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Understanding scripture


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Initial post: 11 Jun 2008 08:06:21 BDT
Hi, here is a link to some free audio books about interpreting scripture, by a _very_ engaging young man, it is very interesting, the Catholic Church teaches we should interpret the Bible in a _mature_ way. It might be interesting to know, before judging out of hand.

http://www.biblechristiansociety.com/download

(Catholics and the bible)

It is a lot more mature, less superstitious, than you currently think. Most atheists have an idea that _all_ Christians are fundamentalists in their reading of the Bible.

Also, this dude has _passion_, it is interesting to listen.

Sincerely,

Jesper

In reply to an earlier post on 11 Jun 2008 12:51:22 BDT
Last edited by the author on 11 Jun 2008 15:33:03 BDT
Franco says:
There is much in the Bible that isn't supposed to be taken literally. Jehovah's Witnesses make this error by taking it all seriously. For example, they refuse to donate blood, or be a recipient of blood, even at the price of dying. The Bible is a philosophical text, and therefore are many metaphorical examples are used to put across an ulterior moral point, often located within many of the parables. For example, in the Parable Of The Good Samaritan, one is not supposed to construe that all priests and levites are cruel because Jesus uses those two examples to blatantly ignore a dying man in need of help.

Blondie.

PS: Catholics generally take the 'wise moral story' view of the Bible.

In reply to an earlier post on 11 Jun 2008 15:26:00 BDT
Mr H says:
It's interesting that as people have become more educated the strict interpretation of the bible has been forced to soften.

Surely if it truely were the word of god it wouldn't be able to change?

Imagine what the catholic church of 500 years ago would have made of catholics today?

(if you need a clue, look at the taleban).

In reply to an earlier post on 11 Jun 2008 15:42:31 BDT
Last edited by the author on 11 Jun 2008 15:48:16 BDT
Franco says:
Are you suggesting that because social attitudes have changed over time, that the word of God must also have changed? Perhaps people once took things out of context, such is the example of the Jehovah's Witnesses stance on blood donations which they still uphold today.

Blondie.

In reply to an earlier post on 11 Jun 2008 17:25:05 BDT
Mr H says:
Perhaps, but given that society is always changing, where will these beliefs end up and would one hypothetically take that as an indication that theists are currently wrong?

In reply to an earlier post on 11 Jun 2008 19:28:22 BDT
Last edited by the author on 11 Jun 2008 19:31:50 BDT
Franco says:
Well as the saying goes; 'truth will out'.

Blondie.

In reply to an earlier post on 11 Jun 2008 21:37:44 BDT
Last edited by the author on 11 Jun 2008 21:48:41 BDT
Hi Mr H,

"It's interesting that as people have become more educated the strict interpretation of the bible has been forced to soften."

According to the audio file, these same ways of looking at scripture were taught a hundred years ago. It is only recently that the masses have become generally well-educated, and there are still many who aren't. But we have more academics today, percentage-wise, than ever before, I think. An assumption, granted, but a fair one I think. If somebody has some number or statistics to the opposite, I'd be happy to recant, of course.

"Surely if it truely were the word of god it wouldn't be able to change?"

The word of God doesn't change, that is the _whole point_. We may have _read_ it wrong, that is not the fault of God. Also, the _people_ who wrote these things did so under the influence of the Holy spirit. They _tried_ to convey what God wanted them to convey. However, that does not mean they did not do so in a poor or hardly understandable manner. They were only human. They tried to convey the will of God, as best they could. So, the _word of God_ stays the same, it is our understanding of it that becomes more deep, more precise.

"Imagine what the catholic church of 500 years ago would have made of catholics today?

(if you need a clue, look at the taleban)."

Guesswork. I guess instead of taleban, it should say catholics today. Meaning, they are of the same mind. What is right is right and what is wrong is wrong. Always has been, always will. Our understanding of it may be imperfect, but in the Saints we are coming as close as we can. And, the Church stands on the shoulder of nothing _but_ Saints, so there is reliable information there, on right and wrong. Most people have not got a properly formed conscience, thought everybody _thinks_ they do. That requires training and self-insight. Some people only have one of these, and some people have none!!

You make unsupported claims, Mr H. You always have and you seem to be of a mind to continue. What that makes you, is a peddler of superstition.

