Author Topic: Response to Star Stuff's question: Do Christians have to litearlly give all?  (Read 1197 times)

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Offline GoatMan

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Star stuff gave a link to this video and asked me if i've sold all my stuff yet.  I had previously claimed to take the Bible literally.



It seems like a central argument to the youtube video is that Paul's teachings (which are followed by modern Christians) don't do Jesus' teachings justice- that they don't take Jesus' words literally.  As I would use a passage from a Pauline epistle to aid in answering Star Stuff's question, let me briefly explain how Paul can be trusted as an interpreter of Jesus' message and actions.  Then I will interpret what Jesus said in light of Paul's teachings to show that there is deeper, symbolic meaning.  Finally, I will show that Jesus could have literally said those words and even meant them sincerely but that His main point was to use the command as an arguing device for a more important conclusion.

Actually, I'm going to give 2 arguments as to why Paul can be trusted.  The first argument will appeal to those who accept Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John (MMLJ) all to be canonical and trust the early church to attribute authorship of NT books to the correct authors.  Later I will attempt to give an argument if you don't accept this and just want to compare a teaching of Jesus' (brought up in the video) with a teaching of Paul's and seeing if they are compatible.  In this second argument I can say whether or not I've literally sold all my stuff and if this means that I do or don't take the Bible literally.

First argument:  The same man who wrote Luke wrote Acts, so if you accept Luke you should accept Acts.  In MMLJ+Acts, Jesus gives Peter authority to teach what he has learned from Jesus along with the specific guidelines to wait until he receives the power of the Holy Spirit (Matt 16, Matt 28, Acts 1-2).  So God via the Holy Spirit will guide what Peter and the other apostles do and often what they write.  Later, Peter endorses Paul in 2 Peter 3:15.  Acts also tells of how Jesus Himself spoke to Paul and shows Paul and Peter and the rest of the apostles working for the same cause of spreading Christianity (although it wasn't called Christianity yet I know), despite a few disagreements (which is ok and I will explain this in my second argument).

Now, the second argument:  let's use the story of the “rich young man” (although Mark just says “a man”) that is in the youtube video and is also the source of Star Stuff's question.  We can find it in Mark chapter 10 which I suppose you all prefer over MMLJ since there is the theory that Mark was written first and the other synoptic gospels modeled after it and then John wasn't written until later.  If Jesus actually said anything that we have today then the book of Mark is the best bet to be it, no?  Please read the whole context which I would argue is from verse 17 at least until 31 because the setting is the same- Jesus is leaving someone's house and the man comes up to Him and then Jesus answers questions until vs 32 when they make some progress in their journey to Jerusalem. I would also like to bring up vs 45 as related even though it's a new setting I and will explain why when I do.

The man's question is “what do I have to do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus then asks questions about why the man, in his own actions, deserves eternal life.  Has he followed God's commandments? Then man says he has followed the commandments Jesus lists.  Jesus says that he also needs to sell all he has and give to poor.  Why would Jesus add this command?  Well, as it has been mentioned in these discussion pages, the OT commands do not promise heaven or threat hell (and why Jesus can be the Messiah prophesied about in the OT and bring up something the OT never speaks of is a topic for another time).  Jesus' offer of eternal life seems to be something new (although perhaps it isn't).  Shouldn't it maybe require a little extra (I'm just speculating)?  Anyway, Jesus says what He says, that, yes, the man must give all he has to the poor.

But, Jesus qualifies this teaching with the statement that it is impossible for a human to save himself, but that God can save humans (vs 26-27).  (Note, this doesn't make what Jesus said any less literal, it is just qualified with additional info- in other words, if God wanted to judge us based on what we did without any mercy, the vast majority of us would be unworthy of eternal life).  So, already, this teaching is compatible with Paul's teachings that we are saved by faith in God and not by our own works (as summarized in Philippians 3:9, I will stick with Philippians as the only Pauline epistle in this post for the sake of ease, although I'm sure other epistles could be used and would have a consistent message). 

But then if we allow ourselves to look at vs 45, which uses the word “ransom” and is a very similar concept to the “saved” in vs 26, then we see that Jesus means His death on the cross is what saves.

