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Offline jdawg70

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Inspiration and the bible
« on: May 28, 2014, 12:55:26 PM »
It was this post here that is the inspiration for this topic:
http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php/topic,26811.msg617687.html#msg617687

In this case, with the word 'inspiration' I mean that reading the post left some questions in my head, and I'd like to bring them up to people here to respond.

What exactly do people mean when they say that god 'inspired' the writers of the bible?  As per the post above, I'm left with a bit of a gap trying to understand in what way god inspired Genesis.  Like, did he give authors direct visions of what occurred at creation and during the flood?  Or did he sort of whisper the high level gist of the events while the authors were just...writing stories?  Did god come down and say "dude, write some of this down" or somesuch?

For those that agree with the statement "god inspired the bible," could you explain in a little more detail what that actually means?
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Re: Inspiration and the bible
« Reply #1 on: May 28, 2014, 04:11:29 PM »
Yeah good question sorry for the use of term that is commonly used among Christians but that I failed to give a definition for.  I think the common thread would be that, through God's direction (which in some cases was more direct than others), "inspired" scripture is written material that God intended to be seen as His very Word.  Why do Christians believe in it?  There are references in the Bible for it such as 2 Timothy 3:16, Psalm 119:9-16, and instances when Jesus asserts that scripture is God's direct word such as Matthew 22:31-32 (among others).  How does God bring about inspired scripture?  It differs from case to case.  Genesis-Deuteronomy was passed on to Moses who heard directly from God, as on Mt. Sinai.  Many of the Psalms were written by David who was anointed by God as king and continued to follow God faithfully (overall), and many Proverbs were written by Solomon who was given a inordinate amount of wisdom from God, so these writings are seen to be divine for those reasons.  Other prophets (Ezekiel, Isaiah, Daniel, John writing Revelation, etc) saw visions and were told what to write and what not to write down from the visions.  And the gospels of Matthew Mark Luke and John claim to have the very words of Jesus, God-incarnate, as well as record His actions.  NT epistles are written by men who were being influenced by the Holy Spirit.  Finally, while Christians believe the Holy Spirit is still at work today, even speaking to some at times, no more scripture is to be written because of a command in Revelation that says not to add any more to the written Word of God.  That's how I understand it, at least.

Offline jdawg70

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Re: Inspiration and the bible
« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2014, 08:44:07 AM »
Yeah good question sorry for the use of term that is commonly used among Christians but that I failed to give a definition for.  I think the common thread would be that, through God's direction (which in some cases was more direct than others), "inspired" scripture is written material that God intended to be seen as His very Word.
Why would there be some instances of 'more direct' vs 'less direct'?  If it is intended to be his very word, why not be as direct as possible in all cases?

That just seems like a poor choice for someone interested in communicating his very word.

Quote
Why do Christians believe in it?  There are references in the Bible for it such as 2 Timothy 3:16, Psalm 119:9-16, and instances when Jesus asserts that scripture is God's direct word such as Matthew 22:31-32 (among others).
That doesn't seem a bit circular to you at all?

Quote
How does God bring about inspired scripture?  It differs from case to case.  Genesis-Deuteronomy was passed on to Moses who heard directly from God, as on Mt. Sinai.  Many of the Psalms were written by David who was anointed by God as king and continued to follow God faithfully (overall), and many Proverbs were written by Solomon who was given a inordinate amount of wisdom from God, so these writings are seen to be divine for those reasons.
Wouldn't that mean that the words attributed to Moses are more likely to match god's very word (as those words are apparently directly from god) than the writings in Psalms or Proverbs (as those words apparently are not directly from god, but rather, the words of David and Solomon while they were thinking about god)?  Does that imply that, if there is a discrepancy between the message given in Genesis/Deuteronomy vs. the message given in Psalms/Proverbs, we should accept what's in Genesis/Deuteronomy over Psalms/Proverbs?  That those words are much closer to the horse's mouth than the others?

