Westboro Baptist Church to picket Paul Walker's funeral
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05-12-2013, 01:03 PM
RE: Westboro Baptist Church to picket Paul Walker's funeral
Ok, I think I’m slowly getting a sense of where you’re all coming from and so I’ll let you know how I go about reading the Bible and why it has to be done with more care than what it’s often done with. It might give you all a better idea of why I’m against blind literal readings and see it as more that just reading it and saying ‘this doesn’t match with that.’ This was originally intended for Timber1025, but I think it kind of answers what others have been saying as well.

Imagine a triangular lens which we all have through which we read scripture. There are three things which influence us: experience, tradition and scripture. When we talk about three major Christian streams- Catholic, Wesleyan and Charismatic (which can include fundamentalism) have a different base with the others supporting it. Catholics base their reading largely in tradition- how a passage has been interpreted through the years. Charismatics are based in experience- they read a passage and first interpret it through how it affects their own life, perceptions and experience of God and the World. It’s a lot about how scripture makes us ‘feel’.

Wesleyans (like me) interpret scripture based through scripture; we like our facts. So we read a passage, see where it comes in that book, consider its historical, cultural and textual context. Then we consider how it has been interpreted through the years, and apply it to our experience. But we use the text to make sense of the text. And textual criticism like this can be applied to scripture whether you believe in the God it talks about or not.

Now as an example, I’ve talked with someone else on here about Paul and slavery, and their argument include the assertion that IF God was good, or Paul REALLY cared about the people, etc, then he would have urged the abolition of slavery rather than ‘this is how slaves and masters should act.’ But that attitude puts over the text layers of contemporary feeling, experience and personal opinion that have nothing to do with the original context and message. I have to understand it as a Greek before I can apply it as an 21st century Aussie.

Slavery was an accepted reality of the Greco-Roman world and Paul was writing to those in the Church who both were and owned slaves. So here we have a movement in which there is no ‘slave or freeman, Jew or Greek, male or female’ where people were spiritually equal and not only mixing in worship but also as brothers and sisters in Christ in the everyday world. We also know that they lived in daily expectation of Christ’s second coming, so their time was short and as such worked within the system and situation which they found themselves in.

Strangely, these passages as a whole that are interpreted as being sexists or degrading from a surface reading actually sum up the entire message of the Bible. In the OT you have God having a chosen people, who would be an example to other nations of how to relate to Him. But they were having none of it, constantly rebelling against being a distinct people, wanting to be like everyone else and constantly turning their back/ returning to God. In all of this, you have the priestly system where atonement to God was carried out on your behalf by someone else. Although chosen by God, they were still separated from Him. So Jesus comes on the scene, the final atoning sacrifice not just for the Jews but for all people. And this is the message of the gospel: a personal relationship with God that transcends gender, race, social class and any other human system of relating to each other. This relationship with God is expressed in how we relate to each other. So Paul by saying ‘slaves submit to your masters, master be good to your slaves’ it wasn’t abolishing slavery and it wasn’t endorsing it either. It was saying that if you love God, you treat those around you as if they were your own flesh because those under you have an experience of Jesus and a hope in the afterlife that goes beyond any earthly institution we have here. An attitude in the slave-master relationship like that is revolutionary in itself. Just look at the book of Philemon and his advice there in regards to a slave-owner relationship and how it changes not just the relationship but the mindset of slave ownership in the light of Christianity.

Now back to the first topic, if I were to do a casual reading of this, focusing on how it appeared to me in isolation I may well say ‘hold on, why not abolish slavery?’ Or a surface reading by a Christian might say ‘it’s saying to be nice to each other.’ But when you engage with the text and understand not only the cultural context, but where Paul’s coming from in his Jewish learning and Gentile mission, you start to get to the heart of what he’s saying.

I understand what you’re all saying, and I’d love to have some specific examples to reply to (especially because I think the ministry of Jesus is one of lifting women up, not degrading them). What I was trying to say (in a really rushed way on my way to work) is that if you’re going to form an opinion of the God of the Bible whether you believe in Him or not, that engagement can’t be passive. It can’t just be reading it from front to back – you have to engage with it. And that includes understanding ancient textual forms, language use etc. I’ll admit that over the years Christians have been very lax here- content just to take a sermon from a priest and never pick up their Bibles themselves. I especially think fundamentalist readings are at times not sound and that’s why I have a problem with such an understanding being the basis for showing who God is and what He is to people.
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05-12-2013, 01:39 PM
RE: Westboro Baptist Church to picket Paul Walker's funeral
(05-12-2013 01:03 PM)Yasmin Wrote:  Ok, I think I’m slowly getting a sense of where you’re all coming from and so I’ll let you know how I go about reading the Bible and why it has to be done with more care than what it’s often done with. It might give you all a better idea of why I’m against blind literal readings and see it as more that just reading it and saying ‘this doesn’t match with that.’ This was originally intended for Timber1025, but I think it kind of answers what others have been saying as well.

