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Truth behind The Bible


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#31    Frank Merton

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 10:06 AM

View PostGummug, on 26 February 2013 - 09:17 AM, said:

I don't think people talk much about the Bhagavad Gita or the Buddhist scriptures, at least I haven't seen any on this forum...for some reason the Bible always seems to be chosen.
Claims are made about the Bible and the Q'uran and maybe the Book of Mormon that are not made about the various Asian texts -- namely that if the text says something, treat it as coming from the mouth of God.

There is in fact a well-known Bible verse that kinda expresses how Buddhists view their "scripture."
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2 Timothy 3:16
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness (NIV).

The passage doesn't say it's the Word of God actually, but "breathed" (or more commonly, "inspired") by God (as I might be inspired listening to Mozart or watching a sunset).  It is "useful," -- not "conclusive," or "determinative," or something like that, but just useful -- handy(?) for teaching and so on.  I dare say we have much the same approach to the dictionary -- it is handy to have around but cannot tell us the refined meanings of words but only how the lexicographers have recorded it being used.

The way I was taught to approach Buddhist scripture is that these are the writings of ancient wise inspired (maybe "enlightened") people and should be respected as such and not used for winning petty doctrinal disputes.


#32    Doug1o29

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 03:53 PM

View Postscowl, on 26 February 2013 - 12:56 AM, said:

Nothing in the Torah has been confirmed.
Be careful of words like "nothing."  One exception is all it takes to disprove the statement.

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Much of the rest of the Old Testament is highly debateable.
No argument here, but parts do seem to be true.

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There is no evidence that Egypt ever had a large Jewish population. There is no evidence of an exodus from it or of people living in the Sinai for decades.
What about the Jews in Alexandria during Roman times?  One of these (Philo of Alexandria) was a brother to Herrod's chief tax collector who donated the gold for the entry-way to the temple (The gold was seized by the Romans when they burned the temple; it wound up paying for the Colisseum.).  Philo is credited with having written the nineteen verses in Mark that describe "Jesus'" hazing with the purple robe, crown of thorns and sign saying "King of the Jews."  It was actually a mentally-challenged man named "Carabbas," a name that is gibberish, but bears a close resemblence to "Barabbas," meaning "Son of the Father" in biblical Hebrew.

About the Exodus:  there were at least three of them; you need to be more specific.  All can be seen as efforts by the Egyptians to expel the Hyksos and their descendents and extended over a period of 450 years and the reigns of 42 Pharaohs.  The one that most-closely resembles the biblical Exodus occurred at the end of the Amarna Period.  Horemheb ordered Seti (later Seti I) to build a new capitol at Avaris, the old Hyksos capitol.  This Seti did, naming the new city after his father (later the Pharaoh Ramses I) - Pi-ramesse, or City of Ramses.  According to Josephus (Against Apion), Seti wanted to be privy to the counsels of the gods.  He was told by an advisor that he could do this if he cleansed Egypt of all "lepers and unclean people."  Seti thought this included "Asiastics" so he rounded them up, including some priests from the Temple of On.  Then, needing a labor force to build the city, he decided to get a little work out of them first.  The advisor had second thoughts (He was worried about a curse being placed on Egypt if any harm came to the priests.).  The leader of the "Asiatics" was a man named Osar-seph (Joseph).  He got help from Jerusalem and overthrew the Egyptians, taking control of the old Hyksos capitol.  For thirteen years they "despoiled the Egyptians."  Meanwhile, Seti fled to "Ethiopia."  Horemheb died and Seti's father became the Pharaoh Ramses I.  The curse expired.

Circumstantial evidence makes me think that two armies were involved - one led by Ramses I approaching from the south; the other led by Seti and approaching from El Kantara.  Threatened with being trapped between the two forces, the rebels fled.

Ramses I was Pharaoh for only fourteen months, dying of an ear infection.  His was the mummy that the Carlos Museum returned to Egypt (That's quite a story in itself.).

On the north wall of the Hypostyle Hall at Karnak is an inscription describing Seti's difficulties with "the troublesome Shosu."  It is his justification for the invasion of Canaan.  This puts a date of 1294 BC on "the" Exodus.

