How do I go about reading the Bible?

Flubber
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How do I go about reading the Bible?

I touched upon this question in a previous post, but I'd like to ask it again.  How should I go about the Bible?

I've read Genesis with both a faithful eye (natural) and a skeptical eye (forced).  With a faithful eye "Holy Spirit", I just sort of got into a trance and took the book as an authority.  With a skeptical eye, I actually researched everything to see if it was true or not and looked for any and all contradictions and illogic (why must God plant a "Tree of Knowledge", did he want Adam and Eve to mess up?)

People say that reading the Bible with a faithful eye will enlighten you, I didn't get this sort of feel at all.  I felt like my entire my mind was in a fog and I had to force myself out of it.  I overlooked the threats and focused on the pretty sounding parts. 

I also noticed that if I read the Koran in a trance, I overlook the many nasty parts as well.  It has the same sort of Victorian prose and lulls me in.  I don't believe it however, because Muhammad is foreign to me, Jesus is the local hero where I live.

I've been told to start at Gospels instead of Genesis and I've been told to read with a faithful eye (unquestioning obedience, taking anything as a fact).

How should I read the bible, I don't wish to be too cynical, but I also don't want to be blinded by a trance?  How did you read the Bible?  Had you read parts of the Bible previously in a sort of trance?  How did you break it?

 


pauljohntheskeptic
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Flubber wrote:I touched upon

Flubber wrote:

I touched upon this question in a previous post, but I'd like to ask it again.  How should I go about the Bible?

I've read Genesis with both a faithful eye (natural) and a skeptical eye (forced).  With a faithful eye "Holy Spirit", I just sort of got into a trance and took the book as an authority.  With a skeptical eye, I actually researched everything to see if it was true or not and looked for any and all contradictions and illogic (why must God plant a "Tree of Knowledge", did he want Adam and Eve to mess up?)

People say that reading the Bible with a faithful eye will enlighten you, I didn't get this sort of feel at all.  I felt like my entire my mind was in a fog and I had to force myself out of it.  I overlooked the threats and focused on the pretty sounding parts. 

I also noticed that if I read the Koran in a trance, I overlook the many nasty parts as well.  It has the same sort of Victorian prose and lulls me in.  I don't believe it however, because Muhammad is foreign to me, Jesus is the local hero where I live.

I've been told to start at Gospels instead of Genesis and I've been told to read with a faithful eye (unquestioning obedience, taking anything as a fact).

How should I read the bible, I don't wish to be too cynical, but I also don't want to be blinded by a trance?  How did you read the Bible?  Had you read parts of the Bible previously in a sort of trance?  How did you break it?

 

I was brought up as an Evangelical Christian, my mother was a Lutheran school teacher before she became a nurse. This meant I was exposed to all the Bible stories when I first could undertand English. This continued with 9 years of parochial school. Here I was taught the Bible in the way that reinforced the church's beliefs. Jesus saved me first and then we went back into the OT showing how wonderous the god was.  Eventually I deserted for the Catholic Church when I got married. More of a convenience than anything. I studied and learned about it and even have a masters degree from a Jesuit University.

Meanwhile, I also studied history, religions of other cultures, myths, legends and more. This began while pursuing my undergrad degree and was intensified with my masters degree. I became very studious of all history, including the history of the Church as well as Islam and Judaism.

All of this provided more background to understand the Hebrew Bible and the NT.

I now read the Bible with extreme skeptical views. When the god is discussed, I see storytelling, myths, legends and the gods of other cultures interwoven in the writing.

If there is magic and Sci-Fi, I consider it to be from the lack of knowledge of those who wrote it.

Why should the god of the Hebrews be so important versus the gods of the Sumerians that are far older?

Why is there nothing in writing from before Abraham? The Sumerians were documenting their gods and we have their stories. But nothing before the storytellers wrote the books of Genesis somewhere after 1000 BCE or even as late as the time period where the Law is suddenly discovered in the Temple by the high priest Hilkiah when Josiah was king of Judah in about 639 BCE or so. And lo and behold this book also known as Deuteronomy resembles the writing of another writer, namely Jeremiah.

