The Bible and Shirley Phelps

  • Mars

    Posts: 158

    May 24, 2008 9:30 PM GMT
    I was just reading through another thread titled, "God Hates Fags an Ally to the community?", where there is a link to an interesting audio interview with Shirley Phelps. The interview, along with the comments posted in the thread got my mind started on the whole question of the Bible and its relevance in todays society.

    First of all, it is known to most as "The word of God", when in fact it was written several decades after the time of Christ (as much as 70 years)by mortal men, yet for some reason it reads as though it were written at a time when Christ was among us.

    Second, with all the Christians that have slapped me with this quote or that from the Bible in reference to some short comming they percieve me to have in my life I have never once heard anyone acknowlege the fact that the Bible has been written and rewritten throughout the centuries(thus changing or even losing its origional message)not including the thousands of times it has been translated from on language to the next. I myself have enough experience with foreign languages to know that often there is no direct transfer of meaning on a phrase to phrase basis in part because of cultural differences or a whole bunch of other equally important factors. And yet it remains to be the absolute unequivical(and too often literal) truth, word for word in millions of peoples day to day lives.

    I don't believe that it is wrong to be religeous, Christian or otherwise, but I have to question the extent of the percieved 'truth' in any manuscript that is allowed to become the center of an entire group of peoples' belief system.

    Any thoughts??
  • MikePhilPerez

    Posts: 4357

    May 24, 2008 9:53 PM GMT
    "I have never once heard anyone acknowlege the fact that the Bible has been written and rewritten throughout the centuries(thus changing or even losing its origional message)not including the thousands of times it has been translated from on language to the next"

    I have, many times icon_confused.gif


    "And yet it remains to be the absolute unequivical(and too often literal) truth, word for word in millions of peoples day to day lives"

    Not in mine, or in most other Catholics I know.

    Mike

    Edited in response to Mars editing his.

    Thank you Mars icon_smile.gif

  • Mars

    Posts: 158

    May 24, 2008 10:10 PM GMT
    Thanks for the input Mike. I might point out that I am not nor have I ever claimed to be a biblical scholar. Also, that the topic is the Bible istelf and how people interpret it (i.e. Mrs. Phelps), it is NOT about religion. The purpose of this thread was an attempt to gain a better perspective on the matter, not to offend anyone.
  • MikePhilPerez

    Posts: 4357

    May 24, 2008 11:56 PM GMT
    Fair enough Mars. I accept you were not trying to offend anyone.

    I have never slapped anyone with quotes from the Bible and would never. I have done it jokingly icon_smile.gif

    I don't believe the Bible is the word of God for the very reasons you point out, and there are a lot of Catholics with that view.

    Mike

    Edited
  • ShawnTX

    Posts: 2484

    May 25, 2008 3:35 AM GMT
    As a rule, Catholics do not take the Bible literally, they interpret it's message and teachings as best they can. Various Protestant denominations will take the Bible as literal truth, and since these Protestant denominations evoled out of the Reformation that came about due to the rejection of papal authority, among other things, Protestant congregations are autonomous, leading to varied and extreme opinions and beliefs.

    Yes, the Bible was written by mortal men, but that doesn't mean it doesn't contain the Word of God. It could have been written through divine inspiration, God speaking through the pen of man.

    Even if the Bible isn't the direct Word of God, you can say it was written by wise (yet fallible) or perhaps fallible (yet wise) men. Either way you look at it, it still contains teachings and a message that can benefit anyone that finds it valuable.

    In my opinion, like all religious myths, whether they speak of creation, or the actions of God or the gods, the Bible shouldn't be taken literally. These myths are based on metaphors that contain lessons and codes of conduct that assist people on their path through life, in a time when people lived their spirituality. And while the ethics and morals in these myths reflect the culture and time in which they were first created, they can still be adapted to todays world.

    Another thing to keep in mind when considering the Bible is when and how it came about. During the early days of Christianity there were many different sects without a central leadership. The first Council of Nicaea was convened 323 CE to unify the sects. For example, most Christian sects at that time didn't even believe that Jesus actually walked the Earth in human form. So there was a coming together of early Christian leaders for unification which would lead to a more successful spread of Christianity across the known world. When the Bible was put together, some gospels were included while other were rejected. This book came together for a genuine spiritual purpose, but there was personal and political motives as well. Even today, there is more than one interpretation of the Bible.

