« Home | Dogma vs. "Spirit" » | My Trooper at the hospital » | Misc: Blogger, and TTLB » | Power has been out all day... » | The bible: my summary » | Deconversion; Dennett » | Great Nathaniel Branden quote » | Convert, or else! » | In the dead of winter » | The Anything God » 

Tuesday, February 21, 2006 

The bible: my summary (continued)

I previously pointed out interesting wikipedia entries about the bible but I missed an important page: the English Translations of the Bible. This entry says that there are about 450 translations of the bible over the past two thousand years! It also has (in some cases very brief) entries on about 120 bible versions and about three dozen biblical translators.

My favorite is a link from a very stubby entry:
Zondervan: does comparison of a number of translations, with a graphic showing where each fits on the spectrum of word-for-word (literal) or thought-for-thought (paraphrase). However, it may be skewed in favor of the New International Version (which the graphic shows located in the middle of the spectrum) which Zondervan publishes.
Anyone know if the graphic on the Zondervan page is approximately accurate? I would find it helpful to have a quick place to reference when I read when someone points out their preferred bible.

After deciding which books to put in the canon (and deciding which version of these books to use), now I see one has to pick the translation based on how much of the literal words versus the gleaned intended meaning is desired. When I hear someone stating what they think is a fact about their god, I tend to ask how they know. Now that I have a feeble grasp of the canonization and translation process that went into each passage, I wonder, how could anyone assert something as a "fact" when its source is the bible? Any insight here, Steven (my favorite biblical scholar)?

Thanks to my grounding in the scientific method, I generally hear the assertions many make about their invisible god while simultaneously wondering at their apparent innocence of how this world works.

Thanks to Kevin Parry who was recently writing about the Latin Vulgate Bible.


Hi, freethought mom
Hope your little trooper is doing better after his accident. As you can see the Bible has lots of translations. I keep accumulating different translations. As you can see on Zondervan's graph, the NIV (New International Version) is dead center. That's a good start, but also the Amplified Version is good because it includes in parentheses all the possible synonyms based on the original Hebrew words used. I use this often when I have to dissect a verse as I did in this week's bible lesson to analyze why Esau sold his birthright to Jacob. Life Application bibles are good because they bring out more of the contexts around the stories and relate it directly to modern day life.
Often what matters most in a biblical passage is the relationships between its characters and the characters to God. All the material prior to Moses was originally passed on as oral histories. There were other flood legends from the same area and other religious traditions (priestly, Yahwist, etc.) that influenced these stories.

I had said that the Bible is a window into the mind and character of a real and present God. If the Bible is to be understood, that is one fact. That it is a story, from beginning to end, about Jesus Christ is another (see John 3:16, the "Bible in a nutshell" verse). The canon fodder used to reveal the mind of God was the third and incidental component, the Jews - God's people. These had to be the three principal reasons why some books were left out. I have only read a few of the Apocrypha and Gnostic gospels so I'm not an expert. The Gnostic Gospels of Phillip and Mary Magdalene and the Apocalypse of Peter were written decades after these people were dead, not to mention they are revisionist in nature. The books in the Bible were kindred spirits so to speak. Where the mind of God interacting with the Israelites/ story of Christ narrative was, there was a Bible puzzle piece. I have read that the compilation we call the Bible was used as a unified reference dating from the middle of the second century AD.

The Bible's had a long, hard journey. You can easily see how literalists corrupt the Bible's message. It was the literalists that crucified Christ. It is ironic that the same Bible that can lead a person to salvation in Christ led to the crucifixion of the Christ.

Unfortunately, even most Christians aren't aware of the Christ (messianic) narrative throughout the OT. Jesus said He came to fulfill the prophecies and it certainly shows that He did just that. Once that was accomplished in the resurrection the end of the Bible draws near. The reason Acts of the apostles and the Pauline letters et al are included in Scripture was probably to show how an authentic Christian community should live if Christ is living in them. I tell my students that the Bible is about story of Jesus Christ that ended because that story ended with Christ and the people who walked with Him.

The more I study the Bible the less I am concerned about the details and more about how it shows me the correct way to look at the world today, now. As a believing Christian, I believe the Bible's truths as a window to objective truth and they help me understand anything I see and experience in the world. That's my Bible in a nutshell view. Keep posting.



