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  #21  
Old 30 September 2013, 05:09 PM
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To win, they need scientific proof. Believing a book that has dates derived much after the writing, and ignoring the main purpose of the book , which is spiritual, doesn't make anybody a Christian. It gives them the ideas, and how to go through the motions, but using the Bible as a "fact of science" doesn't change anyone's mind, and does exactly the opposite. Jesus would take after them with a a non-pointy stick for completely missing the point.
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  #22  
Old 01 October 2013, 03:57 AM
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It's a popular modern claim that the Bible isn't supposed to be read as a literal history, but that's really only something that's happened after enough discoveries were made about the Earth and its history that contradicted the Bible.
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  #23  
Old 01 October 2013, 05:07 AM
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Even than a lot of folks still cling to the idea that it's literal truth, when it suits their needs.
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  #24  
Old 01 October 2013, 05:21 AM
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I always wonder how far the belief in the "literal truth" of the Bible goes. For example, when Jesus told one of his parables, was the parable just an allegorical story, or was it based in reality? I have never debated with a deeply religious Christian, if the existence of (for example) the Prodigal Son was factual, or just a story to illustrate a certain point. Personally, my take is the latter. Or more appropriately that there didn't have to be an actual "Prodigal Son" for the story to be told and for the point to be made.
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  #25  
Old 01 October 2013, 06:06 AM
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Um, since he was described as telling "parables" in the same passages I don't see any ambiguity in those stories and I've never met a Christian who claims that they actually happened. (Although I suppose there are all kinds.)
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  #26  
Old 01 October 2013, 02:47 PM
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My experience with the Pentecostals backs up ganzfeld's analysis. In terms of parables, it was clear that those were just that -- parables. They weren't supposed to be taken literally.

(There were some Pentecostals who actively searched for the word parable in terms of some stories, and if they didn't find it, assumed it was literally true.)
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  #27  
Old 01 October 2013, 04:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crocoduck_hunter View Post
It's a popular modern claim that the Bible isn't supposed to be read as a literal history, but that's really only something that's happened after enough discoveries were made about the Earth and its history that contradicted the Bible.
Is this true? I mean religious people are pretty must masters of goalpost moving but my understanding that (parts at least) of the Bible were never meant to be literal truths.

Of course it's convenient to say "Well yea the whole "Two [or however many] of every animal" thing is just a story to teach us a lesson.." when part of your holy book is demonstrably wrong..
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  #28  
Old 01 October 2013, 07:55 PM
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The bible consists of history, stories like parables, laws, prophecy and teaching. To proclaim ALL of it as "literal truth" is a mistake. The literal belief is from listening to teaching that is incorrect. (My opinion YMMV) Some of the stories are very obvious - others, not so much.

ETA: the book of Job is 99% a story, doesn't make it less true. Esther is undoubtedly history but reads like a modern novel. There is no mention of God in the book.
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  #29  
Old 03 October 2013, 05:05 AM
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Is this true? I mean religious people are pretty must masters of goalpost moving but my understanding that (parts at least) of the Bible were never meant to be literal truths.

