Author Topic: A Challenge to Christians  (Read 23448 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline nogodsforme

  • Professor
  • ********
  • Posts: 6879
  • Darwins +925/-6
  • Gender: Female
  • Jehovah's Witness Protection Program
Re: A Challenge to Christians
« Reply #29 on: April 09, 2013, 03:21:01 PM »
Mary was Jewish.

Well, I guess that means no heaven for that little missy! (Church lady voice.)
Extraordinary claims of the bible don't even have ordinary evidence.

Kids aren't paying attention most of the time in science classes so it seems silly to get worked up over ID being taught in schools.

Offline magicmiles

  • Fellow
  • *******
  • Posts: 2947
  • Darwins +180/-73
  • Gender: Male
Re: A Challenge to Christians
« Reply #30 on: April 09, 2013, 05:31:13 PM »
Just so we're clear: are you saying that your understanding of the passage is the only correct one? Do you interpret everything literally?

The problem isn't "literal" vs. "metaphorical/allegorical/mystical/etc." interpretation.  It's that interpretation--a subjective, un-verifiable, unfalsifiable, "eye-of-the-beholder" process is necessary at all

Perhaps interpretation isn't quite the right word to use when it comes to understanding the intent of a biblical passage, because I do not agree that biblical passages are subject only to an "eye of the beholder" process. Passages are examined using historical, geographical and cultural context. Some passages even blind Freddy can see are figurative, some passages even blind Freddy can see are meant to be taken literally, but some passages are not so clear and require a lot of careful study.

A problem, you say? Not to me. But I believe God exists.


Historically, Christianity has been based on the following principles, about as far back as we can go:

1) There is only One True God.

Yes.


2) There is only One True Understanding of this God (who "He" is, what "He" wants, etc., i.e. "sound doctrinetm")

Yes. But I'm not sure any one person who ever lived was blessed with it.



3) It is necessary to believe in the One True God and have the One True Understanding of "Him" and "His" nature, commandments, etc.--otherwise you're a Vile Heretic

Yes to part A, no to part B. We can know many things about God, but there are many we don't know, and probably many that we mis-understand.



4) If you do not meet condition #3 within fairly close tolerances, you are not "Saved," and it is vitally important that you be "Saved."[1]
 1. Even most Christianities that do not feature a Hell of everlasting torment would still argue that becoming the right sort of Christian (theirs, natch) is pretty bloody important.

No. Salvation comes through repentance and believing that Jesus died an undeserved death for sinners. Living a life God desires comes after salvation, when you are actually desiring such a life (but still regularly failing).

Nobody can earn salvation.



Our earliest Christian writings, the authentic epistles of Paul, are filled with thundering denunciations of other Christianities than his own (such as the "Judaizers," and mystics who used the "gifts of the Spirit" in ways he disapproved).  Likewise for the other Epistles, and Jesus as portrayed in the canonical Gospels.  Nowhere do we find room for a whole lot of squishy interpretation or toleration of the diversity of views that necessarily results.  Christianity isn't like Hinduism, where nobody would ever even think it mattered whether or not Hanuman really carried the mountain, because it's a story about his loyalty, dedication, strength, and pragmatism.  And since it's never even asserted as The One, True Truth With a Great Big Capital-T that you have to believe, it's perfectly OK to treat it as a story and interpret it in different ways.  Heck, its OK to worship Krishna or Sita or any of hundreds of other deities if Hanuman isn't your flavor of cuppa.  In Roman-era Paganism, the gods and goddesses weren't fussy.  Call him Mercury, Hermes, Thoth, or Djehuti--the god himself was fine with it whichever way.  You could even kit-bash deities together--e.g. "Amun-Re" or "Ptah-Sokar-Osiris," or "Serapis."


I rather think I agree with all of that. Which is perplexing me, because I assume that means I am somehow disagreeing with something I have said earlier. I'm not seeing it, but I am sure it will be pointed out to me.



So the problem isn't "Waaah, you atheists take everything so literally!" It's that you Christians expect everyone to accept the One, True Understanding of your One, True God even though you, and your "interpretations" of your One, True Holy Text are all over the map.

I don't 'expect' non-Christians to understand God and the bible the way Christians do, in fact its to be expected that they don't. I hope they do. For some, I pray that they do. It's God who'll grant that understanding, not me or any other Christian. I do, however, expect a self-professing critical thinker to accept that, just because there are different views on what bible passages are communicating, it doesn't mean that there is no logical process to be used in gaining understanding.



 You don't get to say "Believe the right things, or elsee" followed by "Well, it's all a matter of interpretation."  The very facts that: the texts are open to a range of interpretation, that extensive scholarship in textual criticism, dead languages, ancient culture and idiom, history, mythology, etc. are necessary to grapple with those texts in an intelligent manner falsify the claim that there is a One, True Omnimax God who is very picky about what humans believe and practice, who revealed the One, True Way through One, True Book.  Or at least, it would prove that such a deity--requiring that we get exact right answers on the Celestial Quiz, then blindfolding us with a veil of subjective interpretation and forcing us to try to pin the tail on his invisible ass under threats of torture (by his human minions now, or by him after we die)--is a gigantic douchebag.  And how many Christians would admit to worshiping a gigantic douchebag?