Quote
Other prophets (Ezekiel, Isaiah, Daniel, John writing Revelation, etc) saw visions and were told what to write and what not to write down from the visions.
They were told what to write and what not to write - as in what words to put down or what events from the visions should be written down as god's very word and what events should be dismissed as, like, 'filler material' of a vision?  What would have been the point of the 'filler material'?  If it's material that's applicable to the message being given in the vision, I fail to see why they should not have written it down.  If it's material that's not applicable to the message being given in the vision, I fail to see why it was included in the vision.

Or were the visions something not from god, and god was just acting as sort of a translator for the vision?  If that's the case, what's the explanation for these visions?

Quote
And the gospels of Matthew Mark Luke and John claim to have the very words of Jesus, God-incarnate, as well as record His actions.  NT epistles are written by men who were being influenced by the Holy Spirit.
Any details on what 'influence' means in this case?  Visions, directly speaking, or something else entirely?

Quote
Finally, while Christians believe the Holy Spirit is still at work today, even speaking to some at times, no more scripture is to be written because of a command in Revelation that says not to add any more to the written Word of God.  That's how I understand it, at least.
This has always been a bit strange to me.  It just sounds like god commanding himself to not add anything more to his own written word.  That seems purposeless.

It doesn't seem strange to you that god, who can and did give his very word through direct communication, who is apparently at least interested in having his very word written down for humanity to see, would choose to not give his very word through direct communication every single time?
"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'."

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Offline Nam

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Re: Inspiration and the bible
« Reply #3 on: May 29, 2014, 04:34:02 PM »
Yeah good question sorry for the use of term that is commonly used among Christians but that I failed to give a definition for.  I think the common thread would be that, through God's direction (which in some cases was more direct than others), "inspired" scripture is written material that God intended to be seen as His very Word.  Why do Christians believe in it?  There are references in the Bible for it such as 2 Timothy 3:16, Psalm 119:9-16, and instances when Jesus asserts that scripture is God's direct word such as Matthew 22:31-32 (among others).  How does God bring about inspired scripture?  It differs from case to case.  Genesis-Deuteronomy was passed on to Moses who heard directly from God, as on Mt. Sinai.  Many of the Psalms were written by David who was anointed by God as king and continued to follow God faithfully (overall), and many Proverbs were written by Solomon who was given a inordinate amount of wisdom from God, so these writings are seen to be divine for those reasons.  Other prophets (Ezekiel, Isaiah, Daniel, John writing Revelation, etc) saw visions and were told what to write and what not to write down from the visions.  And the gospels of Matthew Mark Luke and John claim to have the very words of Jesus, God-incarnate, as well as record His actions.  NT epistles are written by men who were being influenced by the Holy Spirit.  Finally, while Christians believe the Holy Spirit is still at work today, even speaking to some at times, no more scripture is to be written because of a command in Revelation that says not to add any more to the written Word of God.  That's how I understand it, at least.

Using the Bible to prove the Bible.

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Let's get back on topic, please.


Offline Philosopher_at_large

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Re: Inspiration and the bible
« Reply #4 on: June 27, 2014, 07:56:59 AM »
It was this post here that is the inspiration for this topic:
http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php/topic,26811.msg617687.html#msg617687

In this case, with the word 'inspiration' I mean that reading the post left some questions in my head, and I'd like to bring them up to people here to respond.

What exactly do people mean when they say that god 'inspired' the writers of the bible?  As per the post above, I'm left with a bit of a gap trying to understand in what way god inspired Genesis.  Like, did he give authors direct visions of what occurred at creation and during the flood?  Or did he sort of whisper the high level gist of the events while the authors were just...writing stories?  Did god come down and say "dude, write some of this down" or somesuch?

For those that agree with the statement "god inspired the bible," could you explain in a little more detail what that actually means?

It's a good question and one that is, in my experience, frequently misunderstood and thought about the wrong way.

It does no good to ask "What do Christians mean by inspiration?" We need to ask what it meant to the people who wrote and canonized scripture.

Some things to consider:

1. Both Judaism and Christianity refer to a being that is, at the very least, fantastically more intelligent and wise than human beings; which, even according to them, precludes perfect communication leading to perfect understanding from the infinite to the finite.

