June 30, 2004

Religion Derail Thread - This is a continuation of the recent religion derail from the R.I.P. R.W.R. thread...
  • For catch-up, Nostrildamus last wrote: Actually, f8xmulder, it doesn't make a blind bit of difference whether you have faith in Christ or not, or accept him into your heart, or anything for that matter. Only God decides who is saved and who isn't. Because St. Paul tells us in Romans 8:29 "For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren", then again in Romans 9:11 "For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;", which means, basically, human salvation is predestined: it doesn't matter what you do in this life. So you're shit out of luck, mate. If that weren't the end of it, it turns out that this Jesus character is a false prophet by the standards of measurement the Bible itself uses to identify false prophets. After all, in all three of the Olivet Discourse accounts, Jesus predicts his return in a second coming and fulfillment of prophecy before any of the people living at the time he made the promise died. Most famously noted in Matthew 24:34. That was the first century. They're all dead. Christ didn't return. Only the delusional believe these things. And most Christians don't even understand the texts they supposedly revere as the word of god, let alone the history of the era that gave rise to them. And I can go on and on pointing out errors, logical failings, contradictions and basic historical faults in the bible all day. These are just for starters. Grow up and realise that it is an ancient mythology that failed, the teachings of its founder have been usurped not once, but many times, and that none of its promises will be vouchsafed to you. Belief in the bible created a dark age for humanity that lasted well over a thousand years. Some blessing. posted by Nostrildamus at 01:02PM UTC on June 30
  • My response to Nostril: Actually, f8xmulder, it doesn't make a blind bit of difference whether you have faith in Christ or not, or accept him into your heart, or anything for that matter. Only God decides who is saved and who isn't. But God decides who is saved based on a person's faith in the salvation of Christ. It's not an arbitrary decision, as I've laid out in the previous 3 comments. Because St. Paul tells us in Romans 8:29 "For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren", then again in Romans 9:11 "For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;", which means, basically, human salvation is predestined: it doesn't matter what you do in this life. God's foreknowledge of our salvation doesn't preclude the choice we have. Your claim is Calvinistic and frankly, a wild interpretation of Scripture. The elements of choice and 'predestination' are entirely separate. AND, knowing what one will choose is not the same as causing that choice (therefore God can't be blamed for your choices). Does God knowing what your choice will be invalidate your freedom to exercise a decision to believe or not in the resurrection? Of course not! The Divine hand hasn't forced you to choose one or the other. God's election of you is based upon his foreknowledge of your choice, not the preclusion of your choice. Foreknowledge isn't foreordination, predestination, or even predetermination. If the God I've been talking about exists as I've described Him, He is completely and utterly fair, and cannot, by virtue of His own existence, make unfair or arbitrary choices about who will be saved and who will not. If you look at what the text says, he refers to "this generation" will not die before he returns; there are several interpretations to this. One is that "this generation" refers to the context of the prophecy which Jesus speaks of in that passage, and would be the generation that exists at the time of Jesus' return. What He's saying is that not all believers will die, but will be caught up with Him in the sky at His return. That is one interpretation. Another is that "this generation" simply refers to human beings. Another is that it refers to Jews who are believers". Your assumption that Jesus is a false prophet just because his words aren't imminently understandable at the outset is pretty rash, IMHO. More-->
  • Only the delusional believe these things. And most Christians don't even understand the texts they supposedly revere as the word of god, let alone the history of the era that gave rise to them. Obviously this is a personal opinion, rather than established fact. Although I would agree with you that many (maybe not most) Christians don't understand a lot of the texts. I don't know that any one Christian has full understanding--it is, as Paul said, a mystery, and it will remain a mystery for many. And I can go on and on pointing out errors, logical failings, contradictions and basic historical faults in the bible all day. These are just for starters. And I guarantee you I can counter with theological responses that are quite applicable. Trust me, the Church hasn't gone through 2000 years of theological study just to fall apart because some MoFi poster thinks he sees a few holes in the doctrine or the texts. I feel we're (Christians) adequately prepared to answer your questions.
  • and for the atheists/agnostics amongst us... a lump of cute puppies!
  • Any thinker worth the salt-they'll-turn-into sees more than a few holes, but let's start at the beginning. First we'll see if we can grant that some myths and ideas in the bible have been "plagarized"/borrowed/what-have-you from other sources/ideologies/religions/what-have-you. If there's disagreement then we start there. If not then we argue implication/meaning. What-have-you.
  • Why does this need its own thread? Or is this a new blogstop type game?