Imagine a triangular lens which we all have through which we read scripture. There are three things which influence us: experience, tradition and scripture. When we talk about three major Christian streams- Catholic, Wesleyan and Charismatic (which can include fundamentalism) have a different base with the others supporting it. Catholics base their reading largely in tradition- how a passage has been interpreted through the years. Charismatics are based in experience- they read a passage and first interpret it through how it affects their own life, perceptions and experience of God and the World. It’s a lot about how scripture makes us ‘feel’.

Wesleyans (like me) interpret scripture based through scripture; we like our facts. So we read a passage, see where it comes in that book, consider its historical, cultural and textual context. Then we consider how it has been interpreted through the years, and apply it to our experience. But we use the text to make sense of the text. And textual criticism like this can be applied to scripture whether you believe in the God it talks about or not.

Now as an example, I’ve talked with someone else on here about Paul and slavery, and their argument include the assertion that IF God was good, or Paul REALLY cared about the people, etc, then he would have urged the abolition of slavery rather than ‘this is how slaves and masters should act.’ But that attitude puts over the text layers of contemporary feeling, experience and personal opinion that have nothing to do with the original context and message. I have to understand it as a Greek before I can apply it as an 21st century Aussie.

Slavery was an accepted reality of the Greco-Roman world and Paul was writing to those in the Church who both were and owned slaves. So here we have a movement in which there is no ‘slave or freeman, Jew or Greek, male or female’ where people were spiritually equal and not only mixing in worship but also as brothers and sisters in Christ in the everyday world. We also know that they lived in daily expectation of Christ’s second coming, so their time was short and as such worked within the system and situation which they found themselves in.

Strangely, these passages as a whole that are interpreted as being sexists or degrading from a surface reading actually sum up the entire message of the Bible. In the OT you have God having a chosen people, who would be an example to other nations of how to relate to Him. But they were having none of it, constantly rebelling against being a distinct people, wanting to be like everyone else and constantly turning their back/ returning to God. In all of this, you have the priestly system where atonement to God was carried out on your behalf by someone else. Although chosen by God, they were still separated from Him. So Jesus comes on the scene, the final atoning sacrifice not just for the Jews but for all people. And this is the message of the gospel: a personal relationship with God that transcends gender, race, social class and any other human system of relating to each other. This relationship with God is expressed in how we relate to each other. So Paul by saying ‘slaves submit to your masters, master be good to your slaves’ it wasn’t abolishing slavery and it wasn’t endorsing it either. It was saying that if you love God, you treat those around you as if they were your own flesh because those under you have an experience of Jesus and a hope in the afterlife that goes beyond any earthly institution we have here. An attitude in the slave-master relationship like that is revolutionary in itself. Just look at the book of Philemon and his advice there in regards to a slave-owner relationship and how it changes not just the relationship but the mindset of slave ownership in the light of Christianity.

Now back to the first topic, if I were to do a casual reading of this, focusing on how it appeared to me in isolation I may well say ‘hold on, why not abolish slavery?’ Or a surface reading by a Christian might say ‘it’s saying to be nice to each other.’ But when you engage with the text and understand not only the cultural context, but where Paul’s coming from in his Jewish learning and Gentile mission, you start to get to the heart of what he’s saying.

I understand what you’re all saying, and I’d love to have some specific examples to reply to (especially because I think the ministry of Jesus is one of lifting women up, not degrading them). What I was trying to say (in a really rushed way on my way to work) is that if you’re going to form an opinion of the God of the Bible whether you believe in Him or not, that engagement can’t be passive. It can’t just be reading it from front to back – you have to engage with it. And that includes understanding ancient textual forms, language use etc. I’ll admit that over the years Christians have been very lax here- content just to take a sermon from a priest and never pick up their Bibles themselves. I especially think fundamentalist readings are at times not sound and that’s why I have a problem with such an understanding being the basis for showing who God is and what He is to people.
Speaking of slavery, I always thought it was interesting that God freed the Hebrews from Egypt's slavery - an action that implies he recognized the wrongness of it and the miserable plight of the slaves - but then elsewhere in his holy book he tells about the proper way to own and treat slaves. How does one read that "with more care" so as to remove that contradiction? Consider

