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Offline Maggie the Opinionated

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Parables
« on: May 04, 2012, 01:50:04 PM »
It appears that there is some confusion about what parables are. The literature on the subject is vast and many different approaches are taken to studying them so, I thought I would post a couple interesting excerpts from the literature about them.

The English word “parable” is a transliteration of the Greek parabol?, which normally translates the Hebrew mashal. In the Greek Old Testament (the Septuagint) parabol? is used to describe a wide variety of literary forms including proverbs, riddles, oracles, metaphors, and allegories. In the rabbinic literature mashal is also used to refer to short narrative fictions.

The Synoptic Gospels use “parable” with the same wide range of meaning as mashal. A parable, therefore, can be anything from a single-line metaphor or simile to a long narrative. Mark frequently uses the plural “parables” in his gospel to refer to short narrative fictions, especially in chapter 4. Parables can have multiple meanings and take their meaning from the context in which they are uttered or placed. The parables are open to different interpretations depending on their different audiences. …

Parables form the core of Jesus’ teaching. Grounded in human history and experience, they normally include familiar, realistic images from daily life. ..
Sweetland, Dennis. 2011. "Parables in Mark." Bible Today 49, no. 6: 353-358. 

Here is an interpretive stance that is rather interesting and is related to a view of Jesus as a dangerous, political figure:

The parables of Jesus have long been revered as earthly stories with heavenly meanings. … However, this view of Jesus stands in some tension with the account of his final trial and execution. If Jesus was a teacher of heavenly truths dispensed through literary gems called parables, it is difficult to understand how he could have been executed as a political subversive and crucified between two social bandits.
It appears that Jerusalem elites collaborating with their Roman overlords executed Jesus because he was a threat to their economic and political interests. Unless they perceived him to be a threat, they would not have publicly degraded and humiliated him before executing him in as ignominious a way as possible.

How is it possible to bring together the teacher who spoke in parables and the subversive who threatened the ruling powers of his day? This chapter attempts to answer that question in two ways: first, by interpreting the parables of Jesus as a form of subversive speech; and second, by connecting that view of the parables with an interpretation of Jesus' public activity large enough to encompass his roles as pedagogue of the oppressed and political threat.
Herzog, William R. 1994. Parables As Subversive Speech : Jesus As Pedagogue of the Oppressed. Westminster/John Knox Press, 1994, p.9


Such a view has interesting implications for a number of familiar parables, including  the ten minas.

Offline ParkingPlaces

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Re: Parables
« Reply #1 on: May 04, 2012, 04:27:43 PM »
As a mod, I'm trying to stay out of the conversations in the shelter, but I don't think it will hurt if I ask Plain Jane to give us  three or four examples of biblical parables. And, out of curiosity, since I know some scholars disagree on the issue, if Plain Jane could tell us if the parables of Jesus are the only parables in the bible, or are there others? And if there are others, a few examples of those would be nice.

Added: Given that parables are defined as fictive, am I correct in assuming they are not to be taken as literally true?
« Last Edit: May 04, 2012, 04:30:00 PM by ParkingPlaces »
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Offline Maggie the Opinionated

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Re: Parables
« Reply #2 on: May 05, 2012, 12:18:45 PM »
Scholars disagree about parables? In what way(s)? Unless you mean they disagree over their interpretation which is true, I don’t know what you might mean.

Parables, themselves, are definitely not to be taken literally. But there is an expectation that the message they convey will be understood, though the narratives in which they are embedded show that that isn’t always the case. Think of the prophet Nathan confronting David about his adultery. He tells this sad little story about a poor man whose wealthy neighbor took his one, beloved lamb. David is enraged and jumps up demanding to know who this horrible man is so that he can be punished.  Nathan replies, “you are the man”!

