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Shirlay
New Member

USA
2 Posts

Posted - 12/06/2007 :  21:20:07  Show Profile  Send Shirlay an AOL message Send Shirlay a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I would like to hear some opinions.

I have this strong belief that the Bible is nothing but made up and exaggerated stories on how the world got to the point its at today and how it will be.
We have no rock solid evidence that the Bible was actually written by God, or Jesus. Whatever.
So why do people devote their lives to a but that could very well be fictional?

Dude
SFN Die Hard

USA
6891 Posts

Posted - 12/06/2007 :  21:40:35   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Dude a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Welcome to the SFN Shirlay.

There is indeed a complete lack of evidence to suggest that the bible is anything other than a work of fiction.

In fact, anyone who has ever actually read the thing and applied the smallest bit of honest objective criticism (critical thinking) to it has reached the same conclusion.

To think such a collection of nonsense is literal truth, or worse- divinely written/inspired, requires one to abandon the power of reason.


Ignorance is preferable to error; and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing, than he who believes what is wrong.
-- Thomas Jefferson

"god :: the last refuge of a man with no answers and no argument." - G. Carlin

Hope, n.
The handmaiden of desperation; the opiate of despair; the illegible signpost on the road to perdition. ~~ da filth
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Dude
SFN Die Hard

USA
6891 Posts

Posted - 12/06/2007 :  21:49:29   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Dude a Private Message  Reply with Quote
As for why people devote their lives to it?

That is a difficult question to answer. You can't say they are all stupid, because obviously most are not.

Many people don't take the bible, or any other religious book, as literal. They accept them as an allegory or metaphor and try to find some wisdom or guidance to follow.

I suspect it is more a matter of childhood indoctrination. Authority figures frequently telling children that <insert religious belief here> is true. Children accept the word of trusted authority figures, and with repitition the religious teachings become deeply ingrained. Most people are not able, it seems, to overcome this kind of childhood conditioning.

(edited to add: There is also the threat of punishment/promise of reward in some religions, christianity in particular. This can be a very effective tool to train behavior, even in adults.)


Ignorance is preferable to error; and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing, than he who believes what is wrong.
-- Thomas Jefferson

"god :: the last refuge of a man with no answers and no argument." - G. Carlin

Hope, n.
The handmaiden of desperation; the opiate of despair; the illegible signpost on the road to perdition. ~~ da filth
Edited by - Dude on 12/06/2007 21:52:41
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Randy
SFN Regular

USA
1988 Posts

Posted - 12/06/2007 :  22:00:31   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Randy a Private Message  Reply with Quote
[i]Originally posted by Shirlay


So why do people devote their lives to a but that could very well be fictional?



Lazy thinking.

"We are all connected; to each other biologically, to the earth chemically, to the rest of the universe atomically."

"So you're made of detritus [from exploded stars]. Get over it. Or better yet, celebrate it. After all, what nobler thought can one cherish than that the universe lives within us all?"
-Neil DeGrasse Tyson
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
25973 Posts

Posted - 12/06/2007 :  22:41:36   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Dude

(edited to add: There is also the threat of punishment/promise of reward in some religions, christianity in particular. This can be a very effective tool to train behavior, even in adults.)
Really effective. The idea that when I die, I won't really be dead, and my friends and I will get back together and spend eternity doing fantastic things after we're all "dead?" That's awesome! I want that to be true!

...

Come on, Odin! Prove those pesky Christians wrong!

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
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HalfMooner
Dingaling

Philippines
15831 Posts

Posted - 12/07/2007 :  05:32:19   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send HalfMooner a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I sort of disagree that the Bible is a work of fiction. Technically, it's nonfiction, just like Dianetics. A book doesn't have to be accurate to be nonfiction. In fact, the inclusion of deliberate lies doesn't change it to fiction. All that said, what it is, is a mixed bag of history, tall tales, morality, creation myths, religious laws and ritual and fabricated genealogies.

