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FuManchu
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29 Aug 2010, 6:28 pm

An observation:

Protestant Christian fundamentalists and Creationists tend to be the same people. Fundamentalists are very fond of saying there is nothing in the Bible that contradicts the findings of science, and that there are many scientists among their number. I am a scientist by training and used to be a Christian fundamentalist myself. I'd say the Creationists are RIGHT when they claim that a large number of Creationists are scientists. They are often physicists, chemists and technicians, such as engineers, or medical doctors, although they are less often high-level biologists or palaeontologists. I don't believe this is a coincidence... I believe it is because such people often have difficulties with metaphor and so tend to think the Bible has to be interpreted literally or it is worthless. They are happier with struggling to make the Bible fit the "findings of science" than they would be with the world of theological metaphor and symbolism. They are happier with "left-brain" protestant "scripture" than with "right-brain" catholic imagery.



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29 Aug 2010, 7:23 pm

I've got a very good book on interpreting and understanding the Bible. "How to Read the Bible", by James L. Kugel.

The author is Jewish, and it covers the Hebrew Bible. It isn't directly aimed at Christians, but is quite relevant. It is directly about both the entire contents of the Hebrew Bible, and the different ways of reading it.

I also like most of what C.S. Lewis wrote, particularly Mere Christianity.

For Bible translations, "The Message" is interesting. If you're someone who's heard a lot of Bible verses so often and repeatedly that you think 'oh, that again' instead of about its actual meaning, then it can be useful. It tries to phrase things in a very contemporary way, so sometimes you can read something you've heard a million times, and it sounds different, just because the wording is not what you're used to.


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danandlouie
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29 Aug 2010, 9:51 pm

i have a sincere question for any christian (other believers). i am not a believer in god. wouldn't know how to be. as a small child i suffered abuses of mental and physical nature. when i was able, i would ask for help. no human would offer help, sanctuary....nothing.

true, i was poor white trash living in a housing project.....without any guidance. my one trip to a church was a terrifying experience.

kids in situations ....right at this moment..... where they're being tortured in all sorts of ways. worse situations than i was in.

how/why does your god let this happen? how can you worship a being who allows children to be tortured ? how can you sing songs like "jesus loves the little children" when so many children suffer? are only some children worth the love of jesus/god?

this is not an attempt to be funny. if these things had happened to you, you would not throw around statements like: it's god's will or god works in mysterious ways. what a despicable cop-out. do you have an honest answer for someone abandoned by your god?



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29 Aug 2010, 10:02 pm

Dernhelm23 wrote:
To all the Christians in the forum:

Because we're autistic, and one of the trademarks of autism is predominately concrete understanding of an idea, and difficulty with abstract concepts, I would imagine I'm not the only one struggling with interpreting the Bible. There are lots of things we know to take at face value, and there are other things that we should understand are abstract or cultural. How do we know which is which?

I'll see your knee-jerk answers and then expound a bit.

NOTE: This is a simple, sincere question directed at people who have the same interests and beliefs as I do, not an invitation to argue with those who don't. I will be more than happy to engage in discourse with those of different viewpoints in a non-hostile manner, but I'd like to keep those discussions elsewhere if possible. Just a request based on what I've seen from other topics in this forum. ^_^


When reading the history of Judah and Israel, if you want to understand the culture you need to read the books of the Law first, namely Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. In such books as Ruth, where it mentions the custom with the trading of shoes between Boaz and the potential kinsman redeemer who is closer to Ruth's first husband, if you had read the books of the law first, you would realize that such a custom was derived from the laws regarding a potential kinsman redeemer who declined accepting the role (except a fair bit toned down.) Similarly, prior to reading the New Testament, it was helpful for me to see it in the context of the Old Testament so that I remembered the references to the Old Testament which were made throughout the New Testament.



ScratchMonkey
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03 Sep 2010, 3:55 am

I was also interested in understanding the Bible so I ordered a cheap used copy of Asimov's Guide to the Bible:

http://www.amazon.com/Asimovs-Guide-Bib ... 51734582X/

(It's available both as a single volume like this and a 2-volume set. So look around Amazon or your bookseller for both versions.)

The book essentially sets the Bible in its historical context.