Parables are found throughout the Old and New Testament and are an important way the ancient Jews taught and expressed themselves. So, they were a natural way for Jesus to teach. Actually, parables are found all over in the literature of the ancient Near East. Because of the limits on number of words, I can't post excerpts from all the literature that I have found so valuable, but here is a tidbit from a Jewish perspective on the Old Testament:

"We define parables in the Hebrew Bible as short stories from any narrative genre that function as explicit comparisons created by a biblical character rather than the reader. Biblical characters create parables by comparing a story with another situation within their immediate context. Parables are speech acts requiring both a speaker and an addressee within the biblical text."  (Schipper, Jeremy. Parables And Conflict In The Hebrew Bible. Cambridge University Press, 2009, p.2)

The selection of parables the author examines in his book include
Judges 9:7-15 a very interesting  story that excoriates the listeners for choosing Abimilech over Jerub-Baal. Others include Ezek 17:1–21 and and Isa 5:1–7

There are many, many more. But these are a convenient sample.

Offline ParkingPlaces

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Re: Parables
« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2012, 12:48:41 PM »
I was reading that some scholars think that only Jesus spoke in parables, while others disagree that parables were limited just to him.

Added: Which you have answered by using parables from the old testament as examples. You would presumably disagree with those who ascribe them only to Jesus.

Added: Sorry, thought I wouldn't have time right now to read any of the links when I wrote the above. But I was able to read the Judges link.

I assume the parable was the part where the brother told the story of the trees, and not the rest of the story, with arguments and battles and such. But I should be sure before I say anything else.

Now I have to go away for a couple of hours.
« Last Edit: May 05, 2012, 01:11:07 PM by ParkingPlaces »
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Offline Maggie the Opinionated

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Re: Parables
« Reply #4 on: May 05, 2012, 01:57:56 PM »
You would presumably disagree with those who ascribe them only to Jesus.
Yes. That is absurd.

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I assume the parable was the part where the brother told the story of the trees, and not the rest of the story, with arguments and battles and such. But I should be sure before I say anything else.
Yes. That parable lays the ground work for the curse of Jotham. However, it also illustrates something that is not usually true of Jesus's parables-- It is rather difficult to understand. Whether because it is deliberately obscure or because I don't have enough background to understand it, I don't know. I should poke around in Schipper's book and see what he says.

Offline ParkingPlaces

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Re: Parables
« Reply #5 on: May 05, 2012, 02:55:52 PM »
It's raining, so I'm inside for a few minutes.

My apologies. I misread some text that ascribed "parables" only to Jesus. It is not that he is the only one that used them, but some biblical scholars (Canonical and some New Testament) restrict the use of the word "parable" to Jesus, and apparently use another term, like allegory, for other instances (that term wasn't specified so I'm guessing). This quibble is clearly a scholarly debate that is irrelevant to this discussion because you have made your position clear. And I have learned something. What more do we need.

I have not yet delved into the other two parables you linked to. Before I do, may I ask another question.

How important are the various stories in which God displays his power? And are stories like this anywhere near as important as biggies such as the Story of Abraham? Given that we here at WWGHA often get our knuckles rapped for taking biblical verses out of context, I am assuming it is equally careless to not understand the overall relevance of any given story.

I assume I'm missing something big time as I find myself wondering why, if God wanted to punish Abimilech, he waited until after so many victims of that tyrants aggression had died. But that is the human being in me who has a real hard time judging your God as good if he is real. The flippant atheist in me wants to ask why, if followers are important, he lets so many die. (That point of view is not a part of this discussion, and I expect no response, but I wanted you to know where my atheist mind is when I read and discuss subjects like this.)

The rain has stopped. So I'm gone again for awhile.

Jesus, the cracker flavored treat!

