Author Topic: What is uniquely good in the Bible?  (Read 2559 times)

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Offline William

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What is uniquely good in the Bible?
« on: July 06, 2013, 09:56:44 AM »
Righto.  Lately I'm finding it disturbingly easy to contradict almost anything any theist says with the Bible itself. 

Is there anything really good written in the Bible? That:
a) Isn't contradicted elsewhere in the Bible?
b) Isn't part of philosophy or secular law independently of the Bible?

 
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Re: What is uniquely good in the Bible?
« Reply #1 on: July 06, 2013, 08:23:52 PM »
No.

;)

-Nam
This thread is about lab-grown dicks, not some mincy, old, British poof of an actor. 

Let's get back on topic, please.


Offline Umar

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Re: What is uniquely good in the Bible?
« Reply #2 on: July 09, 2013, 10:06:22 PM »
Righto.  Lately I'm finding it disturbingly easy to contradict almost anything any theist says with the Bible itself. 

Is there anything really good written in the Bible? That:
a) Isn't contradicted elsewhere in the Bible?
b) Isn't part of philosophy or secular law independently of the Bible?

In nearly 20 years of doing this online I have yet to see a valid contradiction introduced by an atheist. Most of the alleged ones are misinterpretations that could easily be cleared with a quick research.

Offline DVZ3

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Re: What is uniquely good in the Bible?
« Reply #3 on: July 09, 2013, 10:11:07 PM »

Edited - Moved
« Last Edit: July 09, 2013, 10:16:21 PM by DVZ3 »
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Offline Astreja

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Re: What is uniquely good in the Bible?
« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2013, 10:31:39 PM »
In nearly 20 years of doing this online I have yet to see a valid contradiction introduced by an atheist. Most of the alleged ones are misinterpretations that could easily be cleared with a quick research.

I think that arguing over contradictions is a red herring, as they may just represent multiple authors telling similar stories and occasionally using different details to flesh out the tales.  It's nothing that couldn't be fixed with a bit of editing.

I have considerably more problems with the ethics espoused in the Biblical stories.  There is something mind-numbingly awful about the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden, the Noachide flood, the story of Abraham attempting to sacrifice Isaac, Lot offering his daughters to appease a mob, the idea of Jesus as a sacrificial lamb, and virtually all of the book of Revelation. If these stories were true they would be even more horrible than they already are, and that's saying something.

As for the good, I don't see anything novel in the Bible. The Buddhist Dhammapada, Chapter 1 does a much more useful version of "love your enemies," and the Golden Rule has been around for thousands of years.  The rest, as Hillel would say, is commentary.  ;)
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Offline William

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Re: What is uniquely good in the Bible?
« Reply #5 on: July 11, 2013, 09:58:24 AM »
In nearly 20 years of doing this online I have yet to see a valid contradiction introduced by an atheist. Most of the alleged ones are misinterpretations that could easily be cleared with a quick research.

Okay, for starters  :) clear this one up:

Did Jesus eat the Passover meal before being arrested and crucified?

Here, Jesus chats with his disciples at the Passover meal:
Quote
Mark 14 18 And as they sat and did eat, Jesus said, Verily I say unto you, One of you which eateth with me shall betray me.

Here, Jesus is already captured and brought before Pilot, before the Passover!:
Quote
John 19 14 Now it was the Preparation Day of the Passover, and about the sixth hour. And he said to the Jews, “Behold your King!”




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Re: What is uniquely good in the Bible?
« Reply #6 on: July 11, 2013, 10:35:16 AM »
Well, there was that part where Moses and the gang stayed lost for 40 years, and I was hoping they would stay lost. But nooooooo!

It doesn't do any good to talk about the contradictions in the bible, because christians contradict each other on each one. Hence the truth is unavailable. But then it's the bible, so truth isn't a requirement anyway.