On a note, this constant attitude towards religion, always looking for the worst, is a part of what made me call you the anti-Christ, and I think, a nazi that should burn in Hell. You constantly twist the words of other, to make them look bad, for no other reason than your own rabid point of view. _That_ is why, and also because you are trying to mislead people, consciously or subconsciously. I don't know why other than perhaps you _hate_ religion, it has gotten to that level. I don't understand that, what is currently done by religion seems perfectly sane to me, decent even, so why you have a problem I don't get. But you do. Your every post is laced with venom, derision, belittling, you name it. You have an axe to grind. It also makes you fairly predictable. I suspect perhaps that you make a living of mental health care, but the only thing people really need is the gospel, so religion is what will put you out of work, ultimately. Perhaps that is why you dislike it so much. Rather than talk to you for an hour about Freud, all people need do is go to confession for fifteen minutes, which is also free, and they'd feel better than you ever could, with all your 'going-around-in-circles' theories. See, I know what you're all about, that it is all a sham, so some people (undeservedly) can get titles and money at the expense of others. That is what psychology is. Jesus really _is_ the truth, the way and the life. And there is no other. So what merit have any other system got, unless it is for all intents and purposes, identical? _None whatsoever_. That is why you hate religion. Because it is everything you should be. I feel sorry for you, you are in a mess. Quite frankly, you are.

Jesper

In reply to an earlier post on 12 Jun 2008 10:05:45 BDT
Mr H says:
I take it you're not going to answer my questions then Jesper? At least you're consistent in something.

There is no god, there's no need for religion. If I'm wrong, please explain how.

BTW, did you ever read the book we're discussing?

In reply to an earlier post on 12 Jun 2008 11:58:20 BDT
Last edited by the author on 12 Jun 2008 12:21:27 BDT
Franco says:
Now, I'm not saying that there is a God, but one wonders how you, or anyone else for that matter, can be absolutely certain that there isn't one. And I'm not referring to the caricature of the bearded man in the clouds, since religion doesn't entertain such a facile image.

Blondie.

In reply to an earlier post on 12 Jun 2008 13:52:21 BDT
Last edited by the author on 12 Jun 2008 13:55:21 BDT
Mr H says:
At last, a proper debate!

Ok, in order to demonstrate that their isn't a god, we have to begin with WHY we believe that there is a god and where our belief comes from.

Once we have ascertained the why and wherefore, we then have to define what we mean by the term "god", and where we get our definition from.

Your turn.

In reply to an earlier post on 12 Jun 2008 14:51:12 BDT
[Deleted by the author on 12 Jun 2008 14:55:26 BDT]

In reply to an earlier post on 12 Jun 2008 17:22:18 BDT
Last edited by the author on 12 Jun 2008 17:28:10 BDT
Hi Mr H,

I am not sure, but when we have answered why, and wherefore, haven't we also answered where our definition comes from? Could you please be more clear on what you mean, and perhaps why, as well? Why is your approach the only way, as your post seems to indicate? Also, in asking such a large question, and then expecting others to answer it, don't you think you are being (slightly) unreasonable? Also, because answering such overlapping questions seems like an exercise in futility. The sheer effort of explaining why one question is similar to the other, and at the same time describing God, getting into the guts of each question, is such a work load that others will find merely attempting it such an exertion that they'd rather not. Asking questions is fair, so long as it is _done_ fairly. Fair?

Jesper

In reply to an earlier post on 12 Jun 2008 17:33:20 BDT
Last edited by the author on 12 Jun 2008 17:40:27 BDT
Mr H says:
Jesper, as I have said before, you are the master of waffle and overly long questions and answers. One only has to go back to earlier posts to see virtually endless examples of your ability to take a simple statement and create a diatribe from it. Your refusal to answer 3 basic questions demonstrates clearly your need to ignore the obvious so as to maintain the impossible.

Would you like me to make it simpler for you?

Where did you first hear about god?

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Jun 2008 00:08:47 BDT
Last edited by the author on 13 Jun 2008 00:29:33 BDT
Franco says:
I'm afraid not, Mr. H. You'll have to excuse me, but I refuse to argue on those terms since I did not claim a belief in God. Consequently, I am not able or willingly to put up a target for you to shoot down. You asserted that "There is no god". From where I'm sitting that's a pretty tall claim, and I was wondering how you managed to arrive at this unequivocal conclusion. Surely you must know something that I do not?

PS: Would you be courteous enough to first explain what you mean by 'God', since it was you that raised the issue.

Blondie.

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Jun 2008 03:50:05 BDT
Last edited by the author on 13 Jun 2008 03:58:57 BDT
Hi Mr H,

In the story of Adam and Eve, and Cain and Abel, way before religion got organized, or we had any rules. Nothing was written, He was just a force of nature, raw, there were no rituals. Only later, much later, do people become aware of what God wants, ie. we get the Ten Commandments (though the story of Cain and Abel clearly tells us, that murder is wrong - that murderers become cursed by their own deeds - so even here we have a partial revelation). I think it is not so much a matter of hearing about God as it is people trying to describe a reality as best they can, God reveals himself basically.

