The worst things that have ever been written

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Lucifer
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Re: The worst things that have ever been written

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compguygene wrote:Ok, if we are gonna have this debate, we need to define the words we are using. According to Merriam-Webster's Dictionary:
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/atheist wrote:Definition of ATHEIST: one who believes that there is no deity
So, according to what is generally recognized as an authority on the proper definitions of the words in the English language an Atheist is one who simply believes there is no deity.
The position is quite logical. If Jesus were an atheist, it would be because he has firsthand knowledge that your God doesn't exist as stated in the bible. You're really struggling with that, aren't you?

Jonathan: I take it you've read Heinlein's Job?
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Re: The worst things that have ever been written

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Not struggling with it at all. For what you are saying to be true, then everything written about Jesus Christ of Nazareth would be a lie. While I certainly can understand the logic of your position, I do respectfully disagree.
Fun debate. Let's see where this goes.
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Re: The worst things that have ever been written

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Who's to say that wasn't some ploy to gain influence? That's what a lot of Bible content is. It doesn't sound any more ludicrous than conventional interpretations. It's also a convincing explanation of the sudden character change in the New Testament, unlike attempts to define God to work in mysterious ways we couldn't possibly comprehend. Wasn't his word supposed to convince anyone who is open to it? I didn't simply decide to become strident one day, you know. I even tried to believe for some time what I was told by my parents and others as a child. What really happened is that it didn't survive my baloney detector. But then perhaps I was more open than this omniscient god had accounted for. Oops.
Lucifer wrote:Jonathan: I take it you've read Heinlein's Job?
I haven't. But on looking it up I'm not surprised you have.

Secretly I don't read a whole lot. I just suffer from convergent thought. :)
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Re: The worst things that have ever been written

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Even by using such a logical approach you can deconstruct your own equation - In being open to God and not becoming aware of God, you are can therefore conclude that God does not exist. By making such a conclusion, you are not open to God, but in fact the opposite. Such logic therefore begs the question - can you only be truly open to God if you are aware of God? Sounds like Christian propaganda to me!

Asides from that, making such sweeping comments about the bible is a bit absurd

Interpretations of the bible have also influenced pretty much everything in the Western world ever. The best case for the bible being the worst thing ever written is surely that this place - its systems, history etc. is shit?

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Re: The worst things that have ever been written

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From my perspective, I feel that the worst of atrocities in Western Civilization have been committed by the deliberate misinterpretation of the Bible. It is quite simple to pull some verses out of context and prove anything you desire. Consider this:

Jewish Theologians say that the saddest day in Jewish history is the day that the Oral Law was written down in the Talmud and Midrash. The Oral Law brought mercy and kindness to the implementation of Jewish law. For all people say of how bloody Jewish law is, consider this historically confirmed fact. A Jewish court, which served seven years, was considered to be excessively bloody if they had more than one or two people executed in their seven year term. The Oral Law was a handed down tradition that evolved with the times. When the Jews were dispersed, mostly to Babylon, to keep from all Jewish tradition from being lost, the Babylonian Talmud was created to write down the Oral Law. Sadly, once it was written down, it no longer grew and changed much with the times, as it was originally intended to.

Among some followers of the teachings of Jesus Christ of Nazarath, the saddest day in Christian History is considered to be when Constantine institutionalized and mandated the Christian Religion as the Roman One. It is from that act that the worst of atrocities in the name of Christianity have been committed. In all truth to say that I am a part of mainline Christianity is so not true. I have some of the same complaints as Atheists do! Mainline Christianity has strayed so far from the Gospel message and the simplicity of the Bible, that for those who would say it's no different than any other of the world's religions, I would agree!
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Re: The worst things that have ever been written

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þsy wrote:Even by using such a logical approach you can deconstruct your own equation - In being open to God and not becoming aware of God, you are can therefore conclude that God does not exist. By making such a conclusion, you are not open to God, but in fact the opposite. Such logic therefore begs the question - can you only be truly open to God if you are aware of God? Sounds like Christian propaganda to me!
I shouldn't need a priori belief (or even lack of disbelief) to be open to a possibility. I'm still quite open in that I won't deny a god that can demonstrate its existence unambiguously (i.e. without appealing to fallacies, which is where all god claims come from). It's just never happened, which is no surprise when you see gods have been shaped by human imagination. It's like children playing make-believe: some wonderful fantasy which even seems quite plausible when you are one of those kids, but once you grow up you realize just how naïve you were. Moreover, those fantasies are easily recognizable as such, and that's what I see in gods.
þsy wrote:Interpretations of the bible have also influenced pretty much everything in the Western world ever. The best case for the bible being the worst thing ever written is surely that this place - its systems, history etc. is shit?
We've been over that. Soon enough this thread will join the ranks because it's going in circles.
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Re: The worst things that have ever been written

