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Is it possible to critique the Bible... - Page 2

post #21 of 36
Hello all-
I just wanted to add my 2 cents and say I agree that the Bible can and should be questioned and critiqued. One of the most amazing things to me about the Bible, and something I am only now becoming fully aware of, is how it does have very good answers for all the descrepencies that have been thrown at it. The class you took, its_our_family, sounds wonderful, and very much along the lines of a book I finished reading a few weeks ago. It is "The Case for Christ". In it, Lee Strobel (former atheist and investigative reporter for the Chicago Tribune) retraces his peosonal investigation into Christianity. His wife had become a Christian, and he wanted to prove it wrong so she wouldn't be a Christian. It is really interesting stuff.

The other thing I would like to say, and really I guess ask what others feel about this, is what you mentioned, DaryLLL, about Moses, the earthquake, and the Red Sea crossing. While I enjoy finding out about instances when the Bible is corroborated with information from other sources (for example archeological digs that have confirmed what the Bible says that was formerly believed to be wrong), I question the need to find a scientific explination for every last thing. For me, and I realize some don't agree with this, I believe God can perform miracles that defy science. So, great, there was an earthquake that could have caused the waters to rush back. If that is the case, then some will say- see, it wasn't God, it was just an earthquake.

Thats another thing I like about the Bible. It does in fact have the answers if you will seek them with an open mind, but in the end, its not about knowledge, it is about faith. No matter how much proof you have for God, people will always find a way to justify their unbelief. So, in the end, it is up to each of us to choose.
post #22 of 36
Well said Pussycat!
I love to study and debate the scriptures, but I think that it really comes down to faith in the end.
post #23 of 36
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the replies.

Actually, pussycat, the theory involved a volcanic eruption, not an earthquake, but no biggie. You got my point.

I take your point and barbara's. That the Judeo-Christian god can perform miracles, he doesn't have to stick to natural laws. Yes, as I read it in the Bible, God is directly responsible for everything, he directs men to make and win wars (putting entire towns of men, women and children to the knife in Cannan, while occ. allowing the virgins to be taken "as wives"), sends plagues at will, punishes sinners, etc.

I guess my point, that I wanted to deconstruct the bible as an ancient document, and not discuss whether or not anyone "believes" in it, or has "faith" that it is all the inerrant word of God, did not come across. I asked if we could discuss it outside of the realm of faith.

But that is interesting that it keeps coming back to that. People keep making the point about "athiests" studying the bible and then convering to christianity.

Of course, there are also people, who really read their entire bibles as christians, take courses in comparative religions (studied Mithraism or Osiris/Isis lately? the parallels are fantastic!), read some Joseph Campbell, and decide to leave christianity behind, in favor of atheism or paganism, or some other ism.

Did you know that:

Mithra was the supreme god in Tarsus, where Paul/Saul came from?

Mithra, a sun god, had his birthday on/near the winter solstice (as did Saturn)?

A Mithraic "idol" was found under a bombed (christian) cathedral in London, while it was being rebuilt after WWII?

Mithra's followers ate cakes and drank wine in their rituals, mimicking the last supper he had with his disciples?

Mithra was the god of covenants, and a war god? He was only worshipped by men.

When Constantine "converted" to christianity, he declared Mithra's day (Sunday) to be the proper day of rest for christians?

Monday (moonday) was the sacred day of Mithra's female counterpart, Ishtar?

Osiris was a resurrected god? His resurrection was meant to symbolize the hope of resurrection for all humanity?

Osiris is paralleled with Jesus (resurrected god, king of the underworld), Isis with Mary (the queen of heaven, she is the sister/wife of Osiris, tho, not his mother), their son Horus with the Holy Spirit (birdheaded [as in xian dove] king of the living)?

What some call a myth, is really another religion's doctrine. And often, those doctrines overlap. I find that fascinating. Jung first introduced me to the idea of universal archetypes.
post #24 of 36
Sorry I said earthquake, not volcanic eruption, typing too fast!

While I really enjoy reading all kinds of mythology, and stories, and I find the parallels fascinating, what I also see is that the vast majoriy are stories. Maybe stories that people turned into gods and did in fact worship, but stories none the less. What is unique about the Bible is that it it backed up by historical fact, proven by archeology, proven by other ancient documents not from the Christian tradition. To me, that makes all the difference.

As far as the parallels between different myth, and religions... for me, it shows that everyone is looking for the same thing. We are all searching for God, but I do believe it is possible to be confused, or looking in the wrong place.

