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The Bible And The Age Of Humans


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Hi everbody,

 

a few days ago, I remembered a bible verse which I found quite fascinating:

 

Genesis 6:3 NIV

Then the LORD said, “My Spirit will not contend with humans forever, for they are mortal; their days will be a hundred and twenty years.”

 

 

The verse seems to be a problem for inerrantists, as the bible mentions a bunch of people living for more than 120 years even after the statement above. One possible interpretation even claims that the 120 years refer to the time until the flood will occur, which seems a bit far-fetched for me.

 

However, this is not what I want to discuss. What makes me wonder is that 120 years seem to be a pretty good estimation for the longest possible human lifespan. Have a look at this list: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_the_verified_oldest_people

There's only one documented case of a woman living for more than 120 years, and three who come pretty close.

 

I don't think that many people back in the days when this verse was written came close to 120 or even 100 years, so I don't think the author got the 120 years by observation. Is it just coincidence? Good guessing? Wouldn't one expect that the author would have taken a more "realistic" number based on observation?

 

Is anybody familiar with  ancient hebrew time keeping? I don't think they had birth certificates, I don't even have a clue if their years were as long as ours.

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Right now the maximum is near 115 years.  But when I was a kid the maximum was 105 years.  In my grandparent's time the maximum was 100.  And my grandkids might live to be 130.  Medical technology is the thing extending the lives of people.  When this passage was written average people lived to 30.  At the time the passage was written the oldest man who ever lived was Ramesses II who died at age 91.  He lived in a palace and had the best Egyptian medicine working overtime to keep him alive.  Perhaps the Bible author was envious.  If those no good pagan Egyptians had a king who lived to 90 then our ancestors lived to 120!

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The oldest person lived to 122, so bible debunked.  As medical technology advances that number will only increase.

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The actual relevant empirical evidence shows that humans die at many different ages.  Average life expectancies have beed calculated based on many factors, such as gender, country, etc.  These data deal with reality.  The Bible, not so much.

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I think you misunderstood my point. Of course, humans die at different ages, and of course, the 120 years were not and are not the average human age or life expectation.

 

But it seems to be a quite good upper bound for a human lifespan, and I wonder how this number made it into the verse. I could well imagine that this verse was meant as an explanation for why people aren't getting as old as their legendary ancestors were said to have been. But if so, why did the author choose 120 years, which were and still are an age rarely reached? If the author didn't know any real people living for such a long time, why did he choose an upper bound that seems far too high, but that seems to be a good estimation from what we observe today?

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Guest Marty

If average life span back then was ~30 years, perhaps the author simply multiplied that by 4 to get 120.

 

Even a broken clock is right twice a day...

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I think you misunderstood my point. Of course, humans die at different ages, and of course, the 120 years were not and are not the average human age or life expectation.

 

But it seems to be a quite good upper bound for a human lifespan, and I wonder how this number made it into the verse. I could well imagine that this verse was meant as an explanation for why people aren't getting as old as their legendary ancestors were said to have been. But if so, why did the author choose 120 years, which were and still are an age rarely reached? If the author didn't know any real people living for such a long time, why did he choose an upper bound that seems far too high, but that seems to be a good estimation from what we observe today?

 

 

Pure coincidence.  You were born during the time when the max was pushed to 122.  If you had been born at any other generation the number would be so far off it would seem random.  Your grandkids might wonder why the verse says 120 when they have heard of people who lived into the 140s.

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I think you misunderstood my point. Of course, humans die at different ages, and of course, the 120 years were not and are not the average human age or life expectation.

 

But it seems to be a quite good upper bound for a human lifespan, and I wonder how this number made it into the verse. I could well imagine that this verse was meant as an explanation for why people aren't getting as old as their legendary ancestors were said to have been. But if so, why did the author choose 120 years, which were and still are an age rarely reached? If the author didn't know any real people living for such a long time, why did he choose an upper bound that seems far too high, but that seems to be a good estimation from what we observe today?

I don't think so.  But my post did skip a few steps.  I'll start over.

 

1)  This is the Biblical quote:

 

 “My Spirit will not contend with humans forever, for they are mortal; their days will be a hundred and twenty years.”

