Is The Bible the best guide to morality?

AModestProposal
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Is The Bible the best guide to morality?

One thing you hear over and over again is that regardless of whether the events of The Bible literallly happened, The Bible is a still a good guidebook to morality. In fact, I believe it's always said to be "the best guidebook to morality." Let's test this assertion, shall we?

The Bible says it's wrong to kill. - Okay, I think you and I will both agree that this is generally true. I'm fairly certain many other texts before and after The Bible included this rule too, but let's move on. Wait--does this mean just other humans or animals too? Cause I eat meat all the time and my body kills millions of bacteria and other microbes a day, which i have no control over. Eh, let's forget about that. We'll just say The Bible's true enough and move on.

The Bible says if a man lies with another man as he would with a woman, that's an abomination. Well, a lot of people have a problem with homosexuality. But I guess that's not what The Bible is referring to. It sounds to me like The Bible here is only referring to spooning...unless sodomy is viewed by the writers of the bible as the way in which a man typically lies with a woman. So does that mean homosexuality is okay? I'm confused, but let's just move on anyway and agree that The Bible is right for now.

Okay, stay with me now. We're almost home free.

Deuteronomy 21:20-21 says, "And they shall say unto the elders of his city: 'This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he doth not hearken to our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard.' And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die; so shalt thou put away the evil from the midst of thee; and all Israel shall hear, and fear." - WHOA!!!! Wait a second! The Bible's suggesting it's okay to stone a kid to death for misbehaving? No, wait, it's not a suggestion. The Bible isn't just saying it's okay to do it; The Bible demands it as a form of terrorism! I don't know about this one. That doesn't sound just or fair to me. It sounds sadistic and cruel. I don't know about this one. Let's just move on.

Exodus 21:7-8 says, "And if a man sell his daughter to be a maidservant, she shall not go out as the menservants do. If she please not her master, who hath betrothed her to himself, then shall he let her be redeemed: to sell her unto a strange nation he shall have no power, seeing he hath dealt deceitfully with her." - What the hell? Is The Bible sayig it's okay to sell your daughter into slavery? That doesn't sound moral to me. Does that sound moral to you?

Exodus 35:2 says, "Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day there shall be to you an holy day, a sabbath of rest to the LORD: whosoever doeth work therein shall be put to death." What? The Bible is demanding that anyone who works on the Sabbath be put to death? That's worthy of death? But I need toput my kids through college! This isn't fair! This isn't just! This is the opposite of just. Whoever came up with these rules for morality is a sick, sadistic, tyrant!

Corinthians 11:14 says, "Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?" Even Jesus? Even The Beatles? What would God care if I had long hair. Hair length has nothing to do with morality. And you call this moral?? Wait, no, you call this the best guide to morality on the planet Earth? You think it's your moral duty to stone your misbehaving children, to sell your daughter, to kill anyone who works on the Sabbath, and to view long-haired men as an abomination?

I thought The Bible was supposed to be moral. I thought The Bible was supposed to be the greatest guide of morality. This isn't morality. This is justifying senseless violence.

Do you still think The Bible is the best guide to morality?


James Cizuz
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Uhm, I think my arguments

Uhm, I think my arguments better. The bible states all these things as sins, however it says no matter the sin it is forgiven if you ask. Only thing that will not be forgiven is denial of god.

So if you take that literially you can kill, rape, steal do anything and ask and your forgiven. Moral eh?

"When I die I shall be content to vanish into nothingness.... No show, however good, could conceivably be good forever.... I do not believe in immortality, and have no desire for it." ~H.L. Mencken

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If we got our morals from

If we got our morals from god. then it must be okay to make someone not do as you say, and then punish them for not doing what you said you wanted them to do.

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The bible states,

The bible states, unequivocally, that all people are born evil, tainted with original sin that cannot be redeemed except through god's grace. So according to the bible we cannot be good by ourselves. In fact it's laid out quite clearly that if we make any attempt to determine good or evil by ourselves or seek a rational path to goodness, we will be condemned to hell.

The bible also tells us that original sin comes from Adam and Eve's wrongdoing in defying god. That's it - defiance of god equals eternity of dying and going to hell. So there really is only one sin: not doing what god tells you to do. Right and wrong has nothing to do with it. God's commands are automatically right, and defying them is automatically wrong. If god told you to slaughter a bunch of people (as he did frequently in the OT) then doing that would be the right thing to do.

So what we see is that the bible in fact has nothing to do with morality. It is self preservation only. According the the bible, we are actually UNABLE to make moral decisions. Christians should be considered completely AMORAL, since they believe that they are iredeemably flawed and can be saved only through the act of a third party. The bible calls us to abandon morality entirely in favor of obedience.

I would call the bible one of the greatest forces for immorality extant in the world today. 

