I dunno, Brennen. I still think the bible is one big mess. But you’re right: we are back to the Tolkien/Tolstoy problem.
Brainlesssteel, just in case you don’t make it all the way to the end, I can tell you how the story ends: the main character dies at the end. But just like Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was forced to bring Sherlock Holmes back to life, god does the same in the bible, and makes the hero live again. Enjoy! :grin:
From a practical point of view, the bible has had a huge impact on literature, law, language, and many other aspects of our society, and as bad as this impact often is, it’s real and we’re sticking our head in the sand to ignore it. Being familiar with the roots of cultural practices, art, etc not only makes one more flujent with one’s own culture but can be a step towards changing these practices (“knowing your enemy’ if you think of it that way).
I have to agree with this. I have 3 Bibles and a Cruden’s Concordance. I tried reading the whole thing but got bogged down in Samuel 1 or 2 and gave up. I look up particular things now and then as I get interested and as I encounter things in real space. Even though I had a Cruden’s Concordance for years it never occurred to me to look up HELL. Everybody knows what that means. I only looked it up because of something a Christian claimed was in the Bible. I was so surprised to learn about SHEOL I don’t even remember the original question.
In my opinion, reading the bible is a waste of time. And I don’t believe that it’s “beautifully” written either. I find it rather boring and confusing. Read Seneca’s dialogues on moral issues or Marcus Aurelius’s Meditations (written around the same time as the NT), but don’t bother looking for something meaningful or inspiring in the bible. Sorry, god, two big thumbs down.
George, guess what I’ve been reading for the past few days? Seneca’s “Letters from a Stoic.”
aranaea - 19 July 2007 12:53 PM
Reading The Bible is a huge time commitment and I agree that it doesn’t appear to be a great source for moral guidance. However, I think reading it is one of the more important projects I’m working on right now. It’s part of a larger attempt to understand why otherwise intelligent and thoughtful friends would believe the stuff that their church tells them comes from this book. I’ve read what other people think about that but I’d like to come to my own conclusions. I think that quest for understanding is anything but a waste of time.
Yeah, it’s definitely a committment. I downloaded the OT audio version like over a month ago, and I’m hardly past Ch. 21! But, I agree with you. I’m reading it to understand why people believe in it. I also want to see if there are inconsistencies and contradictions.
I’m also in the middle of watching Inherit the Wind.
I think the NIV is the most commonly used in protestant churches in the U.S. It uses a thought or phrase translation philosophy known as “dynamic equivalence” and can lose some precision on words. Another easy to read option is the ESV which uses a more word for word translation philosophy known as “essentially literal.” It is available online with audio here: http://www.gnpcb.org/esv/
a friend and I were talking about Bible versions the other day and he told me that he’s been reading the Amplified Bible. Here’s a bit from the description blurb if you don’t feel like clicking the link:
“With its unique system of brackets, parentheses and italics, the Amplified Bible defines and expands key words and phrases right in the text.”
So essentially on certain words that given the original Hebrew or Greek version could have several means they give all of the possible interpretations. Here’s an example: “IN THE beginning God (prepared, formed, fashioned, and) created the heavens and the earth.”
22 While they were enjoying themselves, some of the wicked men of the city surrounded the house. Pounding on the door, they shouted to the old man who owned the house, “Bring out the man who came to your house so we can have sex with him.”
This was a totally different story but nearly the same situation. A traveler is brought in by a generous host and some mob forms outside demanding to be allowed to rape him. It’s more explicit though and I think reinforces the argument that the passage from Genesis meant the same thing.
I was watching Mysteries of the Bible this morning and it mentioned the story of Sodom and Gommorah. The narrator mentioned that homosexuality is condemned in the Bible (but there is no mention of lesbianism); he also made the obvious reference to sodomy. Re: Lot and the mob, a scholar of religion said that during those times hospitality was everything. So basically, Lot’s act of offering his daughters was an act of his hospitality.
But, if homosexuality is such a bad thing in the Bible, it seems to me that perhaps he offered his daughters as a way of preventing the spread of homosexuality in the city?
I think if you look at that passage, the think that really brings destruction on that city is “attempted angel rape”. Relgious people use these passages to get at people for various things, but usually, god’s punishment actually comes down on people for other reasons. The classic is the story of Onan. This was used as a way of saying don’t masturbate, but the slapping that god gave onan was actually for not getting his dead brother’s wife pregnant. It doesn’t even mention masturbation, so we can assume that onan timed his withdrawal to perfcection.
On bible versions in general, George says that the main chracter dies in the end. It depends where the bible ends really, because the new testament is a sequel to the old testament and it gets alters what we’re supposed to believe about some of the things that happened in the first collection of books. The quran is the third sequel and that goes on to relegate one of the main characters from the second bible to just another prophet and change the name of the main character from the first and second ones. After that, Bible 4: the book of mormon, we get some more changes to the back story and in Bible Five: this time it’s personal, Jesus makes friends with Apollo Creed, who helps him train for a big stone tablet fight at the top of Mount Everest with moses, against a tag team of Muhammed and Joe Smith. I haven’t finished writing it yet, but will let you know in due course.
The reference to Lot reminded me of the news story that Walmart is selling a variety of biblical character dolls for kids in the mode of Barbie and G.I. Joe. A question was raised about whether a Jesus doll would be breaking the Commandment about not worshipping idols. I wondered if they were selling dolls of Lot and his two daughters along with the cave where they got him drunk so they could have sex with their father. Sounds like an interesting take on teaching kids about sexual relations.
The King James version is the best as all of the others are men’s version as they have changed it to suit their selves either because they have prejudice hang ups or because they want to rewrite the bible to sound more modern or to confuse or to prove their arguments or for who knows what. However unless you went to a college that taught biblical history you may not understand the bible as laymen do not know how to interpret it and therefore make up stuff as to what it really says. However if you do get a bible you need to also buy “the bible handbook” by American Atheist which will help you find all of the contradictions, absurdities and other neat stuff. As you begin reading the OT you might start to laugh because of the ridiculous fairy tales in it in which adults actually believe it is real thus they eventually loose all ability to know truth from fiction. So remember everything you read in the bible take it with a grain of salt.