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05-12-2013, 02:46 PM
RE: Westboro Baptist Church to picket Paul Walker's funeral
(05-12-2013 10:59 AM)Raptor Jesus Wrote:  But it was this reality, this practice of reading the bible when I was younger as thought it were one hundred percent true that made it so clear that it is not. And to Yasmin's point, that atheist tend to read the bible as fundamentally true, (as I’ve just describe I did above), if I tried to read it for all the good, minus all the bad, it still fails, because (again, as I described above) I realized that I would be the one deciding what is good and what is bad, not “God” through the bible. I would be contorting myself in all manner of way to explain, and defend it. Just as apologist, creationist, fundamentalist, and your average Christian does, same as you are doing now. I know, because I’ve done it. True, I never believed, but I tried so hard to find a way to make it make sense so that I could believe that I was not surrounded by crazy people, but in the end, even for the believer, it’s just you deciding what you believe is true. Truth doesn’t come from the bible, its just you deciding whether it does or not, and if you do, it’s still you deciding what version of truth you think it’s saying in there. It’s all you, it has nothing to do with the bible. You could pick up the Bhagavad Gita, the Buddhist Sutras, the Tao Te Ching, the Illiad, or the Lord of the Rings, and pull out whatever truths you think you can find in there, and dismiss whatever evils you think are wrong, but it’s coming from you, not “God”, not the bible, from you.

Exactly. Without some outer authority to determine which portions are correct and which are not when reading it, any interpretation becomes as accurate as the others. If someone asserts that God is loving and all the creepy parts aren't true (with whatever justifications), I could counter that God is actually malicious and all the flowery parts aren't true. Also, this approach tends to be circular:

1) Assume a particular narrative of God (he is all loving and wants the best for us).

2) Read the Bible with this narrative in mind, putting emphasis on the parts you like and dismissing those you don't (all of the bad parts only make sense in the context of that culture, and were written by people, not God).

3) Use your own personal revised version of the Bible to justify your narrative (it says exactly what you want! Imagine that!).
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05-12-2013, 02:57 PM
RE: Westboro Baptist Church to picket Paul Walker's funeral
(05-12-2013 01:03 PM)Yasmin Wrote:  Ok, I think I’m slowly getting a sense of where you’re all coming from and so I’ll let you know how I go about reading the Bible and why it has to be done with more care than what it’s often done with. It might give you all a better idea of why I’m against blind literal readings and see it as more that just reading it and saying ‘this doesn’t match with that.’ This was originally intended for Timber1025, but I think it kind of answers what others have been saying as well.

Imagine a triangular lens which we all have through which we read scripture. There are three things which influence us: experience, tradition and scripture. When we talk about three major Christian streams- Catholic, Wesleyan and Charismatic (which can include fundamentalism) have a different base with the others supporting it. Catholics base their reading largely in tradition- how a passage has been interpreted through the years. Charismatics are based in experience- they read a passage and first interpret it through how it affects their own life, perceptions and experience of God and the World. It’s a lot about how scripture makes us ‘feel’.

Wesleyans (like me) interpret scripture based through scripture; we like our facts. So we read a passage, see where it comes in that book, consider its historical, cultural and textual context. Then we consider how it has been interpreted through the years, and apply it to our experience. But we use the text to make sense of the text. And textual criticism like this can be applied to scripture whether you believe in the God it talks about or not.

Now as an example, I’ve talked with someone else on here about Paul and slavery, and their argument include the assertion that IF God was good, or Paul REALLY cared about the people, etc, then he would have urged the abolition of slavery rather than ‘this is how slaves and masters should act.’ But that attitude puts over the text layers of contemporary feeling, experience and personal opinion that have nothing to do with the original context and message. I have to understand it as a Greek before I can apply it as an 21st century Aussie.

Slavery was an accepted reality of the Greco-Roman world and Paul was writing to those in the Church who both were and owned slaves. So here we have a movement in which there is no ‘slave or freeman, Jew or Greek, male or female’ where people were spiritually equal and not only mixing in worship but also as brothers and sisters in Christ in the everyday world. We also know that they lived in daily expectation of Christ’s second coming, so their time was short and as such worked within the system and situation which they found themselves in.

