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The Sins Of Scripture


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I've read it once now. I'll sit an read it again soon. On some parts I think Spong is right on. On others I think he needed to do a bit more research or spend more time contemplating topics. Has anyone else read the book? I don't know if I can have a one person discussion!

 

But to start: one of the sins of scripture is "be fruitful and multiply." I think this is the most misquoted verse in the bible. The actual scripture it "be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth." People seem to forget that last part which, in my mind, puts a limit to how much mulitplying we should be doing. IOW, the earth is full (and overflowing) it is time to do no more than replace ourselves or even start reducing our numbers.

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I've read it once now. I'll sit an read it again soon. On some parts I think Spong is right on. On others I think he needed to do a bit more research or spend more time contemplating topics. Has anyone else read the book? I don't know if I can have a one person discussion!

 

But to start: one of the sins of scripture is "be fruitful and multiply." I think this is the most misquoted verse in the bible. The actual scripture it "be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth." People seem to forget that last part which, in my mind, puts a limit to how much mulitplying we should be doing. IOW, the earth is full (and overflowing) it is time to do no more than replace ourselves or even start reducing our numbers.

 

I haven't read it yet :( If you wanted to have a discussion with a larger amount of people than just those who read it, though, you could keep on doing what you did in the second paragraph, in other words point out one sin he mentioned in the book for us to discuss :) Just a thought!

 

What exactly does he mean by "sins of scripture," though? As you said with the example you posted, generally this Scripture is merely misinterpreted because people don't read the entire sentence! So I don't think this is truly a "sin of Scripture" but rather a misinterpretation on the part of humans.

 

That's not to say that I don't think Scripture contains contradictions, errors, or even "sins." Saying that God is responsible for the mass destruction of the Flood, or that he sanctified massacres as part of his "plan," seems rather blasphemous and therefore sinful to me.

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I haven't read it yet :( If you wanted to have a discussion with a larger amount of people than just those who read it, though, you could keep on doing what you did in the second paragraph, in other words point out one sin he mentioned in the book for us to discuss :) Just a thought!

 

I'm always happy to share my opinion with people :P

 

What exactly does he mean by "sins of scripture," though? As you said with the example you posted, generally this Scripture is merely misinterpreted because people don't read the entire sentence! So I don't think this is truly a "sin of Scripture" but rather a misinterpretation on the part of humans.
I've only read it once and I did it in pretty much one sitting -- plus I have a head cold so take that into consideration... but I think he means what you say below: that God told people to do such and such. There were a few times, though when he does get into misinterpretation. I'll read a second time and maybe have a more definitive answer (something I can quote).

 

That's not to say that I don't think Scripture contains contradictions, errors, or even "sins." Saying that God is responsible for the mass destruction of the Flood, or that he sanctified massacres as part of his "plan," seems rather blasphemous and therefore sinful to me.

 

I agree! I was horrified when my progressive church had the children do the Noah's ark flood. Before they began they said something about "why God had to do it!" AHHHHH! The singing and all was cute but "God HAD to do it?"

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But to start: one of the sins of scripture is "be fruitful and multiply." I think this is the most misquoted verse in the bible. The actual scripture it "be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth."

 

Taken literally I think that Spong has a very valid point however in my quick skimming of this chapter I see no application or point to the chapter other than to hammer at the legalistic fundamentalist. I think Borg would probably point out ways that we might use this passage not literally but in a more than literal manner. Does anyone have any ideas as to how we could take this passage and use it in todays culture. ;)

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I'm always happy to share my opinion with people :P

 

I've only read it once and I did it in pretty much one sitting -- plus I have a head cold so take that into consideration... but I think he means what you say below: that God told people to do such and such. There were a few times, though when he does get into misinterpretation. I'll read a second time and maybe have a more definitive answer (something I can quote).

I agree! I was horrified when my progressive church had the children do the Noah's ark flood. Before they began they said something about "why God had to do it!" AHHHHH! The singing and all was cute but "God HAD to do it?"

