Man or God

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AuthorTopic: Man or God
Lifecrafter
Member # 7723
Profile #0
This is a continuation of an aside from "The Sky is Falling?" http://www.ironycentral.com/cgi-bin/ubb/ubb/ultimatebb.php?ubb=get_topic;f=1;t=004427 It started as a discussion about whether or not manmade global warming is hype, the practice of science, and the power of scientists . This involved the human inclination towards religiosity and the perception of reality, which digressed into a discussion about whether or not a spiritual realm is illogical. I think this is somewhat related to the original topic. But then, as spiritual discussions tend to do, this took a tangent towards the Bible’s authenticity. To be fair to the OP and anyone who wanted to talk about the original topic I thought we needed a new thread.

The claim from SkeleTony is that the Bible is man-made and illogical. I don’t know how well this discussion will be tolerated on these boards, but I think it is very relevant considering the bible’s impact on society. I for one believe it is God’s word and as such is in perfect harmony with itself, reality, and logic. I don’t pretend to know everything, but I am quite familiar with the Bible, it’s history, the cultures it was made in, and even it’s original languages to some extent. I have all sorts of reference material to make up for anything I don’t know.

So, if you feel like SkeleTony (I didn’t realize how funny that name is until I wrote it), if you had questions you wanted to ask your religious friends and family but didn’t want to make them feel stupid, if you feel they are stupid – here’s your chance. I have a high pain threshold, so you probably won’t offend me, and even if you do I can take it, Thuryl.

[ Wednesday, August 29, 2007 10:46: Message edited by: Stillness ]

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Posts: 701 | Registered: Thursday, November 30 2006 08:00
Warrior
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I had difficulty deciding between option 2 and 3. Ultimately, I went for #3.

The reason why I considered 2, is because the writers of the Bible may have been enlightened in some since of the word. They also may have had a spritual experience. The not wholly God's message part bugged me, because it implies that it is in part "God's" message.

The answer I could be most certian about, is that the Bible is entirely man-made. The people who made it were most likely enlighted, but not such that God was controlling them.

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Posts: 93 | Registered: Tuesday, June 29 2004 07:00
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Posts: 2242 | Registered: Saturday, April 10 2004 07:00
Shaper
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With how much control various sects have had on what is actually contained in the Bible, I think you'd be hard-pressed to convince that it is divinely inspired...

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Lt. Sullust
Quaere verum
Posts: 2462 | Registered: Wednesday, October 3 2001 07:00
Law Bringer
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quote:
I have a high pain threshold, so you probably won’t offend me, and even if you do I can take it, Thuryl.
There are so many things wrong with this.

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? Man, ? Amazing
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quote:
Originally written by root:

There are so many things wrong with this.
I'm afraid you needed to be a little more all-encompassing with this statement.

Stillness- Why? whywhywhywhywhywhy? If you haven't already sussed out how the potential participants feel about this topic, I'm afraid that no further examination will help.

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Posts: 4114 | Registered: Monday, April 25 2005 07:00
Electric Sheep One
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I think I believe all three options at once, so I cannot vote.

A book may both be and not be a message from even an ordinary human author. The author presumably intends the entire book, and in that sense it is a message from the author; but the characters and even the narrator may not be expressing that message. The author's actual message may even be that what is stated explicitly in the text is false — some books have unreliable narrators. So the literal text of the book may not be the author's message, even if the properly understood meaning of the book is.

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Posts: 3335 | Registered: Thursday, September 4 2003 07:00
Shaper
Member # 73
Profile #7
None of the above. I have no idea. What I do have an opinion about is whether the Bible matters to me at this point, whether it's Godmade, manmade, both, or otherwise. My opinion is no, it does not.

By the way, see my post in the Sky Is Falling thread that I am about to make.

