Where the Bible makes no sense at all

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Re: Where the Bible makes no sense at all

Post by gillyflower on Wed Dec 30, 2009 2:37 pm

I disagree. Literal belief in bible myths is necessary for your sect of Christianity. It isn't necessary for mainstream Christianity, if the Presbyterians and Methodists are anything to go by.

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Re: Where the Bible makes no sense at all

Post by gillyflower on Wed Dec 30, 2009 2:50 pm

Everyone here knows the story about the Good Samaritan (or the Good Neighbor) that Jesus told in the bible, right? Is it more important that the story be true in every detail and really happened just that way to Jesus?

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Re: Where the Bible makes no sense at all

Post by TigersEyeDowsing on Wed Dec 30, 2009 2:55 pm

jumbojava wrote:I dug deeper, Dave.

And the bible became to me a collection of myths and legends of deities, heros and villians.

But the message was still clear through that collision of myths and facts:

The Divine loves us all.

And that message to me is the only one that matters.

I'm diggin' it.

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Re: Where the Bible makes no sense at all

Post by DotNotInOz on Wed Dec 30, 2009 3:44 pm

The crux of this issue centers around the determination that the Earth is only 6000 years old, a figure established by 17th century Bishop James Ussher by means of totaling the ages of the OT patriarchs. Thus, Adam's 930 years (Genesis 5:3-5) are added to those of the other patriarchs with some crosschecking by means of references to other events mentioned in the Bible so as to arrive at 6000 years, now the total.

In short, this figure signifies belief that the extraordinarily long lifespans reported for these men were literally how long they lived and presupposes that the figures are actual instead of mythical, intended to give an uber-human aura to the patriarchs. The Bible...inerrant in every sense. Thus, such elaborate justifications become necessary to explain why science demonstrates the Earth to be billions of years old.

I'm frankly baffled how any educated person today can give credence for a moment to such a convoluted justification as this one Dave offered. Occam's Razor, anyone?
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Re: Where the Bible makes no sense at all

Post by Davelaw on Wed Dec 30, 2009 3:56 pm

DeavonReye wrote:That's a slippery slope. Some may "dig deeper" and find new faith. Others may "dig deeper" and discover new horrors and reasons to fall away further [as in my case].

true enough
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Re: Where the Bible makes no sense at all

Post by Davelaw on Wed Dec 30, 2009 3:57 pm

DotNotInOz wrote:The crux of this issue centers around the determination that the Earth is only 6000 years old, a figure established by 17th century Bishop James Ussher by means of totaling the ages of the OT patriarchs. Thus, Adam's 930 years (Genesis 5:3-5) are added to those of the other patriarchs with some crosschecking by means of references to other events mentioned in the Bible so as to arrive at 6000 years, now the total.

In short, this figure signifies belief that the extraordinarily long lifespans reported for these men were literally how long they lived and presupposes that the figures are actual instead of mythical, intended to give an uber-human aura to the patriarchs. The Bible...inerrant in every sense. Thus, such elaborate justifications become necessary to explain why science demonstrates the Earth to be billions of years old.

I'm frankly baffled how any educated person today can give credence for a moment to such a convoluted justification as this one Dave offered. Occam's Razor, anyone?

so now we apply Occam's Razor to matters that are strictly taken on faith?
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Re: Where the Bible makes no sense at all

Post by Davelaw on Wed Dec 30, 2009 4:01 pm

Besides thats a rabbit trail off the main point which is that the chronology of scripture and recorded human history roughly track each other (with apologies to the not mentioned Harrapan civilization). Egyptian and Mespotamian society both featuring prominently in the Books of Moses.
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Re: Where the Bible makes no sense at all

Post by Davelaw on Wed Dec 30, 2009 4:04 pm

gillyflower wrote:I disagree. Literal belief in bible myths is necessary for your sect of Christianity. It isn't necessary for mainstream Christianity, if the Presbyterians and Methodists are anything to go by.

