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  #21  
Old 30 April 2013, 08:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Furienna View Post
How do you know that they're not true? Even if some aren't, others could be. And myths, whether you happen to believe in them or not, are never fiction.
How do you know Harry Potter's not true?
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  #22  
Old 30 April 2013, 08:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by damian View Post
That's only because the library is scared of offending religious nutjobs.
Or can it be because it's the only right thing to do, as I explained in my last post?

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Originally Posted by damian
eta It occurred to me that there are 2 things we'll have little need for in the future: libraries and religion.
Oh please.

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Originally Posted by BlueStar View Post
How do you know Harry Potter's not true?
It's a totally different matter. It has always been presented as fiction and always will be. But myths should never be presented as so, even if you don't believe they're true.
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  #23  
Old 30 April 2013, 09:01 AM
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Do you realise you are posting on a website that is dedicated to busting myths and debunking urban legends?
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  #24  
Old 30 April 2013, 09:11 AM
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Hey, I'm on you're side, Damian, at least as far as I think the OP question is of dubious relevance to... well, anything, really. But your argument's a bit weak if you equate urban legends with fiction. As the ULRP FAQ states:
Quote:
An "urban legend" is not the same thing as a "fictional tale" or an "apocryphal anecdote," although many people mistakenly use the term in that sense (e.g., "That's not true; it's just an urban legend!").
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  #25  
Old 30 April 2013, 09:37 AM
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To me, any story that is not true, but told as if it is true, with the intention of being believed is closer to a lie than fiction.

And I know that many will say I shouldn't be mocking religion. Why not? We often mock other people's beliefs and lifestyles. Why is religion exempt?
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  #26  
Old 30 April 2013, 09:44 AM
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Well, I doubt you'll find many people here who would say religion shouldn't be mocked. As for whether "we" mock others "often" for their beliefs or lifestyles, speak for yourself. I try not to but I admit I don't always reach that objective.
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  #27  
Old 30 April 2013, 09:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ganzfeld View Post
Well, I doubt you'll find many people here who would say religion shouldn't be mocked. As for whether "we" mock others "often" for their beliefs or lifestyles, speak for yourself. I try not to but I admit I don't always reach that objective.
I would suggest that all the regulars have had a laugh at WBC, George Bush dovotees, the NRA or some other mock-worthy groups at one time or another.
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  #28  
Old 30 April 2013, 10:02 AM
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None of which are beliefs or lifestyles, IMO, but actions and words.
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  #29  
Old 30 April 2013, 03:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crocoduck_hunter View Post
If the stories contained in a book are not true, there's really nothing for them to be but fiction, regardless of whether or not some people believe otherwise.
Parables are neither truth nor fiction.

Ditto a great deal of poetry.

Also, there's quite a bit of ancient writing, both religious and otherwise, in which, unless somebody actually comes up with a working time machine, we're never going to know the degree of factual accuracy involved. It's often hard enough to figure out, in our massively documented current society, which description of what happened only a few years ago is accurate.


-- some of this may depend on how one's defining "fiction", of course. If "fiction" is defined as "everything that can't be mathematically or historically proven to be accurate in detail", then what crocoduck_hunter said above is not only true but a tautology. "Fiction" in the sense in which Harry Potter is fiction strikes me as having a different meaning, just as "lie" in the sense of "deliberate falsehood meant to deceive" has a different meaning that "fiction" in the Harry Potter sense.
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  #30  
Old 30 April 2013, 03:57 PM
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There are many of us on this "board of skeptics" that do not find the Bible to be lies. We also aren't religious nutjobs. Also, there is no intent to deceive.

If you find this is true in g/your own life, maybe you have a serious problem with yourself, labelling "religious" as nutjobs, and their reading material as lies. some of us find that offensive; not just publicly, but personally. Maybe a book on language skills would work, but I think those are also lies intended to deceive.