I'm pretty sure gods fear of iron chariots is pretty accurate. Not that there is a god, but even the priests who made him up knew where to draw the line. So that part is more telling than most.
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Offline viocjit

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Re: What is uniquely good in the Bible?
« Reply #7 on: July 11, 2013, 11:32:57 AM »
Righto.  Lately I'm finding it disturbingly easy to contradict almost anything any theist says with the Bible itself. 

Is there anything really good written in the Bible? That:
a) Isn't contradicted elsewhere in the Bible?
b) Isn't part of philosophy or secular law independently of the Bible?

In nearly 20 years of doing this online I have yet to see a valid contradiction introduced by an atheist. Most of the alleged ones are misinterpretations that could easily be cleared with a quick research.

What do you say about the next verses ? (I used the KJV).

2 Sam 23:8 : These be the names of the mighty men whom David had: The Tachmonite that sat in the seat, chief among the captains; the same was Adino the Eznite: he lift up his spear against eight hundred, whom he slew at one time.

1 Chron 11:11 : And this is the number of the mighty men whom David had; Jashobeam, an Hachmonite, the chief of the captains: he lifted up his spear against three hundred slain by him at one time.


edit - green text is for staff use. 
« Last Edit: July 11, 2013, 01:10:39 PM by screwtape »

Offline William

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Re: What is uniquely good in the Bible?
« Reply #8 on: July 11, 2013, 12:00:49 PM »

I think that arguing over contradictions is a red herring, ...

I have considerably more problems with the ethics espoused in the Biblical stories. 

Thanks Astreja. You actually express my concern with the Bible better than I did in my question.
It so happens that much of what Theists tell me is a moral truth in the Bible can be contradicted elsewhere in the Bible, and too often by the example God himself sets.
But I'm struggling to find any enduring wisdom in the Bible.
If we did a balanced review of the Bible, what could we put unequivocally in the list of positives?
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Offline SkyWriting

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Re: What is uniquely good in the Bible?
« Reply #9 on: July 12, 2013, 03:05:31 PM »
Righto.  Lately I'm finding it disturbingly easy to contradict almost anything any theist says with the Bible itself. 

Is there anything really good written in the Bible? That:
a) Isn't contradicted elsewhere in the Bible?
b) Isn't part of philosophy or secular law independently of the Bible?

There are no true contradictions.  The most common "problem" is differing points of view on the same subject matter.

Offline William

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Re: What is uniquely good in the Bible?
« Reply #10 on: July 13, 2013, 06:11:52 AM »
There are no true contradictions.  The most common "problem" is differing points of view on the same subject matter.

God of the riddles. Oh the genius of it all!  &)
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Offline SkyWriting

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Re: What is uniquely good in the Bible?
« Reply #11 on: July 13, 2013, 09:01:38 AM »
There are no true contradictions.  The most common "problem" is differing points of view on the same subject matter.

God of the riddles. Oh the genius of it all!  &)

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with sarcasm coming in as the least.

Offline neopagan

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Re: What is uniquely good in the Bible?
« Reply #12 on: July 13, 2013, 09:59:51 AM »
ahhhh... the "no true contradictions" argument sounds like the no true scotsman...

what really impacted me were the nativity and crucifiction stories. they totally contradict one another - i  you don't agree.. just tell me details of what happened easter morning and we can start there
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Offline SkyWriting

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Re: What is uniquely good in the Bible?
« Reply #13 on: July 14, 2013, 01:51:07 PM »
What really impacted me were the nativity and crucifiction stories. they totally contradict one another - i  you don't agree.. just tell me details of what happened easter morning and we can start there

There are a couple of versions written by different people.  Each person has their own version of the events reconstructed to help with problems they found growing among different groups.

How is two versions of an event less viable than one? In what court of law do we discount a second witness because the first person already told the story?
« Last Edit: July 14, 2013, 01:57:23 PM by SkyWriting »

Offline YouCantHandleTheTruth

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Re: What is uniquely good in the Bible?
« Reply #14 on: July 19, 2013, 02:56:58 PM »
My first post here - you guys make a ton of good points.  I'll jump in with 2 well-known contradictions, or seemingly so:

Thou Shalt Not Kill, but:

Numbers 31:17-18 "Now therefore, kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman who has know man by lying with him.  But all the young girls who have not known man by lying with him keep alive for yourselves."  So murder everyone including little boys, but keep the virgin girls.  Hmmmm....is there an ulterior motive there?  Funny how they don't keep alive the virgin boys - just the virgin girls.  Maybe the guys liked the excitement of being with virgin women?