2. Both Christianity and Judaism had theologians and people trained to read and understand the meaning of scripture, which suggests that inspiration was never understood to be directly apparent.

3. Bothe Judaism and Christianity distilled holy writ down to "creeds", which suggests that there was a "point" to which they saw scripture driving at.

4. Both Judaism and Christianity used an anthology of texts from different authors from different times, some of which directly contradicted others on a variety of things.

None of this sounds to me like a group of people who thought that inspiration meant "Every word is literally, perfectly true and inspired". It sounds to me like inspiration was something illusive, something that they could only partially identify, and partially understand. 

 
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Offline jdawg70

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Re: Inspiration and the bible
« Reply #5 on: June 27, 2014, 09:22:02 AM »
It's a good question and one that is, in my experience, frequently misunderstood and thought about the wrong way.

It does no good to ask "What do Christians mean by inspiration?" We need to ask what it meant to the people who wrote and canonized scripture.
I will agree that it makes no sense nor does no good to ask a Christian what s/he may mean by 'inspiration' if that Christian does not make the claim that god inspired biblical authors.  So the question is primarily aimed at those that consider the bible to be a word inspired by god.

I'm not sure I'm all that interested in what 'inspiration' meant to the biblical authors themselves, as I don't think any of the authors have made any claims that their words were indeed inspired by god.  I could be wrong - is there any place in the bible that has something like the following is the result of inspiration by god.

Quote

Some things to consider:

1. Both Judaism and Christianity refer to a being that is, at the very least, fantastically more intelligent and wise than human beings; which, even according to them, precludes perfect communication leading to perfect understanding from the infinite to the finite.
Somewhat off-topic, but this got me thinking.  What if the being they were referring to was fantastically more stupid and idiotic than human beings?  Wouldn't that also preclude perfect communication leading to perfect understanding from the infinite to the finite?  How would you be able to differentiate between an incredibly stupid, incomprehensible being and an incredibly intelligent, incomprehensible being (not to mention the option of 'made up entity that doesn't actually have a referent in reality for us to compare our understanding against')?

Quote
2. Both Christianity and Judaism had theologians and people trained to read and understand the meaning of scripture, which suggests that inspiration was never understood to be directly apparent.
It may also suggest that they were inspired by fiction and imagination.

Quote
3. Bothe Judaism and Christianity distilled holy writ down to "creeds", which suggests that there was a "point" to which they saw scripture driving at.
Well, yes, I imagine they saw a point that scripture was trying to get at.

I am once again reminded of Nabokov's Signs and Symbols.  The story includes a boy in a sanatorium who suffers from 'referential mania', where he sees and interprets everything as some kind of a cipher that has some overriding message for him.  The story itself is essentially a goad for the reader to fall into a form of 'referential mania', trying to form some all-encompassing coherent narrative from the information and events in the story that have no actual coherent message or theme.

That they thought there was a coherent point and theme does not necessarily mean there actually was a point or theme to derive.

Quote
4. Both Judaism and Christianity used an anthology of texts from different authors from different times, some of which directly contradicted others on a variety of things.

None of this sounds to me like a group of people who thought that inspiration meant "Every word is literally, perfectly true and inspired". It sounds to me like inspiration was something illusive, something that they could only partially identify, and partially understand.

At the risk of over-simplifying, it sounds like your saying that you also don't understand what someone would mean when they would say 'inspired by god'.

I do agree that none of this sounds like a group of people who thought that inspiration meant "Every word is literally, perfectly true and inspired."  However, it also doesn't sound like a group of authors writing books where a god was involved at all.
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Re: Inspiration and the bible
« Reply #6 on: June 27, 2014, 01:19:36 PM »
I am a former holy-roller, and I will say that at least my particular brand of crazy believed that "inspired by God" meant that God literally wrote through those people, exactly as if he were holding their writing-hand.

I know other denominations don't believe the same way, but I was a Bible literalist.
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Re: Inspiration and the bible
« Reply #7 on: June 27, 2014, 03:46:41 PM »
I am a former holy-roller, and I will say that at least my particular brand of crazy believed that "inspired by God" meant that God literally wrote through those people, exactly as if he were holding their writing-hand.

