Chistian Mental State

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Chistian Mental State

According to the DSM Christians meet the criteria for the following mental disorders and probably more.

SCHIZOPHRENIA

  1. Characteristic symptoms: Two or more of the following, each present for much of the time during a one-month period (or less, if symptoms remitted with treatment).
    • Delusions
    • Hallucinations
    • Disorganized speech, which is a manifestation of formal thought disorder
    • Grossly disorganized behavior (e.g. dressing inappropriately, crying frequently) or catatonic behavior
    • Negative symptoms: Blunted affect (lack or decline in emotional response), alogia (lack or decline in speech), or avolition (lack or decline in motivation)
    If the delusions are judged to be bizarre, or hallucinations consist of hearing one voice participating in a running commentary of the patient's actions or of hearing two or more voices conversing with each other, only that symptom is required above. The speech disorganization criterion is only met if it is severe enough to substantially impair communication.
  2. Social/occupational dysfunction: For a significant portion of the time since the onset of the disturbance, one or more major areas of functioning such as work, interpersonal relations, or self-care, are markedly below the level achieved prior to the onset.
  3. Duration: Continuous signs of the disturbance persist for at least six months. This six-month period must include at least one month of symptoms (or less, if symptoms remitted with treatment).

AUTISM

A. A total of six (or more) items from (1), (2), and (3), with at least two from (1), and one each from (2) and (3)

(1) qualitative impairment in social interaction, as manifested by at least two of the following:

(a) marked impairment in the use of multiple nonverbal behaviors such as eye-to-eye gaze, facial expression, body postures, and gestures to regulate social interaction
(b) failure to develop peer relationships appropriate to developmental level
(c) a lack of spontaneous seeking to share enjoyment, interests, or achievements with other people (e.g., by a lack of showing, bringing, or pointing out objects of interest)
(d) lack of social or emotional reciprocity

(2) qualitative impairments in communication as manifested by at least one of the following:

(a) delay in, or total lack of, the development of spoken language (not accompanied by an attempt to compensate through alternative modes of communication such as gesture or mime)
(b) in individuals with adequate speech, marked impairment in the ability to initiate or sustain a conversation with others
(c) stereotyped and repetitive use of language or idiosyncratic language
(d) lack of varied, spontaneous make-believe play or social imitative play appropriate to developmental level

(3) restricted repetitive and stereotyped patterns of behavior, interests and activities, as manifested by at least two of the following:

(a) encompassing preoccupation with one or more stereotyped and restricted patterns of interest that is abnormal either in intensity or focus
(b) apparently inflexible adherence to specific, nonfunctional routines or rituals
(c) stereotyped and repetitive motor mannerisms (e.g., hand or finger flapping or twisting, or complex whole-body movements)
(d) persistent preoccupation with parts of objects

B. Delays or abnormal functioning in at least one of the following areas, with onset prior to age 3 years: (1) social interaction, (2) language as used in social communication, or (3) symbolic or imaginative play

C. The disturbance is not better accounted for by Rett's Disorder or Childhood Disintegrative Disorder.


MENTAL RETARDATION

A. Significantly subaverage intellectual functioning: an IQ of approximately 70 or below on an individually administered IQ test (for infants, a clinical judgment of significantly subaverage intellectual functioning). 

B. Concurrent deficits or impairments in present adaptive functioning (i.e., the person's effectiveness in meeting the standards expected for his or her age by his or her cultural group) in at least two of the following areas: communication, self-care, home living, social/interpersonal skills, use of community resources, self-direction, functional academic skills, work, leisure, health, and safety. 

C. The onset is before age 18 years.


HYPOMANIC BIPOLAR DISORDER

A. A distinct period of persistently elevated, expansive, or irritable mood, lasting throughout at least 4 days, that is clearly different from the usual non depressed mood. 

B. During the period of mood disturbance, three (or more) of the following symptoms have persisted (four if the mood is only irritable) and have been present to a significant degree: 

(1) inflated self-esteem or grandiosity 
(2) decreased need for sleep (e.g., feels rested after only 3 hours of sleep) 
(3) more talkative than usual or pressure to keep talking 
(4) flight of ideas or subjective experience that thoughts are racing 
(5) distractibility (i.e., attention too easily drawn to unimportant or irrelevant external stimuli) 

(6) increase in goal-directed activity (either socially, at work or school, or sexually) or psychomotor agitation 
(7) excessive involvement in pleasurable activities that have a high potential for painful consequences (e.g., the person engages in unrestrained buying sprees, sexual indiscretions, or foolish business investments) 

C. The episode is associated with an unequivocal change in functioning that is uncharacteristic of the person when not symptomatic. 

D. The disturbance in mood and the change in functioning are observable by others. 

E. The episode is not severe enough to cause marked impairment in social or occupational functioning, or to necessitate hospitalization, and there are no psychotic features. 

F. The symptoms are not due to the direct physiological effects of a substance (e.g., a drug of abuse, a medication, or other treatment) or a general medical condition (e.g., hyperthyroidism).


INTERMITTENT EXPLOSIVE DISORDER

A. Several discrete episodes of failure to resist aggressive impulses that result in serious assaultive acts or destruction of property. 

B. The degree of aggressiveness expressed during the episodes is grossly out of proportion to any precipitating psychosocial stressors. 

C. The aggressive episodes are not better accounted for by another mental disorder (e.g., Antisocial Personality Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, a Psychotic Disorder, a Manic Episode, Conduct Disorder, or Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder) and are not due to the direct physiological effects of a substance (e.g., a drug of abuse, a medication) or a general medical condition (e.g., head trauma, Alzheimer's disease).

