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My christian wife and I have intermittent discussions about the bible.  She is coming from the typical christian viewpoint that the bible is the perfect, inspired work of god.  I am of the viewpoint that parts of it may be based on real events but that a lot of it is "made up", anything supernatural is not true, and that it was written by men alone.

 

One of her reoccurring arguments for the truth of the bible is that if human authors were writing a book to start and promote a religion, they would not include information that casts the main characters in a bad light (i.e. Abraham lying by saying his wife is his sister, Lot's daughters getting him drunk and sleeping with him, Noah getting drunk and exposing himself, David sleeping with Bathsheba then having her husband killed, Peter denying christ, etc.).

 

I think it is possible these negative acts of main characters were included because the stories may be based on real events and including the negative aspects makes the story seem more believable.  I also think it is possible the negative acts were included for the same reason characters in other fiction literature commit negative acts, it makes them more interesting and three dimensional.

 

And yes, I have also heard the tired sermon a million times of how god did great things through a murderer like David and could do the same for me, a lowly, wretched sinner.

 

What other reasons can you cite that the authors of the bible would have included the negative acts of some of the main characters?

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They included it because it was in line with the culture of that time, and to give a vehicle to teach about God's forgiveness and the effects of disobedience and sin.

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My christian wife and I have intermittent discussions about the bible.  She is coming from the typical christian viewpoint that the bible is the perfect, inspired work of god.  I am of the viewpoint that parts of it may be based on real events but that a lot of it is "made up", anything supernatural is not true, and that it was written by men alone.

 

One of her reoccurring arguments for the truth of the bible is that if human authors were writing a book to start and promote a religion, they would not include information that casts the main characters in a bad light (i.e. Abraham lying by saying his wife is his sister, Lot's daughters getting him drunk and sleeping with him, Noah getting drunk and exposing himself, David sleeping with Bathsheba then having her husband killed, Peter denying christ, etc.).

 

I think it is possible these negative acts of main characters were included because the stories may be based on real events and including the negative aspects makes the story seem more believable.  I also think it is possible the negative acts were included for the same reason characters in other fiction literature commit negative acts, it makes them more interesting and three dimensional.

 

And yes, I have also heard the tired sermon a million times of how god did great things through a murderer like David and could do the same for me, a lowly, wretched sinner.

 

What other reasons can you cite that the authors of the bible would have included the negative acts of some of the main characters?

Flawed heroes are a fairly common theme throughout history.

Greek mythology is filled to the brim with them.

If they were perfect, they would have no need for a god or gods to protect them.

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The Bible isn't a history book, it's a tool to promote a religion. That said, I'm sure people got drunk and committed adultery back then, but the sole purpose of mentioning those "stories" in the Bible is to show two things:

 

A) how mankind is in need of a Savior to save us all from our wretched selves

B )to show that God chose weak, sinful men to be his messengers

 

Man is weak and useless without a god to bail him out.

 

I used to believe it. :)

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Regarding the Op..

 

Nevertheless, someone wrote it, the heroes were cast in a bad light and the gullible think it's fantastic.

 

People love stories with conflict. No sex or violence is a boring read.

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My christian wife and I have intermittent discussions about the bible.  She is coming from the typical christian viewpoint that the bible is the perfect, inspired work of god.  I am of the viewpoint that parts of it may be based on real events but that a lot of it is "made up", anything supernatural is not true, and that it was written by men alone.

 

One of her reoccurring arguments for the truth of the bible is that if human authors were writing a book to start and promote a religion, they would not include information that casts the main characters in a bad light (i.e. Abraham lying by saying his wife is his sister, Lot's daughters getting him drunk and sleeping with him, Noah getting drunk and exposing himself, David sleeping with Bathsheba then having her husband killed, Peter denying christ, etc.).

 

I think it is possible these negative acts of main characters were included because the stories may be based on real events and including the negative aspects makes the story seem more believable.  I also think it is possible the negative acts were included for the same reason characters in other fiction literature commit negative acts, it makes them more interesting and three dimensional.

 

And yes, I have also heard the tired sermon a million times of how god did great things through a murderer like David and could do the same for me, a lowly, wretched sinner.

 

What other reasons can you cite that the authors of the bible would have included the negative acts of some of the main characters?

 

Does the talking donkeys part help or hinder the believability of the bible? How about turning someone into a pillar of salt? Unicorns? Why dont any of these weird events or similar oddities occur today?

 

According to bible stories, faith (aka your imagination) was not required back then to witness these supernatural events. Average people, even doubters and skeptics supposedly saw with their own eyes these supernatural events. But these events dont occur today... at least not objectively. Christians have to spin up a bit of emotion and imagination to 'create' something supernatural out of nothing.

