Author Topic: Omnipotent, Malevolent, Confusing, or Non-existent  (Read 2779 times)

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Offline OldChurchGuy

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Re: Omnipotent, Malevolent, Confusing, or Non-existent
« Reply #116 on: March 12, 2014, 05:47:50 AM »
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I would really be interested in knowing more about these fundamentalist/ literalist types that you have "read" that say only the verses with similes in them are the "divinely inspired inerrant word of God to be taken literally".  This seems really absurd to me.  I would like to read some of their stuff and I am really curious how they would get someone such as yourself to interpret the bible this way.  Do you have any sources or other references I can read?

I would really like to know WHY it was a way of "heading off criticism".  It doesn't make sense to me that the verses with similes are the only "divinely inspired inerrant word of God to be taken literally".  How does interpreting the bible like this "diffuse criticism"?  What is their/your logic or reasoning for interpreting the bible like this?  This just doesn't seem logical to me. 

Why would you apply this kind of hermeneutic when you don't even know for sure WHY the people you learned this from interpret the bible this way?  There has to be more than just "diffusing criticism".  If this is the only reason why, then I am extremely surprised that an honest man such as yourself would accept such a dishonest way of interpretation.  This is subjective on my part but if you are going to interpret certain verses in a certain way just to "diffuse criticism", then IMO this is a dishonest hermeneutic.

The writings of Tim LaHaye (The Left Behind series) and Hal Lindsey (The Late Great Planet Earth and other writings) come to mind immediately. 

Please understand I do not interpret the Bible as being the divinely inspired inerrant word of God to be taken literally unless there are similes.  As I have said before, I see the Bible as a collection of writings written by a variety of people (many of whom are unknown) all trying to explain what it is like to experience God. 

I don't mind reading literalist works as well as non-literalist works regarding the Bible.  Both camps present interesting views which help me grow as an individual.   

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I don't like disagreeing with you because you seem like such a nice guy but in this case I have to.  I believe your previous understanding is wrong.  The mustard seed was not the smallest known seed "for the time the manuscript was written".  I found a Christian source that makes this apparent even though a lot of their other rationalizations are unconvincing to me.  Speaking about the time of Jesus, this source says, "There would be numerous plants familiar to His audience with smaller seeds, of which the best example would be the seed of the black orchid".

Link:  http://ww2.odu.edu/~lmusselm/plant/bible/mustard.php

Do you have a source that disagrees with this?

If you find your previous rationalization for the mustard seed to be false, will you consider changing your mind on the way you interpret scripture?  I'm trying to get you to apply reason and logic to the hermeneutic you accepted.  I honestly think you should look at divine inspiration with black or white goggles.  The bible is either the divinely inspired inerrant word of god or it's not.  If you try to find gray areas like saying only verses with similes in it are divinely inspired and should be read literally.......you sound.........well..........confused.  And what student wants a confused Sunday school teacher?

Learn something new every day.  Thanks for the information regarding mustard seeds. 

I am confused.  You seem intent on my agreeing to see the Bible as the divinely inspired inerrant word of God.  Yet, you saw the Bible this way and became an atheist.  Are you wanting me to adopt this inerrant-literalist interpretation in the hope I will also embrace atheism somewhere down the road? 

My experience with teachers through the years is they share knowledge but rarely do they speak with absolute authority so their statements are the final word on a given topic.  Yet, that is what you seem to want in a teacher.  Am I wrong?


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I can't promise you anything but these might be my last questions for you.  This has been an absolute joy.  Thanks for all your time.  Except for the way you interpret the verses in the bible with similes, you have been one of the most honest Christians I have run into.  I wouldn't have so much of a problem with Christianity if more Christians were like you.  I have really only been exposed to Christian fundamentalism.  I don't understand people like yourself but then again, you probably don't understand many atheists.  I look forward to more conversations with you in the future! 

Whether these are the final questions or not, please know I have enjoyed the exchange very much. 

Sincerely,

OldChurchGuy
Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle - Philo of Alexandria

Whether one believes in a religion or not, and whether one believes in rebirth or not, there isn't anyone who doesn't appreciate kindness and compassion - Dalai Lama

Offline epidemic

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Re: Omnipotent, Malevolent, Confusing, or Non-existent
« Reply #117 on: March 12, 2014, 09:13:20 AM »
Guys,

I think you are all missing the main point. You are focusing too much on inconsequential details instead of the main emphasis of salvation. It's like getting a million dollars and complaining that the bills are a little too wrinkled.

What am I to do with a million wrinkled monopoly dollars?  In the game I can buy property, hotels and crush the competition. However when I go to use the monopoly money in real life wrinkled or not it it worthless.

Offline Andy S.

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Re: Omnipotent, Malevolent, Confusing, or Non-existent
« Reply #118 on: March 12, 2014, 12:15:15 PM »
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I would really be interested in knowing more about these fundamentalist/ literalist types that you have "read" that say only the verses with similes in them are the "divinely inspired inerrant word of God to be taken literally".  This seems really absurd to me.  I would like to read some of their stuff and I am really curious how they would get someone such as yourself to interpret the bible this way.  Do you have any sources or other references I can read?

