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Contradictions in the bible


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#271    J. K.

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 08:06 PM

View Postscowl, on 17 January 2013 - 07:49 PM, said:

Once you get to Jesus and his habit of using parables to avoid saying anything specific, then interpretation is wide open. It's no wonder why there are so many thousands of versions Christianity now!

...and that is why, ultimately, the choice of what to believe is the responsibility of the individual.  

I like to be told what others believe; that is a form of growth in itself.  

I don't mind being told what I should believe; I still have the ability to choose.  

I draw the line at being told that I can't believe.

One's reality is another's nightmare.

#272    Ben Masada

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 08:06 PM

View PostTHE MATRIX, on 17 January 2013 - 03:30 AM, said:


7 months ago a coworker of mine who attends her church regularly was upset by the fact that a donation box that contained several thousands of dollars for underprivilidged children to go to summer camp was stolen. It was one of the church members. How is that Christian? Not only that but a few members suspected the thief yet said nothing. The money still today was never recovered however the thief was later caught. The thief provided no excuse or remorse. There's your Christians for you.

Matrix, I am not a Christian. But I can't side with you without a thourough inquiry on the reasons that prompted the thief to rob
the church. There are reasons that Reason itself ignores.

Ben


#273    Ben Masada

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 08:13 PM

View Postscowl, on 17 January 2013 - 07:49 PM, said:


The problem is that once you take a metaphorical slant on written words, it's a bottomless pit. Anything can mean almost anything. The words will mean anything the interpreter wants them to mean so discussion is pointless.

This was not how the Torah was written (excluding the two Creations of course!). It was written as literal laws without room for interpretation. You do this, you will be killed. You do this, God will be pleased. Here were people doing things that made God happy. They are rewarded. Here were people running afoul of God's wishes. Bam they die, they catch leprosy, or some other unfortunate circumstance happened to them. Anyone who tries to turn these very simple literal words into metaphors is simply trying to obfuscate their clear meaning. By our modern morals, God behaved like a bloodthirsty dictator so it's not a pleasant read.

When you get past the Torah, things do get surreal occasionally especially in Psalms and Ezekiel. I can see pulling metaphors out of some of these verses but most of it is straightforward and literal. There isn't even a parable until 1 Samuel (unless there's one in Ruth which Christians put after Judges for some reason).

Once you get to Jesus and his habit of using parables to avoid saying anything specific, then interpretation is wide open. It's no wonder why there are so many thousands of versions Christianity now!

You say that there isn't even a parable until 1 Samuel. The whole Genesis account of Creation is a huge parable. A real allegory that, interpreted literally, it becomes so ridiculous that cause atheists to laugh at the naivete of theists. Then, all prophetic messages are given in metaphorical language. The bottom line of the Psalms is usually poetic. Poetry can never be interpreted according to the type but to the archetype.
And so forth. I know that metaphorical language is too hard to master. That's why we have hundreds of branches within a religion, especially Christianity. As a result of this promiscuity of a lazy mind, the Truth
is either distorted or remains hidden.

Ben

Edited by Ben Masada, 18 January 2013 - 08:25 PM.


#274    Crikey

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 08:37 PM

Just as various eyewitness to a crime or traffic accident often contradict each other on minor points, the Bible is naturally no different, being written by a vast number of assorted eyewitness to human interaction with offworld beings over thousands of years.
In fact if there were NO contradictions in it, it'd be too squeaky-clean and good to be true!
So, because it contains contradictions it means we can trust it all the more, warts and all..:)


#275    Ben Masada

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 10:07 PM

View PostCrikey, on 18 January 2013 - 08:37 PM, said:

Just as various eyewitness to a crime or traffic accident often contradict each other on minor points, the Bible is naturally no different, being written by a vast number of assorted eyewitness to human interaction with offworld beings over thousands of years.
In fact if there were NO contradictions in it, it'd be too squeaky-clean and good to be true!
So, because it contains contradictions it means we can trust it all the more, warts and all..:)

I understand what you mean which does sound very logical. But IMHO, usually, contradictions rise as a result of interpretations
based on preconceived notions and on the lack of understanding of metaphorical language.

Ben


#276    scowl

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 11:54 PM

View PostBen Masada, on 18 January 2013 - 08:13 PM, said:

You say that there isn't even a parable until 1 Samuel. The whole Genesis account of Creation is a huge parable.

