How do Christians possibly rationalize these things?

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Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Tue 9 Sep, 2008 12:26 am
@astrotheological,
Quote:
Look Christians enough of this believing in god to solve your problems because it won't solve your problems.


What if I told you that we already know this?

Quote:
God isn't watching you. He doesn't even exist. God! I mean gees! I mean dam*!


Figuratively speaking?
 
MITech
 
Reply Sun 12 Oct, 2008 04:40 pm
@Mephistopheles phil,
If we need a god to guide us like a father guiding his son through life, how will we ever grow up. Because to me humans are still children who aren't intelligent enough to realize this.
 
Solace
 
Reply Sun 12 Oct, 2008 04:49 pm
@MITech,
MITech wrote:
If we need a god to guide us like a father guiding his son through life, how will we ever grow up. Because to me humans are still children who aren't intelligent enough to realize this.


Hhmmm... isn't that precisely the point though?
 
MITech
 
Reply Sun 12 Oct, 2008 04:56 pm
@Solace,
Solace wrote:
Hhmmm... isn't that precisely the point though?


So far yes but will we ever grow up though. How would growing up look like in society. Will we still believe in god or will we actually be ready to let go of our faith and belief in god.
 
Binyamin Tsadik
 
Reply Mon 13 Oct, 2008 04:47 am
@Mephistopheles phil,
Mephistopheles wrote:
[CENTER]Ritual Human and Animal Sacrifice

Slavery[/CENTER]


[CENTER]Rape[/CENTER]

[CENTER]Murder[/CENTER]


I will speak from a Jewish Perspective.

Human Sacrifice is strictly forbidden. One may sacrifice Oneself only if it is a matter of the highest moral value.
Such as if someone holds a gun to your head and tells you to Murder someone, then you are required to say "Shoot me".

Animal sacrifice is not like most people think. We sacrifice animals all of the time in order to eat them. That is the essence of the Animal sacrifice. It is intended to be killed and eaten at the Temple.
I happen to be a Vegitarian, so I would bring a Bread offering and not A Meat one.
But before we can learn to treat animals right, we should learn how to treat people right.

Slavery was a fact of the ancient world. The Torah was not going to forbid slavery, because if it did, then people simply would not obey it. Instead, it brought many laws on how to respect and treat slaves morally. They were all laws against over-abusing a slave.
In later times, slavery was forbidden by the Sanhedrin (Jewish Court). This power was given to them by the Torah.
Also a person could be punished by being made a slave, or a person could sell himself as a slave or one of his children. The slave is never a slave permanently. The limit on slavery is 7 years. If a slave refuses to accept his or her freedom after the 7 years then they are made a slave until the Jubilee year and are automatically set free afterwards.

Rape is also strictly forbidden and if a woman was raped in the olden days then the Man had to pay a fine or if she wanted he would have to marry her and support her and be forbidden to ever divorce her.
Also if someone were to Rape an engaged or Married woman, then he would be put to death.

Killing and Murdering are two different things. Killing is not forbidden if it is a form of punishment or if it is in times of war. Also and Accidental Death is not considered Murder but the Killer is banished to the Levite city.
But Murder is forbidden and the source of this is "Thou shalt not murder"
 
Solace
 
Reply Mon 13 Oct, 2008 09:25 am
@Binyamin Tsadik,
Quote:

But before we can learn to treat animals right, we should learn how to treat people right.



Now there's words we all should live by. Being from a place where certain hunting practices are constantly protested and scorned by the rest of the western world, I can't help but be sick to my stomache at the hypocrisy of their attitude when their countries are constantly involved in killing human beings.
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Mon 13 Oct, 2008 01:26 pm
@Solace,
Quote:
If we need a god to guide us like a father guiding his son through life, how will we ever grow up. Because to me humans are still children who aren't intelligent enough to realize this.


But somehow one human (you) just happens to be intelligent enough to understand? I'm a bit skeptical.

But let me ask - grow up into what? A god? If we are to be guided by god, at what point would we no longer have use for such guidance? Isn't good guidance better than being lost?
 
Poseidon
 
Reply Fri 24 Oct, 2008 12:56 pm
@Mephistopheles phil,
The general tone of this thread worries me.