Offline Maggie the Opinionated

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Re: Parables
« Reply #6 on: May 07, 2012, 04:06:04 PM »
How important are the various stories in which God displays his power? And are stories like this anywhere near as important as biggies such as the Story of Abraham? Given that we here at WWGHA often get our knuckles rapped for taking biblical verses out of context, I am assuming it is equally careless to not understand the overall relevance of any given story.
Yes! If everyone would keep in mind that the Old Testament is a collection of 39 (Prot.) or 46 (Catholic) books of poetry, legend, stories, court chronicles, laws, wisdom literature, etc. everyone would get a lot more out of it. Picking a few verses out at random makes as much sense as reading 3 lines from Act 2 Scene 1 of Romeo and Juliet and claiming to understand the play. Worse, claiming to now have knowledge of Shakespeare.

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I assume I'm missing something big time as I find myself wondering why, if God wanted to punish Abimilech, he waited until after so many victims of that tyrants aggression had died. But that is the human being in me who has a real hard time judging your God as good if he is real. The flippant atheist in me wants to ask why, if followers are important, he lets so many die. (That point of view is not a part of this discussion, and I expect no response, but I wanted you to know where my atheist mind is when I read and discuss subjects like this.)
What are the alternatives? God has a universe to run. He is also bringing about our salvation (or, if you prefer, our restoration to our original condition). Can anyone say what that involves? Humans can be very violent, as all of human history testifies. It can also be capable of great good. There are real mysteries here that I cannot unravel.


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Re: Parables
« Reply #7 on: May 07, 2012, 06:47:48 PM »
What are the alternatives?
(i) God gets his act together (ii) There is no god – never was, never will be.
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God has a universe to run.
He created it with a snap of His Perfect Fingers. He is omnipotent, omniscient; outside time[1] – how hard can running a universe be?
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He is also bringing about our salvation (or, if you prefer, our restoration to our original condition).
Dear me Jane, another simple job for a 24/7 omnipotent god.
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Can anyone say what that involves?
I don’t think so, but you seem pretty sure that is it hard – but why do you say that if you don’t know what it involves? May be you have been a little illogical?
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Humans can be very violent, as all of human history testifies.
And God can be very violent, as all of the OT shows. No big surprise really – we were made in his image and He is Yahweh, god of War
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There are real mysteries here that I cannot unravel.
There is no god. There! I’ve unravelled it.
 1. or so I am told by Christian apologists
Nobody says “There are many things that we thought were natural processes, but now know that a god did them.”

Offline Maggie the Opinionated

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Re: Parables
« Reply #8 on: May 07, 2012, 08:54:33 PM »
What are the alternatives?
(i) God gets his act together (ii) There is no god – never was, never will be.
Fail, I'm afraid. What is the act that he must get together, eh?
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He created it (the universe) with a snap of His Perfect Fingers. He is omnipotent, omniscient; outside time[1] – how hard can running a universe be?
 1. or so I am told by Christian apologists

A trifle more difficult than it would have been if he had not created us and given us the freedom to choose good or evil.
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Dear me Jane, another simple job (bringing about our salvation) for a 24/7 omnipotent god.
Yeah? When we are free to resist him? When we are free to say "no". I think not. I really think not.

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Can anyone say what that involves?
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I don’t think so, but you seem pretty sure that is it hard – but why do you say that if you don’t know what it involves? May be you have been a little illogical?
Only a committed atheist could attribute "illogic" to an admission that there are many things outside of human experience that are unknowable. If I could "understand" God completely, He would be far too small for me to bother with.
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And God can be very violent, as all of the OT shows. No big surprise really – we were made in his image and He is Yahweh, god of War


I am afraid that is pure fundy proof-texting. Only a fundamentalist picks and chooses without looking at the stories and what they are trying to convey. Only a fundamentalist refuses to read whole stories to see what they have to say and what lessons they are trying to teach. It is a shame but if that is what you want, who will bother to argue with you?

Offline EV

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Re: Parables
« Reply #9 on: May 08, 2012, 06:34:28 PM »
PlainJane, I am going to post some biblical inconsistencies that I think will be of interest to this thread. How would you go about reconciling these? If there are inconsistencies inherent in the Bible, it is not Perfect, and is not grounds for moral instruction.

MK 6:53 After the feeding of the 5000, Jesus and the disciples went to Gennesaret.
JN 6:17-25 They went to Capernaum.

