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Old 06-11-2019, 08:15 PM
UDS is offline
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Australia
Posts: 9,163
Originally Posted by manson1972 View Post
Thanks everyone for responding. Regarding this, are the actual words of Jesus that much different between the Gospels?
As Thudlow says, there's a good deal of common material between the three synoptic gospels, whereas John is a different kettle of fish. In John, Jesus's teachings are presented in a serious of long discourses which are unlikely to have been speeches actually given by Jesus (or to have been understood by the readership as speeches actually given by Jesus) but instead are a theologically-formed synthesis of the teachings of Jesus. Which raises the question; if you're going to base your religion only on what Jesus said, do you confine that to (purported) reports of direct speech only?

Originally Posted by manson1972 View Post
And this: "The problem I think they'd run into is that there's a LOT that Jesus didn't say anything about...

Homosexuality? Nothin'. Masturbation? Nope. Priests, church services, hymns? Nada"

I would think that would be sort of the point.
That's only a problem if you take an absurdly simplistic approach and thnk that the only signficance Jesus' words (or indeed anybody's words) can have is their immediate surface meaning. On this view, for example, if Jesus says something about swords, that refers only to swords but has nothing to tell us about guns or about violence or about the use of force or the assertion of power in general. Or, Jesus's teachings about adultery cannot be used to draw any conclusions about fidelity, or loyalty, or commitment more generally.

But this is absurd. Much of Jesus' recorded speech is in parables, where the whole point is that you are to draw a lesson of general application from a (fictional) story about specific people and circumstances by looking beyond a simplistic interpretation.

So, Jesus may have said nothing about moral issue X or Y, but that doesn't mean that what Jesus did say can't be critically interrogated to derive principles and values which could illuminate moral issues X or Y. A religion based on such a reading of what Jesus said is still based on what Jesus said.