    So can the Bible be relevant in todays society? It sure can, provided it's not taken literally. It was written in a time alien to us if we were to experience it. Imagine living in a time where you thought the Earth was the centre of the universe, in a time when no one knew the size or shape of the Earth, in a time where the universe as we know it didn't exist and the concept of billions of years would be inconceivable. 2000 years ago what would sound more believable; God created the Earth in 7 days or God created the Earth in 4 billion years?

    Some people are anti-gay because 'the Bible says so'. The Bible also says to kill your neighbour if he works on Sunday. No homophobic Christian would suggest you kill your neighbour for working on Sunday even though it's written in the Bible which is the Word of God. That was written for a different time and we know better, they say. Well, I say you can't have it both ways.

    And on that note, I think I've typed enough! icon_smile.gif
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    May 25, 2008 3:40 AM GMT
    Wait, Shawn...the Bible says nothing about killing your neighbor if he works on Sunday.
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    May 25, 2008 3:43 AM GMT
    Sabbath has always been the seventh day of the week, not the first.

    http://christiananswers.net/bible/exo31.html#14
  • ShawnTX

    Posts: 2484

    May 25, 2008 3:50 AM GMT
    Ummm...didn't you learn anything from my post - don't take everything you read literally.

    Hehe, just kidding. It's been a good 10 years since last I read the Bible. Is there not something in there about killing your neighbour for working on Sunday, or doing something on Sunday, or a certain day? My memory is fuzzy and I might be mixing things up a bit.

    My reason for that part of my post was to illustrate that people don't take absolutely everything in the Bible literally, yet turn around and say homosexuality is a sin cause the Bible says so. So in my opinion you can't have it both ways.

    But this is going to bother me now, so correct my statement.
  • ShawnTX

    Posts: 2484

    May 25, 2008 3:51 AM GMT
    Oh nevermind, I replied to you then clicked on the link you provided.

    Thanks
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    May 25, 2008 3:54 AM GMT
    Another reason to ignore the bible, in other words.

    MikePhil is right, not all religiosity is bad. But, a cogent argument can be made for saying the bible is bad.
  • ShawnTX

    Posts: 2484

    May 25, 2008 3:58 AM GMT
    I'm not Christian, so at the end of the day it really doesn't matter to me what someone says about the Bible. As a spiritual person I can see that it holds some value if you look for it. But in my opinion, that value only exists as it pertains to your 'personal truth' and not as a basis or foundation for an organized religion.
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    May 25, 2008 4:07 AM GMT
    ShawnTO said...not as a basis or foundation for an organized religion.

    I think a lot of the bible was "discovered," "co-opted," and "sold" to justify the formation of the religion. But I think the religion was there first, eager to persuade with the heft of biblical/scriptural authority in the early centuries.
  • ShawnTX

    Posts: 2484

    May 25, 2008 4:17 AM GMT
    Well, take a look at the religion as whole, as it is now, as it was back then, and how it evolved over time. The reason why Emperor Constantine converted, for example, or the reason for the first Council of Nicaea. In my opinion, the early leaders did what they could to differentiate it from the Pagan religions of the day. They needed to set it apart to create the appeal. The personal and political gains from religious leaders are plainly obvious throughout the ages, and as offensive as that can sound to Christians, it's true nonetheless.
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    May 25, 2008 4:21 AM GMT
    Honestly those who take the bible at full face value instead of guidance as it was intended are no different then the Muslims who corrupt the teachings of the Koran.

    But then again I can name extremist groups from almost every religion but thats not to say religion is bad but it shouldn't be taken as the only word but as guidance to life's difficulties.

    I also agree with a quote (forget who said it) Its better to go through life as if there was a god and find out there isn't one then go through life as if there wasn't a god and find out there is.
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    May 25, 2008 4:46 AM GMT
    ShawnTO said...the early leaders did what they could to differentiate it from the Pagan religions of the day...
    or more importantly politically, from the Jews, who were quickly becoming a despised and persecuted bunch themselves. Early Christians were indistinguishable from the Jews, and the Christians wanted to make sure they weren't mistaken for them.
  • ShawnTX

    Posts: 2484

    May 25, 2008 5:07 AM GMT
    That's a good point to make as well.
  • Mars

    Posts: 158

    May 25, 2008 5:26 AM GMT
    Interesting that the subject of political motives behind the bible have come up...
    A year or 2 back, I saw a documentary on the history of the bible and it was mentioned that prior to its introduction into the Roman Empire, homosexuals were considered to be in the higher ranks of society and that most, if not all of the empirial sentries (the protectors of everything royal) were gay men.

