The Bible: Literal, Poetic, Metaphor

Tarpan
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The Bible: Literal, Poetic, Metaphor

Should the Bible be interpreted as literal, poetic, metaphorical? This not only depends on which part of the bible you are talking about, but also who you ask. The Bible, both old and new testament, has stories in it of incredible cruelty. It describes a creator of our universe that is a fairly demon like fellow who I think that most people would have a hard time separating from the likes of Lucifer.

I believe if you went through on literal interpretations you would find that the Bible is highly inaccurate, not historically accurate, and a simply putrid example of morals and ethics that we as the human race should be using in today’s world. Richard Dawkins had a very good interpretation of Yahweh of the Old Testament when the Bible is interpreted literally:

“Arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.” – Richard Dawkins

This may seem, on the surface, to be an overly dramatic interpretation, perhaps even an exaggeration. But it simply is not. If you interpret the Bible’s stories as true then you can justify every comment that is made in that quote. I am not trying to be purely insulting by using that quote, what I am trying to do here is to establish that the Bible is not something that the majority of believers interpret literally. The defense that is used against these descriptions is that the stories are not to be taken literally and are instead metaphorical, or poetic in nature.

I have a fundamental problem with this, and it’s who is doing the interpreting of what is and what is not literal. There are an enormous number of sects of Christianity. The last number that I heard was well over 2000 sects. That is well over 2000 official interpretations of Christianity’s view of the Bible alone. This does not even account for the many other sects of other religions that share the Old Testament. Additionally I think you will find that many members of the various sects of Christianity do not share all of the beliefs of their religion with the sect that they claim to belong to. Instead many will speak of a close personal relationship and a personal understanding of what Christianity is. This can further increase the interpretations of the same stories bringing that number likely up into the many thousands of different interpretations of the same piece of writing.

Why do these people and these many different sects of Christianity feel qualified to interpret which stories are metaphorical, which are literal, which are poetic, and which are not to be used at all? Leviticus is recognized by few but most sects of Christianity don’t acknowledge Leviticus. Many sects used to believe in Leviticus, but later changed their mind and reinterpreted God’s word.

Most of, if not all, stories of the Bible were at one time believed to be literal stories. Over the years many of the historical references have proven to be inaccurate. Many of the stories do not line up in history, or could not have happened based on the many other credible sources that we have at our disposal. These questions range from the description of Genesis as to how the world was created, to the historical accuracy of Jesus.

Many things have contributed to the changes in interpretation of the Bible over the years. Science has progressed and answered proved many things in the bible wrong including obvious things such as the world being older than 6000 years old and the world not being flat. Social values have changed dramatically over time so that people are in greater numbers seeing women as equals, which is not something the Bible appears to agree with, as well as slavery no longer being acceptable despite its advertised acceptance in the Bible. Homosexuality is slowly raising its recognition and acceptance levels in recent years. Varied numbers of sets have accepted all of or a number of the above social changes. But they have changed over time despite the fact that the Bible has not changed. This should make it clear as day that Christianity and the Bible are not the ones driving these social advancements but rather social advancements are forcing Christianity to reinterpret it’s writings to fit with the times as a means of survival.

This is where poetry and metaphor come into play. Whenever there is a disagreeable story according to the current social standards, the story is just reinterpreted or written off as metaphorical or poetic in nature to get a message across. In situations such as Genesis the stories are farfetched and extremely unlikely according to science so now many people and sects are claiming it as just metaphorical so that they don’t need to admit that the Bible is wrong.

When science and reason faces questions about its accuracy it evaluates the information and accepts corrections when they are proved necessary. Religion, in the face of inaccuracy, changes its story as a means of survival. As science and reason continue to push religion further back and answer questions that humans used to only have answers for from religion, religion has to reinvent its story since one of its fundamental views is its own infallibility.

Many fundamentalist sects of religion will only take on the literal interpretation of the Bible. This type of unquestioning faith in the Bible and its words is extremely dangerous, but deserves more respect than the constant changing and apparently organic translations of the Bible that most sects take on. I say this not because I have respect for fundamentalists but rather because they are going all-in. Moderate sects and interpretations are people who are reasonable enough to see that their religion is inaccurate and changing but want to continue to believe so they alter their religion rather to suit their needs rather than conforming to what is supposedly the word of their almighty creator and judge.

Fundamentalists see this as the word of their God and they do what they are told because that is what they believe is necessary to get into Heaven. If the Bible is accurate, very few people will end up in Heaven despite the fact that they are Christians because they have taken on their own interpretation and have ignored the word of God.

Humans have been choosing their own interpretation of the Bible for a long time; this is not a recent development. In the situation of Christianity we can look back to the Council of Nicaea and the other Ecumenical Councils as groups that got together to change the historic information, translations and interpretations. This should never be seen as anything more than humans affecting the interpretations of the Bible, deciding what they want to include meeting their needs as well as what to exclude that they felt contradicted what they wanted people to believe.

I find this all very important because the fact that all of this human written information, translation, and interpretation is used as the only reason to believe in their representation of God. The fact that there is no scientific or rational reason to believe in the existence of a God, I would think it would be important to people to retain the integrity of the one piece of work that they base their entire belief structure on. Clearly that isn’t the case, so why believe any of it? If you no longer believe that ‘all’ of the writing is the word of God, I don’t see why you would believe that any of it is the word of a God.

Perhaps the Bible should be seen as metaphorical and poetic. But if you’re going to look at in that light, why not look at all the contents of it in that light? Why pick and choose which parts are or are not? Why can Jesus, God, the miracles, the commandments, and all the other content purely be poetic or metaphorical for something else? Perhaps it’s all meant to represent nature itself. One thing is evident; people that believe in their interpretation of the Bible are making up their own faith and not following the Bible so they are likely doomed for the same fate as anyone who is not part of their sect / religion. And the people that are playing by all the rules and following it word for word are only following the words that other men have chosen for them. Pretty scary propositions no matter which way you look at it.


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Tarpan wrote: Should the

Tarpan wrote:

Should the Bible be interpreted as literal, poetic, metaphorical?

 

Yes.

 

Literal: Thou shalt not kill

Poetic: Song of Solomon

Metaphorical: Parable of the Talents  


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A peculiar thing that I

.

 


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Yes, nice points all

Yes, nice points all around. Theists attempt to hide biblical "problems" behind the ploy of redefining whatever is problematic as 'metaphorical'. But the problem is that the sole method for delineating fact from fancy is 'whatever strikes you as silly must be metaphor'

The more science and history grow, the more we find in the bible what we can only, eventually label 'silly'... the origins of the earth, the flood, the purported history of Judaism, patriarchs such as "Moses" and "Abraham", the supposed  'exodus' out of egypt..... all deemed ridiculous and therefore 'metaphor' by the more enlightened christian....

So yes, the atheist does find a strange bedfellow in the bible literalist.... both atheist and fundamentalist take biblical claims seriously..... both realize that the bible's 'truth' rises and falls with these claims.... which has the unusual outcome of finding the liberal christian to be the main culprit in the crimes of religion....

It's one thing to hold to a ridiculous belief... it marks you as stupid or ignorant... it's quite another to purposely turn to logical fallacies of redefinition in order to cling to what you can clearly see as a preposterous claim.... yet this is the very reason why liberal christians are the problem: they know better yet they turn to delusion to remain believers.

 

 

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"God" burns Anne Frank eternally. For that, theists call him 'good.'


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Tarpan wrote: This is

Tarpan wrote:


This is where poetry and metaphor come into play. Whenever there is a disagreeable story according to the current social standards, the story is just reinterpreted or written off as metaphorical or poetic in nature to get a message across.

