I've decided. Humans can't answer my issues with biblical stories.

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I've decided. Humans can't answer my issues with biblical stories.

Post by DeavonReye on Thu Sep 24, 2009 2:06 pm

In the Christian forum, someone asked a question wondering if I "believe there is a God". My response was this:

My issues aren't with "is there a God". There may very well be. However, IF it is the one spoken of in the Bible, specifically the old testament, then many things would have to be cleared up/understood before I would be able to "accept him". These are things that humans can't answer because they are only able to offer their own opinions on the subject. For me, and many others, this input is insufficient. It isn't a slam on the person who offers it, and I appreciate those who care enough to interact with me, but their good faith won't be able to fully address these concerns.


It is just the way things are. People have their own opinion and interpretation of the awful things that transpired in the pages of the Old Testament (though I mostly believe many of them to be myths or the Hebrews own ethnocentristic telling of "how God was on their side").

Opinions?
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Re: I've decided. Humans can't answer my issues with biblical stories.

Post by sacrificialgoddess on Thu Sep 24, 2009 2:12 pm

In then end,it boils down to you and your god. In the end, that is all you have.

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Re: I've decided. Humans can't answer my issues with biblical stories.

Post by gillyflower on Thu Sep 24, 2009 2:14 pm

If you just map it out, you'll see how Yahweh grew and changed over time, from a young Tribal War god who was a little rough around the edges to a more mature god. People (as well as gods) do and say things in their youth that they'd prefer was forgotten. Yahweh is no different, IMO.

One can often accept a person as a friend after they are grown up and have left off being an immature jerk. Retelling stories of how badly they once acted years before? How many times would you do that before they don't want to interact with you anymore?

My opinion is, if Yahweh talks to you, work it out with him directly. If he doesn't, then really why do you want to believe in or accept him? Do you want a god that doesn't interact with you?

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Re: I've decided. Humans can't answer my issues with biblical stories.

Post by DeavonReye on Thu Sep 24, 2009 2:35 pm

gillyflower wrote:If you just map it out, you'll see how Yahweh grew and changed over time, from a young Tribal War god who was a little rough around the edges to a more mature god. People (as well as gods) do and say things in their youth that they'd prefer was forgotten. Yahweh is no different, IMO.

One can often accept a person as a friend after they are grown up and have left off being an immature jerk. Retelling stories of how badly they once acted years before? How many times would you do that before they don't want to interact with you anymore?

My opinion is, if Yahweh talks to you, work it out with him directly. If he doesn't, then really why do you want to believe in or accept him? Do you want a god that doesn't interact with you?

Wow, . . . you are just profound all over this post, gilly!

The Biblical God hasn't interacted with me in any discernable way, . . . . so . . . I just need to find one that will. After being in a completely male dominated religion all my life (the god and the leadership), I'd rather find one that isn't.

Anyway, that was very profound about this once tribal god doing things that perhaps it wishes it hadn't done, and being reminded of such things couldn't be very pleasant. I know I would hate to be reminded of stupid things I once did all the time. Good thoughts.
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Re: I've decided. Humans can't answer my issues with biblical stories.

Post by DotNotInOz on Thu Sep 24, 2009 9:59 pm

Gilly's view is certainly one interpretation.

However, I'm more inclined to think that the Christian Bible's view of God changes as the spiritual sophistication of its writers evolved.

In short, what we see in its pages is the development of these writers' understanding of God which became more civilized, just, merciful and "loving Father" as their society became more so.

Not necessarily anybody "out there" that they were describing but an expression of their wish that somewhere there was Somebody smarter than they were. Kinda like people today in that regard, yanno?
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Re: I've decided. Humans can't answer my issues with biblical stories.

Post by TigersEyeDowsing on Thu Sep 24, 2009 10:01 pm

^ Yeah, what Dot said!

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Re: I've decided. Humans can't answer my issues with biblical stories.

Post by DotNotInOz on Thu Sep 24, 2009 10:35 pm

Thanks, TED, glad you think so.

Deavon, you might look into Gnosticism. There's some argument that when Paul mentions "the Christ" that what he meant was a Gnostic-type spiritual transformation overwhelming a person rather than an individual named Jesus the Christ. Thus, ANY person can become "the Christ" in this sense. All the stuff in the Bible about dying and being resurrected actually referred to "dying" in a materialistic self-absorbed sense and being "resurrected" or "reborn" into a new spiritual self.