[ Wednesday, August 29, 2007 12:41: Message edited by: The Almighty Do-er of Stuff ]

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Posts: 2957 | Registered: Thursday, October 4 2001 07:00
Infiltrator
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I vote for number one. No surprise there, I'd wager. I'd tell you you're wasting your breath on this bunch,(because we've mostly all 'been there, done that, I ain't budging' before) but I guess you never know. God does work in mysterious ways.

quote:
Originally written by Lt. Sullust:

With how much control various sects have had on what is actually contained in the Bible, I think you'd be hard-pressed to convince that it is divinely inspired...
True, the versions of the Bible seem to be multiplying like rabbits but there are the original manuscripts to look at, though, if one is so inclined.

I don't feel like pulling out the same old statistics again but I do feel like rambling so I will paraphrase.

There have been comparisons between the manuscripts with which the Book of Isaiah was translated into the KJV and with the Dead Sea Scrolls copy which dates hundreds of years earlier and there was found to be only a miniscule difference (like 1% or something close). Most of it was simple spelling errors and word switches i.e. God Almighty for Almighty God. Nothing that would have changed the meaning of a single verse.

So although we don't have all the books of the Bible in the Dead Sea Scrolls, we can be reasonably sure that the manuscripts we do have are reliably accurate to the originals. And when I use the terms reasonable and reliable I am using them scientificly. Any ancient manuscript scholar(who didn't flunk his classes)could tell you that the Bible is more reliable then any other translated ancient manuscript there is. Mainly because there are so many ancient copies of it to compare./end ramble

Show of hands. How many of you just skipped to the bottom?

[ Wednesday, August 29, 2007 15:37: Message edited by: Jewel ]

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Posts: 563 | Registered: Tuesday, July 27 2004 07:00
Agent
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Whether or not all of the books in the Bible have been consistent over they millenia is beside the point. Essentially, specific theism requires acknowledging that some Jack, Joe, Bob, etc. who may have not even existed. The Bible is a treasure chest for such doubts, as their are ommited books and multiple authors. Essentially, the chances that the Bible is correct is multiplied exponentially for each new supposed author.

Since even I feel that last paragraph was a ramble, I'm going to give an example. I see there is a teacup orbitting around the sun between Earth and Mars. However, I also say that no matter how hard you look, you will not be able to detect it. Also, I say that I learned of this from an ancient book written by a supposed circus clown who lived thousands of years ago, and that no one has heard of. Do you believe me?

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Posts: 1186 | Registered: Friday, June 18 2004 07:00
...b10010b...
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Okay, let's suppose for the sake of argument that the Bible is as consistent and logical as you say. The only thing that proves is that it was written by someone very intelligent and knowledgeable. How do you rule out the possibility that it was written by Satan to deceive humanity?

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Posts: 9973 | Registered: Saturday, March 30 2002 08:00
Shaper
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I'll comment again, as someone who spent much of his life operating on the unchallenged assumption of the inerrant, God-given truth of the Bible, I now find it amazing how few such believers really examine why they have come to believe and defend such a massive, and unsubstantiatable claim.

Why? Why do you think you believe it? Would the average person have come to the same conclusion if they weren't raised to believe it without question? We are so much more the predictable product of those who hold tremendous power over us to shape our minds and lives—our families. The apple so infrequently falls far from the tree. I grew up Christian because I was surrounded by Christians, not because my young reasoning had the capacity to judiciously make such a choice for myself at a tender age. One of our great conceits as humans is to think down upon those who came before who us who grew up in some now blatant error or mythology. We underestimate the deep, vital, powerful need of belonging, of security, of making meaning, and that promotes everything from clannish behavior to bandwagon effects to peer pressure to lemming-like self-destruction.