 

One sitting? Wow! I'm such a slow reader. I've been reading the same Borg book for months. :lol:

 

They interpreted the Noah's Ark story literally at a Progressive Church? Eek! I would have been horrified too! :o

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But to start: one of the sins of scripture is "be fruitful and multiply." I think this is the most misquoted verse in the bible. The actual scripture it "be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth."

 

Taken literally I think that Spong has a very valid point however in my quick skimming of this chapter I see no application or point to the chapter other than to hammer at the legalistic fundamentalist. I think Borg would probably point out ways that we might use this passage not literally but in a more than literal manner. Does anyone have any ideas as to how we could take this passage and use it in todays culture. ;)

 

Genesis 1:27-30:

"27So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. 28And God blessed them. And God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth." 29And God said, "Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. 30And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food." And it was so."

 

The author of Genesis clearly felt that humans were the ultimate part of God's creation - the zenith. Therefore, we are given the Earth to rule over. Therefore, we have to multiply and fill the Earth in order to rule over it.

 

IMO, it's giving us the responsibility of caring for the Earth the way God has the responsibility of caring for the Universe. Maybe?

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Genesis 1:27-30:

"27So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. 28And God blessed them. And God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth." 29And God said, "Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. 30And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food." And it was so."

 

The author of Genesis clearly felt that humans were the ultimate part of God's creation - the zenith. Therefore, we are given the Earth to rule over. Therefore, we have to multiply and fill the Earth in order to rule over it.

 

IMO, it's giving us the responsibility of caring for the Earth the way God has the responsibility of caring for the Universe. Maybe?

 

 

That brings us to a second point (and error, imo) in Spong's book. He reads dominion as dominance (as do many Christians). I learned the word is more closely related to stewardship. I believe God holds us responsible for how we treat the earth and we are to treat it well, w/o worshipping it! Again, I see it not as a sin of scripture but as misreading/mistranslation of scripture.

 

The sin, imo, is in how people use the misinterpretation of scripture to justify the destruction of the earth.

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One sitting? Wow! I'm such a slow reader. I've been reading the same Borg book for months. :lol:

 

They interpreted the Noah's Ark story literally at a Progressive Church? Eek! I would have been horrified too! :o

 

It is a little musicial for churches. I hated that they said "God had to do it." I know the people don't take it literally but to teach that to children!

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In chapter 2 of Spongs book he states that one of the strangest claim ever made for any written document in history is that its words are or somehow contain the "Word of God". He points out the mainline liturgy "This is the word of God" and the congregation responds "thanks be to God". He says the evangelical church states it more flowery, "May God add his blessing to this reading from his Word". Does anyone have thoughts on the Bible being the "inerrant word of God" or "God inspired"?

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In chapter 2 of Spongs book he states that one of the strangest claim ever made for any written document in history is that its words are or somehow contain the "Word of God". He points out the mainline liturgy "This is the word of God" and the congregation responds "thanks be to God". He says the evangelical church states it more flowery, "May God add his blessing to this reading from his Word". Does anyone have thoughts on the Bible being the "inerrant word of God" or "God inspired"?

 

 

Inerrant? Not possible. If one looks at their footnotes they will see notations such as: Heb. uncertain or Greek uncertain. Meaning the expert scholars aren't sure what the Hebrew or Greek word means. At least as far as the English translations go it certainly can't be inerrant. God inspired? possibly. But not anymore than a work of art or another piece of literature or music. I believe people can be inspired by God to create many things.

 

I do go silent when they do those parts in the liturgy, though. I like Borg's book for a through discussion on "the word of God."

Reading the Bible again, for the First Time.

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That brings us to a second point (and error, imo) in Spong's book. He reads dominion as dominance (as do many Christians). I learned the word is more closely related to stewardship. I believe God holds us responsible for how we treat the earth and we are to treat it well, w/o worshipping it! Again, I see it not as a sin of scripture but as misreading/mistranslation of scripture.

 

The sin, imo, is in how people use the misinterpretation of scripture to justify the destruction of the earth.