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03 Sep 2010, 6:45 am

iamnotaparakeet wrote:
Dernhelm23 wrote:
To all the Christians in the forum:

Because we're autistic, and one of the trademarks of autism is predominately concrete understanding of an idea, and difficulty with abstract concepts, I would imagine I'm not the only one struggling with interpreting the Bible. There are lots of things we know to take at face value, and there are other things that we should understand are abstract or cultural. How do we know which is which?

I'll see your knee-jerk answers and then expound a bit.

NOTE: This is a simple, sincere question directed at people who have the same interests and beliefs as I do, not an invitation to argue with those who don't. I will be more than happy to engage in discourse with those of different viewpoints in a non-hostile manner, but I'd like to keep those discussions elsewhere if possible. Just a request based on what I've seen from other topics in this forum. ^_^


When reading the history of Judah and Israel, if you want to understand the culture you need to read the books of the Law first, namely Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. In such books as Ruth, where it mentions the custom with the trading of shoes between Boaz and the potential kinsman redeemer who is closer to Ruth's first husband, if you had read the books of the law first, you would realize that such a custom was derived from the laws regarding a potential kinsman redeemer who declined accepting the role (except a fair bit toned down.) Similarly, prior to reading the New Testament, it was helpful for me to see it in the context of the Old Testament so that I remembered the references to the Old Testament which were made throughout the New Testament.


To understand the Hebrew scriptures you need to have access to the oral tradition.

ruveyn



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03 Sep 2010, 8:21 am

iamnotaparakeet wrote:
Dernhelm23 wrote:
To all the Christians in the forum:

Because we're autistic, and one of the trademarks of autism is predominately concrete understanding of an idea, and difficulty with abstract concepts, I would imagine I'm not the only one struggling with interpreting the Bible. There are lots of things we know to take at face value, and there are other things that we should understand are abstract or cultural. How do we know which is which?

I'll see your knee-jerk answers and then expound a bit.

NOTE: This is a simple, sincere question directed at people who have the same interests and beliefs as I do, not an invitation to argue with those who don't. I will be more than happy to engage in discourse with those of different viewpoints in a non-hostile manner, but I'd like to keep those discussions elsewhere if possible. Just a request based on what I've seen from other topics in this forum. ^_^


When reading the history of Judah and Israel, if you want to understand the culture you need to read the books of the Law first, namely Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. In such books as Ruth, where it mentions the custom with the trading of shoes between Boaz and the potential kinsman redeemer who is closer to Ruth's first husband, if you had read the books of the law first, you would realize that such a custom was derived from the laws regarding a potential kinsman redeemer who declined accepting the role (except a fair bit toned down.) Similarly, prior to reading the New Testament, it was helpful for me to see it in the context of the Old Testament so that I remembered the references to the Old Testament which were made throughout the New Testament.


See bold.

This is true. If Ruth had presumably actually been a Hebrew and not a Moabite, her presence might have been requested at that hearing. I don't know if her nationality had anything to do with her absence, but there certainly would have been some drama if she'd been there!



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03 Sep 2010, 8:22 am

ruveyn wrote:
iamnotaparakeet wrote:
Dernhelm23 wrote:
To all the Christians in the forum:

Because we're autistic, and one of the trademarks of autism is predominately concrete understanding of an idea, and difficulty with abstract concepts, I would imagine I'm not the only one struggling with interpreting the Bible. There are lots of things we know to take at face value, and there are other things that we should understand are abstract or cultural. How do we know which is which?

I'll see your knee-jerk answers and then expound a bit.

NOTE: This is a simple, sincere question directed at people who have the same interests and beliefs as I do, not an invitation to argue with those who don't. I will be more than happy to engage in discourse with those of different viewpoints in a non-hostile manner, but I'd like to keep those discussions elsewhere if possible. Just a request based on what I've seen from other topics in this forum. ^_^


When reading the history of Judah and Israel, if you want to understand the culture you need to read the books of the Law first, namely Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. In such books as Ruth, where it mentions the custom with the trading of shoes between Boaz and the potential kinsman redeemer who is closer to Ruth's first husband, if you had read the books of the law first, you would realize that such a custom was derived from the laws regarding a potential kinsman redeemer who declined accepting the role (except a fair bit toned down.) Similarly, prior to reading the New Testament, it was helpful for me to see it in the context of the Old Testament so that I remembered the references to the Old Testament which were made throughout the New Testament.


