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How can we consider the bible credible?

How could we rely on what the bible tells us? Looking at the bible from a historical point of view, it has been translated over and over again into hundreds of different languages. Over the years kings and rulers have altered and manipulated aspects to suit their reign. Even today there are multiple different interpretations. What effects do you think this has on the content?

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    Gail .

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    Mar 25 2013: PART 1

    It can have MAJOR impacts on content. Let me offer a few examples of changes in text beginning with the King James Version in 1611.

    In the earlier texts, bar abba (as opposed to Barabbas) was released unharmed in the balcony scene. (Bar abba - or bar-abba in koine Greek - is a term or phrase. It's not a name. The name Barabbas didn't come into use until the 3rd century).

    What does bar abba mean? Well, bar means son of. Abba does in a way mean father, but not in the way that it was understood in ancient Aramaic. Abba was a term that a VERY young child would use when referring to his da da or pa pa or even daddy. Yet Jesus refers to his abba as so loving that all that is asked for is given and all that is asked is answered, which would make the best English equivalent of the word "Sugar Daddy". Jesus never used the word abba reverentially - which is in part why he pissed so many Rabbis off.

    Jesus never used the word repent. He used the words Metanoeo and Metamellamai (as translated into koine Greek in the oldest known texts). These two words mean - change your way of thinking and change your way of emoting - respectively.

    Jesus didn't speak of sin. He spoke of what was translated into koine Greek as "Hamartia". Hamartia means acting in ignorance, causing harm (be it to self or others).

    Jesus didn't speak of Hell. He spoke of Gehenna - a garbage dump outside of Jerusalem's city gates where those with wretched lives eek how a miserable existence.

    Jesus also said that the kingdom of heaven is within (now) and this wasn't changed, but is ignored.

    So if you put only these things together, you can see that Jesus was saying that if your life is wretched (as most were), then simply change what you're emoting and thinking to stop your hamartia (harming yourself because of your ignorance), and you will find the kingdom of heaven (universal consciousness or abba) from whence all the power and safety you want comes.

    • W T

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      Mar 26 2013: Yes, the Greek word translated sin is ha‧mar‧ti′a.

      The verb is ha‧mar‧ta′no, which basically means “to miss the mark.”

      Sin in effect is imperfection. We are all sinners.....we are all imperfect......thus we die....our bodies cannot live forever.

      Does the Bible really teach that God’s Kingdom resides in human hearts? No.

      If you have studied the Bible, you learn that it states that the figurative heart means the inner person, the source of a person’s thoughts, attitudes, and feelings. The idea that something as sublime as the Kingdom of God resides within the human heart—in the way it changes and ennobles people, for example—may sound appealing, but does it stand to reason?

      The Bible tells us: “The heart is more treacherous than anything else and is desperate.” (Jeremiah 17:9)

      Jesus himself said: “From inside, out of the heart of men, injurious reasonings issue forth: fornications, thieveries, murders, adulteries, covetings, acts of wickedness.” (Mark 7:20-22)

      So how could God’s perfect Kingdom come from such a source?

      Really, the human heart could no more produce God’s Kingdom than a thistle could produce figs.

      Second, consider the audience Jesus was addressing when he spoke the words found at Luke 17:21.

      The preceding verse reads: “On being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God was coming, he answered them.” (Luke 17:20)

      The Pharisees were Jesus’ enemies.. Jesus stated that those hypocrites were not going to enter God’s Kingdom. (Matthew 23:13)

      Now if the Pharisees were not to enter God’s Kingdom, could the Kingdom be in their hearts? I don't think so! What, then, did Jesus mean?

      In rendering these words of Jesus, a number of careful Bible translations use the wording that the Kingdom is “among you” or “in the midst of you.”

      How was God’s Kingdom among those people at that time, including the Pharisees?
      Jesus himself, the one to be appointed king of God's kingdom was among them.

      God's word is reliable. I find that it is the truth.
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        Gail .

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        Mar 27 2013: I too thought that the Bible spoke truth, until the day came when I wondered why my church rarely spoke of Jesus' teachings, but always relied on Paul and the Old Testament texts. I started studying the teachings of Jesus as a way to be a better Christian. I came away so shocked that I couldn't be a Christian any more. How could a church lie like that? Why?????

        Someone in this thread asked for more information, so I went on-line to get it. There I found that Christians are flooding the internet with Christian versions of Koine Greek to English dictionaries in order to support their contentions. They are using words that weren't even in existence in the 17th century when the KJV came out or in the 15th century when the Gutenberg Press was invented, or the 16th century Reformation. In short, they are lying.

        I had a friend who has a PhD in Theology from Brown. Literacy in ancient Aramaic and Koine Greek (the Bible's language) was required, and as one of his courses, he was required to translate one of the gospels into English. He too was horrified by all of the lies, stopped being a Christian, became an atheist, and he tried, for a time, to make the lies known and the beauty of a message understood. But he learned that those who do not want to see truth will not see it - which, of course, is what Jesus said (paraphrased).

        I no longer have access to the old dictionary. My friend is dead. The book gone. But to continue:

        Luke 17:21 - Jesus says that the kingdom of God is within you. That means it's here now. He said this to the Pharisees - so the kingdom of God was within them too, which is consistent with the first Beatitude where he said "Blessed (one-with/of/walking-with holiness) are the poor in spirit (spiritually ignorant) for theirs is the kingdom of heaven/God. You say the Pharisees were Jesus' enemies, but Jesus said to love your enemies & do good to those who would harm you. He had no enemies.

        The original texts say that heaven is WITHIN
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        Gail .

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        Mar 27 2013: If changed texts aren’t part of christianity, how is it that?

        Jesus said, judge not. Christianity says - judge everyone. Be fruit pickers.

        Jesus said "fear not evil". Christianity says - fear evil.

        Jesus said “resist not evil”. Christianity says - turn away from it.

        Jesus said that the kingdom of heaven is WITHIN YOU. Christianity says it's OUTSIDE of you and it is where christians go later

        Jesus said do NOT pray in churches. Christians pray in churches.

        Jesus said do NOT pray in public. Christians pray in public.

        Jesus said that even the most spiritually bankrupt (ignorantn/corrupt/evil) are of the kingdom of heaven. Christianity says they're of the kingdom of Satan.

        Jesus said to love your enemies and do good to those who do not love you. Christianity says to correct them, chastise them, or even go to war against them when leaders whom God has placed over you tell you to.

        Jesus said to give unto Caesar that which is Ceasar’s, and give unto God that which is God’s. Christianity says to give unto God that which is Caesar’s (fear) and give unto Caesar that which is god’s (love/allegiance).

        Jesus said to swear no oaths. Christianity swear’s oaths – whether as a Pledge of Allegiance or the oath of service/office/witness/jury duty, etc.

        Jesus said to love others as yourself, for as you do to others, including the least of those among you, you do to God (thus redefining God. Christianity says to debase yourself before those whom God has placed over you – thus to debase God

        Jesus said you are powerful creatures – gods in your own right. What you ask for WILL be given if you will only believe it, you'll see it. Christianity says you are powerless.