The Bible recounts many tales of horror. People eating their children during times of famine. Genocide as a consequence of that nation being unable to sustain itself. The most beautiful man in the world being crucified for no reason at all, etc etc...

The moral of all of these stories is the same : Obey the ten commandments, or perish.

The word God, is a synonym for Good.

God is a complex noun describing the (Good) laws of nature, embedded within the legal system. eg: If you do not let your land go fallow (the sabbath) every seventh year, you end up with famine, and as a consequence : war, pestilence and death.

If you exploit people; lie, cheat, and steal, then your actions will be echoed throughout your society; and it will collapse into famine, pestilence, war, and death.

The Bible is a record of the last 6000 years (at least) of human history. There is a strong mystical content, but you do not have to agree with, or to have experienced that to realise the consequences of a legal system which thinks that lies are truth, and that the legal system itself need only serve the interests of itself.

The number of times that society has collapsed into war; ultimately because of corruption; is just pathetic. Absolutely pathetic. Pitiful. Even animals are better than us.
 
Solace
 
Reply Sat 25 Oct, 2008 08:39 am
@Poseidon,
Quote:

People eating their children during times of famine.


They must've skipped this story in sunday school.

The Bible is NOT a record of human history. The Bible is a set of mythical stories, which had morals that were often applicable to the times but make little sense to us today, that are placed in a semi-historical setting. There's as much history in the Odyssey or the Illiad, and I doubt there's any more myth.

Society doesn't need to be corrupt in order to collapse into war. Men go to war because men like to kill each other. If ya don't think so, just flick on the television sometime. As for society, it can't become corrupt when it was never set up right in the first place.
 
Binyamin Tsadik
 
Reply Sun 26 Oct, 2008 04:05 am
@Solace,
I agree that the Torah is not a History book although it has Historical elements to it. Rather it is all of the necissary steps to create a holy nation that will elevate the world to perfection.
 
Poseidon
 
Reply Sun 26 Oct, 2008 07:35 am
@Mephistopheles phil,
The historical record of the Bible may not be 100% accurate.

But certain books are very accurate, showing that society collapses when the commandments are not obeyed.

You would be a fool to think men actually want to die in warfare. They may claim thus out of bravado. But not for real.

You would also be foolish to think that a corrupt legal system is going to be functional.
And a damn fool to think you can farm land without letting it go fallow.

And what happens when there is not enough food for everyone?
They get weapons and try and take it from their less corrupted neighbours.

recent example : Iraq and Kuwait.
Millions of soldiers Saddam had, but they had more weapons than bullets, and more bullets than food. In the end the U.S. was trading their guns for foodpacks.
 
Binyamin Tsadik
 
Reply Sun 26 Oct, 2008 08:40 am
@Poseidon,
Poseidon wrote:
The historical record of the Bible may not be 100% accurate.

it is 100% accurate


Poseidon wrote:
You would be a fool to think men actually want to die in warfare. They may claim thus out of bravado. But not for real.

Then you never met a Samurai

Poseidon wrote:
You would also be foolish to think that a corrupt legal system is going to be functional.

Umm.. can you point out a single legal system in the world that is not corrupt today?
 
invulnerable23
 
Reply Tue 28 Oct, 2008 09:49 am
@Binyamin Tsadik,
I suppose I should step into this discussion, as an Evangelical Christian Philosophy student (a mouthful :bigsmile:).

We Evangelicals hold to the scriptures as being 100% inspired by God to be written. However, that does not mean the things said in it are always true. How can this be? Take the book of Job. You can't quote the words said from Job's foolish three friends as canon, since they were chastised by God in the last part of the book for speaking incorrectly of Him. Also, the things said by foreign kings and sinful men can't be quoted as truth.

In the same way, not all the events portrayed were the right way of doing things. Take David and Bathsheba. Does that mean that we who are in power should also take the wives away of men who are lower than us? Does that mean adultery is okay? :detective: Or in many of the stories you have listed. Does that mean rape, murder, slavery, and such are okay?

