The Bible is a metaphor?
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31-07-2012, 06:42 PM
RE: The Bible is a metaphor?
(31-07-2012 03:16 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  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 ?

That is a really great argument, however I have indeed brought this up with a more simple statement "How can you tell what is a metaphor and what isn't?" Of course, they always say that "Oh well you just know, what feels right and what feels wrong." I always end up feeling foolish while they insist that what is and is not a metaphor should be obvious.

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31-07-2012, 06:55 PM
RE: The Bible is a metaphor?
(31-07-2012 06:42 PM)dlle Wrote:  That is a really great argument, however I have indeed brought this up with a more simple statement "How can you tell what is a metaphor and what isn't?" Of course, they always say that "Oh well you just know, what feels right and what feels wrong." I always end up feeling foolish while they insist that what is and is not a metaphor should be obvious.

I guess you could push them with "how do you know, what you think you know", but unless you/they are willing or know anything about Epistomology, it may fall flat. Actually the best way, is to learn about the bible itself. You would be amazed about the actual specific historical knowledge Bible scholars have about it. Like every single line...the source material is known, in general, where it came form, and why it's there, and who put it there, (usually for a very political purpose), and the context for all that. That requires a lot of study, and unless you're really interested for it's own sake, it's probably not worth it, just for winning arguments. Is there a favorite line they like to argue ?

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31-07-2012, 07:34 PM
RE: The Bible is a metaphor?
The problem with arguing with a Theist, is they will change the meaning of their scriptures based on the question or argument. The reason is, they are trying to take a book written thousands of years ago and fit the stories into the world we live in today; even when the story seems impossible, the Theist will try to mold said story to fit into reality, but that doesn't work. Religion doesn't make our life meaningful, it cheapens it (in my opinion).

If they are trying to use the bible is a metaphor angle then why the hell would they follow its teachings? Who the F would want to following the metaphoric teachings of a desert dweller from the bronze age that writes about sacrificing animals, owning slaves and raping women? It only teaches people to live in fear of something that can: see, hear and know what you think; nice strategy for keeping people inline if you ask me. The most terrifying thing is the unknown, that's why people are afraid of death.

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31-07-2012, 07:59 PM
RE: The Bible is a metaphor?
(31-07-2012 06:55 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  
(31-07-2012 06:42 PM)dlle Wrote:  That is a really great argument, however I have indeed brought this up with a more simple statement "How can you tell what is a metaphor and what isn't?" Of course, they always say that "Oh well you just know, what feels right and what feels wrong." I always end up feeling foolish while they insist that what is and is not a metaphor should be obvious.

I guess you could push them with "how do you know, what you think you know", but unless you/they are willing or know anything about Epistomology, it may fall flat. Actually the best way, is to learn about the bible itself. You would be amazed about the actual specific historical knowledge Bible scholars have about it. Like every single line...the source material is known, in general, where it came form, and why it's there, and who put it there, (usually for a very political purpose), and the context for all that. That requires a lot of study, and unless you're really interested for it's own sake, it's probably not worth it, just for winning arguments. Is there a favorite line they like to argue ?

Well they do have several arguments that they like to stress. These however are all quite easy for me to counter. The argument I mentioned earlier is really the only one I have any trouble answering. By the way, I do appreciate all the help, thanks!

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31-07-2012, 08:24 PM
RE: The Bible is a metaphor?
How about using all the contradictions. There are many lists of contradictions, here in the threads, and on the main page, and just Google "bible contradictions". Even if they're metaphors, there are many things, that just outright contradict each other. For example, each of the gospels has a completely different account of the resurrection, who was there, what they saw, and who they told. In John the death was a completely different day than the others. There are basically two versions of the creation, in Genesis, one in Chapter 1, another in 2. They are not the same. etc etc

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31-07-2012, 08:41 PM
RE: The Bible is a metaphor?
Personally I prefer the Christians that believe the bible is literal, or otherwise correct and to be taken as-is (i.e. pick and choose) over those who believe it's not literal or just a metaphor.

But then I also view the metaphor or non literal people to be more of a group of people who realizes just how bad the bible is, and to make it seem good, they have to view it as non-literal. Of course I then wonder (and sometimes ask) why they believe that one then, if it's not literal which would imply that nothing in it is true as-is. And I end up with a vague thing that boils down to their parents taught it to them, or the thought of "something" existing is comforting. Which normally leads me to realizing how many "Christians" probably are just theists or really some other religion given their beliefs.