 

It is an absolute statement that humans (in the plural meaning each and every human) will live for 120 years (no more and no less).

 

2)  My statement from the above post is:

 

"The actual relevant empirical evidence shows that humans die at many different ages.  Average life expectancies have beed calculated based on many factors, such as gender, country, etc.  These data deal with reality.  The Bible, not so much"

 

Since actual reality contradicts the Biblical statement, the Biblical statement is therefore incorrect.

 

3)  In an effort to avoid this rational conclusion, you have "interpreted" the Biblical statement by revising it in your mind in two respects.  First, you posit that the statement should be revised to mean "up to 120 years" and not exactly 120 years.  Well, that is not what the statement says.  Second, you speculate that the statement is a prophesy for the 21st century when some humans actually live as long as 120 years, plus or minus.  The Biblical statement does not say or imply this at all.

 

4)  Humans are good at pattern recognition, as are many other life forms on this planet.  You are attempting to claim a causal link between the "120" in the Biblical statement and the fact that some humans currently live for "120" years.  Coincidence does not demonstrate correlation, and correlation does not demonstrate causation.  You cannot find a causal link because one does not exist.

 

In short, the Biblical statement is a false statement.  The Biblical statement is part of a larger mythological story (within Genesis).  The Biblical statement is part of that fiction.

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I think you misunderstood my point. Of course, humans die at different ages, and of course, the 120 years were not and are not the average human age or life expectation.

 

But it seems to be a quite good upper bound for a human lifespan, and I wonder how this number made it into the verse. I could well imagine that this verse was meant as an explanation for why people aren't getting as old as their legendary ancestors were said to have been. But if so, why did the author choose 120 years, which were and still are an age rarely reached? If the author didn't know any real people living for such a long time, why did he choose an upper bound that seems far too high, but that seems to be a good estimation from what we observe today?

Simple, the author thought it would never happen.  They picked an arbitary number that they thought people might one day approach but never exceed.  If they had said 150 years, we would just be having this same conversation between 2050 and 2100.  It would be just as 'curious' why they gave that prediction then as 120 is now.  We're only talking about it now because this is the era that this prediction is being broken. 

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I think that the age theory is flawed because it uses two different systems of time measurement.

 

We assume that each year has ~365 days made up of 12 ~30 day months. Well, it is possible that ancient man didn't measure time in such a way. Ancient man used a variety of counting systems and time measurement systems. Some similiar to ours and some quite different.

 

What if one of their years was much shorter than ours? Say 90 days was a year. 120 years of 90 day years would be about 30 of our current years. Or what if one of their years was 2 of ours? That would mean that someone who was 120 in their time would be 240 in ours.

 

In the end, it doesn't matter. It is an arbritrary number in a mythological text. If we assume that this number is significant, then why not the age of Methuselah? Answer: Because 969 years is a wild stretch and obviously some bogus bullshit. 120 years only seems plausible because we have a few examples (all from modern times, using the same year/month/day measurement system as ours, mind you) of people who have lived that long.

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I think that the age theory is flawed because it uses two different systems of time measurement.

 

We assume that each year has ~365 days made up of 12 ~30 day months. Well, it is possible that ancient man didn't measure time in such a way. Ancient man used a variety of counting systems and time measurement systems. Some similiar to ours and some quite different.

 

What if one of their years was much shorter than ours? Say 90 days was a year. 120 years of 90 day years would be about 30 of our current years. Or what if one of their years was 2 of ours? That would mean that someone who was 120 in their time would be 240 in ours.

 

In the end, it doesn't matter. It is an arbritrary number in a mythological text. If we assume that this number is significant, then why not the age of Methuselah? Answer: Because 969 years is a wild stretch and obviously some bogus bullshit. 120 years only seems plausible because we have a few examples (all from modern times, using the same year/month/day measurement system as ours, mind you) of people who have lived that long.

 

One would need a measurement to base all this on.

 

you would have irregular length of day if not using the Sun and moon. Even with that it would vary century to century a little.

 

Most ancient cultures would have used these it would see as they are the most visible things from almost any point on earth during the day and night. The moon waxes and wanes in constant cycles and the sun rises and sets each day varying position based on time of year and distance from sun. In some fashion I think all ancient cultures we study used these two things in some fashion to gauge time and other various aspects of daily and yearly life. they would have used them also to determine what to hunt when to move when to plant and so forth.

