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Geezer

A common problem for those leaving Christianity

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Based on my experience and the number of posts about this issue on this site, I would have to rate understanding the Bible as one of the most, if not the most, perplexing problem those leaving the faith have to deal with.

This was certainly a major issue for me and I found the answers I was seeking by reading historical critical scholars. It’s their job to dissect scripture and place it in context.

John Dominic Crossan, a noted Bible scholar and former Catholic Priest wrote, “My point once again, is not that those ancient people told literal stories and we are now smart enough to take them symbolically, but that they told them symbolically and we are now dumb enough to take them literally.”

 I’ve read a small library of books written by historical scholars that focus on the origins and evolution of both the Bible and Christianity, but I recently found an author. David Fitzgerald, that sums up the problems with the bible nicely and then explains in plain easy to understand English where the gospel story (there was only one gospel) came from, in other words how it was created and why.

His books deal with Jesus and why he was undoubtedly a literary figure, not a real person. His other book(s) deal solely with the Bible such as who wrote it, when was it written, and why was it written. He also deals with the Apostle Paul, also a literary figure, and his Epistles.

If you read his books I doubt it would be necessary for you to read anything else. So, if readying volumes of books about Christian history isn’t your thing then this should solve your problem.

 The first book is NAILED, Ten Christian Myths That Show Jesus Never Existed At All

His other book is JESUS: Mything In Action (Volume I & II)

If the Bible continues to be a problem for you, and you still fear going to hell, then I suggest these books are a must read for you.

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The original gospel story was written as an unnamed manuscript and there was only one. Later three other versions were written. Two were copied from the original manuscript. Years later the name Mark was attached to that manuscript. Those two new versions were copied from Mark and then edited, redacted, and parts completely rewritten or added. Those were later named Matthew and Luke. The fourth gospel, later named John, was a Gnostic writing that differs substantially from the original version.

 

David Fitzgerald points out in his book that Mark is the acknowledged original manuscript and the way it begins the original author confirms it was written as a story not as a historical record of anything.

 

Mark 1:1 The beginning of the gospel about Jesus Christ, the Son of God......

 

Gospel mean Glad tidings" or "good news......The beginning of the good news about Jesus Christ.....

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In addition, there are numerous other gospels that are not in the "official" canon, most of which are from the second century or later.

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1 hour ago, Geezer said:

John Dominic Crossan, a noted Bible scholar and former Catholic Priest wrote, “My point once again, is not that those ancient people told literal stories and we are now smart enough to take them symbolically, but that they told them symbolically and we are now dumb enough to take them literally.”

 

 

Reading the Bible gave me the impression that everything up to and including Moses was intended to be symbolic. It's a collection of regional folktales some ancient priests decided to merge together into a somewhat coherent narrative. Somehow everyone flipped from thinking it's metaphor to literal.

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16 hours ago, Lucy said:

 

 

Reading the Bible gave me the impression that everything up to and including Moses was intended to be symbolic. It's a collection of regional folktales some ancient priests decided to merge together into a somewhat coherent narrative. Somehow everyone flipped from thinking it's metaphor to literal.

 

Yes. I also believe that a lot of the symbolism therein was very culture-specific. People living in the Levant in antiquity would relate to some of those symbols and cultural memes in a way that'd be totally alien to a modern reader. A modern American evangelical in his white collar shirt and tie, self-assuredly quoting his KJV, may believe he's spot on with his interpretation, but something tells me that - sometimes - the writers of the Bible had something else in mind entirely.

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Thanks for the links Margee. I have to admit I'm not a big fan of Crossan. I've read a few of his books but I find myself disagreeing with him on a number of issues. I think he's more of an apologist than a true historian but I acknowledge he is a brilliant scholar. I would classify him as a very liberal Christian much like Bishop John Shelby Spong. 

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1 hour ago, Geezer said:

Thanks for the links Margee. I have to admit I'm not a big fan of Crossan. I've read a few of his books but I find myself disagreeing with him on a number of issues. I think he's more of an apologist than a true historian but I acknowledge he is a brilliant scholar. I would classify him as a very liberal Christian much like Bishop John Shelby Spong. 

 

You are right Geezer. I was watching a little this afternoon and it did feel like he was an apologist. I put the wrong person up. Lol I'm going to delete that post. He would confuse people who are deconverting. I misread your OP and thought he was the guy you really liked. My bad.....

 

Here's the right person you were talking about? Some of his lectures on you-tube. Now I'll watch these...Lol. I  prefer to listen to lectures opposed to reading. Have I got the right person? 

(hug)

 

https://www.google.ca/?gfe_rd=cr&ei=ALsoU4nXO6mD8QeE5YDACg#q=david+fitzgerald&tbm=vid

 

 

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1 hour ago, Margee said:

 

You are right Geezer. I was watching a little this afternoon and it did feel like he was an apologist. I put the wrong person up. Lol I'm going to delete that post. He would confuse people who are deconverting. I misread your OP and thought he was the guy you really liked. My bad.....

 

Here's the right person you were talking about? Some of his lectures on you-tube. Now I'll watch these...Lol. I  prefer to listen to lectures opposed to reading. Have I got the right person? 

(hug)

 

https://www.google.ca/?gfe_rd=cr&ei=ALsoU4nXO6mD8QeE5YDACg#q=david+fitzgerald&tbm=vid

 

 

 

Fitzgerald is definitely a good guy. He writes so the average person can understand him and I like that. I referenced Crossan's quote because it was right on the money and Fitzgerald referenced it in his book that I was reading.

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I actually just raised this point while on vacation this weekend. I was explaining to the group how these stories like Moses and Noah are straight away taken from stories like King Sargon I and Gilgamesh. When they were written the writers had to have known what they were doing by substituting Jewish names and retelling the stories from a Jewish perspective. That's like coming up with a Jewish version of Superman, where instead he's Superstein or something. Or Luke Skywalkerberg. It's funny, but that's about what they were doing back in their day....

 

I was pointing out that it took years before people came up with the literalist ideas that we see today. And everyone sitting in the room seemed to get it when I explained it thoroughly. 

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