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Old 16th July 2019, 10:22 AM   #121
8enotto
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Societies changed. The ancient society related to the original writing of each small section of the bible is gone. With them went the original intention. What we have now is a discombobulated mess of sacred stories now widely published and liberally edited to meet the needs of each new segment of modern society.

It cannot possibly really make any sense to anyone in whole form. So we have to cherry pick and re-edit every sermon and pamphlet to say what we need.

But if one were to chase each phrase back to original texts do we really believe a Sumerian phrase stuck onto a late Roman phrase edited into Latin in 1238 by s monk who had a limited vocabulary of Greek is the word of any god?

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Old 16th July 2019, 06:47 PM   #122
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Originally Posted by pgwenthold View Post
How has the bible changed? It's still the same bible as (apparently) almost 2000 years ago. What facts are changing when it comes to the bible that lead to changes in ideas?
Surely you can't be unaware that the Bible has been retranslated and reinterpreted literally hundreds of times over the years. Even one of the most-used reproductions of the Bible on the web - biblegateway.com - provides 59 modern and traditional English translations and many more in other languages. Every one of them says things slightly differently, some of them dramatically differently.
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Old 16th July 2019, 11:39 PM   #123
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Originally Posted by pgwenthold View Post
You can't be seriously making a comparison between views of science changing with changing in facts/data, and changing the interpretation of the bible, can you?

Yes, scientific views change as new facts and evidence arise.

How has the bible changed? It's still the same bible as (apparently) almost 2000 years ago. What facts are changing when it comes to the bible that lead to changes in ideas?

Sure, changes in the perspective of the society changes, but that is not (supposed to be) upon what the religion is based. Or is it? Are you saying that Christianity just changes with the whims of the age? If Christians decide that slavery is ok, then it is ok. But if they decide it isn't, then it is wrong? What use is the bible, then?
I'm not equating science with religion. I am saying that changing the interpretation of the Bible to adapt it to commonly accepted facts and beliefs don't make Christians dishonest. This is what Galileo recommended. Was Galileo a dishonest man?

The fundamental difference between science and religion lies in the weight of facts and the use of a method of knowledge. But science also changes. This is what matters for my argument.

By the way, there is no believer in anything that does not. Including defenders of the literal interpretation of the Bible, they do not follow it literally. Or do they hate their parents as Jesus recommended? Or have they sold their jacket to buy a sword? Literal interpretation of the Bible is simply impossible. What characterizes the sects that call themselves literalists is the stupidity of maintaining certain nonsensical beliefs. Intelligent Christians adapt their beliefs to the knowledge of their time, including science. And that doesn't make they hypocrites or dishonest. More metaphysical, if anything.
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Old 16th July 2019, 11:50 PM   #124
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
Surely you can't be unaware that the Bible has been retranslated and reinterpreted literally hundreds of times over the years. Even one of the most-used reproductions of the Bible on the web - biblegateway.com - provides 59 modern and traditional English translations and many more in other languages. Every one of them says things slightly differently, some of them dramatically differently.
That's right. Rousseau said so. To know what the true gospels say one should be an expert in ancient Greek and Aramaic. Even so, one would stay with translation difficulties. Even if these could be solved, the reader would continue with the problem that the evangelists write in Greek words that were pronounced in Aramaic and clearly do not translate the same thing.

However, Rousseau was a Christian. What was his solution to this problem? There is a word of God that has passed through different hands before reaching you. There is a word of God that addresses you directly. The Bible and your "heart". When you see that they don't match, listen to your heart.

Nice, but quite naive. As if your heart didn't lie to you more than once!
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Old 17th July 2019, 01:47 AM   #125
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Originally Posted by acbytesla View Post
Did Christians EVER really agree? The first bible only included the Gospel of Luke and 10 of Paul's epistles. The entire Old Testament was tossed.

In early 1st century writing, iirc (we discussed much of this at length in the various Historical Jesus threads here), there were critics of the Jesus stories. That is - various historians of the time wrote to say that people we now call "Christians" were spreading false "gospel", where "gospel" just meant the "news" about true belief in God and the correct religion etc.

However, that is not the same as saying that tens of thousands of Christians all disagreed with one-another over what parts of the OT and what parts of new gospel preaching from Jesus & Paul, should be acclaimed as the truth of God and God's creation of Earth, Universe, and Man.

Over the course of those early centuries when Christianity was forming from the earlier Jewish religion of the OT (and the religious beliefs were all very similar from OT to NT), the faithful were working-out amongst themselves all the details of what they must accept as the holy truth of God.

In any group of tens of thousands of people as it was then (say, circa 400AD), or in the 2.5 billion or so that we have today as "Christians", it's inevitable that you will always be able to find some people who disagree about certain points of a very wide ranging set of claims and beliefs that make up a religious faith. Even leaving religion aside, if you have just 20 people discussing anything at all, then some of them will always disagree on certain specific details.

So it's a total red-herring to criticise any comment or explanation here by saying "but did they all agree?".

The actual question has to be whether or not the leaders of the religious faith developed a set of core beliefs which they themselves professed to believe, and which they decreed to be the beliefs that all people within their faith (ie Christianity in this case), must adhere to in order to be a genuine member of that faith/Christianity.

By the time the early Christian leaders had decided which gospels should be included, and which ones excluded, and hence which claims of God and Jesus were to be accepted as absolute truth, then “yes”, by that time all genuine Christians were supposed to follow that agreed set of faith beliefs.

