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PaulS

Is the bible representative of the world?

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Posted (edited)

Obviously the Bible is considered Christianity's 'Holy Book' and many Christians believe it is either directly communicated by God to man, or they think it is 'inspired' by God.  Most Christians believe the Bible to be, at the very least, a guide book towards what God wants and interpret variously the messages within this library of books as messages from God.  Recent comments on another thread about the Bible expressing key elements about God's relationship with man, as though this Book is the only one that speaks for this man/God relationship, reminded me of this pic.

To think that of the millions of years that mankind has existed, that one collection of books from a very limited geographical and cultural perspective somehow holds the key to the universe, is hard for me to accept.  Every place and culture referred to in the bible fits within this little red circle and was written within a time frame of no more than 1000 years. I can't help but think that if it wasn't for the Romans taking Christianity on and then colonising the world, Christianity may well have died the death of so many other religions from so many of these other countries.  

In my country, Aboriginal people lived some 50,000 years without any knowledge of the Bible or believing of a God like that in the Hebrew bible.  It seems to me that if God really did inspire the Bible, then he left some very big gaps concerning the history and 99% of the population of the world.

 

bible.jpg

Edited by PaulS
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Start with the history of history, Paul.  Where and how did writing develop?  Literacy has always been related to culture and social dominance.

Yes, it took a while for Christianity to find Australia, but we did find it.

 

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For me the Bible is a community (Jewish and/or Christian) understanding of the God they believe was with them.

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Posted (edited)

Burl,

Interestingly, australian aborginals had no problems with alcohol before white Europeans arrived on their shores!  They didn't need saving from themselves back then, but unfortunately for them, the wisdom of the day was that they needed God, so their children were torn from their families and raised in white, Christian missions.  A dismal failure by all regards.

Writing developed long before the Hebrews, but as you point out, the dominant cultures usually win through and so we saw Christianity spread across the world in the same pattern as anglo saxon spread.

My point is much like what Thormas points out - the Bible is a Jewish & Christian understanding of what they believed concerning God.  It doesn't address what any other culture believes or practised (apart from the odd references of nearby neighbours who worshipped the wrong Gods apparently). 

I'm sure you would agree that many Christians take the bible as the definitive communication between God and mankind.  I think that view is very narrow considering everything and everyone else in the world during the time the various elements of the bible were written.  

For instance, if the Gospels really are the 'Good News' doesn't it seem off that the Christian God felt it unnecessary to share such good news with millions and millions of people over the last 2000 years?  Why wasn't the good news important enough to share with everybody instantaneously if indeed, it was that good?

I'm not saying there isn't any value in many of the teachings and stories associated with Christianity, I'm just questioning it's validity as an accurate record of "God' relationship with mankind" because of its very obvious 'Israelite' focus.

 

Edited by PaulS
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Posted (edited)

Paul, when did you adopt this anthropomorpic theistic belief system?  This is a strawman so big you could set it on fire in the desert and hold a festival around it.

The bible has been translated into almost every known language and Wycliffe is working on the few tribal languages left.  Evangelization is getting ready to go interplanetary if necessary.

You don't need to take lessons, read traffic laws or a car manual to drive an auto but it will make learning the skill faster, easier and less painful.  You can figure it out by yourself if you have to but why not make it safe and easy?

image.gif

 

Edited by Burl
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Evangelization is the work of man, not God, spreading their take on the Ultimate. It may or may not speak to others on this or other planets, however these other cultures (may) have views that speak more powerfully to their lives.

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From my viewpoint, evangelization is the work of the Holy Spirit.  YMMV.

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11 hours ago, Burl said:

Paul, when did you adopt this anthropomorpic theistic belief system?  This is a strawman so big you could set it on fire in the desert and hold a festival around it.

The bible has been translated into almost every known language and Wycliffe is working on the few tribal languages left.  Evangelization is getting ready to go interplanetary if necessary.

You don't need to take lessons, read traffic laws or a car manual to drive an auto but it will make learning the skill faster, easier and less painful.  You can figure it out by yourself if you have to but why not make it safe and easy?

Rest assured Burl, I haven't adopted any anthropomorphic belief system., whatever that may entail precisely.

Whilst evangelization of Christianity is indeed large scale, my point is that it has taken a very long time for it to get to that point.  If the Holy Spirit is so interested in the process, then it makes me question why it took so long after the death of Jesus for the word to spread.  Clearly, many millions of people on the planet had no idea Jesus even existed for hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of years after his death.  That seems a big hole in any theory about the bible and Jesus' teachings being a necessity in life.  If it was such good news, why should those people have missed out?

