Considering starting work on a documntary about Christian Denominationalism

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by Bogie, Jan 16, 2008.

  1. Bogie macrumors regular

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    #1
    I'd be interested to get some thoughts and ideas on this. I'm a filmmaker and I'm considering starting work on a documentary about the every increasing splintering of Christianity into various denominations. I believe at present there's something in the area of 14,000.

    I find this interesting because Jesus prayed that the church would be one and further, on the basis of 1 Corinthians 1:10-17 which reads as follows:

    I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought. My brothers, some from Chloe's household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. What I mean is this: One of you says, "I follow Paul"; another, "I follow Apollos"; another, "I follow Cephas"; still another, "I follow Christ."

    Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized into the name of Paul? I am thankful that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius, so no one can say that you were baptized into my name. (Yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I don't remember if I baptized anyone else.) For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel—not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.


    To apply this to a modern parallel, this verse seems to implore Christians not to follow Luther or Wesley or even the Pope, but Christ alone.

    This would be controversial to be sure, but it really intrigues me. Where does denominational pride end and Christianity begin? What if anything could be done to reverse the trend? Could protestants, catholics and the orthodox church someday be reconciled with one another? Is anyone actively working to this end?

    These are the sorts of questions I have in mind. It's difficult to speak to the scale of the documentary because that would depend on what sort of access I could get, but I would like to go all over the spectrum from Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant leaders all the way down (way down) to the Westboro Baptist Church. I want to see what fuels their hate and how they reconcile it with what Christianity actually teaches.

    What do you think? Any ideas?
     
  2. Dont Hurt Me macrumors 603

    Dont Hurt Me

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    Send them the $$$:D I wonder which one is right.:apple:
     
  3. faintember macrumors 65816

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    Being raised as a southern baptist, I am very aware of the splintering and stereotyping of various denominations. For some of the main reasons you mentioned, I now think of myself as "christian", and no longer as a baptist/presbyterian/methodist/etc.

    My personal view of the various denominations is, generally speaking, that they function as a matter of preferences, where one group may interpret the Bible in a more strict/relaxed way, prefer a certain type of music to accompany worship, have more formal/informal church services, etc. Now, most of my experience is with friends and family that attended baptist, presbyterian, methodist or wesleyan churches, and all of that experience is from my lifetime, so I have little to no knowledge how those denominations interacted with each other earlier in history.

    Anyway, I would be very interested in watching such a documentary.
     
  4. SMM macrumors 65816

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    If you were to unify all of the Christian sects, under which one's dogma would the others have to adhere to? Realistically, they are unlikely to accept each other's extreme beliefs. I can just imagine someone trying to unify an evangelical fascist and a Quaker.

    With that being said, and if your intent is to solely make a documentary, I would email Chris Hedges, author of American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War On America. He is the son of a minister, has a doctorate in theology from Harvard and probably understands Christianity in America as well as anyone. Tell him about your project and ask to interview him. I think that is a pretty good place to start.
     
  5. Bogie thread starter macrumors regular

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    Thanks for the tip!

    I think that there is in fact one correct interpretation of the Bible (and many applications) and none of the denominations have it completely right but they all possess a piece of the puzzle and it's pride that keeps them from putting it all together. And what's more, I believe that the continued pride is what causes more and more pieces so to speak to appear and denominations to break up into subdenominations and then sub-subdenominations.
     
  6. Iscariot macrumors 68030

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    #6
    Isn't the problem that, just like you, they all believe they're right?
     
  7. skunk macrumors G4

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    But there are several interpretations within the bible, starting from Genesis. How can you choose a "correct" interpretation when the scribes themselves could not make up their minds?
     
  8. Bogie thread starter macrumors regular

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    Where did I say I think I'm right and what did I say I'm right about? If you're talking about doctrine, I'm still searching. When ideas come along from whatever source, that are superior to ones I presently hold I adopt the new ideas until such a time that they're proved incorrect or until I learn some new truth that sheds further light on them.
     
  9. Bogie thread starter macrumors regular

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    Give me an example. I'm not quite sure I understand what you mean. We may just be using different words to say the same thing.

    And let me add this too...in the modern world we believe that text perception and interpretation is in the hands of each individual reader. That is, readers determine the meaning. This is however very much a product of the 20th century. Before that authorial intent was the driving force in textual interpretation and I believe it still ought to be. If a person believes themselves to be right about an interpretation but doesn't bother trying to discover the authors intent then that person may very well be misguided regarding the original intention of the text.
     
  10. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #10
    It is generally accepted that there are at least two different and mutually incompatible creation stories in Genesis, and that the version which is in the modern bible contains a composition of the two.

    http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/contra/accounts.html
     
  11. calculus Guest

    calculus

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    Not for the first time, I am reminded of the great Emo Philips
     
  12. Bogie thread starter macrumors regular

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    Oh, that's a simple one. Each account reflects something different of the nature of God but they aren't separate accounts. You can tell by the usage of God's name in each respective account. Of course this doesn't carry over well into English because we see "the Lord" or God" but in the Hebrew text you have "Jehovah", "Yaweh", "Elohim" and such, all of which refer to a different aspect of God's character. For instance, when Elohim is used, this is in reference to God's power. However, when Jehovah is used, this is in reference to God's personal nature. The two accounts use different names of God. That's why it's unwise to rely purely on an English TRANSLATION (key word).
     
