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Should we really trust man to tell us what "God's words" meant?

Discussion in 'Theological Concepts' started by we-live-now, Jan 22, 2015.

  1. we-live-now

    we-live-now Active Member

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    Ok, I have been thinking about this for a while now.

    I am no formal "Biblical scholar" or trained theologian with a "Dr." before or letters after my name. Just a normal guy. Whatever "normal" or "guy" looks like or means.

    Whether we believe the scriptures are true or not, we had to at one point trust someone tell us what they mean by translating them into our own languages. This means they get to choose what "God" is telling us.

    Isn't this a LOT of power to give to a person or a group of people? What makes them qualified to tell us what "God" was saying or meaning? (if they were from "God")

    Then, on top of that, we have many different versions of the translated words in each language called "translations". Most of them don't agree. I am also finding at times that entire original words were overlooked or skipped and not translated at all. To me, this is scandalous if these messages or "signs" were truly from "God". If these are from God and are 100% accurate "truth" then shouldn't they all agree and be 100% precise?

    What if man was/is wrong when he told us what the original words meant? What if he mixed in his own (false) ideas of what and "who" he thought "God" was? Another related thought is: shouldn't one original word or "sign" (as I call it) mean one-single thing always (and not "sometimes mean this" and "sometimes mean that")?

    Could man be getting the meaning wrong because man thinks God is inside time and is changing? But what if God is outside of all time and doesn't change? What if his words never change either and always mean one, single thing or truth?

    Sorry for the length. Pick something and share your thoughts.... :)
     
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  2. gsa

    gsa Well-Known Member

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    Well there are a number of different ways to look at this. Let’s start with the fundamental question that seems to divide most Protestants from Catholics: Is the faith rooted primarily in scripture, or is scripture equal to tradition?

    Why does this matter? Because if scripture is part of a preexisting tradition that runs parallel to it, there is a source to turn to in order to interpret scripture. One that has, in theory, developed a method of interpretation that might carry some weight. Of course, this is no guarantee of authority; there is a Jewish teaching that admonishes sages to be careful with their words, because their students may come after them and drink poisoned waters (or something to that effect). But if you are operating within an interpretive community that has a method for understanding the religious text in question, you at least arguably have a better shot at ascertaining the meaning within the faith tradition.

    Of course, that’s no guarantee. Context happens, institutions are corrupted, etc. ; so even the most faithful tradition is likely to begin interpreting holy writ in light of their contemporary situation. And really, wouldn’t one expect a divinely inspired text to carry meaning across thousands of years and hundreds if not thousands of generations? And if a supreme being with power beyond our comprehension inspired this text, why would we be surprised to discover that it had an esoteric layer? Why would there be a single meaning, or for that matter why would there be a meaning that is not subject to change with corresponding environmental changes? The way the text is approached assumes an awful lot about the god of that particular tradition, after all, either expressly or by implication.

    And then there is the problem of history, archaeology, science, sociology, anthropology and other modern fields of inquiry. How do you incorporate those findings into your understanding of this divinely inspired text? Are they relevant at all? And what happens when they undercut a particular interpretation?

    For that matter, why do we assume that the authors intended a single meaning? What if they were writing for an audience that expected multiple layers in religious texts? Let’s leave divine inspiration out of it: What if the authors themselves, divinely inspired or not, intended to convey multiple meanings, even contradictory ones?

    All of these problems are simply compounded when you begin to deal with translation, transcription and other methods of preserving and conveying the meaning of text. And let’s not forget, it was a small elite that had access to this literature, and an even smaller elite that composed it.
     
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  3. Riverwolf

    Riverwolf Amateur Rambler / Proud Ergi
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    If God didn't tell us what he meant, and the words themselves weren't clear enough, then that's on him for not communicating it properly.

    In any case, languages don't usually translate 1/1 to each other, especially when they're not part of the same family. Hebrew is a Semitic language, and millenia old. Modern English is a Germanic language with a heavy Romance vocabulary, and only a few centuries old. They're not going to translate well between each other, just by virtue of elements being in one but not the other, and from colloquialisms that exist in the source language that mean completely different things in the other.
     
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  4. jeager106

    jeager106 Learning more about Jehovah.
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    Really? What or who would satisfy you of what the Bible means?
    Do you read it?
    Study it?
    Pray for guidance?
    Ask a clergy person for help?
    On your avatar line under religion you write: "I don't like religion, just want the truth."
    I think I understand that. I don't like "religion" either but love God and love learning about His Word in the Bible and how the Bible makes meaning.
    What do you want to do? What do you want to know?
     
  5. Unveiled Artist

    Unveiled Artist LGBT Stonewall historic marker

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    I actually do not believe God has a Word. Each of us--Abraham, Moses, Paul, James, to now, Jane, and John alike have experiences from God. Those that believe in Him, have the right to write what God told them on paper regardless the time line.