 

I could be dead wrong and I am just guessing but it seems logical.

 

Would not have been exactly 365 but it would not have been 90 either. I wonder if ancient people had as much interest in exactness of time as our current cultures do?

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Would not have been exactly 365 but it would not have been 90 either. I wonder if ancient people had as much interest in exactness of time as our current cultures do?

 

 

The ancient Mayans are fairly well-known for their accurate tracking of time. Their measurements were just as precise as ours, or nearly so.

 

Not all ancient cultures used the same counting system though. Sumerians used a base 60 system. Even today, some groups and languages use other base systems for counting. [LINK]

 

Most cultures would have observed the moon, sun and stars. They would have noted seasons [spring, summer, fall, winter] or perhaps rainy/dry. Some may have divided their years in months or other passages of time. Some did not.

 

All I am saying here is that 90 days would consistute a season in our time. My conjecture was that perhaps ancient societies did not measure time as we do. What if 2 of their "years" fit into one of ours? Or 4 of their years into ours? Or what if their measurement of age was based on something else entirely, such as moon cycles or physical milestones and not calendar time?

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Would not have been exactly 365 but it would not have been 90 either. I wonder if ancient people had as much interest in exactness of time as our current cultures do?

 

 

The ancient Mayans are fairly well-known for their accurate tracking of time. Their measurements were just as precise as ours, or nearly so.

 

Not all ancient cultures used the same counting system though. Sumerians used a base 60 system. Even today, some groups and languages use other base systems for counting. [LINK]

 

Most cultures would have observed the moon, sun and stars. They would have noted seasons [spring, summer, fall, winter] or perhaps rainy/dry. Some may have divided their years in months or other passages of time. Some did not.

 

All I am saying here is that 90 days would consistute a season in our time. My conjecture was that perhaps ancient societies did not measure time as we do. What if 2 of their "years" fit into one of ours? Or 4 of their years into ours? Or what if their measurement of age was based on something else entirely, such as moon cycles or physical milestones and not calendar time?

 

 

I see what you are saying but since this is not the myans we are talking about and there is no evidence that I have seen so far I will wait to draw a conclusion or rather this...

 

I could care less what the bible says. I don't believe any of it because I find it to be fictional and nothing more. Some interesting stories and lists and lists of lists but nothing creditable that I can see.

 

they may very well have had some altered sense of the year compared to ours. In the end does it matter how old people were in the bible. There is no more weight in my mind on creating fishes and loaves from thin air (or multiplying it through some slight of hand and lots of large mirrors...) than there is to a claim of age, length, time or any other measurement in that book.

 

I have heard all kinds of excuses as to these ages in talking with people but none that they could prove beyond my questions.

 

if we assume that without a lot of the modern medicinces we use people would be dying much sooner from things that we would not be able to cure for thousands of years at that point. That alone would drastically bring down the possibility that they would have even lived on average to 120.

 

it is an interesting curiousity but in the end as pointless as the rest of their claims. Plenty of that in that book isn't there?

 

I am just glad we live in a time with birth control, cleanish water, and antibiotics.

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Does it matter how old people were in the Bible? Not really. I consider the Bible to be fictional as well, a collection of mythology and poetry put together by an ancient culture.

 

I concur with your joy of living in times with birth control, cleanish water and antibiotics. :D

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Ancient cultures around the world were very concerned with celestial timekeeping. Cultures have solar calendars that are quite accurate (like ours) and they also have lunar calendars. From the reading that I've done on the subject, there's nothing to suggest to me that the ancient Hebrews meant anything other than the solar calendar year, which was used in the cultures before them and around them. So yes, 120 years is 120 circles around the sun, then and now.

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  • 5 weeks later...

Maybe 120 has some sacred symbolic significance in ancient Hebrew culture and has nothing to do with actual time.  Sort of like the importance of 7, 12, 40 etc (7th day of rest, 12 tribes of Israel, raining for 40 days/40 nights, etc.)

