A Conversation for The Bible - a Perspective

Rather Cynical?

Post 1

Researcher 55674

Rather cynical and biased for an official guide entry isn't it?


Rather Cynical?

Post 2

Ingisim - Domestic Goddess

Biased in favour of whom?


Rather Cynical?

Post 3

Athon Solo

What's wrong with looking at the Bible cynically? The Bible continually contradficts itself anyway - there is virtually no subject that you can not find quotes to both support and deny in the Bible - it's the ultimate quotes book!

Athon Solo


Rather Cynical?

Post 4

Ingisim - Domestic Goddess

I agree that the Bible itself is far from objective (and that it manages to contradict itself on many subjects). Religious beliefs are also entirely subjective, giving the text a different significance for each person. It is difficult, therefore (even for atheists), to read it in a purely objective way!


Rather Cynical?

Post 5

Amon

It's true, the bible does contradict itself. It does however have some interesting quotes in it. Such as one where Jesus forbids Christmas trees (I'll tell you where that one is when I find it again).


Rather Cynical?

Post 6

me[Andy]g

Y'know, conversations like this always amuse me. People always say "the bible contradicts itself on many subjects". They almost never come out and give a concrete example. Anyone care to enlighten me with one? smiley - smiley


Rather Cynical?

Post 7

Amon

Sorry for the late (and long) reply, I had some trouble getting logged on. First an interesting prophesy by Jesus (Matthew 15:9) <But in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men

This is where it says that Christmas trees are banned
In Jeremiah 10:2-5 Thus saith the Lord, Learn not the way of the Heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven: for the heathen are dismayed at them. For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe. They deck it with silver and with gold, they fasten it with nails and hammers, that it move not. They are upright as the palm tree, but speak not: they must needs be borne, because they cannot go. Be not afraid of them: for they cannot do evil, enither also is it in them to do good.

Here are the contradictions
Samuel 8:4
And David took from him a thousand chariots and seven hundred horsemen, and twenty thousand footmen

And David took from him a thousand chariots and seven thousand horsemen, and twenty thousand footmen Chronicles 18:4

Seven hundred or seven thousand?

Samuel 24:1
And again the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and he moved against them to say. Go, number Israel and Judah

Chronicles 21:1
And Satan stood up against Israel and provoked David to number Israel.

Somehow I doubt that the Lord of David is Satan

This doesn't mean that the bible is bad. Just that it has some contradictions. If I had to follow a religion other then my own I would chose to follow the Bible (not the church thou)


Rather Cynical?

Post 8

Prof Ligate {(1+8)x(1+4)}-(9/3)=42!

I quite like the way that the Bible has these contradictions in it! I think that it shows it was written by real people trying to get to grips with their experience of a God who is beyond understanding. Some of the contradictions, like the number of people in the previous example, are pretty insignificant in the general scheme of things and I doubt really impact on faith today.

I really enjoyed the article. I am a Christian (although prob on the less literal side of the Bible interpreting spectrum) and thought it was amusing and well written. I don't agree with it all but then discussions like these would not be so fun if we agreed with everything, would they smiley - smiley.


Rather Cynical?

Post 9

Elsonico

The usual example is "an eye for an eye," but "turn the other cheek."


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Post 10

Researcher 55674

But the eye for an eye command referred to the conduct of the government in ruling fairly and pronouncing judgements appropriate for the crime. Jesus is talking specifically about personal conduct. Therefore when he makes the alleged contradictory statement, he is merely reminding the Jews that punishment by the government is very different from seeking personal vengeance. This distinction holds true in our own society today.

As for my original comment as the start of this forum, I was responding to the fact that at the time this entry was simply titled, "The Bible" when obviously it was more of a perspective on the Bible than the balanced general entry I expected to accompany the broad title. I see some thoughtful editor has remedied this, so my original comment seems rather rash and pigheaded. Apologies to all, I withdraw the comment.


Rather Cynical?

Post 11

Motie Engineer

This is a bit of a tangent, but a previous post states that there's a significant difference between the government punishing someone and an individual exacting vengeance on his (or her) on behalf.
Why should there be a difference? When is it right for a group to do something that is wrong for an individual to do?


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Post 12

Bob Grocer

Has anyone on this conversation ever read the Bible through? Many things taken out of context can be interpreted as contradictions, and many measurements become misunderstodd when the Bible is interpreted to English. Just a thought.


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Post 13

Agonistes

I started reading the bible last year. I gave up last month.