Mild PDD-NOS and severe undifferentiated schizophrenia.
It's people like me that should put the oh so loving Christian god to shame, but don't... These people are crazier than I am.


Whatthedeuce
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I'm not entirely sure what

I'm not entirely sure what point you are trying to make here, but I think that its important to keep the following in mind when using the DSM criteria:

 

American Psychiatric Association wrote:
However, it is important to remember that these criteria are meant to be used as guidelines informed by clinical judgement and are not meant to be used in a cookbook fashion.

 

 

I don't understand why the Christians I meet find it so confusing that I care about the fact that they are wasting huge amounts of time and resources playing with their imaginary friend. Even non-confrontational religion hurts atheists because we live in a society which is constantly wasting resources and rejecting rational thinking.


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I'm just an asshole.

I'm just an asshole.


drichards85
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I believe your post

I believe your post illustrates an important point, which is that the average atheist has no positive argument to put forth against the religious but rather a cluster of unreflective assumptions (about their own view, and the Christian's) from which they level, for the most part, ad hominems.  An example is that you have to assume that visions are actual "hallucinations" before your assessment that Christians are schizophrenic can even go through; but you have no evidence of this other than your own assumption that visions are hallucinations.  Damn, you need an argmuent?

As such you do indeed help to reinforce the stereotype of the village atheist as an asshole.  That being said, there is a fair amount of quackery to go around no matter what the belief system; I just wish atheists were honest to admit that they focus on the lowbrow fundie type because they are incapable of engaging anything with a modicum of nuance and sophistication, and also that they would admit that there are such thing as really stupid atheists.  Of course there are craazy Christians, but let's not pretend that's exclusive to one view, lifestyle, or belief system.  And let's not act like, because a person who holds to a view is of questionable intelligence, therefore their beliefs are false.  That is just poor logic.

IC XC

David


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Lets not forget that doing

Lets not forget that doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result is just insane. Prayer works on the same success rate as chance.

Throughout human history as our species has faced the frighten terrorizing fact that we do not know who we are and where we are going; it has been the authority (the political, the religious, and the educational authorities) who have attempted to comfort us. By giving us order, rules, and regulation. Informing or forming in our minds their view of reality. To think for yourself you must question these authorities. THINK FOR YOURSELF…


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drichards85 wrote:I believe

drichards85 wrote:

I believe your post illustrates an important point, which is that the average atheist has no positive argument to put forth against the religious but rather a cluster of unreflective assumptions (about their own view, and the Christian's) from which they level, for the most part, ad hominems.  An example is that you have to assume that visions are actual "hallucinations" before your assessment that Christians are schizophrenic can even go through; but you have no evidence of this other than your own assumption that visions are hallucinations.  Damn, you need an argmuent?

As such you do indeed help to reinforce the stereotype of the village atheist as an asshole.  That being said, there is a fair amount of quackery to go around no matter what the belief system; I just wish atheists were honest to admit that they focus on the lowbrow fundie type because they are incapable of engaging anything with a modicum of nuance and sophistication, and also that they would admit that there are such thing as really stupid atheists.  Of course there are craazy Christians, but let's not pretend that's exclusive to one view, lifestyle, or belief system.  And let's not act like, because a person who holds to a view is of questionable intelligence, therefore their beliefs are false.  That is just poor logic.

IC XC

David

From what I've seen, adding nuance and sophistication tends to water down what the Bible actually says and substitutes a kinder, gentler interpretation. Keep doing that - you move closer to atheism with each step.

Your beliefs are your beliefs. Their truth or falsehood doesn't interest me. It's when you claim that your beliefs are true knowledge that I get concerned.

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
— George Carlin


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jimmy williamson,I would

jimmy williamson,

I would have to know what you believe to be the purpose of prayer, its supposed benefits and results, before I could tell whether or not it is what I believe the purpose of prayer to be.  Chances are we have different conceptions of prayer to begin with.  It is not "just to get results."

jcgadfly,

How does adding nuance and sophistication tend to water down what the Bible actually says?  This assumes that one can read the Bible at face value and discern its meaning, but I reject that assumption.  Every person brings to their reading different assumptions that determine their interpretation of the Holy Scriptures.  The literalist reading is suspect since it's fairly recent in the history of Christianity and there are many more examples of non-literal interpretations throughout Christian history.  I fail to see why this would bring me closer to atheism.

Why would it bother you if I claimed that my beliefs constitute true knowledge?  The point is whether or not my claims to knowledge can be justified.  If my claims are false, or unjustifiable, then it needs to be demonstrated as to why that is the case.  I realize that it bothers you when theists say "non-Christians will burn in hell" (I refrain from such dogmatic assertions for a variety of reasons) but on this forum and elsewhere, I have read several atheists who flat-out said, "God does not exist," a bald affirmation that, to them, constitutes true knowledge.  Should I be offended with the claim or evaluate them to see if they are reasonable and justified?  If someone doesn't like my views, let that person deconstruct them.  I'd welcome the discussion but could really care less if our views are mutually offensive to each other.

IC XC

David


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drichards85 wrote:jimmy

drichards85 wrote:

jimmy williamson,

I would have to know what you believe to be the purpose of prayer, its supposed benefits and results, before I could tell whether or not it is what I believe the purpose of prayer to be.  Chances are we have different conceptions of prayer to begin with.  It is not "just to get results."

jcgadfly,

How does adding nuance and sophistication tend to water down what the Bible actually says?  This assumes that one can read the Bible at face value and discern its meaning, but I reject that assumption.  Every person brings to their reading different assumptions that determine their interpretation of the Holy Scriptures.  The literalist reading is suspect since it's fairly recent in the history of Christianity and there are many more examples of non-literal interpretations throughout Christian history.  I fail to see why this would bring me closer to atheism.