  • well, it wasn't really about Reagan, so I thought it could use some more real estate. Just look at this big beautiful new thread - why you can see the horizon alllllll the way around! It's perfect for well thought out, eruditely posted thoughts on religion and hot, hot, hot SEX!! but mostly religion
  • It needs its own thread because here, today, the issue will finally be resolved. Now who wants to talk some Gilgamesh?
  • First we'll see if we can grant that some myths and ideas in the bible have been "plagarized"/borrowed/what-have-you from other sources/ideologies/religions/what-have-you. Okay, which ones have been plagiarized?
  • If you have dates of those 'borrowed-from' religions/myths/etc., that'd be great too.
  • me: glad for the "new" thread, because while I couldn't give a toss about Reagan either way (didn't read until today), I find cogent calm theological discussions interesting and otherwise would never have found it buried at the end of RIP RWR (sorta like there might be something interesting in the Turkmenbashi / MONKEY vortices, but am skittish of their quicksand-y-ness) so, uh, continue! Particularly re: Freethought's question about the origin (and therefore legitimacy) of scripture. I am genuinely interested in understanding Christian perspectives on this (admittedly from a Foucaudian / Saussurian perspective more than a theological one, but geunine nonetheless).
  • It needs its own thread because, stung by my rhetoric, f8xmulder needs a chance to trot out all the scripted-responses-to-skeptics he's learned by rote over the years. Not one ounce of this comes from his own intellect. He's not spent a moment examining his faith intelligently or objectively. The facts remain simple: the Bible is a crock. Jesus (Yeshua ha-Nostri) was a Jewish preacher of rebellious nature, who, but for a fluke of history, became the centre of a cult. This cult later became so popular by dint of the efforts of the crazy woman-hater Paul, that Constantine adopted it, mainly for political reasons. Although Constantine actually tried to suppress the cult of Palestinian Christ in favor of a Roman 'Chrestus'. The very divinity of Christ wasn't even decided until an early church council that occurred a couple of hundred years after this prophet's alleged death. The falsifications, obfuscations and incongruities don't end there. It's a crock. Get over it. I'm not saying there's no afterlife. I'm not saying there's no God. I'm saying the Bible is a mish-mash of palpable bullshit. Anyone with a brain in their head, a half-reasonable grasp of history, and the ability to parse the language can see it for themselves. I'm tired of arguing with crazy-ass xtians on this matter; in my experience they are usually blockheads. Their foolishness has allowed tyrants and bastards to rule over the rest of us for far too long. There may be a god. But he's not available thru the bible, or thru any established religion. Let there be no doctrine or priesthood to separate the individual from his god.
  • SideDish, "dog" is "god" spelled backward. What are you trying to do here, subliminal indoctrination?
  • I'm sorry you started this thread with nostrildamus's "religion suxx0rs!!!" comment, because it was the first one in the original thread that reminded me of what MetaFilter discussions of religion always turn into. I was really enjoying the civilized debate that was going on before that, and I hope it continues here. For all you "religion is so dumb!!" folks: fine, you're more enlightened than everyone else. Enjoy the feeling. But why trash an interesting thread?
  • To warm up, we'll start with the flood myth of Gilgamesh. I'll be back in a while with some links containing the info. you desire.
  • Shudder
  • I'm tired of arguing with crazy-ass xtians on this matter Then stop doing it. Go out and breathe the fresh air. Why are you wasting your time and ours?
  • lh, I didn't intend to highlight Nostril's cantankerous comment - he's got his bones just as I have mine, and I felt my response to him needed context...I'm content that everyone here seems to be going about this fairly nicely..
  • Your claim is Calvinistic and frankly, a wild interpretation of Scripture And therein lies the rub. Calvin, and many contemporary Christians who believe in predestination (not a whole lot anymore, granted, but they are out there) would have said that your interpretation of Scripture was rather "wild" and incorrect. A Catholic would disavow the "justification by faith" philosophy that you hold, and would state that good works, penance and observation of the Sacraments are vital to salvation. And as a half-assed Quaker, I don't really buy any of those theologies as absolute (although we place a great deal of emphasis on behavior, e.g. nonviolence, truth, plain speaking [I'm perpetually working on that one :) ], social justice, and so forth, which is kind of a "good works" emphasis). The problem: The Bible can be interpreted any number of ways. One of my best friends is a hardcore Catholic who spent time in seminary and has a classics degree (and is incredibly proficient in New Testament Greek). I've seen him get into wonderful debates with Protestants who, like him, are thoughtful, conscientious and excellent apologists for their own faith traditions. And every time, it ends up being a straight-up stalemate. By the end, each party has thrown out any number of biblical statements to buttress their own position, and neither side has convinced the other... because they see what they want to see, and dismiss quotations that lead to a conclusion different from one they already hold. My conclusion: Christianity is a much bigger tent than most people standing outside would believe. And a disservice is done by people that claim their way is the One True Path. Christianity then becomes highly, ridiculously exclusionary, which was not, in my mind, the original intent.