 

You'll need to show something to support that assertion, Tarpan.  

Quote:
 

In situations such as Genesis the stories are farfetched and extremely unlikely according to science so now many people and sects are claiming it as just metaphorical so that they don’t need to admit that the Bible is wrong.

This too.

 Where's the evidence that all such biblical statements were summarily taken to be literal prior to the advent of counterproofs?

 

Quote:
 

Many fundamentalist sects of religion will only take on the literal interpretation of the Bible.

This type of unquestioning faith in the Bible and its words is extremely dangerous, but deserves more respect than the constant changing and apparently organic translations of the Bible that most sects take on.

 

I think you are completely wrong about this and that Literalism is the kneejerk reactionary form of theism, not the other way round. Moreover, the kind of Literalism you find preaching out of the US bible belt these days is openly an attempt to squeeze theism into the exact little space that you've just said here is acceptable, what could be more revisionist than that?

 Traditional theism is not literal this is the case in almost any religion you can name. Furthermore the traditional religion of the Christian Bible is mystical, literalist christian sects are the ones revising their interpretation for survival.

 

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Eloise wrote: Where's the

Eloise wrote:

Where's the evidence that all such biblical statements were summarily taken to be literal prior to the advent of counterproofs?

 

You mean evidence of things like the Roman Catholic Church, prior to the Reformation, asserting that every word in the Bible was 100% true as the Word of God, and sending out torturers to convince heretics to recant? It was called the Inquisition, and it lased from 1184 until 1865.

At the time that both it, and the Crusades (which were launched ostensibly to restore the Holy Land to the 'faithful' because God had promised those lands to 'his chosen people' for all time in the Bible) began, the RCC was the dominant geopolitical power across the entire continent of Europe.

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I don't remember the exact

I don't remember the exact words, but Penn Jilette said it best -

It's fair to say that the Bible is equal parts fact, history and pizza.

I'm only paraphrasing here, though. Like I said, I don't remember the exact words, but he said it on the The Bible episode of Bullshit!

/mmm, pizza

Good night, funny man, and thanks for the laughter.


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BMcD wrote: Eloise

BMcD wrote:
Eloise wrote:

Where's the evidence that all such biblical statements were summarily taken to be literal prior to the advent of counterproofs?

You mean evidence of things like the Roman Catholic Church, prior to the Reformation, asserting that every word in the Bible was 100% true as the Word of God, and sending out torturers to convince heretics to recant? It was called the Inquisition, and it lased from 1184 until 1865.

At the time that both it, and the Crusades (which were launched ostensibly to restore the Holy Land to the 'faithful' because God had promised those lands to 'his chosen people' for all time in the Bible) began, the RCC was the dominant geopolitical power across the entire continent of Europe.

That only proves that one sect declared their interpretation to be the ultimate and enforced it with violence, it doesn't prove that religious statements were summarily taken to be literal prior to the advent of any counterproofs, if it does then who were the heretics, for a start?

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Todangst wrote: But the

Todangst wrote:
But the problem is that the sole method for delineating fact from fancy is 'whatever strikes you as silly must be metaphor'

Or, put another way, Christians believe the parts that suit their beliefs and label the rest as metaphor.  I've addressed this numerous times.  The dude that cut his hand off believed that the part about cutting your hand off was literal.  There's no disclaimer, after all.

Why this is significant is that with no legend included at the front of the bible, anyone is quite free to interpret any part of the bible as literal, and there are enough atrocities in there to justify just about any crime against humanity you can imagine.  When moderates (Eloise, wave...) suggest that anyone with half a brain knows which parts are which, they assume everyone to be intelligent, rational, and socially well adjusted.

Of course, how well adjusted can you be when you're an adult who believes in imaginary friends and talking donkeys... unless you believe the donkey was a metaphor...

 

Quote:
It's one thing to hold to a ridiculous belief... it marks you as stupid or ignorant... it's quite another to purposely turn to logical fallacies of redefinition in order to cling to what you can clearly see as a preposterous claim.... yet this is the very reason why liberal christians are the problem: they know better yet they turn to delusion to remain believers.

It's much, much easier for me to forgive people for ignorance than willful defiance of reason.

 

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wavefreak wrote: Tarpan

wavefreak wrote:
Tarpan wrote:

Should the Bible be interpreted as literal, poetic, metaphorical?

 

Yes.

 

Literal: Thou shalt not kill

Poetic: Song of Solomon

Metaphorical: Parable of the Talents

Quote:
Thou shalt not kill

A "no duh" which existed as a human empathy standpoint from our earlyest humans, no bible needed to state the obvious. A magical sky daddy is unessarry for understanding of human empathy. 

You forgot "HOCUS POKUS"

POOF=THE EARTH AND UNIVERSE

ABRACADABRA=HUMAN BONE AND FLESH MAGICALLY INSTANTANIOUSLY COMING FROM DIRT

HOCUS POKUS=ZOMBIE GODS SURVIVING RIGOR MORTIS AFTER 3 DAYS.

ABRACAKAPOCUS=SNAKES TURNING INTO WOOD 

Not only should the bible NOT be taken litterally, it should be called what it is, weither or not you like the stories in the bible or not fiction is fiction and myth is myth. Many people Like Harry Potter and Dr. Sues as moral metaphores, but no sane person should take them as litterally happening. 

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Eloise wrote:

.

 

 


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Maybe back then "God" was

Maybe back then "God" was metaphor for "my imagination"  ?  Smiling


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ProzacDeathWish

ProzacDeathWish wrote:
Eloise wrote:



That only proves that one sect declared their interpretation to be the ultimate and enforced it with violence, it doesn't prove that religious statements were summarily taken to be literal prior to the advent of any counterproofs, if it does then who were the heretics, for a start?

To my knowledge biblical literalism rarely conflicts with either tradional Catholic or Protestant doctrine and both sects have historically viewed each other as *heretics ( per your reference ) so one not need be in disagreement over literalism to be a heretic.

Historically Catholocism and Protestantism together encompass the entire spectrum of doctrinal views ( which usually includes literalism ) accepted by mainstream Christendom so what other major Christian influence are you referring to ?

 

In general religions that predate catholicism and protestantism. 

Quote:
 

What other major group represented this ( alledgedly predominant ) non-literalist view and were they considered to be orthodox or just of minor significance ?

 

The groups represented are various school/s of judaism ranging from contemporaries of the writing of the torah (aka OT) to the modern era , Kabbalah mystics, and gnostic christianity. There is rarely, if ever, an orthodox view without a strong non-literalist component in the history of judaism.  

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Okay, do you agree with the

.


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ProzacDeathWish

ProzacDeathWish wrote:

Okay, do you agree with the position that Christianity, since its inception, is mostly literalist as it has been tradionally practiced ?

It's difficult to agree with that, christianity has a spotty history around the time of it's inception. There are several centuries of christianity not accounted for by the history of the roman catholic church. Although Catholicism may have been a dominantly literal practice of christianity, these traditions do not represent the inception of christendom in any substantial way.

 

 

Quote:

...while Judaism ( and it's derivatives ) on the other hand are much less dogmatic regarding literalist interpretation ?

This expands the scope of the discussion from just Christianity ( as I thought ) to monotheism in general.

My apologies to Tarpan if I read him wrongly, the parts of his post which I quoted seemed to be generalising the view to any theism which puts the merest stock in biblical canon and I was responding to that.

 Jewish orthdoxy can be dogmatic, just as any religion can, the main thrust of my post was to show how it is not given in any way that non-literalist viewpoints on the bible are the result of revisionism they have always been a part of bible interpretation, from the time of it's writing.