Why would it bother you if I claimed that my beliefs constitute true knowledge?  The point is whether or not my claims to knowledge can be justified.  If my claims are false, or unjustifiable, then it needs to be demonstrated as to why that is the case.  I realize that it bothers you when theists say "non-Christians will burn in hell" (I refrain from such dogmatic assertions for a variety of reasons) but on this forum and elsewhere, I have read several atheists who flat-out said, "God does not exist," a bald affirmation that, to them, constitutes true knowledge.  Should I be offended with the claim or evaluate them to see if they are reasonable and justified?  If someone doesn't like my views, let that person deconstruct them.  I'd welcome the discussion but could really care less if our views are mutually offensive to each other.

IC XC

David

Taken in reverse order:

True knowledge can be falsified - the claims made for your God by you and his followers can't. Thank you for bringing up that your claims lack needed justification.

I agree to a point that people come to Scripture with their own interpretations. Your problem comes because not all of those interpretations can be right (but they can all be wrong). The watering down comes when you have a passage like when God states that he creates evil. Then someone comes along and says "Wait! God is all good. He couldn't have created evil. What God must have meant was "calamity" (though the Hebrew used if I recall was "evil&quotEye-wink. It brings you closer to atheism (imo) because you hit a point where you have to admit that your God is not all that he's cracked up to be - then you have to start looking more critically at things.

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
— George Carlin


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First, I believe that

First, I believe that Christian claims can, in principle, be falsified.  But the necessary conditions to do so lie outside the scope of natural science, just as the assumptions of a particular methodology cannot be falsified by natural science.  The belief that the material universe is all that exists cannot be neither confirmed nor falsified by natural science either because it is a metaphysical thesis not yielded by scientific inquiry.  I do believe that one or the other can be philosophically falsified by drawing out their logical conclusions or internal inconsistency.  This is why I consider the problem of evil to be one of the most cogent arguments against the existence of the Christian God (not that I agree with its conclusions) because there at least an attempt is made to show that Christianity is philosophically incoherent.

I return to my claim that the Scriptures have not always and only been understood in a literalist fashion.  To point out what seems clear to you, in this culture, at this time, with the philosophical baggage of two centuries of Enlightenment and a century of nihilist postmodernism, is simply parochial.  Why the preference to read it at this time and in this place and then accuse others of misconstrual, misinterpretation, or deliberate ad hoc arguments designed to meet certain commitments that do not jibe with the text?  This argument can only go through if we suppose that a direct reading of Scripture is possible, which in turn must suppose that there can be a neutral reading of Scripture (there can't be), which in turn must suppose that Scripture is not divinely-inspired and therefore can be read just as any other text.  I know you reject the belief that Scripture is divinely-inspired but to use such a basis which I don't accept to prop up your argument simply assumes that I'll concede your presuppositions - which I don't.  Consequently it doesn't move an argument forward.

I know that not all interpretations can be right, which is why I don't believe that all interpretations are right.  I believe there are multiple valid ways to interpret the text of Holy Scripture, but then there are also multiple invalid ways of so interpreting it.  I don't believe that the multiplicity of interpretations directly leads to the conclusion that none of them are right and I would have to see a logical argument to the effect that a variety of views falsifies all views.  It doesn't, just as the variety of secular philosophies does not falsify any one particular secular philosophy.


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Doesn't an examination of

Doesn't an examination of reality tend to show that non-literal interpretations are more likely to be influenced by secular society?

Perhaps perform a thought experiment.  Label the believers you know on a continuum of Literal-------Non-literal then do it again for the most influential inputs in their life Religious--------Secular.

I know many non-literal theists who live like a atheists...if they decided God was not real their lives/morality/daily actions would not change, barring the removal of ritual because they already base their decisions on some sort of secular or rational thought process.  I can't say the same for anyone I know who follows a literalist view.

 

 

Also, I have not made a study of the history of lay-people's theology, but I imagine literalism has been around and in force as long as the layperson has been free to read the Bible for themselves...and by the same token, I doubt there is a greater percentage of theologians who currently adhere to literalism than in the past.  My suspicion (no empirical evidence for this mind you) is that when people like you say literalism is a recent invention it is used as a somewhat elitist answer to separate yourself from the 'other' Christians who are not as 'sophisticated' as you are.

Honestly, I always get a chuckle (followed by unease) when people utilize huge amounts of interpretation on the Bible...if so much is needed, your deity did a poor job of communicating.  Not everyone has the leisure time or intelligence to reinterpret the theological ramifications of the Bible in light of language, history and educated philosophy every single generation and grievous things tend to happen when those same people simply do what the book tells them to do.

It makes sense though...someone needs to keep reinterpreting the messages so they match the sensibilities of whatever culture happens to exist at the time.  The reason why the results of literalism seem so revolting to most of us is that cultures from those era's would be revolting to us, and the Bible is a product of its time.

I'm just off on a tangent now though, carry on.

Everything makes more sense now that I've stopped believing.


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drichards85 wrote:jimmy

drichards85 wrote:

jimmy williamson,

I would have to know what you believe to be the purpose of prayer, its supposed benefits and results, before I could tell whether or not it is what I believe the purpose of prayer to be.  Chances are we have different conceptions of prayer to begin with.  It is not "just to get results."

jcgadfly,

How does adding nuance and sophistication tend to water down what the Bible actually says?  This assumes that one can read the Bible at face value and discern its meaning, but I reject that assumption.  Every person brings to their reading different assumptions that determine their interpretation of the Holy Scriptures.  The literalist reading is suspect since it's fairly recent in the history of Christianity and there are many more examples of non-literal interpretations throughout Christian history.  I fail to see why this would bring me closer to atheism.