By all means, no. The scripture is reconciled in our minds by the tension between God's inspiration and human failure. Sometimes things in scripture are iffy, since they are men who are spoken of. However, the two greatest commandments stand tall over the whole of scripture: "Love your neighbor as yourself" and "Love the Lord your God with all your heart..." These two are the principals that guide the rest of all things we do. Slavery is not loving your fellow man. Murder is hate. Rape is unfair to the woman.

If you don't love, God will smack you. If you do, things may still happen, but now you can have hope for the future.

I would never say that God would make me happy in life, or give me all the answers. He won't. I could never tell a family who just lost their daughter in a fire, "someday you'll understand", because it isn't true. All God does give me is hope in the future. Job is a prime example. He wanted to know, from God, why God allowed such things to take place. God's answer was, essentially, "You don't get to know."

Now... *steps back and allows the argument to flow*
 
Mr Fight the Power
 
Reply Tue 28 Oct, 2008 10:49 am
@Didymos Thomas,
Didymos Thomas wrote:
Depends on which entry you are speaking of. Some of the OT is simply history of the Jewish people, and therefore, quite literal - though, many of those stories also manage to slip allegory in as well much like Plato gives us accounts of Socrates' last days, but the accounts are full of philosophical discourse and significance.

When we look at books like Genesis, and the various teachings of the prophets, it seems pretty clear to me that taking the language literal is the first step to serious error in understanding the literature. But if you had any specifics about this, I'd love to hear.


I'm sorry if this has been discussed already, but it seems that you aren't really addressing the question so much as you are avoiding it.

Even if you don't agree with the literal translation (although I think taking a lot of the bible figuratively is hardly any better, and the parts that must be taken literally are pretty absurd), how do you rationalize the parts you do accept?

This goes for VCS as well, but you specifically stated that you don't accept some scripture in the canon yet accept some that isn't. How do you make any differentiation between the different texts?

If it is relative to the individual, why shouldn't we assume that you take religion as a manner to support views you already have, rather than forming views from religion? If you already have a sense of judgment as to what is right and wrong about the bible and religion, why should you even bother with studying it or considering it at all? You will maintain virtue regardless of religion.
 
Mr Fight the Power
 
Reply Tue 28 Oct, 2008 11:05 am
@invulnerable23,
invulnerable23 wrote:
I suppose I should step into this discussion, as an Evangelical Christian Philosophy student (a mouthful :bigsmile:).

We Evangelicals hold to the scriptures as being 100% inspired by God to be written. However, that does not mean the things said in it are always true. How can this be? Take the book of Job. You can't quote the words said from Job's foolish three friends as canon, since they were chastised by God in the last part of the book for speaking incorrectly of Him. Also, the things said by foreign kings and sinful men can't be quoted as truth.

In the same way, not all the events portrayed were the right way of doing things. Take David and Bathsheba. Does that mean that we who are in power should also take the wives away of men who are lower than us? Does that mean adultery is okay? :detective: Or in many of the stories you have listed. Does that mean rape, murder, slavery, and such are okay?

By all means, no. The scripture is reconciled in our minds by the tension between God's inspiration and human failure. Sometimes things in scripture are iffy, since they are men who are spoken of. However, the two greatest commandments stand tall over the whole of scripture: "Love your neighbor as yourself" and "Love the Lord your God with all your heart..." These two are the principals that guide the rest of all things we do. Slavery is not loving your fellow man. Murder is hate. Rape is unfair to the woman.

If you don't love, God will smack you. If you do, things may still happen, but now you can have hope for the future.

I would never say that God would make me happy in life, or give me all the answers. He won't. I could never tell a family who just lost their daughter in a fire, "someday you'll understand", because it isn't true. All God does give me is hope in the future. Job is a prime example. He wanted to know, from God, why God allowed such things to take place. God's answer was, essentially, "You don't get to know."

Now... *steps back and allows the argument to flow*


This perfectly displays why religious doctrine completely fails at falsification.

Does it ever bother you that know one can call your beliefs into question?

Are you comfortable in the fact that you are your own justification?

Being an evangelist, how can you justify proselytisation when your own beliefs are inherently subjective and impervious to argument?
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Tue 28 Oct, 2008 11:38 am
@Mr Fight the Power,
Quote:
it is 100% accurate


Historically speaking? Historians think otherwise, and for good reason. Corroborate the flood story of Noah.

