The Book

bible

In the U.S., today is Sunday and many folk undoubtedly attended worship services to honor the Christian god. Undoubtedly, some carried along their bible as a “sword” against the enemy, even though they know little of its contents. (Except, perhaps, John 3:16.)

While some may retain for a short time what was shared from the pulpit during their weekly pew-warming visit, for many others the “sermon” will quickly be replaced by the demands of daily living.

Nonetheless, there will be those who will hold fast to the message because they intend to follow the instructions found in The Book, i.e., Ephesians 6:11: “Put on the whole armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” (Of course those “wiles” come straight from us devilish infidels. 😈) 

You see, most Christians are generally convinced that the words in The Book (you know, the one that often has a cross on its cover) are evidence that “God” is real — and they quite frequently quote passages from The Book as though it is “fact.” 

Yet, as one person said in a comment on one of the blogs I follow:   

The Bible is not evidence. It’s an unsupported assertion, and it cannot be used to support its own claims.

(Interestingly, when faced with this truth, believers often begin to share “personal experiences” — which surely will convince even the hard-core non-believer!)

Yes, for Christians, The Book is the final word — even though contradictions abound within its pages and scripture upon scripture must be “explained” and/or “justified” to validate its claims.

And yet … faith abounds.

108 thoughts on “The Book

  1. Because it’s not about the book… It’s about people being emotionally and intellectually lazy when faced with existential death anxiety. [or in the US evangelical’s case, a political bent wrapped in virtue by virtueless men and women]

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  2. It’s strange that many of the stories of Mithras, the God of the Roman Legions are incorporated into the Jesus story and yet Mithras pre-dates Jesus by quite a bit. The World’s oldest Religion, that of Zoroaster from Persia may lay claim to that of Mithras.
    Hugs

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    • I don’t believe there is any part of the Judeo-Christian religion, from creation to Jesus rising from the dead, that is not borrowed, copied, or stolen from earlier religions. People who have studied religions have much more information on that subject. Sasha Sagan referred to several gods and/or religions I had never heard of in her book For Small Creatures Such As We.

      The bible of the Christians does not say there are no other gods, only that their god is the only one worthy of our worship.

      I have been in many houses of worship in which you seldom heard more than two or three verses read from the bible and one of them was always about giving to ‘The Lord’. (Your money of course.) Then the preacher would rave on for thirty minutes or so, maybe about things having nothing to do with what he read.

      “Feed my sheep” has become, shear my sheep. No matter how many airplanes Kenneth Copeland buys, they keep sending it in. No matter how many preachers call for the killing of Democrats, liberals, and LGBTQs, including Christians, they see nothing wrong with it because that is what they are being taught ‘from the word of God. They think it is holy and righteous to not wear masks or get vaccinations. Jesus said it, after all.

      Liked by 6 people

    • “Thou shall not kill.”

      This little gem was supposedly uttered by the same god who had recently wiped out life, save Noah and his little clan and their menagerie. There is no record of the re-creation of the flora and fauna also had to repopulate the earth.

      It cannot be disputed that every word of God has only been reported by man. Every god that man has ever created is a product of all the best and the worst ideas, thoughts, and emotions of mankind. Nobody ever came to believe in a god except it was taught to them by another person. Everything we have ever read which is supposed to be proof of God was written by men in different times with different inclinations, which other men, hundreds of years after the fact, have tried to homogenize all these disparate ideas into an acceptable narrative. Poetry and prose wrestled into Holy Writ.

      The miracle of the womb is common to all mammals having a womb, but the miracle of the egg outside the womb is no less of a miracle. That miracle also applies to reptiles. Earthworms, and others, are hermaphrodites, so that wad of worms you may see in your lawn at night is not a sin in progress, but another miracle of life being replicated.

      Once upon a time, religion was the best answer we had for all our questions because it was our only answer. But once we learned to manipulate fire to our benefit, our understanding began to grow, and that caused great fear among the priesthood, as it does today. Fact and truth rob religion of its power.

      1 Corinthians 1:10 (KJV) Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.

      There is no cohesion of thought in Christianity, even in a single congregation. If that is not enough to make anyone doubt the validity of their particular sect, then let’s allow them to continue their journey. Their own scripture condemns the pastor and the priest, yet they choose to believe. What they believe does not make anything true, it only confirms the myth in their minds, where it is not only acceptable but it sustains their whole existence.

      Elie Wiesel wrote about how the Hungarian Jews kept thinking Hitler would be stopped before Hungary was taken. They did not know their government had already capitulated. When they were marched to the trains, they still clung to the hope that their God would save them. All the Jews trapped in those countries captured by Hitler’s army were marked for extinguishment, not by some god but by a man who was more powerful than their God. All the arguments which try to exonerate God for His failure are simply men’s efforts to show their God, in control, and infallible.

      The God of the Christians, adopted from the Jews, is a high-maintenance idea.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. It ain’t those parts of the Bible that I can’t understand that bother me, it is the parts that I do understand.
    Mark Twain

    Mark Twain wrote: “Man is the religious animal…. He is the only animal who has the true religion – several of them. He is the only animal who loves his neighbor as himself and cuts his throat, if his theology isn’t straight. He has made a graveyard of the globe in trying his honest best to smooth his brother’s path to happiness and heaven.”