2 Timothy 3:16-17 (Amplified Bible)
Amplified Bible (AMP)

16 Every Scripture is God-breathed (given by His inspiration) and profitable for instruction, for reproof and conviction of sin, for correction of error and discipline in obedience, [and] for training in righteousness (in holy living, in conformity to God's will in thought, purpose, and action),

17 So that the man of God may be complete and proficient, well fitted and thoroughly equipped for every good work.


2 Timothy 3:16-17
New International Version (NIV)

16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

"The bible is true because the bible says the bible is true."

~ Pat Robertson on Christianity

stardust,
I think Pat Robertson is really a Muslim. I heard once that there was a website that featured all of his looniest quotes. Do you have the web address?

Of course, Robertson's quote makes no sense as it is redundant. Did you know that the Koran begins with the words, "This book must not be doubted!"? Anyone with possession of a free mind would smell a rat immediately. Robertson makes the Bible sound like the Koran.

Robertson's sin is two-fold. He puts his own desires for political power ahead of God's will and he has helped create a bloc of narcissistic, ingnoramous Christians.

More Robertson quotes are always good for a laugh.

"Read myths. They teach you that you can turn inward, and you begin to get the message of the symbols. Read other people's myths, not those of your own religion, because you tend to interpret your own religion in terms of facts -- but if you read the other ones, you begin to get the message."

"...Mythology is often thought of as "other peoples" religions...Religion can be defined as mis-interpreted mythology"
Joseph Campbell

Thank you for your comment on my blog. Can I ask if I can include a link to your blog from my site? I really like the articles here and I'm sure those who visit my blog will enjoy yours.

The question of differing bible translations has always fascinated me. There are some verses that have been translated differently in different translations.

For example, Isaiah 7:14 is supposed to be a prophecy for the virgin birth of Jesus. However, there is some dispute over the actual word 'virgin' in this verse. The NIV translates it as 'virgin', but the Good News Bible translates it as 'young woman'. If it is really ‘young woman’, then one has to doubt the claim that this verse refers to the virgin birth.

This is a very nice blog. Keep up the good work.

Kevin

Memoirs of an ex-Christian

Ahh, Jim. Jim Jordan. The one that natters on about atheists as unscrupulous immoral intellectuals that wickedly crush debates with wiley ways? Do I fall into the "ignorant, useful idiot" category that uses "hammers" to "to shout people down who do not agree with their [read: my] agenda"?

Just curious, did you form such generous and compassionate feelings towards your fellow human beings by reading your bibles? That's what I get from your statement: "I believe the Bible's truths as a window to objective truth and they help me understand anything I see and experience in the world."

You say: "You can easily see how literalists corrupt the Bible's message." So you fall on the right side of the Zondervan graphic, which means you agree with the interpretation type translations?

You say: "Unfortunately, even most Christians aren't aware of the Christ (messianic) narrative throughout the OT."

QED, thanks, you just proved the point in my post.

Jim- The Robertson quote was supposed to be sarcasm. Many Christians use the bible as their only evidence for anything.

The one that natters on about atheists as unscrupulous immoral intellectuals...

Calm down now. The "10 Fallacies" post had nothing to do with atheists. It concerned intellectually dishonest arguments that are repeated over and over in our media in order to cloud over a real issue. As for you belonging in some ignorant, useful idiot category, no, I don't think you are.

you just proved the point in my post
You're point is true in that we should always ask people where they get there facts. However, the sad fact that so many Christians don't know their own Bible is a fact apart from the Bible itself. Wouldn't you want to know how to set them straight?

You said, So you fall on the right side of the Zondervan graphic, which means you agree with the interpretation type translations?

No. No-one should "fall" on one side or the other.
Bible students use translations from across Zondervan's spectrum. The imperative is understanding the original intent and contexts of the Bible verses. The three Bibles I recommended were word-for-word (AMP), middle of the road (NIV), and thought-for-thought (Life Application). In contrast, the literalists/fundamentalists are perverting the message by placing their own desires before God's. Sometimes those desires are political, sometimes they are emotional.

You said, did you form such generous and compassionate feelings towards your fellow human beings by reading your bibles?