Your example about having a manual only exacerbates my point - if the Christian God that so many Christians espouse really did think the bible was an essential message for mankind, why not ensure that message is spread worldwide instantaneously?  Why sell a message that only one particular tribe are 'chosen' by God and not share any of that info with neighbouring countries until long after it was written?  Why not share the 10 Commandments with Australian aboriginals when they were communicated by God rather than nearly 3000 years later?  Why are all the stories and teachings so unimportant that this God didn't consider it necessary to share them with the aboriginals and other remote tribes in the world until much, much later?

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3 hours ago, PaulS said:

Rest assured Burl, I haven't adopted any anthropomorphic belief system., whatever that may entail precisely.

Whilst evangelization of Christianity is indeed large scale, my point is that it has taken a very long time for it to get to that point.  If the Holy Spirit is so interested in the process, then it makes me question why it took so long after the death of Jesus for the word to spread.  Clearly, many millions of people on the planet had no idea Jesus even existed for hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of years after his death.  That seems a big hole in any theory about the bible and Jesus' teachings being a necessity in life.  If it was such good news, why should those people have missed out?

Your example about having a manual only exacerbates my point - if the Christian God that so many Christians espouse really did think the bible was an essential message for mankind, why not ensure that message is spread worldwide instantaneously?  Why sell a message that only one particular tribe are 'chosen' by God and not share any of that info with neighbouring countries until long after it was written?  Why not share the 10 Commandments with Australian aboriginals when they were communicated by God rather than nearly 3000 years later?  Why are all the stories and teachings so unimportant that this God didn't consider it necessary to share them with the aboriginals and other remote tribes in the world until much, much later?

Actually you have indeed adopted an anthropomorphic belief system.  Your speculative idea that the Holy Spirit is 'interested', that the distribution of the bible is goal seeking behavior on God's part is completely anthropomorphic.  

Jesus made a permanent improvement in the relationship between God and mankind.  The bible is a useful artifact if one wants to understand what happened but understanding is optional.  The vast majority of Christians are perfectly happy without really understanding and there is nothing wrong with that.

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Posted (edited)

7 hours ago, Burl said:

Actually you have indeed adopted an anthropomorphic belief system.  Your speculative idea that the Holy Spirit is 'interested', that the distribution of the bible is goal seeking behavior on God's part is completely anthropomorphic.  

Jesus made a permanent improvement in the relationship between God and mankind.  The bible is a useful artifact if one wants to understand what happened but understanding is optional.  The vast majority of Christians are perfectly happy without really understanding and there is nothing wrong with that.

The fact that my idea is speculative demonstrates that I haven't adopted such a belief system. 

Nonetheless, Christianity is probably one of the most anthropomorphic religions about, so such leanings are understandable when discussing Christian views.  God becoming a man is pretty anthropomorphic isn't it?

Can you explain how you think Jesus made a permanent improvement in the relationship between God and aboriginal Australians who didn't know anything about Jesus or the bible until +1700 years after Jesus' death?  Do you think that generations and generations of aboriginals between 33CE and 1700CE (and those before that who also had never heard of the Hebrew bible) knew that their relationship with God had improved, or indeed that it was broken in the first place?

Edited by PaulS
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Posted (edited)

8 hours ago, Burl said:

Actually you have indeed adopted an anthropomorphic belief system.  Your speculative idea that the Holy Spirit is 'interested', that the distribution of the bible is goal seeking behavior on God's part is completely anthropomorphic.  

Jesus made a permanent improvement in the relationship between God and mankind.  The bible is a useful artifact if one wants to understand what happened but understanding is optional.  The vast majority of Christians are perfectly happy without really understanding and there is nothing wrong with that.

This is not faith without works, this is faith without (any) understanding. Fine for a while, but this is the problem Christianity has now: people need to have some real understanding especially in terms of their present world view and how we develop. It needs to make some sense (understanding) or it eventually is put aside.. 

It is questionable if the vast majority are perfectly happy.......this site is a small example of the need to understand.

Also, if Jesus made a permanent improvement and one never knew or understood it - it would be irrelevant because one couldn't do anything with it. A permanent improvement with optional (and, therefore, at time no) understanding enters the realm of the magical, not the Holy.

 

Edited by thormas
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51 minutes ago, thormas said:

This is not faith without works, this is faith without (any) understanding. Fine for a while, but this is the problem Christianity has now: people need to have some real understanding especially in terms of their present world view and how we develop. It needs to make some sense (understanding) or it eventually is put aside.. 