LK 8:12 The Devil causes unbelief.
MK 4:11-12 Jesus is responsible for unbelief in at least some cases.
2TH 2:11-12 God is ultimately responsible for unbelief in at least some cases.

EX 3:1 Jethro was the father-in-law of Moses.
NU 10:29, JG 4:11 (KJV) Hobab was the father-in-law of Moses.

1CH 3:19 Pedaiah was the father of Zerubbabel.
ER 3:2 Shealtiel was the father of Zerubbabel.

MT 1:16 Jacob was Joseph's father.
LK 3:23 Heli was Joseph's father.

JN 1:1, 10:30 Jesus and God are one.
JN 14:28 God is greater than Jesus.

JN 1:1 Jesus was God incarnate.
AC 2:22 Jesus was a man approved by God.

JN 3:17, 8:15, 12:47 Jesus does not judge.
JN 5:22, 5:27-30, 9:39, AC 10:42, 2CO 5:10 Jesus does judge.

JN 5:22 God does not judge.
RO 2:2-5, 3:19, 2TH 1:5, 1PE 1:17 God does judge.

JN 5:24 Believers do not come into judgement.
MT 12:36, RO 5:18, 2CO 5:10, HE 9:27, 1PE 1:17, JU 1:14-15, RE 20:12-13 All persons (including believers) come into judgement.

JN 5:31 Jesus says that if he bears witness to himself, his testimony is not true.
JN 8:14 Jesus says that even if he bears witness to himself, his testimony is true.
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Offline Maggie the Opinionated

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Re: Parables
« Reply #10 on: May 08, 2012, 09:23:03 PM »
The four Gospels have been around now for 2000 years. Yet at no point has any Christian body anywhere on earth felt the need to smooth out all the "inconsistencies". Why is that, do you think? Most of these "inconsistencies" cease being problems when one reads attentively. I don't know if I will bother with all of them but we"ll see. By the way, what do you mean that the Bible is (or is not) perfect? Perfect in what sense?


MK 6:53 After the feeding of the 5000, Jesus and the disciples went to Gennesaret.
JN 6:17-25 They went to Capernaum.
Gennesaret was about halfway to Capernaum. The town got its name from the lake and, since they had to cross it to get to G, it was on the way. Mark says that they moored the boat there which suggests that they stopped for the day before going on to Capernaum. So, no. No inconsistency.

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LK 8:12 The Devil causes unbelief.
MK 4:11-12 Jesus is responsible for unbelief in at least some cases.
2TH 2:11-12 God is ultimately responsible for unbelief in at least some cases.
The devil has no power over us that we do not give him. Jesus explains that the parable describes the way that people will receive the word of God. There are all sorts of reasons that one either does not believe or falls away after initially believing but the one thing that is emphasized throughout is that the word of God must bear fruit in our lives. If one is indifferent to the message, one gives the devil power. If one just responds emotionally, when the first rush of emotion is past, then one may simply fall away. Jesus is not responsible for unbelief. His major point is that his disciples have been given a great gift-- insight into the mysteries of God. Since they were to form the backbone of his Church,  that makes perfect sense.

As far as 2 Thess. is concerned, I have no great insights to offer but what is very clear is that the people those who have already rejected Christ. Why a deluding spirit will be sent upon them I cannot say.

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EX 3:1 Jethro was the father-in-law of Moses.
NU 10:29, JG 4:11 (KJV) Hobab was the father-in-law of Moses.
There is no way to resolve this. It is one of the reasons that scholars like Robert Alter think that there were several narrative traditions feeding into the story of Moses.

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JN 1:1, 10:30 Jesus and God are one.
JN 14:28 God is greater than Jesus.
God is greater than the man Jesus. Christ and God are one. Jesus was fully human and fully divine. This also explains the next two verses.

JN 1:1 Jesus was God incarnate.
AC 2:22 Jesus was a man approved by God.