Yes. The Bible wasn't meant to conform us, but to transform us. I was completely different; moody, petty, quick to anger, you name it. My sarcasm in my "10 Fallacies" post is nothing compared to the way I was.

Also, sarcasm is not wrong per se and Christianity is not a muzzle. Christians have an obligation to speak the truth when they see it, as do free thinkers.

You asked, I wonder, how could anyone assert something as a "fact" when its source is the bible?

Different translations don't mean that they don't concur. For example "To the people who believe in Christ at Phillippi" and "To the saints at Phillippi" are one and the same. The King James version had one notable faulty translation in Gen. 22:1 - God "tempted" Abraham, but the Hebrew word was more literally "tested". That is about as divers as the translations get, though.

What biblical claims bother you were they to be literally true?

stardust saidMany Christians use the bible as their only evidence for anything.
And that is wrong. The Bible is a useful tool (2 Timothy 3:16 above) but it doesn't say it is the only tool, because it isn't. If God is real, why would He hide himself completely in a book? Jean Valjean (Les Miserables) could be God then or anybody. Christians need correction; that I do not doubt, and I do try to correct them through my Bible class and my website.

As for mythology as a substitute for the Bible, the Bible is typological and historical. These two also overlap. I'll try to elaborate more on the differences at a later post. Gotta go.

Jim - what are your qualifications to teach biblical studies?

Also Jim...it was ME being sarcastic by posting Robertson's quote...Robertson was dead serious when he said it.

This is most likely a futile question for a programmed response I will most likely get...but has it ever occurred to you that YOU are the one who might be WRONG?

Hi, stardust
I have no degree but I do study daily and teach a Bible class. Someone tied to the fate of an organization is more likely to give you a programmed answer.

Of course I might be wrong, and sometimes I am (I'm not perfect)but the person is responsible ultimately to themselves for their own choices.

Let's not forget that this is a discussion on the veracity and interpretation of the Bible. I've given the summary of my research on the subject and I'll be glad to sit back and see what everyone else has to say. Take care.

Jim -- Freethought mom has given her summary, I have given my summary about the bible a couple of times before, and from our past discussions you should know where I stand already...here it is again.

There is no god.
Christianity is a myth.
The bible is an ancient collection of books christians use to perpetuate this myth.

The bible is a collection of books that contain lots of fables and legends; mythology; some historical events; erotic material; stories of incest; stories of literal human and animal sacrifice; stories of great adventures; trickster talees; magic; superstition; outdated laws where some are relevant to today's world, some not; some pretty poetry; proverbs similar to those found in other societies, mythologies and religions; violent stories of wrath and revenge; parables; and numerous inconsistencies. There, you have it "in a nutshell."

I just want to add to my above summary...regardless of how one interprets details of these biblical topics that are found in the bible... the subject matter generally remains the same.

I have done years of analyzing the bible on my own, as a christian and as an atheist. I respect the bible only as an ancient piece of literature like any other ancient work.

A bit off topic, but this is sort of related in response to Jim teaching Sunday school using his own self-educated bias...

One thing that has always bothered me when I was a christian and now, is that there is no investigation or qualification of the one in charge of teaching a bible class. One simply volunteers and the church rejoices and accepts this person to "educate" children, teens and adults. Unlike public schools, bible and religious volunteers are never questioned or held accountable to any kind of standard. (Not to mention background checks on these people.) Sunday school teachers can be complete morons, or pious individuals who pump young minds with their OWN version or interpretation of things and since it is "church", parents rarely question. Now THAT is scary.

Freethoughtmom,

I see that Jim has quoted both of us over on his blog again.

His ending paragraph

"Note that the atheist and myself are writing a summary directed to the opposing side.
I can see that at no time has she ever been convinced by Christianity.
Her summary could just as easily have been for a pornographic magazine. I wonder why.
I'll leave these two for the purpose of your comparing."


Well...the Bible DOES contain pornography and some very "juicy" and even some perverted stories.

When we are firm in our stance, he runs back and posts lengthy dissertations to himself whenever we hit a sore spot.