And those beliefs certainly included all of the claims that we find in the earliest existing copies of that bible. And that includes the belief that early prophets of the OT had actually received the words from God himself. The words of God had told the prophets how God created heaven & earth, how God had created Man etc. And from NT times that also included the words of Jesus and St Paul telling everyone what they must believe as the true words received from God.

That NT “gospel” really did not change much at all from what God himself had told the earlier prophets. It could not change it, because that was believed to be the actual words of God. And that could not be changed … you cannot change what God has said. The only thing that was different by the time of Jesus and Paul, was that all sorts of Jewish preachers had gradually come to believe that a promised day of apocalypse was due at any moment. That was apparently being preached by the group of religious Jews (the “Essenes”) who had written the Dead Sea Scrolls probably beginning as early as 200BC. And that's what Paul was preaching 250 years later by 30AD to 50AD.

But all of that preaching was claimed to have come directly from communication with God. That was the unarguable knowledge of everything given to the faithful by God himself. You cannot argue that God was wrong about the story of complete Creation … ie the creation of everything.

And you certainly cannot argue as a Christian today, that you have the ability to change the words of God or to reject that they ever were the actual words of God. Or more specifically – you cannot do that, and yet still claim that those early prophets received the word of God such that they then knew from direct personal contact with God, what truly was, and is & always will be, the absolutely certain explanation for the existence of the Universe, Earth, Man and all creatures on Earth etc etc. You cannot now change that, because that is the entire basis on which the Christian faith exists …

… if you try to change that, for example by saying that you will “re-interpret” it, then you destroy the basis of the religion … you reject the belief that God ever told any of the prophets any of these things.

So the answer is “Yes”, you cannot later change what was originally claimed as the basis of the faith truly given to the prophets by God himself.

That has to be a truth for all time. Otherwise the religion is shown to be false.

That is really why so little does change over the centuries in any religion, It's because changes like that, concerning the absolute words of God, really must be said to be fixed for all time as unarguable truth.

That's what makes religion very different from any other beliefs or ways that we have of studying and learning about things. That's what makes religion very different from science, or history, or geography or medicine, or any subject that attempts to discover and explain actual truths about the world around us … all those other “ways of knowing” are open to change according to new information that we continually strive to find and improve. But that's where religious belief is completely different – religion is claimed to be known from the word of God … the explanations given by God cannot be questioned or changed.

Nor can you really say that it's posssible either to disagree with the earliest prophets, or to “re-interpret” what they said. That is again disagreeing with God. If you say that the prophets words are ambiguous, then you are claiming that God did not want the prophets to clearly know what he (God) was saying … but in that case there can be no true basis for the religion, because in that case what the prophets told everyone would be wide open to doubt and confusion.

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Old 17th July 2019, 02:03 AM   #126
HansMustermann
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Originally Posted by pgwenthold View Post
What use is the bible, then?
Well, I suppose they have to read from SOMETHING on Sundays. You can't have the bishop addressing the congregation like, "And for today's sermon, the topic is Theresa May's Epistle To Brussels. So those of you who've brought the Daily Mail, we'll open it to the politics section, and we can begin."
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Old 17th July 2019, 02:29 AM   #127
IanS
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Originally Posted by 8enotto View Post
Societies changed. The ancient society related to the original writing of each small section of the bible is gone. With them went the original intention. What we have now is a discombobulated mess of sacred stories now widely published and liberally edited to meet the needs of each new segment of modern society.

It cannot possibly really make any sense to anyone in whole form. So we have to cherry pick and re-edit every sermon and pamphlet to say what we need.

But if one were to chase each phrase back to original texts do we really believe a Sumerian phrase stuck onto a late Roman phrase edited into Latin in 1238 by s monk who had a limited vocabulary of Greek is the word of any god?

Yes, precisely. I agree. Except on the last sentence (highlighted) - indeed, we do not have any actual writing from Old Testament times, so even apart from the likelihood of things becoming changed over the ensuing centuries through translational errors and changing languages etc., we actually do not know what any original/early OT prophets ever said about receiving the words of God. But in that case, if we really do not know what any God might ever have said to any prophets, then Christians today cannot possibly claim any words from God as any part of any 21st century biblical beliefs at all! ...

... the claims of the religion today, which say all these things are known actually from God himself, would in that case be untrue. If we have no true word of God ever told to any of those OT prophets (or indeed any story of Jesus or Paul etc., where we also have no orginal writing), then the entire basis of Christianity & it's biblical preaching today is false.
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Old 17th July 2019, 03:55 AM   #128
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One problem _I_ have with changing Bible interpretations, as opposed to changing science interpretations or whatever, is that the two don't even work the same. So wondering why it's ok to change our minds about the latter and not the former, is just a cute but clueless case of missing the point.

1. The science views are based on actual hard data, while the Bible reinterpretations are increasingly disconnected from any actual source, including the Bible. It's just deciding that it would be nice if our sky daddy endorsed X and Y, which I really like, and condemned Y, which I dislike, out of thin air. It's not like anyone discovered an extra set of stone tablets that say, "oh, mixed fibers are only forbidden until jeans come in fashion, but the part about stoning the gays I really meant."

Science doesn't work that way. We don't just decide out of nowhere that the gravitational constant doesn't apply any more, just because it would be convenient and gave us more endorsement for the space program.

