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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Grand questions with Grandma

Moving this from Facebook ... Comments from ME are in RED, comments from Grandma in BLUE

I haven't had a chance to do much research on the King James Bible like you requested, but I did recently learn that King James I of England was openly bisexual with a strong preference for men.

I don't know what that means for the veracity of the translations, I just found it quite interesting since so many of the quotes against homosexuality comes from the KJV of the Bible. More research to come, I'm very interested now!

Many of the Royals have been very openly bisexual and various other unique choices. I've wondered about Paul because of his attitude toward women. The man who became Paul was originally Saul of Tarsus, and proud of it. Saul boasted that he was born a Roman citizen, a distinction which often saved him from ill treatment. When he later broke with Judaism, Saul went by the name of Paul, which was probably his Roman name since birth. In any case, the Jewish name Saul was a handicap in Greek-speaking circles because "Saulos" meant "effeminate" in Greek.

The things they don't teach you in Sunday school! This is ALL new information to me!

They don't teach it because they teach from their Sunday school books and pamplets; and if they get away from the provided materials they are in danger of losing their retirement or losing their position at the church, or both. And during the "gospel reading" they will read a verse or two from the bible and the rest of the hour is devoted to personal testaments. Bet you heard about that apple in the Garden too....dare you to find "apple" in the Genesis story.

I knew the forbidden fruit wasn't really an apple, but probably a pomegranete. Not a big deal, unless we were told eating all apples is wrong. But after years of demonizing homosexuality, or really sex in general, learning how much the church heroes engaged in "unnatural" behavior casts doubts on the authority of such declarations. (Doubts I already did away with ... Fornicate away folks!) ‎... 

Pretty sure I never thought I'd write "fornicate away" to my grandmother ... Surely i should be struck by lightning about now!!

So they ate a pomegranete? And then they covered their private parts with fig leaves? Ch.3;v.3 -"Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die". When you have research time, look up the word "touch" in the Strong's concordance. Do use the standard King James version as the new versions have changed too many words and their meanings. And DUCK! We're probably both drawing lightning!

And old people are not necessarily old fuddy duddies. Sarah was old when she put her maid out to whoredom with Abraham so he could have a child. And then Abraham put his helpless whore out with their son and never paid a penny child support! So all this middle east war was started for the lack of child support?!

Just so you know; my Church (Catholic) would not let me teach Bible school. I do tend to get a little carried away with my interpretations.

Of course you couldn't teach Bible school, you're a woman. Jesus was very clear that women shouldn't speak in church but hold their tounges and ask their husbands for clarification if their weak minds were unable to grasp what was being taught

NO, that was Paul . . . again with Paul. Jesus, if anything, was partial to women. Did he meet a man at the well and speak to him? To whom did he appear first after the crucification? Did he consider his Mother when he changed the water to wine (or grape juice)? He loved Mary Magdeline and there is a writing by her; however that was not accepted by the Church and is in the Accrophia. Maybe a lot of jealousy there, especially from Peter. Oh, and yes, I know your comment was "tongue in cheek".

Now forgive me if I seem impertinent but isn't the Bible at least divinely inspired, if not divinely written? So, according to the traditional orthodoxy if Paul wrote it, its because the holy spirit moved in him to write it right?

If we can't trust the accuracy of Paul why should we trust the accuracy of second and third hand stories of Jesus recorded at the earlist 60 years after his alleged resurection?
If we can't trust the accuracy of Paul why should we trust the accuracy of second and third hand stories of Jesus recorded at the earlist 60 years after his alleged resurection?

§  Devinely written?  Of course.  But in the hands of man for many years before the common man saw or read it.

§  Most people do not know that we only have part of the Bible.  Man's first meddleing came by deciding which books would be accepted and which banned from the writings. You can read so much on the internet if you go to Lost Books of the Bible....  I won't reprint it all here, but here's a partial list of those lost or banned.  So if these books didn't make the cut, no wonder the Hindu scripture and others are not here....they would be considered the Pagan beliefs, I believe.The Old Testament Scriptures were first written in Hebrew and later translated into Greek, the oldest being known as the Septuagint, or "Version of the Seventy," made at Alexandria for the library by a company of seventy learned Jews.  This was about 285 B.C.