That's just absolute nonsense. You're telling me that, because there are some passages in the bible that are difficult to understand, or difficult to know how to accurately interpret, the central claims of Christianity are falsified and the central theme of the bible is un-knowable? You're a smart person, but even a pretty dumb person can read the bible and know with absolute certainty that it teaches:

* there is one God
* God created the world and everthing and everyone in it
* God gave humans rules to live by, and we broke them from day one and continue to do so
* God promised a saviour
* Jesus was that saviour
* Jesus died and was resurrected
*No one comes to God but through Jesus

Believing those things...diferent kettle of fish. Clearly.



Edit: That said, I can point to a few counter-examples, Christians who don't hold to the "One, True" aspects, and for whom open-ended interpretation of "Scripture" (and for that matter, atheism, paganism, etc.) wouldn't be as much of a problem.  People like Fred Clark at Slactivist, or Bishop Spong.  But even they would argue that their Christianities are at least in some sense "more correct" than fundamentalist or traditional-hierarchical (Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodox, etc.) Christianities.  Also, progressive, open-minded, tolerant Christianities like theirs are a bright, shiny, new modern invention that relies on ignoring pretty much the entire history of Christianities, from Paul's onward, to justify their openness.

The central teachings of the bible are as clear to Fred Clark as anyone else. He can take from that what he wants.
Go on up you baldhead.

Offline magicmiles

  • Fellow
  • *******
  • Posts: 2947
  • Darwins +180/-73
  • Gender: Male
Re: A Challenge to Christians
« Reply #31 on: April 09, 2013, 05:32:08 PM »
Mary was Jewish.

Well, I guess that means no heaven for that little missy! (Church lady voice.)

?? Lost me.
Go on up you baldhead.

Offline magicmiles

  • Fellow
  • *******
  • Posts: 2947
  • Darwins +180/-73
  • Gender: Male
Re: A Challenge to Christians
« Reply #32 on: April 09, 2013, 05:40:40 PM »
You're mistaking me for a pawn again Christian.

No, I asked you a question and you didn't answer it.

Oh. Wow. You wanted me to give a proper answer to that question? I could have sworn it was rhetorical. Make yourself clearer next time.


Just so we're clear: are you saying that your understanding of the passage is the only correct one? Do you interpret everything literally?


Do you interpret the resurrection, hell, the second coming, and creation of the universe by Yahweh literally? As I said before, you can (as many fundies do) attempt to re-interpret any passages, of any alleged holy book, any way you want in order to justify continuance of "faith" and/or belief (this is why there is no one true Christianity, only Christianities pl). So what. That's what every religionist/apologist does when they face refutation. And that is why faith is useless for determining fact from fiction.

If you think the Christian interpretation of the bible (that miracles are for today) is mistaken then welcome to the world of Christian sects who can't agree with each b/c your bible disagrees with itself. Making the assumption that the bible is "the word of God", from the start, is the main problem anyways. Stop beating around the bush and get to your point.

My questions, on the other hand, clearly weren't rhetorical. And you didn't answer them, choosing instead to re-state your perfectly clear position.
Go on up you baldhead.

Offline nogodsforme

  • Professor
  • ********
  • Posts: 6879
  • Darwins +925/-6
  • Gender: Female
  • Jehovah's Witness Protection Program
Re: A Challenge to Christians
« Reply #33 on: April 09, 2013, 06:02:43 PM »
mm, we atheists don't interpret anything in the bible literally-- if it involves supernatural stuff done by god-beings. Because no evidence of god-beings or the supernatural has ever been documented as fact. We can say with almost 100% certainly that, for example, nobody ever died and then came back from the dead, walked on water, or turned water into wine.

As for the non-supernatural, that depends on whether there is reliable independent documentation. If there is, then we can accept that it is literally true. If there is not, then all we can say is that it might have happened, we don't know. Like, there might have been a rabbi in the Middle East named Jesus. Since the evidence is not conclusive, all we can say is such a person might have existed.

But we can say that such a person never did magical things like walk on water or come back from the dead.
Extraordinary claims of the bible don't even have ordinary evidence.

Kids aren't paying attention most of the time in science classes so it seems silly to get worked up over ID being taught in schools.

