How to read the bible?

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lazymon
 
Reply Fri 21 May, 2010 10:13 am
I have always been taught that when reading the old testament to take certain things too literal. Is it just me or do people actually believe that people back then lived 400 or 900 years old. I always have and it just didn't work in my mind. I was reading my bible just today and discovered for the first time that it isn't talking about how long they lived but how long their family name carried their nation. For example Adams family name lived as long as 930 years but Adam as a human died way before that.

WHY did people live longer before the Flood than after it?

It is unbelievable that we are being taught lies like this. :brickwall::brickwall::brickwall:

---------- Post added 05-21-2010 at 11:19 AM ----------

And to top it off the translations are all screwed up. Genesis 6:3 Then the LORD said, "My Spirit will not contend with man forever, for he is mortal; his days will be a hundred and twenty years."

It to me is stating that the lifespans of each person were around 120 years. Not that God is suddenly changing the lifespans. This is preposterous to find out I have been carrying this lie with me.
 
HexHammer
 
Reply Fri 21 May, 2010 11:27 am
@lazymon,
lazymon;166945 wrote:
I have always been taught that when reading the old testament to take certain things too literal. Is it just me or do people actually believe that people back then lived 400 or 900 years old. I always have and it just didn't work in my mind. I was reading my bible just today and discovered for the first time that it isn't talking about how long they lived but how long their family name carried their nation. For example Adams family name lived as long as 930 years but Adam as a human died way before that.

WHY did people live longer before the Flood than after it?

It is unbelievable that we are being taught lies like this. :brickwall::brickwall::brickwall:

---------- Post added 05-21-2010 at 11:19 AM ----------

And to top it off the translations are all screwed up. Genesis 6:3 Then the LORD said, "My Spirit will not contend with man forever, for he is mortal; his days will be a hundred and twenty years."

It to me is stating that the lifespans of each person were around 120 years. Not that God is suddenly changing the lifespans. This is preposterous to find out I have been carrying this lie with me.
I know in China they like to add least 10 years to a woman's age as a compliment to her wisdom, where in western culture such thing is a big nono, where least 10 years is subtracted from the assumed age, if not more.

Sounds like cultural compliments.
 
lazymon
 
Reply Fri 21 May, 2010 12:56 pm
@lazymon,
It just makes sense to me because of this:

If you read Genesis from the beginning, the author is telling you that people lived to be over 2 hundred, 9 hundred, but then all of the sudden you get to the story of Abraham and his wife and they die around 120 years old. Abraham is the only character that God really "gets into" and starts using to manipulate the other countries of this new formed world (after the flood). The story really zooms in and focuses on Abraham and you get to know his real age of death. As for the others, all that genealogy stuff, it is like a quick bloodline/timeline lesson so that we can understand how God was really interested in bloodlines and making deals with His chosen peoples. The names of the people are like the founders of each "kingdom" my guess that it was the earliest formation of monarchy system where the father of a family kept the family names and went out to start a nation. So the 930 years of Adam was the first family started by humanity and how long the family name lasted until there were no more male leaders to carry on the Adam family name.
 
mark gamson
 
Reply Sun 23 May, 2010 03:38 am
@lazymon,
lazymon;167001 wrote:
It just makes sense to me because of this:

If you read Genesis from the beginning, the author is telling you that people lived to be over 2 hundred, 9 hundred, but then all of the sudden you get to the story of Abraham and his wife and they die around 120 years old. Abraham is the only character that God really "gets into" and starts using to manipulate the other countries of this new formed world (after the flood). The story really zooms in and focuses on Abraham and you get to know his real age of death. As for the others, all that genealogy stuff, it is like a quick bloodline/timeline lesson so that we can understand how God was really interested in bloodlines and making deals with His chosen peoples. The names of the people are like the founders of each "kingdom" my guess that it was the earliest formation of monarchy system where the father of a family kept the family names and went out to start a nation. So the 930 years of Adam was the first family started by humanity and how long the family name lasted until there were no more male leaders to carry on the Adam family name.



If this were true then Seth would have carried on Adams name but not so, reading Genesis 5 tells us that Seth lived 912 years and died and so on, so the family line thing doesn't make sense to me.

