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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: .

Cochise

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That's all good and well. But this isn't about personal belief but historical evidence. For the record, I do think JC was real enough, but unless new evidence comes to light we may never be able to tell the truth from the fiction.
I don't have a problem with that, I'm not sure what evidence we can reasonably expect to find though.

We have four authors writing about one man's life. He wasn't a king, didn't hold any military or other position, and he had only been actively preaching for three years when he was crucified. The only record that I could imagine would exist is if someone found the court record of his conviction. There's no newspapers back then :)

So like a great deal of the distant past it is likely we will never know the absolute truth .Actually, you don't have to go all that far back for events to become difficult to verify.
 
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Dropship

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Hey all you truthseeking guys and gals, I'm sorry but I can't talk to you any more because my posts keep getting deleted, tut-tut what would Charles Fort have said?..;)
 

brownmane

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Does anyone know? I heard once that Christianity is the only religion that takes its bible as literal. Others such as Judaism and Islam take theirs as stories and teachings on how to live a good life.

I do know that many religions have very similar origin stories.
 

eburacum

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I don't believe that the CoE takes the Bible literally. Some CoE priests and Episcopalians don't even believe in the resurrection as literal truth. And quite rightly so.
 

Frideswide

Fortea Morgana :)
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I don't believe that the CoE takes the Bible literally.
Unified Old Catholic - true as in "eternal verity" but not necessarily true as in filmed from multiple cameras in real time..... so best attempts at various points plus inevitable distortion from politics, translation and generally being human. Errare humanum est , divinum ignoscere.

What makes the soul sing is true - think of Keats!
 

Analogue Boy

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Does anyone know? I heard once that Christianity is the only religion that takes its bible as literal. Others such as Judaism and Islam take theirs as stories and teachings on how to live a good life.

I do know that many religions have very similar origin stories.
Dr. David Jenkins, an old Bishop of Durham courted controversy and became famous by stating he thought the Virgin Birth didn’t happen and he doubted God would have let Jesus walk on water.

He was dubbed the "unbelieving bishop" after saying he did not believe God would have arranged a virgin birth and the resurrection.
So no. Not every Christian takes The Bible literally.
 

Kingsize Wombat

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So like a great deal of the distant past it is likely we will never know the absolute truth .Actually, you don't have to go all that far back for events to become difficult to verify.
Absolutely.

We can hope that something like another Dead Sea Scrolls discovery may shed some more light from contemporary accounts. Unlikely, but it could happen.
 

Victory

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This is interesting. Reincarnation isn't mentioned in the Bible, as far as I am aware. The mystical Kabbalistic belief in reincarnation came later.
See here
https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/reincarnation-the-transmigration-of-a-jewish-idea/

(Islam more-or-less unanimously rejects reincarnation, but I might be wrong there too).
You have quoted an article by the late Rabbi Louis Jacobs.

He died 12 years ago, so the article is a little dated.
He was a very learned Rabbi, but one who moved away from Orthodox Judaism to a more "liberal" approach called Masorti.

So that article cannot in any way be seen as a definitive view.

Writing as a Jew, I can tell you that the written Torah (First five books; Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy) has many examples of reincarnation.
Our faith has a number of commentaries on the Torah which explain this.

Jews do not read the Torah in the way a non-Jew will.
We have techniques for understanding the Hebrew, and the literal "Surface" reading is only one of these.
There is also the "Hint" meaning, and the "Homiletic" meaning, and the deeper "Secret" meaning.

My studies so far have identified reincarnations occurring at least 3400 years ago.
Not, as you suggest, as a tradition "introduced" 800 years ago in Kabbalah.
Kabbalah has been studied for over 5000 years, ideas were not "introduced" into it 800 years ago.
There was a bit of a shake-up in Jewish Kabbalah circles 440 years ago, but that was not a matter of new content, it was about how Kabbalah was taught.

I state that Reincarnation is actually essential to Judaism.
It is a very "hot" topic in contemporary Jewish discussion on the spiritual nature of humanity as it stands in the year 2019.
 
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eburacum

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You might be right, but since none of the Bible is more than 3000 years old, we can't say for certain that anyone was studying Kabbalah 5000 years ago. The Bible doesn't openly mention the Sefirot by name anywhere, does it?
 

brownmane

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As a teen, I asked a minister (United Church) how it was that Genesis said that God created the world in 7 days, but that dinosaurs existed long before humans. His answer was that "days" were not literal 24 hours.

