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Featured How to investigate a Holy Book?

Discussion in 'Religious Debates' started by InvestigateTruth, Feb 11, 2020.

  1. InvestigateTruth

    InvestigateTruth Well-Known Member

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    Question is, when a person wants to investigate a holy book (such as Quran, Bible, or Bahai scriptures), what should be the position of the investigator initially?

    1. Should he start as a person who 'knows the book is Not from God', and then just tries to find problems in the book to prove it?
    2. Should he start as a person who is considering the possibility that the book is from God?
    3. Or He should not have any goal, or position. He should just read and investigate the text to see where it gets him to? (Completely neutral)

    Which one is the fair position to begin with, when you want to read and investigate a holy book which claims to be from God?
    Does it matter if your initial position is fair?

    From your experience how has been your position? Were you biased in anyway? Do you think being bias helps you to really investigate and understand a holy book in the right way?
     
  2. Amanaki

    Amanaki Zhen, Shan, Ren.

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    I think the neutral way is the more fruitful way to gain wisdom. To use our senses to come to realization of the truth within the scripture we follow/ cultivate
     
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  3. Polymath257

    Polymath257 Think & Care
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    I generally start by reading it as literature: a story. I also consider that it has been believed by people, so may study the culture from which it originated and consider why those people believed in it.

    But I take the same approach with ancient 'histories', which are also often partly true, partly propaganda, and partly morality tales.
     
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  4. Skwim

    Skwim Veteran Member

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    Kind of depends on why one is investigating it, i. e. what is being looked for, doesn't it?

    .
     
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  5. pcarl

    pcarl Well-Known Member

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    I think that complete neutrality is not possible.
     
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  6. Nimos

    Nimos Well-Known Member

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    The way I did it (The bible) started a long time ago now. But was when the terrorism were on the rise so the beginning of it all, if that make sense? And I got curios to what could convince people to do these things due to religion. Just want to add, that religion have never been part of my life, not in the family or friends or anything, to the point where I wouldn't even know what an atheist were if you had ask me what it meant.

    But since I grew up in a Christian country, I thought it would be obvious to start trying to read the bible, only knowing the main stories, like Noa and the flood, Adam and Eve, who Jesus and Moses were. But I decided to do it from the perspective that I would see were it led me, I wouldn't just accept whatever it said. But at the same time I knew that a lot of people believed it to be true, so if it would convinced me that God and Jesus etc. was real then I was fine with that. So in that sense I was open, but I also had some knowledge of science as Im interested in space, evolution etc. Just on a layman level.

    So I started reading it and personally for me, I think a got a couple of pages in and then I were convinced that it was just wrong on so many levels. And think one of the first questions that popped into my mind, were how on Earth, if God or the bible were true, could the creation make so little sense and be so wrong. But I stuck to it, as I happened by covincident to be approached by a JWs that rang on my door and wanted to talk about the bible and God. So we got in contact on email and started to chat, and compared to me she knew a whole lot more than me. So besides actually having to read the bible to follow her, she also threw in a lot of quotes. And again I don't just accept things without there also being good evidence for it. So I had to spend a lot of time actually examine things as well.

    Anyway after 2.5 years she gave up and I was convinced that I were an atheist. :D

    And since then I have read and studied primarily the bible, just out of interest.

    So if I were you, I would approach it with an open mind, but make sure that you do not throw you scepticism and critical thinking in the trashcan while doing so. And also I would suggest that you read it alone and make up your own mind first, without contacting others to tell you what they think it means.
     
    #6 Nimos, Feb 11, 2020
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2020
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  7. InvestigateTruth

    InvestigateTruth Well-Known Member

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    How about a curious mind who just wants to dig in, and see what is it about.
     
  8. InvestigateTruth

    InvestigateTruth Well-Known Member

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    I agree, it would be very difficult to be perfectly biased. So, maybe we should be self aware of ourselves
     
  9. Gerry

    Gerry Well-Known Member

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    Since holy books are supposedly from God, I think the first thing an investigator should do is to find out what God is. Then it would be easier to figure out what is being said. One should assume a book from God will not be written like books from people.
     
  10. InvestigateTruth

    InvestigateTruth Well-Known Member

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    But he can find out by reading the holy book.

    The problem I see, is, if presupposition can interfere true investigation. I mean, people may give false ideas about the God of it. And that causes presupposition.
     