To understand the Hebrew scriptures you need to have access to the oral tradition.

ruveyn


Why?



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03 Sep 2010, 10:26 am

AngelRho wrote:
ruveyn wrote:
iamnotaparakeet wrote:
Dernhelm23 wrote:
To all the Christians in the forum:

Because we're autistic, and one of the trademarks of autism is predominately concrete understanding of an idea, and difficulty with abstract concepts, I would imagine I'm not the only one struggling with interpreting the Bible. There are lots of things we know to take at face value, and there are other things that we should understand are abstract or cultural. How do we know which is which?

I'll see your knee-jerk answers and then expound a bit.

NOTE: This is a simple, sincere question directed at people who have the same interests and beliefs as I do, not an invitation to argue with those who don't. I will be more than happy to engage in discourse with those of different viewpoints in a non-hostile manner, but I'd like to keep those discussions elsewhere if possible. Just a request based on what I've seen from other topics in this forum. ^_^


When reading the history of Judah and Israel, if you want to understand the culture you need to read the books of the Law first, namely Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. In such books as Ruth, where it mentions the custom with the trading of shoes between Boaz and the potential kinsman redeemer who is closer to Ruth's first husband, if you had read the books of the law first, you would realize that such a custom was derived from the laws regarding a potential kinsman redeemer who declined accepting the role (except a fair bit toned down.) Similarly, prior to reading the New Testament, it was helpful for me to see it in the context of the Old Testament so that I remembered the references to the Old Testament which were made throughout the New Testament.


To understand the Hebrew scriptures you need to have access to the oral tradition.

ruveyn


Why?


The written scriptures have stuff left out. That is why the oral tradition is useful. There is additional stuff there. For example: why does the first book of Moses have a creation story? Answer: According to the Rashi the creation story was included to assert that G-D is the owner of all the land (and the sea) and He can give His land to whomsoever it pleases Him to do so. Which legitimizes the claim of Israel on the Holy Land as a gift from G-D. I bet you didn't know that.

ruveyn



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03 Sep 2010, 11:08 am

ruveyn wrote:
AngelRho wrote:
ruveyn wrote:
iamnotaparakeet wrote:
Dernhelm23 wrote:
To all the Christians in the forum:

Because we're autistic, and one of the trademarks of autism is predominately concrete understanding of an idea, and difficulty with abstract concepts, I would imagine I'm not the only one struggling with interpreting the Bible. There are lots of things we know to take at face value, and there are other things that we should understand are abstract or cultural. How do we know which is which?

I'll see your knee-jerk answers and then expound a bit.

NOTE: This is a simple, sincere question directed at people who have the same interests and beliefs as I do, not an invitation to argue with those who don't. I will be more than happy to engage in discourse with those of different viewpoints in a non-hostile manner, but I'd like to keep those discussions elsewhere if possible. Just a request based on what I've seen from other topics in this forum. ^_^


When reading the history of Judah and Israel, if you want to understand the culture you need to read the books of the Law first, namely Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. In such books as Ruth, where it mentions the custom with the trading of shoes between Boaz and the potential kinsman redeemer who is closer to Ruth's first husband, if you had read the books of the law first, you would realize that such a custom was derived from the laws regarding a potential kinsman redeemer who declined accepting the role (except a fair bit toned down.) Similarly, prior to reading the New Testament, it was helpful for me to see it in the context of the Old Testament so that I remembered the references to the Old Testament which were made throughout the New Testament.


To understand the Hebrew scriptures you need to have access to the oral tradition.

ruveyn


Why?


The written scriptures have stuff left out. That is why the oral tradition is useful. There is additional stuff there. For example: why does the first book of Moses have a creation story? Answer: According to the Rashi the creation story was included to assert that G-D is the owner of all the land (and the sea) and He can give His land to whomsoever it pleases Him to do so. Which legitimizes the claim of Israel on the Holy Land as a gift from G-D. I bet you didn't know that.

ruveyn


For the most part, the "oral traditions" that I've read fall into too main categories: commentary and fan-fiction.



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03 Sep 2010, 11:53 am

iamnotaparakeet wrote:

For the most part, the "oral traditions" that I've read fall into too main categories: commentary and fan-fiction.


