The Bible: Fact Or Fiction?

Is the Bible Fact or Fiction?

  • Fact

    Votes: 2 6.5%
  • Fiction

    Votes: 8 25.8%
  • A Mixture of Factual & Fictional

    Votes: 21 67.7%
  • I Don't Know / No Firm Opinion

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    31
  • This poll will close: .

TheBeast17

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#1
Please understand before I go any further that I mean no disrespect to anyone, or have any disrespect for any beliefs that people may have. Although I don't believe in God, I understand that there are many people who do.

But....Why do people believe in the Bible as a work of fact?

It was written thousands of years ago, has large pieces missing, contradicts itself at almost every turn, and has stories about Jesus that were written by people that never met him. So why do people believe in it as fact?

Now I am not the worlds foremost authority on religion, and I'm not having a dig at anyone, I'm just interested to know.
 
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Anonymous

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#5
The Beast said:
It was written thousands of years ago, has large pieces missing, contradicts itself at almost every turn, and has stories about Jesus that were written by people that never met him. So why do people believe in it as fact?
Go on, I'll play.

The same can be said of many of the sources for Classical history, otherwise we wouldn't still be getting books like 'Nero Was A Good Guy Really' (or whatever that recent work was called).
For example, how many of 'The Twelve Caesars' was Suetonius familiar with when he wrote his respected history? Born in AD70, he'd already missed Julius, Augustus, Tiberius, Gaius (Caligula), Claudius, Nero, Galba, Otho and Vitellius. The scandalous tales in that book are readily accepted in the popular consciousness, for all that they were informed by gossip, nth-hand hearsay and the love of a good yarn.
I also find the comparison helped if you remember that the Bible is a collection of books bound in one volume. That they don't match exactly is a sign of a light touch in editing, and the way that different people remember and tell the same event differently is a much-lauded theme in modern literature, as though it tells us anything new about the human mind.

Has that saved the thread?
 

caroleaswas

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#6
The Beast said:
But....Why do people believe in the Bible as a work of fact?

It was written thousands of years ago, has large pieces missing, contradicts itself at almost every turn, and has stories about Jesus that were written by people that never met him. So why do people believe in it as fact?

Now I am not the worlds foremost authority on religion, and I'm not having a dig at anyone, I'm just interested to know.
Even though I believe in God, it's something I've never been able to understand, Beast. Common sense tells you it can't be the literal truth. There are some useful bits in it, telling people how to behave decently (10 commandments, etc), but then there were quite a few ancient documents from the same general area which are similar.

Mind you, it's a good read in parts, action, thrills, spooky bits, poetry, but not the literal truth.

Although some members of the God Squad would disagree . . .

Carole
 
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Anonymous

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#7
A few years ago I tried reading an english translation of the Koran. To be honest I couldn't get myself into the "correct" frame of mind to appreciate it. It did not "make sense" to me, whereas, at the time, the Bible did.

I suspect that if you are brought up with a religious text, be it the Koran or Bible, then it will automatically make some sort of "sense". Later you may spot inconsistencies, but possibly you mentally sweep them under the carpet. If you come to something in adulthood, however, it is harder to do this. (Hence my difficulties with the Koran. I'm sure that if the situation was reversed that I would have at least as much difficulty with the Bible.)

For me, this makes it hard to understand how people are able to convert from one faith (or no faith) to Christianity, Islam, etc.

Anyway, a few thoughts.
:)
 
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Anonymous

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#8
U idiot! Its the inspired word of God

The Bible contradicts because it is people writing about their religious experiences. Different people have different views so each time someone experienced God they wrote about it. Its like if 20 people saw a car crash, you'd get a different story from each person. For the New Testament, this is especially true for the birth and life of christ - the first book was written when Christianity was still a jewish cult, so it put emphasis on Jesus's jewishness, then when it splited of from the Jews, it put emphasis on how bad Jews treated Christ, too prove that it was a seperate religion, etc., etc.. Try reading Leviticus

The Bible has been proven most times to be reliable for history.

If you want to take the piss out of a religious book try the Qu'ran (Koran). It claims to be "Gods word", if that was true it would mean god was very confused! It would also explain why there is so many Islamic Fundamentalists in the world.

Redtom
 

rynner2

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#9
So that's you on the Fatwah list then, RedTom.