So, that is the first we _hear_ of him. Perhaps people did not know how to write before? Or there was noone who paid attention to God or knew how? But God would have revealed himself before, we see partial revelations in other cultures, and in fact, the Old Testament _is_ itself a partial revelation, which is big on punishment, we see the role of forgiveness in the New Testament. So it is a matter of people not getting it right, even the greatest prophets (Moses) - but still getting it largely right*. Though what we have today is a greater and greater certainty in what has been handed down, in total, because the experience of the Saints corroborates it.

* Matthew 5
17 "Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.
18 Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter will pass from the law, until all things have taken place.
19 Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do so will be called least in the kingdom of heaven. But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments will be called greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

And thank you for that question. It is much appreciated.

Cheers,

Jesper

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Jun 2008 09:48:08 BDT
JA Foxton says:
Blondie,

In asking Mr H for an explanation of what he means by 'God' you have identified one immediate problem which we face. We are using a catchall term which encompasses many conceptions ranging from the benign, bearded man in the clouds through to the highly abstract. I can't imagine any conception which is unproblematic though - can you?

The first thing to note is that non-belief is the default position. I assume you didn't find yourself with an innate belief in Shiva, Vishnu, Shakti and Ganesha which needed to be debunked by rational arguments? Until convincing evidence is put forward then we should maintain a position of non-belief.

However, there are plenty of conceptions of 'God' where we can be confident that they do not exist. We know that married bachelors, square circles and four sided triangles do not exist. This is a logical impossibility. An omnipotent God is a logical impossibility too. There are other attributes which are ascribed to God where choices need to be made by the believer. It is not possible for these attributes to coexist. As a simple example, omnipresence and transcendence would be problematic. Omnipresent means present everywhere in space and transcendent means present nowhere in space.

By considering the logical impossibilities which are outlined above, this will knock out many common conceptions of God. But, beyond this, we do need to work on a case by case basis. This relies upon the theist putting forward their claim for examination.

The agnostic position which you appear to be adopting is fair enough. Though, in the interests of fairness, it is worth remembering that if we cannot be certain that 'God' doesn't exist then we cannot be certain that the thousands of other gods do not exist either. In addition, it is not necessary to be agnostic about all conceptions of 'God.' As I have shown above, some conceptions are impossible.

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Jun 2008 10:40:22 BDT
Mr H says:
Blondie, it's not a tall claim. Theists ask us to believe in paranormal sky creatures who can creat time and space at a whim and who allow millions of people to suffer eternal agonies simply because they don't believe in them and who can make virgins pregnant and who are three creatures at the same time as being one creature and who know everything and control everything but give us free will. I could go on and on and on, but what's the point?

The only place we derive our belief in god is from what other people tell us is true. While that may have satisfied bronze age man, one would hope that modern humans could manage to cope with reality a little better.

In order to determine whether there is a god, one only needs to examine why we believe that one exists. This quickly falls apart under scrutiny. Unless one is dogmatic and refuses to acknowledge the obvious in favour of the impossible.

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Jun 2008 16:45:53 BDT
Last edited by the author on 13 Jun 2008 16:48:43 BDT
Hi Mr H,

"allow millions of people to suffer eternal agonies simply because they don't believe in them"

False. This is what the Compendium of the Catechism says:

262. Is it possible to be saved without Baptism?

Since Christ died for the salvation of all, those can be saved without Baptism who die for the faith (Baptism of blood). Catechumens and all those who, even without knowing Christ and the Church, still (under the impulse of grace) sincerely seek God and strive to do his will can also be saved without Baptism (Baptism of desire). The Church in her liturgy entrusts children who die without Baptism to the mercy of God.

Not to be unkind, but you are throwing mud at a target that is not there. If you got a copy of the "Compendium of the Catechism of the Roman Catholic Church", you would find that being a Catholic (being so genuinely) is vastly different from your perception of it. You are laboring under a delusion, the 'Evil Church Delusion', I hope to be able to burst that delusion. And not in any way to cover up the evils done, and there are some, too many no matter how you look at it. But to help you see the beauty of what being Catholic is _really_ about. Such as the above. People that don't know Jesus _aren't_ condemned to Hell. That is important, saying that Christians believe that is talking trash, it is slander and it is _wrong_. I hope it can be corrected from now on, that you don't view such an idea as belonging to the Catholic Church.