        Jesus told you how to use your innate power for your own protection and wellbeing. Christianity says that those who use it are evil.

        Jesus said that YOU are the light of the world. Christianity says that Jesus is.

        Short list, but I think you get the point.
        • W T

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          Mar 27 2013: Gail, alot of what you say is truth.....the Bible teaches that Jesus' followers are the light of the world, the Bible teaches we are to love our enemy (why kill others in wars?), the Bible teaches that we owe our allegiance to God, not a flag or anything man made, etc....

          I walked out of the baptist church after seeing alot of hypocricy and alot of Bible truths twisted to suit the needs of the church leaders. But that did not diminish my respect for God's word.

          And although I am just another human on this planet, no better than anyone else, I make an effort to uphold the teachings of Jesus and live my life in a way that honors God.

          I do not pledge allegiance to any flag, I am neutral when it comes to politics and war, and I know that the ultimate judge of all mankind is the Creator.......who am I to judge anyone?

          If the Bible is God's word, then shouldn't it have a positive effect on those truly try to live up to Godly standards? Shouldn't true Christians be different from those just claiming to be Christian but proving false to the power of God?

          Jesus himself warned: “Be on the watch for the false prophets that come to YOU in sheep’s covering, but inside they are ravenous wolves. By their fruits YOU will recognize them." (Matthew 7:15-16)

          I honestly believe that if you are trying to draw close to God, and you feel the Bible is His word, then you should make it a matter of prayer that God show you what the Bible really teaches.......not what men teach under the guise of Christianity.

          Thank you Gail for reading my response. I really appreciated the many points you make and hope others benefit from the eloquent way you have expressed yourself.
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          Apr 6 2013: Gail, I agree with what you say. So, this means what? That Christians are ... not Christians?

          But then, read the NT again - all the woes that Jesus proclaims to Pharisees. Matthew 23 has a few pages of these woes. Ironically, Pharisees were the ones who considered themselves the most righteous, following the Law to the letter. Now, don't these very woes from Matthew 23 apply to many Christians?

          New testament is a very fascinating book. It refers to itself and the story keeps repeating and repeating over and over - in real life. Peter was crucified for preaching it. Paul was beheaded. Even today, people who preach non-violent peace die from violence: Mahatma Gandhi, MLK. It is an amazingly true story. I don't know if it literally happened at that time and place, but it does not matter. It is still a very true story.

          It is very true that the kingdom of heaven is within. God is within as well. If we imagine heaven and hell outside and apply the teachings to other people instead of ourselves, the whole doctrine turns into hypocrisy.
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        Mar 27 2013: Did you know that Aramaic has no future tense? Did you know that Koine Greek has no future tense. Did you know that Hebrew didn't have a future tense equivalent until after WWII?

        So when you read: Matthew 7:2 (where it reads " For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.") or when you read Luke 6:37 ("Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven") you are reading a distortion intentionally built into the text?

        Delete the inserted future tense and you can realize that Jesus is saying that in essence, life is a mirror. If I listen to you, I can see how you have judged yourself and others because there are no secrets for those who know how to see or how to hear (as opposed to those who see without perceiving or hear without understanding).

        In other words, when you say that we are all sinners, I know that you have judged yourself a sinner, thus I know from your own words that I should not trust what you have to say.

        Changes in texts have drastically changed the religion that follows newer editions. These are not translation errors. They are attempts to blind you from your ability to see your own power and inherent perfection.
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          Mar 27 2013: So then, do you view humans as perfect?

          What is your definition of perfection?
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          Apr 6 2013: In these instances, perhaps "shall" means "ought" rather than future tense.

          "Do not judge" is one of my favorite parts. It helps me in life immensely. When I refrain from expressing opinions about others, it frees me from bias and often allows to see situations and people "as they are" rather than as I want them to be.

          It also points out that ALL moral judgments are hypocritical. They can only be applied to self, not to others. When I see someone judging others and tell the person "do not judge", I'm judging that person that very moment.
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        • W T

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          Mar 27 2013: Perhaps you do not have full knowledge as to who the God of the Bible is?

          I would like to know what belief system do you follow?
          Who has taught you what you know?
          Where do you get your information?
          Can you provide me with a link or the name of a book?
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    Gail .

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    Mar 25 2013: Part 2:

    If Jesus (who was called bar abba) was telling the truth, then he could not have died on a cross, and his message was far more beautiful than a strange story about the only son of God being crucified to save us from having to be tortured because of God's will.

    Jesus was saying that you are gods, you are the light of the world. Even the "poor in spirit" are of the kingdom of heaven - not of Satan. You have so much power at your disposal (as soon as you find the kingdom of heaven or abba that is within you) that there is nothing that you can ask for that will not be provided, and nothing that you can ask that will not be answered.

    Jesus said that others will do greater things than he did. You DO have great power, and if you find the universal consciousness that is within you, you will find that which he called a "comforter" or "counselor". "Fear Not" - for there is no reason for fear if all that you ask for (from safety to food & shelter) is given.

    The beauty of the Easter scene was that Jesus was intentionally arrested and brought into the very dangerous court, where against all odds, by treating those who would harm him with great respect and no fear (Fear not and Resist not evil) (remember - change your way of emoting because peace is a power), he was released unharmed, as he said he would be.

    Now, thanks to the Internet, Christian scholars are discovering their mistake. They too see that the oldest texts refer to Jesus as bar abba. But rather than fix that which has been so profitable for so long, it uses a lie to cover up a lie. The NIV has changed Jesus' name to Jesus Barabbas, even though they know that Barabbas was not a 1st Century name. It keeps the profitable crucifictiton story alive and it keeps the story about your exquisite perfection and power buried in yet another lie.

    Translations are sometimes just changes in disguise. They worked until the Internet started making it possible for people to educate themselves.
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    Mar 24 2013: Translating the bible, or any other book, into different languages should have little effect on it's credibility.
    When a 'new' version comes out, it is normally taken from the thousands of early parchments that are available in the original languages. There is very little evolution from other sources, except maybe where the meaning of words change over time.
    Science books require updating as knowledge increases, the bible claims to be God's Word, He should be able to get it right first time. The bible has persuaded millions from each generation of it's authenticity; it must have something going for it. Even the fact that it has been under attack for 2000yrs speaks volumes.

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      Mar 25 2013: Here here.
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      Mar 25 2013: I suggest you lose something when you translate anything into a different language, but I expect the essential message of the different sectarian bibles hasn't changed that much in over a 1,000 years.

      Whether the claims and stories are factual, whether a god exists at all, let alone the bible accurately reflects a gods wants and history is up to individuals to determine for themselves.

      Personally I find it odd that the creator of the universe would reveal itself to one particular relatively unimportant tribe in the Levant. I also find it odd that no one would take notes during the life of a supposed human incarnation of god. Why didn't Jesus write anything down? Why would a god rely on human memories and ink and paper? Why not carve his words on the moon or have an indestructible floating crystal telephone to talk to god directly and spout scriptures. No we have ink and paper. How mundane. How human.

