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Making Sense of the Bible


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This book is an easy and enjoyable read. Written from the Methodist viewpoint, it addresses inerrancy and infallibility of the Bible (it is not), the assumption of many regarding verbal, plenary inspiration (Biblical Literalism Fundamentalists cling to and demand) of II Timothy 3:16, Genesis and it's writers, how reliable are the Gospel accounts and the sources of the Gospels, suffering, homosexuality, Canonization, science and Young Earth Creationists, and on and on.

He does all this by discussing the various arguments and viewpoints in a respectful manner, and not from a Bully Pulpit. The Gospel Coalition disapproves of this book.

I turned a friend of mine onto it, Ex-Way, and she finished it in 5 days (390 pp). I enjoyed it a lot, and it answered so many nagging and perplexing questions for me. I share this, and many may know about it as it's not that new, so you can check it out yourself.

Not going to debate or discuss anything as that is not my cup of tea, thank you.  Just tossing this out there so you know about it.

51B+h7b4tmL._SX330_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

https://www.amazon.com/Making-Sense-Bible-Rediscovering-Scripture/dp/0062234986/ref=asc_df_0062234986/?tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=312111868709&hvpos=1o1&hvnetw=g&hvrand=13776057707950460462&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9012050&hvtargid=pla-546573317487&psc=1

It brought me a lot of peace because I had already sniffed a lot of this out myself with online articles. Had I read something like this many decades ago, I doubt I would have been sucked into the way, and for sure not the wretched corpse. 

Peace

 

 

 

 

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When purchasing an appliance, for example, the accompanying owner’s manual is very explicit on how to run the devise. When the instructions are followed the appliance will function as advertised. It doesn’t require hundreds, or thousands, of books to make sense of the manual. If the instructions were so poorly written, that thousands of interpretations were needed to make it functional, rational thinking people would discard it.

The bible should be discarded as a way to successfully live life. It has so many possible interpretations, that it is not based on any solid evidence. For example, Catholics claim you must confess your sins to be saved. Others claim confessing sins will not get you heaven, but just confessing Jesus will get you on the high road to salvation. Jews do not even acknowledge Jesus, but claim they are heaven bound. Throw in Muslims and Buddhists and the path to heaven widens drastically. 

It is impossible to comprehend what will happen when your last breath is taken from reading the bible. A more certain outcome is absolutely nothing occurs, other than your body decomposing.  Then have yourself planted next to a tree and fertilize the fruit it produces. The cycle of life  is in full affect when we die also.
 

 

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That is a powerful analogy, STL. An instruction book that needs instruction books to interpret its instructions isn't much of an instruction book at all, is it?

I would only answer that the "Word of God" is the instruction manual, that it is not complicated, and that it is not the Bible.

If I were a believer, that is.

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Stayed Too Long, that is a powerful analogy !

Did you come up with that after reading Adam Hamilton’s “Making Sense of The Bible”?

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21 minutes ago, T-Bone said:

Stayed Too Long, that is a powerful analogy !

Did you come up with that after reading Adam Hamilton’s “Making Sense of The Bible”?

I had never heard of the book until this thread and have not read it. My observation is based on decades of believing God was all powerful and desired nothing but the best for me and others. Growing up my highest desire was serving God, going to Catholic Mass Twice a day for years. I wanted to see God work miracles in my life and that of my family and friends. I was so depressed and thought little of myself, but believed God would make me well like my friends. I prayed rosaries, lit candles, went to confession, and received communion,  all to no avail…still depressed. Then a person from the Way witnessed to me and assured me that all I had to do was believe and God would deliver me from all my depression. Believing never brought peace into my life. All the hype of fellowship, classes, and going WOW left me dissolutioned. Finally I went to mental health counseling and got my life turned around. 

I now find it impossible to accept life’s tragedies on ‘faith’ anymore. Believing God needed a young child in heaven when he dies of cancer, is no longer plausible to me. Accepting that a person who is crippled for life is God’s will, is no longer in my thought process.

If one throws out the idea of a God having control of the universe, and things are unfolding as He wants, life is much easier  to understand and accept. Life can be good or life can be a bitch. This way, no one has to dance around the elephant in the room of why terrible things happen to ‘godly people’ while ‘sinners’ live abundantly? 

All advancements in medicine have not resulted from any intervention from God. Polio was beaten because of scientific research, not from a priest calling on God to defeat it. If God could defeat it, He could have prevented it from happening in the first  place. Religion has convinced us, that God, for some reason, will not prevent evil from happening in the world today, even though He has the power to do so. But, if we ‘do His will while on earth,’ whatever that may be, all evil will be destroyed in the future, and we will live the most wonderful life.

