?

Log in

No account? Create an account
 
 
18 October 2004 @ 12:16 am
Christians V Bibliophiles  

The origin of this post was a little argument that flared up over something ultimately rather trivial.
However, what I wanted to write about was the notion that Christians should take on faith the Bible's and/or the Church's teachings.

Okay, the whole taking the teachings on faith thing is a pretty central tenet of most Christian churches, so I'm kind of going out on a limb here.
However, you've got to ask yourself why they emphasise the importance of faithabove all else.
Maybe I'm being cynical, but I think it has a lot to do with wanting the "flock" to stay in line; not to question the authority of the church.

Anyway, what I believe is important to remember is that, despite what you might have heard, the Bible is not the word of God.
The Bible, which is really made up of several different books, was written, not by God (Yahweh) or by Jesus, but by Moses, David, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Peter, Paul, etcetera.
Maybe they weren't the most ordinary of people, and many would say they had at least a brush with divinity, but they were only human.
Therefore, putting the Bible on a pedestal and claiming that all that it says is sacred is not honouring God, but yet another example of swallowing someone else's dogma.

In fact, there is much evidence of a struggle between Paul and James about the contents of the "official" Bible, and how the early Christian church (although it wasn't called that then) should be run. James advocated a stronger tie to the rituals and laws of traditional Judaism, Paul wanted to ditch that in order to make the church appeal to the Romans. Paul won.

It is interesting that the future of the church was so shaped by that one particular struggle. If James had won, Christianity would probably be considered a sect of Judaism, and Christians would celebrate Passover, not eat pork and celebrate the Sabbath on Saturday. Indeed, many of the Jewish laws still exist in the modern Christian Bible, including the dietary laws, but most Christians wither ignore or are oblivious to this. If you believe that Jesus intended us to ditch Jewish custom in favour of new Christian customs, then why did Jesus celebrate Passover himself?

Anyway, my point is not to say that we should revert to Jewish ritualism, because I myself partake little in Christian ritualism.
However, I do consider myself a Christian.
How is that so, if I don't take the Bible at face value with blind faith?

Well, the only thing I do take on faith is that God, or some higher, benevolent, spirtual power, exists.
The deification of Jesus is something I take with a grain of salt, which is another reason I won't blindly accept the church's dogma.
However, to me, the message is clear:
"This is my commandment, That you love one another, as I have loved you." (John 15:12)
That is in essence what Christianity is: following Christ's example and having love and compassion for your fellow human beings.
You don't have to worry about the details of what the Bible says, trying to unravel contradictory laws and teachings.

The Biblical writers had much to say, for instance, about the role of women in church and society.
However, they weren't Jesus, or God, and what they had to say may have been relevent then, but certainly isn't relevant in 2004.
The teachings of Jesus are relevant, and universal.

So, ultimately, my point is:

A Bibliophile is someone who: scrutinises the text of the Bible; screams slogans of hate at homosexuals, because that particular lifestyle is condemned by Leviticus; believes women shouldn't be priests because St Peter thought so; kills abortion doctors because an obscure Biblical passage seems to justify it; believes the war in Iraq is justified because the Old Testament has plenty of stuff about smiting thine enemies; believes the Bible is the irrefutable Word of God.

A Christian is someone who strives to live their life with the peace, love, compassion and tolerance of Christ.

 
 
Current Mood: peacefulpeaceful
 
 
 
dreams' descentdreamsdescent on October 17th, 2004 08:19 am (UTC)
wow, you're one big walking logical contradiction.

if the Bible is not the word of God, and was just written by random people with a "brush" with divinity, how can you trust that what they wrote about Jesus is true? How do you know Jesus really did teach that we should be loving and compassionate and tolerant...oh wait, Jesus DIDN'T teach tolerance in the way you are using it. "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father but by me." Doesn't sound very tolerant. But wait, the same author recorded those words as "This is my commandment, That you love one another, as I have loved you."