I just luuuve how Apostle-Apologists will denounce Atheists for not having an "objective moral center" i.e. the babblings of the Bible,
when they don't themselves.
It's always pick and mix...
and it HAS to be, as the Bible contradicts itself.
Yet, even disregarding all this,
the bible is full of horrendous practices... and, no, they're not being -denounced-... they're being CELEBRATED.
If the Bible is really the absolute true and infallible word of some sort of deity,
I'll fight him anyway, until I get some PRETTY DARN GOOD ANSWERS to his atrocities.

Another great Campbell quote:

"On the surface, [holy scriptures] may appear to have been composed as conscientious history. In depth they reveal themselves to have been concieved as myths: poetic readings of the mysteries of life from a certain interested point of view. But to read a poem as a chronicle of fact is -- to say the least -- to miss the point. To say a little more, it is to prove oneself a dolt." ~ Joseph Campbell

hairlessmonkeydk - It's true, they just want to pick and choose what they want, like a smorgasborg. Some people pick one thing, other's choose something else. Everyone can find a passage in the bible to prove or justify their point.

It's got something in there for everyone whether peace-loving or warmonger...peace and violence. It is a book of opposites, oxymorons, and contradictions that are left up to the reader to sort out. It's why it has to constantly be STUDIED. Church people have to spend loads of time analyzing and trying to make sense of this collection of contradiction. I say what a waste of time. If a god existed and wanted us to know him/it/whatever it would clearly communicate so all may understand.

Of course, relying on translation is something we all do, since no one knows every language, but enough people have studied Greek and Hebrew to give you some confidence in the versions that are available, if agenda-free. The most interesting thing I have read about that is that when they started to study the Dead Sea Scrolls, they discovered that some of what they had thought were inaccuracies in the Vulgate turned out to have been alternate versions from before the books were fixed permanently in place. My own reading of the Hebrew Bible (Torah, Prophets, and Writings) leaves me baffled, however, since it's just a huge mishmash.

Then, just today, I was speaking to a Muslim co-worker about the riots and violence directed against Denmark and the cartoonist; he said that the imam who issues a fatwa calling for a murder is speaking only for himself and not for Islam. But, he added, I am not an expert, and if you need to know more you must speak to those who know more. And then he went on to say that the Quran is holy and complete, and that changing so much as a letter of it changes the meaning beyond recognition. This means, of course, that no translation is adequate or acceptable. You must study Arabic before criticizing.

What does all this mean? It means that if we are not free to decide, based on evidence, then we have nothing but faith, which is thus not only meaningless but misleading. Remember the furor about the software manufacturers who put the "software agreement" on the inside of the packaging ("If you have opened this package, you have accepted the following conditions: you will not copy this software, you will not say anything bad about it to your friends, and when we come to your house at 3 a.m. you will give us your firstborn"). And since every religion brings its own children up on a different faith, and since they are inherently contradictory, any deity who exists has allowed millions and millions of children to grow up in faiths which damn them to belief in lies. This is not a benevolent being. What is clear is that he/she/it, if a deity exists, is more like the Greek gods: spoiled, jealous (well, we're told that in the Bible's second commandment, aren't we?), mean, and narcissistic.

And I'm an agnostic!

Jim Jordan, are you going to take my Pat Robertson challenge? OK, here goes again: how do you know that YOUR interpretation of the bible is correct, and Pat Robertson's isn't? The other two theists said the same thing you did "He puts his own desires for political power ahead of God's will". How do you know that?

Kevin, that translation issue "virgin -> young woman" is what started me on my path towards atheism. It's my favorite example! Thanks! (on the link I just posted is another favorite example: the child will be called Immanuel, uh, then why was he called Jesus?

Jim, you try to pass off your unkind words as sarcasm?

You ask: "What biblical claims bother you were they to be literally true?"
You yourself point out: this is flawed, and that, and that, and that certainly, but yet you seem to have incredibly strong feelings, practically overwhelming, that you have the right interpretation. I see your house sitting on a fault line, with part of the foundation cracking...

amphimacer, this is a great summary: "It means that if we are not free to decide, based on evidence, then we have nothing but faith, which is thus not only meaningless but misleading."

Hi, freethought mom
You asked how do you know that YOUR interpretation of the bible is correct, and Pat Robertson's isn't?