And yes, it is interesting that it keeps coming back to Faith. It's hard to discuss a book without including the whole point of it, don't you think?
post #25 of 36
Thread Starter 
Pussycat--

Thanks for your thoughtful answer.

Your dh must be a charismatic man and a good talker.

What you see as biblical "proofs" are biblical words. What you see as historical/archeological "proofs" that the entire Bible is true, may just be proofs or theories that *some* of the events recorded in the bible did indeed happen, and I am not going to argue with that. My POV is, yes, some of the events recorded in there can be proven (or theorized) to have happened, but at the same time, events and biographies in the Bible seem to have been embellished and hyperbolized (is that a word?), as well. B/c that's what people do with great, famous and important people. Even in the 20th century and into the 21st.

One issue I have, and maybe you can shed some light on this, is: logic fails when it comes to the idea that JC was of the seed of David, (by his father's line, as backed up by geneologies in Matt and Luke), as well a a product of the union of a virgin and the "holy spirit." This gives me a headache. And I can see why the Jews rejected him as Messiah, if this is one of their reasons for feeling prophecy was not fulfilled (not sure if it is, just guessing).

Then I found an exciting clue in the beginning of Romans, where Paul, who wrote his letters before the Gospels were written, makes no claim for Jesus being the son of god per virtue of a virgin birth, but says he was proclaimed the son of god by virtue of his resurrection (opposite end of the spectrum!).

I know this is a minority opinion, and not backed up by the Gospels, nor Revelation. It just seems to me the virgin birth was added later, as part of legend building. That makes me sad, b/c I see JC as a warm, smart, probably psychic man (probably well traveled, in those unrecorded years), whose original ideas were perverted and dragged down by his disciples, "thick and ordinary" men (to quote John Lennon).

As I mentioned, I just watched the video of JC Superstar, which seems to have a similar POV. As I watched that movie, I was surprised by the warm fuzzy feelings I ended up having for JC himself, but not surprised by the feeling of nausea for the machinations of his followers and "enemies." Even Mary Mag, who seemed to love him best, misunderstood him.

The philosophy of Christ, its emphasis on selflessness and communism, seems much more modern than the warlike Jehovah persona of the OT. Unfortunately, JC's teachings are still bracketed by the killings and rapings and imperialism of the OT, and the return to OT rhetoric/"prophecy" of Revelation.

Back to Paul for a minute. As I previously mentioned, Paul was from Tarsus. Mithraism was the predominant religion of that area. But, Paul was a Jew. When he converted to "Christianity," he was discovering a Jewish Mithra! Cake and eat it too...

Not trying to debunk, just curious how a Christian, versed in comparative religions, can make sense of all this?

Thank you--
post #26 of 36
Quote:
One issue I have, and maybe you can shed some light on this, is: logic fails when it comes to the idea that JC was of the seed of David, (by his father's line, as backed up by geneologies in Matt and Luke), as well a a product of the union of a virgin and the "holy spirit."
originally stated by DaryLLL

Well, I think a closer look will show that the geneologies show both his mother (mary) and his father's line.
post #27 of 36
Thread Starter 
barbara--

Thank you for your interest.

Matt 1: 15-16: Eliud of Eleazar, Eleazar of Mathan, Matthan of Jacob, Jacob of Joseph, the husband of Mary, who gave birth to Jesus called Messiah.

Joseph was not Mary's father. Jacob was her father-in-law. *If* Jesus *was* Joseph's biological son, he was of David's seed through Joseph, not Mary.

Luke 3: 23: When Jesus began his work, he was about thirty years old, the son, as people thought, of Joseph son of Heli...etc.

But this was not my point (some say if Jesus was Joseph's adoptive son, that counts as "seed" in their book). My point was: how could Jesus be either Heli's or Jacob's biological grandson, when he was also said to be born of a virgin and the Holy Spirit? If Luke says, "as people thought," Jesus was of David's line, but he means, not really, is he discounting all the OT prophecies about the Messiah being of David's line?
post #28 of 36
I'll be darned, I could have sworn that the geneologies show both Mary and Joseph's line. Well I guess I'll learn not to speak before checking in the future.
post #29 of 36
Quote:
Originally posted by barbara
Well, I think a closer look will show that the geneologies show both his mother (mary) and his father's line.
I am confused. Don't christians believe that he had no human father?

I don't really see how it can be both ways. In my thinkin *either* he is "the son of G-d" *or* he decends fronm the davidic line.

