Robert M. Price - Is the Bible Mein Kampf?
Posted: 20 August 2010 05:43 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Robert Price being off for the week, today we present a lecture given by Dr. Price at the Center for Inquiry’s annual Student Leadership Conferece titled “Is the Bible Mein Kampf?”

In his talk, Price suggests the Bible has much to offer even the most secular and non-religious of us. He discusses the value he sees in the Bible, and what we can learn from the mistakes and contradictions found within it. He explains that because he sees the Christian Fundamentalist interpretation of the Bible as so wrong, a hated of this straw man Bible might also make little sense. Price explains that critical examination of Biblical texts is what makes a true friend of the Bible—even if you’re an atheist.

Along with being a usual host of this show, Robert M. Price is professor of theology and scriptural studies at Coleman Theological Seminary and professor of biblical criticism at the Center for Inquiry Institute. He is a fellow of the Committee for the Scientific Examination of Religion and the Jesus Seminar. Dr. Price is the author of a number of books, including The Reason Driven Life, Deconstructing Jesus, The Incredible Shrinking Son of Man, and The Da Vinci Fraud. He has appeared widely in the media, and was featured prominently in the movie The God Who Wasn’t There. His latest book is Top Secret: The Truth Behind Today’s Pop Mysticisms.

http://www.pointofinquiry.org/robert_m_price_is_the_bible_mein_kampf/

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Posted: 20 August 2010 05:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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I’ve found what parts of the Bible I’ve read to be a pretty good read.  It ranges from insane to hilariously insane, from crazy brutal to crazy debauched.  Not much original morality to it, but a good enough read.  Parts of it though are horribly boring.  Like the begats.  Okay, we get it, you guys like poon.  Let it go.

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Posted: 21 August 2010 03:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Maybe Dr. Price does not know about religious political and morality aspects of OT genocidal passages, if we are to take seriously his off the cuff “I don’t know” remark at the end of the discussion.  I am inclined to take the liberty to “pontificate” a little on this subject seeing as it was/is pivotal and succinct in my severance from the ancient untruths.  Why is it a requirement to study a subject thoroughly when you could have realised at a very early stage that it contained very serious lies and therefore was not worth your time?

Simple put you cant have an omnimax being order his subjects to perform his evil deeds.  Ask any jihadist.  Wouldn’t you love to have a Cronkite there to record a few interviews with soldiers in Joshua’s army? Anyway if you can explain how I will be very very surprised.  Various apologists have tried, and except the subject was so important to the belief systems of billions of J-C-I faiths, you would laugh them to scorn.  Verily I say unto all who have ears, a curse on Abraham and his descendants that they would consider evil done by their God to be good.  Either that or I lose my power of reason! OTOH USA did give Japan and the world an important lesson at the End of WW2.  But you don’t need the blessings of omnimax to do so, unless your people are gullible and need reassurance they are doing what is necessary and righteous.

Not many on this forum would give Mohammedans a free pass on the declared beauty of the Koranic texts.  Likewise I don’t find the admitted flashes of secular inspiration in the Bible to weigh all that much compared to the ongoing harm they directly foster in the minds on the mindcontrolled.  Comparing the Bible to the universally decided myths of ancient times was too easy; the Koran would be a fairly severe challenge.  It is probable although I admit I’m only guessing, that the Illyiad was not self-authenticated as divine writ, a crucial difference.

Those are the reasons I disagree with Dr. Price in his efforts to value that poisoned well of wisdom.  Remember your life is controlled by your thoughts so be careful how you think.  Somewhere in Proverbs.

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Posted: 22 August 2010 03:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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You all of redeemed yourselves with this brilliant talk by Doctor Price.  If you would generate more ‘casts like this, I would listen for often.  Thanks for making my day.

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Posted: 22 August 2010 06:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Price made several excellent points, and made them well, but I was disappointed that his conclusion ended up at the same old truck stop that most modern religious liberals inhabit in relation to the bible: don’t throw out the baby out with the bath water. I can’t say that I’ve run across a single ‘fundamentalist atheist’ that thinks the bible doesn’t have value as prose, poetry, and history. During the follow up questions, one audience member made a key point: just because we can arrive at an occult message in any myth it doesn’t automatically follow that the message is of value. Some feel that because Paul Tillich could write soaring, poetic gobble-de-gook, that there MUST be something to it. That’s irrational, and I think it’s a similar strain of thinking that Price is advocating.