    But who prays for Satan? Who, in eighteen centuries, has had the common humanity to pray for the one sinner that needed it most?
    Mark Twain

    The easy confidence with which I know another man’s religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.
    Mark Twain

    The gods offer no rewards for intellect. There was never one yet that showed any interest in it.
    Mark Twain

    Man is a marvelous curiosity…he thinks he is the Creator’s pet…he even believes the Creator loves him; has passion for him; sits up nights to admire him; yes and watch over him and keep him out of trouble. He prays to him and thinks he listens. Isn’t it a quaint idea?
    Mark Twain

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    • Apparently, Mark Twain was unfamiliar with certain Eastern Orthodox traditions and stories. It does appear that some Eastern Orthodox monks over the centuries (millenia now) may have prayed for Satan, and that probably one or two did pray for demons. And there is an obscure story from that tradition about a monk saving the soul of the demon that tried to tempt him. The monk somehow caught the demon and the demon begged the monk to let him go so that he did not have to be exposed to the monk’s prayers. The monk said he would do so only if the demon sang the song God had taught him to sing as an angel before his throne. The demon said he could, but the monk insisted. After some argument, the demon gave in. As he sang the song, he started to turn back into an angel, and the song was so beautiful that the monk too died and went to heaven. The story was told better where I heard it but that is, more or less, it.

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  4. I have been in an extended ”discussion” on a Catholic site, supposedly set up to encourage dialogue between Catholics and Atheists ( one feels obliged to ask what is the ultimate aim that a dyed-in-the-wool, hard-nosed Catholic would set up such a site?), where the main contributors default to philosophy in almost every single comment to justify their beliefs, regularly embarking on screeds that make some of the extended comments by Tildeb and Prof’ look like memos!

    Yet when prompted or asked to provide evidence for the supernatural claims one is told to go read philosophy!

    Odd bunch.

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  5. I think… faith is not about logical evidence. Basically human have the ability to trust in things beyond logical circle. If they are able, then they can have a faith. If not, well, just being in logical circle.
    Faith is not much different with love, because love can make someone do something unreasonable.
    Btw, Nan, what is your implied intention from this post? Just curious.

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    • Actually, the incentive for writing this post was the quote I included. I really liked the thought behind it and wanted to share it so I developed some of my own thoughts around it.

      But even beyond that, my personal opinion of the bible is that it is full of holes. And this is evidenced by the reams of material written by apologists and bible “experts” in an effort to explain away the innumerable questionable entries.

      Not to mention its contents are based on events that took place several thousand years ago.

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      • Oke, thank you for your reply.
        I will not argue your thoughts because…. debating faith, belief or religion, is at the same level as debating on “why do you love him / her?”

        This kind of debate will find its conclusion later, that is when human face the last minutes of their life. Their subconscious will find its own conclusion.

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        • Hi Ark… truthfully I don’t want to argue about this, so I let the answer be with you until the time comes.

          But for now, one thing is undoubtedly, there is a miracle in the womb. There is life going on inside, where a life emerged form there. In our mother’s womb, the Almighty shows His Greatness to humans. So… as long as humans only able to create robot, then during that time I believe there is an Almighty, Supreme Creator, the same Creator for you and me.

          Finally, I only know that Almighty God has been called with various names, that is “God” in English, “Tuhan” in Indonesian, “Shangdi” or 上帝 in Chinese, “Allah” in Arabic, “Dio” in Italian, “Dieu” in French, “Бог” in Russian, etc.

          Enough for me because I don’t want to deliberately look for holes in every scripture. Whatever your religion, as long as it makes you closer to the Almighty God and makes you a better person. That’s good. I will not bother to argue.

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        • Tikno, I appreciate your reluctance to debate your faith. Too often such discussions get heated, insults start flying, and neither side “wins.”

          I’m sure you know from my response to you — and from the blog post itself — that you and I definitely don’t see eye-to-eye as related to the Christian faith. From my perspective, it is a very limiting way of living … but I’m sure you and many others would disagree.

          In any case, I do post on other topics so I hope you’ll stop by and share your thoughts on them as well.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Agree with what you’ve said : “neither side wins”.
          Pardon me if I said : “it is useless”
          Because… any negative action will bouncing another negative reaction as opposite to you.

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        • there is a miracle in the womb.

          Can’t see the relevance to Nan’s post, but yeah, as a parent, one could say, in a colloquial sense, we create little ”miracles”. Nature is certainly a marvel in this sense,

          Finally, I only know that Almighty God has been called with various names,

          You forgot Yahweh, the genocidal meglomanical maniac, not to mention a man-made work of fiction, of course.

          Whatever your religion, as long as it makes you closer to the Almighty God and makes you a better person.

          Goof grief! The very last thing I want is to worship a god let alone the one you genuflect to.
          Such futility is simply debasing and if we use the examples of oh so many of the minions of Yahweh then if one wants to be a better person the first thing one must do is NOT be a Christian.

          I shudder to think that I could ever sink to such a revolting level.

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    • Since no one commented on my remark, “Thou shalt not kill,” I expanded it a little. You may want to read it. Or not.