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

 

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The reason I asked if you read the book is because the name of the first chapter in “Making Sense of the Bible” is “What the Bible is Not” and one of the first things Hamilton states is that the Bible “is definitely not written like an owner’s manual” and “is neither basic nor simply instructions for what to do before you die.” (Excerpts from page 8). 


And just for the record, I’m not trying to defend Hamilton’s book – but I have a feeling the author’s point  - and myself  - are both probably closer to the sentiment of your previous post than you may think. At the end of the chapter, after touching upon several popular concepts of the Bible, Hamilton says “I’d suggest that each of the above concepts about the Bible is flawed, and when the Bible is read while holding these assumptions the reader will at some point, become confused, misguided, or profoundly disappointed.” (From pages 9 & 10)


And again, I’m not trying to defend or soft-sell the book – but that owner’s manual concept that he shoots down in the first chapter of the book really struck a nerve with me. I read Hamilton’s book in 2020 – some 34 years after leaving TWI – and probably like a lot of ex-TWI folks it’s been a long and arduous personal journey extricating myself from the fundamentalism-spiritualism-Gnosticism-mindset of TWI. 


I’ve had a career as a technician for most of my adult life – referring to installation & user manuals comes with the territory as well as being contracted to write technical manuals/documentation and even write user manuals and create how-to-videos for technically challenged CEOs.  :biglaugh:   I think the most important requirements for any technical instructions/owner’s manual should be that they are clear and precise. A direction of “plug the cable into the appropriate port” leaves a lot to be desired and can leave a lot to the imagination of a wisecracking technician...and while I think the Bible is a very profound and inspirational book - it is definitely NOT   clear and precise on just about everything - and so lends itself very easily to a wide variety of interpretations. In my opinion it deals with metaphysical truth and not scientific truth.

Scientific truth is clear and precise like H2O - that's how to make water in a chemistry set owner's manual. Truth is the property of being in accord with fact or reality (Wikipedia def.). According to online Britannica truth in metaphysics and the philosophy of language is the property of sentences, beliefs thoughts, or propositions that agree with the facts or state what is actually the case. Metaphysics is philosophical and tries to explain the fundamental nature of the world and what it means for us living in this world.  metaphysical questions might be "how did water begin to exist? did some supreme being call it into existence?" There are no clear and precise answers for questions like that.


One of the first things I threw out of my critical-thinking-tool-kit was wierwille’s “the Bible interprets itself”…what an affront to logic, linguistics, historians, sociologists, anthropologists, and philosophers – not to mention Bible scholars, translators and textual researchers. The Bible is a compilation of 66 different books written by some 40 different authors over the course of an approximately 1500-year period, using basically 3 different languages, spanning a variety of cultural, political, and geographical settings. Needless to say, wierwille's idea that the Bible interprets itself is silly...absurd...laughable...and I can't believe I actually bought into it at one point in my life. In my defense I will say I was young and naïve back then…critical thinking schmitical thinking!  :biglaugh:


I’ve said this elsewhere (and let me be clear and precise   :rolleyes:   on where   it was  - - it was   here >    Can a true believer change his mind?    )  that if it wasn't for all the atheists, agnostics, as well as other viewpoints I've encountered on Grease Spot Café  – I would probably still harbor a  fundamentalism/spiritualism/Gnosticism mindset – even though I was out of TWI and didn't get involved with another ministry or church. I have a lot of respect and admiration for all the atheists and agnostics that I have debated with for keeping it real – which inspired me to try and be more honest and open...helping me unravel the nature of a belief system...often providing very compelling reasons for me to stay grounded in the plain and simple interpretation of Scripture...and I really admire their bare-bones approach to life in the here-and-now – genuinely  appreciating our family and friends and doing things just because it's the right thing to do and not because of  some eternal reward.

Stayed Too Long, I think it would be great if you would share your journey on a thread I started   Concerning the Bible confessions of a former fundamentalist      -    folks that have posted there represent a pretty wide spectrum of viewpoints – everything is cool – the only time that thread got a little dicey was when one Grease Spotter tried to debate another Grease Spotter over administrations – one still held to what TWI said about them and the other person didn’t believe in them at all. It was kind of a free-for-all for a bit but then settled down after everyone figured out the thread wasn’t a doctrinal debate – but more like a potluck dinner for Grease Spotters to express their current view of the Bible with no fear of being judged or criticized – whether their view of the Bible was now good or bad – whatever  – or folks don’t have to say anything about the Bible – it’s just a chance for folks to express why there was a change in their viewpoint or why they left or drifted away from TWI’s view of the Bible – ideally what I had in mind was something like a documentary on ex-TWI-followers where folks tell of their journey out and away from TWI – and hopefully any exchange between folks would be respectful and honest. 
 

