Help ATS with a contribution via PayPal:
learn more

Literal Views of the Bible

page: 1
0

log in

join

posted on Jun, 4 2004 @ 01:07 AM
link   
First of all I am a logic based athiest. This is a serious question and in no way meant to attack or offend any person or religion.

In the old testament there is a story of Noah and his big ol' boat. In this story Noah keep humanity and animal life alive while god purges the planet of evil via a big ol' flood.

Obviously there is a bit of fantasy in this story since not only did Noah not take on every species (sch as falmigos and other tropical things) but he did not take on plants. Even more so his family repopulates the earth in this story and since we aren't all of Jewish decent (Noah was a Jew) this story is not factual or at least incomplete. Of course you could argue that other species of animals and planet evolved afterwards, but this is basicly tossing out other portions of the bible.

I think most men of the cloth would agree that there is a bit of fancy in the story, so I'm going to assume most people would agree.

My question is, if this biblical story has at least a bit of fantacy to it, how can anyone claim other stories are factual?

I don't doubt that Jesus walked the earth, or that he was a man of serious interest to many. I also imagine a lot of the account of his life in the bible carries a good deal of acuracy. But when there is talk of him healing with a touch and walking on water, it reminds me of Noah, and his boat full of freshwater fish and giant redwood trees.

If part of faith accepting some parts of the bible as hard fact and not others?

I'm going about this very logically, which can be dangerous in religion, but I'm curious if believers have a reasoning behind their acceptance of turth and fancy in the bible.

Just a curious athiest. Thanks in advance for any insights.




posted on Jun, 4 2004 @ 01:37 AM
link   
Well, first thing I have to say is that when it comes to looking for answers or inspiration or Divine Insight or even 'Words to live by' and that kind of thing, you're much better off sticking with the NT rather than the OT, as far as the bible goes. IMHO anyway, as the OT in a lot of cases is like reading the words of a Bi-Polar Schizophrenic.

In either case however, Literal Interpretation of Biblical stories and Messages from God should usually be avoided. The bible, like many ancient writings of timeless wisdom are Very Dynamic in their methods. In other words, there are many levels or layers of information and insight throughout most if not all of it. So when taken too literal it is impossible to then understand the more subtle (and usually more important) messages.

The best way I can explain the reason for what I'm saying is by sighting examples by not only Judeo-Christian teachings but others as well. Such as Jesus using Parables to teach people similar to Buddhists using Koans. All Religions are filled with colorful and vivid STORIES, Art, Poems, Riddles, etc. The reason for this use of Cryptic Teaching was the only real way to put certain ideas or concepts into words a lot of the time. Some things can neither be taught nor learned by standard logical methods.

Then there are reasons of hiding or securing additional knowledge and things withing the writings that are for 'those in the know' to understand, while to everyone else it reads like something completely different. Stuff like that is NOT possible when done literally where everything is what it is at face value. The only way is to use Metaphor and Symbolism and things like that.



posted on Jun, 5 2004 @ 10:03 PM
link   

Originally posted by Quest
First of all I am a logic based athiest. This is a serious question and in no way meant to attack or offend any person or religion.

In the old testament there is a story of Noah and his big ol' boat. In this story Noah keep humanity and animal life alive while god purges the planet of evil via a big ol' flood.

Obviously there is a bit of fantasy in this story since not only did Noah not take on every species (sch as falmigos and other tropical things) but he did not take on plants. Even more so his family repopulates the earth in this story and since we aren't all of Jewish decent (Noah was a Jew) this story is not factual or at least incomplete. Of course you could argue that other species of animals and planet evolved afterwards, but this is basicly tossing out other portions of the bible.

Not neccesarily, you don't need to take plants. And no matter how you look at it . creationism,evolution, we are all from the same blood, Jewish my frind is a religion, not a race.

I think most men of the cloth would agree that there is a bit of fancy in the story, so I'm going to assume most people would agree.

My question is, if this biblical story has at least a bit of fantacy to it, how can anyone claim other stories are factual?

You are assuming though that it has a "little bit of fantasy" that a assumption that you start out with. Many people do , even no religious people do. Weird huh?

