Showing posts with label Bible. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bible. Show all posts

Friday, September 18, 2015

Randomness, Selection, Evolution and the Bible.

beliefnet
Having said that, I agree that the suggestion that four billion years of random mutations produced an organism as refined and sophisticated as a human being, is an absurd idea.  The ease w/which an ecological system can be destroyed evinces fine tuning, IMO.  The analogy of the likelihood of an explosion in a printing factory creating the largest edition of the Oxford English Dictionary seems apropos to describe the idea of a strict non-supernatural directed evolution of the universe. EOCjlb

If a bunch of people picked over the explosion debris in the printing factory and selected the parts that came from the OED and reassembled them it is not absurd at all.  It might take them four billion years, but that is a lot of time for selection to work. 

Evolutionary selection is not kind to random mutations that do not help the organism.  The organism is lunch for an organism that has more beneficial random mutations. If the printing factory also printed Lewis Carrol all the nonsense would be eliminated from the debris.  Scripture evolved in the same way.  Pieces of debris from destroyed myths were picked over and reassembled into the various versions of Sacred Texts we have now.  You may believe that God helps the sorters in all cases, but it is really not necessary for the sorting out to take place. 

As for humans, there were many failures along the line to the present iteration of humanity that may be a failure as we speak due to a mutation that encourages belief in the idea that humans "dominate the earth" which may be making the earth habitable only for cockroaches and perhaps dinosaurs whose genes are conserved in birds.  

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Romans 1 in My Own Words.

beliefnet

...what does Saul-Paul state?


Rom 1:18-25   

[poor translation removed}

In your own words, what is Saul-Paul claiming?  iamaYEC

You forgot to include 17..."The righteous will live by faith."  and the rest of Rom 1 and Rom 2:1-3.  But don't worry you all do that.

All Paul is doing in 1:18 through 2:3 is making sure that everybody understands that God made, or 'gave up' all people to be sinners in need of a savior.  That is appreciating art, sexuality and everything else that humans that humans enjoy is sinful, even judging others.  

This is Marketing 101.  First you have to create a problem to be fixed by your product.  Whether it is a real problem or a created one, is really unimportant if you can convince the marks that it is something they must correct.  He sets up the product by his remark about faith in 17, and then later on faith becomes faith in Christ.   

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Bible as the Source of Misogyny

beliefnet

Since Torah establishes the moral context of the relationship of husband, mainly in Deuteronomy 24 but throughout the Pentateuch we can clearly state that Kristi's statement is logically airtight with respect to the Bible which claims most of Torah as Scripture. 

When talking about the Bible, Torah, or Qur'an as Scripture it is necessary to assume God exists, as all clearly state that He does.  Whether or not the men who wrote scripture were divinely inspired (another possibly false assumption: one author may have been a woman documenting the God inspired Hebrew culture but probably not directly inspired by God.) The culture documented in Scripture was dominated by God's laws, morals, mores, and whims. Therefore the people documenting the culture whether inspired by God or not were reflecting one God's Culture.  Other cultures may have had entirely different laws, morals, mores and even different Gods. There are other Gods mentioned in Scripture.

From Scripture we only know about one culture, which was dominated by God.  We have no documentation of negative attitudes about women in any culture which preceded or co-existed with the culture of Scripture.  Data from aboriginal cultures and agricultural cultures generally show that women were at least equal if not specially respected and protected for their ability to perpetuate the species. 

Us vs. Them Dogma


beliefnet

Perhaps some modern versions of Christian, Muslim and Jewish have reinterpreted the "us vs. them" teachings of their God, but historically particularly their earliest traditions they have that teaching as an integral part.  You look at the parts of the world where Christianity and Islam are dominant and the fate of the indigenous religions (they are essentially destroyed) the truth of the above assertion is obvious.  

That they learned it from the stories of Moses is also undeniable.  God led the Hebrews out of out of Egypt,  to the promised land of Canaan where God "delivered up to them" the indigenous people, destroyed the indigenous religions and gave the Israelites their promised land.  At least for a while. 

