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#1
Huff

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...of my views on religion, said to a fellow just the other day:

"If you believe in a literal interpretation of the Bible, then you believe that snakes can talk. You can't have it both ways, you don't get to pick and choose, you either believe it or you don't"


Any more examples out there?


Regards,

Steve

#2
Joe Bloe

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Only yesterday I was searching for one-liners about religion and couldn't find anything of interest.

After reading your post I decided to have another go - and look what I found:

http://www.freethoughtpedia.com/wiki/One_line_responses_to_theists

(Where was it yesterday?)
Believe nothing you hear and only half what you see.

#3
Ungodly

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The book of Leviticus, so popular among anti-gay Christians, also includes specific instructions to purchase and own slaves. This is Super Jeebus in his alternate, identical alter-ego Daddy self, telling you to go buy yourself up some differently skin colored property.

"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 25:44 , KJV)



So, to the extent that Christians are supposed to constantly demonize and harass gay people they also are under direct orders to buy and sell ethnically challenged individuals.

The instructions make it clear that the Christians are to be the owners!

"Weapons are the tools of violence; all decent men detest them."

--Lao Tzu

 


#4
Great Ape

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The problem with a lot of believers and non believers is their literal interpretation of the bible. It should be read analytically. The bible is full of parables, metaphors and allegories. The greatest book ever written should be viewed in the context of the era it was written. When reading the Bible, you need to keep in mind the background of life and literature two thousand to three thousand years ago, when the book was being written.

Having said that, there is a lot in the bible that begs to be taken literally. Maybe the only way to take it is literally. Confusing isn't it?

Edited by Great Ape, 24 February 2012 - 07:09 AM.

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.”

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#5
nogodbutdog

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If you believe in a literal interpretation of the Bible, then you believe that snakes can talk.

Those very same snakes eat dirt.
Ultimately I will not be a customer of SkyDaddy at all. They piss me off, and while it is inevitable there will be people, situations and companies that will piss me off, I don't like to pay for it.

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#6
Huff

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The problem with a lot of believers and non believers is their literal interpretation of the bible. It should be read analytically. The bible is full of parables, metaphors and allegories. The greatest book ever written should be viewed in the context of the era it was written. When reading the Bible, you need to keep in mind the background of life and literature two thousand to three thousand years ago, when the book was being written.

Having said that, there is a lot in the bible that begs to be taken literally. Maybe the only way to take it is literally. Confusing isn't it?



The problem with that way of looking at it is that YOU get to choose which is a metaphor and which is to be taken as literal truth and YOU get to be the arbiter of all of what you refer to as the greatest book ever written. If you or I get to be the ones that interpret this so called great piece of literature, then how is it that it is the word of god?
I would argue that your views about the era in which it was written is also misguided as there is no discernable way to know when it was written, so which era are we talking about?
If theists believe that the Bible is the "Word of God" how is it that anybody gets to decide which is to be taken literally and which is to be viewed as a metaphor or parable? I don't really think that you can have it both ways, it's either the revealed word of god or it isn't. By the way, as far as being great literature goes, I will grant you that it is possibly the bloodiest book ever written........good for selling to frightened children, but great literature....I don't think so.


Regards,

Steve

Edited by Huff, 25 February 2012 - 05:34 PM.


#7
Great Ape

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The problem with that way of looking at it is that YOU get to choose which is a metaphor and which is to be taken as literal truth and YOU get to be the arbiter of all of what you refer to as the greatest book ever written.


If you think you can interpret the entire Bible literally you're mistaken. For example, there are passages in the Bible that allude to the world being flat. Obviously that is not correct. So you must take it in the context of the era it was written. At the time, scholars actually thought the world was flat.

It is not I that says to interpret it this way. Biblical scholars interpret the bible this way. You are free to interpret it any way you see fit.

Here is a recommended way of reading the Bible according to a biblical scholar. These four key words-- observation, interpretation, evaluation, and application-- are the heart of all approaches to finding out what the Bible means. They provide the structure of what questions you ask of the text, and when.

  • Who wrote/spoke the passage and to whom was it addressed?
  • What does the passage say?
  • Are there any words or phrases in the passage that need to be examined?
  • What is the immediate context?
  • What is the broader context in the chapter and book?
  • What are the related verses to the passage’s subject and how do they affect the understanding of this passage?
  • What is the historical and cultural background?
  • What do I conclude about the passage?
  • Do my conclusions agree or disagree with related areas of Scripture and others who have studied the passage?
  • What have I learned and what must I apply to my life?