You must not be aware that a bunch of Presbyterians and Methodists are also literalists.
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Re: Where the Bible makes no sense at all

Post by Davelaw on Wed Dec 30, 2009 4:08 pm

gillyflower wrote:Everyone here knows the story about the Good Samaritan (or the Good Neighbor) that Jesus told in the bible, right? Is it more important that the story be true in every detail and really happened just that way to Jesus?


that was not presented as a true story in contrast to the story of "Rich man and Lazarus" which was: nevertheless your point is well taken

on the other hand one could argue that the underlying prmise that Jews and Samaritans hated each other had to be at the very least a well understood meme for the story to work
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Re: Where the Bible makes no sense at all

Post by DotNotInOz on Wed Dec 30, 2009 5:12 pm

Davelaw wrote:Besides thats a rabbit trail off the main point which is that the chronology of scripture and recorded human history roughly track each other (with apologies to the not mentioned Harrapan civilization). Egyptian and Mespotamian society both featuring prominently in the Books of Moses.

I don't see in the least how it's a rabbit trail off the main point when your whole contention is that a historical past billions of years old was put in place at the point of creation of the Earth. You yourself offered the 6000 year figure, so it's quite relevant. I merely explained how that was derived.

Having the chronologies of Christian scripture and human history "roughly track each other" is understandable since their doing so gives more impact to the scriptural myths. Myth in this sense is an extrapolation from what we know to be real to things and events whose origins we do not know but seek to explain within a particular religious framework.

Thus, if you are maintaining that you don't believe that the Earth is literally and actually 6000 years old but that Bishop Ussher's total is to be understood as expressing human awe at the might of God just as does the story that all of creation was done in only six 24-hour days, then we have a basis for discussion.

Why bother with such an explanation as the one you offered us when discussing these matters with people who do not share your beliefs and quite likely have little if any comprehension of your understanding of this myth within your specific religious framework?

I think a good deal of the disagreement here revolves around conflicting understandings not only of what "myth" means but how it is to be understood.
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Re: Where the Bible makes no sense at all

Post by Davelaw on Wed Dec 30, 2009 5:55 pm

I think its mainly a matter of emphasis

I maintain that the main point is the "meaning" and that I believe its literally true and have found an admittedly convoluted way to square it with modern science are minor points.
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Re: Where the Bible makes no sense at all

Post by Davelaw on Wed Dec 30, 2009 6:03 pm

[quote="DotNotInOz"]
Davelaw wrote:
I think a good deal of the disagreement here revolves around conflicting understandings not only of what "myth" means but how it is to be understood.

From
The Power of Myth with Bill Moyers

Bill Moyers: I came to understand from reading your books - The Masks of God or The Hero With A Thousand Faces, for example - that what human beings have in common is revealed in myths. Myths are the stories of our search through the ages for truth, for meaning, for significance. We all need to tell our story and to understand our story. We all need to understand death and to cope with death, and we all need help in our passages from birth to life and then to death. We need life to signify, to touch the eternal, to understand the mysterious, to find out who we are.

Joseph Campbell: People say that what we're all seeking is a meaning for life. I think that what we're seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonances within our own innermost being and reality, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive. That's what it's all finally about, and that's what these clues help us to find within ourselves.

Bill Moyers: Myths are clues?

Joseph Campbell: Myths are clues to the spiritual potentialities of the human life.

Bill Moyers: What we are capable of knowing and experiencing within?

Joseph Campbell: Yes.

Bill Moyers: You changed the definition of a myth from the search for meaning to the experience of meaning.

Joseph Campbell: Experience of life. The mind has to do with meaning. What's the meaning of a flower. There's the Zen story about a sermon of the Buddha in which he simply lifeted a flower. There was only one man who gave him a sign with his eyes that he understood what was said. Now, the Buddha himself is called
\"the one thus come\". There's no meaning. What's the meaning of the universe? What's the meaning of a flea? It's just there. We're so engaged in doing things to achieve purposes of outer value that we forget the inner value, the rapture that is associated with being alive, is what it's all about.
Bill Moyers: How do you get that experience?