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A lot of what I posted in

A lot of what I posted in there is generalistic in nature.  It is not specific to all but the point of it was intended to be readable and understandable.  Don't make the error of focusing in one a specific point when it does not invalidate the message I was trying to portray which is simply that there are many interpretations of the same works and that there is no consistancy in whether the interpretation is literal, poetic, metaphorical, or simply not worthy of consideration. 

To choose one specific interpretation of it, or even worse to choose your own, defies any sensibility in claiming to be following the "faith" since defining what exactly all the faith believes in is a muddy picture and in most cases a moving target.

Christianity and most other faiths have all changed over time, and there is impossible to know which one is the accurate interpretation.  Above all that, each faith is just making assumptions as to which parts are or are not literal meaning.  If exodus is not literal, why is the stories of Jesus literal? Who makes that distinction?  Aren't you essentially putting your faith in a single-man's interpretation of which parts are poetic, metaphorical or literal?

There's no consistancy, it's pick and choose.  Based on inconsistancies I don't believe there's any reason to assume one part is any more metaphorical or poetic than another.  Or, I should say, more importantly there is no reason to believe that one part is any more literal than another. 

I'd love to extend and have a discussion on this matter but I'd like to discuss the point rather than nit-pick debatable details of generalized statements that either way do not affect the point.  That kind of discourse is normal, but is pointless and does not accomplish anything nor does it stimulate thought.

Why do you, as a theist, place trust in a specific interpretation of what is literal, what is metaphorical, and what is poetic? Do you choose for yourself or do you belong to a specific sect? Do you have identical alignment to your sect or do you take on your own customizations? If you are to customize your faith are you infact not just believing in something different?   These are the types of things that I would love to hit on.


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Eloise wrote: It's

Eloise wrote:

It's difficult to agree with that, christianity has a spotty history around the time of it's inception. There are several centuries of christianity not accounted for by the history of the roman catholic church. Although Catholicism may have been a dominantly literal practice of christianity, these traditions do not represent the inception of christendom in any substantial way.

 

No, actually once you get out past about 100 AD, or 2 generations after the events in question (and a single generation after the destruction of Jerusalem), the history of the RCC is pretty well documented, right from Ignatius of Antioch's use of the term 'Catholic Church' in a letter to other church leaders in ~110 AD, and about 10-20 years after the Epistle of Clement (from Pope Clement I of Rome) around the year 96 AD.

Further, the history of the Catholic Church includes the history of the Apostolic Thrones until such time as the Council of Chalcedon and the claims of Papal Supremacy splintered the Church into the RCC, Eastern Orthodoxy, Oriental Orthodoxy, and an array of other fragmentations that are even more diverse and headache-inducing than trying to keep track of every form of Protestantism, even if you include the 'are they Christians?' question posed with regard to the LDS and the followers of Sun Myung Moon.

And again, until you start getting into the Rennaissance, you're looking by and large at 'The Bible is the 100% true Word of God, or we KILL YOU.' 

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Tarpan wrote: Based on

Tarpan wrote:

Based on inconsistancies I don't believe there's any reason to assume one part is any more metaphorical or poetic than another.

Well, except for Psalms. It's hard to argue that the big books of poems are no more poetic than 6000 pages of 'begats'. Eye-wink 

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Tarpan wrote: Why do you,

Tarpan wrote:

Why do you, as a theist, place trust in a specific interpretation of what is literal, what is metaphorical, and what is poetic?

 

I take none of the bible as literal, as I've said before, we are too many idioms away from it's intended meaning in this day and age. Even if a passage was intended literally at it's writing, it can at best be relevant to me, now in a metaphorical way. To me it's analogous to an art gallery, each artist painted his own piece and I don't like all of it all the time, but on subsequent visits I can sometimes see certain pieces in a new and different way. 

 

Quote:

Do you choose for yourself or do you belong to a specific sect?

 

As far as I am concerned either way I would have to choose for myself anyway. Even within the dogma of certain faiths it remains that it's my 'soul' and my life, even if I don't choose the interpretation for myself, I still choose someone elses interpretation for myself. 

 

Quote:

If you are to customize your faith are you infact not just believing in something different?

 

Yes, maybe some things are different and some things are the same, the comparison doesn't mean that much to me. I don't choose my beliefs in order to be different, I choose because they are my beliefs to choose.

 

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Well, you've hit the nail on

Well, you've hit the nail on the head there. Aren't you suposed to be subscribing to the one true faith that is the truth? By admitting to subscibing to your own faith aren't you admitting that you either have no chance of being corrrect or everyone else is wrong?

Perhaps that isn't a problem for your god.

Either way you are changing what you see as the truth and the word f god to fit into your own comfort zone rather than changing yourself to suit his desires.

Aren't you then creating god in your own image rather than the reverse?


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Tarpan wrote:

Tarpan wrote:
Well, you've hit the nail on the head there. Aren't you suposed to be subscribing to the one true faith that is the truth?

Even if that is what I am supposed to do, I still have to choose something to do it, don't I?

Quote:

By admitting to subscibing to your own faith aren't you admitting that you either have no chance of being corrrect or everyone else is wrong?

Not really, that's a false dilemma. I could choose, individually, something that resembles this "one true faith" (presuming such a thing exists) in every way except the addition of a label. In any case if my understanding of religion is wrong, so what? I have a defiant streak and I don't respond to threats, they have nothing whatsoever to do with the reason I'm a theist and I intend it to stay that way.

 

Quote:

Perhaps that isn't a problem for your god. Either way you are changing what you see as the truth and the word f god to fit into your own comfort zone rather than changing yourself to suit his desires.

The point of my Art Gallery analogy was that I don't change what I disagree with or what doesn't make sense to me, I just disagree with it or concede I may not have grasped the intent of the artist and move on. On another day at another time I may find myself able to understand that piece differently or see it in a different light, so I'll revisit it, but changing it to suit me is not appropriate. If I really don't like what I'm reading (my first read of Leviticus I remember well) I can just put the book away (which I did - just short of throwing it off Mrs Macquaries Chair on a Sunday afternoon).

Quote:

Aren't you then creating god in your own image rather than the reverse?

Definitely not, a core aspect of my beliefs is that 'human being' itself (and hence I) can be completely redefined to better reflect God.

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Eloise wrote:

.


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ProzacDeathWish wrote: I'm

ProzacDeathWish wrote:

I'm simply curious because it seems that for some reason a few of the theists on this forum are quite mysterious about what they actually believe and spend more of their time explaining what they don't believe.

Who me?

It is often easier to say what I don't believe.


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ProzacDeathWish

ProzacDeathWish wrote:

Eloise are your spiritual beliefs represented by any existing denominations ? Do you have any doctrines that you adhere to, etc. Perhaps what I'm asking is do you belong to any "official" religious groups or entities ?

I don't identify with any specific denomination, or belong to any specific group in an official sense. I am loosely affiliated with informal groups in gnostic alchemy and theological unitarianism, of those two I have more affinity for the gnostics than the unitarians. I was also raised into pagan and native american beliefs... but wait, there's more.. LOL seriously there is more, but I don't think it matters all that much, there's no doubt my faith is a hybrid if nothing else.

 I took an online test once which was supposed to tell you your faith from a description of your beliefs, it scored me most highly compatible with Hinduism, followed by Mahayana Buddhism. I think the test was probably limited. 

Quote:
 

I'm simply curious because it seems that for some reason a few of the theists on this forum are quite mysterious about what they actually believe and spend more of their time explaining what they don't believe.

I agree. There are rare opportunities for me to relate what I actually believe in the ongoing threads, I put it down to the nature of the forum, it's not intended as a belief sharing forum really.  I wrote an introductory post last year when I joined - here - which might be of interest. 

