Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Bible BS - What do you Believe?

The Bible is a good book, don't you think? Or, maybe you don't, and think John Edwards is a saint. It doesn't matter. The fact that this very blog might be about the Bible may already have you thinking "I'm bored," or "religion is not for me." If it was my kid listening to this, she'd might slip in one earphone from the iPod as she was talking to me - or disappear into a text message frenzy ending with a one word sentence, "Hunh?"

When a message is not received, it doesn't always mean that the message is flawed - but it might be the messenger is - I'll take my chances.

Have you asked yourself if you really believe the Bible from Genesis to Maps - and why? Do you think that Adam and Eve were real people? How about that Noah fellow, did he really build an ark that housed two of each? Do you think the ark smelled after 40 days? I do. And the Gaterenian Demoniac, was he just mentally ill?

It's hard, isn't it, to read the Bible and understand it? But you know it's the truth - and if God said it, you believe it, right? Or maybe you think it is simply inspired writing - a collection of history, poetry, allegory and crazy prophetic visions written by religious folks to inspire people to do good.

Do you have an authorized version of the Bible or GAK! an unauthorized version? For some The Message is absolute blasphemy, for others the NIV, written on a 6th grade reading level, is inaccurate.

How authoritative is your Bible? Has it changed your life? Tell us how in the comments section.

Do you bring your Bible to church? I don't. I kept losing them. They are not very authoritative if you can't find them. And my pet peeve is people that found my bibles; inscribed with my name and phone number, and never returned them! Some Christians need to be whipped.

I used to be a religious underliner - well until someone gave me a Sharpee marker that bled through 18 pages of John, obscuring the odd chapters, starting with 3.

Do you share what you know about the Bible with others? I try.

Jonah had a real struggle with getting the word of God to needy folks, and God slowly but surely narrowed his pathway to success until he got it. Do you think that is a historical account? HERE is a great blog about Jonah by my friend Joyce Lighari.

In light of John Edwards admission of guilt this morning to fathering a child with his mistress a few years back, do you think that matters to God? Can God forgive him? How about David Letterman? What does the Bible say about it? Do you still watch him?

If we're honest, most of us don't have all that much time for Bible reading. Many of us probably spend more time brushing our teeth or putting on make up; even spending more time wolfing down lunch or breakfast at a fast food joint, then we do reading the Bible. Hopefully we do make time every day - at least read a chapter or look for a juicy verse to post on Facebook or Twitter so people know that we are religious folks.

I have met a lot of people that believe the only will of God is in the Bible, so I looked in there to see which job I should take when I had two offers. It didn't help - I thought about putting out a fleece like Gideon - but is that really faith?

And all those supposed biblical errors - I don't know what to do about them. Do you?

I once went to a church that worshipped the Bible. The sermons were filled with proof texts and little else - they called it the truth. So, I asked them about John 14:12 - doing greater things than Jesus. It was puzzling because if Jesus was limited to only the very things we see in the pages of the Bible, then how could we do something greater?

I further inquired (read that , blasted them) regarding John 21:25 Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.

For fun I asked them to tell me what the unforgivable sin was.

Tell me, what do you believe about the Bible? Are their parts that are not true? I'm hoping for a lively discussion. But don't give us any BS (Bible Stupidity).


Anonymous said...

The unforgivable sin is blaspheming the Holy Spirit, which can also be interpreted as refusing to acknowledge that Jesus Christ is the Holy Spirit. If one truely believes in the divintity of Jesus Christ, then they can be forgiven of all sins. That covers the adultery and false witness bearing of Senators Ensign and Edwards.

This at least is one interpretation. The Old Testement of the Bible is the central source for three major religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The fact that these religions have so many differences does indicate that the Bible can be interpreted in different ways. Of course, I think that we can all agree that the correct interpretation is the one that { the reader, yourself } believes.

But to answer your central question, I myself believe that the Bible is a heavily edited collection from a variety of sources. The oldest date to about 1600 BCE, which puts the Bible as the second oldest Holy text in use (the earliest part of the Hindu Mahabharata goes back to 8000 BCE). I refer to Karen Armstrong's "A History of God" as my major modern source for this opinion.