I had said previously Of course I might be wrong, and sometimes I am (I'm not perfect)but the person is responsible ultimately to themselves for their own choices.

I do KNOW that Pat Robertson is wrong. The two commands that supersede all others in the Bible are "Love God more than you love yourself" and "Love your neighbor (read everbody else) as much as you love yourself". The bedrock of how God wants us to live is in these two commandments. Robertson violates these two commands daily.
Why? Because he defers to his people, nominal Christians, who have made him wealthy and powerful. He is more tied to the world that he has created.

Immanuel (which means God among us) is a name of Jesus. Jesus (which means salvation) is a name for Jesus. Lord, Savior, etc. are also names for Jesus.
The link provides a thorough history of the names used for God in the Bible.

Every translation I looked up had a virgin birth mentioned as a sign from God that He will be "among us". The word-for-word Amplified Bible translates the Hebrew word as having the connotation "young woman who is unmarried and a virgin".

Isaiah 7:13-16 (Amplified Bible)

13And [Isaiah] said, Hear then, O house of David! Is it a small thing for you to weary and try the patience of men, but will you weary and try the patience of my God also?

14Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign: Behold, the young woman who is unmarried and a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel [God with us].(A)

15Butter and curds and wild honey shall he eat when he knows [enough] to refuse the evil and choose the good.


The "House of David" could mean the people of the time or the HOD of the future. It is not clear, and certainly no virgin birth is reported in 742 BC. I don't think God would send a baby to help out a king who's in dire straits. Jesus also was a descendant of King David and was tempted by the devil in the desert. Read ahead and you'll see he predicts the destruction of their enemies which happens many years later and the even worse destruction of Judah which happens in 70 AD. Not convinced by that? What surprised me in Bible study were the hundreds of OT prophecies of Jesus that were fulfilled. Take a moment and read Isaiah 53 and tell me you don't see Jesus in that prophecy. There are 100 prophecies here

We cannot trust that the NT wasn't altered to coincide with those "prophecies"...millions of Jews don't believe it.

JIm, you don't give up trying to hammer your evangelizing do you....have you tried debating this on another site...biblioblography for instance? Or NoGodBlog or Evangelical atheist? How about Atheist Revolution or Debunking Christianity? They have a lot more people, and you would be challenged far more than you are here.

In agreement with hairlessmonkey and a lot of other atheists and agnostics, if a god who needs to uses killing, violence and whatnot to "correct" his big creation errors, then it is not one that I would want anything to do with anyway.

JIm...Take some time to study Greek, Roman, Egyptian and other mythologies and you will find the same cruelty in many of those gods. Looking at it from the outside, it is all quite clear. Many of the mythologies were once religions that had endured for thousands of years, until they went by the wayside and replaced with other myths.

If you had been born in China right now you would believe what your society believes, if you were born a Shiite muslim you would believe in that and the Koran. If you were born in Japan you might be a Shinto Buddhist. If you were born in Sweden you would probably not think about religion at all. It's all environment, and what the majority of a society believes.

The world would be a better place without religion. It would remove the biggest divider of nations and people in general.

Read some Joseph Campbell, Jim...study some mythology and anthropology. Then you will see clearly. Your eyes will be opened. If you keep looking at that ONE book, you will never REALLY know why there are atheists and agnostics in the world.

We cannot trust that the NT wasn't altered to coincide with those "prophecies"...millions of Jews don't believe it.


Good point. Prophecies can be interpreted more than one way. However, the sheer number of fulfilled prophecies is impressive even to the empiricist. It is also odd that even when the Israelites were being led out of Egypt quite miraculously by a glowing cloud, some still didn't believe. They had evidence, but no faith. Faith and evidence are both needed.

I am told that Christians believe that faith alone is enough. If that were the case there would be no Bible, as no evidence was needed. I think this point we have just reached is where faith really begins, when evidence creates a belief (more accurately a suspended unbelief) and that symbiotic relationship begins to grow.

