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Why did you read the Bible?

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Posted (edited)

So I wanted to ask those non-believers that claim they don't believe, but seem to spend a great deal of time

actively posting in faith based threads which seems somewhat demented in itself to me why they even read

the Bible to begin with.

From my own experience, it appears that people obviously hear the stories before they ever read the book,

and the stories which contradict the laws of nature such as a man walking on water, a woman conceiving a

child without a man, or at least I had.

While anyone can try something and fail, isn't it a moron that tries the same thing again expecting different

results so I really can't understand is what would make you want to pick it up and read it anyways?

Did you think it would reading the scriptures would change what you heard was written in the scriptures?

Edited by 029b10

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So I wanted to ask those non-believers that claim they don't believe, but seem to spend a great deal of time

actively posting in faith based threads which seems somewhat demented in itself to me why they even read

the Bible to begin with.

From my own experience, it appears that people obviously hear the stories before they ever read the book,

and the stories which contradict the laws of nature such as a man walking on water, a woman conceiving a

child without a man, or at least I had.

While anyone can try something and fail, isn't it a moron that tries the same thing again expecting different

results so I really can't understand is what would make you want to pick it up and read it anyways?

Did you think it would reading the scriptures would change what you heard was written in the scriptures?

I'll play but your post isn't terribly clear.

1st - I'm stating that I've never seen evidence that would give me a reason to believe in a deity. I've looked.

2nd - I read the Bible, Qur'an, Torah, Book of Mormon, Scientology, etc. etc. I want to understand what and why others believe different things. I've read books on pretty much EVERY religious belief system and books on about anything that people believe in when there is no evidence to support it or direct evidence against it. Heck, I even read Chariots of the Gods.

I live in a predominantly Christian country so I was exposed to the Bible more than other tomes.

I've visited any type of religious/pagan/etc. groups or services I can. I speak to people (always respectfully unless they start something) about their beliefs. I've made many great friends this way. All flavors.

I'm still an atheist. Nothing changed. In fact, my searches and studies have cemented my stance.

I go to the religious discussion forums and debate because that is what they are for - discussion, exchange of ideas and debate.

My hackles go up when ANYONE thinks it's OK to impose rules upon my life based on their beliefs. Believing you are "right" doesn't make you "right".

But since you are asking particularly about the Bible - you said it yourself - it's a book of STORIES.

If a good story was enough to make me believe the impossible, I'd be running around looking for Harry Dresden.

Nibs

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So I wanted to ask those non-believers that claim they don't believe, but seem to spend a great deal of time

actively posting in faith based threads which seems somewhat demented in itself to me why they even read

the Bible to begin with.

Well, I'm not an active poster in many faith-based threads, but the reason for me is pretty much the same reason I don't read Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings books....

And it is 'somewhat demented', is it? Was that "with all due respect"? :D Perhaps that attitude (which thankfully isn't too widespread, but nevertheless..) is why I don't usually engage with such threads. I try very hard to judge folks by how they interact with me - sure I can't escape every bias or face-value judgement, but if I was wanting to politely debate with people, I think I would avoid calling their actions somewhat demented....

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So I wanted to ask those non-believers that claim they don't believe, but seem to spend a great deal of time

actively posting in faith based threads which seems somewhat demented in itself to me why they even read

the Bible to begin with.

Some people think that a lot of mankinds problems are due to the morals of the abrahamic bibles. The bad outweighs the good by at least 100 to 1. It's a little bit of a drag to think about it and not try something to help.

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I was raised Catholic and had to go through all the rituals as a kid from First Communion to Confirmation.

I've never read the bible cover to cover but some verses I find interesting. Especially Ephesians 4:31-32.

Anyway, I've mentioned this in other threads that though their is some truth to the bible but over the centuries

it has been embellished. To me it's like a Hollywood movie based on a true story. Though IMO there is some

truth, fiction has been added to give it character. After all, whether if you're a believer or not, it's got peoples

attention to pick it up and read it and discuss it on forums like these.

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ephesians+4:31-32&version=NIV

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I'll play but your post isn't terribly clear.