      It seems a little odd that you want to comment but do not want to be bothered to deal with any responses. It reminds me of a General calling for a ceasefire when he ran out of ammunition.

      If you haven’t already been blocked as a troll, I would like to see your comment.

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      • Hello Cagjr…. alright, I read it.
        I beg you to forgive the human imperfection in the circle of logical thinking, because the mystery of the universe (the Greatness of Almighty) is beyond that circle. As long as humans can not create the miracles of life (living creatures) that you have mentioned above, then during that time I believe the existence of the Almighty God.

        Well, neither sides win, moreover if we are debating word for word logically (finite) for the infinite space.
        I think a ceasefire is better, because only love and affection win. So… let’s spread it to people around us, whatever their faith. Thank you Cagjr.

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      • cagjr, personally I didn’t get the connection between your one-liner and the comment you were responding to … until you expanded on it in your later comment. Perhaps others didn’t see it either.

        As for blocking a “troll,” just because a visitor to my blog disagrees with me or the people who visit/comment does not necessarily make that person a “troll.” In this particular case, I don’t at all agree with Tikno, but the comments have remained civil so I see no reason to block her/him.

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  6. This is why I’m a devout Muslim. There are no contradictions in the Quran or in Islam. It’s a religion that is empirically true and there are absolutely no faults with it. It even says so in the Quran where it states, “This Book is NOT to be doubted!!” I mean, what more does on need to believe, eh.

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  7. Nan, I did find this 2017 Gallup poll of interest on people’s view of the bible’s veracity. Here are the key findings. I will provide a link to the article.

    -24% believe Bible is literal word of God, the lowest in Gallup’s 40-year trend
    -View of Bible as secular stories and history at 26%, up from 21% in 2014
    -The largest segment, 47%, still think Bible is inspired word of God

    As a Christian, to me the bible of course has contradictions, as do all religious texts. They were written by “imperfect men” so there are biases therein. Even if God inspired every story, if he told one story to Billy Graham and the same story to his son Franklin Graham, the written words would reflect each one’s perspective.

    Keith

    https://news.gallup.com/poll/210704/record-few-americans-believe-bible-literal-word-god.aspx

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    • Even if God inspired every story, if he told one story to Billy Graham and the same story to his son Franklin Graham, the written words would reflect each one’s perspective.

      Yes, this is right. Yet, somehow, many Christians fail to see this.

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      • Neil, what many Christians and non-Christians do not realize is the four gospels were written between 30 and 70 years after the crucifixion of Christ. Gospel means “good news,” as they were written off stories passed down. They also were written in different languages by different writing talents. So, this example speaks to the reasons for the contradictions. Keith

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      • To me, there are over-arching messages that give me comfort. Treating others like we want to be treated and looking after your neighbor are just two. These are so powerful they appear in other religious texts.

        Thanks for asking. Keith

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        • Do you disregard all the heinous passages, Judges 3 to pick an example.
          What over-arching message do you think is contained in this particular bloodthirsty tale?
          Or this one?
          Ezekiel 23:20:
          20 There she lusted after her lovers, whose genitals were like those of donkeys and whose emission was like that of horses.

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        • I am not sure what you find particularly “heinous” about Judges 3 unless you just don’t like violence in literature or fictional works.

          The narrative follows the general pattern of Judges where the Israelites stop following God’s commandments and start doing what is evil from the perspective of the story so God stops supporting them and an enemy tribe conquers them (in this case Moab) followed by some repentance, God selects a judge/hero (in this case Ehud), the warrior gets a private audience with the corpulent King Eglon of Moab and kills him, his guards don’t interfere because they think he is going to the bathroom (which has humorous overtones), then Ehud leads the Israelites in victory over the Moabites and conquers them.

          The basic message of the deuteronomist authors throughout their books is a pretty theological and didactic one: follow the commandments and do what is right according to us otherwise God will not support you and potentially punish you and the entire society. An additional related message is: if you don’t follow and listen to God, society itself will fall apart.

          The messages a modern individual person might take away who doesn’t live in the same time period is up to them. A strict evangelical literalist might read it as a warning that they must follow the Bible and God or else punishment.

          A liberal reader might see it as a more general point of: do what is good and God will support you, do what is bad and God will retract his support (we decide what is right and wrong by our own conscience and reasoning, not just by blindly following commandments).

          One might focus on the communal punishment and redemptive cycle in the Judges narrative and see the message as we all fail, but God will take us back.

          One might read a sociological message: when society loses its morals and the average person no longer cares about right and wrong it threatens the very fabric of a functioning society (without necessarily meaning a religious sense here). In other words, it’s a religious narrative that can be generalized to a more abstract sociological point about the functioning of society.

          Or one can just read it as a story and not get too caught up searching for some larger overarching messages.

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        • Perhaps you missed Keith’s comment?
          there are over-arching messages that give me comfort.
          I picked the tale more or less at random simply because of its violence.
          I could have picked any of thousands of violent and revolting examples. I’m sure you could think of one or two if you really tried, yes?
          How it ( or anything in the bible if one is honest) could bring comfort is quite bemusing.
          But then I’m not an indoctrinated believer.