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1 hour ago, T-Bone said:

The reason I asked if you read the book is because the name of the first chapter in “Making Sense of the Bible” is “What the Bible is Not” and one of the first things Hamilton states is that the Bible “is definitely not written like an owner’s manual” and “is neither basic nor simply instructions for what to do before you die.” (Excerpts from page 8). 

It is interesting that someone had to inform us that the bible, is definitely not written like an owner’s manual” and “is neither basic nor simply instructions for what to do before you die.

Why wasn’t this made clear by God when He had men write it? Why have we had to live thousands of years without this knowledge? Perhaps God, like any competent author would, have included a preface to the bible, that stated exactly why the bible was written and under what circumstances it is to be applied?


And just for the record, I’m not trying to defend Hamilton’s book – but I have a feeling the author’s point  - and myself  - are both probably closer to the sentiment of your previous post than you may think. At the end of the chapter, after touching upon several popular concepts of the Bible, Hamilton says “I’d suggest that each of the above concepts about the Bible is flawed, and when the Bible is read while holding these assumptions the reader will at some point, become confused, misguided, or profoundly disappointed.” (From pages 9 & 10)

The only way the authors or your view of the bible matches mine, is if you consider the bible a book written among many. It has no more moral authority than any other document. 


And again, I’m not trying to defend or soft-sell the book – but that owner’s manual concept that he shoots down in the first chapter of the book really struck a nerve with me. I read Hamilton’s book in 2020 – some 34 years after leaving TWI – and probably like a lot of ex-TWI folks it’s been a long and arduous personal journey extricating myself from the fundamentalism-spiritualism-Gnosticism-mindset of TWI. 

My long and arduous personal journey has been ridding myself of the belief that there is a God. Period. Life has taken on a completely new meaning after finally realizing homo sapiens are nothing more than any other occupant of Earth or the Universe.

I’ve had a career as a technician for most of my adult life – referring to installation & user manuals comes with the territory as well as being contracted to write technical manuals/documentation and even write user manuals and create how-to-videos for technically challenged CEOs.  :biglaugh:   I think the most important requirements for any technical instructions/owner’s manual should be that they are clear and precise. A direction of “plug the cable into the appropriate port” leaves a lot to be desired and can leave a lot to the imagination of a wisecracking technician...and while I think the Bible is a very profound and inspirational book - it is definitely NOT   clear and precise on just about everything - and so lends itself very easily to a wide variety of interpretations. In my opinion it deals with metaphysical truth and not scientific truth. Scientific truth is clear and precise like H2O - that's how to make water in a chemistry set owner's manual. Truth is the property of being in accord with fact or reality (Wikipedia def.). According to online Britannica truth in metaphysics and the philosophy of language it's the property of sentences, beliefs thoughts, or propositions that are said in ordinary discourse, to agree with the facts or to state what is the case.

Take salvation for an example. Let’s assume you have a friend who is of the Jewish religion, and another who is a Muslim.  and neither believe in Jesus. As a Christian, and there are many different beliefs of salvation in Christianity alone, you adhere to one of them. Further assume all three of you are dyeing at the same time. Your last words to each other are, “I’ll see you in heaven!” Which one of you, if any, will actually be forever with the lord?


One of the first things I threw out of my critical-thinking-tool-kit was wierwille’s “the Bible interprets itself”…what an affront to logic, linguistics, historians, sociologists, anthropologists, and philosophers – not to mention Bible scholars, translators and textual researchers. The Bible is a compilation of 66 different books written by some 40 different authors over the course of an approximately 1500-year period, using basically 3 different languages, spanning a variety of cultural, political, and geographical settings. Needless to say, wierwille's idea that the Bible interprets itself is silly...absurd...laughable...and I can't believe I actually bought into it at one point in my life. In my defense I will say I was young and naïve back then…critical thinking schmitical thinking!  :biglaugh:


I’ve said this elsewhere (and let me be clear and precise   :rolleyes:   on where   it was  - - it was   here >    Can a true believer change his mind?    )  that if it wasn't for all the atheists, agnostics, as well as other viewpoints I've encountered on Grease Spot Café  – I would probably still harbor a  fundamentalism/spiritualism/Gnosticism mindset – even though I was out of TWI and didn't get involved with another ministry or church. I have a lot of respect and admiration for all the atheists and agnostics that I have debated with for keeping it real – which inspired me to try and be more honest and open...helping me unravel the nature of a belief system...often providing very compelling reasons for me to stay grounded in the plain and simple interpretation of Scripture...and I really admire their bare-bones approach to life in the here-and-now – genuinely  appreciating our family and friends and doing things just because it's the right thing to do and not because of  some eternal reward.