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It's been touched on, but always alongside a list of other reasons of why we hate Christianity. I think the history is quite phenomenal, and biblical influence has one or two of its many fingers is almost every pie, and probably justifies a whole post of its own

And yeah Gene, emphasis on biblical interpretation for sure. I wouldn't say 'misinterpretation' though - a misinterpretation is when the interpretor confuses the meaning of what the speaker is trying to say. As we don't objectively know what the writer/God is trying to convey (entirely as least - depends how often you talk I guess), it's impossible to 'misinterpret' the text, only possible to interpret in similar/different ways. And of course, there is very little uniformity in opinion across the Christian church, so that would make sense

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Re: The worst things that have ever been written

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þsy wrote:It's been touched on, but always alongside a list of other reasons of why we hate Christianity. I think the history is quite phenomenal, and biblical influence has one or two of its many fingers is almost every pie, and probably justifies a whole post of its own
It's quite possible religious thinking correlates with a bit of progress that was once made. Other than that, no, could've been anything. As with the butterfly effect, there are many things that can be changed without fundamentally altering macroscopic behavior. It isn't that benign, but we humans attribute far more to history than it deserves. If history chose another direction, we'd attribute everything to that and disregard alternatives like this one. To make a fair comparison, you should find factors that influence probabilities rather than emphasize noise.
þsy wrote:And yeah Gene, emphasis on biblical interpretation for sure. I wouldn't say 'misinterpretation' though - a misinterpretation is when the interpretor confuses the meaning of what the speaker is trying to say. As we don't objectively know what the writer/God is trying to convey (entirely as least - depends how often you talk I guess), it's impossible to 'misinterpret' the text, only possible to interpret in similar/different ways. And of course, there is very little uniformity in opinion across the Christian church, so that would make sense
Is it only a misinterpretation when you know for certain what the original intent was, even though there are irreconcilable differences between different interpretations? Fact is that at least most of them are wrong, and thus misinterpretations.
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Re: The worst things that have ever been written

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Jonathan wrote:
þsy wrote:...it's impossible to 'misinterpret' the text, only possible to interpret in similar/different ways.
Is it only a misinterpretation when you know for certain what the original intent was, even though there are irreconcilable differences between different interpretations? Fact is that at least most of them are wrong, and thus misinterpretations.
Religious apologists use the misinterpretation argument to cover their ass when contradictions occur, for which there are hundreds in the bible. It's natural for that to happen of course, given that the bible is a collection of fictional works written by dozens of authors over centuries. It's like when ideas get introduced to any fictional universe, like Star Wars or Transformers, then later authors try to make it canon by writing on top of the errors. It's all garbage, not "misinterpretation."

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Re: The worst things that have ever been written

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By claiming that there are hundreds of contradictions in the bible, you are in fact offering your own interpretation of various points in the bible as contradictory in nature. Of course, others can (and do) interpret such points in a different manner, which, when added together, aren't contradictory at all. You are asserting a 'correct' interpretation of the bible, which renders alternative interpretations as incorrect, which are therefore 'misinterpretations', as they deviate from the true meaning

My point is that without knowing what the whole and intended meaning was, you can't claim anything to be a misinterpretation. For example, the passage about the 'armour of God' (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?se ... ersion=NIV) - one person might read that and think "ah, I need to literally put on some armour", another would see that and say "hmm, this is clearly a metaphor", whilst someone else might read the verses and think "God clearly endorses war with all this talk of armour". You could even say "didn't Jesus tell us to only take two tunics a second ago? Now we're supposed to wear armour? This is mighty contradictory!"