1st - I'm stating that I've never seen evidence that would give me a reason to believe in a deity. I've looked.

2nd - I read the Bible, Qur'an, Torah, Book of Mormon, Scientology, etc. etc. I want to understand what and why others believe different things. I've read books on pretty much EVERY religious belief system and books on about anything that people believe in when there is no evidence to support it or direct evidence against it. Heck, I even read Chariots of the Gods.

I live in a predominantly Christian country so I was exposed to the Bible more than other tomes.

I've visited any type of religious/pagan/etc. groups or services I can. I speak to people (always respectfully unless they start something) about their beliefs. I've made many great friends this way. All flavors.

I'm still an atheist. Nothing changed. In fact, my searches and studies have cemented my stance.

I go to the religious discussion forums and debate because that is what they are for - discussion, exchange of ideas and debate.

My hackles go up when ANYONE thinks it's OK to impose rules upon my life based on their beliefs. Believing you are "right" doesn't make you "right".

But since you are asking particularly about the Bible - you said it yourself - it's a book of STORIES.

If a good story was enough to make me believe the impossible, I'd be running around looking for Harry Dresden.

Nibs

This. Completely this.

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I attended an Episcopalian school from kindergarten through 8th grade. We had a service every morning in a chapel on campus. All through the grades, more than a few of my classes were taught by priests and deacons, including science class. I wish I could remember what they had to say about evolution but I honestly can't. I do remember a female deacon giving me my first beer in the 8th grade during a field trip to look at cow skeletons though.

Coors Light *gag*

Anyway, I've read sacred texts from various religions because what people believe interests me. Also, my dad's side of the family is both Christian and Republican, and to this day I can't figure out what translation of the Bible they're reading.

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Read the Bible when I was 10 and did not believe it.

Nearly three decades later the actions of Theists made me research the Bible deeper.

Now I am giving the 21st century a little push.

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Some people think that a lot of mankinds problems are due to the morals of the abrahamic bibles. The bad outweighs the good by at least 100 to 1. It's a little bit of a drag to think about it and not try something to help.

And others think the Abrahamic religions have helped humanity a lot both as individuals and as societies not just with specific laws and attitudes but with the power inherent in such beliefs to heal and to empower human beings. One has to ask why, for two millennia (and more in the case of Judaism) people chose this option and lived it every day of their lives. Secondly some of us, looking with unbiased eyes, as historians anthropologists or sociologists, can understand that religion/faith, including Christianity, generates a hundred times more good for humanity than it does harm.

Some anthropologists argue that, without religion, humans would not have been able to come to together to live in larger towns and cities and would still be living in small groups. Religion provided an over arching commonality of consensus and trust, which allowed the first larger settlements to come together. It provided the laws for life in those settlements. It used rituals to make behaviour routine and to transmit and reinforce behaviours based on doctrines.Evolution and Behaviour vol 32 p50

Religion often provided one of the main motive forces for people to join together to build larger buildings, Documenta Praehistorica vol37 p239 and to investigate the nature of the world around them via astronomy etc.

It might depend on your starting point. For example, strong individualists might dislike religion. Strong believers in society and the need for authority of society over the individual might disagree.

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So I wanted to ask those non-believers that claim they don't believe, but seem to spend a great deal of time

actively posting in faith based threads which seems somewhat demented in itself to me why they even read

the Bible to begin with.

From my own experience, it appears that people obviously hear the stories before they ever read the book,

and the stories which contradict the laws of nature such as a man walking on water, a woman conceiving a

child without a man, or at least I had.

While anyone can try something and fail, isn't it a moron that tries the same thing again expecting different

results so I really can't understand is what would make you want to pick it up and read it anyways?

Did you think it would reading the scriptures would change what you heard was written in the scriptures?

Yes. And it did. Many things I'd been told which I found were either not in the bible at all or were vastly different from what it says.

Nonetheless it would be foolish to dismiss or decry something based solely on the word of others, without having read it. Rather than moronic, this is the action of a person with reason and intelligence. Believing something on the word of someone else however...