As near as I can ascertain, I was a true believer. I bent over backwards trying to do what a good Christian would. I believed in the virgin birth, John came before Christ to introduce him, Jesus spread His Fathers love, was crucified and rose from the dead. I attended church, observed all the holy days.

Today, I can proclaim I am no long a true believer, because there is nothing of sound logic, to believe in.

Stayed Too Long, I think it would be great if you would share your journey on a thread I started   Concerning the Bible confessions of a former fundamentalist      -    folks that have posted there represent a pretty wide spectrum of viewpoints – everything is cool – the only time that thread got a little dicey was when one Grease Spotter tried to debate another Grease Spotter over administrations – one still held to what TWI said about them and the other person didn’t believe in them at all. It was kind of a free-for-all for a bit but then settled down after everyone figured out the thread wasn’t a doctrinal debate – but more like a potluck dinner for Grease Spotters to express their current view of the Bible with no fear of being judged or criticized – whether their view of the Bible was now good or bad – whatever  – or folks don’t have to say anything about the Bible – it’s just a chance for folks to express why there was a change in their viewpoint or why they left or drifted away from TWI’s view of the Bible – ideally what I had in mind was something like a documentary on ex-TWI-followers where folks tell of their journey out and away from TWI – and hopefully any exchange between folks would be respectful and honest. 
 

 

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Stayed too Long,

I’m trying a different format to clear up the confusion and frustration I encounter when people quote my post and reply in it – even though they use a different font – bold and color – when I in turn quote that to follow up on the conversation it does not transfer your reply. You did that a lot on your thread of 41000 different Christian religions too. That’s fine if you like the lazy-boy-approach to having a discussion but don’t think it works as a deterrent to me breaking your arguments down point by point. It des mean more work for me – but I get off on the whole long drawn out process of thorough analysis anyway…besides – I’m trying this new stripped down format so I can quickly make my post and go. Some Grease Spotters like to jump right on a post while the editor is still fine tuning it. Oh well, $hit happens. 

Stayed Too Long's words are in quote box and they are green:

 

 

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It is interesting that someone had to inform us that the bible, is definitely not written like an owner’s manual” and “is neither basic nor simply instructions for what to do before you die.

Why wasn’t this made clear by God when He had men write it? Why have we had to live thousands of years without this knowledge? Perhaps God, like any competent author would, have included a preface to the bible, that stated exactly why the bible was written and under what circumstances it is to be applied?

 

 

I think the idea of an owner’s manual is a modern concept. But your point would be a fascinating study of how traditions, history, myths, religions, beliefs, knowledge, wisdom, etc. was disseminated and passed down to the next generation – from what little I know of big history I think that gets into so many aspects of the mind, human nature and how languages are developed –Steven Pinker has written some very interesting stuff about the mind, the language instinct, and the nature/nurture concept. so my short-answer-guess is that info was spread by word of mouth -     see oral traditions   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oral_tradition  and of course   writing   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Writing

I think your statement “Perhaps God, like any competent author would, have included a preface to the bible, that stated exactly why the bible was written and under what circumstances it is to be applied?” is also based on a modern literary concept – and as far as modern-day usage - usually prefaces are more commonly found in nonfiction books, but they can also be used in fiction.

Another presumption in your statement is supposing that God is the sole author of the Bible. That’s certainly a viable option. I understand it more like the Bible was co-authored by God and humans – and it’s certainly up for debate as far as what details one can ascribe to God and what details are from us humans. The cosmology presented in Genesis 1 lacks the detail and accuracy from our modern viewpoint, but I think it’s more like a poem or an an ode to the Creator rather than a DVD-bonus-featurette-the-scientific-details-on-the-making-of-the heavens-and-the-Earth. That’s not to say there are no passages that clearly show God’s “writing” –  there’s the 10 commandments https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ten_Commandments  that were supposedly written by the finger of God       https://biblehub.com/deuteronomy/9-10.htm  ….. On the other hand, the topic of The Tabernacle / The Temple – seems to be such a big deal in God’s redemptive plan – with more than 50 long passages scattered throughout the Bible covering exact specifications, details, ceremonies, all imbued with rich symbolism and meaning, may represent a near perfect melding of co-authorship…This also could lead into a whole other tangent about what is revelation, illumination, inspiration, etc. and how that all works…To me, the human side of the Bible comes through loud and clear in all it’s imperfections and what I’d describe as temporal/cultural worldviews. That would be a good topic in doctrinal. Also the topic of philosophy of religion and how religions are developed or have evolved would be another interesting thread.

 

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The only way the authors or your view of the bible matches mine, is if you consider the bible a book written among many. It has no more moral authority than any other document. 