    What could mess things up is that we are all human. A lot of things in the Bible are history and had to be put together so the puzzle could fit. Other testimonies that are equally inspirational were pushed aside and people, like you say, choose God's Word rather than God choosing them.

    As long as man has a free will to write what he wants to say about his experience in God there is always an error of some sort. If God dictated to the biblical authors what He wanted to say, there'd be no room for the Church choosing which is from God or not--they are not God, they cannot know.

    So, the Bible is written from man who were inspired by God. Rather than it being God's words untouched through man.

    If it is true that God has the ability to dictate His Words; being that He is God, I do not believe humans are capable to transcribe them.






     
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  6. Deidre

    Deidre اتبع القلب

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    There is nothing to say that even when following a particular faith, one can't apply his own logic to understanding the teachings of that faith. At the end of the day, I'm of the opinion that all religions are perfectly imperfect, because they require mankind to keep them going. Unfortunately with some religions, depending on who is passing on the ''knowledge'' learned and to whom ... there can be a lot of danger if the teachings fall into the wrong hands.
     
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  7. psychoslice

    psychoslice Veteran Member
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    I myself certainly don't trust anyone else's theory's of what the scriptures mean, I go within and meditate on the words until I have the answer, it may not be your answer, but its mine.
     
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  8. Excaljnur

    Excaljnur Green String

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    Congratulations, you have encountered the principle issue that most people who do not believe in the accuracy or reliability of the bible are addressing when they call it unreliable. In truth, you cannot honestly trust that the bible is an accurate source of information for any good reason or any sense of the words accurate or reliable. One of the reasons for disbelief is because a large chunk of it was written by Paul who never met Jesus and whose writings are speculations, reflections on personal experience and theories rationalizing the significance of, at best, second hand information. Another reasons for disbelief is the clear use of mythologies in describing certain historical events such as the Exodus from Egypt. (Fact: Israelite s are a splinter group of the Canaanites who are believed to have split because of the formation of religious factions (Shaw 2002).) (Another Fact: Although the 600,000 or so people involved in the exodus has be rationalized down to 600 families, they still have the problem of crossing the Red sea, which at its shallowest crossing is 765 meters deep, not to mention the sea bed is actually made of vast valleys, cliffs and crevasses that go as deep as 900 meters, would make crossing with even a fraction of 600 families a several day journey and inconceivable with children and the elderly (UKHO, Admiralty Chart).) Investigations on the archaeology, history, logistics and acceptance that Genesis and Exodus are narrative myths of origin, along with other books in the bible, have led most people who have encountered this evidence to conclude that the bible is unreliable in what it claims as fact and its sources.

    Now, whether these realizations of the what certain bible stories are have led you to merely disregard certain books of the bible, consider if you found that a nonfiction book you were reading was blatantly lying to you. Would you disregard only the chapters that clearly lied? Or would you doubt the whole book because the author(s) credibility is shot?

    Also consider the implications of not trusting the bible. God is not dependent on the bible, nor are his messages. If you truly want to understand his message, discover what he is or has communicated to you in your lifetime. Perhaps you were too busy reading what others wrote about messages to THEM that you overlooked the messages directed to YOU. Many people asked why God has stopped communicating to us as he did in the B.C. era. Consequently, many people turn away from God because they don't receive the messages in similar forms. The bible teaches you to expect the wrong things, to obey the Word (whoever's word that really is, you can't actually know), and to live by the bible.

    You need to ask yourself, does God want me to live how others tell me He said I should live? Or does God want me to live as He tells me I should live. The minute you stop poisoning your mind with other people's interpretations of God's messages, you will begin to see clearer the life God intended for you. Once you evaluate yourself and your values and determine which are expected of you by God, you will be able to look back at the bible and realize where the truth is hidden and suppressed. It is a corrupted text. Simple as that. It is a relic of an period in time when access to the bible indicated power and the ability to read was restricted.

    Remember, the bible didn't make God.
     
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  9. jeager106

    jeager106 Learning more about Jehovah.
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    I thought everyone new the crossing of the Red Sea is an error in translation.
    The Exodus was made at the Sea of Reeds, a shallow but wide, swamp.
    I've read there were at least 600,000 Jewish men, not total Jews, that left
    Egypt, but whatever.
     
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  10. Deidre

    Deidre اتبع القلب

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    I think that for many (myself included)...when I was a Christian, I 'felt' God as more of an experience, through prayer, through an overwhelming sense of peace. I left Christianity because I didn't believe the stories in the Bible to be based on truths. I couldn't reconcile evolution with Genesis, and then the rest of the book unraveled. And that turned to anger...and then I thought I identified as an atheist for a while. Only to come back to the doorstep of a different Abrahamic faith...Islam. So, to me...it isn't so much that religion becomes a set of texts, and you must buy into each and every word of those texts, but rather an all encompassing experience that takes you places, if you let it. That is what spirituality is to me...it is an experience of the heart.
     