Books to read - Who wrote the Bible by Freidman; The Bible Unearthed by Finkelstein; Constantines Sword by James Carroll; and even The History of God by Karen Armstrong, an ex-nun who keeps changing her mind.

Also suggested to you in another thread is http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/ which may help you sift through the storytelling and legends.

 

 

____________________________________________________________
"I guess it's time to ask if you live under high voltage power transmission lines which have been shown to cause stimulation of the fantasy centers of the brain due to electromagnetic waves?" - Me

"God is omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent, - it says so right here on the label. If you have a mind capable of believing all three of these divine attributes simultaneously, I have a wonderful bargain for you. No checks please. Cash and in small bills." - Robert A Heinlein.


harleysportster
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Never fear :lol:

Never fear, youtube Atheist BionicDance is currently reading the Bible online, so that other people don't have to Laughing out loud

Here check out these links for some humor and down to Earth stuff :

Genesis dissected :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mi6n0NDGOaA

Exodus :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=URloC7UezDU

Leviticus :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OA3LvUcv5Lw

Deuteronomy :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=haEWU89CFDI&feature=channel

Numbers :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n39NhqacWLY&feature=channel

More will be on the way soon I hope Laughing out loud

 

 

“It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people.”
― Giordano Bruno


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My two cents...

Flubber wrote:
I touched upon this question in a previous post, but I'd like to ask it again.  How should I go about the Bible?

I might not be the best person to ask, as I have been an atheist all my life, but I will offer my opinion anyways. When I asked my mom what religion "we" were when I was about four, she gave me a textbook she had from college called "World Religions", told me to read it, then read the texts they was based on (all in our home library outnumbered by books on science and history thankfully) and then to make up my own mind. It wasn't until I was about 10-12 that I found out that she was an atheist, but by the way she treated the religion question I wasn't surprised.

That being said, I would say that people should read EVERYTHING they read, no matter what it is, completely skeptically! Regardless what some religious authorities might think about my position, I would say that it's worked for me!

"This may shock you, but not everything in the bible is true." The only true statement ever to be uttered by Jean Chauvinism, sociopathic emotional terrorist.
"A Boss in Heaven is the best excuse for a boss on earth, therefore If God did exist, he would have to be abolished." Mikhail Bakunin
"The means in which you take,
dictate the ends in which you find yourself."
"Strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government! Supreme leadership derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony!"
No Gods, No Masters!


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Flubber wrote: I touched

Flubber wrote:

I touched upon this question in a previous post, but I'd like to ask it again.  How should I go about the Bible?

 

I'm going to be very little help, I'm, afraid.

I was 11-13 before I read any of the Bible - before then, it was those dopey children's cartoons they had in Sunday school.  I don't remember reading it very much - just this is the verse being read out loud, okay.

I do remember being surprised that some people actually thought the bible was literally true.  I was an annoying child, always asking questions, so my mom bought a set of encyclopedias just so she could tell me - go look it up.  This would have been the late 50s so there wasn't an internet to search and the local library was rather small.  Having our own encyclopedias meant I would be quiet for hours reading them.  By the time I really read the bible, I already had a head full of of what was cutting edge science for the day.  I knew those stories in the bible were no more true than Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy.

Fast forward a few years.  My sister joined the Jehovah Witnesses.  They want you to get your entire family to join up.  So she started pestering the rest of us to join as well.  That is when I really read the bible.  She would bring up some lame belief the JWs have and show me the verses that supposedly support that belief.  I would then read the entire chapter or book, and proceed to show how her church elders were cherry picking verses.  She finally gave up on me, though she was successful with other members of the family.

I have never read the bible in a trance.  I have no idea how anyone would do so.  I have no recollection of ever believing any of that stuff.  If I were you, I'd go find a nice set of encyclopedias either on line or at the library and read them first.  Then read the bible if you still want to.