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wavefreak wrote:

.


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Eloise

Eloise wrote:
ProzacDeathWish wrote:

Eloise are your spiritual beliefs represented by any existing denominations ? Do you have any doctrines that you adhere to, etc. Perhaps what I'm asking is do you belong to any "official" religious groups or entities ?

I don't identify with any specific denomination, or belong to any specific group in an official sense. I am loosely affiliated with informal groups in gnostic alchemy and theological unitarianism, of those two I have more affinity for the gnostics than the unitarians. I was also raised into pagan and native american beliefs... but wait, there's more.. LOL seriously there is more, but I don't think it matters all that much, there's no doubt my faith is a hybrid if nothing else.

I took an online test once which was supposed to tell you your faith from a description of your beliefs, it scored me most highly compatible with Hinduism, followed by Mahayana Buddhism. I think the test was probably limited.

Quote:

I'm simply curious because it seems that for some reason a few of the theists on this forum are quite mysterious about what they actually believe and spend more of their time explaining what they don't believe.

I agree. There are rare opportunities for me to relate what I actually believe in the ongoing threads, I put it down to the nature of the forum, it's not intended as a belief sharing forum really. I wrote an introductory post last year when I joined - here - which might be of interest.

So you have a 100% customized view of the world and your god is okay with that.  Fair enough.  I can't see how this is anything other than you creating a god to fit your own belief structure though. 


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Claims

I don't have time to properly review all points and probably won't find this site again (sorry for that) but some assertions made here are rather baseless.

The Old Testament put serious limits on servitude. A servant had the same right as a free person and Judeo-Christian societies were the first large nations to abolish slavery on the earth (once during the middle ages, though this lapsed with the discovery of the Americas, and then later in the sequence we're all more familiar with.)

The Jewish Jubilee also put strict time limits on servitude (6 years max, IIRC)

Also, we have to remember what 'slavery' meant in the old testament. Condoleza Rice would be considered George Bush's "Slave."

Many people in the modern day seem to apply slavery as it was practiced in the rural south as representative of all slavery in all history. This is about as useful as assuming that all soldiers are samuri.

Most converts to Judaism and Christianity were female and the early church had many women converting to it from paganism. It's worth considering why. Women were given choice regarding marriage, had rights, and got to have society demand that their men stick around and help raise the kids.

Is the bible sexist? To an extent. But from what I've seen the 'sexism' was functional. Gender roles make some sense when women spend most of their lives having children and caring for them. And the whole "rule of thumb" thing was a myth, by the way.

Women's liberation is great, but we need to consider that it was only possible on a large scale and in its modern form once modern agriculture reduced the need for huge families,  modern sanitation and antibiotics reduced the need for a huge birth rate, more effective contraception came on the scene and many jobs not requiring physical ability came along. It's not just a matter of someone waving a magic wand and everyone suddenly becoming enlightened.

Also, regarding literalism I know that those considered gnostic  had extensive metaphorical interpretation of biblical stories and revelations is a political commentary couched in metaphor and code. It isn't easy to write a political screed for hundreds of thousands at a time when people are getting killed for opposing the government. There's a reason that Americans are known for speaking very directly. Our culture allows it, and has for several centuries.

 

 

 

 


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Hmm, the root of the problem

Hmm, the root of the problem is a matter of scope.

Eloise wrote:
Tarpan wrote:

This is where poetry and metaphor come into play.

Whenever there is a disagreeable story according to the current social standards, the story is just reinterpreted or written off as metaphorical or poetic in nature to get a message across.

You'll need to show something to support that assertion, Tarpan.

Quote:

In situations such as Genesis the stories are farfetched and extremely unlikely according to science so now many people and sects are claiming it as just metaphorical so that they don’t need to admit that the Bible is wrong.

This too.

Where's the evidence that all such biblical statements were summarily taken to be literal prior to the advent of counterproofs?

Quote:

Many fundamentalist sects of religion will only take on the literal interpretation of the Bible.

This type of unquestioning faith in the Bible and its words is extremely dangerous, but deserves more respect than the constant changing and apparently organic translations of the Bible that most sects take on.

I think you are completely wrong about this and that Literalism is the kneejerk reactionary form of theism, not the other way round. Moreover, the kind of Literalism you find preaching out of the US bible belt these days is openly an attempt to squeeze theism into the exact little space that you've just said here is acceptable, what could be more revisionist than that?

Traditional theism is not literal this is the case in almost any religion you can name. Furthermore the traditional religion of the Christian Bible is mystical, literalist christian sects are the ones revising their interpretation for survival.

When a given belief is taken as an atom it is adequate to ask for support when someone states that it has adapted to suit its socio-political climate. However, there are no missing links in beliefs past a certain point where every sect stems from another sect. If we could rewind to the very first religion, we'd probably find that it was literal.

Moreover, I think the question becomes "why wouldn't they take it literally?" Prior to the advent of counterproof, what else is there? A scripture says "shrimp is unclean," but does that have a deeper meaning to it? And if not, once again, where do we draw the line? One follower's metaphor is another follower's command unless there is someone interpreting it for them. Hence the Roman adoption of Christianity.

You may be treading a fine line of inverted chronological chauvinism, of the sort "I know better therefore others must have had some idea." It remains the simpler explanation that the vast majority of religious followers believed their scriptures literally and acted on that premise than the kind of critical thinking that wasn't available in most regions at the time.


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Quote:I take none of the

Quote:
I take none of the bible as literal,

You're full of shit, Eloise. If you took 'none' of the Bible as literal, you wouldn't be wearing that theist badge right now.

The partthat is literal to you is that the is a God, and that God made everything. You're taking this claim at face value from a book that you otherwise consider an allegorical fiction, which is a laugh.

 

Quote:
Where's the evidence that all such biblical statements were summarily taken to be literal prior to the advent of counterproofs?

Well, for starters, there's the whole (very literal) notion that's gone through the gauntlet of history, evolving as different hurdles were upon it, that a conscious creator made the whole universe, and Earth, and everything on it. A baseless assertion and myth, that you yourself ascribe to, which survives (as has already been pointed out to you several times) through people simply shrugging at evidence and fine-tuning what their religious text actually means to them.

Quote:

That only proves that one sect declared their interpretation to be the ultimate and enforced it with violence, it doesn't prove that religious statements were summarily taken to be literal prior to the advent of any counterproofs, if it does then who were the heretics, for a start?

The heretics were other religious persons, Eloise. Each with their own interpretation of what was literal or what wasn't, or their own fancifal magical beliefs. 'Counter-proofs'? Are you fucking kidding me? We're talking about the dark ages, Eloise. These weren't scientists being persecuted - they were other religious people, or denominations of people being butchered for political reasons but justified on the basis of literal interpretation of the Bible (in otherwords, the leadership perhaps didn't buy into the myth wholeheartedly, but the peasantry and soldiers believed it literally, so it was used to spur them forward).

Quote:
Not really, that's a false dilemma. I could choose, individually, something that resembles this "one true faith" (presuming such a thing exists) in every way except the addition of a label.

Pfft. No you haven't. You've chosen this dainty, pussy-footed version of the 'true faith', where everything except the existence of the creator is metaphorical. Try asking a devout Lutheran, for example, whether or not they feel the difference between their faith and that of a Baptists is just, 'the addition of a label'.

Quote:
In any case if my understanding of religion is wrong, so what?

'In any case, if my understanding of mathematics is wrong, so what?'

So you're enabling fundamentalists and passing-on bad reasoning, that's what.