Dude, I clearly said I was excluding the two Creations which themselves contradict each other.

Quote

And so forth. I know that metaphorical language is too hard to master.

I'm sure that's exactly the kind of language you would want to write a religious doctrine in so very few people will ever be able to understand it.

Quote

That's why we have hundreds of branches within a religion, especially Christianity. As a result of this promiscuity of a lazy mind, the Truth
is either distorted or remains hidden.

I would say that it's because the stories, practices and characters in the Bible are so utterly repulsive to modern people that Christianity simply must steer believers' attention from them to maintain any credibility with its followers. It's painful to read about the Jews committing and celebrating horrific genocides against "foreigners" in Canaan during Joshua's conquests when the Nazis committed the same atrocities against the Jews.

We dealt with Biblical issues like these directly in Hebrew School. Yes, I'm saying the Rabbi asked us directly "How is this any different from the Holocaust?" He didn't argue that these were "metaphorical" genocides as if that would make them acceptable somehow.

I've found that most Christians just ignore these issues and focus on the the parts of the Bible that they like. They've forgotten who Joshua was in the Bible because he wasn't a feel-good character.


#277    Crikey

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 06:08 PM

View PostBen Masada, on 18 January 2013 - 10:07 PM, said:

I understand what you mean which does sound very logical. But IMHO, usually, contradictions rise as a result of interpretations
based on preconceived notions and on the lack of understanding of metaphorical language.

Which part of this is metaphorical, contradictory or needs interpretation?-
"Love God, love one another, feed the hungry, house the homeless, clothe the destitute, tend the sick, visit the prisoners, look after the poor"-Jesus of Nazareth (Mark 12:30, John 13:34, Matt 25: 37-40)

Edited by Crikey, 19 January 2013 - 06:09 PM.


#278    ambelamba

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 10:46 AM

Someone implied that the Bible was written by people who had vastly different thinking process from modern, contemporary humans. I agree with that.

Humans are not born with logic and consistency. They are learned behaviors. It took thousands years to reach the current level of logic and consistency, but being human and all many of us haven't attained the level of intellectual enlightenment.

That being said, I see the Bible as a product of purely human elements. The main virtue of the Bible is to show us how barbaric and archaic we once were. Nothing more.

They came with a Bible and their religion. stole our land, crushed our spirit, and now they tell us we should be thankful to the Lord for being saved.

-Chief Pontiac (1718-1769)

#279    Frank Merton

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 11:06 AM

View PostRon Jeremy, on 23 January 2013 - 10:46 AM, said:

That being said, I see the Bible as a product of purely human elements. The main virtue of the Bible is to show us how barbaric and archaic we once were. Nothing more.
:D Maybe that's the main virtue of all literature, and not just how barbaric we once were but also now are.

I don't think anyone claims that the Bible, except for a few small parts, was written by God.  The claim is that it was "inspired" by God, and Heaven help me but I've never been able to get a clear idea of what that word "inspired" means if it excludes His writing it.  If humans wrote it, then humans with their faults are in it and therefore the book must be fallible, inspired or not.  Besides, it uses language, and languages themselves are human and imperfect tools.

I think we can nevertheless think of certain writings as "scripture."  Not just the Bible, of course.  Treat them as writings by good and wise men that have passed the test of history by surviving and continually being appreciated.  Therefore we can use them to inspire us, to teach us, to give us guidance -- but all the time we must remember that they are useful that way, but not final authority about anything.


#280    Frank Merton

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 11:08 AM

View PostCrikey, on 19 January 2013 - 06:08 PM, said:

Which part of this is metaphorical, contradictory or needs interpretation?-
"Love God, love one another, feed the hungry, house the homeless, clothe the destitute, tend the sick, visit the prisoners, look after the poor"-Jesus of Nazareth (Mark 12:30, John 13:34, Matt 25: 37-40)
Thanks for those passages.


#281    Mystic Crusader

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 01:48 PM

View PostCrikey, on 19 January 2013 - 06:08 PM, said:

Which part of this is metaphorical, contradictory or needs interpretation?-
"Love God, love one another, feed the hungry, house the homeless, clothe the destitute, tend the sick, visit the prisoners, look after the poor"-Jesus of Nazareth (Mark 12:30, John 13:34, Matt 25: 37-40)

Now they need practice it.

