Episode 52: Disunity of the Bible Part 1

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Episode 52: Disunity of the Bible Part 1

Post  Fletch on Tue Sep 15, 2009 1:01 pm

To be fair, I haven't actually listened to the episode yet, but I was there when we recorded it and I think it's going to be a good one. What do you think?

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Re: Episode 52: Disunity of the Bible Part 1

Post  blacklens on Tue Sep 15, 2009 1:28 pm

Finally! I've been waiting and waiting and waiting for another episode. You just made my day!
cheers
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Re: Episode 52: Disunity of the Bible Part 1

Post  Stegocephalian on Tue Sep 15, 2009 2:14 pm

A new episode, yay! Razz

Downloaded it, and will listen to it tomorrow. Looking forward to it!
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Re: Episode 52: Disunity of the Bible Part 1

Post  snafu on Tue Sep 15, 2009 5:39 pm

I am just about to head on a road trip 5 days with no internet. Just cramming all my audiobooks & pods ready to go. And praise god, RD came down from the sky. Thankyou Jesus. How was I going to cope. Good things come to those that wait. snafu
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You Question The Bible's Accuracy? Wha...?

Post  Closet Agnostic on Tue Sep 15, 2009 10:16 pm

Love the show. Do more. More often.
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Re: Episode 52: Disunity of the Bible Part 1

Post  swearpeach on Wed Sep 16, 2009 12:05 am

YEZZZ new episode. listening now!
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Re: Episode 52: Disunity of the Bible Part 1

Post  Sosa on Wed Sep 16, 2009 12:10 am

Great, cant wait
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Re: Episode 52: Disunity of the Bible Part 1

Post  Stegocephalian on Wed Sep 16, 2009 2:24 am

Just finished listening to the show - it was quite excellent, and I'm looking forward to part two!

The "unity of the Bible" argument really baffles me - having read the book, "unity" is not a word that would first come to mind. Shocked

One thing I think is worth pointing out in response to this "unity" argument is a very concrete refutation: just look at the abundance of interpretation, denominations and splinter groups within the Judeo-Christian traditions! How could a book that is remarkably uniform and consistent, be fought over like that, with people often drawing polar opposite messages from it?

Just a glance at how the book is read across the world, and the disunity it breeds should be enought to at least give pause to anyone who thinks that the Bible is so consistent and unified that it could only have come from a divine source.
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Re: Episode 52: Disunity of the Bible Part 1

Post  Nicholas on Wed Sep 16, 2009 2:38 am

Stegocephalian wrote:One thing I think is worth pointing out in response to this "unity" argument is a very concrete refutation: just look at the abundance of interpretation, denominations and splinter groups within the Judeo-Christian traditions! How could a book that is remarkably uniform and consistent, be fought over like that, with people often drawing polar opposite messages from it?

I've talked with Christians who hold to the unity thing make the claim that it was not a reflection of the text, but of the reader. That certain political, cultural, and personal factors "cloud their understanding of god's word" (as it was put to me), and he claims they are interpreting the Bible according to what they want to get out of it. I found a certain irony in that. I tried to explain that, but oddly enough, it was lost on him...

I'm part way through the episode now. Smile
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Re: Episode 52: Disunity of the Bible Part 1

Post  Neon Genesis on Thu Sep 17, 2009 1:03 pm

I like the fact or fiction segment on the Skeptics' Guide To The Universe podcast and I would love if there was a religious-themed one on Reasonable Doubts. I don't get this argument that unity proves divinity either. If you have four different people who claimed to have witnessed a UFO crashing but there's no other evidence left behind of a UFO crashing, wouldn't that still make you skeptical of their claims? Speaking of the multiple creation accounts, isn't there a third creation account in Isaiah where God battles against sea dragons and Leviathan?

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Re: Episode 52: Disunity of the Bible Part 1

Post  RBH on Fri Sep 18, 2009 3:12 am

Late in the "disunity" discussion you all mentioned the 'worldviews' business. That's AIG's main stock in trade. I've talked with Georgia Purdom, a Ph.D. molecular geneticist who works for AIG, and that's her main schtick: We all look at the same evidence but how we interpret it depends on our presuppositions and worldview. That's explicitly out there all through the AIG creationism "museum."

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Re: Episode 52: Disunity of the Bible Part 1

Post  postwaste on Sat Sep 19, 2009 1:06 am

Anyone know of a book or website that has the contradictions listed in a convenient format? I am familiar with some of them, but it would be nice to have them on hand without reinventing the wheel.
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Re: Episode 52: Disunity of the Bible Part 1

Post  NH Baritone on Sat Sep 19, 2009 2:05 am

postwaste wrote:Anyone know of a book or website that has the contradictions listed in a convenient format? I am familiar with some of them, but it would be nice to have them on hand without reinventing the wheel.
There are contradictions & absurdities galore at the The Skeptic's Annotated Bible website.

http://www.skepticsannotatedbible.com/
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Re: Episode 52: Disunity of the Bible Part 1

Post  JB on Sat Sep 19, 2009 5:30 pm

postwaste wrote:Anyone know of a book or website that has the contradictions listed in a convenient format? I am familiar with some of them, but it would be nice to have them on hand without reinventing the wheel.