 

Your statement might be a good indication of how we think differently. Some of the things you say hits me as black and white thinking – a pattern that makes people think in absolutes – to see things in extremes. Also called splitting, all or nothing thinking – see  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Splitting_(psychology)  . I also noticed you did that on your thread 41000 different Christian religions   -    https://www.greasespotcafe.com/ipb/topic/25078-41000-different-christian-religions/  - especially when we talked about magical thinking, law of believing, superstition and religious faith. You talked about them all as being basically the same thing whereas I said there were some obvious conceptual, semantical and nuanced differences with them all. Who’s right? Who’s wrong? It doesn’t matter – it’s just a discussion on Grease Spot.

I try to be flexible in my approach to life – and try to use what I believe to be the best decision-making format – for lots of situations I view some things in shades of gray, or see more than two options.

I’ll try to use common sense where applicable on which format to use. For example, is stealing okay? In my mind, that requires black and white thinking. Is stealing right or wrong? In my opinion it’s wrong. There’s no shades of gray – there’s no situation ethics allowed https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Situational_ethics    . what does all that have to do with your comment? Well, you responded to my post where I said  “but I have a feeling the author’s point  - and myself  - are both probably closer to the sentiment of your previous post than you may think.” Maybe I was not clear enough -  I was expressing the  POSSIBILITY or UNCERTAINTY that the OPNION of myself and the author PROBABLY - as far as I can tell – are NOT THAT FAR APART from YOUR OPINION that the Bible is a very poorly written instruction manual; to simplify it even further, if the Bible was supposed to be an owner’s manual I agree with you – it was very poorly written.

And going back to your post on Wednesday, where you said: 

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If the instructions were so poorly written, that thousands of interpretations were needed to make it functional, rational thinking people would discard it.

Your argument has some flawed presumptions  –- you’re assuming they should have been comparable to your concept of instructions, a modern concept i.e. owner’s manual – and as such the Bible is poorly written…you’re assuming thousands of interpretations were needed to “make it functional” , practical or useful. your reasoning is also faulty on that point too. Since the beginning of the Bible narrative there's been lots of "believers" in various faiths who have found its message useful and practical. Another name for folks like that is practitioners.  There was no need to "make it functional" -   the practice of their faith proved it was already functional...and I also ask you - is there value in finding meaning? Is there anything wrong with people who believe there is more to this life...this world than meets the eye? Is there anything wrong with wanting to explore the big questions of life? Is there anything wrong with believing one doesn't know it all and likes to hear about other perspectives? 

And I guess we need to define what makes something functional, practical or useful. Do you assume everyone who has ever followed the Bible as a matter of faith had the same expectations as we were led to look for in TWI? Is that the "normal" in your mind? I tend to think just the opposite: people who expect to get more out of Christianity than just Jesus Christ might be in for a major disappointment. That says a lot for The Way International - doesn't it? that money-grubbing hypocritical narcissistic organization. Their numbers are dwindling...they're scrounging for "leadership" to rise up and fill in the vacancies...yeah - compare their rate of retention to some other denominations and faiths - people living in poverty, persecuted, martyred...I'm surprised I stayed with those blood-suckers of TWI for 12 years - I should have figured it out pretty quick when I didn't see all the signs, miracles and wonders that they claimed followed believers. 

Given all that, you assume rational people would choose to discard it (all or nothing thinking). Your reference to “rational people” is interesting. I’m reminded of wierwille’s polarizing and manipulative tactics using passages like    For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind  II Timothy 1:7   https://biblehub.com/2_timothy/1-7.htm    wierwille would blather on about the difference between us (believers) and them (unbelievers) “we have the spirit of power, love and a sound mind. Unbelievers do not have a sound mind - and people, an unsound mind is an insane mind. And I didn’t write the book…” …so forth and so on – that’s how he’d tighten up the ranks.

Using your criterion for determining who is rational – we would deem all theologians, pastors, Bible scholars, Christian counselors, Christian philosophers, practicing Christians (which includes schleps like me) as irrational. If you like to paint in such enormously broad strokes have at it. I was a fine arts major in college and fell in love with artists who were very attentive to detail and portrayed life more realistically like Vermeer.

 

 

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My long and arduous personal journey has been ridding myself of the belief that there is a God. Period. Life has taken on a completely new meaning after finally realizing homo sapiens are nothing more than any other occupant of Earth or the Universe.

 That is great! My journey has been dismantling the theological box I let wierwille construct in my head – no end of sentence – no period – it’s an ongoing project. My life continues to expand with a deeper meaning – not sure exactly what that is but it feels better than 34 years ago…when I die if there’s nothing after that - what a long strange trip this has been for all us saps.