      Although I do note the Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox bibles contain different books.

      Muslims, Mormons, Swedenborgs, Christian Scientists etc have built upon it with further revelations.

      I also note even with similar source material there are thousands of different denominations with different views and probably billions of individual conflicting interpretations of the bible. One might consider any individual believing they have the correct interpretation as simply hubris.

      I note many Jewish sects rely more heavily on rabbinic teachings and see the bible (Old Testament) as important but not to be taken literally.

      The Qu'ran has persuaded millions from each generation of it's authenticity; it must have something going for it. Even the fact that it has been under attack for 1400 yrs speaks volumes. And I suggest they have done a better job of maintaining its authenticity.
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    Apr 6 2013: Logic is not the way to understand the Bible. I believe, one needs to read it not "with the mind" but "with the heart" - perceive it emotionally rather than logically. For the mind, it appears to be full of atrocities, violence, injustice, wars, adultery, etc. But for the heart, it is a book about human suffering - from beginning to the end. It is a book about our attitudes towards ourselves and each other.

    One of the most puzzling books in the Bible is the book of Job. The first reaction of most people after reading the first few chapters is "WTF?!" This "loving" and "just" God allows Satan to kill children, destroy property of a righteous man and then inflict his body with painful sores? All for what? For a wager? Nice!

    I read the book 3 times. Only after the third time I realized that the book is NOT about God. Most of the book is the dialog of Job with his 3 friends. It's about our own attitude towards events like these and about our attitude towards the people who suffer through such events. It's about compassion.

    But those who think that the book of Job portrays God as a selfish jerk have every right to feel indignation. Who do they judge? "I am who I am" - self.

    So, you ask what effect changes in language may have? I, personally, think that it is wonderful that there are so many versions and translations. I don't think there is "the right way" to understand the Bible. I don't think there is the "original and true text". Texts that we consider "original", perhaps, have been copied thousands of times for thousands of years before. All the versions and comparisons only add perspectives to the interpretation, which is great. The original is in the hearts of people. What people think and do after reading it - that's the original meaning.
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      Apr 9 2013: How does a person explains away Biblical inconsistencies and rids oneself of Logical dissonance?-Logic is easier said than done, emotions are easy done than said- I think that a lot of the Biblical axioms like "God s perfect", "Jesus loves you " , "Heavens is real", Hell is a terrible place of punishment", "the Bible is sacred " etc. are instilled in the youth long before they are approached with data and evidence that suggest the illogical nature of such claims -emotional components are thus introduced first before logical ones-.

      I respect the right of every person to believe as they please, and will defend such right.

      The Bibles uses its own logic and circular reasoning-using itself to prove itself-.
      I think is about time to let it go.
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        Apr 9 2013: Carlos, perhaps creating the cognitive dissonance IS the purpose of the Bible. I find the Bible full of perplexing stories which have as many interpretations as readers. They make people think (well, at least, they make me think). E.g. "God's perfect" raises questions, what does it mean to be perfect? Should we strive for perfection? Should we be disappointed with our imperfection or frustrated by imperfections of the world? Can we be perfect? It raises questions of power, authority, obedience with ample examples of how these are gained, exercised, and abused with all the consequences.

        "Jesus loves you" raises questions, what does it mean to love? Do you think, Justin Beeber's songs provide a better explanation of love? What does it mean to "love your enemy?" How can this be done? What does it mean "Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you."? or "turn the other cheek"? Who do you identify with in the story of the prodigal son - the father, the son, or the older brother? The truth is that all these three characters seem to live in each of us. The story helps us to recognize them in ourselves. These are all good questions to think about.

        Bible can be taught in multiple ways, with focus on multiple aspects. Children will get indoctrinated by parents, peers, schools, and media anyway. It seems inevitable.

        When people blame the Bible for inconsistencies, they seem to miss some of the most important passages such as the one mentioning "plank in our own eye". I do not call to blindly accept the Bible. I don't know HOW one can blindly accept the Bible. At times it contradicts itself in two verses next to each other: "Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you yourself will be just like him." and "Answer a fool according to his folly, or he will be wise in his own eyes." Both make sense, yet, how can one follow this advice without thinking?
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          Apr 10 2013: Arkady, CD has been called "the mind's controller best friend"(Levine:2003:202), is not the discomfort from dissonance but how people deal with it, that would be of interest as a point of leverage for mind control attempt.
          Mankind has more options to reach for consonance other than the Bible, (stealing was immoral before the ten commandments and other cultures capture that and other pearls of wisdom like the Golden rule) Yes, I agree with you : the Bible should not be accepted blindly . There should be a process of critique and elimination in search of consonance , perhaps not looking for a "perfect & absolute truth" ( you know more than zero , but less than 1), but rather for the capability of living in harmony within ourselves (with our inner conflicts included) & others ( and outer conflicts included as well).

          LOL on JBeeber, I do prefer "Imagine" J Lennon.

        • Apr 24 2013: Arkady, I could not agree with you more.

          It is my conviction that the (horrible and bad) events that people did and said many ages ago (which were normal and accepted at the time), have been used by our Creator to portray human, individual, spiritual development.

          The only reason why now a spiritual level of the literal, historical text is provided is because at this stage of higher human development, more truth is needed to connect with reality.
          IOW we tell a child about where babies come from, using different words/stories than we would a teenager. To protect the child.

          That is Revelation in a nutshell.

          Spiritually there are several different levels of meaning or application.
          One is the 'historical' development of humanity's Belief Systems or Churches in Genesis.
          The other is the same development of an individual's spiritual development, including fights and struggles.
          And the highest is that same development on the level of Jesus Christ.

          Our development is to go from natural to spiritual. Jesus' development (for humanities sake) was from Mary's son to One with God.

          When we do accept and study all those details, the Bible becomes a source of truth and guidance toward our personal eternity. The moment we accept the Bible as credible and are ready to be led, we have "heaven within us" and become angels.

          That being said, I want to make it very clear that I do not believe that we are going to be tested after death on how well and how accurate we understand the Scriptures. It is all about how loving we have actually lived.
          It is all about the motives behind our deeds and actions.
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    Apr 2 2013: How can we consider the bible credible? or is the Bible credible? is the question at hand.
    Specifically, is the Bible historically accurate ; Is the Bible the word of God etc. According to Theists the Bible is the truthful down to the last period. Historians using another criteria will differ, and so will other people from different religions, or even different "Christianities" .
    The Bible Historical claims should not be considered true or false based on the track record of accuracy among believers or disbelievers. The time to accept a proposition is when reason and evidence supports it, and not before it. Take for example Homer's Iliad are all the events depicted by Homer historically accurate (Mount Olympus and Deities?) , or what about King Arthur's (Merlin?) or Plato's Atlantis or the Epic of Gilgamesh?.

    Just because there are some geographical and historical facts in the Bible does not make the supernatural portions of the narrative true. What I see is the manipulation of a myth to substantiate a world view or philosophical belief, a case of culturally agreed "facts" in order to deliver a "Classic" narrative that will be considered by most in a culture set as the "truth".

