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Boss Cat

What really pisses me off about athiests

is that they keep telling me what I believe.  And they get it wrong.

I had one only on Friday telling me I have to be a Bible literalist and looking aghast when I told her I don't know anyone who is.

Then she got upset when someone else pointed out that lots of Christians aren't literalists and she got upset and accused us of all picking on her because two other people listening agreed with me.

What crud.
Shaker

Bible literalists get the lion's share of attention precisely because their stance is so utterly, utterly insane. Theists who take a sophisticated, nuanced and subtle view of their scriptures just don't make for such good copy, in a nutshell. It's far easier, and in my view far more right, to point and laugh at the likes of Ken Ham than at Richard Holloway, Desmond Tutu or Rowan Williams.

However - there's always a however - there remains the very pertinent question as to how far the sophisticated, nuanced and subtle believers can be considered to be true to their religion compared to those who take a different view. The atheist you encountered recently wasn't exactly without point, however poorly couched.
northernstar

It's atheist, simple enough to spell. Yes, always wondered why some Christians tend to pick and choose the best bits from their bible, you either believe all of it or none of it. As Shaker points out, we atheists prefer the likes of Ken Ham and fundamentalist preachers as they are certainly certifiable.
cyberman

northernstar wrote:
you either believe all of it or none of it..


What a stupid notion! Why should we either believe all of it or none of it?
Shaker

cyberman wrote:
northernstar wrote:
you either believe all of it or none of it..


What a stupid notion! Why should we either believe all of it or none of it?

I suppose what northernstar was getting at is that if you don't accept everything in Bible literally and at face value, and therefore you hold that some parts are literally true whereas others are mythological (in the strict sense) which have to be interpreted symbolically and allegorically, there must be an extra-Biblical rationale for doing so: some other standard for making such a judgement which cannot come from the Bible itself.

This in itself raises a welter of questions: where does such a standard come from and on what is it based? What is the yardstick for deciding which bits are literally true and which bits merely symbolic? And so forth.
cyberman

Shaker wrote:
cyberman wrote:
northernstar wrote:
you either believe all of it or none of it..


What a stupid notion! Why should we either believe all of it or none of it?

I suppose what northernstar was getting at is that if you don't accept everything in Bible literally and at face value, and therefore you hold that some parts are literally true whereas others are mythological (in the strict sense) which have to be interpreted symbolically and allegorically, there must be an extra-Biblical rationale for doing so: some other standard for making such a judgement which cannot come from the Bible itself.

This in itself raises a welter of questions: where does such a standard come from and on what is it based? What is the yardstick for deciding which bits are literally true and which bits merely symbolic? And so forth.


To argue that we have to accept all of it as true is as lazy as arguing that we have to reject all of it as false.

It is not a question of picking and choosing. It is a question of doing some work and using your brain. Treat each book of the Bible as we would treat any other document from the ancient near east. That's how we do history. That's how we do textual criticism. The books are separate works, written by different people for different reasons.

Imagine I compiled an anthology of ancient Greek works. I included Herodotus, Homer, Thucydides and Aesop.

Herodotus claims to be history, has some things which are accurate but includes much rumour and fantasy. Thucydides claims to be history and is fairly accurate, but as with any source we have to be aware of inaccuracy and bias. No human historian is infallible. Homer is written as fiction but does contain some actual events. Aesop makes no pretence of being true stories, but can nevertheless be said to contain 'truths' about relationships etc.

Imagine two thousand years after I make this compilation, many of the original sources are lost. Historians find and peruse my compilation. An historian reads Thucydides and says "Ah, this is interesting - it confirms that the unrest in Sparta preceded the battle of something-or-another"

Would it make any sense to reply to that historian "You can only believe that if you also believe that the Hare and the Tortoise is a true story."?
Lexilogio

I agree with Cyberman here.
Boss Cat

Actually, to be fair to this woman, who I don't know very well, just socially, she is courteous and good natured.  We had all had a drink and to her credit she phoned early Saturday morning  to acknowledge that it was the drink and to hope she hadn't offended anyone.

Which she hadn't of course.  In all honesty, we were surprised by her slightly over emotional response, nobody minded at all.  In fact I was rather enjoying it.

Thanks for pointing out my spelling error, northern, I should proofread more thoroughly.  I think you are posting bilge when you say all or nothing though.  Do you really believe that?
northernstar

I suppose not, after all, it's just a collection of STORIES, right? None are real?
Boss Cat

Er, that sounds as though you DO mean it's all or nothing - 'just a collection of STORIES, right? None are real?'.  That sounds as if you are saying 'nothing'.

I think the Bible is a collection compiled over centuries telling the developing understanding of humanity's relationship with God, from the god of a tribe on a mountain to the God of all the people in our lives.

Some myth, some allegory, a lot of rules that gave meaning perhaps to people whose lives were hard, some history...I think an all or nothing mindset is a bit limiting.

Do you take Shakespeare's Henry V as literal fact?  Or is it JUST a story with no relationship with what really happened, and therefore with no value (apart from some nice lines)?
cyberman

northernstar wrote:
I suppose not, after all, it's just a collection of STORIES, right? None are real?


Well, in my analogy, some are "real" (as you put it) and some are not. You have completely failed to addres my point, which is that there is no rational basis for your theory that it is impossible for anything true to appear in the bible.
northernstar

Boss Cat wrote:
Er, that sounds as though you DO mean it's all or nothing - 'just a collection of STORIES, right? None are real?'.  That sounds as if you are saying 'nothing'.