§  The New Testament was all originally written in Greek, except Matthew which was first written in Hebrew, and later translated into Greek.

§  Latin translations of both the Septuagint and the Greek New Testament were made by different individuals, and the more carefully prepared Latin Vulgate of Jerome, the Bible complete, was made A.D. 383-405.

§  Printing was yet unknown and copies of the Bible were laborious and expensive -- written by hand.  It's illuminating and saving truths were largely hidden for centuries by the errors, superstitions, and apostasy of the dark ages.  The common people knew little of its contents.

§  The first book printed from movable type was the Bible in Latin which came from the press of John Gutenberg, at Mentz, Germany, in 1456, a copy of which, in 1926 was sold in New York City for $106,000, the highest price ever paid for a single book.

§  Moses wrote in the language of the people of his time; the prophets spoke in the tongue familiar to the men whom they addressed; and the New Testament was written in the language then current throughout the Roman world.  All the bibles, except in England, were in an ancient tongue and could be read only by the educated.  Usually, the common man heard it read by their Priest. 

§  Then Martin Luther  did not believe the living Word should be confined to a dead language.  He gave his countrymen the New Testament in 1522, and the Bible complete in 1534.  This was not without opposition.

§  As Jehoiakim, king of Judah, and the princes under King Zedekiah showed their contempt for God by burning the writings of Jeremiah, and confining the prophet in a dungeon (Jer. 36: 20-23; 38: 1-6,) so now men sought to stem the rising tide of reform by burning the Bible and its translators.

§  Bible burning was started in England by destroying copies of the Antwerp edition of Tyndale's New Testament in 1527, and again in 1530.   "If Luther will not retract" wrote Henry VIII of England, "let himself and his writings be committed to the flames."

§  The Bible had taken deep root with the people by now and the prelates and kings began to foster and supply.  Henry P. Warren's Stories from English History, pp 196, 197:  "Henry, by Cromwell's advice, ordered a translation of the Bible to be made in English, and a copy to be placed in every church.  Cromwell then appointed Cranmer and the bishops to revise the Bible and publish it without note or comment; and in the year 1539 a copy of the English Bible was chained to the reading desk in every parish church.

So, I believe, Samantha, in the devine origin of the Bible.  Since then, however, I believe that man has had ample opportunity to make their "changes".  Translations can be dangerous things.  Some languages have no corresponding word in other languages; most words have more than one meaning, and some words are just changed to our detriment.

I'm familiar with many of the writings that didn't make the cannon. Some of them seem like pretty logical choices to... be excluded, others not so much. Most of my life I was taught that we simply have to believe that God guided the canonization process, just as he guided the writings of the books of the Bible.

So back to the original question, refined further - do you think it's possible, at least, that God also inspired the writings of other scriptures? The Tao Te Ching is, in my humble opinion, one of the most beautiful pieces of religious works ever created. If that wasn't divinely inspired, why should we accept that a book full of war, celebrating the death of children and a cosmic wager on a mans life between God and Satan, to be divinely inspired?

And in a complete 180 -- (here comes the blasphemy ... run for your life!!) doesn't the crucifixion and resurrection seem a little self-serving? I mean, wouldn't YOU gladly climb onto a cross to be tortured if you knew 1) within hours you'd be hanging out in Paradise  2) the result would be the saving of mankind from eternal death  and 3) that 3 days later you'd be walking around alive and well again?

And to that point, why do we have crucifixes as iconography? If, for instance, I was walking across the street arm-in-arm with a couple children and a bus came hurdling toward me, and a stranger threw himself in front of me, died by being hit by the bus and saved our lives, I would eternally grateful, but I would not hang images of a bus around my house to remind me of his sacrifice, that's always seemed macabre to me.