  • By the end, each party has thrown out any number of biblical statements to buttress their own position, and neither side has convinced the other... because they see what they want to see, and dismiss quotations that lead to a conclusion different from one they already hold. This stood out for me. Tweak a few words, and you've described pretty much every political or philosophichal debate I've ever seen.
  • Or, you know, philosophical.
  • Thus began the Farkification of Monkeyfilter.
  • Science and the Bible asserts that the Gilgamesh epic dates older than the Genesis account; however, as the Genesis account was an oral tradition that was only written by Moses, some 15 generations after Noah, the evidence exists that the Noah flood story is actually older (see Flood Stories of the Ancient Near East, p. 64). A popular theory, proposed by liberal scholars, says that the Hebrews "borrowed" from the Babylonians, but no conclusive proof has ever been offered. The differences, including religious, ethical, and sheer quantity of details, make it unlikely that the Biblical account was dependent on any extant source from the Sumerian traditions. The Book of Genesis is viewed for the most part as an historical work, even by many liberal scholars, while the Epic of Gilgamesh is viewed as mythological. To take this a step further, if the Flood really did happen, is it any surprise that there are many stories of a giant flood throughout different cultures?
  • FIGHT NOT, MY CHILDREN, BUT WORSHIP ONLY ME! posted by GOD at 04:04PM UTC on June 30 Golly, guess f8x was right after all!
  • my god, GOD is now a mofite. oh, the ramifications! does this mean mofi is blessed, God? have you chosen mofi above all the other blogs?
  • Thus began the Farkification of Monkeyfilter. Pfffft...I'd hit it.
  • dng - 'tis no coincidence - 'tis a miracle! Rejoice ye in THE LORD!
  • Shh, dng. Clearly they don't borrow from each other. Utnapishtim sounds nothing like Noah. 18 years ago by shawnj
  • The Epic of Gilgamesh is contained on twelve large tablets, and since the original discovery, it has been found on others, as well as having been translated into other early languages. The actual tablets date back to around 650 B.C. and are obviously not originals since fragments of the flood story have been found on tablets dated around 2,000 B.C. Linguistic experts believe that the story was composed well before 2,000 B.C. compiled from material that was much older than that date. The Sumerian cuneiform writing has been estimated to go as far back as 3,300 B.C. Versus the Hebrew oral origins of the flood, which predate the Sumerin cuneiform by as much as a thousand years. This site has a lot of the info I've just talked about...
  • troll.
  • f8xmulder has been replaced by a cut and paste robot. He can't be stopped.
  • And somehow we've derailed from the derail...
  • And somehow we've derailed from the derail... Administrator! Change his username to "google"! Hope us!!!
  • oh WTF - genesis is now a "historical work"? it's old, sure, but seriously, it's fiction. it's a parable. it's not an accurate account of what happened way back when. we don't have ANY accurate accounts of what happened way back when. that's part of the reason that religious debates tend to end up with people swearing at each other. any argument on religious things - using a religious text as justification - comes down to a matter of faith. it isn't like a science book, where anyone can point to any page, pick a fact, find the reference, and get all the bloody details on how and why we know that is true. it comes down to "my version of god(s) is better than your version of god(s) because my copy of this book of questionable accuracy and origin has a different word in this spot than yours does." unfortunately, for many folks having their personal beliefs questioned by someone else is often taken as a personal attack. that doesn't tend to get an intelligent response, only more dogma or more invective if you can't find the appropriate dogma in the old memory banks. i think the only interesting debate over biblical references i ever happened to read was in east of eden. that was pretty cool.
  • I forgot using material form google is a no-no here.
  • caution, you've hit upon it, and I probably should have stopped when freethought asked about origins. I certainly don't want to attack other people's personal beliefs. The thought behind this thread were to answer path's questions. We've gone beyond that scope...