Online jdawg70

  • Reader
  • ******
  • Posts: 2273
  • Darwins +413/-8
  • Ex-rosary squad
  • User is on moderator watch listWatched
Re: A Challenge to Christians
« Reply #34 on: April 09, 2013, 06:36:00 PM »
You don't get to say "Believe the right things, or elsee" followed by "Well, it's all a matter of interpretation."  The very facts that: the texts are open to a range of interpretation, that extensive scholarship in textual criticism, dead languages, ancient culture and idiom, history, mythology, etc. are necessary to grapple with those texts in an intelligent manner falsify the claim that there is a One, True Omnimax God who is very picky about what humans believe and practice, who revealed the One, True Way through One, True Book.  Or at least, it would prove that such a deity--requiring that we get exact right answers on the Celestial Quiz, then blindfolding us with a veil of subjective interpretation and forcing us to try to pin the tail on his invisible ass under threats of torture (by his human minions now, or by him after we die)--is a gigantic douchebag.  And how many Christians would admit to worshiping a gigantic douchebag?

That's just absolute nonsense. You're telling me that, because there are some passages in the bible that are difficult to understand, or difficult to know how to accurately interpret, the central claims of Christianity are falsified and the central theme of the bible is un-knowable? You're a smart person, but even a pretty dumb person can read the bible and know with absolute certainty that it teaches:

* there is one God
* God created the world and everthing and everyone in it
* God gave humans rules to live by, and we broke them from day one and continue to do so
* God promised a saviour
* Jesus was that saviour
* Jesus died and was resurrected
*No one comes to God but through Jesus

Believing those things...diferent kettle of fish. Clearly.
I think the 'unknowable-ness' that Kcrady would be alluding to would be the 'knowing what to believe is true' part.  The argument, I think, is that the central themes of the bible cannot be known as true.  If you've got a book that's got, say, 20 claims regarding objective reality in it, you'd be hard pressed to say that any of those claims are correct if, say, 25% of the claims are strictly demonstrably false, 10% of the claims are vague and/or confusing, and 50% of the claims are principally unknowable.  Unless, of course, you look at other sources to validate or invalidate those claims.
"When we landed on the moon, that was the point where god should have come up and said 'hello'. Because if you invent some creatures, put them on the blue one and they make it to the grey one, you f**king turn up and say 'well done'."

- Eddie Izzard

http://deepaksducttape.wordpress.com/

Offline median

  • Reader
  • ******
  • Posts: 1848
  • Darwins +201/-16
  • Gender: Male
  • Yahweh: Obviously not obvious.
    • Talk Origins
Re: A Challenge to Christians
« Reply #35 on: April 11, 2013, 03:26:40 AM »
My questions, on the other hand, clearly weren't rhetorical. And you didn't answer them, choosing instead to re-state your perfectly clear position.

Oh, I answered the question just fine (and in doing so I anticipated the "Oh, you were just interpreting those passages wrong" attempt, which is the all too common default rationalization from just about every apologist I've encountered. It's the, "I assume the bible is the word of God. So any other interpretation is false" fallacy). You just didn't like the answer I gave b/c of this anticipation. The bigger question is, why are you accepting this one ancient textual account on faith?

Again, sure you can attempt to spin and rationalize ANY bible passage that makes your worldview inconvenient, untenable, and/or uncomfortable. But that is no different from what every religion on the planet does with their alleged 'holy' books when they are in danger of refutation. How unimpressive! Make a big fat assumption about what an old book says, and then go about defending it at all costs b/c you've invested yourself, and your surroundings, so heavily that it would be social suicide to get out. Smart!

"Difficult passages" isn't the first issue. Demonstrating how you think you know your alleged holy book is from a God (whatever that means) is.
« Last Edit: April 11, 2013, 03:31:38 AM by median »
Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Carl Sagan

Offline Anfauglir

  • Global Moderator
  • ******
  • Posts: 6198
  • Darwins +408/-5
  • Gender: Male
Re: A Challenge to Christians
« Reply #36 on: April 11, 2013, 08:23:07 AM »
You don't get to say "Believe the right things, or elsee" followed by "Well, it's all a matter of interpretation."  The very facts that: the texts are open to a range of interpretation, that extensive scholarship in textual criticism, dead languages, ancient culture and idiom, history, mythology, etc. are necessary to grapple with those texts in an intelligent manner falsify the claim that there is a One, True Omnimax God who is very picky about what humans believe and practice, who revealed the One, True Way through One, True Book.  Or at least, it would prove that such a deity--requiring that we get exact right answers on the Celestial Quiz, then blindfolding us with a veil of subjective interpretation and forcing us to try to pin the tail on his invisible ass under threats of torture (by his human minions now, or by him after we die)--is a gigantic douchebag.  And how many Christians would admit to worshiping a gigantic douchebag?