Muslims breed Mulsims, Christians breed Christians, Hindus breed Hindus, and so religions perpetuate. We want to belong. We want to believe. We need God. We need to believe others about us are authorities. We crave trust in people bigger, smarter, wiser, more noble than us. We need our heros. We need our superheros (why do comic books and movies continue to flourish even with adults?), we need our gods, devils, angels, and demons. It is too fearful to face the simple, likely reality that no one really knows a whole hell of a lot or that there really may be no buffer between us and the divine. Most simply regurgitate what went before. Those who truly have mystical, divine encounters really can't communicate or preserve them for others anyway. Paul spoke of things he could not communicate after acquring his vision and gospel from three years of seeking in the Arabian desert. For all the remarkable and unprecedented spiritual notions he shared, I expect there was more he could not or would not. The more one has true spiritual experience, the more one realizes it really cannot be handed to anyone else. It is made to transform you into a living example of its reality, but you are the open book. You really can't write one to communicate the glories you have received. The uniniated will always take a transcendent thing and drag it down to be debased and sullied. Revelations are transcending and transforming experiences, not knowledge for the head to be codified and passed along to instruct all others. Whoever said God was so Orwellian in uniformity, one size fits all, one Hebrew Bible is the truth for all times and cultures? Absurd. Insulting. Impossible. Who wants to have anything to do with such an uncreative and lazy God Who only spoke for a short while to one obnoxiously wayward people in B.C. eras? Do Christians ever ask these questions about themselves and the God they embrace against instinctual revulsion in their deepest hearts? No God as big as loving as even the Hebrew God could possible relegate itself to such littleness and cultural myopia.

Religion flourishes because it gives safe harbor from the fear of the unknown, the unknowable, the personal freedom and responsibility to have to seek and find truth and the divine for yourself. No one can hand it to you, but we crave to have it safely and patly handed to us. It's easy. It's safe. It's lazy. It keeps us from truly evolving past nursery school spiritually. I am not saying the inspiration of others is not vital and wonderful. I am saying it can't actually give you anything spiritual yourself except the inspiration to seek out the source of inspiration yourself. I'll be damned if one in a million Christians ever truly does that for herself. There is a reason they are called "pastors" and "flocks."

If it wasn't for other masses who cling to the cherished, desperately needed belief in one divine textbook for life dropped out of the heavens...if it wasn't this large collective of believers who sycophantically chant the same thing over and over, truly, how likely do you think anyone today would come to the conclusion that that big, messy book of 66 books represents the untainted tongue of God to all peoples in all times and places, as if God was a 2500 year old Hebrew?

There are significant portions of denominational Christianity who don't even claim the inerrancy of the Bible to the degree that more recent Protestant/evangelical sorts have come to declare like some mindless mantra. And again, I challenge, why do you need to believe it? What is destroyed and what changes if there is more onus on you...you and God together to ferret the inspiration and truth out of any word spoken or written present or ancient past? Do you believe in the Spirit within you to rightly divide? Because, I see little discernment and even less dividing where the worshipped sacred musty texts the ancient Hebrews handed us are concerned. Can't you for a moment take one step back and laugh at your own absurdity to cling to such an unlikely belief? Can't you look at why a person might gravitate toward such a belief in the first place and seek refuge within it? Laugh at yourself. It's okay. We are all a bit ridiculous, predictable, and childlike. If your God is God at all, you have nothing to fear except fear itself. God is big enough to take care of the universe and you, despite you.

Twice in the past few months around here, I referred to some interesting studies done on the flood mythology/Noah story relative to the various accounts of ancient Mesopotamian cultures. One small, but very salient point elaborated upon in that context was how early transcribers both in Hebrew text and in other ancient languages both managed to mistransliterate years by a factor of ten. In the Hebrew texts, we wound up with Methusaleh living to 969 years old as a result. This sort of basic information is dismissed with a wave of the hand by the "perfect Bible" proponents, because any one little error devastates their theology, and conceivably as a result, their God. It's a mighty precarious perch to teeter upon if God's being or relevance depends upon a perfect collection of ancient writings, which you believe will give you perfect life...don'tcha think? If it can be demonstrated that there are errors handed down even from ancient times, what happens to your safety net? But, does it have to be the case that an imperfect Bible = an imperfect God/Spirit/Love in the universe?