You see, as Paul clarifies in Philippians 2:5-11, Jesus' death on the cross is Him giving all He has for us.  Jesus is God, but He left heaven and came to earth.  He was far richer than any human who has ever lived but came and lived a life of poverty (literally, as we see from Mark).  And not only that but he was rich in life and chose to die for us!  Jesus is the one who has earned eternal life by following all the commands and giving all He has and indeed all of Himself for us humans who are bankrupt in true riches and righteousness and life (we are all poor symbolically, as Paul clarifies). 

And so God blesses Jesus for this!  He doesn't stay poor long but God rewards Him with glory and a rightful place in heaven!

So how does this relate to what Jesus says in Mark?  Well as we read on, Peter notes that he has left behind everything to follow Jesus (vs 28).  And so Jesus promises a reward for Peter (vs 29-31) just like Jesus Himself gets rewarded by God. 

So have I given everything to the poor?  If I had, you might not ever know, even if I was living in moderate comfort.  Jesus promises Peter (vs 30) “a hundred times as much IN THIS PRESENT AGE:  homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and fields.”  So what if God's 100x giving back to me out-paces my giving all I have away and I just can't seem to give it all away?  Following a literal teaching of Jesus in the book of Mark, it's possible.

But, to be honest, I can't admit to following Jesus' command to give all I have away.  In fact, that's the point according to vs 26-27.  Only God can truly be righteous like that.

So now what? Do I just say it was only figurative and turn my back on generosity?  Do I ignore the poor because Jesus asserts that I can't possibly be perfectly holy on my own?  Of course not!  I will turn back to Philippians 3:12-14.  Paul himself admits that he is not perfect.  But he gives us this picture of Christ's perfect holiness as a goal to strive for.  It may not be reachable (in these bodies), but we still try because we understand that's what God wants.  Jesus, when he saves us, calls us to this holiness.  We are already saved from our sin and failures, and now we are free to strive to live lives that are worthy of the great grace and generosity Jesus showed us (also in 1:27).  No Christians are perfect yet (and so Paul and Peter even disagree and bicker sometimes), but God is still at work in us and will keep us headed in the right direction (1:6).

So I choose to worry about my own actions and the actions of those close Christian friends God has given me to hold accountable and be accountable to.  Although I am not perfect at it, I try to keep becoming more like the person I see that Jesus wants me to be.  Do I literally give some of my possessions away?  Yes.  Does God respond by giving back to me?  Yes, in so many unexpected but still beautiful ways.  Should I strive to give more until I literally give all?  Believe me, even before you asked your question I knew I should fewer and fewer possessions myself so that I can give more and more away and was asking God for guidance in this.  And there are so many other commands that I am striving to follow as best (and literally) as possible.  But I don't dare minimize what Jesus did so He could forgive me when I fail.

As for other Christian leaders who don't seem to follow the way of Jesus- I'll admit it seems like it sometimes (and the Bible warns of false teachers).  But does that mean there aren't any real followers of Jesus left?  Almost surely there aren't any perfect people out there.  I think any Christian would claim Jesus is the only perfect person to walk this earth (but let me know if I'm wrong).  But I hope that there are people who live near all of us who are genuinely following Jesus the best they know how and could explain their lifestyle more if you asked them.

So to summarize, Jesus literally said what He said to the rich young man and it is a literal qualification for eternal life and that He also literally fulfilled that commandment Himself and then literally died by execution and was literally resurrected.  A reading of Mark 10 in context shows that Jesus also meant the command to be an argument against human righteousness being enough on our own and an argument for faith in Jesus.  It doesn't have to be either literal or figurative (mutually exclusive).  It can be both.  The Bible is, in my opinion, always literal (unless clearly stated as something else such as a parable), and then also usually figurative in addition. 

I ask that if people respond that they say whether they agree/disagree that I've (inductively) proven the following (and not go off topic about whether or not Jesus actually lived, etc., you/we can speak on a different thread for that if you like): If the book of Mark contains words that Jesus actually spoke, then a reading of Mark in context-
1) is compatible with Paul's epistle to the Philippians and therefore Paul's teachings seem compatible with what Jesus taught
2) shows Jesus literally required that we need a holiness that includes giving all possessions to the poor but said that humans can't attain such a level of holiness
3) asserts Jesus lived out what He required and then also died as a ransom for our sin (our lack of the holiness necessary for eternal life) which makes eternal life possible via faith
   

Offline Nam

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If one takes the Bible as being literal then it's literal. You don't get to then decide, "Well, it's literal but not the way you think but the way I interpret it."; either it's literal, or it's not. You can't have it both ways.