Perhaps this will be of help to you. Should the bible be interpreted literally

If you or I get to be the ones that interpret this so called great piece of literature, then how is it that it is the word of god?


While people do interpret the Bible differently, I should think that Biblical scholars come to similar conclusions. I would argue that the common man is not qualified to interpret the Bible. At least not qualified to interpret it correctly in every instance.

I don't believe it to be the word of God. It is a book written by mere mortal men.

I would argue that your views about the era in which it was written is also misguided as there is no discernable way to know when it was written, so which era are we talking about?


The timeline of the Bible has been closely figured by biblical scholars and researchers. There are many sites that will give you dates on when it was written. Here are a couple links.

When was the bible written and who wrote it

Nova: Origins of the Bible

The first five books - Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, book of Numbers and Deuteronomy - make up the Pentateuch, the story of Israel from the Creation to the death of Moses. Few scholars today doubt that it reached its present form in the Persian period (538-332 BC), and that its authors were the elite of exilic returnees who controlled the Temple at that time.[9] The books of Joshua, Judges, Samuel and Kings follow, forming a history of Israel from the conquest of Canaan to the fall of Jerusalem: there is a broad consensus among scholars that these originated as a single work (the so-called "Deuteronomistic history") during the 6th century Babylonian exile.[10] The two Books of Chronicles cover much the same material as the Pentateuch and Deuteronomistic history and probably date from the 4th century BC.[11] Chronicles links with the books of Ezra and Nehemiah, which were probably finished during the 3rd century BC.[12] Catholic and Orthodox Old Testaments contain two (Catholic Old Testament) to four (Orthodox) books of Maccabees, written in the 2nd and 1st centuries BC.

The history books make up around half the total content of the Old Testament. Of the remainder, the books of the various prophets - Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel and the twelve "minor prophets" - were written between the 8th and 6th centuries BC, with the exception of Jonah and Daniel which are much later,[13] and the "wisdom" and other books - Job, Proverbs and similar books - date from the 5th century BC to the 2nd or 1st, with the exception of some of the psalms.

Old Testament - Wikipedia



If theists believe that the Bible is the "Word of God" how is it that anybody gets to decide which is to be taken literally and which is to be viewed as a metaphor or parable? I don't really think that you can have it both ways, it's either the revealed word of god or it isn't.


Theists have been misinterpreting the Bible for ages. If you want an accurate account of what the Bible is saying, I would refer to the works of Biblical scholars and researchers. I personally wouldn't even attempt to interpret the Bible. I am not qualified to do so. I would hazard a guess that most people aren't.

It is not the revealed word of God in my opinion.

By the way, as far as being great literature goes, I will grant you that it is possibly the bloodiest book ever written........good for selling to frightened children, but great literature....I don't think so.


I certainly never said it was great literature.The Bible is sometimes referred to as the, "Greatest book ever written". That is all I meant.

Edited by Great Ape, 25 February 2012 - 10:09 PM.

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.”

~Charles Darwin~
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#8
Cousin Ricky

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By the way, as far as being great literature goes, I will grant you that it is possibly the bloodiest book ever written........good for selling to frightened children, but great literature....I don't think so.

That depends on which chapters of which books of that disjointed anthology.

Genesis 3 is an inversion of morality; 2 Samuel 12 is an inversion of justice; Exodus teaches that might makes right; Leviticus is a self-serving instruction manual for societal parasites; Joshua is a genocidal bloodbath; Judges is a study in the very worst of human nature; Ezra 10 is totally anti-family; and Proverbs 3, John 20, 2 Corinthians 10, and Hebrews 11 feature instructions in intellectual dishonesty.

On the other hand, many of the psalms are inspiring; Genesis 1 is beautifully poetic; 1 Corinthians 13 is a sublime exposition on love; Jonah teaches humility; Revelation is... well... fun :drunken_smilie1:; and Song of Solomon, HUBBA HUBBA :oops:!
“Facts seem to roll off a Christian like water off a duck.” —Great Ape

“How much can you actually doubt something and still maintain that you believe it?” —Josh K, “Alpha and Omega”

“You don’t understand. My crisis of faith is over.

#9
Huff

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Well, I am certainly willing to give credit where credit is due,and you have certainly opened my eyes regarding some facets of the bible. I will say that I have never tried to foist myself off as a biblical scholar, but I will also say that if theists have been misinterpreting the bible for ever, and the "common man" is not qualified to interpret it, who is it that gets to be the final arbiter? You? Me? The whole problem with the thing is that people who believe that this book is quite literally "the word of God", they believe that means ALL of it, regardless of how much scholarly debate takes place regarding its origins or meanings.
I am willing to be schooled, but one should never forget that many, if not most biblical scholars and researchers have an agenda that may include proving their own personal beliefs.