I am not familiar with The Tao Te Ching (never heard of it, in fact), so I will take your word for it that it is at beautiful piece of religious works.  I know there are many more.   In fact, once during a meeting of The Northeast Georgia Writer's Club, one of our members gave an invocation that was the most beautiful prayer I have ever heard.  I can't tell you how touched I was by this; however beautiful though it was, I did not even begin to think it was "inspired".  As far as the other religions' holy books, let those religions rely on them.  There were many other religions and pagans during the time of Christ, too.  The Bible cautions us to be aware of other religions and false prophets throughout.  The Bible also gives us the best way to deal with the differences in human beings: 

"Judge not, that ye be not judged."  Matt. 7:1. 
Satan is "The accuser of our breatheren ---which accused them before our God day and night."  Rev. 12:10; and Then when we judge, accuse, or condemn one another, we are doing the work of Satan. 
Your question - do you think it's possible, at least, that God also inspired the writings of other scriptures?   Sure I do.  There were many found with the Dead Sea scrolls.  No telling how many others are out there.  But for me to personally accept them, they would be confirmed by the known Bible  (the two witnesses rule)    Example: The Quoran(sp) justifies honor killing—a --father/brother to uphold the family's honor can kill is wife or daughter! I just couldn't buy that.

For you to personally accept other scriptures they would be confirmed by the known Bible - could you elaborate on that? The known Bible, as canonized by politicians, distributed by Monarchs ... with the finger prints of man and politics and manipulation all over it?  As we've previously discussed, there are all kinds of problems with the Bible, beautiful and inspiring though it may be. We have to rely on our own minds and hearts to find truth, not just centuries of teachings and harmonizing passed on to us to people just as fallible as ourselves. 

You said "As far as the other religions' holy books, let those religions rely on them" and that's the heart of the problem! If it's truth we're after, not just warm tingly feelings and fitting in with our culture, then shouldn't we consider other religion's holy books as possibly true? We can't just dismiss them out of hand because we're from a Christian culture!

The Q'ran justifies honor killing and you couldn't buy that ... that's good! The Bible justified slaughtering an entire city so the Jews could take it over as the promised land (there were ALREADY PEOPLE LIVING THERE!)  With that example, the European conquest of America and slaughter of Native Americans was every bit as justified as our promised land. 

"The Bible cautions us to be aware of other religions and false prophets  ..." which again brings me right back to the start -- why are we just assuming the Bible is the true book? The Vedic scriptures (Hindu) encourage embracing everything, that God can be found everywhere. Why shouldn't that be true? The Tao Te Ching teaches that you can’t have something without it’s opposite. You can’t have good without evil, you can’t have up without down, everything must be balanced (seriously, I love this book. You should read it. Here’s a link to it, it’s a very short book, I’ve read it at least a dozen times and learn something new every time.)

The Old Testament teaches that if a man rapes a woman, he should marry her! I can't buy that. In Psalms, a book of PRAISE, not laws, one verse says "Happy is he [God] who shall seize your children and dash them against the rock" 

But wait, before you tell me Jesus told his followers to be more kind and loving than the law of Moses as prescribed - Jesus himself said he came not to bring peace, but a sword. And that every one who wants to follow him must hate his family. Further, in the parable of servants waiting for their master to return from a wedding Jesus says when the master returns and finds his servant drunk and haven beaten the other servants the master will "cut him to pieces" and that the servant who knows his masters will and will and does not do it will be "beaten with many blows."  So even if he is speaking in a parable it seems Jesus is saying that God is going to beat the living s*it out of me for disobeying him, and then he'll kill me and annihilate my soul. It also seems that Jesus is OK with owning slaves, as he never spoke out against it or even encouraged slave owners to be nicer to their slaves.