Why would it bother you if I claimed that my beliefs constitute true knowledge?  The point is whether or not my claims to knowledge can be justified.  If my claims are false, or unjustifiable, then it needs to be demonstrated as to why that is the case.  I realize that it bothers you when theists say "non-Christians will burn in hell" (I refrain from such dogmatic assertions for a variety of reasons) but on this forum and elsewhere, I have read several atheists who flat-out said, "God does not exist," a bald affirmation that, to them, constitutes true knowledge.  Should I be offended with the claim or evaluate them to see if they are reasonable and justified?  If someone doesn't like my views, let that person deconstruct them.  I'd welcome the discussion but could really care less if our views are mutually offensive to each other.

IC XC

David

 

 

<< Luke 11 >> King James Version

1And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.

2And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.

3Give us day by day our daily bread.

4And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.

5And he said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves;

6For a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him?

7And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee.

8I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth.

9And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.

10For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

11If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent?

12Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion?

13If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask.

 

Yeah did you read this part? Sure sounds to me like he says ask and you shall recieve. Now you wanna tell us what the meaning or use of prayer should be? You know since we don't do our homework.

If all the Christians who have called other Christians " not really a Christian " were to vanish, there'd be no Christians left.


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mellestad,What would lead

mellestad,

What would lead you to conclude that a non-literal interpretation of the Scriptures is caused by a secular society?

To be fair, you are right that literalism is not a new phenomenon; I simplified for the sake of brevity (a quality for which I am not known), but I meant that the type of literalism common in certain circles today can, I believe, be traced back only a few centuries.  At the time in which it emerged there were still competing interpretations, and centuries before that there were several types of interpretation on the market.  As a matter of history it is false that there was a causal connection between secularism and non-literalism.  Take fourth and fifth century Alexandria, for example; the society was most certainly not secular but almost completely Christian and the theologians there had an almost overly-allegorical (even by my standards) interpretation of the Scriptures.  History's not a monolith.

My rejection of crass literalism may have everything to do with my elitism, but that would not impugn the truth of my position.  As a matter of pure logic I could technically still believe the right thing, even if I have ulterior motives for believing it.  I don't believe that a person has to understand every jot and tittle of Scripture to be saved, or that mounds of interpretation are needed to make it comprehensible.  That conclusion doesn't necessarily follow from my rejection of the "See Jesus Run" type of hermeneutic peddled by so many Evangelicals.  I just don't think anybody can pick up the Scriptures, read it for themselves, and properly interpret it.  Some interpretive work IS necessary, but that doesn't mean that every layperson needs to be a scholar of the highest caliber.

Sorry if this response is a bit spotty, I am having to write this in a small room with many distractions and haven't had time to check to see if any of it makes snese.

IC XC

David


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drichards85

drichards85 wrote:

mellestad,

What would lead you to conclude that a non-literal interpretation of the Scriptures is caused by a secular society?

Well, I think the two go hand in hand in any case. But maybe it isn't causal, maybe it is just a correlation, where as societies secularize, non-literal translations come to the forefront to rationalize the cognitive dissonance of more traditional or literal theism in a liberal secular culture? In fourth century Alexandria, there was no large body of laypeople interpreting this stuff for themselves and driving policy decisions as in a modern state, so I'm not sure if a useful comparison can be made, or at least a simple comparison cannot be made without a lot of scholarly work.

drichards85 wrote:

To be fair, you are right that literalism is not a new phenomenon; I simplified for the sake of brevity (a quality for which I am not known), but I meant that the type of literalism common in certain circles today can, I believe, be traced back only a few centuries. At the time in which it emerged there were still competing interpretations, and centuries before that there were several types of interpretation on the market. As a matter of history it is false that there was a causal connection between secularism and non-literalism. Take fourth and fifth century Alexandria, for example; the society was most certainly not secular but almost completely Christian and the theologians there had an almost overly-allegorical (even by my standards) interpretation of the Scriptures. History's not a monolith.

But isn't it simpler than that? Isn't the resurgence of literalism simply a byproduct of high availability of scripture to the non theologian class? That was sort of my point, that literalism happens whenever non-theologians read the book. Of course theologians are not fans of literal interpretations, that would make them unnecessary after all. That is what I meant by the whole thing being non-useful. I guess my point was aimed at the masses, not the theologian class.

drichards85 wrote:

My rejection of crass literalism may have everything to do with my elitism, but that would not impugn the truth of my position. As a matter of pure logic I could technically still believe the right thing, even if I have ulterior motives for believing it. I don't believe that a person has to understand every jot and tittle of Scripture to be saved, or that mounds of interpretation are needed to make it comprehensible. That conclusion doesn't necessarily follow from my rejection of the "See Jesus Run" type of hermeneutic peddled by so many Evangelicals. I just don't think anybody can pick up the Scriptures, read it for themselves, and properly interpret it. Some interpretive work IS necessary, but that doesn't mean that every layperson needs to be a scholar of the highest caliber.

Sorry if this response is a bit spotty, I am having to write this in a small room with many distractions and haven't had time to check to see if any of it makes snese.