2. In science we're not afraid to say that theory X was wrong, and chuck it into the bin. We don't try to salvage the scriptures of prophet J. J. Thomson by pretending the plum pudding model of the atom is still spot on, you just need to... interpret it differently. Like, maybe it's just a metaphor. Like, if you just pretend that every other word really means something else, and J. J. Thomson was just simplifying it for our primitive minds, then he was totally talking about the quantum model.

Wake me up when any religion does the same with its scriptures.

Edit: to summarize, it's ok to change your mind when it's done honestly and based on real data. It's not ok when it's just a piss-poor case of wishful thinking and cognitive dissonance.
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Old 17th July 2019, 04:39 AM   #129
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I expect all of us here know what the real answer is. And that is that the biblical claims about God are simply complete fiction – there never was any God who ever revealed anything to any OT prophets (and if it comes to that - there may never even have been any real Jesus who did any of things that were used to form a new religion from the NT bible).

In biblical times people believed those religious stories because they did not know any better. But over the last 100 to 200 years in particular, most educated people have come to realise that such stories are so very unlikely, and so much like countless other fictitious religious beliefs of that time, that today people really should not believe any of it.

But the problem is that there are apparently about 2.5 billion Christians around the world, plus 2 billion Muslims, who do still believe it's all actually literally true!

That would not matter much either if it was just confined to peoples mere beliefs. But it's not. Their beliefs inform all of their actions. And in the end their actions inevitably become harmful to everyone around them (often lethally harmful).

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Old 17th July 2019, 11:37 AM   #130
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Originally Posted by IanS View Post
I expect all of us here know what the real answer is. And that is that the biblical claims about God are simply complete fiction – there never was any God who ever revealed anything to any OT prophets (and if it comes to that - there may never even have been any real Jesus who did any of things that were used to form a new religion from the NT bible).

In biblical times people believed those religious stories because they did not know any better. But over the last 100 to 200 years in particular, most educated people have come to realise that such stories are so very unlikely, and so much like countless other fictitious religious beliefs of that time, that today people really should not believe any of it.

But the problem is that there are apparently about 2.5 billion Christians around the world, plus 2 billion Muslims, who do still believe it's all actually literally true!

That would not matter much either if it was just confined to peoples mere beliefs. But it's not. Their beliefs inform all of their actions. And in the end their actions inevitably become harmful to everyone around them (often lethally harmful).
God is everyone's personal comic book superhero. He/She (afterall, gods must have penises)
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Old 17th July 2019, 10:59 PM   #131
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Originally Posted by IanS View Post
But all of that preaching was claimed to have come directly from communication with God. That was the unarguable knowledge of everything given to the faithful by God himself. You cannot argue that God was wrong about the story of complete Creation … ie the creation of everything.

And you certainly cannot argue as a Christian today, that you have the ability to change the words of God or to reject that they ever were the actual words of God. Or more specifically – you cannot do that, and yet still claim that those early prophets received the word of God such that they then knew from direct personal contact with God, what truly was, and is & always will be, the absolutely certain explanation for the existence of the Universe, Earth, Man and all creatures on Earth etc etc. You cannot now change that, because that is the entire basis on which the Christian faith exists …

… if you try to change that, for example by saying that you will “re-interpret” it, then you destroy the basis of the religion … you reject the belief that God ever told any of the prophets any of these things.
Originally Posted by IanS View Post
But the problem is that there are apparently about 2.5 billion Christians around the world, plus 2 billion Muslims, who do still believe it's all actually literally true!
An intelligent Christian would tell you that you are wrong because you confuse being inspired by God with writing what God dictates. Prophets, apostles, evangelists and church fathers were inspired by God. This does not imply that their words were exactly God’s words, but the words with which they expressed their inspiration. Therefore, the words of the Bible need to be interpreted by holy men or by yourself to separate what comes from God and what comes from men. There are two visions of this interpretation: either the authority or personal reading decide. Catholic church in the first case and “liberal believers” in the second.

There are approximately 2,5 billions of Christians in the world. But not all Christians think that the Bible is literally written by God. For example, according to Gallup, only a 64% of church attendees in Western Europe believe that the Bible accurately describes God. And the rate drops to only 27% of non-regular attendees.

And according to Gallup again: "Fewer than one in four Americans (24%) now believe the Bible is "the actual word of God, and is to be taken literally, word for word," similar to the 26% who view it as "a book of fables, legends, history and moral precepts recorded by man."

Your concept of what is a Christian is stereotyped. You have created a straw man that is only useful in this forum where no one wants contradict you. You would be the laughingstock among educated Christians. Please, refine your concepts.

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Old 18th July 2019, 01:49 AM   #132
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
One problem _I_ have with changing Bible interpretations, as opposed to changing science interpretations or whatever, is that the two don't even work the same. So wondering why it's ok to change our minds about the latter and not the former, is just a cute but clueless case of missing the point.

1. The science views are based on actual hard data, while the Bible reinterpretations are increasingly disconnected from any actual source, including the Bible. It's just deciding that it would be nice if our sky daddy endorsed X and Y, which I really like, and condemned Y, which I dislike, out of thin air. It's not like anyone discovered an extra set of stone tablets that say, "oh, mixed fibers are only forbidden until jeans come in fashion, but the part about stoning the gays I really meant."

