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Ook!
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PostSubject: Bible study   Sun Dec 09, 2007 11:28 am

I thought it would be educational and beneficial to have a thread about the Bible and christianity in general. I do not wish to cause offence to anyone who reads this thread who may have christian sensibilities and if I do so then please understand that I look at facts, historical records and reason and am not making a personal attack on you about your belief in christianity. Saying that, the facts and reasoning around this subject matter will challenge your beliefs and may well make you feel offended if you do not look at the facts fpr what they are.

The church states that "Reason is the enemy of Faith". When anyone looks past the 'fluffy god of love' propoganda surropunding christianity and actually reads the texts or looks at historical facts and timelines and uses simple reason and logic, then the reason the church would make a statment like this becomes blaringly obvious.

This area of discussion is HUGE as not only does it look at the way that the bible contradicts itself and is full of complete nonsense, it also covers historical data, misinformation, propoganda, oral history, etc, etc.

As it is coming up to christmas (I love this time of the year by the way and celebrate in the 'traditional way' without actually being christian) I thought the following YouTube link might be a good way to start this 'bible study'.

Click here for the bible's war on christmas

I hope you find this interesting.
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PostSubject: Re: Bible study   Tue Dec 11, 2007 6:41 am

As always, Ook!, you manage to start excellent topics and this is the latest! I believe this will start a very healthy debate.

I also thoroughly enjoyed the video clip - most apt.

Thank you for taking the time to put this together and for locating the video - it is defiinitely appreciated.

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PostSubject: Re: Bible study   Wed Dec 12, 2007 3:53 am

A subject worthy of a few debates! The video was interesting (and insightful) and relevent, and I like the guy's dry humour about it all. Did you see the link to his other videos (one with him putting a bible in a shredder while he plays funeral music from his computer)?
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PostSubject: Re: Bible study   Wed Dec 19, 2007 6:38 am

I have a varied view on Christianity because i was brought up in the church, my parents are Christians but I am not longer. I am glad I was raised as a Christian as it gave me alot of the morals that have made me who I am and I think alot of people could use more moral guidence. Of course everyone has their own set of values and Christianity may not be the way for them. I view this religion with the same open-minded respect that i have for all aspects of faith. though I may not wish too follow that path, who am I (or is anyone) to critise and say it is the wrong one? there will be extremists in any religion or for any point of view but that is not to say that the system of faith is to blame. People like that are just looking for an excuse to carry out the deeds they want and if they didn't use religion they would find another excuse.
The Christain faith brings alot of people a feeling of safety and community when they can find it nowhere else. When my grandmother lay dying the only comfort to her way her faith that the pain would pass and she would be with her God in heaven. She was a wonderful woman and a good Christian. She once told me that if you looked carefully enough you could find justification for any point of view/action in the bible but that wasn't what it was about. It was just another medium though which people can feel closer to some higher power and find solice and meaning in their life when they needed it most.
When believe and faith can be so important to people (in any form) then who are we to judge. 'If it harm none, do as you will'
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PostSubject: Re: Bible study   Wed Dec 19, 2007 10:18 am

Solvo you say that you enjoyed being brought up as a christian because it gave you morals. Im sure they are connected and i bet it was a really good upbring, all i want to point out is there arent christian or muslim etc morals, they are just western morals and they dont need to be connected to a faith. A non relgious person could marry their partner and be monogomous and loving and be caring and charitable without being brought up or influenced by 'christian ideals', sometimes they are just values that they hold dear. just a point. Smile
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PostSubject: Re: Bible study   Wed Dec 19, 2007 11:02 am

I completely agree, morals don't have to be brought about through religion. In fact I don't think that's always the best way to go about it- people should act with integrity because it's the right thing to do- not because of a fear of hell.
I just think that the community and spiritual identity can help some people develop a sense of right and wrong.
I personaly have developed my morals from an amalgamation of many different religions including christianity, buddism, hinduism, paganism and satanism (it's not as bad as it sounds!) When learning about these religions I realised that they are all very similar and I think they are different paths to the same truth- people just pick the one that seems to make sense to them.
Also just want to point out that neither Christianity or Muslim originate in the west so you can't really call their morals western! lol
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PostSubject: Re: Bible study   Wed Dec 19, 2007 4:16 pm

I was rasied in a christian household and so have read quite a lot of the Bible. From this I have learned that if you take individual quotes you can get the Bible to suggest pretty much anything. If you look at it in context, it is actually saying something very different. I think this guy has got the wrong end of the stick. The quote from the Bible isn't saying no christmas trees, it's saying that as Christians, whoever this particular verse is addressing, should not be joining in with the ceremonies of the local people, because these celebrations are in honour of other Gods than the christian God. basically Don't be sheep 'cause you'll get lead astray away from God". The word 'idolisation' is usually used in the Bible to indicate worship of another God. The reading said that the whole tree thing would be 'idolisation'. It is not saying that to cut down and decorate a tree is evil, just to do so in honour of a 'false' God is an insult to the 'true' God.

