Lions and tigers and… demons? Oh my.
Posted: 13 March 2007 06:39 AM   [ Ignore ]  
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Reading through the NT for the first time as a skeptic has been an eye opening experience. And although my observations at this point are admittedly naive, I'd like to share another one and hear what you think.

I always thought (and was taught) that the description of Jesus curing people by "driving out demons" was simply allegorical. The word "demons" in this context was merely meant to denote the illnesses because modern medical terms hadn't yet been developed. However, in Matthew 8, Mark 5 and Luke 8, Jesus is said to have first talked to and then driven out demons into a herd of pigs (which subsequently jumped off a cliff). This was apparently witnessed by the pig's caretakers, who went back to town to spread the word.

What am I to make of this?

1. If Jesus really did just cure the men of their bacterial/viral/psychological or whatever disease, then what the heck infected those pigs?

2. If there really were demons in Jesus's time, then why did they stop causing illnesses as we began to understand "other" causes of disease? And why did Jesus give the demons what they asked for in this case, causing the death of 2,000 pigs?

I'm not hiding the fact that, for me at least, I think this story is total hogwash. (Pardon the pun.) I'm just beginning to understand the depth of the deception in my early bible instruction and the amazingly complex series of hoops necessary for free-thinking Christians to jump through in order to maintain their beliefs.

Ken

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Posted: 13 March 2007 06:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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[quote author=“kcoakley”]I’m not hiding the fact that, for me at least, I think this story is total hogwash.

Hogwash is the drainage at the foot of the cliff over which 2000 pigs have just flung themselves. Or maybe it’s what you get if you put the resulting mess in a bucket and wash hogs with it. :D

In the original story, you may be contending with the “post hoc ergo propter hoc” fallacy.

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Posted: 13 March 2007 10:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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2. If there really were demons in Jesus’s time, then why did they stop causing illnesses as we began to understand “other” causes of disease? And why did Jesus give the demons what they asked for in this case, causing the death of 2,000 pigs?

Same reason we killed 2 million birds to eliminate bird flu.

Evolution.

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Posted: 13 March 2007 11:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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Same reason we killed 2 million birds to eliminate bird flu.

Evolution.

I’m confused!  Are you saying the demons evolved?  Or are you saying he killed the innocent pigs to kill the demons?  Or both?  Or neither?  What are you saying?

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Posted: 13 March 2007 08:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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I’m confused! Are you saying the demons evolved? Or are you saying he killed the innocent pigs to kill the demons? Or both? Or neither? What are you saying?

I’m saying he did what he did and it has been done. Now you’ll never know. You can either believe it or not, but it won’t effect modern illness in anyway and it won’t affect the definition of a demon in anyway. Some things never change.

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Posted: 13 March 2007 08:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
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Can someone please repost the ignore link? I couldn’t find it in the FAQs. Many thanks in advance.

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Posted: 13 March 2007 09:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
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[quote author=“Bad_Conduct”]Same reason we killed 2 million birds to eliminate bird flu.

Evolution.

Do you know what evolution actually is? Because the way you throw the word around makes it seem like you don’t.

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Posted: 14 March 2007 12:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]  
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[quote author=“Mia”]Can someone please repost the ignore link? I couldn’t find it in the FAQs. Many thanks in advance.

Good morning, Mia. BC’s been on my ignore list for a while now. I can vouch for the positive effect on one’s blood pressure. Here’s the link, which can be found in “Information and Announcements”:

http://www.samharris.org/forum/ignore.php

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Posted: 14 March 2007 12:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]  
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I’m saying he did what he did and it has been done. Now you’ll never know. You can either believe it or not, but it won’t effect modern illness in anyway and it won’t affect the definition of a demon in anyway. Some things never change.

Well I’ll have to admit you have a point there:  Demon’s were imaginary then and they still are today.

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Posted: 14 March 2007 02:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]  
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Bad_Conduct.  I think we are missing your point.  Are you saying that Jesus killed the pigs because he actually thought there were demons in them, alluding to some kind of evolution of demon, or are you criticisizing evolution by making it akin to what a man 1000 years ago thought about a figment of his imagination? 

It seems to me that if you are using Jesus’s actions to paint a bad picture of evolution, you are only contributing to the argument that Jesus was only a mortal man, and while he talked of higher powers, he in fact was limited to the knowledge of man at the time.  Part of the whole fascination with Jesus is he was the perfect man. 

Or you could be stating that because we were not there, we don’t know whether there were demons in the pigs.  And you acknowledge that there could have been demons, and Jesus happened to be able to round up every demon pig in the world and executed them.  Is that what you were saying?  I’m not trying to pick a fight with you, I just don’
t understand exactly why everyone is pissed about your comment.

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Posted: 14 March 2007 04:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]  
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I always thought (and was taught) that the description of Jesus curing people by “driving out demons” was simply allegorical. The word “demons” in this context was merely meant to denote the illnesses because modern medical terms hadn’t yet been developed. However, in Matthew 8, Mark 5 and Luke 8, Jesus is said to have first talked to and then driven out demons into a herd of pigs (which subsequently jumped off a cliff).

Ken, do you mind if I quote you in my online book?  The quote would go somewhere in this section:

 

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Posted: 14 March 2007 06:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]  
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NobleSavage…

Please feel free to use the quote/observation in any way you see fit.


Bad_Conduct…

Same reason we killed 2 million birds to eliminate bird flu.

Evolution.

Like others here, I don’t really understand your point.

Unfortunately, the only way we know how to eradicate the bird flu from infected flocks is to destroy them. Jesus, on the other hand, has shown that he can exorcise the *ahem* demons without sacrificing any animals.

So even if there were demons in Jesus’ time (and that’s a big IF), I still don’t understand why he had to kill 2,000 pigs in the process of healing one man (Mark & Luke say there was one man, Matthew says it was two). Which, by the way, is another glaring problem - how good and well documented was this eye witness account of many “men” if the gospels don’t even agree on if it was 1 or 2 men being healed? And what does that say about other so called “eye witness” accounts which seem to be so important in establishing the veracity of the resurrection? I think I’m starting to rant…

Anyway, I’m still not sure what you meant by “Evolution.”

Ken

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Posted: 14 March 2007 07:02 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]  
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Ken,

I take it your name is Ken C. Oakley?

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Posted: 14 March 2007 08:53 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]  
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NobleSavage…

Close - it’s Ken Coakley.

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