You've probably heard this verse: "All Scripture is inspired by God..." SO if it's "not honoring to God" to treat his word as sacred, what IS honoring to him, and how do you know? You make it up on your own authority, that's how you know. Why should I accept your dogma?

You are right, the heart of Biblical Christianity is love for one another. But follow me here: that belief of yours stems in some way from the Bible. if it doesn't come from the Bible, it's a made-up religion/philosophy and you should't call it Christianity. if it IS based on the Bible, you're admitting that the Bible has truth and authority. if parts of it have truth and authority, all of it must because it hangs together and supports itself. if you just dismiss parts of the Bible that you don't like, you can't claim to follow it at all.
dreams' descentdreamsdescent on October 17th, 2004 08:26 am (UTC)
sorry, you don't know who i am...i'm friends with jamie and followed this here from her lj.
(no subject) - ayvah on October 17th, 2004 02:24 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - hege_mon on October 17th, 2004 04:49 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - harkon on October 17th, 2004 09:28 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - kowari on October 17th, 2004 05:17 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - yak_boy on October 17th, 2004 06:40 pm (UTC) (Expand)
captured heartfairel on October 17th, 2004 02:11 pm (UTC)
"Anyway, what I believe is important to remember is that, despite what you might have heard, the Bible is not the word of God.
The Bible, which is really made up of several different books, was written, not by God (Yahweh) or by Jesus, but by Moses, David, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Peter, Paul, etcetera."

Well if the Bible really wasn't the word of God, then why in the world would the Bible be important at all?? Why would God give us a book to follow by in our lives, if it's not only flawed but not his words at all? Why would the Christian belief be centered around "Love" if a "Loving" God decided to give us a false sense of security and allowed his entire flock to run around following the guidelines of just some book. You seem to believe that God is not all-powerful and doesn't care about our well-being what-so-ever or even give a crap about us. If God doesn't care about us, then why should we care about other people as Christians?? If the Bible is not God's word than we should just throw it out the window completely. There is no need for it.. it would be worthless.

"A Bibliophile is someone who: scrutinises the text of the Bible; screams slogans of hate at homosexuals, because that particular lifestyle is condemned by Leviticus; believes women shouldn't be priests because St Peter thought so; kills abortion doctors because an obscure Biblical passage seems to justify it;"

You are saying here that all conservative Christians who follow the bible closely on issues like women being pastors in churches... are suddenly put into the same category as "hateful" people who persecute homosexuals or who go around killing abortion doctors and such.

The idea of women not being pastors in churches doesn't just come from Peter. Actually it was Paul who preached the most about this issue (Check out Colossians). And you keep bringing up this idea as being extremely radical or something... because really it's not. And I'm not persecuting anyone by believing that.. so throwing me or my brother into the category of us being bibliophiles is just plain idiotic. Actually, we have many friends who are homosexual, believe in abortion, or have other very opposite views than we do, and we arn't condeming them to hell or anything.
Robet Éivaayvah on October 17th, 2004 02:41 pm (UTC)
You are saying here that all conservative Christians who follow the bible closely on issues like women being pastors in churches... are suddenly put into the same category as "hateful" people who persecute homosexuals or who go around killing abortion doctors and such.
The difference is in their methods. Those who persecute homosexuals and abortion doctors are worse because they're violent.

But any prejudice is still prejudice.
Well if the Bible really wasn't the word of God, then why in the world would the Bible be important at all?? Why would God give us a book to follow by in our lives, if it's not only flawed but not his words at all? Why would the Christian belief be centered around "Love" if a "Loving" God decided to give us a false sense of security and allowed his entire flock to run around following the guidelines of just some book. You seem to believe that God is not all-powerful and doesn't care about our well-being what-so-ever or even give a crap about us. If God doesn't care about us, then why should we care about other people as Christians?? If the Bible is not God's word than we should just throw it out the window completely. There is no need for it.. it would be worthless.
Hell yeah! Just throw it out! ^_^

There was never any holy moment where God spoke unto the holy St. Arnold and said unto him, "Here is the holy bible. Take it. Live by it. It's yours."