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JN 3:17, 8:15, 12:47 Jesus does not judge.
JN 5:22, 5:27-30, 9:39, AC 10:42, 2CO 5:10 Jesus does judge.
I think if you read these and the following carefully, which means in context, you will see that different aspects of Christ's mission and work are being discussed.

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JN 5:31 Jesus says that if he bears witness to himself, his testimony is not true.
JN 8:14 Jesus says that even if he bears witness to himself, his testimony is true.
No. You need to read these two verses in context. These are two ways of saying the same thing.

Offline EV

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Re: Parables
« Reply #11 on: May 09, 2012, 03:41:03 AM »
The four Gospels have been around now for 2000 years. Yet at no point has any Christian body anywhere on earth felt the need to smooth out all the "inconsistencies". Why is that, do you think?
Because they do not want to question their holy book until about 1800, examples include Galileo being 'disadvantaged' by the catholic church for his beliefs. If anyone had questioned the Bible in those days, then lets just say that they would probably be expecting the Spanish Inquisition.
By the way, what do you mean that the Bible is (or is not) perfect? Perfect in what sense?
From this I mean that if the scripture is divinely inspired, then the Bible itself should have that imprint of perfection on it. Either you attribute that God played a large part in its writing, or simply that it was written by primitive men. and has no real meaning today.

If God is perfect, then a perfect way to spread his message would be to create a book with inconsistencies in it  &)
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EX 3:1 Jethro was the father-in-law of Moses.
NU 10:29, JG 4:11 (KJV) Hobab was the father-in-law of Moses.
There is no way to resolve this. It is one of the reasons that scholars like Robert Alter think that there were several narrative traditions feeding into the story of Moses. [/quote]

Okay, we have identified one error in the Bible. (Shelter post limits mean I can't expound very much...) I expected you wouldn't acknowledge the others, and I apologise for the Capernaum one (my ancient Geography is not great!)

The issue with one issue just highlights the fact that it was written by men, as you said yourself. If you accept that there is one problem with the book, you are by definition accepting that there is imperfection inherent in the book. Is that a fair conclusion?

Evidently, the next step is the one that theists never tend to like, which is to link this to the existence of God, and you can show that a perfect being would not produce something with an error in it, if it were easily possible not to produce the error (which for God, presumably it is.)

I'm trying to argue from a non-denominational standpoint here, I know you are RCC, but I am trying to answer from a logical definition of God being a Perfect being.

What are your thoughts on this? I know you have been blasted by some for being 'rude and discourteous' but I think that is unnecessary, and civility is after all a rule on this part of the forum. I haven't interacted with you before PlainJane, so I hope we can be somewhat civil!
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Offline Graybeard

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Re: Parables
« Reply #12 on: May 09, 2012, 05:27:52 AM »
If I could "understand" God completely, He would be far too small for me to bother with.
Jane,
I think you have serious difficulties saying we may not understand God and then explaining God.

And yet, like other apologists before, it doesn't stop you trying to explain that which you cannot know, does it? You know you must be wrong - either that or you are telling us how Jane expects us to behave.

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And God can be very violent, as all of the OT shows. No big surprise really – we were made in his image and He is Yahweh, god of War

I am afraid that is pure fundy proof-texting. ... it is a shame but if that is what you want, who will bother to argue with you?

Not so dismissive Jane,
Ex:15:3: The LORD (Yehovah) is a man of war: the LORD (Yehovah) is his name.
Isa:3:2: The mighty man, and the man of war, the judge, and the prophet, and the prudent, and the ancient,
Isa:42:13: The LORD (Yehovah) shall go forth as a mighty man, he shall stir up jealousy like a man of war: he shall cry, yea, roar; he shall prevail against his enemies.


But moving on to parables.

Whether they threaten the slaughter of the non-believer (Luke 19:27) or whether they are purely racist (Lk10:30-37) they were designed to address those would could not understand (what was to become) Christianity.