Of course it's convenient to say "Well yea the whole "Two [or however many] of every animal" thing is just a story to teach us a lesson.." when part of your holy book is demonstrably wrong..
Well, maybe the Parable of the Rich Man and the Poor Man that Jesus told wasn't ever considered to be anything more than a lesson that Jesus taught, but stuff like the Book of Genesis and the Book of Exodus were considered 100% true: various explorers and naturalists from the beginning of the Renaissance to the 19th Century expressed amazement and disbelief that they were making discoveries that were apparently incompatible with the Bible, especially when they started reaching South America and Australia and began finding living animals that were totally unlike anything that lived in Europe, Asia, or Africa- they were expecting to find the same species living in the same types of environments because they were expecting that all living species had descended from the ones Noah had on his Ark. Finding more and more species, especially ones that were weirdly similar to ones that those species had a similar lifestyle to but weren't related, like the pangolins found in Africa and Asia and the armadillos found in the Americas, was really not what they were expecting.
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  #30  
Old 03 October 2013, 05:09 AM
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Well, as noted, pick and choose and moving the goalposts is pretty par for the course for mainstream religion. Easier to say "Well the stories were never meant to be taken literally" than "The holy book my entire religion is based on is full of incorrect statements".
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  #31  
Old 03 October 2013, 05:12 AM
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Of course. Otherwise the clergy would all be out of a job.
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  #32  
Old 03 October 2013, 06:57 AM
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I think we're talking about three different things here. There are things that were meant to be taken as parables from the start, things that are considered parables now whose status is ambiguous historically speaking, and things that were clearly considered facts from the beginning. I think stories such as Genesis are clearly in the ambiguous category because we're talking about a people who were barely out of the stone age; their ideas about "factual" history and science might have been radically different from later generations and were almost certainly very different from our own. I wouldn't assume they took them as fact just because they were not scientifically literate in a way we are today.
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  #33  
Old 03 October 2013, 03:03 PM
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Last edited by Mickey Blue; 03 October 2013 at 03:19 PM.
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  #34  
Old 03 October 2013, 03:54 PM
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One aspect of a writer is that he writes what he knows and understands. The writer (historically Moses, but probably not) of Genesis actually wrote down a "campfire story", passed on by word of mouth for a very long time. If you read Genesis, Jewish people weren't actually present for most of it, even though it has been taken as a Jewish source. That whole period was shared by others, and there is historical backing for some of it, and other things that the writers of Genesis simply didn't include. While ancient people did know a lot of things, they didn't have our knowledge or experience. (And, ours may be laughed at someday as well). John, the author of Revelation, wrote about a lot a really weird stuff. Deciphering what they are has been the subject of many books, but honestly, we don't know what he saw since he had no reference point.

One example of knowledge I remember was the argument that they didn't know "3" should have been 3.14159 in a measurement. The decimal point hadn't been invented, so the writing was obviously in error due to actual knowledge of the time. There's a lot to figure in with ancient documents.
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  #35  
Old 04 October 2013, 01:35 AM
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Thanks for your thoughtful replies. The way I see it, there are three types of "stories" involving Jesus in the gospels. The first is something which happens to Jesus and his apostles and other people (most of the gospel "action" is like this). The second is something which happens to Jesus alone (i.e the temptation in the desert). The last are the parables. It's easy to distinguish that the stories where Jesus interacted with others are taken as true - i.e. there really was a "Good Samaritan". I'm not learned enough on the subject to know, however, what the mechanism was for the gospel authors to know about the things that happened to Jesus while he was alone - i.e. how do we know what Jesus said while he was praying in Gethsemane, and his apostles fell asleep? But the parables - they are a subset of the first category - many people heard and experienced the story, but unlike the details of a miracle (i.e. it's important to know and believe that water was turned into wine, or that people were healed), it should not really matter if there was a "prodigal son" or not. I'm not saying that there wasn't one, or that there could not have been one, but it would not be essential to issues of faith. I'd say that those who believe that are clearly on the fringe of the fringe.
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  #36  
Old 04 October 2013, 01:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hero_Mike View Post
I'm not learned enough on the subject to know, however, what the mechanism was for the gospel authors to know about the things that happened to Jesus while he was alone - i.e. how do we know what Jesus said while he was praying in Gethsemane, and his apostles fell asleep?
http://www.catholic.com/quickquestio...ke-to-hear-him
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  #37  
Old 04 October 2013, 01:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hambubba View Post
The writer (historically Moses, but probably not) of Genesis actually wrote down a "campfire story", passed on by word of mouth for a very long time. If you read Genesis, Jewish people weren't actually present for most of it, even though it has been taken as a Jewish source. That whole period was shared by others [...]
I don't think many modern scholars consider the Jewish people to have been the origins of the story of Genesis. It is pretty obviously cribbed from (or at the very least shared with) other contemporary societies. So I kind of doubt that it was considered a sacred story everyone should accept as fact. It seems more like they were saying "this is the best version we have of what happened - and we've even added some details just for us!" The people would have been exposed to various other traditions as well. (Even the Bible actually has two - or at least two - versions of the Beginning.)
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  #38  
Old 04 October 2013, 02:45 AM
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The Schroedinger Jesus - you can't verify or deny what was said or done.

I think it was more along the line of teaching. He DID teach the apostles separately from the people.
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  #39  
Old 04 October 2013, 07:24 AM
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What was it that Jesus told the apostles to *not* mention to anyone until he was risen? Ah yes, the transfiguration. Equally applicable to other stories, as explained above...
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