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Old 11-06-2011, 11:23 AM
 
Location: New York City
5,556 posts, read 7,281,423 times
Reputation: 1356

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Quote:
Originally Posted by whoppers View Post
ha ha - yes, indeed! Very good post.

Maybe this is a good way of puting it:
When it's helpful - it's the Hebrew Bible.
When it's hurtful - it's the Old Testament.


Unfortunately - I think it's Christianity that has given Yahweh his bloodthirsty visage. Taken as a god of the times, he was fairly representative of the people (if one posits that a god is a reflection of those who create him/her) - and not much bloodier than any other god. He was actually a lot milder than some. At least you knew what would make him angry and get you killed - unlike some of those other gods and their unpredictable actions lol!
True. If you can accept that Yahweh was simply a construct of the people (of those times) who created him, then the early Old Testament and the savagery can be placed in a proper and acceptable perspective. Flip it and claim Yahweh is the great god of all creation, perfect, all-wise, all-knowing, good and loving, then you run into major problems.

This is one reason why you will never see me starting threads or commenting in posts about the actions of Yahweh as if he actually existed in MY mind. I am well aware the people who wrote about him were products of their times and found it necessary (like others of that time) to justify their barbaric actions by invoking the name of their god(s). I mean, it makes perfect sense to claim your god hated and condemned the very people you dislike because you want to take their land from them. Heck, even claim it was predicted that they would become your slaves.
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Old 11-06-2011, 11:39 AM
 
3,488 posts, read 3,575,176 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by InsaneInDaMembrane View Post
True. If you can accept that Yahweh was simply a construct of the people (of those times) who created him, then the early Old Testament and the savagery can be placed in a proper and acceptable perspective. Flip it and claim Yahweh is the great god of all creation, perfect, all-wise, all-knowing, good and loving, then you run into major problems.

This is one reason why you will never see me starting threads or commenting in posts about the actions of Yahweh as if he actually existed in MY mind. I am well aware the people who wrote about him were products of their times and found it necessary (like others of that time) to justify their barbaric actions by invoking the name of their god(s). I mean, it makes perfect sense to claim your god hated and condemned the very people you dislike because you want to take their land from them. Heck, even claim it was predicted that they would become your slaves.

The best example of your last statement is found in the account of Lot's daughters, and the incredibly rude explanation of why the Moabites and Ammonites have the names they do lol! The story is hilarious, and I'm sure the ancient listeners of the tale would have laughed themselves silly heh heh!

The hardest part in all of this is trying to find the actual religion of the Israelites, as opposed to the religion that is idealized in the biblical books. It's also the most interesting part of the task, in my opinion - like a detective story, an added bonus to a fascinating collection of writings. Unfortunately, because of the bad reputation the Bible has from it's misuse by fundamentalists (among other reasons) it very frequently is passed over as something not worthy of study; it becomes the whipping boy of Christian critics, and the apologetic tool of Christians. Then Atheists come to the conclusion that it is not even worth their time, except to use it in a debate. That's a shame. I treat it exactly as I would treat any other text from the Ancient Near East - I try not to let any emotional baggage or modern ideaologies prevent me from enjoying a fantastic little library of writings that span the gamut of human emotions and experience. The writings of Sumer, Akkad, Babylon, Egypt, Israel, Ugarit, etc - they all are fascinating in their own way and help give us a window into times long gone - yet their influence is still felt. Seeing it's importance for Western Civilization over the years, it should give some people an even more potent impetus for studying it, and it's evolution. Whether they perceive the various influences as negative or positive, is up to them I suppose.
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Old 11-06-2011, 12:06 PM
 