Quote:
We Evangelicals hold to the scriptures as being 100% inspired by God to be written. However, that does not mean the things said in it are always true. How can this be? Take the book of Job. You can't quote the words said from Job's foolish three friends as canon, since they were chastised by God in the last part of the book for speaking incorrectly of Him. Also, the things said by foreign kings and sinful men can't be quoted as truth.


Actually, the words of those friends are canon - it's part of the canon, as Job is canon for Evangelical Christians. God chastising the friends is also part of canon, given that God chastises them in Job.

Quote:
Even if you don't agree with the literal translation (although I think taking a lot of the bible figuratively is hardly any better, and the parts that must be taken literally are pretty absurd), how do you rationalize the parts you do accept?


No part of the text must, or should be taken literally. The genre is mythology. Should we take parts of Homer literally and not others?

As to the question - to speak of parts that I accept suggests that I reject other parts. I accept the whole book, cover to cover. As scripture that I read personally, some sections are more valuable to me, others relatively useless.
I do not see the trouble in "rationalizing" any sections of the Bible, even the ones that I do not personally use.

Quote:
If it is relative to the individual, why shouldn't we assume that you take religion as a manner to support views you already have, rather than forming views from religion? If you already have a sense of judgment as to what is right and wrong about the bible and religion, why should you even bother with studying it or considering it at all? You will maintain virtue regardless of religion.


That last statement is absolutely correct. You do not need religion. But think about what you have written - can't we ask, with equal force, why study philosophy? If one already has a sense of what is right and wrong, what's the point in reading philosophy? Why shouldn't we assume that the student of philosophy takes his studies to support preexisting views?

The Bible is just a book.

Quote:
This perfectly displays why religious doctrine completely fails at falsification.


The words of one person can "perfectly" show why religious doctrine fails? That's a bit of an extreme statement. Can one philosopher discredit all of philosophy, or only himself?
 
Mr Fight the Power
 
Reply Tue 28 Oct, 2008 12:18 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Didymos Thomas wrote:
As to the question - to speak of parts that I accept suggests that I reject other parts. I accept the whole book, cover to cover. As scripture that I read personally, some sections are more valuable to me, others relatively useless.
I do not see the trouble in "rationalizing" any sections of the Bible, even the ones that I do not personally use.


Is God merciful? Let us ask the scripture:

"For I am merciful, saith the Lord, and I will not keep anger forever." (Jeremiah 3:12)
"Ye have kindled a fire in mine anger, which shall burn forever." (Jeremiah 17:4)

It is impossible to take both of those lines as true. They cannot both be rationalized.

Was Jesus a sinner?

Matthew 5:22: But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, 'Raca,' is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, 'You fool!' will be in danger of the fire of hell.

"You fools!" (Jesus) Luke 11:40
"You blind fools!" (Jesus) Mat 23:17



It is quite easy to simply brush these off as the mistakes of imperfect men, but to do so impugns the entire bible. Once you have accepted that some of the bible is the result of human error, you cast doubt on the entire bible. Any authenticity is lost and outside verification is necessary.

Quote:
That last statement is absolutely correct. You do not need religion. But think about what you have written - can't we ask, with equal force, why study philosophy? If one already has a sense of what is right and wrong, what's the point in reading philosophy? Why shouldn't we assume that the student of philosophy takes his studies to support preexisting views?


I attempt to hold my philosophical views to a higher standard than what is applied to scripture. The point at which the study of philosophy becomes to me a self-satisfying practice, I will quit it. As it is, though, philosophy serves to provide some level of objective truth, or at least shared relative truth.

It is entirely possible, and highly likely, that each person on here has philosophical views that tell more about his own nature than nature itself, but when pressed, the student of philosophy must offer justification to his critic, rather than appealing to a book he recognizes as possessing no inherent authority.

Quote:
The Bible is just a book.


As is Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals, yet there seems to be a definite duplicity in the general treatment of these two classic works.

I have yet to hear anyone say "Kant thinks in mysterious ways" in trying to justify some categorical imperative, even if he is certainly a more reliable source of information than the authors and canonizers (if that isn't a word, I'm starting it) of the bible.