I looked at one of one of the other videos, the whole Bible is Gay-bashing one. Again, he seems to pull quotes out without givng ay background information. I have heard it from a biblical historian in a Bible study group I went to a few years ago, that the people (isrealites?) for whom the laws in Leviticus were laid out had laws saying that a man could not commit adultery with another woman, but their word for adultery did not cover sleeping with another man, so if they were unsatisfied in their marriage, they could sleep with another guy without technically breaking any laws. So (as homosexual marriages were not acceptable as the purpose of marriage was to procreate) new laws were made saying don't sleep with another man. Cultural context is very important here.

Another point of view is that which Aristotle started by saying that something was "good" if it fulfilled it's purpose (ie - a good knife cuts cleanly). Thomas Aquinas picked up on this and applied it to things being 'morally good'. Therefore it is moral/right/good etc. to fulfil Gods purpose. He told us to 'go forth and multiply', and so sex is 'good'. But obviously, because it is fun, some people would abuse this command, so to avoid promiscuity (which comes from lust and not love) God limits us each to one sexual partener. Hence marriage. Anyhoo, because (as far as Aquinas was concerned, and it shoud be noted most of the Catholic Churches docrines that not in the Bible are based on his works) homosexuality can not result in pregnacy it is unnatural (obviously this has problems as now only intercourse is allowed - no masturbation or...y'know other sexual acts) and is therefore not fulfilling God's purpose and is therefore not 'good'. I personally object to this but christians might agree.

And what's up with that whole 'the Bible says love is evil when the people are the same sex' bit? The Bible says that nowhere. The Bible never says you cannot love (romantically or otherwise) someone of the same sex, only that you cannot perform sexual acts with them. Which the guy should be fine with as he spent so long convincing us that love is about more than sex.

I have one more point to make then I'll shut up I promise.

In the new testament a lawyer tries to catch Jesus out by asking him which of the commandments is the most important. Jesus replies that you should love your God and love your neighbur (but uses more words to say it than that). He says that THAT is the whole of the law. Basically if what you are doing is the most loving thing, you can't go wrong. More liberal christians (Like Joeseph Fletcher who came up with situation ethics) would use this as a moral cmpass and the rest of the Bible as a guide. All his christian arguments that he brings up and then shoots down in the video are ones that an evangelical christian would make (they're the ones who take every word in the bible literally) and he has some valid criticisms. Don't ask me to defend the evangelical's corner 'cause I don't like doing that. I stuggle severely to understand their views.

Really long post...oops...
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Aoife
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PostSubject: Re: Bible study   Thu Dec 20, 2007 6:42 am

I just looked up the reading. It's from Jeremiah 10 and I don't know what version the video guy is using, but I've got this from the King James edition of the Bible.

"1 Hear what the LORD says to you, O house of Israel. 2 This is what the LORD says:
"Do not learn the ways of the nations
or be terrified by signs in the sky,
though the nations are terrified by them.

3 For the customs of the peoples are worthless;
they cut a tree out of the forest,
and a craftsman shapes it with his chisel.

4 They adorn it with silver and gold;
they fasten it with hammer and nails
so it will not totter.

5 Like a scarecrow in a melon patch,
their idols cannot speak;
they must be carried
because they cannot walk.
Do not fear them;
they can do no harm
nor can they do any good."

If you read it, it says nothing about christmas trees, it's just that the locals make idols out of wood, dress them up in gold and silver and then worship them, which is silly because it's just an idol and has no power, unlike God who's all powerful and stuff. Baically, the text goes on to say that God will destroy the false idols in this area and that the isrealites shoud get out of that area quick before they are tainted, and God will smite the sinning locals so the isrealites can have the land. Something along those lines anyway.
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PostSubject: Re: Bible study   Thu Dec 20, 2007 11:14 am

Nicely put Aoife! Smile
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PostSubject: Re: Bible study   Sun Dec 30, 2007 8:42 am

Thanks for the input already, particularly from Solvo and Aoife. Smile It's obvious this is going to be an interesting debate.