And if you aren't living by every single word of the bible right now, then you're just picking and choosing about which parts you want to follow. You're obeying the bible when it's convenient, which is much more ridiculous.

Why would the Christian belief be centered around "Love" if a "Loving" God decided to give us a false sense of security and allowed his entire flock to run around following the guidelines of just some book.

Isn't that the eternal question?

*ahem* Why would a loving God allow people to rape, torture and murder each other?

Oh. Right. Sorry, God would never let that worry him when he's got some very confused Christians running around. Silly me.
(no subject) - peachofpain on October 17th, 2004 05:15 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - kowari on October 17th, 2004 05:31 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - yak_boy on October 17th, 2004 06:49 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - tomble on October 18th, 2004 08:09 pm (UTC) (Expand)
ephant on October 17th, 2004 04:13 pm (UTC)
*nod nod*
I agree. I have difficulty understanding people who believe that the Bible is a flawless work of God that should be followed without question for two main reasons:

1. It's full of contradictions. I have a hard time believing in a God that would contradict himself. Even the tiniest contradiction in the Bible, I think, speaks against it being completely divinely inspired. Or, for example, some of the contradictions with history. Many of the historical events written in Exodus, for example, don't fit timewise into when they are supposed to have happened. If they happened at all they happened over different time periods than is written in the Bible. The reason for this is because the stories were passed down oraly for a long time and they were embelleshed and names of places changed to fit the era in which the stories were told. If the Bible was the absolute word of God then it could be used as a history book. I don't think it can. I think archaological evidence discounts it.

2. "I am God. I am going to make this marvellously unique person and give her a fantastic unique brain with enormous reasoning power. This person will be absolutely unlike any other person that has ever lived! Now, if this person doesn't blindly follow THIS exact belief, ignoring her own reason, then she is going to hell!"
I don't believe in the kind of God who would make everyone unique and then command them all to follow the same path (or else!)
I don't believe in a God who would give everyone really awesome brains and then command them all to follow blindly without thought. My reason tells me that the Bible is not the inerrent word of God.

So, if the Bible doesn't contain ALL truth, then can it contain ANY truth? Sure! By using the magnificent brain you have I think you can find the parts that are relevant and true for you. I have read novels that have touched me deeply and made me look at the world differently. That have made me think differently about myself and other people. That doesn't mean that the events written in the novel actually happened, they were just a tool for getting the message across. I don't think that makes the novel any less inspiring or wonderful.

I don't believe that God wrote one book and then dissapeared. "Yeah I'm not talking anymore, you've got to just have blind faith now or else you will suffer for eternity. Sorry" I think that God can be found in many places that are a lot more accessable (for me anywa) than a book that was written a long time ago.

I have heard people say that God must have been behind the translations of the Bible and therefore "translated and translated and translated" is a non-issue. This does not make sense to me. Surely, then, all the English versions of the Bible would be exactly the same?

Let me have a look... I'll grab two of my Bibles (the first on is KJ and the second on is NIV)

"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth."

vs.
"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."


One of these would suggest that there is one heaven, the other would suggest that there is more than one. Clearly only one of these can be true and yet both are written in the Bible! Is this a problem?

Now if "The Bible" is the word of God then which one is "The Bible". Does that make the other one wrong? How could God, who managed to make sure that the Bible was translated correctly at every step over history slip up now?
Robet Éivaayvah on October 17th, 2004 05:16 pm (UTC)
Re: *nod nod*
"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth."

vs.
"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."


Hehe. I think that's getting a little overly analytical... Then again, I guess that's what bible-bashers have done for centuries. ^_^;;
Jacobyak_boy on October 17th, 2004 06:56 pm (UTC)
Re: *nod nod*
Right on.

