The Bible - not 100% literal
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31-12-2011, 09:24 AM
RE: The Bible - not 100% literal
i just had a chat yesterday with a muslim friend of mine who like you looks at the scriptures and takes away only the good, the rest is metaphor or context or interpretation.
he has the same conviction that you have towards islam and when i picked his brain about it, i figured out, though he wont admit that it all stems out of want of an afterlife.
to believe that there is something that transcends his existence after earth. When i talk to him about the quraan stating that the earth is flat he just goes "maybe he wasnt comparing the earth to a carpet in terms of flatness but something else" and when i present him with the facts of evolution its not good enough for him as he replies "well we dont know exactly how god made adam and eve on earth". He also takes pride in the fact that the quraan linguistically is very vague which can make its sayings bend to agree with newfound evidence and says if it was crystal clear then "there would be no point in faith and everyone would just believe". The fact is you cant fit a square peg in a round hole.
I say that if you look at the quraan or bible even metaphorically (all of it) it doesnt have anything new it could teach us that we didnt already know, stealing is bad etc.
What is the metaphorical value of adam and eve if so and other biblical stories? even if you cant differentiate between wrong and right ill still punish you?
What if you live a good life without being a christian or a muslim? will you still burn for eternity (being flayed every day in hell and repaired the next so it can be done again in the quraan version) isnt that a little unfair of god? an infinite punishment for someone doing a finite crime (the number of people he killed) is infinitly unjust.
however if the quraan or bible stated that everyone will live through the recieving end of his crimes as punishment(getting killed the number and manner of times u killed people and experienceing the same horror) then go on afterwards to live on an eternal plane with kittens and unicorns id lend it a bit more credibility that Yahweh or Allah has a sense of justice (as a character).

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31-12-2011, 09:48 AM
RE: The Bible - not 100% literal
I didn't read through all the posts of the thread so I hope I'm not repeating anything already said. In my opinion I think it would be silly for an all-knowing god to assume that we (the future generations) would understand to not take it all literally. So then can he blame us for analyzing the bible as it is written if he didn't tell us it wasn't 100% literal? Why can an all-knowing, all-powerful god not make this clear to us himself?

I also agree a lot with this:

(31-12-2011 09:03 AM)Erxomai Wrote:  I have to go back to this...

You've made a value judgement because you don't like the stuff that's in it. But the Bible itself does not purport to be a book that YOU get to decide what is literal and what it not. Once you have to start rationalizing and explaining the book, you have diminished the Almighty by taking over for God to explain who he REALLY is because he's not the god we see in the bible and he didn't mean to say what's written, but if you do enough mental masturbation, you'll figure it out.

As to Revelation, just saying it's a whack book doesn't get you off the hook for the fact that it is there and to the original readers it meant something real and palatable as diatribe against the Roman Empire. The fact that people have twisted it over the centuries to "prove" their own agenda shows how unreliable this jumble of writings is, and if it's unreliable, why would a "reliable" god choose to use it to communicate? I'd think a truly loving being would want people to understand what he really means instead of every person who reads it having their own opinion.

No, I'm not really going to let you off the hook for saying the Bible is not meant to be read 100% literally, because I can find plenty of Christians who would 100% disagree with you. Of course, it's going to be hard to find them because I've just blocked about 50 of them from my FB this morning. Big Grin
So you're going to have to come up with a more convincing argument than just, "Look at how whacky some of the stuff is so obviously it's not meant to be 100% literal, just the stuff I decide that the Holy Spirit has told me to believe."

good post yo
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31-12-2011, 10:16 AM
RE: The Bible - not 100% literal
(31-12-2011 09:24 AM)Jackrabbit Wrote:  i just had a chat yesterday with a muslim friend of mine who like you looks at the scriptures and takes away only the good, the rest is metaphor or context or interpretation.
he has the same conviction that you have towards islam and when i picked his brain about it, i figured out, though he wont admit that it all stems out of want of an afterlife.

