Sunday, April 09, 2006

Da Vinci bull crap

-What does The Da Vinci Code claim regarding the origin of the Bible?The book states: "The Bible is a product of man, my dear. Not of God. . . . The Bible, as we know it today, was collated by the pagan Roman emperor Constantine the Great" (231).

This is false. The process by which the Bible formed was one that took time; it was not collated at any one time. Nor did Constantine have anything to do with the process, either before or after he converted to Christianity.



-What evidence is there that the Bible formed independently of Constantine?

The Old Testament canon had been forming for centuries. Jesus and the apostles already recognized the authority of the Old Testament writings that existed in their time, as illustrated by the following verses:
"And beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself" (Luke 24:27).
"You search the scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness to me" (John 5:39).
"And Paul went in, as was his custom, and for three weeks he argued with them from the scriptures, explaining and proving that it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead" (Acts 17:2-3).
"From infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus" (2 Tim. 3:15, NIV).

In the first century the apostles and their associates wrote the books of the New Testament, which were passed down to succeeding generations of Christians and read in the churches. In the second and third centuries, Gnostic heretics began to manufacture writings that falsely claimed to be from the apostles, but since they had not been passed down in the churches from the beginning, they were rejected. In response to these new, false writings the churches drew up lists of the authentic books that had been handed down from the apostles. A famous list of the sacred writings from the mid-second century is known as the Muratorian Canon.The process by which the canon of Scripture was formed was largely complete by the time of Constantine (the early fourth century), and he made no contribution to it. There were a few Old Testament books (known today as the deuterocanonical books or "apocrypha") that continued to be discussed after Constantine's time, into the late fourth century-further illustrating that he did not collate the Bible. No Bible scholar holds that Constantine played such a role in the development of Scripture. Dan Brown is simply wrong.To view some of the early lists of the books of the Bible, see "The Old Testament Canon" at:www.catholic.com/library/Old_Testament_Canon.asp



-What does The Da Vinci Code claim regarding the early Church's recognition of Christ's divinity?Referring to the First Council of Nicaea, which took place in A.D. 325, The Da Vinci Code states:
Until that moment in history, Jesus was viewed by His followers as a mortal prophet . . . a great and powerful man, but a man nonetheless. A mortal. . . . By officially endorsing Jesus as the Son of God, Constantine turned Jesus into a deity.

It is true that Constantine, following his conversion to Christ, presided over the First Council of Nicaea, but it is not true that Constantine "turned Jesus into a deity" or that Christians had not viewed Jesus as God prior to this event.Constantine had called the Council together to settle a dispute that had arisen when a priest from Egypt named Arius began to deny that Jesus was God, causing a scandal by repudiating the faith of Christians everywhere. Arius gained a number of followers (known as Arians) and the controversy between the Arians and traditional Christians grew so sharp that the emperor called the Council to settle the matter. Personally, Constantine tended to support the position of the Arians, but he recognized the authority of the bishops in articulating the Christian faith, and the bishops of the Council reaffirmed the traditional Christian teaching that Jesus was fully divine. It was thus the bishops of the Council of Nicaea who reaffirmed the historic Christian position against Arius and his followers. Constantine recognized their authority to do so in spite of the fact he would have preferred a different outcome.



-What evidence is there that Christians regarded Christ as God before the Council of Nicaea?

Christ's divinity is stressed repeatedly in the New Testament. For example, we are told that Jesus' opponents sought to kill him because he "called God his Father, making himself equal with God" (John 5:18).When quizzed about how he has special knowledge of Abraham, Jesus replies, "Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am" (John 8:58), invoking and applying to himself the personal name of God-"I Am" (Ex. 3:14). His audience understood exactly what he was claiming about himself. "So they took up stones to throw at him; but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple" (John 8:59).In John 20:28, Thomas falls at Jesus' feet, exclaiming, "My Lord and my God!" And Paul tells us that Jesus chose to be born in humble, human form even though he could have remained in equal glory with the Father, for he was "in the form of God" (Phil. 2:6).



-The Da Vinci Code asserts that the canon of Scripture was altered at the order of Constantine to support his new doctrine.