I don't doubt that Jesus walked the earth, or that he was a man of serious interest to many. I also imagine a lot of the account of his life in the bible carries a good deal of acuracy. But when there is talk of him healing with a touch and walking on water, it reminds me of Noah, and his boat full of freshwater fish and giant redwood trees.

If part of faith accepting some parts of the bible as hard fact and not others?

I'm going about this very logically, which can be dangerous in religion, but I'm curious if believers have a reasoning behind their acceptance of turth and fancy in the bible.


I have seen people get healed, and there is not discussion about it, I mean if you ask I will tell you. But I am not going to waste your time if you don't want me to. Life is more than we understand, but not because we are not there yet, but because we will never be there mentally, and the fact remains, logic can not figure everything out. Logic, like everything else has its limits.
Just a curious athiest. Thanks in advance for any insights.



posted on Jun, 6 2004 @ 08:02 AM
link   

Originally posted by infovacume
You are assuming though that it has a "little bit of fantasy" that's an assumption that you start out with. Many people do , even non religious people do. Weird huh?

Of course there is a "little bit of fantasy" in the Bible. The OT is the recorded history of the Jewish people, their origin & gods. Every culture in the world has their own version, and to claim that any of them are 100% literal is absurd.
I, personally, believe that they all contain the truth. They were written using metaphors and terminology in accordance with the times, so it is impossible for us to really understand everything in it's true context. Since many things they were trying to say related to a non-physical universe, which is not understood by the same side of the brain that communicates and relates to everything through logic, the only way they could express their thoughts, in words, was to use analogies and metaphors.

It's the left brain that translates our feelings & perceptions into the words we use to explain them. It's also what causes us to try and find a logical answer for anything that we can't explain with words.

There are things that exist which can only be understood with our right brain, and cannot be categorized or explained logically. With things like the Bible, you have to read the words, without over-analyzing them or thinking of their definitions, while you let your right brain show you the message through your instincts and intuition. People lost their innocence when they started to think through logic, rather than understand through perception. At that point, the duality of our world came into existence and we've been trying to keep it balanced ever since.
Since I'm limited to communicating my own thoughts with words this is the best explanation I have.


Originally posted by infovacume Not neccesarily, you don't need to take plants. And no matter how you look at it . creationism, evolution, we are all from the same blood, Jewish my frind is a religion, not a race.

1. Most plants would die if they were submerged under hundreds of feet of water, with no sunlight or air, for a hundred and fifty days. Of course, some of the plants and trees could survive,but not many. By accepting that the saved animals/people and surviving plants repopulated the entire planet, you must also accept that evolution is a powerful, existing force in nature and not contrary to God.

BTW, how many of each creature did God tell Noah to take with him on the Ark?

Genesis 6:19 And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every [sort] shalt thou bring into the ark, to keep [them] alive with thee; they shall be male and female.
Genesis 6:20 Of fowls after their kind, and of cattle after their kind, of every creeping thing of the earth after his kind, two of every [sort] shall come unto thee, to keep [them] alive.
***
Genesis 7:2 Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male and his female: and of beasts that [are] not clean by two, the male and his female.
Genesis 7:3 Of fowls also of the air by sevens, the male and the female; to keep seed alive upon the face of all the earth.
***
Another thought about the Flood, If God doesn't have any doubts or second thoughts about his actions, why did he regret having made man? So much so, that he wiped the face of the Earth clean of almost all life. Why didn't God accept the fact that "the imagination of man's heart [is] evil from his youth" (Gen 8:21), BEFORE he destroyed "every living substance...upon the face of the ground" (Gen 7:23)? Those are the not the actions of an omni-potent/-scient/-present, infinite God.

Noah's Ark trivia:
Noah was 600 years old at the time of the flood, and the first-born of the ninth generation to be born from Adam's line (2 Peter 2:5 says he's the eighth person to walk the Earth???). The flood would have occured about 1,656 years after Adam was first made (Genesis 5:1).