Regards,

Steve

#10
Great Ape

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Well, I am certainly willing to give credit where credit is due,and you have certainly opened my eyes regarding some facets of the bible.


I'm happy I could be of some assistance to you.

I will say that I have never tried to foist myself off as a biblical scholar, but I will also say that if theists have been misinterpreting the bible for ever, and the "common man" is not qualified to interpret it, who is it that gets to be the final arbiter? You? Me?


Please keep in mind, not all theists misinterpret the Bible. I am sure there are plenty which do not. For example, a Catholic priest attends seminary school. There he learns to interpret the Bible correctly.

A pastor or minister might attend seminary also. They might take further classes on biblical reading to increase their knowledge of the bible. I could give more examples but I think you see my point. There are clerics who interpret the Bible correctly.

Then there are those who do not. Beware the ones who do not. Some clerics misinterpret the bible because they do not fully understand how to read it. While others purposely misinterpret the Bible to further their own personal agenda.

I think the final arbiter is the person who does indeed understand it and interprets the Bible as it was meant to be read. This could be a Priest, a Pastor, a Minister etc.

If the layman wants to understand their Bible and be confident what their religious leaders are teaching is accurate, then it behooves that person to learn something about their Bible. In the final analysis it is up to the believer to know something about what their Bible is actually telling them.

The problem is, a lot of believers don't understand their Bible fully, and rely on their religious leaders to interpret it for them. I'm sure you can see the dangers inherent in this practice. If one can't be bothered to learn for themselves, then they are at the mercy of those more knowledgeable. In the end, they have only themselves to blame, if their religious leaders lead them astray or take advantage of their gullibility.

The whole problem with the thing is that people who believe that this book is quite literally "the word of God", they believe that means ALL of it, regardless of how much scholarly debate takes place regarding its origins or meanings.


The Bible is the literal word of God according to those who believe. However, the entire Bible should not be interpreted literally. If someone tells you that it should be, then be sure to inform them they are mistaken.

Allow me to give you another example of why this is so. The Bible also uses hyperbole.

Hyperbole, one of over 200 different types of figures of speech found in the Bible, is exaggeration for effect. If these figures of speech are taken literally, one will misinterpret what the scriptures say. Word-for-word literal translations are FULL of phrases and sentences which have NOT been faithfully translated. Even though they may have translated each WORD faithfully and correctly, they have not conveyed the true meaning behind the phrase or sentence.

For example, this verse is a hyperbole, an exaggeration for effect:

“You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.” (Matt. 23:24, NIV)

It is not too difficult to determine that this is a hyperbole, an exaggeration. Because the English language is full of Bible terms and phraseology, this Hebrew idiom has become part of the English language. Therefore most English speaking people know the real meaning of that phrase: “You pay close attention to little things but neglect the important things.”

However, here is a hyperbole that the average Bible reader may miss and formulate doctrine from which may end up being harmful to themselves and others.

“Everything is possible for him who believes.” (Mark 9:23b, NIV)

The Bible is full of exaggerations like the one above which are NOT to be taken literally. Careful attention, comparing scripture with scripture, knowing the Bible and its author thoroughly, making certain not to necessary apply things to ourselves which weren’t meant for us individually and some basics about the original languages are needed to prevent us from misinterpreting various scripture verses like this one. In this case, obviously, if something is against the will of God or if one asks with the wrong motive, no matter how much one believes for something, it won’t happen. (See James 4:2,3; John 5:19; John 15:5; 2 Cor.13:8, etc.) However, someone under a hyper-faith teaching ministry like the Word/faith movement, for example, may take this verse literally. Misinterpreting and misapplying this verse could cause one to do some serious damage to themselves and others due to demanding from God what He never really said He would do because they didn’t bother to find out or were never taught in their church that the Bible is FULL OF HYPERBOLE WHICH SHOULDN’T BE TAKEN LITERALLY!

[Source]



I am willing to be schooled, but one should never forget that many, if not most biblical scholars and researchers have an agenda that may include proving their own personal beliefs.


Perhaps, but I think you will find most biblical scholars and researchers to be honest and diligent in their findings. Remember, their scripture interpretations can always be cross referenced with other scholars for discrepancies. This fact alone keeps them honest.

Edited by Great Ape, 01 March 2012 - 04:26 AM.

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.”