Joseph Campbell: Read the myths. They teach you that you can turn inward, and you begin to get the message of the
symbols. Read other people's myths, not those of your own religion, because you tend to interpret your own religion in terms of facts - but if you read the other ones, you begin to get the message. Myth helps you to put your mind in touch with this experience of being alive. It tells you what it is. It's the reunion of the separated duad {A unit of two objects; a pair}. Orginally you were one. You are now two in the world {duality}, but the recognition of the spiritual identity is what marriage is. It's different from a love affair. It has nothing to do with that. It is another mythological plane of experience. When people get married because they think it's a long-time love affair, they'll be divorced very soon, because all love affairs end in disappointment. But marriage is a recognition of a spiritual identity. If we live a proper life, if our minds are on the right qualities in regarding the person of the opposite sex, we will find our proper male or female counterpart. But if we are distracted by certain sensuous interests we marry the wrong person. By marrying the right person, we reconstruct the image of the incarnate God, and that's what marriage is {physically and spiritually} .

Bill Moyers: You taught mythology for thirty-eight years at Sarah Lawrence. How did you get these young women, coming to college from their middle-class backgrounds, from their orthodoxed religions - how did you get interested in myths?

Joseph Campbell:
Young people just grab this stuff. Mythology teaches you what's behind the literature and the arts, it teaches you about your own life. It's a great, exciting, life-nourishing subject. Mythology has a great deal to do with the stages of life, the initiation ceremonies as you move from childhood to adult responsibilities, from the unmarried state into the married state. All of those rituals are mythological rites. They have to do with your recognition of the new role that you're in, the process of throwing off the old one and coming out in the new, and entering into a responsible profession.
When a judge walks into a room, and everybody stands up, you're not standing up to that guy, you're standing up to the robe that he's wearing and the role he's going to play. What makes him worthy of that role is his integrity, as a representative of the principles of that role, and not some group of principles of his own. So what you're standing up to is a mythological character. I image some kings and queens are the most stupid, absurd, banal people you could run into, probably interested only in horses and women, you know. But you are not responding to them as personalities, you're responding to them in their mythological roles. When someone becomes a judge, or the President of the United States, the man is no longer
that man, he's the representative of an eternal office; he has to sacrifice his personal desires and even life possibilities to the role that he now signifies.
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Re: Where the Bible makes no sense at all

Post by gillyflower on Wed Dec 30, 2009 6:48 pm

Davelaw wrote:
gillyflower wrote:I disagree. Literal belief in bible myths is necessary for your sect of Christianity. It isn't necessary for mainstream Christianity, if the Presbyterians and Methodists are anything to go by.

You must not be aware that a bunch of Presbyterians and Methodists are also literalists.

You must be also aware that they are Evangelicals, as in the Evangelical Presbyterian Church. They aren't mainstream Presbyterians.

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Re: Where the Bible makes no sense at all

Post by gillyflower on Wed Dec 30, 2009 7:03 pm

All right, what you posted about myth doesn't conflict with the dictionary definitions I posted. The bible is full of Christian myths (as opposed to Jewish myths because they don't think that the Christians got some of them right), and they have truths in them that are important to the religion, society and culture at the time. That doesn't mean that they happened at all, or the way that they are reported, or that the mythological figures existed. That isn't what matters, it is the lessons taught that matter, if only to the people within the religion or culture.

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Re: Where the Bible makes no sense at all

Post by DotNotInOz on Wed Dec 30, 2009 7:22 pm

Davelaw wrote:I think its mainly a matter of emphasis

I maintain that the main point is the "meaning" and that I believe its literally true and have found an admittedly convoluted way to square it with modern science are minor points.