Might be something to that view, I've long thought.
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Re: I've decided. Humans can't answer my issues with biblical stories.

Post by TigersEyeDowsing on Thu Sep 24, 2009 10:47 pm

That's the metaphysical interpretation, for sure.

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Re: I've decided. Humans can't answer my issues with biblical stories.

Post by gillyflower on Thu Sep 24, 2009 10:48 pm

I'm sorry, I don't think that I understand what you said. Could you rephrase it?

I do think that some people have a personal relationship with their gods, including the Christian god Yahweh. Do you think that's just wishful thinking on their part? A hope there is someone smarter "out there" than they are?

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Re: I've decided. Humans can't answer my issues with biblical stories.

Post by gillyflower on Thu Sep 24, 2009 10:52 pm

Ah, I see. Several more posts popped up while I was writing. I think that the resurrection was a later addition. I'm of the Book of Q, where Jesus was a talented teacher and a mortal man. The other part of it, the resurrection and was a direct rip off of the Attis myth which was was beloved by the Romans. The Christians just took it over.

It's a very familiar vegetation god theme, you know.

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Re: I've decided. Humans can't answer my issues with biblical stories.

Post by DotNotInOz on Thu Sep 24, 2009 11:08 pm

Yeah, the born-of-virgin/executed/resurrected deity theme wasn't the least bit new or original at the time when the Jesus mythology was composed.

Not that I think their work is necessarily reliable, but Freke and Gandy's The Jesus Mysteries and Jesus and the Lost Goddess are both interesting for the ways they explain how various far older myths contributed elements to the story of Jesus.

I'm always amused when Christians claim that the story of Jesus is original. Not by a longshot it's not, as anyone who's studied much mythology knows.

There's some merit as well, I think, to the belief that the miracle stories and parables of Jesus were encoded stories which superficially could be used to entertain and instruct the uninitiated but would have been understood on a far deeper level by mystery school initiates. David Fideler presents a really intriguing analysis along these lines of the story of the loaves and fishes in his book, Jesus Christ Sun of God. And that's not a typo, it is "Sun," suggesting that these stories are remnants of the literature of solar mystery cult. Pretty dense reading but fascinating, I thought.
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Re: I've decided. Humans can't answer my issues with biblical stories.

Post by gillyflower on Thu Sep 24, 2009 11:16 pm

I'll have to look at those books, thanks. It's interesting to look at Christianity as an attempt by some Jews to get back to having a pantheon.

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Re: I've decided. Humans can't answer my issues with biblical stories.

Post by TigersEyeDowsing on Fri Sep 25, 2009 7:31 am

gillyflower wrote:I'm sorry, I don't think that I understand what you said. Could you rephrase it?

I do think that some people have a personal relationship with their gods, including the Christian god Yahweh. Do you think that's just wishful thinking on their part? A hope there is someone smarter "out there" than they are?

I know we've derailed slightly but, going back to this question, do you think the majority of Christians have a relationship with Yahweh? What about the majority of bible authors?

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Re: I've decided. Humans can't answer my issues with biblical stories.

Post by TigersEyeDowsing on Fri Sep 25, 2009 7:39 am

DotNotInOz wrote:Thanks, TED, glad you think so.

Deavon, you might look into Gnosticism. There's some argument that when Paul mentions "the Christ" that what he meant was a Gnostic-type spiritual transformation overwhelming a person rather than an individual named Jesus the Christ. Thus, ANY person can become "the Christ" in this sense. All the stuff in the Bible about dying and being resurrected actually referred to "dying" in a materialistic self-absorbed sense and being "resurrected" or "reborn" into a new spiritual self.

Might be something to that view, I've long thought.

Gnosticism is interesting for sure; we sell the Gnostic Bible (and the Other Bible) at our church. Gnostic mysticism was the forerunner, I suppose, to the other forms of Christian mysticism. The way we diverge painfully from Gnosticism in my faith is that it's highly dualisic; Hans Jonas said "The cardinal feature of gnostic thought is the radical dualism that governs the relation of God and world, and correspondingly that of man and world." In Pantheistic (and Panentheistic) mysticism we have that duality is an illusion because evil is not real, only God the Good is, and the darkness is an illusion that has to be cast aside like dark sunglasses. So naturally, Pantheistic mysticism of New Thought (All That is is Good and Very Good, "There is but one power, God the Good, omnipotent!") is highly optimisic compared to what might be considered the "realistic" Gnosticism. Fun days, fun stuff.