Quote:
The point of my Art Gallery analogy was that I don't change what I disagree with or what doesn't make sense to me, I just disagree with it or concede I may not have grasped the intent of the artist and move on. On another day at another time I may find myself able to understand that piece differently or see it in a different light, so I'll revisit it, but changing it to suit me is not appropriate.

This statement is what some smart people would call, 'internally inconsistent'. On one hand, if you think something from the Bible is nonsensical, you disagree and move on. On the other hand, you haven't really moved-on at all, because you might come back later and go, 'Y'know, if I look at it this way instead...'.

Quote:
Definitely not, a core aspect of my beliefs is that 'human being' itself (and hence I) can be completely redefined to better reflect God.

Which God? The metaphorical-but-also-literal Abrahamic God from the Bible? Zeus? Odin? Thor? The Dread C'thulhu? The Flying Spaghetti Monster? The revered GNKANOP (GNKAmen!)?

Which fucking 'so much better than us pitiful Earthling' God or Gods are we supposed to be aspiring to be, Eloise? Most of them seem rather violent and petty to me. This si the probelm, and it's where you're no better than any old bomb-wearing radical extremist at all:

You think that humans pale in importance and comparison to whatever your God is. We need to take whatever steps to 'better reflect him/her', or otherwise make them happy / live-up to their example.

Quote:
"Natasha has just come up to the window from the courtyard and opened it wider so that the air may enter more freely into my room. I can see the bright green strip of grass beneath the wall, and the clear blue sky above the wall, and sunlight everywhere. Life is beautiful. Let the future generations cleanse it of all evil, oppression and violence, and enjoy it to the full."

- Leon Trotsky, Last Will & Testament
February 27, 1940


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Kevin R Brown wrote:You're

Kevin R Brown wrote:
You're full of shit, Eloise. If you took 'none' of the Bible as literal, you wouldn't be wearing that theist badge right now.

The partthat is literal to you is that the is a God, and that God made everything. You're taking this claim at face value from a book that you otherwise consider an allegorical fiction, which is a laugh.

Since when was "theist" a synonym for "christian"?  I always just thought it meant religious in one form or another.  Does this mean hindus take at least one part of the christian bible as literal too, as well as (religious)jews, scientologists etc? 

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Kevin, a careful reading of

Kevin, a careful reading of Eloise's writing reveals that her basis for belief in god, while utterly baffling, does not come from the bible.  She has said many times that such an incoherent and contradictory being can't possibly exist, and that the bible is just so many myths.

My best interpretation of her god belief is something akin to information theory crossed with quantum mechanics crossed with an error of composition.

 

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I would like to note

That the Thesist badge is not only for those that believe in the bible, but anyone that believes in a Deity, be it a universal god, pantheists, muslims, christian or other religious or non religious belief that holds a creator or god as part of that belief system. Kevin lately you been attacking people and being actually very ignorant in your posts about what you state about them or why your attacking their ideas. Come on and use your head and stop being so damn emotional about it all.


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I'm going to second what

I'm going to second what latincanuck said, Kevin.  I'm not sure what's going on with you, but it worries me.  We all know you're a thoughtful guy and very smart.  It's odd seeing you react emotionally to things that people aren't even saying in the first place.  If there's something emotional going on in your life or something, that's cool.  It happens to everybody.  In any case, I hope you'll take a few deep breaths, and maybe try to examine your own mind to see if maybe you're reacting emotionally to what you think people are going to say instead of reading what they actually say.

 

 

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Kevin R Brown wrote: Quote:I

Kevin R Brown wrote:

Quote:
I take none of the bible as literal,

You're full of shit, Eloise. If you took 'none' of the Bible as literal, you wouldn't be wearing that theist badge right now.

The partthat is literal to you is that the is a God, and that God made everything. You're taking this claim at face value from a book that you otherwise consider an allegorical fiction, which is a laugh.

 

Quote:
Where's the evidence that all such biblical statements were summarily taken to be literal prior to the advent of counterproofs?

Well, for starters, there's the whole (very literal) notion that's gone through the gauntlet of history, evolving as different hurdles were upon it, that a conscious creator made the whole universe, and Earth, and everything on it. A baseless assertion and myth, that you yourself ascribe to, which survives (as has already been pointed out to you several times) through people simply shrugging at evidence and fine-tuning what their religious text actually means to them.

Quote:

That only proves that one sect declared their interpretation to be the ultimate and enforced it with violence, it doesn't prove that religious statements were summarily taken to be literal prior to the advent of any counterproofs, if it does then who were the heretics, for a start?

The heretics were other religious persons, Eloise. Each with their own interpretation of what was literal or what wasn't, or their own fancifal magical beliefs. 'Counter-proofs'? Are you fucking kidding me? We're talking about the dark ages, Eloise. These weren't scientists being persecuted - they were other religious people, or denominations of people being butchered for political reasons but justified on the basis of literal interpretation of the Bible (in otherwords, the leadership perhaps didn't buy into the myth wholeheartedly, but the peasantry and soldiers believed it literally, so it was used to spur them forward).

Quote:
Not really, that's a false dilemma. I could choose, individually, something that resembles this "one true faith" (presuming such a thing exists) in every way except the addition of a label.

Pfft. No you haven't. You've chosen this dainty, pussy-footed version of the 'true faith', where everything except the existence of the creator is metaphorical. Try asking a devout Lutheran, for example, whether or not they feel the difference between their faith and that of a Baptists is just, 'the addition of a label'.

Quote:
In any case if my understanding of religion is wrong, so what?

'In any case, if my understanding of mathematics is wrong, so what?'

So you're enabling fundamentalists and passing-on bad reasoning, that's what.

Quote:
The point of my Art Gallery analogy was that I don't change what I disagree with or what doesn't make sense to me, I just disagree with it or concede I may not have grasped the intent of the artist and move on. On another day at another time I may find myself able to understand that piece differently or see it in a different light, so I'll revisit it, but changing it to suit me is not appropriate.

This statement is what some smart people would call, 'internally inconsistent'. On one hand, if you think something from the Bible is nonsensical, you disagree and move on. On the other hand, you haven't really moved-on at all, because you might come back later and go, 'Y'know, if I look at it this way instead...'.

Quote:
Definitely not, a core aspect of my beliefs is that 'human being' itself (and hence I) can be completely redefined to better reflect God.

Which God? The metaphorical-but-also-literal Abrahamic God from the Bible? Zeus? Odin? Thor? The Dread C'thulhu? The Flying Spaghetti Monster? The revered GNKANOP (GNKAmen!)?

Which fucking 'so much better than us pitiful Earthling' God or Gods are we supposed to be aspiring to be, Eloise? Most of them seem rather violent and petty to me. This si the probelm, and it's where you're no better than any old bomb-wearing radical extremist at all:

You think that humans pale in importance and comparison to whatever your God is. We need to take whatever steps to 'better reflect him/her', or otherwise make them happy / live-up to their example.


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Oh hello... this thread has

Oh hello... this thread has gotten some momentum since I last saw it..

inspectormustard wrote:

When a given belief is taken as an atom it is adequate to ask for support when someone states that it has adapted to suit its socio-political climate. However, there are no missing links in beliefs past a certain point where every sect stems from another sect. If we could rewind to the very first religion, we'd probably find that it was literal.

Yeah, I agree that may be the case, or it may not. I don't know if I addressed it in this thread but I have said before that I handle all theology as metaphor because even that which might have been intended in a literal fashion some 8 to 10 thousand years ago can not be more accurately represented all this time later than in a metaphorical fashion. The gap that exists between our information structures is simply too vast.

InspectorMustard wrote:

Moreover, I think the question becomes "why wouldn't they take it literally?" Prior to the advent of counterproof, what else is there? A scripture says "shrimp is unclean," but does that have a deeper meaning to it?

