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Old 2008-02-18, 17:13   Link #361
Ledgem
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anh_Minh View Post
What, so the Bible isn't the revealed Word of God, but a mixed bag of bullshit and grossly deformed historical facts?

Then, once again, what's the point? I mean, as a story collection, even a bunch as Aesopian fables, I can kinda see it. But as a Holy Book?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vexx View Post
Okay.. never mind. I was trying to be civil but apparently you aren't. Now you're just being an ass and sidestepping the information presented. Something can be a "revealed truth" without actually being factual.

Or are you going to go after the collected writings of all religions the same way? At least that would be consistent.
While he may have been a bit brash, I understand his point. In Buddhism and the like, people seem to focus less on the miracles performed by the Buddha and such, and more on the aspects of self improvement. (Note that this could be a misunderstanding on my part, as I have relatively little exposure to true, practicing Buddhists.) People seem to pay more attention to the Buddha's overall message than to any particular document. With Christianity, there is an extremely heavy emphasis on the Bible and Bible study. I believe Anh_Minh's point is to question why this is so, if the Bible is less about historical accuracy and detailing events that really happened and more about teaching lessons.

It sounds disrespectful to think of the Bible as a collection of made-up stories, but I think that questioning it as such only occurs because people hold it up so highly. I admit, it bothers me as well to see people read over parts of the Bible and treat it as if they came directly from God. They go to service and listen to their preacher's interpretation, and just accept it. They don't realize that the Bible has gone through multiple translations, and that each part can be interpreted differently. When you put that together with the fact that people interpret it so literally, you do somewhat have to wonder about it.

I guess it's sort of like wondering about the Catholics. Part of the church services call for eating a bit of bread (a cracker, in my experiences) and drinking wine - the cracker represents the body of Christ and the wine represents His blood. Catholics supposedly believe that the wine becomes Christ's real blood once it hits your mouth, and that the bread becomes His flesh. I don't know that all Catholics believe that, but I think most of us here would agree that it sounds a little... out there. Such literal interpretations and beliefs are a little unnerving to those of us non-believers, I suppose.
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Old 2008-02-18, 17:14   Link #362
Anh_Minh
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I would if I knew them. I like consistency.

You see, I just don't see the logic of saying "this is the truth, as revealed to us by God" and then going "except for those parts which we don't like, and which have to be "interpreted" out of all recognition". I don't see the point of a Holy Book which is no better than a book of Fables de La Fontaine.

I'd love for an explanation to make sense. Rather than "this is what we've arrived to thanks to modern thinking, and this is how we can twist the Bible to conform to it".

Quote:
Originally Posted by JustInn14 View Post
"What, so the Bible isn't the revealed Word of God, but a mixed bag of bullshit and grossly deformed historical facts?"


No. They're probably Prehistoric Fairy Tales, and, going to Church is no bigger a deal than Story Time.



In case you didn't notice, That was sarcasm.
OK, and sarcasm aside, what do you think the Bible is?



Note: all I've said about what I think of the Bible is that I don't believe in God. Which says it all, really, but isn't derogatory.

What interests me is the status of the Bible for a Christian. While I don't approve of the literalism as moral or intellectual guide, at least it makes a certain amount of sense to me. But if you see the Bible as - to use Vexx's phrasing rather than mine - "a collection of apocryphal tales scattered across the years", and if it's neither free of errors nor literal - does it still make sense to call it a Holy Book? If all you're doing is interpreting it till it agrees with what you want it say, can't you skip the middle... book... and just take responsibility for your beliefs?

In fact... Forget it. It's not even that important. If that's how you see Holy Book, who am I to contradict?

But I would like a clear statement on whether you (whoever claims to be Christian) believe that stuff like the Flood and the Red Sea parting actually happened, or are just stories.

Last edited by Anh_Minh; 2008-02-18 at 17:29.
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Old 2008-02-18, 17:23   Link #363
WanderingKnight
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Whoa whoa whoa whoa whoa, hold yer horses for a second there.

