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For Rize - the evidence

Discussion in 'Creation & Evolution' started by Jerry Smith, Jan 18, 2003.

  1. Jerry Smith

    Jerry Smith Fish out of water

    +9
    So, I might say "In the days of Troy, a trojan horse was used, and I expect that another one will be used in the conflict between ourselves and Islandia. I do not trust their offer of peace."

    I would still not be saying that I thought the Trojan horse story was literally true.
     
  2. RufusAtticus

    RufusAtticus PopGen Grad Student

    +9
    You've fallen into the typical fundamentalist/literalist/bible idolater trap that is the foremost cause of atheists. "If our interpretation is wrong, then Christianity is pointless." It is a scare tactic used to keep the people in the pews from thinking. Linking any biblical interpretation to salvation borders on blasphemy. The trick for you is to stop living in the narrowness of your church and look at how other christians view scripture. Most mainstream denominations see no conflict between the spiritual realm and the natural realm. Look at the major Christian universities, Baylor, Emory, Duke, etc. They all teach evolutionary biology and are home to some of foremost scientists in the field.

    Because the spiritual lessons still exist. Does the lesson in the story of the grasshoper and the ant not exist if it wasn't history? Is the parable of the good samaratin worthless, unless it is historical?

    One thing you have to realize about ancient literature is that history is not the exact study that it is today. It was perfectly natural for ancient historians to embelish tales and even make things up. The writers of the Bible were no different. There is no place where it stops being legend and becomes history. Legend and history are intertwined. That is why bible idolatry is such an intellectual problem.
     
  3. Rize

    Rize Well-Known Member

    +13
    Atheist
    US-Libertarian
    Foremost cause of atheists?  That's a bold statement.  What about agnostics, new-agers or other religions?  Does someone who turns from the Bible have to be an atheist?

    If the Bible (at least the OT) is not "scripture" that "cannot be broken" as Jesus said, then how do we determine what in the Bible can be trusted?  I suppose it's all good until scientists come up with something new.  Then will clip a little more out of the Bible... 

    As for mainstream denominations, if I could be stuck into one denomination or another, it would be Pentecostal, and I can assure you that they believe in a literal creation. 

    Here's a good question for you.  If Christianity is real and Evolution is real, why didn't God put evolution clearly in the Bible?  Why cause so much confusion if we really did evolve?  Why write about a flood in "ambiguous" terms if it wasn't actually global?  Why have Peter refer to it in a very global context?  Why wouldn't the Bible be more clear if you two are right?

    No one is obligated to follow my interpretation of the Bible any more than I am obligated to follow theirs. 

    The problem is the stories are presented as history.  Not once in the Bible is their even the slightest hint that these stories (especially the flood) should be taken as anything but history.

    A great theory unless you believe that the scripture is "God breathed" and "unbreakable".  Did God breathe incorrect information?  What is the point of scripture being unbreakable if it contains errors?

    I'm the Christian here.  I'll decide how to interpret my own Bible.  You guys can play scientist some more.
     
  4. kaotic

    kaotic Learn physics

    +3
    Agnostic
    US-Democrat
    .
     
  5. Oliver

    Oliver Senior Member

    639
    +19
    Agnostic
    Married
    Because God wants us to focus on the moral issues rather than the technical details, and because one should not have to be a scientist to understand the message of Scripture, maybe?

    Do you understand what is implied by your question? You're more or less implying that God SHOULD give us all details about His creation. But then, the Bible would not be equally accessible to all. You'd have to be a scientist to understand it. Do you think it is the real purpose of Scripture, to be read (or understood) only by a few who would lecture the masses? Of course not.

    Then why do you expect the Bible to give details about Evolution, or Quantum mechanics, or anything scientific for that matter? Isn't it wiser for a spiritual guide to give details only as much as is needed to deliver the spiritual message, or even to use metaphor when going into too much details could detract the reader from the real message?