Morals are a social set of rules that vary from region to region and country to country, they are not limited to religion. What is moral here can be immoral and illegal elsewhere. Someone without religion is no less likely to be immoral than a religious person - I have found that this fact seems to escape many people brought up in a religious society unless pointed out to them. Not surprising since most have been taught that to be religious is to be moral and righteous so an assumption is often made without further thought or discussion that to be non-religious is to be without morals. This is fairly normal and an interesting reaction nonetheless.

Christianity brings comfort and peace to many, I am glad Solvo's Nan felt this way, as do people who are very special to me too. Christianity also brings (and has brought) fear, terror and death amongst many other terrible things to many. How can a book and a belief have such contradicting results? As has already been demonstrated here in just a handful of posts (it was not meant as a manipulative experiment, it has just turned into a suitable example) is that people can interpret parts or sections of the bible to fit them - wether it be a christmas tree or an overall belief in the message of the bible-god. Most arguments I have seen over the years are related to christians arguing with other christians about what is to be interpretted in what way. I have lost count of the number of 'true christians' (good and bad people) who have stated that they are good christians and others are not. I am sure Solvos Nan was a wonderful and good person (what I would call a 'good christian') however I know christians who would disrespectfully laugh and mock her and say she was not a good christian at all because she was not a devout believer in <<insert some part of the bible here>>. Since the bible is contradictory, such a mocking remark would be justified by these abhorrent 'true and good christians'. Regardless of how we feel about these people, they are still christians. Sad but true.

This lack of a clear message and reliance on interpretation leads to countless questions and debate all over the world. It also leads to a vast variety of beliefs and acts including beliefs where the 'doesn't make sense' parts are ignored so the 'nicer' image (of the past 50 years or so) is accepted without too much questioning, beliefs where the socially unacceptable parts are used to justify socially unacceptable acts, the belief that Creationism should be taught as standard in our schools, right through to mass segragation, war or genocide (to name a couple) that still goes on today.

As this subject is so wide and varied I'd like to suggest we go back to the beginnings of christianity to debate this. How do you feel about this? If this is OK, I'd like to kick off with the origins of the new testament (not excluding debate on the old testament as there are many areas of relevance of course) which are actually likely to be around 50-70 years after the alleged death of the christian messiah. Are you all OK with this? Smile

<edited twice for typos and missed words!>


Last edited by on Sun Dec 30, 2007 1:31 pm; edited 2 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: Bible study   Sun Dec 30, 2007 9:53 am

Oops, must have accidentally deleted a bit before posting!

Just to ackmowledge Aoife about liberal and evangelical christians (literal or fundamentalist), my own opinion is that a majority of christians in the UK are liberals and I am glad for it! I have known a fair few fundamentalists (creationists, evangelical types, etc) and the interesting thing about them is that they tend to know the bible back to front, inside-out, etc so 'debating' (arguing) with them about their stand on so many issues whilst putting up with them trying to convert me at the same time has been an education in itself! Particularly as they have never been able to rationally counter any arguments put to them. Rolling Eyes

Just to clarify as well, I am from a catholic family, went to anglican schools, attended protestant sunday school, and in my lifelong search for truth (which I ended up finding that the truth I accept now is just was what I believed in the first place but had no name for it Rolling Eyes ) I have immersed myself in evangelical christian groups Shocked , Jehovahs Witness meetings and debates, areas of Islam, Buddhism (my Grandfather and then my cousin were/are head priests in Japan), looked at Satanism (interesting), considered converting to Judaism (interesting) and other religions as well. In my quest for truth I have literally interviewed thousands of people in my life. This does not make me an expert in any way, I've just collected the views of many, stored what I could in my limited brain and came to the conclusion that revealed religion does not offer complete truth when viewed 'under a microscope'. Having met so many believers in so many things it has been eye opening - heartwarming at times, jawdropping sometimes, horrifying at others. The search for knowledge has been, and continues to be, a passion for me since childhood and I hope that some of the things I picked up on the way will be of interest to you. Smile

<edited for typos>
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PostSubject: Re: Bible study   Fri Jan 04, 2008 11:08 am

Hmm, deadly silence. Cool

Is it possible I've come across as antagonistic or arrogant? If so, I hope you will believe me when I say this is was not my intention. I wanted to put forward an open debate on what is normally a sticky subject as most of us have been brought up in a christian society or households. Let me put a couple of things forward to you and see what you think.