So, you're telling us that you believe the Earth to be no more than 6000 years old literally and actually? In short, you honestly believe the explanation you gave us so that you can square the biblical chronology with modern science somehow?

What do you mean by "the main point is the 'meaning'"? Meaning of what? You lost me here.
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Re: Where the Bible makes no sense at all

Post by john5180 on Wed Dec 30, 2009 7:57 pm

DotNotInOz wrote:The crux of this issue centers around the determination that the Earth is only 6000 years old, a figure established by 17th century Bishop James Ussher by means of totaling the ages of the OT patriarchs. Thus, Adam's 930 years (Genesis 5:3-5) are added to those of the other patriarchs with some crosschecking by means of references to other events mentioned in the Bible so as to arrive at 6000 years, now the total.

In short, this figure signifies belief that the extraordinarily long lifespans reported for these men were literally how long they lived and presupposes that the figures are actual instead of mythical, intended to give an uber-human aura to the patriarchs. The Bible...inerrant in every sense. Thus, such elaborate justifications become necessary to explain why science demonstrates the Earth to be billions of years old.

I'm frankly baffled how any educated person today can give credence for a moment to such a convoluted justification as this one Dave offered. Occam's Razor, anyone?

Dot said something really important here where calculating the age of the earth is concerned. The crux of this issue centers around the determination that the Earth is only 6000 years old, a figure established by 17th century Bishop James Ussher by means of totaling the ages of the OT patriarchs.

According to Jewish belief, they were the only humans on earth.’It is not fair to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs.’ (Matthew 15:26) This gives rise to the notion held by early Jews that people who weren’t born Jewish weren’t human, but more like dogs. ’Therefore the Samaritan woman said to Him, "How is it that You, being a Jew, ask me for a drink since I am a Samaritan woman?" (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) John 4:9, or possessed by demons: ’The Jews answered and said to Him, "Do we not say rightly that You are a Samaritan and have a demon?’ John 8:48. Even Jesus felt this way, and it carried over into his message.

This sparks another question that is far more important, or at least just as important as the dinosaur theory given by Dave…… When Cain slew Able, he was cast out to the Land of Nod. There he married, began a family, and started a city. Where did the wife come from? How did he manage to start and populate a city? Well, it’s obvious that there were more than just the original Adam and Eve of the Jewish myth, but others as well, even though not considered to be a part of the creation story.

I’m led therefore to believe that the biblegod has not lied. It’s more in the sympathies (prejudices) of those who believe in the biblegod. This accounts for the myths that have sprung up surrounding the age of the earth, and even the distortion of the biblegod creating bones with a history even though the creature never actually existed. Simply people deceiving themselves, and trying to deceive others in the process.
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Re: Where the Bible makes no sense at all

Post by DeavonReye on Wed Dec 30, 2009 8:10 pm

This thread shouldn't get sidetracked, but many christians believe that Cain married a sister. There is, of course, absolutely nothing [not even biblical] to go on as per that thinking, . . . just a way to reconcile who Cain married, . . . settling in the land of Nod.
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Re: Where the Bible makes no sense at all

Post by DotNotInOz on Wed Dec 30, 2009 10:30 pm

john5180 wrote: This sparks another question that is far more important, or at least just as important as the dinosaur theory given by Dave…… When Cain slew Able, he was cast out to the Land of Nod. There he married, began a family, and started a city. Where did the wife come from? How did he manage to start and populate a city? Well, it’s obvious that there were more than just the original Adam and Eve of the Jewish myth, but others as well, even though not considered to be a part of the creation story.

That's a significant point, John, because Jewish scripture just like present-day Judaism seeks to explain why the Jews are "chosen" but other people aren't. Thus, there undoubtedly were other people from among whom Cain might select a wife since essentially Cain was cast from the ranks of the chosen people. So, we're seeing stories that explain what expectations God has for his chosen ones as well as how they characterize "one of us" vs. one of those other people.