Most of the history is distorted or completely invented in order to promote the bloodlines of kings, prophets and priests, and to enhance the notion of of Yahweh's and Jesus' power. There are sections of rather secular poetry, as in the Song of Songs that is Solomon's. There are moral parables, some of them even promoting ethical behavior, as in some of Jesus' (attributed) sayings. There is Revelations, which seems to be the result of a bad shroom trip, but is probably also intended as a raving polemic against Rome, written using the name "Babylon" instead of "Rome" to protect the writer(s) from trial for treason.

It's amazing to me that this huge, self-contradictory mass of nonsense (very lightly seasoned with real wisdom) has become the centerpiece for the religion of billions of people.


Biology is just physics that has begun to smell bad.” —HalfMooner
Here's a link to Moonscape News, and one to its Archive.
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Risendemonx
New Member

USA
48 Posts

Posted - 12/07/2007 :  08:14:48   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Risendemonx a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I tend to think that it's an interesting book, and really, I do enjoy reading it from time to time. Now, don't take this to mean that I believe in it as a divinely inspired text. As it has been pointed out, it does contain some interesting insights, but they are rather spaced out.

Anyway, I like to read it for what it is- a piece of literature from an ancient culture. I like reading the Bible for the same reasons I like reading the koran, Homer's Odyssey, the Eddas, and the Epic of Beowulf. The stories are interesting, and occasionally, among them one can find nifty little insights from an ancient writer. Plus, it's fun to look at how various ancient societies operated, and how their culture shaped their religion (only the norse could think of the goddess of love and beauty and the goddess of war and death as being the same exact goddess!).

While the stories are interesting, the danger is actually believing them as physical, scientific fact. The stories are harmless in and of themselves, but when one believes in them... well... That's another thing.

"In the beginning, the universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry, and is generally considered to have been a bad move."
--
Douglas Adams, The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy
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Dude
SFN Die Hard

USA
6891 Posts

Posted - 12/07/2007 :  08:51:22   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Dude a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Rosendemonx said:
As it has been pointed out, it does contain some interesting insights, but they are rather spaced out.

It contains nothing original in the way of moral or ethical insight/guidance.


Ignorance is preferable to error; and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing, than he who believes what is wrong.
-- Thomas Jefferson

"god :: the last refuge of a man with no answers and no argument." - G. Carlin

Hope, n.
The handmaiden of desperation; the opiate of despair; the illegible signpost on the road to perdition. ~~ da filth
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chaloobi
SFN Regular

1620 Posts

Posted - 12/07/2007 :  09:01:37   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send chaloobi a Yahoo! Message Send chaloobi a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Shirlay

I would like to hear some opinions.

I have this strong belief that the Bible is nothing but made up and exaggerated stories on how the world got to the point its at today and how it will be.
A lot of it, to be sure. Other parts of it contain practical (or once practical) moral lessons with some mythical reasoning or origin behind them.
We have no rock solid evidence that the Bible was actually written by God, or Jesus. Whatever.
I don't believe any of it is divinely inspired. Forget rock solid evidence, there's not even any kinda-sorta touchy-feely evidence the bible is divine revelation. There's not even any intuitive feeling associated with it for me.
So why do people devote their lives to a but that could very well be fictional?
Superstition and ignorance originally, I guess. Today it's because Christianity has evolved over the millenia into a powerful cultural force that's structured to survive in human culture from generation to generation. It's tennets require children be indoctrinated from the youngest age which affects them on a visceral level; like imprinting in ducklings. It uses mortal fear and hope to motivate and employs as it's central concept Faith which rewards, indeed places on the highest pedestal, the belief in something for which there is no proof at all. Little wonder it's so enduring a cultural construct even in the face of modern empirical rational thought.

-Chaloobi

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Cuneiformist
The Imperfectionist

USA
4954 Posts

Posted - 12/07/2007 :  09:02:26   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Cuneiformist a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Well, there's certainly no one saying that the Bible was written by Jesus. But perhaps you mean simply "divinely inspired" and then, of course, you're right. Certain fundamentalist groups will try to assert that Biblical prophecy shows how there's a divine element to the Bible, but such claims are entirely bogus. (How anyone can honestly say that Isaiah includes prophecies about Jesus is entirely unclear.)