Rather than going into the Coucil of Jerusalem and the Council of Nicea which essentially moulded the New Testament into what it is (with several amendments and additions over the centuries such as adding jesus name into parts of the bible that weren't there before ), let me start by the actual existence of Jesus in the first place.

the following text and link summarises it pretty welol but does not cover many other details.
Quote :

If Jesus actually existed and did all the miraculous things he is said to have done then surely many people would have written about it during and immediately following Jesus' life. Writing was common at the time, yet an extensive search by many scholars over centuries has turned up nothing. The very few references to Jesus that allegedly date back to his lifetime are clearly forgeries, forged no doubt hundreds of years later by people who realized this embarrassing lack of evidence needed to be rectified (see Joseph Wheless Forgery in Christianity).

Even if we ignore the evidence that they are forgeries, the very small number of these questionably authentic writings that allegedly date back to his alleged lifetime are still far too few. There should be a huge wealth of writing about this person that was written during his lifetime.

Jesus allegedly had crowds of thousands follow him around. Once he fed 5000 people with only a few loaves of bread and a couple of fish (Mark 6:39-44). Later he repeated the miracle again feeding a crowd of 4000 people (Mark 8:1-9). Jesus cured sick people miraculously and raised people from the dead. He changed water into wine at a wedding reception. He exorcised demons. He commanded 2000 pigs to rush into a lake and drown themselves, inciting the people of the nearby town and countryside, who asked him to leave. (No mention is made of what happened to the poor pig hearder whose livelihood must have been ruined. Mark 5:1-20).

Wherever Jesus went a crowd gathered and wondered in amazement who this person was. Jesus was a very controversial person. Finally he got himself into so much trouble that huge crowds of Jews demanded his execution. There was a controversial trial followed by his public execution. Three days later he is seen walking around alive again. And no one wrote any of this down when it allegedly happened?

Even the earliest full account of Jesus in the Bible, the Gospel of Mark, is admitted by the Catholic Church to date to at least A.D. 70, a full 40 years after Jesus' alleged death and resurrection. (Mark makes reference to an event that happened around A.D. 70, so it could not have been written any earlier. Modern scholars now date the Gospels as being written near A.D. 170, a full 140 years after the alleged event, since no one makes any reference to a Gospel of Mark, or any other Gospel, prior to this time.)

It's inconceivable that no one at the time bothered to write down anything about the most important person in the whole of human history. Writing was common back then. People wrote letters. Historians wrote commentaries on current events. The Romans wrote and kept legal documents about trials. It's considered one of the best documented periods of history. Yet no one wrote anything about this Jesus; no one painted a portrait of this Jesus; no one drew a sketch of this Jesus; no one cast a coin depicting this Jesus; no one made a statue of this Jesus; no one makes any reference whatsoever to this Jesus. The historical evidence is overwhelming—the Jesus of the Bible never existed.

Original source is
Evicence that jesus never existed

Drilling down on his summary, from many other sources, there is compelling evidence to suggest that Jesus did not exist in the way the bible suggests he did. He may be a myth, he may have been a real man, but there are no historical records about him. At the time the government regularly carried out thorough census exercises to ensure they collected all the taxes they could. Well known independent historians either mention someone in passing (this is disputed as well) or do not mention him at all. The famous Jewish historian Flavius Josephus who lived around 37-around 100 AD has a tiny section on him (I think it is one or two sentences) which is disputed anyway. Josephus (who was also a Jewish priest in his lifetime) wrote in a detailed manner as a historian so it is odd that he applies only a brief 'matter of fact' comment on someone who is supposed to be the Messiah that the Jews deny, not mentioning any of the miracles and very public acts that Jesus was supposed to have carried out. He even writes considerably more with a detailed account about John the Baptists execution.

If you follow the link there is a section about comparative religion but it is not detailed in any way. It's interesting to note that significant elements of the Jesus story are seen in other much older stories of gods and deities from all over the world. The main two (of the many) that always stick in my mind are elements of stories from Babylonian texts and Era Amunet might be pleased to know that the other story is the Egyptian god, Horus.

Here is a link that has an interesting table of comparisons which most (not all) I have seen verified over the years elsewhere.

Click here

On the original link up above about jesus' existence, there is also a (not too bad) link about 'Solar Mythology'. I will see if I can find a YouTube video I saw a while ago that puts the Solar Mythology aspect into simpler terms. The concept is very interesting.

