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Mia: “Have you even read the Bible?”
Posted: 21 February 2007 02:04 AM   [ Ignore ]  
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In an earlier topic, Mia asked me whether I had even read the Bible or Koran all the way through. At the time, there were so many posts to answer that I let that one slip away. Mia, I'm sorry not to have replied in a more timely manner, but here is your answer:

I have read very little of the Koran. I know more about it from what I've seen written about it. I gather it is very similar to the Old Testament and lacks the more enlightened teachings of Jesus.

I have read most of the Bible, not all. I think you will agree it is very hard to read. There is so much about earthly kings and kingdoms, so many unGodly things, so much repetition, and what seems to me to be a clear intent to promote racial superiority, that it is a struggle to read enough to find the good things that are said, though there are many.

Nevertheless, I have a hard time criticizing what's wrong with the Bible. To me it parallels criticizing my 94-year-old aunt for her beliefs, it's just too easy a target. It's a 2000-year-old tome written at a time when primitives considered the earth to be flat and the center of the universe. I think understanding is more appropriate than indignation.

I think those who claim the Bible to be the unerring word of God deserve compassion and understanding more than criticism. It seems to me they either lack the courage to be honest with themselves or the intellect to discern the truth.

My thoughts about the Bible are best summarized by the following link. The information in the link refers to Old Testament writings, but I think it applies just as rightly to the New Testament: The Truth About the Scriptures.

[ Edited: 20 September 2007 07:41 PM by Travis Smith]
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Posted: 21 February 2007 03:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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Your explanation of how you interpret the Old Testament, is the same way that I interpret it, or very much like it.  THose were people in a certain historical context who held certain beliefs about a god and reported their beliefs to the future through the scriptures.  It is linguistic evidence of how they thought, what they believed, hoped for, imagined and had to cope with at a cultural/political level.  In that sense it is very much a brutal account of existence and a reaction to such brutality in the form a primitive religious doctrine.

I have two questions.  How different is the situation for modern-day muslims living in a poor, backward country in the Middle East?  Aren’t they struggling to survive in a brutal environment just like the Ancient Jews were struggling?  If that is a fair comparison, how come we (21st century Westerners) can embrace those Old Testament personalities and yet we condemn the modern muslim personalities?

And secondly, what is it about Jesus that impells you to worship (love?) him to the point of obsession?  Now, if you can temporarily dismiss the notion that Jesus is the supposed son of the tyrant of the Old Testament, what else is there remaining to prompt such an exaggerated reaction.  Even if I accept the words that have been attributed to Jesus, and appreciate their overall sentiments for the human condition, there is nothing in his words that would ecourage me to place him above Buddha, or Socrates, or Lao Tze, or Kung Fu Tze, in the spectrum of insightful human geniuses.  The fact that he went around the lands of the Dead Sea attempting to prove his divine origins seems to me like a largely negative attribute.  Given what the nature of god was prior to the appearance of Jesus, who would want to be associated with such a horrific deity?  So what is it, aside from the assumed (and corrupting) divine connections, that encourage you to “love Jesus with all that you are?”  I, frankly, don’t see the reason or the emotion in that.

Bob

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Posted: 21 February 2007 05:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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[quote author=“CanZen”]And secondly, what is it about Jesus that impells you to worship (love?) him to the point of obsession?  Now, if you can temporarily dismiss the notion that Jesus is the supposed son of the tyrant of the Old Testament, what else is there remaining to prompt such an exaggerated reaction. 

I cannot dismiss the notion.  From my perspective, Jesus not only is the son, but the tyrant Himself.

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Posted: 21 February 2007 05:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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[quote author=“Ted”]I cannot dismiss the notion.  From my perspective, Jesus not only is the son, but the tyrant Himself.

You’re welcome to keep that perspective, but what obliges me to refrain from making fun of it mercilessly?

For starters, you might try not to use words like “cannot” when “will not” would do just fine, and give you some responsibility into the bargain. If I can, than so can you. We’re both human beings.

From the moment you showed up here with your pleas for “tolerance”, I suspected you were headed in this direction. The self-congratulatory hints in early posts were a tip-off. News Flash! You’ve arrived. Time for a debutante ball.

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Posted: 21 February 2007 01:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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[quote author=“Salt Creek”][quote author=“Ted”]I cannot dismiss the notion.  From my perspective, Jesus not only is the son, but the tyrant Himself.