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        • I am sure I could find plenty of examples of violence in the Bible. So what? I could also find plenty of examples of violence in Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, Beowulf, Shakespeare’s plays, many modern epic fantasy novels, modern Marvel films, or gangster films, etc. Violence is often part of stories. Reading Ehud killing King Eglon isn’t really a different experience to me than reading any other stories that contain violence.

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        • CR — you are grasping at straws. You know and I know the bible is viewed from a far different perspective than the works you listed.

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        • The survey above provided by Keith points out that at least 26% of all respondents see the Bible as a work of literature (just stories/fables/etc.) Sure this was heavily-driven by people with no religion, but there were some within religious traditions answering the same way. So I don’t think I am grasping at straws at all. That’s 1/4th of all respondents.

          Likewise, I’ve interacted with enough people who would’ve have answered that they see the Bible as divinely inspired, but still the writings of fallible men (47% in the survey) to know many of them often view parts of the Bible as literary or representative of the fallible men more than God (i. e. these were just stories that reflected the times and people’s understanding, not what God wanted).

          In other words, I don’t think there is one shared perspective for viewing the Bible.

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        • I don’t believe you, CR, and I don;t think you believe this, either; I think you and I and most readers here know perfectly well that there are SOME fundamental faith-based beliefs you MUST hold to consider yourself a member of this religion or that. Not in some metaphorical or mythological way but as a premise about reality, a historical fact. To pretend some fairly significant minority doesn’t do this (under the banner of ‘reading the bible as if literature’) I think is simply not true.

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        • Technically the only thing you need to be Jewish is to have a Jewish mother.

          Anyway, I am not claiming that people who read it as literature or just parts of it also don’t have fundamental beliefs that they are unwilling to negotiate (i. e. There really is a God, the resurrection really happened, etc.). Which is the point you’re making, yes? What I am saying is that just because people may have those fundamental beliefs and believe some things are metaphysically true doesn’t mean they read EVERY part as history and that many people approach the violent parts the same way they would other works of literature that contain violent parts. So if my position wasn’t clear, hopefully that clarified it.

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        • Of course not, but this is where all the wiggling and ducking take place. Answering, Is this true and how might I know if it is, demonstrates the fundamental hypocrisy of believing this part but not that, dismissing this part but not that. The believer presents this as evidence of rational thinking and sound mind whereas the non believer sees this for what it is: cherry picking foundational faith-based beliefs and then taking cover behind this random rejecting.

          The problem is that by playing this whack-a-mole game, the believer is offering full cover for the fundamentalist who really does believe all kinds of irrational claims and reality denying assertions on the basis that some scripture which is believed to be the Very Word Of God says so.

          The cherry picker religious apologist who waves away this significant segment of believers (but never themselves, of course, who believe only the claims that are True (TM)) is very much central to the problem of giving breathing room to beliefs incompatible and in spite of what reality demonstrates is probably the case. It is the apologist who tries to POOF! into being a third and reasonable alternative to either/or claims, which ends up serving only the religious side and causing no end of mischief to the pursuit of and respect for knowledge.

          So yeah, it’s a problem.

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        • I don’t care about nice; I care much more about respecting reality. Without that common ground, it is very difficult to find consensus on anything, which is a related and huge problem for every single human on the planet and made worse by those who think there really is some kind of ‘nice’ middle ground between X and Not X.
          .

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        • So you consider such biblical tales to be fiction. Well, that’s at least a start. The problem is that, unlike the other works of fiction you mentioned, the bible is promoted asTruth – Capital T included – and the (inspired) Word of God (sic).
          Under these conditions some people have the tendancy to do some rather odd things – you know, start wars or fly planes into tall buildings and such like?

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        • Sure, and we should criticize those people that have that tendency to do that instead of wasting your time criticizing someone who says what they take away is an overarching message of loving thy neighbor and most likely isn’t someone who is going to do any of those things.

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        • And yet, the source material for either of these two views is ostensibly the same.

          If the source were removed or ”brought to heel” then criticizing someone for expressing such views would be unnecessary – because eventually such people would simply not believe.
          However, by allowing these erroneous views to go unchallenged one is tacitly giving them the nod.
          Furthermore, there is built-in to this the belief that such ”good neighbourliness” is not possible unless one acknowledges that it is in some way ”God Given” (sic). Much like claims from the religious regarding morals.
          And as this is not the case then what the Gehenna do we we need God and the bible for in the first place?

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        • I think you missed the salient point.
          You do have a habit of this, I’ve noticed?
          No he did not suggest this and most of thw religious people I know agree that us ”heathens” are fully capable of being moiral and ethiocal.
          However …. as far as I have been able to ascertain after quite a number of years dialoguing with such folk, they all believe that such traits derive from God. You know, as in ”God Given”.
          Oh, well, fancy that! Looking back on my previous cement this is what I wrote.

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        • In light of this perhaps you might also like to reconsider your approach (view) of religious texts and the negative effects/actions they create?

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        • In truth, based on past experience, I would expect nothing less from you. Intellectual honesty in this regard is definitely not your forté.