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#282    Crikey

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 06:43 PM

The stereotype Prophet is the big, bold Charlton Heston type, but that's often far from the truth because many prophets were just ordinary men and women who never asked for the job, and were often scared stiff.
For example even Jesus wasn't much to look at -"He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him" (Isaiah 53:2)

And Paul was nothing to write home about -
"For his letters, say they, are weighty and powerful, but his appearance is unimpressive, and he speaks poorly" (2 Cor 10:10)

And Moses admitted to being unable to think on his feet-
"O Lord, I have never been eloquent, i'm slow of speech and tongue." (Exodus 4:10)

And Jonah was so scared he refused pointblank to be a prophet and jumped on a ship to escape, bad call -
"Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish." (Jonah 1:3)

And young Jeremiah tried to talk his way out of the job - "Lord i'm no good at speaking, i'm too young and people won't take me seriously" (Jer 1:6)

And Jesus said "Oh God I don't want to die tomorrow, get me out of it if you can" (Matt 26:42)

The moral of all this? - many bible people were as ordinary as you and me..


#283    Ben Masada

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 10:07 PM

View Postscowl, on 18 January 2013 - 11:54 PM, said:


I would say that it's because the stories, practices and characters in the Bible are so utterly repulsive to modern people that Christianity simply must steer believers' attention from them to maintain any credibility with its followers. It's painful to read about the Jews committing and celebrating horrific genocides against "foreigners" in Canaan during Joshua's conquests when the Nazis committed the same atrocities against the Jews.

We dealt with Biblical issues like these directly in Hebrew School. Yes, I'm saying the Rabbi asked us directly "How is this any different from the Holocaust?" He didn't argue that these were "metaphorical" genocides as if that would make them acceptable somehow.

I've found that most Christians just ignore these issues and focus on the the parts of the Bible that they like. They've forgotten who Joshua was in the Bible because he wasn't a feel-good character.

I think the whole problem here is ignorance of History. I bet you have never read about human migrations at the cradle of civilization. I am talking about what you refer to as atrocities practiced by Joshua at the conquest of Canaan. That was a time of human migrations in search of a place to settle down. The Hebrews were not the only group involved in this kind of violence. It was the trend of the time. And every group would attribute their achievements to their gods or God. Whenever you get disgusted about what they did thousands of years ago, think of the Indian tribes destroyed by Washington, including women and children in order to remove a problem with the settlement of Europeans. He himself ordered the elimination of a tribe once to remove stiff necked Indians from the "Road of American progress." That's from the book "History According to the People." I bet America doesn't sound so disgusting to you does it? I didn't think so. You see, it is all based on preconceived notions.

Ben


#284    Ben Masada

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 10:17 PM

View PostCrikey, on 19 January 2013 - 06:08 PM, said:



Which part of this is metaphorical, contradictory or needs interpretation?- "Love God, love one another, feed the hungry, house the homeless, clothe the destitute, tend the sick, visit the prisoners, look after the poor"-Jesus of Nazareth (Mark 12:30, John 13:34, Matt 25: 37-40)

"Love God" is metaphorical to "know God." Love is an emotion. Emotions cannot be commanded.
"Love one another" is metaphorical to "respect one another." No one can love another by being commanded to. It must be felt spontaneously. And for the next instructions suppositely given by Jesus, they are metaphorical to the exercise of charity whenever nees be. To think of all the above in a literal manner would constitute contradiction to natural human values.

Ben


#285    Ben Masada

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 10:27 PM

View PostRon Jeremy, on 23 January 2013 - 10:46 AM, said:

Someone implied that the Bible was written by people who had vastly different thinking process from modern, contemporary humans. I agree with that.

Humans are not born with logic and consistency. They are learned behaviors. It took thousands years to reach the current level of logic and consistency, but being human and all many of us haven't attained the level of intellectual enlightenment.

That being said, I see the Bible as a product of purely human elements. The main virtue of the Bible is to show us how barbaric and archaic we once were. Nothing more.

No doubt about that the Bible is the product of human understanding of the need to live in society. But not the result of individual
whims. They all follow a pattern according to the collective ideology, but parochially within the sphere of a particular people. In the case of the Hebrew Bible, the Jewish People. The case is "Preconceived Notions" but of the people whom the Bible comes from.

Ben





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