Essentially there's so much which isn't explained and so many examples where god is a complete b*****d that it really didn't make sense to me (Let's take Egypt. God, or his minion, Moses, I think, killed all the fish in the river. Nice one, god).

An explanation please. Adam and Eve's children must have lain with each other (either that or Adam and Eve weren't the only ones around). But then of course later in the bible we have remonstrations against lying with your brother or sister.

Let's face it. The bible is a fairy story. Take a pub load of journalists today and get them to write about events which took place in the last century; get them to bias the result and, hey presto, another bible....


Rather Cynical?

Post 14

me[Andy]g

An explanation for Adam and Eve? I'll have a go. I'm not claiming that this is "right", but this is what I think:

The story of Adam and Eve in the bible never claims to be historically or scientifically accurate. All that is claimed is that God created everything we can see. It does not try to explain how God did this, it just says that he did do it. The bible does not say whether God "created" other people as he did with Adam and Eve, without them being born naturally. So it is entirely possible that other people other than Adam and Eve's children (Cain, Abel, Seth, and whoever else...) will have existed as well in order for the human race to continue.

However, even if this is not true, what is the problem with e.g. Cain lying with his sister? Yes, in Exodus etc. the bible says you should not lie with your relations and you should be punished for doing so... however

(i) Exodus is AFTER this episode took place, and
(ii) Cain was not perfect - he did not follow God's way or even the way of the later Israelite law. So what he did was wrong. The bible never claims that anything Cain did was right.

The part of the bible you claim is a fairy story is most likely a mythological representation of something close to what actually happened. However, after Genesis 11 (or so - from the time of Abraham) the bible is one of the most historically accurate books. Pre-Genesis chapter 11, the bible does not claim to be historically or scientifically (as we understand those words) accurate.

Regarding Egypt. God's people were in slavery, and God was working through Moses to set them free from that slavery. Hence all the plagues and destruction, probably because that was the only way the Egyptians were going to let the Israelites out.

me[Andy]g


Rather Cynical?

Post 15

Bob Grocer

I'm not claiming to be a genious or anything, but I must say that reading the Bible with the intent of actually learning something is very helpful to finding something meaningful from it. Reading the Bible in order to find out-of-context passages that condradict may be very easy, but will not likely produce an accurate interpretation of the Bible. Many things are still misunderstood and not understood by even the strongest Christian scholars, but the leading and guiding of the Holy Spirit is the only way to gain knowledge and understand the holy word of God. I know there's a verse somewhere stating this, I'll have to look it up. I may not be the learned scholar, but I know what the Bible means to me. Thank you for your time.


Rather Cynical?

Post 16

Agonistes

I'm afraid I have problems with statements like "The story of Adam and Eve in the bible never claims to be historically or scientifically accurate."

Who claims (or doesn't claim) this? And by what authority?

More importantly, who decides which parts of the bible are allegorical and which are straightforward fact? By what authority is it claimed that, yes, there was a man called Jesus who did miracles and that this cannot be denied?

The problem I'm having here is that the bible is somewhat like modern art in that people can read into it precisely what they wish to. There is nothing wrong with this per se (after all, I would never doubt that people have gained comfort from reading the bible because of their own interpretation) but it becomes frightening when certain groups turn around and state categorically that this or that passage is the truth.

I believe that any *thinking* person must *never* blindly accept anything they are told. (Let's be practical, strike out that 'anything' and make it 'anything important'.) I approached the bible to find out what it was all about, not to find contradictions, not to pick holes, but after just a few pages it seemed to me that if the same methodolgy had been used to present a paper on, say, physics, it would have been laughed out of the lecture theatre.

Of course, Christians (int al) have the all encompassing escape clause: faith. But faith without foundation is merely superstition and I would dearly love to find someone, anyone, who could provide the merest sample of foundation.

Yes, we are fairly sure that certain events in the bible did take place (the flood, Egypt, Jesus) but there appears to be far too much poetic license given to the authors. The flood begats Noah who lived for several hundred years. Egypt has the parting of the red sea by god. And Jesus makes miracles. Can we believe this?

Not if we also accept as equally proven the story that there was a fifth gospel which was "removed" by the supporters of Jesus who felt he was not being portrayed as spiritual as they wished. (If my memory serves me well, this was Simon's gospel which portrayed Jesus as a regular guy with charisma.)

In my opinion, the bible merely represents a kind of treasury of stories, cobbled together. It's been adopted and used as a kind of totem by Christians and taken on the guise of truth because for too long people have been unable or unwilling to truly question. First it was the Catholic church telling people not to question, now it's just people's own laziness and ignorance.