You’re welcome to keep that perspective, but what obliges me to refrain from making fun of it mercilessly?

For starters, you might try not to use words like “cannot” when “will not” would do just fine, and give you some responsibility into the bargain. If I can, than so can you. We’re both human beings.

From the moment you showed up here with your pleas for “tolerance”, I suspected you were headed in this direction. The self-congratulatory hints in early posts were a tip-off. News Flash! You’ve arrived. Time for a debutante ball.

I thought I made it clear from where I was coming.  I’ve made to no secret of the fact that I am Christian, albeit a perhaps less virulant strain.

There is nothing that obliges you from refraining from anything.  There is, as you have pointed out, only what you will or will not do. 

When you say that you suspect I was headed in that direction, I am not sure what direction you mean.  I did not come here to preach or proselytize.  Perhaps I made a mistake of expressing my opinion?  I have not figured out the correct language here, yet.  I think I understand that “belief” and “faith” are bad words (I am unsure about “opinion”).  I found out what “fundie” means.  And I know what a straw-man is now.  So, I think I am doing fairly well.

Salt Creek, the reason I came to this forum is because I read “Letter”, and I just don’t get it, and really do want to understand.  I did not come here to pick a fight.  But if mocking me mercilessly is what it is about, then okay, mock away.  It will help me understand.

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Posted: 21 February 2007 01:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
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[quote author=“Ted”]Perhaps I made a mistake of expressing my opinion?

Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t realize it was only an opinion, examples of which are always welcome here. It the dogma that comes in for merciless mockery. Gracious me, theology is getting so complicated these days; it appears that a doctrinal cornerstone has been demoted to mere “opinion”. Or maybe it was a belief. Well, it’s my turn to learn something new and clever to show off for my friends. “Wow” they’ll say, “SC is practically a liberal theologian now.”

The quote you’re sporting from your homie, Merton, is a little misleading. It gave me to conclude you understand a bit more than you are now claiming.

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Posted: 21 February 2007 01:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
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[quote author=“Salt Creek”][quote author=“Ted”]Perhaps I made a mistake of expressing my opinion?

Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t realize it was only an opinion, examples of which are always welcome here. It the dogma that comes in for merciless mockery. Gracious me, theology is getting so complicated these days; it appears that a doctrinal cornerstone has been demoted to mere “opinion”. Or maybe it was a belief. Well, it’s my turn to learn something new and clever to show off for my friends. “Wow” they’ll say, “SC is practically a liberal theologian now.”

The quote you’re sporting from your homie, Merton, is a little misleading. It gave me to conclude you understand a bit more than you are now claiming.

I thought dogma was, “a principle, belief, or statement of idea or opinion, especially one formally or authoritatively considered to be absolute truth.”?  So shame on me, it IS a bad word here. :(

Please expand on your last statement.  I have a simple mind and do not understand how you allowed it to lead you to a conclusion that appears to be different from what you now assume to be true.  What has changed?

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Posted: 21 February 2007 01:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]  
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[quote author=“andonstop”]Nevertheless, I have a hard time criticizing what’s wrong with the Bible. To me it parallels criticizing my 94-year-old aunt for her beliefs, it’s just too easy a target.

Agreed, but you can’t both say that the bible is a child of its time AND relevant today.

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Posted: 21 February 2007 02:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]  
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Salt Creek,

I think I see where you are coming from.  When I made the statement about the son of the tyrant, I went from asking questions to professing dogma.  And THAT is the trigger, expressing opinions?  Its kind of like a cerebral territory marking, a throwing down of the gauntlet, a challenge? 

So, if someone shows up here packing an opinion, principle or belief, they had better be ready to back it up!  Fascinating!

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Posted: 21 February 2007 02:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]  
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[quote author=“Ted”][quote author=“CanZen”]And secondly, what is it about Jesus that impells you to worship (love?) him to the point of obsession?  Now, if you can temporarily dismiss the notion that Jesus is the supposed son of the tyrant of the Old Testament, what else is there remaining to prompt such an exaggerated reaction. 

I cannot dismiss the notion.  From my perspective, Jesus not only is the son, but the tyrant Himself.