49,341 posts, read 30,660,495 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whoppers View Post
I treat it exactly as I would treat any other text from the Ancient Near East - I try not to let any emotional baggage or modern ideaologies prevent me from enjoying a fantastic little library of writings that span the gamut of human emotions and experience. The writings of Sumer, Akkad, Babylon, Egypt, Israel, Ugarit, etc - they all are fascinating in their own way and help give us a window into times long gone - yet their influence is still felt. Seeing it's importance for Western Civilization over the years, it should give some people an even more potent impetus for studying it, and it's evolution. Whether they perceive the various influences as negative or positive, is up to them I suppose.
Exactly!!! The evolution of the "spiritual fossil record" is of immense importance in discerning our role in this fascinating reality we find ourselves immersed in so completely.
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Old 11-06-2011, 12:16 PM
 
Location: SC Foothills
8,831 posts, read 10,534,106 times
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Wow, these guys are good. I used to be the one on the left, believing that a non-Christian or non-believer could not grasp the things of the Bible without first being a believer and receiving the Holy Spirit. How ignorant. There's no "secret" ingredient needed, what is needed is a reversal of brain-washing and a non-fearful mind to understand that it's all bull hockey. Don't be afraid to question the Bible and it's contents, there's no magical formula to be able to "comprehend" it, just common sense.
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Old 11-06-2011, 12:27 PM
 
Location: Southern Minnesota
5,988 posts, read 12,252,070 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ilene Wright View Post
Wow, these guys are good. I used to be the one on the left, believing that a non-Christian or non-believer could not grasp the things of the Bible without first being a believer and receiving the Holy Spirit. How ignorant. There's no "secret" ingredient needed, what is needed is a reversal of brain-washing and a non-fearful mind to understand that it's all bull hockey. Don't be afraid to question the Bible and it's contents, there's no magical formula to be able to "comprehend" it, just common sense.
You're not alone. I used to defend such idiocy right here on this forum, as well as in real life. I can't believe I was ever taken in by such idiocy.
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Old 11-06-2011, 12:40 PM
 
3,488 posts, read 3,575,176 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ilene Wright View Post
Wow, these guys are good. I used to be the one on the left, believing that a non-Christian or non-believer could not grasp the things of the Bible without first being a believer and receiving the Holy Spirit. How ignorant. There's no "secret" ingredient needed, what is needed is a reversal of brain-washing and a non-fearful mind to understand that it's all bull hockey. Don't be afraid to question the Bible and it's contents, there's no magical formula to be able to "comprehend" it, just common sense.
You are correct - a little academic training, common sense, and historical context will get you a long way when trying to understand ancient texts. Not everyone approaches the Bible with a strictly devotional approach - one limited to those elect members blessed with divine understanding heh heh!

Quote:
Originally Posted by northstar22 View Post
You're not alone. I used to defend such idiocy right here on this forum, as well as in real life. I can't believe I was ever taken in by such idiocy.
Must every post contain an insult, northstar? Are you incapable of speaking on a subject you disagree with, without calling it 'idiocy'? You'll find that more tact will get you farther in whatever goals you have set for yourself. Nobody is going to take seriously another person who very vocally calls them idiots - even if they are idiots.

What's the saying? You can catch more flies with honey? Are you trying to engage in intelligent discussion, or just display your vast hatred of people with different life-views?
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Old 11-06-2011, 12:49 PM
 
Location: New York City
5,556 posts, read 7,281,423 times
Reputation: 1356
Quote:
Originally Posted by whoppers View Post
The best example of your last statement is found in the account of Lot's daughters, and the incredibly rude explanation of why the Moabites and Ammonites have the names they do lol! The story is hilarious, and I'm sure the ancient listeners of the tale would have laughed themselves silly heh heh!