Read thorny's post - some good points in there.
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  #31  
Old 30 April 2013, 04:04 PM
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I always find it a bit sad when I see people bashing religion in this otherwise civil, tolerant community. I think ganzfeld puts it well, and I'd like to expand on that: mocking what people do and say, even if motivated by religion, is all well and good. But to mock a person's personal beliefs is, at best, in very poor taste.

Yes, it has been used as a tool to maintain tyranny and oppression, there are also plenty of wonderful, rational people--some of them on this very board, in fact--who hold their faith as a comfort and an inpsiration; and to call these people liars or the victims of liars does them a disservice.

So you feel that a religious text is a work of fiction. Fine. But it's a lot more than that as well. In addition to its social relevance, it is a collection of philosophical and ethical treatises that was compiled over centuries, whose contents have been constantly discussed, debated, and reinterpreted even up to today. It's an important historical document - both in that it has influenced the course of history since the day it was written, and in that it contains a great deal of insight and information about many disparate ancient cultures. Even if you hold that literally nothing in the Bible actually occurred in any way, shape or form (which would be a very simplistic, even naive, thing to contend), it still shows us how people acted, how they thought, and how they believed they should act and think. It's not just the muttered ramblings of some crazy guy in a cave.

So looping back to the OP, of course it's relevant whether or not hell as we know it is included in the earlier tracts! Historically and anthropologically, it matters because it gives us insight into the worldviews of earlier peoples, and how they may have absorbed or adapted certain ideas from neighboring cultures. It shows us how their practices and beliefs mirror or differ from those of modern practitioners. In short, it gives us one more detail to consider in of the story of humanity.

And if you still choose to believe that the Bible is nothing but a work of fiction, with no importance or relevance beyond that, I'll just say this: so is Star Wars, but it still "matters" whether Han shot first.


Edit: Somewhat spanked by thorny and hambubba; both make very good points that mirror and complement what I was trying to get across.

Last edited by Tom o' Bedlam; 30 April 2013 at 04:15 PM.
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  #32  
Old 30 April 2013, 04:50 PM
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Thanks, hambubba and Tom o' Bedlam.


To amplify a bit on the difference between fiction and lies: good fiction tells the truth, though it does so in the form of a lie. I was thinking of a quote from Ursula Kroeber LeGuin, and found it (or at any rate one of them; she's written multiple places on the subject):

http://theliterarylink.com/leguinintro.html

Quote:
"The truth against the world!" - Yes. Certainly. Fiction writers, at least in their braver moments, do desire the truth: to know it, speak it, serve it. But they go about it in a peculiar and devious way, which consists in inventing persons, places, and events which never did and never will exist or occur, and telling about these fictions in detail and at length and with a great deal of emotion, and then when they are done writing down this pack of lies, they say, There! That's the truth!
ETA: maybe it's clearer what she means by that if I add this additional bit; though I think the whole piece is worth reading.

Quote:
In reading a novel, any novel, we have to know perfectly well that the whole thing is nonsense, and then, while reading, believe every word of it. Finally, when we're done with it, we may find - if it's a good novel - that we're a bit different from what we were before we read it
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  #33  
Old 30 April 2013, 06:03 PM
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Getting back to the OP, somewhat. If the devil is the "personification" of evil, then why wouldn't the devil be pleased with having souls to torture for all eternity? One of the traits we attribute as "evil" is "taking pleasure in the suffering of others" - torturing a soul for all eternity may get boring, but destroying the soul certainly limits those opportunities for suffering.
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  #34  
Old 30 April 2013, 06:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Furienna View Post
The words sure are connected. In modern Swedish, the word has evolved into "helvete" (now a very common swear word), which orginally meant "the punishment you will get in Hell".
And here I always thought Comic Sans was the devil's font.
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  #35  
Old 01 May 2013, 05:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hambubba View Post
We also aren't religious nutjobs. Also, there is no intent to deceive.
I didn't say that all religious people are nutjobs. But we all know of a few that are. And we know that (most of) the bible isn't real. Why do people perpetuate that which they know not to be real?