But that isn't to say that the Bible is entirely false. There are historical events mentioned in the Bible that have external confirmation. And in other stories there are historical kernels of truth. There was no "Exodus" for sure, but there certainly were Canaanites in Egypt working as slaves and such, and it's not hard to imagine that certain elements made their way into a cleverly-crafted narrative that was modified, added to, and modified again until you come up with the adventures told in the last part of Genesis and in Exodus.

And other parts of the Bible aren't even stories at all. Paul's letters are just that: letters.

Of course, there are parts that are entirely fiction. Despite claims by various Biblical literalists, there was no flood. There was no Tower of Babel.

As for why people study it? Some have seen or experienced things that they have chosen to explain in supernatural terms (no doubt influenced by Western society in general, this gets translated into the Judeo-Christian model). And if you've met such people, it's hard to shake them of these convictions. Indeed, it becomes a feedback loop as more and more unusual but hardly miraculous events are nevertheless explained in just those terms. Dad was cured of caner-- it must be a miracle from God! I found a better job just days after I was fired from my old one. God must be looking out for me. and so on. In fact, over time, even ordinary events are framed in this way. Too bad about uncle Jim and cancer. But it must just be part of God's plan.

Some people may buy into it simply because they don't know any better. A child brought up in a very conservative Christian environment may accept parts of the Bible as fact because that's how she was raised. Run-of-the-mill creationists tend not to stumble upon that conclusion after years of research into the matter. Rather, it's what they were told as children. And because they've chosen to limit their sources of information to certain outlets, they have no reason to challenge such things.

So to those who study the Bible, it's decidedly not fictional. That doesn't mean they're right, but in their mind they certainly are!
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Risendemonx
New Member

USA
48 Posts

Posted - 12/07/2007 :  09:45:46   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Risendemonx a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Dude

It contains nothing original in the way of moral or ethical insight/guidance.



You're quite right, but I never said original, I said interesting.

It would be quite hard to find something original to us in a book that old, especially with as prominant as it seems to be in our culture.

"In the beginning, the universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry, and is generally considered to have been a bad move."
--
Douglas Adams, The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy
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Cuneiformist
The Imperfectionist

USA
4954 Posts

Posted - 12/07/2007 :  10:21:55   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Cuneiformist a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Dude

Rosendemonx said:
As it has been pointed out, it does contain some interesting insights, but they are rather spaced out.

It contains nothing original in the way of moral or ethical insight/guidance.
I would agree that there is nothing particularly unique, but I suspect that there is material that is independently original, or at least represents something different from the prevailing thought of the day in the region.
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leoofno
Skeptic Friend

USA
346 Posts

Posted - 12/07/2007 :  11:07:29   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send leoofno a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Cuneiformist

Originally posted by Dude

Rosendemonx said:
As it has been pointed out, it does contain some interesting insights, but they are rather spaced out.

It contains nothing original in the way of moral or ethical insight/guidance.
I would agree that there is nothing particularly unique, but I suspect that there is material that is independently original, or at least represents something different from the prevailing thought of the day in the region.

Thats interesting. What in the Bible would NOT represent the prevailing thought of the day?

"If you're not terrified, you're not paying attention." Eric Alterman
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H. Humbert
SFN Die Hard

USA
4574 Posts

Posted - 12/07/2007 :  11:11:05   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send H. Humbert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Dave W.

Originally posted by Dude

(edited to add: There is also the threat of punishment/promise of reward in some religions, christianity in particular. This can be a very effective tool to train behavior, even in adults.)
Really effective. The idea that when I die, I won't really be dead, and my friends and I will get back together and spend eternity doing fantastic things after we're all "dead?" That's awesome! I want that to be true!
One thing which I don't think most people realize is that personal damnation isn't a fear of a great many of Christians. Why would they be afraid? They're the "saved" ones. While the threat/reward dichotomy does work as a sort of carrot and stick approach for some, I'd don't think the majority see the threat of Hell as a legitimate worry. ("Jesus knows my heart, he knows I love him even if I slip up once in awhile, he'd never send me to Hell.") One only needs to look and see how many Christians regularly "sin" by their own self-professed standards to realize that they don't seem to consider eternal damnation a serious possibility.