Science doesn't work that way. We don't just decide out of nowhere that the gravitational constant doesn't apply any more, just because it would be convenient and gave us more endorsement for the space program.

2. In science we're not afraid to say that theory X was wrong, and chuck it into the bin. We don't try to salvage the scriptures of prophet J. J. Thomson by pretending the plum pudding model of the atom is still spot on, you just need to... interpret it differently. Like, maybe it's just a metaphor. Like, if you just pretend that every other word really means something else, and J. J. Thomson was just simplifying it for our primitive minds, then he was totally talking about the quantum model.

Wake me up when any religion does the same with its scriptures.

Edit: to summarize, it's ok to change your mind when it's done honestly and based on real data. It's not ok when it's just a piss-poor case of wishful thinking and cognitive dissonance.


Just on a slightly different point here, because it's something almost everyone outside of working in core science research misunderstands - even in the very early steps of science, the major "Theories", and in fact even the main "hypotheses", have very rarely (if ever) been completely wrong. Even hypotheses such as "Phlogiston" and the "Luminiferous Aether", which are the most common examples claimed to show how science made major mistakes, were very far from being completely wrong.

The “theory” of phlogiston for example dates back as far as 1667, ie at time before the modern era of science and when science was still largely the domain of people who were really more strongly influenced by previous generations of pure philosophers rather than a new generation who thought in more objective scientific terms. But in that theory the idea was that substances which burned in the air, did so because they contained a combustible substance to which they gave the name “phlogiston”. That was thought to also explain why some substances burned strongly for a long time and which were therefore said to be rich in phlogiston (whilst other substances that burned only weakly for a short time, were thought to contain only a little phlogiston). The actual explanation for why those things burned was of course that the heated substance reacts with Oxygen from the air (an oxidation reaction), and the heat generated from that Oxidation-Reduction reaction often produces a flame (light). But that's really not so different from the first idea of phlogiston.

Similarly the idea of a luminiferous Aether was that space contained a substance called the Aether, which was thought to be necessary for light waves to propagate through space. That idea was commonly accepted from the 1600's up-to 1900, and really had it's roots in ideas even from philosophers in biblical times. And it was not really overturned until 1905-1915 when Einstein explained space and time in a very different & very complex way through Relativity theory (using a lot of mathematical work previously done by Maxwell, Laplace, Minkowski and others). But the final answer from relativity is not so totally different from the idea that some spacial component or medium (such as an “Aether”) was necessary for the transmission of waves such as light-waves.

So in relation to current day religious claims about science, I would just say that it's a common criticism from Christians and Muslims to say that science is not reliable because it's always changing what it tells us to believe as the truth about the world, and hence they try to say that the theories, hypotheses and models from science are little more than opinions, beliefs and guesswork. But that description/criticism of science is not valid or warranted at all, and not even in the most often cited examples of science getting things wrong.

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Old 18th July 2019, 01:54 AM   #133
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Yes, science improves based on increasingly detailed observations. It doesn't change willy-nilly.
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Old 18th July 2019, 02:14 AM   #134
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Originally Posted by IanS View Post
Just on a slightly different point here, because it's something almost everyone outside of working in core science research misunderstands - even in the very early steps of science, the major "Theories", and in fact even the main "hypotheses", have very rarely (if ever) been completely wrong. Even hypotheses such as "Phlogiston" and the "Luminiferous Aether", which are the most common examples claimed to show how science made major mistakes, were very far from being completely wrong.
Well, yes, but it's still the same point I was making: even those were based on good reasons to change our mind to that, from whatever the working theory was before.

Meanwhile changing one's mind within religion can be as unreasonable as you want.

E.g., take the Taiping rebellion, the deadliest revolt in all recorded human history. It started with a guy changing his mind from Confucianism to Xianity, to his being the son of the Xian God. Not the reincarnation of Jesus, mind you. He was more modest than that. He was Jesus's little BROTHER But he was divine enough to rewrite the gospels, anyway.

And of course he was going to bring supreme peace on Earth. 'Cause God told him to. And by "peace", I mean stuff like attacking a major city like Nanjing, executing all government employees, decreeing that all non-believers must leave the city, and then executing every single soul that didn't actually leave.

So I guess more like Jesus's evil twin

(Which, btw, seems to be something specifically Chinese. When you hear someone wanting to bring peace, run for the hills. Heads are about to roll. The Yellow Turbans rebellion was also caused by a sect called "The Way Of Supreme Peace." Which incidentally started preparing for war as soon as it was founded.)

So yeah, that's the kind of changing one's mind about what the Bible really means, that is apparently still ok within theology
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Old 18th July 2019, 02:26 AM   #135
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
Yes, science improves based on increasingly detailed observations. It doesn't change willy-nilly.
I remind you once again that the question is not whether the evolution of science is always an improvement over previous versions, but whether the Christian has the right to change his or her interpretation of the Bible to accommodate it to the system of knowledge of our time.

Since we are off topic: the theory of phlogiston was invented by a doctor and chemist who was based on a concept of an alchemist. I don't know what philosophy has to do with this, apart from the visceral philosophoby of some. And if there was some indirect influence of philosophical concepts on Stahl, there was also philosophical influence on Lavoisier, who was the one who ruled out the existence of phlogiston.

