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Should I Read The Bible?

Discussion in 'Sacred Texts' started by rocala, Jun 22, 2019.

  1. Thirza Fallen

    Thirza Fallen Crazy Cat Lady

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    It's quite a slog and you have to excuse the errors, contradictions and plagiarism. Not sure of guide books to read.
     
  2. pcarl

    pcarl Well-Known Member

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    You're drawing a distinction because one is negative and the other positive?
     
  3. IndigoChild5559

    IndigoChild5559 Loving God and my neighbor as myself.

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    The Tanakh and Christian Scriptures are the foundation of Western Civilization--that which gave the world democracy and science and the concept of human rights. If for no other reason than to be a literate person, you should read them. I am a Jew and not a Christian, yet I have become familiar with the Christian scriptures in order to better understand the society in which I live.
     
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  4. Nowhere Man

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

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    I don't know where the people get the idea that some scripture is the foundation of Western civilization. It could be a foundation of the religious component of Western civilization, but not Western civilization itself.

    It was Roman and Greek civilizations that are the true foundation by which Western Civilization came about by which Western Society is modeled after.
     
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  5. IndigoChild5559

    IndigoChild5559 Loving God and my neighbor as myself.

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    I'm not saying that Greece and Rome are not also foundational. I'm simply saying that the Biblical Texts governed Western life from the fourth century until approximately the 20th century, only gradually fading away. There really is no Greek or Roman document that had similar sway.
     
  6. Deeje

    Deeje Avid Bible Student
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    From my perspective, I would put it to you this way......the Bible itself will do nothing if you are just reading it with no understanding of its author, its purpose or its message. From the beginning, God has used his human servants not only to record his words, but to explain its contents to his people. Some of those people have done a lousy job of explaining things down through history mind you (like the Pharisees in Jesus' day, and Christendom in our own time)...but it doesn't mean that God was responsible for that. Those in whom he saw potential, despite their personal flaws, he guided and directed on their spiritual journey to take 'the road less traveled'. (Matthew 7:13-14) These in turn would guide and direct others......but there is a powerful enemy at work who was to turn everything on its ear and make God out to be something he is not. (2 Corinthians 4:3-4) Those who were sidetracked by this common enemy have given us a very scrambled view of things, creating much confusion and hostility. So how can we find the diamond in a huge pile of broken glass?

    Jesus himself assured us of one thing....
    "No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him"......."no one can come to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father." (John 6:44; 65) The Bible will make no sense to anyone who is not granted access to that understanding about the Messiah...and the reason for his coming to earth. The Jews didn't get it because they didn't want to. Their Messiah was going to be a strong political leader and he was going to re-establish Israel as a powerful nation and raise them above the Gentiles that had dominated them since their Babylonian captivity, centuries before. Jesus was a disappointment because they perceived him as a fake....he didn't fit their expectations.....yet the understanding they lacked was because God did not grant it. Individuals from the Jewish nation came to Christ ("the lost sheep") but the nation as a whole rejected him....so God rejected them. (Matthew 23:37-39)

    If you want to find faults there are lots of faulty people spoken about in the Bible.....that would be because we humans are that way inclined due to sin in our nature. We don't like to be told what to do or what to believe because we want to make up our own minds....which is fair enough.....EXCEPT when it comes to doing what God says. They don't even want a god who tells them what to do or to give up doing the things they like. This is why I believe that people invented gods who were very flawed like themselves in many cases.....there was nothing required of them. Why would God bother to look for those who have no interest in him? :shrug:

    If you are a true seeker, God will direct you....if not, then expect to float about on the clouds of "I dunno" for the rest of whatever. I think you might have lots of company. :D
     
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  7. Desert Snake

    Desert Snake ️️️️️️️️️️

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    There are good reasons to read the Bible, as far as I'm concerned
     
  8. Goodman John

    Goodman John Active Member

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    I would say yes to reading the Bible- just as I would say yes to reading any other religious text. Even if you don't believe a word it says, it will give you an objective idea of where those who DO believe in it are coming from. It's also helpful if you can read a history of the religious document in question, so you can see objectively how and when and why it might have been changed or mistranslated or outright forged- or remained relatively pristine in comparison. And of course it helps to know something of world history, so you can compare the history of that religious text with what was actually going on in the world, and how the religion affected world events.