It is worth mentioning that Isaiah prophesied that the Messiah would be rejected by the Jewish authorities (Isaiah 53). Jewishness had become more about the implementation of the law than about those first two commands. When religion becomes stale (because it has drifted away from God), the religious life focuses more on identity markers like what you wear and who you hang out with. Hence the "salt of the earth" description of God's real people. Go out and jump in a stew, don't hide out at the club, so to speak.
Another thing that ties the Bible together is what Jesus is recorded as saying. When you apply his mind to the world around you, it makes sense, lots of sense.
That's my interpretation. Case in point: a computer tech may work on computers without having even close to 100% knowledge of how every computer works. Likewise, I'm just lending you my understanding of the Bible for your consideration.
I was hoping it could add to the discussion. I just glanced up at your follow-up post and see that you say again that I am evangelizing. I see there is a site called "Evangelical Atheist" - at least that's someone who understands the nature of dialog.
Take care.

Jim -- Actually, Evangelical Atheist has a lot of christian-non-christian discussion going on from both sides. It's quite an active blog. If you want a real debate, I would try Debunking Christianity...John Loftus has a degree in theology. He is also an atheist. They are all educated and degreed in theology and philosophy on that blog.

As far as you evangelizing...you work it into these discussions EVERY TIME and we are smart enough to figure out your intentions. This is why it bothers you so much that you have to go back to your own blog and write dissertations about what I say. ;-)

You always manage to bring into your discussion your believed evidence for god and jesus...you are not merely discussion historicity of these ancient texts.

So, are you familiar with Joseph Campbell and his views on world mythologies and his views on the ancient books of the bible? Have you studied ancient world mythologies side by side with your religious texts?

JIm wrote "at least that's someone who understands the nature of dialog."

I do understand the nature of dialogue. I also am trained to read between the lines of an argument and know when someone has intentions other than discussion interpretations of ancient texts. Your message is LOUD and clear.
I hold a B.A. and an M.A. in English and my areas of concentration are Literature and Rhetorical Theory and Analysis. I understand the purpose of argument. It is to try to get the other guy to see your point...maybe learn some things from your opponent. Since we have all heard the evangelizing stuff before, we don't need to keep hearing it in every discussion you join in on.

The intentions of your "contributions" to this discussion is to "win souls for christ"...is this not true? Be honest now. The scripture passages you use as your "examples" have a typical evangelizing message that we have all seen before.

So, if you have anything substantial to contribute about the translations of religious texts, we all will respect that...but as I have pointed out before, this is an atheist blog and you are going to get the atheist perspective. We may be interested in ancient texts and their origins from a historical perspective, however, we do not wish to be preached to.

Dissertation time at the Moral Science Club again? ;-)

stardust, you said
It's all environment, and what the majority of a society believes.
Therefore, if the majority of a society believes it, they all do?
The all=majority argument says nothing about whether a religion is valid as it says nothing about anything; it's self-refuting like saying 7 equals 10!


Dissertation time at the Moral Science Club again?
Pot.Kettle.Black. What difference is it to scroll down a page in search of something that offends your sensibilities on a Christian site?

if you have anything substantial to contribute about the translations of religious texts, we all will respect that
You do? I provided the information that
1) the early Bible chapters were oral histories
2) that different translations are useful for cross-referencing purposes
3) that those translations concur with minor exceptions like Gen. 22:1 of the KJV
4)gave advice on how to use different types of translations
5) added valid information to the confusion over the names for Jesus
6) gave a link to 100 prophecies that were specifically fulfilled
7) gave evidence as to why certain books were left out by the early Christian church
8) gave evidence as to why Pat Robertson misinterprets the Bible for his own purposes - answering the "Pat Robertson challenge"
9) researched the meaning of Isaiah 7:14 - the virgin prophecy.
10) explained the Jews' rejection of Jesus
Not bad, huh?
You're very welcome.

"win souls for christ"...is this not true? Be honest now.
Oh, so you know? I've been busted, but wait!
Now, if you were to convince me to drop everything and join the local Atheists' club, what would you be winning? Not my soul? If you convince me the soul didn't exist, then you'd win my heart or mind, correct? What's the difference? The dialog between two people regarding "first things" has the concept "winning the soul" imbedded in its very nature. How can you disqualify a contribution based upon "intentions" that are simply part of the dialog? Isn't it the same as saying "you can't tell me about cars because you always want me to buy a Ford"?