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        • With respect, trying to sugar coat the bible or any religion/religious text for that matter and those who promote such garbage, especialy to children is why we have the problems within society that are associated with religion.
          Maybe if a little more ‘crassness’ were used on a more regular basis the Twin Towers might still be standing?
          Or the Ruandan genocide might not have occurred. Perhaps the Bosnian civil war may not have happened?
          Perhaps the Middle East conflict might be settled?
          Or the inumerable deaths from HIV/AIDS that can be directly attributed to the Catholic Church’s stance on contraception?

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        • Ark — IMO, CR’s comments on this post were not in the least bit offensive. If they were, I would have removed them. After all, it is my blog. 😊

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        • I am a non-believer as well, BUT … I always respect other people’s religious beliefs as long as they aren’t trying to convert me or make their beliefs into public policy. I believe that the lack of respect among people is the biggest problem the world has, or at least one of them. Keith is a good man, a man of conscience, and while I don’t share his beliefs, I respect them.

          I do believe that religion is the biggest source of most conflict worldwide and has been throughout history. That doesn’t, however, give me the right to be rude to people who believe differently than I do.

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        • I don’t actually consider I was being rude. Regardless, the fact remains nice people such as Keith cherry pick their more gentile beliefs while hand waving away all the unsavoury parts of their religion, when under closer examination it is All unsavoury. For this reason people like Mother Theresa were able to get away with all the misery they caused under the false guise of helping people while seriously doubting her own beliefs and crying crocodile tears.
          It is all so revolting.
          At best people like Keith are simply naive or wilfully ignorant.
          At worst, they are responsible for the deaths of millions.

          Then again perhaps being polite to Islamic suicide bombers for example is really the way to go? Gods forbid you are ever in a position to test that theory.

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        • I was surprised to see that you are a believer and a Christian, no less. I never caught that in the past. Treating others well and looking out for your neighbor are indeed noble causes and I, being an atheist, believe they are the essence of what humanity should be about. But the Bible is mainly violence, worshipping, fearing hell and obedience to a very vain and narcissistic god who will destroy anyone who doesn’t see it his way. Not a very nice entity to me. No thanks.

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      • I, too, am a believer, and it has nothing to do with the bible for me. I was a believer before I knew the bible existed. For me, it’s simply that I believe in the Resurrection. And if I had not heard about the Resurrection, I believe I would have believed in Persian myths whenever I came across those. As it is, I love some of them.

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    • “Even if God inspired every story, if he told one story to Billy Graham and the same story to his son Franklin Graham, the written words would reflect each one’s perspective.” Absolutely! Anyone who has a bunch of friends or acquaintances would be familiar with how differently different human beings can understand things, even when they’re all making an effort to be honest and understand, I would think.

      And, of course, what happens when some of these human beings not only have different understandings, different flaws, and different ways of putting things, but then someone who isn’t scrupulous gets involved, whether in translation or transcription or what not? To be honest, the great wonder with the Bible isn’t how inconsistent it is, but how much of the New Testament stands in contradiction to the organization that put it together and preserved it … and then had translations into the vernacular (languages spoken by the people) on the index of forbidden books! Not proof that it is inspired (and it certainly is not infallible, something which can be deduced from the collection of books itself without external evidence as it contradicts itself at times) but it is a very interesting bit of history.

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      • So, in truth, notwithstanding all the horror in the bible, the blatent errors, fraud, interpolation, outright lies, you recognise that you have been indoctrinated, have ditched critical thinking and plain common sense simply to continue to accept the delusion?
        Two questions:
        1: When we live in such an amazing world as it is, so chock full of incredible wonder, why would you choose to believe a lie?
        2: Have you indoctrinated anyone else – children, other family, friends – with this nonsense?

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        • For me, it’s simply that I believe in the Resurrection.

          Apologies. Of course you probably don’t realise.
          But now that you have something to consider maybe it’s worth thinking about?

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        • I found it confusing that you replied to two of my comments at once without making clear that’s what you’re doing. Sorry about that 🙂

          I do not think that because something is claimed in the bible that it is not true anymore than I think that something is true for being claimed in the bible. My belief in the Resurrection has nothing to do with what I do or not think about the bible and, in fact, predates my knowledge that there was a bible.

          1) The world is absolutely amazing, but I don’t see what this has to do with believing in the Resurrection. I suppose I don’t believe that death could be the end of beauty or life so the very beauty and wonder of the world are to me more of a reason for the Resurrection than against it.

          2) Hopefully no one. I wouldn’t want anyone to believe something because I said it or because I argued them out of their own thoughts or opinions. I really don’t want anyone to think or not think anything for any reason other than because they find that it makes or does not make sense to them.

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        • My belief in the Resurrection has nothing to do with what I do or not think about the bible and, in fact, predates my knowledge that there was a bible.

          So, based on your dialogue with Nan, can one take it you were told the story when you were a child/young person by parent/s , pastor, friend etc?
          That you believed it then, and still believe it now strongly suggests you succumbed to indoctrination as a youngster and remain in its thrall.
          I am interested what it was that convinced you of the veracity of this story?

          Every Christian deconvert I have dialogued with has attested to being in some way indoctrinated, even if this was merely in a cultural sense.

          I’d also venture that most are in some way bemused by their former credulity.