 

Agreed. I sat there editing and re-editing my final sentence, trying to word it correctly. Do you mean the original Hebrew word is more closely related to stewardship than dominance? That's interesting...

 

It is a little musicial for churches. I hated that they said "God had to do it." I know the people don't take it literally but to teach that to children!

 

Ah, I see. That just seems weird to me, to say "God had to do it" if they weren't taking it literally. But I guess if they were telling it as a story in a musical...

 

In chapter 2 of Spongs book he states that one of the strangest claim ever made for any written document in history is that its words are or somehow contain the "Word of God". He points out the mainline liturgy "This is the word of God" and the congregation responds "thanks be to God". He says the evangelical church states it more flowery, "May God add his blessing to this reading from his Word". Does anyone have thoughts on the Bible being the "inerrant word of God" or "God inspired"?

 

I like to think the Bible is inspired by God in the same way a painting might be inspired by a sunset. The writer/artist/whatever sees, or experiences, or feels something indescribable, and tries to put it into words. They fall short, naturally, but whoever reads/sees what they wrote/painted might just experience a bit of what they did.

 

I can't rule out the possibility that perhaps God did speak to some of the authors, but I also have no way of verifying that. I prefer to read it taking it with a grain of salt and seeing what moves me. And that's true of how I read all Scripture from all religions.

 

I also agree with what October's Autumn said :)

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Spong looks at how the 2nd creation story does not have woman made in God's image. It has been used many times to put women as second class citizens (or worse)! But he ignores the 1st creation story when male and female are created simultaneously. Regardless, the bible is obviously sexist and later he will get into his theory as to why patriarchy reigned(s).

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Spong looks at how the 2nd creation story does not have woman made in God's image. It has been used many times to put women as second class citizens (or worse)! But he ignores the 1st creation story when male and female are created simultaneously. Regardless, the bible is obviously sexist and later he will get into his theory as to why patriarchy reigned(s).

 

But the second creation story doesn't have either made "in God's image"...although yes, I can see how the second could be used to make women "second class citizens," since man is made first from the dust and woman is made from man to be his "helper." It clearly puts women above the other animals, but it does seem to give her a slightly lower status than it does man. It depends how you read it, though (and how literally). I personally love Genesis 2.

 

I would agree that parts of the Bible are clearly sexist and thus I am glad to be able to read it in a non-literal way. I'd be a bit upset if I believed God was sexist! But, naturally, being a PC, I view it as a product of the culture. I don't know enough about cultures to know what causes them to be matriarchal or patriarchal, but IMO these are earthly rather than divine factors and thus sexism (against either male or females) is, IMO, definitely not divinely sanctioned.

 

So basically, I would agree that sexism is a "sin of scripture," but I don't find it particularly bothersome because I see it as a product of ancient culture and thus not something that ought to be applied today.

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Okay, here is another one:

 

Spong quotes a bunch of different "sacred" scripture from different religions, all degenerating to females. He theorizes that there is something about women that has caused men to fear them. His theory is that it is menstruation. Hence all the purity codes. In the ancient worlds bleeding meant almost certain death. And yet women (from a fairly young age) could bleed from their genitals and then stop bleeding and would not die. ALso the bleeding could stop longer term during pregnancy. This made women magical somehow and thus societal needs to deem them inferior. Also, men were physcially larger than women (and apparently if you go back far enough the difference is size is more striking than now) and able to physically oppress women.

 

I think he has this one close. I don't think it is because women menustrated that men feared us. I think it is because we have the power to create new life. My evidence is that they even for some time attempted to take that away from us by saying women were incubators and the male seed contained the whole human being! I'm not sure what period of time that was or how old but I recall studying it in biology in high school (?) I think.

