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LostinParis

Christians who have never read the bible

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I recently discovered that my fundy husband has never read the bible. Everything he learned as a child was via clergy, Sunday School and church camps.

He is xtian orthodox and they don't believe the bible is infallible. However he believes that the stories of Noah and Adam and Eve literally happened.

I just don't understand this. If your god had written a book, wouldn't you want to read it?

I asked a few of his xtian friends and family if they had read the bible. I was shocked to discover how little they know. They seem more interested in what the ancient holy fathers had to say. 

How can this be?

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41 minutes ago, DestinyTurtle said:

Interesting! In my experience protestants in general like to claim their authority comes from the bible (or some assumed correct interpretation of the bible) because that sets them apart from the "evil" Catholics in their own minds. They tend to see Catholics as relying predominantly on their church's human authority. Historically, being able to translate the bible or mass produce it for lay Christians to read themselves seemed to be a big part of the protestant movement. In the end though it all ended up in the same place of submission and enablement of corruptible authorities. It went full circle!

My church doctrine was a good example of cherry picking and choosing which parts of the bible to interpret as metaphor and which not. It was seen to be the only correct interpretation of the bible. And yes, catholicism was obviously a false faith, I was told that "true believers" had somehow passed on the holy spirit although they worshipped in the catholic church. If anything, my church relied on human authority and a human interpretation of the bible, (which was said to be the holy spirit speaking through church leaders, of course). 

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You mean he is Eastern Orthodox? They indeed care more about church "tradition" and the interpretations of church fathers than fundie "biblical infallible" people do. If you didn't mean Eastern Orthodox ignore me.

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Church tradition supersedes the Bible for a lot of people identifying as Christian.

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8 minutes ago, florduh said:

Church tradition supersedes the Bible for a lot of people identifying as Christian.

 

 

Yes, tradition (spoon fed over years and years) is more efficient, avoids the need to independently question and investigate and fits the tenet of trusting religious authority.  It's quite convenient, at least for the intellectually lazy and cowardly members.

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1 hour ago, LostinParis said:

I recently discovered that my fundy husband has never read the bible. Everything he learned as a child was via clergy, Sunday School and church camps.

He is xtian orthodox and they don't believe the bible is infallible. However he believes that the stories of Noah and Adam and Eve literally happened.

I just don't understand this. If your god had written a book, wouldn't you want to read it?

I asked a few of his xtian friends and family if they had read the bible. I was shocked to discover how little they know. They seem more interested in what the ancient holy fathers had to say. 

How can this be?

How can this be? I am a former fundamentalist. I haven't read the bible. I wish to goodness I had. The way this operates is by indoctrination from childhood. When you grow up utterly believing something to be true, you're pretty unlikely to question it unless something pushes you to do so. And why did I not question it? Because I was conditioned to believe that questioning itself was a sin. Doubts were sin. And, I trusted the leaders of the church in regards to the truth. It was only gradually as an adult, as I began to pay attention to the hypocrisy of those leaders, the social dynamics and controls of the church and the way they operated, and yes, very last, the bible itself, that questions began to surface. Mind you, it didn't take me long at all once I started reading the bible to see it for what it was. Ironically, I decided to get curious enough to read all of it, not only the parts that I taught for sunday school lessons (yes, I was a sunday school teacher who hadn't read the bible!). Well, I only got through the first few chapters of Genesis before I metaphorically speaking threw it in the trash. I was also reading Richard Dawkins at the same time and he saved me from having to slog through all of it, luckily. Those who haven't grown up fundamentalist just cannot understand the extent of the indoctrination. It can be extremely damaging. I have seen people suffer so needlessly in the church, due to their beliefs. Fundamentalism is poison.

I do think cowardly isn't quite the right word to use in regards to those who are stuck in fundamentalism. Many of them are just content to be where they're at as well, so lazy does apply. Manipulated is more like it, by social controls, and by fear. Unless they realize that, they have little chance of getting out.

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Because the Bible is a loosely connected, poorly written, mess of several books jammed together that were voted on by committee. It's loosely organized in "chronological" order, but the timeline is a bit difficult to follow, particularly in the New Testament. It's not always clear that a considerable amount of time has passed and several books overlap.

 

It's not a very good read. Not because of the questionable moral bits, but just because it's so many different styles that don't connect together very well. Psalms is basically a book of musical poetry, Revelations is probably a drug induced hallucination or dream full of what would have been political dog whistles at the time, the Gospels are several different sometimes contradictory perspectives of the same events, there's lots of dry genealogy in the OT because bloodlines were considered important, etc.

 

It doesn't help that it's been translated through the filter of several languages. Even the original written copies were likely not in their original language. At the least, from the first written copies it's gone from Greek, to Latin, to old English, and again into modern English, and if you speak a modern foreign language, yet again into whatever language that is.

 

Even modern versions like to use archaic speech, presumably because it sounds more mystical and lends it some sort of authoritative weight or something. This is yet another barrier to reading it for normal people and why they need an "interpreter" to explain it to them during studies or services.