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Right now the maximum is near 115 years.  But when I was a kid the maximum was 105 years.  In my grandparent's time the maximum was 100.  And my grandkids might live to be 130.  Medical technology is the thing extending the lives of people.  When this passage was written average people lived to 30.  At the time the passage was written the oldest man who ever lived was Ramesses II who died at age 91.  He lived in a palace and had the best Egyptian medicine working overtime to keep him alive.  Perhaps the Bible author was envious.  If those no good pagan Egyptians had a king who lived to 90 then our ancestors lived to 120!

The reason people, on average, lived to 30 during those times was because the infant mortality was pretty high. People who survived childhood did on occasion reach 90 even without particularly much in ways of medicine, just by luck. Few and far between, but the occasional person is not unimaginable or even impossible to have done so. 100 or even a bit past is not entirely impossible either, but probably very very few reached that. 

 

However, 12 is kind of considered an important number in Mesopotamian and Abrahamic religion, and since people probably did survive past 70 often enough to reject 70*10 as a limit, they went for the next holy number - 12 - and multiplied it by ten.

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The Athenian writer, Isocrates (not Socrates), lived to around 98. He brought his Panathenaicus, in which he contrasts Athens and Sparta, to its present form just before he died.

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Who gives a shit what the Bible has to say about anything? It's a bunch of ancient myths, fables, and legends. So what if it did get one thing right? It still says that Pi is 3 and that the earth is flat and covered by a solid dome and that the stars are lights in the dome to give light on the earth. And the moon gives its own light. And snails melt. Insects have four legs. Mental illness is caused by demons. And it's filled with obviously mythical people, mythical places, mythical beings, and talking animals. And all kinds of absurd bullshit. FUCK the Bible...

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Who gives a shit what the Bible has to say about anything? It's a bunch of ancient myths, fables, and legends. So what if it did get one thing right? It still says that Pi is 3 and that the earth is flat and covered by a solid dome and that the stars are lights in the dome to give light on the earth. And the moon gives its own light. And snails melt. Insects have four legs. Mental illness is caused by demons. And it's filled with obviously mythical people, mythical places, mythical beings, and talking animals. And all kinds of absurd bullshit. FUCK the Bible...

You might not give a shit, but that doesn't make your rant very helpful to those who are trying to break its grip over their mind. The fact that you further use fallacious claims about word meanings, as well as fail to understand significant figures does not improve on your argument. Yes, it is true that the Bible got a lot of stuff wrong - the shape of the world for one, and the light of the moon for another. And yes, by random chance it will have a bunch of claims right as well - ancient people were not entirely blind and deaf. This doesn't help those who need to be convinced that the Bible isn't something they need to adhere to or believe in, some of whom - such as the original poster here - seem to approach in an honest and careful manner. Sure, they may grant the book too much in ways of benefit of the doubt, much like you grant it the opposite.

 

Those who want to get the grip it has on their minds broken need arguments made with reason, not belligerent ranting or the kind of indifference that your belligerent ranting advocates.

 

Admitting that its authors could get things right just by chance - considering how often they state things, it would be almost miraculous if they didn't - is an important part of that. The mind seems to be wired for a pretty shortcircuited kind of logic, where confirmation bias is a thing we need to consciously fight if we want a reasonably good approach to finding truth. I seriously doubt that most people will ever grasp why confirmation bias is a problem, unless it's carefully explained to them. The Bible provides a good corpus of examples of this - just because some bits of the Bible are right don't make the rest of it right. We can't go and look for things that the Bible gets right in order to prove it - and most people who come here, afraid that they've stumbled over something that disprove their recently adopted unbelief, have not understood how that falls under the label of confirmation bias. Only by analyzing these examples rationally can we hope to lead people onto the understanding that we shouldn't look for confirming bits, we should look whether there's errors that show it to be wrong. The lack of such errors would be a much better indicator than the presence of accurate details. Our brains do not naturally understand this, and that is why we need to be careful and helpful with people who have not yet understood it.

 

Finally, the Bible is a book we can and should care about for another reason: it's a glimpse into the minds of people living in a very different culture, in a very different time. It's a glimpse into the mistaken ways of thinking that people so easily fall into, and it's a terrifying example for future generations. Let us learn from it, let's not chuck it out. This discussion brought up some points that are of interest regarding general education - the average age of people in ancient times but also the fact that those are not helpful for figuring out how long an adult person could expect to go on living - due to the significantly larger infant mortality weighing in tremendously on the average life span. In addition, of course, death by childbirth brought down female longevity significantly.