That's just absolute nonsense. You're telling me that, because there are some passages in the bible that are difficult to understand, or difficult to know how to accurately interpret, the central claims of Christianity are falsified and the central theme of the bible is un-knowable? You're a smart person, but even a pretty dumb person can read the bible and know with absolute certainty that it teaches:

* there is one God
* God created the world and everthing and everyone in it
* God gave humans rules to live by, and we broke them from day one and continue to do so
* God promised a saviour
* Jesus was that saviour
* Jesus died and was resurrected
*No one comes to God but through Jesus

Believing those things...diferent kettle of fish. Clearly.
I think the 'unknowable-ness' that Kcrady would be alluding to would be the 'knowing what to believe is true' part.  The argument, I think, is that the central themes of the bible cannot be known as true.  If you've got a book that's got, say, 20 claims regarding objective reality in it, you'd be hard pressed to say that any of those claims are correct if, say, 25% of the claims are strictly demonstrably false, 10% of the claims are vague and/or confusing, and 50% of the claims are principally unknowable.  Unless, of course, you look at other sources to validate or invalidate those claims.

Yes, indeedy.  It may well be that the Bible is crystal clear that (to pick one) "God created the world and everthing and everyone in it".  But the Bible also says that the health of a goat's offspring depends on what it sees when it conceives.  If we can discount one of those assertions as being false, then there is no reason at all to assume that any other assertion it makes is true - indeed, wisdom would speak against it.  Find one error or inconsistency in a book, and you should take less notice of any other claims that it makes.

If this was a textbook, or a biography, or an encyclopedia, and you found numerous contradictory entries, would you place full reliance on another entry that you hadn't found to be contradicted?  Or would you think "damn, this book had a whole load of errors in it - I'd best not believe anything it says".  What special criteria are you applying to the Bible that says that multiple contradictory claims mean the few uncontradicted claims should be taken seriously?
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?

Offline holybuckets

  • Emergency Room
  • *****
  • Posts: 574
  • Darwins +3/-34
  • User posts join approval queueModerated
Re: A Challenge to Christians
« Reply #37 on: April 11, 2013, 08:52:44 PM »
Where does Jesus ask ME to do that? I must have missed the memo.

Offline screwtape

  • The Great Red Dragon
  • Administrator
  • *******
  • Posts: 12575
  • Darwins +703/-28
  • Gender: Male
  • Karma mooch
Re: A Challenge to Christians
« Reply #38 on: April 12, 2013, 07:50:58 AM »
Where does Jesus ask ME to do that? I must have missed the memo.

Hi, holybuckets.  Nice to see you back.  To what is your post responding?  The OP?  Please clarify.  It will help us answer your question.
Links:
Rules
Guides & Tutorials

What's true is already so. Owning up to it does not make it worse.

Offline Tonus

  • Undergraduate
  • ***
  • Posts: 195
  • Darwins +28/-0
  • Gender: Male
  • WWGHA Member
    • Stuff I draw
Re: A Challenge to Christians
« Reply #39 on: April 12, 2013, 03:43:45 PM »
Perhaps interpretation isn't quite the right word to use when it comes to understanding the intent of a biblical passage, because I do not agree that biblical passages are subject only to an "eye of the beholder" process. Passages are examined using historical, geographical and cultural context. Some passages even blind Freddy can see are figurative, some passages even blind Freddy can see are meant to be taken literally, but some passages are not so clear and require a lot of careful study.

A problem, you say? Not to me. But I believe God exists.

The thing is, people have been carefully studying those texts for centuries.  As far as I can tell, the amount of the Bible that even most sides can agree are figurative or literal is very small, while the parts that are "not so clear" are almost all of it.  How many more centuries of careful study are required before men can benefit from the holy word of the kindly, loving, caring god who wants only the best for all mankind?

Offline median

  • Reader
  • ******
  • Posts: 1848
  • Darwins +201/-16
  • Gender: Male
  • Yahweh: Obviously not obvious.
    • Talk Origins
Re: A Challenge to Christians
« Reply #40 on: April 12, 2013, 10:37:03 PM »
Perhaps interpretation isn't quite the right word to use when it comes to understanding the intent of a biblical passage, because I do not agree that biblical passages are subject only to an "eye of the beholder" process. Passages are examined using historical, geographical and cultural context. Some passages even blind Freddy can see are figurative, some passages even blind Freddy can see are meant to be taken literally, but some passages are not so clear and require a lot of careful study.

A problem, you say? Not to me. But I believe God exists.

The thing is, people have been carefully studying those texts for centuries.  As far as I can tell, the amount of the Bible that even most sides can agree are figurative or literal is very small, while the parts that are "not so clear" are almost all of it.  How many more centuries of careful study are required before men can benefit from the holy word of the kindly, loving, caring god who wants only the best for all mankind?

Indefinite, so it seems. This deity isn't checking in, updating his own "word", demonstrating itself to the whole of humanity on a consistent basis, and is generally indistinguishable from a being that doesn't exist. So much for a God that loves and cares for us and wishes that "none should perish". For a deity that is supposedly all-powerful he certainly isn't using those power in any way that is distinguishable from not using them, not having them, and not existing. 
« Last Edit: April 12, 2013, 10:39:49 PM by median »
Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Carl Sagan

Offline magicmiles

  • Fellow
  • *******
  • Posts: 2947
  • Darwins +180/-73
  • Gender: Male
Re: A Challenge to Christians
« Reply #41 on: April 14, 2013, 05:35:47 AM »
My questions, on the other hand, clearly weren't rhetorical. And you didn't answer them, choosing instead to re-state your perfectly clear position.

