Biblical Threads Make My Blood Boil

I’ve wanted to join some of the debates re: religion because I see the names of some interesting and respected posters there. But honestly, as soon as I start reading I get so angry that the letters start to swim before my eyes. Inevitably people start throwing Biblical quotes into the mix and it drives me batshit.

I just don’t see the point deriving one’s understanding of God from an old book that’s been rewritten and revised approximately a jillion times. It’s just a book. It’s not God. There’s a lot of wonderful prose and wisdom contained therein, but it’s also full of contradictions, factual errors, prejudices and false beliefs. It’s been translated and reinterpreted repeatedly. It was written by people - human beings - not God. Some of the authors had divine things to say, and some of them were schmucks.

It would be terrific if the Bible were God. It would be lovely if life came with an instruction manual or a set of clear rules. The truth is there are a lot of instructions and rules that we can choose to follow. It’s a question of what works. I really disagree with people who abdicate responsibility for their own choices by deferring to the Bible.

I respect the Bible as a historical document containing the accumulated knowledge and beliefs of several hundred years’ of human history. I would no more worship the Bible than the Encyclopedia Brittanica.

As to knowing God, there are a lot of other (easier, IMHO) ways of getting there.

You and REALLY MUST talk. It seems that we have SOOO much in common :smiley:

I & II Schmucks?

Then. Don’t. Read. Them.

Actually, I very much agree. While the Good Book may have some nice things to say and sound advice for those who want to be good, honest poeple, I feel faith is entirely a matter of the heart.

I avoid the GD religion threads like the plague (pun intended) because people can’t seem to discuss their views of religion without feeling slighted by those who feel differently.


If every discussion of religion is going to become a discussion of the Bible, then I suppose that’s my best option.

Well, there are two alternatives, if you want to discuss Christianity, as opposed to (say) re-inventing religion from first principles. You can either talk about what Christ reportedly said and did, or just define Christianity to mean whatever you want it to mean from the perspective of your unique point in history. The trouble with the latter approach is that it’s difficult to find any common ground for a discussion - much as if I wanted to discuss wiring my house, but didn’t want to refer to a book that mentioned feet, inches, volts, watts, amps and so on.

And AFAIK nobody does “worship” the Bible.

Cite? :wink:

Perhaps not in the conventional prostrating-yourself-and-crying-we’re-not-worthy sense, but certainly people worship the Bible - I’ve come across people who believe that the Bible is inerrant to the extent that God is constrained to behave in the way the Bible describes him behaving, who perceive any skeptical views of scripture as blasphemous - they don’t represent the majority of Christians, but they are out there.

They probably deny that they “worship” the Bible in the same sense that Roman Catholics deny that they “worship” saints or the Blessed Virgin.


Re-inventing religion from first principles sounds like a good idea to me. Makes more sense than arguing about what Jesus of Nazareth may or may not have meant by what he may or may not have said. So something’s written in a book - so what?

I agree with Mangetout - from what I’ve seen it looks to me like a lot of people do worship the Bible. They certainly bandy it about quite a bit and quote it extensively. When someone does the same with, say, celebrities or money, that seems like worshipful behavior.

Yup, 'tout’s right on.

And they’re loud.

Here’s one of my problems. There are people who say the Bible is the inerrant Word of God[sup]TM[/sup]. When you ask them how they know this they say, of course, the Bible told them so!

Gah! It all just gives me a headache.

I’ve only learned one important thing from the bible.

Don’t let your children make fun of bald people!

2 Kings 2:23-24

It’s still straight from God’s mouth no matter what site it’s from, right?

I read this the first time, and thought, “hmm, that’s a good point.” Then I got to thinking, and I came to the conclusion that there’s an important distinction to be made here.

The Catholic Church teaches that it’s wrong to worship Mary or the Saints. One properly venerates them, it’s not the same as worship. That is, undeniably, the official Roman Catholic teaching, and claiming otherwise would indeed be false.

However, there are individual Catholics who have indeed fallen into Maryolatry. I’m sure there’s an equivalent word for the saints, but I don’t know it offhand. The RC church acknowledges that such people exist–I learned the word “Maryolatry” in a Catholic high school, from a Catholic priest. People who do worship Mary (or venerate her with such intensity that the difference between veneration and worship becomes iffy) are going against the teachings and practice of the Roman Catholic Church, and their existence in no way proves that Catholics worship Mary–only that some Catholics do, contrary to the official teachings of the Church.

The same could be argued for Bibliolatry. Perhaps no church teaches it officially, but a certain percentage of followers could be described that way. Splitting hairs, maybe, but still.

Heh. Yeah, my grandmother tried to win an argument (about the existence of God) with an athiest friend of mine by beginning each of her arguments with, "The Bible says . . . "

Yeah, that’s the way to convince an athiest that God exists. By pointing out that the Bible says so.

I think it came out a draw. :wink:

Similarly, my mom was flabbergasted when I mentioned to her that a friend of mine had dropped a college Bible course (Women of the Bible, I believe it was) because she was getting a bad grade. She couldn’t figure out how anyone could be failing a Bible course.

I explained that it was the same thing as failing any other English class, because that’s what it was, basically–an examination of a work of literature, just like in a Shakespeare class or a Postmodern Lit class. But she just could not wrap her mind around the idea of studying the Bible not (necessarily) from a believer’s standpoint but from an English major’s standpoint (my flunking friend belonged only to the latter camp). I think she was thinking of it like Sunday school, where everyone is at least on the same page about the fundamentals.

At any rate, I think that the Bible is of great value, and quite fascinating, from my own English Major POV. And I think that it can provide a viable basis for a person’s religious practices and beliefs, and provide for interesting discussion thereof. A person can say, “As a member of my faith, here’s the set of guidelines I use to govern my behavior, and I believe/do X, Y, and Z because of what it says here, here, and here.”

The problem comes when the person in question leaves no room for the fact that other people are going to interpret this same set of guidelines differently or, as the OP states, when the guidelines become The One and Only Universal Truth.

I happen to agree with your assessment of the Bible, but I also know that a lot of people consider it to be the word of God. I’m curious as to why you consider your source of understanding of God more valid than anyone else’s.

Hmmm…does being easier mean it’s necessarily more valid? Playing Devil’s advocate, so to speak, I’m sure a lot of religious folks would point out that it’s not supposed to be easy to know God.

Well, that might be a good idea, and you might come up with a good set of beliefs that way, but it wouldn’t be Christianity. Part of Christianity (or any other religion) is that it does exist in time, and there’s 2000 years of tradition to deal with. Christianity is what’s happened and what was believed in those past 2000 years, for better or for worse. If you say, “Lets forget about the bible, about what Jesus said or may have said, what past generations think he meant, and what past generations said”, you’re creating something new, and not Christianity at all.

So, if you’re debating religion, and looking at Christian perspectives, it seems to me that it’s fair for somebody to say what the bible says, or what Augustine says, or what Luther says, or what Sprong says, and while you might disagree with the relative weight to put on all these opinions, it seems that you have to accept that they will be brought up/

Not splitting hairs at all, but (IMO) right on the money.

The Bible in my tradition is supposed to be treated similarly to Mary and the saints in the Roman tradition. The Bible is a window, which is supposed to show the Lord. You can focus on the streaks on the glass, or you can look at what it is meant to show you.