     

    There's another aspect to consider here. What do you think is more enriching for humans: to read Pythagoras' (is it his English name?) theorem in the Bible and "blindly" applying it without trying to discover new theorems, or to discover it by ourselves? To learn about Creation in the Bible and never really look at it, or to look directly at Creation and learn from trying to unveil its mysteries while following (for Christians) the teachings of the Bible?

    Do you think God's teachings only come from the Bible, or do you think he can dispense some of it through our personal and common experience? If you agree with the latter, then what makes you think that Science is not such an experience?

     

    I think there is a lot to learn about ourselves in scientific inquiry, which cannot be taught to us, and we shouldn't look only in the Bible (or any other religious book) whenever we seek an answer.

    (The funny thing is, this could even be taught in the Bible: wasn't Adam's sin to try and eat the fruit from the tree of knowledge, which could be interpreted as trying to have the knowledge without looking for it himself? But that's a very personal interpretation, and quite off-topic...)

     

    The real question here is (IMHO): what is the real information? What is the real intent of the Bible? To give us every detail of the Creation, or to give us moral guidelines and teach us what we owe God?

    Are those errors, or only necessary simplifications, or even mysteries laid here for us to unveil?


    The Christian?
     
  6. Jerry Smith

    Jerry Smith Fish out of water

    +9
    What if the Bible (including the OT) is "scripture" that "cannot be broken", as Jesus said, but is not "literal scientific fact about natural history" (which Jesus did not say)?


    Ok, let's just pretend for a moment that you and I discovered that the Pentecostals were wrong (without any doubt) about the literal 6-day creation. Now, you apparently like their views on core Christian doctrine, right? In this hypothetical situation, you know they are wrong about this one doctrine (literal 6-day special creation). Now, would you:
    1) Pretend they were right anyway, because you like their other doctrines?
    2) Change your mind about all their doctrines because you found out they were wrong about this one?
    3) Discuss the issue with other Pentacostals, so that they could have an opportunity to correct this one small flaw in their beliefs?

    For the same reason He didn't include information about the gaseous atmosphere, spherical earth, large and distant stars, relativistic physics, etc., etc.


    "Ambiguous" means it is difficult to tell which interpretation is right. Someone who held to the local flood idea might just as well why the flood was written about in "ambiguous" terms if it wasn't actually local. The question doesn't really make sense.

    Pretend an atheist came here and claimed that the Bible was wrong about the flood: that the Bible definitely talks about a global flood, and since there obviously wasn't one, the Bible must be full of errors and holes. Pretend that he was saying the flood had to be global, in the same way you were. Pretend that someone like Smilin' pointed out to him that the Bible can be interpreted to show a local flood. Pretend he asked exactly the same question you just asked: "If it was a local flood, why wouldn't the Bible be more clear about that? There is a lot that seems to indicate a global Flood. Why would God create so much confusion?" Do you know how someone who believed in a local flood and in the inerrancy of the Bible would answer him? Here's how:

    "God doesn't need your opinion on how He should write the Bible. God's ways are so much higher than man's ways, that you will never be able to understand why God does something this way instead of that way. The Bible doesn't lie, because God doesn't lie. He had a good reason for everything He put in the Bible, but that doesn't mean it will be obvious to you or me. Since we know that a global flood didn't happen, you must be interpeting the Bible wrong, probably because you don't have the Holy Spirit to guide you."

    What do you do when atheists point out that the simplest interpretation of the Bible makes it look like the Bible teaches a flat earth? If God was required to write the Bible the way you wanted Him to (not only free of error, but free of the appearance of error), then why are there loads and loads of "contradictions" in the Bible, where you have to interpret much of what is said in ways that do not seem to go with the "plain text" meaning? For instance, in 1 Chronicles 21:1, the Bible says "And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel." In 2 Samuel 24:1, the Bible says, "And again the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he moved David against them to say, Go, number Israel and Judah." - After these two passages, the very same event is described, with just a few other minor differences (like the reported results of the census, for instance). It is very clear that the Bible is referring to the same event here. Obviously, for both accounts to be correct, one must apply a very non-standard interpretation to at least one of them. (Many Christian apologists say that God incited the census by allowing Satan to tempt David in this way.)