In addition, believing (or even sort of believing) the Bible/Quran/whatever creation myth allows people to feel special and not to ave to deal with the reality of evolution and its implications.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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31-12-2011, 10:32 AM
RE: The Bible - not 100% literal
(31-12-2011 03:34 AM)kingschosen Wrote:  It's because they had no concept or understanding of science. Even if He did tell them the exact science of it, it would WHOOSH over them. He had to "speak their language".

I mean, what if God started telling you about the quantum level of the 11th dimension and its letheriogilogical neurouniconology. Would you have any clue what He was talking about?

I'm sure I could write it, even if I couldn't understand it, if my hand were guided by a deity.

I'm sure there are things God could've told people that would've made more sense than what He used. For instance, He could've told people how to cook pig & shellfish properly (assuming that was His problem with it) because they had the technology to do it - you can cook the trichinosis and tapeworms out of a pig over an open fire, given a proper time, especially if you know what you're looking for. And we can explain germs to kids, even if they don't have a full and complete understanding that allows them to go on to destroy germs. Just telling kids about germs helps them to be properly hygienic, though.

But there are plenty of parts in the bible which clearly aren't metaphorical, such as "thou shalt not permit a witch to live". That's a pretty clear order to kill witches. It was taken literally throughout the middle ages and would still probably be carried out if murder wasn't against the law. There's no "lesson to be learned for a better life" when we're ordered to kill someone based on their belief system. I hear these vague attempts to justify the bible by looking at it as stories, but there are plenty of specific passages that teach people bad morals. A better writer could've written better morals. In fact, a perfect writer could write actual true stories that show the true consequences of not following the prescribed morals. How hard would that be, with thousands of years worth of human lives lived and omnipotence to be able to know and search through every relevant story?

My girlfriend is mad at me. Perhaps I shouldn't have tried cooking a stick in her non-stick pan.
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31-12-2011, 10:53 AM
RE: The Bible - not 100% literal
If he wrote it that way 'cos people back then couldn't understand science, why didn't he just teach people science? 'Cos chapter 1 of any science textbook is a whole lot more useful than chapter 1 of Genesis. And with millions of years of evolution, I rate my ancestors were at least as intelligent as me - given the basic principles they would have understood no prob. Not gonna fly as an argument, sorry Tongue
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31-12-2011, 12:58 PM
RE: The Bible - not 100% literal
(31-12-2011 10:53 AM)morondog Wrote:  If he wrote it that way 'cos people back then couldn't understand science, why didn't he just teach people science? 'Cos chapter 1 of any science textbook is a whole lot more useful than chapter 1 of Genesis. And with millions of years of evolution, I rate my ancestors were at least as intelligent as me - given the basic principles they would have understood no prob. Not gonna fly as an argument, sorry Tongue

FTW!

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31-12-2011, 01:31 PM
RE: The Bible - not 100% literal
I see the analogy like this. You have a son. He's your one and only and you love him more than anything in the universe. You also know chocolate to be very bad. But he doesn't know it with his simple, newly formed mind, so you make sure you tell him. You say it to him over and over again, you write it in a book and make him carry it with him wherever he goes, you do whatever you can so that he KNOWS that chocolate is bad. Stay away from the evil chocolate.

Then one day you come home and your son is sitting in a pile of wrappers, face covered in chocolate and a look of complete ignorance and innocence. He eats more chocolate while you're staring at him. He says to you:

"Oh I thought that part about chocolate was a metaphor and not meant to be taken literally."


The root behind all these alterations and metaphor suggestions? Inconvenience. The teachings of the Bible don't match up with the morals an actual "good" person naturally grows, so they change and they alter and they redefine until they have something so vague that it doesn't mean anything anymore. "Stone witches to death?" I think what God meant was "treat those who deal with unnatural spirituality disdainfully, and exclude them from your social circles."

"Ain't got no last words to say, yellow streak right up my spine. The gun in my mouth was real and the taste blew my mind."

