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The Scripture Project?
Posted: 22 August 2008 10:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]  
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SkepticX said: “That would be a perfectionist fallacy.”

Therefore, it must not be the case that accurate expression of thought is precluded via language.  Therefore, the idea that divine revelation is not possible through language is also not the case.  Therefore, it is possible that divine revelation is possible through scripture.

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Posted: 22 August 2008 10:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]  
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SkepticX - 22 August 2008 02:18 PM

There you go. I’d say, however, that a relatively accurate representation of ideas is possible through the medium of language, but any “layers” of communication added (such as by translation of language and/or of era) are compromising factors.

What is “relatively accurate”, Byron? One thing that “relatively accurate” is not is very precise. It doesn’t commit you to much at all, in fact. It does not present strong support for the precise representation of ideas via the medium of language.

Parable - 22 August 2008 02:28 PM

Therefore, it is possible that divine revelation is possible through scripture.

This makes a mockery of the word “possible”. What semantic value can it have here? If it means that a single person can gain a subjective experience, I’m fine with that. We’re back to talking about enlightened vs. unenlightened beings. IOW, nonsense. I do not acknowledge anyone’s subjective experience of divine revelation. Invective excised to keep discussion on course.

[ Edited: 22 August 2008 10:38 AM by Traces Elk]
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Posted: 22 August 2008 10:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]  
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Salt Creek - 22 August 2008 01:19 PM
Parable - 20 August 2008 04:08 PM

As I understand it, SkepticX’s position is this:  The presence in scripture of foibles as listed (historical inaccuracy, internal contradictions, scientific errors, etc) precludes the possibility that eternal truth can be conveyed thru scripture by a supernatural agent for the benefit of humankind.

If someone concludes that the presence in scripture of historical inaccuracy, internal contradictions, scientific errors and so on precludes its use for transmission of eternal truth by a supernatural agent, I don’t think there is much that can be done about it. There are many people, like myself, who do not even need that much study to conclude that scripture itself is not their vehicle of choice to convey aspects of “divinity” (which is as subjective a phenomenon as can be expected for something that is so actively discussed.) The main point as I see it is to have a clearing house for organizing the inaccuracies, contradictions and errors in order to confront those who assert that scripture is flawless, including the authors of certain scriptures themselves. I’m thinking, for example, of that material in 2 Timothy, or wherever it is, in the Christian Bible. If I want to explain to someone like yourself why I do not conclude that scripture is valuable for accessing the divine simply by virtue of its being scripture, I am happy to have some arrows in my quiver when my explanation is met with, shall we say? dismay.

The danger for Christians in attempting to turn the Bible into a technically flawless book is generally discussed under the rubric of “bibliolatry,” or the worship of the Bible, in which the Bible itself is turned into a sort of “Fourth Person Of The Godhead,” as if we needed another one. Scripture is man’s response to the experience (perceived or real) of the divine. While it can be said by Christians to be “inspired” by God, in the sense that it was God’s self-disclosure (in the Christian view) that led to its creation, that does not mean that it was literally written with the finger of God. People recorded their impressions and interpretations of divine visitation, and as with any human effort, there are flaws. But through that medium (a flawed human writing) God manifests himself to his creation (or so say I). So, Jesus may be quoted as saying or doing something slightly different by each of the three Synoptic evangelists, but the “spirit” of the meaning and revelation comes through clearly.

The Qur’an is presented as a technically flawless book, basically dropped down out of heaven. I don’t see the necessity of presenting the Bible in this fashion. You get the gist of the message by reading the literal words, but there is an extra added “je-ne-sais-quoi”, a distillation of revelation, that is experienced by the believer, an extra-sensory perception that adds to the experience. The fundamentalist holds on to the wooden, rigid, legalistic formula of the literal interpretation of every word, and this drives him to demand that the book be technically flawless.  This actually reveals an awkwardness with the fundamentalist’s faith, as he doesn’t seem to think that God can survive in his own right, apart from a written document.