You asked if I read Joseph Campbell and ostensibly all the available books on the subject of mythology and anthropology. I am familiar with Campbell's idea of a "collective unconscious" that seems to appear consistent in myths from divergent cultures. The problem with civilization is that often the collective conscious rules.
My question, and I think it is a fair one, couldn't the collective unconscious in its purest form be a kind of spiritual image of God? Second, couldn't the collective conscious be the corrupted/sinful nature?

Jim asked "My question, and I think it is a fair one, couldn't the collective unconscious in its purest form be a kind of spiritual image of God? Second, couldn't the collective conscious be the corrupted/sinful nature?"

I have considered this and my answers are no...and no..
Studying the earliest mythologies and beliefs of ancient people, and following the progress and spread and development of mythologies, I do not believe that there is a thing as a "collective" unconscious...that kind of thinking is scary to even consider. You are saying we are all one controlled by some sky daddy like remote controlled robots. If you ever really take a look around at a church service, you will see what I mean...all one...reciting in unison..."we are so very bad...we are so very bad..." and then hearing again and again how a man had to be mutilated because of our badness.

A child, when small is very inquisitive and curious...but the "collective" mentality kills the curiosity in many people and they just go with what they are told to do and believe. They are scared into believing or pretending to out of FEAR OF PUNISHMENT AND FLAMING FIRES.

Humans have always tried to find a way to live forever. Many humans find it easier to make up superstitious reasons for things they do not know the answers for. It is uncomfortable not to know how we got here and that we are not going to live forever. Therefore, to ease this discomfort, they come up with all sorts of mystical ways to soothe their fears.

I just had a conversation with a woman I know in Belgium who is trying to convince me that astrology is real. I told her it was just interesting and fun. She said it dealt with "actualities." She really believes this stuff instead of believing in HERSELF.

Many people just need something imaginary to float their boat.

Jim--
Here is a question from my husband...can you give ONE fact...ONE piece of evidence for the existence of your god AND your soul...ONE fact (and NOT your bible) ...can you do that? And don't counter with other stuff I believe in that I can't see like atoms and air.

A good post over at Gnuosphere about what atheists and agnostics have to put up with from pious christians

http://gnuosphere.blogspot.com/2006/02/my-problem-is.html#comments

give ONE fact...ONE piece of evidence for the existence of your god AND your soul...ONE fact (and NOT your bible)

1) The universe had a beginning and it had order from the beginning.
2) We are alive.
3) When one cuts themselves, they heal.
4) A baby goes from clump to being fully recognizable in less than 6 weeks.
5) We care about people we've never met. There is a transcendant morality.

There's more but you get the picture.

It's been fun, but I'll be going now. I am posted out (post-mortem?).
Take care.

Those are proofs of science. WHERE is your god???

I should say that these are proved in science EXCEPT for..."There is a transcendant morality."
That is your FAITH....

again...WHERE IS YOUR EVIDENCE FOR YOUR GOD.

It seems that I am quite a late comer to this discussion. Jim, I must ask you what are you still doing here? If you are not here to create armistice or a general agreement on such issues why do you persist? It seems, quite obvious, to me that you are neither here for armistice or agreement rather disagreement and argument. No one here is really interested in anything that you have to say now. We have gotten the gist of your views and argument and were neither impressed nor persuaded; you have failed to do anything but illustrate the annoying persistence in Christian’s refusal to cease and desist when obviously gone too far.
I have not and will not read the entire body of writing that encapsulates this thread, for I haven’t the time nor the patience. I will, however, consider the last post that you gave us the displeasure of reading.

After you were asked to provide evidence of either the soul or your Christian interpretation of a god you respond thusly:

“1) The universe had a beginning and it had order from the beginning.
2) We are alive.
3) When one cuts themselves, they heal.
4) A baby goes from clump to being fully recognizable in less than 6 weeks.
5) We care about people we've never met. There is a transcendant morality.
There's more but you get the picture.” – Jim

