View Full Version : Fundamentalist Christians: Beware of ex-President Jimmy Carter



JohnH_in_OKC
03-20-2012, 01:30 PM
Those of you who are fundamentalist Christians might want to read this interview with ex-President Jimmy Carter:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/19/president-jimmy-carter-bible-book_n_1349570.html?ref=religion&icid=maing-grid7%7Cmain5%7Cdl2%7Csec3_lnk1%26pLid%3D144967

Please remember the original text of Genesis said "In the beginning, the gods created heaven and earth", the council of Nicea removed all references to reincarnation from the books of the Bible they selected, & the book of Revelations was debated upon and unfortunately chosen from a choice of apochrahal books in my opinion.

I believe Jimmy Carter's opinion that God inspired the Bible is a much better viewpoint than the fundamentalist opinions who believed the Bible declared the world was flat & refused to change their opinions for over 1,000 years & sometimes executed people for believing otherwise.

President Jimmy Carter Authors New Bible Book, Answers Hard Biblical Questions
www.huffingtonpost.com

Jimmy Carter served as the 39th president of the United States, founded the Carter Center and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. President Carter is also a Sunday School teacher and has followed that avocation since his earliest years. In this interview, HuffPost's Senior Religion Editor Paul Brandeis Raushenbush spoke to President Carter by phone about the hardest questions presented in the Bible: from gays, science, the role of women, slavery passages and more. The former president offered answers to each of them with the insights and spiritual wisdom he has included in his latest book: "NIV Lessons from Life Bible: Personal Reflections with Jimmy Carter."

Paul Brandeis Raushenbush: Thank you so much for talking with me President Carter. As I warned, I am going to be asking the tough questions. So ... Did God write the Bible?

President Jimmy Carter: God inspired the Bible but didnít write every word in the Bible. We know, for instance that stars canít fall on the earth, stars are much larger than the earth. That was a limitation of knowledge of the universe or physics, or astronomy at that time, but that doesnít bother me at all.

How do you approach the passages in the Bible that talk about Godís creation (Genesis 1:1) while maintaining a positive attitude towards science?

I happen to have an advantage there because I am a nuclear physicist by training and a deeply committed Christian. I donít have any doubt in my own mind about God who created the entire universe. But I donít adhere to passages that so and so was created 4000 years before Christ, and things of that kind. Today we have shown that the earth and the stars were created millions, even billions, of years before. We are exploring space and sub-atomic particles and learning new facts every day, facts that the Creator has known since the beginning of time.

What do you say to those who point to certain scriptures that women should not teach men or speak in church? (1 Corinthians 1:14)

I separated from the Southern Baptists when they adopted the discriminatory attitude towards women, because I believe what Paul taught in Galatians that there is no distinction in Godís eyes between men and women, slaves and masters, Jews and non-Jews -Ė everybody is created equally in the eyes of God.

There are some things that were said back in those days Ė- Paul also said that women should not be adorned, fix up their hair, put on cosmetics, and that every woman who goes in a place of worship should have her head covered. Paul also said that men should not cut their beards and advocated against people getting married, except if they couldnít control their sexual urges. Those kinds of things applied to the customs of those days. Every worshipper has to decide if and when they want those particular passages to apply to them and their lives.

A lot of people point to the Bible for reasons why gay people should not be in the church, or accepted in any way.

Homosexuality was well known in the ancient world, well before Christ was born and Jesus never said a word about homosexuality. In all of his teachings about multiple things -Ė he never said that gay people should be condemned. I personally think it is very fine for gay people to be married in civil ceremonies.

I draw the line, maybe arbitrarily, in requiring by law that churches must marry people. Iím a Baptist, and I believe that each congregation is autonomous and can govern its own affairs. So if a local Baptist church wants to accept gay members on an equal basis, which my church does by the way, then that is fine. If a church decides not to, then government laws shouldnít require them to.

What about passages saying slaves obey your masters? (Colossians 3:22) Do you think there is ever a time to say, ok, we know that we donít agree with that passage, let's get rid of it?

Well, the principles of that are still applicable. It wasnít a matter that the Bible endorses slavery, it was that throughout history, now and in the future there are going to be some who are in a subservient position like when I was commanding officer of a ship when I was in the submarine corps. It is meant to preserve the basic principles that donít cause resentment or hatred or betrayal or false attitudes. But it also says that a master should respect your servant. So, it works both ways.

Jesus says I am the way the truth and the life (John 14:6). How can you remain true to an exclusivist faith claim while respecting other faith traditions?

Jesus also taught that we should not judge other people (Matthew 7:1), and that it is God who judges people, so I am willing to let God make those judgments, in the ultimate time whenever it might come. I think Ďjudge not that you be not judgedí is the best advice that I will follow. Maybe it is a rationalization, but it creates a lack of tension in my mind about that potential conflict.