Judges 11:30-40: Tells the story of Jephthah wanting to defeat the Ammonites, and being willing to sacrifice "whatever comes out from the doors of my house to meet me when I return in peace from the Ammonites shall be the Lord's, and I will offer it up for a burnt offering." Sadly, that ends up being his only child, a daughter.  But hey, a deal's a deal, right? :)

OK here are 3 bonus ones:

"For I am merciful, saith the Lord, and I will not keep anger forever." (Jeremiah 3:12)
"Ye have kindled a fire in mine anger, which shall burn forever." (Jeremiah 17:4)

"If I testify about myself, my testimony is not valid." (John 5:31)
"Jesus answered: Even if I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is valid." (John 8:14)

"And Jesus coming, spoke to them, saying: All power is given to me in heaven and in earth." (Matthew 28:18)
"the whole world is under control of the evil one." (1 John 5:19)

These are simple ones - but the Numbers one stands out for me.  Think of it this way: if you argue that Moses was "commanded by God" to slaughter an entire village (except the virgin chicks), then how exactly is that any different from Muslims flying planes into the World Trade Center and saying God told them to do it?  I would suggest it isn't - and that maybe Moses was insane (as evidenced from the 603 completely non-sensical, maniacal laws we see throughout Exodus, Deuteronomy and Leviticus).  I welcome any comments - and good to be onboard!  I'm a new atheist (as of October 2012, but had been researching for a couple of years, including studying some basic astronomy).

Offline neopagan

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Re: What is uniquely good in the Bible?
« Reply #15 on: July 19, 2013, 03:59:12 PM »
What really impacted me were the nativity and crucifiction stories. they totally contradict one another - i  you don't agree.. just tell me details of what happened easter morning and we can start there

There are a couple of versions written by different people.  Each person has their own version of the events reconstructed to help with problems they found growing among different groups.

How is two versions of an event less viable than one? In what court of law do we discount a second witness because the first person already told the story?

Which two versions of the story do you mean? There are four different ones in the gospels.. plus comments in Acts

No one discounts two witnesses in court who tell the same story. You begin to imeach the testimony of one or the other when it contradicts the established facts or one another. No established facts in the gospels so we have to say all four "witnesses" (a stretch) cannot be right but all four can be wrong.
« Last Edit: July 19, 2013, 04:38:28 PM by neopagan »
If xian hell really exists, the stench of the burning billions of us should be a constant, putrid reminder to the handful of heavenward xians how loving your god is.  - neopagan

Offline SkyWriting

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Re: What is uniquely good in the Bible?
« Reply #16 on: July 19, 2013, 05:25:53 PM »
No one discounts two witnesses in court who tell the same story. You begin to imeach the testimony of one or the other when it contradicts the established facts or one another. No established facts in the gospels so we have to say all four "witnesses" (a stretch) cannot be right but all four can be wrong.

All four have been found correct.  Just different versions of the same events.
I read an interesting analysis saying that both authors has lost the original
writings of a third eye witness and retold the story focusing on problems
that they saw among differing groups of believers.  No "contradictory" telling
of events has been known to create any feuding church groups.  And it doesn't
seem to take much for that to happen.   
« Last Edit: July 20, 2013, 05:30:17 AM by SkyWriting »

Offline SkyWriting

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Re: What is uniquely good in the Bible?
« Reply #17 on: July 19, 2013, 05:40:37 PM »
"For I am merciful, saith the Lord, and I will not keep anger forever." (Jeremiah 3:12)
"Ye have kindled a fire in mine anger, which shall burn forever." (Jeremiah 17:4)

These are two different events. 
Neither is a treatise on "anger."