Oh, I answered the question just fine (and in doing so I anticipated the "Oh, you were just interpreting those passages wrong" attempt, which is the all too common default rationalization from just about every apologist I've encountered. It's the, "I assume the bible is the word of God. So any other interpretation is false" fallacy). You just didn't like the answer I gave b/c of this anticipation. The bigger question is, why are you accepting this one ancient textual account on faith?

Again, sure you can attempt to spin and rationalize ANY bible passage that makes your worldview inconvenient, untenable, and/or uncomfortable. But that is no different from what every religion on the planet does with their alleged 'holy' books when they are in danger of refutation. How unimpressive! Make a big fat assumption about what an old book says, and then go about defending it at all costs b/c you've invested yourself, and your surroundings, so heavily that it would be social suicide to get out. Smart!

"Difficult passages" isn't the first issue. Demonstrating how you think you know your alleged holy book is from a God (whatever that means) is.

I just carefully read your post at reply number 28 and also the one quoted here, and I'm quite surethat you have not, in fact, answered this:


Just so we're clear: are you saying that your understanding of the passage is the only correct one? Do you interpret everything literally?

Lets see if you can manage it this time? Here's a handy hint - ridiculing the question is not the same as answering it.
« Last Edit: April 14, 2013, 05:38:06 AM by magicmiles »
Go on up you baldhead.

Offline The Gawd

  • Postgraduate
  • *****
  • Posts: 883
  • Darwins +78/-5
  • Gender: Male
  • WWGHA Member
Re: A Challenge to Christians
« Reply #42 on: April 14, 2013, 06:09:56 AM »
We're back to a question that I ask all the time but never get an answer for.

Why do Xtians fight tooth and nail to claim the bible means exactly the opposite of what it says? When it plainly says to kill people, why dont Xtians embrace that and get to killing? Instead arguing that it really means NOT to kill? Seems to me that you all will be punished like the Hebrews when they didnt kill all the people in the land of milk and honey. Imagine the shock when you get to those pearly gates and Jesus asks you, "Did you keep my commandments, did you bring before me those who did not not want me to Lord over them and slay them before me?" before he casts you into hell for not following his clear and plain orders he left you in his Word.

Offline magicmiles

  • Fellow
  • *******
  • Posts: 2947
  • Darwins +180/-73
  • Gender: Male
Re: A Challenge to Christians
« Reply #43 on: April 14, 2013, 06:28:00 AM »
We're back to a question that I ask all the time but never get an answer for.

Why do Xtians fight tooth and nail to claim the bible means exactly the opposite of what it says?

Firstly, what's with 'Xtians' instead of Christians? I see it here often.

Secondly, why do you think the bible, as a document, should be studied without adhering to the usual rules of context that are used to help aid understanding?

Go on up you baldhead.

Offline The Gawd

  • Postgraduate
  • *****
  • Posts: 883
  • Darwins +78/-5
  • Gender: Male
  • WWGHA Member
Re: A Challenge to Christians
« Reply #44 on: April 14, 2013, 06:41:37 AM »
We're back to a question that I ask all the time but never get an answer for.

Why do Xtians fight tooth and nail to claim the bible means exactly the opposite of what it says?

Firstly, what's with 'Xtians' instead of Christians? I see it here often.

Secondly, why do you think the bible, as a document, should be studied without adhering to the usual rules of context that are used to help aid understanding?

You did not answer the question though. Instead posing your own question. Perhaps I can even help you out...
In what context is it okay to bring non-believers before Jesus and slay them, as he demands you do? Perhaps once you answer that question, you will understand why many of us could care less for your "context" escape hatch.

Online jaimehlers

  • Professor
  • ********
  • Posts: 5075
  • Darwins +585/-18
  • Gender: Male
  • WWGHA Member
Re: A Challenge to Christians
« Reply #45 on: April 14, 2013, 07:01:06 AM »
Where does Jesus (as opposed to YHWH) command his followers to slay non-believers?  For that matter, when and how often did YHWH command that?  The only place I can recall is during the conquest of Canaan.  Are there other places where this is commanded, Old Testament or New?

Offline The Gawd

  • Postgraduate
  • *****
  • Posts: 883
  • Darwins +78/-5
  • Gender: Male
  • WWGHA Member
Re: A Challenge to Christians
« Reply #46 on: April 14, 2013, 07:10:52 AM »
Where does Jesus (as opposed to YHWH) command his followers to slay non-believers?  For that matter, when and how often did YHWH command that?  The only place I can recall is during the conquest of Canaan.  Are there other places where this is commanded, Old Testament or New?