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        • I don’t wish to divulge the details of my background.

          But it would be a little odd, wouldn’t it, to be indoctrinated to believe in the Resurrection and nothing else? Because, if somehow that is going on – whether it happened as a child or an adult, or whatever – the indoctrination is limited to that belief that there is a man who conquered death on behalf of all humanity. If you want to test this out, try it. Throw at me the beliefs of various Christian sects or cultures and see how much of it I believe, how much of it I outright reject, and how much I have no opinion on … and how much is probably somewhere in between, from, “Yeah, maybe, that makes sense but I don’t know,” or “I really don’t think so, but I couldn’t be sure,” or some variant thereof.

          As for what convinced me … why I believe … I just elaborated on this a little in a reply to Nan, but it’s because I’ve always believed that something like that happened somewhere or was going to happen somewhere/sometime. It’s the same reason I love novels with certain themes in them so much and why I wrote this short story: https://enthralledbylove.com/2019/09/12/loves-choice-a-story/

          Liked by 1 person

        • But it would be a little odd, wouldn’t it, to be indoctrinated to believe in the Resurrection and nothing else?

          Sorry, I presumed that why one believes in the resurrection and the baggage that comes with it was implicit in the belief itself:
          You are born in sin, (Original Sin), disobeyed God, Jesus gave his life for mankind to ”make right” with god, thus enabling eternal life and entry into heaven etc etc.

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        • I didn’t need anyone to tell me that there is death in the world or that there is grief and pain in the world.

          It has nothing to do with some arbitrary laws and being made right with some sort of judge. It has to do with the conquest of death.

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        • Now I am even more confused.
          You heard about the resurrection of the character Jesus of Nazareth (parent, Pastor, friends, someone soliciting at the door /in the street? ) You were not inclined to say. Okay, so be it.

          Did you not question the tale? Ask for specific details; ‘
          ‘Who was this person … ”
          ”Jesus who, you say?”
          ”Why was he crucified?”
          ”What’s a crucifixion?” ( I suppose this would depend on how young you were?)

          Perhaps you can appreciate why I am a little bemused by your tale/acceptance of the resurrection.

          And where did you come up with the notion that the resurrection was about ”the conquest of death.”

          Did you at that point believe that you also had to be crucified to come back to life?
          Or were you told something along the lines of :
          ”Believe and it will be so.” etc etc.

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        • Sorry, you make less sense with each subsequent comment and are beginning to sound like a fundamentalist apologist.

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        • I should have added: you did not address the questions I raised with regard asking who was Jesus and why was he crucified?
          I cannot beleive you missed the importance and their relevance?
          Assuming you received some type of answer could you relook at the questions and offer an answer?

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        • Because the question about how resurrection and conquest of death are associated seemed to me the most important. I simply do not see how, even if somehow resurrection is associated to you with something else, you can’t see how it would be associated with the conquest of death, and that, to me, is by far the most important part.

          Also, the other questions seemed to ignore what I’d said when I said that what I believed is that a man conquered death on behalf of all humanity, or even all creation (how else does one conquer death except by rising from the dead?). The details are interesting and may even add to the story, but they are not of paramount importance to me and never were. Thus, all the other questions, for example the ones about crucifixion, never occurred to me and wouldn’t occur to me. For one, a conquest of death on behalf of humanity must include all humanity. If someone rises on behalf of all humanity, that gives all humanity, or every human, the right or power to rise because of him. At least, that’s how I understand it.

          So, yes, the details are interesting, sure, but they are interesting, and if I were to find out, with incontrovertible evidence, that some of them are false, I believe the story because it is the fulfilment of my notion, my feeling that, “Things must be this way. Death must be conquered. There must be a resurrection to endless life without the conflict of this one.”

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        • Because the question about how resurrection and conquest of death are associated seemed to me the most important

          So, let me see if I understand this.
          Not withstanding that you are/were aware that all organic life-forms die and none of them ever reanimate ( resurrect from the dead), including maybe certain friends who may have died, grandparents or other people you knew or were aware of that had died, and even pets, you were told by someone that, a man resurrected and thus conquered death and he did this on behalf of all humanity.

          Seriously, you did not ask the person who told you this:
          How do you know?
          What qualifications do you possess to know this for a fact?
          Or even the most basic straightforward question:
          Who was this man?
          Have I understood correctly?

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        • I have never been of the opinion that, because, generally speaking all organic life-forms die and none of them ever reanimate, therefore no resurrection is possible! That it is not common, here and now, yes, but impossible ever? No. And every experience I’ve ever had with death has brought to the fore my sense that the “Here and Now” is not all there is to reality.

          When someone tells you something that immediately feels to you like a truth you’ve always been aware of, something that lines up almost exactly with what has always seemed to you, “must be” you might ask questions to understand the story better … or because you are interested in the details … but how often do you ask somehow “How do you know?”, “What qualifications do you possess…” etc, when what that person tells you seems to you something that is perfectly natural, that must be, that resonates with everything you already believe? The details might have never occurred to you, and you might be interested in them, and even in looking into them, but you would not be skeptical of the core story… at least, so is my experience.

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        • but how often do you ask somehow “How do you know?”