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Old 18th July 2019, 03:23 AM   #136
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
E.g., take the Taiping rebellion, the deadliest revolt in all recorded human history. It started with a guy changing his mind from Confucianism to Xianity, to his being the son of the Xian God. Not the reincarnation of Jesus, mind you. He was more modest than that. He was Jesus's little BROTHER But he was divine enough to rewrite the gospels, anyway.
I loved the part where his lieutenants took over power from him by channeling his parents: Mary and God the Father. Jesus little brother was forced to do his filial duty and do as he was told!

Quote:
The Yellow Turbans rebellion was also caused by a sect called "The Way Of Supreme Peace." Which incidentally started preparing for war as soon as it was founded.)
Death does tend to result in supreme peace ...
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Old 18th July 2019, 03:43 AM   #137
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Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
I remind you once again that the question is not whether the evolution of science is always an improvement over previous versions, but whether the Christian has the right to change his or her interpretation of the Bible to accommodate it to the system of knowledge of our time.
Why not? The rationale will always be that the previous interpretation was wrong, and it can hardly be wrong to insist on the right interpretation.

Besides, the reinterpretations often happen imperceptibly so that the believers are not aware that the interpretations have changed.

Some years ago a Muslim scholar, Nasr Abu ZaydWP, had to flee Egypt because he had researched how the official interpretation of the Quran had changed over the last 100 years. To even think that the interpretation had changed was deemed a heresy, and his marriage was force to be annulled because a Muslim wife cannot be married to an apostate, and he received death threats.
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Old 18th July 2019, 04:08 AM   #138
HansMustermann
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Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
I remind you once again that the question is not whether the evolution of science is always an improvement over previous versions, but whether the Christian has the right to change his or her interpretation of the Bible to accommodate it to the system of knowledge of our time.
Well, having the right to do something, doesn't mean it's the sane thing to do.

I mean, the dude I just mentioned was also perfectly within his rights even in China to interpret the Bible as foretelling him to be God's youngest son. The part where he started having people executed, that wasn't within his rights, but the Bible reinterpretation was totally OK even in Qing dynasty China.

But was that whole thing rational?


Or, hell, watch me do my own bible interpretation. So, brothers and sisters, let us open the good book to the gospel of St Matthew, chapter 5, verse 37:
But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.
Clearly Jesus endorses digital communications, and verily predicts the downfall of the analogue phone

There we go, I just interpreted the Bible in light of modern knowledge

Am I well within my rights to do so? Very much so. BUT... is it rational to do that?
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Old 18th July 2019, 04:41 AM   #139
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Well, yes, but it's still the same point I was making: even those were based on good reasons to change our mind to that, from whatever the working theory was before.

Meanwhile changing one's mind within religion can be as unreasonable as you want.

E.g., take the Taiping rebellion, the deadliest revolt in all recorded human history. It started with a guy changing his mind from Confucianism to Xianity, to his being the son of the Xian God. Not the reincarnation of Jesus, mind you. He was more modest than that. He was Jesus's little BROTHER But he was divine enough to rewrite the gospels, anyway.

And of course he was going to bring supreme peace on Earth. 'Cause God told him to. And by "peace", I mean stuff like attacking a major city like Nanjing, executing all government employees, decreeing that all non-believers must leave the city, and then executing every single soul that didn't actually leave.

So I guess more like Jesus's evil twin

(Which, btw, seems to be something specifically Chinese. When you hear someone wanting to bring peace, run for the hills. Heads are about to roll. The Yellow Turbans rebellion was also caused by a sect called "The Way Of Supreme Peace." Which incidentally started preparing for war as soon as it was founded.)

So yeah, that's the kind of changing one's mind about what the Bible really means, that is apparently still ok within theology

Oh yes, sure, I was not disputing or criticising anything you had said. I was just picking up on that point about religious people trying to reject or dimmish science by saying that science is constantly changing it's mind and changing what it says is the correct answer.

I was just drawing attention to that because those Christians and Muslims are really quite wrong if they level that as a criticism to dismiss science.

Where of course the whole reason why they try to dismiss science in that way is because the huge mass of results we have from science has now become so highly damaging to religious beliefs.

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Old 18th July 2019, 07:26 AM   #140
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Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
An intelligent Christian would tell you that you are wrong because you confuse being inspired by God with writing what God dictates. Prophets, apostles, evangelists and church fathers were inspired by God. This does not imply that their words were exactly God’s words, but the words with which they expressed their inspiration. Therefore, the words of the Bible need to be interpreted by holy men or by yourself to separate what comes from God and what comes from men. There are two visions of this interpretation: either the authority or personal reading decide. Catholic church in the first case and “liberal believers” in the second.

There are approximately 2,5 billions of Christians in the world. But not all Christians think that the Bible is literally written by God. For example, according to Gallup, only a 64% of church attendees in Western Europe believe that the Bible accurately describes God. And the rate drops to only 27% of non-regular attendees.

And according to Gallup again: "Fewer than one in four Americans (24%) now believe the Bible is "the actual word of God, and is to be taken literally, word for word," similar to the 26% who view it as "a book of fables, legends, history and moral precepts recorded by man."

Your concept of what is a Christian is stereotyped. You have created a straw man that is only useful in this forum where no one wants contradict you. You would be the laughingstock among educated Christians. Please, refine your concepts.
"Intelligent Christian"? Is that something like a "good lawyer"?

Sure, there are as many different interpretations of the bible as there are people. But I have heard at least a thousand times about who is and who isn't a "true" Christian.