    HIST 100- If an otherwise flawless historical book contains one error in it, it still contains error, no amount of truth will reverse one single mistake. The only way to parse fact from fiction (reliability?) is to investigate each claim. And Historically the Bibles thus far fails.The Bible is full of extraordinary claims that are shockingly similar to other ancient text claims,anonymous authorship, ample use of poetic parables to make claims of religious nature, there is no footing to set this claims as truthful. Theists claim that if devoid-ed of God's spirit the Bible will look foolish at prima facie. That to me is a supernatural excuse for faith and the suspension of logical thought.

    I see all these Gods heading for the Mythical retiring home minus some cultural subsets.
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      Apr 10 2013: Carlos,

      The dictionary defines "true" as "in accordance with fact or reality". Even when we deal with physical facts, it's hard to separate them from perceptions and interpretations. But when we deal with issues of morality, there is no such thing as "moral fact".

      I don't think, the Bible is valuable as an accurate account of historical events. Historical accounts may not be accurate. What I find accurate in the Bible is the description of human emotions - suffering, joy, sorrow, lust, greed, etc. E.g. the story of crucifixion and resurrection may not be a historic fact, but it is very symbolic. I think, this story repeats itself over and over in real life - people who preach peace and non-violence die violent deaths: Mahatma Gandhi, MLK, John Lennon; and they continue living among us and change our lives "spiritually". Or, again, take the book of Job. I'm sure, the wager between God and Satan is a metaphoric fiction. But the attitudes of Job and his friends towards the tragic events are painted rather accurately.

      I agree, similar values can be found in other works of fiction - even "Star Wars" and "The Lord of the Rings". Why should we consider Bible the word of God and not other myths? Perhaps, there is a reason why certain myths are canonized and treated with religious reverence. I believe, doing so creates a foundation for nations and cultures. E.g. America, with all the religious and ethnic diversity, is defined and united around the ideas of freedom, human rights, and democracy. There are myths associated with those ideas as well. These myths are imprinted in the minds of young children in public schools. The Soviet Union did the same with ideas of communism. I don't think, we can completely get rid of all myths. Society seems to need myths.
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        Apr 10 2013: Arkady,

        “Qu’est ce qu’une nation?”-Renan

        Myths are necessary as a nation building tool, an instrument of the will to power. Nations foster Myths with selective & even distorted memory of a shared past so they could feast on a narrative with motivating power.
        And Myths just like rights:they are not arranged in heavens but chiseled- usually by blood-, and enforced by the threat of violence, (all the heavy lifting is always done by mankind, isn't?).

        Perhaps life presents us with an optical illusion(after Myth & historical manipulations) that invites to look in the wrong place for a source of values, and custom fitted to every culture in space & time

        It is not in the rather innocuous extrapolations from the Bible,or other religious books that claim to have the "truth", where I think the problem lies, but in leveraging of those so-called core spiritual nation building values to seduce the psyche of a population the way G Lucas Marketing Dept compels us to buy light-sabers.
        That is the proverbial historical marriage of church & state. I wonder how long will it last?, I wonder what will the state is prepared to do to defend it? Or the Church?

        "Myths are public dreams, dreams are private myths"- J Campbell

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          Apr 11 2013: Couldn't give you more thumbs up. I haven't heard much of Joseph Campbell before. Thanks for the reference.

          "Joseph Campbell explores the concepts of Christ both as a Promethean figure and a Job figure--bringing the fire of redemption, suffering for our sins--and describes the crucifix as a synthesizing symbol, a sign of divinity and humanity alike."

          These parallels between the myths and reality (Job, Christ, Prometheus, Gandhi, MLK, Lennon) are quire amazing.

          Re: "And Myths just like rights:they are not arranged in heavens but chiseled- usually by blood-, and enforced by the threat of violence, (all the heavy lifting is always done by mankind, isn't?)." - I can't agree more. Rights ARE myths.

          Re: "It is not in the rather innocuous extrapolations from the Bible,or other religious books that claim to have the "truth", where I think the problem lies, but in leveraging of those so-called core spiritual nation building values to seduce the psyche of a population the way G Lucas Marketing Dept compels us to buy light-sabers."

          Yes! This amazes me too. It is mind-bending to watch how myths blend into reality as if in a 3D TV commercial. 3D TV and virtual reality are pathetic imitation of the age-old "technology" of mind control. It never stops to amaze me how people listen to the stories about crowd brainwashed by Pharisees chanting "crucify him" and then go out on a crusade, Jewish pogrom, or a violent anti-gay protest. Or how they can watch a movie about mind control techniques of Jedi only to spend millions of dollars on Star Wars paraphernalia. Self-fulfilling prophecies?
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          Apr 11 2013: Forget the translation nuances and some minor unrealistic details. Look at the story as a whole: A man gets brutally killed for going around teaching people to be nice to each other and calling them hypocrites for not doing so. After that, people follow his example and go around teaching other people to be nice to each other and calling them hypocrites for not doing so. And the violent story goes on, and on, and on... While the message remains very simple, basic, and hypocritical: be nice to each other, you, hypocrites :-)

          How can we NOT consider these myths credible? The unrealistic details are not miracles. The miracle is the mind-bending reality behind these myths.
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        Apr 11 2013: “Two wrongs don't make a right, but don't three lefts make a right? Two wrongs don't make a right, but don't two negatives make a positive?”
        ― Andrew Clements, Things Not Seen

        "Pull your rights from wrong"
        -- Bob Marley, One Drop

        As for me Love & compassion are the ultimate mind bending miracles known to mankind.
        Maybe Plato's myth of the cave was dead on: control the collective mind that controls individual perception of reality and interpretation of experience at a subjective level and you just got the monopoly on "Truth".

        "An error does not become truth by reason of propagation, nor does the truth becomes error because nobody sees it"--- M. Gandhi

        I do enjoy the energy and non-conventional wit of your postings. Saludos!
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          Apr 11 2013: Carlos, thanks for your post. You pointed out how inadequate is our language to convey an important message.

          "The continually progressive change to which the meaning of words is subject, the want of a universal language which renders translation necessary, the errors to which translations are again subject, the mistakes of copyists and printers, together with the possibility of willful alteration, are of themselves evidences that the human language, whether in speech or in print, cannot be the vehicle of the word of God. The word of God exists in something else." -- Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason.

          Although, yes, no human language is adequate for "the word of God" and it's easy to criticize the Bible for logical inconsistencies and factual errors, I would not go that path, because, as I said, we also have our "heart" (emotional perception) to see behind the pages.
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    Gail .

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    Mar 25 2013: PS: (or part 3)

    Mary is not described as a virgin in the oldest texts. She is described as a maiden or senorita or unmarried female. The virgin part is not a translation. It's a change.
    • Mar 25 2013: Wow! I had no idea, that's incredible... I would love to find out more about this. What a beautiful message about the power of humans and what we can achieve with the power of the human spirit. Thank you very much Gail! How can I find out more?
    • W T

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      Mar 26 2013: The word ʽal‧mah′ means “maiden” and can apply to a nonvirgin or a virgin.