~Charles Darwin~
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#11
Ungodly

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The whole problem with the thing is that people who believe that this book is quite literally "the word of God", they believe that means ALL of it, regardless of how much scholarly debate takes place regarding its origins or meanings.



Yet when a Bible literalist is shown cases of false science in the Bible they display an amazing capacity to actually not believe what they literally do believe. It's the only way they can avoid having their heads explode. The Bible is where we sing songs of praise for smashing babies skulls against the rocks in a sort of hymn to the God of Genocide (Psalms 137:9) Gotta love that Holy Head Smashin', Praise Him.

The ability of the human mind to simultaneously fervently believe contradictory ideas is truly awesome, it is a marvel to contemplate, a stunning display to behold. Until machines can be made to stir in a little stupid with every fresh idea they will never replace us.

"Weapons are the tools of violence; all decent men detest them."

--Lao Tzu

 


#12
Joe Bloe

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Please keep in mind, not all theists misinterpret the Bible. I am sure there are plenty which do not. For example, a Catholic priest attends seminary school. There he learns to interpret the Bible correctly.

A pastor or minister might attend seminary also. They might take further classes on biblical reading to increase their knowledge of the bible. I could give more examples but I think you see my point. There are those who interpret it correctly.

I'm not disagreeing with you Great Ape, many preachers do know how to correctly interpret the bible - but hardly any of them are prepared to share their knowledge with the mugs in the pews. If nothing else they are guilty of lying by omission.



For example, the preacher knows that Isaiah 7 refers to events that took place in 735 BC when the Assyrians were preparing to invade Judah: Isaiah prophesied that the Assyrians would not succeed, but Ahaz didn't believe him, so Isaiah suggested that Ahaz ask god for a sign. Ahaz said he would not put god to the test in that fashion, so Isaiah said a sign would be given anyway: A young woman will give birth to a child named Immanuel and by the time he leaves his childhood, Judah will be saved and Assyria will be deserted.

But every Christmas those same preachers will stand in the pulpit and declare that Isaiah 7:14 is a prophecy that Jesus would be born to a virgin and that he came to save the world. They are wrong in every detail, and they know they are wrong, yet they preach the lie in December each year for as long as they remain in the ministry. (Even if Jesus was born to a virgin and even if he did come to save the world, the preacher is still wrong to say that Isaiah predicted those things. He did not!)



And so it is with many other bible stories: The seminarians know that more than a thousand years before Moses, a baby named Sargon was set adrift on the river in a basket lined with pitch. They know that the baby was rescued by a gardener; grew up in the royal household and eventually became a king in his own right. The seminarians know that story so well, but they never mention it when they are preaching about Moses - it might set up doubts in the minds of the tithe-givers (and the tithes cannot be put at risk - ever.)


And I wonder when was the last time a preacher mention Utnapishtim during a sermon about Noah's Flood?
Believe nothing you hear and only half what you see.

#13
Great Ape

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I have no doubt you are correct. The stories you cited are very interesting. I had never heard of these particular stories till you mentioned them. I looked them up and I am reading more about them. I'm reading about the Gilgamesh flood myth right now. Very interesting stuff. Thanks. :Smiley:

Edited by Great Ape, 27 February 2012 - 04:16 AM.

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.”

~Charles Darwin~
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#14
Joe Bloe

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I have no doubt you are correct. The stories you cited are very interesting. I had never heard of them till you mentioned them. I looked them up and am reading more about them. I'm reading about the Gilgamesh flood myth right now. Very interesting stuff. Thanks. :Smiley:


Just to repeat, I'm not disagreeing with what you have said about bible scholars. They certainly are educated and their conclusions cannot be faulted. When I first started reading about Higher and Lower Criticisms, I thought the books had been written by atheists (no Internet in those days, so no way of quickly checking an author's credentials) and I was stunned to find that they were actually Christians who simply followed the evidence wherever it led - and did not hesitate to publish the results.

It's the next level down where I lose my respect ... the apologists who begin with an idea (the bible is infallible) and simply ignore (or hide) any evidence to the contrary, and the professional preachers who are in the business to make money, and quite happy to spread lies in order to get that money.
Believe nothing you hear and only half what you see.

#15
Great Ape

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Just to repeat, I'm not disagreeing with what you have said about bible scholars. They certainly are educated and their conclusions cannot be faulted. When I first started reading about Higher and Lower Criticisms, I thought the books had been written by atheists (no Internet in those days, so no way of quickly checking an author's credentials) and I was stunned to find that they were actually Christians who simply followed the evidence wherever it led - and did not hesitate to publish the results.


