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Religious texts - Ed's journal
Religious texts
If we assume that there is no God, and therefore the central basis of the Bible was in error, would that make it any less valid as a source of spiritual thought, and social/moral guidance?
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zaitan From: zaitan Date: February 10th, 2006 10:50 am (UTC) (Link)
It would possibly make it a more valid source of social/moral guidance. It would not longer be an "infallible" text that was handed down by god, but a regular book. Some parts would offer useful instructions and guidance. That parts that tell you to do unspeakable things to others would have less weight to them as they are not the word of god.
sobrique From: sobrique Date: February 10th, 2006 11:00 am (UTC) (Link)
One can always make the argument of it being the word of God, as transcribed by men. (repeatedly, and then babelfished into several languages).

There's also a whole lot of metaphors that don't stand alone as 'literal truth' but provide useful comparisons for understanding human nature.

Actually, I'm not entirely sure how the book of Genesis (to take an example) reconciles with the current theories of evolution and creation.
velvet_nothing From: velvet_nothing Date: February 10th, 2006 10:55 am (UTC) (Link)
Maybe not less valid, but certainly less influential. I think it's the whole word-of-God bit that differentiates it from other books.
sobrique From: sobrique Date: February 10th, 2006 10:58 am (UTC) (Link)
Why is that though? Surely it's value as a 'don't be horrible to each other' guide, isn't actually changed.
velvet_nothing From: velvet_nothing Date: February 10th, 2006 11:17 am (UTC) (Link)
I didn't say it would be any less valuable; just less influential. If it were read as purely a work of fiction or literature... well, there would be nothing to distinguish it from all the other books out there and it would probably take its place among other fables and folklore. Somebody in marketing was having a really good day when they got in the whole God concept ;o)
sobrique From: sobrique Date: February 10th, 2006 11:40 am (UTC) (Link)
I rather enjoyed some of the Bible stories. Mostly the old testament stuff though, to be fair. Moses, Jonah, Genesis and ... well quite a few others are really rather interesting.

I'm just not entirely sure how they'd stand alone.
velvet_nothing From: velvet_nothing Date: February 10th, 2006 11:47 am (UTC) (Link)
Well, to a lot of people, they *do* stand alone. I'm agnostic, and as such, the bible has no particular meaning to me. In fact, I haven't even read it properly as an adult, and because there are plenty of other good books on my To Read list it may be a while before I get around to it.

How about yourself? I don't really know where you stand on the existence of God, but if you don't believe, surely you already know how they stand alone?
sobrique From: sobrique Date: February 10th, 2006 12:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
Religious philosophy is something I've been pondering for a while. I used to be a frequent church-going Christian. Now I'm not. I don't quite know how to explain it, but on one day it just no longer fit. A bit like a glove that's on the wrong hand, or a shirt you're wearing backwards.

And on that day, for some reason it didn't 'work' any more. I wouldn't say I reject what I learned, but just didn't feel that I could follow that path any more.

I still am unwilling to rule out existance of God, but I also don't think the way the Bible has it is entirely correct. I think there _is_ a purpose to the Universe. A spirit if you will. But I don't think it's quite so easily personified as a God or pantheon. Then again, there's not really any other words that fit especially, so God would do. Things like prayer/meditation are not heard/answered, so much as serving to focus the mind, that we might accomplish things.

Actually, what's recently come to my attention as a 'close fit' is Taoism, but I shall have to read up more on that.
mister_jack From: mister_jack Date: February 10th, 2006 01:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
I have an introductory book on Taoism, you may borrow it if you wish.
mrbear From: mrbear Date: February 10th, 2006 01:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
The 'Tao Of Pooh'?

mister_jack From: mister_jack Date: February 10th, 2006 01:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
And The Te of Piglet !
mrbear From: mrbear Date: February 10th, 2006 06:15 pm (UTC) (Link)
Both are damned good books, and very informative. Been ages since I've read them...
queex From: queex Date: February 10th, 2006 11:21 am (UTC) (Link)
Confucius said: "Even if the gods do not exist, we should live our lives as if they do", apparently.

Some moral guidelines are good idea, whatever format they're in- a religious text, a constitution or a handbook of being excellent unto one another.

The trouble is, the dictatorial stance of religious texts the way they often opresent themselves as being infallible, and the way many of the rules make no concessions to circumstances or context, make them less suitable as a means of moral guidance. Plus it must make generalities and cannot change as society changes.

The minutiae are often used as stick to beat people with, in defiance of the guidance on larger issues.

As in phenomenology, the concept is valid wherever it comes from- so good moral guidance is just as good wherever it comes from. I just think that religious texts aren't terribly good on that score.
mister_jack From: mister_jack Date: February 10th, 2006 11:24 am (UTC) (Link)
Yes, it does. As a source of spiritual thought it's just plain wrong. May as well read books about the Cthulhu mythos or the repeated works of David Eddings. As a moral source, well, it becomes like anything else, if you agree with its morals it's fair enough - if not, oh well. That and there is no longer any basis with which to coherently resolve the old/new testament contradictions.

Oh, and by-the-by, I think the Bible is a frankly terrible source of moral guidance. Whereever and whenever it goes beyond principles common to pretty much every society and religion ("the golden rule", thou shalt not kill, stealing is naughty, etc.) it gets it horribly wrong and espouses a mixture of oppression, cruelty and excessive punishment for minor violations of its own pet set of ettiquettes.
sobrique From: sobrique Date: February 10th, 2006 11:38 am (UTC) (Link)
Actually, I've always rather liked the Jedi concepts. OK, Starwars has drama around it, but ... *shrug*.