      Under divine inspiration, Matthew employed the Greek word par‧the′nos (virgin) when showing that Isaiah 7:14 found final fulfillment in connection with the virgin birth of Jesus, the Messiah.

      Both Matthew and Luke state clearly that Jesus’ mother Mary was then a virgin who became pregnant through the operation of God’s holy spirit.—Mt 1:18-25; Lu 1:26-35.
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        Gail .

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        Mar 27 2013: Yes, they do - BUT the original texts show her as being a maiden - an unmarried female. Unmarried females are either virgins or not. Surely you know that. The original texts do not make reference to the condition of her hymen. Still, Mary's "virginity" is an essential tenet of Christianity. This was a "change" - not a translation error. Why didn't King James use the word maiden if that's how she was described?

        Jesus wasn't anti-women, as the gospels show. When he gave his "Sermon on the Mount", women weren't separated out from the rest of the hoard by a barrier, as was required in synagogues when rabbis spoke. What would the multitude have used to erect such a barrier before Jesus was allowed to speak? How long would it have taken them?

        The change from maiden or unmarried woman to "virgin" was done to manipulate you.

        So believe as you will, but that doesn't change the "facts".
        • W T

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          Mar 27 2013: "...Mary's "virginity" is an essential tenet of Christianity...." Christianity can teach alot of things. But what does the Bible teach? That is where I go for answers.

          The Bible teaches that Mary was a virgin prior to becoming pregnant with Jesus.
          It then says she gave birth. We all know what giving birth implies.....from the Bible account we can assume she gave natural child birth.

          The Bible record shows she went on to have other children with her husband Joseph.

          I do not believe that she remained a virgin after giving birth.
          The scriptures do not teach that.

          Also, where do you get the idea that the gospels show Jesus to be anti-women?
          I have never gotten that impression from reading the gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John)

          The separating of men and women at sinagogues is tradition of men. It is not found in scripture.
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    Mar 25 2013: Why consider the original old testament manuscripts prior to any manipulation as accurate representations of reality or history?

    Why assume the gospels written by the original authors are historically accurate?

    Why assume the books collected into the new testament deserve to be there compared to many others that were excluded?

    Why assume the god of the Hebrews exists, or any god or goddess, let alone whether the bible accurately reflects its nature and wants?

    Can't we respect peoples freedom to look to whatever source they want for insight, without respecting the source itself unless it deserves respect on its own merit?

    While I appreciate the impact of the bible (and Qu'ran, and Hindu and Buddhist scriptures etc) over the ages, I'm not sure a sexist homophobic genocidal tribalistic slavery and murder endorsing book full of fables and apocalyptic teachings deserves a great deal of respect.

    I don't think religious ideas deserve respect just because they are religious, or popular. But at the same time I value freedom of and from religion. The ideas and belief should be open to debate and judged on their own merit in my view, but people shouldn't be forced to adhere to a particular religious or totalitarian view.
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        Mar 25 2013: I'm not angry. Not even trying to be provocative. Just saying it how I see it. Pointing out the obvious questions. What makes you think I'm angry?

        I guess the written word doesn't convey tone all that well, unless you put in the softening words.

        Is it intolerant to disagree, yet support people having the right to disagree with me?

        What is it to assume anyone with a dissenting view is angry?
    • Mar 25 2013: Well put Obey.
      Right on.
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        Mar 26 2013: How credible is it, if it is actually a bunch of human created ideas from multiple authors, about an imaginary god concept, with no actual connection to any god, especially if an interventionist creator type god does not exist. Seems right on topic, just a bit more big picture going back to root cause perhaps.

        The comment about respect was responding to comments of others.

        Fair enough if you don't think my point is adding to the conversation I disagree.

        Why worry about what is lost in translation or been added to like parts of Mark, when the whole thing might be a man made fantasy and arbitrarily collected in the first place?
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      Gail .

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      Mar 25 2013: I do not assume that the texts are historically accurate. I am only showing how the texts were changed so much that the message they send is unrecognizeable from its origins - hence you have a religion that worships Jesus while calling him a liar by doing the opposite of what Jesus (be he real or mythical) said to do, and having discovered that whether real or not, his methods work,thought I would point that out.
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        • Mar 26 2013: Actually it's really not that hard and if every body listened to that little voice in there head before doing bad things imagine what the world would be. A lot of people just don't care the effects of there actions on the people around them. But the right thing to do is always pretty obvious and all you have to do is ask the person closest to you for input.
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          Gail .

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          Mar 26 2013: Doing what is right is NOT hard,. It just takes courage, self-discipline, and a well-ordered belief system, which most people don't have.

          The well-ordered belief system is the most important. Beliefs determine thoughts that precede emotions that spark destructive behavior. Change the beliefs to get rid of beliefs (thoughts) that cause destructive behaviors and it's not difficult at all.

          Going with the flow, allowing others to think for you, & yielding to peer pressure make it very hard indeed. Money also makes it very hard - but money is nothing but a piece of paper that you "believe" has value.
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          Mar 26 2013: Hi Gail, I agree in part.

          Often we have a good idea or firm assumption of what the right thing to do is. But other courses of action may be more gratifying.

          But in some situations you have a clash of rights and values.
          Some issues are ethically complex.
          E.g. abortion
          E.g. should parents have the right to religiously indoctrinate their children
          E.g. where do we draw the limits on freedom of speech, freedom of religion etc.
          E.g. Should the burqa be banned?
          E.g. Should parent be allow to strike their children - to what extent?
          E.g. At what age should we allow young people to have sex with older people?
          E.g. Should old people with severe dementia be allowed to have sex with other people in their rest home?
          E.g. Who should be able to own weapons, how many, what types?

          Or closer to home, who do you sack first when your business is struggling etc.
          Do I give my life savings to help my friend start up a business?
    • Mar 26 2013: When is it ever forced aside from children?
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        Mar 26 2013: Good question.

        For example, certain religious morals being forced on all of society like opposition the legalisation of gay marriage because the bible says so.

        Like slavery is okay because the bible says so. Civil war anyone.

        Or forced atheism in some totalitarian regimes.

        Like the NZ national anthem. Like the US pledge of allegiance. Although in these cases you can opt out.

        Take gay marriage. If your religion says it is wrong, then you don't have to marry the same sex but you need better reasons than your religious beliefs to deny others the same rights.

        I know some Christians who think it is a sin, but support the right of same sex couples to marry

        And religious indoctrination of children is a whole other story.
        • Mar 26 2013: You make some good points. That's harsh that one is put in the position to have to choose between who they are and what they may or may not believe but do practice. Id like to research the bibles writings against gays and see how far back it first appeared. I can't believe how people haven't got passed basic human rights yet and I think it boils down to money.
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    Apr 21 2013: A good question!
    Maybe, on certain "Religious matters" and "moral matters" (Like how it encourages the "Golden rule", and compassion!).
    Yet probably not on science, and certain historical matters.
    Sorry for my short answer!
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      Apr 21 2013: Hi bernard, the bible for morality?
      Really, or just cherry picking a few bits.
      Regulating slavery, killing homosexuals, adulterers, unruly children, and sabbath breakers?
      Committing genocide on neighbouring tribes?
      Breaking the neck of a calf when there is an unsolved murder?
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        Apr 21 2013: Encouraging acts of compassion, a sense of humility?
        The sense of community and unconditional love?
        They joy of helping people?
        The reasons as to "why" you should help people?

