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The Bible, taken literally?

Discussion in 'General Debates' started by Neo-Logic, Sep 3, 2006.

  1. michel

    michel Administrator Emeritus
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    I agree. What we individuals make our faith is up to each one of us.
     
  2. Terrywoodenpic

    Terrywoodenpic Oldest Heretic

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    Over a quite long life, I have constantly reconsidered my faith.
    During that period I have looked closely at many other points of view.
    This includes the possibility of an inerrant Bible.
    To date my conclusion is That I have little interest in the old Testament, as a source of faith.
    It may well have a common ancestor in Zorastarism.
    It's nature seems to be a mixture of Fable, Law,History, and prophecy.
    This gives context to the Faith leading up to Jesus life time, and shows us what it was that he came to change.
    The Gospels inthe new testament Give the most complete story of Jesus's Life, works and teachingsDeath and Resurrection.
    How ever by their nature they do not Give the whole story, but are the best we have.
    Most of the rest of the new testament is concerned with what happened after Jesus's resurrection.
    Much of it credited to Paul and his Journeys and his admonitions to the new churches.

    The Bible has a lot to teach us, but unfortunately contains errors and is obviously incomplete as a record of all Jesus did and thought.
     
  3. angellous_evangellous

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    IMO, a scene in Ben Hur (where his sister and mother's leprocy is miraculously healed) is a beautiful interpretation of this event.
     
  4. Halcyon

    Halcyon Lord of the Badgers

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    In your opinion, which is fine.

    I take the opposite stance, in Gnosticism individual interpretation of scripture and creative thinking/imagination are actively encouraged.
     
  5. fantome profane

    fantome profane Have you read the Whistleblower complaint?
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    I just have to say I love this series and this is one of the best episodes. (You should also check out the one about “signs from heaven”, it is absolutely hilarious. You can download these all from google.)

    But as for taking the Bible literally I think Michael Shermer says it very well. This quote is from near the end of this episode.
    Notice that he is not saying that the Bible is worthless because it is not literally true. He is saying the exact opposite.


    I also have to give props to Penn for this quote.

    Agree or disagree, you have to admit Penn has a way with words.
     
  6. d.

    d. _______

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    as a counterweight, i must say i've only ever managed to watch a few minutes because i can't stand penn shouting like a madman all the time. perhaps it's an american thing, as i've noticed much american humor seem to revolve around shouting a lot.

    perhaps i could try watching it with the sound off, that way i can watch teller in peace.
    i like teller.
     
  7. d.

    d. _______

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    i still wonder where people get this from. does the bible itself imply this in any way, or the historical context? is all of the bible clever allegories and metaphors, or just parts of it?

    i still don't think that

    a) the bible doesn't fit with our current worldview, so it must all be clever allegory and metaphor

    or

    b) the stories are of a too fantastical nature. people of that time would have understood that they were not to be taken literally

    are satisfying answers.

    if you think there are strong indications somewhere that the authors intended the bible to not be read literally, speak up and show them to me please. i am willing to learn.
     
  8. waacman

    waacman Restoration of everything

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    when you say "literally" what do you mean? I hold to a literalist perspective, but I think that many misunderstand what that means.
     
  9. d.

    d. _______

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    what does 'literalist' mean to you?
     
  10. waacman

    waacman Restoration of everything

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    when i hear people put out the word "literal" I tend to think they think that a "literalist" takes every word and phrase to mean a physical intrepretation of that phrase/verse/paragraph/etc.

    What I mean when i call myself a literalist is that when something is written in a context to which it seems, like a person is writing in an allegorical fashion or any other genre of literature, I take it simply as that. People in Biblical times weren't stupid people, they had common sense enough to know that, sometimes I think we analyze something to much and not really take it as it is. Some people just refuse to use common sense. I will admit though that there are some areas that are very hard to determine what way they are written in, but that goes into hermeneutics knowledge that I don't yet possess.
     
  11. Jayhawker Soule

    Jayhawker Soule <yawn> ignore </yawn>
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    What of Matthew 27:51-53?
     
  12. waacman

    waacman Restoration of everything

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    Do you mean like how one would interpret that?

    I would say those verses desribe true events that physically happened to symbolically represent something.
     
  13. fantome profane

    fantome profane Have you read the Whistleblower complaint?
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    Well you know what Teller would have to say about that.

     
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  14. d.

    d. _______

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    so it's to be interpreted literally then. what would, more specifically, make one come to that conclusion? in terms of context, content, and so on?

    as a side note, i'm not sure if it's a comforting thought if god makes things happen just to 'symbolically represent' abstract ideas...
     
  15. fantome profane

    fantome profane Have you read the Whistleblower complaint?
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    I am going to try to answer this, but I doubt I will be able to your satisfaction.

    Like I said before I think a reasonable person can make a determination of the author’s intent based on the text. It is absolutely subjective and definitely not always clear. And I could certainly be wrong in the way that I interpret the intent of the Bible (and I almost certainly am).

    But considering that the Bible was written by a multitude of authors over a period of centuries, I cannot understand why anyone would assume that they all had the same intent.

    I believe that some parts of the Bible are intended as historical accounts (I am not saying that it is accurate history, only that it was the intent of the author).

    And some parts of the Bible seem to me to be mythological stories. I don’t say this because they don’t match out current worldview, the parts that I think are intended as history don’t match our current worldview either (or at least they don’t match mine). But yes, the fantastical nature of some of the stories is part of the reason I view them in the way I do, but not the whole reason. I am also considering the style and structure, the similarities to other myths and the incorporation of common mythological themes. Basically some of the stories do remind me very much of Aesop’s Fables.

    Also some of the ways the Bible carelessly contradicts itself suggest to me that much of it was not intended to be taken literally. The first two chapters of Genesis for instance contain clear contradictions to each other. If the author (or editor, or compiler, or whatever) had intended them both to be taken literally I think some attempt would have been made to reconcile them. I know that there are hundreds of apologetics that gone to great lengths to do just that, but the text itself makes no attempt.

    Some parts of the Bible are intended as history, some parts intended as mythology; some parts are intended as parables, and some parts are intended as prophecy. I realize that I am not going to convince you, and I don’t actually want to. But perhaps you could explain to me why you would believe that the different authors of the Bible had the same intent, and why you believe that intent was to tell a literal story.
     
  16. Jayhawker Soule

    Jayhawker Soule <yawn> ignore </yawn>
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    At issue is whether or not it is also absolutely uninformed.
     
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