 

-- I feel so much better since I stopped trying to believe.

"We are entitled to our own opinions. We're not entitled to our own facts"- Al Franken

"If death isn't sweet oblivion, I will be severely disappointed" - Ruth M.


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Flubber wrote:I touched upon

Flubber wrote:

I touched upon this question in a previous post, but I'd like to ask it again.  How should I go about the Bible?

I've read Genesis with both a faithful eye (natural) and a skeptical eye (forced).  With a faithful eye "Holy Spirit", I just sort of got into a trance and took the book as an authority.  With a skeptical eye, I actually researched everything to see if it was true or not and looked for any and all contradictions and illogic (why must God plant a "Tree of Knowledge", did he want Adam and Eve to mess up?)

People say that reading the Bible with a faithful eye will enlighten you, I didn't get this sort of feel at all.  I felt like my entire my mind was in a fog and I had to force myself out of it.  I overlooked the threats and focused on the pretty sounding parts. 

I also noticed that if I read the Koran in a trance, I overlook the many nasty parts as well.  It has the same sort of Victorian prose and lulls me in.  I don't believe it however, because Muhammad is foreign to me, Jesus is the local hero where I live.

I've been told to start at Gospels instead of Genesis and I've been told to read with a faithful eye (unquestioning obedience, taking anything as a fact).

How should I read the bible, I don't wish to be too cynical, but I also don't want to be blinded by a trance?  How did you read the Bible?  Had you read parts of the Bible previously in a sort of trance?  How did you break it?

 

Hi Flubber,

Sorry if I missed this in a previous post of yours but, WHY do you want to read the bible? Are you seeking spiritual guidance or, are you trying to prove whether or not the bible is 'true'?

When I got serious about reading the bible, I started at Genesis many times and could never get through it so, I picked a place somewhere in the middle and read from there. I never have been able to read Revelation even though I have read all the rest of it several times over.

I know exactly what you mean by 'trance'.

'Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth.' A. Einstein


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Flubber wrote:I touched upon

Flubber wrote:

I touched upon this question in a previous post, but I'd like to ask it again.  How should I go about the Bible?

 

If you refuse to completely ignore it, like millions of intelligent people do......you'd be best to go with skepticism, and the biggest grain of salt you can find...

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

I was brought up as an Evangelical Christian, my mother was a Lutheran school teacher before she became a nurse. This meant I was exposed to all the Bible stories when I first could undertand English. This continued with 9 years of parochial school. Here I was taught the Bible in the way that reinforced the church's beliefs. Jesus saved me first and then we went back into the OT showing how wonderous the god was.  Eventually I deserted for the Catholic Church when I got married. More of a convenience than anything. I studied and learned about it and even have a masters degree from a Jesuit University.

Meanwhile, I also studied history, religions of other cultures, myths, legends and more. This began while pursuing my undergrad degree and was intensified with my masters degree. I became very studious of all history, including the history of the Church as well as Islam and Judaism.

All of this provided more background to understand the Hebrew Bible and the NT.

I now read the Bible with extreme skeptical views. When the god is discussed, I see storytelling, myths, legends and the gods of other cultures interwoven in the writing.

If there is magic and Sci-Fi, I consider it to be from the lack of knowledge of those who wrote it.

Why should the god of the Hebrews be so important versus the gods of the Sumerians that are far older?

Why is there nothing in writing from before Abraham? The Sumerians were documenting their gods and we have their stories. But nothing before the storytellers wrote the books of Genesis somewhere after 1000 BCE or even as late as the time period where the Law is suddenly discovered in the Temple by the high priest Hilkiah when Josiah was king of Judah in about 639 BCE or so. And lo and behold this book also known as Deuteronomy resembles the writing of another writer, namely Jeremiah.

Books to read - Who wrote the Bible by Freidman; The Bible Unearthed by Finkelstein; Constantines Sword by James Carroll; and even The History of God by Karen Armstrong, an ex-nun who keeps changing her mind.