        Remember that the Bible was written in an amazingly violent time, and there probably wasn't much of "rational" (/ Selfish) reason to "help" people. And that the "God" of the Bible would have reflected some of the views of the people who wrote it. For they lived in a time where there was constant war (and not many deterrents), life was cheap, and that there wasn't much of a point to "emphasize" with the tribe next to you in terms of resources allocation. (So they "dehumanize or negatively stereotype" the other tribes to make their actions "acceptable".)
        I mean this is what I mean when I say "moral matters", however I can accept that maybe I am cherry picking!

        However if I am "cherry picking", what does this say about the Bible in general? I mean, am I just judging it from proximity / my own values (which may, or may not have been influenced by culture).
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    Mar 30 2013: G'day Jonathan

    First of all I don't have religious convictions myself & I agree that the bible has been rewritten a number of times by highly educated men not of divine nature. I purchased a book on how over time prayers have changed & why, they actually have a totally different meaning to them now than they once did so everything about the bible seems a little messed up by man hands to serve a certain purpose at any given time in human history.

    There is always an opposing argument & that is how the bible is being read & interpreted, I’ve heard certain parts of a bible read in a number of different ways which does give it a different connotation in the way it’s read. You would think there is only one way to read the bible & you would be wrong. For example I could read a book about psychology & get something quite different out of it than someone else who also read the same exact book, the bible is no different. There is a reason for this but I won’t go into it as I would need a bit of space to do so but it’s to do with modes of thought as everyone has a different mode of thought just like we do with personalities & these individual modes of thought all have their own deductive reasoning processes thus we tend to interpret things differently.

    Read the bible in a symbolic sense not in a literal sense & you will see things in the bible you couldn’t before plus the bible gives us moral boundaries which are much needed humanly.

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    Mar 25 2013: If you want to know if the bible is credible, all you have to do is Test It. I've done that, and I have faith in the God of the Bible.
    You gotta experience it yourself.
    • Mar 25 2013: How would one go about testing it? If you are testing it based solely on facts then I feel there will be large shortcomings, look at Gail's or even creationism in general. Do you take it on metaphor? I would have a problem with that too as I would find it hard to put all my faith in something that could mean anything...
      • Mar 26 2013: You may acknowledge the meaning of the test as you think over the sin (sinful mind) in which ALL people can not be free from the sinful mind and actions in store.
        To believe the bible credible is to believe the Good News which means "God saved his people from the original Sin".
        If there were not original sin to human being, the death of Jesus would have been meaningless and stupid!!
        If you realize yourself not perfect (= you are not free from the sin) ,then you can acknowledge and say " I am a sinner " before God.
        Then, you will automatically believe in the Good News and say the bible credible !!
        At the same time, you will enjoy that the truth of God set you free and real happiness thanking God even if sometimes hardship in your life!!!
        Please test yourself asking" I am sinner before God" ?
      • W T

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        Mar 26 2013: Dear Jonathan,

        To go about "testing" it for yourself, you must have a Bible, I don't think the version matters.
        Then find someone in your locality, who can help you study it, and answer questions you have about it.

        It is important that when you ask a question, they answer it using the scriptures themselves.
        Trust yourself enough to discern whether or not they are teaching you the truth. How?
        Pray to God for wisdom and discernment to help you find those that will teach you biblical truth.
        If God really does exist, don't you think He will help you find these individuals?

        Online you can find alot of information, but much of it discredits what the Bible says.
        Find those that hold the Bible in high regard, and see what they have to say.
        Ask questions, be patient and listen.

        Then make a choice to see if the Bible is credible enough for YOU.
  • Mar 25 2013: The bible isn't credible in this age or any time ahead of us. What people tend to forget is that the bible is rewritten a dozen of times already and stories are made bigger than they actually were.

    Having said the above lines I would say the bible is just a reflection of the human emotion and there are very valuable lessons to be learned from it to get the strength and hope from believing in a god that doing good thing will give you a ticket into heaven.

    Imagine if there was a proof that god does not exist it would shatter religions all over the world an people will lose hope and stop believing in miracles
    • Mar 25 2013: Yeah that's true, I'm sure many people need to believe in something better to give their life purpose.
    • Mar 26 2013: Discrediting the bible with solid evidence does nothing for disproving God's existence. This belief was well before any book was written.
      • Mar 26 2013: I see where your point but what I was trying to say is that many people follow the bible and its exact written rules for life. What people forget is that the bible has been rewritten a dozen of times.

        I'm not telling them not to believe because some people made some stories up but if you do note research into the bible you see that a lot of intelligent people of that time wrote and rewrote the bible.

        It is the ability to see the deeper meaning of life trough the bible and get strength from your faith.
    • Mar 26 2013: I don't think people would stop believing in miracles. Miracles happen regardless. Miraculous events occur a lot more frequent than you might think.
      • Mar 26 2013: I know and they are most beautiful indeed

        But I was kinda aiming for miracles towards the religious side that god may have had a hand in helping and guiding a person. What would those miracles mean to religious people if there was proof that there isn't a god.

        Sure they would see it as a miracle but think that person was just very lucky and nothing more.

        I am not a man of faith but if I were to believe in god I don't think he creates the miracles but gave us the ability to do so instead so that no divine intervention would be needed.
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    Apr 24 2013: Einstein did not believed in a personal God. Not all fables are created equal yet you can learn from all. The details is that some fables claim that they are the absolute truth and none else is. Just a thought. Cheers!
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    Apr 24 2013: You'd really have to ask a biblical documentary specialist about the credibility of the various parts of that assemblage. There is probably no reason to believe that the early parts - the "books of Moses" - are more or less credible as historical documents than other writings of their time. They are largely oral traditions that were written down by priests several centuries after their supposed occurrence, thus the legends they relate would have changed quite a bit in that time. The interesting (and unfortunate) effect of the skill of writing was that the rather flexible myths and legends of the early Israeli tribes became unchanging and absolute as soon as they were written down, and have continued to be considered such by aficionados ever since.

    As for the New Testament writings, most were written from 30 to 100 years after the death of Jesus by authors who never met him, so they would have the credibility of 30-100 year old legends. About like oral tales told of A.Lincoln: Some core of reality, wrapped in an aura of fable.
  • Apr 24 2013: May I post a link to our approach/meaning to the literal text of the Scriptures? This, in no way, is the only answer or the only way. It is an option and is given for those that are open for it.

    This is our Doctrine of the Sacred Scripture, and only shows how credible we think the Bible is

    Hope this helps
    • Comment deleted

      • Apr 24 2013: On the page I got, indeed looked empty except for one line:

        Click here ("here" is the blue link) to download your file.