It would seem that if the preservation of traditions is anything to go by, and it might not be, but if it is, then both metaphorical and literal readings of scriptures are historically supported.

 

InspectorMustard wrote:

And if not, once again, where do we draw the line? One follower's metaphor is another follower's command unless there is someone interpreting it for them. Hence the Roman adoption of Christianity.

I think it's necessary to draw the line at taking orders from others on what to believe. Rationally forming one's own belief system is to me the essential difference, and why I am an RRS Fan, of course.

 

InspectorMustard wrote:

You may be treading a fine line of inverted chronological chauvinism, of the sort "I know better therefore others must have had some idea."

You're right, I think I am teetering here, though in my defense at the time I posted this I made several qualifications (it may have been in other threads) that my view gives concession to historical literalism in saying that literal or not I am prevented from understanding them directly by our sociological differences.

 

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Hambydammit wrote:I'm going

Hambydammit wrote:

I'm going to second what latincanuck said, Kevin.  I'm not sure what's going on with you, but it worries me.  We all know you're a thoughtful guy and very smart.  It's odd seeing you react emotionally to things that people aren't even saying in the first place.  If there's something emotional going on in your life or something, that's cool.  It happens to everybody.  In any case, I hope you'll take a few deep breaths, and maybe try to examine your own mind to see if maybe you're reacting emotionally to what you think people are going to say instead of reading what they actually say.

Well, here's why I got pissed-off in this thread. Eloise makes a statement like this:

Quote:
Definitely not, a core aspect of my beliefs is that 'human being' itself (and hence I) can be completely redefined to better reflect God.

...Which is hardly any better than anything that might flop out of a fundy's mouth, but we've apparently decided to pander around the issue of her theism anyway because, 'Aw... it's just a little cuter.'

 

EDIT:

 

Quote:

Since when was "theist" a synonym for "christian"?  I always just thought it meant religious in one form or another.  Does this mean hindus take at least one part of the christian bible as literal too, as well as (religious)jews, scientologists etc? 

What I am saying is that the meme is the very same. So I'd like to ask it very bluntly:

Why does Eloise's meme get a free pass?

 

I'm also not buying the notion that she doesn't adhere to some kind of Abrahamic God concept. Eloise, you've been dodgy on this issue, and you're always defending Biblical cherry-pickers. If your theology doesn't stem from there, I'd sure just love to know why you're so adamant about defending persons who do this. 

 

Quote:
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- Leon Trotsky, Last Will & Testament
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Hi Kevin, Thanks for the

Hi Kevin, Thanks for the reply, I'll do my best to answer your objections fairly.

Kevin R Brown wrote:

Quote:
I take none of the bible as literal,

You're full of shit, Eloise. If you took 'none' of the Bible as literal, you wouldn't be wearing that theist badge right now.

The part that is literal to you is that the is a God, and that God made everything. You're taking this claim at face value from a book that you otherwise consider an allegorical fiction, which is a laugh.

I think Hamby covered this in saying that I don't get my conception of God from the bible so No, I don't take the God of the Bible literally, as he said.  But most importantly the notion of an existing God did not originate in the Christian bible, thus believing in one has virtually nothing to do with taking the bible literally.

 

 

Kevin R Brown wrote:

Quote:
Where's the evidence that all such biblical statements were summarily taken to be literal prior to the advent of counterproofs?

Well, for starters, there's the whole (very literal) notion that's gone through the gauntlet of history, evolving as different hurdles were upon it, that a conscious creator made the whole universe, and Earth, and everything on it. A baseless assertion and myth, that you yourself ascribe to, which survives (as has already been pointed out to you several times) through people simply shrugging at evidence and fine-tuning what their religious text actually means to them.

It's still relevant here so I'll reiterate, 'God is' does not originate in the bible therefore it's not really a biblical statement to be taken, notwithstanding how.

Kevin R Brown wrote:

Eloise wrote:

That only proves that one sect declared their interpretation to be the ultimate and enforced it with violence, it doesn't prove that religious statements were summarily taken to be literal prior to the advent of any counterproofs, if it does then who were the heretics, for a start?

The heretics were other religious persons, Eloise. Each with their own interpretation of what was literal or what wasn't, or their own fancifal magical beliefs.

My rhetoric was to illustrate that heretics took the bible 'wrongly' suggesting evidence for my point that interpretation has a long history and thus is not simply an act of revisionism.

Kevin R Brown wrote:

'Counter-proofs'? Are you fucking kidding me? We're talking about the dark ages, Eloise. These weren't scientists being persecuted - they were other religious people, or denominations of people being butchered for political reasons but justified on the basis of literal interpretation of the Bible (in otherwords, the leadership perhaps didn't buy into the myth wholeheartedly, but the peasantry and soldiers believed it literally, so it was used to spur them forward).

I'm not sure but I may have been misunderstood here. By 'counterproofs' I am referring to developments in human knowledge that have over time conclusively ruled out truth value in many theological beliefs (particularly one based on literalist readings of the Christian Bible).

Kevin R Brown wrote:

Quote:
Not really, that's a false dilemma. I could choose, individually, something that resembles this "one true faith" (presuming such a thing exists) in every way except the addition of a label.

Pfft. No you haven't. You've chosen this dainty, pussy-footed version of the 'true faith', where everything except the existence of the creator is metaphorical. Try asking a devout Lutheran, for example, whether or not they feel the difference between their faith and that of a Baptists is just, 'the addition of a label'.

That wasn't what I was saying. What I meant was that my beliefs could resemble, by random consequence, the 'one true faith' with the only exception of the label. Sectarian instruments will of course, want to qualify their label with differences but I don't require one nor do I feel compelled to augment  my beliefs with any presumption of authority by labelling them, whether they are in agreement with a sectarian instrument or not. 

That said, since I posted this I have added my theist badge qualifier in my sig which is somewhat contrary to what I stated here. I've given myself that label only for the convenience of others in the forum so that they can more quickly eliminate the things that I don't believe when understanding my posts. It's not like I desire to subscribe to a panentheism group-think - to wit I argue with Paisley probably enough to justify saying this, right?

Kevin R Brown wrote:

Quote:
In any case if my understanding of religion is wrong, so what?

'In any case, if my understanding of mathematics is wrong, so what?'

 

I was replying to a pascals wager-like question regarding whether I had chosen the 'right' beliefs, and my point was that if it's so important and I've got it wrong what can I do about that? I've tried and failed - so what, what can I do? If, say, baptist christians are right and their nauseating lack of discernment gets one out of hellfire then I have absolutely no inclination to care, if maths was nauseatingly lame it wouldn't matter if I understood it either, I just wouldn't care. I'm do have a little bit of an arrogant streak.

Kevin R Brown wrote:

So you're enabling fundamentalists and passing-on bad reasoning, that's what.

I disagree with Hamby's moderates are enablers argument, (we had a very long argument about it) the enabling of fundamentalism is far deeper and more ingrained in human culture than that, one can't just point the finger at moderate religion and claim the high ground.

Kevin R Brown wrote:

Quote:
The point of my Art Gallery analogy was that I don't change what I disagree with or what doesn't make sense to me, I just disagree with it or concede I may not have grasped the intent of the artist and move on. On another day at another time I may find myself able to understand that piece differently or see it in a different light, so I'll revisit it, but changing it to suit me is not appropriate.

This statement is what some smart people would call, 'internally inconsistent'. On one hand, if you think something from the Bible is nonsensical, you disagree and move on. On the other hand, you haven't really moved-on at all, because you might come back later and go, 'Y'know, if I look at it this way instead...'.