Heh.
The KJ and the NIV are so different to each other it's not funny.
Re: *nod nod* - ichbinkeinengel on October 17th, 2004 10:30 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: *nod nod* - dreamsdescent on October 18th, 2004 09:07 am (UTC) (Expand)
Re: *nod nod* - ichbinkeinengel on October 18th, 2004 10:56 am (UTC) (Expand)
Tombletomble on October 17th, 2004 05:37 pm (UTC)
The essence of `be good to people' can be found in secular humanism. It boils down to `look after each other, because we're all in this together'.
Jacobyak_boy on October 17th, 2004 06:54 pm (UTC)
And I applaud such philosophies wherever they originate.

I don't think it is necessary for one to believe in God in order to follow a righteous path.

If everyone just followed the philosophy of Bill & Ted, then the world would be a much better place (a Utopia even):

Be excellent to each other.
Party on dudes!
(no subject) - ichbinkeinengel on October 17th, 2004 10:25 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - yak_boy on October 18th, 2004 05:36 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - ichbinkeinengel on October 18th, 2004 10:55 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - kowari on October 18th, 2004 08:16 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - tomble on October 20th, 2004 12:24 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - ichbinkeinengel on October 20th, 2004 06:35 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - ichbinkeinengel on October 17th, 2004 10:27 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Matthewichbinkeinengel on October 17th, 2004 10:24 pm (UTC)
About half way down the list of Bible bashers I gave up on reading because you are all repeating the same basic thoughts: The Bible has some truth, but its not flawless, God has no part in writing it. If God is so good why does he let stuff happen that is bad. Im not even going to try to convince you of what I know to be the truth. Mainly because the only way I would ever convince any of you is by sitting down one on one and going all out in theological discussion. The only reason I know the answer to all these questions is because I have been studying my theology for a long time. I acually can answer all your questions and retort all your criticisms. BUT you will always have something to retort back with, and I will always have something to retort back with again. Here is one thought though, if you believe that YOU know what Jesus or God want us to do or how to take the Bible better then The people who actually knew him face to face (for Jesus) and who He spoke to (for God) (also confusing to someone who hasnt been a student of this theology, because technically Jesus and God are the same) than you are foolish. I know for you total non-believers that isnt going to matter at all. But for those of you who believe in parts of the Bible, but want to pick and choose, there you have it. Oh, and the most exact translation is the New American Standard, the most easy to read would have to be the NIV or The Message, if you were wondering about versions. And in fact, the Bible does not contradict itself if you actually study into it. God told us not to murder (that would be a better translation), but he also has times where he has told people to kill others. God is allowed to do that. He IS God. Most of the time if you read it on a face value it comes off as contradictory, but if you study into it, it never is. Seriously, never. If you dont believe me than you just dont, dont bother argueing about it. Also, if you do believe in God, what makes you think you can understand his reasoning behind things? I mean, HE IS GOD. Why do people always try to fit Him into our little boxes of understanding. Do you really think that God contemplates like you? Heres a thought (or maybe a theory of mine): assuming you believe in God, He created all. EVERYTHING. This includes time. We as humans cannot think outside of time, because our thinking patterns are based on a linear time line. I cannot think outside of now, past, or future. If God created time, why do we always try to believe that he thinks in time? God does not have to be controlled by time as we are. God does not have to be in time. He is omniscent, all knowing. He does not have to ponder. In fact I dont believe that he does. He just knows all. All that hasnt happened (in our time) and all that has.

((last thing...If you were a dad, and you were going to wrestle your son...wouldnt you let him win? Specifically if this son is like a toddler and you are a bear of a man?))
Gailkowari on October 18th, 2004 12:31 am (UTC)
Part 1 (sorry, this got a bit long, but it interests me)
Bible bashers
Hrm, you know, your use of this term immediately put me on the back foot because it made me feel hostile towards you, but I persevered with what you had to say - perhaps you were going to say something else that I had not thought of. Please, do not dismiss what people have to say out of hand.