 

Most Christians have read parts of it, but have never sat down to read it from cover to cover because it's actually a chore to read the bible due to these issues, so most don't bother to crack it open on their own unless they are looking for a specific passage for some reason, usually to justify something or as Christians like to put it "find guidance" regarding a particular topic.

 

It's also largely boring, and the bits that aren't are disconnected and not consistent in tone or style.

 

Most bibles are little more than decorations and a lot of people own large and cumbersome volumes.

 

Most Christians have it read to them during services, and get reading assignments during bible studies, and only select portions ever get used. The bits that fit a moral message that the church wants to focus on get cherry picked, often by way of "tradition".

 

In fact, many churches encourage not reading it outside of guided study, as it leads to "misinterpretations", which is weird for a divinely inspired text, but whatever.

 

At the end of the day, it's not a very good book and doesn't lend itself to being read like a novel very well. It's not even "a" book, but several books that are jammed together that were written separately over several centuries, most of which come from oral traditions originally.

 

 

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On 06/02/2018 at 11:02 AM, Orbit said:

You mean he is Eastern Orthodox? They indeed care more about church "tradition" and the interpretations of church fathers than fundie "biblical infallible" people do. If you didn't mean Eastern Orthodox ignore me.

 

Yes he is Eastern Orthodox, there is much talk of the "divine mystery" of god and the holy spirit, rather than the bible itself. I was told that our feeble human minds are incapable of understanding such things, eg. the transubstantiation.

How could a person be punished for not believing in something that they can't possibly understand? 

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On 06/02/2018 at 1:15 PM, ContraBardus said:

 

Even modern versions like to use archaic speech, presumably because it sounds more mystical and lends it some sort of authoritative weight or something. This is yet another barrier to reading it for normal people and why they need an "interpreter" to explain it to them during studies or services.

 

Within my husband's church there has been opposition from the clergy to change the ancient church service from Old Slavonic into English, similar to the Catholic church abandoning Latin. Perhaps this is because if the parishioners are able to understand what is being said, then the "nasty bits" of the scriptures would no longer be camouflaged. It would be up to the preists to spin the "nasty bits" into the palatable.

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4 hours ago, LostinParis said:

Within my husband's church there has been opposition from the clergy to change the ancient church service from Old Slavonic into English, similar to the Catholic church abandoning Latin. Perhaps this is because if the parishioners are able to understand what is being said, then the "nasty bits" of the scriptures would no longer be camouflaged. It would be up to the preists to spin the "nasty bits" into the palatable.

Do you mean that people sit there and worship and actually don't understand the words being said? That's just crazy making. 

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18 minutes ago, TruthSeeker0 said:

Do you mean that people sit there and worship and actually don't understand the words being said? That's just crazy making. 

 

You make it sound as if that is unusual.

 

Seriously think about it, why would Bible Studies, Homilies and Testaments, and Sunday Schools need to exist if the Bible was actually easy to understand and not full of dog whistles, side speak, double meanings, and vague morality stories?

 

It's the Church's way of "mansplaining" things to the congregation.

 

How much sense does the language used actually make to modern English speakers? Did you really understand it when you were attending church? Or did you just think you did because "the meaning" was explained to you by whoever was running the service or classes involved?

 

I'm not sure how much of it is actually by design, or simply the result of tradition, though I am fairly certain it's some combination of both.

 

Hell, the Bible itself goes into how Jesus was intentionally not clear and vague in many of his explanations, because his Apostles often misunderstood him and were usually portrayed as a gaggle of coattail hanging idiots who could barely think for themselves well enough to fasten their own sandals and had the impulse control of a cat on a table full of small objects.

 

X6DesPe.gif

 

 

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1 hour ago, ContraBardus said:

 

You make it sound as if that is unusual.

 

Seriously think about it, why would Bible Studies, Homilies and Testaments, and Sunday Schools need to exist if the Bible was actually easy to understand and not full of dog whistles, side speak, double meanings, and vague morality stories?

 

It's the Church's way of "mansplaining" things to the congregation.

 

How much sense does the language used actually make to modern English speakers? Did you really understand it when you were attending church? Or did you just think you did because "the meaning" was explained to you by whoever was running the service or classes involved?

 

I'm not sure how much of it is actually by design, or simply the result of tradition, though I am fairly certain it's some combination of both.

 

Hell, the Bible itself goes into how Jesus was intentionally not clear and vague in many of his explanations, because his Apostles often misunderstood him and were usually portrayed as a gaggle of coattail hanging idiots who could barely think for themselves well enough to fasten their own sandals and had the impulse control of a cat on a table full of small objects.

 

X6DesPe.gif

 

 

I was meaning the language itself. No, there's a lot of the old English in the King James version (which is what I heard) that just went over my head, but it was still English. And yes of course I thought it was explained to me by others - that's what indoctrination does to you. Critical thinking itself was a sin, because questioning or doubts about the faith were a sin. Then they put me in charge of the "mansplaining" to young children and that was enough, I couldn't ignore the Bible and it's problems, and here we are today. 