 

Things where a discussion of the Bible would show the contrast between living biblically - obtaining maybe an age of 50-60, with your wife probably dead after your first or your second child - and living in a world shaped by science - with significant numbers of people passing 75, 80, even 90, death in childbirth and infant mortality reduced by orders of magnitude, and so on.

 

Caring about the Bible, really, is the best way we can maintain an evidence-pool that shows to the world that science, not religion, is where progress is.

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Who gives a shit what the Bible has to say about anything? It's a bunch of ancient myths, fables, and legends. So what if it did get one thing right? It still says that Pi is 3 and that the earth is flat and covered by a solid dome and that the stars are lights in the dome to give light on the earth. And the moon gives its own light. And snails melt. Insects have four legs. Mental illness is caused by demons. And it's filled with obviously mythical people, mythical places, mythical beings, and talking animals. And all kinds of absurd bullshit. FUCK the Bible...

You might not give a shit, but that doesn't make your rant very helpful to those who are trying to break its grip over their mind. The fact that you further use fallacious claims about word meanings, as well as fail to understand significant figures does not improve on your argument. Yes, it is true that the Bible got a lot of stuff wrong - the shape of the world for one, and the light of the moon for another. And yes, by random chance it will have a bunch of claims right as well - ancient people were not entirely blind and deaf. This doesn't help those who need to be convinced that the Bible isn't something they need to adhere to or believe in, some of whom - such as the original poster here - seem to approach in an honest and careful manner. Sure, they may grant the book too much in ways of benefit of the doubt, much like you grant it the opposite.

 

Those who want to get the grip it has on their minds broken need arguments made with reason, not belligerent ranting or the kind of indifference that your belligerent ranting advocates.

 

Admitting that its authors could get things right just by chance - considering how often they state things, it would be almost miraculous if they didn't - is an important part of that. The mind seems to be wired for a pretty shortcircuited kind of logic, where confirmation bias is a thing we need to consciously fight if we want a reasonably good approach to finding truth. I seriously doubt that most people will ever grasp why confirmation bias is a problem, unless it's carefully explained to them. The Bible provides a good corpus of examples of this - just because some bits of the Bible are right don't make the rest of it right. We can't go and look for things that the Bible gets right in order to prove it - and most people who come here, afraid that they've stumbled over something that disprove their recently adopted unbelief, have not understood how that falls under the label of confirmation bias. Only by analyzing these examples rationally can we hope to lead people onto the understanding that we shouldn't look for confirming bits, we should look whether there's errors that show it to be wrong. The lack of such errors would be a much better indicator than the presence of accurate details. Our brains do not naturally understand this, and that is why we need to be careful and helpful with people who have not yet understood it.

 

Finally, the Bible is a book we can and should care about for another reason: it's a glimpse into the minds of people living in a very different culture, in a very different time. It's a glimpse into the mistaken ways of thinking that people so easily fall into, and it's a terrifying example for future generations. Let us learn from it, let's not chuck it out. This discussion brought up some points that are of interest regarding general education - the average age of people in ancient times but also the fact that those are not helpful for figuring out how long an adult person could expect to go on living - due to the significantly larger infant mortality weighing in tremendously on the average life span. In addition, of course, death by childbirth brought down female longevity significantly.

 

Things where a discussion of the Bible would show the contrast between living biblically - obtaining maybe an age of 50-60, with your wife probably dead after your first or your second child - and living in a world shaped by science - with significant numbers of people passing 75, 80, even 90, death in childbirth and infant mortality reduced by orders of magnitude, and so on.

 

Caring about the Bible, really, is the best way we can maintain an evidence-pool that shows to the world that science, not religion, is where progress is.

 

 

I"m sorry you don't like my rant, but I stand by it. I have not used anything fallacious or misunderstood anything at all. I'll say anything about the Bible I want to anywhere I want to to anyone I want to. I'm past giving a shit what religious people think about my opinion of their holy book. The world needs to be FREE of this bullshit, and if angry ranting sometimes is what it takes, then so be it! And this is EX-Christian.net. Here, especially, I'll be as free as I care to be with my thoughts and feelings about the Bible. That said, sure, there are some beautiful passages of scripture that I can still appreciate. It's not all bad. But what beauty is there is severely overshadowed by all the brutality and ugliness, and the hundreds of meaningful contradictions and quite a few hilarious absurdities can't be ignored either...