  • Two comments: 1)Surely terms like "borrowing" and "plagiarizing" are deeply unhelpful here - not necessarily because of their pejorative associations, but simply in that they suggest a process other than belief systems slowly evolving (as with so many other cultural traits), some dying out, others splitting into variant forms (as with the Abrahamic religions), and so on. 2)As f8x said, but with a different conclusion, the prevalence of flood stories may simply reflect the prevalance of flood events in human history. A lot of early civilisations were inhabitants of coastal areas, for obvious reasons, and we know that a lot of those coastal areas are now underwater. This may well have happened in a dramatic fashion for some of the sites, which would probably have pissed the people off so mkuch that they told stories about it. Good thread, by the way - I'm another who wouldn't have seen it in the RWR thread. Regardless of religious belief or otherwise, the history of how religions develop is fascinating stuff. On preview: be nicer, people. Please?
  • For what it's worth, I was actually a theology major in college. I say this not to lend any sort of weight to my comments, but to show that religion is something that I have thought seriously about for years. As I learned about the various authors of the various books and segments of the bible, the various times that they were written, the various audiences they were targeting, and the fact that the books of the bible were voted in to the bible by a group of men, I thought how incredibly unlikely it would be that the bible is some magical book that was really written by God. The four Gospels were chosen from over ten different books. They were chosen to appeal to certain groups of people that existed at the time that the Church was looking to either placate or convert. There existed Jesus-stories that had an Eastern-feel and had Jesus saying things like, "God is inside of you. You do not need the Church to find God." This message would not be good for those at the Vatican (who did and continue to have significant wealth). Surprisingly, such books were not chosen. As such, I view thinking the bible is the Word of God as being the equivelant to worshipping an idol.
  • * waves his secular humanist flag
  • To my fellow athiests/agnostics: Lay off. f8xmulder is explaining, rationally and intelligently, why he believes what he believes. You, on the other hand, are explaining, not so intelligently, why he should believe what you want him to believe. f8x is a Christian. Accept it and move on.
  • rocket88 hath said it.
  • Alright then, folks! You don't have to go home but you can't stay here. Rocket88 says so.
  • eh, it's all good rocket. Like I said to path, I'm certainly no expert, and I have to condense a lot of this stuff because I don't have the time to go into the ins and outs. I'm sure not trying to convince anyone - by no means am I an adequate apologist.
  • Wrong, shawnj. If you want to discuss religious issues, stay and do so. I think scriptural interpretation is a fascinating subject, and that's why I've been following the thread. But since when is atheism/humanism about converting Christians to your ways?
  • I tried clicking through to God's profile to see if he has a website. None was listed, but I thought it was interesting that he doesn't have a user number - and the user name is Anonymous, not God.
  • You, on the other hand, are explaining, not so intelligently, why he should believe what you want him to believe. Point me to these comments please, because I can't see them.
  • God won't answer me. sigh. see? HE MUST NOT EXIST!!!
  • i'm with boo! there are too many "thus sayeths" in the bible for me.
  • rocket88: I agree. Friendly discussion of topics like religion make us take out ideas we've clung to over the years, dust them off and check to see if they're still holding up. I don't really see f8x's explanations of his faith as attempts to convert us. And, I certainly wouldn't want to convert anyone else since I could be as wrong in my agnosticism as I think religions in general are.
  • You had to post that god-awful song here...
  • I aim to please.
  • Whoa, slow down. This stuff has to be taken one step at a time. Surely terms like "borrowing" and "plagiarizing" are deeply unhelpful here These words do not preclude the probability of an evolving religion. And it should be ""plagiarizing."" First: the Genesis account was an oral tradition that was only written by Moses, some 15 generations after Noah Supposedly, Orthodox Jews claim the Torah was handed to Moses in tact and contains writings that are from 1500-1400 B.C.E. at the oldest. The method of transmission is not neccesarily important, but can this date be agreed upon? Note: this would seemingly make the oldest possible written account of the Noah flood myth this old. As a side note, determine whether or not Moses wrote the genesis account. Argument summary so far: The strategy so far is to say that the Noah flood myth has an oral tradition that's older than the the written version of the Gilgamesh myth (2000 B.C.E.) Note: no consideration is being given to an oral possiblity of the Gilgamesh myth. King Gilgamesh lived around 2700 B.C.E.
  • bernockle: interesting perspective. The four Gospels were chosen from over ten different books. I'm quite unaware of what criteria were used to decide which made it into the canon. Any insight into this would be helpful.
  • *Throws Enkidu-du at freethought*
  • Free! Free at last.
    posted by Zep at 05:29AM UTC on May 30
    Harumph. Minor technical difficulties. Pardon me for a moment.
