I have recently had an interesting exchange on Facebook with a relative, his friend (and a couple of comments from my brother-in-law) regarding the nature of God and Scripture. I will have to clean the format up later. I don’t know how else to introduce this, so read on:
June 15 at 1:54pm via mobile ·
Eve is the single greatest hero/heroine in the Bible.
Defying the oppressive Yaldabaoth, and gaining god-like powers at least if only partially is hardly a sin.
The serpent that told her “God” was full of shit, is not Satan. Never once is that mentioned…until Revelations(Speculations)
where a comparison insinuates such.
The more you know.
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David Y—- I am curious as to where you got this information. Yaldabaoth, the Gnostic demiurge (who himself appears as a serpent, albeit with a lion’s head), does not appear in any literature prior to the middle of the second century AD, to my knowledge. Revelation was written around AD 95.
June 15 at 2:51pm · Like
Ah, I hit enter. I was going to add this as well: There is a logical progression through the Bible of that inferred connection between Satan and the serpent. Isaiah talks about Lucifer falling from Heaven through his pride. Ezekiel has …See More
June 15 at 3:10pm · Like
Peter F——- Aramaic is a very metaphorically language and it has been translated many times. There is no way to be sure about any of it because the Vatican feel that they need to censor certain parts of the bible. I do however agree with George Carlin about reducing the 10 commandments down to 3 though: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p-RGN21TSGk
Ten Commandments – by George Carlin
http://www.peoplestandup.ca/ No one said quite as this man does by George Carlin!
June 15 at 5:59pm · Like
Nick L——— OOO, in yo FACE!!!
June 15 at 8:36pm · Like
The phrase “10 commandments” was never actually used in the Bible and whether or not the commandments that Moses brought down from Mt. Sinai actually numbered 10 could be debated; I would guess that the Talmud was probably where those comma…See More
The Truth About the Catholic Church
My story of discovering the truths and misconceptions about the “Church of Rome”
June 16 at 12:33am · Like ·
That which can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence. As such, the Bible and all types fall into this category of things in which are asserted without evidence. I know first hand that languages (Even those that are …See More
George Carlin – Religion is bullshit.
George Carlin May 12 1937 – June 22 2008 Thank you George Carlin, your insight w…See More
Monday at 3:15pm · Like
Your quote from Christopher Hitchens is technically correct — I could have replied to your claim of alleged Vatican censorship by simply saying “Bollocks!”, and my statement would have had exactly as much logical validity as yours.
A logi…See More
Monday at 4:49pm · Like
Nick L——— Oh SNAP!!!
Monday at 7:58pm · Like
Dang David, I was just trolling weak-minded Christians and here you come out of left field dropping mad knowledge, that’s why I love you man.
Most major stories in the bible seem to be huge metaphors, not simply extraordinary things, but pu…See More
3 hours ago via mobile · Unlike · 1
There are quite a few stories in the Bible which are likely to be purely metaphor, some which are clearly intended to be taken as historical fact, and some which could be a blend of the two. To those who were literate in ancient languages in which these were written, it was not that difficult to distinguish what was being conveyed. Fortunately, commentaries were written over the centuries that have helped us “know” which was which, as even someone who reads Hebrew or Aramaic today might not be able to tell the difference. As Peter correctly pointed out, the meaning of language can change, and in the case of Hebrew, there are even a few phrases that even came to mean the opposite of was was originally meant. Were it not for the constant presence of various commentators, it would not be as easy to know what was meant by a few of those passages.
Part of the misunderstanding about the nature of Scripture has been the fact that since the Reformation, there are probably thousands of different ways to interpret various Scriptures, as most of the Reformers rallied to the battle cry of Sola Scriptura. By declaring essentially that the Bible was their only guide, they were essentially left with a map with no legend. So we now have people saying that the “six days” of Genesis must be six 24-hour days, while more traditional interpretations understand that a “day” of creation could mean an aeon. The creation stories of Genesis were not intended to be read like a science book – they were intended to describe in terms that could be understood by simple people how the world came to be.
Noah’s case is an interesting one. Purposefully getting drunk – not the consumption of alcohol in moderate amounts – is condemned in the Bible. Noah was not a drunkard, that is, an habitual drunk. He was always described as a righteous man, and a drunkard would have been lumped in with the rest of the wicked who were condemned. His singular episode of drunkenness is not condemned in the Scriptures, and I have only heard one compelling theory as to why. He made wine soon after leaving the Ark, which would have been directly after the Flood. Some have suggested that the Flood could have changed the Earth in such a way that the wine fermented more quickly than what Noah would have expected from before. Something like this, or that the change in climate could have caused his body to metabolize alcohol more quickly, would have lessened or completely abrogated any blame that he had in drinking too much on this occasion. As to the extreme age of Noah and his predecessors, I have never heard any explanation about this other than it could have been literal. While it seems odd to us, it could be possible that people did live that long back then. We cannot go back and prove that they did or that they did not. Also, the Bible mentions the decreased life span of people after the Flood as a further punishment. From a theological perspective, some have suggested that perhaps God levied this particular punishment because it was apparent to Him that if people were allowed to live almost 1000 years, that almost all of them would completely corrupt themselves. It is interesting to note that the lifespans did not immediately drop from 900+ years to 70 years overnight, but that it took several generations following Noah for this to happen. As to the animals not eating each other, this would fall into the realm of miracle in my book. The Bible clearly depicts God as being capable of miracles, and the master of nature (since He created it), so there is no natural explanation for this that I’ve ever heard.