And what is the difference between "inspired" and the actual word of God? I get that different denominations have different ways of deciding. Did God rape Mary? Is that the actual word of god or merely inspired by God. But if God is responsible for everything, is there really a difference? Doesn't that mean that EVERYTHING ever written not just in the bible is the word of God? Should I also be worshipping Shakespeare? How about Stephen King?


Sadly the so called "Intelligent Christians" offer cover for the ass backward Christians. You know, the ones that justify saying that "homosexuality is an abortion" just after eating a barbecued pulled pork sandwich?

My problem is much of the book is hideous. How does one justify thinking that this is a book of wisdom and moral precepts when

God tells the Israelites to slaughter the Midianites and the Amalakites women and children except the girls that have not laid with a man?

or the story of Abraham where God specifically told him to gut his son Isaac and at the last moment said I was only kidding.

or Jepthah who did sacrifice his daughter to God?

Or slavery which is not only condoned but regulated?


Do I believe the story of Genesis or ignore it entirely?

And why should I care for one second what Paul said?

Or should I only care what Jesus said in the gospels?

Should I give away all my money to the poor?

I'm all for being my brother's keeper and being humble and learning to forgive. Its the rest of the damn book that makes me want to vomit and speak out against it.
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Old 18th July 2019, 08:44 AM   #141
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Originally Posted by acbytesla View Post
Opening scene of the pilot episode of The West Wing.

YouTube Video This video is not hosted by the ISF. The ISF can not be held responsible for the suitability or legality of this material. By clicking the link below you agree to view content from an external website.
I AGREE
Thank you.
This sounds promising.
By the way, who is the person of your avatar? I think he's a scientist, but I don't know which one.
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Old 18th July 2019, 10:50 AM   #142
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Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
Thank you.
This sounds promising.
By the way, who is the person of your avatar? I think he's a scientist, but I don't know which one.
I'll give you hint. What is my nom de plume?
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Old 18th July 2019, 10:58 AM   #143
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Originally Posted by acbytesla View Post
I'll give you hint. What is my nom de plume?
Of course! Andrew Connor Bytes, of Los Angeles! Famed inventor of the bobblehead doll!
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Old 18th July 2019, 11:39 AM   #144
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
Of course! Andrew Connor Bytes, of Los Angeles! Famed inventor of the bobblehead doll!
WOW!!! I didn't think anyone would guess.
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Old 18th July 2019, 10:03 PM   #145
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Originally Posted by acbytesla View Post
I'll give you hint. What is my nom de plume?
I see. Either you are a fan of electric cars or have a cousin in Croatia.
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Old 18th July 2019, 10:44 PM   #146
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Originally Posted by steenkh View Post
Why not? The rationale will always be that the previous interpretation was wrong, and it can hardly be wrong to insist on the right interpretation.

Besides, the reinterpretations often happen imperceptibly so that the believers are not aware that the interpretations have changed.
Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Well, having the right to do something, doesn't mean it's the sane thing to do.

I mean, the dude I just mentioned was also perfectly within his rights even in China to interpret the Bible as foretelling him to be God's youngest son. The part where he started having people executed, that wasn't within his rights, but the Bible reinterpretation was totally OK even in Qing dynasty China.

But was that whole thing rational?
I was answering to the claim that changing the interpretation of some passages of the Bible was "insincere" and “unacceptable”, whether it be consciously or unconsciously. See my comment #81.
For example: Allegorically interpreting the passage of Joshua stopping the sun to make it compatible with modern heliocentrism.
This is one of the obvious changes in the beliefs of about 50% of American Christians opposed to the literal interpretation that I pointed out in my previous comment #131.

If "sane" means unreasonable, I disagree. This change seems absolutely reasonable. If "sane" means "rationally justified," I don't think so. The new belief is more modern but also unjustified for reasons other than the previous one.
The first belief was unacceptable because it clashed with facts.
The second belief is unacceptable because it is not based on objective criteria of interpretation. It is open wide to subjectivity.
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Old 18th July 2019, 11:05 PM   #147
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Originally Posted by acbytesla View Post
"Intelligent Christian"? Is that something like a "good lawyer"?

Sure, there are as many different interpretations of the bible as there are people. But I have heard at least a thousand times about who is and who isn't a "true" Christian.

And what is the difference between "inspired" and the actual word of God? I get that different denominations have different ways of deciding. Did God rape Mary? Is that the actual word of god or merely inspired by God. But if God is responsible for everything, is there really a difference? Doesn't that mean that EVERYTHING ever written not just in the bible is the word of God? Should I also be worshipping Shakespeare? How about Stephen King?


Sadly the so called "Intelligent Christians" offer cover for the ass backward Christians. You know, the ones that justify saying that "homosexuality is an abortion" just after eating a barbecued pulled pork sandwich?

My problem is much of the book is hideous. How does one justify thinking that this is a book of wisdom and moral precepts when

God tells the Israelites to slaughter the Midianites and the Amalakites women and children except the girls that have not laid with a man?

or the story of Abraham where God specifically told him to gut his son Isaac and at the last moment said I was only kidding.

or Jepthah who did sacrifice his daughter to God?

Or slavery which is not only condoned but regulated?


Do I believe the story of Genesis or ignore it entirely?

And why should I care for one second what Paul said?

Or should I only care what Jesus said in the gospels?