  • *kills Enkidu because he can't punish f8*
  • Genesis 5:1 mentions the "book" of the generations of Adam, which implies a written geneology and history, and was known during Adam's time. Though anything that old can be contested. So perhaps Genesis itself came from written documents. I honestly don't know that it can be proven that Moses did or didn't write Genesis. There certainly could have been an oral telling of the Gilgamesh story. I didn't mean to discount that as a possibility, just that little evidence seems to exist to support that.
  • freethought: I didn't say the terms precluded that intepretation, merely that they suggest something else; namely, stories being lifted from one source and placed in another (otherwise unconnected) set of tales. And, er, I wrote "plagiarizing"... :-)
  • dng: I don't want to further interrupt a fascinating (to me) thread. But these are the comments to which I was referring: It's a crock. Get over it. ...the Bible is a mish-mash of palpable bullshit. Anyone with a brain in their head, a half-reasonable grasp of history, and the ability to parse the language can see it for themselves. I'm tired of arguing with crazy-ass xtians on this matter; in my experience they are usually blockheads...
  • God won't answer me. sigh. oh sorry babes I woz checkin' out Fark. umm yeah blessed be you, blah blah posted by GOD at 05:34PM UTC on June 30 Oooh I am soooooooooo gonna get my ass banned.
  • It's probably not as cut-and-dried as this, but IIRC, when the canon was being determined there was a conflict within the early Church between orthodox and Gnostic sects. Gospels with Gnostic leanings (the best-known of which is the "sayings gospel" of Thomas) were axed like a Monkeyfilter post by daisy_may. This is from memory, by the way; I'm not a religion student, just an interested layperson. Any scholarly and impartial text on Church history with an emphasis on the formulation of the canon would be able to support (or destroy) that idea.
  • I'm quite unaware of what criteria were used to decide which made it into the canon. Any insight into this would be helpful. There's not a logical conclusion that can be made. bernockle's point is that some human influence has apparently affected the bible, and this could warrant skepticism of the bible's legitimacy. But again, this is not a strictly logical conclusion.
  • I honestly don't know that it can be proven that Moses did or didn't write Genesis. I don't think this is that important. What about the date of the oldest written material in the Torah (1500-1400 B.C.E.)? Can we agree on that as well as 2000 B.C.E. for a written account of Gilgamesh? After the dates are agreed upon (or not), I'll talk about another point.
  • I demand candy corn!
    posted by Anonymouse at 05:50AM XYZ on June 30
    Meh. Not like you're pretending to be someone else or anything.
  • f8xmulder - I have to confess that I do not recall that particular information. I do believe that I may have that somewhere on my bookshelves at home, and I would be more than happy to check into it later. I found it interesting enough to remember the general idea, but apparently not interesting enough to remember the specific details. As I know the specific details of very few things in my own life, I guess that I should not feel too bad.
  • I'm quite unaware of what criteria were used to decide which made it into the canon. Mary Magdalene was excluded. That should tell you one criterion. /snark
  • I've seen dates as old as 2500 BCE for Torah writings, but again, it's not confirmed. I'll give you 2000-1800 BCE for Gilgamesh
  • Guys, cut that out now, or I'll get angry. posted by Turkmenbashi at 05:59PM UTC on June 30 Can people please stop messing about with fake usernames please? On preview: what TMBashi said.
  • I've seen dates as old as 2500 BCE for Torah writings. This is important: what language would those writings have been in?
  • Note: A search on the net will reveal that Moses was the scribe of the Torah. He wrote it down as God dictated.
  • Trying to find out, freethought. I've found assertions of Hebrew and Sumerian/Assyrian cunieform, but none that are verified...
  • I haven't read this thread yet (making time for it though) but thought I'd mention biblemysteries.com as I just ran across it and thought it was okay-enough to add some value. It's an archaeological approach to bible stories.
  • I would guess Hebrew, since the original Torah did not have vowels, and neither does Hebrew (I think).
  • This is why I'm not a scholar. According to this site the hebrew language isn't even as old as the Torah. What language did Moses use when he scribed it (unless this idea is to be debated)? (i.e. I'm confused.)
  • What's the difference between Aramaic and Hebrew? Is Aramaic the written form of Hebrew? Or are they totally different? This site mentions Hebrew for most of the OT, with Daniel and Ezra written in Aramaic.
  • Trying to determine the origins of ancient texts is making me sleepy...
  • My understanding is that Aramaic is a variant of Hebrew, though whether it's a dialect (like koine greek vs. classical greek) or just the written form, I've never been clear on. Languagehat? Any ideas? Also, for those interested in non-canonical gospels, check out The Complete Gospels, which has English translations of roughly twenty gospels that didn't make the canon, including gospels about Jesus' childhood (Infancy Thomas is a particularly good read, as it has a five-year-old Jesus smiting infidel children left and right).