-BelovedBird
post #30 of 36
Thread Starter 
BB--

Only a spiritual father? Nope, the xian bible has it both ways. It is very confusing. The party line is, he was of a virgin and the holy spirit, but the actual book contradicts this. I don't think preachers are talking about this detail from the pulpits.

The mention of the fact that he has 2 different paternal grandfahters as well, just adds to the confusion.
post #31 of 36
Hello again DaryLLL!
I have been looking into the issue of Jesus' bloodlines. I asked a minister I know, and he said that the argument I gave earlier is a valid one- that blood line was passed through the father, regardless of genetics. Also, as far as look saying "or so people thought"- I assume you take that to mean, "See, he really wasn't." What I see it to mean is people in general, at the time Jesus was teaching, didn't know he was born of a virgin. He didn't arrive at the temples and say "I'm born of a virgin and this isn't my biological dad", so as far as the people of the day understood He was Joseph's son.

But, it sounds like you've already heard this argument and don't find it to be credible.

Pussycat
post #32 of 36
I think that on some level the Bible should be "critiqued" by Christians and non-Christians alike. But perhaps I am looking at "critiquing" in a different light.

I know many Christians from a fundamentalist church that I went to for years who knew so little of what the Bible said. In a Bible study, one person seemed surprised to "find out" that he believed some of what was written. I suppose that I feel that if one chooses to believe that the Bible is God's word, he/she should have a decent grasp on what the Bible says. I know that there are many minor points that are irrelevant to daily living, but at least the general concepts. And I think that a part of everyone's spiritual path should be to sort out why they believe what they believe, whether the beliefs are genuine, and whether they fit with one's values. I think that this form of spiritual soul- searching is sometimes done by taking a closer look at the Bible, but could be considered "critiquing."

I think that sometimes non-Christians, especially those who once were Christians, read the Bible to see why they no longer believe the message. Perhaps some even read it hoping to believe again. Maybe particular versus don't seem to fit with their overall picture of God, and they find themselves questioning that. I've found myself doing that with some of the more violent parts of the Old Testament. I'd consider this "critiquing" in some form, too.

I'm personally more comfortable with people critiquing the Bible as a part of their own spiritual journies, than critiquing the Bible in an attempt to make people who do believe in it look ignorant or to prove them wrong. It just seems like a waste to me to spend more time determining who God isn't than who God is.
I'm not a Christian, but I spent most of my life as one, and I still feel a connection to those who believe what I once did so passionately. It's almost analogous to a break-up, on some levels, and I was never one to hate the ex I once loved.

The Bible is all of ours, really, and I would never be one to advocate any form of censorship or inhibition of speech. But still, I think critiquing any religion is much more productive when it is about what we ourselves believe and not what we dislike about what others believe.

(Edited for a typo)
post #33 of 36
Quote:
Originally posted by caleb's mommy
I'm personally more comfortable with people critiquing the Bible as a part of their own spiritual journies, than critiquing the Bible in an attempt to make people who do believe in it look ignorant or to prove them wrong. It just seems like a waste to me to spend more time determining who God is than who God isn't.
I'm not a Christian, but I spent most of my life as one, and I still feel a connection to those who believe what I once did so passionately. It's almost analogous to a break-up, on some levels, and I was never one to hate the ex I once loved.

The Bible is all of ours, really, and I would never be one to advocate any form of censorship or inhibition of speech. But still, I think critiquing any religion is much more productive when it is about what we ourselves believe and not what we dislike about what others believe.
post #34 of 36
I have a friend who smuggled Bibles through the iron curtain during the 60' and 70's. At that time in Russia it was dangerous to own a Bible. Most underground churches had only one Bible and they would tear out the pages. Each person would take a page home for the week. Next week they would bring it back and exchange it for a different page. They treasured the page, reading and memorizing it throughout the week. They were more concerned about having the Holy Spirit reveal truth to them through the scripture, than in critiquing, and arguing amongst themselves.

My friend now teaches young pastors in the Ukraine and Siberia. These people still have such a reverence for the written word, and a hunger to learn from it. I fear when things are too comfortable, we can become bored with our faith, complacent, and often critical. (of course, I am only speaking of those within the faith.)

I think we can learn something from our brothers who are persecuted.

(edited to correct my terrible spelling!!!)
post #35 of 36
Quote:
Originally posted by DaryLLL
BB--


Bumper sticker alert: 667, the neighbor of the beast.

Could I laugh any harder???
post #36 of 36
rotflmao!! That is a good one!!
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