Luke 19:26-28 should be sufficient...

here is the NIV version: 26 “He replied, ‘I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but as for the one who has nothing, even what they have will be taken away. 27 But those enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them—bring them here and kill them in front of me. 28 After Jesus had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. "

This is right before Jesus is to make a grand entry into Jerusalem and orders two disciples to go to town and steal a horse to make his arrival look triumphant. The more I read of the Jesus fellow the more I realize he was a complete ass clown.

Offline magicmiles

  • Fellow
  • *******
  • Posts: 2947
  • Darwins +180/-73
  • Gender: Male
Re: A Challenge to Christians
« Reply #47 on: April 14, 2013, 05:30:15 PM »
We're back to a question that I ask all the time but never get an answer for.

Why do Xtians fight tooth and nail to claim the bible means exactly the opposite of what it says?

Firstly, what's with 'Xtians' instead of Christians? I see it here often.

Secondly, why do you think the bible, as a document, should be studied without adhering to the usual rules of context that are used to help aid understanding?

You did not answer the question though. Instead posing your own question.

Are you seriously telling me that wasn't a rhetorical question? Come on...you were making a statement.

In what context is it okay to bring non-believers before Jesus and slay them, as he demands you do? Perhaps once you answer that question, you will understand why many of us could care less for your "context" escape hatch.

Let's look at the context of the verses you refer to, shall we. I have bolded the one which you seem to think compels me to bring non-believers to Jesus and slay them:

While they were listening to this, he started to tell them a story. He did so because they were near Jerusalem and the people thought that the kingdom of God would begin right away.
 
12 So he said, `A man who belonged to a respected family went to a country far away. He went to get power to rule. Then he was going to come back.
 
13 Before he left, he called ten of his servants. He gave each of them some money. He said, "Go and trade with this money until I come back."
 
14 `His people hated him. They chose some men and sent them after him to tell the king, "We do not want this man to rule over us."
 
15 But he was given the power to rule and came back. Then he called the servants to whom he had given the money. He wanted to know how much money each one had made by trading.
 
16 The first one came to him and said, "Sir, your money has made ten times more money."
 
17 `The ruler said, "You have done well. You are a good servant. You will rule over ten cities because you have done well with a very small thing."
 
18 The second one came to him and said, "Sir, your money has made five times more money."
 
19 The ruler said, "You will rule over five cities."
 
20 `Then another servant came and said, "Sir, here is your money. I hid it in a cloth and kept it.
 
21 I was afraid of you. You are a hard man. You take in where you put nothing out. You gather where you did not plant."
 
22 `The ruler said "You bad servant! I will judge you by your own words. You knew that I was a hard man! You knew that I take in where I put nothing out. You knew that I gather where I did not plant.
 
23 Why did you not put my money in the bank? Then when you came home I would have had my money with interest."
 
24 `Some men were standing there. He said to them, "Take the money from him. Give it to the man who has ten times as much."
 
25 They said, "Sir, he has ten times as much already!"
 
26 The ruler said, "I tell you. Anyone who has some will get more. But he who does not have anything, even the little that he has will be taken away from him.
 
27 But where are those people who hate me and did not want me to rule over them? Bring them here and kill them right here in front of me." '
 
28 When Jesus had said this, he went on ahead of them towards Jerusalem.


This is a parable, used to convey a meaning beyond the literal words used. This particular parable relates mainly to believers, and addresses the gifts we have been given by God to further His kingdom. You needn't concern yourself with this part of the parable at this time in your life.

The bolded verse is a warning of the fate that awaits those who reject Jesus as God's appointed judge and redeemer. This part concerns you. (or it should)

Now: havig carefully considered the context, do you think that bolded verse is a directive to Christians to kill non-Christians? Is that the context of the verse? Is the Christian explanation of that verse reasonable, or do you maintain that it's a baseless and contemptible attempt to explain away something unpleasant?




Go on up you baldhead.

Offline nogodsforme

  • Professor
  • ********
  • Posts: 6879
  • Darwins +925/-6
  • Gender: Female
  • Jehovah's Witness Protection Program
Re: A Challenge to Christians
« Reply #48 on: April 14, 2013, 06:07:05 PM »
It's all so very clear!

The places in the bible where god and/or Jesus seems to be a complete a$$ clown are metaphors, figurative, parables, hyperbole, only meant for the ancient Israelites, or poetry. Like the stuff about following all 613 of the OT laws to a jot and tittle (heh) including the treatment of slaves, the sacrificing of animals, keeping the Sabbath holy-- whatever that means-- and the abomination of eating delicious cioppino with a side of bacon.

That inconvenient-for-modern-urban-life stuff in the OT is not, under any circumstances, to be taken literally. Except for the part about not letting two men or two women get married in the eyes of the US federal government. (That's not actually in the bible anywhere, but it should have been, so it's literal.)

