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  1. #441  
    Quote Originally Posted by clulup
    I am not familiar with these movements. Maybe it was because the slaves were not considered heathens any more?
    Check out William Wilberforce for one. The abolitionist societies in the U.S. prior to the Civil War were also Christian organizations.

    Perhaps no amount of presentation will budge you from your pedestal of certainty. You appear to live in some sort of imaginary land where the Christian faith has had no positive impact on history. You're poorer for it. You don't need to admit Jesus is the Son of God to recognize that. You certainly have no problem recognizing the evil done in His name. Talk about intolerance!
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  2. #442  
    Quote Originally Posted by clulup
    The Bible does not leave any doubt about slavery in the sense of "human is the property of another human":

    Leviticus 25:44
    Both thy bondmen, and thy bondmaids, which thou shalt have, shall be of the heathen that are round about you; of them shall ye buy bondmen and bondmaids.

    Leviticus 25:45
    Moreover of the children of the strangers that do sojourn among you, of them shall ye buy, and of their families that are with you, which they begat in your land: and they shall be your possession.
    I stand corrected!



    It is worth pointing out though, that verse 47 which characterizes bondservant as one "having sold himself" unto the stranger.

    There is a distinction to be made between bondsmen and the slavery practiced in these United States, but I incorrectly assigned that distinction to the matter of "possession." And, so again, I admit my error.


    Quote Originally Posted by clulup
    Methinks sometimes you see your Bible in an overly positive light.
    I don't assign values of positivity or negativity to it
    Quote Originally Posted by clulup
    Isn't the view of some people that the Bible is literally true a bit frightening for you, too?
    No. If it is literally true, I'm covered. If is not literally true, it is of no concern.
  3. #443  
    Quote Originally Posted by phurth
    Check out William Wilberforce for one. The abolitionist societies in the U.S. prior to the Civil War were also Christian organizations.

    Perhaps no amount of presentation will budge you from your pedestal of certainty. You appear to live in some sort of imaginary land where the Christian faith has had no positive impact on history. You're poorer for it. You don't need to admit Jesus is the Son of God to recognize that. You certainly have no problem recognizing the evil done in His name. Talk about intolerance!
    I don't necessarily think that the Christian faith had no positive impact. The basic teachings of Jesus seem quite positive to me. But I am not so convinced that the overall effect of religion in general and Christianity in particular was a positive one. Look e.g. at all the religious wars and cruelties in the name of religion.

    I think religious people often attribute positive developments to religion, but I doubt this is correct in many ways. Take e.g. abolitionist societies. While it is true that some abolitionists were religious, I don't think the driving force behind it was religion. The abolitionist movement started during the Age of Enlightenment, too, and before that, few if any Christians had a problem with slavery. As mentioned above, there are numerous places in the Bible in which slavery is endorsed, and none in which slavery is condemned (also not in the New Testament). How can fighting slavery be called a Christian idea then? It is obviously much easier to make the case that slavery is in line with the teachings of the Bible than the opposite.

    The development of democratic societies is also claimed to be founded on Christian principles - however, as discussed before, this case seems very week to me, too.

    Take science as another example. Much of the positives sides of life we enjoy and would not want to miss nowadays is based on scientific developments. However, science has been vigorously fought by the churches for centuries... here's just one example from medicine: Vaccinations are probably the most successful medical treatment ever developed. Need I mention that even vaccinations have been condemned by the religious forces? Lucky those forces were already kept in check by a society which had become more secular than religious, otherwise maybe my children would still be threatened by numerous diseases we don't care about nowadays, thanks to science.
    At the time, both vaccination and inoculation were condemned by the Protestant and Catholic churches. Yale president Timothy Dwight IV [a theologian - what else?] held that vaccination thwarted God's will, saying:

    If God had decreed from all eternity that a certain person should die of smallpox, it would be a frightful sin to avoid and annul that decree by the trick of vaccination.