There are many verses in the Bible that you could interpret very rigidly and that makes you ultimately into a fundamentalist. When you think you are better than anybody else -- that you are closer to God than other people, and therefore they are inferior to you and subhuman -- that leads to conflict and hatred and dissonance among people when we should be working for peace.

There is a scripture passage attributed to Jesus ďDo not think that I came to bring peace on earth, I did not come to bring peace but a swordĒ (Matthew: 10:34) How do you interpret that, in light of your basic belief in Jesus as the Prince of Peace?

For the last 35 or more years, my wife and I have read the Bible last thing every night and just last week we read that passage and discussed it a little bit. What Christ was saying was that when we have conflict in our mind or hearts, between our secular duties and teachings of Christ, we should put the teachings of Christ first.

He was predicting what would happen, that his teachings might cause divisions among people as they decided to follow Godís ordained duties such as peace, humility, service to others, alleviation of suffering, forgiveness -- when we face those conflicts, we should adhere to the principles that never change, to the moral values that are taught through religion.

Should we approach the Bible literally, or metaphorically?

When we go to the Bible we should keep in mind that the basic principles of the Bible are taught by God, but written down by human beings deprived of modern day knowledge. So there is some fallibility in the writings of the Bible. But the basic principles are applicable to my life and I donít find any conflict among them.

The example that I set in my private life is to emulate what Christ did as he faced people who were despised like the lepers or the Samaritans. He reached out to them, he reached out to poor people, he reached out to people that were not Jews and treated them equally. The more despised and the more in need they were, the more he emphasized that we should go to and share with them our talent our ability, our wealth, our influence. Those are the things that guide my life and when I find a verse in the Bible that contradicts those things that I just described to you, I put into practice the things that I derive from my faith in Christ.

SoonerDave
03-20-2012, 02:23 PM
If you really believe God inspired the Bible, yet believe it is fallible, why would God inspire error?

MikeLucky
03-20-2012, 02:50 PM
If you really believe God inspired the Bible, yet believe it is fallible, why would God inspire error?

Because God made humans... with free will and fallibility.... and THEY wrote the Bible...

I mean it was humans (protestants actually) afterall that decided at some point that they just didn't need the apocrypha... Was it God's will that the apocrypha be written to the letter a certain way, then just discarded? That seems pretty strange... for God I mean.

SoonerDave
03-20-2012, 03:14 PM
We'll agree to disagree on this one, Wichita. I believe the Bible's message of original sin, restoration, and salvation through Christ's atoning death alone is inspired by God, and that message was inerrantly communicated in the Bible. This does not contravene the fact that the men who wrote them were, themselves, imperfect, for Paul himself claimed that he was "chief" among them. The communication and transcription of that message was controlled and conveyed by God in an inerrant way.

It wasn't just a whimsical decision not to include the Apocrypha. The Apocryphal books were not deemed canonical in the Catholic church until the Council of Trent in the 16th century, but were never part of the Hebrew canon.

That Carter works so hard to equivocate God having written it, but then having communicated it "without modern knowledge" to rationalize his own notion of fallibility, barely even makes sense. I think he needs to decide which side of the coin he's on, one way or the other.

Christ's identity as "Prince of Peace" isn't about peace between men, its about peace between a just and righteous God and His fallen creations. While there is plenty of other material Carter states that is subject to debate, I will concur with his comment that we are to emulate Christ's model of service to everyone in this dying world.

CuatrodeMayo
03-20-2012, 03:15 PM
http://i283.photobucket.com/albums/kk281/duhflushtech/i-like-where-this-thread-is-going.jpg?1293650206

MikeLucky
03-20-2012, 03:34 PM
We'll agree to disagree on this one, Wichita. I believe the Bible's message of original sin, restoration, and salvation through Christ's atoning death alone is inspired by God, and that message was inerrantly communicated in the Bible. This does not contravene the fact that the men who wrote them were, themselves, imperfect, for Paul himself claimed that he was "chief" among them. The communication and transcription of that message was controlled and conveyed by God in an inerrant way.

It wasn't just a whimsical decision not to include the Apocrypha. The Apocryphal books were not deemed canonical in the Catholic church until the Council of Trent in the 16th century, but were never part of the Hebrew canon.

That Carter works so hard to equivocate God having written it, but then having communicated it "without modern knowledge" to rationalize his own notion of fallibility, barely even makes sense. I think he needs to decide which side of the coin he's on, one way or the other.

Christ's identity as "Prince of Peace" isn't about peace between men, its about peace between a just and righteous God and His fallen creations. While there is plenty of other material Carter states that is subject to debate, I will concur with his comment that we are to emulate Christ's model of service to everyone in this dying world.