Quote:
The words of one person can "perfectly" show why religious doctrine fails? That's a bit of an extreme statement. Can one philosopher discredit all of philosophy, or only himself?


I said it fails in terms of falsification. If one philosopher displays a flaw common to the whole of philosophy then I will point it out too.

It is impossible for the opponent of religious belief to nail down religion. I can bring up valid reasonable points for the rest of my life and never actually come up with some reason why any religious belief would be false.

He points this out in his treatment of the bible. Does the bible seem wrong? Human error! Does the bible seem right? Its God of course!

He even goes so far as to say that God will let us know some things, but won't let us solve other mysteries. If this isn't the biggest intellectual cop-out, I don't know what is: "If something makes sense, run with it; if something doesn't make sense, run with it."

That is why it fails at falsification. That isn't to say that it is necessarily untrue for him or you, it simply means that you should admit that what you believe makes sense to you and you alone and put up with us nonbelievers thinking you have a crazy inconsistency in your thoughts.
 
Binyamin Tsadik
 
Reply Tue 28 Oct, 2008 12:45 pm
@invulnerable23,
invulnerable23 wrote:
I suppose I should step into this discussion, as an Evangelical Christian Philosophy student (a mouthful :bigsmile:).

We Evangelicals hold to the scriptures as being 100% inspired by God to be written. However, that does not mean the things said in it are always true. How can this be? Take the book of Job. You can't quote the words said from Job's foolish three friends as canon, since they were chastised by God in the last part of the book for speaking incorrectly of Him. Also, the things said by foreign kings and sinful men can't be quoted as truth.

In the same way, not all the events portrayed were the right way of doing things. Take David and Bathsheba. Does that mean that we who are in power should also take the wives away of men who are lower than us? Does that mean adultery is okay? :detective: Or in many of the stories you have listed. Does that mean rape, murder, slavery, and such are okay?



This is why they are portrayed in this way and this is why the Righteous are punished harshly for their failures.
Moses was punished for such a small task but God did not want us to think that this small insignificant flaw was okay.
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Tue 28 Oct, 2008 01:49 pm
@Binyamin Tsadik,
Quote:
Is God merciful? Let us ask the scripture:

"For I am merciful, saith the Lord, and I will not keep anger forever." (Jeremiah 3:12)
"Ye have kindled a fire in mine anger, which shall burn forever." (Jeremiah 17:4)

It is impossible to take both of those lines as true. They cannot both be rationalized.


Sure they can be rationalized, and in several ways.

The most obvious is this: God, like almost every other deity imagined by man, can be angry at times and happy other times, can be rathful and loving. Zues could be benevolent and vengeful, why not this God?

Personally, I think this makes God too human. None the less, the above rationalization does work, logically, anyway.

Quote:
Was Jesus a sinner?

Matthew 5:22: But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, 'Raca,' is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, 'You fool!' will be in danger of the fire of hell.

"You fools!" (Jesus) Luke 11:40
"You blind fools!" (Jesus) Mat 23:17


I'm looking here for an example of Jesus sinning and I do not see one. Perhaps you were trying to go after a Jesus who contradicts himself by telling people not to get angry, who them gets angry.

If the second possibility is the case, there can be two very simple replies:
1. Jesus is indeed a sinner. He was human, after all.
2. Someone can call you a fool without being angry with you.

Personally, if Jesus existed historically, of course he was a sinner. But with respect to the character Jesus from the New Testament, it's just a character, a mythological character, and in such a context may be without sin. From that standpoint, I would go with the second rationalization or something akin to it.

Quote:
It is quite easy to simply brush these off as the mistakes of imperfect men, but to do so impugns the entire bible. Once you have accepted that some of the bible is the result of human error, you cast doubt on the entire bible. Any authenticity is lost and outside verification is necessary.


Yeah, let's doubt the Bible, every word of it. Sounds like a great idea. But why does an error cause the whole text to lose authenticity? Dante made mistakes in his Comedy yet the book is still authentically Dante.

As for outside verification: what outside verification? The Bible is mythology. Homer does not need outside verification for anything.