    British theologian Edward Massey published The Dangerous and Sinful Practice of Inoculation in 1772. Boston clergymen and devout physicians, believing that "the law of God prohibits the practice," formed the Anti-vaccination Society.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vaccina...f_vaccinations
    Still, I am not anti-religious. Some of my relatives are/were priests, and I got and get along with them very well. However, whenever a group of people starts thinking that it possesses absolute truth, and a book is called literally true in every aspect, I think things start becoming problematic.
    Last edited by clulup; 10/04/2005 at 08:08 AM.
    “Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.” (Philip K. ****)
  4. #444  
    Quote Originally Posted by clulup
    ...I am not anti-religious. Some of my relatives are/were priests, and I got and get along with them very well. However, whenever a group of people starts thinking that it possesses absolute truth, and a book is called literally true in every aspect, I think things start becoming problematic.
    Perhaps I have only recently developed ears to hear now. But, I feel like this is what we have really been discussing over the last several months. All the other stuff about the influence (positive or negative...depending on where you stand) of religion is secondary to this matter.

    Even our current disucssion likely is not as much about the influence of christianity on the founding of the USA, as it is about the perceived (perhaps rightly so) problematic scenario that derives from people calling a book literally true.
  5. #445  
    Quote Originally Posted by shopharim
    Perhaps I have only recently developed ears to hear now. But, I feel like this is what we have really been discussing over the last several months. All the other stuff about the influence (positive or negative...depending on where you stand) of religion is secondary to this matter.

    Even our current disucssion likely is not as much about the influence of christianity on the founding of the USA, as it is about the perceived (perhaps rightly so) problematic scenario that derives from people calling a book literally true.
    And it has little to do with what the book says. I am as frightened by a literal reading of the Bible or the Koran as of Mein Kampf, Das Kapital, or the Little Red Book. I fear anyone who claims that he has a lock on Truth, particularly when he claims that that Truth gives him a special claim on the favor of God or the state, the right to judge others, or kill infidels. It makes no difference to me whether the infidels are Jews, blacks, Christians, Protestants, Catholics, homosexuals, trade unionists, or communists. I am as frightened of Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell as of Osama bin Laden, Hitler, Stalin, or Mao. I fear true-believers of whatever stripe.
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    #446  
    Quote Originally Posted by whmurray
    And it has little to do with what the book says. I am as frightened by a literal reading of the Bible or the Koran as of Mein Kampf, Das Kapital, or the Little Red Book. I fear anyone who claims that he has a lock on Truth, particularly when he claims that that Truth gives him a special claim on the favor of God or the state, or the right to judge others or kill infidels. It makes no difference to me whether the infidels are Jews, blacks, Christians, Protestants, Catholics, homosexuals, trade unionists, or communists. I am as frightened of Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell as of Osama bin Laden, Hitler, Stalin, or Mao.
    Can you tell me where in the christian bible it gives an idividual the right to judge others or kill infedels.
  7. #447  
    Quote Originally Posted by cardio
    Can you tell me where in the christian bible it gives an idividual the right to judge others or kill infedels.
    No. It probably doesn't. That has little to do with the claim. The claim is independent of what the book says. There is great debate as to whether the Koran permits, much less requires, that the faithful wage holy war on the infidel. There is little debate that some are doing so. The claim arises from the strength of the belief rather than the content.

    You single out Christians and their book. I do not. I know that Christians have waged war on Jews, Muslims, and one another in the name of their belief. However, you are all of a kind as far as I am concerned.
  8. #448  
    Quote Originally Posted by whmurray
    However, you are all of a kind as far as I am concerned.
    Yes, this was quoted out of context but it was the not the kind of phrase I would have expected from someone who tends to write such thoughtful posts on other topics.

    Quote Originally Posted by whmurray
    I am as frightened by a literal reading of the Bible or the Koran as of Mein Kampf, Das Kapital, or the Little Red Book. I fear anyone who claims that he has a lock on Truth, particularly when he claims that that Truth gives him a special claim on the favor of God or the state, the right to judge others, or kill infidels. It makes no difference to me whether the infidels are Jews, blacks, Christians, Protestants, Catholics, homosexuals, trade unionists, or communists. I am as frightened of Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell as of Osama bin Laden, Hitler, Stalin, or Mao. I fear true-believers of whatever stripe.
    Not to put words in your mouth but it appears that your real fear is the actions of those who claim whatever they do. There is nothing in a literal reading of the Bible that could possibly cause you fear. Only in wrongly interpreted manifestations of that reading could you (and should you) have anything to worry about. Believe me, I share your distrust of those who privately interpret the Bible (or other "religious" texts).