Quite obviously you are a fundamentalist and a Bible literalist... And I get that... There are a lot of you guys here in Oklahoma. lol.

But, what that means is if we find one single piece of proof that say the earth developed for a longer period than a few 24-hour days, or that the ark never existed, etc... just one single piece of this evidence would then call into question the validity of the entire book. And honestly I think it's pretty obvious that we already have the tangible proof to show that some of what in the Bible is less than infallible.

But, why should that do anything to lessen the validity of the LESSONS and MORALS that are contained? As a person of Faith, I believe that the Bible is the word of God that is given to us. And I think the message is of high imporance whether or not any of the stories are true. As a Bible literalist, you can't really allow for that.... So how does it make you more faithful to ignore the things that are clearly put before us only to fulfill your strange urge to stick to literalism?

Oh, and before you try it, I'd like to just point out that you can't quote from a book to provide evidence for the validity of said book. lol. I've heard that one way too many times, so just thought I'd get that clear from the beginning.

MikeOKC
03-20-2012, 05:15 PM
This should probably go to politics, which, in my opinion, should be renamed "Politics & Religion."

I have a hard time believing so many believe these bizarre, supernatural, magical ideas from a book that has been thoroughly discredited as to its "inerrancy." The brainwashing, all a product of where you were born on the globe, is frightening; whether you be Christian, Muslim, fill-in-the-blank, it mostly all depends on where you were born. I feel free to say this only because SoonerDave (who I very much enjoy as a poster here) let it all hang out as to his beliefs. Like I said, I have a hard time believing intelligent people believe this kind of organized religion that takes a thousands year old book literally, but Dave made it seem pretty clear he does. We should respect that, as well as unbelief in the Biblical God or unbelief in the God of the Koran, etc. should be respected. I believe in something - but it has nothing to do with any organized religion.

HewenttoJared
03-20-2012, 06:34 PM
If you really believe God inspired the Bible, yet believe it is fallible, why would God inspire error?

Perhaps it has updates that many people have not yet discovered.

This is how we teach our kids in schools. We tell them all kinds of things at are technically not true and as they grow they learn the nuances. We teach them that each organism belongs to a species. Later they find out that a species is an almost impossible thing to define and life just isn't that simple. We teach them weight instead of mass and use the words interchangeably for years. Then they take a physics course and they realize that they are actually completely separate things. Progressive revelation is how any sentient species would learn best. Why wouldn't a God-like figure use such a system?

JohnH_in_OKC
03-20-2012, 06:44 PM
In a religion forum from Huffington Post:

President Jimmy Carter Authors New Bible Book, Answers Hard Biblical Questions (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/19/president-jimmy-carter-bible-book_n_1349570.html) - http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/19/president-jimmy-carter-bible-book_n_1349570.html

Sam Debater:

The Council of Nicaea had nothing whatsoever to do with selecting the canon of Scripture, despite the widespread myth to the contrary. The canon of Scripture was accepted by the majority of Christianity centuries before the Council of Nicea.

No one was executed because they believed the world was flat.

My reply:
jhmail

Everything I've read implies that Christianity was divided into many sects like the Essenes who had their own selection of "Christian" books for their Bible. When Emperor Constantine the Great decided he would to unify his Empire around the religion of Christianity, he asked Christian leaders from around the world to meet at Nicaea and consolidate their religion with a Bible consistent with each other. In the process, they threw out many of the books subscribed to by many of the Christian sects. Afterwards, the Emperor banned the ownership of the non-selected books, punishable by death. The Council also removed all references to reincarnation from the books that were selected, which are the books we now accept as the Christian Bible. If you read the footnotes of some of the Bibles we use today, some will mention that the original text differs from what the accepted Bible says. I read those footnotes as a child & realized the Bible could not be infallible if the original text was not accepted as God's word. It just didn't make any sense to me. Also some of the crazy things Paul wrote in his letters didn't make sense to me in our modern world. (Jimmy Carter eloquently cites some of those passages.)

Also about executing non-believers of the flat earth theory, please look up the Inquisition. Thousands (perhaps millions) of people were executed for not believing in church tenets. Look at what Galileo was put through. He had to recant his belief the world was round & circled the sun, under threat of being put to death.

JohnH_in_OKC
03-20-2012, 07:01 PM
Please note I misspelled Nicaea in the original posting at the top of the first page. It is not Nicea. Maybe I can edit the original post.

JohnH_in_OKC
03-20-2012, 08:24 PM
Another point: In my original text, I referred to Revelations as a new Apochryphal book of the Bible. I should have said Apoocalyptic or Prophetic book. There were several books competing for that last book of the New Testament, each making their own predictions about the future. Since Revelations was the most popular, it got selected. I think the Council of Nicaea made a mistake since I never found anything in Revelations that ever came true and it has led astray many Christians from focusing on Christ's message.