No that's not at all what I said. I am directly advocating letting the picture (or book) speak for itself. If I can find no agreement with what's been said  I move on. I could as equally be wrong if I did find agreement so just because I disagree doesn't mean whoever wrote it doesn't know what they're saying, the fact is they don't know what I am thinking, and why should they? Art is about what the artist is thinking and saying, and literature is a form of art.

Kevin R Brown wrote:

Quote:
Definitely not, a core aspect of my beliefs is that 'human being' itself (and hence I) can be completely redefined to better reflect God.

Which God? The metaphorical-but-also-literal Abrahamic God from the Bible? Zeus? Odin? Thor? The Dread C'thulhu? The Flying Spaghetti Monster? The revered GNKANOP (GNKAmen!)?

Which fucking 'so much better than us pitiful Earthling' God or Gods are we supposed to be aspiring to be, Eloise? Most of them seem rather violent and petty to me. This si the probelm, and it's where you're no better than any old bomb-wearing radical extremist at all:

You think that humans pale in importance and comparison to whatever your God is. We need to take whatever steps to 'better reflect him/her', or otherwise make them happy / live-up to their example.

I think that you've misunderstood me here. When I say redefine 'human being' I mean that literally not poetically. Actually I'm surprised you aren't aware of that as I'm sure I've discussed it with you before. Anyhow, what I am talking about is a quantitative anthropic concept, not the qualitative value of human beings.

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Quote:But most importantly

Quote:
But most importantly the notion of an existing God did not originate in the Christian bible, thus believing in one has virtually nothing to do with taking the bible literally.

Quote:
It's still relevant here so I'll reiterate, 'God is' does not originate in the bible therefore it's not really a biblical statement to be taken, notwithstanding how.

And here's where I all-so-vehemently get enraged:

The concept of God came from somewhere, and one of the many places it wound-up was in the Christian Bible. We can explain how this concept was carried forward through history, evolving with the passage of time, through memes - psychological 'habits' that are, essentially, infectious. So the initial concepts of God would've likely been far more vague and less 'preachy' or extreme, like your own concept; then, as people passed it forward through generation to generation, it mutated.

And it mutated into something truly terrible and horrifying.

 

This is why I'm mad, Eloise. You won't let go of it. You insist that you should be able to hang-on to this far more watered-down and unAbrahamic God concept of yours, 'keeping it personal'. Except we both know that the last part of that is a lie. If/when you have a family and children, you'll share your beliefs with them, passing along the meme. You have no control over how extreme it does or doesn't get from there, or how far it winds-up travelling.

This is beyond excuse. No person has the inalienable right to plant seeds for horrors down the road just because they think that God is such a neat and shiny concept, and they think they can make it fit neatly in their own bubble.

 

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I disagree with Hamby's moderates are enablers argument, (we had a very long argument about it) the enabling of fundamentalism is far deeper and more ingrained in human culture than that, one can't just point the finger at moderate religion and claim the high ground.

Frankly, it doesn't matter what you disagree with, Eloise. If you look at the work of Hamby, Dawkins, Harris, Hitchens and others who have takent eh time to do the research, it's beyond dispute - fundamentalism is bred from communities of moderates. There are a number of perfectly sound scientific explanations from this (one such explanation I gave above), and if you've discussed it with Hamby, no doubt he's already listed them off for you.

 

So, Here's  what I'm challenging you on:

You believe in a literal God. Not a metaphorical one. Yes? Nevermind that it's not the same one from the Bible, if it isn't; the basic concept is the same, more or less, right (a magical thing made/run the universe, which I'm arguing from ignorance about)?

If so, what justification do you possibly have in telling any fundamentalist that their literal God, also argued from ignorance into existence, isn't real? If you don't have one, how could you possibly do anything more than serve as a wall behind which they can operate? Many of them don't feel that the Bible is a metaphorical story, afterall, and if you're both hung-up agreeing on the same core issue, then the details are going to be rather difficult to really hammer away at.

Quote:
"Natasha has just come up to the window from the courtyard and opened it wider so that the air may enter more freely into my room. I can see the bright green strip of grass beneath the wall, and the clear blue sky above the wall, and sunlight everywhere. Life is beautiful. Let the future generations cleanse it of all evil, oppression and violence, and enjoy it to the full."

- Leon Trotsky, Last Will & Testament
February 27, 1940


Eloise
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Kevin R Brown

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But most importantly the notion of an existing God did not originate in the Christian bible, thus believing in one has virtually nothing to do with taking the bible literally.

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It's still relevant here so I'll reiterate, 'God is' does not originate in the bible therefore it's not really a biblical statement to be taken, notwithstanding how.

And here's where I all-so-vehemently get enraged:

The concept of God came from somewhere, and one of the many places it wound-up was in the Christian Bible. We can explain how this concept was carried forward through history, evolving with the passage of time, through memes - psychological 'habits' that are, essentially, infectious. So the initial concepts of God would've likely been far more vague and less 'preachy' or extreme, like your own concept; then, as people passed it forward through generation to generation, it mutated.

Okay, but this is an interpretation of 'God' by the standards I am claiming, it's not outside of it.

First, We're agreeing that the existence of God from our anthropic standpoint is principally an idea or hypothesis and we are both discerning that it can be either right or wrong. On this matter I stand on the side of atheism, I disparage the notion that we can know God principally as anything more than an hypothesis of what may exist. Not least of all because if it is God, I can see no reason why such an entity would require special pleading in order to make itself known. It might be arrogant to say but such a thing would be a pathetic excuse for a God and I don't buy it, I never have.

Second, we are both establishing that the hypothesis has traversed generations to this point and thus it should be possible to account for its evolution as an adjunct of other naturalistic processes.

Thirdly, we would both say that the naturalistic processes which we are able to discern explain the existence of the idea of God hence providing a realistic definition for God. Only for you the conclusion is that God is a human fancy while for me, rather, God is a natural entity known to humans in natural ways.

 

 

Kevin R Brown wrote:

This is why I'm mad, Eloise. You won't let go of it. You insist that you should be able to hang-on to this far more watered-down and unAbrahamic God concept of yours, 'keeping it personal'.

I make no such insistence Kevin, I simply do hold my beliefs to be well founded, I do not ask to be allowed to hang on to them by anyone and neither do I 'keep them personal' as a matter of course. There's very little point explaining what I believe to anyone with whom I have not established the bases of my beliefs in sound philosophy. Those core things are as I have been explaining:

1. Man is incorrectly defined in general discourse.

2. Time is incorrectly defined in general discourse.

What follows from these is what I believe, but to what end are you going to understand me describing that we have a deep pocket of computational resource that remains untapped, or how that source of energy is God and equally no less than the pre big bang universe if the bases of how that could even be physically possible are not covered?

Kevin R Brown wrote:

Except we both know that the last part of that is a lie. If/when you have a family and children, you'll share your beliefs with them, passing along the meme. You have no control over how extreme it does or doesn't get from there, or how far it winds-up travelling.

Your darn right I share it with my family, I want my kids to be empowered with the confidence and critical thinking to question the value of memes they might encounter in life. But you've got me wrong, I don't earmark energy to address religious memes or afford them any special favour. They will have a lot more to deal with in life than whether to choose to join a church, they will have an entire emotional and psychological existence of their own comprising billions upon billions of ideas and affects of which theological notions are a really small part. I can only say that it's the little things that matter, and getting little things like handling their emotions and recognising their own thoughts and actions, in the habitual sense, is what matters to me in passing on psychological and emotional information to my kids.

Kevin R Brown wrote:

This is beyond excuse. No person has the inalienable right to plant seeds for horrors down the road just because they think that God is such a neat and shiny concept, and they think they can make it fit neatly in their own bubble.

