The problem actually arises when you consider the context of the bible as a whole. Taking parts out of context is something that is done on both sides of this particular argument. However, that’s not exactly what I’m saying. I’m not saying everyone chooses exactly what they want to follow, but they do disregard the things that are too against the morals of the day even though they would have been acceptable when the book was written.
The “gay rights” debate is in the middle ground of modern morals and so we see that debate reflected in what people decide to take from the bible. People that have decided there is no problem with homosexuality find ways in the bible to justify that, people that are uncomfortable with homosexuality find verses to condemn it. If you can do that, what’s the point?
I see what you are saying. But, the fact remains that the Bible is true, or it's false, or some combination of the two. For the sake of my argument, let's assume it's true. The fact that it is interpreted correctly by some and incorrectly by others doesn't change the fact there is a correct interpretation. Just because people (whom the Bible clearly indicates are flawed - we all are) may interpret things in the Bible a certain way doesn't mean I'm going to take their word as (pardon the pun) Gospel. I'm not saying my interpretation is 100% correct, but I'm constantly seeking knowledge that supports (and, yes in some cases, refutes) my previously held beliefs on any given topic. Is the only way one can believe in something is if there is an easy, unambiguous way to understand it? Does it make it automatically untrue?
The difference of course is that the printing press can be changed to print something else. The verses in the bible that say slavery is ok are still there … most modern Christians simply choose to ignore them.
I am aware of Biblical instructions for the "code-of-conduct" for slaves and masters. Is there a verse that condones slavery? This is similar to me wanting my children to take responsibility for their actions, even in instances where "life has dealt them an unfair hand." I don't believe the Bible condones slavery, but I'll acknowledge it, if you can cite a reference.
A printing press can be updated with new ideas to print. The bible has the same outdated bronze-age thinking in it.
I think you missed the point of my metaphor. The point was nearly anyone can use nearly anything for nefarious purposes, but that doesn't make the object bad. Truth is truth, regardless of the age. Either the Bible is true or it's not, regardless of whether it was written yesterday or before the bronze age.
That’s not entirely true some laws are written very clearly … and if there is a debate it is resolved through trial.
Respectfully, I disagree and you're making my point for me. The fact there is a debate (whether resolved by trial or not) means it is subject to interpretation. Even what seems "clear" has been challenged in court and laws are sometimes re-written because a 'previously clear' law had some ambiguity brought into it by a clever legal strategy. There is a reason there are an odd number of justices in the Supreme Court when deciding what a law (as written) says.
I don’t see how this relates to our conversation at all. Sure, those people took a law out of context and they had to pay for that. However, that’s their fault for not reading the law and making sure with a tax agent of some kind. They violated a law in which there is an existing body that they could have asked for guidance.
Your next sentence suggests you do see how it pertains to our conversation. The fact is, they believed they were acting correctly under the law. The IRS had a 'vested interest' in the outcome so they didn't trust their interpretation.
In the case of religion getting some kind of “official” context or guidance would be impossible. I could go to any number of churches (aka experts on the subject) and they would each give me their own version. To really spice things up I could go to a church other than a Christian one and they’d tell me the whole bible is bunk!
Some religions would suggest the Bible is bunk and others would not (they would not use it as an authoritative reference, however).
You’re telling me that I lack context but I don’t think I do. If anything, I am paying attention to an even larger context. The context is that there is more than one religion in the first place.
My reference was in the context of the Bible. I have studied different religions (Buddhism, Hinduism, Zen, Shintoism, Islam, and others). I get they all have different beliefs. I'm saying if you're critiquing the Bible as being 'inconsistent' in itself then your critiques have to be taking the Bible in it's entirety (in context). It's like saying DOMA is OK since the legislative branch of our government can enact laws. The problem is: Congress has to enact laws in compliance with the US Constitution and DOMA violated the 5th Amendment (Total context = why Congress CAN'T enact DOMA as it was written.)
I tend to agree … but this subject matter is closely tied into religion. In fact, religion is really the only argument against gay marriage that I’m aware of.
I think you are correct in that the argument has religious 'tone' to it due to the homosexuality argument. However, I don't care if one is a homosexual or if they get married. I have my beliefs, but it is not my place to judge that behavior (right or wrong) as I will have enough to worry about my own behavior. I have never argued against same-sex marriages, but have (since the issue is tied closely to religion) argued when I believe Christianity has been attacked.