    In the case of much of the Western world, the Christian Bible (in variations too numerous to mention) has been part and parcel of European and American history, so- for better or worse- it's the most applicable in our case.
     
  9. metis

    metis aged ecumenical anthropologist

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    If one is reading the Bible for the first time, I highly recommend reading along in a good commentary as there's often more than meets the eye.

    Also, starting to read from Genesis on is probably going to wear most readers down, so I recommend just reading select books at first as one can always go back and read another. For example, maybe read Genesis, then Isaiah, and then Matthew if one is a Christian.
     
  10. Goodman John

    Goodman John Active Member

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    But this is going right back to the argument that 'you have to believe it before you can understand it'- which most people would see right through. We scorned Washington for passing Obamacare before knowing what was in it, yet by this you're saying that we should do the very same thing when our very SOUL is on the line! Shouldn't we know EXACTLY what we're signing on for before we commit ourselves to eternity?

    As I wrote in another response earlier, when was the last time you took your car in to have your tires changed without knowing what tires they were going to put on, or how much they were going to charge you, or when your car would be ready? If we take a few minutes to ask these few questions about car tires, shouldn't we be asking a whole lot more questions before signing our soul over?
     
  11. Deeje

    Deeje Avid Bible Student
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    I never said you had to believe it before you read it. Read my response again. I said you need to read it with a basic understanding of its author, its purpose and its message. Why are you reading it in the first place? What do you want to get out of it?

    The Bible itself is designed to tap into a person's spirituality, to bring out what is in the heart....as the apostle Paul said....Hebrews 4:12-13...

    "For the word of God is alive and exerts power and is sharper than any two-edged sword and pierces even to the dividing of soul and spirit, and of joints from the marrow, and is able to discern thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 And there is not a creation that is hidden from his sight, but all things are naked and openly exposed to the eyes of the one to whom we must give an account."

    You can read the Bible as a literary work and not get much at all out of it....but if you read it in a genuine search for God, you may well find him.

    Sorry, but that analogy is lost on someone who is not American.
    I am Australian and we have had a public health system for decades. Most of us have known nothing else.

    Reading the Bible does not require any commitment.....it is *after* we have read the Bible that one decides to make a commitment....or not. It either touches something inside you....or it repels you. It's actually designed to do that. God reads a person's heart as they read his words. Jesus said that only those who have the right condition of heart will respond.....they will be "drawn" by God to want to know the author, to understand its purpose and to do something in response to its message. (John 6:44; John 6:65)

    Who is asking you to "sign over your soul"? Acceptance of the Bible's message is just the first step on a long journey, *after* you have considered its contents. If the Bible moves you, only then will you decide what it means to you....if it means anything at all.

    So many people have the mistaken notion that God owes us something.....he owes us nothing. He gave us life and allows us individually to decide what to do with it.
    He had plans for this planet when he created it, and he gives all free willed humans the opportunity to have a share in that plan....but only if they want to.
    He will never force anyone to serve him...or even to believe in him. He leaves that to us. He will only become part of our lives if we see eye to eye with him....only then will he reveal himself to us and we will understand what it all means. The Bible is his filter.

    If you don't want God in your life...or if God does not want you in his...it will become apparent by your response to the Bible's message....your heart will be untouched. It's that simple.
     
  12. Goodman John

    Goodman John Active Member

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    If God doesn't want you in his life, wouldn't that be a condition created by God himself? Does this indicate that God decided for you whether or not you were 'in' or 'out', regardless of what you do? If I read the Bible and don't 'get it' is that an indication that I've been abandoned by God? If I don't 'get it' is that my personal failing or is it simply the way God made me?
     