-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 GoatMan

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I have to disagree on this one.  Interpretation is just a fact of communication (especially written communication).  Say I am emailing my friend about his plans for summer. I ask him if he is taking any vacations with his family.  He responds "Oh yeah, you know, our traditional family camping trip is the plan again this year."  Does he literally mean that he is going camping with his family in a similar way that he has before in the past?  Yes, it's probably to be taken literally.  But aren't there a few different ways to interpret it? He could be excited to be partaking of a beloved family tradition yet again.  Or he could be disappointed that his family couldn't afford a cruise and has to settle for camping again. 

The same could be said of the US Constitution (or any law).  Laws are worded carefully and meant to be as literal and clear as is practical.  And yet we still need judges to interpret the law because no lawmaker can predict the exact specific ways that the law will be broken and all the appropriate consequences.  (Could an omniscient Law-maker write a perfectly clear and specific law that covers all situations?  Yes, I suppose.  But it seems He prefers us to "seek (Him) with all our hearts" as opposed to Him just spelling every little detail out for us to easily comprehend with our minds.  The effort to understand what He tells us is part of loving and obeying Him).

Offline Nam

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No. There's only one way to interpret it: the way he meant for it to be interpreted, as he said it. You don't get to decide what he meant; what he said, if being literal, is what he meant. The same applies to anything else that's to be taken literal. The problem you, and other people have in concern to the Bible is that the Bible is filled with parables, similes, metaphors, alliterations, literalisms, etc., that's yours and everyone else's problem yet at the same time you add those things into your own interpretations of what you say is literal.

Either that makes you out to be an idiot, or you purposely do that to justify over things you may, personally, disagree with.

-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 Star Stuff

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Let me briefly explain how Paul can be trusted as an interpreter of Jesus' message and actions.

Thanks for the wall of text and the hermeneutical gymnastics.  Are you aware that Paul never met the alleged Jesus character?  (I say "alleged" because there is no evidence that the Jesus character ever existed).  In addition, any words attributed to him were placed on his lips many decades later.  If such a wandering fanatic did exist, there is absolutely NO WAY to know what he may or may not have said.  The sooner you accept that, the sooner you'll see that organizing your life around said texts is.......to put it mildly......really stupid.  I fully understand the bandwagon that you're on, as I used to be on it too, and for many years.



Quote
Then I will interpret what Jesus said in light of Paul's teachings to show that there is deeper, symbolic meaning.

Ahh yes, the old "deeper, symbolic meaning" yarn.  That didn't take long!




« Last Edit: May 28, 2014, 11:34:29 PM by Star Stuff »
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Offline natlegend

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Gotta agree with Nam - literal is literal. Once you start delving into allegory/parable/metaphor etc, you are simply displaying your own version of SPAG[1].

GoatMan, does your understanding of god, Jesus, and the bible, contain anything that you don't agree with?
 1. Self Projection As God, for those who aren't familiar with the term
You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Offline GoatMan

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I agree that He meant something clear! And I doubt that the way to know what that is is to read one statement out of context (vs 21) while ignoring statements made a few verses later! That is the definition of  quote mining! http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fallacy_of_quoting_out_of_context

A clear and correct interpretation would not ignore vs 27 or 45 (or vs 21 for that matter). Jesus did not mean for humans to be saved by their own works or else He would not have said that such an act is impossible (vs 27). He then makes salvation possible through His own death (vs 45).  If that is an incorrect (or non literal) reading, please show me why.

But, in reality, what the video Star Stuff shared does is quote mine from the Bible and then create a straw-man modern Christian. If you want to tear an argument apart, tear apart the one I gave above. I'm not so arrogant to admit that I haven't missed something, and I'd rather have you interact with me than simply assume I'm either idiotic and/or deceitful/hypocritical

« Last Edit: May 29, 2014, 12:21:21 AM by GoatMan »

Offline natlegend

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Again: does your understanding of god, Jesus, and the bible, contain anything that you don't agree with?

Also: do you agree that the bible is choc full of contradictions? How do you determine which part is true, and which part is the contradiction and therefore does not apply?

Edit added second question
« Last Edit: May 29, 2014, 12:13:54 AM by natlegend »
You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Offline GoatMan

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Just because there is a "wall" of "hermeneutical" text doesn't disqualify any of it. Please make a real argument (because I really want to hear if you have legitimate criticism).