The hardest part in all of this is trying to find the actual religion of the Israelites, as opposed to the religion that is idealized in the biblical books. It's also the most interesting part of the task, in my opinion - like a detective story, an added bonus to a fascinating collection of writings. Unfortunately, because of the bad reputation the Bible has from it's misuse by fundamentalists (among other reasons) it very frequently is passed over as something not worthy of study; it becomes the whipping boy of Christian critics, and the apologetic tool of Christians. Then Atheists come to the conclusion that it is not even worth their time, except to use it in a debate. That's a shame. I treat it exactly as I would treat any other text from the Ancient Near East - I try not to let any emotional baggage or modern ideaologies prevent me from enjoying a fantastic little library of writings that span the gamut of human emotions and experience. The writings of Sumer, Akkad, Babylon, Egypt, Israel, Ugarit, etc - they all are fascinating in their own way and help give us a window into times long gone - yet their influence is still felt. Seeing it's importance for Western Civilization over the years, it should give some people an even more potent impetus for studying it, and it's evolution. Whether they perceive the various influences as negative or positive, is up to them I suppose.
I am with you on this. I cannot tell you how many times I have heard, "well, I don't know why if YOU DON'T BELIEVE IN gOD WHY YOU'RE ON HERE DISCUSSING THINGS ABOUT HIM!?!? *snicker* ("This only proves he MUST secretly believe in him"). It is just lost of many believers that there are some of us who really enjoy the bible's contribution because it helps to gives us a clue into theological evolution which helped, in great part, to shape western civilization or at least, become a part of it. I personally think the bible gets completely destroyed by many modern Christians who force it say what it does NOT say and interpret meanings that are NOT there. It gets placed on a pedestal where it should not be and their god is forced to write checks his A$$ can't cash. So then they have to come to his rescue and help him improve an image they unwittingly created for him.

To me, the bible is a VERY important piece of literature that gives some very interesting clues and insights into ancient history. No, for me, it is NOT the "word of god" or the "divine source of eternal truth" but it does give a lover of history like me a peek into a world that shaped the one I currently live in.
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Old 11-06-2011, 12:59 PM
 
Location: New York City
5,556 posts, read 7,281,423 times
Reputation: 1356
Quote:
Originally Posted by whoppers View Post
You are correct - a little academic training, common sense, and historical context will get you a long way when trying to understand ancient texts. Not everyone approaches the Bible with a strictly devotional approach - one limited to those elect members blessed with divine understanding heh heh!



Must every post contain an insult, northstar? Are you incapable of speaking on a subject you disagree with, without calling it 'idiocy'? You'll find that more tact will get you farther in whatever goals you have set for yourself. Nobody is going to take seriously another person who very vocally calls them idiots - even if they are idiots.

What's the saying? You can catch more flies with honey? Are you trying to engage in intelligent discussion, or just display your vast hatred of people with different life-views?
I know where Northstar is coming from, Whoppers. It is often a common trait displayed by folks who, after leaving the faith, now feel VERY cheated and there tends to be a lot of residual anger that comes out in responses. It is a process and I am sure over time he or she will tone it down, at least, in the realm of debate boards like these.

It's great advice you offer, but like I said, it is a process for some just like I myself had to learn.
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Old 11-06-2011, 04:16 PM
 
639 posts, read 510,247 times
Reputation: 303
Interesting responses.

I've enjoyed reading pretty much all of them.
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Old 11-06-2011, 07:45 PM
 
3,488 posts, read 3,575,176 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by InsaneInDaMembrane View Post
I know where Northstar is coming from, Whoppers. It is often a common trait displayed by folks who, after leaving the faith, now feel VERY cheated and there tends to be a lot of residual anger that comes out in responses. It is a process and I am sure over time he or she will tone it down, at least, in the realm of debate boards like these.

It's great advice you offer, but like I said, it is a process for some just like I myself had to learn.

I've been there myself. Many of us have.

There's a famous quote I read once about a competent scholar, in which he was reccomended highly in that he was "Neither in reaction to the tradition, nor enthralled to it". A happy medium, if you will heh heh.

I've found that I learn something new every day - so I whince when I find myself making definate statements that appear to be final in their conclusions: I usually end up having myself (or others) proving me fatally wrong in my earlier convictions, and thinking "I have GOT to stop making those dogmatic statements".

It does come in time - I just like to hope it can be hurried up for some people, so they can start contributing something other than the same, old arguments everyone makes initially. It used to be easier, but with the advent of the internet and similar voices confirming one's thoughts - it can become a lifelong habit for some people. They must take the same doubts they applied to their religion, and start applying them just as critically to their current beliefs.
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