Well yes I do get the picture but it is, most unfortunately, yourself that does not. Each and every point of these five is not a shred of evidence or illustrative representation of such notions as a soul and a god. Your first “proof” is that the universe had a beginning, what is your evidence of that? Why do you believe that there was a beginning to existence? Furthermore before “existence” can be said to have been “created” there was your view of a god in existence was there not? This god being in existence before the universe illustrates that you hold a view of eternity (however supernatural and irrational it may be). I also hold a view of eternity only my view rests on naturalism and scientific theories and mathematical equations. I fear that you have, as many xtians do, misunderstood science (something that will be agreed with when the purpose is suitfull and disagreed with when it is not). The Big Band Theory is not a fact it is a theory that has been ascribed to observed phenomena in attempt to help explain the expansion and evolution of our universe. If you are familiar with the big bang you would know that it does not, in any way, claim that before the big bang there was nothing or some sort of material existence void that only god could explain and occupy. The big bang claims that at one point, the furthest point backwards that we are able to go, the universe existed in an extremely hot and dense gravitational singularity, it does not say that before this state there was nothing that is your extrapolation based on mythology and botched science. Furthermore the big bang theory is not the only theory we have, we also have brane cosmology which stems from the superstring theory of the universe and maintains that the material existence that underlies our universe is infinitely eternal and has seen no beginning and will see no ending, only our universe “began” and will likely “end” (see the Hartle-Hawking boundary condition) this only means that our universe is an evolution and a manifestation of the eternal natural material of existence it was not created by a mythological figure found in an archaic text book written by individuals that rode donkeys and stoned people for entertainment. I could go on forever but I feel it unnecessary.

You then say we are alive, well yes we are. A statement such as this is what is known as a meaningless platitude, it is not evidence of anything but that we do exist. Our being alive is neither proof of the work of god nor evolution, it is merely a platitude what comes after such a statement would either consist of evidence for evolution or a doctrinaire adherence to religious faith. Your statement here illustrates your transient and pious irrationality. You then say when one cuts themselves they heal, again same thing. How is this the work of either a god or a soul? You do not say, which could mean several things one of which would be that you do not have any proof of either a god or a soul and rely on sound bites, talking points, and general platitudes that do a disservice to anyone attempting to take your views seriously.

You then claim that since care about the plight of others that is proof of a transcendent morality, also not proof of either a soul or a god. You do not back up any of your assertions of HOW there is a transcendental morality or how this would even support or prove a soul and/or a god. Furthermore your transcendental morality stance could very easily be taken down with the science and bioethics that are really behind such natural phenomena, take for instance kin-selection altruism and reciprocal altruism. You really must become more literate and educated upon the issues that you are so entertained by.

That list of platitudes and overall meandering pretense tells me, quite loud and clear, that you should not even be acknowledge from this point on. I ask that everyone on this blog and on the others that this pious court jester has bombarded recently simply ignore this individual. Jim has had plenty of time to show us that he is interested in fruitful dialogue with the goal of creating armistice and agreement, however he has shown the contrary. All he is interested in is arguing and debating those that hold contradictory views as himself and doing so in a quite uneducated and foolhardy position. Jim is a court jester of Christianity and I say let him be a jester with out our intervention for as an anonymous quote says: “Never argue with a fool, for an outsider may not be able to discern the difference.”

“To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead” – Thomas Paine

Jim, you say: ' "Love your neighbor (read everbody else) as much as you love yourself". '
So, you seem to feel that Pat Robertson is wrong because you listen to his words then decide that he doesn't love others? ... which makes me think of when you call people "unscrupulous", "immoral", and "ignorant". How do I know that when you say unkind things it is OK, but when Pat does, it is wrong?

Obviously, most people don't agree with the web site about prophecies that you posted, see Wikipedia's entry on Bible prophecy: "The vast majority of scholars and historians who read the Bible today hold that it contains no accurate predictions of the future at all."

Thanks, JD for elaborating on the science points...you have a good way of explaining all that. You know more details about the various fields of science than I do.

I like your Thomas Paine quote:

“To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead” – Thomas Paine

Freethoughtmom...thanks for the link...that's interesting info on bible prophecy

Post a Comment

About me

  • I'm the freethoughtmom from New England. Welcome!
  • The word rational means having the ability to reason. Reasoning takes time. Giving yourself the space to think is practically a luxury in our society.

    My father is a logical engineer, my mother a caring nurturer. My handwriting with my dominate hand resembles that of my father, the other, my mother. I feel lucky to have both sides to draw from.
My profile
Powered by Blogger
and Blogger Templates