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What the Bible says

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#481 woody000

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Posted 15 June 2005 - 02:56 AM

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Obviously, this isn't the right way to understand God. The only way to make sense of this is to recognize the Bible as a very local phenomenon affecting the people in the immediate environs of the Jewish people and to simultaneously acknowledge that other people in other places had their own revelations which were just as valid, that they were following (or not).

*the old testament

And that isn't the only way, but I can't be bothered to argue about it because it doesn't really matter to me very much.

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Think about the nature of brains. According to scientists, the brain doesn't really differentiate between fantasies and reality. It reacts just the same way. There is a thread in EtU with a wacky title - something like "Telepathy is Real!" (isn't - the title is entirely sensationalistic) - and having to do with what scientists call "mirror neurons." It talks about the fact that people can look at an apple, and certain parts of their brain fire off, and then people can THINK about an apple (but not be seeing one) and the same parts of the brain fire off. If God dumped thoughts inside your brain, your brain would understand them as your thoughts, and you would act accordingly. We would suddenly not be much different from computers with disk drives for skulls. Remember that if God were just putting it in our brains what need would God have for putting it there in words? Words are secondary communication mechanisms - ways by which we communicate to people who are outside of ourselves. To our own selves, we have thoughts for which we have no words all the time. We understand ourselves because we are ourselves. Words are merely a translation of ideas in our head. So God - giving us scripture directly - would after all be giving us untranslated text - that is configuring the information directly into our brains. Here's an experiment to try: Think of the word "love." Now think of the command "love God." What does it mean? How many ideas can you have about the word "love" and which one does God mean? Who is God? How many ideas can you have about God, and which idea does God want you to hold in your head in relation to "love"?

That's why God can't just put it in our heads correctly - doing so would be essentially thinking for us. An obliteration of our free will.

Very nicely put! I hadn't thought of it quite like that. I do feel though that sometimes I get messages from God... would you say then that the fact this is not word for word solves the problem here? or to you is it actually not really from God, or what?

#482 QueenTiye

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Posted 15 June 2005 - 08:33 AM

woody000, on Jun 15 2005, 03:56 AM, said:

Very nicely put! I hadn't thought of it quite like that. I do feel though that sometimes I get messages from God... would you say then that the fact this is not word for word solves the problem here? or to you is it actually not really from God, or what?

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If I understand you correctly, then I also know the feeling.  You get... impressions - a sense of knowledge that isn't verbal.  Problem is, we are such linguistic creatures, that we instantaneously start trying to verbalize it - and in the process lose something in the translation.  We can feel it.  We can feel the words not precisely matching the impressions that we got - we can see the words making it too narrow (for instance) - and sometimes going so far off the mark that we know we are no longer in the "divine" realm.  Is it from God?  Um.... sorta... I believe that there is a spiritual state that we are mostly veiled from in which we see things as they really are apart from our bodily limitations (which include language).  That state is the one in which we will be when we pass out of this life - the state where we can "see" God... and sometimes in this life, we get little glimpses of it -really shadowy glimpses.

Many religions have a mechanism for dealing with this, and for invoking it - such as glossalia (sp?), trances, meditations, emersion in nature, dervishisms/dancing and the like.  These are modes of expression that don't sacrifice themselves to the inadequacies of language - but allow people to remain in/reach that "connected" state.  In those states sometimes you get just the right inspiration for whatever you need to do - and because of that people sometimes believe that that is the goal of religion - to have those kinds of experiences.  Well, I think its A goal, but not THE goal.

QT

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#483 Kosh

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Posted 15 June 2005 - 08:46 AM

Nonny, on Jun 14 2005, 05:06 PM, said:

Kosh, on Jun 14 2005, 12:52 PM, said:

Men are never infallible.