I thought that, other than those Creationist wackos (and dangerous ones at that), more or less everyone (important) in the Christian community agreed on the point of the Bible being a huge metaphor, or at the very least, the Old Testament. Or am I missing something here?
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Old 2008-02-18, 17:32   Link #364
Anh_Minh
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OK. What about the NT, then? Is it a metaphor, too? Was there such a person as Jesus, son of God and so on, or not? Did he or didn't he perform miracles?
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Old 2008-02-18, 17:34   Link #365
Vexx
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@Ledgem: in fact, much "earth level" daily practicing Buddhism *does* depend on those Buddha fairy tales and moral teachings via "stories of his life". If you look how Buddhism is implemented in Tibet -- you'll see a lot of the pre-buddhist color and variety blended into pure buddhist thought. In Japan, the Shinto and Buddhists doctrine and practice are almost indistinguishable at times - each taking from the other. Pure Buddhism (Zen, etc) that doesn't depend on supernatural input is kind of an intellectual class of Buddhism.

Christianity maps out in a similar fashion, ranging from people who fervently believe their Bible School Stories (not necessarily mapping to biblical text), literalists, metaphorists, modern academic theology...

@WK: well... in America, there are quite a large population of "literalists" which tends to swamp out sounds made by the rest of the Christian communities. The creationists, literalists, and their followers are a significant portion of the population (unlike in AU or UK).

@Anh
Quote:
You see, I just don't see the logic of saying "this is the truth, as revealed to us by God" and then going "except for those parts which we don't like, and which have to be "interpreted" out of all recognition".
You can not like it... but then they aren't asking you
You're trying to map logic onto something fundamentally based in "emotional anti-rationalism" ... ain't gonna work and you'll just get a headache.

They're not saying "those parts we don't like" ... the Bible has never been an integrated, proofed, set of interlocking instructions to begin with.
You're insisting something that can only be the case by throwing logic and reason out the window. Recognizing the *roots* of biblical fragments and the intended audience of the scrapbook that is the Bible is in no way "cherrypicking".

Myself, the whole tendency of evangelicals constantly reaching for the Old Testament is assert their views is kind of anti-Christian anyway. The OT is for the Judaic faith --- and *they* are more likely to assert the writings in it are mythological to some level.

Quote:
OK. What about the NT, then? Is it a metaphor, too? Was there such a person as Jesus, son of God and so on, or not? Did he or didn't he perform miracles?
Anh, there is virtually *no* evidence that Jesus Christ existed historically except for the NT. A merest scrap of a name. When the Romans took Christianity as their mantle (and bootstrapped it to State Religion), if he existed he'd been dead for 400 years. The 4 Gospels were selected out of many to represent Jesus -- they contradict each other in multiple places. Their purpose is to convey the meaning of his message and to assert his position as "the Messiah". The rest of the New Testament are the interpretations and philosophical writings of various apostles for the faith. Christianity is a leap of blind faith in its pure form.

For something you've ruled out so easily, you don't seem to have actually studied it much. I recommend at least reading the works of Joseph Cambell to start with.

I've spent about 35 out of the last 50 years studying and questioning the religions and philosophies of the world. I figure if I'm going to discard a belief structure - I'd better understand what I'm discarding. I'm probably pretty scary to Christian or Islamic literalists because I can rip their assertions to shreds using their own source data. But I'm usually amazed at what people don't know about their own religion or one they are actively against.

Last edited by Vexx; 2008-02-18 at 17:58.
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Old 2008-02-18, 17:59   Link #366
Anh_Minh
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vexx View Post
@Anh
You can not like it... but then they aren't asking you
As I said, that's fine... But if they believe everything, possibly including the very existence of God, is a man-made metaphor, they should have the courage to say so.


Quote:
You're trying to map logic onto something fundamentally based in "emotional anti-rationalism" ... ain't gonna work and you'll just get a headache.
So now, being Christian is "emotional anti-rationalism", and I'm the uncivil one?

Quote:
They're not saying "those parts we don't like" ...
They would if they were honest about it.

Quote:
the Bible has never been an integrated, proofed, set of interlocking instructions to begin with.
Then what is it, and why was it thought as actually true for so long?

Quote:
You're insisting something that can only be by throwing logic and reason out the window to begin with.
I can't parse that.

Quote:
Recognizing the *roots* of biblical fragments and the intended audience is in no way "cherrypicking".
What's the difference between the stories that made it in the Bible, and the stories that didn't, if not truth?

