The Bible is a metaphor?
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31-07-2012, 01:24 AM
The Bible is a metaphor?
Hello all, I'm new to this forum and will say that I myself am an atheist living in Canada. As I am a teenager, I currently attend high school. My friend group being made up of a large variety of beliefs, we often get into friendly debates on god and religion. My main question for this community today is about a particular argument made by theists. Often my more liberal christian friends will insist that although I have read the bible (disregarding that they haven't), I do not understand the concept of it. Their main point being that you are supposed to read the Bible as a metaphor. This is a question that often leaves me unable to respond, not due to any brilliance on the part of the question posed, but in how easy it is to dodge any argument from that position. Should I attempt to bring up any Bible verses to the contrary, those are immediately assumed to be metaphors as well. If I instead attempt to steer the argument in the direction of "Well why would an infallible god need to communicate with metaphor?", they would undoubtedly say that the Bible was written by man thus contains mistakes. I would then rebuttal by saying "Well why do you believe in it if it contains mistakes?" This always prompts a long and drawn out explanation about "personal truths" and so called evidence that eventually concludes with the original question being lost in a sea of nonsense. Therefore, I would ask of the community, what would be a quicker or more conclusive way to rebuke that argument? Would anyone care to venture on a way to argue against the claim that "The Bible is just a metaphor?" Thank you for you time Wink!
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31-07-2012, 06:34 AM
RE: The Bible is a metaphor?
First thing I'd like to know is what the fuck is killing children, enslaving people, mass murder, rape and incest a metaphor for? Second, why would you want to follow a god that uses that kind of horror as a teaching tool for his beloved children. I mean really, metaphor or not, the bible is one disgusting piece of literature.

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31-07-2012, 06:38 AM
RE: The Bible is a metaphor?
Now that most of the old children's fairy tales have been cleaned up and softened to make them less scary, I would think that someone should do that with the Bible if people are going to follow it...Disneyize it, as it were.

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31-07-2012, 06:57 AM
RE: The Bible is a metaphor?
They have. They call them "Bible stories" and tell them in Sunday schools across the globe.

Give me your argument in the form of a published paper, and then we can start to talk.
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31-07-2012, 07:26 AM
RE: The Bible is a metaphor?
The bible, like The Golden Bough, is a collection of stories. The bible, also like the Greek myths, was edited and translated by men of a different era, nationality and culture from the original tellers.
Some of the stories were about the origin of the world and its creatures and especially mankind (as known to the tellers) - these are necessarily metaphorical, as are all creation myths.
Some of the stories are about the glorious deeds of long-ago Greeks and Hebrews - these are legends: exaggerated and sensationalized to promote national pride.
Some of the stories are about the making of a nation; its battles, laws and rulers - these as factual as oral history can be, allowing for the natural bias of the tellers.
Some of the stories are about prophecy, condemnation or warning - these are propaganda, relevant only to a particular people at a particular time.
Some are stories and poems and songs, just like the ones people everywhere have made for entertainment, just as we do.

If you pray to anything, you're prey to anything.
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31-07-2012, 09:00 AM
RE: The Bible is a metaphor?
The bible not being accurate, and being metaphorical is a way to avoid defending anything that's written in that book.

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The atheist is a man who destroys the imaginary things which afflict the human race, and so leads men back to nature, to experience and to reason.
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31-07-2012, 09:30 AM (This post was last modified: 31-07-2012 09:33 AM by kim.)
RE: The Bible is a metaphor?
Well, that's the difference between Theists and Atheists... and one can most certainly agree to disagree.
Theists live by someone else's made up shit. Atheists make up their own shit. Wink
Cut out the middle man; if you're your own creator (of shit), no need for someone else's creator. Thumbsup

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31-07-2012, 03:16 PM (This post was last modified: 31-07-2012 03:20 PM by Bucky Ball.)
RE: The Bible is a metaphor?
How about engaging them in a question of what they actually mean when they say that.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metaphor#Co...of_analogy
What kind of metaphor, exactly, do they mean ? Is "god" a metaphor ? If so, for what ? Strictly speaking, many of the Bible texts are myths, (in the non-pejorative sense).
Usually what they really mean is "it's metaphor, except when it isn't".
If some of it is metaphor, how do they know it's not all metaphor ?

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Those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music - Friedrich Nietzsche
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31-07-2012, 03:49 PM
RE: The Bible is a metaphor?
(31-07-2012 06:34 AM)Stark Raving Wrote:  First thing I'd like to know is what the fuck is killing children, enslaving people, mass murder, rape and incest a metaphor for? Second, why would you want to follow a god that uses that kind of horror as a teaching tool for his beloved children. I mean really, metaphor or not, the bible is one disgusting piece of literature.

^^ Think this should do it. If that doesn't shut them up fast I don't know what will. Just have some handy verses like the one about Elisha and the bears or dashing the brains of the little kiddies out when they captured whatever stupid city so they can't weasel out of it by accusing you of lying. I'd love someone to explain what dashing little kiddies brains out is a metaphor for.

Of course, they'll abandon that position and state that that's *history*, Old Testament history, and therefore the *New Testament* now applies where we are not required to murder kids... Dodgy
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31-07-2012, 05:48 PM
RE: The Bible is a metaphor?
My approach would be to agree with them that it is a metaphor and therefore not to be interpreted literally. Once you get good at polishing the argument that it is a metaphor, they'll try to change their tune. For example, when Jesus was said to be crucified, what was the message of that metaphor? Clearly, he wasn't literally crucified since it's a metaphor. It probably just means that he became so radical that followers dismissed him and his ideas, resulting in a metaphorical "rejection, condemnation and death." When the bible says that he "rose from the dead," again it's a metaphor, so it probably means that he atoned for making up stories about god, admitted that he had no special connection to god, that he apologized, and was forgiven and re-accepted by the local citizenry. When the bible says "Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is an abomination." you need to ask, "since this is a metaphor and not to be interpreted literally, what does it mean?"
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