Isn't the bible poorly written?
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13-08-2015, 10:46 AM
RE: Isn't the bible poorly written?
(13-08-2015 09:43 AM)TarzanSmith Wrote:  It has often been my opinion that the biggest impediment to explaining the bible to atheists (not all) is that many seem to lack the concept of poetry. Even if we disagree on the inerrancy of the bible, I am sure you can agree with the statement that just because something isn't true does not mean it is not truth.

"Truth" is a slippery word. There are things in the bible that are valuable lessons to understand, they just aren't original to the bible and don't require any sort of divine inspiration. The authors of the stories in the bible were human beings who knew a great deal about what is good and what is bad just from life experience. Some of them sound like nasty, barbaric assholes who fostered a worldview that I find despicable and some were trying to find ways to make life better for themselves and others. What good there is in the bible isn't good because it is in the bible and it isn't in the bible because it is good.

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13-08-2015, 10:53 AM
RE: Isn't the bible poorly written?
(13-08-2015 10:46 AM)unfogged Wrote:  
(13-08-2015 09:43 AM)TarzanSmith Wrote:  It has often been my opinion that the biggest impediment to explaining the bible to atheists (not all) is that many seem to lack the concept of poetry. Even if we disagree on the inerrancy of the bible, I am sure you can agree with the statement that just because something isn't true does not mean it is not truth.

"Truth" is a slippery word. There are things in the bible that are valuable lessons to understand, they just aren't original to the bible and don't require any sort of divine inspiration. The authors of the stories in the bible were human beings who knew a great deal about what is good and what is bad just from life experience. Some of them sound like nasty, barbaric assholes who fostered a worldview that I find despicable and some were trying to find ways to make life better for themselves and others. What good there is in the bible isn't good because it is in the bible and it isn't in the bible because it is good.

I never meant to imply anything of the sort regarding divine inspiration. A quote from the movie V for Vendetta I think sums up my opinion correctly; "writers use lies to tell the truth", even if that truth is only a perceived truth and not really true.

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13-08-2015, 11:37 AM
RE: Isn't the bible poorly written?
(13-08-2015 09:43 AM)TarzanSmith Wrote:  
(13-08-2015 07:59 AM)Grasshopper Wrote:  I was born and raised as a Roman Catholic, and therefore heard the Bible read at Mass at least once a week, and every day during my first 8 years of school. However, these readings would have been either in Latin or in a Catholic translation (Douay-Rheims or Confraternity of Christian Doctrine back in the 1960s, New American Bible later on). I didn't really fall in love with the Bible as literature until I discovered the King James version, and that was in my college years, by which time I was effectively an atheist. I remember asking for a King James Bible for my birthday one year, and my dad went ballistic. He thought I was "turning Protestant" (he would have been even more upset had he known that I had already "turned atheist"). I ended up buying a KJV Bible on my own and on the sly.

As for the poetry in Job and Ecclesiastes, there's no accounting for taste. I love those passages, not only for what they say but for how they say it (the essence of poetry), and both books are full of similar stuff. I could also have quoted any number of Psalms, or the Song of Solomon.

Even Richard Dawkins admits that the Bible is important as literature and as a cultural document. You simply can't understand English or American literature and culture unless you're familiar with it. And once you start reading and studying it, you will find literary gems everywhere, provided you keep an open mind (and understand, as Tarzan Smith points out, that this is a different kind of literature than a modern novel). That seems to be a problem for both atheists and theists. Theists can be so conditioned to seeing the Bible as ultimate truth that they can't see the glaring contradictions all over the place. And atheists can be so conditioned to seeing it as ultimate bullshit that they can't see the literary value. I try to be aware of both kinds of things.

It has often been my opinion that the biggest impediment to explaining the bible to atheists (not all) is that many seem to lack the concept of poetry. Even if we disagree on the inerrancy of the bible, I am sure you can agree with the statement that just because something isn't true does not mean it is not truth.

I might not put it quite that way, but certainly there is truth in the Bible, and there is profound philosophy (Ecclesiastes, for example), and there is great poetry. Poetry seems to be an impediment to most people in general, because it takes a lot of effort to read it well. I like poetry, and still sometimes I have to force myself to make that effort. The people who complain that the Bible is boring would probably say the same thing about Shakespeare or Milton, and poetry doesn't get any better than those guys. An added barrier is that Hebrew poetry is different from English poetry, and achieves its effects in different ways.

I think the biggest problem for atheists, though, is getting past the mindset that this is all bullshit, it's just a story, couldn't have really happened, talking snakes, yada yada yada. Well, so what? You could make all those same complaints about Homer's Odyssey or Shakespeare's The Tempest, but they are still great literature. And so is much of the Bible. It's not a history book (although some Christians will claim that it is) -- it's literature. You don't read it like you would read a history book, and you don't use the same criteria to evaluate it.
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13-08-2015, 09:58 PM
RE: Isn't the bible poorly written?
I love some of the poetry and storytelling in the Bible, since that's all it is, to me... but "that's all it is" is no small thing. Man is a storytelling creature, even in acts as simple as looking at clouds and finding the patterns we see: "Look, it's a turtle catching up to a rabbit!"