Quote:
If you find this is true in g/your own life, maybe you have a serious problem with yourself, labelling "religious" as nutjobs, and their reading material as lies. some of us find that offensive; not just publicly, but personally.
(g)You have the right to be offended if you like. But the rest of us don't have to respect your beliefs if we find them silly. The Westboro Baptist Church, the Ku Klux Klan and al Qaeda all believe in a version of God. We have a duty to take the piss out of these groups, as we should with any person that would use his beliefs to control the rest of us.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom o' Bedlam View Post
But to mock a person's personal beliefs is, at best, in very poor taste.
Even when those beliefs are patently silly?

Quote:
So you feel that a religious text is a work of fiction. Fine. But it's a lot more than that as well. In addition to its social relevance, it is a collection of philosophical and ethical treatises that was compiled over centuries, whose contents have been constantly discussed, debated, and reinterpreted even up to today.
How much better would the world be if it was never written, and instead, we just learned to be excellent to each other?

Quote:
Even if you hold that literally nothing in the Bible actually occurred in any way, shape or form (which would be a very simplistic, even naive, thing to contend), it still shows us how people acted, how they thought, and how they believed they should act and think.
It tells a story that the writers want you to hear.

Quote:
It's not just the muttered ramblings of some crazy guy in a cave.
Wasn't Revelation exactly that?

Quote:
And if you still choose to believe that the Bible is nothing but a work of fiction, with no importance or relevance beyond that, I'll just say this: so is Star Wars, but it still "matters" whether Han shot first.
You don't think an adult that believed Star Wars was true would be mocked?

As everyone has a right to hold an opinion or belief, everyone has a right to mock those beliefs.
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  #36  
Old 01 May 2013, 06:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by damian View Post
How much better would the world be if it was never written, and instead, we just learned to be excellent to each other?
Almost certainly no better at all. People who read the thing (or believe it or whatever measure you wish to take) don't behave any worse on average than people who don't.
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  #37  
Old 01 May 2013, 06:30 AM
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So all those religious wars, the subjugation of women and other races, slavery and anti-gay laws would have existed? Many of the dickheads in the world use the bible to justify their actions. If they chose to follow the Wyld Stallyns instead, the world would be better.
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  #38  
Old 01 May 2013, 06:35 AM
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Overall? People have always had an easy time figuring out some way to justify why they hate someone else or want to go to war with that other group or whatnot.

However, taking religious views out of the equation would remove one more option from the bigots and warmongers when they do try to justify their hatred and intolerance, and that can't be a bad thing.
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  #39  
Old 01 May 2013, 06:36 AM
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Side note, I found this:
Quote:
Originally Posted by damian View Post
How much better would the world be if it was never written, and instead, we just learned to be excellent to each other?
and this:
Quote:
As everyone has a right to hold an opinion or belief, everyone has a right to mock those beliefs.
to be an amusing juxtaposition. If only we could learn to be more excellent to each other by mocking one another's beliefs.

If it helps, I think we are talking about the differences in literary genres and not the legitimacy of a given religious system. You can believe the content of a work is a long perpetuated lie, but you aren't going to convince many literary scholars to categorize the bible as "fiction" any more than they will call it a "teen romance" just because it contains a few love stories. It is more complicated than that. A silly self help book is not in the same category as a cultic religious text, which is not the same as a bad diet book, which is not the same as Tom Sawyer. Different genres, even if you personally believe they are all technically "lies."
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  #40  
Old 01 May 2013, 06:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Furienna View Post
It's a totally different matter. It has always been presented as fiction and always will be. But myths should never be presented as so, even if you don't believe they're true.
How about Blair Witch Project? Or Mermaids: the Body Found?. How about The Elder Protocols of Zion, presented as as factual and believed as factual by some of its audience?

Last edited by BlueStar; 01 May 2013 at 07:02 AM.
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