Quote:
I attempt to hold my philosophical views to a higher standard than what is applied to scripture. The point at which the study of philosophy becomes to me a self-satisfying practice, I will quit it. As it is, though, philosophy serves to provide some level of objective truth, or at least shared relative truth.

It is entirely possible, and highly likely, that each person on here has philosophical views that tell more about his own nature than nature itself, but when pressed, the student of philosophy must offer justification to his critic, rather than appealing to a book he recognizes as possessing no inherent authority.


Well good for you! But this idea that you hold your philocophical views to a higher standard than what is applied to scripture is quite an egotistical claim, no offense. Who is to say that there are not men in this world who take their theology and religious practice as seriously as you take your study of philosophy. I imagine there are some religious practitioners who take their religion more seriously than you take your philosophy.

Quote:
As is Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals, yet there seems to be a definite duplicity in the general treatment of these two classic works.

I have yet to hear anyone say "Kant thinks in mysterious ways" in trying to justify some categorical imperative, even if he is certainly a more reliable source of information than the authors and canonizers (if that isn't a word, I'm starting it) of the bible.


Of course, they are two different genres. One is philosophy, rational discourse, and the other is mythology, a world of figurative language and archetypes.

Quote:
I said it fails in terms of falsification. If one philosopher displays a flaw common to the whole of philosophy then I will point it out too.

It is impossible for the opponent of religious belief to nail down religion. I can bring up valid reasonable points for the rest of my life and never actually come up with some reason why any religious belief would be false.

He points this out in his treatment of the bible. Does the bible seem wrong? Human error! Does the bible seem right? Its God of course!

He even goes so far as to say that God will let us know some things, but won't let us solve other mysteries. If this isn't the biggest intellectual cop-out, I don't know what is: "If something makes sense, run with it; if something doesn't make sense, run with it."

That is why it fails at falsification. That isn't to say that it is necessarily untrue for him or you, it simply means that you should admit that what you believe makes sense to you and you alone and put up with us nonbelievers thinking you have a crazy inconsistency in your thoughts.


He, he, he. That's fine, a single person can make these mistakes. But a single person making some mistake does not translate to everyone making that same mistake. Thus, one person's words cannot discredit religious doctrine, he can only discredit his own doctrine.

Criticize, that's fine, but there is no need for over-extended generalizations.
 
Mr Fight the Power
 
Reply Tue 28 Oct, 2008 02:12 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Didymos Thomas wrote:
Yeah, let's doubt the Bible, every word of it. Sounds like a great idea. But why does an error cause the whole text to lose authenticity? Dante made mistakes in his Comedy yet the book is still authentically Dante.


What causes us to question some parts of the bible, human fallibility, is a common characteristic of the entire bible. If you say that we shouldn't take this part as complete truth because it was written by a person who could have erred, I can point to any part of the bible and make the same dismissal.

Quote:
As for outside verification: what outside verification? The Bible is mythology. Homer does not need outside verification for anything.
If you wish to compare it to Homeric works, treat it as such: fiction.

Quote:
Well good for you! But this idea that you hold your philocophical views to a higher standard than what is applied to scripture is quite an egotistical claim, no offense. Who is to say that there are not men in this world who take their theology and religious practice as seriously as you take your study of philosophy. I imagine there are some religious practitioners who take their religion more seriously than you take your philosophy.
They may hold their studies to a far greater standard than me, but I do not believe anyone can hold their beliefs to as high a standard of justification and be religious or hold faith in scripture. I don't even know what standard of justification most theologians apply to their religious knowledge. It can't be consistent with any modern standard.

Quote:
Of course, they are two different genres. One is philosophy, rational discourse, and the other is mythology, a world of figurative language and archetypes.
You talk down the bible so much that I wonder what you actually take from it. When you say that you "accept the whole book, cover to cover", do you simply accept it as classic literature?

Quote:
He, he, he. That's fine, a single person can make these mistakes. But a single person making some mistake does not translate to everyone making that same mistake. Thus, one person's words cannot discredit religious doctrine, he can only discredit his own doctrine.
I am convinced that this is a common trait in all religious doctrine. I try to be respectful to religious belief, but that only extends to the chance that religious belief can be founded completely subjectively and still be true.
 
 

 
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