How do you answer this?Brown is asserting this in order to deny the evidence that exists against his position. He cannot back this claim up, for there is no evidence for it whatsoever. No Scripture scholar-Christian or non-Christian-supports this position. There is a number of reasons for this, some of which we will see below, but one reason is that the writings of the Church Fathers (and even non-Christian historians) before the time of Constantine show that Christians regarded Jesus as God.Consider the following quotations, all of which predate the Council of Nicaea:
Ignatius of Antioch: "For our God, Jesus Christ, was conceived by Mary in accord with God's plan: of the seed of David, it is true, but also of the Holy Spirit" (Letter to the Ephesians 18:2 [A.D. 110]).
Tatian the Syrian: "We are not playing the fool, you Greeks, nor do we talk nonsense, when we report that God was born in the form of a man" (Address to the Greeks 21 [A.D. 170]).
Clement of Alexandria: "The Word, then, the Christ, is the cause both of our ancient beginning-for he was in God-and of our well-being. And now this same Word has appeared as man. He alone is both God and man, and the source of all our good things" (Exhortation to the Greeks 1:7:1 [A.D. 190]).
Tertullian: "God alone is without sin. The only man who is without sin is Christ; for Christ is also God" (The Soul 41:3 [A.D. 210]).
Origen: "Although he was God, he took flesh; and having been made man, he remained what he was: God" (The Fundamental Doctrines 1:0:4 [A.D. 225]). For more quotations illustrating the same point, see:www.catholic.com/library/Divinity_of_Christ.asp



-What does The Da Vinci Code claim regarding Jesus' relationship to Mary Magdalene?

The book claims that the two were married. In fact, it claims that Jesus got Mary Magdalene pregnant, and the two had a daughter. The book states:
Mary Magdalene was pregnant at the time of the crucifixion. For the safety of Christ's unborn child, she had no choice but to flee the Holy Land. . . . It was there in France that she gave birth to a daughter. Her name was Sarah. Later the book claims that this union gave rise to a bloodline that still exists in prominent European families (including one of the book's main characters, Sophie Neveu). It also claims that the Catholic Church knows about this and has covered it up for centuries, even resorting to murdering Christ's own descendants to protect the secret:
Behold . . . the greatest cover-up in human history. Not only was Jesus Christ married, but He was a father. . . .The early Church feared that if the lineage were permitted to grow, the secret of Jesus and Magdalene would eventually surface and challenge the fundamental Catholic doctrine-that of a divine Messiah who did not consort with women or engage in sexual union. . . . Many of the Vatican's Grail quests here were in fact stealth missions to erase members of the royal bloodline.
How do you respond to these claims?It is irresponsible and offensive for Brown to impugn the faith of countless Catholics in this fashion. He has no solid evidence to support these contentions, and in the absence of such evidence it is unacceptable to smear the faith of millions with these charges.A comparable smear would be saying that Lutherans have been murdering the descendants of Luther or that Jewish leaders have been murdering the descendants of Moses. If such charges were made, particularly with no evidence, they would be regarded instantly as vicious and bigoted slanders against what other people hold sacred.Claiming that Catholics have been killing the descendants of their God is a vile and unacceptable assault on their faith. People of all faiths should regard Dan Brown as the viciously bigoted man that it takes to make this kind of charge.



-What is one to make of The Da Vinci Code's specific claim that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene?

It is impossible to take this claim seriously.The reason that Brown and a handful of others (chiefly New Age authors) have tried to identify Mary Magdalene as the wife of Jesus is obvious: She is one of the few women disciplines of Christ who is prominent, whose name we know, and whom we don't know was married to someone else. Other female disciples of Jesus are known to be married to others (e.g., Joanna the wife of Chuza [Luke 8:3]) or are too insignificant ("the other Mary" [Matt. 28:1]) or we don't know their names (the Syro-Phoenecian woman [Matt. 15:28]). If one wants to force Jesus into the role of being married, Mary Magdalene is one of the few prominent and (seemingly) available women to be pushed into the role of being his wife.Furthermore, there is nothing in the New Testament that states or implies that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene. According to the New Testament, Mary of Magdala was a devout follower of Christ and one of the first witnesses of his Resurrection (cf. Matt. 28:1), but not his wife. There is no evidence in the New Testament or the writings of the Church Fathers that she was married to Jesus.Jesus also said things that indicated that he wasn't married to anyone. He explained that some voluntarily refrain from marrying in order to be fully consecrated to God. He says that they "have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake" (Matt. 19:12). He portrays voluntary abstention from marriage as the highest form of consecration, and as the spiritual leader of the Christian movement, it would be strange for him to hold up such a standard if he himself did not meet it.Moreover, the early Church was unanimous in regarding Jesus as unmarried. This is not a later doctrine of the Church Fathers but something found in the New Testament itself. The authors of the New Testament regularly depict the Church as "the bride of Christ" (2 Cor. 11:2; Eph. 5:21-33; cf. Rev. 21:9-10). This metaphor would never have developed if a flesh-and-blood "Mrs. Jesus" was living just down the street. Only if Christ was celibate would the Church have come to be depicted metaphorically as his bride.