I know other denominations don't believe the same way, but I was a Bible literalist.
if this were truly the case how can the people who put the books together to make up both the OT/NT omit and delete or even censor passages that were literally written by the hand of God?
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Re: Inspiration and the bible
« Reply #8 on: June 27, 2014, 05:20:09 PM »
Someone recently told me, when she was asked a similar question, that inspired by God meant that the author was guided by the Holy Spirit? I found the following formal definition , but I assume it's not the only one: "with regard to the Bible, inspiration denotes the doctrine that the human authors and editors of canonical scripture were led or influenced by the Deity with the result that their writings many be designated in some sense the word of God".

Reference:B.M. Metzger & M.D. Coogan, "The Oxford Companion to the Bible," Oxford University Press, New York, NY, (1993), Pages 302 to 304

In Acts 13:2 there is actually reference of the Holy Spirit being able to "speak". In 1Corinth. 12:11 there's reference of it having a "will". The bible further doesn't give much clues on what "moved by the Holy Spirit" means. Thus we are left to look for references I suppose for what he can do and based on that try to define what "moved by" means within that context.
« Last Edit: June 27, 2014, 05:33:38 PM by wow »

Offline 12 Monkeys

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Re: Inspiration and the bible
« Reply #9 on: June 27, 2014, 06:21:22 PM »
so if they we not moved by the passage it could be omitted?
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Re: Inspiration and the bible
« Reply #10 on: June 27, 2014, 06:46:50 PM »
"with regard to the Bible, inspiration denotes the doctrine that the human authors and editors of canonical scripture were led or influenced by the Deity with the result that their writings many be designated in some sense the word of God".

Anyone else amused by all the qualifiers in that definition?
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Offline wow

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Re: Inspiration and the bible
« Reply #11 on: June 27, 2014, 07:27:34 PM »
"with regard to the Bible, inspiration denotes the doctrine that the human authors and editors of canonical scripture were led or influenced by the Deity with the result that their writings many be designated in some sense the word of God".

Anyone else amused by all the qualifiers in that definition?

Haha yea not to mention the careful 'in some sense' word if God. Though I think this is just one definition. I didn't find another one so formal though.

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Re: Inspiration and the bible
« Reply #12 on: June 27, 2014, 07:37:20 PM »
When I was a kid, most Christians would answer thusly: that every single word in the bible came from the lips of god. I am willing to bet money that most black folks in the US would still say this.
Extraordinary claims of the bible don't even have ordinary evidence.

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Offline wow

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Re: Inspiration and the bible
« Reply #13 on: June 27, 2014, 07:44:18 PM »
Here's a list of attributes and definitions if the Holy Spirit: http://carm.org/holy-spirit

Now for a Christian, the bible is generally considered complete and truthful. Thus perhaps, with that list in mind, and thus from their own biblical context, could someone provide how these attributes could practically effectuate "being moved by the Holy Spirit"?

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Re: Inspiration and the bible
« Reply #14 on: June 27, 2014, 07:48:02 PM »
What exactly do people mean when they say that god 'inspired' the writers of the bible?

As per the post above, I'm left with a bit of a gap trying to understand in what way god inspired Genesis.  Like, did he give authors direct visions of what occurred at creation and during the flood? 

It is like this. If you are slightly unhinged and you want people to believe something uncommonly stupid without asking questions, you say it is inspired by a god.

Don't mention the creation and flood stories. They were inspired by different gods thousands of years before Yahweh was invented, and copied into the OT later.

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Offline Philosopher_at_large

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Re: Inspiration and the bible
« Reply #15 on: June 29, 2014, 01:35:41 PM »
Quote from: philosopher_at_large
1. Both Judaism and Christianity refer to a being that is, at the very least, fantastically more intelligent and wise than human beings; which, even according to them, precludes perfect communication leading to perfect understanding from the infinite to the finite.