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Re: I've decided. Humans can't answer my issues with biblical stories.

Post by gillyflower on Fri Sep 25, 2009 8:19 am

I think that the OT is a history of the Hebrew people and a chronicle of their tribe's relationship to their god. "The relationship with god is also a kinship relationship: anybody outside the kinship structure (anybody who isn't a descendant of Abraham) is not included in the special relationship with God."

Jewish Virtual Library - which is fascinating reading by the way http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/History/hebpat.html

In it, people who had historical importance interacted with their god. The leaders, or those people who were going to become leaders, had interaction but Yahweh chose to speak, in many myths, to people who presented his directions to the rest of them, as in Moses and Noah and Lot. This is true of of myths in general, as for example in the Greek myths. That's oral history for you. In myths, the gods talk to the people they favor.

Skip to the NT. I can't remember any direct interaction with Yahweh by anyone but it is about the creation of new gods, Satan and Jesus. It presents the idea that Yahweh is distant and unknowable, therefore Jesus is needed as an interface/intermediary god. Satan is created as the trickster god, the reason they need Jesus. The relationship of kinship with Yahweh, as a tribal god, is dropped.

In answer to your question, I think a good many (the majority although there is no way to prove it) people have sat in church and felt warmth, and taken that to be contact with their god. They pray to him and enough good things have happened in their lives that they believe he is looking out for them. That's their relationship and it is enough for them. I think we have had posters on the old site claim a more personal relationship with Jesus or Yahweh, but there is no denying that this is not encouraged, at least in the churches I attended.

TED, I don't understand the way you use "majority" in your question. Having a majority without a personal relationship with their god doesn't negate the people who do. It just means that the god, for his own reasons, chooses who he wishes to have a personal relationship with. I've said many times, why follow a god who won't speak to you? Well, some people are more comfortable with god(s) that don't. On the other hand, just because he or she doesn't speak to me, doesn't mean that he or she won't speak to anyone else.

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Re: I've decided. Humans can't answer my issues with biblical stories.

Post by gillyflower on Fri Sep 25, 2009 8:28 am

Oh, dear, I realize that I come at the question as a person who is convinced that she has had contact with the god (and others), therefore it is possible for other people. Other people, who are just as convinced that they have never had any contact with that god or any other, may believe that such things are impossible for other people.

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Re: I've decided. Humans can't answer my issues with biblical stories.

Post by TigersEyeDowsing on Fri Sep 25, 2009 9:05 am

I was asking because I know that you believe in personal contact with deities; I was curious given the convo whether you felt the bible was "inspired" (if you will) by people who had contact with Yahweh or whether it was people 'talking out their ass'. The bible is full of lovely things and full of (imo) utter horseshit, and I have the opinion that people were writing the horseshit trying their best to explain the universe, the world and deity given what little they knew, but without direct input from their god.

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Re: I've decided. Humans can't answer my issues with biblical stories.

Post by gillyflower on Fri Sep 25, 2009 9:21 am

Ah! I don't think that the bible is "inspired" as they mean today - meaning that Yahweh directed every word that went into it. I see the bible as an oral history and a collections of myths about important events for the tribe and myths about the interaction individuals had with Yahweh. Just like the Greek myths. I take it all with a grain of salt, could have happened like that, could have happened a little like that, or someone told a good story that everyone liked but had no basis in fact. The object of myth is to teach culturally or religiously important lessons, IMO.

I take it case by case. Some of the bible is (IMO) just tribal laws and history and attempts by one group (old white males if you please) to gain or justify killing and enslaving and raping and keeping themselves in power and women or other people out of it. But I am perfectly willing to believe that some people believed that they did interact with their god whether or not that was adequately described. I don't think that I could adequately describe to another person the contacts I feel that I have had.

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Re: I've decided. Humans can't answer my issues with biblical stories.

Post by TigersEyeDowsing on Fri Sep 25, 2009 9:35 am

That's the answer to the question I was getting at! I'm a little (a lot) out of it this week so you'll have to pardon if things don't come out like they're supposed to.

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Re: I've decided. Humans can't answer my issues with biblical stories.