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First time, because I was told to and of course they had to stand over me and explain what all the confusing. convoluted parts should be interpreted to actually mean. I was a child. Second time because I was joining a church and it was part of the process. Of course someone had to once again stand over me and tell me what it all meant. I was a believer. Third time I had taken a class on world religions and was starting to learn to think for myself and thought I should just read it and take the meaning as it was presented by the authors with no preconceived notions about it. That was when I realized this wasn't what I believed and had experienced in my life. While there were parts that made some sense, you could take those parts and make maybe a 10 page, large print book with illustrations. I concluded people read to much into it. They are told it is truth and they don't take the time to really think about what truth is. It is an appeal to authority that isn't there. Just because a lot people say something is truth doesn't make it truth. The world is filled with books, some good, some bad, but none are sacred or written by a god. I put it down and happily moved on. The idea that x-Christians were not Christians in the first place is just a way to try to rationalize not questioning your belief system. Would you say an x atheist wasn't really an atheist, no you would say he saw the light. It is the same with x-Christians, they saw the light.

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The Bible should be required reading in the West. For better or worse, it's had a profound effect on Western civilization. You can't understand Shakespeare without knowing many Biblical stories.

This is like asking why should atheist Asians bother to read the Bhagavad Gita, Dao de Ching or Buddhist Sutras. There's some great literature and moral stories in them for one, it puts things in historical context and it explains cultural behaviours.

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Well you see some of us were at one stage Christians.

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So I wanted to ask those non-believers that claim they don't believe, but seem to spend a great deal of time

actively posting in faith based threads which seems somewhat demented in itself to me why they even read

the Bible to begin with.

From my own experience, it appears that people obviously hear the stories before they ever read the book,

and the stories which contradict the laws of nature such as a man walking on water, a woman conceiving a

child without a man, or at least I had.

While anyone can try something and fail, isn't it a moron that tries the same thing again expecting different

results so I really can't understand is what would make you want to pick it up and read it anyways?

Did you think it would reading the scriptures would change what you heard was written in the scriptures?

you accuse nonbelievers who have read the bible as being both demented and moronic.

seems you have a problem with people not sharing your mindset. bully for you.

i read the bible years ago because i used to be a fundamentalist christian. i thought it would be a good read. i don't believe anything in it though. to me it's merely a book of stories meant to guide moral conduct.

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I find it really sad that someone would only ever read things that pertain directly to their selves. How do you learn new things?

I haven't read the whole Bible yet, but I intend to. Why? Because it is a very important book in the western world. Anyone who cares anything about history or society should probably read it. People who wish to debate parts of it should definitely read it and understand it first.

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One would be crazy to criticise the Bible without reading it very thoroughly first!

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One would be crazy to criticise the Bible without reading it very thoroughly first!

I'd argue that the majority who criticise it have, on the whole, read it just as often as those who believe it. Though considering I think many professing believers haven't read the Bible either doesn't really say much here :)
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I'd argue that the majority who criticise it have, on the whole, read it just as often as those who believe it. Though considering I think many professing believers haven't read the Bible either doesn't really say much here :)

I have read the Bible since childhood, and from cover to cover a good few times. My view of that not so good book is based on my reading of it!

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I have read the Bible since childhood, and from cover to cover a good few times. My view of that not so good book is based on my reading of it!

My comment wasn't to suggest you hadn't read it, I was making a general statement only....

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The Bible should be required reading in the West. For better or worse, it's had a profound effect on Western civilization. You can't understand Shakespeare without knowing many Biblical stories.

This is like asking why should atheist Asians bother to read the Bhagavad Gita, Dao de Ching or Buddhist Sutras. There's some great literature and moral stories in them for one, it puts things in historical context and it explains cultural behaviours.

I would say reading all that would be quite an undertaking, especially the Sutras. What I always suggest for people who propose to read anything more than maybe a hundred years old is that they read annotated excerpts. Otherwise you may learn little and come away bewildered.
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Posted (edited)

So I wanted to ask those non-believers that claim they don't believe, but seem to spend a great deal of time

actively posting in faith based threads which seems somewhat demented in itself to me why they even read

the Bible to begin with.