Quote:
Myself, the whole tendency of evangelicals constantly reaching for the Old Testament is assert their views is kind of anti-Christian anyway.
I can't parse that either.

Quote:
The OT is for the Judaic faith --- and *they* are more likely to assert the writings are mythological to some level.
So Christians are supposed to ignore the OT? OK.

Quote:
Anh, there is virtually *no* evidence that Jesus Christ existed historically except for the NT. A merest scrap of a name. When the Romans took Christianity as their mantle, if he existed he'd been dead for 400 years. The 4 Gospels were selected out of many to represent Jesus -- they contradict each other in multiple places. Their purpose is to convey the meaning of his message and to assert his position as "the Messiah". The rest of the New Testament are the interpretations and philosophical writings of various apostles for the faith. Christianity is a leap of blind faith in its pure form.
We're not talking about history. We're talking about religious faith. While I didn't precisely ask the question that way, what I really meant was "Do you, personally, "modern" Christian person, believe that Jesus existed?"

Quote:
For something you've ruled out out-of-hand, you don't seem to have actually studied it much. I recommend at least reading the works of Joseph Cambell to start with.
Are you saying I might start believing if I did?

If there was a proof of the existence of God that's not rooted in some Sacred Text or other, I think we'd hear about it even if we didn't want to. And if there isn't, I just can't make myself really care about the issue.
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Old 2008-02-18, 18:13   Link #367
WanderingKnight
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Quote:
As I said, that's fine... But if they believe everything, possibly including the very existence of God, is a man-made metaphor, they should have the courage to say so.
I don't think they mean that... I think they mean that it's a man-made metaphor to communicate the will of a superior being called God. God being not exactly a man-made metaphor by those standards.

Quote:
Are you saying I might start believing if I did?
Hey, this is not meant to be offensive in any ways, but chill. No one wants you to believe in anything. Vexx is clearly, as he has stated before, not a Christian person, and far from a fully religious one. Like he said, the whole point of a religion is that it requires faith, which is the irrational component. I believe most people in the Christian community that are worth listening to will assure you that right up front. The only ones that (officially) believe the Bible to be 100% accurate and a rational account of events are the Creationists... of which there are plenty, but hardly worth taking as a valid opinion on the subject.
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Old 2008-02-18, 18:21   Link #368
Anh_Minh
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WanderingKnight View Post
I don't think they mean that... I think they mean that it's a man-made metaphor to communicate the will of a superior being called God. God being not exactly a man-made metaphor by those standards.
OK, so God inspired the writers. That begs two questions:
- Couldn't He do a better job?
- Why did He stop?


Quote:
Hey, this is not meant to be offensive in any ways, but chill. No one wants you to believe in anything. Vexx is clearly, as he has stated before, not a Christian person, and far from a fully religious one. Like he said, the whole point of a religion is that it requires faith, which is the irrational component. I believe most people in the Christian community that are worth listening to will assure you that right up front. The only ones that (officially) believe the Bible to be 100% accurate and a rational account of events are the Creationists... of which there are plenty, but hardly worth taking as a valid opinion on the subject.
And I'm asking why I should read Joseph Campbell.

Also, I'd argue that faith is a prerequisite of religion, not its point. More of a tool, really. That the point of religion is to get at a truth that is not otherwise reachable. But what do I know?
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Old 2008-02-18, 18:25   Link #369
Vexx
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Um... Anh -- *I'm* an atheist who practices Buddhism with sprinkles of Shinto.
I'm not nor have I ever been a "believing Christian". I'm not trying to make you *be* anything. I'm suggesting you understand what you're shooting at.

Quote:
So now, being Christian is "emotional anti-rationalism", and I'm the uncivil one?
Um, "emotional anti-rationalism" isn't being uncivil - its an academic description of a mode of thought. You, otoh, called the Bible "bullshit". I think that's pretty clear. Any Christian will tell you that their belief has emotional underpinnings and that faith, by definition, is anti-rational. "rational" has a very specific meaning.

Sorry about some of my typing bloopers.
Quote:
You're insisting that something be logically defendable when it can only exist by throwing logic and reason out the window to begin with.
The other one you figured out.

I'm not a Christian so asking whether I believe Jesus Christ existed is pointless.
I'll just say there's essentially zero evidence for his historicity.