But it's odd how someone else's religion is 'confused', while yours is 'only' a series of conflicting witness statements....
 

TheOriginalCujo

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#10
I don't know about you guys but I've never thought that the bible was meant to be taken litteraly. I can't help thinking that It's like a spritual inteligence test. Like you get to the gates of heven and there's someone there who asks you 'Did you take the bible litterally and believe that every single word was true?' and if you say yes they send you straight back to earth to try again.

Or something.

Cujo
 

rynner2

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#11
But if it's all about spiritual interpretation, you could say that about any book - the Koran, Bhagavad Ghita, Lord of the Rings, Winny the Pooh....

Funnily enough, some books which do have a spiritual dimension are often not recognized as such, eg "The Water Babies" by Charles Kingsley.
 
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Anonymous

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#12
I found Roald Dahl's 'The Witches' to be a terribly moving parable about a child's process of coming to terms with illness, change, disability and death.
 
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Anonymous

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#13
I thought.....

....that the Koran was the word of Allah according to his prophet Mohamed ( aka Jesus ) so, as in the case of the bible, you have the supposed word of god but second hand, and then in the bible it gets worse, 'cos you get the word of god, and then Jesus third hand etc....so it's not surprising that things get confusing and a little contradictory.

The whole thing appears a little like reading something like a car maintenance manual and trying to apply it to the way you live. Crazy and totally bonkers.

Moggadon
 
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Anonymous

Guest
#14
Even though I belong to the most open minded belief system in the world- Satanism -, I know some facts about the bible that christians aren't often told...sad sods. Anyway, it may come as a surprise but I think that the original bible text was a handy source of examples for social behaviour.
When I say original, I mean everything that was written in the bible before it was completely rewritten to suit the church, which happenbed around 1300 b.c. All originals were destroyed (which is a shame) and fear and punishment became the most important keepers of faith.
Fortunately some passages have been left alone and you can still read through the facade of utter b******s, that things once made complete sense. Like basic laws in social behaviour for example.
The same is true for good old J. of C. I have the feeling he did exist, but he was neither holy nor extremely wise. He probably was a very good politician, crafty and was sincerely admired by many.
Considering they didn't have an Elvis in those days, J. was probably the best choice of "most famous person at the time".
However, throughout history he was hyped up a bit (in 500 years Elvis will be a holy man indeed).
I also think that it isn't too wrong for some to believe in Mr. C if they don't really wan't to get to the truth but are looking for an idol to find inner peace (better him than Bob the Builder I assume).
So, yes the bible is a good book completely spoiled...


Ah yes and before anybody mentions my own Lord, can I quickly cut you off there and say that HE is not a figure as such but a name that stands for the believe in the right to be beast (including the human animal) and the freedom to do anything you like as long as it hurts nobody else!

And hereby I end this lengthy monologue (getting more and more pishhht...)
Hail Satan and Alan Partridge!!!
:devil:
 

dot23

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#15
Why do we believe anything in print, or told to us? It's the principle of Authority, that's what. We are brought up to obey parents, teachers and other figures, and chastised if we question them. This leads to the unfortunate state of affairs today, where we are told 'facts' by media outlets, and unthiningly believe them.

The Bible etc are just more advanced form of propaganda. As other people have posted, the bible is a cobbled together selection of highly edited/ censored works by a variety of people with different agendas. The 'Bible belt' position is that all of the Bible is true. Which version, one would ask? The King James, the First international? Anyone who has studies the progress of the dead sea scrolls will notice the Vatican's interception of the project, and it's stagnation in the face of monolithic beaurocracy.

If one takes the 'historical' nature of the bible at face value it leads to some unlikely positions. This does not mean that some events in the bible echo 'recieved' history. Yes, there was a flood in the euphrates basin (probably caused by a meteor) in about 4,500BC, yes a pharoah oversaw the enslavement of asiatic tribespeople, Solomon was a king, etc. However, just because certain truths emerge, doesn't mean that we must take the whole book at face value. We must remain sceptical about the parting of the red sea, the miracles of Jesus, the visions of Ezekiel. I don't mean to say we should discard these events as myth, just that they are hard to prove, seem unlikely, and don't fit in with our modern 'scientific' method.