  13. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #13
    Oh, I see. So the creation of the universe happened differently according to what aspect of the Almighty was doing the creating? Very creative! How silly of me to have missed that obvious answer.
     
  14. Queso macrumors G4

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    I wouldn't bother skunk. They've had several thousand years practice in justifying the inconsistencies, even to the point where it all appears logical to them :rolleyes:

    As for the original point of the thread, I think it would be an interesting documentary to watch, but only if there was a serious effort to ensure that no single denominational bias was introduced into the film. Especially if it was set in the USA, where the general culture on all fronts is to support your "team" at all costs. I'd like to see how this side of the American identity reflects in their religion.
     
  15. Bogie thread starter macrumors regular

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    Go read what you posted again and think critically about it. The skeptics people did a very sloppy job of logic and they lack any understanding of Hebrew literary construction which isn't as concerned with linearity as it is with emphasis of importance. I'm sorry but the skeptics annotated bible is not the pinnacle of Biblical research and understanding. You're welcome to believe it if you'd like, but you won't get far with that bit of fool's gold.
     
  16. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #16
    Does that mean there are different universes coexisting, which we experience according to what aspect of the Almighty we're currently perceiving?
    :eek:
     
  17. mactastic macrumors 68040

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    I suppose if I want to be insulting too, I'd say that you can believe the Bible if you like, but you won't get far with that bit of fool's gold.
     
  18. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #18
    I see dynamicv was absolutely correct. You, of course, are entirely familiar with Hebrew literary construction, in a way that I could never hope to be.
     
  19. Bogie thread starter macrumors regular

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    Who am I being insulting too? The writer's of the skeptics Bible? Okay, well I'd say thats pretty justified here. It's pretty clear that they're using purely English translations and don't know about Hebrew writing methodology. Is it a complicated subject? Sure, but who in their right mind believes that the greater understanding should give way to the lesser so that the lesser won't be offended by being called wrong?
     
  20. Bogie thread starter macrumors regular

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    I've taken some courses dealing with it yes. I'm a religion major. You could learn, but your smug attitude tells me you wouldn't waste your time.
     
  21. themadchemist macrumors 68030

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    Then you accept that the Bible, like all other religious texts, is a work from human hands, subject in its construction to the cultural context of its authors? In that case, how can you say that there is one undeniable interpretation or that the authors, writing from the imperfect lens of being human, did not fail to convey the full meaning and nature of God's message?
     
  22. Bogie thread starter macrumors regular

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    Of course it's subject to the cultural interpretation of the original author! That's the first principle of biblical interpretation in virtually every book on the subject you're likely to read. The worst question you can start with is "What does this mean to me?". The second worst is "what does this appear to mean?".

    The question you always start with is "what did the original author intend?". Since most of us only have English translations rather than Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic bibles we have to put aside our own cultural pride and realize that our translations can be flawed and the only way to truly be sure of the meaning of an obscure text is to study the original language AND culture. That's what they have concordances for. I recommend the Strong's concordance, but Baker's is very good too.

    As for the latter part of the question, I believe in the inspiration of the biblical authors. They're writing did indeed convey their personality but at the same time, they conveyed precisely what God meant for them too. It's called dual-authorship.
     
  23. Ugg macrumors 68000

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    #23
    This thread is a perfect example why there are so many different christian sects. The more people there are on this planet, the less likely they'll ever agree on anything.

    Christ's teachings are obviously secondary when it comes to the vast majority of christian sects. There shouldn't be any surprise in that. Anyone who believes that any of today's flavors of xianity have anything to do with Christ needs to take a good hard look at the bible.

    A friend of mine from Poland is always making fun of Americans who are constantly on the lookout for spiritual enlightenment. I think you'd do better to examine the need so many Americans have for religion. It's truly mind boggling to me and IMO, a sign of America's perpetual feelings of insecurity about itself.
     
  24. adrianblaine macrumors 65816

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    #24
    Knowing what every line in the Bible means has never seemed the way to go in my opinion. Christ laid out two laws to cover everything. Love Him and love those around you. That doesn't mean the rest of the Bible is irrelevant, but arguements over what 2,000 year old writing means in detail is over looking the simplistic nature of what it really means to be a Christian. I'm not saying we need to abolish studying the Bible in great detail, just that there are more important parts overall.

    As far as a documentary goes, it seems a little overwhelming and would end up being 6 hours long. I agree though, there is much division between Christians. Are you hoping a documentary on the subject would help in bringing churches together?

    That is interesting considering I don't see much religion in day to day life here. A lot of people in the US may consider themselves as part of a religion, but I'd say the majority don't go much further than just calling themself a (insert denomination). It may seem like there is a lot of need for it, but I only see it on TV.
     
  25. skunk macrumors G4

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    #25
    How pricelessly convenient! Your documentary should be fascinating.
     

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