-What does Brown claim regarding Mary Magdalene's role in the early Church?

Brown asserts that in the original Gospels, Mary Magdalene rather than Peter was directed to establish the Church:
According to these unaltered gospels, it was not Peter to whom Christ gave directions with which to establish the Christian Church. It was Mary Magdalene. . . . Jesus was the original feminist. Again, there is no basis for this claim. None of the early manuscripts of the Gospels nor any of the quotations of the Gospels in the writings of the early Church Fathers suggest that anything of the kind was said at any stage in the history of the Gospels. Brown's assertion that "Jesus was the original feminist" is simply pandering to modern secular sensibilities. It in no way represents the historical evidence that exists.Appealing to prior "unaltered" gospels that had not been doctored by Constantine or others in the early Church is fatuous. There is no evidence that Constantine ordered any copies of Scripture to be changed. If one wishes to claim that he did give such an order, one should be able to back it up with a citation from a contemporary source, but no such passage can be found. None of the surviving records of the period-or even the records of later centuries-record Constantine or any one else attempting to alter the texts of the existing canon to change this or any other doctrine. Brown simply has no evidence to back up his claim.If Constantine or any one else had tried to change Scripture, Christians would have refused. The Christian Church had just come through an age of persecution in which Christians had been burned at the stake for refusing to deny their Lord and the Scriptures he gave them. To allow those writings to be mutilated would be unthinkable, and any attempt to change them would have resulted in an enormous controversy that would be mentioned in the writings of the period.It would have been a practical impossibility to change Scripture, because thousands of copies were in existence all across the Mediterranean world, from Europe to North Africa. There was no central registry of who had copies of the Bible, so there was no way to track them down and edit them. There were simply too many copies floating in circulation.But even if all of the copies then known to exist had been tracked down and altered, this would not have affected the copies of Scripture that by this time already had been lost. Many of the early manuscripts of Scripture that we now have were waiting, lost, in the desert until their discovery by modern archaeology. But when we look at these copies, they teach the same doctrines as later copies and show no evidence of having been censored.Moreover, the writings of the early Church Fathers from before the time of Constantine show the same teachings and quote the Gospels as saying the same things as in the canonical Gospels.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Hypocrites!

Rho and his cronies are afraid of the truth. They are afraid of the fact that they are helping KJI to oppress these North Koreans.

They do not want to know about the consequences when KJI regime folds and these “repressed” people rise up to take revenge. Not only on KJI’s military officers, but also on pro-KJI South Korean politicians who helped KJI to hold on to power.

Pro-North politicians have a lot of reason to fear for their lives. Even if their side,the Chinese and KJI, take over South Korea, they are the first ones to be executed. They do not understand the real situation. KJI is being hated in the North Korea and will be detested once they find out about the world outside NK. And, that day is approaching sooner than they think.

You have a wife-beater, Mr. Kim, living in your neighborhood. You used to tell him about his evil deeds and told him to stop. However, now you have a customer(China) who buys a lot of your product. China is Mr. Kim’s father and tells you to get along with his son. Or, else.

So, you invite Kim. And, wine and dine him. Mr. Kim, once drunk, goes home and beats his wife even more. You know this will happen but you are afraid of losing China’s patronage. You actually helped Mr. Kim to beat his wife.

One day, you meet his black-and-blue wife in the market. She tells you that, after she kills her husband, she will kill China and you for helping her husband to continue his reign of terror.
You lie. You tell her that you did not know she was being beaten by Mr. Kim. You act surprised. But, in the heart of hearts, you know. You contributed to her being messed up. You helped the evil man. You are evil.

Pro-North politicians are evil.

The irony is you, yourself, had been beaten before by your boyfriends(Park, Chun and Rho) and you vowed yourself never be subjected to that tyranny again. Yet, you are helping Mr.Kim to beat his wife. And, pseudo-intellectual in you justifies the action thinking that this is necessary to open up North Korea. And, you agree with China for sending NK escapees back to NK for horrible torture and death.

What pompous hypocrite you are!