IC XC

David

No, I understand what you mean. To be honest though I'm not sure if you can have it both ways...scripture is, by nature, such a shifty beast that I'm not sure how useful it is to the lay-person when taken outside of a historical context...and that historical context is not something easily gleaned. Many of the things even Evangelicals take for granted are not interpretations that a newcomer would arrive at by simply reading the book.

Of course, the simple answer is that yes, the book isn't useful to a layperson.  They will just read it and project themselves on it to such a degree that nothing useful results from the exercise.  That is a fair answer, even if it isn't what most Christians would like to think about.

Everything makes more sense now that I've stopped believing.


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mellestad wrote:No, I

mellestad wrote:

No, I understand what you mean. To be honest though I'm not sure if you can have it both ways...scripture is, by nature, such a shifty beast that I'm not sure how useful it is to the lay-person when taken outside of a historical context...and that historical context is not something easily gleaned. Many of the things even Evangelicals take for granted are not interpretations that a newcomer would arrive at by simply reading the book.

Of course, the simple answer is that yes, the book isn't useful to a layperson.  They will just read it and project themselves on it to such a degree that nothing useful results from the exercise.  That is a fair answer, even if it isn't what most Christians would like to think about.

 

I agree completely. If you read the Bible and do not interpret it using exegesis then you're going to take the Bible to mean something completely different than what it means. A major mistake of many Christians now days is to read the Bible, and get something out of it that is not there. As humans we can only assume based upon what we know, or what we want something to say. Secular society does very well dictate the interpretation. For example, Christians aren't supposed to cuss right? Its in the Bible right? Pastors harp on it, outh ministers harp more on it. NO CUSSING. When it was written (in 1 Timothy I believe, but I don't feel like looking it up) damn, hell, shit, etc. weren't even words. So who determines what words are cuss words? Secular society! in 20 years if fuck is a perfectly acceptable term in society but society determines that teh word sex isn't...Christians will get mad when "sex" is said on tv and so on.

 

I would also add that to the average person there is not a huge demand for hermeneutics, there is only a demand for them to have basic understanding of what the original author meant in the text. Rather, that the largest problem is that pastors will misinterpret the Bible, and members of their congregation blindly follow. Those who don't blindly follow will study commentaries and such, and will tend to follow authors that are slanted and will often make the problem worse. Nothing is worse than an educated fool. You can't tell them they're wrong, but they will tell you everything they know.

 

I'm sure that many of you are already familiar with the terms, but if you're not and you would like to learn more about the subject Id suggest looking up two terms. Exegesis and Eisegesis.

 

As far as me being Autistic, Retarded, and so forth. Thanks? I kind of feel like that accusation is a more educated version of a playground insult while taking medical criteria out of it's own context. But what the hell do I know...I'm a retard apparently!

My Master has no desire to be merely victor in a debate: he did not come into the world to fight a battle of logic just
for the sake of winning it. --Charles Spurgeon


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mellestad, at the risk of

mellestad, at the risk of being self-moderator you touched on one of the reasons that I'm not a Protestant Christian (much less an Evangelical) but discussions of who has the authority to interpret Scripture might be outside the scope of these forums.  Suffice it to say not even self-identified "literalists" really interpret all Scripture literally.  To do so would commit them to something that many wouldn't want to accept, for example that the bread and wine of the Eucharist are the actual body and blood of Christ.  (Jesus didn't say "this represents my body" and "this represents my blood," but said that the bread and wine are His body and blood.  I don't have a problem with this position.)  Crass literalism is just an incoherent position, that no one really holds with consistency, and which can be demonstrated as false, I think, on philosophical grounds alone.

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drichards85 wrote:mellestad,

drichards85 wrote:

mellestad, at the risk of being self-moderator you touched on one of the reasons that I'm not a Protestant Christian (much less an Evangelical) but discussions of who has the authority to interpret Scripture might be outside the scope of these forums.  Suffice it to say not even self-identified "literalists" really interpret all Scripture literally.  To do so would commit them to something that many wouldn't want to accept, for example that the bread and wine of the Eucharist are the actual body and blood of Christ.  (Jesus didn't say "this represents my body" and "this represents my blood," but said that the bread and wine are His body and blood.  I don't have a problem with this position.)  Crass literalism is just an incoherent position, that no one really holds with consistency, and which can be demonstrated as false, I think, on philosophical grounds alone.

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David

Well, there are a couple of points on that. Jesus had a tendency to use metaphoric language without saying "I represent". He said "I am the vine and ye are the branch". He didn't mean to say he was a literal vine, but a figurative one. Unless you're implying Jesus literally thought he was a vine in which case, I don't have much to say. Jesus also said the cup was the new covenant. Jesus clearly didn't mean that the cup was the actual covenant. In it's most literal sense he would've only meant the cup is the materialization of the new covenant...which still makes no sense. 

 

While I'm no theologian, so I'm not qualified to say there are no "literalists" I can say that the two major theologies on this are Covenant Theology and Dispensationlism. I am a dispensationalist, which is fairly close to that idea of literalism. In what I believe to point is to take everything into account when interpreting the text, not just to interpret it literally. You take into account who is speaking, what they are saying, how they tend to speak, who they are speaking to, why they are speaking to that person, and even the original Hebrew or Greek language used (since what we have one word for in English, they may have had 10 words for).

 

Not so much trying to spark a debate as here as I am trying to explain why being literal isn't just taking the words as they're said...it's taking everything into account to find the meaning.