Hubby's mother once mentioned to me that Jews are generally quite tolerant of gentiles who commit a faux pas at a Jewish service because they aren't expected to know how to behave properly. God doesn't demand that others know what the law requires and follow it because they weren't chosen by God to be Jews. So, as John suggests, most other people weren't important in the context of stories intended to develop a Jewish identity. It's as if they didn't exist at all in many of the Bible's stories.

As Deavon remarks, there are Christians who believe that Cain had to have married one of his sisters who simply weren't mentioned in the Bible for some reason. All we're told about Cain's wife is that she gave birth to a son named Enoch. Just prior to that, we learn that Cain went out to the Land of Nod and married, but we don't know who his wife was or where she came from. So, either John's interpretation or the one that Cain's wife had to have been his sister might be the case.

This all gets very strange indeed when a person insists that everything in the Bible is literally true and not merely an expression of religious singularity, stories highlighting what it means to be God's chosen people, in other words.
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Re: Where the Bible makes no sense at all

Post by gillyflower on Wed Dec 30, 2009 11:48 pm

It is such a problem taking the myths out of context and time, too, as you have pointed out Dot. Some Christians, not knowing either the way the Jews interpret their own myths or the Jewish customs at the time, jump to entirely new conclusions, based upon much later customs in an entirely different culture and people.

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Re: Where the Bible makes no sense at all

Post by Davelaw on Thu Dec 31, 2009 12:28 am

DotNotInOz wrote:
Davelaw wrote:I think its mainly a matter of emphasis

I maintain that the main point is the "meaning" and that I believe its literally true and have found an admittedly convoluted way to square it with modern science are minor points.

So, you're telling us that you believe the Earth to be no more than 6000 years old literally and actually? In short, you honestly believe the explanation you gave us so that you can square the biblical chronology with modern science somehow?

What do you mean by "the main point is the 'meaning'"? Meaning of what? You lost me here.

the spiritual truth to be derived from the stories-like Elisha and the she-bears; whether or not God actually sends bears to eat children-the meaning is that God's man is worthy of respect
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Re: Where the Bible makes no sense at all

Post by john5180 on Thu Dec 31, 2009 1:04 am

Davelaw wrote:
DotNotInOz wrote:
Davelaw wrote:I think its mainly a matter of emphasis

I maintain that the main point is the "meaning" and that I believe its literally true and have found an admittedly convoluted way to square it with modern science are minor points.

So, you're telling us that you believe the Earth to be no more than 6000 years old literally and actually? In short, you honestly believe the explanation you gave us so that you can square the biblical chronology with modern science somehow?

What do you mean by "the main point is the 'meaning'"? Meaning of what? You lost me here.

the spiritual truth to be derived from the stories-like Elisha and the she-bears; whether or not God actually sends bears to eat children-the meaning is that God's man is worthy of respect

There’s a myth of Davy Crockett killing a bear when he was only three. The story was intended to build up Crockett to be “King Of The Wild Frontier”. Do you believe Crockett actually killed a bear when he was only three? As sure as I am that Washington choped down a Cherry tree and told his daddy that he could not tell a lie. Did it help to make Crockett more worthy of respect? Well, it did get him elected to Congress. I place the story of Elisha and the she bears in the same context. I don’t see any more spiritual truth in any one or the other. What I do see is someone padding their resume.


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Re: Where the Bible makes no sense at all

Post by john5180 on Thu Dec 31, 2009 1:10 am

DeavonReye wrote:This thread shouldn't get sidetracked, but many christians believe that Cain married a sister. There is, of course, absolutely nothing [not even biblical] to go on as per that thinking, . . . just a way to reconcile who Cain married, . . . settling in the land of Nod.