If one treats the Bible as a set of allegories passed on orally and put those into historical context, the bible emerges as a rich, entertaining pseudo-history of the Middle-east, with a strong (if confusing) moral message. Plus it contains some of the weirdest hallucinations I've read outside of Huxley ;)

Oh, and I reckon the person most likely to be remembered as a religious icon is going to be Kurt Cobain, as a) he died by his own hand, b) he wrote the coolest tunes and c) he had a bandmate called Christ!
 
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Anonymous

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#17
Religious oddities

I've heard somewhere that the bible was 'stolen' from Sumerian texts. Anyone else know about this?

As a Satanist, too, I believe in being one's own god and anything that involves relinquishing one's will, or personal power, to some supposedly omnipotent 'being' is evil.

I've been re-reading the bible recently and can't understand how xians believe something so ambiguous. Sure, it makes a nice fairy-story, but it's full of holes and contradictions and should never have been taken seriously.

Organised religions are no more than cults that got out of hand, imo. That 'spiritual emptiness' some people feel, which causes them to seek out 'new age' or religious 'meaning', is the hole where their sense of self-worth should be.

Yup, give it a couple of hundred years and people will be wearing necklaces depicting a fat bloke with a quiff on a toilet.
 
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Anonymous

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#18
Not Sumerian, Babylonian. The creation myth is an old Babylonian one, written in a special verse form.
 
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Anonymous

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#19
Donna Black - good to see you back. I was wondering just the other day what had become of you.
Yes I know the ins and outs of Satanism, so I'm not making any jokes about playing devil's advocate here.
So I'm stirring, leave it at that.

The point of my post is to say that all of recorded history is full of hole and contradictions (see the "conspiracy" threads). And I believe that more established religions than can be just as empowering as Satanism. One of the hurdles which they have to overcome is the feeling that they are just yokes and burdens, only strictures and commandments, when often delight and bright glory are their to be found within them, whether or not they happen to be true.
Religious observances are these days rarely the celebrations of Life which they ought to be. "Duty" is misunderstood. "Worship" translated into obeisance. This is not how things should be. Whether Life is a chance or a gift, it should be enjoyed, and to struggle back towards being "on thread", I see this message in the Christian Gospels just as clearly as I see it in the works of Satanists, nihilists, atheists or whoever.
I think that the problem is that people in general are more familiar with what they are told about the Bible than with the book itself. It's not something which should be approached with a mind closed from any angle, it's something to approach with a healthily sceptical attitude, and it has some d*mn fine nuggets of wisdom in it.
I leave the historicity to John Rohmer &c, and many of the instructions wiithin to anthropolgists and social historians, but I swear there are treasures in that book.
 
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Anonymous

Guest
#20
Religious Oddities

Why thank you, Dead Flag,

I've been busy moderating on a couple of Satanic boards so haven't had much time to visit here.

I see your point, I really do but, imo, most (if not all) religions are based on 'death' rather than 'life', particularly in the idea of some 'afterlife'. As you know about Satanism and our beliefs I won't rant on about our love of life!

However, I will say that it isn't my intention to live in hope of getting to 'heaven' (nor Hell, actually!). I see life as a unique accident so I'm going to make the most of it while I'm here.

It's too easy to think 'My life sucks because of what I did in a past incarnation - the next life will be better.' And it's harder, but more rewarding, to sort out one's life here and now. Anything that happens to me, good or bad, is my personal responsibility and I'll deal with it. A religious person might thank 'god' or use the excuse 'god works in mysterious ways'.

It is this lack of self-faith and personal responsibility that irks me about religion. Happiness, peace and contentment come from within - but I take your point about some religious people finding these qualities through their beliefs. Personally I haven't met a truly happy fulfilled xtian, but that's slightly beside the point. I really don't think it's empowering to believe that something 'greater' than oneself has a hand in one's life, so I don't buy into the 'mere mortal' idea.

To me, religion began as a way of explaining the (then) mysteries of Nature. It has grown since then to incorporate social and cultural issues and increased in complexity but, to me, the basic point is that religion is an error (at best) and a good way of controlling mankind (at worst).

I really am attempting to read the bible with an open-mind. I want to understand what it is that xtians see in it. But so many of the basic tenets are fundamentally flawed in that nobody could adhere to all of them. It is humanly impossible. That makes 'sinners' and hypocrites of us all and creates a feeling of unworthiness. And what is all this about 'god' being vengeful and jealous? Personally, as far as I've read, I think that 'god' is the bad guy in this story!

