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bellbird

Sponsor
What are your thoughts on christians (/theists) who interpret the bible (/their holy book) other than as it is written?

This has never made sense to me.

These same people claim that this book is, literally, the word of god.
As far as I'm aware, they have received no further word of god that they may interpret the bible how it suits their agenda/ preconceptions.

For example: christians who are accepting of other religions.

Um, what?

The bible pretty clearly says don't do that.

Deuteronomy 13:6-9

6 If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, which is as thine own soul, entice thee secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which thou hast not known, thou, nor thy fathers;
7 Namely, of the gods of the people which are round about you, nigh unto thee, or far off from thee, from the one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth;
8 Thou shalt not consent unto him, nor hearken unto him; neither shall thine eye pity him, neither shalt thou spare, neither shalt thou conceal him:
9 But thou shalt surely kill him; thine hand shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people.

"But that's the old testament!!!"

Alrighty then.

2 Chronicles 15:13

13That whosoever would not seek the LORD God of Israel should be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman.

"But you're not reading it in the right context!!!"

Ummm. I'm just reading your book as it is written.

Where is the bible passage that says you can interpret the word of god as you please?

And also, in what context is killing someone because they don't believe in the fairytale as you okay?

"But the bible says love thy neighbour!!!"

Well, yes. But it also says kill thy neighbour if they worship another god.

Religion is multiple levels of whack.

And for clarification:
I, unlike the bible, do not believe nor assert that anyone should kill anyone else because of what they do or do not believe. The concept of cherrypicking just boggles me. Furthermore, the act of cherrypicking by a theist of their holy book, in my opinion,
a) highlights the hypocrisies within that holy book, and/or
b) indicates that the holy book should not be used as a source of morality.
 

Sideways

Moderator
b) indicates that the holy book should not be used as a source of morality.
Insofar as myths and fables and fairytales are handed down from one generation to the next? I think there's an argument that the bible, like other religious texts, could have a legitimate role in constructing, or at least supporting, a common social morality (like - murder is bad. Why? Having 'stories' has had an important role in passing on a consistent morality from one generation to the next).

But, it has a role. To say that it has a role in supporting a particular common sense of morality is only to say it is one of many things that help us form a common sense of morality.

Not sure that makes any sense...
 

bellbird

Sponsor
I think there's an argument that the bible, like other religious texts, could have a legitimate role in constructing, or at least supporting, a common social morality
I don't agree with that argument.
I'm going to refer to the bible to support my position, because you mentioned it and also because it's the religious text that I'm most familiar with, partly as a result of attending an anglican school for 7 years whose curriculum included religious education.

The bible advocates/promotes
-slavery, eg. Leviticus 25:44-45 (ESV)
44 As for your male and female slaves whom you may have: you may buy male and female slaves from among the nations that are around you. 45 You may also buy from among the strangers who sojourn with you and their clans that are with you, who have been born in your land, and they may be your property.
-infanticide, eg. Psalm 137:9 (KJV)
Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones.
-fetucide, eg. Hosea 13:16 (NIV)
The people of Samaria must bear their guilt, because they have rebelled against their God. They will fall by the sword; their little ones will be dashed to the ground, their pregnant women ripped open.
-genocide, eg. 1 Samuel 15:2-3 (ESV)
2 Thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘I have noted what Amalek did to Israel in opposing them on the way when they came up out of Egypt. 3 Now go and strike Amalek and devote to destruction[a] all that they have. Do not spare them, but kill both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.’
-cannibalism, eg. Leviticus 26:27-29 (KJV)
27And if ye will not for all this hearken unto me, but walk contrary unto me; 28Then I will walk contrary unto you also in fury; and I, even I, will chastise you seven times for your sins. 29And ye shall eat the flesh of your sons, and the flesh of your daughters shall ye eat.
-homophobia, eg. Leviticus 18:22 (NIV)
Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman; that is detestable.
-sexism, eg. 1 Timothy 2:11-14
11 A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. 12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve. 14 And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner.
-ableism, eg. Leviticus 21:17-23 (KJV)
18 For any man who has a defect shall not approach: a man blind or lame, who has a marred face or any limb too long, 19 a man who has a broken foot or broken hand, 20 or is a hunchback or a dwarf, or a man who has a defect in his eye, or eczema or scab, or is a eunuch. 21 No man of the descendants of Aaron the priest, who has a defect, shall come near to offer the offerings made by fire to the Lord. He has a defect; he shall not come near to offer the bread of his God.