The Hebrews apparently originated in the the fertile agricultural community of Ur which they left for unknown reasons for Haram in Turkey another agricultural community.    Their original leader Abraham (Abram) was led by God to Canaan, another agricultural community which God promised to Abraham and all his seed,  Why the Hebrews left Ur, and Haram for Canaan is not clear, but from what little we know about Abraham, he was not a particularly nice person although rich and exploitive.  There is no accounting for the taste of Gods.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Atheists are Funnier than Christians.

beliefnet
 Mormon wrote:
And once again, you cherry-pick in order to try and make a point.

Atheist Now, that is a joke! 

Is there another religion whose members cherry-pick the scripture to the extent the LDS do? I very much doubt it.

The entire Book of Mormon is a joke perpetrated on an annoyingly pious young man in New England by his gay, atheist friend Walt Whitman.  The Mormons suppress literary analysis like work count and stylistic and content parallels but they cannot suppress any literate person from comparing the Book of Mormon with Leaves of Grass on a boring few day stay in a Salt Lake City hotel. 

I read the Book of Mormon on the first night of that boring stay (no booze, no friends) and could not miss the resemblance to a satire of the Bible I wrote in High School.  I gave myself 20 lashes with the monster's noodly appendages for not naming my angel Moroni, but chalked it up to a lack of literary genius.  The next day I got my copy of Leaves of Grass out of my suitcase and read it side by side with the Book of Mormon.  No brainer - same author.  I would not put it past Whitman to have given his friend "magic glasses" and told him where in the woods to dig.  I am sure Whitman kept a copy or revision of his satire and cleaned up parts of it for his future writings.  I still have mine.  You may have seen parts of it here. 

Saturday, March 28, 2015

God is a Man-Made Invention.

beliefnet
christine3 wrote:
'God' is a manmade invention. I'm not sorry that I think that. So much of what is in the Bible supposedly coming from 'God' (stories and instructions on how to treat people) is obviously man's thoughts treated as their imaginary invention - 'God's'. That's how people high up on the hierarchical ladder control us. 

Hey!  Don't leave out the woman who told all of the best stories in the bible: the Jahwist.

If you read J's stories with an intelligent woman author in mind the misogyny of the traditional oral history is clear from the ironic retelling of the Garden story as a prime example.  "The woman made me do it."  The woman is the only reasonable person in the whole tale.  Both God and Adam look like idiots. 

But any reading of scripture confirms your thesis that God is a human invention.  Probably not the invention of the vuvuzelas in fancy dresses in over decorated balconies, they aren't smart enough to do anything but use God for controlling their sheep.  But some of the prophets, apostles, a preacher, and some "interpreters" were smart enough to give the vuvuzelas plenty to work with.  Both for good and for awfulness. 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Why I am Not a Christian J'C Version

beliefnet

I have mentioned that I consider many parts of Christian scripture to be dysfunctional for Christians and society as a whole.  Probably the most misinterpreted and misused chapter, is Romans 1:17 through 2:3.  (The chapter break is artificial). It is obviously crucial to Christian dogma as it establishes the sinful nature of Christians.  

From a marketing (proselytizing) point of view it creates the problem that Christianity provides a solution for: Salvation.  In the question the OP responded to the lives of all (Christians) are wretched, and the only redemption comes after death, (the first death) when some will be chosen for some wonderful continued existence, and others "confounded" for eternity.  (Catholic formulation.) 

In the KJV 17: For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.  -- For those who don't (18-23) 24: Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts in their own hearts, to dishonor their own bodies between themselves.  1:25-2:3 is a long litany of what God gave them up to.  That is being human.  

I for one, and as I read the Synoptic Gospels Jesus agrees, have no problem with being human.   Jesus preaches to humans, exalting their humanness, with all the issues of being human.   Jesus and I part ways in loving God anyway, even though according to Paul God cursed us with humanness for not having faith.

That, in a nutshell is the problem I have with the Christian faith.  Why would any rational human even consider it?

Friday, March 20, 2015

Why Argue Against Scripture

beliefnet
Fundy wrote:

Why do posters who do not subscribe to CHRISTIAN scriptures argue against CHRISTIAN scriptures? What possible point can they be making other than that they have nothing better in their sad lives to do...poor wretches with no God in their lives - nothing to look forward to after their demise in the first death. Poor wretches who cannot even read the scriptures they are denying yet put themselves up as opposers to this that that have no knowledge of... Phew!!