    Bible is Truth
    Literal reading of the Bible is correct
    Doing whatever you want based on your own interpretation is wrong

    My ten cents.
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  9. #449  
    Quote Originally Posted by AlaskanDad
    Yes, this was quoted out of context but it was the not the kind of phrase I would have expected from someone who tends to write such thoughtful posts on other topics.



    Not to put words in your mouth but it appears that your real fear is the actions of those who claim whatever they do. There is nothing in a literal reading of the Bible that could possibly cause you fear. Only in wrongly interpreted manifestations of that reading could you (and should you) have anything to worry about. Believe me, I share your distrust of those who privately interpret the Bible (or other "religious" texts).

    Bible is Truth
    Literal reading of the Bible is correct
    Doing whatever you want based on your own interpretation is wrong

    My ten cents.
    You still do not get it. You keep defending the Bible. This is not about the Bible or any of the books that I cited. It is about belief and believers.

    You think that it is unfair that I should fear those who believe in the Bible as much as I fear those who believe in the Koran, that I should presume to lump you all together. Do you really think that you are more insulted by being lumped with the Muslims than they are being lumped with you? I am sure that you do. I am equally sure that they do.

    I fear all true-believers equally, in part because they all think that their belief and my agnosticism automatically makes them superior to me. Each thinks that their belief makes them superior to the other. They all believe that their book tells them that God prefers them over all others. They all believe that their belief gives them a special claim on the power of the state. They think that they are so clearly right, their claim so righteous, that surely the state must be on their side. They believe that anyone who tries to deny them access to the levers of the state is evil and justifies the use of violence against them.

    The Facists, Nazis, and Communists all believed that their cause was so righteous that it entitled them to govern without the consent of the governed, that they were entitled to use the immense power of the state to punish any and all who disagreed with them. They believed mutually exclusive things but they believed fervently. There was little to choose between them.
  10. #450  
    Quote Originally Posted by whmurray
    You still do not get it. You keep defending the Bible. This is not about the Bible or any of the books that I cited. It is about belief and believers.

    You think that it is unfair that I should fear those who believe in the Bible as much as I fear those who believe in the Koran, that I should presume to lump you all together. Do you really think that you are more insulted by being lumped with the Muslims than they are being lumped with you? I am sure that you do. I am equally sure that they do.

    I fear all true-believers equally, in part because they all think that their belief and my agnosticism automatically makes them superior to me. Each thinks that their belief makes them superior to the other. They all believe that their book tells them that God prefers them over all others. They all believe that their belief gives them a special claim on the power of the state. They think that they are so clearly right, their claim so righteous, that surely the state must be on their side. They believe that anyone who tries to deny them access to the levers of the state is evil and justifies the use of violence against them.

    The Facists, Nazis, and Communists all believed that their cause was so righteous that it entitled them to govern without the consent of the governed, that they were entitled to use the immense power of the state to punish any and all who disagreed with them. They believed mutually exclusive things but they believed fervently. There was little to choose between them.
    I'm sorry, I guess you are right and I don't get it. When you write "I am as frightened by a literal reading of the Bible..." I thought this might also have something to do with the Bible.

    You hate (let's use the correct term, shall we?) extremists who act on their views. So do I. Mutual ground, eh?

    Anyone should be insulted whenever they are lumped into any generalized group. Personally, I'm not insulted or offended but I'm pointing out that lumping, sterotyping, assuming is just a poor way to understand an issue. It is very difficult to completely understand any group from outside of that group. I cannot speak for Vietnamese fisherman as I am not one of them yet you have no trouble speaking for the beliefs of those who are not like you.

    To make my point a little more clear: I believe in the literal reading of the Bible. (Please note my use of the word "reading". Understanding and actions are a different topic.) My belief in the Bible is no threat to you or anyone else. My actions are no threat to you or anyone else. I do not believe that I'm better than you or anyone else. I am the neighbor you want to have. According to your writings, you fear me. I am just trying to placate one of your fears.
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  11. #451  
    Quote Originally Posted by AlaskanDad
    To make my point a little more clear: I believe in the literal reading of the Bible. (Please note my use of the word "reading". Understanding and actions are a different topic.)
    I don't get that. I read the bible literally, too, meaning I read it letter by letter and word by word. "Literal" understanding, according to Merriam Webster, means "adhering to fact or to the ordinary construction or primary meaning of a term or expression".