Let me summarize the "deeper symbolic meaning": there is a spiritual element, spiritual riches vs poverty. Jesus has offered us spiritual riches (along with literal material provision, see Mark 10:30). It's ONE way He practices what He preaches- the other is that He lived a life of physical poverty.
Spiritual knowledge HAS to be communicated symbolically because is abstract to us. Do electrons really occupy "clouds" or do subatomic particles (quarks? the specific particle escapes me) really have "flavors?" You see that literal truth (or theory) is communicated symbolically when it is abstract to our day to day experiences. But you don't reject these ideas because they are communicated in such a way do you? (If you dismiss them it is for another reason I would suspect).

Is there any Biblical idea/understanding of Jesus I disagree with? Well, there are things I don't understand too well, like how Jesus would want to suffer for me (my selfish nature at least recently won't even suffer the pain of exercise to better myself). And there are things Jesus asks of me that are difficult to accept, like that I must deny myself. But I accept that Jesus does love me and that it is best for me to deny myself (and I even find joy in these things despite my imperfect faith/actions).



Offline GoatMan

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And oh yeah, Paul did meet Jesus, on the road to Damascus. It's acts chapter 9 I think. Do you think Philippians (especially the verse i mentioned, although you are of course free to read it all in context) contradicts Mark 10 (or any other part of Mark) in any way?

Offline natlegend

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I freely admit, that having never been religious, I know little of the bible. However, I still believe you are displaying a degree of SPAG.

Spiritual knowledge HAS to be communicated symbolically because is abstract to us.

I'm not sure I understand. How do you determine this?

You see that literal truth (or theory) is communicated symbolically when it is abstract to our day to day experiences. But you don't reject these ideas because they are communicated in such a way do you? (If you dismiss them it is for another reason I would suspect).

How is a literal truth communicated symbolically? My understanding of symbolism is that it can be very subjective.

Is there any Biblical idea/understanding of Jesus I disagree with? Well, there are things I don't understand too well, like how Jesus would want to suffer for me (my selfish nature at least recently won't even suffer the pain of exercise to better myself). And there are things Jesus asks of me that are difficult to accept, like that I must deny myself. But I accept that Jesus does love me and that it is best for me to deny myself (and I even find joy in these things despite my imperfect faith/actions).

So you find nothing in the teachings of Jesus and/or the bible that you disagree with? Again, I call SPAG.
You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Offline Nam

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I agree that He meant something clear! And I doubt that the way to know what that is is to read one statement out of context (vs 21) while ignoring statements made a few verses later! That is the definition of  quote mining! http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fallacy_of_quoting_out_of_context

A clear and correct interpretation would not ignore vs 27 or 45 (or vs 21 for that matter). Jesus did not mean for humans to be saved by their own works or else He would not have said that such an act is impossible (vs 27). He then makes salvation possible through His own death (vs 45).  If that is an incorrect (or non literal) reading, please show me why.

But, in reality, what the video Star Stuff shared does is quote mine from the Bible and then create a straw-man modern Christian. If you want to tear an argument apart, tear apart the one I gave above. I'm not so arrogant to admit that I haven't missed something, and I'd rather have you interact with me than simply assume I'm either idiotic and/or deceitful/hypocritical



Jesus didn't say anything in the Bible. It's others stating that he said these things which they wrote down many many years after his death and nothing during his life (nor Jesus writing anything as well); therefore, unless they all had Eidetic memory, then it's clearly their interpretation of what he said or meant, even if he existed in the first place. Since many of the New Testament books were supposedly written by the same person (as you allude to above) then comparing one book to another really has no validity since there really is no consensus. It's one person's interpretation just like yours in your OP and your analogy. That's where we are resting at the moment: your interpretation and that's SPAG'ing.

You can twist it any way you wish but if you're resting on a literal interpretation of something, you don't take it from your viewpoint but the originator.

Your problem is, like many other Christians is: you are relying solely on your "clear and correct" interpretation.

Also, to your last part: I never called you an idiot, deceitful, nor hypocritical that's called projecting, and in this case: you seem to be applying that to yourself.

-Nam
« Last Edit: May 29, 2014, 12:40:15 AM by 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 GoatMan

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Either that makes you out to be an idiot, or you purposely do that to justify over things you may, personally, disagree with.

