I have never read the good book so.....

Re: I have never read the good book so.....

Postby zyzzx » 08 Sep 2010, 22:15

Gao Bohan wrote:The term "post-Christian" does not mean "atheist". It's meant to distinguish the past of Christendom from today's primarily secular countries. Do armed Puritans patrol the streets of Massachusetts, arresting those not honoring the Sabbath and forcing them into medieval style dungeons? Because that was the reality of Massachusetts Bay Colony during the Puritan era.

Granted, Christianity has a stronger influence in say, the US and South Africa than the UK or New Zealand, but still, times have changed.

Well, the US does still have very prominent and popular politicians saying the US is (and was founded as) a "Christian Nation". Plus the ones that go even farther and say things like “go back to what our founders and our founding documents meant,” she said. “They’re quite clear that we would create law based on the God of the Bible and the 10 commandments, it’s pretty simple.”
or
"McCain also said he agreed with a recent poll that 55 percent of Americans believe the U.S. Constitution establishes a Christian nation. "I would probably have to say yes, that the Constitution established the United States of America as a Christian nation,"
Those quotes are from the Republican Pres and VP candidates, hardly sounds post-Christian to me.
Look at things like the ban on stem cell research, the abortion fight and increasing restrictions on a woman's right to choose, the fights over evolution in schools, restrictions on alcohol sales (my parents live in a 'dry' county) etc etc. There are still plenty of spheres in which government actions are heavily influenced by Christianity.
We may have come a long way, but nowhere near long enough.
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Re: I have never read the good book so.....

Postby Dragonbones » 08 Sep 2010, 22:39

Gao Bohan wrote:The term "post-Christian" does not mean "atheist". It's meant to distinguish the past of Christendom from today's primarily secular countries. Do armed Puritans patrol the streets of Massachusetts, arresting those not honoring the Sabbath and forcing them into medieval style dungeons? Because that was the reality of Massachusetts Bay Colony during the Puritan era.

Granted, Christianity has a stronger influence in say, the US and South Africa than the UK or New Zealand, but still, times have changed.


Sure, I understand. But I don't care for the term. We're in a post-Inquisition, post-Puritan, but still inadequately secular, and overly Christian-dominated stage. Not quite post-Christian.

Chris wrote:Wait... wait... Hands off Christmas! It's the only day of the year I've never worked! Many of us godless heathens celebrate it in a secular, Jesus-free way. I consider it a secular holiday.


Secularism should be absolute. It should be converted to a day off added to everyone's vacation, which they can take any day they want.
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Re: I have never read the good book so.....

Postby Namahottie » 09 Sep 2010, 04:57

TainanCowboy wrote:
Dragonbones wrote:When Christmas is not a national holiday, we have open atheists for President, and anyone suggesting school prayer gets tarred and feathered and run out of the damned town

As in Saudi Arabia....Libya...Sudan...Egypt... :ponder: Hmmmm...I think I'm seeing a trend here.

Nama -
I will dis-agree in saying that the USA is "post-Christian." It may be fashionable to 'not be Christian' among some sub-groups, but the vast majority of the population still self-identifies with the Judeo-Christian ideology. They just tend to be smothered over by the fringe groups that wish to deny that fact by refusing to acknowledge their majority and loudly proclaiming their atheistic viewpoints.
I will admit that some laws, local ordinances, have changed from the mid/late 50s which were based on the old 'Blue Laws' (ask yr Father) - and, thanks to the ACLU (read their origins - communist and very atheist) there is less freedom for public displays of Christian belief. Is the USA better for these restrictions?
IMO I think that restricting the freedom of Christians in a Jude-Christian based Republic has had deleterious effects.

Point out that I'm wrong is just wrong. I'm gonna pray for yer soul, son. :lol:


Wanna discuss the abortion trade and its effect on the USA Black population?
Another thread perhaps.
What would that be?
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Re: I have never read the good book so.....

Postby Namahottie » 09 Sep 2010, 04:58

Gao Bohan wrote:
Mother Theresa wrote:Here are a few stories we read about so far:

Noah: God gets sick and tired of humanity so he kills virtually everyone in a flood.

Sodom and Gomorroh: Same as above, except he rains fire on the cities, killing all except one family he lets escape.

Abraham: God tells him to kill his son to show how much he loves God, so Abraham tells his son to carry wood up the hill for the sacrificial pyre, the boy does it, Abraham piles up the wood, ties his boys arms, puts the boy on the woodpile and is just getting read to stab his son to death when God intervenes (in the form of an angel) and say, just kidding, I was only testing you and you passed the test. I can see you're a good man.


It's too bad you're reading the sanitized, two-page summary per chapter version. You missed the part where that righteous family God shows mercy on offers up its virgin daughters to prevent the mob from raping the angels.

Just wait till you get to the story of Job.


Ah the book of Job....that's maybe too heavy for my brotha....
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Re: I have never read the good book so.....