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There's this guy in the Vatican who would beg to differ with you.  ;)  I'm on your side.  :)  

Nonny

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I consider Benedict to be public enemy number one. He was responsable hiding all the molesters. I've been reading of late, that the church has paid out over a billion dollars so far, and it's not over yet.
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#484 Enkanowen

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Posted 15 June 2005 - 08:50 AM

QueenTiye, on Jun 15 2005, 09:33 AM, said:

If I understand you correctly, then I also know the feeling.  You get... impressions - a sense of knowledge that isn't verbal.  Problem is, we are such linguistic creatures, that we instantaneously start trying to verbalize it - and in the process lose something in the translation.  We can feel it.  We can feel the words not precisely matching the impressions that we got - we can see the words making it too narrow (for instance) - and sometimes going so far off the mark that we know we are no longer in the "divine" realm.  Is it from God?  Um.... sorta... I believe that there is a spiritual state that we are mostly veiled from in which we see things as they really are apart from our bodily limitations (which include language).  That state is the one in which we will be when we pass out of this life - the state where we can "see" God... and sometimes in this life, we get little glimpses of it -really shadowy glimpses.

Many religions have a mechanism for dealing with this, and for invoking it - such as glossalia (sp?), trances, meditations, emersion in nature, dervishisms/dancing and the like.  These are modes of expression that don't sacrifice themselves to the inadequacies of language - but allow people to remain in/reach that "connected" state.  In those states sometimes you get just the right inspiration for whatever you need to do - and because of that people sometimes believe that that is the goal of religion - to have those kinds of experiences.  Well, I think its A goal, but not THE goal.

QT

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If what you state is true then it is impossible that the Bible adequately conveys any sense of what god wants from us.

#485 QueenTiye

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Posted 15 June 2005 - 09:17 AM

Enkanowen, on Jun 15 2005, 09:50 AM, said:

If what you state is true then it is impossible that the Bible adequately conveys any sense of what god wants from us.

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No, not at all.

I should state that it is my opinion that the Bible as we currently know it is not fully authentic - it does not carry the certifiability of the Qur'an and the Baha'i Writings, for instance.  This is just a matter of age and circumstance - the Bible is really old, and was written in a time when durable media wasn't always easy to come by.  But that is not the same thing as saying that it does not contain Divine insight, or that people who choose to be guided thereby would be led astray.  There are whole revelations that never made it to paper - the peoples from those religions didn't go astray just because their way of transmission was oral and not printed.  I believe, as does woody that God protects the essense of the revelation regardless.

That disclaimer out of the way - God reveals specific laws to Prophets for specific people in specific times - those revelations help that particular people to advance spiritually, materially, intellectually...such that another revelation becomes necessary.   The fundamentals don't ever change, but the mode of instruction often does.  And, the fundamentals are evident in the Bible, same as any other religion.

Its hard for me to talk on this subject easily, because I tend to want to go yapping about my own beliefs, since I do believe that Baha'i Faith represents the most current revelation from God. But sticking strictly with the Bible, reading from front to back will give you lots of contradictory information - which you can simply write off as being culturally specific information specific to a culture and a time.  And then you can start identifying some other themes - Love God above all, seek God, be morally upright (and what kinds of things go into being morally upright)... you can see the themes that aren't culturally specific begin to emerge.  There are also some stories which you'll read and conclude 'no way this can be true - it defies logic, common sense and the laws of nature.'  All of those stories - are allegories.  Plenty to learn from them if one wishes to take the time to reflect and figure out what they might be saying.

QT

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#486 woody000

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Posted 15 June 2005 - 09:38 AM

QueenTiye, on Jun 15 2005, 01:33 PM, said:

If I understand you correctly, then I also know the feeling.  You get... impressions - a sense of knowledge that isn't verbal.  Problem is, we are such linguistic creatures, that we instantaneously start trying to verbalize it - and in the process lose something in the translation.  We can feel it.  We can feel the words not precisely matching the impressions that we got - we can see the words making it too narrow (for instance) - and sometimes going so far off the mark that we know we are no longer in the "divine" realm.  Is it from God?  Um.... sorta... I believe that there is a spiritual state that [...]  Well, I think its A goal, but not THE goal.

QT

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Yes exactly. Interesting explanation.

#487 QueenTiye

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Posted 15 June 2005 - 09:44 AM

Enkanowen, on Jun 15 2005, 09:50 AM, said:

If what you state is true then it is impossible that the Bible adequately conveys any sense of what god wants from us.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>



I forgot to say this, and only offer it as a possibility, because I don't know really.  But I wonder if Prophets are Prophets because of a unique ability to speak these unspeakable states such that they are able to give the necessary guidance, not just for themselves but for an entire people?  Purely speculative, of course. :)

QT

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