Ok, you stirred it and I'm rising to it...lol...so, if you'd like to share some of those 'nuggets' in the bible I'd like to hear them. :)
 
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Anonymous

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#21
Donna Black - Ooh you temptress! Far be it from me to duck a promising debate, but as you're reading the Bible at the moment perhaps we should return to its flaws/merits at a later date. Hope that's all right with you; fling the old gauntlet if it's not.

I do understand about the death/life emphasis. Too many people seem to thank their god for giving them life then go about living in a most begrudging manner. I recommend to them the kind of thanks you'd give the barman who serves you the new day's first bracer after a night of unbridled revellry to set you up for another day of the same.

I also don't see how anyone who believes in a god who'd send them to Hell can avoid personal responsibility, neither for their own actions or for the things which happen to them. Of course the actions of other people can have as inescapable an effect as the actions of a supernatural force, but wherever one exercises choice and free will one must take responsibility here and now. Choosing not to deal with a situation but to lay it at the door of a "superior" being is also a choice, and if this doesn't help the situation I don't see that the putative entity should take the blame. Maybe the phrase "Deal with it" should be preceded by "Thou shalt..." for anyone choosing this response.

Good luck with the Bible reading, by the way. There's an awful lot of unpleasant stuff in there, especially the OT (oh the Psalms are wonderful - "God you are great, now please smite my enemies a mighty one for me"), but it's not all like that, honest.

And now I think I should be elsewhere, turning the other cheek to publicans and loose women. Wa-hey!
 

rynner2

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#22
dead flag said:
Good luck with the Bible reading, by the way. There's an awful lot of unpleasant stuff in there, especially the OT (oh the Psalms are wonderful - "God you are great, now please smite my enemies a mighty one for me"), but it's not all like that, honest.
Wasn't it King David (in his younger years) who bought his bride with several hundred foreskins cut from the enemy dead?

(An extract from my forthcoming book, "What they didn't teach you in Sunday School"...)
 
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Anonymous

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#23
King David was told to gather the foreskins of 100 Philistines as a dowry, so he got 200 for good measure (Samuel 1).
 

TheBeast17

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#25
It's me!! As usual I start a thread and don't come back to it for days, but it is getting very interesting!!

What does everyone have to say on the subject of fantastic happenings in the Bible like the Great Flood, or the Loaves and fishes story?

Did they happen to the extent and magnitude that the Bible suggests? Dot23, is one who has already touched on the subject.

Modern thinking tells us that they couldn't have done, but many people still hold that they happened as the Bible says.

What do you think?
 
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Anonymous

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#26
I'd really like to know how the fish and loaves thing happened, it would make student life so much easier.

I read about how the Flood legend might have been created when the Black Sea was created and flooded a lot of habitations. And I think this is what we will find for the rest of the Bible. That some of the things have happened, but not in the divine way it is portrayed.
 

dot23

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#28
'course, being a fortean we shouldn't discount mythology entirely as impressionable people/chinese whisper effect. Don't forget the Clarkism 'any sufficiently advanced technology appears as magic to those of a lesser civilisation'. If we get rains of frogs/ red dust/ fish/ meteorites today, their importance to people who understood even less about the natural world (my presumption!) would have been great. Perhaps a fissure opened up in the red sea at a shallow point, allowing water to drain out, perhaps there was (or is) some strange tidal effect that revealed a pathway (like mont st michel) - these could explain the parting of the red sea.

I still hold to my belief that Yesu ben Yosua or whatever his name was studied Indian Fakir's when he went missing from 11-30. This would explain things like mass hypnosis, the appearance of death and ressurection, the ability to cure through laying on of hands (now known as reiki!). If you think about it, none of the Jesus miracles are that miraculous except walking on water (which, I believe only appears in one Gospel and is therefore a bit suspect) and the ressurection. I believe it is possible to slow the metabolism to such an extent that you could endure three days of exposure and appear dead, and then reawaken at a specified time. Good job the custom wasn't to burn the dead, like in India!
 
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Anonymous

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#29
I thought that the Red Sea in the Great Flood was a mistranslation/typo of the phrase 'Sea of Reeds', and the parting and subsequent flood had something to do with a tidal bore at a river estuary.
 
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