My one grandma once told me that Jesus' birthday was not Dec 25 and was more likely around Sept but that the date may have come about because they had to travel for the census and that may have been when the "birth" date was recorded.

My grandma was born in late 1890's and went to church every Sunday. Just the fact that she didn't believe the literal writings of the bible allowed me to question things I'd learned.

It creates an uneasy feeling in me to question some fundamental beliefs I've grown up with, but I certainly learn more.

Some of the holy dates in Christianity tie in closely with what previously had been pagan celebrations. Presumably so that it was easier to have people adopt Christianity as their religion.

Just for the record, I accept the Latin origin definition of "pagan" as being of the country(side), rural. It was Christian usage that changed it's meaning.
 

Frideswide

Fortea Morgana :)
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You might be right, but since none of the Bible is more than 3000 years old, we can't say for certain that anyone was studying Kabbalah 5000 years ago. The Bible doesn't openly mention the Sefirot by name anywhere, does it?
I /think/ that the available documents are more than the bible.
 

INT21

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But they are not generally available. You have to go searching around for them. It would be nice if there was a grand compilation of all the info available.

But there again, people may start asking questions.
 

Victory

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You might be right, but since none of the Bible is more than 3000 years old, we can't say for certain that anyone was studying Kabbalah 5000 years ago. The Bible doesn't openly mention the Sefirot by name anywhere, does it?
1.) This is where the debate goes into the realm of belief which it is possible to argue using science, but that it not possible to scientifically prove because it is also possible to counter argue it using science.
The science is disputed.

It is currently the year 5779, in the Jewish calendar.
Jews believe that the Torah existed prior to the existence of the world, a lot more than the 3000 years ago you mention.
So the Torah actually predicted events which would later happen.

I cannot prove that to you, I can only believe it through faith.

2.) As for the Sephirot, it does describe them "in action" but these are not literally written on the "Surface" level I described in my above post.
They are alluded to in the next three levels of understanding, especially the fourth level which is akin to "Secret".

For example: A story from the Torah could be read literally as a man undertaking a certain set of actions.
But it can also be read with an understanding how that man is demonstrating his near mastery of an aspect of a sephirah, or combinations of sephirot by doing those actions.
Of how to manifest this mastery of a sephira or sephirot combination in daily life, in order to confirm to himself and show others that he has reached a new spiritual level.

The Torah is both in Written form and Oral form, the latter passed orally from generation to generation until it was written down in a process which dated between 2000 and 1500 years ago.
It is now primarily kept in a series of books known as "The Talmud".

But there are further books, and further bodies of Torah knowledge, which exist, and continue to be studied and taught and used to understand the Torah and the Tanakh (Jewish Bible).

3.) BROWNMANE

For Jews, the "World was created in seven days" discussion is as fascinating as it is for non-Jews.

Some Jews and non-Jews alike question how a "day" can be accurately described before the formation of the earth and the sun and the moon...how could time have been measured the same as it is now if these heavenly bodies did not exist?

There are Jews and non-Jews who believe that geomorphic processes that are usually attributed as taking millions of years, can actually happen a lot quicker.
Also that giants really did exist, and sea levels were different, and the fertilty of the soil was different prior to the flood of Noach etc.
All these happening within the previous 5779 years of history before the present day.
 

INT21

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..Jews believe that the Torah existed prior to the existence of the world, ..

Yes, well......
 
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1.)
"... The science is disputed."
Science is always disputed, that is why it is science and not belief.
"It is currently the year 5779, in the Jewish calendar.
So what? A mythical origin tale is irrelevant
Jews believe that the Torah existed prior to the existence of the world, a lot more than the 3000 years ago you mention.
SOME Jews and the 3000 years is the time since the first element of the Torah was written down.
So the Torah actually predicted events which would later happen.
This is a lie, probably one that you have accepted from another source. The some scholars and apologists use the usual tricks to make claims regarding prophecy, such as ex post facto forgery/redaction (eg in the book of Daniel) and twisting of imprecise terminology.
There are Jews and non-Jews who believe that geomorphic processes that are usually attributed as taking millions of years, can actually happen a lot quicker.
and those persons are wrong, often maliciously misrepresenting the facts of physical processes
Also that giants really did exist,
No they did not
and sea levels were different, and the fertilty of the soil was different prior to the flood of Noach etc.
What Flood?
 