Somewhat off-topic, but this got me thinking.  What if the being they were referring to was fantastically more stupid and idiotic than human beings?  Wouldn't that also preclude perfect communication leading to perfect understanding from the infinite to the finite?  How would you be able to differentiate between an incredibly stupid, incomprehensible being and an incredibly intelligent, incomprehensible being (not to mention the option of 'made up entity that doesn't actually have a referent in reality for us to compare our understanding against')?

If that were the case then it would be extremely difficult for human beings to communicate with God.

Quote from: philosopher_at_large
2. Both Christianity and Judaism had theologians and people trained to read and understand the meaning of scripture, which suggests that inspiration was never understood to be directly apparent.

It may also suggest that they were inspired by fiction and imagination.

To quote one of my favorite movies: "I was not attempting to evaluate its moral implications, doctor." Even if it were all fiction and imagination, they still didn't see the fictitious and imaginary inspiration as being direct and literal.

Quote from: philosopher_at_large
3. Bothe Judaism and Christianity distilled holy writ down to "creeds", which suggests that there was a "point" to which they saw scripture driving at.

Well, yes, I imagine they saw a point that scripture was trying to get at.

Exactly, which belies the idea that they just read the bible word for word to derive "inspiration"

That they thought there was a coherent point and theme does not necessarily mean there actually was a point or theme to derive.

I'm not saying it does, I'm just pointing out that they didn't see inspiration as direct and literal.

Quote from: philosopher_at_large
4. Both Judaism and Christianity used an anthology of texts from different authors from different times, some of which directly contradicted others on a variety of things.

None of this sounds to me like a group of people who thought that inspiration meant "Every word is literally, perfectly true and inspired". It sounds to me like inspiration was something illusive, something that they could only partially identify, and partially understand.

At the risk of over-simplifying, it sounds like your saying that you also don't understand what someone would mean when they would say 'inspired by god'.

Not at all, what I'm saying is that they 'did' have an understanding of what inspiration meant, and it wasn't divine dictation of a book through human stenographers.

Quote from: philosopher_at_large
I do agree that none of this sounds like a group of people who thought that inspiration meant "Every word is literally, perfectly true and inspired."  However, it also doesn't sound like a group of authors writing books where a god was involved at all.

Your mileage may very
« Last Edit: June 29, 2014, 01:47:31 PM by Philosopher_at_large »
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Offline One Above All

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Re: Inspiration and the bible
« Reply #16 on: June 29, 2014, 01:45:34 PM »
Philosopher_at_large, please fix the quotes in your last post. Below I have what I believe to be the fixed version.

Code: [Select]
[quote author=jdawg70 link=topic=26888.msg620782#msg620782 date=1403878922]
I'm not sure I'm all that interested in what 'inspiration' meant to the biblical authors themselves, as I don't think any of the authors have made any claims that their words were indeed inspired by god.  I could be wrong - is there any place in the bible that has something like [i]the following is the result of inspiration by god[/i].[/quote]

No, nothing like that. I think that, what the founders of anything meant by that "thing" is the only measuring stick we have. What other criteria do we have to evaluate it?

[quote author=philosopher_at_large]Some things to consider:

1. Both Judaism and Christianity refer to a being that is, at the very least, fantastically more intelligent and wise than human beings; which, even according to them, precludes perfect communication leading to perfect understanding from the infinite to the finite.[/quote]

[quote author=jdawg70 link=topic=26888.msg620782#msg620782 date=1403878922]Somewhat off-topic, but this got me thinking.  What if the being they were referring to was fantastically more [b]stupid[/b] and [b]idiotic[/b] than human beings?  Wouldn't that [i]also[/i] preclude perfect communication leading to perfect understanding from the infinite to the finite?  How would you be able to differentiate between an [i]incredibly stupid[/i], incomprehensible being and an [i]incredibly intelligent[/i], incomprehensible being (not to mention the option of 'made up entity that doesn't actually have a referent in reality for us to compare our understanding against')?[/quote]

If that were the case then it would be extremely difficult for human beings to communicate with God.