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Who gives a shit what the Bible has to say about anything? It's a bunch of ancient myths, fables, and legends. So what if it did get one thing right? It still says that Pi is 3 and that the earth is flat and covered by a solid dome and that the stars are lights in the dome to give light on the earth. And the moon gives its own light. And snails melt. Insects have four legs. Mental illness is caused by demons. And it's filled with obviously mythical people, mythical places, mythical beings, and talking animals. And all kinds of absurd bullshit. FUCK the Bible...

You might not give a shit, but that doesn't make your rant very helpful to those who are trying to break its grip over their mind. The fact that you further use fallacious claims about word meanings, as well as fail to understand significant figures does not improve on your argument. Yes, it is true that the Bible got a lot of stuff wrong - the shape of the world for one, and the light of the moon for another. And yes, by random chance it will have a bunch of claims right as well - ancient people were not entirely blind and deaf. This doesn't help those who need to be convinced that the Bible isn't something they need to adhere to or believe in, some of whom - such as the original poster here - seem to approach in an honest and careful manner. Sure, they may grant the book too much in ways of benefit of the doubt, much like you grant it the opposite.

 

Those who want to get the grip it has on their minds broken need arguments made with reason, not belligerent ranting or the kind of indifference that your belligerent ranting advocates.

 

Admitting that its authors could get things right just by chance - considering how often they state things, it would be almost miraculous if they didn't - is an important part of that. The mind seems to be wired for a pretty shortcircuited kind of logic, where confirmation bias is a thing we need to consciously fight if we want a reasonably good approach to finding truth. I seriously doubt that most people will ever grasp why confirmation bias is a problem, unless it's carefully explained to them. The Bible provides a good corpus of examples of this - just because some bits of the Bible are right don't make the rest of it right. We can't go and look for things that the Bible gets right in order to prove it - and most people who come here, afraid that they've stumbled over something that disprove their recently adopted unbelief, have not understood how that falls under the label of confirmation bias. Only by analyzing these examples rationally can we hope to lead people onto the understanding that we shouldn't look for confirming bits, we should look whether there's errors that show it to be wrong. The lack of such errors would be a much better indicator than the presence of accurate details. Our brains do not naturally understand this, and that is why we need to be careful and helpful with people who have not yet understood it.

 

Finally, the Bible is a book we can and should care about for another reason: it's a glimpse into the minds of people living in a very different culture, in a very different time. It's a glimpse into the mistaken ways of thinking that people so easily fall into, and it's a terrifying example for future generations. Let us learn from it, let's not chuck it out. This discussion brought up some points that are of interest regarding general education - the average age of people in ancient times but also the fact that those are not helpful for figuring out how long an adult person could expect to go on living - due to the significantly larger infant mortality weighing in tremendously on the average life span. In addition, of course, death by childbirth brought down female longevity significantly.

 

Things where a discussion of the Bible would show the contrast between living biblically - obtaining maybe an age of 50-60, with your wife probably dead after your first or your second child - and living in a world shaped by science - with significant numbers of people passing 75, 80, even 90, death in childbirth and infant mortality reduced by orders of magnitude, and so on.

 

Caring about the Bible, really, is the best way we can maintain an evidence-pool that shows to the world that science, not religion, is where progress is.

 

 

I"m sorry you don't like my rant, but I stand by it. I have not used anything fallacious or misunderstood anything at all. I'll say anything about the Bible I want to anywhere I want to to anyone I want to. I'm past giving a shit what religious people think about my opinion of their holy book. The world needs to be FREE of this bullshit, and if angry ranting sometimes is what it takes, then so be it! And this is EX-Christian.net. Here, especially, I'll be as free as I care to be with my thoughts and feelings about the Bible. That said, sure, there are some beautiful passages of scripture that I can still appreciate. It's not all bad. But what beauty is there is severely overshadowed by all the brutality and ugliness, and the hundreds of meaningful contradictions and quite a few hilarious absurdities can't be ignored either...