    It also discussed how symbols of falicy were found quite prominantly everywhere in the ruins of Pompei and that it wasn't until sometime after Constantine brought Christianity to the empire that sex in any form became a forbidden topic. It was said in the doc that he was politically motivated to use the Roman version of the bible (which for the first time stated that human genetelia and sex were tabu) as a means of holding onto his power over his people.

    I thought it was an interesting doc. I think it was on the history channel, if I am not mistaken. It was part of their series, 'The History of...'
  • ShawnTX

    Posts: 2484

    May 25, 2008 5:35 AM GMT
    You're right Mars, Emperor Constantine converted to Christianity and made it the state religion for political reasons (one god, one emperor). He renounced Christianity and his conversion on his deathbed.

    The phallic symbol figured heavily in all Pagan cultures as it was a symbol of fertiliy and was used in rites to promote a good harvest, healthy livestock and many children. Ancient Greeks and Romans had sacred prostitutes, women of the temple that men would pay for sex, the energy raised during the sex act was used for a variety of purposes (like a prayer or a spell). The Celts would pair up during the fertility festival of Beltane on the first of May at night in the bushes after the sacred rites, and the Egyptians have a creation myth where the god Khepera masturbated the universe into existence and the god Osiris was always shown with an erect penis as a symbol of rebirth.

    In my opinion, ancient peoples had a much healthier view on sex than we do today.
  • irishkcguy

    Posts: 780

    May 25, 2008 11:29 AM GMT
    Shirley is an idiot.
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    May 26, 2008 1:00 AM GMT
    Mars said
    I don't believe that it is wrong to be religeous, Christian or otherwise, but I have to question the extent of the percieved 'truth' in any manuscript that is allowed to become the center of an entire group of peoples' belief system.

    Any thoughts??



    a manuscript that is the center of an entire group of people's believe system?
    how about the US bill of rights? not just we all believe it and follow it, we expect all countries to mirror it too.
  • Mars

    Posts: 158

    May 26, 2008 1:40 AM GMT
    ebl333 said[quote][cite]Mars said[/cite]
    I don't believe that it is wrong to be religeous, Christian or otherwise, but I have to question the extent of the percieved 'truth' in any manuscript that is allowed to become the center of an entire group of peoples' belief system.

    Any thoughts??



    "a manuscript that is the center of an entire group of people's believe system?
    how about the US bill of rights? not just we all believe it and follow it, we expect all countries to mirror it too."



    Interesting thought, though I am not sure how the Bill of Rights compares to the bible since it and The Constitution can and have been ammended several times since its origional publication in an effort to keep it as current as possible.

    I think you are jumping off onto a whole other (however interesting) subject when you speak of how 'we' expect others to live by the bill of rights as we do. I believe in it for my own life however I do not necessarily feel that others should too. It is up to them and their culture to decide what is right for them.

    I know I should have put this in earlier but here is a link to the interview with Shirley Phelps for anyone who is interested.


    http://www.feastoffools.net/gay-fun-show/2008/01/24/fof-690-shirley-phelps-an-unlikely-champion-012508/

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    May 26, 2008 1:12 PM GMT
    mickeytopogigio saidWait, Shawn...the Bible says nothing about killing your neighbor if he works on Sunday.


    I do believe it does, sir!

    "Work six days only, but the seventh day must be a day of total rest. I repeat: Because the LORD considers it a holy day, anyone who works on the Sabbath must be put to death.'" (Exodus 31:12-15 NLT)
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    May 26, 2008 1:14 PM GMT
    mickeytopogigio saidWait, Shawn...the Bible says nothing about killing your neighbor if he works on Sunday.



    Ahh. Sorry. Just read your second post. icon_wink.gif
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    May 26, 2008 8:13 PM GMT
    Mars said[quote]
    I think you are jumping off onto a whole other (however interesting) subject when you speak of how 'we' expect others to live by the bill of rights as we do. I believe in it for my own life however I do not necessarily feel that others should too. It is up to them and their culture to decide what is right for them.

    I know I should have put this in earlier but here is a link to the interview with Shirley Phelps for anyone who is interested.


    http://www.feastoffools.net/gay-fun-show/2008/01/24/fof-690-shirley-phelps-an-unlikely-champion-012508/



    I was the one who mentioned the podcast in that earlier post. I heard it and thought it might be interesting for others to hear it too.
    But just that your question is pretty broad, so I figure if you want to question believe system, then why limit just religion, but how social function as well.
    We exercise our believe on just about everything. human rights, equal opportunity, welfare... and isnt' that what we want others to have? like china, north korea, africa....? only because those believe serve us well, we want all others to have also.
    and how do we develop those common social believe? so could suggest religion, other suggest education, depend on what you prefer to credit it to.