Joseph Campbell was a mythology researcher and professor recognized throughout academia. He's also well known for his PBS television series with Bill Moyer (an investigative journalist who's also a Methodist minister) on his books. He was an atheist that understood the *value* of storytelling in communicating the cultural values of a society whether they were factual or not.
He specificially influenced and was consulted by George Lucas in creating the original Star Wars script. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Campbell

I first encountered his writings in my initial university class on comparative religion. My professor (she was Catholic) used his books (the 4 volume series The Masks of God) as the basis of her course. As to *why* you should read it? Well , you're asking questions and you sound like you need a lot more data (so many "why?" questions) -- I'm providing directions to where you can find answers.

Last edited by Vexx; 2008-02-18 at 18:43.
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Old 2008-02-18, 18:37   Link #370
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Quote:
- Couldn't He do a better job?
Here's where you're wrong by religious standards--you're trying to rationalize the actions of an entity which is irrational in its very existence. You *don't know*, according to Christianity, the full divine plan of God, so no man is capable of judgment on whether he's doing a good job or not. You don't question God. That's where faith comes into play. You have to be faithful in him, you have to believe he's doing The Right Thing (tm). That's why it is irrational.

Of course, I myself have problems with that concept, but that doesn't mean I go trampling all over every Christian that comes my way. Two of my best friends are devout Christians and none of them question the supremacy of science and logical thinking... as long as it doesn't conflict with the existence of God. But that doesn't mean they believe the Bible is a 100% factual account of what really happened.
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Old 2008-02-18, 18:38   Link #371
Anh_Minh
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Originally Posted by Vexx View Post
Um... Anh -- *I'm* an atheist who practices Buddhism with sprinkles of Shinto.
I'm not nor have I ever been a "believing Christian".

Um, "emotional anti-rationalism" isn't being uncivil - its a description of a mode of thought. You, otoh, called the Bible "bullshit". I think that's pretty clear. Any Christian will tell you that their belief has emotional underpinnings and that faith, by definition, is anti-rational. "rational" has a very specific meaning.
I didn't call it anything. I repackaged what you said for shock value to see if you'd still stand by it.

Quote:
Sorry about some of my typing bloopers.
The other one you figured out.

I'm not a Christian so asking whether I believe Jesus Christ existed is pointless.
I'll just say there's essentially zero evidence for his historicity.
It all started when I wanted some clarification on Kyuusai's beliefs. It's not my fault you insisted on answering for him.

Quote:
Joseph Campbell was a mythology researcher and professor recognized throughout academia. He's also well known for his PBS television series with Bill Moyer (an investigative journalist who's also a Methodist minister) on his books. He was an atheist that understood the *value* of storytelling in communicating the cultural values of a society whether they were factual or not.
He specificially influenced and was consulted by George Lucas in creating the original Star Wars script. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Campbell

I first encountered his writings in my initial university class on comparative religion. My professor (she was Catholic) used his books as the basis of her course.
OK... So? How is that relevant to our discussion?

Or rather, why did you bring him up when you did?
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Old 2008-02-18, 18:51   Link #372
Vexx
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Okay, you're look like you're being purposely obsfucating to be annoying but I'll keep trying.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anh_Minh View Post
I didn't call it anything. I repackaged what you said for shock value to see if you'd still stand by it.
You chose the words that the Bible was "bullshit". I wrote that it was metaphorical and apocryphal. To remind you what you wrote:
Quote:
What, so the Bible isn't the revealed Word of God, but a mixed bag of bullshit and grossly deformed historical facts?
Are you contradicting yourself or just trying to demur?
To use exactly your tactic: "wife" == "personal whore"+"houseservant".
(She's my wife. Oh, so she's your personal whore! WTF? What? I just repackaged what you said to see if you'd stand by it.)
That's exactly what you admit you just tried. It is a trolling tactic.
Quote:
It all started when I wanted some clarification on Kyuusai's beliefs. It's not my fault you insisted on answering for him.
I wasn't aware this was a personal chatroom between you and Kyuusai. Obviously, the rest of us are out of line for contributing to the discussion.
:P

Quote:
OK... So? How is that relevant to our discussion?
Or rather, why did you bring him up when you did?
To help you find *answers* for your questions. Campbell has things to say directly applicable to your questions. You erred in thinking that reading his work would "convert you" - implying you thought he was Christian. I provided data to show he wasn't.