From here.: "The Genesis 5 numbers were mistranslated by an ancient scribe who confused archaic proto-sexagesimal number signs with cuneiform sexagesimal number signs. The numbers in the Sumerian king lists were also mistranslated by an ancient scribe who confused the archaic sign for year with the cuneiform sign for 3600."

Read the article yourself for more details on how a very simple and believable mistake accounts for the very ridiculous and unbelievable years that appeared for a period of Bible history. This is just one little example of human error not precluded by a Deity overseeing the perfect preservation of Scripture. Did this Deity prevent King James from introducing some 10,000 errors into the first English translation of the Bible? When did God stop protecting the perfection of the Bible? Please explain to me how all this works, and how you know this is how it all works. If you have to be a scholar of ancient Greek and Hebrew and have no access to original texts from the B.C. era in order to have any hope of reading the original inerrant scriptures, what good does that do the other 6.6666 billion of us?

Such simple, understandable errors cannot be entertained as possible with the glorious, sacred textbook of God. For so many, it destroys everything. One of my biggest beefs about Christianity, or nearly any organized religion is that they promote spiritual dependency and laziness. They have the truth for you. You remain a docile, ignorant sheep depending on the "authority" of someone else who went before you to verify and validate your belief system. You ride upon the claims and assertions of myriad so-called self-appointed authorities from the past, as if by sheer inertial mass and weight, a lie becomes true. I have no problem seeing that uncountable scores of millions have embraced outright fallacies for centuries and millennia. I believe in a God who has no trouble permitting us to do such spiritually childish, foolish things until we learn better, including giving up our superstitious, book-worshipping ways. As Paul exhorted, "but when I grew up I put away childish things." What do you think the childish things Paul was alluding to were? He was talking about religious beliefs and practices, including ones ordinated by scriptures.

To quote another: "You would not come to Me that you might have life.

There are three gods in Christendom: Bible, Satan, and Jehovah, in that order. Listen to what they attribute the most power and authority to in all their words, and that precedence is clearly established. Christianity is the cult of book-worship, and their satan is bigger than their supposedly omnipotent, omniscient God. Anyone who can scoop up the vast majority of God's own children and run off with them forever is a bigger god than God.

But that's another rant about further unchallenged absurdities.

-S-

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Posts: 2009 | Registered: Monday, September 12 2005 07:00
Warrior
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Profile #12
It seems to me that a lot of threads lately have been hijacked into a religious discussion and haven't really been making any progress. The regulation thread, the other regulation thread, the life on europa, it all just ends up turning into a religious debate that gets nowhere, generally Stillness vs. Everyone else or so it seems.

Stillness, I don't mind a good debate about the impact of religion once in a while, but it has been like 8 threads in the past 3 months.

Just an observation.

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Posts: 152 | Registered: Monday, November 6 2006 08:00
Shaper
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No one can hijack or derail a thread. Everything here is collective in nature. Collective weight causes the mutation of topics, a redistribution of energy.

If there were more life left in the main points of the global warming thread, I would expect them to be embroiled. Because something else so easily and passionately captured peoples' fancy, that is where the energy now lies. If Stillness or anyone else introducing religious/spiritual perspective into a discussion can successfully derail the main point, what does that say about all of us and our true interest? Seriously. It means we are more interested in and engaged by something in that aspect of the discussion. Even if it means our interest is to try to take another particular point or person down a notch.

You can't argue against the motivation of people. People do what they want. People vote with their feet. It takes two to tango. Insert further lame, yet relevant clichés here.

The sudden shifts and unpredictable mutations of topics here is really quite fascinating all in itself.

-S-

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Posts: 2009 | Registered: Monday, September 12 2005 07:00
Law Bringer
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Option 3. The most successful literary franchise ever.

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Posts: 4130 | Registered: Friday, March 26 2004 08:00
Shaper
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As a fan of fantasy/mythology, I especially appreciate these references in the Bible, which of course, is the all-knowing truth from God and an accurate, scientific, historical account.