Good thought though.
Mark.
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Sun 23 May, 2010 04:14 am
@lazymon,
If you go to Amazon.com and enter 'How to read the bible' you get 290 hits.

I am sure at least a few of them will help you answer that question.
 
jgweed
 
Reply Sun 23 May, 2010 08:04 am
@lazymon,
One takes the Bible as literally true only if one subscribes to certain sects and their dogma. If one subjects the text to historical and critical analysis, 1) one can separate the religious truths from the trappings of fables, tribal histories, and fantasy that characterise writings from the period, and 2) understand the chance nature of both the canon and its various translations.
 
KaseiJin
 
Reply Sun 23 May, 2010 08:26 am
@lazymon,
How does one go about with reading the Bible?

*Start with learning Classic Hebrew (with a little background in Chaldean);
*Add to that, learning Koine Greek;
*Do some studies in ancient Mediterranean cultural geography and comparative religious systems;
*Do some studies in Greco-Roman literature;
*Do some textual studies in Second Temple Judaism;
*Do research in the several scholarly areas of critical analysis;

[indent]. . . then one can read the Bible pretty well.[/indent]
 
Alan Masterman
 
Reply Sun 23 May, 2010 08:48 am
@jgweed,
jgweed;167680 wrote:
One takes the Bible as literally true only if one subscribes to certain sects and their dogma. If one subjects the text to historical and critical analysis, 1) one can separate the religious truths from the trappings of fables, tribal histories, and fantasy that characterise writings from the period, and 2) understand the chance nature of both the canon and its various translations.


Absolutely.

Religion is for the morally and intellectually undeveloped, but, if you have any genuine sensitivity to the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, I think you should avoid the Pauline writings (Acts of the Apostles etc), where the message is already being fatally corrupted, and in particular, disregard the collection of books which we traditionally refer to as the "Old Testament". These describe how, for example, on the journey from Egypt to Canaan, the Jews systematically massacred every man, woman and child they found along the way. No, I correct myself; there was one place where they contented themselves with gathering all of the pregnant women in the marketplace, and gutting them so the foetuses fell out onto the paving stones. And they didn't kill the teenage virgins. As to why, your guess is as good as mine...

Not the kind of thing I would like to catch my children reading.
 
HexHammer
 
Reply Sun 23 May, 2010 09:08 am
@Alan Masterman,
Alan Masterman;167689 wrote:
Absolutely.

Religion is for the morally and intellectually undeveloped
Imo you are utterly wrong, for me it's overly intellectually developed, which is rampat. I see highly educated people who are religious, based on group think, an instinct which is seperate from ordinary IQ.

In Denmark we are not very religious, often we consider religious people supersticious and somewhat stupid, but generally our moral are lower than religious people, who will self enforce their values.
 
reasoning logic
 
Reply Sun 23 May, 2010 09:24 am
@jgweed,
jgweed;167680 wrote:
One takes the Bible as literally true only if one subscribes to certain sects and their dogma. If one subjects the text to historical and critical analysis, 1) one can separate the religious truths from the trappings of fables, tribal histories, and fantasy that characterise writings from the period, and 2) understand the chance nature of both the canon and its various translations.



Maybe I am wrong but I think that I read the bible very closely the way you do. There seems to be alot of truth in it and alot of made up stories.
To be honest I tried very hard to be a believer but I just could not do it. I built alot of this doubt from some of the teachings in the Bible. There seem to be many wise people who wrote parts of the bible that told you that people will deceive you, "even people who write Bibles.
 
lazymon
 
Reply Sun 23 May, 2010 09:44 am
@Alan Masterman,
So I feel pretty dumb after my theory fell through. Abraham was described as breathing his last breath at age 175years old. I can't find a way around that.

So I suppose there has to be some major discernment as to what is not important and what is when reading the bible. This goes completely against what I thought that the bible is the inerrant word of God. Because if that were true we should memorize how old these characters were right? Which I was forced to do in 5th grade, and we got nice little prizes and candy if we were the first one to raise our hand and get it right.


Alan Masterman;167689 wrote:
Absolutely.