Postby ThreadKiller » 09 Sep 2010, 14:50

Funk500 wrote:Now what got me thinking is.. I'd say my value system is pretty similar to that of Christianity.. but is that due to Christianity having such a huge influence on our society that it shaped our thinking beyond religion to such an extent that a person can follow the basic tenets and not be a Christian/Muslim or whatever? Or is it that religions are based on common sense?

I'm confused now. What could it be?


In response to Funk's initial question. My :2cents:

It is indeed true that Christianity has had a great influence on the society we were raised in. For this reason I agree with Andre Comte Sponville who in "The Little Book of Atheist Spirituality" respects the way in which this particular religion has shaped his world. (He at the same time denies its claims for truth, as well as objecting to those who feel we need religion to be moral.) And I can understand why Mother Theresa would be reading those bedtime stories. Christianity informs our literature, art, movies, and speech.

I don't think this influence is the reason you hold similar values though. I would never call what makes people of all religions and those without religion sometimes be nice to each other "common sense", but there is something innate. As Sam Harris holds "The pervasive idea that religion is somehow the source of deepest ethical intuitions is absurd ... Concern for others was not the invention of any prophet ... we each want to be happy; the social feeling of love is one of our greatest sources of happiness ...." I think people learned a long time ago that to survive they needed to be nice to each other. But even if you don't believe there is some predisposition to goodness, most of us surely simply learn our values from parents, mentors, and teachers - who successfully or partially or imperfectly instill ideas of caring for others.

Funk, your question does remind me of something I at times consider. Everybody who holds the Bible dear are adamant that it is The Good Book. I feel they simply do this because that is what they have been brought up to do or that they have been instilled with this idea while converting through their own need to believe in something. But for me it's not such a good book at all. God really is a nasty in the Old Testament. The genealogies are horribly boring, and some will claim that the book is riddled with contradictions (see below - I don't recommend anybody read this rambling book, but it certainly provides thousands of instances that should worry Christians who also hold reason dear). So, I've always wondered how an adult of reasonable mind, who had no invested interest in salvation, would respond when reading it. I assume there would be bemusement at certain of the tales, and then a sense of horror when informed that a large proportion of the world actually believe the stories.

Image

Well, I have read the good book (The Bible, that is - not all of the one above) and the inconsistencies in it always disturbed me. I tried to believe the footnotes (I think the Bible I used most was called the NIV Study Bible) that attempted to explain things such as the call for Isaac's sacrifice. Now, no longer relying on the book as a moral compass, I'd just like to say that I have not run amok deflowering virgins or ravishing my neighbors' wives (or husbands). It's true that churches can be a great source of charity, but I don't feel that the goodness in people (Christian, atheist, Wiccan, or Jedi) has much to do with religion.
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Re: I have never read the good book so.....

Postby TwoTongues » 09 Sep 2010, 15:08

ThreadKiller wrote:Image

Coincidentally I've actually read that whole book, about 12 years ago during my first marriage when I had free time, and if there is any one book for opponents of Biblical "truth and goodness" to read, that may be it. That and Joseph Campbell's writings on Comparative Religion and mythology are essential texts for anyone exploring the reasons behind Christianity and the social bases for religions in general - plus they're really good bathroom reads, you can take em in chunks, and they have a tendency to raise blood pressure now and again to levels appropriate for the porcelain convenience.

Thanks, man, I'd totally forgotten about that book (along with most of my first marriage), I gotta see if I brought it with me from the US in my boxes of junk.
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Re: I have never read the good book so.....

Postby TainanCowboy » 09 Sep 2010, 16:54

Lol...I've been waiting to see who would drag out this publication.
Its widely available on the internet - for FREE - both as a download, as a read-on-line and I think even available for your cell-phone. Just the thing to keep the busy atheist on top of their game!

C. Dennis McKinsey does an excellent job for this day of internet info accumulation and non-digestion. He presents packaged rebuttals for use to the interpretation impaired. His posturings are just the thing to give sustenance to those who wish to justify their already decided upon positions of being "above this God-thing."
Good for him - he saw a market and made a product to fill an existing need... :bravo:

I'm glad to see this 548 page (with a whopping 3 pages of sources) volume brought up. I believe that both sides of an issue such as this should be explored as fully as possible. To believer of the Bible, or of the existence of a God, this will be a furtherance of their belief. To the atheists and the easily swayed non-critical thinking agnostics it will be a needed item of comfort in their lonely existence at the top of their self-ruled mountain.

I will offer some critical reviews of Mr. McKinseys' work...just to provide a bit of balance...and...'deeper analysis' of the matter of "Biblical Errancy"

For a rather in-depth, but easy to read review I will suggest C. Dennis McKinsey's Encyclopedia of Biblical Errancy: Critique and Answer Key.
Its a rather good piece that deals with his issues in a forthright and non-"argument by outrage" manner. Actually all of the suggested pieces here do so. Interesting that?

A slightly 'meatier' discussion of the book is available at The Encyclopedia of Biblical Errancy - A Summary Critique. This is a good over-all look at the work.