No, being sent to Hell is only something that happens to other people, and that is precisely it's draw. See, the thing I've come to realize it that conservatives often possess a heightened sense of inequity. Justice is a concept they obsess over. Sometimes this manifests itself in good ways. Charity for the less fortunate, etc. However, it more often swings the other way—severe punishment for the guilty (mostly because that's much easier). It's no coincidence that Texas is both a hotbed of evangelical Christianity and the home of the most executed criminals in the nation. In fact, the second is a direct consequence of the first. Nothing incenses a Christian so much as the idea that a guilty person might escape punishment. If you ever wondered how religious, "moral" Christians can becomes so blood-thirsty, this is the mechanism. “As you sow, so shall you reap” is not merely a warning, it is a threat they mean to enforce. And if you slip through their fingers, no matter. God will get you in the end.

In this, I'm reminded of my grandmother. It was simply inconceivable to her that evil actions could go unpunished. For her, the universe itself could not tolerate injustice. Of course evil men would be made to suffer a thousand times what they had inflicted on others. It could not be otherwise, no more than objects could fall up instead of down. The possibility that a man like Hitler could cause such immense suffering, yet end his own with a quick gunshot to the temple was a horror too terrible to acknowledge. No, surely there was a Hell, and surely he was in it. That's what I think most atheists don't truly comprehend. The concept of Hell is a comfort for most Christians.

Shirking responsibility has a peculiar way of pushing their buttons. Abortion isn't bothersome because it ends an innocent life, although that's the rhetoric used. It's unacceptable because it allows a woman to avoid the consequences of her actions. That's the part that really drives them crazy. Christians aren't tripping over themselves to find a cure for the far more numerous naturally occurring miscarriages because they aren't really interested in bringing fetuses to term. Miscarriages are acceptable because no one is “getting away with anything.” Abortion is a sin precisely because it allows a person to carry on with their lives. Why do you think Christians promote the fantasy that women who have abortions are emotionally scarred for life? Because that's what they wish were true, and they work very hard to make it true with scare and guilt campaigns. Welfare and social

"A man is his own easiest dupe, for what he wishes to be true he generally believes to be true." --Demosthenes

"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself - and you are the easiest person to fool." --Richard P. Feynman

"Face facts with dignity." --found inside a fortune cookie
Edited by - H. Humbert on 12/07/2007 11:39:00
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GeeMack
SFN Regular

USA
1093 Posts

Posted - 12/07/2007 :  13:02:29   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send GeeMack a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by H. Humbert...

I would love to see a study conducted that measured sensitivity to unfairness in both liberals and conservatives.
Interesting post, H., thanks for posting. Here is an article about a study which touches on the issue of the conservative vs. liberal take on justice and equality... Study Discovers Conservatives See Things in "Black and White"
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Cuneiformist
The Imperfectionist

USA
4954 Posts

Posted - 12/07/2007 :  15:13:47   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Cuneiformist a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by leoofno

Originally posted by Cuneiformist

Originally posted by Dude

Rosendemonx said:
As it has been pointed out, it does contain some interesting insights, but they are rather spaced out.

It contains nothing original in the way of moral or ethical insight/guidance.
I would agree that there is nothing particularly unique, but I suspect that there is material that is independently original, or at least represents something different from the prevailing thought of the day in the region.

Thats interesting. What in the Bible would NOT represent the prevailing thought of the day?
We could talk about things like Biblical law versus other Near Eastern laws. The problem, though, is that we're missing written documentation from the various groups surrounding Israel. What were Moabite laws like? Or Edomites? Or Ishmaelites? Were they similar to what we have attested for Israel, or different? We don't know, so my statement above is perhaps not as compelling as I made it sound.
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