  Fair question, wretchedly formulated.  OT on original thread.
 

The main reason we argue against Christian scriptures is your proposed answer.  We have that argument thrown at us based on scripture and are expected to cower and convert.
 

In order:  Our lives are not sad.  Each day is filled with new opportunities to add to our legacy of improving the space we will leave to our intellectual heirs.  Those heirs are mainly friends and relatives, but occasionally we may affect our society as well. 

We are not poor wretches with no God, we are vibrant living beings managing our own lives for the benefit of our society not the glorification of that little vuvuzela in a fancy dress in an over decorated balcony.

We have no need to look forward to some imagined "Big Rock Candy Mountain" after death.  We are aware of and comfortable with the fact that we are mortal and look back on our lives that we are making worth dying for.  (Hat tip to Forrest Church, theist, for that trope.)

We read and understand scripture of many faiths and sects particularly that of the faith dominant in our society primarily because those scriptures have a profound effect on the society of which we are a part.  Before you can love your neighbor you must at least understand the important things in your neighbor's life.  Secondarily there are parts of scripture that we find to be dysfunctional both for our neighbor and for the society.  Therefore we oppose those parts.

The above is a personal statement, the use of the plural is an acknowledgement of many teachers, mentors, and loved ones who made it possible and necessary.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

J as storyteller.

Fundy:  Donald Duck has CREATED nothing!  The Walt Disney Corporation created the animated Donald Duck out of human imagination and human-developed technologies!


 If the Jahwist had not been the Disney of her time it is likely we wouldn't even have a Bible, or Torah.  Can you imagine worshiping a book compiled from P, E, and R if you left out J?  It is hard enough to wade through all that crap with the leavening of J.  All that would be left is a soggy matzoh.

If J wasn't a great storyteller we probably would all be using a different book.  All the good stories you remember from the Bible were J's.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Bible Studies.

beliefnet
I am qualified to evaluate expertise in biblical studies since I’m a Russian Orthodox seminary graduate. Knowledge of theology appears limited to that of modern evangelical Protestantism. 

I might suggest that a seminary graduate is hardly an impartial evaluator of Biblical analysis.  I suspect you would not have graduated if you didn't have a strong theological bias toward the Russian Orthodox interpretation of Scripture. 

The atheists here have a sophisticated and reasoned interpretation of the stories in the Bible regardless of our milk traditions if only to deal with the incessant proselytization we endure daily.  Certainly modern evangelical Protestantism is the most prevalent.  Other traditions are well represented as well as we try to avoid Fundagelicals when possible. Our associates are well distributed among the other Western Denominations who are not reticent about telling us why we should join them at church. 

As noted I have 8 Bibles on my shelf beside me, and have read all 8 cover to cover at some point in my life.  (Well, I skipped the begats in some of them, but I bet I have read more begats than most Christians.) When interpreting any specific passage I not only compare the eight I am familiar with, but the online comparisons as well. I am also familiar with the belief based interpretations of many of the Western traditions, including Dispensationalism,  (unfortunately) evangelical Protestantism, Catholicism, mainstream Protestantism, Judiasm, UUC and theistic UU.  The last two being the most familiar as they are the churches of choice "when the spirit moves me."

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Christmas Bigotry

Christmas Wars - Beliefnet

I see Happy Holidays as anti-Jewish. Christmas is a celebration of an especially capable Jew. You know he was Jewish because [bigotry deleted] People really resent that billions of people take his ideas seriously. Jesus one way, is another articulation of one God.[Attribution deleted to protect the guilty]

Does Christian or at least one Christian's bigotry know no bounds? Trashing a whole religion to promote a parochial God. Just sick. Christians of all kinds should repudiate this post.

Note beleifnet Christian mods deleted this post. The thread is interesting though without it.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Using the Bible

Romans 1:27 - Beliefnet:

"I use the Bible to try to understand the context of my friends' thinking. I don't really care about what ancient people were thinking, I am concerned about how that thinking affects people today. Accordingly I read the Bible large chunks at a time, usually in several English versions. I have seldom found a 'proof-text' that in context means anything at all like what it is claimed to have meant.

