• Ennui Elucidator
    455
    Ennui Elucidator and Hanover appear to wish for a reinvigoration of scholasticism; a narrow focus on defending the one true faith by any rhetorical means available.Banno

    There is no one true faith or one interpretation. I can't be any clearer. Tell me what words you want me to use that will make you understand that we agree that there are people that use the Bible to willfully say abhorrent things and that those people are abhorrent. If you ask someone, "Should an adulteress be stoned?" and they say, "Absolutely! That is what God commands and I think she deserves it for disobeying God!", that person is bad.

    Saying I am advocating scholasticism when I say "read the text you keep referring to in sufficient context to understand the pronoun" is ridiculous. Even my six year old understands the difference between my saying "Your mother said 'you shouldn't go there', but I don't agree" and my saying, "You shouldn't go there." Decontextualizing words to make a point is lazy.
  • baker
    4.5k
    Outlining a theory that actions are driven by beliefs says nothing about restraining or punishing, or even judging, people by their beliefs.Janus

    People are being judged for their beliefs every day, and punished. In job interviews; in relationships with family, friends, acquaintances; in courts. We are already living in the kind of society you asked me whether I wanted to live in.
  • baker
    4.5k
    No. The Bible was not a universal code and it anticipates the people Israel living in a world with many nations not subject to their local war god's rules for the chosen. That is one of the typical misreadings about the Biblical Israelites - that they wanted everyone to be like them. They didn't. They were special.Ennui Elucidator

    Special in what way? That everyone owes them obedience?
  • Banno
    16.9k
    Such fine Circumlocution.

    So do we have agreement that, like you and your wife, there are contradictions here?

    You both appear to be insisting that those who commit evil after the bible are reading it wrong, while also agreeing that there is no true reading.

    I can't see sense in that.
  • Hanover
    8.1k
    But of course meaning is imputed, as much as discovered.Banno

    But let's admit at least to the importance of looking at how the words have actually been interpreted by those who use them as opposed to how they might be interpreted by an outsider.

    We have a civilization that is thousands of years old and there is a book that appears to allow for stoning in certain instances from a non-contextualized reading of their literature, yet we have no examples in those thousands of years of that stoning occurring in that civilization. In fact, we have evidence that those within that community of speakers have interpreted the book to say that stoning is prohibited. So, for those who have relied upon this book and use it, they don't run into the problem of horrific stonings that those who don't use this book indicate they will.

    That's an odd result, right. It's like if I read the laws of Uganda and insisted they permit the eating of their young, yet there's not a single Ugandan who has ever heard of such of thing, but I keep pointing at their book and telling them that they do allow it. At some point you've got to trust the folks that are using that book and asking them what those words actually mean. That you might interpret things differently from your vantage point is academic, but of no meaningful value because you clearly don't know what those words mean to those who actually use them.
  • Banno
    16.9k
    At some point you've got to trust the folks that are using that book and asking them what those words actually mean.Hanover

    But not Southern Baptists. Again, this is special pleading. You ignore those who are using the book, who when you ask them what it means, provide an answer you do not like.

    You both appear to be insisting that those who commit evil after the bible are reading it wrong, while also agreeing that there is no true reading.Banno
  • Hanover
    8.1k
    But not Southern Baptists. Again, this is special pleading. You ignore those who are using the book, who when you ask them what it means, provide an answer you do not like.Banno

    The Southern Baptists don't stone people.
  • Ennui Elucidator
    455
    You both appear to be insisting that those who commit evil after the bible are reading it wrong, while also agreeing that there is no true reading.Banno

    What I've said is that people can read it however they want, but some readings have more or less support. My daughter saying, "You said 'You shouldn't go there!'" is accurate. What would you say I meant in the first case verses the second? Does the squishiness of meaning preclude our evaluation of what it means?

    And again, I've never taken issue that it says abhorrent things. On my reading, it does, unequivocally. From the first story on, god is shitty.

    Stop conflating the Bible (or the god described therein) being shitty with whether an individual Christian should be excluded from conversations about ethics. Those aren't the same things.
  • baker
    4.5k
    Who says this didn't really happen and won't happen again if Christians seize power?Raymond

    We already know what that looks like. Right wing political options tend to affiliate themselves with Christianity. You know what that looks like in your respective countries.
  • Banno
    16.9k
    The Southern Baptists don't stone people.Hanover

    They would if allowed. One can of course provide all manor of examples of morally deplorable positions that folk claim are evidenced from the bible. Your claim appears to be that these are based on misreadings, while agreeing that there is no correct reading.
  • Banno
    16.9k
    My daughter saying, "You said 'You shouldn't go there!'" is accurate. What would you say I meant in the first case verses the second? Does the squishiness of meaning preclude our evaluation of what it means?Ennui Elucidator

    What?