[quote author=philosopher_at_large]
2. Both Christianity and Judaism had theologians and people trained to read and understand the meaning of scripture, which suggests that inspiration was never understood to be directly apparent.[/quote]

[quote author=jdawg70 link=topic=26888.msg620782#msg620782 date=1403878922]It may also suggest that they were inspired by fiction and imagination.[/quote]

To quote one of my favorite movies: "I was not attempting to evaluate its moral implications, doctor." Even if it were all fiction and imagination, they still didn't see the fictitious and imaginary inspiration as being direct and literal.

[quote author=philosopher_at_large]
3. Bothe Judaism and Christianity distilled holy writ down to "creeds", which suggests that there was a "point" to which they saw scripture driving at.[/quote]

[quote author=jdawg70 link=topic=26888.msg620782#msg620782 date=1403878922]Well, yes, I imagine they saw a point that scripture was trying to get at.[/quote]

Exactly, which belies the idea that they just read the bible word for word to derive "inspiration"

[quote author=jdawg70 link=topic=26888.msg620782#msg620782 date=1403878922]That they thought there was a coherent point and theme does not necessarily mean there actually [i]was[/i] a point or theme to derive.[/quote]

I'm not saying it does, I'm just pointing out that they didn't see inspiration as direct and literal.

[quote author=philosopher_at_large]
4. Both Judaism and Christianity used an anthology of texts from different authors from different times, some of which directly contradicted others on a variety of things.

None of this sounds to me like a group of people who thought that inspiration meant "Every word is literally, perfectly true and inspired". It sounds to me like inspiration was something illusive, something that they could only partially identify, and partially understand.[/quote]

[quote author=jdawg70 link=topic=26888.msg620782#msg620782 date=1403878922]At the risk of over-simplifying, it sounds like your saying that you also don't understand what someone would mean when they would say 'inspired by god'.[/quote]

Not at all, what I'm saying is that they 'did' have an understanding of what inspiration meant, and it wasn't divine dictation of a book through human stenographers.

[quote author=philosopher_at_large]I do agree that none of this sounds like a group of people who thought that inspiration meant "Every word is literally, perfectly true and inspired."  However, it also doesn't sound like a group of authors writing books where [b]a god was involved at all[/b].[/quote]

Your mileage may very
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Offline Philosopher_at_large

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Re: Inspiration and the bible
« Reply #17 on: June 29, 2014, 01:48:06 PM »
Philosopher_at_large, please fix the quotes in your last post. Below I have what I believe to be the fixed version.

Code: [Select]
[quote author=jdawg70 link=topic=26888.msg620782#msg620782 date=1403878922]
I'm not sure I'm all that interested in what 'inspiration' meant to the biblical authors themselves, as I don't think any of the authors have made any claims that their words were indeed inspired by god.  I could be wrong - is there any place in the bible that has something like [i]the following is the result of inspiration by god[/i].[/quote]

No, nothing like that. I think that, what the founders of anything meant by that "thing" is the only measuring stick we have. What other criteria do we have to evaluate it?

[quote author=philosopher_at_large]Some things to consider:

1. Both Judaism and Christianity refer to a being that is, at the very least, fantastically more intelligent and wise than human beings; which, even according to them, precludes perfect communication leading to perfect understanding from the infinite to the finite.[/quote]

[quote author=jdawg70 link=topic=26888.msg620782#msg620782 date=1403878922]Somewhat off-topic, but this got me thinking.  What if the being they were referring to was fantastically more [b]stupid[/b] and [b]idiotic[/b] than human beings?  Wouldn't that [i]also[/i] preclude perfect communication leading to perfect understanding from the infinite to the finite?  How would you be able to differentiate between an [i]incredibly stupid[/i], incomprehensible being and an [i]incredibly intelligent[/i], incomprehensible being (not to mention the option of 'made up entity that doesn't actually have a referent in reality for us to compare our understanding against')?[/quote]

If that were the case then it would be extremely difficult for human beings to communicate with God.