Should I give away all my money to the poor?

I'm all for being my brother's keeper and being humble and learning to forgive. Its the rest of the damn book that makes me want to vomit and speak out against it.
Oh, sure. I agree that there is no "true" Christianity. I said "intelligent. I suppose you've met some. These are people who feel that they cannot be Christian in a Western democracy in the same way that the Great Inquisitor was Christian. To give an example.
As to how they solve their problems with the brutality and intolerance of the Bible, we should ask them. It's quite incomprehensible to me. But I recognize that sometimes their efforts are heroic. From what I have discussed with them I can see they had some major ways of escape.

-Allegorical interpretation of "difficult" passages.
-"Redactional" passage. That is to say, not directly inspired by God, but added by the scribe, prophet, etc.
-Interpolation. If there is a contradiction is because some ulterior hand has added the wrong text.
-Low levels of inerrancy. For example, God's words are limited to moral principles or religious rules. Scribes add the rest. Therefore you don't need to believe the creation story but the ten commandments.

All this is confuse and contradictory because of the lack of objective rules of interpretation. This means open bar for all.
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Old Yesterday, 01:33 AM   #148
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Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
If "sane" means unreasonable, I disagree. This change seems absolutely reasonable. If "sane" means "rationally justified," I don't think so. The new belief is more modern but also unjustified for reasons other than the previous one.
The first belief was unacceptable because it clashed with facts.
The second belief is unacceptable because it is not based on objective criteria of interpretation. It is open wide to subjectivity.
I assume that that kind of lexical distinction must make sense in Spanish, because it doesn't really in English:
reasonable
adjective
  1. agreeable to reason or sound judgment; logical:
    a reasonable choice for chairman.
  2. not exceeding the limit prescribed by reason; not excessive:
    reasonable terms
  3. moderate, especially in price; not expensive
    The coat was reasonable but not cheap.
  4. endowed with reason
  5. capable of rational behavior, decision, etc.
There's a reason why "reason" is the root word of "reasonable". In fact, technically speaking "reasonable" means you can reason it, i.e., justify it by reason. It's the same derivation of a verb as "washable" means you can wash it or "detachable" means you can detach it.

Unless you mean it's not very expensive to pull a new bible interpretation out of the posterior, I don't see how something irrational can be at the same time reasonable.
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Old Yesterday, 02:20 AM   #149
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
I assume that that kind of lexical distinction must make sense in Spanish, because it doesn't really in English:
reasonable
adjective
  1. agreeable to reason or sound judgment; logical:
    a reasonable choice for chairman.
  2. not exceeding the limit prescribed by reason; not excessive:
    reasonable terms
  3. moderate, especially in price; not expensive
    The coat was reasonable but not cheap.
  4. endowed with reason
  5. capable of rational behavior, decision, etc.
There's a reason why "reason" is the root word of "reasonable". In fact, technically speaking "reasonable" means you can reason it, i.e., justify it by reason. It's the same derivation of a verb as "washable" means you can wash it or "detachable" means you can detach it.

Unless you mean it's not very expensive to pull a new bible interpretation out of the posterior, I don't see how something irrational can be at the same time reasonable.
It's simpler than all that. I find it reasonable not to accept the literality of the Bible, because this interpretation contradicts data from science and common sense. This reason seems acceptable to me and no one can be accused of dishonesty. I do not find rationally justified the solutions that are habitually adopted and that I have outlined in my previous commentary. The arguments given by Christians do not seem sufficient to me.

Their attitude seems to me intellectually correct, their solutions rationally unacceptable.

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Old Yesterday, 03:56 AM   #150
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Well, there's a difference between
A) realizing that the Bible can't literally be true, and
B) coming up with some own unsupported BS about what it REALLY says there. E.g., and I swear this is an actual one that some nutters in the USA actually came up with, that Jesus supported gun ownership.

The former is reasonable and rational, the latter is really neither.
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Old Yesterday, 07:27 AM   #151
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Well, there's a difference between
A) realizing that the Bible can't literally be true, and
B) coming up with some own unsupported BS about what it REALLY says there. E.g., and I swear this is an actual one that some nutters in the USA actually came up with, that Jesus supported gun ownership.

The former is reasonable and rational, the latter is really neither.
I would not say that efforts to give a non-literal meaning to the Bible are nothing. In another comment I have called them "heroic". That is, they are great efforts that are doomed to annihilation due to the impossibility of their enterprise. Like Greek heroes.
But just as we can admire Oedipus' efforts to escape his fate, we can admire the intellectual efforts of some Christians to achieve what cannot be done. These efforts have put into action so many intellectual faculties that one can learn from them in many ways. To avoid that path, at least. You can also learn about interpretation tools and methods that can be useful if we use them in another way.

But I'm talking about people with intellectual ability and honesty. Without those elements, the search for meaning in the Bible is what I already said: an open bar where any nonsense counts. Even the Ku Klux Klan.

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Old Yesterday, 07:46 AM   #152
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Of course, Jesus recommended carrying weapons. But not guns or rifles, but swords. Let President Trump know, if he lets people buy anything but swords, he goes against Jesus an he will end in the flames of the hell.