It is questionable if the vast majority are perfectly happy.......this site is a small example of the need to understand.

Also, if Jesus made a permanent improvement and one never knew or understood it - it would be irrelevant because one couldn't do anything with it. A permanent improvement with optional (and, therefore, at time no) understanding enters the realm of the magical, not the Holy.

 

Some people need understanding and some people do not.  Remember fully half of the human population is of below average intelligence.

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9 hours ago, PaulS said:

The fact that my idea is speculative demonstrates that I haven't adopted such a belief system. 

Nonetheless, Christianity is probably one of the most anthropomorphic religions about, so such leanings are understandable when discussing Christian views.  God becoming a man is pretty anthropomorphic isn't it?

Can you explain how you think Jesus made a permanent improvement in the relationship between God and aboriginal Australians who didn't know anything about Jesus or the bible until +1700 years after Jesus' death?  Do you think that generations and generations of aboriginals between 33CE and 1700CE (and those before that who also had never heard of the Hebrew bible) knew that their relationship with God had improved, or indeed that it was broken in the first place?

You have certainly adopted an anthropomorphic belief system in this question, as well an an incorrect assumption about Christianity.  We do not believe that God became man.  We believe God incarnated in a human body creating a unique being fully God and fully man in one instance.

Jesus conception, birth, death, resurrection, ascension and session created a fundamental improvement in mankind's relationship with God.  Disbelieve if you must, but at least disbelieve correctly. 

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33 minutes ago, Burl said:

Some people need understanding and some people do not.  Remember fully half of the human population is of below average intelligence.

I disagree: all people want understanding if another person or an institution cares enough to try to provide it. 

Again, case in point: the present state of Christianity. Some have (or will) turned away because there is no true effort to provide that understanding to modern people, while other continue in the faith and pass their lack of 'understanding' to yet another generation. 

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43 minutes ago, Burl said:

Some people need understanding and some people do not.  Remember fully half of the human population is of below average intelligence.

Has the entire population taken IQ tests?. 

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Posted (edited)

1 hour ago, Burl said:

You have certainly adopted an anthropomorphic belief system in this question, as well an an incorrect assumption about Christianity.  We do not believe that God became man.  We believe God incarnated in a human body creating a unique being fully God and fully man in one instance.

Jesus conception, birth, death, resurrection, ascension and session created a fundamental improvement in mankind's relationship with God.  Disbelieve if you must, but at least disbelieve correctly. 

Think we have to be careful here. Incarnation is understood (theistically) as God become man, to suggest otherwise can lead one into the old 'false opinions' (either not really God or not really man). The ancient theistic wisdom stated this 'truth' but never really tried to explain the unexplainable. Your response does seem to represent a theistic point of view: the Deity incarnates in a human body - as opposed to a dialectical theistic or panentheistic approach. The latter places a focus on man (specifically Jesus) freely responding, in faith, to God and doing God's will or doing what God is: Love. Man, in response to God, freely 'takes up' Love and it lives in man. This is incarnation (Love made flesh) and it is the creation of a 'new being' - a Truly Human Being (which is only possible when Divinity lives in humanity). However, while a unique being because it has been accomplished in/by Jesus, it is not unique in that this is what we all are born to Be. 

If there is a 'fundamental improvement' it is that the possible has been actualized - and if one can do it, the possibilities are endless......... 

Edited by thormas
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1 hour ago, Burl said:

You have certainly adopted an anthropomorphic belief system in this question, as well an an incorrect assumption about Christianity.  We do not believe that God became man.  We believe God incarnated in a human body creating a unique being fully God and fully man in one instance.

Jesus conception, birth, death, resurrection, ascension and session created a fundamental improvement in mankind's relationship with God.  Disbelieve if you must, but at least disbelieve correctly. 

I don't intend to argue about the technicalities of whether God incarnating in a human body is the same as God becoming man, but I will again ask the question if you can explain how you think Jesus made a permanent improvement in the relationship between God and aboriginal Australians who didn't know anything about Jesus or the bible until +1700 years after Jesus' death?  Do you think that generations and generations of aboriginals between 33CE and 1700CE (and those before that who also had never heard of the Hebrew bible) knew that their relationship with God had improved, or indeed that it was broken in the first place?

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On ‎2016‎-‎07‎-‎24 at 2:48 PM, Burl said:

If God chooses Trump as a divine vessel it will be undeniably obvious.

Burl ... is this an anthropomorphization of God?

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5 hours ago, romansh said:

Burl ... is this an anthropomorphization of God?

Of course.  I am thoroughly theist.

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