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6 hours ago, TruthSeeker0 said:

Do you mean that people sit there and worship and actually don't understand the words being said? That's just crazy making. 

 

The church service itself has remained largely unchanged for centuries. The rituals are designed to intoxicate people, eg. chanting, incense. It doesn't matter that people don't understand most of the words being said.

 

There is hypnotic background singing throughout the entire service, praising god. You are encouraged to pray independently. I've come to realise that this is a powerful way to brainwash people; if you chant the same thing over and over you will start to believe it.

 

Some people are more suseptable to hypnosis than others.

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31 minutes ago, LostinParis said:

 

The church service itself has remained largely unchanged for centuries. The rituals are designed to intoxicate people, eg. chanting, incense. It doesn't matter that people don't understand most of the words being said.

 

There is hypnotic background singing throughout the entire service, praising god. You are encouraged to pray independently. I've come to realise that this is a powerful way to brainwash people; if you chant the same thing over and over you will start to believe it.

 

Some people are more suseptable to hypnosis than others.

 

Sort of.

 

It's changed more than you'd think to be honest.  Up until recently, a lot of services were in Latin for starters. Some churches still do that. Plus various other small changes have been made.

 

Plus, it depends a lot on what denomination you are. Some are vastly different from the traditional old school Catholic style service.

 

Overall most services follow a similar structure, with a few outliers, but even the more traditional services have altered for various reasons over the years. Some to cut down on time to boost attendance, others change rules regarding head coverings and such that don't have much impact on the structure, and various other stuff changed too.

 

There are other small variations even within different churches within the same denominations as well. Some churches hold hands or raise up their palms during certain prayers, the way certain "chants"are sung is different sometimes, some churches will sing parts of the service that others will just recite, song breaks might be in different places, etc...

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Interesting! In the Church of Christ, bible-reading was always emphasized. I read the whole thingamajig through-and-through several times. I'm pretty sure that quite a number of people in my congregation did the same thing.

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I read the bible (most of it from cover to cover - I may have skipped a couple of the OT prophets) at a child. I was in a fundamentalist family that gave lip service to emphasizing the importance of reading the bible. When push came to shove, though, if you mentioned something you read in the bible or questioned something that wasn't consistent with the local human authority (in my family's case, my father), you got severely reprimanded, and lectured on the "right way" to interpret the bible. So, ultimately, even amongst Christians who espouse independent biblical study, it boils down to human authority. 

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4 hours ago, DestinyTurtle said:

I read the bible (most of it from cover to cover - I may have skipped a couple of the OT prophets) at a child. I was in a fundamentalist family that gave lip service to emphasizing the importance of reading the bible. When push came to shove, though, if you mentioned something you read in the bible or questioned something that wasn't consistent with the local human authority (in my family's case, my father), you got severely reprimanded, and lectured on the "right way" to interpret the bible. So, ultimately, even amongst Christians who espouse independent biblical study, it boils down to human authority. 

This. Lip service also happened in my family, and it literally was that, none of us kids even read the bible. It was all about authority. As a grown adult, I voiced concerns about what I viewed as unacceptable behaviour in the church with my father, and the response was typical, a warning that I was wading in dangerous territory, finding fault with those in god's congregation. Afterall, I was told, our human flesh gives in to this temptation, and we start looking at god's congregation through different eyes, and we lose the love we are supposed to hold for others there. The control....it pervades everything, every thought.

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3 hours ago, TruthSeeker0 said:

This. Lip service also happened in my family, and it literally was that, none of us kids even read the bible. It was all about authority. As a grown adult, I voiced concerns about what I viewed as unacceptable behaviour in the church with my father, and the response was typical, a warning that I was wading in dangerous territory, finding fault with those in god's congregation. Afterall, I was told, our human flesh gives in to this temptation, and we start looking at god's congregation through different eyes, and we lose the love we are supposed to hold for others there. The control....it pervades everything, every thought.

Interesting! In my experience protestants in general like to claim their authority comes from the bible (or some assumed correct interpretation of the bible) because that sets them apart from the "evil" Catholics in their own minds. They tend to see Catholics as relying predominantly on their church's human authority. Historically, being able to translate the bible or mass produce it for lay Christians to read themselves seemed to be a big part of the protestant movement. In the end though it all ended up in the same place of submission and enablement of corruptible authorities. It went full circle!

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On 2/11/2018 at 7:48 PM, DestinyTurtle said:

Interesting! In my experience protestants in general like to claim their authority comes from the bible (or some assumed correct interpretation of the bible) because that sets them apart from the "evil" Catholics in their own minds. They tend to see Catholics as relying predominantly on their church's human authority. Historically, being able to translate the bible or mass produce it for lay Christians to read themselves seemed to be a big part of the protestant movement. In the end though it all ended up in the same place of submission and enablement of corruptible authorities. It went full circle!

 

Oh yeah, very good point! The protestant point-of-view is basically, "The catholics have abandoned the scripture in favor of church tradition".  In contrast, I think that Catholics tend to have this point-of-view -- "Only the people within the church hierarchy have a true understanding of the scriptures."

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