[quote author=philosopher_at_large]
2. Both Christianity and Judaism had theologians and people trained to read and understand the meaning of scripture, which suggests that inspiration was never understood to be directly apparent.[/quote]

[quote author=jdawg70 link=topic=26888.msg620782#msg620782 date=1403878922]It may also suggest that they were inspired by fiction and imagination.[/quote]

To quote one of my favorite movies: "I was not attempting to evaluate its moral implications, doctor." Even if it were all fiction and imagination, they still didn't see the fictitious and imaginary inspiration as being direct and literal.

[quote author=philosopher_at_large]
3. Bothe Judaism and Christianity distilled holy writ down to "creeds", which suggests that there was a "point" to which they saw scripture driving at.[/quote]

[quote author=jdawg70 link=topic=26888.msg620782#msg620782 date=1403878922]Well, yes, I imagine they saw a point that scripture was trying to get at.[/quote]

Exactly, which belies the idea that they just read the bible word for word to derive "inspiration"

[quote author=jdawg70 link=topic=26888.msg620782#msg620782 date=1403878922]That they thought there was a coherent point and theme does not necessarily mean there actually [i]was[/i] a point or theme to derive.[/quote]

I'm not saying it does, I'm just pointing out that they didn't see inspiration as direct and literal.

[quote author=philosopher_at_large]
4. Both Judaism and Christianity used an anthology of texts from different authors from different times, some of which directly contradicted others on a variety of things.

None of this sounds to me like a group of people who thought that inspiration meant "Every word is literally, perfectly true and inspired". It sounds to me like inspiration was something illusive, something that they could only partially identify, and partially understand.[/quote]

[quote author=jdawg70 link=topic=26888.msg620782#msg620782 date=1403878922]At the risk of over-simplifying, it sounds like your saying that you also don't understand what someone would mean when they would say 'inspired by god'.[/quote]

Not at all, what I'm saying is that they 'did' have an understanding of what inspiration meant, and it wasn't divine dictation of a book through human stenographers.

[quote author=philosopher_at_large]I do agree that none of this sounds like a group of people who thought that inspiration meant "Every word is literally, perfectly true and inspired."  However, it also doesn't sound like a group of authors writing books where [b]a god was involved at all[/b].[/quote]

Your mileage may very

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Offline One Above All

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Re: Inspiration and the bible
« Reply #18 on: June 29, 2014, 01:49:14 PM »
The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
Why settle for normal, when you can be so much more? Why settle for something, when you can have everything?
We choose our own gods.

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Offline jdawg70

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Re: Inspiration and the bible
« Reply #19 on: June 29, 2014, 02:17:49 PM »
If that were the case then it would be extremely difficult for human beings to communicate with God.
What if god didn't actually exist?  Would you also bump into this extreme difficulty in communication?

Quote
It may also suggest that they were inspired by fiction and imagination.
To quote one of my favorite movies: "I was not attempting to evaluate its moral implications, doctor." Even if it were all fiction and imagination, they still didn't see the fictitious and imaginary inspiration as being direct and literal.
Yeah I'll buy that.

Quote
Quote from: philosopher_at_large
3. Bothe Judaism and Christianity distilled holy writ down to "creeds", which suggests that there was a "point" to which they saw scripture driving at.

Well, yes, I imagine they saw a point that scripture was trying to get at.

Exactly, which belies the idea that they just read the bible word for word to derive "inspiration"
No but it does mean that they assume that the bible is a source for divine inspiration.  I'm not really too worried about the 'literal' part at this point, but I a little worried about the assumption that the bible is the result of inspiration coming from an actual, real god, and, in turn, whatever inspiration they are deriving from it (literal or otherwise), it is related to the divine.

Quote
That they thought there was a coherent point and theme does not necessarily mean there actually was a point or theme to derive.

I'm not saying it does, I'm just pointing out that they didn't see inspiration as direct and literal.
Got it, but still don't really care if the inspiration was direct and literal at this point.