I grew up in a Pentecostal home in which my grandfather on my mother’s side built his church with his bare hands. He dug out the basement and hauled it up one bucket at a time. Church was twice on Sunday, Wednesday, and bible study on Friday night. From birth until 16-17.
Once I started forming my own ideas on religion I did further research outside of the narrow Christian view I grew up with but I will certainly admit it mostly consists of writings and discussions I have found or taken part in online ... though that is how much research is done these days so I'm not sure it can be held against me. What I found of particular interest in that research is all of the gods that share characteristics with Jesus, the virgin birth, born on December 25th, etc, etc.
The fact that there are many similarities between the Bible and other religions does not necessarily mean that Christianity copied other religions, it can mean that they all came from a common source. And this is exactly what we would expect if the Bible is true. There should be no surprise here at all. (BTW - December 25th was actually an blending of the Winter Solstice celebration (the renewal of life) and we celebrate Christ's birth. I don't believe there is definitive evidence of a December birth and if recollection serves me, the birth was most likely in June or July.
So I don’t have any “official” degrees in religion but I do have a lot of experience. My analysis of the bible is simplistic because I prefer to cut down to the bone of what is actually said rather than try to skirt around the issue by providing my own “context”. Though I will admit I haven’t read it cover to cover in many years (nearly 12 now); why, have they changed some things around again?
Not to my knowledge. You certainly have as much "authority" as I have to comment on the topic. I just wanted to know if I had an 'honest skeptic' or an 'avowed athiest' that had never read the Bible but seemed to believe it was false. It would appear you are in the former category.
The bible is only complex when you decide you have to find ways around what was actually written to get to what you’d like it to mean. When taken at face value, however, the bible is pretty awful and pretty clear about it.
We'll disagree on this. CS Lewis once said something to the effect that "Whoever said theology would be simple. We could logically expect it to be as nuanced as physics"
There are so many listed here, but all are Old Testiment references. God had established several laws
and the relationship between the OT and the NT is that if a prohibition in the OT is repealed in the NT, it is no longer valid. The whole idea in the OT about unclean animals and foods was done away with in the NT (see Peter’s vision on Acts 10:9-16). So it is not inconsistent to obey other laws in Leviticus but not obey food laws. They are no longer an issue. But, you might object, weren’t those laws random and ridiculous when they were in force? No, not really.
The point of such laws is that Israel as a nation needed to be distinct from the nations around it in order to form and maintain its identity as a people. Food laws (and other seemingly 'weird' laws) were one of the ways to maintain that distinction. And there was a rationale behind which animals were forbidden. From Genesis 1 on, God was all about separating things into separate categories and not mixing them. The word for that idea is holiness. Israel needed to be holy – separate from the nations around it.
God wanted to form a distinct nation that would in time bring salvation to the other nations. And to do so, he gave them a separate diet and hygiene, among other things. Once Jesus came bringing that salvation, the apostles were charged with taking that salvation to the nations. So now the idea was not to be separate from the nations but to go out into them. Peter’s vision (in Acts 10) was not so much about food but about contact with ‘unclean’ Gentiles (non-Jews). The Gentiles and their culture were no longer unclean, including the food they eat. And so we see apostles living like Gentiles and adopting their culture in order to share the good news with them, rather than insisting that they adopt Jewish culture. I can actually expound on each of these items as they show a misunderstanding of the Bible (again as a whole), but the response would be incredibly long (and most likely boring). If you'd like to pick your 'best 2-3' I'll respond to those less generically.
She is referring to her hair being her "covering" and if you consider the Bible in it's entirety there are items that serve as her "covering" (in lieu of her hair). The long pant's you mention are from “The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God.” This verse -- Deuteronomy 22:5
"Pertaineth" is translated from the Hebrew word keliy, which means “article, vessel, implement, or utensil.” Translators commonly render keliy as weapon, armor or instrument in the Old Testament. The word man, in both the first and last part of Deut 22:5, is the Hebrew word geber meaning “man, strong man, or warrior (emphasizing strength or ability to fight).” It is important to note that this is not the only word for man in Hebrew. Verse 13 of this very same chapter uses the Hebrew word 'iysh, which is also translated man and means just that – “man, male (in contrast to woman, female).” It seems that Moses, when writing Deut 22:5, was quite intentionally not talking about a man in general, but a very specific kind of man – namely, a warrior or soldier. Considering this, perhaps a better translation of this verse would be as follows:
“The woman shall not put on [the weapons/armor of a warrior], neither shall a [warrior] put on a woman's garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God.”