        Don't ask me why this is. Whenever I'm on Google it is https.. and when I leave a link that I have to take away that security 's'. I've stopped asking Google because no one is home :)

        Very much hope this works
        If not, this is another link

        BTW most of what you say regarding the Bible text makes perfect sense to me. One of our societies is located in Boulder.
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      Apr 24 2013: Hi chris, perhaps you and richard dawkins and many others agree the virgin birth requires the laws of nature to be overridden, and there is no evidence this happened. Some think this might refer to some spiritual birth, or be symbolic. Others think it might have become part of the story to reinforce claims of divinity or meet messianc requirements etc, a complete fabrication. Others that we simply dont know, but it is an incredible claim and requires sufficient evidence, and none is available. Ask a muslim and they will demolish the claim of jesus divinity.

      I note virgin births are in more than some christian doctrines. Seems some religions have a problem with the female birth canel.
  • Apr 23 2013: Whether the Bible is the truth or not is immaterial to the question. As a Christian you can not consider it anything but credible no matter what the arguments. It is the source of your faith and the feather against which your heart is weighed. Act accordingly. As a non Christian it has never been relevant for any purpose except dealing with Christians. The real question is, I think, is not is the Bible credible but is the Bible universally applicable. The answer I think is no for the same reason that the Quran, the Tao Te Chin and the Vedas are not. For all the validity these texts proponents can demonstrate to prove their claims they are corrupt texts to those that don’t subscribe to them.
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    Mar 30 2013: I note there are many contradictions in the bible. E.g. in the gospels:
    - They disagree on the lineage of Jesus
    - The time Jesus was crucified
    - The circumstances around Judas' death
    - Whether Jesus ministered for 1 year or 3.

    Yet some people try to take it literally.

    I suggest it is no more or no less credible than many other religious books.
    • W T

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      Mar 31 2013: Allow me to offer the following regarding your first point.....Jesus' lineage:

      The difference in nearly all the names in Luke’s genealogy of Jesus as compared with Matthew’s is quickly resolved in the fact that Luke traced the line through David’s son Nathan, instead of Solomon as did Matthew. (Lu 3:31; Mt 1:6, 7)

      Luke evidently follows the ancestry of Mary, thus showing Jesus’ natural descent from David, while Matthew shows Jesus’ legal right to the throne of David by descent from Solomon through Joseph, who was legally Jesus’ father.

      Both Matthew and Luke signify that Joseph was not Jesus’ actual father but only his adoptive father, giving him legal right.

      Since Jesus was not the natural son of Joseph but was the Son of God, Luke’s genealogy of Jesus would prove that he was, by human birth, a son of David through his natural mother Mary.

      But why does not Luke name Mary, and why pass immediately from Jesus to His grandfather? Ancient sentiment did not comport with the mention of the mother as the genealogical link. Among the Greeks a man was the son of his father, not of his mother; and among the Jews the adage was: ‘Genus matris non vocatur genus [“The descendant of the mother is not called (her) descendant”]’ (‘Baba bathra,’ 110, a).”—Commentary on Luke, 1981, p. 129.
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      Mar 31 2013: Allow me to offer the following regarding your last point....Jesus' ministry:

      It is true that some say 1 year, and some 3 years.

      From the accounts of Jesus’ ministry in Matthew, Mark and Luke the full three and a half years are not so clearly indicated.

      But John, who wrote his record about A.D. 98, long after the other three accounts had been written and circulating, filled in the missing proofs.

      John gives evidence of Jesus attending four Passovers in Jerusalem after the start of his ministry in the autumn of 29. John 2:13 refers to Passover A.D. 30; John 5:1 to Passover A.D. 31; John 6:4 to Passover A.D. 32; and, finally, John 13:1 to Passover A.D. 33, the last just before Jesus’ death.

      Thus by John’s record of four Passovers during Jesus’ ministry the three-and-a-half-year duration is proved.

      A second proof of the three-and-a-half-year duration comes from Bible prophecy in Daniel chapter 9.

      The other two points you mention I will have to do some additional reading to be able to answer, since I do not recall ever having a conversation with anyone on these.

      My aim is not to convince you, but hopefully to explain how some of us who have faith in the credibility of the holy scriptures have it because of study, and not blind faith.
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      Apr 3 2013: I will share with you what I found regarding your other two points.

      ** The circumstances surrounding Judas' death.

      Some feel that perhaps the same event presented from two standpoints might be the reasonable conclusion. It seems that Jerusalem's topography allows for Judas to have tried to hung himself, then the branch he hung from could have snapped, and his body thrown down a rocky precipice and hurt some more.

      Sounds kind of reasonable. Sometimes the simple answer is the hardest one to believe.
      But I do understand how one can be perplexed at the discrepancies.

      ** The time Jesus was crucified.

      Here, there is really no clear cut answer. Perhaps each of the gospel writers counted time from a different stand point. One counted the actual clock, while the other counted time from the moment he was hung up.

      Both writers were inspired by holy spirit, so someone with faith in scripture, like me, would look at everything else in scripture, and wait and see if later in time this discrepancy is cleared up.

      So, here again, one could understand why readers would be perplexed.

      We cannot believe things blindly, at least that is not how I like to live.
      I do question alot of things and research, and pray for guidance.

      In the end, I have to live with myself. I have to be true to my own convictions.
      Whenever I can I like to share what I have learned regarding scriptures with others.

      Thank you for the opportunity to do this today.

      Be Well.
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        Apr 21 2013: Thanks Mary. I respect your consideration of these issues, and also ultimately acting on your own convictions not blindly accepting.
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    Mar 28 2013: JH, Yes I agree that the Bible has went through many translations and subjected to re-definations and re-focusing by influential persons.

    However, Religion is a matter of Faith. I cannot force you into a religion ... you either accept it or deny it ... it is taken on faith.

    Given that you accept (any) religion you would also accept the written word that accompanies that religion. Therefore credibality is a individual acceptance of the WORD.