If God is so good why does he let stuff happen that is bad
I can think of plenty of things for and against this statement. But it is one that both sides latch onto and flog to death. I just cant think of anything either way to make me decide that this statement shows that a god exists as part of a bigger argument. It lends nothing to the discussion.

if you believe that YOU know what Jesus or God want us to do or how to take the Bible better then The people who actually knew him face to face (for Jesus) and who He spoke to (for God) (also confusing to someone who hasnt been a student of this theology, because technically Jesus and God are the same) than you are foolish. I know for you total non-believers that isnt going to matter at all.
This is not confusing. I think you will find most people who read this LJ are perfectly capable of understanding the idea in brackets. I, however, am not a fool. I do not believe that I know better, and that is something that you are making a grave mistake by saying. I am surprised, to be honest, that people have not arced up already.

Bible does not contradict itself if you actually study into it
You can say that about anything if you overload every sentence you see with extra meaning. I did it in high school with school texts all the time - infact, I was trained quite well at doing it (I did extremely well at english lit). However, I was not trained to spot OVER interpretation. This is much harder to argue and much harder to notice.

God is allowed to do that. He IS God.
This is a self fullfilling argument. There is no way anyone can aruge against pseudo-logic like that. You have arbitrarily decided that this is the case, and there can be no correspondance entered into. No matter what anyone says, this pseudo-logic (I use the term loosely) means that it can be countered with "But God can do that"

If you dont believe me than you just dont, dont bother argueing about it.
Unfortunately, you just shot yourself in the foot for any coherent discussion or debate. The simple use of the term believe in that sentence means that you will not listen to any other argument, you will not be swayed by anything - you are not open to change or growth. I could ask, would God want that? But I daresay that is not something that would enter into your mind.

I am open to debate on the topic, I am a skeptic, which means I have no preconceived ideas or opinions on the topic (well, as much as someone brought up Anglican can be) and I am open to changing my ideas on the topic. Are you? Or are you convinced of the Truth? Can you Prove said truth? Or do you just know it in your heart? While this might be pretty convincing for you, why is it then that I don't see/feel what you are feeling? What is different about me from you?
Part 2 - kowari on October 18th, 2004 12:32 am (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Part 2 - ichbinkeinengel on October 18th, 2004 07:34 am (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Part 2 - kowari on October 18th, 2004 04:29 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Part 2 - tomble on October 18th, 2004 05:17 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Part 2 - kowari on October 18th, 2004 08:25 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - tomble on October 18th, 2004 03:08 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - dreamsdescent on October 18th, 2004 09:33 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - tomble on October 18th, 2004 05:26 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - hege_mon on October 18th, 2004 05:02 pm (UTC) (Expand)
dreams' descentdreamsdescent on October 18th, 2004 09:19 am (UTC)
the bible having contradictions-- i don't believe you can claim this until you've read the entire book straight through, following the themes, the overall story, and the setting, just like you would any other book.

of course you can pick out two sentences and say they contradict; they might be quotes from someone (the bible does quote people saying things that are completely wrong, in a setting where it's obvious they are wrong; because it's made up of stories!). they might be said by different people in different circumstances to people in different circumstances (relativists should be able to understand this).

so yeah. read it. it's a good book anyway.
Tombletomble on October 18th, 2004 05:40 pm (UTC)
I have read it, but the contradictions remain. Such details as -

Who carried Jesus's cross? Jesus, or Simon?
How did David kill Goliath? Stone or sword?
How long was the flood? 40, or 150 days
Does God love everyone? This is a tenet of modern Christianity, but God clearly states that he hates some people.
(no subject) - yak_boy on October 18th, 2004 07:14 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Xhanthilast_reprise on October 19th, 2004 02:47 am (UTC)
You're all a bunch of whackos.
Jacobyak_boy on October 19th, 2004 06:26 am (UTC)
Shh... don't let on that you know.