Also suggested to you in another thread is http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/ which may help you sift through the storytelling and legends.

 

 

Which makes you like blunt force trauma, to the deluded theist.

You're Chuck Norris

I love it...

 

 

I keep asking myself " Are they just playin' stupid, or are they just plain stupid?..."

"To explain the unknown by the known is a logical procedure; to explain the known by the unknown is a form of theological lunacy" : David Brooks

" Only on the subject of God can smart people still imagine that they reap the fruits of human intelligence even as they plow them under." : Sam Harris


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Well, if you are a believer,

Well, if you are a believer, there is only one way to read it. CHERRY PICK the parts you like and ignore the parts that contradict the other parts.

But if you REALLY want to see how absurd ANY holy book is. Anytime you see the name of the alleged "god" replace it with Thor or Harry Potter, then ask yourself if the fantastic claims would still make sense.

The only rational way the bible can be viewed is in the historical time frame in which it was written.

It was written over a 1,000 year period, with books left out by 40 or so authors. None of the gospel writers wrote during the alleged life of the Jesus Character. None of the REAL powerful people who actually are proven to have existed, took notice of this magic man's parlor tricks or his blasphemy of their state.

The bible is peppered with real people, but that is self serving and circular reasoning written after the fact.

It would be like me mentioning Donald Trump in a book and claiming to be a billionaire myself. Would I really be a billionaire simple because I made the claim in a book I wrote, just because Trump is a real person?

It was also written in an unscientific age and when you read it the motifs expressed SHOW that the writers had no clue about scientific reality.

It treats the sun and moon as being separate sources of light. It explains the existence of our planet and the evolution of ours species with "poof" logic.

How do you read the bible? Read it as if it were a comic book. The only difference between the bible and a comic book, is that one is a comic book believed to be more than a comic book. Where as a comic book is accepted as being such.

 

 

"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers."Obama
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pauljohntheskeptic
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redneF wrote:Flubber wrote:I

redneF wrote:

Flubber wrote:

I touched upon this question in a previous post, but I'd like to ask it again.  How should I go about the Bible?

 

If you refuse to completely ignore it, like millions of intelligent people do......you'd be best to go with skepticism, and the biggest grain of salt you can find...

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

I was brought up as an Evangelical Christian, my mother was a Lutheran school teacher before she became a nurse. This meant I was exposed to all the Bible stories when I first could undertand English. This continued with 9 years of parochial school. Here I was taught the Bible in the way that reinforced the church's beliefs. Jesus saved me first and then we went back into the OT showing how wonderous the god was.  Eventually I deserted for the Catholic Church when I got married. More of a convenience than anything. I studied and learned about it and even have a masters degree from a Jesuit University.

Meanwhile, I also studied history, religions of other cultures, myths, legends and more. This began while pursuing my undergrad degree and was intensified with my masters degree. I became very studious of all history, including the history of the Church as well as Islam and Judaism.

All of this provided more background to understand the Hebrew Bible and the NT.

I now read the Bible with extreme skeptical views. When the god is discussed, I see storytelling, myths, legends and the gods of other cultures interwoven in the writing.

If there is magic and Sci-Fi, I consider it to be from the lack of knowledge of those who wrote it.

Why should the god of the Hebrews be so important versus the gods of the Sumerians that are far older?

Why is there nothing in writing from before Abraham? The Sumerians were documenting their gods and we have their stories. But nothing before the storytellers wrote the books of Genesis somewhere after 1000 BCE or even as late as the time period where the Law is suddenly discovered in the Temple by the high priest Hilkiah when Josiah was king of Judah in about 639 BCE or so. And lo and behold this book also known as Deuteronomy resembles the writing of another writer, namely Jeremiah.

Books to read - Who wrote the Bible by Freidman; The Bible Unearthed by Finkelstein; Constantines Sword by James Carroll; and even The History of God by Karen Armstrong, an ex-nun who keeps changing her mind.