For me, the Bible is a vehicle that can be used to transport me into the experience of the divine, but that does not mean that the literal ink on the literal page has to be considered divine in and of itself. God simply uses the words as a method of manifesting himself individually to one who is open to the revelation. But God has his own existence completely apart from those words, IMO, and is not dependent soley upon those words to reveal himself. When Jesus appeared to Paul on the road to Damascus, nobody was reading the Torah. Now, Scripture may provide guidance and direction, even boundaries, to the search, like roads and highways. But there is plenty of opportunity for personal exploration along the way.

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Posted: 22 August 2008 10:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]  
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It’s creepy and it’s kooky
Mysterious and spooky
Ambassador of woo-ky
Spear-it-chew-ality

Bruce Burleson - 22 August 2008 02:37 PM

For me, the Bible is a vehicle that can be used to transport me into the experience of the divine

Whatever floats your boat, my Brother. Go with God. Have faith that anyone knows what you mean.

[ Edited: 22 August 2008 10:53 AM by Traces Elk]
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Posted: 22 August 2008 10:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]  
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Salt Creek - 22 August 2008 02:30 PM
SkepticX - 22 August 2008 02:18 PM

There you go. I’d say, however, that a relatively accurate representation of ideas is possible through the medium of language, but any “layers” of communication added (such as by translation of language and/or of era) are compromising factors.

What is “relatively accurate”, Byron? One thing that “relatively accurate” is not is very precise. It doesn’t commit you to much at all, in fact. It does not present strong support for the precise representation of ideas via the medium of language.

True, but I can’t pretend the error margins inherent to the medium aren’t there in order to make a stronger statement or more of a commitment than is warranted by reality, nor am I so inclined. “Not very precise” is precisely the point. The medium of math is necessary in order to ensure precision, essentially.

Byron

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“We say, ‘Love your brother…’ We don’t say it really, but… Well we don’t literally say it. We don’t really, literally mean it. No, we don’t believe it either, but… But that message should be clear.”—David St. Hubbins

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Posted: 22 August 2008 10:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]  
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Bruce Burleson - 22 August 2008 02:37 PM

The danger for Christians in attempting to turn the Bible into a technically flawless book is generally discussed under the rubric of “bibliolatry,” or the worship of the Bible, in which the Bible itself is turned into a sort of “Fourth Person Of The Godhead,” as if we needed another one. Scripture is man’s response to the experience (perceived or real) of the divine.

Precisely (yeah, precisely) why many believers (probably most, though I’m less confident of that than I was even just a decade ago) have no problem with what I just posted about the reliability of the Bible.

Byron

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“We say, ‘Love your brother…’ We don’t say it really, but… Well we don’t literally say it. We don’t really, literally mean it. No, we don’t believe it either, but… But that message should be clear.”—David St. Hubbins

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Posted: 22 August 2008 11:04 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]  
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Salt Creek - 22 August 2008 02:49 PM

It’s creepy and it’s kooky
Mysterious and spooky
Ambassador of woo-ky
Spear-it-chew-ality

Well, according to Scripture, we are all part of “Adam’s”
family.  grin

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Posted: 22 August 2008 11:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]  
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Bruce Burleson - 22 August 2008 03:04 PM
Salt Creek - 22 August 2008 02:49 PM

It’s creepy and it’s kooky
Mysterious and spooky
Ambassador of woo-ky
Spear-it-chew-ality

Well, according to Scripture, we are all part of “Adam’s”
family.  grin

UUUUUuuuuuuggghhh.

There’s never a rotten tomato handy when you need one!

Byron

[ Edited: 22 August 2008 11:14 AM by SkepticX]
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“We say, ‘Love your brother…’ We don’t say it really, but… Well we don’t literally say it. We don’t really, literally mean it. No, we don’t believe it either, but… But that message should be clear.”—David St. Hubbins

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Posted: 22 August 2008 11:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]  
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Bruce Burleson - 22 August 2008 03:04 PM
Salt Creek - 22 August 2008 02:49 PM

It’s creepy and it’s kooky
Mysterious and spooky
Ambassador of woo-ky
Spear-it-chew-ality

Well, according to Scripture, we are all part of “Adam’s” family.