The debate has generally been whether or not Revelation was written earlier than AD 95, not later; some have suggested as early as AD 68, though I would err toward the later date. Tradition says that John of Patmos is the same St. John that was one of Christ’s disciples, though the Bible does not confirm this, and there has never been any kind of dogmatic requirement about who the human authors of Scripture were. Some Biblical scholars in the early to mid 20th century supported a theory that the Gospels were not written by those after whom they were named, but that theory has been largely discarded by many since then, with a return to a more traditional assumption about who the authors were.
Your comment about weak-minded Chrstians is funny, because there are quite a few of them. It’s not their fault – they were not schooled correctly (thanks, public school system!) in virtually any subject that is necessary to have an intelligent conversation about – well, about almost anything. Most don’t know history, philosophy, or logic, and rely purely on emotion and anecdote to try to convert people to a religion that they themselves understand none too well. People in our culture today are trained to buy whatever they see on TV, either literally in the case of consumerism, or figuratively in the case of the great false dichotomy between FOX News or CNN/MSNBC, or Republican/Democrat. (I think both are full of B.S., generally. It’s all bread and circuses.)
If you want to see people who are not weak-minded talk about these subjects, they’re hard to find sometimes. A great writer from early 20th century England is G.K. Chesterton. However, to go truly hardcore, there is none better than the mediaeval Scholastics such as St. Thomas Aquinas (who wrote the Summa Theologica, which was the greatest attempt to lay out an explanation of all of Christian doctrine in a logical manner) and his teacher, St. Albertus Magnus.
5 minutes ago · Like
When these two were alive – the 12th and 13th centuries – the world was a much different place than now, but also much different than what you were likely taught in school. In school, the “Dark Ages” and Middle Ages were painted as these times where benighted people thought the Earth was flat and that reading the Bible or anything else was forbidden. In actuality, none of this is true. Most people were not literate, and the printing press had not been invented yet, so books and scrolls were only owned by the rich and by the Church. All of them had to be hand-copied, so an illuminated Bible could cost what would be equivalent to thousands of dollars today. Since many manuscripts were written on vellum rather than paper, this also added to the cost – so much so that vellum was often erased and repurposed (a “palimpsest”). Since most could not afford books, most could not read. The prime guardian of knowledge at this time in western Europe was the system of monasteries. That is where the great libraries were in the Christian world.
Aristotle was one of the greatest thinkers in the history of the world, so much so that he was known simply as The Philosopher to many. Many of his original writings in Greek were lost when the Library at Alexandria was burned, and for many years no one in the West knew about him. However, a Muslim philosopher from southern Spain named Averroes was able to popularize the Arabic translations in the Muslim world. At about the same time, an Arabic-speaking north African Jewish rabbi and philosopher named Maimonides (also known as the RamBam, who is considered by Jews as the greatest rabbi after Moses) made them known to the Jewish intelligentsia at the time. Because of their pagan origin, many in the Church were initially skeptical of the Greek philosophers and their teachings. Even so, St. Thomas Aquinas, who was the professor of theology at the University of Paris, read Averroes’s translations of Aristotle and realised that his teachings were logical, and could be a framework for explaining in a rational way how Christian doctrine was logical and did not defy reason. (Though theologians as early as the 4th century had written about how faith and reason were completely compatible, many had not seen the need, and some saw them as opposed to one another, just as some people do today.) Aquinas’s chief work, the Summa, is still considered second only to the Bible in Catholic theology, and is recognized as useful by some Protestant churches as well. Surprisingly, against the backdrop of the Middle Ages with its plagues and famines and Crusades, three philosophers – Maimonides, Averroes, and St. Thomas Aquinas all adapted Aristotle’s teachings to the tenets of their respective faiths, and then proceeded to comment on one anothers’ writings as a scholarly debate. It is unfortunate that Christians, Jews, and Muslims have not been able to keep up that kind of dialogue, which would be, at the least, much less harmful than the wars and terrorism that have taken place since.
God’s wrath in the OT especially seems hard to understand, especially in light of His mercy which takes center stage in the New. In the interest of time, and since I couldn’t explain it any better myself, I’m going to cut and paste this explanation from another site.