    Stop conflating the Bible (or the god described therein) being shitty with whether an individual Christian should be excluded from conversations about ethics. Those aren't the same things.Ennui Elucidator

    Thou shalt not bear false witness.
  • Ennui Elucidator
    455
    Special in what way? That everyone owes them obedience?baker

    No one owed them obedience. It is like you aren't even trying. Read the book. Find textual support for your glib. If you can't, give it up. If you can, produce it.
  • baker
    4.5k
    Anyway, the point is that you're setting yourself up as the epistemic and moral authority over Christians when you expect them to justify their beliefs to you. Why should they submit to you?

    doesn't have anything to do with me in particular, nada.
    jorndoe

    Who is writing your posts? Who is saying the things that come out of your mouth? Someone other than you? Are you just opening your mouth when objective reality is the one doing the talking?
  • Ennui Elucidator
    455
    What?Banno

    That we lack a unitary meaning doesn't mean we don't have well developed conventions for how to understand things. Some interpretations are acceptable in one context that are unacceptable in another, even by the same people. My daughter can quote exact words that I say - if she insists that I meant that she can't go in the first case (where I was quoting her mother and explicitly disagree with her mother), English speakers in the ordinary context are unlikely to agree with her.
  • Banno
    16.9k
    That we lack a unitary meaning doesn't mean we don't have well developed conventions for how to understand things.Ennui Elucidator

    You have to then insist on the authority of your own conventions over those of the folk who would stone adulterers.

    But it being a question of convention, there is no fact of the matter.

    Hence, the book does not provide moral guidance so much as rely on it. One has to know what is right in order to read the book in the right way.

    Which I believe to be @Isaac's point.
  • Ennui Elucidator
    455
    By the by @Banno, I find it amusing that people who keep cherry picking quotes from the Bible to show it is shitty are accusing people who say "But you need to understand the context" of special pleading. As an aside, you may find traditional Jewish exegesis of interest - there are multiple ways to understand meaning starting from the blank space on the page, to the individual letter, to the word, to the sentence, to the section, etc., with each of those meanings altered by considering them through various interpretive lenses - everything happened at once, everything happened in linear time, people had knowledge of X or did not have knowledge of X within those lenses.
  • Banno
    16.9k
    @Ennui Elucidator, @Hanover, seems the best you can argue is that the bible reinforces a morality you already accept.

    That's fine.
  • baker
    4.5k
    Special in what way? That everyone owes them obedience?
    — baker

    No one owed them obedience. It is like you aren't even trying. Read the book. Find textual support for your glib. If you can't, give it up. If you can, produce it.
    Ennui Elucidator

    I have no glib. I read the book, a lengthy academic theological edition with ample footnotes and commentary. I prefer the simple and the literal reading. So I noticed there was all that talk about what applies for the Israelites. Paul wrote letters to these and those people. And so on. I was not addressed in any of those writings. As such, I did not feel addressed by the book.

    I have noticed, however, a marked difference between how I read the book and how the Christians I know read it. I don't know a single Christian who thinks that what the Bible says doesn't apply to me. Not a single one. They all believe that what the Bible says applies to all of mankind, that all of mankind must follow the rules set out in the Bible. (This is what themes like "Modern people are godless, sinful" are all about.)

    In contrast, I distinctly remember a scene from an old biblical film where a character, played by the young Anthony Hopkins, addresses precisely this issue. Namely, a number of religious people argue that everyone must obey the law as set out by God. While Hopkins' character argues that such is not the case, that outsiders are not subject to that law, and also that insiders cannot force the law upon outsiders.
    I thought this was extremely strange, because this is precisely not how Christians go about this matter.
  • Ennui Elucidator
    455
    Hence, the book does not provide moral guidance so much as rely on it. One has to know what is right in order to read the book in the right way.Banno

    Isaac, the fellow who thought the Bible was written in English? If that was his point - that language must be understood within a language community - I'm sorry I missed it; I agree with him. But again, what does that have to do with Lewis and your extension of his neglected argument to summarily writing off Christians without knowing anything about the individual?
  • Ennui Elucidator
    455
    l
    seems the best you can argue is that the bible reinforces a morality you already accept.Banno

    The Bible doesn't do anything, Banno, people do. I can use the Bible to support my ethical arguments or I can use my ethical arguments to support the Bible. I can also go in the opposite direction. I already write enough words, Banno. You don't have to add ones I haven't written.
  • baker
    4.5k
    seems the best you can argue is that the bible reinforces a morality you already accept.

    That's fine.
    Banno

    But why then do those people say they're getting their moral principles from the Bible?
  • baker
    4.5k
    But again, what does that have to do with Lewis and your extension of his neglected argument to summarily writing off Christians without knowing anything about the individual?Ennui Elucidator

    A person stops being an individual the moment they use a group term for themselves. If someone wants to be treated as an individual, then they shouldn't make a point of calling themselves Christians.


    (And that's leaving aside the huge topic of Christians refusing to treat other people as individuals.)
  • baker
    4.5k
    But they refuse to do so. Now what?
    — baker

    I walk away I suppose. I'm not going to progress to fisticuffs.
    Isaac

    Sure, but the point is that there is a whole culture of people refusing to play by the rules. We cannot just ignore them, nor their success.

    What use is fairness, when people can live just fine without it?
    — baker

    Again, you're misconstruing my intent. I never claimed fairness was indispensable.