 

In what ways is what I say not enough ex-christian for you? Your rants often come off as telling non-christians exactly what to believe about the Bible. You seem more obsessed with the bible than anyone else here even if your obsession clearly is one of disdain for it. I disdain it too, does't mean I go around telling people to get their hands off it cuz it's dangerous. I answer questions, and I try to get people's thinking more in line with evidence. You just tell them what the fuck to think, rather than to try and guide their thinking in any helpful manner whatsoever. 

 

If you had actually read my post, you'd also see how I don't mention any beauty in the Bible whatsoever, I actually focus on the distinct lack thereof and just how beautiful the life once we reject the Bible is in contrast - but we would know and realize a much greater amount about human nature by actually looking into it. It would help your argument if you respected the person you're ranting against enough to actually read what the fuck he is saying first.

 

Your approach comes off not just as thoughtless, but as actually hostile to thought. A problem that Christianity too has. In a conflict between two thoughtless approaches, most people will favour the side they're already supporting - thus only digging the trenches deeper. Other approaches are needed, digging trenches only leads to trench warfare. I believe your angry ranting might be deleterious to ridding the world of Biblical bullshit - simply because you trigger a trench-digging response with your rants.

 

If you think I am a religious person, you're mistaken big time, mister. Your reaction against the Bible, however, seems to border on the superstitious. As if acknowledging it in anything but negative terms could taint a person.

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Who gives a shit what the Bible has to say about anything? It's a bunch of ancient myths, fables, and legends. So what if it did get one thing right? It still says that Pi is 3 and that the earth is flat and covered by a solid dome and that the stars are lights in the dome to give light on the earth. And the moon gives its own light. And snails melt. Insects have four legs. Mental illness is caused by demons. And it's filled with obviously mythical people, mythical places, mythical beings, and talking animals. And all kinds of absurd bullshit. FUCK the Bible...

You might not give a shit, but that doesn't make your rant very helpful to those who are trying to break its grip over their mind. The fact that you further use fallacious claims about word meanings, as well as fail to understand significant figures does not improve on your argument. Yes, it is true that the Bible got a lot of stuff wrong - the shape of the world for one, and the light of the moon for another. And yes, by random chance it will have a bunch of claims right as well - ancient people were not entirely blind and deaf. This doesn't help those who need to be convinced that the Bible isn't something they need to adhere to or believe in, some of whom - such as the original poster here - seem to approach in an honest and careful manner. Sure, they may grant the book too much in ways of benefit of the doubt, much like you grant it the opposite.

 

Those who want to get the grip it has on their minds broken need arguments made with reason, not belligerent ranting or the kind of indifference that your belligerent ranting advocates.

 

Admitting that its authors could get things right just by chance - considering how often they state things, it would be almost miraculous if they didn't - is an important part of that. The mind seems to be wired for a pretty shortcircuited kind of logic, where confirmation bias is a thing we need to consciously fight if we want a reasonably good approach to finding truth. I seriously doubt that most people will ever grasp why confirmation bias is a problem, unless it's carefully explained to them. The Bible provides a good corpus of examples of this - just because some bits of the Bible are right don't make the rest of it right. We can't go and look for things that the Bible gets right in order to prove it - and most people who come here, afraid that they've stumbled over something that disprove their recently adopted unbelief, have not understood how that falls under the label of confirmation bias. Only by analyzing these examples rationally can we hope to lead people onto the understanding that we shouldn't look for confirming bits, we should look whether there's errors that show it to be wrong. The lack of such errors would be a much better indicator than the presence of accurate details. Our brains do not naturally understand this, and that is why we need to be careful and helpful with people who have not yet understood it.

 

Finally, the Bible is a book we can and should care about for another reason: it's a glimpse into the minds of people living in a very different culture, in a very different time. It's a glimpse into the mistaken ways of thinking that people so easily fall into, and it's a terrifying example for future generations. Let us learn from it, let's not chuck it out. This discussion brought up some points that are of interest regarding general education - the average age of people in ancient times but also the fact that those are not helpful for figuring out how long an adult person could expect to go on living - due to the significantly larger infant mortality weighing in tremendously on the average life span. In addition, of course, death by childbirth brought down female longevity significantly.