So in summary, the same reasons I rejected Islam is why I reject Christianity (and let's not forget they are members of the same religious family) -- my deep investigation of the Bible has led me to conclude :
1)    It’s full of contradictions
2)    Advocates at least as much awful as it does good
3)    Was shaped by the desire of man rather than God
4)    Is no better than many other world scriptures

In fact, I think I have a much stronger reason for not being a Christian than I do for not being a Muslim. I’ve never looked into Islam very much, I’ve just dismissed it for being crazy. I’m sure people who were not raised in a Christian household think that about Christianity.  (Really: if you hadn’t been raised Christian, wouldn’t it be weird to have people telling you that this guy died, went to hell and them came back to life, and so to honor that we eat his body and drink his blood? What the hell? Are we Vampires?)


  1. OMG - (Don't know which one!) My head hurts! Now, I've got to read some more. The Tao Te Ching; Roman history; the Bible (not necessarily in that order. I'll cover just a tiny bit here. Did we agree that the Bible was devinely inspired? First the translation(s)--we cannot trust that they are correct. The teachings of our Priest, Preachers, etc. should not be blindly accepted either. So, maybe we should trust ourselves to find the truth in the scriptures. I'm not a translater and would not even attempt that task; but if we're going to research foreign languages, we have to trust something to help us. A good concordance can go backward - English to Latin, Hebrew, and Greek. One word you question regards Jesus saying every one who wants to follow him must hate his family. The word "hate" translates backwards to "love less". I'll study more. You are soooo damn smart you scare me.

  2. I loved reading this conversation! Thanks for sharing! I'm starting to think this process of thinking runs in the family, but only the brave actually bring it up as a topic to talk about. I truly look up to you for being able to do so!

  3. A couple of thoughts...

    Not all Christians believe you are eating and drinking the actual body and blood of Jesus. Many (and I think most) believe it is done as a reminder.

    Slavery wasn't really an issue that Jesus intended to confront. His goal wasn't to set everyone free...and he didn't speak on every topic that could ever come up (as far as I know). Eliminating slavery, obviously, wasn't his goal. It is possible, however that the people who edited the Bible's books (as you discussed) took slavery out of any of his teachings to suit their needs.

    I enjoy reading about your thoughts, but if you're seeking the truth, you probably should discuss some of your thoughts with a pastor, and any other religious leader of a religion you feel is discredited by it's own source. I might be educated enough to counter some of your points, but some seem to be difficult to grasp, let alone argue against, depending on their education on history, and where they are in their religious you may need to discuss with someone who has a few more hours of studying in.

  4. Sorry Nick, I didn't realize you had commented until now.

    I am aware most Christians take communion in a symbolic nature and aren't actually ritual cannibalism. However, the fact that this is one of many differences in "the true religion" further illustrates my point that each and every person who claims to have "the truth" is considered "wrong" by someone else who believes they have "the truth." This issue alone cost thousands of people their lives during the reign of Mary Tudor. To deny the physical presence of Christ in the communion wafer was tantamount to blasphemy. It doesn't seem like a big deal to us now because people have fought it out long enough, and we've embraced pluralism enough within the Christian community to live and let live.

    I have spoken to religious leaders; both current and former pastors and community laiety. I continue to listen to podcasts and read books by both believers and unbelievers. I also study Therevada and Zen Buddhism with master practitioners and authors.

    Some of my favorite authors are "religionless Christians" who go to church, follow the teachings of Christ, love and honor the Bible, but harbor no illusions that doing so saves them from eternal damnation.

    The bottom line is this: when you push someone as to WHY they believe what they do, it is not because it is the reasonable choice, or because the evidence in support of this worldview is overwhelming, it is because it feels right to them and this feeling is reinforced by the fellowship of family and community. That is all well and good and I encourage everyone to continue with that, I just wish certain people would stop gleefully condemning people who disagree with them on issues large and small to hell.

    Science has shown us that no one (myself included, I labor under no delusions of my own intellect)comes to a question with a blank slate, analyzes the evidence and then makes a reasonable, rational conclusion. We approach the issue ALREADY knowing what we believe and look for evidence that supports it. We weight the evidence that supports our view greater than the evidence that contradicts it.