There is some irony in this: Jesus, son of God, was unable to explain what his philosophy entailed in terms that would be understandable to the vast majority. Assuming this is true, we then have a situation where all Christians have bought into something they do not understand.

We do not even know if the parables can be interpreted or, if we do, that we have understand them correctly.

Christ and God are one. Jesus was fully human and fully divine. This also explains the next two verses.
Jane... It explains nothing. "And this circle has 4 right-angled corners..." It is an attempt to build a theory on sand.

Even you cannot explain this blatant attempt at having people believe nonsense.

« Last Edit: May 09, 2012, 05:32:13 AM by Graybeard »
Nobody says “There are many things that we thought were natural processes, but now know that a god did them.”

Offline Graybeard

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Re: Parables
« Reply #13 on: May 09, 2012, 05:46:44 AM »
I think a list of parables would be helpful:

A) The Markan parables:
1. New cloth on an old coat: Mk2:21, Mt9:16, Lk5:36
2. New wine in old wineskins: Mk2:22, Mt9:17, Lk5:37-38
3. Sower and the soils: Mk4:3-8,14-20, Mt13:3-8,18-23, Lk8:5-8,11-15
4. Lamp under a bowl: Mk4:21-23, Mt5:14-16, Lk8:16-17;11:33
5. Growing seed: Mk4:26-29
6. Mustard seed: Mk4:30-32, Mt:13:31-32, Lk13:18-19
7. Tenants and the son: Mk12:1-9, Mt21:33-41,43, Lk20:9-16a
8. Fig tree: Mk13:28-29, Mt:24:32-35, Lk21:29-31
9. Watchful servant: Mk13:34-37, Lk12:35-40
B) The "Q" parables:
1. Wise and foolish builders: Mt7:24-27, Lk6:47-49
2. Yeast: Mt13:33, Lk13:20-21
3. Lost sheep: Mt18:12-13, Lk15:4-6
4. The great or wedding banquet: Mt22:2-14, Lk14:16-24
5. Faithful and wise servants: Mt24:45-51, Lk12:42-48
6. Talents (minas): Mt25:14-30, Lk19:12-27
C) The Matthean parables:
1. The weeds: Mt13:24-30,37-43
2. Hidden treasure: Mt13:44
3. Valuable pearl: Mt13:45-46
4. Net: Mt13:47-50
5. Owner of the house: Mt13:52
6. Unmerciful servant: Mt18:23-34
7. Workers in a vineyard: Mt20:1-16
8. Two sons: Mt21:28-32
9. Ten virgins: Mt25:1-13
D) The Lukan parables:
1. Moneylender: Lk7:41-43
2. Good Samaritan: Lk10:30-37
3. Friend in need: Lk11:5-8
4. Rich fool: Lk12:16-21
5. Unfruitful fig tree: Lk13:6-9
6. Lowest seat at the feast: Lk14:7-14
7. Cost of discipleship: Lk14:28-33
8. Lost coin: Lk15:8-10
9. Lost (prodigal) son: Lk15:11-32
10. Shrewd manager: Lk16:1-8
11. Rich man and Lazarus: Lk16:19-31
12. Master and his servant: Lk17:7-10
13. Persistent widow: Lk18:2-8
14. Pharisee and tax collector: Lk18:10-14

Disregard this as far as the limit of responses is concerned.
GB Mod
« Last Edit: May 09, 2012, 08:45:08 AM by Graybeard »
Nobody says “There are many things that we thought were natural processes, but now know that a god did them.”

Offline Maggie the Opinionated

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Re: Parables
« Reply #14 on: May 09, 2012, 11:13:43 AM »
Because they do not want to question their holy book until about 1800, examples include Galileo being 'disadvantaged' by the catholic church for his beliefs.
??What? Galileo was disadvantaged by the RCC for his beliefs? Err, no, not quite. Saying that Nobody dared to question it (the Bible) til 1800 is off by 1600+ years.
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If anyone had questioned the Bible in those days, then lets just say that they would probably be expecting the Spanish Inquisition.
Sigh. Have you ever read a history of the Inquisition? It might surprise you to learn what it really was.