 

 

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Take salvation for an example. Let’s assume you have a friend who is of the Jewish religion, and another who is a Muslim.  and neither believe in Jesus. As a Christian, and there are many different beliefs of salvation in Christianity alone, you adhere to one of them. Further assume all three of you are dyeing at the same time. Your last words to each other are, “I’ll see you in heaven!” Which one of you, if any, will actually be forever with the lord?

 Ah yes, the old double-trick-question. You’re expecting me to choose out of all the different beliefs of Christian salvation to solve a double dilemma. Me being the let’s-really-look-into-every-option-kind-of-a guy, this could take several decades on Grease Spot and who knows how many generations of moderators – so I’ll cut to the chase: I’m putting my money on the ideas in “Love Wins” book by Bell – another interesting read for those who enjoyed Hamilton’s “Making Sense of the Bible”– too long to explain here so if you want to understand my reasoning you could check out that book too – besides I don’t like to waste my time on really frustrating, manipulative and convoluted hypotheticals.

 

 

 

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As near as I can ascertain, I was a true believer. I bent over backwards trying to do what a good Christian would. I believed in the virgin birth, John came before Christ to introduce him, Jesus spread His Fathers love, was crucified and rose from the dead. I attended church, observed all the holy days.

Today, I can proclaim I am no long a true believer, because there is nothing of sound logic, to believe in.

 

 

Again, that’s great for you! Soundness of logical systems is a beautiful thing. “In logic, more precisely in deductive reasoning, an argument is sound if it is both valid in form and its premises are true. Soundness also has a related meaning in mathematical logic, wherein logical systems are sound if and only if every formula that can be proved in the system is logically valid with respect to the semantics of the system. “ From  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soundness   

 

I used to think of myself as a true believer…but now I tend to think of myself as a Christian Agnostic  Christian agnostics practice a distinct form of agnosticism that applies only to the properties of God. They hold that it is difficult or impossible to be sure of anything beyond the basic tenets of the Christian faith. They believe that God or a higher power might exist, that Jesus may have a special relationship with God, might in some way be divine, and that God might perhaps be worshipped. This belief system has deep roots in the early days of the Church.” From:    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_agnosticism

 

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T-Bone: You give yourself way to much credit if you believe me using the 'lazy-boy-approach' is that it ".... works as a deterrent to me breaking your arguments down point by point." As I said "My long and arduous personal journey has been ridding myself of the belief that there is a God. Period."  Included in that statement, has been ridding myself of the belief that the bible is of any authority. Period. Perhaps I should have stated this in the beginning and not attempted to use any examples?

Again, you give yourself way to much credit if you believe it is of any consequence to me that, "I don’t like to waste my time on really frustrating, manipulative and convoluted hypotheticals." To me the entire bible is frustrating, manipulative and convoluted hypotheticals. Period. 

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On 11/18/2021 at 12:26 PM, Raf said:

That is a powerful analogy, STL. An instruction book that needs instruction books to interpret its instructions isn't much of an instruction book at all, is it?

I would only answer that the "Word of God" is the instruction manual, that it is not complicated, and that it is not the Bible.

If I were a believer, that is.

When writing about the bible, and bringing supporting data to, at least, indicate it could be inaccurate, the beliver will scramble to plug the holes. They will expound on how much reading they have done, how open they are to new ideas, and then deny the ascertation exists. 

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I doubt that I would read this book or any other book for that matter. Like most of Christianity, the Muslims go by a book and claim that Hindu is superstitious. I will not go to war against any of it.

Why look for a way in?  Or some type of answers? For peace I suppose. Some folks want to know and others could just relax a bit.

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Stayed Too Long said:

When writing about the bible, and bringing supporting data to, at least, indicate it could be inaccurate, the beliver will scramble to plug the holes. They will expound on how much reading they have done, how open they are to new ideas, and then deny the ascertation exists. 

 

Could you please clarify a few things in your post. (copied below in case the box quote doesn’t show the whole thing – your words are in bold green)

You said:

“When writing about the bible, and bringing supporting data to, at least, indicate it could be inaccurate, the beliver will scramble to plug the holes. They will expound on how much reading they have done, how open they are to new ideas, and then deny the ascertation exists.”

 

Your statement is confusing to read – and seems contradictory; To me, it sounds like you’re trying to say  when writing about the bible and bringing support data which at minimum shows the Bible could be inaccurate, the believer ( I’m assuming you mean Bible believer) will move quickly and awkwardly over difficult passages to plug the holes in  _ _ _ _ _

A. logic

B. inaccuracies of the Bible

C. boreholes of weevils found in dust covered Bibles.

D. all of the above

E. none of the above

 ( I inserted multiple  choice options because your statements are riddled with uncertainty and possibly unintended  negations; remember, no cheating or copying someone else’s work) 

 

To help me better understand your point:

1.       Perhaps the confusion comes from you not clearly identifying WHO is writing about the Bible. Are you referring to you or me – or both of us – or are you referring to someone else?