 

Like the weeping Mary statues. (Eyeroll) :-)

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Sometime around the 8th century BCE a guy wanted to create scriptures that would support his Jehova cult.  So he reworked all the religious stories of his day.  These stories included some extra baggage that he couldn't get rid of because the stories came from other religions.  Some time around the 4th century BCE Ezra's faction wanted to create scriptures that would support their Jerusalem Temple cult.  So they reworked old religious stories that included baggage they couldn't edit out.  Then around the first century many new cults popped up and tried to incorporate the old material.  Then around the 4th century CE the Roman Empire took over Christianity and exterminated any Christian sect that did not join them.  The Roman Catholic Church selected the scriptures that fit their needs and turned that into the Bible.

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What Centauri and Deidre and others said.

 

The flaws of the heroes in the OT showcase the perfections of God by comparison. They also give the average person someone to identify with.

 

Transfer the whole thing to the NT and...

 

The disciples come off as pretty out of it. They are constantly showcasing the perfections of Jesus by their flaws.

 

It's a pretty standard way of setting up stories about the divine for human consumption.

 

One thing I believe is different, though, between the Bible and some other literatures that has gods in it is:

 

the bible characters don't, in my view, display "virtue" in a classical sense. Instead, they display "faith." They are praised for theological stuff. The four "cardinal virtues" of wisdom, moderation, courage, and justice aren't really prominent. Instead, it's Abraham believed God, up to willingness to kill his son, and it was accounted to him as righteousness.

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One thing I believe is different, though, between the Bible and some other literatures that has gods in it is:the bible characters don't, in my view, display "virtue" in a classical sense. Instead, they display "faith." They are praised for theological stuff. The four "cardinal virtues" of wisdom, moderation, courage, and justice aren't really prominent. Instead, it's Abraham believed God, up to willingness to kill his son, and it was accounted to him as righteousness.

I've been puzzling over the Xian preoccupation with belief for a while now. Thanks for reminding me that it predates Xianity.

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  • 2 weeks later...

As has already been said, without these people being included in the bible, how could we be convinced of our evil nature and desires? How could we compare ourselves? Why would we need this saviour? Without these stories, the whole book might begin to sound...you know, fake.

 

All we have without all the bad stuff is a book requiring you to think, feel and behave in a certain way because the book says you have to.

 

"In the beginning, god made a bunch of stuff for you.

Here is a list of required but free will behaviours he wants.

The end."

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Are you sure that pre-Xianity belief was even an issue? Only in Hebrews do we see it said that Abraham believed God and it was counted to him as righteousness. The Old Testament, read outside of the New Testament, doesn't seem to put a premium on faith. You read the 11th chapter of Hebrews, it reads like an apologetic to explain away otherwise unexplainable events in the OT. But perhaps the more theologically trained could tackle that one.

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A lot of these stories run sort of parallel to myths from the pagan world. As in they were taken in and re-worked to Judaize the mythology. Such as Noah for Gilgamesh, Moses for Sargon I of Akkad with hints of Dionysus running through some of these tails.

 

There's a hypothesis that there was no Hebrew version of what we now call the OT until the Septuagint, which was the Greek version of the Hebrew bible written in Alexandria. Mainly because that's oldest text in existence and the Hebrew versions post date the Septuagint. The idea is that there was folklore before that but nothing complied into formal text. And the Greeks could have pressed the Jews for a history of their people and they didn't really have anything ready to go. So along these lines learned Jews in Alexandria, with free reign of the libraries, could have begun putting together a history of the Jewish people which included folklore and also mythology borrowed from the surrounding cultures with the libraries at their disposal. 

 

This would be called the Septuagint Priority Hypothesis: 

 

 

It's alternative to the Documentary Hypothesis as stated. And so controversial in that way. But assuming that this could be what happened, then the question completely changes to:

 

Why did the pagan myth makers color their myths with unfavorable aspects which eventually were applied to Judaism down the road? 

 

Why did Noah do this or that turns into why did Gilgamesh do this or that, and even why did the Jews use or not use this or that aspect of the mythological characters they were borrowing from as they created their own versions of these myths? In this sense the Jews were not making things up whole cloth, they were taking popular ideas that already existed and then applying their own take on it. The creation and flood myths are precisely that. It was mentioned that the Greek gods carried a lot of drama. Well, there you have it. What would a Hebrew mythology made for the Greeks to read involve as well? 

 

The questions broaden and become less and less favorable to an inerrant and divinely inspired origin the closer these stories are analyzed.

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The individual authors did not collaborate to start a religion. These were different authors from different times, dealing with different situations in varying cultural contexts in order to make different points. The different writings were selected over the centuries and edited, and reedited to suit the changing political and religious climates. Why include negative things about the characters? To "prove" the books claims about sin and it's effects. Also, many of the things that seem bad to us likely were not considered bad by the original audience. Characters painted in a bad light proves absolutely nothing. It may suggest that they are based on real people and events, but that does not validate the supernatural claims. The truth is the bible is riddled with errors and contradictions. Christians claim the original manuscripts were without error. I would ask her this: If the bible is the primary way god speaks to us, then why would god find it so important to inspire the original authors so that it was without error, but not inspire the subsequent translators and transcribers to keep it without error? Why allow any degree of error to creep in over time? Not to mention we don't have the originals to know if there were really without error. I think an all-powerful, all-knowing god who really wanted us to believe his word would have done a much much better job.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Does the talking donkeys part help or hinder the believability of the bible?