My Master has no desire to be merely victor in a debate: he did not come into the world to fight a battle of logic just
for the sake of winning it. --Charles Spurgeon


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drichards85 wrote:mellestad,

drichards85 wrote:

mellestad, at the risk of being self-moderator you touched on one of the reasons that I'm not a Protestant Christian (much less an Evangelical) but discussions of who has the authority to interpret Scripture might be outside the scope of these forums.  Suffice it to say not even self-identified "literalists" really interpret all Scripture literally.  To do so would commit them to something that many wouldn't want to accept, for example that the bread and wine of the Eucharist are the actual body and blood of Christ.  (Jesus didn't say "this represents my body" and "this represents my blood," but said that the bread and wine are His body and blood.  I don't have a problem with this position.)  Crass literalism is just an incoherent position, that no one really holds with consistency, and which can be demonstrated as false, I think, on philosophical grounds alone.

IC XC

David

I agree with you, which is what I meant in my statement:

mellestad wrote:
Many of the things even Evangelicals take for granted are not interpretations that a newcomer would arrive at by simply reading the book.

 

@Crossover:  Where do you draw the line though?  Say in Revelation (Something central to dispensationalism after all), if you take historical context into consideration the entire meaning of the book might change drastically from a message about the literal end times to a political rant about Rome.  (Just an example, I don't want to start a Revelation thread)

 

Or do you just think that the doctrine about literal vs. figurative is some sort of divine revelation for your particular tradition?

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mellestad

mellestad wrote:

 

@Crossover:  Where do you draw the line though?  Say in Revelation (Something central to dispensationalism after all), if you take historical context into consideration the entire meaning of the book might change drastically from a message about the literal end times to a political rant about Rome.  (Just an example, I don't want to start a Revelation thread)

 

Or do you just think that the doctrine about literal vs. figurative is some sort of divine revelation for your particular tradition?

For instances like that it's a literal translation. The historical context idea is mostly relevant to understand why he the author was saying something. (In the lordship v.s. free grace debate, the entire thing basically centers around Paul calling the Corinthians brothers". Why did he? Did he mean it? What did he mean by it? One question I have posed to myself and others and haven't gotten a clear answer on yet is HOW literal should revelation be taken? Were all the thing he claims he saw real, or did John simply relate what he saw to what he knew, since he had never seen these things before?

My Master has no desire to be merely victor in a debate: he did not come into the world to fight a battle of logic just
for the sake of winning it. --Charles Spurgeon


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Crossover wrote:mellestad

Crossover wrote:

mellestad wrote:

 

@Crossover:  Where do you draw the line though?  Say in Revelation (Something central to dispensationalism after all), if you take historical context into consideration the entire meaning of the book might change drastically from a message about the literal end times to a political rant about Rome.  (Just an example, I don't want to start a Revelation thread)

 

Or do you just think that the doctrine about literal vs. figurative is some sort of divine revelation for your particular tradition?

For instances like that it's a literal translation. The historical context idea is mostly relevant to understand why he the author was saying something. (In the lordship v.s. free grace debate, the entire thing basically centers around Paul calling the Corinthians brothers". Why did he? Did he mean it? What did he mean by it? One question I have posed to myself and others and haven't gotten a clear answer on yet is HOW literal should revelation be taken? Were all the thing he claims he saw real, or did John simply relate what he saw to what he knew, since he had never seen these things before?

 

No, I get that, but my question was how you make that determination.  How do you decide?  Is it a matter of factual evidence that somehow decides the issue, or do you think there is some sort of divine revelation that makes it clear what is literal and what isn't?  Something else?

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mellestad wrote:Crossover

mellestad wrote:

Crossover wrote:

mellestad wrote:

 

@Crossover:  Where do you draw the line though?  Say in Revelation (Something central to dispensationalism after all), if you take historical context into consideration the entire meaning of the book might change drastically from a message about the literal end times to a political rant about Rome.  (Just an example, I don't want to start a Revelation thread)

 

Or do you just think that the doctrine about literal vs. figurative is some sort of divine revelation for your particular tradition?

For instances like that it's a literal translation. The historical context idea is mostly relevant to understand why he the author was saying something. (In the lordship v.s. free grace debate, the entire thing basically centers around Paul calling the Corinthians brothers". Why did he? Did he mean it? What did he mean by it? One question I have posed to myself and others and haven't gotten a clear answer on yet is HOW literal should revelation be taken? Were all the thing he claims he saw real, or did John simply relate what he saw to what he knew, since he had never seen these things before?

 

No, I get that, but my question was how you make that determination.  How do you decide?  Is it a matter of factual evidence that somehow decides the issue, or do you think there is some sort of divine revelation that makes it clear what is literal and what isn't?  Something else?

The first I guess is that it refers to itself as a prophecy. John is writing this and prefaces it by saying, this is a prophecy. I understand eh couldn't very well have said "this is a letter of political commentary about Rome" but that's just the first point.

Secondly, the language doesn't insinuate that it is being symbolic.

Third, both at the beginning and end of the book John asserts that everything he says is true. (rev. 1:2, 3. Rev. 22:8, Rev. 21:24)

Fourth, those who were hearers of John attest to it's literal meaning. (Papias, for example, attested to its canonocity)

That's pretty much all I can type, understand, or explain. Obviously this being such a giant book of Christianity there are TONS of books and resources out there for it. However, I never really was that interested in the book of Revelation. I find the Paulie epistles to be the most interesting and easy to relate to. I don't particularly care how the Apocalypse goes down, so long as I'm on the side going to heaven I'm fine with flying money's (although the claims in Revelation make flying monkeys sound realistic). My main concern with the book is the interpretation. Honestly, it's been probably 2 or 3 years since I read any commentary, heard a sermon, or even watched a History Channel program on Revelation, so I must admit I'm dusty on this topic.