    Now, I'm going to ask you a question, and when you answer it, the same answer should apply equally well to your question about why God wasn't more clear about the flood. If the passages really mean the same thing (like that God incited the census by allowing Satan to tempt David to perform it, knowing that David would yield to that temptation) why don't they both just come out and say so? Why leave such a confusing message in the Bible?

    I'd like you to answer a question from my previous post. Which, in your opinion is most likely:
    1) That the evidence is wrong, and/or most every science is wrong about it.
    2) That the Bible is wrong or
    3) That you are interpeting the Bible wrongly?

    How do you answer that question, and why?

    I'll be back tonight or tomorrow night with a post or two about the genetic evidence - much stronger stuff than the fossil evidence, and enough to make the case open and shut for the common ancestry of humans and the great apes.

    In the meantime, could you post the passage you are asking about where Peter refers to a global flood?
     
  7. RufusAtticus

    RufusAtticus PopGen Grad Student

    +9
    Yes my statement should not have been isolated to atheists. But in my experience with freethinkers who used to be die-hard Christians the majority of them lost their faith because it was tied to Biblical literalism. When they learned about the world and learned that the Biblical interpretation they'd be taught was wrong, they chucked the entire thing.

    Are you sure that when Jesus said "cannot be broken" he meant "literal, historical, scientific fact?" Look again a John 10. Jesus is speaking to ultra-religious Jews who are ready to stone Him for blasphemy. He points out their hypocricy by showing that the scripture that they hold most dear makes the same statements.

    Scientists don't do anything to the Bible.

    Are you so sure? My wife's family is pentecostal and they have sunday school discusions about how the importance of creation is spiritual and not factual.

    Because the ancient Hebrews wrote the O.T. not God, and they didn't understand such things.

    But the evidence says something different. Yes ancient Hebrews might have thought that it was History. But so what? They also thought that demons caused disease, the earth was the center of the universe, that holding a striped rod will make spotted cows, that rabbits chew their cud, that bats were birds etc. Is the importance of the Flood tale, historical or spiritual?

    That is for you to figure out on your quest. If the data conflicts with interpretation, toss out the interpretation and make a new one. Ignoring the data simply makes the foundation of your interpretation weak.

    I leave you with the words of Saint Augustine.

    • Usually, even a non-Christian knows something about the earth, the heavens, and the other elements of this world, about the motion and orbit of the stars and even their size and relative positions, about the predictable eclipses of the sun and moon, the cycles of the years and the seasons, about the kinds of animals, shrubs, stones, and so forth, and this knowledge he holds to as being certain from reason and experience. Now, it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking nonsense on these topics; and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn. The shame is not so much that an ignorant individual is derided, but that people outside the household of faith think our sacred writers held such opinions, and, to the great loss of those for whose salvation we toil, the writers of our Scripture are criticized and rejected as unlearned men. If they find a Christian mistaken in a field which they themselves know well and hear him maintaining his foolish opinions about our books, how are they going to believe those books in matters concerning the resurrection of the dead, the hope of eternal life, and the kingdom of heaven, when they think their pages are full of falsehoods on facts which they themselves have learned from experience and the light of reason?
     
  8. webboffin

    webboffin NOT APPLICABLE

    +2
    It's okay to question, the danger is accepting the answer.
     
  9. Jerry Smith

    Jerry Smith Fish out of water

    +9
    If you are not prepared to accept the answer, then it wasn't really an honest question, was it?
     
  10. lucaspa

    lucaspa Legend

    +373
    Methodist
    Private
    Because claims are not connected.  That Peter accepts the common knowledge of his day about the historicity of Adam has no effect on his theology.  In a way, Peter was not "wrong", anymore than Newton was "wrong" about gravity.  Both were simply working with the best knowledge they had at the time.  Now, if Peter had known a world-wide Flood was myth and stated it as fact anyway, then yes, he would have been guilty of speaking a lie.  But as it is his integrity is intact. Same applies to Jesus.