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fadeleaf
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Actually, your idea of "is

Actually, your idea of "is the passage in Leviticus referring to spooning or homosexul sex" is flawed because you are using the English version of the Bible. The Old Testament was written in Hebrew. Hebrew words have several different meanings that may be generalized into one word. For instance, there are 3 types of love in the Old Testament. I forget the 3 Hebrew words for them, sorry. But essentially they're selfish love (I love this taco) brotherly love (I love my brother) and "true" love (I love my soulmate). There are also eros (sexual love) and agapeo (the love Jesus spoke of, all-encompassing love). In other words, "lie" could mean something totally different than "spoon" because the translators could find no more accurate phrase than "lie."

People tend to read through the Bible with prejudiced learning (in this case, "I know what it says and means" sort of thinking). However, this sort of doctrinaire prejudice (coined by someone whose name I cannot recall) is wrong in and of itself. We place our own thinking onto something that was not created by our own thinking, but another's. We place modern learning/prejudice onto previous cultures and writings, and use this "interpretation."

Certain words for certain phrases, events, people, or emotions are ultimately lost in translation. For instance, there are multiple Hebrew words for "know." Take the example of Sodom and Gomorrah.

This WILL sound ridiculous, but the verse in Genesis (forgive my paraphrasing) basically says, "Let us get to know your visitors." The exact verse is found in Genesis 19. Now some Christians, take this to mean "Let us have sex with your lovely male friends."

However, note that there are MULTIPLE words for "know" in Hebrew - yada happens to be one of them, and is in fact the one used in the said verse.

A form of yada is used here and hundreds of other times in scripture. Only about ten of those times refer to sex, and in each case, the sexual meaning is clear by the context. (Example: Adam knew his wife and she conceived.) To try to make this word mean sex everywhere will get us in a lot of trouble, because the scripture tells us that God knew David, and uses a form of this word.

Does that clear up everything for you?


thingy
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Personally I prefer the much

Personally I prefer the much simpler version of one of the 10 commandments is "thou shalt not kill", yet the punishment for violating most of them ... death.

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fadeleaf
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Actually, the wages of sin

Actually, the wages of sin is death.

Christians believe that, you guessed it, ask Jesus for forgiveness and your sins are forgiven. Rather, Christians do not follow Old Testament law. I think it was Paul who was told specifically not to follow Old Testament law? Also there's a passage in Galatians (I forget where it is right now) that says something to the effect of "Jesus died and in doing so freed us from the old laws." Which you might jump on as a moot point simply to add in that yes, all Christians are hypocrites. Referring back to Acts, Paul cannot be a hypocrite if God told him, or rather he believes God told him (for those of you who require everything to be spelled out) not to follow Old Testament law. John (I think) was the disciple who wrote Galatians (which is a letter), so his statements could've been completely fallacious. However, Paul's inspired writings could not because they were inspired to by Holy Spirit, messenger of God blah blah blah etc etc.

As I'm sure all of you are aware, every sin is forgiveable, aside from denying the Holy Spirit. Thank you, blasphemy challenge.

Jesus says the most important commandment is love thy neighbor as thou wouldst love thy self. In Old English. Yes, he really did say it like that. Don't argue.

I would suppose that loving your neighbor (again mistranslated from Greek most likely, referring more to brothers and sisters in the Church) would automatically assume that you shouldn't kill him.


fadeleaf
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"Uhm, I think my arguments

"Uhm, I think my arguments better. The bible states all these things as sins, however it says no matter the sin it is forgiven if you ask. Only thing that will not be forgiven is denial of god.

So if you take that literially you can kill, rape, steal do anything and ask and your forgiven. Moral eh?"

 

I see this pulled out of the box several times on almost every thread I've seen about morality and the Bible or the Torah.

 

I may not be a Christian but I do know that anyone who loves Jesus Christ and walks with him would not take advantage of him like that. That is a logical fallacy because mankind does not know that sort of cruelty, to believe in a loving God (regardless of whether or not he's throwing all of the people not in the Book of Life into a fiery lake at the End of Days) and yet plunder, rape, and murder and then still want forgiveness when they realize what they've done.

Part of the reason there are atheists that know very little about theism in general but cling to your principles is because they believe they've done something so bad God can't forgive them and for that reason they shouldn't even bother with their Walk. 


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fade, I'm going to go out

fade, I'm going to go out on a limb here.  You don't read Greek or Hebrew, do you?

I don't read Greek or Hebrew.  To that end, I don't get into discussions about what the original Bible says and doesn't say.  That would be a bit hypocritical.

Rook Hawkins does read Greek and Hebrew.  He's got two forums,  here and here.

Why don't you take a few minutes and check out some of his threads?  It seems like you're really interested in knowing the real meaning of things the bible says, and Rook has addressed some of the things you're talking about.

At any rate, Rook has done quite a bit of writing about Paul and his letters.  You'd probaby find the research interesting.

 

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

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fadeleaf
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Taking Hebrew lessons at my

Taking Hebrew lessons at my Jewish community center. (I'm am not Jewish. My school does not teach Hebrew.) Greek, no.