The Old Testament Apocrypha is another reason why each of us should recognize that the Bible is inspired by God but written by man. Why should the books that were accepted by Christianity as a part of the Bible for hundreds of years be banished from it by the Protestant Reformation?

oneforone
03-21-2012, 01:54 AM
I read through this and I find myself coming to the same old issue every time. We are on the teetering point of civilization breaking down into living like animals.

I think people need to stop fighting so hard to sell their beliefs to the world. People need to respect the fact that the person standing next them is not stupid or evil for not believing what they believe. People also need to understand that they themselves give another person's opinion value. We always have the option of shaking your head, smiling and walking away.

After all Jesus Christ did not go around thumping his chest and acting like car salesman or a crazed sports fan. He gained followers by making a positive impact on everyone he met. He balanced listening and talking treated and everyone with kindness and respect. He made people feel good about themselves no matter who they were or where they came from or how much or how little they had. I don't know very many people that behave like that today.

I don't care what you believe I will respect you provided you show the same respect for me. I believe in God. You don't have to if you don't want to. It's your life. That's the great thing about living in America. You can believe whatever you want to believe and that's okay.

kevinpate
03-21-2012, 08:55 AM
I...
After all Jesus Christ did not go around thumping his chest and acting like car salesman or a crazed sports fan. ...

No, but I'm thinking there's room for some interesting little 2-3 minutes sermonettes on you-tube if someone had a mind to do it. maybe some church to run during the local news. Would beat the fire, no pun intended, out of most car commercials.

What would you rather see ... another Chad Stevens or Donnie ad, or a Christ figure inviting folks to Sunday picnic lunch after service if you sign up now, and no worries about going away hungry, there'll be plenty of fish and rolls to go around. Hey, would I lie to ya?

metro
03-21-2012, 10:51 PM
I read through this and I find myself coming to the same old issue every time. We are on the teetering point of civilization breaking down into living like animals.

I think people need to stop fighting so hard to sell their beliefs to the world. People need to respect the fact that the person standing next them is not stupid or evil for not believing what they believe. People also need to understand that they themselves give another person's opinion value. We always have the option of shaking your head, smiling and walking away.

After all Jesus Christ did not go around thumping his chest and acting like car salesman or a crazed sports fan. He gained followers by making a positive impact on everyone he met. He balanced listening and talking treated and everyone with kindness and respect. He made people feel good about themselves no matter who they were or where they came from or how much or how little they had. I don't know very many people that behave like that today.

I don't care what you believe I will respect you provided you show the same respect for me. I believe in God. You don't have to if you don't want to. It's your life. That's the great thing about living in America. You can believe whatever you want to believe and that's okay.

Well said, best post in along time on these topics!

HewenttoJared
03-22-2012, 07:45 AM
I read through this and I find myself coming to the same old issue every time. We are on the teetering point of civilization breaking down into living like animals.

I think people need to stop fighting so hard to sell their beliefs to the world. People need to respect the fact that the person standing next them is not stupid or evil for not believing what they believe. People also need to understand that they themselves give another person's opinion value. We always have the option of shaking your head, smiling and walking away.

After all Jesus Christ did not go around thumping his chest and acting like car salesman or a crazed sports fan. He gained followers by making a positive impact on everyone he met. He balanced listening and talking treated and everyone with kindness and respect. He made people feel good about themselves no matter who they were or where they came from or how much or how little they had. I don't know very many people that behave like that today.

I don't care what you believe I will respect you provided you show the same respect for me. I believe in God. You don't have to if you don't want to. It's your life. That's the great thing about living in America. You can believe whatever you want to believe and that's okay.

Sometimes the person standing next to you is in fact extremely stupid.

bucktalk
03-22-2012, 10:11 AM
I read through this and I find myself coming to the same old issue every time. We are on the teetering point of civilization breaking down into living like animals.

I think people need to stop fighting so hard to sell their beliefs to the world. People need to respect the fact that the person standing next them is not stupid or evil for not believing what they believe. People also need to understand that they themselves give another person's opinion value. We always have the option of shaking your head, smiling and walking away.

After all Jesus Christ did not go around thumping his chest and acting like car salesman or a crazed sports fan. He gained followers by making a positive impact on everyone he met. He balanced listening and talking treated and everyone with kindness and respect. He made people feel good about themselves no matter who they were or where they came from or how much or how little they had. I don't know very many people that behave like that today.

I don't care what you believe I will respect you provided you show the same respect for me. I believe in God. You don't have to if you don't want to. It's your life. That's the great thing about living in America. You can believe whatever you want to believe and that's okay.

Uhmmm...the 'religious police' of Jesus day would argue your point. If you were to interview a Pharisee in Jesus day - he would totally disagree.