God man saviors who were surrounded by a mythology, so to speak, almost identical to the story of Jesus. Is it still therefore reasonable to believe in a literal and only literal interpretation of the Bible? Why then did Jesus speak in parables? Why was it that even when he interpreted the parables, he claimed that the disciples still did not understand? Even without gnostic texts it becomes apparent that there was a secret doctrine. And when one delves into the secret doctrine, they find they can no longer go back to that literalness, it is no longer of import to them, not because they are ignorant or deceived, but because they now have the "inner light" of gnosis, something Ben Witherington apparently knows nothing about. When one attains a deeper understanding, one realizes unquestionably the futility in believing in a literal god man savior. It, folks, just aint so. But prove it? Each person will have to decide for themselves.

At any rate, if one is of a fundamentalist disposition, one will tend to believe the so called scholars who are also of that persuasion. If not, one is more inclined to believe those scholars that are more critical of the church. There is no proof one way or another that one set of doctrines came earlier than another. To many of us who study these things it appears very strongly that both sets of doctrines were preached at the same time. The more literal set was preached for those who were not ready for the higher mysteries. There is ample evidence in the cannonical gospels themselves that there was a set of doctrine for the masses and another for the elite.

So which version of history do you believe in? It is up to each individual to decide. But I am very unattracted, though I once found refuge in, a literalist church that in one way or another was created and/or strongly influenced by Roman Catholicism. I find it very, very hard to believe in a God whose attitude is that those that don't believe the way he prefers they do should be burned at the stake as heretics. Even as the book of Revelations says, "Mystery Bablyon,(Roman Catholicism) mother of harlots, (protestant churches) and abominations in the earth."

When you wear Rose colored glasses, you tend to see religion, as well as everything else, in a perverted way. Is there a savior outside of ourselves? A deeper understanding of the hidden meanings of the parables and sayings of Jesus, with the alternate and deeper meanings of the Greek and other language words, would indicate there is not. In fact, the gospels begin to sound a lot, and I mean a lot more like a Bhuddist or Taoist text than a god savior manuscript. I will even go further. A deeper understanding shows a text full of meanings that mirror and parallel quantum physics, and the way we can related to the "Divine Matrix," as some would call it.

Nothing more at this time, but I do feel that Ben Witherington, not to critisize, he has written and excellent book, needs to look deeper into the material that he himself presents, unprejudiced by a fundamentalist eye."

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