That is certainly refreshing. The Bible should be read in that fashion. It should be approached in a scholarly and academic manner. Free of prejudice or personal predilections.


It's the next level down where I lose my respect ... the apologists who begin with an idea (the bible is infallible) and simply ignore (or hide) any evidence to the contrary, and the professional preachers who are in the business to make money, and quite happy to spread lies in order to get that money.


While I do agree with this, and I'm sure this applies to a percentage of clergyman, I hesitate to paint every ecclesiastical in the world with the same brush.

Edited by Great Ape, 27 February 2012 - 04:36 AM.

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.”

~Charles Darwin~
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#16
Joe Bloe

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Joe Bloe, on 27 February 2012 - 03:34 PM, said:
It's the next level down where I lose my respect ... the apologists who begin with an idea (the bible is infallible) and simply ignore (or hide) any evidence to the contrary, and the professional preachers who are in the business to make money, and quite happy to spread lies in order to get that money.

While I do agree with this, and I'm sure this applies to a percentage of clergyman, I hesitate to paint every ecclesiastical in the world with the same brush.

I'm sure there are many who genuinely believe what they preach, but they are nevertheless preaching a lie, and they are using threats of eternal damnation to keep the flock under control. Good intentioned perhaps, but arseholes all the same.
Believe nothing you hear and only half what you see.

#17
Great Ape

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I'm sure there are many who genuinely believe what they preach, but they are nevertheless preaching a lie, and they are using threats of eternal damnation to keep the flock under control. Good intentioned perhaps, but arseholes all the same.


I certainly can't argue with that Joe. I agree 100%. :snork_okok:
“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.”

~Charles Darwin~
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#18
areo

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statistics say that mpost people remain following the religion they bought into by heritage while each religion claims that if u dont foloow it u will perish in hell and at the same time that god is just this si an obvious contardiction

#19
Seti

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I would argue that your views about the era in which it was written is also misguided as there is no discernable way to know when it was written, so which era are we talking about?
Steve

Well, actually there is. Analysis of the linguistics puts it around 700BCE - around the time of the return from Exile in Babylon, when the priests magically "discovered" it in a hole in the temple wall. Which was extremely convenient, as they were trying to create a nation out of the muddled masses of those who had been away and those who had been left behind, and lo! Here was their history, a chosen and brave people who had escaped slavery in Egypt and had had mighty kings (David and Solomon.)
Unfortunately they made some key errors - and not just the ones we all know about, with talking snakes and implausible floods. For example, there never was an exile in Egypt, let alone an Exodus. Archeological evidence shows no trace of a "Jewish" culture prior to around 1000BCE, and no trace of it in Egypt - anyway, Biblical chronology puts the Exodus around 1300BCE. The eruption of Santorini is often cited as "evidence" of the truth of the story - the effects of the eruption accounting for the plagues. Well, yes - again, the timing is well out, but it's perfectly possible that the effects were genuine, and could have been woven into the story to add a bit of excitement. And just to trump the lot, the whole area of Palestine was part of the Egyptian empire for most of that period, and was garrisoned with troops - if they'd crossed the Red Sea ("Reed Sea") whatever, they'd just have found more Egyptian troops waiting to welcome them on the opposite bank. No way could they have invaded Canaan and attacked Jericho - like the Egyptians were going to stand for that!
The archeological evidence suggests that the Jewish people were not "invaders" but were the people of the hills around the Jerusalem area. They were not very numerous, and were quite poor. There is some evidence that David and Solomon were their kings, and Jerusalem their capital, but never of the extensive area they claimed. Which sheds a very interesting light on the current Israeli-Palestine dispute...

Edited by Seti, 26 November 2012 - 12:48 PM.

"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful, without having to believe there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" In Memoriam: Douglas Adams 1952-2001

#20
jonathanlobl

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...of my views on religion, said to a fellow just the other day:

"If you believe in a literal interpretation of the Bible, then you believe that snakes can talk. You can't have it both ways, you don't get to pick and choose, you either believe it or you don't"


Any more examples out there?


Regards,

Steve

 

 

For me, the most obvious and painful example is the story of creation in Genesis.  The Earth is already covered with plant life.  On the fourth day, God adds the Sun and the Moon.  Really?  Plant life without the Sun?  That's not bad enough.  The stars -- all of them including distant galaxies -- are hung in the "firmament" to be lights in the sky.

 

The Sun is the "greater light" to "rule" the day.  The Moon is the "lesser light" to "rule" the night.  So, this is where astrology comes from?  Later books forbid astrology.  Well, it makes as much sense as the rest of this cosmology.   :(


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