The text: Luke 22:36: He said to them, “But now let the one who has a moneybag take it, and likewise a knapsack. And let the one who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one".
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Old Yesterday, 07:53 AM   #153
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Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
I would not say that efforts to give a non-literal meaning to the Bible are nothing. In another comment I have called them "heroic". That is, they are great efforts that are doomed to annihilation due to the impossibility of their enterprise. Like Greek heroes.
But just as we can admire Oedipus' efforts to escape his fate, we can admire the intellectual efforts of some Christians to achieve what cannot be done. These efforts have put into action so many intellectual faculties that one can learn from them in many ways. To avoid that path, at least. You can also learn about interpretation tools and methods that can be useful if we use them in another way.

But I'm talking about people with intellectual ability and honesty. Without those elements, the search for meaning in the Bible is what I already said: an open bar where any nonsense counts. Even the Ku Klux Klan.
Well, I'll even agree that the TRYING part is commendable. However, if the result is just rationalizing an even more unsupportable bit of nonsense, well, I'm certainly not going to admire that part.
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Old Yesterday, 07:59 AM   #154
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Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
Of course, Jesus recommended carrying weapons. But not guns or rifles, but swords. Let President Trump know, if he lets people buy anything but swords, he goes against Jesus an he will end in the flames of the hell.

The text: Luke 22:36: He said to them, “But now let the one who has a moneybag take it, and likewise a knapsack. And let the one who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one".
Actually, that particular group of nutters were rewriting the parable of the strong man. The original being in Mark 3:27, but Matt and Luke have their own copy of it.

Which incidentally was not supposed to be any kind of endorsement of home defense. Jesus is accused of using Satan's power when he's casting demons out. And Jesus does a bit of brain-dead hand-waving about how oh noes, then Satan would be working against himself (as if double agents were not already a thing), and how basically he has to overpower Satan to steal Satan's stuff. Both are just begging the question, obviously.

To put it simply: the strong man in the parable is Satan, and Jesus is the burglar overpowering him. That's it. That's all it's supposed to mean.

But of course in the USA bible belt, that got taken to mean that Jesus REALLY meant that if you're armed to the teeth, nobody can take your stuff. See, he's endorsing defending your property with a shotgun

(But somehow even though every version of that parable says "strong man", they're not taking it as an endorsement of going to the gym. Nah, clearly what Jesus meant by "strong man" was a 300 pound redneck with 20 different firearms.)
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Old Yesterday, 08:06 AM   #155
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If we're talking Jesus and swords, though, hell, there are even better examples of that going into delusional land even during the middle ages. Take the "those that live by the sword will die by the sword" quip from Jesus, which, you'd think, couldn't be any clearer.

But already during the middle ages, it got reinterpreted as what it REALLY means is:

A) knights and nobles can only be executed by sword, or
B) you're totally exempt if you use any other weapon than a sword. E.g., why priests in the crusades were supposed to use a mace. or
C) both
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Old Yesterday, 10:04 AM   #156
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Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
I see. Either you are a fan of electric cars or have a cousin in Croatia.
The cars are cool. The man was cooler.
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Old Yesterday, 10:54 AM   #157
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Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
Oh, sure. I agree that there is no "true" Christianity. I said "intelligent. I suppose you've met some. These are people who feel that they cannot be Christian in a Western democracy in the same way that the Great Inquisitor was Christian. To give an example.
As to how they solve their problems with the brutality and intolerance of the Bible, we should ask them. It's quite incomprehensible to me. But I recognize that sometimes their efforts are heroic. From what I have discussed with them I can see they had some major ways of escape.

-Allegorical interpretation of "difficult" passages.
-"Redactional" passage. That is to say, not directly inspired by God, but added by the scribe, prophet, etc.
-Interpolation. If there is a contradiction is because some ulterior hand has added the wrong text.
-Low levels of inerrancy. For example, God's words are limited to moral principles or religious rules. Scribes add the rest. Therefore you don't need to believe the creation story but the ten commandments.

All this is confuse and contradictory because of the lack of objective rules of interpretation. This means open bar for all.
There may be intelligent people that are Christians, but Intelligent and Christianity is an oxymoron. And that really was my point about the story of the god of the bible being just flat out dumb.

Personally, I don't see their attempts as heroic, but as desperate.and finally nothing more than dishonest spin.

.
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Old Yesterday, 11:30 AM   #158
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Well, to be fair "heroic" isn't mutually exclusive with "desperate." Nor with "stupid" for that matter. In fact, many a village lost their idiot when someone got a heroism medal pinned to their coffin.
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Old Yesterday, 11:18 PM   #159
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Originally Posted by acbytesla View Post
There may be intelligent people that are Christians, but Intelligent and Christianity is an oxymoron. And that really was my point about the story of the god of the bible being just flat out dumb.

Personally, I don't see their attempts as heroic, but as desperate.and finally nothing more than dishonest spin.
You have a problem that is common to many atheists in this forum: you are intolerant and dishonest.

You are intolerant because you judge the intelligence of others by their results. If it matches you, he is smart, if it doesn't match, he is dumb. Intelligence often depends on the means, not the results. You have not probably read books by Paul Ricoeur or Simone Weil, but you think they are silly because they are Christian. This is intolerance.

You are also "dishonest" because you turn an intellectual problem into a moral problem. Honesty depends on the intentions of someone and you have no information about the intentions of all Christians. But you prefer to call them dishonest because it is a more shocking disqualification. To affirm what is not known in order to incline the opinion of others in your favour is dishonest.

There is no valuable atheism without tolerance and honesty .
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