          As a rule … every time. Even if they expressed a similar belief I would want to make sure of the validity of the belief. So, while I might not know the answer why I was experiencing a certain feeling I would still want to know what evidence there was to support it. Hence asking: ”How do you know?”

          Once again there are certain aspects you appear to be steadfastly avoiding. Specifically the more pointed questions about Jesus.
          You were informed about resurrection which you claim concurred somewhat with your ”feelings” .
          What were you told about Jesus?

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        • But you should know that cell death is irreversible because ALL the evidence shows this to be the case. There are no exceptions to this process. So presuming it may be as likely as not for the possibility of reanimation demonstrates a fundamental lack of understanding probabilities: it is not just unlikely but would be unique to date. This lowers the possibilities to be so far past unlikely as quite safe to bet your life and everything you hold dear that it will not happen. You know, biological reasons.

          Liked by 2 people

        • Not everyone in the history of the world has looked at things that way … for one, whether the specific cells that compose one’s body at the time of one’s death are the same as the cells of the resurrected body is beside the point. And there are some things which may not happen for the most part in the “Here and Now,” but that does not mean there is not a place for them.

          I could work with statistics if I tried and I really wanted to, but I don’t understand probability on anything but the most superficial level and I certainly don’t believe in probability. I think that it’s a useful way to characterize some things for some purposes, but I don’t believe in probability as a fundamental fact of existence. That life is not ended once for all by death is a belief that comes naturally to me; one that, in some shape or form, I’ve always held. Probability and statistics is not a belief or way or thinking that is almost intrinsic to me.

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        • I used the term ‘probability’ in the same sense of ‘likelihood’. When it comes to leaning more this way or that on any topic, we >usually consider if this is more likely than that. The scientific method uses this same approach regarding evidence; if more evidence is on this side than that, then the leaning is towards the side with more evidence. It’s like a teeter totter when evidence for and against are piled on the seats and the one with greater ‘likelihood. is the one that tips the seat towards the ground. But, of course, if more evidence comes to into play and sits on the other side, then the likelihood may change and the other seat comes to the ground. So this notion of likelihood plays a pretty important role in evaluating new ideas and suggestions: it the idea more or less likely to be the case?

          Consider something pretty typical: if you step off a ledge that is above the ground, what is the likelihood you will rise like a balloon into the air? Well, from a scientific perspective you might go in either direction. The likelihood is equal. So data is collected and we find a very consistent result: to descend. Now, understand it doesn’t HAVE to be this way, and so for every scientific result of any study about anything, there is always room for the possibility that an ascending case may occur. We just haven’t encountered that data yet but it may be out there. So, we try to figure out why there is a consistent pattern of descending and come up with explanatory models about forces and materials and then test these models in various ways and if we are lucky enough to come across a model that seems to work for everyone everywhere all the time, we call it a ‘theory’. So a scientific theory is the highest likelihood to be the case.

          Now, we come across some report of something that doesn’t fit the explanation and this causes a great deal of excitement in the scientific community because something that we thought was the case may not, in fact, be the case. There may be some other explanation, some other force or material we previously knew nothing about and scientists rush in to try to find out what’s going on. Sadly, this almost never happens. Our theories have undergone so much rigor, so much testing, so consistent the results, that we find out the report itself was false or misrepresented or not properly done (the ledge was above an escalator, for example, and so it seemed from where the observation was made that the person stepped off a ledge and went up). But still, someday, somewhere, maybe this ascending will occur. We just label this as ‘extremely unlikely’ not because it hasn’t happened but that if it did then ALL of our explanations about forces and materials are also incorrect.

          This is the case for reanimating dead cells. Cells undergo destruction when they die. Every component that makes up that cell degrades so that even if a reanimation occurred, the components could not function as they had before the degradation. For them to do so would require not only a unknown process but our entire understanding of biology and chemistry and how everything works in tandem would have to be thrown out because they were wrong. So how likely might it be that reports of reanimation of dead cells is the case rather than the quality of the report being dubious (I know a guy who knew a guy who once heard a of a guy who saw such a thing) or misreported (I thought the guy was dead but it turns out he was only stunned) or not properly done (a translation problem from a report in another language about restarting a heart prior to enough cumulative cell death to pronounce death but mistranslated to be ‘reanimating’ the some of destroyed cells to get the heart going again).

          Anyway, likelihood is meant to be a way to look at some claim and, if it’s reasonable that this might be the case that doesn’t overturn all of human knowledge to consider, decide how much or little confidence to put into it. Claims like ‘coming back from the dead’ is probably, is likely, to be false, misrepresented, or poorly done. Some other explanation – even if unknown at the time – is far, Far, FAR more likely to be the case. That’s what ‘likelihood’ means in considering fantastic claims. This is one reason Hitchens is widely quoted as saying, “That which can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.” If someone is going to make a claim that if true overturns scientific theories, then the evidence for that claim must be strong enough to address why our explanatory models are all wrong. If reanimation is going to be considered even remotely possible, then an explanation with compelling evidence must be produced to address why all of our understanding about physics, chemistry, and biology are wrong. Without that, the claim can be dismissed immediately.

          As I hope you can better appreciate now, this is a tall order. But without compelling evidence, the claim can be immediately dismissed based on the lack of likelihood alone.