Strangely, these passages as a whole that are interpreted as being sexists or degrading from a surface reading actually sum up the entire message of the Bible. In the OT you have God having a chosen people, who would be an example to other nations of how to relate to Him. But they were having none of it, constantly rebelling against being a distinct people, wanting to be like everyone else and constantly turning their back/ returning to God. In all of this, you have the priestly system where atonement to God was carried out on your behalf by someone else. Although chosen by God, they were still separated from Him. So Jesus comes on the scene, the final atoning sacrifice not just for the Jews but for all people. And this is the message of the gospel: a personal relationship with God that transcends gender, race, social class and any other human system of relating to each other. This relationship with God is expressed in how we relate to each other. So Paul by saying ‘slaves submit to your masters, master be good to your slaves’ it wasn’t abolishing slavery and it wasn’t endorsing it either. It was saying that if you love God, you treat those around you as if they were your own flesh because those under you have an experience of Jesus and a hope in the afterlife that goes beyond any earthly institution we have here. An attitude in the slave-master relationship like that is revolutionary in itself. Just look at the book of Philemon and his advice there in regards to a slave-owner relationship and how it changes not just the relationship but the mindset of slave ownership in the light of Christianity.

Now back to the first topic, if I were to do a casual reading of this, focusing on how it appeared to me in isolation I may well say ‘hold on, why not abolish slavery?’ Or a surface reading by a Christian might say ‘it’s saying to be nice to each other.’ But when you engage with the text and understand not only the cultural context, but where Paul’s coming from in his Jewish learning and Gentile mission, you start to get to the heart of what he’s saying.

I understand what you’re all saying, and I’d love to have some specific examples to reply to (especially because I think the ministry of Jesus is one of lifting women up, not degrading them). What I was trying to say (in a really rushed way on my way to work) is that if you’re going to form an opinion of the God of the Bible whether you believe in Him or not, that engagement can’t be passive. It can’t just be reading it from front to back – you have to engage with it. And that includes understanding ancient textual forms, language use etc. I’ll admit that over the years Christians have been very lax here- content just to take a sermon from a priest and never pick up their Bibles themselves. I especially think fundamentalist readings are at times not sound and that’s why I have a problem with such an understanding being the basis for showing who God is and what He is to people.
There'd be less problems with your approach that is for sure. Its like a mythology the way you present it, a product of their time and doesn't all have to reflect to our time. When you get right down to it the morals and ethics of the ancient past evolve. Something like slavery was accepted then is seen as unacceptable now. The great problem the world faces is that people still cling to reprehensible ancient ethics or laws that are seen as unquestionable absolutes. Another great conflict is ancient cosmology and modern cosmology. If people didn't hold to ancient cosmologies there wouldn't be any creationists.

"I don't have to have faith, I have experience." Joseph Campbell
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05-12-2013, 04:10 PM
RE: Westboro Baptist Church to picket Paul Walker's funeral
(05-12-2013 01:03 PM)Yasmin Wrote:  And that includes understanding ancient textual forms, language use etc. I’ll admit that over the years Christians have been very lax here- content just to take a sermon from a priest and never pick up their Bibles themselves. I especially think fundamentalist readings are at times not sound and that’s why I have a problem with such an understanding being the basis for showing who God is and what He is to people.

But it's better to be Christian, even some kind of lowly WBC type horrible Christian, than an atheist, am I right ? Because *belief* is still what gets you into heaven. Not being a nice guy, not carrying out the will of God (how do you determine that, by the way?) but belief.

And God not so super smart if he can't find a better way of communicating than via dumb-ass priests interpreting an already out-dated (according to you) book.

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(06-02-2014 03:47 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  And I'm giving myself a conclusion again from all the facepalming.
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05-12-2013, 08:28 PM
RE: Westboro Baptist Church to picket Paul Walker's funeral
(05-12-2013 01:03 PM)Yasmin Wrote:  Blah blah blah...

What I was trying to say (in a really rushed way on my way to work) is that if you’re going to form an opinion of the God of the Bible....

Why on earth should we form an opinion of some iron-age goat-fucker's imaginary fairytale monster? We would have to believe in it to form an opinion of it. You're just trying to sneak in an assumption that it actually exists through the back door.

Call.

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05-12-2013, 11:31 PM
RE: Westboro Baptist Church to picket Paul Walker's funeral
(05-12-2013 01:39 PM)Impulse Wrote:  Speaking of slavery, I always thought it was interesting that God freed the Hebrews from Egypt's slavery - an action that implies he recognized the wrongness of it and the miserable plight of the slaves - but then elsewhere in his holy book he tells about the proper way to own and treat slaves. How does one read that "with more care" so as to remove that contradiction? Consider

Simple favoritism. The 10 Commandments only apply to the Hebrew themselves. They were Yahweh's favored people, so they had a set of rules that applied to them and fuck everyone else.