The written scriptures are also fiction.

ruveyn



iamnotaparakeet
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03 Sep 2010, 12:32 pm

ruveyn wrote:
iamnotaparakeet wrote:

For the most part, the "oral traditions" that I've read fall into too main categories: commentary and fan-fiction.


The written scriptures are also fiction.

ruveyn


Even the part about the Hittites and other truth claims of which have been archaeologically verified?



ruveyn
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03 Sep 2010, 2:57 pm

iamnotaparakeet wrote:
ruveyn wrote:
iamnotaparakeet wrote:

For the most part, the "oral traditions" that I've read fall into too main categories: commentary and fan-fiction.


The written scriptures are also fiction.

ruveyn


Even the part about the Hittites and other truth claims of which have been archaeologically verified?


a broken clock tells the right time twice a day. Just because the Hebrew Scriptures happen to get a few things right, does not make them non-fiction. Most of what is in the Hebrew scriptures are stories. Even fictional stories have elements of factual truth in the background of the narrative. Read any historically based novel. That does not make fiction factual.

Do you really believe that the earth and the cosmos was created in seven days flat about 6000 years ago? I don't. Do you really believe there was light when the sun and stars were created on the fourth day? I don't. Do you really believe that only two hominid beings were created? I don't.

ruveyn



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03 Sep 2010, 3:44 pm

ruveyn wrote:
iamnotaparakeet wrote:
ruveyn wrote:
iamnotaparakeet wrote:

For the most part, the "oral traditions" that I've read fall into too main categories: commentary and fan-fiction.


The written scriptures are also fiction.

ruveyn


Even the part about the Hittites and other truth claims of which have been archaeologically verified?


a broken clock tells the right time twice a day. Just because the Hebrew Scriptures happen to get a few things right, does not make them non-fiction. Most of what is in the Hebrew scriptures are stories. Even fictional stories have elements of factual truth in the background of the narrative. Read any historically based novel. That does not make fiction factual.

Do you really believe that the earth and the cosmos was created in seven days flat about 6000 years ago? I don't. Do you really believe there was light when the sun and stars were created on the fourth day? I don't. Do you really believe that only two hominid beings were created? I don't.

ruveyn


There are too many problems with the text of Genesis as a literal reading to make it so inflexible. We can SAY with certainty that God created the heavens and the earth in 6 days and rested on the seventh. What we CAN'T say is exactly HOW that came about. The Bible is obviously not that concerned about it. If God didn't find it relevant enough to teach it to us, then neither should we consider it relevant to an understanding of scripture. There is only one reference in the NT (that I'm aware of, anyway) that refers to Adam as THE first man. Now that COULD mean that Adam was a special man that served as a spokesman for ALL of mankind. Genesis appears to indicate that man was created BEFORE Adam. The fact that light existed before stars, the sun and the moon, indicates that the earth itself is a special, unique creation within the cosmos that might have had origins outside the cosmos. Astronomy seems to confirm this as there have YET to be found any other region of space with favorable conditions for the evolution of life (not getting into the evolution debate again, all I'm saying is that space seems to have failed at fostering and supporting life anywhere else). Genesis leaves science and exploration up to us and concerns itself more with the relationship between God and man rather than the workings of celestial movement.

In short, I don't believe it is NECESSARY to believe that only two hominid beings were created, nor that the seven days NECESSARILY refer to seven consecutive 24-periods of light and darkness, not that the earth is 6000 years old. The Bible is not overly concerned with the passage of time. We Christians would prefer that it did, but it's probably a good thing that WE didn't write inspired scripture, save only those of us who actually lived and walked in the presence of Jesus and His immediate disciples.

I'm actually curious about the oral tradition. All I know is that the oral tradition was a subject of debate among the Pharisees and divided the priests into distinct sects of Judaism. From my perspective, the oral traditions seemed to complicate things more than actual resolve theological issues. But admittedly, I'm ignorant to most of those traditions--though I HAVE been fairly thorough in studying the OT. My concern is how the relationship of Talmudic writings and debates to the writings of the Law and the Prophets (and writings, of course) may obscure some of the meaning of the written word. If you find it silly, I completely understand, but rather than being DIFFICULT as many of my Christian friends point out, I actually find it inspiring. If I want to understand it better, what would you suggest I do?



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03 Sep 2010, 4:53 pm

DIDN'T THINK SO