Sincerely,

Jesper

ps. I am on a steep learning curve myself, I had read it before but couldn't find it, then I stumbled across it again today, and so am able to share. I am learning much these days, that I didn't even know a few months ago, about the Catholic Church. All from the "Compendium".

http://www.vatican.va/archive/compendium_ccc/documents/archive_2005_compendium-ccc_en.html

Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church

Please give it a shot. It is actually _fully_ reasonable. And if it is not, you can write an scalding review, and find support for your views, from within the heart of the very Church itself. I think you will enjoy it, either way.

Sincerely,

Jesper

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Jun 2008 17:14:12 BDT
Mr H says:
Jesper, I thought you had me on ignore?

I notice you sidestepped again - well done.

Why do you believe that the text you refer to is valid? It labours under the same delusions as you do, so how does one take it seriously? You might as well show me some cave paintings as proof.

You cannot present any evidence for their being a god - there isn't one. All you are doing is rehashing the same tired arguments but avoiding answering any questions directly.

Since we started this debate, you have insulted me, threatened me, lied about me, but you have never once given a coherent response to even the simplest questions.

Please do me a favour, if you can't manage to answer a question without referring to someone else's delusional beliefs, put me back on ignore.

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Jun 2008 17:15:20 BDT
Last edited by the author on 13 Jun 2008 17:17:07 BDT
Mr H,

"Jesper, I thought you had me on ignore?

I notice you sidestepped again - well done."

Thank you, it is always nice to get compliments.

"Since we started this debate, you have insulted me, threatened me, lied about me, but you have never once given a coherent response to even the simplest questions."

Well, you basically earned it. It was justice.

"Please do me a favour, if you can't manage to answer a question without referring to someone else's delusional beliefs, put me back on ignore."

No, you are too 'stimulating' as it is.

Sincerely,

Jesper

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Jun 2008 07:06:32 BDT
Hi Mr H,

The problem is, you think that the Bible is _completely_ invalid, in _all_ matters. But it is an old saying, and well-understood, that if you ask a scientist what is right and wrong, he can't answer it, he will say, science doesn't deal with that. But, religion very clearly does. So maybe the right and wrong in the Bible actually _is_ the universal right and wrong, same way that science discovers the universal aspects of truth ('the right and wrong') of the natural world.

Since science can't help you there, how come you say you can refute religion, based on that very science? Can you explain this to me?

Sincerely,

Jesper

In reply to an earlier post on 15 Jun 2008 08:32:12 BDT
There is no 'understanding' scripture. There is reading it, there is interpreting it (to the nth degree) and for some, there is enjoying it. But if by 'understand' you mean 'come to comprehend a deeper meaning'...I think we've wasted enough time trying and should turn our attention to ending poverty, persecution and peanut-butter sandwich eaters.

AMC

In reply to an earlier post on 15 Jun 2008 11:02:14 BDT
Last edited by the author on 15 Jun 2008 11:03:20 BDT
Hi AMC,

"There is no 'understanding' scripture. There is reading it, there is interpreting it (to the nth degree) and for some, there is enjoying it. But if by 'understand' you mean 'come to comprehend a deeper meaning'...I think we've wasted enough time trying and should turn our attention to ending poverty, persecution and peanut-butter sandwich eaters."

Nice post, I would even say great. Great ideas you have. However, given the quote below, seems you are starting to think more and more like a Christian (Christ actually), and that these things are in no way encouraged by ... well you know the drill..

Matthew 7
21 "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.
22 Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?'
23Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'

Seems if that is your ideals, what you said, then your line of thinking is more clearly in key with Christianity than atheism. What I don't understand is what does that make you? Please help me understand. More Christian than atheist? Or part Christian and part atheist? I'm not sure here..

Sincerely,

Jesper

In reply to an earlier post on 15 Jun 2008 11:34:45 BDT
Last edited by the author on 15 Jun 2008 11:35:47 BDT
Jesper

"What I don't understand is what does that make you?"

It doesn't 'make me' anything. How do you like your definitions or pigeonholing labels?

I've got certificates that 'prove' I'm 'intelligent', scars to 'prove' I take risks or am accident-prone, children that 'prove' I have a working knowledge of the birds and the bees, a wife for nearly 25 years that 'proves' I don't have unpleasant habits such as leaving the top off the toothpaste, and a taste in music that 'proves' I was brought up in the Sixties in the UK.

Don't try to label people. You might understand them better.

AMC
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Discussion in:  The God Delusion forum
Participants:  5
Total posts:  24
Initial post:  11 Jun 2008
Latest post:  15 Jun 2008

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The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins (Paperback - 21 May 2007)
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