Without hearing from Paul himself (or whoever wrote it), there's no way anyone could claim that any of these are the correct interpretations, whilst others are misinterpretations. It's purely a matter of speculation, one opinion vs. another

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Re: The worst things that have ever been written

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Jonathan wrote:
þsy wrote:It's been touched on, but always alongside a list of other reasons of why we hate Christianity. I think the history is quite phenomenal, and biblical influence has one or two of its many fingers is almost every pie, and probably justifies a whole post of its own
It's quite possible religious thinking correlates with a bit of progress that was once made. Other than that, no, could've been anything. As with the butterfly effect, there are many things that can be changed without fundamentally altering macroscopic behavior. It isn't that benign, but we humans attribute far more to history than it deserves. If history chose another direction, we'd attribute everything to that and disregard alternatives like this one. To make a fair comparison, you should find factors that influence probabilities rather than emphasize noise.
There is a branch in evolutionary psychology that is pursuing the hypothesis that the ability to believe in things you can't see provided a significant survival benefit in prehistoric times. You have to be able to believe there is a predator hunting you when all you have is a feeling if you want to avoid being killed by said predator. Interesting stuff, really. When you add it to the development of tools and that basic idea that if something exists, it must have been made by somebody, then a creator god naturally flows. It *is* only a hypothesis, but an interesting one.

For me, I know damned well I'm a bit schizo, and there's a century's worth of solid scientific investigation of the condition for me to go with. No meds for me, I just periodically ask people if they heard that noise (it's only voices and/or visuals when I'm either significantly under the influence of something or really tired, and no I'm not talking about hallucinogens, I've never done any of those). I can totally see how the condition would lead to a number of developments in a period of time that lacked the scientific inquiry that we have today.

Alternate explanations abound for why the content in the bible was generated initially, and also explain all the other conflicting religions in the world, and they all make a lot more sense than the actual content of the bible.
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Re: The worst things that have ever been written

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þsy wrote:By claiming that there are hundreds of contradictions in the bible, you are in fact offering your own interpretation of various points in the bible as contradictory in nature.
You and your wishy-washy nonsense. :roll:

Look, if you want to talk about the poetic, metaphoric crap in the bible, fine, I'll admit that everyone would interpret it differently. However, it doesn't stop there. The bible makes dozens and dozens of factual claims about history and reality that contradict each other. These things are not subject to "interpretation," they are either correct or incorrect and we will never know for sure because like I said earlier, it's all fictional nonsense. This is not my interpretation, this is a fact.

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Re: The worst things that have ever been written

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I hate to say it, but anything from Genesis to Revelations can be interpreted as metaphorical - and actually with good reason. Personally, I believe there is history woven into - with some books widely considered to be historical documents (whether accurate or not). But why did God have to have created the world in literally seven days? I don't think he did!

What's difficult is that whilst some bits lead you to consider them to be metaphors (such as that Armour of God example), and others factual (History books such as 1 Kings and 2 Kings, for example), the majority of it is actually fairly unclear whether it's factual or not... Did people really live to 800+ years old? It talks about them as if they did, but am I really supposed to believe that is intended as factual?

Obviously, I'd imagine stories in the New Testament are supposed to be taken a little more literally, but who knows!

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Re: The worst things that have ever been written

Post by delinquent »

I see some of the contradictions as human error, and treat them as such. The bible is allegedly a collection of writings by many different people, there are bound to be mistakes.

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Re: The worst things that have ever been written

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You should look at (the interpretation of) the Bible and religion from an information-theoretic standpoint. The worst thing you can do with noise is extrapolate from it and claim you can't be wrong, because you don't know right. Yet that is what's happening.
Lucifer wrote:There is a branch in evolutionary psychology that is pursuing the hypothesis that the ability to believe in things you can't see provided a significant survival benefit in prehistoric times. You have to be able to believe there is a predator hunting you when all you have is a feeling if you want to avoid being killed by said predator. Interesting stuff, really. When you add it to the development of tools and that basic idea that if something exists, it must have been made by somebody, then a creator god naturally flows. It *is* only a hypothesis, but an interesting one.
Yeah, that's what I was thinking. But the real question in the context of this thread is whether religion, or one religion in particular (which one depends on whom you are debating), is itself that productive. You'd need something that is tightly interwoven with it, not just stemming from roughly the same thing. In other words, if religion was specifically held back (or amplified for that matter), where would we be now?
Lucifer wrote:For me, I know damned well I'm a bit schizo, and there's a century's worth of solid scientific investigation of the condition for me to go with. No meds for me, I just periodically ask people if they heard that noise (it's only voices and/or visuals when I'm either significantly under the influence of something or really tired, and no I'm not talking about hallucinogens, I've never done any of those). I can totally see how the condition would lead to a number of developments in a period of time that lacked the scientific inquiry that we have today.
I'd almost forget about that because I have none of that. Only as a little kid I've had a few experiences you could possibly describe as hallucinations, but still nothing major.
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