 

Things where a discussion of the Bible would show the contrast between living biblically - obtaining maybe an age of 50-60, with your wife probably dead after your first or your second child - and living in a world shaped by science - with significant numbers of people passing 75, 80, even 90, death in childbirth and infant mortality reduced by orders of magnitude, and so on.

 

Caring about the Bible, really, is the best way we can maintain an evidence-pool that shows to the world that science, not religion, is where progress is.

 

 

I"m sorry you don't like my rant, but I stand by it. I have not used anything fallacious or misunderstood anything at all. I'll say anything about the Bible I want to anywhere I want to to anyone I want to. I'm past giving a shit what religious people think about my opinion of their holy book. The world needs to be FREE of this bullshit, and if angry ranting sometimes is what it takes, then so be it! And this is EX-Christian.net. Here, especially, I'll be as free as I care to be with my thoughts and feelings about the Bible. That said, sure, there are some beautiful passages of scripture that I can still appreciate. It's not all bad. But what beauty is there is severely overshadowed by all the brutality and ugliness, and the hundreds of meaningful contradictions and quite a few hilarious absurdities can't be ignored either...

 

In what ways is what I say not enough ex-christian for you? Your rants often come off as telling non-christians exactly what to believe about the Bible. You seem more obsessed with the bible than anyone else here even if your obsession clearly is one of disdain for it. I disdain it too, does't mean I go around telling people to get their hands off it cuz it's dangerous. I answer questions, and I try to get people's thinking more in line with evidence. You just tell them what the fuck to think, rather than to try and guide their thinking in any helpful manner whatsoever. 

 

If you had actually read my post, you'd also see how I don't mention any beauty in the Bible whatsoever, I actually focus on the distinct lack thereof and just how beautiful the contrasting life once we reject the Bible is. It would help your argument if you respected the person you're ranting against enough to actually read what the fuck he is saying first.

 

Your approach comes off not just as thoughtless, but as actually hostile to thought. A problem that Christianity too has. In a conflict between two thoughtless approaches, most people will favour the side they're already supporting - thus only digging the trenches deeper. Other approaches are needed, digging trenches only leads to trench warfare.

 

 

I"m not the slightest bit interested in telling people what to believe about anything. People are free to make their own choices, and I'll always respect THEM as people, even if I don't respect their beliefs. I was told what to believe about the Bible for 15 years of my life, and I bought it uncritically hook, line, and sinker, and I have suffered a lot for it. Haven't we all? Leaving religion behind often involves a great deal of emotion, including justifiable anger and rage. I'm not particularly angry about my Christian experience anymore, but I'll still be as belligerent as I care to be at any given time. I'm reasonably aware of history and very aware of how much damage religion has caused humanity over the ages. It still causes a tremendous amount of damage and suffering right now all over the world. I'll do my part to see the world FREE, and while you may not like or agree with my methods, I'm working to see people FREE because I CARE and I want to the suffering and damage that religion causes to END. It won't happen in my lifetime, but I can still do my part. My voice may be small and not mean much in the grand scheme of things. I'm no Richard Dawkins or anyone like that. I can't reach millions. But those I can reach, I will! And I'll say whatever the hell I want to anyone I want about the Bible and religion. I don't always rant. I do indeed sometimes use very calm reason and logic to try to get people to see REALITY. But rants have their place too and I'll rant all I want to. And of course I'm obsessed with the Bible and of course I disdain it for the most part. Aren't we all and don't we all? That is, after all, why many of us are here on this site...

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You're ... not interested to tell people what to believe about anything? So why do you regularly do it then?

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You're ... not interested to tell people what to believe about anything? So why do you regularly do it then?

 

I don't. That's just obviously how it comes across to you. And many of us here forcefully express our opinions. That doesn't necessarily translate to "telling people what to believe". Like I said before, I was told what to believe and how I should vote for 15 years of my life, and I bought it without question for a very long time. I'll be damned if I'll do the same thing to others for any reason at all... you're welcome to any opinion you wish to have about me, but I think I am done with this conversation. I have been sick with a nasty stomach bug for a week, I still don't feel that great, and I really don't feel like arguing with you or anyone else at the moment...

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