The tree is metaphor, as is the garden. The bible states outright what the tree is a metaphor of: the knowledge of good and evil. The mind-poisoning message of the story is this: Turn off your inner moral compass. Discontinue your pursuit of knowledge. Morality is whatever the book tells you it is. Truth is whatever the book tells you it is. Questioning this will be severely punished. Blindly following leads to paradise. Just believe and do as you're told.
The story is a tool for attaining compliance. A tool for attaining power.
When jstwebbrowsing said this:
Your first assumption seems to be that the point of the test was to test their knowledge of good and evil so that their knowledge of it becomes relevant. The test was not one of over their knowledge of good and evil so their actual knowledge of it is irrelevant.
The test was a test of the trust and love of Jehovah. In this regard even untrusting animals with no knowledge of good and evil are able to love and trust. Therefore so could have Adam and Eve.
and then this:
Yes, but the "evil" is a lack of trust (faith) in Jehovah. Remember that Abraham was declared righteous not by following a law but by trusting Jehovah. Trusting Jehovah is good and not trusting Jehovah is bad.
he had it exactly right. He's too caught up in the indoctrination to see how manipulative and evil those ideas are, but his clear expression of them shows that the story has achieved in him exactly the effect that it was designed to achieve.
- Your blessed if you are persecuted for your beliefs.
- If you try to reach someone, and they refuse your message, you're taught to wipe the dust from your sandals and move on.
- Doubting Thomas is a story of a reasonable man who had reasonable doubts, but he's the "bad guy" in the story... the example that you should not follow. "Blessed are they who have not seen, but still believe."
- Job questions God for letting his family, servants, possessions and health all be destroyed horribly, and God chews him out for daring to question.
- Lot is forgiven for things like offering up his daughters to be raped, but Lot's wife is incinerated and turned into a pillar of salt for "wondering" what was happening to the city behind her. Her sin was not having faith and "being curious"
You're taught not to question, to just have faith... and if you HAVE questions, it's (sort of) ok but you need to get answers from The Bible while guided by someone trained in apologizing for the Bible.
If you question the validity of the Bible, you're supposed to test it by reading other parts of the Bible. If you read all this and come up to logical conclusions that it's all garbage, then religion teaches that you're deceived by satan.
So you could be a christian, reading the Bible, and question stuff... and you're literally worried. You're thinking, "Please god, please jesus, let me understand the wisdom of your word and not be deceived by satan."
You're literally begging in prayer not to doubt the holy spirit, even though it's completely delusional.
I remember asking church leaders if I'd ever somehow blasphemed against the holy spirit by accident at some point... you're literally threatened on fear of eternal torture NOT to investigate how religion is all utter crap.
I think this is a big reason why non-believers are so offended by it.