It is my belief that this story was grafted onto another "exodus" that occurred in 1187 BC during the reign of Ramses III.  This was actually an Egyptian-run military/mining expedition to Sinai to work and protect the copper mines at Serabit al Khaddim, Punon, al Meneya (Don't trust my spelling.) and Pharaoh's Island (Ezion-geber of the Bible).  Each year in October expeditions departed Canaan and Bastet (modern name:  Zagazig) to go to Sinai and work the mines.  They used the caravan trails described in the Bible.  It was the yearly travels of these expeditions that are remembered as "wandering in the wilderness."  The 1187 BC expedition departed in April, rather than October.  Sinai is a furnace at that time of year.  Only a military emergency - the invasion of the Pelest - would have justified this departure from routine.

The expeditions probably never had more than 3000 members.  At that, some of those desert springs would be sorely-taxed to water more than a couple dozen people.  At Hazeroth archeologists have identified only 42 tent sites.  At maybe ten people to a site, that's 420 people, maximum.  The story of millions of people wandering around Sinai is just that - a story.

How do you feed even that many people (Sinai's carrying capacity today is around 4500 people.)?  With grain shipped from Egypt.  "Manna" is an Egyptian bread made from malted wheat.  The Bible even admits it:  when asked what it was, Moses replies "This is the bread you will eat."  There was a thriving trade between Egypt and the mines and even with India and Neareast nations.

Once again, we have a fictional story that arose from a factual and historical context.  So the Bible is mostly true, but the way in which it is true is a far cry from what they teach in Sunday school.

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There is no evidence of the conquests of Joshua. There is no evidence of Jewish occupation of Jericho (which was probably abandoned at the time) or any other major cities besides Jerusalem and Samaria.
Jericho's walls did collapse, though.  An earthquake is a likely cause.  Archeologists can't seem to agree on when that was.  About 1500 BC and about 1150 BC each have their supporters.  The earlier date is consistent with Ahmose' soldiers extracting revenge on the Hyksos and the later one is consistent with an attack by marauding bandits - "habiru."  Take your pick.

The Bible did get the geography right, though.  Jericho was located on the west side of the Jordan at the southern end of the Plains of Moab.  Both are still there and featured in tours.  Pay careful attention to the geography - that will give you dates for some events.  Example:  the Exodus could not have crossed "the Red Sea" unless there was water in it.  But the Canal of the Pharaoh could not have been operating or there would have been no need to spend "three days in the wilderness without water."  Neither could "the" Exodus have occurred during a sea level high stand (There have been three of them.) or the water at the ford would have been way too deep for the wind to blow it clear.  And that leaves:  1.  the reigns of either Ramses I or Seti I, and 2. the reign of Ramses III.

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All evidence suggests that the events in the Torah are entirely myth. The Bible doesn't align with recorded history before the Assyrian and Babylonian invasions.
I think I have listed enough detail to demonstarte that not all of those events are fictional.  I submit that you are looking at the evidence and not recognizing it.
Doug

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#33    Doug1o29

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 04:37 PM

View Postand then, on 26 February 2013 - 09:41 AM, said:

Do you believe that all religions are flawed?
Yes.  Nobody has perfect knowledge.  Religion has the added burden of lacking any way to correct its mistakes.  At least, science can test ideas against an objective reality, but religion has no way to do this.  Is it surprising that holy books are riddled with contradictions and factual errors?

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And if so, then why is there no real example of any except Christianity being systematically set aside for derision and attack?
Are you kidding?  Ever seen how Christians treat atheists?

In 1968, I visited the Baptist convention center at Glorietta, New Mexico.  Just as an experiment (I wondered what they would do to convert me.) I told some people I was an atheist.  The hostility was immediate and visceral.  They made no attempt at conversion.  Had I not told them I was just testing them, I feel my life might well have been in danger, certainly, my physical safety was.

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If you doubt that then see if you can find numerous examples of attacks against Islam,
Crusades.