Is this getting too hard? What do you know? Its beginning to sound like you don't even have a basic framework to discuss religion. You oversimplify every explanation to a simple-minded soundbite that fails to convey the original explanation (e.g. "it is filet mignon with vegetables" == "it food")

I'd really like to think you aren't just trolling for combat.

Last edited by Vexx; 2008-02-18 at 20:26.
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Old 2008-02-18, 20:08   Link #373
Slice of Life
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Originally Posted by Jinto View Post
The same applies for many religious people and their own religion. To make it less superficial.

People who claim to be atheist (which by definition means, they believe that god does not exist) are often agnostics or something else (still in the decission phase or between classifyable domains). Would you agree if I said true atheists, instead?
No. Because there is a ocean-wide gap between being in a kind of wishy-washy undecided transition gray area between two mutually exclusive ideas (agnosticism as you define it) and blindly trusting one's life to one, or that of one's children (real faith, including atheism according to your 'atheism is faith' claim).

I you can't understand this gap, you shouldn't invest money in the stock markets.

Nice dansen on this page anyway.
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Old 2008-02-18, 20:25   Link #374
Vexx
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Yes... though we're thumping each other on the head strenuously... we're all dansen.

I guess that counts for something..... The Mystery of the Dansen?
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Old 2008-02-18, 21:38   Link #375
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Faith=Trust=END OF STORY!


now, Let's get back on topic, okay? Okay. I am Un-Religoius as of Today at 838PM.
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Old 2008-02-19, 00:33   Link #376
Anh_Minh
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Originally Posted by Vexx View Post
Okay, you're look like you're being purposely obsfucating to be annoying but I'll keep trying.

You chose the words that the Bible was "bullshit". I wrote that it was metaphorical and apocryphal. To remind you what you wrote:
Are you contradicting yourself or just trying to demur?
To use exactly your tactic: "wife" == "personal whore"+"houseservant".
(She's my wife. Oh, so she's your personal whore! WTF? What? I just repackaged what you said to see if you'd stand by it.)
That's exactly what you admit you just tried. It is a trolling tactic.
While "wife" doesn't mean "personal whore" to me, "aprocryphal" is, to quote dictionary.com:
Quote:
1. of doubtful authorship or authenticity.
2. Ecclesiastical.
a. (initial capital letter) of or pertaining to the Apocrypha.
b. of doubtful sanction; uncanonical.
3. false; spurious: He told an apocryphal story about the sword, but the truth was later revealed.
That's pretty much "bullshit" to me. Well, not the actual fecal matter, of course, but the figurative bullshit.

Quote:
I wasn't aware this was a personal chatroom between you and Kyuusai. Obviously, the rest of us are out of line for contributing to the discussion.
:P
Not at all. But I asked questions concerning a specific belief, you got into it, and as soon as we got to some of the fun ones... you answered besides the point, and then evaded with a "It's not my belief".

Seriously, don't you think it'd be interesting to note if what you call a "modern Christian" doesn't believe in Jesus Christ?

Quote:
To help you find *answers* for your questions. Campbell has things to say directly applicable to your questions. You erred in thinking that reading his work would "convert you" - implying you thought he was Christian. I provided data to show he wasn't.
What questions would he be answering? Note, I didn't ask anything about the origin of the Bible, or its pedagogic value. What I asked can be summed up as "What does a modern Christian actually believe?"
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Old 2008-02-19, 08:23   Link #377
Daughter!
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Originally Posted by Ledgem View Post
I don't know that all Catholics believe that, but I think most of us here would agree that it sounds a little... out there.
Haha, if you want to see 'out there' try out Scientology!
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Old 2008-02-19, 10:34   Link #378
Edgewalker
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Meh, Ive read the Scientology documents...really sad what people will believe once they have been conditioned. Its things like that that let you realize that while people dont deserve to be bashed for their relgion, it doesn't mean all religions shouldn't be bashed.
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Old 2008-02-19, 11:00   Link #379
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geh.. words couldnt describe how dissapointed i felt when i found out chef was a scientologist
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Old 2008-02-19, 13:52   Link #380
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Don't believe to much in fairy tales I say..
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