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TwilightPrincess
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15 Feb 2024, 8:55 pm

Esme wrote:
True that! It sounds as though you're doing a great job.
Thanks!

Here’s a creepy passage about Elisha healing a dead child at 2 Kings 4:32-37 that sounds like CSA:
Quote:
32 When Elisha came into the house, he saw the child lying dead on his bed. 33 So he went in and closed the door on the two of them and prayed to the Lord. 34 Then he got up on the bed and lay upon the child, putting his mouth upon his mouth, his eyes upon his eyes, and his hands upon his hands, and while he lay bent over him, the flesh of the child became warm. 35 He got down, walked once to and fro in the room, then got up again and bent over him; the child sneezed seven times, and the child opened his eyes. 36 Elisha summoned Gehazi and said, “Call the Shunammite woman.” So he called her. When she came to him, he said, “Take your son.” 37 She came and fell at his feet, bowing to the ground; then she took her son and left.
Why couldn’t God just snap his fingers? Why did Elisha have to be weird and creepy at all? Why did he have to close the door on the two of them and initiate bodily contact? The she-bear incident happened back in chapter 2. Elisha does not have a great track record when it comes to children.

Apart from that, faith healers use passages like this to justify their harmful charlatanry which costs lives.


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18 Feb 2024, 6:28 pm

I can’t believe this hasn’t come up: The various scriptures that involve thanking God for food are problematic.

Expressing thanks to God for the meal my mom usually worked hard to prepare bugged me when I was old enough to know that people, including children, starve to death all the time. Thanking God for choosing to feed me when he failed to feed others didn’t feel right. I’d say that it even bothered my conscience. It was, by no means, the last time that following religion or the Bible would bother me from a moral standpoint. In any case, I also didn’t like praying before meals for purely selfish reasons. My dad’s prayers could be long, and after spending the day in the woods looking for buried treasure, fairies, and salamanders, I was hungry.

The Lord’s Prayer says to tell God to “give us our daily bread,” but he shouldn’t need to be asked. When you create something that can experience suffering or die when it’s basic needs aren’t met, you are obligated to take care of it. Giving it food, water, shelter, or clothing isn’t some sort of huge favor or blessing. It’s a moral obligation. People shouldn’t have to believe a certain way or ask for a damn thing they need to survive.

It’d make more sense to feel and express gratitude towards people - parents, spouses, farmers, charity workers, etc., not that I’d pray to them or anything. :lol:


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20 Feb 2024, 9:34 pm

^
I know what you mean. It seems to me that this religious worship thing is so generous to the deity that it gets ridiculous and it often overshadows the credit that is logically due to humans. To my mind, the more praiseworthy a person is, the more such extreme worship would embarrass them, and there's something horribly egocentric about anybody who would enjoy praise that was laid on with a trowel, especially when it gets to the point where the praise is so excessive that it's hard to even believe the worshipper is sincere. It's also hard to believe that a deity, being so much better than we are in every way, would do nothing but lap it up and want more. I don't quite know who made God up, but their idea of an excellent being is way out of whack with mine. But they'd probably just say that I'm too narrow-minded to understand, that I'm leaning on my reason too much. Anything can be "justified" with arguments like that of course. It saves the apologists from having to provide an answer that makes sense.



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21 Feb 2024, 4:12 pm

More ideas on worship v. grovelling here:
https://www.religiousforums.com/threads ... ng.230652/

As a bonus, Skwim therein contributes a few disturbing passages that may not have come up here yet:

Isaiah 45:7
I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.​

1 Timothy 6:1
All who are under the yoke of slavery should consider their masters worthy of full respect, so that God’s name and our teaching may not be slandered.

Romans 5:12
Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned—

Leviticus 20:13
If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them.



TwilightPrincess
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21 Feb 2024, 7:57 pm

1 Timothy 6:1 definitely wasn’t covered. That’s pretty bonkers. My religion liked scriptures like that. They were against getting involved in protests, including stuff as important as the civil rights movement. They were also against fighting in any war. I consider myself a pacifist most of the time but sometimes things are worth fighting for. They think that God will take care of stuff in his own due time. If everyone felt like them, no progress would ever be made.

They also liked the idea that if someone is mistreating you, you could win them over to the faith by your good conduct. They extend that thinking to abusive marriages with harmful results.


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21 Feb 2024, 8:14 pm

The story leading up to the curse of Ham is entertaining given the nudity factor. The disturbing part has more to do with how it’s interpreted. People try to make out that Ham intentionally saw his father naked/committed incest. Some things in the Bible are just silly and don’t make much sense.