  13. Saint Frankenstein

    Saint Frankenstein ᛘᛁᛏᚾᛁᚴᚼᛏ᛫ᛋᚢᚾ
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    Yes, as it's culturally important and important in terms of literature and poetry.

    I find this a bit ironic, though, because I'm actually getting rid of some of my Bibles today, and deleted my ebook versions from my Kindle last night to free up space.
     
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  14. Deeje

    Deeje Avid Bible Student
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    Is life conditional? Yes it is....and it always was. What is the condition? That we obey the Creator in all things because he is our rightful Sovereign. The first humans chose to disobey in full knowledge of the penalty. That is free will.

    In Eden, disobedience was the only cause of death. Disobedience to just one command that was a small test of their respect for God as their Creator and law-giver. They stole the only thing that he claimed as his own exclusive property....and they paid the penalty...unfortunately we inherited the sin.....the imperfection that caused death.

    Not at all. Free will guarantees that your choices are yours to make. It's what you use as the basis for your decisions that determines your course of action. We are a blank canvas when we enter this world.....who we become is determined by many factors and spirituality is not the possession of all people. Usually we have a spiritual sense instilled in us by our parents, but exposure to spiritual values alone is no guarantee that one will become a Christian...just as an atheistic upbringing doesn't guarantee that one will remain an unbeliever. At the end of the day, we determine our own future by our own choices. God knows why we make them, even if we don't.

    I believe that God sees who we really are (not who "we" think we are) and when he finds an agreeable heart, he will "draw" that person into a relationship with him. When you get to know him, your love for him grows continually as new facets of his personality become more evident.

    God never abandons anyone. He allows every single person access to his word and it's message....and gives all equal opportunity to get to know him. We choose to do that....or not. If we do not want God in our life...or if we only want him on our own terms, then we are not the sort of person he wants as a citizen of his Kingdom. If we really want to know God, then God will reveal himself...but if we have the wrong attitude, he will not issue an invitation. God is not the one who needs to qualify for our favor....it is we who must qualify for his. This is what the Bible reinforces continually. It never pays to bite the hand that feed you.
     
  15. Goodman John

    Goodman John Active Member

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    Considering I do not believe in Original Sin, that argument means nothing to me. Each man or woman's sin is their own, and no one else should be held accountable for it. Your neighbor kills one of your other neighbors, but the police arrest and convict you even though you had no knowledge of the event and were in another state when it happened- is that right or just in any way?

    So if we exercise our God-given Free Will and choose not to follow God, why should we be punished for exercising a quality he gave us? If God wanted Man to worship him, why not simply make us that way and call it a day? You noted that God knows why we make our choices, even if we don't- so if he knows why this or that person chose not to worship him, is that just cause to toss them into Hell for eternity anyway?

    So this goes right back to 'you have to believe in God before you can learn about him'. If you need brain surgery, you generally want the best guy available and ask a lot of questions of him and about him before you commit to letting him mess with your head. You don't just pick a guy and hope for the best. If you take the time to research a brain surgeon, why wouldn't you be at least as diligent in questioning a god and his teachings before committing your soul to him? What happens when you commit to this or that god and later find out that you can't abide by a teaching or requirement you found out about much later- do you be a 'bad follower' or a 'heretic' and disobey, or do you ditch that god and look for another?

    And that's the rub, isn't it- how to qualify for God's favor? Who makes the rules? Does one follow the rules the Church has laid out, do you follow the rules the Baptists or Methodists or Anglicans lay out, or do you run with what the preacher at the Hepzibah Apostolic Church of the Divine Rock says is the way to God? You said the Bible continually reinforces this- but as we have seen time and time again throughout the history of Christianity, believing the Bible says A when someone else has decided it says B can and has resulted in very unpleasant torture and death.

    But, going back to the first point, why shouldn't WE require at least a few things from this or that god before committing ourselves? Proof of existence, for one, at least to our satisfaction. Some sort of coherent and reasonable idea of the nature of the god in question would be nice. What does the god teach- does it seem reasonable and good for us? Does the god require extraordinary sacrifices on our part- if so, what are those? If you have two gods that in all respects meet your needs and expectations, how do you- or DO you- choose which one to sign on with?

