KevinWait a minute!Thu Jun 28, 2012 8:55am18.104.22.168You think that originally the bible was only taken VERY LITERALLY and it is only recently we didn't?
It is the opposite actually.
As early as the 2nd century Origen -- the main teacher of Christianity in Alexandria -- one of the biggest centers for Christian learning -- wrote his book about how reading scripture literally will cause people to believe wrong things about God. He felt he needed to make clear what Christians really were pointing to and why they read scripture. It is a book to help with PRAYER not to report facts about the world. So Origen discussed this.
Augustine in the 5th century wouldn't convert to Christianity originally because he was a scholar who read the great texts in Rome and knew rhetoric and when he read the bible he thought it silly, childish, superstitious and he couldn't believe it. It wasn't until he met Bishop Ambrose who told him he misunderstood and that the bible was not to be read so literally and tritely that Augustine was able to convert.
The type of hermeneutic that relied on a particular type of literalism really kicked in by the time Luther and the Reformation and then the translating the bible into the vernacular caused literalism (the way we mean it now) to explode. Average people who were not trained in rhetoric or the symbolic understandings of scripture began to read it more and more literally.
Sure there were always some who read it literally....but that was not the way it was taught in theology schools nor was it read that way in early monasteries or universities. Nor was that the focus of early preaching. The bible was interpreted with MULTIPLE levels of meaning. The literal/historical reporting in the text was seen as the lowest level. The symbolic parts were the most important.
Besides -- the type of literalism you are talking about is a contemporary development. Even the rise of "Christian fundamentalism" is a 20th century American phenomena started at Princeton.
The pre-modern approaches to texts are much more subtle. Much more nuanced. And also very different because they had very different assumptions about how the world worked.
Your idea that "ancient people were superstitious and dumb" but then science and thinking came to save us is itself a Myth told by the Enlightenment thinkers about the bad theology they rejected.
I do NOT reject science and good thinking. But you are doing the very thing I am pointing out -- you are reading the bible and theology out of its context. You are reading it anachronistically. You are not trying to understand the context that things were written.
And so you are not understanding the point of what the writing was about.
- Putting the fear of God into Atheists scott, Tue Jun 26 7:59pmhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4lIEhLwONgw&feature=related
- Scot why? Christipher Blackwell, Wed Jun 27 6:46pmscott, Human experience shows us that fear always leads to hatred, therefore if you fear God you eventually come to hate that god. It does not require fear to make one a good person, so why encourage ... more
- in actuality I think you and I agree .. scott, Wed Jun 27 9:55pmmore than you think I do .. I do not think fear is a tool used by God, nor me, to make one a good person .. in truth .. to me . .the fear of the Lord is the beginning of understanding His awesomeness ... more
- Moresense than some of the answers I have seen, ChristopherBlackwell, Thu Jun 28 6:53pmScott, Some ideas are easier to explain with people of same or similar beliefs. It is a case of sometimes talking past each other when we don't have enough concepts in common to really have a good... more
- and thats what Kevin was saying .. scott, Thu Jun 28 8:49pmit has merit .. I'd like to bridge that somehow .. find the common ground and work from there ...I'm all for good conversation. :)
- Scot, Difficult with such diverse points of view ChristopherBlackwell, Fri Jun 29 6:46pmscott, Now I might be considered odd, often was in the past. But so many of the basic ideas in Christianity, Islam and Judaism make no sense to me. So it is hard to find that common ground. I was... more
- well. .actually I was going to switch it up a bit .. scott, Sat Jun 30 12:59amLove a good conversation really .. it seems everyone always has to carve out their territory first for whatever reason .. then finally we can talk .. I hope I'm getting this right .. you are saying... more
- We should fear a loving God Moishe, Wed Jun 27 11:17ambecause...?
- would you be willing to enter into a study? scott, Wed Jun 27 12:23pmthere is a because .. but I'd need to find your willingness to explore it rather than suit some desire to flame me for my beliefs... scott
- No, but thanks anyway Moishe, Wed Jun 27 1:53pmI'm occupied with Jerry Coyne's study of the morality found within the Bible. Deuteronomy 18 "18If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice... more
- no prob .. I like Job personally scott, Wed Jun 27 10:02pmbut I don't equate loving with morality .. just the transformation of one's mind on the spiritual matter that undergirds ones actions from love .. not the other way around. To use Deuteronomy as a... more
- Wow, those are some lists, eh? Truthteller, Wed Jun 27 2:42pmthe toilet paper one is hilarious! But he makes a great point in that both Jews and Christians pick and choose which parts of their holy books they want to follow. Just like a salad bar.
- Disappointing. Gateway, Wed Jun 27 9:26amCouldn't you get a picture that shows a lake of fire and either bodies or souls attempting to escape. Something, anything that we could hang a couple of scriptures to. I think that might get a blip... more
- isn't there enuff of that already in your mind? scott, Wed Jun 27 12:24pmDo you even know what the fear of God preduces?
- I suspect that it preduces Moishe, Wed Jun 27 3:16pmthe presuppositional argument for his existence. ;-)
- NO! (nm) Gateway, Wed Jun 27 2:25pm
- Preduces? Truthteller, Wed Jun 27 1:33pm?? can you clarify?