I've heard the same story myself, Deavon. Something about there was no DNA to pollute the gene pool or something. But that falls right in line with fossils of animals appearing to be millions of years old, but never having really lived to begin with. It's a way to justify a certain culture's story of creation.
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Re: Where the Bible makes no sense at all

Post by DotNotInOz on Thu Dec 31, 2009 4:29 am

Davelaw wrote:
DotNotInOz wrote:What do you mean by "the main point is the 'meaning'"? Meaning of what? You lost me here.

the spiritual truth to be derived from the stories-like Elisha and the she-bears; whether or not God actually sends bears to eat children-the meaning is that God's man is worthy of respect

Why thank you, Dave. You've provided us with another portion of the Bible that makes no sense at all.

Here's the passage to which Dave refers:

He went up from there to Bethel; and while he was going up on the way, some small boys came out of the city and jeered at him, saying, 'Go up, you baldhead! Go up, you baldhead!' And he turned around, and when he saw them, he cursed them in the name of the LORD. [emphasis in text] And two she-bears came out of the woods and tore forty-two of the boys. (2 Kings 2:23-24)

A man who would curse a group of small boys for nothing more than behaving as we know children sometimes do is worthy of respect as a man of God? Furthermore, a deity who sends two bears to rip into these kids for merely being mouthy kids deserves respect?

Calling upon God who then sends bears to rip up small boys is preposterous overkill that only serves to cast Elisha as bad-tempered and too full of his own importance.

Although, I can see that this passage could be quite instructive indeed when used to teach your kids the importance of behaving respectfully. You'd better, kids, or look what God might do to you! This sounds like the sort of thing that Fred Phelps would regard as a helpful childrearing passage.

In short, the point as I see it is that the Jews thought that treating a man who was both an elder and a prophet with utmost respect was more important than adults understanding that children often haven't better judgment than to mouth off like this and to make the punishment fit the "crime." But, this was a time when children were regarded as small adults and expected to behave accordingly when we now know that they're scarcely capable of doing so oftentimes.

This story commands respect for godly elders out of fear of what God might do if you don't. Once again, we see the thinking of a somewhat primitive people. Children were dispensable since most of them died before reaching adulthood. But being a man of god and a prophet demanded utmost respect even when he behaves as Elisha did.
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Re: Where the Bible makes no sense at all

Post by DotNotInOz on Thu Dec 31, 2009 5:53 am

Then too, maybe this story is somewhat an expression of the writer's frustration at how badly kids behave these days and how much the writer wishes that God actually would smite the little buggers in such instances.

As a teacher, I often wished for something that would put the fear of God into 'em as the saying goes. A couple of bears would have been quite satisfying retaliation several times. Twisted Evil
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Re: Where the Bible makes no sense at all

Post by john5180 on Thu Dec 31, 2009 9:09 am

DotNotInOz wrote:Then too, maybe this story is somewhat an expression of the writer's frustration at how badly kids behave these days and how much the writer wishes that God actually would smite the little buggers in such instances.

As a teacher, I often wished for something that would put the fear of God into 'em as the saying goes. A couple of bears would have been quite satisfying retaliation several times. Twisted Evil

Good points all, Dot. But this story leads right back to the OP, doesn't it. Jesus runs away from his mom and dad in a distant town, causes them untold grief until he is found and then gets sassy when they attempt to scold. Where's the she bears in this story? There isn't any. Goes back to double standards, or creative imagination on the part of the story teller in Elisha's case. I think this was a way of making Elisha look good to the people he prophesied to, and a warning for them not to question him too closely. When a physicic (or prophet) gives a prediction of a bad event, and it just happens to come true, his resume increases, and people tend to want to believe him more. I think the same holds true for this story. Just look at John of Patmose and his Book of Revelations. People are still waiting impatiently for this event to occur.

Myths are embellished. Soon myth becomes legend, and eventually the legend becomes truth. There may have actually been a case where mouthy kids were giving Elisha some lip, and somehow got themselves cornered by some she bears by going into the den, or in close proximity of some cubs. The fact that someone overheard Elisha curse them made his curse become a fact rather than a wish. From there the story snowballs, and the end result is what we have here.
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john5180

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Re: Where the Bible makes no sense at all

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