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05-12-2013, 11:50 PM
RE: Westboro Baptist Church to picket Paul Walker's funeral
BTW, the "WBC" attention-whore clan consists of a single extended family and their adopted-children victims, and are only a "church" in name. The Southern Baptist Convention disavows any affiliation with them. What they are actually doing is an elaborate racket: They picket soldiers' funerals and other high-profile events and spout their outrageous bullshit in an effort to piss anyone they can off enough to take a swing at one of them, and then they sue the shit out of the town it occurs in for failing to protect their "right" to "free speech/exercise of religion". They are a bunch of lawyers, BTW. I've actually gone toe-to-toe with them in person and beat them at their own game: snatched the bread off their little chilluns' table by rescuing an angered vet from getting sucked into the trap they had laid for him. Heh.

It's Special Pleadings all the way down!


Magic Talking Snakes STFU -- revenantx77


You can't have your special pleading and eat it too. -- WillHop
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06-12-2013, 12:06 AM
RE: Westboro Baptist Church to picket Paul Walker's funeral
(05-12-2013 08:28 PM)Taqiyya Mockingbird Wrote:  Why on earth should we form an opinion of some iron-age goat-fucker's imaginary fairytale monster? We would have to believe in it to form an opinion of it. You're just trying to sneak in an assumption that it actually exists through the back door.

But with all due respect, Tarqiyya Mockingbird, although you don’t have to believe in the God of the Bible you certainly have to accept a concept of Him in order to contribute to a lot of discussion found on this forum. Now if an atheist’s argument was based solely on a general ‘no supernatural god’ neutral approach, you would be correct. However we have to take into account sacred religious texts and their interpretation not only by believers but atheists as well. It’s pretty obvious just looking around here that often religious belief and how it is carried out are huge issues in a person’s rejection not only of a particular faith but of the idea of a God itself. Issues of suffering, of gender, and of morals are all discussed and Biblical texts are often used to illustrate a picture of God that is put forward as either undesirable or improbable. Eg, ‘if that’s what the God of the Bible thinks then that’s not a God I would be interested in,’ or ‘if God is all-loving and all-powerful he would stop suffering.’ These concepts of God aren't things that come about just looking at the world and thinking ‘is there some kind of intelligence behind this’ but as a result of a reaction to a particular religion’s teachings about God.

I noticed even in the thread about prayer where you continually referred to God in terms of Him being a cosmic messenger boy (the exact wording escapes me) to contrast with what I was saying, what did you base that phrase on? Obviously you are basing that on your opinion of what prayer is, what it is used for and the nature of God otherwise it wouldn't make much sense either as mockery or a serious thought. Most people here make it quite clear through the language they use to refer to God that they don’t believe He exists and yet their conclusions must have a basis in something. The definition I've been given around here that atheism is a neutral position, but a rejection of something that is judged to be unfounded means that even that is forming an opinion of something which you do not believe in based on somebody else’s representation; you cannot be atheist until you have been presented with the possibility of theism.

Think of anyone who has ever discussed a movie or book character with their friends, and have judged or speculated on the motives or actions of those fictional characters- does that discussion have to mean they believe those characters really exist in some supernatural way? Or when someone's asked why a particular book or character is their favourite. Does their liking of how that character's written either negate them liking that character or imply that they think it's real? Of course not.

I'm not trying to sneak an assumption on anyone here or force your atheist-card off you (get the feeling that wouldn't happen in a hurry Smile). Obviously I'm going to approach the text as the inspired Word of God and you're going to see it as a collection of ancient texts referring to God which does not exist. Just making a point that if somebody is going to criticise/judge/mock someone's religious beliefs based on an opinion of their texts you have already formed an opinion of the deity to which it refers.
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06-12-2013, 12:15 AM
RE: Westboro Baptist Church to picket Paul Walker's funeral
(05-12-2013 04:10 PM)morondog Wrote:  But it's better to be Christian, even some kind of lowly WBC type horrible Christian, than an atheist, am I right ? Because *belief* is still what gets you into heaven. Not being a nice guy, not carrying out the will of God (how do you determine that, by the way?) but belief.

And God not so super smart if he can't find a better way of communicating than via dumb-ass priests interpreting an already out-dated (according to you) book.
Where did I say it was outdated?
And no, simple 'belief' does not mean a free pass into Heaven. Faith and works have to go together. If I believe that Christ calls us to show mercy but don't do it, I may as well never believed it in the first place
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