  11. LuisDantas

    LuisDantas Aura of atheification
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    No. And therefore, we can't trust anything related to the concept of God as a basis for religious beliefs and practices either.
     
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  12. Theodore A. Jones

    Theodore A. Jones Active Member

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    No theologian can interpret the Bible's content correctly. None of them have nor will.
     
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  13. Unification

    Unification Well-Known Member

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    Nice post. The entire bible and scriptures are spiritual. Mans carnal mind and false calling has created his own empire and religion. The entire bible is talking about the human body and the destruction and building of it within by the Lord. It's all symbolic and metaphorical. All we see is divide and arguing. Their is only one truth. Anything outward, literal, is false teaching. The transformation happens INSIDE a man's body, brain, mind, heart. The Lord's temple. either mans will and ego and pride is reining or the Lords. All within. Nothing external. Church buildings are all vain. Saddens me.
     
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  14. we-live-now

    we-live-now Active Member

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    Yes, I do read, study and ask for guidance. I hear a LOT and write a lot. Sometimes upwards of 4-6 hours or more a day. I believe that we were mistaken by allowing any religious men to translate the original words. I see many things much more glorious that often what man teaches. It's a very good.
     
  15. we-live-now

    we-live-now Active Member

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    IMHO, that is a great answer. I am with you. Awesome!
     
  16. savagewind

    savagewind Something, not nothing
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    I agree.
     
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  17. jeager106

    jeager106 Learning more about Jehovah.
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    Who, then, would translate the words into modern language from the original ancient texts and languages?
    What do you not trust about today's translations?
    Why are you so concerned that you write hours a day?
     
  18. we-live-now

    we-live-now Active Member

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    Interesting thoughts. Imagine if you were God and you had the ability to make different "realms" or partitions of the infinite where a certain set of laws and rules existed that could not be violated.

    For example, gravity and death. We know they can't be violated. We can counteract them somewhat, but they will win.

    Now, imagine you made 2-4 realms next to each other that that had opposing laws that could not be broken. In one, "death" meant you perished and didn't exist anymore. But, the next one, "death" was merely a requirement to enter a higher level of eternal and more vibrant life.

    So, you have 4 realms with opposing laws. Then, you create a creature called "man" who actually exists in these 4 realms but is only consciously aware of the lowest one called the "body" where "gravity" and death exist. In order to experience the next level or realm, his body has to die first. Each level he has to "die" in order to reach the highest one.

    Now, as God you would see him as a 4 part "man" of "body, soul, spirit, master spirit" but he would only know himself has one - body. The lowest. Maybe "soul" if he was willing to believe things he can't see. What if you gave the top parts of him your own name but he didn't know it until he fully "died" and realized he was really part of you (as God). You then tell him he is your "Son" and always has been. He just didn't know.

    What if you can NOT LIE (and you know ALL things) and wanted to tell him these things BEFORE he "died" and had to write to him at the lowest level but speak of all 4 parts and realms? Would it sound strange and contradicting to him? I am sure he wouldn't believe it because he can only "see" the bottom realm of the body.

    I know I have quite the imagination, but that is what I see the Bible as once I stopped allow man to (mis)translate the original words. Crazy, huh?
     
  19. savagewind

    savagewind Something, not nothing
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    I think he means no one has the right to translate the original words to be believed.
    Research now is free and easy with online sources. I am happy that people have worked hard on translation and knowing The Word. If they had not we would not know any of it. They are all dead. But we are not.

    The Curses of Disobedience
    29and you will grope at noon, as the blind man gropes in darkness, and you will not prosper in your ways; but you shall only be oppressed and robbed continually, with none to save you.30"You shall betroth a wife, but another man will violate her; you shall build a house, but you will not live in it; you shall plant a vineyard, but you will not use its fruit.31"Your ox shall be slaughtered before your eyes, but you will not eat of it; your donkey shall be torn away from you, and will not be restored to you; your sheep shall be given to your enemies, and you will have none to save you
     
  20. we-live-now

    we-live-now Active Member

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    Honest talk. Very cool.

    Personally, I do believe the Bible to be 100% God's written Word (in the original "words" or languages) from "God" himself. Especially since I stopped only relying on man's "translations".

    I am not a believer in evolution per se', but I try not to rule out anything totally. Did you know that God actually calls natural man a "beast of the field" or a "bird of the air" in Genesis? This (Genesis) is a very high (spiritual) view of spiritual and natural man.

    Check this out... See the food that God originally gave "Noah" in Genesis 9 and compare it with the one who actually got that food in Genesis 1.

    What is God saying that "Noah" is? Interesting, isn't it?
     
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