That said, I still prefer The Silmarillion to anything I've ever seen in a holy book. One of the tales it tells, The Children of Húrin, is probably my favorite mythological story of all time.

I highly recommend the illustrated edition:

http://www.amazon.com/Children-Hurin-J-R...llustrated

"Theology made no provision for evolution. The biblical authors had missed the most important revelation of all! Could it be that they were not really privy to the thoughts of God?" - E. O. Wilson
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14-08-2015, 01:06 AM
RE: Isn't the bible poorly written?
(13-08-2015 09:58 PM)RocketSurgeon76 Wrote:  I love some of the poetry and storytelling in the Bible, since that's all it is, to me... but "that's all it is" is no small thing. Man is a storytelling creature, even in acts as simple as looking at clouds and finding the patterns we see: "Look, it's a turtle catching up to a rabbit!"

That said, I still prefer The Silmarillion to anything I've ever seen in a holy book. One of the tales it tells, The Children of Húrin, is probably my favorite mythological story of all time.

I highly recommend the illustrated edition:

http://www.amazon.com/Children-Hurin-J-R...llustrated

But don't forget that part of the reason the silmarillion was published was to remove the paganism people were putting into the Lord of the Rings. The opening chapter is a very poetical rendition of Genesis.

I'm homophobic in the same way that I'm arachnophobic. I'm not scared of gay people but I'm going to scream if I find one in my bath.

I'm. Also homophobic in the same way I'm arachnophobic. I'm scared of spiders but I'd still fuck'em.
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14-08-2015, 04:22 AM
RE: Isn't the bible poorly written?
That's why it's my favorite mythology. Tongue

Tolkien was pretty clear that he included elements of almost all mythologies of Europe in his storytelling, especially The Silmarillion. I see it rather like Campbell's influence on Star Wars.

"Theology made no provision for evolution. The biblical authors had missed the most important revelation of all! Could it be that they were not really privy to the thoughts of God?" - E. O. Wilson
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14-08-2015, 08:09 AM
RE: Isn't the bible poorly written?
(12-08-2015 01:09 PM)Alla Wrote:  
(12-08-2015 06:23 AM)Typho2k Wrote:  How can someone who studies it for years and gets a phd in this and claim to understand more of the bible than a normal guy who just read it once when it's impossible to comprehend it.
They can't claim this. You don't need phd to understand the Bible.
Bible has errors and contradictions.
It is possible to comprehend the Bible if you have Prophets who have authority from God to explain errors and who have gift of interpretation.
It is possible to comprehend the Bible when the Holy Ghost teaches you/gives you an understanding.

Haha nice out-of-ass-pulling there.
And religious people like to claim that normal people can't interpret it right if you say something negative.
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14-08-2015, 11:05 AM
RE: Isn't the bible poorly written?
It would be far easier to ''understand'' if it were placed in the fiction section of all bookstores, where it belongs.

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14-08-2015, 10:45 PM
RE: Isn't the bible poorly written?
I helped a friend, back in 2002, who owned a carpet-cleaning business, and whose crew quit on him the night they were to steam-clean overnight the floors of his biggest client (a Barnes & Noble store) after they unsuccessfully tried to blackmail him into a raise on the spot. He called me in a panic to come help, so I gave up my overnight sleep. Heh.

My friend was extremely religious, and constantly harassed me about my atheism (we are no longer friends).

While I was cleaning, I was in the religion section and called him over to see when I saw this:

[Image: th?id=JN.cQ%2f0GWZEzak2cQSoDuK8Yw&am...;amp;h=300]

I think only the fact that he desperately needed my help right then kept him from telling me to get the hell out of there. I couldn't stop laughing at his angry-face. (Ironically, the book is not anti-Christian at all, as far as I can tell.)

"Theology made no provision for evolution. The biblical authors had missed the most important revelation of all! Could it be that they were not really privy to the thoughts of God?" - E. O. Wilson
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14-08-2015, 10:51 PM
RE: Isn't the bible poorly written?
(12-08-2015 06:23 AM)Typho2k Wrote:  After reading the bible, I can only say I'm left confused as it's all down to interpretation.

I struggle with finding out whether something is this or that since it some pages after says the opposite thing.

How can someone who studies it for years and gets a phd in this and claim to understand more of the bible than a normal guy who just read it once when it's impossible to comprehend it.

I give the bible 1/10, it's almost as good as twilight.

It's a pile of shit. Maybe it reads better in the original Greek.

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