And that, Ted, is why the Muslims say that Christians are idoloters.  For them, Allah is absolutely One, without Second.  The Islamic theologian al Ghazali (d. 1111AD) asserted that Allah is even beyond the one who gives the command for the movement of the heavens, beyond the beyond.

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Posted: 21 February 2007 02:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]  
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[quote author=“KFD”][quote author=“andonstop”]Nevertheless, I have a hard time criticizing what’s wrong with the Bible. To me it parallels criticizing my 94-year-old aunt for her beliefs, it’s just too easy a target.

Agreed, but you can’t both say that the bible is a child of its time AND relevant today.

Of course he can.  After all, Aristotle was a child of his time but is still relevant today (even though we subject him to critical analysis).

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Posted: 21 February 2007 10:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]  
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[quote author=“burt”][quote author=“Ted”][quote author=“CanZen”]And secondly, what is it about Jesus that impells you to worship (love?) him to the point of obsession?  Now, if you can temporarily dismiss the notion that Jesus is the supposed son of the tyrant of the Old Testament, what else is there remaining to prompt such an exaggerated reaction. 

I cannot dismiss the notion.  From my perspective, Jesus not only is the son, but the tyrant Himself.

And that, Ted, is why the Muslims say that Christians are idoloters.  For them, Allah is absolutely One, without Second.  The Islamic theologian al Ghazali (d. 1111AD) asserted that Allah is even beyond the one who gives the command for the movement of the heavens, beyond the beyond.

Yes.  I understand that.  They actually don’t see us as idoloters as much as just not the monotheists we claim to be.  “There is only one God, and Muhammed is His Prophet.”  (a statement that I do not necessarily disagree with).  The Trinity is a difficult concept for some to grasp.

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Posted: 21 February 2007 11:24 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]  
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[quote author=“CanZen”]Your explanation of how you interpret the Old Testament, is the same way that I interpret it, or very much like it.  THose were people in a certain historical context who held certain beliefs about a god and reported their beliefs to the future through the scriptures.  It is linguistic evidence of how they thought, what they believed, hoped for, imagined and had to cope with at a cultural/political level.  In that sense it is very much a brutal account of existence and a reaction to such brutality in the form a primitive religious doctrine.

I have two questions.  How different is the situation for modern-day muslims living in a poor, backward country in the Middle East?  Aren’t they struggling to survive in a brutal environment just like the Ancient Jews were struggling?  If that is a fair comparison, how come we (21st century Westerners) can embrace those Old Testament personalities and yet we condemn the modern muslim personalities?

And secondly, what is it about Jesus that impells you to worship (love?) him to the point of obsession?  Now, if you can temporarily dismiss the notion that Jesus is the supposed son of the tyrant of the Old Testament, what else is there remaining to prompt such an exaggerated reaction.  Even if I accept the words that have been attributed to Jesus, and appreciate their overall sentiments for the human condition, there is nothing in his words that would ecourage me to place him above Buddha, or Socrates, or Lao Tze, or Kung Fu Tze, in the spectrum of insightful human geniuses.  The fact that he went around the lands of the Dead Sea attempting to prove his divine origins seems to me like a largely negative attribute.  Given what the nature of god was prior to the appearance of Jesus, who would want to be associated with such a horrific deity?  So what is it, aside from the assumed (and corrupting) divine connections, that encourage you to “love Jesus with all that you are?”  I, frankly, don’t see the reason or the emotion in that.

I see we pretty much agree on the nature of the Old Testament, Canzen. (I kind of thought we would.) As I mentioned in my earlier post, I actually feel pretty much the same way about the New Testament.

In your first block of questions, I think you are making assumptions which are untrue. I don’t think today’s Muslims in the Middle East are an oppressed minority. The only “modern Muslim personalities” condemned by the “21st century Westerners” I know are the terrorists. The Iranian Muslims I know here in America are frankly embarrassed by the state of affairs in their homeland and think things went downhill when the Ayatollah took over. No people I know want a theocracy. The religionists I respect embrace only what is true in the Bible, even if they are unwilling to admit the parts which don’t make sense, really don’t make sense. [smiling wonderingly]

Your second block of questions confuses me. I thought we had agreed the Bible was a work of primitives, then you question the God and Jesus represented in the Bible. To understand me, and to understand God, you must be willing to utterly abandon all those primitive notions about what He is. If you had read carefully and thoughtfully the link to section 4 included in my original post, I think you would know that.