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Posted: 29 August 2010 10:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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This is the best podcast by Robert Price so far—thanks very much Adam for including this.

I don’t consider myself to be an “accomodationist” at all but I found Price’s discussion very persuasive.

The “Twilight-Zone” intro about a cult that believes in the literal truth of the Iliad & Odssey was very well done.

The actual example of pro-choice folks burning Bibles to make some pro-choice point is really very good—this clearly completely derails the abortion discussion and complicates finding common ground.

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Posted: 18 September 2010 06:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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While I understand Price’s argument I feel it falls short because atheists ought not to get hung up on one religion’s texts.

One gets the impression that biblical fluency is required for a proper freethinker. 

Given the tons of religious texts produced by believers of all stripes I’m inclined to give them all a good 15 minutes of my time to tell me which incontrovertible evidence they can must that convinces me that a) their God rules and b) the other thousands are just figments of the imagination of tragically deluded people.

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Posted: 26 September 2010 01:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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I am way behind on my podcast listening, so I just finished this one. I looked and could find no reference to a pro-choice group burning bibles. Has anyone been able to find an actual reference to this purported event? I would expect that it would have received widespread news coverage.

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Posted: 29 September 2010 03:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Rich D - 26 September 2010 01:14 PM

I looked and could find no reference to a pro-choice group burning bibles. Has anyone been able to find an actual reference to this purported event? I would expect that it would have received widespread news coverage.

Go figure, is someone fudging what actually happened in favor of what sounds good enough to make one’s point?

Where’s the facts?

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Posted: 01 October 2010 07:21 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Vamshi, thanks for the summary. I’m always reminded of my Latin teacher who insisted that learning this extinct language honed your skills that would facilitate learning the modern languages. But in real life it means I could have learned Spanish or Mandarin instead.

Same with The Bible.

The preposterous singular implies that one book is all you need. What idiocy!

The fact is, this book is the one book that anyone can afford to skip. Be reminded that most professed Christians don’t read it (good for them!), and for Catholics, it’s not particularly encouraged. The other lie implicit in the singular goes to the multitude of versions, translations, languages and interpretations that would only allow the term bibleS or biblical texts.

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Posted: 29 January 2011 10:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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[9:42]The fundamentalists don’t like the Bible they’ve got.

And neither do the liberal religious, that’s why they are happy to dismiss it.  smile  Hardly anyone likes Bible, as it is written.

Price raised the validity of the Bible up that of Homer, as books that have a “lot to say”.  A person who has an open heart to believe that such things as gods, sirens, magic fruit, before-the-common-era Mediterranean Sea voyages lasting years, and superheros could exist, they might find Homer’s fictions inspiring! smile  But do those stories really fulfill Price’s promise that—we have something to learn from them?  And for the person who has their feet firmly placed on the ground then, don’t Homer’s tales just seem like exaggerations, ones that are just too far removed from nature to really be worthwhile?  And for those grounded people there is no need to avoid fiction, a full appreciation for fiction is part of a normal healthy fantasy life.  You people feel free to enjoy a fiction story, one at least somewhat realistic, right?  And feel free to appreciate the ancient Greeks also, appreciate their realists like Archimedes, Democritus, Eratosthenes, Euclid, Hypatia, and others.

Price, with passion, enthusiasm, and drama tells us a long story of how Joshua horribly genocides some children ending with:

[24:34] That never happened, there was never any such genocide.  Its all a projection of their horror at what they used to be, and they’re sort-of scapegoating ancient figures that never existed.

That’s how the Bible stories so often are, a long story of awful behaviors, ending in doubt that it was ever real, doubt that the figures in the story ever existed, doubt that the Bible is much more than a fiction.  So, is there anything wrong with wanting to spend your time pursuing facts? 