-Nam

Is it unfair to interpret (lol) "purposely...justify over" as deceit or hypocrisy.

I can see that you reject my premise when you don't think Jesus ever spoke anything in Mark. And so i don't think we will get anywhere with this. I actually admit that without the Bible I've got nothin else to back my beliefs on. So it's more like Scripture Proclaims About God

I gave the example of quarks having flavor as my proof that there is a place for symbolic communication in communicating otherwise literal, objective truth- especially when it's abstract. Spiritual matters are matters that are not physical/material and are by definition abstract.
But in either case, good symbolism adds to or enriches, as opposed to altering or mystifying, our understanding of something real, don't you think?

Offline Nam

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And oh yeah, Paul did meet Jesus, on the road to Damascus. It's acts chapter 9 I think. Do you think Philippians (especially the verse i mentioned, although you are of course free to read it all in context) contradicts Mark 10 (or any other part of Mark) in any way?

Paul never met Jesus according to the Bible. The Bible states he heard a voice saying, "I am Jesus", and saw a light. Unless you interpret that as "meeting Jesus".[1]?

-Nam
 1. Acts 9:4-7
This thread is about lab-grown dicks, not some mincy, old, British poof of an actor. 

Let's get back on topic, please.


Offline natlegend

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I gave the example of quarks having flavor as my proof that there is a place for symbolic communication in communicating otherwise literal, objective truth- especially when it's abstract. Spiritual matters are matters that are not physical/material and are by definition abstract.
But in either case, good symbolism adds to or enriches, as opposed to altering or mystifying, our understanding of something real, don't you think?

No. Quarks are demonstrable through the use of science, abstract spiritual matters are wholly subjective, and can therefore be dismissed.
You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Offline Nam

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Either that makes you out to be an idiot, or you purposely do that to justify over things you may, personally, disagree with.

-Nam

Is it unfair to interpret (lol) "purposely...justify over" as deceit or hypocrisy.

I can see that you reject my premise when you don't think Jesus ever spoke anything in Mark. And so i don't think we will get anywhere with this. I actually admit that without the Bible I've got nothin else to back my beliefs on. So it's more like Scripture Proclaims About God

I gave the example of quarks having flavor as my proof that there is a place for symbolic communication in communicating otherwise literal, objective truth- especially when it's abstract. Spiritual matters are matters that are not physical/material and are by definition abstract.
But in either case, good symbolism adds to or enriches, as opposed to altering or mystifying, our understanding of something real, don't you think?


I don't believe Jesus spoke anywhere in the NT, at all because except for the NT, there's no evidence he existed at all. But that has nothing to do with why I object to your premise. I object to your premise because you hold only to your interpretation, not of whoever the author might be, and rest solely on your own; your OP presents your argument thusly.

This is your OP in a nutshell: I am right, everyone else is wrong.

One can identify this because you keep attempting to add "symbolism" to it. You know what a a synonym for "symbolism" is? Metaphor.

How can the Bible be metaphorical if it's all literal?

Good luck answering that without SPAG'ing or redefining to fit your viewpoint.

-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 natlegend

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Aaaaaaaaaand, that looks like the end of that.
You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Offline Star Stuff

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GoatMan, you say that you take the bible literally, so just so I have an understanding of where you're at, are you saying that you believe in young-earth creationism (and deny evolution)?
And do you believe the flood/Noah story actually occurred?

I'm also curious about your history - what was it that convinced you that a cosmic Jewish zombie who was his own father can make you live forever if you symbolically eat his flesh and telepathically tell him you accept him as your master, so he can remove an evil force from your soul that is present in humanity because a rib-woman was convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magical tree?  Did you come to this as an adult, or where you born & raised in it?  In addition, are you by chance a JW?

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Offline GoatMan

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Actually this post + the assertion that yes, the Bible can be literal and figurative, is my argument in a nutshell.

I agree that He meant something clear! And I doubt that the way to know what that is is to read one statement out of context (vs 21) while ignoring statements made a few verses later! That is the definition of  quote mining! http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fallacy_of_quoting_out_of_context

A clear and correct interpretation would not ignore vs 27 or 45 (or vs 21 for that matter). Jesus did not mean for humans to be saved by their own works or else He would not have said that such an act is impossible (vs 27). He then makes salvation possible through His own death (vs 45).  If that is an incorrect (or non literal) reading, please show me why.