I know. I’m trying for a more ecumenical tone these days.

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Posted: 22 August 2008 11:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]  
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Salt Creek - 22 August 2008 03:17 PM
Bruce Burleson - 22 August 2008 03:04 PM
Salt Creek - 22 August 2008 02:49 PM

It’s creepy and it’s kooky
Mysterious and spooky
Ambassador of woo-ky
Spear-it-chew-ality

Well, according to Scripture, we are all part of “Adam’s” family.

I know. I’m trying for a more ecumenical tone these days.

I noticed that. Your posts in this thread were basically a sustained, logical argument with minimal smartassitude. I almost asked “who are you, and what have you done with Salt Creek?”

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Posted: 22 August 2008 11:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]  
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SkepticX - 22 August 2008 02:54 PM
Bruce Burleson - 22 August 2008 02:37 PM

The danger for Christians in attempting to turn the Bible into a technically flawless book is generally discussed under the rubric of “bibliolatry,” or the worship of the Bible, in which the Bible itself is turned into a sort of “Fourth Person Of The Godhead,” as if we needed another one. Scripture is man’s response to the experience (perceived or real) of the divine.

Precisely (yeah, precisely) why many believers (probably most, though I’m less confident of that than I was even just a decade ago) have no problem with what I just posted about the reliability of the Bible.

Here is my take on this observation. In the 1980’s the Southern Baptist Convention underwent a major battle between moderates and conservatives over the inerrancy of scripture. The SBC is the largest Protestant denomination in the US, with 16 million members. The conservatives won, and that victory began to reverberate through evangelical circles, reaching its current zenith around the turn of the century. This was combined with Falwell’s Moral Majority movement, and it’s high point of the Bush administration. Now, that generation is starting to pass away, and after eight years of Bush, people are going to be ready for something else. So the emphasis on the absolute inerrancy and technical flawlessness of the Scripture is going to subside, and there will be more focus on good works, the environment, poverty, and practical Christianity, as well as the personal experience of the Spirit, rather than the basically political battle over inerrancy.  So, I think the hill has been crested, and we are at the beginning of a new cycle in religion.

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Posted: 22 August 2008 01:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]  
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“The bible is not the dictator of our conduct and faith. It is rather the record of persons who exemplified faith and virture. It does for religion what the dictionary does for speech. Its value consists in its agreement with experience, that is Truth, as Friends used to use that word. What is truth in the bible is there because it is true, not true because it is there. Its experiences correspond to ours.”—Henry Cadbury, a notable Quaker.

“Agreement with experience” is a dicey business, and it is part of what all my words are about, since I mainly talk about other people’s words as other people mainly use words to describe their experiences. Old Hank (he’s not the one whose ass is being kissed in “Kissing Hank’s Ass”) has something to learn about the difference between words and experience. It’s probably too late at this juncture for Hank to learn anything more about experience, or about words, for that matter.

I had this to say over at the Dawkins forum in response to what someone wrote on the subject of consciousness/experience (in this case, different kinds of pain, e.g., stinging or aching), as a comment about the way that people who talk about the Hard Problem of Consciousness talk about what they talk about, and the way they talk about the way they talk about it:

But there is definitely a qualative difference between those feelings that is pretty much impossible to put into words. Do we need to know in order to find useful ways of explaining the raw feeling to deal with the pain? Of course not, scientifically speaking, it’s not important. It’s still there though. It’s importance is merely philosophical, nothing for the doctors to worry about here. Just a big old bellyache, or headache, for the materialists.

Exactly. It’s a pain in the arse for materialists - or anyone who makes too much effort trying to put things into words as if words were the last word. The only thing a quale is is a word, and it is a word used only by those who try to put into words something else that the brain does not put into words, but does not necessarily imply that a failure to put something into words means that it is non-material.

In other words, it is apposite only in the kind of bellyaching that goes on among people who can only put their bellyaching into words.

I won’t deny that what you have put into words as a “qualitative difference” means something, at least in words. I don’t know if it means much except in terms of putting into words the differences between the way that materialists put things into words and the way that non-materialists put things into words.