Have you thought these through?

Offline SkyWriting

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Re: What is uniquely good in the Bible?
« Reply #18 on: July 19, 2013, 05:55:57 PM »
"If I testify about myself, my testimony is not valid." (John 5:31)

BACK IN CONTEXT Jesus goes on to say that his Father and John back him up, making his testimony valid....in agreement with the second verse

31“If I alone testify about Myself, My testimony is not true.32“There is another who testifies of Me, and I know that the testimony which He gives about Me is true.   33“You have sent to John, and he has testified to the truth
http://biblehub.com/john/5.htm

Quote
"Jesus answered: Even if I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is valid." (John 8:14)

Do you check these before posting?

Offline One Above All

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Re: What is uniquely good in the Bible?
« Reply #19 on: July 19, 2013, 06:03:53 PM »
Well, it is the only religious book named "Buy bull". Presumably because whomever gave it its English name realized how full of shit it was/is.
EDIT: Not to mention the whole "holey" bit.
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Re: What is uniquely good in the Bible?
« Reply #20 on: July 19, 2013, 07:00:04 PM »
Welcome YouCantHandleTheTruth. Good first post. Good points. Your being here means that there is another atheist in town. Goody goody goody!  ;D
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Offline Anfauglir

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Re: What is uniquely good in the Bible?
« Reply #21 on: July 21, 2013, 03:28:34 AM »
How is two versions of an event less viable than one? In what court of law do we discount a second witness because the first person already told the story?

As Neo said: if two witnesses come forward with the same story, they corroborate each other.  However, if two witnesses come forward with stories that contradict each other, then we have a problem (c.f. William's example and Viocjit's).


A defence attorney would have a field day with that.  One says he was at a meal, another says he wasn't.   One says he killed this many, another that many.

Your point appears to be (with the latter examples) "well, one says he killed 300, the other says 800 - that means that he definitely killed a shitload, and the exact number is unimportant".  I can see where you are going with it - and its a persuasive point - but are you really saying that two sources who disagree quite substantially about the specifics of an event make that event more likely to have occurred? 

Because what you are really saying then is "two people telling different stories make that story more believable".  What?!?

Question.  We have stories of Zeus, and Odin, and Horus.  Tales of gods other than Yahweh that differ in the specifics.  Should we follow your logic and say that, although those tellers differ in the details, the underlying fact - that there are pantheons of gods other than Yahweh - therefore MUST be true?
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 viocjit

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Re: What is uniquely good in the Bible?
« Reply #22 on: July 21, 2013, 08:14:54 AM »
How is two versions of an event less viable than one? In what court of law do we discount a second witness because the first person already told the story?

As Neo said: if two witnesses come forward with the same story, they corroborate each other.  However, if two witnesses come forward with stories that contradict each other, then we have a problem (c.f. William's example and Viocjit's).


A defence attorney would have a field day with that.  One says he was at a meal, another says he wasn't.   One says he killed this many, another that many.

Your point appears to be (with the latter examples) "well, one says he killed 300, the other says 800 - that means that he definitely killed a shitload, and the exact number is unimportant".  I can see where you are going with it - and its a persuasive point - but are you really saying that two sources who disagree quite substantially about the specifics of an event make that event more likely to have occurred? 

Because what you are really saying then is "two people telling different stories make that story more believable".  What?!?

Question.  We have stories of Zeus, and Odin, and Horus.  Tales of gods other than Yahweh that differ in the specifics.  Should we follow your logic and say that, although those tellers differ in the details, the underlying fact - that there are pantheons of gods other than Yahweh - therefore MUST be true?

I like this reflexion. Why I think that this is a good reflexion ? I think that because we can't deny the reality of contradictions.
« Last Edit: July 21, 2013, 08:16:44 AM by viocjit »

Offline neopagan

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Re: What is uniquely good in the Bible?
« Reply #23 on: July 21, 2013, 09:03:30 AM »
In my theistic days (cbut - curses be upon them) I regularly listened to Hank Hannegraff (sp) "the bible answer man".
He basically made the same contention that if two (or in the gospels 4) stories parroted each other exactly they would be suspect, therefore the "apparent" inconsistencies should bolster the truth claims of the bible.  I was no atheist then, but that claim never made any sense to me.