I would really like to know WHY it was a way of "heading off criticism".  It doesn't make sense to me that the verses with similes are the only "divinely inspired inerrant word of God to be taken literally".  How does interpreting the bible like this "diffuse criticism"?  What is their/your logic or reasoning for interpreting the bible like this?  This just doesn't seem logical to me. 

Why would you apply this kind of hermeneutic when you don't even know for sure WHY the people you learned this from interpret the bible this way?  There has to be more than just "diffusing criticism".  If this is the only reason why, then I am extremely surprised that an honest man such as yourself would accept such a dishonest way of interpretation.  This is subjective on my part but if you are going to interpret certain verses in a certain way just to "diffuse criticism", then IMO this is a dishonest hermeneutic.

The writings of Tim LaHaye (The Left Behind series) and Hal Lindsey (The Late Great Planet Earth and other writings) come to mind immediately.
 

I have read some material put out by these authors.  I specifically remember reading "Revelation Unveiled" by Tim LaHaye and I remember him saying something along the line of, "If the plain sense of the text makes perfect sense.....then seek no other sense".  I do not believe he ever made the exception to only read the bible literally when the verses have similes in them as these verses are the "divinely inspired inerrant word of God to be taken literally".  Do you have a chapter of a book I can read to confirm this?   

I'm not sure about Hal Lindsey.  I haven't read a whole lot of his material.  I used to watch his show on TV a lot.  I also thought he was also a "literalist" with the WHOLE bible.  But I could be wrong.  Do you have a chapter in the "Late Great Planet Earth" I can read that would confirm this absurd way of interpretation?

I think you might be misrepresenting their hermeneutic?  But then again, how could I think this as it comes from such an honest guy as yourself.  Well, as of now I'm sticking with my skepticism and will not make a conclusion until I am given sufficient evidence.  My hunch is that you are misrepresenting their way of interpreting the bible.

Please understand I do not interpret the Bible as being the divinely inspired inerrant word of God to be taken literally unless there are similes.

Trust me, I heard you loud and clear.  My facial expression still looks like this:  :o.  I am still wondering where you got this absurd hermeneutic.  I'm also still wondering WHY anyone would want to interpret the bible in this way.  Like I said before, what is so great about similes???  If the answer is to this question is to "diffuse criticism" then I am wondering why someone like yourself, who seems so honest, would accept this dishonest hermeneutic.  Why would you be so worried about outside "criticism" on how you interpret the bible?  If you think you are interpreting the bible the correct way, you shouldn't be worried about any outside "criticism"!!!

I just think a person's reason and logic on how they interpret the bible should be reasonable and logical.  In your case, I don't see the reason or the logic YET behind interpreting the bible this way.  Why the exception to verses with similes???   
 
I am confused.  You seem intent on my agreeing to see the Bible as the divinely inspired inerrant word of God.  Yet, you saw the Bible this way and became an atheist.  Are you wanting me to adopt this inerrant-literalist interpretation in the hope I will also embrace atheism somewhere down the road?

No!!!  I don't care what hermeneutic you adopt.  And I don't care if you embrace atheism down the road.  You are a happy theist and I believe you are a honest Christian and would not lie about you being happy.  I think that's great as long as your beliefs don't harm others which.....in your case.....I see no harm.

What I am trying to get you to do is apply some kind of reason or logic behind accepting a particular way to interpret the bible.  The way you interpret the bible by putting so much divinely inspired weight on the verses with similes seems to me.....unreasonable and irrational.  Where is the logic behind this hermeneutic???

Hey OCG, this is a superfluous request but can I get an honest answer from you on this.  I want to see if I am understanding your hermeneutic.  I will give you 1 Timothy 2:8-10 as an example.  Tell me if I am wrong on this:

1 Timothy 2:8 says, "Therefore I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and dissension."

You do not see this verse as the "divinely inspired inerrant word of God to be taken literally" because there is no simile in the verse. 

This next sentence you would see as the "divinely inspired inerrant word of God to be taken literally" because it has the simile AS in it:

1 Timothy 2:9-10 says, "Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments, but rather by means of good works, AS is proper for women making a claim to godliness."

Is this a good representation on how you interpret the bible?
 
My experience with teachers through the years is they share knowledge but rarely do they speak with absolute authority so their statements are the final word on a given topic.  Yet, that is what you seem to want in a teacher.  Am I wrong?

Yes, that is what I am looking for in a Sunday School teacher!  If not, what you are teaching your students is....well....nothing.  Your creed in your classes should be taken from Thomas Paine's "The Age Of Reason".  He states:

    "The study of theology as it stands in Christian churches, is the study of nothing; it is founded on nothing; it rests on no principles; it proceeds by no authorities; it has no data; it can demonstrate nothing; and admits of no conclusion. Not anything can be studied as a science without our being in possession of the principles upon which it is founded; and as this is not the case with Christian theology, it is therefore the study of nothing."


"The most detestable wickedness, the most horrid cruelties, and the greatest miseries, that have afflicted the human race, have had their origin in this thing called revelation, or revealed religion."
~Thomas Paine (The Age of Reason)