So you'd be of the opinion that without the 'positive assertion' of being the word of God, the Bible would be relegated to the 'budget' bookshops?
sobrique From: sobrique Date: February 10th, 2006 11:47 am (UTC) (Link)
Hmm, actually on that note: Jedi and Taoism.

Might have to do some more looking at that.
mister_jack From: mister_jack Date: February 10th, 2006 11:52 am (UTC) (Link)
Have you read the Bible? Frankly, I can't see anyone reading it without it's associations to religion. I mean, really, how many of us have read the Qu'ran, the Bhagavad Gita or the Upanishads? I imagine bits of it would be read: Revelations, Ecclessiastes, some of the tales of Solomon and David - but Number and Leviticus? Come on. Leviticus might hang around as an example of an early codification of law, but not as spiritual or moral guidance.
sobrique From: sobrique Date: February 10th, 2006 12:04 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yes, I have. At least, a fair fraction of it.
I won't deny it was because it was a religious text, but it's got a reasonable selection of materiel.
From: feanelwa Date: February 10th, 2006 11:45 am (UTC) (Link)
I think the bits of it that say "do .../don't do ... because God said so" would become worthless. Some of the things are good things so would still have the intrinsic worth they have to me as a non-eutheist, such as not killing people, but some of the edicts that have caused the most violence and misery in the world would be removed, leaving the people that hold to them having to admit that the reason they used to do them was in fact because they were bigots and had found a convenient hook to hang it on.
purp1e_magic From: purp1e_magic Date: February 10th, 2006 05:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
I haven't read the Bible. Nor have I ever read any other religious texts (despite my duty as a good little Muslim girl). I've come across bits and bobs of things. More so, I've been told stories and instructions from the Bible, the Quran and from the Bhagvat Gita. The things of interest in them to me are cultural history and exploring the roots of theological constructs. I found them equally interesting and in the same kind of ways as Sarashina Nikki's (translated) As I crossed A Bridge of Dreams (written by an 11th century Japanese woman) and Jetsun Pema's autobiography (one of the Dalai Lama's sisters).

I feel that what's important is inner truth and listening to inner divinity. You can learn things from spiritual texts because the writing of them was guided by the inner spirit of those that wrote them. But they don't always speak to me, and they aren't the only things that were written that way.

If the Holy books were not known as being the word of God, I probably would never have heard of them. But if I had I probably would have been more open to them because they wouldn't be surrounded by forceful ideas of followers.
jorune From: jorune Date: February 10th, 2006 06:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
It would probably have to make it less valid but then we are talking about the most important book in Western Literature. No other book has had such a strong impact in the realm of religious thought as the Bible. No other book is as widely read, distributed or commented upon. It is only in these modern times that it has ceased to have an overwhelming presence in life.

Under this situation I think it would only make the difference between the Old and the New Testament all the more stark. The Old Testament is a history of a people and culture over hundreds of years and contains elements which appear baffling to our present culture but which probably had relevant cultural impulses at the time. It describes at length, a spiritual and social/moral commentary. Regardless of the veracity of its central theme, that there is a God, it has to be counted as one of the world's great narratives. The Old Testament comprises the same books as the Jewish 'Hebrew Bible' or Tanakh. It is a living body of spiritual thought, and social/moral guidance in that it is regularly consulted, considered and acted upon.

The New Testament is a history of a few men and their impact over a short period of time, ranging from daily accounts of Jesus's life to the decades of Paul's life and travels. It takes ideals from the Old Testament and revisits them, offering new perspectives and new ways of understanding them. It marks a different perspective on God, who so loved the world that he sent his only Son.

Reflections on the nature of the Bible have a long history in Christianity. Key questions revolve around the translations of the original Greek and Hebrew texts, that certain gospels of Jesus's live are included Matthew, Mark, Luke and John whereas others are not i.e. Mary.

Wikipedia has a commentary on this very subject. Furthermore Kierkegaard, Thoreau and Tolstoy are described in Wikipedia as being Christian Anarchists, followers of Christ who reject the structure and hierarchy of the Established Churches. In both cases there are people who are living with Faith from the Bible, understanding that it may not be 100% correct, that is not infallible.
lillaceyes From: lillaceyes Date: February 11th, 2006 10:40 am (UTC) (Link)

Religious whatever stuff

Okey I will try and not get overly crazy here. But I have read the bible and i have read many other texts on gods and spirits and other wonderfully wonderful things out in our world.

world or univers or whatever you want to call it. I have also seen some things that many would deny but i know whta i saw and what has happened to me. Besides the many things i just know at times for people.

I do believe that there are Gods out there. And they pulled back when the so called one true god showed up. But why dosn't everyone notice that everyone has the same freakin god and we all just name Him/Her whatever we wnat for that time or that religion.

Why can't everyone just get along and stop tryin to kill everyone and hurt everyone cause they are sooo not what they want them to be.

okey im rantin and i didn't want to.

I was raised Cathlic. But i don't judge people and if i do then i judge myself even harsher. Lets all be who we are and not hate or kill each other because of it.

Okey okey im done and okey good question there you and talk again someother time when im not goin to go nuts *chuckles*

Celtics rule

please send me lots and lots of money so i cna move to Ireland.. PLEASEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE *giggles* later yall.

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