“God [the Father], being Pure Spirit cannot in reality have emotions. That is giving God human characteristics. Anthropomorphizing is common in the OT.-It was an attempt to know and understand the unknowable through human traits.the sacred writer, being human could only write in his cultural and human frame of reference. He was interpreting actions of God by giving God the Father emotions. God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah – therefore He must have been angry or why else would He do it?Just like we interpret what animals do , and give them human emotions- which they don’t have.”
(When the writer above says “emotions”, that refers to the changing nature of one’s state of mind – anger, happiness, joy, etc. Love and hate are not emotions; they are actions. Jesus, being God incarnate, and thus being both fully God and fully human, could and did have emotions, as evinced by His weeping, anger, and fear.)
What God is angry at in the Garden of Eden was not knowledge per se, but pride, and is likely metaphorical to a degree. God told Adam that he could eat every tree except from the Tree of Knoledge of Good and Evil, and that the price for eating would be death. The Serpent told Eve that eating from the Tree would make them like God, and that they would not, in fact die.
What is hard to understand is that both God and the Serpent were telling the truth, once one understands what is meant by each. It is clear that Adam and Eve did not physically drop dead when they ate the forbidden fruit. That is not what God meant. However, they did die spiritually, and with the loss of Original Justice, they lost what has been called “integrity” – a perfect spirit within a perfect immortal body. Their pride in thinking they could become “like God” by disobeying Him was their chief sin. So, in that they did not die right then and that they saw the evil which they themselves committed, the Serpent was telling the truth in a sense. It has been the constant teaching of the Church that Adam and Eve not only were sentient, but in fact had greater mental, physical, and spiritual faculties prior to the Fall. They were essentially the same as Angels, except that they had physical bodies and were thus limited to a degree. The punishment that they brought upon themselves by trying to “be God” was that they were transformed from being perfect beings into animals that were beholden to base instincts, with the only difference being that they had a rational, immortal soul.
As my hands are about to fall off from writing this tome, I’ll try to keep the rest of this brief and we can continue to discuss at a later date in person. 😀
5 minutes ago · Like
God did not actually “desire” sacrifice in the same way that Aztec gods had to be appeased, etc. Even in the Old Testament it is said that God does not desire sacrifice, but a humble heart. The purpose of sacrifice was twofold: so that the faithful would realize that all good things come from God and therefore not withhold their best possessions from Him. God does not need money or things; He created everything. But He wants us to be humble, and that requires that we submit to Him all that we have, if He asks for it. Otherwise we become like the “rich man” in the Gospels who cannot bear to part with his things, and thus loses his soul. The other purpose for animal sacrifice was to foreshadow the sacrifice that God Himself would make on the Cross of Calvary, which would also be presented on every altar at Masses until the end of time. (One singular sacrifice – not repeated – but made present before all generations going forward.) As the offense committed by Adam and Eve, though it seemed like not much to us, was an infinitely offensive thing to a perfect God – that is why it demanded a perfect sacrifice which no animal or sin-stained human could make. Only a perfect human, Christ, could pay back the wrong that was done not only by our original parents, but also all the wrongs throughout history. The only way that the original Christians recognized what Jesus was doing was that they saw His sacrifice in parallel with the sacrifices made at Passover as well as the fulfilled prophecies of the Old Testament about the Messiah. The only reason that all of the Jews didn’t see it was because of the prophecies that remain unfulfilled until the end of time.
When Moses commanded the Israelites to kill those people, “those people” were the ones who had knowingly disobeyed God after seeing God free them firsthand from Egypt. It’s quite a bit different for me to say I’m going to kill someone because they disagree with my religion; all of Israel witnessed God deliver them into the Sinai with the whole pillar of cloud/fire thing, manna from Heaven to feed them, and parting the Red Sea to help them escape from the Egyptian army. Even after all that, because people are stubborn and proud, they disobeyed God by their debauchery at the base of Mount Sinai while Moses was receiving the Commandments.
It is easy to think of yourself as being “objective”, while all others somehow don’t see the big picture. But consider the language with which you paint the Bible. Calling the Commandments “arbitrary”, or implying that the slaughter afterwards was wanton and random either means that you refuse to take the story at face value and color it in a way that is not evident from the text, or that you haven’t actually read it in context. Remember that none of us can read Scripture from an “objective” position, no matter how hard we try. No matter how well we know the Bible, we are all biased either for or against to a degree, and also we all have incomplete information in that there is historical context that may not be evident from the Bible alone. That is precisely why Sola Scriptura and a separation from Sacred Tradition makes the Bible little more than a collection of ancient writings like the Koran, the Vedas, or any other allegedly holy book. God is objective, we cannot be. And I am certainly a work in progress! We all are, until we die. Until then, our fate is not sealed.
Well, that went on longer than I intended! 😀
I look forward to our next meeting, as our discussions are always lively and fruitful, no matter the subject. And in the meantime, I may have to put my hands in a cast!
4 minutes ago · Like