I'll check out Rook's posts, thanks. Going to head to bed right now, it's 11:17 and I still have to finish some stuff before I go to sleep. 


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Quote: Part of the reason

Quote:
Part of the reason there are atheists that know very little about theism in general but cling to your principles is because they believe they've done something so bad God can't forgive them and for that reason they shouldn't even bother with their Walk.

Ok, fade.  You just lost about 80 out of 100 possible respect points with most of the atheists on the boards.

How arrogant and presumptuous of you!   You would presume to tell me that in the brief time you've been on this board, you know that we have just ASSUMED our positions true?  Worse than that, you ASSUME that I've done something horrible?  That I'm an immoral person and am afraid of god?  Pardon my french, but screw you, buddy.  

Let's see where to start with this.  Fade, I've read the bible more times, in more translations, than most pastors.  I've read Aquinas, Luther, Wesley, Winthrop (you don't even know who Winthrop is, do you?), Lewis, Lindsey, Strobel, Potok, (I hope you know who this is) Robertson, Graham, and at least twenty or thirty other Christian authors.  I've read Russell, Jefferson, Franklin, Dawkins, Harris, Sagan, Hawkings, Mills, and at least twenty more atheist authors.  I've read much more theist literature than atheist.

Do you know why I'm an atheist, fade?  Because I've read the bible.  Repeatedly.  Because I studied science and logic and critical thinking.  Because I KNOW what I'm talking about.

Everybody who started this site is a former Christian.  Most of the atheists on the boards are former Christians.

Save your arrogant assumptions for someone they'll impress, poser.

 You haven't even addressed the best written post on morality.  Check it out here, and then maybe you can talk about what atheists know or don't know about theism.

(Rambo Kitty has spoken.  End Rant)

 

 

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

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fadeleaf wrote: Part of the

fadeleaf wrote:
Part of the reason there are atheists that know very little about theism in general but cling to your principles is because they believe they've done something so bad God can't forgive them and for that reason they shouldn't even bother with their Walk.

Doesn't cover me.

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thingy
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fadeleaf wrote:

fadeleaf wrote:
Rather, Christians do not follow Old Testament law. I think it was Paul who was told specifically not to follow Old Testament law?

Funny, I was raised a Christian. Very strongly Christian family, Christian schooling all my life and I never knew this until I read it here at RRS. Well, I knew of Paul saying that line but it was just skipped over in all mentions of it which is why I'm finding it so surprising that Theists are dismissing the 10 Commandments in other threads. To me, those were still Christian law.

fadeleaf wrote:
Also there's a passage in Galatians (I forget where it is right now) that says something to the effect of "Jesus died and in doing so freed us from the old laws."

To my recollection and to how I was taught for 16 years, he freed us from sins, not from the old laws.

fadeleaf wrote:
Jesus says the most important commandment is love thy neighbor as thou wouldst love thy self. In Old English. Yes, he really did say it like that. Don't argue.

I would suppose that loving your neighbor (again mistranslated from Greek most likely, referring more to brothers and sisters in the Church) would automatically assume that you shouldn't kill him.

I agree with that sentiment, but I personally expand it beyond just brothers and sisters in the church.

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ShaunPhilly
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fadeleaf wrote: I may not

fadeleaf wrote:

I may not be a Christian but I do know that anyone who loves Jesus Christ and walks with him would not take advantage of him like that. That is a logical fallacy because mankind does not know that sort of cruelty, to believe in a loving God (regardless of whether or not he's throwing all of the people not in the Book of Life into a fiery lake at the End of Days) and yet plunder, rape, and murder and then still want forgiveness when they realize what they've done.

What you fail to grasp is taht if you only use the Bible as a source for understanding moral behavior, then it's difficult to conclude that these things are wrong.  If we have to use some internal mechanism--some intuition, instinct, etc--to recognize what in the bible is good and what is not, then that is the point being made.  The Bible simply isn't the source for morality.  It's not taht it's not a good one, but that it simply isn't one at all, in any way.  

We learn morals based on a combination enculturation and from a built-in moral faculty that operates on a pre-conscious level.  When we recognize that God murdering thousands in the Bible as wrong, it is because this built-in natural mechanism that helps make sense of the context, the actions, etc identifies it as bad.  

Quote:
Part of the reason there are atheists that know very little about theism in general but cling to your principles is because they believe they've done something so bad God can't forgive them and for that reason they shouldn't even bother with their Walk.

This, sir, is the utmost of displays of ignorance.  This is the most obnoxious of misunderstandings of the rational thought, study, and information that many here have gone through to justify their atheism.  I reject the very notion of this god that can forgive as well as the notion of sin itself.  It would make no sense for me to be worried about something that I do not believe exists or has meaning in the first place.

Shaun 

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Jacob Cordingley
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I think we can all agree

I think we can all agree that the Bible is no place to get our morals from. It has some nice bits. One of the best sources of morality is On Liberty by JS Mill. There are perhaps some problems with it yes, but as a basis it is sound.