Job:

"I will make mention of Rahab"
Rahab is a sea-demon or dragon from ancient Jewish folklore. 87:4

"Thou hast broken Rahab [the sea monster] in pieces." 89:10

Isaiah:

"And the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice' den." A cockatrice is a serpent, hatched from a cock's egg, that can kill with a glance. They are rare nowadays. 11:8

God will punish the leviathan ("that crooked serpent") with his own sword and will kill the sea dragon. 27:1

Among the many strange creatures mentioned in the Bible that no longer seem to exist is the "fiery flying serpent." 30:6

"And the unicorns shall come down with them." 34:7

Dragons and satyrs may not seem real to you, but they did to the author of these verses. 34:13-1

Dragons and owls will thank God for irrigation. 43:20

Amos:

God destroyed the Amorites who were a race of giants as tall as cedars and as strong as oaks. 2:9

God will "slay the last of them with the sword." Any that try to escape by diving to the bottom of the sea will be bitten, at God's command, by a sea-serpent. 9:1-4

Habakkuk:

The Chaldeans' horses were faster than leopards and more fierce than wolves. 1:8

And slightly off theme, but I have to toss it in:

Luke:

When Jesus was crucified, there was three hours of complete darkness "over all the earth." It is strange that there is no record of this extraordinary event outside of the gospels. 23:44-45

Surely the Chinese or Incans or Indians or...uh, somebody...would have made a note about the day the gods were angry and caused all the world to go black for three hours.

Bible...accurate? reliable? truth? factual historical account? scientifically correct? reflective of a loving, purposeful, all-knowing God -or- reflective of the mythology, superstition, beliefs, ignorance, thinking, limitation, and culture of the day? You, decide, discriminating viewer.

-S-

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Posts: 2009 | Registered: Monday, September 12 2005 07:00
Electric Sheep One
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Synergy, there are lots of people, particularly in the US, whose beliefs and practices do seem to me to fit your description of Christianity. But dude: Christianity is a two thousand year old transcultural religion followed by well over a billion people. If you'll pardon the metaphor, you are a blind man approaching one particular rearward portion of the elephant's anatomy, and drawing a false conclusion about the whole elephant — which is not really adequately mitigated by one little throwaway line about how 'significant portions of the elephant do not smell so bad'.

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Posts: 3335 | Registered: Thursday, September 4 2003 07:00
Shaper
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But dude, I've lived the elephant and have known a few gazillion people who live the elephant. The topic is whether or not the Bible is man-made or God-made, which, I believe I have been addressing with relish, as I greatly enjoy the role of gadfly and devil's advocate where sacred cows, if not elephants, are concerned. So, what's your point, anyway? That many Christians don't really live by the Bible as their guidebook of God's truth handed to them? Point out the sect or denomination. Historically, it is woeful what worshipful committment to that book as An Absolute has wrought.

I await anyone's explanations how the Bible's plain self-contradictions, errors, and mythological references do not serve as examples of Bible "imperfection", which is my main interest in addressing this topic. I am seriously interested to see how people justify this stuff when faced it with directly. The point is that as a Christian, you rarely, if ever, are faced with this kind of tedious, yet critical minutae and examination of Bible conundrums. So, if you finally are forced to look, what do you do with it...and what does it do to you?

-S-

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Posts: 2009 | Registered: Monday, September 12 2005 07:00
Law Bringer
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quote:
Originally written by Synergy:

But dude, I've lived the elephant and have known a few gazillion people who live the elephant.
Okay, so you lived in part of the elephant, and you've known people who live in part of the elephant. You may just have been elephant hindquarter-dwellers, as with the few gazillion people you knew. Pardon the italics, by the way, it's just late and I'd rather not be misunderstood.