    The stories switch to poetic when you have extrabiblical evidence to tell you so. God's Word cannot contradict God's Creation.  God can't contradict God.  Now, God's Creation can contradict your interpretation of God's Word, but then it's your interpretation that is at fault.  For instance, the beginning of Luke switched to poetic at "all the world was taxed" when evidence arrived of a world beyond the Roman Empire.  The phrase "all the world was flooded" became poetic when the data arrived that the Flood could not have been world-wide.

    The question you have to ask is whether the loss of literal history has any effect on the theological message.  Let's take this out of religion for a bit.  Shakespeare's Macbeth  is in no way accurate Scottish history.  It's all fake.  Yet Macbeth tells us truths about human nature -- greed, lust for power, corruption, etc.  Are those truths any less true because they are set in a false history?
     
  11. lucaspa

    lucaspa Legend

    +373
    Methodist
    Private
    How is that a danger? How can accepting truth ever be wrong?
     
  12. lucaspa

    lucaspa Legend

    +373
    Methodist
    Private
    Originally posted by Rize Foremost cause of atheists?  That's a bold statement.  What about agnostics, new-agers or other religions?  Does someone who turns from the Bible have to be an atheist?

    Let me rephrase Rufus' position, please.  Biblical literalism is the foremost cause of atheism.  Because it is the only form of Christianity that can be falsified by science.  Thus you present  people with the choice of with either rejecting Christianity or rejecting what their own senses tell them through science.  People will choose the evidence of their own senses every time.   

    If the Bible (at least the OT) is not "scripture" that "cannot be broken" as Jesus said, then how do we determine what in the Bible can be trusted?  I suppose it's all good until scientists come up with something new.  Then will clip a little more out of the Bible... 

    1. You've already broken most of the Pentateuch because you've rejected the Law. 

    2. Again, do you keep the theology of the OT -- one God, Exodus, covenent -- as set out in the Pentateuch?  Then you are not breaking the scripture, are you?

    Here's a good question for you.  If Christianity is real and Evolution is real, why didn't God put evolution clearly in the Bible?  Why cause so much confusion if we really did evolve?  Why write about a flood in "ambiguous" terms if it wasn't actually global?  Why have Peter refer to it in a very global context?  Why wouldn't the Bible be more clear if you two are right?

    Because God left His Book of Creation for us to figure it out later. The Bible is meant to be a theological document.  It tells you the who and the why of creation. God left us the Book of Creation to tell us the how.  C'mon, Rize, do you really think God could have spoken of hundreds of millions of years, genes, alleles, natural selection, genetic drift, and all the rest so that the people of the time could understand?  When your 3 year old asks you how the TV works, do you go into electrons, fluorescence, radio waves, etc, or do you give a simplified answer even if it is not technically correct?

    No one is obligated to follow my interpretation of the Bible any more than I am obligated to follow theirs. 

    Really? Then why are you pushing it here? Why are creationists pushing their interpretation into public schools? 

    The problem is the stories are presented as history.  Not once in the Bible is their even the slightest hint that these stories (especially the flood) should be taken as anything but history.

    They are presented as songs to be sung.  Go to any synagogue on Saturday morning and you'll hear the cantor singing the Pentateuch. Why do you think "and it was morning and evening" is there in Genesis 1? To provide the correct meter for the poetry!

    Or take the names Adam and Eve.  Dirt and Hearth?  That isn't a big hint you are dealing with allegory? 


    Did God breathe incorrect information? 

    Possibly. Ezekiel 20:25 says He gave people incorrect information.

    I'm the Christian here.  I'll decide how to interpret my own Bible. 

    Then why is it that most Christians don't interpret as you do?  Why don't you pay more attention to your fellow Christians?