But, in reality, what the video Star Stuff shared does is quote mine from the Bible and then create a straw-man modern Christian. If you want to tear an argument apart, tear apart the one I gave above. I'm not so arrogant to admit that I haven't missed something, and I'd rather have you interact with me than simply assume I'm either idiotic and/or deceitful/hypocritical

Nam has yet to respond to this ^ post other than to dislike my claim of "clear and correct." He failed to say why my interpretation is unclear or incorrect, although I still invite him to. He asserts that I give a meaning different than what the author of Mark intended. What is the meaning the author intended, then, and how is my reading of the passage different?

As for the Bible being literal+figurative: consider the book of Hosea. I believe God literally asked Hosea to literally take a promiscuous wife and that Hosea literally obeyed. But God asked Hosea to do this as a symbol of how God continues to love an unfaithful Israel. The figurative meaning doesn't change any of the actual truth- Hosea still married an unfaithful wife (and had children with her etc).

Here is evidence of a crucified Jesus outside of NT. http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tacitus_on_Jesus
But Paul agreeing with Mark agreeing with Luke, John, James, and Peter does create a consensus of 6 eyewitnesses or contemporary historians- so it's not like nt is one source but is at least 6 more sources for a crucified Jesus. Why would you think that the words of Jesus in Mark do not hold the intended meaning of an actual Jesus who lived about 2000 years ago? I know you gave some ideas and I guess I would also like a few references for those ideas and/or an elaboration.

Star Stuff- I am a YE Christian. I've been Christian since childhood but have only claimed YE status since graduating college. I'm not JW. I've objectively considered Christianity and other world-views and still cling tightly to core Protestant Christian doctrines (widely accepted doctrines like salvation from sin by grace through faith in Jesus) while grasping less tightly to nonessential doctrines (that Christians can disagree on and still follow the same lifestyle of obedience to the gospel). I will probably change at least bits and pieces of my worldview as I continue in life, although most of the changes thus far have been based on learning more about the Bible directly (correcting my own misconceptions).
I would say that your summary of what I claim to believe was actually very accurate except for the mocking tone.
« Last Edit: May 29, 2014, 12:02:06 PM by GoatMan »

Offline Backspace

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FWIW: 2 Peter 1:20,  "Know this first: prophecy of the scripture is not open to human opinion or interpretation." 
There is no opinion so absurd that a preacher could not express it.
-- Bernie Katz

Offline Nam

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Your post is irrelevant. You say: the Bible is 100% literal but then say parts of it are symbolic. Until you understand that something literal (by your viewpoint) can't be symbolic everything you say is irrelevant.

Symbolism deals is analogies, metaphors, and attribution to ideas (philosophies), and representations to the idealism of said things.

The whole can be symbolic but parts can't be if one starts and ends from a literal position.

Example:

The US Constitution is a symbol to many people, etc., but if some says it's 100% literal then everything in it would have to be taken that way even if they find the whole to be symbolic.

Another example:

My TV is a symbol of entertainment but I believe (as an example) everything in it (shows, movies, etc.,) is literal. I can't then turn around and say, "Well, it's 100% literal but certain parts are symbolic..." -- I can't have it both ways: either it's 100% literal, or it's only 99% literal, or 60% literal, or only parts are literal.

Your example lacks because your bringing your interpretation into the Hosea example, the Bible's literal statement, and Biblegod's interpretation. Too much confliction.

Either it's just Biblegod's (which is symbolic) or it's the Bible's (literal) or yours (symbolic and literal based on your interpretation).

Which is it?

From my understanding the validity of what Tacitus wrote isn't in question, what is in question is the varying aspects of him being born 25 years after what he states happened happened. Plus, the fact as "we" require evidence and he never revealed his source. For all anyone knows: he made it up. But do not think I am dismissing Tacitus' writings, I am not but that's only one source; for a man to have such an impact on the whole of the world that only the books in the Bible (and the books the Romans left out) which may have, in concern to the NT, been written not by many people but a few or less makes one question the validity of any of it.

-Nam

[fixed errors]
« Last Edit: May 29, 2014, 12:58:12 PM by 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 GoatMan

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You say: the Bible is 100% literal
When did I say this? I said some parts are obviously figurative (parables and the like). You may ask "how do you know what is a parable and what isn't?" Keep reading.