  • I have no idea about the languages. For now I'm going to have to leave the issue alone. The site you linked to also has the date I mentioned for the earliest writings of the Torah (old testament): Some of the books of the Hebrew Bible may have been written as far back as 1,400 B.C.E., although most of the text was probably written between 900 and 400 B.C.E. Based solely on this, I have to guess that the oldest the written version of the Noah flood myth could date from is 1,400 B.C.E.
  • *agrees, getting sleepy*
  • According to this site the hebrew language isn't even as old as the Torah. No, what that site says is "The oldest extant example of Hebrew writing dates from the 11th or 10th cent. B.C." Hebrew itself, like every other language, is as old as human speech, assuming all languages go back to a single ancestor (which is not necessarily true, but there's no way to prove or disprove it, and it's not that important in this context). The thing to remember is that the names we give languages are arbitrary (we call Latin and Italian two different names, but keep the same name for Greek, which changed just as much over the same period); the languages themselves just keep on changing at roughly the same rate for millennia, and we decide "OK, we'll call this chunk by this name, and this later chunk by another name." It's also irrelevant whether a language is written down or not -- people were speaking Hebrew (or "pre-Hebrew" or "proto-Hebrew" or "late North Semitic" -- you get the idea) long before the first written documents. What's the difference between Aramaic and Hebrew? They're more or less cousins, from different branches of North Semitic (according to one classification). The written form of Hebrew comes from Phoenician via an Aramaic intermediary; you can see a nice animation here. The Wikipedia has a nice Aramaic article, and as it says, there are quite a few people who still speak it -- I got a number of comments from some of them on this LH post.
  • According to this site the hebrew language isn't even as old as the Torah. My bad, I wasn't clear. I meant that since the oldest extant example of Hebrew is from the 11th and 10th centuries, the idea that Moses scribed the Torah in 1300-1400 (in Hebrew? and did he?) becomes confusing. You're onto something about the labeling of languages; maybe this explains why some Torah writings are supposedly from as far back as 1400 B.C.E. (but maybe those are just written in Aramic or something else), while the site in question traces extant writings to the 11th and 10th centuries B.C.E. Anyone care to gander what is going on here?
  • since the oldest extant example of Hebrew is from the 11th and 10th centuries, the idea that Moses scribed the Torah in 1300-1400 (in Hebrew? and did he?) becomes confusing. "Extant" meaning "that we know of today." They could perfectly well dig up a fragment of Hebrew from centuries earlier tomorrow. In other words, Moses could have written the Torah in 1300-1400 and the original has since disappeared. Most early writings did, you know. The earliest extant texts of classical Greek literature are centuries younger than the original versions.
  • "Extant" meaning "that we know of today. They could perfectly well dig up a fragment of Hebrew from centuries earlier tomorrow. In other words, Moses could have written the Torah in 1300-1400 and the original has since disappeared." Of course. I'm just working to establish what few specific facts I can, and dates are a decent place to start. Anything beyond evidence is conjecture. And, the same possibility holds true of the Gilgamesh myth.
  • Yeah, i'm with you freethought. This stuff is pretty confusing to me, and the fact that we really don't have hard and fast dates makes it a difficult thing to talk about without questioning everything about every statement.
  • As for me and my faith, I'm willing to believe in the veracity and inerrancy of the Bible, and as such, accept the stories presented therein as fact and truth. Obviously, that's just my personal view, and I'd rather not push it on anyone else...unless they wanted it pushed upon them :-)
  • kimberly, for a minute i thought you meant "Resurrection Cookies." yum! actual part of actual recipe: GO TO BED! Explain that they may feel sad to leave the cookies in the oven overnight. Jesus' followers were in despair when the tomb was sealed. Read John 16:20 and 22.
  • oh these are even better: bible recipes including "Obey Donuts" and "He's Alive Buns."
  • I always obey donuts.
  • line from recipe: "Add a marshmallow to represent baby Jesus."
  • Does anyone know where one can find the writings that were not included in the Bible, but that were considered?
  • "Here?" he said in a sarcastic, suggestive tone.
  • It needs its own thread because here, today, the issue will finally be resolved. I agree with freethought.
  • Carolingian - try Googling "Koran"
  • Ho hum. Some good suggestions there :) To partially answer my own question: Bible Research.
  • Damn that link! Trying again Bible Research Seems there is a bug when using upper case HTML.
  • This seems like a good place
  • That is just what I was looking for, thanks!
  • I have no idea how to link, but I own "The Other Bible," which is easy to find under that title at amazon.