I am aware of the verses behind it … but that doesn’t explain why some people are ok with it and some aren’t. So my grandmother went to a church that explains it one way, you found a different explanation that seems slightly more in tune with today's morals ... but that's just more to my point.
Heck, the "better translation" that you gave basically says that women in the military are an abomination, right? [/quote]
That is actually correct in my best estimation. Truth (regardless of whether or not my interpretation or yours is correct) is not always what we want to hear. Now, refer to my previous explanation above as to why the act of 'being separate' from other nations is now been clarifiedin the New Testament. Do I think it applies today? No. Could I be wrong? Yes. Will I judge others? No.
Right, like in the example or legal documents … you can take a law how you want all day long, but the court will decide what the proper definition is and enforce it. That’s the part that makes them not worthless …
Yes. Now Substitute God for Court and you see what I'm saying.
Comparing the bible to laws doesn’t make sense to me. Laws are created by man and subject to change if people decide they are not morally applicable. If you aren’t sure of what a given law means, you can find out pretty quickly by asking a government official or going online to seek trials on the law.
Until a new argument or interpretation of the law comes up. Case law exists precisely to clarify ambiguities in the law in an expedient manner. The fact that every circumstance
is not always quickly and clearly defined does not diminish the utility of the law (or Bible). It boils down to whether or not you believe the Bible to be true. If you don't, that's your prerogative, and I'm not going to try and change your mind. If you don't believe it's true just because it may speak in allegories or is seemingly ambiguous at times, I don't think that is a good reason.
Look at it the comparison between secular laws and the Bible this way: They both are 'laws.' The fact that man changes his laws is not really relevant here. For the sake of argument, let's assume God exists and he is as perfect as Christians allege. He would have no need to change his laws, and regardless of how man interprets his laws, it doesn't change the truth. Man's laws are the same way. I can choose to say: "Subtitle A of the Internal Revenue Code is private law/special law that one only becomes subject to by consensually engaging in an excise taxable activity called a "trade or business", which is a defined as a "public office" in the U.S. government. It proves using the government's own statutes and publications and court rulings that for everyone domiciled in states of the Union who has not availed themselves of this excise taxable franchise/privilege of federal office, Subtitle A of the I.R.C. creates no force of obligation upon them to pay an income tax to the federal government."
That is partially accurate
interpretation of law by the way. When not taken within the proper context of ALL THE LAW on the subject, I have purchased a ticket to the greybar motel. That is why I used that metaphor. Not perfect, but I was trying to steer away from the:
God is real! No, he's not! argument.
The bible was supposedly inspired by god and is not subject to change and *shouldn’t* be so open to interpretation … instead, it was written in such a vague way that you can make it mean just about whatever you want … and since you are conveniently only held accountable after you die, everybody does just that.
Why shouldn't it be interpreted? Doesn't He want us to discover things. I disagree that you can make it mean 'whatever you want' but I believe the potential exists to misuse it and twist the Bible to suggest inaccurate beliefs, but why is God obligated to "spoon-feed" us our morality, especially if he wants us to have free will? What you seem to be saying is the equivalent of "If God doesn't function the way I think he should function, than I can't believe in him." Look, for the sake of argument, let's say I'm totally wrong on this, and you're right. If I follow the Bible's two greatest commandments "Love God #1 and Love Everyone Else #2 (my paraphrase), how is that a bad thing or subject to any interpretation that is 'bad'? The point remains that the misuse of anything does not detract from its use.
And all that without even discussing the fact that the Christian bible isn’t even the only “holy text” out there. Why did you choose to believe the bible … or was it introduced by your parents, presented as fact, and never really questioned from that point?
I read several of the texts (The Bhagavad Gita, The Qur'an, and others - Zen rejects any scripture as a path to enlightenment). One of the reasons I tend to believe what I do is that the first Christian martyrs died because they refused to renounce Christ (and they could have been spared had they done so). That is not unusual in and of itself. All that shows is that the Christians truly believed in Christ, but people die for beliefs all the time (certain muslims for example - I'm sure they believe in what they do), but the disciples were unique in they knew the truth as to the resurrection of Christ. Either Christ did, or he was a liar, and these people knew the truth. People will die for what they believe to be true, but no one will die for what they know is a lie. Since then, I have a relationship with Christ that I know to be true. I don't expect you to believe my own personal experiences, I just ask that they not be denigrated. Of course, that choice is up to you...