I think the Bible is a collection compiled over centuries telling the developing understanding of humanity's relationship with God, from the god of a tribe on a mountain to the God of all the people in our lives.

Some myth, some allegory, a lot of rules that gave meaning perhaps to people whose lives were hard, some history...I think an all or nothing mindset is a bit limiting.

Do you take Shakespeare's Henry V as literal fact?  Or is it JUST a story with no relationship with what really happened, and therefore with no value (apart from some nice lines)?
cyberman

northernstar wrote:
One question, is your bible relevant in the 21st century?


To some people yes, to others no.

Any chance of you answering my question about whethe rit would make sense to say to that hypothetical historian "You can only believe that if you also believe the Hare and the Tortoise is a true story"? Can you answer that or not? Do you still maintain that it is impossible that any true fact is, even accidentally, included in the Bible?
northernstar

So you're saying the bible is a mixture of fact and fiction? For me, it's all fiction, then again, I've never read it.
Farmer Geddon

no..


Seriously - you cannot make a judgement about a book, or a film, or a TV show you haven't read, seen, or seen!!

If you make a judgement on it because of what you have heard, then you ain't making a personal judgement on it based on something you might have knowledge about.. regardless on whether it is true or not...

If you is gonna critic something, at least watch it, or read it and don't be a sheep/Goat!!
trentvoyager

Farmer Geddon wrote:
no..


Seriously - you cannot make a judgement about a book, or a film, or a TV show you haven't read, seen, or seen!!

If you make a judgement on it because of what you have heard, then you ain't making a personal judgement on it based on something you might have knowledge about.. regardless on whether it is true or not...

If you is gonna critic something, at least watch it, or read it and don't be a sheep/Goat!!


Does that apply to Jeffrey Archer novels - cos if so, I'm guilty m'lud.
cyberman

northernstar wrote:
So you're saying the bible is a mixture of fact and fiction? For me, it's all fiction, then again, I've never read it.


Are you able to answer my question or not?
Boss Cat

Well I don't think you have to actually read or experience something to have a view on it, although of course you gain insights from experience.

I've never read the Origin of the Species (or whatever it's full title is) but I believe it's the best account of the development of life that we have so far. That's only because people who do know what they are talking about say so with good authority.

I think if you insist on putting forward strong opinions about anything you haven't read or experienced should exercise judgement over the authorities you can cite, and evidence your opinion.  

Saying 'I've never read the Bible but it's all stories so it's rubbish' isn't exactly the most learned of positions, is it?

I've never read the whole Bible either and the bits I am familiar with gain richer and fuller meaning for me the more I revisit them.  Even if I don't take it all as literal truth.
northernstar

cyberman wrote:
northernstar wrote:
So you're saying the bible is a mixture of fact and fiction? For me, it's all fiction, then again, I've never read it.


Are you able to answer my question or not?
cyberman

Funny, I'd never thought of northernstar as ***Edited by Lexi*** before, but you live and learn
cyberman

[what follows is a response to northernstar's response "The feeling is mutual". He has deleted this while I was typing. Timorous beastie that he is.]

Yes, I'm sure. But "No, you are" isn't terribly convincing, old chap. I mean you have very clearly on this thread chosen to waste everybody's time by pretending to contribute a debating point and then failing to engage. I, for my part, have gone to some lengths to explain my point of view and to try to encourage you to expand upon yours. ***Edited by Lexi***
Farmer Geddon

Boss Cat wrote:
Well I don't think you have to actually read or experience something to have a view on it, although of course you gain insights from experience.

I've never read the Origin of the Species (or whatever it's full title is) but I believe it's the best account of the development of life that we have so far. That's only because people who do know what they are talking about say so with good authority.

I think if you insist on putting forward strong opinions about anything you haven't read or experienced should exercise judgement over the authorities you can cite, and evidence your opinion.  

Saying 'I've never read the Bible but it's all stories so it's rubbish' isn't exactly the most learned of positions, is it?

I've never read the whole Bible either and the bits I am familiar with gain richer and fuller meaning for me the more I revisit them.  Even if I don't take it all as literal truth.


Aww mate.

That is not the attitude to take.

How can you possibly make an informed opinion of something you have never seen/read/or seen?

If you don't see it, listen to it, read it - but only rely on what others say about it; then you ain't forming your own opinion, but subjugating yourself to the opinions of others.

You have got to do the above before you can disagree or agree with the opinions of others!!
Boss Cat

Because I don't have the time or intellectual capacity to read and understand everything for myself, that's why.  

I don't have to read Mein Kampf, or The Origin of the Species to have views on the subject matter as long as I acknowledge that my opinions are based on limited knowledge.  We do it all the time, I use maps I had no part in drawing up, I go into rooms trusting they are safe having had no part in the design and building of them and I vote in elections never having read the Maastricht Treaty.

I rely on authority, but I think your earlier post was justified and made sense.  Broadly I agree with you.
Farmer Geddon

Awww Mate, you can read my Copy of Kampf.. My copy of Origin - I haven't read either for ages, so you can borrow them and let me know what you think..

I can kinda see where you are going with maps, rooms and stuff..

But we is chatting about stuff that people claim to be experts in - God/Spirit/Logos, and how Jesus is all three ... and on how whose authority you accept, but I reject!!
Boss Cat

No we weren't, we were discussing a general principle about whether it is possible to hold an opinion on anything without having read or experienced it personally.

This is part of a wider discussion over whether northernstar's strongly held opinions on something he admits he knows nothing about personally but rejects have any merit, which again is part of a wider discussion over assumptions people make over other people's beliefs.


Nothing about God/Spirit/Logos and how Jesus is all three specifically.

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