Post by DeavonReye on Fri Sep 25, 2009 10:39 am

Feel free to continue "hyjacking" this thread. Good stuff being presented here. Lots to take in.

I, too, believe that the bible isn't "inspired" as the fundamentalist thinks, but that it was the writings of a primative culture trying to understand the world, imposing their laws, wanting to gain land, to conquer, . . . and what better way then to believe that "the one true God" is for them, guiding them, . . . . . and what better way to get your people to do what you want then to say that "God wants us to occupy that land and kill all the people therein".

As for the "personal relationship", . . . I don't have any contact with any deity. I would really like to, but it hasn't happened. Just not worthy enough, I guess. But the Christians I know would say that you must have a personal relationship with Jesus, or you're not a true Christian. I think I'm becoming okay with that now.

I had never heard of the "other savior deity" stories until just recently. . . when I started looking for myself to find out where I stand spiritually. These things are never [pardon the absolute] taught in churches, . . . but DO try to point to Jesus as something out of the ordinary. But, it seems like there WERE these other "savior deities" that existed [the stories, that is] well before Christianity. The only "response" I have heard about it is either "those accounts are faulty", or "Satan knew what the Son of God was going to do and artificially created other myths to trip people up".

My past research has had it's bitterness, though. Realizing that I was mistaken for the majority of my life isn't an easy pill to swallow.
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Re: I've decided. Humans can't answer my issues with biblical stories.

Post by TPaine on Fri Sep 25, 2009 1:21 pm

Thomas Paine put it as follows in The Age of Reason. I don't know if this clears things up or just makes them murkier.
"As it is necessary to affix right ideas to words, I will, before I proceed further into the subject, offer some observations on the word 'revelation.' Revelation when applied to religion, means something communicated immediately from God to man.

No one will deny or dispute the power of the Almighty to make such a communication if he pleases. But admitting, for the sake of a case, that something has been revealed to a certain person, and not revealed to any other person, it is revelation to that person only. When he tells it to a second person, a second to a third, a third to a fourth, and so on, it ceases to be a revelation to all those persons. It is revelation to the first person only, and hearsay to every other, and, consequently, they are not obliged to believe it.

It is a contradiction in terms and ideas to call anything a revelation that comes to us at second hand, either verbally or in writing. Revelation is necessarily limited to the first communication. After this, it is only an account of something which that person says was a revelation made to him; and though he may find himself obliged to believe it, it cannot be incumbent on me to believe it in the same manner, for it was not a revelation made to me, and I have only his word for it that it was made to him."
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Re: I've decided. Humans can't answer my issues with biblical stories.

Post by MaineCaptain on Fri Sep 25, 2009 3:11 pm

Deavon, please do not think of yourself as having been mistaken for the better part of your life. Life to me is a learning experience. That was part of your learning.

And you never know, it may one day all make sense. Perhaps you will one day actually meet a different god(s) altogether, and your previous teachings/learning will make sense in some way. I do not know, but please don't considerate a waste. Life experience is never a waste.

Other wise I am truly doomed.

I do not think any of us need saving, but we all need love. And although many will tell you the gods are not always love and sunshine I believe our own gods do want the best for us.

Many here did not have a god approach until they were well away from Christianity. Perhaps when you can look at your past religion as a lesson or experience your god(s) will approach you.

I hope you find what you seek. But please don't feel bitter.

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Re: I've decided. Humans can't answer my issues with biblical stories.

Post by DeavonReye on Fri Sep 25, 2009 4:19 pm

Okie dokie, Maine! Thanks for the kind words.
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Re: I've decided. Humans can't answer my issues with biblical stories.

Post by MaineCaptain on Fri Sep 25, 2009 4:26 pm

DeavonReye wrote:Okie dokie, Maine! Thanks for the kind words.

Alright I admit it, that post only just barely made sense. But at least you got the nice out of it

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Re: I've decided. Humans can't answer my issues with biblical stories.

Post by Sakhaiva on Fri Sep 25, 2009 4:52 pm

MaineCaptain wrote:Deavon, please do not think of yourself as having been mistaken for the better part of your life. Life to me is a learning experience. That was part of your learning......Life experience is never a waste.



I have to agree, fully, with this MC... life experience is seldom a waste, and sometimes we go full circle.

(As of late, my full circles seem to be more like: )


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