Quote
Symbolism deals is analogies, metaphors, and attribution to ideas (philosophies), and representations to the idealism of said things.

The whole can be symbolic but parts can't be if one starts and ends from a literal position.

This is a false dichotomy. If there are no contextual clues as to why the beginning of Genesis is figurative, then I will take it literally. Later on, when someone has a dream (as a few folks did in the story of Joseph), I will see the dreams as figurative. The text says it's a dream and so we know now to start taking it figuratively. When the dream stops we go back to literal. In this case, the text interprets the dream for us.

Quote


Your example lacks because your bringing your interpretation into the Hosea example,


When?
Quote
the Bible's literal statement, and the Biblegod's interpretation. Too much confliction.


The symbolic meaning of Hosea (found in 1:2, for instance) doesn't conflict with the literal story. If it does, please share how. Or do you say the story could have never actually happened just because there is a figurative meaning behind it? If so, why? Why are the two mutually exclusive (I failed to see the proof within the Constitution or TV examples- just because the constitution symbolizes, say, justice, for someone doesn't mean that I don't literally have 5th amendment rights  as a US citizen. The amendment doesn't conflict with justice at all- the ideas complement each other. But if the constitution symbolized Tyranny to me, then I see conflict. But it matters the quality of the symbolism itself, not just the existence of a symbol (as a good symbol would not have any conflict).

The same is true of Mark 10. I never once denied any of the literal meaning. I simply asked that we read in context and let Jesus finish His discussion with those present before we use His words to argue our points (as the youtube video incorrectly did- it's the youtube video that changes the meaning).

« Last Edit: May 29, 2014, 01:23:08 PM by GoatMan »

Offline Nam

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Your entire OP rests on literalism. You state in the beginning how you "previously claimed to take the Bible literally" and then proceed to state that it is literal but with some sense of symbolism as if the two words are synonyms of each other. You're attempting to say, "Yes, Jesus said, "Give all your stuff to the poor" yet that's not what he meant, he meant symbolically." but still hold that the Bible is the literal word of Biblegod I.e. the situation is literal but the outcome is symbolic. That's SPAG.

Just because Genesis doesn't tell you it's not being literal doesn't automatically mean you should take it that way.

If I say, "The wonder of the sea shines brightly upon the sky" and don't tell you I am being metaphorical does that automatically mean you can say I was being literal? It's an option but doesn't make it true. You assume it's true because you do not have the skill to read it any other way. Then, when you come to the passage of what the video represents, and since it goes against your personal viewpoint of things what you[1] do is say, "Oh, that's just symbolism. He didn't actually mean that." and that's your problem; that's every Christians problem: they say it's literal but then decide based on their viewpoint which makes it a falsity, and SPAG.

The text says it's a dream yet you then interpret that dream as being literal. The understanding of Biblegod actually speaking to people is in their dreams; dreams are the making of one's mind yet since their god is in it; there's no "symbolism" since that's their god speaking to them.

Meaning: the dream is fictional to me but factual to you.

The symbolism is what you choose to give it based upon your limited understanding.

-Nam
 1. you in general of those who say the Bible is the literal word of "god"
« Last Edit: May 29, 2014, 03:11:48 PM by 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 Nam

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Let me explain it to you another way:

You have a dream where Jesus comes to you, and he says, "You must pray to God my Father five times a day, everyday, for the rest of your life." and then at the end of the dream, before you wake up he says, "You also must give all your possessions to the poor." So, you wake up and start praying five times a day, every day, for the rest of your life but you do not give all your possessions to the poor because you decided that the praying was literal and the giving away all your belongings was symbolic.

Another example: I recently watched a film where a father's daughter is kidnapped. He is positive this young man either took his daughter or knows where she is so he kidnaps him and then tortures him until he tells him what he wants to know. The young man didn't kidnap his daughter and doesn't know where she is but he believes he does. He is so sure because of minute information he obtained. He's basing it on his belief that he is right...just like you. You are basing what's in the Bible based on what little information you have and then saying, "That's what it is." because you've read other interpretations, histories, the Bible itself, and you have to be right because otherwise you've wasted your life, and you can't have that. You are right, and everyone else is wrong.

That's what you're presenting here. It doesn't matter if now you believe some parts are symbolic, some are literal because at the end of the day: it'll always be your interpretation and not necessarily what actually is.