 

That is a massive accusation to make, should you really be throwing that stone? Why am I supposed to be perfectly responsible for the future existence of the God meme? Are we to take to book burning and eradicate it from the planet forever? And who's to say that is the right way to proceed? You? If so.. Why? Are you perfectly responsible for the ideas you have entertained in your lifetime?

 

Kevin R Brown wrote:

Quote:
I disagree with Hamby's moderates are enablers argument, (we had a very long argument about it) the enabling of fundamentalism is far deeper and more ingrained in human culture than that, one can't just point the finger at moderate religion and claim the high ground.

Frankly, it doesn't matter what you disagree with, Eloise. If you look at the work of Hamby, Dawkins, Harris, Hitchens and others who have takent eh time to do the research, it's beyond dispute - fundamentalism is bred from communities of moderates. There are a number of perfectly sound scientific explanations from this (one such explanation I gave above), and if you've discussed it with Hamby, no doubt he's already listed them off for you.

 

It's disputable, fundamentalism exists outside of religion, it's a human meme not a religious one. Is anyone and everyone moderately interested in any endeavour responsible for the existence of fundamental radicals in that endeavour?

What Hamby and I disagreed on was his idea of going from the premise non-contingent faith was responsible for the existence of fundamentalism to moderates are responsible because they promote non-contingent faith. My retort is that moderate religions do not promote non-contingent faith. Irrational belief is promoted by natural sociological patterns that are prevalent in every aspect of human culture and moderate faith is not, by definition, non-contingent.

 

Kevin R Brown wrote:


If so, what justification do you possibly have in telling any fundamentalist that their literal God, also argued from ignorance into existence, isn't real? If you don't have one, how could you possibly do anything more than serve as a wall behind which they can operate? Many of them don't feel that the Bible is a metaphorical story, afterall, and if you're both hung-up agreeing on the same core issue, then the details are going to be rather difficult to really hammer away at.

I address the argument, like any rational person would do. Noone holds a belief without some argument for that belief which they also hold.

As for being a wall behind which fundamentalists may hide, that is just not enough reason to change my mind, as far as I am concerned my reasoning to God is sound, and reasoning to atheism would be less sound at this point. I'm not in control of who might suppose that they agree with me and I don't have any inclination to control the state of the world by lying about my conclusions. If my honest position is not enough then at least I am being honest, if you'd ask me to choose, then that's what I choose.

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Quote:What Hamby and I

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What Hamby and I disagreed on was his idea of going from the premise non-contingent faith was responsible for the existence of fundamentalism to moderates are responsible because they promote non-contingent faith. My retort is that moderate religions do not promote non-contingent faith. Irrational belief is promoted by natural sociological patterns that are prevalent in every aspect of human culture and moderate faith is not, by definition, non-contingent.

For shame, Eloise!

You're too smart to do this.  Many irrational beliefs are promoted by natural sociological patterns (I prefer to say human instinctual patterns), but moderate religion is one of the patterns that promotes it.   By engaging in this particular pattern, you are promoting and condoning all the extensions of it.  That is to say, when someone is given the social permission to believe in god, they are given the permission to believe in any god they like.  After all, your god has exactly as much proof as theirs, as you admitted above:

Quote:
On this matter I stand on the side of atheism, I disparage the notion that we can know God principally as anything more than an hypothesis of what may exist.

As an hypothesis, it stands empirically, epistemologically and ontologically with flying spaghetti monsters, reincarnation, ghosts, and ufo abductions.

Your refusal to treat the god concept as false until proven true promotes that particular irrational ideology, and your dismissal of other irrational concepts does not free you from your responsibility on this one.  In fact, this one is worse than most because most governments don't make laws regarding what aliens want us to do in our bedrooms, or how we should conduct our science, or how we should teach in schools.

In short, your willingness to draw a line in no way obligates anyone else to draw your line, and gives them permission to draw theirs anywhere they choose, since your line is just as arbitrary as theirs.

Secondarily, I have not said that fundamentalism came from moderate religion.  If I understand correctly, you're the only one on the forums who promotes the view that religion used to be metaphorical and became literal.  To be precise, my position is that moderate theism is exactly the same as fundamentalism at its core.  The difference is a matter of degree, where moderates accept less irrationality than fundamentalists.  Because all moderates espouse the same core -- that some things are true despite every appearance of being impossible -- they are just as responsible as any other theist when fundamentalists are allowed to do crazy shit.

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Are we to take to book burning and eradicate it from the planet forever?

Now it's time to accuse you of being irrationally emotional.  Slippery slope arguments don't do it for me.  Nobody here advocates book burning.  We advocate voluntary abandonment of irrationality.  I've managed to live as an atheist for over a decade despite the existence of lots of bibles.

Quote:
And who's to say that is the right way to proceed? You? If so.. Why? Are you perfectly responsible for the ideas you have entertained in your lifetime?

All of us are responsible for ideas that we promote.

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As for being a wall behind which fundamentalists may hide, that is just not enough reason to change my mind, as far as I am concerned my reasoning to God is sound, and reasoning to atheism would be less sound at this point.

I recognize this about you, and I do believe that you think your decision is rational.  I can't really discuss your theism with you because I don't know enough about QM to address it, and you don't accept the statement (made by DG and others who do understand QM) that it is an error of composition to address it the way you do.

In short, I find your definition of theism to be so far removed from traditional theism that I despair over your use of theistic terminology.  If you would just call yourself something else, and refer to your god concept as some sort of quantum information relationship, or something like that, I think you'd be shunned by theists, and the world would be a better place.

 

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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Eloise, as we are coming to

Eloise, as we are coming to an arrangement regarding settling this argument elsewhere now, may I suggest the arguments in this topic cease? I only need to hear back from Todangst, and we can begin our more formal debate; I don't want to derail this thread further (completely my fault, I realize. Sorry).

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"Natasha has just come up to the window from the courtyard and opened it wider so that the air may enter more freely into my room. I can see the bright green strip of grass beneath the wall, and the clear blue sky above the wall, and sunlight everywhere. Life is beautiful. Let the future generations cleanse it of all evil, oppression and violence, and enjoy it to the full."

- Leon Trotsky, Last Will & Testament
February 27, 1940


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Kevin R Brown wrote:Eloise,

Kevin R Brown wrote:

Eloise, as we are coming to an arrangement regarding settling this argument elsewhere now, may I suggest the arguments in this topic cease? I only need to hear back from Todangst, and we can begin our more formal debate; I don't want to derail this thread further (completely my fault, I realize. Sorry).

Okay, I'll save the half of reply I have written to Hamby's post for the debate, sorry Hamby you'll have to wait and see. Sticking out tongue

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Quote:Okay, I'll save the

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Okay, I'll save the half of reply I have written to Hamby's post for the debate, sorry Hamby you'll have to wait and see. Sticking out tongue

It's ok.  I was totally deflecting anyway.  All that stuff about responsibility is just a matter of moral philosophy, not theological ontology, and the bit about wishing you'd call it something else is just politics.  So, nothing I said has any real bearing on your conception of god.

Frankly, I'm looking forward to watching you and Kevin duke it out.  The truth of the matter is that I'm more open to your concept of the universe as god than I am of anything else I've heard defined as god.  I don't want to give away any strategic ammo one way or another, so I'll keep my doubts to myself, but it's been too long since we had a good ol' fashioned debate in these parts.

(Oh, and I forgot to mention that you've lost before you start, anyway.  You're wearing a blue shirt and pouting.)

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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We have an obvious

We have an obvious "definition" problem here, says me god !