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From this I mean that if the scripture is divinely inspired, then the Bible itself should have that imprint of perfection on it.
Who said?
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Either you attribute that God played a large part in its writing, or simply that it was written by primitive men. and has no real meaning today.
Nope. False dichotomy.

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If God is perfect, then a perfect way to spread his message would be to create a book with inconsistencies in it  &)
Ah! You mean an instruction guide such as accompanies my new rototiller. Well, he didn't do it. So now what?

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Okay, we have identified one error in the Bible. (Shelter post limits mean I can't expound very much...) I expected you wouldn't acknowledge the others, and I apologise for the Capernaum one (my ancient Geography is not great!)
Excuse me? Why should I bother, even if the length of posts was not an issue. I already demonstrated that your inconsistencies are easy to resolve.

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If you accept that there is one problem with the book, you are by definition accepting that there is imperfection inherent in the book. Is that a fair conclusion?
No. No informed person has ever held that it is "perfect". How could it be?

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Evidently, the next step is the one that theists never tend to like, which is to link this to the existence of God, and you can show that a perfect being would not produce something with an error in it, if it were easily possible not to produce the error (which for God, presumably it is.)
The two things have absolutely nothing to do with each other.

Would you like a bibliography that would get you up to speed on what educated Christians believe about the Bible? About God?

« Last Edit: May 09, 2012, 11:17:14 AM by Plain Jane »

Offline Maggie the Opinionated

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Re: Parables
« Reply #15 on: May 09, 2012, 11:25:15 AM »
If I could "understand" God completely, He would be far too small for me to bother with.
Jane,
I think you have serious difficulties saying we may not understand God and then explaining God.

And yet, like other apologists before, it doesn't stop you trying to explain that which you cannot know, does it? You know you must be wrong -
  I was going to ignore this entirely but, even though it will do no good, I will go to the trouble of pointing a few things out.
 
First, God can no more explain his mind to us fully than you can explain yours to a worm. The distance between us and God is infinitely greater than between you and a worm. I do not try to explain what I do not know. I explain what we can know from the exercise of reason and what we can know from revelation.

Beyond that, your post (really all of them) shows no sign of understanding that philosophers have been struggling with the question of God-- who and what he is-- for 3000+ years. Yet none of you display the slightest acquaintance with this vast literature. Without some knowledge of the treasures of human thought on this and many related subjects, there is no ground on which we can meet to discuss anything. I might just as well preach chastity in a brothel.

Offline EV

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Re: Parables
« Reply #16 on: May 09, 2012, 05:08:38 PM »
Beyond that, your post (really all of them) >snip< I might just as well preach chastity in a brothel.

I was trying to address the divine attributes, which is an area of philosophy that is fairly well rounded. What you failed to grasp was that I was NOT referring to a biblical God in my definition.

Greybeard is not stupid. Please don't make ad hominem attacks, we are all trying to be civil here.
??What? Galileo was disadvantaged by the RCC for his beliefs? Err, no, not quite. Saying that Nobody dared to question it (the Bible) til 1800 is off by 1600+ years.
Yes I have.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galileo_Galilei#Controversy_over_heliocentrism is fairly interesting. It appears that due to Galileo observing something scientifically, he was sentenced to a lifetime of house arrest, and ordered to read the seven penitential psalms once a week for the next three years... I'm sure that did not disadvantage a scientist at all. [/sarcasm]
Sigh. Have you ever read a history of the Inquisition? It might surprise you to learn what it really was.
That was a Monty Python reference, I don't think that you quite saw that one.

Even so, Cardinal Fang was reluctant to use the comfy chair, so I'm sure that the Spanish Inquisition showed some restraint...[1]

Who said?
Err... Perhaps this rationalism thing you keep talking about?