    One of the problems of Biblical literalists is the pride you display here.  You are essentially setting yourself up as above God because you insist your interpretation is the only correct one.  How dare you?
     
  13. Rize

    Rize Well-Known Member

    +13
    Atheist
    US-Libertarian
    "That is for you to figure out on your quest. If the data conflicts with interpretation, toss out the interpretation and make a new one. Ignoring the data simply makes the foundation of your interpretation weak."

    I have figured it out.  That is why I reject your liberal views of the Bible.

     
     
  14. RufusAtticus

    RufusAtticus PopGen Grad Student

    +9
    So you've rejected this atheist's interpretion of scripture. Good. Now what about some of the views offered by the United Methodist Church, Presbyterian Church (USA), etc? Have you looked at them?
     
  15. Rize

    Rize Well-Known Member

    +13
    Atheist
    US-Libertarian
    I'm not a member of their churches am I?  Why is that?  Perhaps it's because I do not agree with their theology.

    In honesty, no church agrees with my theology (none that I've found anyway).  I'm home to a few rogue doctrine's that aren't mainstream (my views on hell for example).  I could care less what other theologians think if they cannot demonstrate to me that it is based in scripture.

    I imagine myself as having to defend things before God.  If God were to ask me, why do you believe this?  I would be able to explain it to Him.  I could not currently explain to Him why I believe (I don't) in evolution so I'm not going to believe in it. 
     
  16. Jerry Smith

    Jerry Smith Fish out of water

    +9
    Rize, I hope you saw post #86 in this thread.

    I think before long you will feel comfortable in being able to explain to God why you believed in evolution, and therefore will have lost your impetus to refrain from believing in it.
     
  17. Rize

    Rize Well-Known Member

    +13
    Atheist
    US-Libertarian
    There is more than what is written in the Bible which prevents me from believing in evolution (and no I don't mean AiG).
     
  18. Jerry Smith

    Jerry Smith Fish out of water

    +9
    We will probably talk about those reasons.
     
  19. Rize

    Rize Well-Known Member

    +13
    Atheist
    US-Libertarian
     

    That is fine except when information is given in a historical context where it must be literal scientific fact.

     

    I already disagree with doctrine's in the pentecostal church (most notably the nature of hell).

     

    Ah yes, but he didn't include a complex and false narrative about the nature of these things did He?

     

    The reason I put "ambiguous" in quotes is because it is not ambiguous.  The terms are crystal clear to me.  The Bible describes a global flood.

     

    And the atheist would jeer (hmm, I'll have to remember that word for Scrabble) at the Christian for ignoring a "clear" error in the Bible. 

    If I have no basis for making decisions about what the Bible says, why should I read it?  I certainly could be wrong, but no one has yet demonstrated to me how that can be.

     

    When atheists point out the "flat earth" thing, I find the scripture that talks about the "circle" of the earth.  And I also point out that when God "stopped the Sun" in the book of Joshua, the moon stopped also (which is perfectly natural considering God probably stopped the earth's rotation in reality).

    As for the clarity of what scripture is saying, you have a point.  However, even the most liberal interpretation of scripture you might convince me to accept is still very far from the current evolutionary paradigm of history.



    Most people would choose (2) it seems.  Naturally, I'm restricted to a choice between (1) and (3).  Since I'm not a scientist, the choice between (1) and (3) cannot be reliably made by me.  So now what?  Since I'm a better Biblical interpretter than scientist in my estimation, I'll trust my interpretation of the Bible when I believe that it is well researched and thought out.  When it's not, I'll leave the option of an incorrect interpretation open.

     

    You'll never make an open and shut case for everyone.

    Peter addresses the flood in both of his epistles.  Chapter 3 in both cases if I'm not mistaken.  Try searching at http://www.biblegateway.com

     
     
  20. Jerry Smith

    Jerry Smith Fish out of water

    +9
    I use http://www.blueletterbible.org . It has links to on-line Hebrew and Greek and a concordance. It also has various translations available and a search engine.
     
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