Our wars in Iraq, Afhanistan, Iran, Syria and even Russia have been more of a religious war than geo-political; though, that's part of the equation, too.  How do I know this?  When he decided to invade Iraq, George Bush, on world-wide TV, called the war a "crusade," telling the whole world we were going there to rape, murder and pillage - because that is what the Crusaders did.  Muslims have a much different view of the Crusaders than we do.

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Judaism
Holocaust

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or any of the Eastern religions in the US or western Europe today.
Sikh Temple, Milwaukee,
Muslims Vs. Buddhists in Thailand,
Muslims Vs. Buddhists in Pakistan,
Oklahoma State University's attempt to have a mosque declared a club so it would not be protected by state law,
Government of China Vs. the Dalai Lama,
Shall I keep going?

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And I don't mean politicized discussions of Islam, rather, attacks against it's validity as a religion.  There is just no comparison between the others and Christianity.  For THAT many people to hate the religion of Christ should tell you something - especially when He predicted it would happen during His lifetime.  His words will be here long after the haters are all dust.
Why do people hate Christianity?  Most don't.  Mostly, the idea is a Christian invention.  Christians mistake others' understandable reactions to Christian proseletyzing, condescension and arrogance as being anti-Christian when it should more properly be understood as a response to callous and insensitive people.  It is REALLY hard to sympathize with a group that calls itself a persecuted minorty while claiming to have a majority of the population as members, while enjoying legal and tax advantages not accorded to others.  You need to come up with a consistant story.
Doug

Edited by Doug1o29, 26 February 2013 - 04:41 PM.

If I have seen farther than other men, it is because I stood on the shoulders of giants. --Bernard de Chartres
The beginning of knowledge is the realization that one doesn't and cannot know everything.
Science is the father of knowledge, but opinion breeds ignorance. --Hippocrates
Ignorance is not an opinion. --Adam Scott

#34    J. K.

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 04:44 PM

View PostDoug1o29, on 26 February 2013 - 04:37 PM, said:

Why do people hate Christianity?  Most don't.  Mostly, the idea is a Christian invention.  Christians mistake others' understandable reactions to Christian proseletyzing, condescension and arrogance as being anti-Christian when it should more properly be understood as a response to callous and insensitive people.  It is REALLY hard to sympathize with a group that calls itself a persecuted minorty while claiming to have a majority of the population as members.  You need to come up with a consistant story.
Doug

Doug, your own post is critical of Christians in general.  The problem we face is that there are factions within Christianity just like there are political factions in our government.  It is unfortunate that the louder, more obnoxious ones are the ones who are noticed, while others go quietly about their lives and show more love and tolerance.  There are statements of hatred on UM toward Christians, and I do understand why.  The fact remains, though, that the label Christian covers a very wide range of beliefs, and not all of them are compatible.

One's reality is another's nightmare.

#35    GreenmansGod

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 04:59 PM

Thanks for your history lesson, Doug.  Sometimes it is hard to dig through all the garbage history on the internet to get at the real stuff. :tu:

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#36    Jackofalltrades

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 05:14 PM

View PostLord Vetinari, on 19 February 2013 - 03:07 PM, said:

I think a general rule of thumb seems to be that Genesis and everything up to the adventures of Moses (the first five books, the Pentateuch*) is in the realm of the mythological, but from about Joshua onwards historically verifiable characters do begin to emerge.

* That's not to say that the general pattern of these events,(e.g. the Exile in Egypt and the return to the Promised Land) didn't happen, just that the principal characters are probably mythological, which is the same way that any culture describes its pre-history.
** Of course, if you do look at it this way, you may have to consider that the Law was not actually handed down to Moses on tablets of stone & so is unalterable because it's the word of God, but it may have been devised by human beings, so you can understand why people would be anxious to insist that it did lterally happen.


I personally believe that the event's that are written in the Bible did happen (including what is written in the first five book's of the Bible), there is too much information and evidence that give's credence to the writing's of the Bible.......