From this fresh and unburdened perspective, you should realize the anger attributed to God and Jesus in the Bible is simply false. Anger is the antithesis of Godliness, it is a material manifestation which represents, in a general way, the measure of the failure of the spiritual nature to gain control of the combined intellectual and physical natures.

“Religion” in our society has unfortunately come to mean “organized religion.” In my view, true religion is a personal relationship between an individual and God, that sense of trust that comes with a loving relationship which assures everything will be okay in the end, and if it’s not okay, then it’s not the end; that recognition of the Fatherhood of God and the resultant siblinghood of all humankind; that recognition that we are all in this together and the actions of each affect the other. Again in my view, organized religion is only an attempt to socialize that, and by nature becomes crystallized with doctrine over time. It is within this entity that the both arrogant and silly concept of a “chosen people” begins, along with division into “sundry groups of truth contenders.”

What is it that encourages me to love Jesus? If we clarify “love” as the desire to do good to others, it includes the same things which encourage us all to love anyone: his unconditional love for each of us, loving us both as a brother and as a father; his dignity, his kindness, his compassion, his patience, his tolerance, his grace, his understanding, his wisdom, his courage, his faith in each of us; that majestic leadership. I do not think there was, is, or will be another human being like him.

As to Buddha, Socrates, Lao Tze, Kung Fu Tze, you or me, (great thinkers, all) [smiling respectfully] I think for us religious thinking is the same. At its highest level, it ideally encompasses all the beauty of humanism, crowned with the majesty of the patient, loving Father who respects all of our choices. I think God has granted us absolute control to choose our ultimate destiny—eternal living or annihilation. From your earlier posts on another topic, I see you currently choose annihilation. I follow God’s lead in respecting that, but I don’t understand that.

My question to you is, when there can be no factual basis for your faith regarding afterlife, why would you choose annihilation?

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Posted: 22 February 2007 02:04 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]  
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[quote author=“andonstop”]the Fatherhood of God and the resultant siblinghood of all humankind;...

Andonstop,

I liked what you wrote (I agree, so you must be smart smile ).

The only item I wonder about is whether you are implying we are, in our current state, sons and daughters of God. 

I submit that we are “created”, which implies something different from the Creator.  Jesus was “begotten, not created” which implies sameness (giving clues to the meaning of the Trinity, i.e., three-in-one).  I think we are striving for sonship (daughtership), and have been provided the model for achieving it.

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Posted: 22 February 2007 09:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]  
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Actually, since Muslims believe the Koran only exists in Arabic, you would have to learn Arabic first. Translations are not considered the Koran.

[quote author=“andonstop”]In an earlier topic, Mia asked me whether I had even read the Bible or Koran all the way through. At the time, there were so many posts to answer that I let that one slip away. Mia, I’m sorry not to have replied in a more timely manner, but here is your answer:

I have read very little of the Koran. I know more about it from what I’ve seen written about it. I gather it is very similar to the Old Testament and lacks the more enlightened teachings of Jesus.

I have read most of the Bible, not all. I think you will agree it is very hard to read. There is so much about earthly kings and kingdoms, so many unGodly things, so much repetition, and what seems to me to be a clear intent to promote racial superiority, that it is a struggle to read enough to find the good things that are said, though there are many.

Nevertheless, I have a hard time criticizing what’s wrong with the Bible. To me it parallels criticizing my 94-year-old aunt for her beliefs, it’s just too easy a target. It’s a 2000-year-old tome written at a time when primitives considered the earth to be flat and the center of the universe. I think understanding is more appropriate than indignation.

I think those who claim the Bible to be the unerring word of God deserve compassion and understanding more than criticism. It seems to me they either lack the courage to be honest with themselves or the intellect to discern the truth.

My thoughts about the Bible are best summarized by the following link. The information in the link refers to Old Testament writings, but I think it applies just as rightly to the New Testament: The Truth About the Scriptures.

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Posted: 22 February 2007 09:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]  
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Ted wrote:

I submit that we are “created”, which implies something different from the Creator.

There is another word which has the same meaning as ‘created’. That word is ‘diposable’.


andonstop wrote:

I do not think there was, is, or will be another human being like him.

I don’t know whether that comment made me feel sickness or sadness.

 

 

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