There is a green hardcover book "The Encyclopedia of Biblical Errancy"

It is an exaustive list of contradictions and discrepancies. The only problem is the author is a former biblical literalist and has little apreciation for any other biblical hermeneutic. So nearly half of the ones he lists are reaching. Bringing some of these up in debate would just make one look shallow.

That being said there is enough good content in there that it is worth checking out. It was a very helpful volume for me when I was deconverting.
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Re: Episode 52: Disunity of the Bible Part 1

Post  jgrow2 on Sat Sep 19, 2009 6:39 pm

Stegocephalian wrote:Just finished listening to the show - it was quite excellent, and I'm looking forward to part two!

The "unity of the Bible" argument really baffles me - having read the book, "unity" is not a word that would first come to mind. Shocked

One thing I think is worth pointing out in response to this "unity" argument is a very concrete refutation: just look at the abundance of interpretation, denominations and splinter groups within the Judeo-Christian traditions! How could a book that is remarkably uniform and consistent, be fought over like that, with people often drawing polar opposite messages from it?

Just a glance at how the book is read across the world, and the disunity it breeds should be enough to at least give pause to anyone who thinks that the Bible is so consistent and unified that it could only have come from a divine source.

But it never does seem to do that, does it? I cannot understand how anyone, having read that book, can come away without their beliefs being shaken just a little. My feelings on the Bible were ambivalent at best when I read it, and I came away feeling it was even more irrelevant than when I first opened it.

I will even go so far as to say it's outlived any usefulness it had as literature. Dawkins seems to think it might have a place at the table in some literature class, given what it's influenced both good and bad. That's all well and good, but keep it out of the hands of the impressionable.

Oh--Peter Jennings may have been taught to speak in a "midwestern dialect," but he said "doot" and "aboot" like the Canadian he was.

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Re: Episode 52: Disunity of the Bible Part 1

Post  JB on Sat Sep 19, 2009 7:35 pm

[quote="jgrow2"]
Stegocephalian wrote:
I will even go so far as to say it's outlived any usefulness it had as literature. Dawkins seems to think it might have a place at the table in some literature class, given what it's influenced both good and bad. That's all well and good, but keep it out of the hands of the impressionable.

Oh--Peter Jennings may have been taught to speak in a "midwestern dialect," but he said "doot" and "aboot" like the Canadian he was.

Love you guys!

I understand where you are coming from. But I would defend the Bible as Literature (hell I kind of have to, thats what I teach). First of all, Psalms, Ecclesiastes, Job- if these dont count as great literature then I dont know what else in the ancient world would. Secondly, the Bible is so influential on western culture that without some knowledge of it you can't even appreciate Bob Dylan lyrics, let alone vast swathes of the western canon which make some allusion to it.
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Re: Episode 52: Disunity of the Bible Part 1

Post  Jim on Sat Sep 19, 2009 7:49 pm

[quote="JB"]
jgrow2 wrote:I understand where you are coming from. But I would defend the Bible as Literature (hell I kind of have to, thats what I teach). First of all, Psalms, Ecclesiastes, Job- if these dont count as great literature then I dont know what else in the ancient world would. Secondly, the Bible is so influential on western culture that without some knowledge of it you can't even appreciate Bob Dylan lyrics, let alone vast swathes of the western canon which make some allusion to it.
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Re: Episode 52: Disunity of the Bible Part 1

Post  jgrow2 on Sat Sep 19, 2009 8:29 pm

JB wrote:I understand where you are coming from. But I would defend the Bible as Literature (hell I kind of have to, thats what I teach). First of all, Psalms, Ecclesiastes, Job- if these dont count as great literature then I dont know what else in the ancient world would. Secondly, the Bible is so influential on western culture that without some knowledge of it you can't even appreciate Bob Dylan lyrics, let alone vast swathes of the western canon which make some allusion to it.

Yeah, I see where you come from, particularly with Ecclesiastes. Now I was going to be snide and say I don't appreciate Bob Dylan lyrics, but that would be a lie 'cause I do. It's his singing that irks me.

Your argument is the same one Dawkins used. And it does make sense. The Bible is also highly charged as a religious document, so although its historic importance makes it very much worth consideration as literature, as do the archetypes drawn from it, there is still this need by the impressionable, the credulous, to believe it's all true. Not to mention all the horrific things done throughout the ages by those who pore through its pages without actually reading it.