  • freethought - I believe that few biblical scholars believe that Genesis was written by one person at all, much less Moses. The very first Chapter or two (I do not have a bible here at work to site the verses) give two completely different accounts of Creation. Many scholars (and me) believe that this is a very strong indication that Genesis -- especially this early part -- was cut and pasted from pre-existing texts. Go for yourself and read the first chapter or two, and you will clearly see that things were created in a certain order in a certain amount of days, and then a few paragraphs later we are told that they were created in a different order in a different amount of days. I believe that there are believed to be three major sources for Genesis, and that two of them are easily distinguishable because one refers to God as Elohim, and one as something that is escaping me right now. I really shouldn't post these damn comments when my source material is at my house.
  • I believe that few biblical scholars believe that Genesis was written by one person at all, much less Moses. This link I posted above debates this, thought the fact that "few biblical scholars" believe may be a statistical fact. If so, what would the significance be? I'm aware of the contradictions in Genesis, and I think you're onto something with your point, if not that parts were cut and pasted, but at least written by different people. If you can find the "three sources" reference, it would be appreciated.
  • Ia! Ia! R'lyeh — Cthulhu ftagn! Ia! Ia! Mglui naflftagn Dagon e Y'ha-nthlei! Ia! Ia! Y'ha-nthlei!!
  • Anyone looking forward to The Call of Cthulhu video game?
  • Tracicle, can you revise the history of this thread (dump it)? I find the whole topic insulting, sick, distasteful, unintelligent, trollbait. I prefer watching kitten scat pr0n.
  • Are you going to whinge in every thread now, Skrik, just because some people had the temerity to complain about stuff you posted?
  • freethought: I didn't say the terms precluded that intepretation, merely that they suggest something else ... I'll agree with this. Let's replace the offending words with a concept of influence for now.
  • Oh, yeah: And, er, I wrote "plagiarizing" I was doing a quotation marks joke; "plagiarizing" becomes ""plagiarizing"" in a quote.
  • Are you telling me that I would do better not to protest items I find distasteful? (Religion and weapons both fall into that category.) This thread does not belong on MoFi at all (or should we all now start discursive threads for no reason other than metaphorically shitting on perceived antagonists?). My request remains: Tracicle, I think this thread deserves the can. N'est pas?
  • MonkeyTalk
  • I sure am tired of all the x posts. After all, I don't like x. This place used to be all about the y. What happened to the y? I think I'll go find some.
  • Amazing! I came into this thread hoping to contribute to an interesting (IMHO) discussion. Instead, it seems MoFi has become more noise, less signal than, oh, say a site with 1500% of our population. Sadly, I get more out of lurking there than contributing here. Didn't want to further derail the thread, but is there any chance of it recovering, anyway? Serious question.
  • Start it from scratch right here. Make a big heading. You lead.
  • You're all being silly. Go about your business. I'm sick.
  • One way to find out. Though it seems like a few of the principal players may have retired for the evening. Also, that signal noise thing has always seemed off. It's not noise. It's just another station, that happens to be playing Sonata Arctica when you want Bach.
  • Religious addicts are as incurable as alcoholics. They can't and won't accept their own problem. They just can't see it. Why do I keep arguing with them? Take a look at the world. This is what religion has created. It's a mental virus.
  • What Nostrildamus said.
  • Sorry, I went off to have a semblance of a life. I'm lurking however...
  • I really wanted some time to play with the ZQuest editor today.
  • No Nostrildamus, this is what Humanity has created. This world is as we have made it. Religion played a part, but so did agriculture, domestication of animals, and the cracking of the atom. The first person who looked at his neighbor's stuff and snuck over one night with axe upraised lives in all of us. So does the person who sang the first lullaby. People do things because they want to. All the evil of the Crusaders, Inquisitors, and Nazis lives in our race, and so does all the glory of Bachs, Brahms, and Einstein.