Agonistes.


Rather Cynical?

Post 17

me[Andy]g

The bible itself doesn't claim to be scientifically accurate. Throughout most of Genesis chapters 1 and 2, it does not say how God created the world, it just says that God did create the world (which for the Christian faith is all that matters when it comes to creation). When Moses parts the Red Sea, it does not tell us what happened scientifically, it just states what happened. When Jesus performs a miracle, it does not tell us which laws of nature or which physical constants Jesus decided to change, or which healing methods or medicines he possibly used, it just tells us what happens. So any attempt to compare the methodology of the bible with the methodology of a paper on any science is at best flawed.

As regards the historical non-accuracy of Adam and Eve, I'm not as sure. I guess that I'm going on the premise that we can date back as far as Abraham but no further, and yet we can date other civilisations thousands of years beforehand, and the Earth to millions of years beforehand. I suppose I have a problem with taking the "years" and "days" in the early part of Genesis literally, since the bible elsewhere says:

"But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day."
(2 Peter 3v8, NIV)

which means that an interpretation of the "days" in Genesis 1 needs to be carefully considered.

I think it's up to the reader to decide which parts are allegorical and which parts are not (out of those that are not already proven by historians). I think J.K.Rowling had a good point in book 2 of Harry Potter when Hermione says "But professor, don't historical myths and legends always have a basis in fact?" when asking Professor Binns (?) about the Chamber of Secrets. I think that some of the early stories in the bible can possibly be thought of in the same light.

In the end, when it comes down to it, as humans we do not definitely know whether the bible is the truth or not. But personally, after reading what the bible says, I'm willing to believe that it is the truth to almost the extent that I "know" that it is the case.

I would like to say something about the "fifth gospel" as well, but I don't know enough about it to give you a "truthful" answer right now, so I'll postpone that for some other time. I don't know what its stance on Jesus' death and resurrection is, so I can't comment on how reliable it is in comparison to the four gospels that are in the bible as we know it.

But as regards laziness and ignorance - anyone who is either of these when it comes to reading or understanding the bible and claims to be a Christian is just plainly wrong, no two ways about it.

me[Andy]g


Rather Cynical?

Post 18

Bob Grocer

I have some explanations of some of the so-called "funny parts" of the Bible. I believe that the author of this article has taken some of these passages out of context, hence the bad interpretations (or inaccurate, I should say).

Exodus 4:24 - My version of the Bible (The Student Bible, which uses the NIV translation, or New International Version), has a note to the effect that the Hebrew word for the word for "Moses" in this verse can actually be interpreted "him". Why they didn't do that in the first place beats me, but it also says that this may have actually been referring to Moses' new son by Zipporah, who had not yet been circumsized. That's what I can make of this one.

1 Kings 7:23 - I'm not sure what the big deal is. It's a circle. So?

Ecclesiastes 9:5 - This passage is saying that eventually everyone is forgotten, even the living shall be forgotten one day.

Song of Solomon 5:26 - Once again, I'm not sure what the big deal is. This book is about love, so of course they're gonna write about that.

Matthew 23:17 - Christ is God, therefore he has the authority to say "You fool!"

Mark 9:43-47 - This is actually rather good advice if you don't plan on going to hell. While I've never seen any modern-day applications of this passage, it makes perfect since, since burning in the fire of hell certainly is worse than cutting off your foot.

Mark 10:25 - This simply means that rich men have a hard time sacrificing all they have in order to follow Christ, since earthly possessions can be rather hard to give up.

Well, that's all I have for now. If anyone has anything to add, please feel free! (I am by no means an authority, but I know when a passage is taken out of context.)

- Bob Grocer


Rather Cynical?

Post 19

Agonistes

"So any attempt to compare the methodology of the bible with the methodology of a paper on any science is at best flawed."

That was not the point I was making. The point is that if someone is going to state that the bible (or any book) is truth, then it must be able to stand up to independent and verifiable confirmation.

And the bible can't do that. Looked at from an objective point of view, the book is merely a collection of fables, small portions of which are possibly based on truth.


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Post 20

me[Andy]g

The bible is merely a collection of fables?

The early part of Genesis is most probably fables based on facts passed down through previous generations (i.e. "chinese whispers" style history, which was a lot more reliable in those days than it is now).

After Genesis, I strongly suggest you check out another non-biblical history book of that age and get your facts straight before you make such comments. An awful lot of the people in the bible can be verified through non-biblical books. I have heard it said that the bible is one of the most reliable books of its time, if not the most.

me[Andy]g


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