Come to think of it, that would make its study as literature more important than ever, wouldn't it? Alright, you have me there. It might get someone to read it as literature, warts and all, instead of reading it devotionally and worshiping the handling of snakes because of a poorly tacked-on ending to Mark.
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Re: Episode 52: Disunity of the Bible Part 1

Post  Neon Genesis on Sat Sep 19, 2009 10:48 pm

jgrow2 wrote:

But it never does seem to do that, does it? I cannot understand how anyone, having read that book, can come away without their beliefs being shaken just a little. My feelings on the Bible were ambivalent at best when I read it, and I came away feeling it was even more irrelevant than when I first opened it.
The fundamentalists at my parents' church somehow managed to do it. Earlier this year they did this "read the bible in 90 days" program and as far as I'm aware, no one has deconverted even after they finished reading the entire bible unless they're not being completely honest about their doubts. How they manage to still not be shaken is a mystery as great as one of God's mysterious ways as it was studying the bible more in-depth that finally sent me over the edge, but then I was already doubting and open to different views.

I will even go so far as to say it's outlived any usefulness it had as literature. Dawkins seems to think it might have a place at the table in some literature class, given what it's influenced both good and bad. That's all well and good, but keep it out of the hands of the impressionable.

I wonder if years from now in a post-theist America, will Disney make cutesy animated musicals about Jesus and the apostles like they did with Hercules?

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Re: Episode 52: Disunity of the Bible Part 1

Post  jgrow2 on Sun Sep 20, 2009 2:39 pm

Neon Genesis wrote:I wonder if years from now in a post-theist America, will Disney make cutesy animated musicals about Jesus and the apostles like they did with Hercules?

Possibly, although the Fundies have already done that, I think, though the animation is not Disney caliber. Hanna-Barbera maybe.
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Re: Episode 52: Disunity of the Bible Part 1

Post  Nicholas on Sun Sep 20, 2009 11:44 pm

Neon Genesis wrote:
jgrow2 wrote:

But it never does seem to do that, does it? I cannot understand how anyone, having read that book, can come away without their beliefs being shaken just a little. My feelings on the Bible were ambivalent at best when I read it, and I came away feeling it was even more irrelevant than when I first opened it.
The fundamentalists at my parents' church somehow managed to do it. Earlier this year they did this "read the bible in 90 days" program and as far as I'm aware, no one has deconverted even after they finished reading the entire bible unless they're not being completely honest about their doubts. How they manage to still not be shaken is a mystery as great as one of God's mysterious ways as it was studying the bible more in-depth that finally sent me over the edge, but then I was already doubting and open to different views.

I highly doubt a fundamentalist church is going to have an open, honest reading of the bible. They will read it and glean whatever they want from it; what they expect out of it is already decided, so they are simply "reading" it to confirm their already established beliefs in a shallow, hollow attempt to act pious and holy.

They aren't reading to comprehend; they are just going over the words while singing "Onward Christian Soldiers" in their heads.
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Re: Episode 52: Disunity of the Bible Part 1

Post  Neon Genesis on Tue Sep 22, 2009 11:14 am

On the subject of fundamentalists misremembering things that aren't in scriptures more, I've definitely have noticed that a lot in debates. They can be staring at a verse in their face and I could be pointing out the flaws in the verse to them over and over but they still won't see it and read a completely different meaning into it. One example is once I was debating with some fundamentalists about the verses in Matthew 5 where Jesus said the old law still applies to Christians and I asked them why does Paul contradict Jesus by saying it doesn't. I specifically point out the verse where Jesus says it applies until the end of time, but they'll flat out ignore it and they'll only read the first part where Jesus says he came to fulfill as being proof that the old law doesn't apply. I don't know if they're doing this on purpose or if it's a subconscious reaction or something. Liberal Christians can also be guilty of doing the same thing but on different issues. Like there was one recent case where these liberal Christians had put up these pro-gay billboards but they had quoted this verse where Jesus is talking about eunuchs as "proof" that Jesus thinks people are born gay. But nowhere in the verses is Jesus talking about homosexuality; he's talking about eunuchs, which is something entirely different yet they don't seem to see it for some reason.

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Re: Episode 52: Disunity of the Bible Part 1

Post  snafu on Tue Sep 22, 2009 5:46 pm

Having grown up within a fundamentalist church, I think the misreading you discuss is a result of the way the fundamentalist churches teach their young on the "proper" way various passages are to be interpreted. The young believe such statements from authority, and as they grow up these "proper" ways of interpreting passages become capital T truth for them.
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Is there readable research like this episode online?

Post  FurryMoses on Thu Sep 24, 2009 5:21 am

The contradictions and "issues" with the bible in this episode were really interesting. Much more detailed than the simple observations made at the skepticsannotatedbible.com.
I was wondering, with the guys (I think) discussing the idea that "many christians didn't seem to know about this" - is there a fairly "readable" essay/resource (ie web page) where anyone is writing about this?

I think the discussion format is still invaluable, but I'd like to be able to send people links and read more about these.

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Re: Episode 52: Disunity of the Bible Part 1

Post  postwaste on Fri Sep 25, 2009 1:32 am

Thanks all for the information.
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