Did you ever read the Odyssey? Or Beowulf? Or Tales of the Arabian Nights?

Did you believe them?

The Bible is a fascinating book(s) if you read it in depth. Once you do that, you realize that there are historical precedents for many of the stories it tells. Noah's Flood, the Sojourn in Egypt, the Crossing of the Red Sea, all happened. Maybe not quite the way the Bible tells it - it is a collection of folklore, after all. But there are real historical people and events that gave rise to the stories.

Same with the Odyssey and Beowulf. They are legends, but based on real events - King Hrothgar led a raid on the Rhine in 517. The Odyssey is a set of sailing instructions for the Aegean. It includes a lot of other stuff too - I'm still trying to figure out what the lotus-eaters were eating.

The issue with the Bible is that while the OT attempts to record history as faithfully as it can, the NT makes no such effort. As a result, it easier to find evidence of Noah's Flood than it is to find evidence of Jesus.

If one limits one's reading to the Bible, then one is remarkably uneducated on things biblical. There is a lot of other material that bears on the subject and "reading the Bible" needs to include history, archeology, geology and much more. One cannot be educated in religion and remain ignorant of the world that god created. The two are mutually exclusive goals.

Doug

P.S.: It's especially interesting that the same man - Djehuty - gave rise both to part of the Moses story and to Alababa and the Forty Thieves from Tales of the Arabian Nights. You can call both Moses and Alababa legends, or myths, but you don't get it both ways.

Doug

Edited by Doug1o29
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I don't think there is a historical kernel behind most myths, and if there is it is irrelevant. Myths are literature, not history. When something similar happened in real history, they may or may not be connected. Schliemann finding Troy from the description in Homer is a crude joke. Then digging there and finding "Priam's Treasure." There were a dozen settlements in the area he could have chosen.

This is just one example of how people have gone astray thinking they can use mythical material for history. If it has miracles and gods and wonders, it is not history and cannot be utilized. Any history it might contain might not be history. You need non mythical sources.

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I have read the Bible since childhood, and from cover to cover a good few times. My view of that not so good book is based on my reading of it!

It gets a lot more interesting when you understand what the history behind it is. Example: Genesis 50:9 tells the Joseph sent chariots AND horses to Canaan to get his family. I thought horses pulled chariots. Isn't that redundant? The phrase should be translated "chariots and cavalry." And that puts a date on Joseph. For generations the Egyptians had been breeding bigger horses. Eventually, they got big enough to carry a rider for sustained periods. It was Amenhotep III who created an independent cavalry corps. And that puts Joseph squarely in the mid-fourteenth century BC.

Doug

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What you are talking about is highly speculative and I think most Egyptologists think it unlikely. The scribes writing the OT no doubt had a broad view of Egyptian history and certainly had some earlier documents we know almost nothing about, but the time period in which these books were written (the time of the return from Exile under Ezra) disqualifies them from being historical.

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I don't think there is a historical kernel behind most myths, and if there is it is irrelevant. Myths are literature, not history. When something similar happened in real history, they may or may not be connected. Schliemann finding Troy from the description in Homer is a crude joke. Then digging there and finding "Priam's Treasure." There were a dozen settlements in the area he could have chosen.

This is just one example of how people have gone astray thinking they can use mythical material for history. If it has miracles and gods and wonders, it is not history and cannot be utilized. Any history it might contain might not be history. You need non mythical sources.

Myth is, by definition, fiction. Legend is twisted history. An event gave rise to stories. And story-tellers can't resist "improving" the story until it often has little resemblance to actual events. Some legends can be traced to their historical beginnings - Davey Crocket at the Alamo is a legend the way it is told in high school history books. But, Davey Crockett was at the Alamo - that's the fact that started the legend.

Moses is legend. The character is a composite of at least four historical people. The reason we have so much trouble finding evidence for Jesus is that there were probably several of them whose stories became conflated into legend. As a result, we will likely never find anybody who is a good match for "the historical Jesus."

Doug

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