Perhaps the fact that a perfect being with no constraints chose to make a book that has errors in to confuse the atheists doesn't make much sense.... Of course we cannot know the mind of God so this is, according to your predicted rebuttal, irrelevant.

Nope. False dichotomy.
I'm going to clarify this in a few more words. Societies change. Many of the laws that were written then are irrelevant now. If Man wrote the book, then the book is imperfect.

Ah! You mean an instruction guide such as accompanies my new rototiller. Well, he didn't do it. So now what?
You must interpret everything literally. You wouldn't look for similes and deep meaning in a manual for a washing machine, neither would you do so in the Bible, which is God's commands to live a satisfying life.

No. No informed person has ever held that it is "perfect". How could it be?
If God wrote the book, then it must be perfect because God is perfect,, and to create imperfection is imperfect. Even if God is all powerful, he can create imperfect things, but it is better to create perfect things. And the scripture we have that almost the entire religion of Christianity is based on is flawed in many places.

The two things have absolutely nothing to do with each other.
see above. You attempt to call Greybeard out on not knowing the relevant philosophy. I'm studying the idea of God at the moment, including the ontological arguments by both Anselm and Descartes. All of these things, indeed anything regarding the idea of a God as defined as a perfect being depend on the divine attributes, and to say it's irrelevant is itself to show a lack of knowledge about the relevant scripture.
 
Would you like a bibliography that would get you up to speed on what educated Christians believe about the Bible? About God?

I will quote you on this one:

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Excuse me? Why should I bother, even if the length of posts books and links was not an issue. I already demonstrated that your inconsistencies are easy to resolve.

462 words minus quotes...?
 1. The Spanish inquisition killed 5,000 people, and practised torture. They were used to enforce the Churches law, and displaced 40,000 Spanish Jews who refused to be baptised as Christians.
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"Although it is not true that all conservatives are stupid people, it is true that most stupid people are conservative."
- Philosopher John Stuart Mill, from a Parliamentary debate (May 31, 1866);

Offline Graybeard

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Re: Parables
« Reply #17 on: May 09, 2012, 07:01:38 PM »
First, God can no more explain his mind to us fully than you can explain yours to a worm.
You do amuse me, Jane. Here you are saying how busy God must be in heaven, and yet you have the same understanding of God as a worm has of you.
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The distance between us and God is infinitely greater than between you and a worm.
Do you have Scripture for that? And can you show that sufficient research was done by a goat-herder to have his paper peer reviewed?
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I do not try to explain what I do not know.
But you do, Jane, you do. Do I have to go through your posts and quote you?  You can know nothing – you said so.
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I explain what we can know from the exercise of reason and what we can know from revelation.
Reason? Revelation? Really? You are making it up as you go along, Jane. How can you use reason on a mythical being? How can you use reason on a being with a brain the size of the universe? What do you know about unicorns? (At least they’re in the Bible.)

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Beyond that, your post (really all of them) shows no sign of understanding that philosophers have been struggling with the question of God-- who and what he is-- for 3000+ years. Yet none of you display the slightest acquaintance with this vast literature.
You do me a disservice, Jane. When I was young I read many folk-tales from all over the world. Stories that spoke of gods and goddesses, the home of the gods, the land beyond the Styx, people cheating death, the devil, fairies, elves, goblins, witches, talking animals (biblical snake/Balaam’s ass), races of unpleasant people (Samaritans), etc.

I’m fully acquainted with the ramblings of the primitive mind and the low standards of proof required for an entertaining story that must not be taken seriously.

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Without some knowledge of the treasures of human thought on this and many related subjects, there is no ground on which we can meet to discuss anything.
Treasure? Human thought on a subject where humans have the understanding of worms? What value is that, Jane? What value is that?
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I might just as well preach chastity in a brothel.
Of course, what you preach to your friends is entirely a matter for yourself.

I do have a question though – “What does God eat and where does he get his clothes?”
Nobody says “There are many things that we thought were natural processes, but now know that a god did them.”