For starter's there is a mountain in Saudi Arabia, called Jebel al Lawz  that fit's the description of the true Mount Sinai perfectly, unlike the one that the Catholic church are and have been passing off as Mount sinai (Gabal Mūsa, aka Mount Horeb), which in my opinion and also due to the evidence is NOT the real mount Sinai.......
There is also chariot wheel's (or remain's of) under the Red sea, at the point of the crossing, there is Noah's Ark that has been found in Turkey on the mountains of Ararat (The Bible states the Ark came to rest on the Mountains of Ararat and NOT on the Mountain of Ararat, as some people tend to look on the actual mount Ararat and ignore/read wrong, what it states in the Bible)




There is other evidence that what is written in the Bible is true, and there is more and more evidence coming to light as time goes by......

Admittedly there is discrepancies in the Bible as it was or has been manipulated by various translators/writers and the Catholic church, saying that though I believe that 97% of the Bible is correct and the word of God (the other 3% = changed name's of God etc)

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#37    Doug1o29

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 05:22 PM

View PostJ. K., on 26 February 2013 - 04:44 PM, said:

Doug, your own post is critical of Christians in general.
I grant that I have a problem with the more-fundamentalist style of Christianity.  I used to be one, but became disillusioned with the hypocrisy and the total lack of objective support for what they were saying.

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The problem we face is that there are factions within Christianity just like there are political factions in our government.  It is unfortunate that the louder, more obnoxious ones are the ones who are noticed, while others go quietly about their lives and show more love and tolerance.  There are statements of hatred on UM toward Christians, and I do understand why.  The fact remains, though, that the label Christian covers a very wide range of beliefs, and not all of them are compatible.
Amen.

There are many generous, tolerant and loving Christians out there, just the same as there are many generous, tolerant and loving Muslims, Jews, etc.  I know some.  I even work for a fundamentalist Baptist who is one of the finest people I know.  But unfortunately, you are all being painted by the same brush.

How do Christians show the world that they are not the evil monsters they appear to be?
First, drop the arrogance.  A church is just another club, no more deserving of special legal status than any other.  Get rid of the tax-exempt status on church property.  The churches want fire, police, water and other publicly financed services, but don't want to pay for them.  Keeping that privelege just tells the rest of the world that Christians think they are better than others.

Same thing with Federal income taxes.  In the land where church and state are separate, the IRS judges who is a church and who isn't.  If tax-exempt status is not to be accorded to evryone, then somebody has to do this.  The solution is to abolish the special category for church income.  Allow truly non-profit organizations to keep their non-profit status, provided they meet the other requirements.

How would you, as a Christian, feel about paying for services used by atheists?  Why, then, do you want atheists to pay for the services you use?

Commit to a life of service.  Make the world better.  Building a church is just building a monument to yourselves.  Use that money to feed the hungry and house the homeless.  Instead of sitting in church, go plant trees, or serve in a soup kitchen or plant a garden.  Do God's work.  Don't just talk about it - do it.

If Christians spent as much time helping others as they spent trying to convert them, the world would all be Christian and the Kingdom of God would be near at hand.
Doug

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Science is the father of knowledge, but opinion breeds ignorance. --Hippocrates
Ignorance is not an opinion. --Adam Scott

#38    J. K.

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 05:33 PM

Again, it is sad that the arrogant Christians seem to get more media coverage than we who are more balanced.

I am unaware of the political workings behind the tax-exempt status, but I personally wouldn't panic if that was repealed.  All I know is that my own little church, which rents a meeting hall weekly, has endeavored to serve God's Kingdom.  We have saved a marriage, prevented a suicide, and rescued people from self-destructive habits.  We don't claim to be anything except what we are: a group of people dedicated to serving.

As for paying for services used by atheists, that doesn't bother me.  They, like we at my church, are free to live according to what they choose to believe.  I'm more concerned about the money that is used by people to cheat to earn a living, but that's a whole 'nother topic.

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#39    Doug1o29

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 05:59 PM

View PostJackofalltrades, on 26 February 2013 - 05:14 PM, said:

I personally believe that the event's that are written in the Bible did happen (including what is written in the first five book's of the Bible), there is too much information and evidence that give's credence to the writing's of the Bible.......