Religion is for the morally and intellectually undeveloped, but, if you have any genuine sensitivity to the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, I think you should avoid the Pauline writings (Acts of the Apostles etc), where the message is already being fatally corrupted, and in particular, disregard the collection of books which we traditionally refer to as the "Old Testament". These describe how, for example, on the journey from Egypt to Canaan, the Jews systematically massacred every man, woman and child they found along the way. No, I correct myself; there was one place where they contented themselves with gathering all of the pregnant women in the marketplace, and gutting them so the foetuses fell out onto the paving stones. And they didn't kill the teenage virgins. As to why, your guess is as good as mine...

Not the kind of thing I would like to catch my children reading.


I have read some of these and wondered myself, are we to think this was God's purpose for these people? It is so confusing. Maybe God just wants us to see the reality of what people are capable of? Of course we would never read those parts while sitting in our nice clean churches. Not to say that we should, though we certainly need something in the way of showing how evil people can be towards each other. I guess even God's chosen people can turn into devils.
 
Alan Masterman
 
Reply Sun 23 May, 2010 09:55 am
@HexHammer,
HexHammer, I really believe the evidence is against you. Religion has given us 9/11, Vietnam II (also known as Afghanistan), and Vietnam III (also known as Iraq). Some are already looking forward to Vietnam IV (also known as Iran).

Do you really think that non-religious Danish people have "lower" morals than religious people? Can you tell us why you think so?
 
HexHammer
 
Reply Sun 23 May, 2010 10:13 am
@Alan Masterman,
Alan Masterman;167704 wrote:
HexHammer, I really believe the evidence is against you. Religion has given us 9/11, Vietnam II (also known as Afghanistan), and Vietnam III (also known as Iraq). Some are already looking forward to Vietnam IV (also known as Iran).

Do you really think that non-religious Danish people have "lower" morals than religious people? Can you tell us why you think so?
Those wars you mention has NOTHING to do with religion, rather it's politics and phobia of communism.

- road rage
- yelling and screaming at eachother
- grafitti everywhere
- people not helping strangers
- trash in the street

When in times of old where christinaity was a very respected belive, things were ordely.

Our schools are extremely bad, because of poorly educated teachers and unmotived noisy students.
Even the politicians responsible for our schools moves their children to private schools.
 
lazymon
 
Reply Sun 23 May, 2010 10:32 am
@lazymon,
From what I gather from my readings in Genesis as it describes the first wars, God became very saddened that he even created every living thing. After he chose a family to save and a few of each animal he then started over.

It seems God likes to find his favorite of all the males and use his whole family and generations after to reform the rest of humanity through "covenants". This only starts more wars and causes jealousy. Even I can figure this out, why couldn't God? I guess it would be too much trouble to hop around to every human and judge us instantaneously bringing swift justice to all, which he kind of does through the use of darwin awards.
 
prothero
 
Reply Sun 23 May, 2010 05:41 pm
@lazymon,
Lets not start with the whole bible lets take a single story, say the Good Samaritan story. Is the historical factual aspect important or is the message, the meaning of the story independent of its historical factual basis? Did there have to be an actual samaritan and a wounded traveler? Is not the meaning independent of its historical factual basis? From there try applying the same prinicple to most Bible stories. What are they trying to teach or tell, what is the meaning or significance; not is the story historical factual accurate. Stories from that time were not about an accurate accounting of history or facts they were about meanings, values and relationships.
 
lazymon
 
Reply Sun 23 May, 2010 06:26 pm
@prothero,
prothero;167825 wrote:
Lets not start with the whole bible lets take a single story, say the Good Samaritan story. Is the historical factual aspect important or is the message, the meaning of the story independent of its historical factual basis? Did there have to be an actual samaritan and a wounded traveler? Is not the meaning independent of its historical factual basis? From there try applying the same prinicple to most Bible stories. What are they trying to teach or tell, what is the meaning or significance; not is the story historical factual accurate. Stories from that time were not about an accurate accounting of history or facts they were about meanings, values and relationships.


Yeah but it is when they tried to make accurate historical accounts is what throws me off, I can imagine if a whole nation was named after Adam's theological ideas about God and then those who didn't want to live under Adam's laws migrated to another region.