  11. Gerry

    Gerry Well-Known Member

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    Absolutely.
    I couldn’t agree more.
    That is why so many christians can’t understand the bible.
     
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  12. Tony Bristow-Stagg

    Tony Bristow-Stagg Ocean Immersion
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    The neutral way may be the best.

    Regards Tony
     
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  13. 1213

    1213 Well-Known Member

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    I think generally with any book, or even with any person, it is good to try to understand what is the teller wanting to say and be truthful.
     
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  14. syo

    syo Well-Known Member

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    o_O That's unhealthy, in my opinion.
     
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  15. CG Didymus

    CG Didymus Well-Known Member

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    Just taking the Christian Bible as an example... Why would anyone want to read a Book that tells them they are sinners and going to go to hell unless they believe in Jesus. But that's what Christians tell people to do. Then some Christians tell people that the Bible is literally true. And, I'd imagine most Christians were born into a Christian family and were taught something about the Bible. Are they neutral? No.

    Most of us know a little bit about the Bible and many of us have a negative view of it and don't want to read it but maybe will read negative things about it. Especially how dumb it is to believe it literally. So those people aren't neutral.

    Then a Christian and Bible hater gets that empty feeling inside. They think... "is that crap true? Is God and Jesus for real?" Then those people open it up and read how Jesus loves them and died for their sins. They go to a Church and accept Jesus into their heart. They start going into a an in-depth study of the Bible. They want to learn everything about it. They aren't neutral. They have chosen to believe every word of it.

    But there's got to be a lot of people that are nominal Christians that barely read or care about the Bible. Their pastors preach to them and tell them how important it is to get into the Word, so they know how to resist the temptations of the devil. But do they really believe all that? Heck, evolution makes way more sense than the Adam and Eve story. So what do these people do? They go looking for an alternative. Are they neutral? Maybe they are curious. They are looking for something, but they don't know what.


    So the curious ones? Where do they look? Somebody tells them about their religion. How wonderful and sensible it is. Right there, they're already moving away from being neutral. Let's suppose that person is a Baha'i. The Baha'i invites them to a Baha'i "fireside" chat. The curious one now gets labelled a "seeker" and is treated with love and kindness by the Baha'is. The seeker is told about the early history of the Baha'i Faith... that The Bab and Baha'u'llah are new messengers from God. That the seeker's old religion was true, but the reason it doesn't make sense anymore is that it was meant for another place and time.

    The seeker is also told that those Bible stories were never meant to be taken literally but were symbolic and had some hidden, deep spiritual meaning behind them. The seeker starts reading Baha'i books. Maybe the seeker has some doubts. Maybe isn't totally committed to believing what the Baha'is are saying. But is far from being neutral. But, I'll bet that at that point the seeker would think they are being open-minded and neutral.

    Next problem, every religion has a different take on everything. One Christian group won't believe the Baha'i writing are from God... along with the Scriptures of all the other religions. But they won't even believe the interpretations of the Bible of the other Christian groups. Then, there are those that see the hypocrisy within religions, whether it is the leaders getting rich and having affairs, or the people in the religion not really living by the precepts of their religion. Those people, if they read about a religion at all, are probably going in with a lot of doubt and skepticism. So I think people do get curious about what other religion believe, but it's hard to be totally open and neutral about them.
     
  16. InvestigateTruth

    InvestigateTruth Well-Known Member

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    I forgot to include one more option in the OP!

    4. Or should he just take it for granted to be from God, thinking, this is the Book my forefathers believed in!
     
  17. PearlSeeker

    PearlSeeker Member

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    The fair position is: seeking truth.
     
  18. Nowhere Man

    Nowhere Man Bompu Zen Man with a little bit of Bushido.

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    I would first start to find out where the original book came from and who wrote it.

    It doesn't help much if people dont even know its origins and authorship.
     
  19. Ayjaydee

    Ayjaydee Active Member

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    I realize that gods dont write books and so it has been written by a human and therefore subject to his opinions
    If he tells me a god dictated it to him he better have a bunch of witnesses on hand that heard the dictation. If not, he could be lying
    So I can read the book, digest what it said and if it seems a worthwhile set of concepts, file them away and see if any corroboration shows up
     
  20. CG Didymus

    CG Didymus Well-Known Member

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    Buddhism was one religion that I was curious to read and learn about And that was because the Christians in the U.S. in the 60"s, to me, didn't seem to have it together. They were all arguing against each other. So I looked to the East for spiritual wisdom.
     
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