For starter's there is a mountain in Saudi Arabia, called Jebel al Lawz  that fit's the description of the true Mount Sinai perfectly,
I checked that one out.  Wyatt observed at a distance that Gebel al Lawz had a dark top (The biblical Mount Sinai was subjected to fire.).  But he never brought back a sample that would show 1. Was the rock Andesitic (a dark rock)?  or, 2.  Was there evidence of carbonization in the surface?  He failed to provide any support at all for his contention, even though evidence was right there in front of him.  Further, he claimed that the Red Sea Crossing took place off Nuweiba where the water is 7000 feet deep - an ocean deep - and the underwater slopes exceed 60% - octogenerians trying to climb a muddy 60% slope.  The wind needed to hold back that water would exceed the speed of sound - even the mud and loose rock would be blown away and Wyatt believes people could walk in that.

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unlike the one that the Catholic church are and have been passing off as Mount sinai (Gabal Mūsa, aka Mount Horeb), which in my opinion and also due to the evidence is NOT the real mount Sinai.......
You can thank St. Helena, the mother of Emporer Constantine for that.  She took a tour of Sinai and some of her guides told her that.  That's the "research" behind Gebel Musa.  Sort of like Ron Wyatt's tour of Sinai and Arabia.

There are two sites that match up pretty well with Mount Sinai - Gebel Saniya even preserves the name.  It is part of the same masseif as Gebel Ghorabi (Mount Horeb; the name originates from "Hrt ib," Egyptian for "Hathor."  There's a temple to Hathor on Gebel Ghorabi.).  The other is an Israeli national park - Har Timna.  There is a small shrine there that matches the biblical description to a tee - including the colors of a tent that once covered it.

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There is also chariot wheel's (or remain's of) under the Red sea, at the point of the crossing,
Again, your source is Ron Wyatt, who, if he had any interest in Truth, would have brought back one of those chariot wheels for archeologists to examine.  Wyatt's Nuweiba Beach location would require 80-year-old people to walk nearly 200 miles in a week's time - something Israeli soldiers attempted to duplicate but were unable to do.

The biblical crossing site was at El Kubrit.  There probably were chariot wheels once upon a time, but salt water and shipworms do nasty things to wooden chariots and iron rims (Especially since the Egyptians of the time were BRONZE AGE people and lacked iron technology.).

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there is Noah's Ark that has been found in Turkey on the mountains of Ararat (The Bible states the Ark came to rest on the Mountains of Ararat and NOT on the Mountain of Ararat, as some people tend to look on the actual mount Ararat and ignore/read wrong, what it states in the Bible)
Napoleon said he saw Noah's Ark.  He wrote that in his diary.  Would you call the Emperor a liar?  Lots of other people also say they saw the Ark on Mount Ararat.

So what did they see?  Mount Ararat is a dormant volcano.  It is a "fourteener" in Colorado-speak.  Have you ever climbed a fourteener?  Most folks acclimatized to sea level couldn't climb Colorado's Capitol steps (The 5280-foot elevation line is painted on one of them.).  Climbing Mount Ararat is physically about the same as climbing Pike's Peak.  By the time you approach the summit, you're exhausted, you can't catch your breath and every step is an agony.

On top of Mount Ararat are several very large boat-shaped objects - you can even see one of them protruding from the glacial ice and snow on a satellite picture.  They're blocks of basalt - massive rocks.  An exhausted climber, close enough to see one (They're visible from about four miles away.) would be very likely to decide he'd seen enough, go back down the mountain and tell everybody he saw Noah's Ark.  And that's how "Noah's Ark" came to be on Mount Ararat.

The details of the King James account have been handed down through many writings and rewritings and multiple translations.  The precise wording of the story is no longer extant.  Your source is a copy of a copy of a copy.  It is remarkable that the story survived at all, let alone preserving the literal nuances of the original writing.

A lot of the Bible is true, but a lot isn't.  And often it is hard to tell which is which.
Doug

Edited by Doug1o29, 26 February 2013 - 06:08 PM.