    ~~~

    Mind, I'm not arguing the existence of God or anything like that- and my responses aren't meant to refute your beliefs at all. My intent is to show that for the arguments that we (religious people as a whole) use in the defense of our faith there are any number of perfectly valid- and powerful- counters. For myself, I believe in God- although, as I alluded to in my next to last paragraph, almost certainly not in the way you believe in God- and I don't argue with your concept of God. My point is to illustrate that if we're going to take the step to try and show others The Way, we need better arguments. Much better arguments.
     
    #115 Goodman John, Aug 23, 2019
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2019
  16. metis

    metis aged ecumenical anthropologist

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    I enjoyed your post and agree with 99.99% of it, but I'm not too sure of that last item above.

    I'm not sure arguments are going to sway many people, but experiences may. After leaving Christianity for over 20 years, it was a set of bizarre experiences that I could not explain by coincidence or imagination but which I was able to verify as being real that ended up bringing me back.
     
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  17. Goodman John

    Goodman John Active Member

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    Thank you!

    With the 'argument' thing, I realize that very few people are going to be 'converted' on the basis of losing an argument or having 180 degree change in opinion just reading some internet post or article. But by 'arguments' I mean that in the sense of framing our discussions with 'non-believers' (whatever faith or religion one might hold) in such a way that doesn't convey a sense of 'do this or you'll burn for eternity' but more in a sense of 'here's what I have, and I just want you to think about it'. Some will discard it immediately but a sound, coherent, and compelling 'sales pitch' (although I am loathe to use that terminology) is far more likely to draw someone in to learn more than the basic stereotypical fire-and-brimstone sort of thing.

    Your comment on experience is very telling as well- you can tell someone about your faith until you're blue in the face, but unless someone else sees it or experiences it for themselves it's essentially just an story you're telling. People want to see things, and hear them, and maybe even touch them before they assign it a 'true' or 'false' designation. (In my case, for example, in my readings of history I learned all about the concentration camps of wartime Germany, and I had a good lock on what went on. But it wasn't until many years later when I was actually stationed in Germany and stumbled upon the camp at Buchenwald that it all became REAL. I was able to walk the ground, see the wire, touch the cremation ovens- and instead of just reading about it I was THERE.)

    Sadly, everyone doesn't have that sort of experience- some never will. I've never had any sort of 'up close and personal' encounter with God or Jesus or any other deity that I'm aware of, but that hasn't stopped me from at least trying to understand what's going on and make the right choices as best I can.
     
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  18. metis

    metis aged ecumenical anthropologist

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    I can very much relate as in 1991 I was sponsored on a study of the Holocaust, spending three weeks in Poland and Israel, including visiting three death camps that included Auschwitz. There were six survivors with us, and hearing what they went through just broke my heart.

    I hate to politicize this, but Trump scares the hell out of me because so many of the tactics he's using the NAZI's used. I studied the NAZI propaganda machine after I got back, going through numerous copies of Der Sturmer, so what I'm now seeing just totally rubs me the wrong way.

    Anyhow, sorry to get political, so I won't comment on that any further.
     
  19. Skwim

    Skwim Veteran Member

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    .

    If you're serious about reading it I suggest the Easy to Read Version because it is easy to read.

    bible easy to read version.png


    .
     
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  20. Goodman John

    Goodman John Active Member

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    To be fair, one can make ANY religious text 'easy to read'; witness the Cliff Notes version of the Egyptian creation myth...

    "Nu was the name of the dark, swirling chaos before the beginning of time. Out of these waters rose Atum; he created himself using his thoughts and the sheer force of his will. He created a hill, for there was nowhere he could stand. Atum was alone in the world. He was neither male nor female, and he had one all-seeing eye that could roam the universe. He joined with his shadow to produce a son and a daughter..."

    Ta-daaaa! :D
     
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