    Is that not what your way of understanding the Bible is? Don't you assume that earth was created in seven days, adhering to the primary meaning of the term "day"? That the story of Noah and his ark happened literally as described in the Bible, meaning that it happened word by word as described in Genesis?
    “Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.” (Philip K. ****)
  12. #452  
    Quote Originally Posted by whmurray
    They all believe that their belief gives them a special claim on the power of the state. They think that they are so clearly right, their claim so righteous, that surely the state must be on their side.
    ...and that surely their state must be founded on the very principles of their belief, and that surely their state must be one nation, under their god.
    “Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.” (Philip K. ****)
  13. #453  
    Quote Originally Posted by clulup
    I don't get that. I read the bible literally, too, meaning I read it letter by letter and word by word. "Literal" understanding, according to Merriam Webster, means "adhering to fact or to the ordinary construction or primary meaning of a term or expression".

    Is that not what your way of understanding the Bible is? Don't you assume that earth was created in seven days, adhering to the primary meaning of the term "day"? That the story of Noah and his ark happened literally as described in the Bible, meaning that it happened word by word as described in Genesis?
    You do understand how I mean it. Six days... Noah and the ark... Word for word as it happened. There are many who say that God didn't really mean six days. I'm not one of them.

    Understanding how Leviticus applies (or doesn't) is another issue, for example.

    My view is "What does it say? Then, that's what it means." Application and actions require proper processing though. I'm not going to stone anyone today.
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  14. #454  
    Quote Originally Posted by whmurray
    You single out Christians and their book. I do not. I know that Christians have waged war on Jews, Muslims, and one another in the name of their belief. However, you are all of a kind as far as I am concerned.
    Interestingly, a few hundred years ago, much of Spain and the Southern shore of the Mediterranean was a Muslim country, tolerant towards Christians and other beliefs, certainly much more tolerant than Christianity towards Islam. Muslim Spain had an extremly diverse and productive culture, and the Muslim world was far ahead in science and maths (that's why we use Arabic numbers). Later the leader of the Christian world, the pope, called for a holy war, and ordered all the brave Christian knights to Jerusalem in order to kill as many worthless infidels as they could. "Deus vult - God wants it" was the pope's slogan. They did that for many decades and commited horrible atrocities, before the Muslims finally managed to kick them out and free their land from that terrorist Christianistic plague.

    Today, the situation seems to be totally different, and it is probably fair to say that there are more Muslims are calling for a holy war against the West than opposite.

    However, the two books containing the eternal truths for Christians and Muslims have not changed, so the difference in behavior does not seem to stem primarily from what is written in those books, but from the interpretation of those literal truths.
    Last edited by clulup; 10/04/2005 at 02:52 PM.
    “Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.” (Philip K. ****)
  15. #455  
    Quote Originally Posted by clulup
    However, the two books containing the eternal truths for Christians and Muslims have not changed, so the difference in behavior does not seem to stem primarily from what is written in those books, but from the interpretation of those literal truths.
    Wow! Since when did we start to agree???
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  16. #456  
    Quote Originally Posted by whmurray
    ...I fear all true-believers equally, in part because they all think that their belief and my agnosticism automatically makes them superior to me. Each thinks that their belief makes them superior to the other. They all believe that their book tells them that God prefers them over all others. They all believe that their belief gives them a special claim on the power of the state. They think that they are so clearly right, their claim so righteous, that surely the state must be on their side. They believe that anyone who tries to deny them access to the levers of the state is evil and justifies the use of violence against them. ...
    I'm having difficulty with the categorization because I probably qualify as one of the "true-believers" yet I know that I am not superior to you or any one else. I know God does not prefer me over others. I know that I have no power over the state (except, perhaps, the influence of my one vote). I know that to whatever extent the state is on my side and/or that its levers are accessible to me, is a function of my citizenship, not my belief.