Apparently there must be some validity to it consider that scientific researchers for some 60 years now have been actively attempting to teach a primate to communicate using the spoken word.

 

I guess I just randomly stumbled upon this view from Google earth which looks like a donkey on the left [Cape of Good Hope] and the head of a man on the right [Antarctica]

assman.png

                                               Please do not click on image

 

I recall coming in from the road early one Saturday morning after been gone for a couple of weeks when I discovered that the person I had hired to feed my two dogs while I was gone hadn't opened one can.  While they appeared fine, I let them out of the backyard to run around a few minutes while I unloaded my vehicle.  My black chow was extremely frisky, she had a way of hopping on her back legs when she would run that would make her butt shake.

 

However, as I was unloading my vehicle, the older lady next door had walked out to her mail box and while checking it, my chow saw her and made a beeline right toward her. My neighbor did not see her approaching when my chow which looked like she had bitten my neighbor on the back of her ankle and started shaking her head like she was ripping the poor old lady's leg off.  Of course my neighbor started screaming bloody murder and my chow just looked back at me and the started hopping off.

 

Mrs. B was moaning out that my dog had bite her and had about all but fell down from the 'injury inflicted upon her' when I told her that Goidio didn't bite her, she was just saying thank you so muchfor feeding her while I was gone.  Mrs. B stopped moaning and just looked a me with a strange look and just kinda nodded and walked normally back inside.  My chow, which I had gotten from her daughter a few + years earlier had a particular mannerism when she would show affection, she would put her teeth against your skin and shake her head like she was gobbling you up.  

 

I found out later from her daughter that her mom had noticed I was gone and that she hadn't noticed anyone coming around so she was feeding them scraps when she feed her own two chows.  But she said that it didn't hurt her mom at all, kinda scared her but what really freaked her out how I had said that my chow was just saying thank you for feeding her while I was gone.  How did he know..her mom asked.

 

 

But in regards to a response, ask them how they came to the conclusion that Ham had seen Noah naked.  Moreover, how could Ham seeing his father's pecker caused Canaan to be cursed as a result.  If Canaan was cursed because of Ham's alleged sexual perversion of seeing his father naked, then why did the angel of God change Abram's name to Abraham on the day Abraham circumcised his 13 year old son Ishmael who was later run off by Sarah after she had said "Who would have said unto Abraham, that Sarah should have given children suck? for she had born him a son in their old age" and his son Ishmael from another mother mocking.   You know eye for eye, tooth for tooth and skin fore skin.

 

Gen 9:22And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son [shem] had done unto him in reference to Gen 9:24  And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without. 
 
The nakedness of thy father's wife shalt thou not uncover: it is thy father's nakedness. Lev 18:8  [it is a reference that refers to sex, including intercourse]
 
 
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What does any of that stuff about your dog have to do with the topic, Justus?

 

Scientific work with apes has nothing to do with the fact that donkeys can't talk.

 

 


 Moreover, how could Ham seeing his father's pecker caused Canaan to be cursed as a result.

 

The story makes more sense if Ham saw Canaan rape Noah and then it was edited later by somebody with a different agenda.  We know the Bible has been edited over and over again to the point where the original words could have been almost anything and we would have no way to know.  Severely punishing Canaan for not doing anything is just one more example of how the Bible doesn't make sense as written.

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What does any of that have to do with the topic, Justus?

what part are you having difficulty comprehending?

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What does any of that have to do with the topic, Justus?

what part are you having difficulty comprehending?

 

 

 

The shape of the continents has nothing to do with donkeys talking.

 

Your neighbor's interactions with you dog have nothing to do with donkey talking.

 

Scientists working with apes have nothing to do with donkeys talking.

 

The Bible is a collection of myths.

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Not only is it woo woo from yet another theist, it's holier-than-thou woo woo from a passive-aggressive theist.

 

Well, that's certainly more entertaining to watch.

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Actually , that the "heroes" of the bible were not perfect is right in line with the myth its writers wanted to create: All have sinned and fallen short o the glory of god. That sets the need for god and particularly for a savior, That's a very familiar argument for apologists. But consider this: In the OT god had Elijah and Elisha go to heaven before they died. And so god considered them perfect. Otherwise, they would not have gone to heaven, Well, god either let his favorites go to heaven even though they were not perfect, or they were perfect. So, the bible is inconsistent in that,  on the one hand, god said all men have fallen short of the glory of god and can not earn their way to heaven. On the other hand, Elijah and Elisha were perfect and went to heaven before their deaths. So all men were not sinners, and so men can  work their way to heaven? Which is it?   bill

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I'm currently reading an interesting book titled How the Bible Became Holy. The author goes through the involved history of who probably wrote the various books of the bible, and what significance they seemed to have placed on the books. It is especially interesting to see the evolution of the concept of the written texts having any kind of authority.

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