The stuff in the bible that makes god and/or Jesus look like a cool hippie dude is also to be taken literally. Jesus gave out food and medical care for free. He also hung out with a bunch of unemployed guys, partied with homeless people and hookers, drank wine, told random stories whenever anyone asked him a direct question.

Hey, Jesus reminds me of one of my uncles, who was also a cool hippie dude, but not a very good father to his abandoned children by several different women.[1]

Unless you don't really want to give away all your belongings and leave your family to help the less fortunate. Having lots of toys is the capitalist way,  which is also not exactly in the bible, which is way more communist than Karl Marx,  but it should have been, so it's literal. Not at all contradictory with the give all your belongings away bit.

So if there is anything god and/or Jesus said or did that you really don't want to do, then it's metaphor, parables, etc. Easy peasy.

Especially since god and/or Jesus did not say any of the following actually timeless, actually useful, actually helpful stuff:

don't kill anyone unless in defense of yourself or someone else;
don't have sex with anyone without their permission;
don't hurt children, the elderly or the disabled;
don't enslave anyone;
don't take advantage of anyone for your own gain;
don't mistreat people of different genders, sexualities or ethnicities;
don't abuse animals for fun or profit;
don't do nasty sh!t to the environment that you can't fix;
don't persecute people who do not believe the myths and legends of your faith or tell them they are going to hell.

That's only nine, off the top of my head, and any one of them would help humanity far better than the first four of the so-called "Ten Commandments".
 1. Unlike Jesus, though, my uncle had the excuse of serving in the military during the Vietnam War and got his brains scrambled before he became a hippie dude and started drinking wine and telling random stories.
Extraordinary claims of the bible don't even have ordinary evidence.

Kids aren't paying attention most of the time in science classes so it seems silly to get worked up over ID being taught in schools.

Offline magicmiles

  • Fellow
  • *******
  • Posts: 2947
  • Darwins +180/-73
  • Gender: Male
Re: A Challenge to Christians
« Reply #49 on: April 14, 2013, 06:15:30 PM »
Yes, NGFM. Very easy to mock. But I notice that at no point have you actually discussed the methodology used by biblical scholars to determine meaning and context, or attempted to refute this methodology.



Go on up you baldhead.

Offline nogodsforme

  • Professor
  • ********
  • Posts: 6879
  • Darwins +925/-6
  • Gender: Female
  • Jehovah's Witness Protection Program
Re: A Challenge to Christians
« Reply #50 on: April 14, 2013, 06:29:13 PM »
Yes, NGFM. Very easy to mock. But I notice that at no point have you actually discussed the methodology used by biblical scholars to determine meaning and context, or attempted to refute this methodology.
I mock because the entire question is based on a silly premise.

If the bible was clear-- and if it came from the one true perfect loving god, than nothing should be clearer-- there would be no need for all these biblical scholars to try to figure it out for the rest of us. If it was clear, all the scholars would come to an agreement rather quickly. If it was clear, there would only be one interpretation, and only one religion in the world.

Remember, we are discussing what is purported to be the single most important message ever given to human beings. That should not take a team of experts to explain, and there should not be any debate whatsoever as to the meaning of the message.

To understand any religious text from any of the worlds ancient faiths, you need a team of linguists, archeologists, historians and theologists trained in that area. That right there should tell you that the message of the bible is not clear, not unique and probably not necessary.
Extraordinary claims of the bible don't even have ordinary evidence.

Kids aren't paying attention most of the time in science classes so it seems silly to get worked up over ID being taught in schools.

Offline magicmiles

  • Fellow
  • *******
  • Posts: 2947
  • Darwins +180/-73
  • Gender: Male
Re: A Challenge to Christians
« Reply #51 on: April 14, 2013, 06:48:16 PM »
As I pointed out very early in this discussion, the central message of the bible could hardly be clearer. That central message is the one you have a real issue with.





Go on up you baldhead.

Offline Jag

  • Reader
  • ******
  • Posts: 1870
  • Darwins +196/-7
  • Gender: Female
  • Official WWGHA Harpy, Ex-rosary squad
Re: A Challenge to Christians
« Reply #52 on: April 14, 2013, 06:52:23 PM »
As I pointed out very early in this discussion, the central message of the bible could hardly be clearer. That central message is the one you have a real issue with.
Emphasis mine

What does the bolded sentence mean? Could you restate that more specifically please?
"It's hard to, but I'm starting to believe some of you actually believe these things.  That is completely beyond my ability to understand if that is really the case, but things never cease to amaze me."

Offline Tonus

  • Undergraduate
  • ***
  • Posts: 195
  • Darwins +28/-0
  • Gender: Male
  • WWGHA Member
    • Stuff I draw
Re: A Challenge to Christians
« Reply #53 on: April 14, 2013, 07:10:14 PM »
The JWs taught that the central message of the Bible was the vindication of god's sovereignty through the establishment of his kingdom on Earth after the fall of man (via Adam and Eve's sin).  Is this what you believe it to be, magicmiles?  Or is it something else?