 

My Master has no desire to be merely victor in a debate: he did not come into the world to fight a battle of logic just
for the sake of winning it. --Charles Spurgeon


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Crossover wrote:mellestad

Crossover wrote:

mellestad wrote:

Crossover wrote:

mellestad wrote:

 

@Crossover:  Where do you draw the line though?  Say in Revelation (Something central to dispensationalism after all), if you take historical context into consideration the entire meaning of the book might change drastically from a message about the literal end times to a political rant about Rome.  (Just an example, I don't want to start a Revelation thread)

 

Or do you just think that the doctrine about literal vs. figurative is some sort of divine revelation for your particular tradition?

For instances like that it's a literal translation. The historical context idea is mostly relevant to understand why he the author was saying something. (In the lordship v.s. free grace debate, the entire thing basically centers around Paul calling the Corinthians brothers". Why did he? Did he mean it? What did he mean by it? One question I have posed to myself and others and haven't gotten a clear answer on yet is HOW literal should revelation be taken? Were all the thing he claims he saw real, or did John simply relate what he saw to what he knew, since he had never seen these things before?

 

No, I get that, but my question was how you make that determination.  How do you decide?  Is it a matter of factual evidence that somehow decides the issue, or do you think there is some sort of divine revelation that makes it clear what is literal and what isn't?  Something else?

The first I guess is that it refers to itself as a prophecy. John is writing this and prefaces it by saying, this is a prophecy. I understand eh couldn't very well have said "this is a letter of political commentary about Rome" but that's just the first point.

Secondly, the language doesn't insinuate that it is being symbolic.

Third, both at the beginning and end of the book John asserts that everything he says is true. (rev. 1:2, 3. Rev. 22:8, Rev. 21:24)

Fourth, those who were hearers of John attest to it's literal meaning. (Papias, for example, attested to its canonocity)

That's pretty much all I can type, understand, or explain. Obviously this being such a giant book of Christianity there are TONS of books and resources out there for it. However, I never really was that interested in the book of Revelation. I find the Paulie epistles to be the most interesting and easy to relate to. I don't particularly care how the Apocalypse goes down, so long as I'm on the side going to heaven I'm fine with flying money's (although the claims in Revelation make flying monkeys sound realistic). My main concern with the book is the interpretation. Honestly, it's been probably 2 or 3 years since I read any commentary, heard a sermon, or even watched a History Channel program on Revelation, so I must admit I'm dusty on this topic.

 

I should have been clearer, but thank you for the specifics anyway.  So your answer to the question I should have asked better is you rely mostly on the information inside the book to make a judgement call on how to interpret it?

I'm not trying to trap you into a response, I'm just curious.

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mellestad wrote:I should

mellestad wrote:

I should have been clearer, but thank you for the specifics anyway.  So your answer to the question I should have asked better is you rely mostly on the information inside the book to make a judgement call on how to interpret it?

I'm not trying to trap you into a response, I'm just curious.

Perhaps it's my fault. I'm good about answering the wrong questions...A LOT. But yes, basically. Revelation is the toughest to interpret...period. Other books, its easy to explain. Revelation is different from ANY other book. It's not fully a Gospel, and not fully an epistle. It has predictions, symbolism, symbolic predictions, and very confusing meanings.

My Master has no desire to be merely victor in a debate: he did not come into the world to fight a battle of logic just
for the sake of winning it. --Charles Spurgeon


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Crossover wrote:mellestad

Crossover wrote:

mellestad wrote:

I should have been clearer, but thank you for the specifics anyway.  So your answer to the question I should have asked better is you rely mostly on the information inside the book to make a judgement call on how to interpret it?

I'm not trying to trap you into a response, I'm just curious.

Perhaps it's my fault. I'm good about answering the wrong questions...A LOT. But yes, basically. Revelation is the toughest to interpret...period. Other books, its easy to explain. Revelation is different from ANY other book. It's not fully a Gospel, and not fully an epistle. It has predictions, symbolism, symbolic predictions, and very confusing meanings.

Why do you think it is so confusing?  Do you think it was intentionally written to be that way, or is it just lost in time?

 

You aren't the only Christian to be confused by Revelation.  Personally, I don't think Revelation is the most confusing thing in the Bible, but that's just me.

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mellestad wrote:Crossover

mellestad wrote:

Crossover wrote:

mellestad wrote:

I should have been clearer, but thank you for the specifics anyway.  So your answer to the question I should have asked better is you rely mostly on the information inside the book to make a judgement call on how to interpret it?

I'm not trying to trap you into a response, I'm just curious.

Perhaps it's my fault. I'm good about answering the wrong questions...A LOT. But yes, basically. Revelation is the toughest to interpret...period. Other books, its easy to explain. Revelation is different from ANY other book. It's not fully a Gospel, and not fully an epistle. It has predictions, symbolism, symbolic predictions, and very confusing meanings.

Why do you think it is so confusing?  Do you think it was intentionally written to be that way, or is it just lost in time?

 

You aren't the only Christian to be confused by Revelation.  Personally, I don't think Revelation is the most confusing thing in the Bible, but that's just me.

In the early days of the church it was understood to be literal. Somewhere, I believe around the 1400's if i remember right, people began denying it literally. Not to say it has been lost in time, but time sure has brought about more and more interpretations of the book.

I'm not sure if it was intentionally confusing or what. It doesn't appear to follow any real order, like the book of Daniel. It uses LOTS of symbolism, but determining what is symbolic and what is actual prediction can be complex. We know, for example, that Jesus does not have a sword for a tongue, so that was clearly symbolism. However, the tribulation is implied to be more of a prediction. No one really denies that some of Revelation is symbolic, and some is literal. The debate centers on how much is literal and how much is symbolic. I said earlier how I determine what is and isn't literal. What would you say is the most confusing?