"We see you cry. We turn your head. Then we slap your face. We see you try. We see you fail. Some things never change."
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31-12-2011, 01:57 PM
RE: The Bible - not 100% literal
(31-12-2011 01:31 PM)Buddy Christ Wrote:  I see the analogy like this. You have a son. He's your one and only and you love him more than anything in the universe. You also know chocolate to be very bad. But he doesn't know it with his simple, newly formed mind, so you make sure you tell him. You say it to him over and over again, you write it in a book and make him carry it with him wherever he goes, you do whatever you can so that he KNOWS that chocolate is bad. Stay away from the evil chocolate.

Then one day you come home and your son is sitting in a pile of wrappers, face covered in chocolate and a look of complete ignorance and innocence. He eats more chocolate while you're staring at him. He says to you:

"Oh I thought that part about chocolate was a metaphor and not meant to be taken literally."


The root behind all these alterations and metaphor suggestions? Inconvenience. The teachings of the Bible don't match up with the morals an actual "good" person naturally grows, so they change and they alter and they redefine until they have something so vague that it doesn't mean anything anymore. "Stone witches to death?" I think what God meant was "treat those who deal with unnatural spirituality disdainfully, and exclude them from your social circles."

I refuse to believe in any god who won't let his people eat chocolate. But I like this example.

KC, I also wonder what kind of belief you would have held about the Bible 150 years ago before Textual Criticism came into vogue. Maybe you'd be on the internet forums telling us you believed in a literal interpretation of Genesis and beyond. The evolution of belief about the Bible shows me it is just a book and not divinely inspired. If "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever" (Heb. 13:8), then why does belief about him evolve? Why does interpretation of His Scriptures change? You could answer, "Because people didn't understand then, but we do now," but that's problematic because that means for 2000 years no one really knew how to understand God, but now that you've popped into existence, you're able to explain it all. Wouldn't the people who wrote the documents have the best understanding and wouldn't successive generations diminish that understanding as the millenia went by? Wouldn't we be so far removed from the original intent that we can never know what to take literally and what to take metaphorically as a nice lesson about Jesus? Wouldn't today's science and textual criticism take us even further away from the Bronze Age Religionists who first took these documents seriously and give us LESS understanding of the original intent?

Of course, you know my own answers to these questions changed over the decades from full confidence in God's Word to a full repudiation of it's relevance for today. Even my own life has shown an evolution of understanding and interpretation of what the Bible says about existence.

It was just a fucking apple man, we're sorry okay? Please stop the madness Laugh out load
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31-12-2011, 02:34 PM (This post was last modified: 31-12-2011 02:50 PM by cufflink.)
RE: The Bible - not 100% literal
In my experience, the problem with the not-100-percent-literal approach is that it usually devolves into this:

If you like a particular verse or passage because it's in line with what you already think is right or wrong: "The Bible said it, plain as day. You can't argue with God's Word."

If you dislike a particular verse or passage because it seems absurd, or immoral, or cruel, or foolish, or contrary to science, or whatever: "No, no, no. This wasn't meant to be taken literally. It's a parable, a teaching tool only. You have to understand the cultural context, what kind of people this was aimed at."

There are no objective criteria for determining what's meant literally and what's not.

ETA: I see Erx already made this point in post #10.

Religious disputes are like arguments in a madhouse over which inmate really is Napoleon.
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31-12-2011, 04:14 PM
RE: The Bible - not 100% literal
(31-12-2011 02:34 PM)cufflink Wrote:  In my experience, the problem with the not-100-percent-literal approach is that it usually devolves into this:

If you like a particular verse or passage because it's in line with what you already think is right or wrong: "The Bible said it, plain as day. You can't argue with God's Word."

If you dislike a particular verse or passage because it seems absurd, or immoral, or cruel, or foolish, or contrary to science, or whatever: "No, no, no. This wasn't meant to be taken literally. It's a parable, a teaching tool only. You have to understand the cultural context, what kind of people this was aimed at."

There are no objective criteria for determining what's meant literally and what's not.

ETA: I see Erx already made this point in post #10.

Yes, but you used less words so I judge your post as better. Shy

It was just a fucking apple man, we're sorry okay? Please stop the madness Laugh out load
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