Offline magicmiles

  • Fellow
  • *******
  • Posts: 2947
  • Darwins +180/-73
  • Gender: Male
Re: A Challenge to Christians
« Reply #54 on: April 14, 2013, 07:10:51 PM »

As I pointed out very early in this discussion, the central message of the bible could hardly be clearer. That central message is the one you have a real issue with.
Emphasis mine

What does the bolded sentence mean? Could you restate that more specifically please?
Sure. The central message of the bible is that God created us to live in relationship with Him, but that relationship has been severed by sin, firstly at the garden of eden and then ever since. God can't dwell with sin, but He promised a way for the relationship to be restored. That way was Jesus, who died on a cross avut was resurrected. He will return as God's judge and all those who have not trusted in Him will perish.

Do you believe any of that? No. That drives all discussion/disgareement you and all atheists have about the bible.

To suggest that the fact some passages require careful consideration and lead to disagreement is a reason for disbelief is not true. The dis-belief was already there.

I don't expect for one second that, even if I could have you all concede that some passages do not mean what you claim they do, you would suddenly come to faith in God.

However, I will all the same defend the bible and the methodology used to help us best understand many of the passages.
Go on up you baldhead.

Offline magicmiles

  • Fellow
  • *******
  • Posts: 2947
  • Darwins +180/-73
  • Gender: Male
Re: A Challenge to Christians
« Reply #55 on: April 14, 2013, 07:39:46 PM »
The JWs taught that the central message of the Bible was the vindication of god's sovereignty through the establishment of his kingdom on Earth after the fall of man (via Adam and Eve's sin).  Is this what you believe it to be, magicmiles?  Or is it something else?

I haven't looked very carefully at what JW's believe. My understanding (which may be flawed) of their beliefs is that they combine some elements of biblical teaching with some additions of their own which are apprently imparted by angels. I do know that they believe some things which go directly against what the bible teaches.
Go on up you baldhead.

Offline Azdgari

  • Laureate
  • *********
  • Posts: 12452
  • Darwins +293/-32
  • Gender: Male
Re: A Challenge to Christians
« Reply #56 on: April 14, 2013, 07:47:42 PM »
So do all Christians.
I have not encountered any mechanical malfunctioning in my spirit.  It works every single time I need it to.

Offline median

  • Reader
  • ******
  • Posts: 1848
  • Darwins +201/-16
  • Gender: Male
  • Yahweh: Obviously not obvious.
    • Talk Origins
Re: A Challenge to Christians
« Reply #57 on: April 14, 2013, 08:10:47 PM »
My questions, on the other hand, clearly weren't rhetorical. And you didn't answer them, choosing instead to re-state your perfectly clear position.

Oh, I answered the question just fine (and in doing so I anticipated the "Oh, you were just interpreting those passages wrong" attempt, which is the all too common default rationalization from just about every apologist I've encountered. It's the, "I assume the bible is the word of God. So any other interpretation is false" fallacy). You just didn't like the answer I gave b/c of this anticipation. The bigger question is, why are you accepting this one ancient textual account on faith?

Again, sure you can attempt to spin and rationalize ANY bible passage that makes your worldview inconvenient, untenable, and/or uncomfortable. But that is no different from what every religion on the planet does with their alleged 'holy' books when they are in danger of refutation. How unimpressive! Make a big fat assumption about what an old book says, and then go about defending it at all costs b/c you've invested yourself, and your surroundings, so heavily that it would be social suicide to get out. Smart!

"Difficult passages" isn't the first issue. Demonstrating how you think you know your alleged holy book is from a God (whatever that means) is.

I just carefully read your post at reply number 28 and also the one quoted here, and I'm quite surethat you have not, in fact, answered this:


Just so we're clear: are you saying that your understanding of the passage is the only correct one? Do you interpret everything literally?

Lets see if you can manage it this time? Here's a handy hint - ridiculing the question is not the same as answering it.

LOL. So, only if I answer the question in exactly the fashion that YOU WANT then it's answered?? WOW. You obviously haven't read Plato or Socrates. Your posts just wreak of the "Out of context!" fallacy. It's funny how you apologists call "out of context" on any interpretation of your bible that displays it in a light which doesn't suit your presupposition of it. As others have pointed out, somehow for you, it's OK to SPIN, and rationalize the passages alleged "context" when it has been demonstrated as faulty, in error, irrational, immoral, or inaccurate. Again, it's the whole, "I assume the bible is the inerrant 'word of God' until someone shows me otherwise". But the dirty little secret is that no one could ever show you otherwise b/c you have a pre-commitment to it. That is the opposite of intellectual and investigative honesty.
« Last Edit: April 14, 2013, 08:17:45 PM by median »
Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Carl Sagan