Price dutifully, loyally, and in honest friendship gives us the reasons why to doubt in the Bible, and I thank him.  But why must people choose to read Bible fiction, aren’t other fictions equally valuable, like Jules Vern, Charles L. Dodgson, Isaac Asimov , or Samuel Clemens?

While some people hold the Bible in high regard, the Bible is a book that I have always tried to disregard.  The little time I’ve spent with the book I’ve done because I felt forced by a society with so many people who just persist in promoting it in politics and society, rolleyes.  I feel that the Bible stories degrade my life, like the ocean chipping away at the shoreline pulverizing it into sand.  I’m not proud to know the silly story about the loaves and the fishes, nor stories of damnation in the pit of hell for eternity if one doesn’t believe in that miracle.

But, there is one aspect of the Bible that I do appreciate, there is something real about the Bible, and that is it’s long history of being copied, a history stretching back to ancient times, and not the stories within it. 

Once, during ancient times, books were fine artistic luxuries, like grand furniture, trophies, or buildings.  They were made for the rich, not that the illiterate commoners had any use for books.  And during these times, the Bible was copied over and over and over again for hundreds and thousands of years.  Copy after copy so that it survives from over seventeen hundred years ago until today.  Lasting hundreds of years, the only book that was widely copied in Europe was the Bible.  The narrow focus on that one book, it was was such an obsession of publishers that they neglected so many other texts, that have been lost.  Obsession with the Bible does cause some damage, should skeptics really be encouraging that?

But now-a-days we have the great freedom to read any of thousands of subjects, so why not encourage that freedom by choosing books other than the Bible?  Considering that copy after copy of the Bible has traveled with Europe’s sons and daughters for hundreds, and hundreds, and over a thousand years, I have to ask… how long does it take you people to finish one book?  Give it up already.  rolleyes  Those of you who haven’t read the Bible, be proud that you are pioneering a new tradition, a tradition of appreciating the full variety of authors.  For your next book purchase, why not make it a factual book or any fiction, other than the Bible? 

I’m glad that we have a good man like Price on our side smile, with only one Robert Price, I do appreciate his good tips telling us how to refute the Bible.

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Posted: 30 January 2011 04:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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moreover - 01 October 2010 07:21 AM

Vamshi, thanks for the summary. I’m always reminded of my Latin teacher who insisted that learning this extinct language honed your skills that would facilitate learning the modern languages. But in real life it means I could have learned Spanish or Mandarin instead.

Same with The Bible.

The preposterous singular implies that one book is all you need. What idiocy!

The fact is, this book is the one book that anyone can afford to skip. Be reminded that most professed Christians don’t read it (good for them!), and for Catholics, it’s not particularly encouraged. The other lie implicit in the singular goes to the multitude of versions, translations, languages and interpretations that would only allow the term bibleS or biblical texts.

Aesop’s fables also contain much wisdom and moral messages. At least we know those are fables.

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Posted: 31 January 2011 03:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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There are those who propose, that although “The good books” (Bible, Quran etc) contains nonsense, they also contains much good and therefore we should preserve them.  I strongly disagree.  HALF TRUTH MAKES ONE LIE.  To teach morality, no more than “Aesop Fables” is sufficient.  How much more simple ans straight forward civilization would be.  The only time the bible, Quran and the like may be accepted as moral guidance, is when they are properly labeled as fables as well.

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Posted: 31 January 2011 04:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Hyperborean - 31 January 2011 03:46 AM

There are those who propose, that although “The good books” (Bible, Quran etc) contains nonsense, they also contains much good and therefore we should preserve them.  I strongly disagree.  HALF TRUTH MAKES ONE LIE.  To teach morality, no more than “Aesop Fables” is sufficient.  How much more simple ans straight forward civilization would be.  The only time the bible, Quran and the like may be accepted as moral guidance, is when they are properly labeled as fables as well.

I like it. Reduce the value of religion to a fable and then it begins to gain in value for moral gudance. It would also solve the problem of dogma.  It’s just a fable and myth. We love history and mythology. Even Chrictians see movies like “Clash of the Titans” . It has great action and a morally redeeming factors. Makes for a good movie, as did “Last Temptation of Christ” or “Moses”.

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