- Pretty dull Truthteller, Wed Jun 27 9:04amand I didn't hear anything to support the "fear of god" allegation.
- yeah .. it wasn't al that great ..admittedly so .. scott, Wed Jun 27 12:27pmbut I am not talking about some "fear" or some turn or burn situation .. the fear I am seeking to have a conversation about actually has other merit to it despite its obvious connotation of fire and... more
- Fearing a deity... Truthteller, Wed Jun 27 1:31pmis not a new concept by far as there have been many deities throughout recorded history that certainly inspired their share of fear. In Neopaganism, fear of our gods is simply not an issue. RESPECT,... more
- What does fear of God mean? Ken C, Wed Jun 27 12:40pmI used to be religious and used to go to church a long time ago. The church mainly talked about heaven, God, and other good stuff. I don't remember anything about hell, the devil, or fear of God. Is... more
- sort of Ken .. scott, Sat Jun 30 3:30ama healthy dose of love perhaps .. I'll e posting a therad on the fear of God after the holiday .. got too many irons n the fire and want to do a good job of explaining what I think it means and does... more
- He loves you, but you must fear him? SES, Wed Jun 27 1:29pm"Religion has actually convinced people that there's an invisible man living in the sky who watches everything you do, every minute of every day. And the invisible man has a special list of ten... more
- hmm ... SES .. I am more interested in scott, Wed Jun 27 10:19pmconversations with those willing to have them on their own terms .. not on the terms of others .. what is your experience and your conclusion? .. not your agreement with the contentions made by... more
- Since you're apparently new here... SES, Thu Jun 28 7:33am...I'm an Atheist, and I've been an Atheist since I was maybe...12? I'll relate again a specific incident in my personal life. In Middle School (we called it Junior High School in upstate New York)... more
- if a single incident caused you you to disbelieve .. scott, Sat Jun 30 3:34amI'm not certain there would be an incident that would cause you to reconsider .. but just like ti takes way more muscle to make a smile and hardly any to make a frown .. I hope you will at least find ... more
- Only utter nonesense.... Kevin, Thu Jun 28 7:37amwhen one tries to read a CREATION MYTH as something other than that. The students in the class misunderstood the Indian myth and were reading it like a factual report and then you did the same thing... more
- My understanding... Truthteller, Thu Jun 28 8:45amof the Christian creation myth is that the vast majority of Christians DO take the creation story as factual. Are you trying to say that isn't so?
- I realize that as Science progresses... SES, Thu Jun 28 8:05am...more and more of the bible becomes non-factual and non-literal and non-historical. There was a time when every story in the bible was interpret as being literal. Yes, god DID create everything... more
- Wait a minute! Kevin, Thu Jun 28 8:55am
- So what you mean is that... SES, Thu Jun 28 9:04am...the people TODAY who think that the stories in the Bible ARE literally true (leading, for example, to constant attempts to find the Ark) -- are you saying that those people TODAY are more ignorant ... more
- Well... Kevin, Thu Jun 28 10:08amit is not as easy as saying that ancient people didn't believe the bible as historical fact because they don't know what we know. Some of the interpretations of the literal we just have let go of now ... more
- Have fun at the beach. SES, Thu Jun 28 10:14amI have nothing empirical to back this up, but I would wager that 99% of Jews "back in the day" read most of the stories in the Old Testmaent (Creation, Adam and Eve, the Great Flood/Ark, Soddom and... more
- A lot of people have died... Truthteller, Thu Jun 28 11:57amfor daring to say that some of the things in the bible are NOT literal, such as transubstantiation. Most of the evangelicals that I have encountered (including many right here) have said that they... more
- Kevin is apparently an expert. SES, Thu Jun 28 12:33pmIf he says that a majority of early Jews and Christians realized that most of the stories in their holy books were not to be take literally, then who and I to argue with him? lol OK, I'll argue with... more
- From the beach ont phone... Kevin, Thu Jun 28 1:31pmSo I can't make this long but we are talking about three different things here now. 1) what the thinkers and theologians taught and wrote about to explain the faith. They are the experts that laid... more
- That was truly AWESOME!!! SES, Wed Jun 27 6:40amA sliced-and-diced "Best of" selection. [ yawn ]
- perhaps you were thirsty for something more .. scott, Wed Jun 27 12:29pmstay thirsty my friend .. your boredom serves only to your own dismay .. not mine.
- I've watched ALL of the debates... SES, Wed Jun 27 1:05pm...between Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens, and the theologists. I like how the Theologists NEVER prove that god exists, but demand that the Atheists prove that god DOESN'T exist, when that isn't... more
- not out of my league . . not yet your friend .. scott, Wed Jun 27 10:32pmand not one given to posting to someone who already has a higher opinion than mine based on their own assumptions of what I do or do not believe. If I am not worthy of your opinions feel free to keep ... more
- When you come in here and post trash... SES, Thu Jun 28 6:00am...like a slice-and-diced video of a religious hack who Atheist debaters are supposedly terrified of debating, you'll get called on it. Selectively edited videos that present a distorted vision of... more
- Psttt.... Anonymous, Wed Jun 27 4:03pm*whispers* "...it's theologians....not theologists...." FWIW
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