Whether I like the passage or not is quite immaterial. If it is important to a friend it is important to me to see why they find it important, and whether they are ignoring context or not. If they are ignoring context that is an important data point, that will tell me how I want to deal with that person, if at all."

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Mythology and Fiction

The Biblical Self-Destruct Clause - Beliefnet

And where did you get all this information about Jesus which you consider true? By any chance did it come from some ancient fictional story of mythology??
BillWitt


WTFGAS. I have already mentioned that this was a myth that was important enough to Q and Matthew to dress it up a bit. Whether or not there was a man resembling Jesus preaching in the Middle East around 33 CE affects the myth not at all. It was important enough that a few literate people attributed an oral tradition, a myth, to Matthew, Mark, and Luke, a different version to John, and for a charlatan to base a whole religion on. Not too shabby for a ancient fictional story, eh?

All of the above speaks loudly and clearly to me of the truth of the overall myth even though some of the details may be fictional. By the way fictional does mean false, it simply means that the story has been distorted enough to avoid defamation lawsuits, or in earlier times to make it easier to remember."

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Creation of Eve

The birth of Eve - Beliefnet:

"Agnostic wrote:

You're absolutely right. Clearly Eve was a divine creation, separate from Adam. Eve was created in the divine image of God Herself. In contrast, Adam evolved from primates with lower intelligence. It should be obvious that women are innately superior to males.

The Bible shows this. The very name for 'the Lord' is Yahvah. Eve in Hebrew is Chavah. If you look at the original Hebrew letters, they are even more nearly identical.

Each time a female is born, it is another divine creation. Males, on the other hand, bear far too much similarity to apes of lesser intelligence. It should be obvious.

The Genesis story shows God leading the animals and beasts to Adam for a potential mate, because Adam was just an animal. Adam almost chose a dog for a mate. But God, in Her infinite wisdom, realized Adam was not capable of living without divine help, so God gave a replica of Herself to watch over Adam.

This is clear from the Hebrew word, usually translated as 'help mate' It is 'Ezer,' a word which does mean help. But in the Bible, it only appears as a term for God Herself, or for Eve. David says, 'God is my Help (Ezer)' Eve, the Woman, was Adam's Help (Ezer). It was Adam who needed help, divine assistance. Eve was provided. She did not evolve. She had a separate divine creation.

Scientists generally are correct. Adam evolved. But religion is also correct, Eve was a Divine Creation. All the violence is the world is caused by men, who have barely evolved past their lower primate origins. Even with divine assistance from women, they often are unable to advance beyond their atavistic nature."

J'C: In light of Harold Bloom's theory that "J" was a woman, the irony in Genesis 2 is, with this post, beautifully explained.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Bible Study.

What if you are wrong? - Beliefnet Forums: "I can look up on my active bookshelf and see 8 Bibles all of which I have read with intelligent understanding of what they are saying about God and the people who believe in God. I did not read them to buttress tales told to children and adults to cause them to worship God and support those who sell God. It is not surprising that we disagree on the content."

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Raising Atheists.

To atheists who had Christian parents - Beliefnet Forums: "One of the things my parents did to make it impossible to accept Christianity was to encourage me to read the bible. All of it. From Gen 1:1 to Rev 22:21.

I came home with some stories from Bible School, (a summer camp they thought would amuse me) and they asked where did that come from?
The Bible, said I.
But where in the Bible? they asked.
I dunno.
Find out."

Sunday, June 29, 2008

On the Bible, the Liturgy and Paul

The Atheist Test - Beliefnet Forums: "Please understand that I can live without God for my entire life. I find the Bible to be a poor guide to anything, too much extraneous garbage getting in the way of the message. I much prefer the distillation of the meaning of the bible contained in the Mass and other Christian Liturgy. There are some useful messages there, but even in the liturgy there are inclusions from the teachings of Paul which I reject in their entirety. The most important that I reject is the concept of Christ as Savior. I find nothing in the teachings of Jesus suggesting that concept which was created out of whole cloth by Paul and grafted on the charisma of Jesus, who after all was too dead to complain."

Saturday, June 7, 2008