In regards to my own personal religious afiliation (though you didn't ask), I'm with President Thomas Jefferson in believing in an intelligent creator, and believing that Rabbi Yeshua was a philosopher, and not a diety.

There's your morning controversial comment! My best wishes to you and family, and I salute your intellectual and spiratual honesty.

David said...

@Anonymous - Thanks for the thoughtful comment. If you can, you might want to try a book called Evidence that Demands a Verdict by Attorney Josh McDowell. If you have read Armstrong, you might find his book interesting - similar but with a different viewpoint.

Anonymous said...

Karen's a lady (a former nun, in fact), but I'll put Mr McDowell's book on my "good books to read" list.

Tony C said...

I have to disagree with Anonymous in his second paragraph. While Judaism, Christianity and Islam are all three Abrahamic religions, the Old Testament, the Tanakh, and the Qur'an are three different works with the major differences being between the latter and the first two.

For Christians, the New Testament (New Covenant) is the second major division of the Christian Holy Bible. The Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) of the New Testament I believe are sound historical documention of the life of Jesus. While I base that conclusion on faith, there is a strong empirical standard that each of the authors either knew Jesus personally or where associated with some who knew Jesus. For example:

Matthew- was a disciple who travelled with Jesus

Mark- companion of Peter, one of Christ's inner circle

Luke-Paul's beloved physician and historian of his time

John-one of three disciples closest to Jesus

The similarities between Matthew, Mark and Luke (Synoptic Gospels) help solidify their validity too.

There are over 24,000 known manuscripts of the Gospels with some that date back to the first century, giving a good track record of consistency when it comes to translations (speaking just about the Gospels).

When it came to canonizing the Bible for Christians, the process wasn't haphazard or chaotic. The leading scholars of the day were also prominent in the church (unlike mainstream academia and the church today)and held the process to the highest of standards.

Lastly, as a Christian I have faith that God's hand was on the entire process to ensure His word was accurate and consistent (2 Timothy 3:14-17).

photogr said...

I have to think the Bible is the truth when looking for answers. Of course this doesn't mean you can't look for reference books to get a clearer understanding of what is being said.

However the bible is full of metaphors and paraphrases which can confuse the unbelievers and as Jesus said ( not quoted verbatum) these metaphors and paraphrases are meant for the ones too blind to see and too deaf to hear the truth.( non believers)

Believers can clearly see and hear the truth as it is said in the bible and understand rightfully the meanings. I sincerely believe that having read the bible both ways.

Do I take the bible to church? No. I find it to be too valuable an historical artifact to be left carelessly in church only to have it stolen. This is based on my Dads story when he atended church as a child. His mother had bought him a bible with what little money she had back in the depression era and it was stolen at church. It was a haunting story as he told it which led him to never forgive the church in general.

Has the bible changed my life? Read my articles and you be the judge.

As far as Noah's ark. It would be interesting to find what is left of it to investigate how he handled the waste issues.

As far as Jonah and the whale. It was a submarine? As far as Ezekel in his visions, Was that an aircraft or a space craft? Some of the old prophets descriptions lead me to believe that may be the case considering they have never seen any such items in those days scientifically speaking of course.

Anonymous said...

Tony C, a very scholarly response!

And I agree with most of what you state here.
I don't have good sources for Islam, so I cannot state with any accuracy exactly how Islam incorporates the Old Testament. You reminded me that the Jewish and Christian Old Testaments differ. This further supports my case that one source (the Bible) can be used to draw rather different conclusions (ie, Judaism vs Christianity vs Islam).

The Qur'an has more in common with the Book of Mormon than the Old and New Testaments. The latter are pieced together from multiple, sometimes inconsistent sources. The Qur'an and Book of Mormon appear as monolithic works, dictated/written by one author. I'll just say for the record that while I consider the Qur'an and Book of Mormon to be Holy books, neither have the same authenticity that I see in the Bible (but don't say that out loud - the religions who like those monolithic works have a long track record of violence when you cross them).

- a naughty moose

Anonymous said...

It turns out that I have met Josh McDowell - small world! He spoke at my college in the late '70's, and me (and a hundred others) got a chance to chat him up. It was his Crusade tour.

- a naughty moose

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