    I wish you well. Bob.
  • Mar 27 2013: There's no logic answer to that question. Faith disregards facts, and I'm not saying this to diss on religion, but that's the definition of faith. People used to burn at the stake for trying to acquire a version of the Bible that they could actually read. The Bible has been used to manipulate the citizens in the past into making the church the most powerful organization on Earth. The present Bible is nothing like the original version, even when you just compare it to the old books (Deuteronomy, for example). The word of God as is in the Bible is so far away from what it originally was that there's, again, no logical argument to believe in it. So the answer to your question would be: Blind faith.
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      Mar 28 2013: Actually, the Holy Bible, (Authorized Version KJV) is not guilty of the accusations you make. It defines Faith as, "The substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." How do you interpret that to mean "disregard facts"? Faith comes into play only when the subject matter is unseen and is a matter of hope. Faith is not necessary to intelligent, logical, scientific conduct regarding the physical world. Are you a Bible scholar,or are you sharing your personal opinion?
  • Mar 26 2013: How can anyone be a 'sinner before God" if Jesus died for our sins?
    That implies to me that all is forgiven, from the beginning, ahead of time, and not at the end
    because it won't be needed at the end.
    Forgiveness has already been granted. It's a done deal.
    There's nothing to worry about.
    That's how I've always seen it.
    Setting humans free in that manner is to have set them free forever and from the get-go.
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      Mar 26 2013: What you say is at complete variance with what the Holy Bible teaches. You are free to design and promote your own doctrines and religion, but this discussion is about what the Bible teaches. Most folks believe, just as you seem to, that they have a complete understanding of the Holy Bible and are qualified to offer commentary on what it teaches. The fact is very few have the ability to understand the Holy Bible. Only those who have been born again and are now led by the Spirit of God can make one bit of sense of the Holy Bible. For those without God's Spirit the Holy Bible is foolishness. Reliable explanation of what the Holy Bible teaches cannot possibly come from a person who does not have God's Holy Spirt guiding them. Such a person might as well claim to be an expert in neurosurgery when they have none of the education or training necessary to make such a claim. Thanks for sharing your personal doctrine and religion, but please don't represent it as Biblical Theology. Keep searching and be well.
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        Apr 11 2013: Edward,
        I am far from a Bible Scholar, and I do not think that I am led by the Holy Ghost. I do respect other people's right to believe as they see fit, and will defend that that right in any forum.
        That said, you state "Most folks believe.. that they have a complete understanding of the Holy Bible and are qualified to offer commentary on what it teaches. The fact is very few have the ability to understand the Holy Bible. Only those who have been born again and are now led by the Spirit of God can make one bit of sense of the Holy Bible. For those without God's Spirit the Holy Bible is foolishness. Reliable explanation of what the Holy Bible teaches cannot possibly come from a person who does not have God's Holy Spirt guiding them. ( I left Spirit as originally written).
        OK, so if I understand correctly you are saying that: I can understand a newspaper article correctly but not the Bible, but if I had the Holy Spirit I would understand both. So God is incapable of writing to be understood, while men can be understood in the newspaper. This also makes all books on Earth understandable without the Holy Spirit, minus the Bible.So by default we are prevented from understanding it until one of 33,820 denominations with 3,445,000 congregations/churches of Christianity or Christianities decodes the Bible for me, or another mechanism in which from another non-physical realm information will be conveyed to me in an understandable format. And you say that is a "fact that very few have the ability to understand the Holy Bible", Who I ask are those" very few?" Also you would agree that Judaism albeit being older than Christianities is misreading the Tanach? And Judaism followers are kept off limits from understanding their own God?

        Once again I do not have doctrines or claim to be an expert on Theological matters, but your post sounded as if you have a direct line to God ; it sounds very authoritative, Since you tell Random C. what to represent as Theology or not.

  • Mar 26 2013: The biblical stories are like the story of a good fisherman, emphasize the great details and describe it in an abstract way you can not take everything literally, nothing is real or false, depending on the glass where you look "then the writer of each book"
  • Mar 26 2013: There are many Biblical texts that survive from before the year 500 and several that survive from before the year 200. Major modern translations are done by teams of scholars with expertise in the original languages and the cultures in which those languages were situated with access to the earliest manuscripts in the original languages using sophisticated techniques of textual criticism. Any recent major translation is likely a more credible version of the Biblical text than has been available since the first few centuries AD. Along the way, many distortions were made for many ideological reasons. Right now, though, credibility is #1 on the list for translators.

    If your concern is how to take the Bible seriously, one tool that intelligent people need is awareness of literary styles, or, academically, "form criticism". Understanding what genre of writing a piece of writing is helps a lot. Genesis can be read as a creation myth. Revelation is a poem fully of vivid imagery. The biggest problem though is that these neat categories for types of writing don't hold up over thousands of years. If you read Thucydides accounts of the Peloponesian War as modern history accounts you'll find them lacking as well. Even though most of the Bible is "history", it's tremendously important to have a feel for what the purpose of writing a "history" was at that point and what counted as credibility. Often, credibility in our modern sense is not high on the Biblical author's list of priorities. The gospel writers rearranged events in Jesus ministry to construct narratives that made their points better. To your mind, that might make them less credible, but for them you idea of credibility wasn't at the head of the list of reasons why they were writing. They were primarily writing to communicate in a pure a way as possible the transforming power of knowing Jesus.
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    Mar 25 2013: i think if you look at the stories with an allegorical view then you can find some truth.but for stories saying people lived for hundreds of years then maybe the truth was extended. it does seem to shake the credibility when you remember that it has been passed down.
    thanks for starting this!
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    Mar 25 2013: I have to admit:
    The it depends what your looking for, for to say it is credible.
    E.G If your looking for "moral guidance" you have to compare how reliable that advice is in the world today.
    Or if your looking for how the world was created, or what caused nature to be as it is, then I would prefer to refer to Evolution or the big-bang.
    But I haven't read the "whole Bible" so I couldn't possibly say!
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      Mar 26 2013: I have and it is a very mixed bag.

      But don'claim to be an expert.

      Actually, there is so much in there you could just about find a verse to defend nearly anything.
  • Mar 25 2013: Teaching by stories and parables is a way to do things. Abduction and analogy leads us to some questions. So what - The basic ideas are clear but it's not a math or logic text. A great deal of the disagreement is market segmentation and differentation. Also, when one creates a bureaucracy, there is always a quest for power. Get over it.
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    • Mar 25 2013: You're right, sorry, I rephrased my question.
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      Mar 25 2013: I don't think religious ideas deserve respect just because they are religious, or popular.

      But at the same time I value freedom of and from religion.

      The ideas and belief should be open to debate and judged on their own merit in my view.

      Why do you think criticism of religious ideas should be off limits?

      Does this include sexist and homophobic and violent religious beliefs? Should we not criticise the mutilation of boys and girls genitals for religious reasons? Should we shut up when religious people try and force banning contraception or their religion into public schools?
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          Mar 25 2013: My bad for assuming respect might include not criticising.

          We agree about healthy discussion. Some might consider that disrespectful in itself. I don't think people have a right not to be offended by the views of others.

          Also perhaps about circumcision being done for religious reasons being decided by parents for helpless children. No issue with an adult choosing to be circumcised or pierced or whatever.

          I'm not sure I can respect all that that book says and represents. But I have no desire to force others to agree with me.
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          Mar 26 2013: Who cares if you don't like me replying to someone saying they think we should respect the bible (comment is deleted?

          I don't see anything wrong with building on or responding to the comments of others.

          I'm disagreeing not attacking them personally.

          Who are you to call my honest opinion on a point of view expressed by others a rant?

          Flag it if you want. In a way your objections are even more off topic than my responses to the comments of others.

          Some might find your desire for censorship more offensive than me expressing views they may disagree with.

          Glad you are not a moderator.
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      Gail .

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      Mar 25 2013: The Abrahamic Religions don't deserve my respect. They have brought far too much harm into the world. They do not bring harmony. If you lived in the bible belt south of America, you would know that - unless you are a fundamentalist christian as too many are.
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        Mar 26 2013: Sorry Gail, according to ZX you are not supposed to comment on the comments of others unless they meet the ZX on/off topic criteria.
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          Gail .

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          Mar 26 2013: Oops. Thanks for reminding me. ;-)