Back to the point, if someone says the bible is just a metaphor, then the bible has (at least to me) just been demoted from "holy book" to "fair tale" by the people claiming it. If it's a metaphor, then anything that the people say is "true" is just their opinion unless it can be backed with scientific evidence. But then would come to the interesting part.... you could ask them what parts of the bible are metaphors. I won't say for certain, but I'd bet the creation story, flood, *insert everything else that seems illogical* would be listed. Ask them what isn't a metaphor, you'd probably get some of the good parts--then base whatever you ask on the parts that they didn't list as a metaphor, that contradict the good parts. Of course the contradictions will then become metaphors--so you'll probably have a small list of the good things (like don't kill, etc). Then you can ask something simple like if they would do those things if it wasn't for the bible--if they say no, then it's more of a "then why follow the religion?" or even if they say yes, but they don't believe in hell, you could ask what's stopping them.

But yeah... I really dislike the non-literal religious types for some things.
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31-07-2012, 09:51 PM
RE: The Bible is a metaphor?
(31-07-2012 08:41 PM)elemts Wrote:  Personally I prefer the Christians that believe the bible is literal, or otherwise correct and to be taken as-is (i.e. pick and choose) over those who believe it's not literal or just a metaphor.

But then I also view the metaphor or non literal people to be more of a group of people who realizes just how bad the bible is, and to make it seem good, they have to view it as non-literal. Of course I then wonder (and sometimes ask) why they believe that one then, if it's not literal which would imply that nothing in it is true as-is. And I end up with a vague thing that boils down to their parents taught it to them, or the thought of "something" existing is comforting. Which normally leads me to realizing how many "Christians" probably are just theists or really some other religion given their beliefs.

Back to the point, if someone says the bible is just a metaphor, then the bible has (at least to me) just been demoted from "holy book" to "fair tale" by the people claiming it. If it's a metaphor, then anything that the people say is "true" is just their opinion unless it can be backed with scientific evidence. But then would come to the interesting part.... you could ask them what parts of the bible are metaphors. I won't say for certain, but I'd bet the creation story, flood, *insert everything else that seems illogical* would be listed. Ask them what isn't a metaphor, you'd probably get some of the good parts--then base whatever you ask on the parts that they didn't list as a metaphor, that contradict the good parts. Of course the contradictions will then become metaphors--so you'll probably have a small list of the good things (like don't kill, etc). Then you can ask something simple like if they would do those things if it wasn't for the bible--if they say no, then it's more of a "then why follow the religion?" or even if they say yes, but they don't believe in hell, you could ask what's stopping them.

But yeah... I really dislike the non-literal religious types for some things.

You do make a good point there. However, here in Canada (at least where I'm from) we hardly have any fundamentalists. Thus the problem is that whenever I try to point out any contradictions, they just insist that the bible was tampered with over the years. This of course leads me to say "Well then how do you know which parts are fake and which aren't?" thus leading me back into the same position where they insist that it should be obvious. Thanks for the help though, it's great that I've gotten so much help Big Grin!

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01-08-2012, 02:36 AM
RE: The Bible is a metaphor?
The Bible is a document of political propaganda. Read The Bible Unearthed by Israel Finkelstein and Neil Silberman.

As to metaphors, for creatards and other evangelicals, it is literal and inerrant not a metaphor. Watch Lewis Black's take on the Old Testament.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LGrlWOhtj3g

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01-08-2012, 02:40 AM (This post was last modified: 01-08-2012 02:50 AM by Diogenes of Mayberry.)
RE: The Bible is a metaphor?
Quote:...they just insist that the bible was tampered with over the years. This of course leads me to say "Well then how do you know which parts are fake and which aren't?"

Read Bart Ehrman's books. Misquoting Jesus, Forged, etc. For the truly scholarly, and it is indeed written for other New Testaments scholars, read the Orthodox Corruption of Scripture.

From The O.C of S.:
Quote:…proto-orthodox scribes of the second and third centuries occasionally modified their texts of Scripture in order to make them coincide more closely with the Christological views embraced by the party that would seal its victory at Nicaea and Chalcedon…The proto-orthodox Christology, then, emerged as a direct response to these alternative perspectives and was distinguished by the paradoxes of its pedigree: Jesus Christ was both God and man, one indivisible being, eternal yet born of the virgin Mary, and immortal who died for the sins of the world. Pg 275

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02-08-2012, 10:10 PM
RE: The Bible is a metaphor?
(31-07-2012 03:16 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  Usually what they really mean is "it's metaphor, except when it isn't".

Great point. Do Christians believe that a story that we have evidence for is metaphorical? Do they believe that a story that is likely to have happened is metaphorical? Or do they pull out "it's metaphor" when the story is unlikely or has evidence against it?

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