Quote
Not at all, what I'm saying is that they 'did' have an understanding of what inspiration meant, and it wasn't divine dictation of a book through human stenographers.
I am still at a loss as to what manner the biblical authors (and I guess we've added in biblical scholars) were 'inspired'.  It just...it just doesn't sound like 'god' is involved in the inspiration.  It just sounds like it is incorrect to say that god inspired the authors of the bible.  It sounds like, perhaps, the biblical authors were inspired by events in the world around them, inspired by their peers who were also searching for god, inspired by previous authors who were searching for god, inspired by their own personal agendas, but no where do I see a place to fit them being inspired by god.

I mean...direct and literal or indirect and metaphorical...I don't see where god is involved.
"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'."

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Offline Philosopher_at_large

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Re: Inspiration and the bible
« Reply #20 on: June 29, 2014, 02:53:50 PM »
Quote from: jdawg70
What if god didn't actually exist?  Would you also bump into this extreme difficulty in communication?

That's why God can't be thought of as being less intelligent, because it's a hypothetical, the hypothetical is: "A supreme being inspires authors". My point was that such a being could not directly and literally dictate to human beings. If God didn't actually exist, then the problems we're addressing in scripture are the result of inconsistencies in our minds which conceived of a God that doesn't actually exist and couldn't keep it straight. 

Quote from: jdawg70
No but it does mean that they assume that the bible is a source for divine inspiration.  I'm not really too worried about the 'literal' part at this point, but I a little worried about the assumption that the bible is the result of inspiration coming from an actual, real god, and, in turn, whatever inspiration they are deriving from it (literal or otherwise), it is related to the divine.

Well, that's the crux of the whole thing, is there a God or isn't there? No examination of holy writ can tell us that. the only thing that we can say about divine inspiration is that the authors of scripture and the founders of these religions understood it to be X and not Y. That X is actual inspiration from a divine being is untestable. You can test the logical consistency of the "idea" of inspiration, but you can't test its practical usefulness or actuality.

Quote from: jdawg70
Got it, but still don't really care if the inspiration was direct and literal at this point.

Oh, well that's the only thing I've been talking about. We can't really discuss the "actuality" of inspiration by discussing scripture its self.

[quote author=jdawg70I am still at a loss as to what manner the biblical authors (and I guess we've added in biblical scholars) were 'inspired'.  It just...it just doesn't sound like 'god' is involved in the inspiration.  It just sounds like it is incorrect to say that god inspired the authors of the bible.  It sounds like, perhaps, the biblical authors were inspired by events in the world around them, inspired by their peers who were also searching for god, inspired by previous authors who were searching for god, inspired by their own personal agendas, but no where do I see a place to fit them being inspired by god.[/quote]

The question is "What did they think inspiration was?" the question that you seem to be interested in is "What would scripture be like if it were "actually" inspired by a God?", which can't really be answered. 
"A moral philosophy that is fact based should be based upon the facts about human nature and nothing else." - Mortimer J. Adler

Offline jdawg70

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Re: Inspiration and the bible
« Reply #21 on: June 30, 2014, 09:11:45 PM »
The question is "What did they think inspiration was?" the question that you seem to be interested in is "What would scripture be like if it were "actually" inspired by a God?", which can't really be answered.

Actually, the question isn't so much as what the biblical authors thought inspiration was - the question really is, for those that claim that the bible was inspired by god, what does the claimant mean by that?

You are correct insofar as I am interested in what scripture would be like if it were actually inspired by god.  And when I do look at scripture, it doesn't look remotely like anything that is even almost-kinda-sorta-if-I-squint-real-hard-and-hit-my-head close to what my expectations would be - but I think that may be from a lack of understanding of what 'inspire' means in this context.  So I want to know, when someone tells me that the bible was inspired by god, what they mean by 'inspired'.

So I know that there's certainly some back and forth with the whole 'does god actually exist' and 'how did the biblical authors know that what they were writing about had anything to do with god', but there are people (GoatMan was one of them I believe) that explicitly state: "The bible was inspired by god."  And I want to know what they mean when they say 'inspired'.

Sorry for the repetition, but I was starting to drift the topic away from my initial question.  Repeating what I was looking for helps me focus.

But, I guess for clarity - do you agree with the statement 'the bible was inspired by god'?
"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/