Genesis 9:20-27:

Quote:
Noah, a man of the soil, was the first to plant a vineyard. 21 He drank some of the wine and became drunk, and he lay uncovered in his tent. 22 And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father and told his two brothers outside. 23 Then Shem and Japheth took a garment, laid it on both their shoulders, and walked backward and covered the nakedness of their father; their faces were turned away, and they did not see their father’s nakedness. 24 When Noah awoke from his wine and knew what his youngest son had done to him, 25 he said,

“Cursed be Canaan;
lowest of slaves shall he be to his brothers.”

26 He also said,

“Blessed by the Lord my God be Shem,
and let Canaan be his slave.
27 May God make space for Japheth,
and let him live in the tents of Shem,
and let Canaan be his slave.”

The curse seems like a bit of an overreaction. It’s also interesting that drunkenness is treated differently in the OT than in the NT. Christian fundamentalists probably struggle with Noah’s drunkenness.

Anyway, obviously people have used this passage to promote racism and slavery. However, the story's original purpose was to justify the biblical subjection of the Canaanites to the Israelites. That IS disturbing given the genocides that occur in the OT. It’s about as absurd as punishing people for eating a piece of fruit.


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ToughDiamond
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21 Feb 2024, 10:10 pm

TwilightPrincess wrote:
1 Timothy 6:1 definitely wasn’t covered. That’s pretty bonkers. My religion liked scriptures like that. They were against getting involved in protests, including stuff as important as the civil rights movement.

I've always been suspicious of St.Paul anyway, but most scholars think those "Epistles to Timothy" were a later add-on, and their reasoning looks convincing:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Epi ... Authorship
If so, it must have been a cynical and deliberate forgery:

1 This letter is from Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus, appointed by the command of God our Savior and Christ Jesus........

Yet it was canonised and set in stone as the inerrant word of God. I wonder what the Bible would have looked like if they'd had modern scholars standing over them when they were deciding what was correct and what wasn't?

Quote:
They were also against fighting in any war. I consider myself a pacifist most of the time but sometimes things are worth fighting for.

They think that God will take care of stuff in his own due time. If everyone felt like them, no progress would ever be made.

They also liked the idea that if someone is mistreating you, you could win them over to the faith by your good conduct. They extend that thinking to abusive marriages with harmful results.


Yes the parable of the wheat and the tares seems to be saying that it's fine to let awful things happen because it'll all be sorted out when we're dead (conveniently, nobody gets to come back and bear witness to that). It's a sublimation of the entire human rights movement.



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21 Feb 2024, 11:16 pm

ToughDiamond wrote:
TwilightPrincess wrote:
1 Timothy 6:1 definitely wasn’t covered. That’s pretty bonkers. My religion liked scriptures like that. They were against getting involved in protests, including stuff as important as the civil rights movement.

I've always been suspicious of St.Paul anyway, but most scholars think those "Epistles to Timothy" were a later add-on, and their reasoning looks convincing:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Epi ... Authorship
If so, it must have been a cynical and deliberate forgery:

1 This letter is from Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus, appointed by the command of God our Savior and Christ Jesus........

Yet it was canonised and set in stone as the inerrant word of God. I wonder what the Bible would have looked like if they'd had modern scholars standing over them when they were deciding what was correct and what wasn't?

I read about first and second Timothy very recently in one of Bart Ehrman’s books. The entire Bible is a mess with people adding stuff later or claiming to be someone they weren’t. I’m reminded of Revelation 22:18-19 which forbids altering anything in that particular work: “I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this book; 19 if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away that person’s share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.” That’s quite a threat given some of the content in Revelation! Clearly, the writer knew that additions and subtractions happened. It also disproves what some Christians say - that the Bible can’t be changed or altered in any way since God wouldn’t allow that to happen. The writer of that passage in Revelation was obviously concerned about it.

I was raised to believe that the gospels were eyewitness accounts and that all the canonical writings were written when and by whom they were said to be. Even the timeframe was presented as fact with humans only existing for 6,000 years. Absurd! Anyway, although my brother is an atheist, he’s fascinated by this stuff - even moreso than I am. The Bible would be his desert island book if he could have just one book. It’s still something I’m exploring. Textual criticism when it comes to the Bible is extremely complex. I’m sure a person could spend a lifetime on it.

At any rate, I can’t believe what I used to believe. It seems so silly. I’d often hear at church that people couldn’t make up the Bible because of all those irritating scriptures about people being lowly, worthless sinners who aren’t good for much. After reading Lord of the Rings, I pondered: why couldn’t we?