He would use the example of two criminals being interrogated and telling the exact same story and how  it would sound rehearsed and appear false.  That seemed like a horrible analogy - especially by labeling them "criminals" in his story - it implies they are both lying to cover their asses.  Much different scenario than gospel writers allegedly recounting the truth under inspiration of the holy Casper (whatever that means)
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Offline SkyWriting

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Re: What is uniquely good in the Bible?
« Reply #24 on: July 25, 2013, 07:21:06 PM »
I like this reflexion. Why I think that this is a good reflexion ? I think that because we can't deny the reality of contradictions.

There are no contradictions.  Just the same truth told from different perspectives.
If there was only one "book" or one author for the scriptures it would be harder
to understand the intent of any passage.  But they all tie together seamlessly.
Anyone, let me know your favorite pet peeve contradiction.  Glad to help. :)

Offline SkyWriting

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Re: What is uniquely good in the Bible?
« Reply #25 on: July 25, 2013, 07:26:18 PM »
He basically made the same contention that if two (or in the gospels 4) stories parroted each other exactly they would be suspect, therefore the "apparent" inconsistencies should bolster the truth claims of the bible.  I was no atheist then, but that claim never made any sense to me.

Our constitution has reams of additional backup or supporting casework behind every major section and pages on just some words. So then our system of laws should be as senseless.

Offline SkyWriting

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Re: What is uniquely good in the Bible?
« Reply #26 on: July 25, 2013, 07:31:57 PM »
Your point appears to be (with the latter examples) "well, one says he killed 300, the other says 800 - that means that he definitely killed a shitload, and the exact number is unimportant".  I can see where you are going with it - and its a persuasive point - but are you really saying that two sources who disagree quite substantially about the specifics of an event make that event more likely to have occurred? 

If we assume there is no difference at all, then things become clear.
In your given example, one counted just men.  Another source might
count families.  A third source might include slaves.  A fourth might
include critically injured who died soon afterwards.  A fifth may include
those of that clan. A sixth include visiting relatives. Glad to help.

Offline Transformedsheep

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Re: What is uniquely good in the Bible?
« Reply #27 on: August 14, 2013, 08:59:39 AM »
In the end the new testament is just a try to update the old testament because they realized that the old is full of made up my-little-pony fantasy stories....and they failed horrible if you ask me!
The argument that each Gospel author is just telling his point of view and is completing the other authors becomes then completely ridiculous when you read all 4 birth, death and resurrection accounts....and it's funny to see that they screwed up especially in these parts who are fundamental to the christian belief.   

Offline William

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Re: What is uniquely good in the Bible?
« Reply #28 on: August 14, 2013, 09:26:51 AM »
Welcome Transformedsheep.
I think we agree they "screwed up"  :laugh:  especially since God was inspiring them as they wrote!

The OP question came about because I've been told by theists that without the Bible we'd have no ultimate source of morality.
The way I see it is that, to the extent there are useful morals in the bible, they got into the Bible from society at the time of writing.  So the exact reverse of what theists believe.

To test my thinking (which is in no way unique to me) we could look at the Bible in several ways:

1) Does it contain "morals" that are clearly immoral by modern secular standards, or which modern theists are divided about?  e.g. Homophobia.

2) Does it contain "morals" in one part of the text that are contradicted in another?  e.g. Do not kill vs Do kill.

3) Is there anything we can agree is "moral" that is unique to the Bible?  That left to our own devices we possibly would never have thought of?  I can't think of or find any examples.  I'd be fascinated if any examples come up.  Something that we can recognise as good after reading it in the Bible, but which never appeared before in philosophy or culture anywhere on earth as far as we know.
« Last Edit: August 14, 2013, 10:02:19 AM by William »
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