For more in-depth research into this book, and other Biblical questions, I recommend using the 'search function' at The Skeptical Review Online. This publication has been around for many years and is now fully integrated into the 'online' experience.

I hope this will balance out any actual seekers of wisdom on this subject....:grin:
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Re: I have never read the good book so.....

Postby TwoTongues » 09 Sep 2010, 17:18

TainanCowboy wrote:For a rather in-depth, but easy to read review I will suggest C. Dennis McKinsey's Encyclopedia of Biblical Errancy: Critique and Answer Key.
Its a rather good piece that deals with his issues in a forthright and non-"argument by outrage" manner. Actually all of the suggested pieces here do so. Interesting that?

Yes actually it is, thanks. Have you actually read through it, TC, because some immediately illogical conclusions are drawn within the first 4 pages of reading:

Miller concludes, "So, we have international and extreme violence and unusually decadent (and destructive/dangerous) religious practices...." And with this in mind, let's ask the next question: Had the Canaanites been left alone, what would our world be like today?

Critics need to ask themselves this question, especially in light of the definition of agape. As noted above, reform did not change these people. There were not other social alternatives available (see below). Would critics have us live in a world dominated by Canaanite practices today?

Right away, last sentence, at least three logical fallacies: a straw man "reform did not change these people" - based on what???; a false choice ("there were not other social alternatives available" - no alternatives to child sacrifice and bestiality?); and his own argument from outrage ("what would our world be like today?" (lordy that's ripe)). What a silly thing to say about the Canaanites and Amalekites who I'm sure were all so bad, even the infants:

his is what the LORD Almighty says: `I will punish the Amalekites for what they did to Israel when they waylaid them as they came up from Egypt. 3 Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy everything that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.'" (I Sam 15.2f)

The argument from outrage is not a fallacy when the hypothesis being argued against is "God is all-loving" and "God is all good". Presenting examples of mass murders of innocents is not just an argument form outrage, it is direct disproving of god's being all-loving. McKinsey is obviously arguing against the contemporary stereotypes of what people imagine the Christian god to be, not some apologetics reading of how people wish the text meant, and not the Greek word agape. If everyone who claims to be a Christian had it explained to them that, oh no, sorry, we don't mean love love, we mean agape, the "value of group attachment and bonding", half would laugh in your face, and the other half would consider that point, and if they agreed, stop believing in the god of the bible, because it's hard to see group attachment and bonding justifying the killing of children in the Holocaust or under Pol Pot.

I will certainly take the time to read some of these, but if this first argument of theirs is any indication, you ought to consider rereading it yourself, because they need to retake their Philosophy and Basic Logic courses.
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Re: I have never read the good book so.....

Postby TwoTongues » 09 Sep 2010, 17:38

TainanCowboy wrote:C. Dennis McKinsey does an excellent job for this day of internet info accumulation and non-digestion. He presents packaged rebuttals for use to the interpretation impaired.

I'd say that's the point, and most of the religious parts of the text are so silly as to not require extensive years of study to rebut. Why should the average person have to spend months or years tracking down every last dribble of translation, history, and exegesis, just to understand that the old book is a book mostly of myth, and that the god depicted within is neither all-loving nor all-knowing nor all-powerful, as generally claimed by the masses of believers. And why should the average person with work and something of a social life need more than a quick reference guide to the falsehoods and myths of the bible or any other widely-read and believed mythology?

TainanCowboy wrote:His posturings are just the thing to give sustenance to those who wish to justify their already decided upon positions of being "above this God-thing. Good for him - he saw a market and made a product to fill an existing need... :bravo:

You seem to have a tendency to offer mysteria and historical obscurantism for your own already decided on positions of being "above this anti-religion, anti-conservatism" thing. But the evidence you provide are usually so fraught with their own conspiracy theories, concoctions and cherry picking of history and facts, and twists of rhetoric, that it just tends to make your arguments look silly, not wise and educated. Posters have presented you again and again with serious rebuttals and sometimes explicit disproofs of your positions, yet you still insist on offering up this tripe.

"Interpretation impaired" hahaha I like that, unfortuantely, the "interpretations" you're citing in the linked pages seem to be faulty in their own right, so I wonder, does that make you "referentially impaired". If these links are all anything like the first bites I've taken, they should provide definitive proof that your arguments have little basis.
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Re: I have never read the good book so.....

Postby Chris » 09 Sep 2010, 18:05

TwoTongues wrote:Coincidentally I've actually read that whole book, about 12 years ago during my first marriage when I had free time, and if there is any one book for opponents of Biblical "truth and goodness" to read, that may be it. That and Joseph Campbell's writings on Comparative Religion and mythology are essential texts for anyone exploring the reasons behind Christianity and the social bases for religions in general - plus they're really good bathroom reads, you can take em in chunks, and they have a tendency to raise blood pressure now and again to levels appropriate for the porcelain convenience.

Thanks, man, I'd totally forgotten about that book (along with most of my first marriage), I gotta see if I brought it with me from the US in my boxes of junk.

I have a copy of that book in the US. It's excellent.
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