If it doesn't matter that Adam actually existed, then maybe "Adam" is just a metaphor for the first humans that had evolved from monkeys and acquired the knowledge of good and evil. So these "smart monkeys" were the first ones to create laws regarding good and evil. Now we have the first accounts of Fear being used to control society when our history books tell us that; a certain group of people have the power to be the only ones to survive God's wrath through magic covenants. Not saying that this is a bad thing, just trying to take an unbiased approach to understand the bible by playing a little bit of devils' advocate. In this way of looking at it we now have people choosing sides. We have a sort of magic and "anti magic". Then we can also have a middle ground, a philosophical balance of good and evil such as the yin-yang which is just as important for explaining human history.

Any way you look at it though, how we live our life is what truly matters. Having a little bit of History to look at when it comes to laws and understanding what is ethical and what isn't is nice to have. That is when Jesus really made a big scene, since even the idea of Jesus is that we should heal the sick and act humbly and righteously. To fight against magic and unrighteousness. That Jesus told us not to worship an image, not to see Him as a steeple or a cross. To get rid of all our idols and live righteously.
 
prothero
 
Reply Sun 23 May, 2010 06:32 pm
@lazymon,
lazymon;167835 wrote:
Yeah but it is when they tried to make accurate historical accounts is what throws me off, I can imagine if a whole nation was named after Adam's theological ideas about God and then those who didn't want to live under Adam's laws migrated to another region.

There was always a strain between literal and metaphorical interpretation. The problem really only became acute with the rise of science and the development of modern notions of history where historical scientific factual become synonymous with "truth". Biblical literalism and religious fundamentalism is a reactionary attempt to put biblical truth and the same basis as scientific and historical truth. A mistaken enterprise if every there was one. Myth is an appeal to human experience not to history and physical science.
 
lazymon
 
Reply Sun 23 May, 2010 06:50 pm
@prothero,
prothero;167840 wrote:
There was always a strain between literal and metaphorical interpretation. The problem really only became acute with the rise of science and the development of modern notions of history where historical scientific factual become synonymous with "truth". Biblical literalism and religious fundamentalism is a reactionary attempt to put biblical truth and the same basis as scientific and historical truth. A mistaken enterprise if every there was one. Myth is an appeal to human experience not to history and physical science.


So you are saying that it is a mistake to try and apply modern historical and scientific fact with with biblical knowledge?
 
prothero
 
Reply Sun 23 May, 2010 06:59 pm
@lazymon,
lazymon;167844 wrote:
So you are saying that it is a mistake to try and apply modern historical and scientific fact with with biblical knowledge?
I am saying that what the bible writers were trying to teach or tell you about god and the world does not have to do with the historical accuracy or the scientific factuality of the stories. It is literature not a history text and not a scientific treatise? The ancient myths of the Hebrew people and the early Chrisitians. I am not using "myth" in a derogatory sense but in the way ancient people told stories to impart meaning and understanding to their world. There is "truth" in the Bible just not scientific truth or historical accuracy.
 
KaseiJin
 
Reply Sun 23 May, 2010 08:50 pm
@prothero,
prothero;167825 wrote:
Lets not start with the whole bible lets take a single story,


This doesn't work that easily, however, either. We can start with any written document of the general period and find many a pericope, moral lessons, and hero mythologies, and get the same thing. The focus on a document which happens to be in a particular collection is totally beside the point, in a large way. For that reason, when reading any biblical document, we'd be much better off putting it all in a more accurate perspective.


prothero;167825 wrote:
. . . say the Good Samaritan story.

One additionally important matter to always keep in mind with such pericope blocks, however, is that we have a moral lesson within the flow of a story--which at times, may be a upper tiered moral lesson.

lazymon has been focusing on the Pentateuch story, and the greater evidence does much more easily lead us to the conclusion that even in the general time frame of the Second Temple era, the story was taken as historical report.


prothero;167825 wrote:
Stories from that time were not about an accurate accounting of history or facts they were about meanings, values and relationships.

This is not quite as often the case as some may tend to desire to wish; rather reflects a spin due to the passage of time and accumulation of empirical knowledge.
 
 

 
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