a common social morality (like - murder is bad
Presumably a "common social morality" also constitutes the opposition of
-owning other humans as property
-eating other humans
-and poor treatment of other humans due to their gender, sexuality, and physical or mental disabilities.

To suggest then that a book filled with such abhorrent demands and assertions of the aforementioned acts has a legitimate supportive or constructive role in a common social morality? Makes no sense to me.
For that to even be feasible; for one to wade through the countless horrific passages that I have sampled above in order to use the bible as a basis for ones morality as per passages such as "love thy neighbour" and "thou shalt not kill", requires a strong moral system that is grounded outside of the bible in order to ignore the horrific and contradictory passages throughout.
And it is just as reasonable to suggest that the bible passes down the message that slavery, murder and homophobia are awesome! (which, it has been shown to be successful in doing so): consider the countless people throughout history who have been tortured, killed, raped, enslaved, subjugated, abused and harassed in the name of religion.

Further, consider the countries in which atheism is punishable by death: Afghanistan, Iran, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Nigeria, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, United Arab Emirates and Yemen: all predominantly muslim countries. And that is not including other countries where there may be a multiple-year jail sentence for blasphemy, or those where the rights of atheists are obstructed (source: The Freethought Report 2013, International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU)).


I don't murder other people because I think it is an abhorrent crime to commit, not because I'm afraid of eternal suffering (which, granted, if you're reading the same book could just as easily result in eternal glory) after death should I do so.
 
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Sideways

Moderator
I totally agree with your argument. Does it provide a good or consistent basis for a common morality? No. It's pretty dang awful.

But, myths and fables tend to be like that. The Greeks had some particularly appalling ones. But even our own - Goldilocks, Red Riding Hood, Hansel and Gretel, The Pied Piper - they're pretty messed up if you look too closely. Bluebeard is one that always particularly horrified me.

Aesop seemed to do a pretty good job of telling fables that had a good, solid, moral lesson without being too messed up when it comes to the plot. But historically he's a bit of a rarity like that.

And yet, they do seem to have traditionally had some kind of a role to play there. Should they continue to have that role? Idk. I don't have kids (which I think may be relevant), and I'm pretty biased that the bible can be used to promote just about whatever screwed up doctrine you want it to promote.

But, historically, I think it has had that as something it did. Religion, more broadly, does that.
 

bellbird

Sponsor
Just heard of the death of James Randi.
RIP to a brilliant atheist, skeptic, conjurer (his preferred term instead of magician) and human being.

Here he is back in 2007 performing a wonderfully captivating TED talk after taking a fatal dose of homeopathic sleeping pills on stage.
Thank you for enriching my life, Mr Randi. I miss you. And if we were all wrong and there is a hell after all of this, I very much look forward to meeting you there one day.
 

bellbird

Sponsor
This song hits a little differently this year.
Still, I raise to you a glass of white wine in the sun, or red wine in the rain, or even just water in any weather, to you, fellow atheists, and may your Christmas be filled with as much health, happiness, peace and contentment as is possible.
 
Took me a little time but now that it's all over I'd like to officially register my gratitude that the religious fundamentalists will no longer have a place at the table within our new presidential administration. I can only imagine what the next four years would have been like had Our Holy Q Messiah Trump been reelected. He actually went to the trouble of changing his official religion in October 2020 from Presbyterianism to non-denominational (i.e. fundamentalist) Christian. Not that he gave a shit, but 99.9999% of fundies literally worshipped him so he saw no problem with pandering to them.

Luckily as we saw, even though all the fundamentalists in the USA voted for him, almost everyone else who isn't voted against him.
 
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