2. Actually, a person can be of the Jewish race and not of the Jewish faith; a person can follow the Jewish religion and not have any Jewish blood; or a person can be of Jewish descent and faith.



posted on Jun, 6 2004 @ 09:39 AM
link   
I think that this entirely depends on how literal you percieve the 'word of god'

Literalists

Obviously these are people who believe in the literal interpretation of the Bible. This means that there is no room for reinterpreting the Bible. When the Bible says that God created the world in six days, literalists actually believe the world was created in six twenty-four hour periods.

Fundamentalists

Fundamentalists believe that the Bible is completely inspired by God, and cannot contain errors. Where there are apparent contradictions, people do not yet have enough understanding - either of the text or of truth. Fundamentalists might differ from literalists in their interpretation of the creation story. A fundamentalists might argue that when the writer of Genesis mentions God creating things in a day, we can understand this as meaning is a period of time e.g. could be a thousand years.

Conservatives

Conservatives believe the Bible was inspired by God and that the writers wrote what God wanted. They were writing 'the truth' from God for people to understand. The Bible is not a scientific text, and occasionally there may be difficulties with a text where understanding is not clear. In the case of the Creation story, this is setting out the truth about God as the Creator of the world. It was never intended to be a scientific account of creation as we understand science today.

Liberals

Liberals form the other extreme of the spectrum. They believe that the writers of the Bible were guided by God but because they were human they could make mistakes. The Bible contains the God's Word but needs to be interpreted by people. Much of the Bible is not intended to be taken literally, but to present spiritual truth using parables, imaginative stories and poetic writing. For a liberal the creation story in Genesis is a myth composed to illustrate truth i.e. the nature of evil, the basic goodness of the Creation.

i think i'd side with the liberals if i had to.didnt they find noah's ark the other day or something?!



posted on Jun, 7 2004 @ 09:02 AM
link   
Well..it's time for my 2 cents.
First of all...I will admit to being an agnostic. I do not subscribe to the belief that an all knowing, all powerful deity exisits. That said here comes the bullet. Just for the sake of argument, I will give the bible credit. It is a very old piece of literature. And yes, it has very good lessons and ideas for people to use in their relations with each other. In other words, how to get along with each other peacefully. Aside from that, let's look at it from a different perspective. In my own interpretation, (yes i have read the entire thing) iI see the bible as simply what it is....A book. A book that is not much different than any book you can find on modern book shelves today. It has all of the ingredients that a New York Times best seller contains. These include; murder, rape, war, incest, mystical happenings, infidelity.....i could go on. That assertion made, I believe that the bible is simply that; a book for the reading enjoyment of others.
Now I'm not putting down any of those who are of the religious persuasion, quite the contrary, i am fortifying their beliefs. However, when it comes to the interpretation of the stories and lessons contained therein, it would seem to me that many theologies tend to go to the literal extreme. Some examples include; orthodox catholics having sex only for procreative reasons, the jewish and a few other middle eastern origin religions avoiding the consumption of certain foods etc. Mind you these examples are VERY non specific simply due to the fact that to discuss them at length would make this thread rediculously large.
And finally, let me make my own assertion as to the origin and existance of any religion. It is well known in psychology that one of the basic needs of man is the need to feel that there is a reason that we are here. That our very existance serves some purpose. Since mankind, on the whole, fears death we need to justify our existance in some way, to give our lives meaning. It is here that religion has stepped in for thousands of years. Religion tells us that we were put here by some higher power. That, unlike the beasts of the planet, we are here to live and die and wait for the day when all of mankind past, present, and future can be reunited and live forever in peace and happiness. An admirable notion at the least. But why create an entire world of life only to let it die and "sleep" until called again to life? Quite simply...mankind needs to believe that, otherwise the real truth becomes self evident; we are creatures that inhabit this planet exactly like the lower creatures do. The only purpose we have is to survive and reproduce. just as the beasts of this planet do. And since this brutal truth is unacceptable to man, he created religion to help himself justify his existance. And that, in my humble opinion, is the simple truth; we are simply here to live, eat, propagate, and perish. Anything else is just a diversion of the truth; we will die....period.
Of course there will be those who label me "heretic", "ignorant", etc. That is fine with me. I make no claim to being the only correct idea on this subject. In fact I welcome those who oppose my position. For in that opposition, i take my diversion from certain death.






top topics
 
0

log in

join