Also suggested to you in another thread is http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/ which may help you sift through the storytelling and legends.

 

 

Which makes you like blunt force trauma, to the deluded theist.

You're Chuck Norris

I love it...

 

 

Thanks . .

I try.

 

____________________________________________________________
"I guess it's time to ask if you live under high voltage power transmission lines which have been shown to cause stimulation of the fantasy centers of the brain due to electromagnetic waves?" - Me

"God is omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent, - it says so right here on the label. If you have a mind capable of believing all three of these divine attributes simultaneously, I have a wonderful bargain for you. No checks please. Cash and in small bills." - Robert A Heinlein.


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pauljohntheskeptic

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

Thanks . .

I try.

 

You're a hero, soldier.

And you never took a life, doing it.

 

What was that about atheists not having morals and ethics like theists?....

I keep asking myself " Are they just playin' stupid, or are they just plain stupid?..."

"To explain the unknown by the known is a logical procedure; to explain the known by the unknown is a form of theological lunacy" : David Brooks

" Only on the subject of God can smart people still imagine that they reap the fruits of human intelligence even as they plow them under." : Sam Harris


Flubber
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Not being familiar with how

Not being familiar with how contradictions can be explained away, I visited CARM and Tektonics.  Needless to say, I am confused.  They seem to speak of context when discussing the Bible and how it really isn't a contradiction.  I must admit that SAB is a bit overzealous in finding contradictions.

But, more often than not, they'll go back to a mistranslation.  "This really means this."  How am I supposed to know who to trust?  I can't translate Hebrew, but I feel closed minded ignoring Christians completely.  Are there any atheist sites to counter the Christian sites.


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 < - - - - my profile pic

 < - - - - my profile pic is the best way to read the bible if you're serious about it.


cj
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Flubber wrote: Not being

Flubber wrote:

Not being familiar with how contradictions can be explained away, I visited CARM and Tektonics.  Needless to say, I am confused.  They seem to speak of context when discussing the Bible and how it really isn't a contradiction.  I must admit that SAB is a bit overzealous in finding contradictions.

But, more often than not, they'll go back to a mistranslation.  "This really means this."  How am I supposed to know who to trust?  I can't translate Hebrew, but I feel closed minded ignoring Christians completely.  Are there any atheist sites to counter the Christian sites.

 

I don't read Hebrew either.  There are some on this site who do - theist and atheist.  And they argue a lot about what word means what.  The problem is, any language has idiomatic expressions that may or may not translate directly into another language.  The apparent translation may not convey the sense of the original.  Add to that problem is the fact that sometimes we have more than one copy to translate.  In the Middle Ages, monks hand copied everything, no printing presses.  And so we have different versions of the same text that is translated in Latin. 

So you have multiple copies of some originals, copies of texts that did not make it into the final version (the Apocrypha), multiple copies of Latin versions of the originals from Hebrew or Greek.  Then you have multiple people who speak English interpreting a version that was translated from the Latin.  And now, you have multiple English versions!

I think arguing language is a waste of time when it comes to biblical studies.  The KJV has been around for centuries, and most people base their belief of what christianity is about on that version of the bible.  Get 10 people in a room - maybe all biblical scholars, maybe all linguists specializing in one or more of those languages, maybe just people who can read English - and you will have 10 different opinions about what any particular verse means.

Back to Mistakes Were Made but not by me.  We all self justify.  It is nothing to be ashamed of, but just to be aware of.  The people who are arguing for the literal veracity of the bible have a vested interest in continued belief.  They must believe or admit they have wasted a lot of time on their beliefs.  Admitting this is difficult for anyone, and it is more difficult if your professional career is based on a tissue of self justification.

 

-- I feel so much better since I stopped trying to believe.

"We are entitled to our own opinions. We're not entitled to our own facts"- Al Franken

"If death isn't sweet oblivion, I will be severely disappointed" - Ruth M.