    Then you don't have much of a case for fairness.


    I'm not entitled to an opinion about what the meaning is to me, what it's value is to me.Isaac

    The right to freedom of speech doesn't include the right to be heard.
  • baker
    4.5k
    What characterises a tendency? How do you use actions to evaluate a 'tendency to act as if' on those states? What scope of behaviours does any particular tendency require for its evaluation? And finally - how does the answer to those questions interface with the argument?

    The absence of those answers I think interfaces very clearly with the argument - the lack of answers makes it ambiguous how a believer acts as if (stoning is good) based on their worship of a God who in some context of evaluation approves of stoning. It isn't clear how to get from a tendency to act as if God is worthy of worship to a tendency to act as if stoning is justified.
    fdrake

    Add to this the problem that we're dealing with events that are potentially rare statistically.

    Realistically, how often does a person know an adulteress, and is in a position to stone her?
    Perhaps once or twice in the whole lifetime. Definitely not enough to establish a pattern as far as actions go, so we're left with a theoretical examination of a person's beliefs.
  • Ennui Elucidator
    455
    A person stops being an individual the moment they use a group term for themselves.baker

    So I shouldn't say that I am American? Or a person? Or a man? Or middle-aged? Or...? Hell, my body is but a bunch of cells, some of which I am proud of and some not, should I say I am a body? Or maybe a brain (damn you lymbic system!)? Feels an awful lot like group identity (you know, generalizations) allows mental efficiency but can be parsed when the need arises. Again, Lewis's article specifically disagrees that knowing someone is a Nazi means that they are non-admirable. Why are you going backwards (you know, being regressive)?
  • baker
    4.5k
    So I shouldn't say that I am American?Ennui Elucidator

    Like I said, it's about making a point of using a group term for oneself. It's about using a group term for oneself for the purpose of obtaining special rights and benefits for oneself.

    It's one thing to check "American" or "male" on some questionnarie. It's quite another to say, "I'm an American, therefore, I'm free to invade other countries and the people there must kneel before me" or "I'm male, and women must worship me."

    When people describe themselves with the term "Christian", they tend to mean the latter, ie. that on account of being Christians, they deserve special treatment and have special rights, that they are above ordinary people.
  • Ennui Elucidator
    455
    In contrast, I distinctly remember a scene from an old biblical film where a character, played by the young Anthony Hopkins, addresses precisely this issue. Namely, a number of religious people argue that everyone must obey the law as set out by God. While Hopkins' character argues that such is not the case, that outsiders are not subject to that law, and also that insiders cannot force the law upon outsiders.
    I thought this was extremely strange, because this is precisely not how Christians go about this matter.
    baker

    For what it is worth, Christianity is not Judaism (whatever that is) as understood/modified by Jesus, but rather the followers of Paul. So reading the Jewish Bible as universalist is a tendency of those trying to follow in Paul's sted rather than as an extension of the group that actually wrote the thing. Even Jesus is inclined not to share his wisdom with the non-Jew because he wasn't sent to talk to them. Noticing a major disconnect between the themes of the Bible, the themes of the Bible as re-codified/written by early Christians, and the themes of Paul is appropriate. People raised as Christian (or even as "atheists" or "non-religious" in a secular-Christian culture) have a super hard time not importing a Christian reading into the text and insisting that ideas are in it that simply aren't in the text.

    It really takes a lot to pull yourself out of your cultural biases when engaging with a text. If an alien that understood English with no familiarity with Christianity should read the Bible, what it understood about the book would likely be at complete odds with what Christians will tell you is a literal reading of the text.


    21 And Jesus went away from there and withdrew to the district of Tyre and Sidon. 22 And behold, a Canaanite woman from that region came out and was crying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is severely oppressed by a demon.” 23 But he did not answer her a word. And his disciples came and begged him, saying, “Send her away, for she is crying out after us.” 24 He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” 25 But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.” 26 And he answered, “It is not right to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs.” 27 She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters' table.” 28 Then Jesus answered her, “O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed instantly. — Matthew 15:21
  • baker
    4.5k
    26 And he answered, “It is not right to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs.” 27 She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters' table.” — Matthew 15:21

    Oh, so we, the outsiders, are the dogs? And the Lord is our master anyway ...
  • Hanover
    8.1k
    They would if allowedBanno

    They've had over two hundred years to pass whatever laws they wanted to where I live. If they wanted to stone folks, they would have by now. Maybe it's on next month's agenda.

    I really don't know what to make of comments like the above. Is it ribbing or do you have this caricature view of Southern Baptists? I don't think they should get special protection, but I do think they ought be afforded the same respect as other religious groups.

    Maybe next time you visit, we can visit the local Baptist church and you'll find them not terribly scary. It'll be fun. It'll be the first time for me at a church service.
  • Banno
    16.9k


    Doubtless; but nevertheless there are those who woudl do so.

    Your claim appears to be that these are based on misreadings, while agreeing that there is no correct reading.Banno

    ...seems the best you can argue is that the bible reinforces a morality you already accept.Banno
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