-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 GoatMan

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I do appreciate your elaborations and patience. I think I see your point better now and can agree with most of what you are claiming.

state that it is literal but with some sense of symbolism as if the two words are synonyms of each other.


I guess this is the major exception. I think the two words are compatible, not synonyms.

I agree that each book of the Bible doesn't not necessarily come with instructions that it should be taken literally. But it seems many of those who preserved it took it literally. Also the genres suggest literalism (history, law). The evidence for a canon of the OT predates Christ and by the way the characters act in the NT, including Jesus, it seems as though they took it literally. Jesus didn't agree with the decisions of contemporary religious leaders, but He alludes to many parts of OT as if they aren't following it correctly.  Does He, then, take his own words literally? If not, He is intentionally deceitful or just plane crazy. It's the old argument we have probably all heard before

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lewis%27s_trilemma

Why would He die for something He knew was a lie? If He was crazy, then why even take His words as figurative? So it seems it really is all or nothing. A purely figurative interpretation with no literalism doesn't logically fit the Bible. So it's literal or you just gotta ignore it.

I know other (non Christian) religious leaders have died for their beliefs. So then I see them as either great liars or crazy (or demon possessed). Why choose Christianity then? The actual teachings match my condition as a human quite well. Better than more legalistic religions (I'm not perfect). Better than more mystic religions (I believe in objective truth/logic). Better than atheism (my spirit longs for God an eternity and I feel I've experienced Him, as promised in the Bible).

I may think I'm right but I at least back it up with reasons. (Shouldn't I have faith in right if my religion claims steadfast faith, shouldn't I defend my faith when my religion commands me to)? I still assert that the Bible taken in context and in good faith is consistent and fulfilling.


« Last Edit: May 29, 2014, 06:04:45 PM by GoatMan »

Offline Nam

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Those who preserved the books in the Bible each had their own agenda of what to do with it. The original Christians probably had one original interpretation over the Romans who forced it on the world (the parts they controlled at the time and afterward). Also, the original Bible is not in English (not that I don't think you know that) and therefore something is lost in that just like translating any language into another language.

Literalism and Symbolism can be compatible if one doesn't inject only their viewpoint/interpretation in concern to anything; with you: the Bible. Because then it's meaningless; because you make the circle fit in the square by creating your own rules.

You want to be a Christian, I don't care. Be a Christian but if you come to a place like this you better be prepared to back up your claims and/or arguments because we deal in evidence not peoples personal opinions who use that as evidence.

In another topic you used the Bible as evidence for itself. Can you not see the problem with that?

It's like me saying aliens exist because I read a book that said so. I quote from the book, and that's my evidence. That's not evidence. Using the Bible to prove the Bible is nonsensical.

-Nam
« Last Edit: May 29, 2014, 06:24:42 PM by 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 Star Stuff

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Perhaps some visuals will help.....








God is an Imaginary Friend for Grown-ups

Offline GoatMan

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I think this website has to be concerned with reading the Bible and other religious texts correctly because the WWGHA argument would otherwise be a straw man if it misattributed certain beliefs about God to people who don't actually believe that.

Therefore the Bible at least to that extent is evidence.  It is the source/foundation of people's operating beliefs.

I'll agree I can't prove the Bible with the Bible but I can give insight into what a lot of theists believe by using the Bible. The other member asked a question to theists and I clarified what I, and theist, thinks. If you don't listen and try to understand then all you are doing is beating the straw man.

Offline Jag

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Most of the members here are pretty familiar with what the bible says.

Most (but not all) of the atheist members here are former theists.

Most of the members here routinely ask theists to provide evidence for their assertions, claims, beliefs, and position statements. We never get any though.

This website is under no obligation to be concerned with a "correct reading" of the bible (or any other religious text), but the majority of the members would be thrilled if just one of the many, many theists who come here to tell us what they think would also share their method for determining what must be taken literally and what should be taken metaphorically. None of you are willing to let us in on the apparent secret despite your unending willingness to tell us everything else you can think up to avoid answering that pretty clear question.

Are you trying to ensure that we all end up in your god's hell, while pretending to be trying to help us avoid it?

Here's a golden opportunity, please go ahead and just shout out your answer, no need to be shy about it - how do you determine which parts of the bible are literal and which are not?

In case I'm still being unclear, I'm asking YOU to explain how YOU decide which is which.
"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."