Cochise

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Science is always disputed, that is why it is science and not belief.
So what? A mythical origin tale is irrelevant
SOME Jews and the 3000 years is the time since the first element of the Torah was written down.
This is a lie, probably one that you have accepted from another source. The some scholars and apologists use the usual tricks to make claims regarding prophecy, such as ex post facto forgery/redaction (eg in the book of Daniel) and twisting of imprecise terminology.
and those persons are wrong, often maliciously misrepresenting the facts of physical processes
No they did not
What Flood?
Actually giants might have existed, in Patagonia. Not at all likely, but just possible. Dismissing sightings as myth is no more scientific than automatically believing them.

The flood, some think, is when the Mediterranean broke into the Black Sea, creating the anoxic anomaly at the bottom of that sea. Again, not likely, but a possible origin.
 
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INT21

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Schwadevivre may be a little blunt in his approach, but most of his points are valid.

It all goes back to the fact that we had no actual 'man on the spot' taking notes of this stuff. Much of it can be consigned to myth or legend.

It's a pity, seeing how so much of our lives are governed by ancient beliefs. but there appears to be nothing practical we can do about it.

One only has to look at the confusion and denials that take up time on our news outlets to see that.

Who did what to who, where and when ?

And that is only over the last few days.

INT21.
 

Victory

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INT21 wrote: "It all goes back to the fact that we had no actual 'man on the spot' taking notes of this stuff."

But then in my opinion, we did have a 'man on the spot" and the notes he took are what is written in the Old Testament, along with divine writings.
Again though, I cannot prove it, I just have faith.
 

Analogue Boy

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INT21 wrote: "It all goes back to the fact that we had no actual 'man on the spot' taking notes of this stuff."

But then in my opinion, we did have a 'man on the spot" and the notes he took are what is written in the Old Testament, along with divine writings.
Again though, I cannot prove it, I just have faith.
This was back in the day when 50ft tall penguins ruled the planet and held judgement over Man’s affairs. I don’t have proof for this but the sheer amount of stone circles, or ‘Tethering Posts’ built to keep them in place is enough evidence for me.... as a matter of faith.
 

Ermintruder

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Again though, I cannot prove it, I just have faith.
@Victory I've a few key questions for you (this is NOT a nasty ad hom attack from me, just genuine curiousity):

  • suppose there had never been a written Old or New Testament, but just an oral tradition passed-down through the ages, of a modified Judaeic tradition called 'Christianity'. Would your faith be stronger or weaker as a consequence?
  • is Christianity your only faith? By which I mean the expectation of providence despite the infinitely-high probability of disappointment. An important underpinning aspect of faith (I mean all beliefs) appears to be the stoical acceptance of non-delivery, compensated by hope
  • what is your response to the inarguably-valid point (made, most-convincingly by Hitchens) that Christianity can be toxic (or at least dangerous) in its biblical message of passivity, "the Lord shall provide" and similar non-assertiveness. Can you see any advantages for an occupying power in this philosophy being uptaken by a previously-aggressive local population? (cf the main precept of Caeser's Messiah and the Flavian dynasty). My rhetorical question is self-answering. Imperial Rome had always absorbed and adapted local religions- why would Christianity/Judeo-Flavian monotheism be any different?
  • As someone of faith underpinned by the Bible, what is your personal perspective on other religions? All of which know, with absolute certainty, that they are uniquely-right, and all others are entirely-wrong. Can't you see an unavoidable corollary emerging from this?
 

EnolaGaia

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@Victory I've a few key questions for you (this is NOT a nasty ad hom attack from me, just genuine curiousity):
  • suppose there had never been a written Old or New Testament, but just an oral tradition passed-down through the ages, of a modified Judaeic tradition called 'Christianity'. Would your faith be stronger or weaker as a consequence?
  • is Christianity your only faith? ...
Ermintruder:

Please explain your point in asking these questions framed with specific regard to a 'Christianity' that isn't Victory's faith in 'real life'. Are you simply asking Victory about the degree of belief he'd invest in oral tradition alone? If so, why didn't you refer to this hypothetical choice in terms of a different Judaic faith rather than a different faith altogether?
 
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