The Cell Phone Bible Project
Posted: 23 January 2008 07:25 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Hello to all,
I wrote a satire for Helium on the topic:

Will people eventually write their own version of the Bible, in the manner of, say, Wikipedia?

I defend updating the Bible (and the Koran for good measure) to align with our modern view of constitutional government rather than following Mike Huckabee´s advice to amend what he wants us to believe is the malleable US constitution. Of course the Islamists don’t have a clue about government or constitutions, but I felt they might feel left out if I did not show I was thinking of them and my heart is in the right place. They tend to be a peevish lot.

Along the way I take a poke at revelation, people who see nuns in cinnamon buns, and other admittedly soft targets. If you have the time and the inclination perhaps you can read this short article and give me some feedback. Here is the URL

http://tinyurl.com/2r46a2

Any comments are appreciated and I hope you get a chuckle.

Rich

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Posted: 24 January 2008 01:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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I enjoyed the article.  Interesting, I never knew that Thomas Jefferson wrote his own version of the bible http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jefferson_Bible with the supernatural elements removed.

I doubt there will be a new version of the bible with wikipedia styled revisions.  No one would be able to agree and every page would be locked down or not recommended due to controversy.  The only way this would be possible is if ever church had their own version, edited only by members of that congregation.  This would all be contingent on the charisma of the leaders of the individual churches convincing their respective congregations; and this would lead to numerous versions.

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“It is the tension between creativity and skepticism that has produced the stunning and unexpected findings of science.” ~ Carl Sagan

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Posted: 24 January 2008 04:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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To use an analogy, take the most disgusting movie of 2007 as judged by the critics and viewers.  Go through and delete all the disgusting parts, and do you then have a good movie?  Very doubtful.  More likely, you have a few minutes of boring drivel.  If one took all the theological, vicious, and erroneous parts out of the bible, one would probably have very little of interest left.

Occam

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Posted: 24 January 2008 06:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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It’s satire of course, but who knows maybe out in the zany world of the web someone might stop, rubs their chin and say: “cool, I think that would make a great project.” It is delicious just to think of the exchanges such a project would generate. Opinion research shows that most people who attend services are not all that knowledgeable. Easy to understand, I get a headache just thinking about trying to make sense of the Bible. Cannot be done in my opinion. Too much magic, Too many inconsistencies. Anyone conceited enough to say they understand the Bible should be regarded as dangerous and avoided at all cost.

There actually are cell phone bibles, but I did not know that before I started kicking the idea around. The people at Helium were responsible for the Wikipedia concept. My point was to make people really think about how small the bible would be if you eliminated all the things that were wrong with it.

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Posted: 24 January 2008 08:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Well, as I see it, the biggest problem with the Bible is that (some) people take it as the word of God. They take it too seriously. The remedy for that is for people to take it LESS seriously. It’s just a human work of literature, like Gilgamesh, or the Bhagavad Gita, or the Icelandic Sagas, or the Iliad and the Odyssey. The Bible contains some really cracking works of literature, full of sex and violence, but really you can only fully appreciate it by seeing its imperfections.

My concern with the cellphone project is that it takes the whole thing too seriously. There’s no real point in “updating” the Bible, any more than there is in “updating” Gilgamesh. They are works of their time. The more religiously inclined may well look to bring the message to a modern audience by reading back into it their own theological predilections, but as someone without any religious ties, I say read it for what it is and then move on to other literature. Or read it as a historical document and study it in that light.

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Posted: 24 January 2008 08:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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But isn’t the Bible (to some degree) just “updated” Gilgamesh (along with many other books)? Noah’s flood story does sound very much like Utnapishtim’s flood story, for example.

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Posted: 24 January 2008 08:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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George - 24 January 2008 08:34 PM

But isn’t the Bible (to some degree) just “updated” Gilgamesh (along with many other books)? Noah’s flood story does sound very much like Utnapishtim’s flood story, for example.

Well, yes, but you’re talking about maybe 3% or less by word count.

In the important sense the Bible is exactly the same as Gilgamesh, Popol Vuh, Iliad, etc. ... that is, it’s a series of mythic stories with some historical basis and a lot of creative fantasy. Personally I do enjoy reading mythic fantasy so parts of it appeal to me as a style. But certainly not as any sort of moral teacher or word of God!

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Posted: 25 January 2008 04:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Although I appreciate Rich’s efforts, I agree with Doug insofar as updating the Bible doesn’t work for me too well as a concept, and especially that the root problem with the Bible is not so much its content as the fact that it’s promoted as the instructions of a supernatural supervisor.

For a work of satire, I always thought it might be amusing to write a reverse paraphrase of the Bible and call it the “Bush Bible” or the “The New Neo-Con Testament.”  If nothing else, something like that would be a great way to expose the astounding hypocrisies of the “moral majority” types.

For example, you might have, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a poor man to enter into the kingdom of God.  Verily I say unto you, prosperity theology is the way to go.”  Mark 10:25, Luke 18:25

And the Beatitudes would be a gold mine for that purpose.

[ Edited: 25 January 2008 05:05 AM by Trail Rider ]
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Brad

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Posted: 25 January 2008 05:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Just as a point of clarification, Thomas Jefferson did not write his own version of the Bible. He took his scissors to a copy of the Bible, excising the parts he thought unworthy of belief. In general, these included all the accounts of supernatural miracles, claims of divinity, virgin birth and the like.

For Jefferson, the Bible was useful for its moral teachings. He remarked many times that he was a Christian only in the sense that he believed in those. In so doing, he pretty much ignored the flood, the moral injunctions of Paul, etc.

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I cannot in good conscience support CFI under the current leadership. I am here in dissent and in support of a Humanism that honors and respects everyone.

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