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Okay, here is another one:

 

Spong quotes a bunch of different "sacred" scripture from different religions, all degenerating to females. He theorizes that there is something about women that has caused men to fear them. His theory is that it is menstruation. Hence all the purity codes. In the ancient worlds bleeding meant almost certain death. And yet women (from a fairly young age) could bleed from their genitals and then stop bleeding and would not die. ALso the bleeding could stop longer term during pregnancy. This made women magical somehow and thus societal needs to deem them inferior. Also, men were physcially larger than women (and apparently if you go back far enough the difference is size is more striking than now) and able to physically oppress women.

 

I think he has this one close. I don't think it is because women menustrated that men feared us. I think it is because we have the power to create new life. My evidence is that they even for some time attempted to take that away from us by saying women were incubators and the male seed contained the whole human being! I'm not sure what period of time that was or how old but I recall studying it in biology in high school (?) I think.

 

I agree. It seems a little weird to me that men would fear us because we menstruate (though perhaps at a psychological level?). I think it's probably more likely that men oppressed women because 1) they are stronger physically and therefore can get away with it; 2) maternal tendencies make it easy to put women in charge of kids and therefore make men "superior"; and 2) because men were jealous of women's ability to create life. I've also heard what you said about the belief that men had the "seed." I've heard that this was the reason behind a lot of the sexual "ethics" in the Old Testament - men weren't supposed to waste their "seed," it was unethical, I suppose because it was a human being. Therefore, no anal or oral sex (and thus no homosexuality, specifically male-male) or masturbation. I'm not sure if that really is the reason behind the sexual laws, but it's what I've read, and it makes sense in the context of the "seed" idea.

 

We really are lucky to live in the society we do! We may not be considered totally and completely equal to men in some people's eyes, but at least we're better off than a lot of our sisters, past and present.

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I think it is because we have the power to create new life.

 

In some Gnostic scripture Eve is also known as Zoe (life). Guess what the Archons try to do to her? They try to defile and rape her because she has a power that they don't have. In fact, earlier in the story they (the Demiurge and all the Archons) tried to create life and experienced utter failure. Their spirit-less, material only creation, Adam, just lies there until the feminine force animates him.

 

I think the Gnostics realized that the oppression of women was closely tied to this envy.

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I agree. It seems a little weird to me that men would fear us because we menstruate (though perhaps at a psychological level?). I think it's probably more likely that men oppressed women because 1) they are stronger physically and therefore can get away with it; 2) maternal tendencies make it easy to put women in charge of kids and therefore make men "superior"; and 2) because men were jealous of women's ability to create life.
Keep in mind that women's menstruate was a big mystery until modern science came along. Unless the Egyptians (who did autopsies) figured it out I'm not sure how much ancient people knew about it. But it is cross-cultural which suggest possible biological/psychological reasons.

 

As far as women being in charge of children, that making them weaker is a sociological concept. Women being in charge of children could be a reason to make us/them superior because they are given the power to influence and protect future generations. Much of what we think about as being inferior/superior is not innate but created by society.

 

I've also heard what you said about the belief that men had the "seed." I've heard that this was the reason behind a lot of the sexual "ethics" in the Old Testament - men weren't supposed to waste their "seed," it was unethical, I suppose because it was a human being. Therefore, no anal or oral sex (and thus no homosexuality, specifically male-male) or masturbation. I'm not sure if that really is the reason behind the sexual laws, but it's what I've read, and it makes sense in the context of the "seed" idea.

 

 

Actually, masturbation is not forbidden anywhere in the Hebrew Bible or the Greek Bible. Although, as I understand it fornication is a catch-all word for any kind of sexual conduct that was not able to produce a child. I do not believe fornication (or its original word in Greek or Hebrew) had anything to do with sex before/outside of marriage. Although I could be wrong.

 

We really are lucky to live in the society we do! We may not be considered totally and completely equal to men in some people's eyes, but at least we're better off than a lot of our sisters, past and present.

 

I agree. Birth control alone puts us at a better position than our ancestral mothers. Especially considering the maternal mortality rate from pregnancy, birth, and post-partum traumas. By limiting the number of children we have we are able to live longer and healthier lives and give proper care to the off-spring we do have.