          Liked by 1 person

      • Raina, I find it rather interesting that you defend the bible after stating in another comment that at one time you weren’t even aware that it existed …

        Liked by 3 people

        • I don’t see this as ‘defending the bible’ so much as just stating my opinion about it. I don’t actually care whether or not something is written in the bible or anything like that. But the collection of books known as the bible do have a rather intriguing collective history. As I said, it’s no proof for divine inspiration, but it is an interesting development.

          Liked by 1 person

        • I guess I’m confused. You say you believe in the resurrection … and the knowledge of the event came from “someone else” rather than the bible. Yes?

          So are you saying that you simply accepted it when someone told you that an individual in the very distant past came back to life after being put to death?

          Further, if you “don’t actually care whether or not something is written in the bible,” then why would you believe the resurrection story?

          Liked by 2 people

        • I don’t believe the resurrection story because it was found in the bible or because of where I heard it. I don’t even care where the knowledge of the event came from. It doesn’t make a difference to my belief.

          I believe it because it resonates with me; because I already believed something like it must either have happened or be going to happen, so it was only natural to believe the account of it happening. If I hadn’t heard the resurrection story, I’d have believed – in a sense – whatever mythology I first discovered that was like it. And don’t tell me the resurrection story isn’t history; for my purpose and the distinction I am drawing here it is historical as opposed to merely mythological. You may choose to disbelieve it happened, but it is tied to a specific man who lived at a specific time and was executed in a relatively specific few years. That does differentiate it (for my purposes here) from the myths, some of which one can’t be sure whether they happened in the past or will happen in the future or happen every year or whatever it is.

          So that’s why I believe it. There are plenty of things I’ve been told in my life that I don’t believe. There are plenty of things written in the bible that I quite actively disbelieve. And there are plenty of things I either do believe or reject that, in the eyes of many people – most every church I’ve ever found or heard of – a heretic if not an outright apostate.

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        • Thanks for the explanation, Raina. I think the confusion comes about because most people tend to associate the word “resurrection” with the bible (and Jesus). Apparently, if I understand you correctly, you have believed in some form of life after death even before you were told about what happened to Jesus. Therefore, to accept this event was “second nature.”

          Thank you for taking the time to explain your comments.

          Liked by 1 person

    • I would think that God, with all the supernatural power men have given Him, would be able to speak a consistent message to all His followers. It is not good that His evangelists deliver a different message in different quarters. I notice you give “imperfect men” the credit for an imperfect report of a perfect God.

      Long ago, I got tired of preachers telling me that I was misunderstanding the scripture and needed to make a better effort in ‘digging it out,’ because the error was with me and not the Almighty. Yet here we are with the writings of imperfect men our only resource for understanding a never seen, never heard Creator of heaven and earth. It is left to each of us to devise and embrace our own deception.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. If you are a follower of “Mak,” you’ve probably already seen this, but for those who haven’t, I recommend you take a look at this post.

    To the believers who sometimes visit my blog, I would be interested in your thoughts related to the links he shared.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Clearly one should read more books than just the Bible if one wants to know something about the world or the “truth” as he puts it. One should read about the discoveries of science, the classics of Western Literature (which certainly includes the Bible, but also includes thousands of other titles beyond that), philosophy, history, and maybe learn some maths. One should also sometimes get away from the books and travel, enjoy nature, a good glass of wine, beer, or a cocktail now and then, converse with other people, and also think a lot on one’s own in one’s solitude.

      Imagine is song for everybody, not one group.

      Agree with Mak’s criticsm for the most part of the dude talking about the Noah story.

      Liked by 2 people

  9. “The picture of faith brings to mind the bird who flies
    full speed into the reflection on a window pane
    thinking it’s found an opening to a greater outside
    only to lie dead at the foundation of the house.”

    Liked by 2 people

  10. The Bible is real
    It is powerful
    It is mystery
    It is God’s word to man
    And at the end of the day, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord

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    • HA! I was waiting for someone to visit and leave a comment like this. You’re deluded, my friend. The bible is just a book. A book, in fact, that was written many, many years ago about a people who saw life much differently than anyone living today.

      Further, the fact that this “book” means so many different things to so many different people is clear evidence that it is the work of humans — not some supernatural entity.

      Liked by 1 person

      • May your eyes of understanding be enlightened and your eyes flooded with light such that you won’t be able to resist the power of God.

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        • O People of the Scripture. do not commit excess in your religion or say about Allah except the truth. The Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary, was but a messenger of Allah and His word which He directed to Mary and a soul [created at a command] from Him. So believe in Allah and His messengers. And do not say, “Three”; desist – it is better for you. Indeed, Allah is but one God. Exalted is He above having a son. To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth. And sufficient is Allah as Disposer of affairs.
          — Quran 4 (An-Nisa), ayat 171[4]

          Liked by 1 person

        • My eyes of “understanding” were opened many years ago, which is why I no longer believe in “the power of God.”

          Please do not leave any more platitudes related to your Christian beliefs. You are welcome –even encouraged– to offer some discussion points related to the validity of “The Book,” but banal remarks will be moderated.

          Like

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