I hope the above is interesting to you. Smile
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PostSubject: Re: Bible study   Fri Jan 04, 2008 11:51 am

Ook thats really really interesting, i just wanted to say we havent been ignoring your posts. I know that I tend not to look on the index when things arent scrolling on the portal page tis all! x
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PostSubject: Re: Bible study   Fri Jan 04, 2008 12:22 pm

Also like to say I haven't been ignoring the post, it just didn't come up as NEW till now. Strange......
Anyway interesting fact I thought you might like to know:

The hebrew word for re-incarnation is also the word for resuscitation. Possible confusion in the translation there.....oops! Laughing
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PostSubject: Re: Bible study   Fri Jan 04, 2008 5:17 pm

Thanks both, I was worried I'd caused offence.

Solvo, it's interesting that there are many words that could not be directly translated or have had their meaning changed in some way. Considering literal christians take the bible as the inerrant word of their god it often makes me wonder if they have ever considered that words that they may argue to the death about have a possibility of having been mistranslated. Rolling Eyes

I love Egyptian mythology (cabn't remember much of it but at one time immersed myself in it) and was very surprised the first time someone ever drew a comparison with other deities or religious stories stuch as jesus. What do you think when you read it?
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PostSubject: Re: Bible study   Fri Jan 04, 2008 5:23 pm

WOO go egyptian stuff!
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PostSubject: Re: Bible study   Tue Jan 08, 2008 1:38 pm

I used to be involved in an occult and pagan society in Lpool university and had no end of debate with christians, until I came across this little gem in a philosophy book, I think it was said by Britains finest, Bertrand Russell.
" If God is omnipotent, can he create a rock that he can't lift? "
If he can and can't lift it, he is not omnipotent, and if he can't create it he is not omnipotent! It proves omnipotence is a contradiction. I put this to christians and most of them were stuck for a reply, but one went off to his elders and came back with this answer, " he could but chooses not to", what a kop out.
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PostSubject: Re: Bible study   Tue Jan 08, 2008 2:01 pm

ironwolf wrote:
" he could but chooses not to"
Which in itself is a 'Yes' which leads back to the fact the biblegod is not omnipotent. Good point. The other thing is, the elders know this how? Maybe their god spoke to them? Oh, hang on, their bible supposedly states that their god wouldn't communicate with man again after the Jesus character (apparently) died.

Talking of omnipotence, if you or I were omnipotent and wanted to get a message to our creations would you, for example, talk to your creations directly - perhaps doa global tanoy announcements stating " This is your god, stop being bloody idiots or I'll smite the lot of you' or, perhaps would you choose to rely on innacurate oral tradition, the memory and words of people who were (in some cases) on drugs or had hit their head or had 'dreams' and may possibly have been illiterate and say, I know, I trust you lot to get my 'word' right and put it into loads of books that will be mistranslated along the way and send it out to the rest of the world?

Well, I know I would opt for the direct approach. But then again, maybe the biblegod, if it exists, is a prankster and wanted to see what his creations would do if he wound them up a bit - just to see how amnusing some of his creations are. Wink
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PostSubject: Re: Bible study   Tue Jan 08, 2008 3:04 pm

Why did God create evil, Some christians say that evil is the lack of good, but that means there was a preexisting concept of evil, that existed before God, or before God made anything, meaning other things could have existed without God.

On the other hand if God did create evil then this defies the philosophy of him being All-loving, as if he was then he would not cause suffering to the ones he loved. Any ideas?
Razz

Just something i've been thinking for awhile and forgetting to ask my philosophy teacher...

Hey look, we're knocking out omnipotence, omnilove(possibly), and now we must work on omnipresence..
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PostSubject: Re: Bible study   Tue Jan 08, 2008 3:08 pm

I dont think god is all loving....unless its tough love......really toughlove!!!!!!!!!! x
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PostSubject: Re: Bible study   Tue Jan 08, 2008 3:12 pm

Ever heard of the "Devil"/Satan?
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PostSubject: Re: Bible study   Tue Jan 08, 2008 3:13 pm

Yes but the point it he invented the Devil or allowed it to be created! (christian point of view here) and why would he bother doing that, just making hassle for yourself really. x
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PostSubject: Re: Bible study   Tue Jan 08, 2008 3:17 pm

He didn't allow him to be create or Created Satan himself, he was one of Gods angels
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PostSubject: Re: Bible study   Tue Jan 08, 2008 3:30 pm

God gave men free will and its not gods fault men choose to be evil. Thats the xtian argument anyway!
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PostSubject: Re: Bible study   Tue Jan 08, 2008 3:32 pm

God created the Angels, and when he fell he couldve destroyed him.
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