And again, I'm not entirely sure I'm disagreeing with you here. Maybe I'm playing devil's advocate right now. I don't know, because I'm too messed up right now to entirely know where I fall on any issue any more. But SoT's point still stands, unless you happen to have lived in, visited, and spoken to inhabitants of every christian sect, settlement, and epoch ever known. It's an awfully big beast to tackle.

Anyway, I'm done trying to make sense tonight. And honestly, this topic is just going to get long-winded, irrational, and impossible to follow in another few hours. Unless it gets locked.

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Posts: 4130 | Registered: Friday, March 26 2004 08:00
Electric Sheep One
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Profile #19
Christians generally do try to live by the Bible as God's guidebook, but they mostly do not interpret the guidebook in the very simplistic way with which you are familiar. They read the trivial contradictions you point out, and conclude that God must not in fact be so concerned that we know all that historical trivia exactly.

Roman Catholics, Anglicans, Orthodox, Lutherans, most Presbyterians I believe ... are not into literal inerrancy. And these groups make up the overwhelming majority of Christians in the world. Moreover, it is not at all that Christianity began with literalism and then reluctantly abandoned it in the face of evidence. The oldest styles of interpreting scripture were even freer than we now tolerate, being quite happy to wrench verses out of context to read into them symbolic meanings. Literalism is a late development.

The Bible, like the world, is a jumble of history, full of all kinds of apparently extraneous detail. We are supposed to discern the meaning within and underlying all the detail, yet without simply scorning the detail as worthless husk.

A symphony is the score, not the acoustic detail of Stradivarius's famous resins; yet the symphony is supposed to be realized by a string section that sounds like violins. We are supposed to be able to distinguish tune from tone, appreciating both. Being disturbed by trivial Biblical contradictions, as if they were the content of God's message, is like failing to make this distinction.

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Posts: 3335 | Registered: Thursday, September 4 2003 07:00
Shaper
Member # 6292
Profile #20
I have ittle, if any disagreement or problem with your point, SoT. The point of this topic is whether or not the Bible is God-given and perfect/infallible, not what Bible fallibility, if accepted or proven implies for Christians, or that it negates God or Christianity. My own shift in how I regard the Bible has not destroyed my belief in God. It has dramatically affected how I assume God is apprehended and experienced and how God interacts with the world. Whatever God is exactly. That too is now, necessarily a question, because I don't trust the ancient Hebrews to have an insider handle on that issue any longer. If you no longer see God as having actively directed the contents of the Bible, pretty much anything goes and you have to come up with how to decide how to deal with everything within it, piece by piece if necessary. Or maybe you could just set it aside and seek your God yourself and see if God has anything relevant to say to you today. That would be a lot more useful than reading what reprimands Paul had for the church at Ephesus 2000 years ago.

-S-

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Posts: 2009 | Registered: Monday, September 12 2005 07:00
Law Bringer
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Profile Homepage #21
quote:
A cockatrice is a serpent, hatched from a cock's egg, that can kill with a glance. They are rare nowadays.
Are not! :P

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Electric Sheep One
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Profile #22
quote:
Originally written by Synergy:

Or maybe you could just set it aside and seek your God yourself and see if God has anything relevant to say to you today. That would be a lot more useful than reading what reprimands Paul had for the church at Ephesus 2000 years ago.

I guess I pretty much agree about this. But I find that after putting aside some of my baggage of naive ideas about how to read the Bible, it frequently surprises me with its relevance, to the point where I find it a useful tool in trying to see if God has anything relevant to say to me today.

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Posts: 3335 | Registered: Thursday, September 4 2003 07:00
By Committee
Member # 4233
Profile #23
quote:
Originally written by Student of Trinity:

...to the point where I find it a useful tool in trying to see if God has anything relevant to say to me today.
If only God would speed it up already on coming out with that XML feed! I *think* I could make space for it between washingtonpost.com headlines and wonkette.com...

EDIT: Ooo! New topic idea.

[ Thursday, August 30, 2007 04:00: Message edited by: Drew ]
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Shaper
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God created Man, Man created God.
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