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The beginning of knowledge is the realization that one doesn't and cannot know everything.
Science is the father of knowledge, but opinion breeds ignorance. --Hippocrates
Ignorance is not an opinion. --Adam Scott

#40    scowl

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 06:18 PM

View PostMr Walker, on 26 February 2013 - 08:19 AM, said:

"most people acept is is pure fiction" is untrue because it is an "extreme" or "radical" statement rather than a more modest one like, "many people  accept the bible as untrue.

Many, most, depends on who you hang out with. Around me, most is true.

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Most humans accept the historical truth of much of the bible (not the creation element of geneis nor the armageddon prophecies of revelations) but the history as recorded in the OT, and the basic life and times of Christ.

Interesting that you speak on behalf of all humans on the Earth, most who have never even seen a Bible.

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That inclusdes mainstream historians and archaeologist especially those with expertise in the middle east, because so much of the OT and NT has been confirmed in archaeology and  history. It is one of the most studied areas in the world.

You can repeat that as many times as you like, Prophet Walker, but it's not true. Archeologists have desperately tried to find evidence to support the stories in the Bible but the evidence they have found strongly suggests that Canaan was nothing like it was described in the Torah.

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And so your statement is simply factually untrue Actually most humans accept the bible as historical or have never really considered the question.

Repeat assertion, speaking for all of humanity again.

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But most atheists (in fact most ordinary people) would not attend or sit through presentations of archaelogy and history on the holy lands, and so would have little idea of how much is known about this area. I did three years of history in a secular govt university in australia and no historian really disputed much of the arcahaelogy or the historical figures in the OT This is a modern and somewhat revisionist movement which stil hasnt gained much popularity or credibilty among modern academic historian s who know better.

Then you should have no difficulty pointing me to archeological evidence of the Exodus, the 40 years in the desert, Joshua's conquests, the reigns Saul and of the many other kings in the books of Kings and Samuel, the temple and reign of Solomon and the Israeli alliance with Egypt creating a Middle East superpower, and the reign of King David.

The preponderance of evidence supports that these are nothing more than legends, perhaps based on real people or real events which were embellished far beyond what actually happened. We do know that the Jews were one of several cultures who lived in Canaan but they didn't have any regional power during this time and they certainly didn't have the massive armies as described in the Bible. The only time there was a Jewish state was a brief time during the Hasmonean period before the Romans conquered them in 63 BC.


#41    Tutankhaten-pasheri

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 06:20 PM

Attempts to link bible stories to Akhenaten have been discussed often in other threads. These fantasies about Akhenaten, whether in this forum or in the many fantasy books published, get trashed every time. That Egypt is dragged into this, to me shows how insecure these Hebrews were, like groupies surrounding rock stars. Belief that bible is word of some god, and it's influence on so much of civilisation, is the greatest error ever made by humanity. And to pre-empt the usual wailing, morality, charity, treating others as you wish to be treated etc etc, are innate in us. It troubles me that some think these natural human attritbutes can only come from this bible, for if there was no bible, would these people then be as demons. If you can only be civilised because some collection of myths and lies tell you to, then that is not good.

Edited by Atentutankh-pasheri, 26 February 2013 - 06:25 PM.


#42    ali smack

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 06:22 PM

I thought Jesus was a real person? I thought most historians believed in him. I think even Richard Dawkins believes he existed. just not the way he's potrayed


#43    scowl

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 06:23 PM

View PostDoug1o29, on 26 February 2013 - 03:53 PM, said:

I think I have listed enough detail to demonstarte that not all of those events are fictional.  I submit that you are looking at the evidence and not recognizing it.

The evidence you described only suggests that some of the stories in the Bible might be vaguely based on true but highly embellished events. This still categorizes it as legend, not history.


#44    Mystic Crusader

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 06:27 PM

View Postali smack, on 26 February 2013 - 06:22 PM, said:

I thought Jesus was a real person? I thought most historians believed in him. I think even Richard Dawkins believes he existed. just not the way he's potrayed

Exactly.


#45    Doug1o29

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 06:28 PM

View Postscowl, on 26 February 2013 - 06:23 PM, said:

The evidence you described only suggests that some of the stories in the Bible might be vaguely based on true but highly embellished events. This still categorizes it as legend, not history.
At least we agree on the definition of "legend" - a blend of history and myth.
Doug

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