    I find that the superiority complexes you describe are not limited to religious believers. Most people believe that their belief system is superior to conflicting or contradictory ones (...else they would believe something else).
    I suspect you could find several agnostics and athiests who feel that their belief is superior to that of more deistically inclined "true-believers." I suspect that you could find several Redskins fans who would harm Cowboy fans under certain circumstances. I suspect you could find several drivers who would come to blows because another driver denied them access to their preferred lane.

    The tendencies to self-justification and self-rightesouness are great....for all of us.
  17. #457  
    Quote Originally Posted by AlaskanDad
    You do understand how I mean it. Six days... Noah and the ark... Word for word as it happened. There are many who say that God didn't really mean six days. I'm not one of them.

    Understanding how Leviticus applies (or doesn't) is another issue, for example.

    My view is "What does it say? Then, that's what it means." Application and actions require proper processing though. I'm not going to stone anyone today.
    See, that's what I don't get. On one hand, you claim all of the bible is word by word true. You claim to believe that earth was made in 7x24 hours a few thousand years ago because that is what it says when taken literally.

    However, you say you don't think people who work on Sundays should be stoned to death, or that holding slaves is ok (as long as they are heathens), yet this is precisely what the Bible says, without any space for interpretation, when taken literally.

    Some parts of the Bible seem to be more literally true than others for you. Why cling to Genesis 1 being word by word true, but not admit that holding slaves is ok according to the Bible, and stoning to death mandatory for people who are caught picking up sticks on a Sunday?
    “Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.” (Philip K. ****)
  18. #458  
    Quote Originally Posted by clulup
    See, that's what I don't get. On one hand, you claim all of the bible is word by word true. You claim to believe that earth was made in 7x24 hours a few thousand years ago because that is what it says when taken literally.

    However, you say you don't think people who work on Sundays should be stoned to death, or that holding slaves is ok (as long as they are heathens), yet this is precisely what the Bible says, without any space for interpretation, when taken literally.

    Some parts of the Bible seem to be more literally true than others for you. Why cling to Genesis 1 being word by word true, but not admit that holding slaves is ok according to the Bible, and stoning to death mandatory for people who are caught picking up sticks on a Sunday?
    The examples you've brought up (as you regularly do) involve two distinct categories: Historical descriptions and Law.

    Did it happen the way the Bible reads? Yes
    Was the Law in effect the way the Bible reads? Yes
    Should we obey the Law according to how the Bible reads? Yes (when properly discerned; not blindly or privately interpreted)

    I've brought this example up before:
    The Eighteenth Amendment to the US Constitution outlawed alcohol.
    Did it happen according to a literal reading? Yes
    Was this law in effect the way it reads? Yes
    Should we obey this law according to how it reads? Yes (when you read the entire Constitution and discover that it was repealed)

    This stuff isn't hard. It's just hard to believe.

    And, no, I don't pick and choose which pieces to accept literally and those to make up my own interpretation. That would make me a hypocrite, no?
    Recognizing that I volunteered...
  19. #459  
    Does anyone else find it ironic that the examples cited of the type of regime to fear (fascism, Nazism & Communism are/were all rooted in secular humanistic philosophies? These regimes were and to this day are resisted (in some cases unto death) by people of faith. Pre-reformation, the Catholic Church was a corrupt institution. The Church, like all human institutions, is imperfect. However...

    I might have missed it... could someone please point me to where during the past 500 years (or ever for that matter) any Christian institution has killed millions of people??? My secular friends, recent history would seem to indicate we the people (not simply Christians) have much more to fear from the extremes of yourworldview, would it not?

    I have far more fear of the creeping dehumanizing effects of easily accepted euthanasia and abortion than of some fantasy of some impossible biblical theocracy being established.
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  20. #460  
    Quote Originally Posted by AlaskanDad
    The examples you've brought up (as you regularly do) involve two distinct categories: Historical descriptions and Law.

    Did it happen the way the Bible reads? Yes
    Was the Law in effect the way the Bible reads? Yes
    Should we obey the Law according to how the Bible reads? Yes (when properly discerned; not blindly or privately interpreted)
    Where in the Bible does it say the laws of the Old Testament were repealed and not binding to you and others any more? And how do you know the early explanations of how the world was created were not repealed, too?

    Why do you think that earth is only a few thousand years old?
    “Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.” (Philip K. ****)

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