JW: The only thing we can be certain about regarding the Christian Bible is that the Impossible was not Possible. This observation also creates considerable Doubt as to the Possible claims of the Christian Bible. Ironically, Believers possess the Opposite Argument - The Impossible claims of the CB make the Possible claims more believable.
Most Believers take the claims of the CB for granted being brought up by and surrounded by a Culture of fellow Believers, making little or no effort to Critically examine the claims of the CB. If we step outside the boundary of the Real world of Logic and Reason and accept the possibility that the Impossible is Possible (even though any related Conclusions will now have no Logical standing in the Real World) for the sake of Argument than an important question is:
HOW exactly was the Christian Bible created?
According to Christianity, the Christian Bible was Created by Someones/Somethings called "Church Tradition" and an important component of "Church Tradition" was Irenaeus because he wrote "On The Apostolic Preaching".
The first question to ask when studying a writing of a Church Father is, WHO exactly was the author of what we now possess (extant)?:
1) How do we know what was Original?
2) How do we know what was Edited?
3) How do we know what was Mistranslated?
4) How much do we Discount what we have solely because of Motive and Opportunity to present what Christianity wanted or thought Irenaeus should say rather than what he actually said?
Assuming for now that the author of the Present "On The Apostolic Preaching":
was holy or at least primarily Irenaeus, WHO was Irenaeus? Irenaeus was the most important Church Father during the second century as the subsequent Church chose to preserve more of his writings than anyone else of the second century and he is the first known person to mention all four Gospels by their current names. As the second century appears to be responsible for the creation of a very mysterious one Way force called "Church Tradition" and also the likely time that Christianity made a Jew-Turn going the wrong way down a One God Street Irenaeus also becomes one of the most important Church Fathers in the history of Christianity.
"Church Tradition" is a fascinating substance which unlike Jesus who apparently was only able to re-incarnate once, can magically incarnate when it is needed to support important Christian assertions such as WHAT is Scripture? (it was determined by "Church Tradition")but can also magically disincarnate when it doesn't support modern Christian assertions (they call me trinity). WHO were the guys behind "Church Tradition"? Maybe Irenaeus? We'll see that when someone like Irenaeus agrees with later Christian assertions he becomes an invaluable contemporary witness of impeccable credentials supporting "Church Tradition" but when he disagrees with later Christian assertions he dwindles to just a man and not Scripture. The puzzle this creates is did Scripture create the "Church Tradition" or did "Church Tradition" create Scripture? Or put in theological Christian terms, which came first, the Eucharchicken or the Easter Egg?
I would encourage Everyone to read "On The Apostolic Preaching" because:
1) It demonstrates how Poor Irenaeus' reasoning skills were.
2) It demonstrates how Biased Irenaeus was.
3) It demonstrates Irenaeus'lack of evidence for concluding WHAT the Christian Bible should be.
4) It demonstrates the Uncertainty of what Irenaeus originally wrote.
--JoeWallack 09:47, 5 Sep 2006 (CDT)
Church Tradition - A memorization technique involving the oral transmission of a story from generation to generation until Nobody remembers What the original story was.
InKarnate The Magnificent
I have here in my hand a Gospel, sealed by Hermas, which has been sitting on Robert Funk 's porch for two thousand years. I shall now attempt to divine the contents of this Gospel in my borderline mystical way without ever having studied extant early manuscripts, quotes from Church Fathers or through the use of deductive reasoning.
(Putting sealed Gospel to forehead) A shroud, a cloud, right-hand of goud.
(Opening envelope) Where won't we be seeing Jesus anytime SOON?
JW: Perhaps even more miraculous than Christianity's claim of the Incarnation of Jesus is Christianity's claim of the Incarnation of "Church Fathers" who can magically incarnate as credible witnesses in support of Christian assertions and then can just as magically disincarnate when either the specifics of what they wrote or the omission from their writings does not support Christian assertions. Unlike Jesus who apparently was only able to incarnate once there appears to be no such limit on the ability of "Church Fathers" to incarnate and disincarnate at the whim of apologists as easily as the Cable Company guy who Incarnates to pick up your check for the installation but then disincarnates when you report a subsequent problem.
One of the tenants of the Inerrantist position is a belief that the original Gospels were inerrant and that if it can be demonstrated that a descendent of the original has an error that error was a result of the copying process and not an accurate copy of an error in the original.
The question has been raised, "is it possible to determine if errors existed in an original writing which no longer exists?" While one can argue that determination can not be made in an absolute sense if the original does not exist, such determination is made all the time in our legal system as well as everyday life where the original is lost and we must determine what it said as best we can through available evidence such as copies, excerpts, memory and common sense analysis through deductive reasoning.
Deductive reasoning would indicate that it is MORE likely that the original Gospels had errors than subsequent copies have errors based on the following observations:
1) Older extant Gospel manuscripts tend to have more errors than newer manuscripts.
2) When the Gospels were originally written the authors would have had less knowledge of the contents of other Gospels than subsequent copyists and presumably either the original authors or subsequent copyists would have used this knowledge to try and avoid errors.
3) It can be demonstrated that many copyists had an objective of trying to correct perceived errors in the manuscripts they were copying from (such as notes in the margins indicating the original verse they were editing).
4) Error is more likely to be made by an original author than a copyist whose primary responsibility is to simply copy what was previously written.
5) The earliest Church Fathers indicate that the most variation in manuscripts was in the earliest history of the Church and manuscript variation is often caused by a recognized error in the original which is corrected by copyists but which correction varies because the original was not followed.
6) The absence of any significant portions of Gospels before Christianity gained control of the western world likely indicates that the Church either chose not to preserve these manuscripts or actively destroyed them presumably in part because of errors in them compared to newer copies.
--JoeWallack 10:15, 12 Jan 2007 (CST)