 

2.       You state that the person writing about the Bible (whoever that is – remember you need to clarify that) brings support data which shows the Bible could be inaccurate.  I am also confused on WHY the aforementioned “writer” brings support data to show the Bible could be inaccurate. Again, I ask - are you referring to something YOU did or will do? Or are you referring to something I did or will do, or something SOMEONE ELSE did or will do? I can’t speak for you – but as for me, since I left TWI, I’ve never been a big advocate for wierwille’s “the great accuracy and integrity of THE WORD and that it fits like a hand fits in a glove with a mathematical exactness and scientific precision.”. If I’ve been an advocate of anything it’s that my posts on Grease Spot support and recommend the honest, clear and natural interpretation of Scripture – warts and all – imperfections and inaccuracies galore! Not saying every passage is easy to understand – just saying I lean towards face value where possible and certainly don’t think my interpretation is the only viable option. You seem to be having an imaginary argument with no one in particular – or maybe you think you’re arguing with a person who still has the TWI-mindset. Did you bring data to this thread to support the idea that the Bible is inaccurate? Where is it? Please point it out to me. Regardless – you can put your mind at ease – and don’t waste your time scrambling to get a bunch of data. I’m not going to argue with you over that…That’s already a given. I believe the Bible is full of errors and inaccuracies – I thought that was obvious in my previous posts... You’re preaching to the choir here.  

 

 

3.       the beliver will scramble to plug the holesagain, WHO are you addressing this accusation to? WHO is doing the scrambling? Please define “scrambling” as well. And WHAT holes are they plugging? You can refer to your multiple choice above.

 

4.       They will expound on how much reading they have done– once again, WHO are you addressing? And WHAT have they been reading? WHAT does that have to do with the topic of this thread? Are you trying to tap dance around my previous posts? If so – relax – just be direct! No need to load your post with insinuations. Be open and honest. I was open and honest in what I said to you. In case you haven’t realized the purpose of this thread was an invitation / recommendation to read a book “Making Sense of the Bible”. I did “the assignment” and even fielded a few challenges from a Grease Spotter (you, specifically) who did NOT do “the assignment”. Okay so I was expoundingexpound (verb) present and explain (a theory or idea) systematically and in detail;  explain the meaning of (a literary or doctrinal work) (Microsoft Bing definition).    Are your bummed out because you think I shot down your “owner’s manual” analogy? Hey, don’t take it personally. I said that was a powerful analogy – an analogy that was often used by wierwille and other TWI-leaders – I even used it myself. But like so many other erroneous concepts and interpretations generated by a pseudo-Christian cult, maybe it needs to be shot down. Through honest and critical analysis, the nonsensical plugs need to be removed to expose the twisted illogical and insidious self-serving holes in a cult’s theology/ideology.

 

5.       how open they are to new ideas” – this is an odd thing to say. Who are “they”? Being open to new ideas is a bad thing? You make it sound like it’s dangerous. That sounds like the manipulative…controlling…isolating tactics of TWI. As a STRICT RULE we were not supposed to think outside the theological/ideological box as defined by wierwille. That’s cult-tactics plain and simple    PERIOD  -    EXCLAMATION POINT  !  You say you left TWI. Has the TWI-mindset left you? I don’t mean TWI theology – but the attitudes and way of looking at things. Why do you disparage new ideas? In cults conformity is encouraged as if it were a virtue. Individualism is frowned upon. Wanting to debate an issue or having a difference of opinion is a big no-no. Arguments (an exchange of diverging or opposite views) inside a cult like TWI are nonexistent because exchanging divergent or new ideas is not tolerated. Dissenters do not last long in TWI. Complexity is ignored. Black and white thinking is encouraged…actually more like it’s enforced – it’s either their way or the highway… I bet if a lot folks in TWI read Hamilton’s “Making Sense of the Bible  TWI just might lose a lot of followers –  - - I think if you give someone real food for thought instead of slipping them a Mickey like wierwille’s Kool-Aid they just might jump at the chance to think for themselves and resume the driver’s seat in self-determination. You said in an earlier post “If the instructions were so poorly written, that thousands of interpretations were needed to make it functional, rational thinking people would discard it.That seems like black and white thinking to me. Are you saying there’s only two categories? It appears you present only two types of folks. There are rational people - they base their thinking on or in accordance with reason or logic – and be advised the onus is on you to provide the definition of reason or logic – and let’s see if everyone interested in this thread can agree on some terms…Now - according to you these folks invariably discard the Bible at some point if it happens to cross their path. The other category in this dichotomy are irrational folks - people who do not discard the Bible – they are in this category by default – due to their lack of positive action rather than conscious choice – they failed to apply your definition of reason or logic – which now I am very interested in what your definition of logic or reason is...Are there examples of you using it on this thread?  As it stands – that seems like a rather demeaning and dogmatic yet vague criterion for determining rationality. Is that your litmus test for how you measure up everyone in your world? Perhaps I’ve mischaracterized your viewpoint – feel free to correct me where I am wrong. More details and specifics would certainly help.