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ToughDiamond
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22 Feb 2024, 1:58 am

TwilightPrincess wrote:
I’d often hear at church that people couldn’t make up the Bible because of all those irritating scriptures about people being lowly, worthless sinners who aren’t good for much. After reading Lord of the Rings, I pondered: why couldn’t we?

Their argument strikes me as a strange one - I don't see anything very difficult about a priest making up some rubbish describing the human race as inherently rotten. Scripture also tells of certain individuals who were exceptions to the rule. He may have had to admit that he was somewhat rotten himself, but as a "shepherd," a man supposedly way closer to the deity than the common herd was, he was still in a position of great relative purity and reverence. It's a small price to pay for the power, prestige, and money he could get from it. It clearly worked then, and it still works today. An awful lot of people have traditionally deemed any "man of the cloth" to be entirely trustworthy, and the Church has often concealed examples of the contrary in order to protect its good reputation.



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22 Feb 2024, 1:27 pm

^ Yeah, I’ve definitely seen that in action. My church would typically fall back on Matthew 7:15-20:

Quote:
Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorns or figs from thistles? 17 In the same way, every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus you will know them by their fruits.

They’d always emphasize the word “false.” It was a means of absolving themselves from guilt. It’s like those people who say that someone who does something bad isn’t a true Christian. I guess Christians are the best people in the world because all the ones who do bad things don’t count. Anyway, it’s really hard to take care of issues, like bad policies, when you refuse to acknowledge that there’s a problem. I find it extremely frustrating.

Image


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22 Feb 2024, 3:14 pm



Hehe, Making 'Story' into 'God(S)' is An 'Oldest Trick in The Book' to Master,

Subjugate, Control, and Particularly Control Reproductive Freedoms;

IMaGiNE A World WHeRe Every Face is God, Even A Leaf

That Serves A Tree Green

Falling to THE EartH

to Fertilize Winter,

Bringing Spring Green

Again, MaKinG Summer FLoWeRS

A Reality to Fall Again For Winter
Spring Summer Truth; True, Nature is Enough

When We See Gratitude DarK Thru LiGHT To Limit

Any Part of Nature to Only A Letter oR A Word is A Path

To Lies to Hell
to Heaven Only After Death;

And Only in Letters And Words

That Literally Hold No Life At All..:)



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TwilightPrincess
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28 Feb 2024, 11:01 pm

Scriptures like John 3:16 are pretty cringey because they state that belief in Jesus is necessary for salvation. Obviously, a lot of decent people don't believe in Jesus for a variety of reasons. Some may have never heard of him. Others, like me, have read the Bible multiple times but don't find the stories convincing for reasons that have been enumerated in this thread. Any sane God would only care about stuff that actually matters such as whether a person is good or not although even that's complicated since, IMO, we don't have as much free will as we'd like to think. Anyway, belief in a specific deity doesn't seem that important in the grand scheme of things.

John 15:18-23 and other scriptures which talk about people being persecuted for following Jesus are cringey too.

Quote:
18 “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. 20 Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. 21 They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the one who sent me. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 Whoever hates me hates my Father as well.
While people shouldn't have to contend with religious persecution most of the time, any loving deity would not want his followers to engage in behavior that could cause them serious harm in the first place. God/Jesus/Whoever should be telling people NOT to worship them and to just be decent human beings instead. It's not like Christians are more moral than non-Christians. At any rate, once again, it makes God (and Jesus by extension) seem like jerks. While Jesus was just talking to his disciples at the time (which isn't good in and of itself), cults really like to take scriptures like these to an extreme and apply them to our day.

JWs are banned in Russia, but they are still preaching over there because that's what they think they are supposed to do. They are regularly thrown into prison for it. It's epically stupid and a massive waste, not that Russia should be imprisoning people just for being extremely annoying. Anyway, Christian cults often glorify persecution because it makes them feel like they are doing something right since Jesus said: "If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also." I heard all sorts of horrific stories about persecution in church as a young child which gave me nightmares, anxiety, and panic attacks. In exJW circles, we refer to the constant talk about persecution - past and present - as "persecution porn." I prefer the normal kind.


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29 Feb 2024, 12:54 pm

TwilightPrincess wrote:
Scriptures like John 3:16 are pretty cringey because they state that belief in Jesus is necessary for salvation. Obviously, a lot of decent people don't believe in Jesus for a variety of reasons. Some may have never heard of him. Others, like me, have read the Bible multiple times but don't find the stories convincing for reasons that have been enumerated in this thread. Any sane God would only care about stuff that actually matters such as whether a person is good or not although even that's complicated since, IMO, we don't have as much free will as we'd like to think. Anyway, belief in a specific deity doesn't seem that important in the grand scheme of things.