 

Twice in my life (that I know of) I would have died had I been born 200 or so years ago. Once when I was 18 months old and had pnemonia. And five years ago when I had internal bleeding from endometrial tumor which had to be removed during an emergency surgery. Now I use birth control to halt its progression.

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In some Gnostic scripture Eve is also known as Zoe (life). Guess what the Archons try to do to her? They try to defile and rape her because she has a power that they don't have. In fact, earlier in the story they (the Demiurge and all the Archons) tried to create life and experienced utter failure. Their spirit-less, material only creation, Adam, just lies there until the feminine force animates him.

 

I think the Gnostics realized that the oppression of women was closely tied to this envy.

 

 

It certainly looks like Gnostics had/have a good insight into why (or at least partially why) women have been oppressed since the beginning of time. Speaking of Gnostics. I found an Elaine Pagels book at Borders. I haven't bought it yet (I think it was just a basic on gnosticism) but I plan to get it and read it.

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Speaking of Gnostics. I found an Elaine Pagels book at Borders. I haven't bought it yet (I think it was just a basic on gnosticism) but I plan to get it and read it.

 

In our recent Gnostic meeting, we were laughing about how we have never met a Gnostic that doesn't have a soft spot for Pagels. She helped put the Nag Hammadi texts on the map.....well before it was trendy. Which book are you thinking of getting? I have several.

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In some Gnostic scripture Eve is also known as Zoe (life). Guess what the Archons try to do to her? They try to defile and rape her because she has a power that they don't have. In fact, earlier in the story they (the Demiurge and all the Archons) tried to create life and experienced utter failure. Their spirit-less, material only creation, Adam, just lies there until the feminine force animates him.

 

I think the Gnostics realized that the oppression of women was closely tied to this envy.

 

Wow, that's really interesting! Thanks for sharing!

 

Keep in mind that women's menstruate was a big mystery until modern science came along. Unless the Egyptians (who did autopsies) figured it out I'm not sure how much ancient people knew about it. But it is cross-cultural which suggest possible biological/psychological reasons.

 

Wow, how ignorant of me. Of course, you're right. That makes a lot of sense, then, actually, that men would be in awe of or somehow jealous of women for being able to stop and start bleeding. Some societies did make a big deal out of it, making the woman "impure" and segregating her from the society while she was menstruating. That makes sense that that came from a fear/jealousy.

 

As far as women being in charge of children, that making them weaker is a sociological concept. Women being in charge of children could be a reason to make us/them superior because they are given the power to influence and protect future generations. Much of what we think about as being inferior/superior is not innate but created by society.

 

Absolutely, I agree. I just meant it gave an excuse for men to say "see, we're stronger and better, you get to take care of the kiddies while we manage society."

 

Actually, masturbation is not forbidden anywhere in the Hebrew Bible or the Greek Bible. Although, as I understand it fornication is a catch-all word for any kind of sexual conduct that was not able to produce a child. I do not believe fornication (or its original word in Greek or Hebrew) had anything to do with sex before/outside of marriage. Although I could be wrong.

 

Yikes, my ignorance is showing again! Wow, that actually surprises me quite a bit. I definitely thought it was forbidden. Okay, well, I stand corrected :)

 

I agree. Birth control alone puts us at a better position than our ancestral mothers. Especially considering the maternal mortality rate from pregnancy, birth, and post-partum traumas. By limiting the number of children we have we are able to live longer and healthier lives and give proper care to the off-spring we do have.

 

Twice in my life (that I know of) I would have died had I been born 200 or so years ago. Once when I was 18 months old and had pnemonia. And five years ago when I had internal bleeding from endometrial tumor which had to be removed during an emergency surgery. Now I use birth control to halt its progression.

 

Not to mention that we now have basically the same legal rights as men. We can vote, own property, hold jobs, etc.

 

Sorry to hear about the tumor :( I'm not sure if I've ever been in a situation that would have killed me...although I did have epilepsy when I was younger, so there would have been a time when I would have been thought to be possessed.

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