 

6.       and then deny the ascertation exists  -   PERIOD  - QUESTION MARK ? – not sure what you’re saying there – I Googled “ascertation” and got some 23,300 Results – at top of the page it said “Assertation vs Ascertation - What's the difference? | WikiDiff    https://wikidiff.com/ascertation/assertation    ascertation Not English Ascertation has no English definition. It may be misspelled. English words similar to 'ascertation': assertation, acieration, aggradation, acroterion, auguration, achrodextrin, aggeration”.   So, if you could check your spelling, or reiterate / rephrase … to clarify your statement.

 

If you were not trying to address me or the things I said in my previous posts then disregard all that I’ve said here in this post. I apologize for my misunderstanding and carry on.

If you did mean to address me or the things in my posts – please don’t be too hasty in responding to this post. Perhaps we are talking past each other – “talking past each other is an English phrase describing the situation where two or more people talk about different subjects, while believing that they are talking about the same thing. The idiomatic expression is an allusion to the interaction between Thrasymachus and Socrates over the question of "justice" in Plato 's Republic I.” from : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talking_past_each_other   . at least that’s what it feels like on my end. I am hoping you can clarify things.

I hope it is NOT a psychological projection issue, which “is the process of misinterpreting what is "inside" as coming from "outside". It forms the basis of empathy by the projection of personal experiences to understand someone else's subjective world. In its malignant forms, it is a defense mechanism in which the ego defends itself against disowned and highly negative parts of the self by denying their existence in themselves and attributing them to others, breeding misunderstanding and causing untold interpersonal damage. A bully may project their own feelings of vulnerability onto the target, or a person who is confused may project feelings of confusion and inadequacy onto other people. Projection incorporates blame shifting and can manifest as shame dumping.” From: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychological_projection   .

I could be wrong, but I get the feeling you might be projecting onto others some negative aspect of the TWI-mindset still inside you. For example, I said previously “if you like the lazy-boy-approach to having a discussion but don’t think it works as a deterrent to me breaking your arguments down point by point. It does mean more work for me – but I get off on the whole long-drawn-out process of thorough analysis”.  In response to that, you said you have been ridding myself of the belief that the bible is of any authority” . That is really an odd response since I have NOT attempted to bolster the authority of the Bible on this thread. I have been breaking down your arguments point by point – and I said nothing to support – or even TRY to support the authority of the Bible. Please point out in my previous posts where I have been debating you over the authority of the Bible. I challenged your application of modern concepts like "owner’s manual” and “prefaces” to ancient documents from other cultures , I challenged your opinion that God is the sole author of the Bible, I corrected your wrong assumption that I was trying to match my viewpoint with yours and in tandem with that I pointed out that it was your black and white thinking that renders you incapable of processing and understanding nuances and seeing obvious differences in concepts and semantics.

If you would have read Hamilton’s “Making Sense of the Bible” you might have found out there’s much more to the Christian faith than wierwille’s dogmatic-pontificating-pretentious-hypocritical-manipulative-The Word-being-our-only-rule-for-faith-and-practice-bull$hit”…My faith is about a relationship with a person – Jesus Christabout his Lordship…it’s not a relationship with the Bible, or how many books I’ve read  or scrambling to plug the holes in the pseudo-scholarship of wierwille and submit to the lordship of a cult-leader…I’m free of that ball-and-chain mindset…and to reiterate it once again, what I DID challenge in the argument with you is the erroneous concept of the Bible being an “owner’s manual”… and for that matter any other crap from wierwille’s schtick  like the great accuracy and integrity of THE WORD and that it fits like a hand fits in a glove with a mathematical exactness and scientific precision  what is all that manipulative pretentious stuff anyway – QUESTION MARK - -  EXCLAMATION POINT  ?!  Insidious concepts that wierwille promoted to captivate and dominate followers. He was a master at cornering people with black and white thinking. “It’s either all God’s Word or it isn’t” – which for all practical purposes meant wierwille’s twisted interpretation of the Bible was the real authority.  So please don’t project any of wierwille’s erroneous concepts onto me.

 

…anyway…I look forward to your reply if you’d care to clear things up. Have a good evening.  :wave:

Edited by T-Bone
typos and formatting
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