I'm pretty sure that as you suggest, the scriptural implication that belief is a choice is quite wrong. If I "believe" a thing, it's because the evidence I've seen has forced me to accept that the balance of probabilities lies heavily in favour of that thing being true. How can anybody deliberately decide to completely accept as true something that the evidence they have doesn't support? What kind of mistakes do people make if they abandon evidence-based thinking in science, medicine, health and safety, politics, or criminal justice?

It also bothers me that scriptural sin diverges so often from any morality that's based on harm assessment. When there is such a divergence and somebody opts for scriptural morality, how can that be harmless?



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02 Mar 2024, 2:54 pm

ToughDiamond wrote:
It also bothers me that scriptural sin diverges so often from any morality that's based on harm assessment. When there is such a divergence and somebody opts for scriptural morality, how can that be harmless?

Yeah, it bothers me too. In my opinion, the key to morality lies in empathy AND, especially, in human reason - reason that’s been fostered by a well-rounded education in science and philosophy, but the Bible tells us not to lean on our own understanding. It’s a recipe for problems. There’s good stuff in the Bible, but a person needs to be able to sift through a lot of harmful BS in order to find it.

Even the Golden Rule (which didn’t originate with Jesus) is problematic although it’s a great starting point. What about people who are masochistic? Or what about having different values and expectations due to differing cultural norms? What’s polite in one culture could be deeply problematic in another. Sometimes we need to think about doing unto others what they would want done to them without jeopardizing our own well-being in some way.

The Golden Rule is promoting sympathy when sometimes empathy is required (i.e. the ability to be in someone else’s shoes rather than just considering how a situation would personally affect us - with our own specific personality, cultural background, and experience).


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02 Mar 2024, 8:43 pm

^
Apologists have argued that the Biblical version of the Golden Rule uniquely recommends positive action for the sake of others, while all the other forms are merely the "Silver Rule" that recommends we don't harm others. They also claim that the Bible got there first with Leviticus 19:18 -

"Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself."

https://www.gotquestions.org/Golden-Rule.html

They give various quotes from rival religions that are merely Silver Rule, but they don't mention this principle of Dāna which comes from Vedic times:

The riches of the liberal never waste away, while he who will not give finds none to comfort him.........Bounteous is he who gives unto the beggar who comes to him in want of food, and the feeble.....Let the rich satisfy the poor implorer, and bend his eye upon a longer pathway......All guilt is he who eats with no partaker. — Rigveda, X.117

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D%C4%81na ... indu_texts

Not that I see much value in any religion trying to claim copyright on the virtue of being helpful to others. Sure, there are Jesus stories saying that he was remarkably keen on the idea. But the fact that the entirely non-theist Pirahã people (hunter-gatherers) have an extremely caring society shows that we don't particularly need the Bible to tell us to look after each other.

Altruism is a common trait in gregarious animals, including humans of course, and I for one prefer it to the equivalent help from somebody who's just obeying some written rules. I'm the most secular person I know, and I simply like helping other people and dislike harming them. At least one apologist reckons that's only happening by the grace of the Holy Spirit. But I think Occam's Razor favours my explanation.

And as you suggest when you mention empathy, the Golden Rule (and scripture in general) seems to reduce the human race to a narrow stereotype, in which we all have exactly the same wants and needs. So for example, a fundamentalist heterosexual may never understand that a gay person has no choice but to be gay. Fundamentalism does seem to be very weak on empathy, and fails to understand the point of view of those who don't agree with their ideology, though they seem very convinced that they're correct in the theories they expound. Their descriptions of "unbelievers" are naive, and often downright offensive.

As for "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight," in a sense, I think the whole of scripture is disturbing like that. As Alan Watts said:

".....one of the announcers came up to me and said, “You know, if one can believe that this universe is in [the] charge of an intelligent and beneficent god, don’t you think he would naturally have provided us with an infallible guide to behavior and to the truth about the universe?” And of course I knew he meant the Bible. I said, “No. I think nothing of the kind. Because I think a loving god would not do something to his children that would rot their brains. Because if we had an infallible guide we would never think for ourselves, and therefore our minds would become atrophied. " [Jesus And His Religion]

It may sound over-the-top to call scripture mind-rotting, but I think he has a strong point. Scripture does seem to have an infantilising feel running through it, as though the last thing its authors wanted was for us to grow. All about Dad knows best, just do as you're told and stop having your own ideas.



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06 Mar 2024, 12:06 pm



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