Just a word to the wise.

“Divinity” and “wisdom” are words much like “qualia” is for people who think that the words “qualia” or “divinity” constitute a good argument against materialism. It’s a way of manufacturing an “explanatory gap” (to use the words of Levine, 1983, Pacifiic Philosophical Quarterly, v. 64, pp. 354-361) where none is needed except to argue against materialism.

It is disingenuous to collapse the matter of what the nature of scripture is (erroneous, inconsistent, illogical, etc.) onto a debate about what the source or nature of “wisdom” might be. I proposed in another “epistle” to the non-materialist students of consciousnessness that “the explanatory gap” is very analogous to the problem of plot construction for a certain class of screenplays in which the hero dies at the beginning of the film. A lot of heavy lifting has then to be done in terms of telling your story in flashbacks. You don’t want the audience walking out of the theater early.

“Explanatory gap” has a meaning that cannot be distinguished from whatever is implied by “divinity”. “If you don’t understand what I’m saying here, I’m not going to explain it.” That’s what “divinity” means, and it’s the unexplained woo that makes “wisdom” better than a kick in the ass. So much for the missing smartassitude of the universe.

[ Edited: 22 August 2008 01:40 PM by Traces Elk]
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Posted: 22 August 2008 01:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]  
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Salt Creek - 22 August 2008 05:26 PM

What is truth in the bible is there because it is true, not true because it is there. Its experiences correspond to ours.”—Henry Cadbury, a notable Quaker.

“Explanatory gap” has a meaning that cannot be distinguished from whatever is implied by “divinity”.

The notable Quaker hit the nail on the head, and his observation closes the “gap.” Some people find that their experiences are explained by or “correspond to” what is found in the Bible. This is a relatively common experience that transcends racial, cultural, gender and historic boundaries. This phenomenon creates in the believer the sense that he/she has communed or communicated with the “divine,” that which brings order out of chaos (human writings called “Scripture”) and uses the natural to reveal the supernatural.

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Posted: 22 August 2008 01:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]  
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Bruce Burleson - 22 August 2008 05:50 PM

Some people find

The explanatory gap is the people who don’t find… Explain that. Please don’t substitute rationalization for explanation.

I think what you’ve come up with is that some people are indoctrinated at an early age that the Bible has their answers for them. This indoctrination indeed “transcends racial, cultural, gender and historic boundaries”. This insanity really is not hereditary, even though you get it from your parents.

Now, if you explained that many people find pre-digested food easy to tolerate as infants and that pre-digested ideas are a great labor saving device, and that people have an enormous predilection for intellectual laziness, I’d say your ‘splainin’ was done.

Bruce Burleson - 22 August 2008 05:50 PM

Some people find that their experiences are explained by or “correspond to” what is found in the Bible.

It’s relatively rare that people make such a show of rationalizing that their experiences are “explained” or “correspond to”, without actually being able to explain just how this takes place. The experiences that are not “explained” are simply not discussed. This kind of editorial rigor is very common in people committed to defending their rationalizations.

The “juiced-up” sensation of transcendence is wicked good. There are ways, and there are ways of getting at it. When the Bible does it for you, it’s pretty much a slam dunk that you need company to make it work. Being jazzed by company is not uncommon. Where’s that demonic rabbit pal of mine?

[ Edited: 22 August 2008 02:10 PM by Traces Elk]
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Posted: 22 August 2008 02:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]  
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Salt Creek - 22 August 2008 05:55 PM
Bruce Burleson - 22 August 2008 05:50 PM

Some people find

The explanatory gap is the people who don’t find… Explain that. Please don’t substitute rationalization for explanation.

I think what you’ve come up with is that some people are indoctrinated at an early age that the Bible has their answers for them. This indoctrination indeed “transcends racial, cultural, gender and historic boundaries”.

That ole’ “indoctrination” crayon has ruined many a wall, and it’s hard to keep the kids from using it. It’s “hereditary.” But, be that as it may, I have neither explanation nor rationalization for the don’t find group - only observation. Some find, some don’t. Details at midnight.

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