My Master has no desire to be merely victor in a debate: he did not come into the world to fight a battle of logic just
for the sake of winning it. --Charles Spurgeon


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Crossover wrote:What would

Crossover wrote:
What would you say is the most confusing?

 

All of it.  But I'm not into numerology.

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Crossover wrote:mellestad

Crossover wrote:

mellestad wrote:

I should have been clearer, but thank you for the specifics anyway.  So your answer to the question I should have asked better is you rely mostly on the information inside the book to make a judgement call on how to interpret it?

I'm not trying to trap you into a response, I'm just curious.

Perhaps it's my fault. I'm good about answering the wrong questions...A LOT. But yes, basically. Revelation is the toughest to interpret...period. Other books, its easy to explain. Revelation is different from ANY other book. It's not fully a Gospel, and not fully an epistle. It has predictions, symbolism, symbolic predictions, and very confusing meanings.

Revalation has many predictions yes, a lot of which says that people like us will rule, and the world will end. All I hear from you christian is trying to make me believe. If you want to see your god so much then why don't you just support us, and help this thing along?

Throughout human history as our species has faced the frighten terrorizing fact that we do not know who we are and where we are going; it has been the authority (the political, the religious, and the educational authorities) who have attempted to comfort us. By giving us order, rules, and regulation. Informing or forming in our minds their view of reality. To think for yourself you must question these authorities. THINK FOR YOURSELF…


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Crossover wrote:mellestad

Crossover wrote:

mellestad wrote:

Crossover wrote:

mellestad wrote:

I should have been clearer, but thank you for the specifics anyway.  So your answer to the question I should have asked better is you rely mostly on the information inside the book to make a judgement call on how to interpret it?

I'm not trying to trap you into a response, I'm just curious.

Perhaps it's my fault. I'm good about answering the wrong questions...A LOT. But yes, basically. Revelation is the toughest to interpret...period. Other books, its easy to explain. Revelation is different from ANY other book. It's not fully a Gospel, and not fully an epistle. It has predictions, symbolism, symbolic predictions, and very confusing meanings.

Why do you think it is so confusing?  Do you think it was intentionally written to be that way, or is it just lost in time?

 

You aren't the only Christian to be confused by Revelation.  Personally, I don't think Revelation is the most confusing thing in the Bible, but that's just me.

In the early days of the church it was understood to be literal. Somewhere, I believe around the 1400's if i remember right, people began denying it literally. Not to say it has been lost in time, but time sure has brought about more and more interpretations of the book.

I'm not sure if it was intentionally confusing or what. It doesn't appear to follow any real order, like the book of Daniel. It uses LOTS of symbolism, but determining what is symbolic and what is actual prediction can be complex. We know, for example, that Jesus does not have a sword for a tongue, so that was clearly symbolism. However, the tribulation is implied to be more of a prediction. No one really denies that some of Revelation is symbolic, and some is literal. The debate centers on how much is literal and how much is symbolic. I said earlier how I determine what is and isn't literal. What would you say is the most confusing?

Wouldn't the early church have a better handle on what was literal than the later church?  I would think our handle on interpretation would slip as time went by rather than grow more firm.

 

To me, Revelation is pretty straight forward, it is a symbolic way to get people riled up.  To give people a pep talk, you know, your enemies will all die and the chosen elite will achieve eternal reward!  From the way it is written it is immediate, he talks about this stuff like it will happen in his lifetime and there are many things that point to him talking specifically about Rome.  I don't think the violence is out of character for much of the Bible, although it would be for Jesus.  So it makes sense to me.  As a theist the confusing part is the lack of immediacy...Rev 1:1, 3, 22:10, 22:7, 12, 20...they all point to something happening soon, not something thousands of years away.

 

But anyway, the most confusing parts.  As an atheist, honestly, the Bible makes sense to me.  I look at it as a product of the time and culture when it was written and I get it, it makes sense.  That isn't to say I think it is logical or that it isn't contradictory, or that the teachings or lessons are applicable to modern life.  It just means it isn't confusing.

As an ex-theist, the things that are the most confusing, in no particular order:

1. The Genesis story in light of modern knowledge.  The order and method of creation, the birth of life and man, the abilities of early man and the entire flood story are all directly contradicted by modern science.  And it is clearly not written as a symbolic work, so that makes it hard to figure out.

2. The Garden of Eden story, the curse of man and the resulting original sin.  The whole process doesn't follow any rational thought process.  Why create man and give a test that insures failure?  Why the curse?  Why let the snake in?  Why have the choice to be evil?  What is evil and why would you create it?  If God didn't create it arbitrarily, then what did?  Since God is supposed to be omnipotent and omni-present what is the point of the whole exercise?  Why Hell?  Etc.

3. Tower of Babel, whether literal of metaphorical.

4. The huge personality shift between the God of the OT and the God of the NT.

5. The need for blood sacrifice, from goats all the way up to Jesus.  This is pretty broad...from Isaac's son to general ritual killing to the entire Jesus story itself.  It doesn't make sense why God literally needs to be appeased with innocent life to get me off the hook for the curse he put on me because my original ancester acted according to their God given nature and broke a rule also created by God.

6. Matthew 27:46.  "Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?"

7. The concept of the trinity, and how that isn't polytheism.

8. Sexual morality as represented in the Bible.

 

Off the top of my head anyway, I could go on.  Haha, I was a very confused theist.

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