  • I am not sorry I missed this thread. Nostril was being a tad bit ascerbic, but f8x made some good points. We don't have to walk away from every discussion in absolute agreement with each other, do we? And Nostril, not to target you (there were worse monkeys around here flinging poo without any meaningful contribution to the thread whatsoever), but can you honestly tell me you have no "mental virus" of any kind, at all? No irrational quirk of personality, no illogical principle you cling to? No human being is 100% rational, 100% of the time. I'm not a Christian myself, but many, many of my friends and family are, of varying denominations. A little more tolerance, please. I know it's fashionable to bash Christians, but let's not get too unpleasant here. F8x is not a troll. I may not agree with him, and I may not like what he says sometimes, but he is not a troll. *staggers off to work*
  • Nostril was being a tad bit acerbic No, Nostril was being a complete jerk. How can you possibly feel it necessary to say: F8x is not a troll. I may not agree with him, and I may not like what he says sometimes, but he is not a troll. Obviously F8x is not a troll; he's been unfailingly polite and reasonable throughout. If anyone is being a troll here, it's Nostril, and if I were tracicle I would simply delete all of the offtopic and insulting comments, including and especially Nostril's, so that the thread could get back to the interesting discussion that was going on in the previous one. Is it really that hard to see what's going on here? (Point of information: I am not in the least religious. However, for some strange reason I do not feel compelled to go around insulting everyone who is while loudly proclaiming what a waste of time it is.)
  • How can you possibly feel it necessary to say: Sorry, languagehat. I did so because of this. Not the first time f8x has been accused of trolldem even though he didn't say anything trollish. I felt that it was necessary for me to emphasize the point.
  • Take a look at the world. This is what religion has created. I like the world...it's quite beautiful...if you're not looking through eyes clouded by hatred and intolerance. Nostrildamus, I understand where you're coming from, but you're just a little off base. Religion doesn't cause the evils you allude to. Religious intolerance does. And that includes the intolerance of atheists and humanists toward those that have faith. In short, you are part of the problem. Also, what Pez and Alnedra said.
  • I've refrained from commenting on Nostril's perspective precisely because it seems rather like baiting. However, I can understand his rancor toward religion--my disagreement with him is a semantic one: I don't follow religion; I follow God. Faith and religion often don't mix. While religion seems to be all about answering the spiritual questions, faith seems to be about trusting in the mystery of the divine. From what I can tell, religion fails people more often than it helps.
  • We don't have to walk away from every discussion in absolute agreement with each other, do we? I'm content to 'agree to disagree' if you are :-) Personally, I think overall this thread has been remarkably civil, considering the subject matter is highly polarizing.
  • I've refrained from commenting on Nostril's perspective precisely because it seems rather like baiting. Ah, but the servant waits, while the master baits... I actually dug this thread Gives me a lot of insight into how your brain works, f8x. Then again, if I started posting what I believe, I'd probably get all sorts of funny looks... braiiiinnnnsssss
  • I've refrained from commenting on Nostril's perspective precisely because it seems rather like baiting. Except that you started the thread with it. That was my initial complaint - this post felt like a call-out. I apologise for derailing the thread, though. And I'll shut up now and leave this thread in peace. Sorry.
  • And I responded thusly to lh's comment about that. It wasn't intended as a callout, merely context. At that point I didn't feel Nostril was being a troll (though perhaps trollish, he still brought up some points worth considering).
  • I'm many hours too late, but I thought it was an interesting point Path raised about belief being a strange requirement for salvation. After all, belief is not under voluntary control. If I try to believe something just because I want to, or because I think I ought to, I'm liable to end up a hypocrite, or feeling unnecessarily guilty about my failure to believe sincerely. Much the same could be said about the requirement to love your neighbour. I can't make myself love people just by deciding to do so. You can ask someone to behave decently to people they hate, but it makes no sense to demand something involuntary like love.
  • I don't see why some people think I'm being outrageous. I've said elsewhere that I have no problem with people who have basic spiritual beliefs; I have problems with people who have literal belief in some mumbo jumbo words written in an old book somewhere, particularly when they contradict themselves, make no sense, or are provably wrong - especially when those folks try to ram that bullshit down the throats of the rest of us or alter laws & whatnot. Languagehat in particular seems to have gone troppo at me personally when I've only made a couple of statements in this thread, none of them very extreme, IMHO. Nothing I've said is particularly new or hateful. I'm not advocating a genocide of Xtians. So please back off on the Nos.
  • dng, what's a "whinge"?
  • Two previous explanations
  • That reminds me ... Buffy was way cool, huh?
  • ...particularly when they contradict themselves, make no sense, or are provably wrong... So...you don't like people, then?
  • thanks, dng, i'm no longer igry on whinge.
  • Yeah, that Buffy gal sure was sassy. And Spike! Woah - what a hoot that guy was!
  • "You're not friends. You'll never be friends. You'll be in love till it kills you both. You'll fight, and you'll shag, and you'll hate each other till it makes you quiver, but you'll never be friends. Love isn't brains, children, it's blood...blood screaming inside you to work its will. I may be love's bitch, but at least I'm man enough to admit it." Best.Spike.Quote.Evar.
  • Plegmund: and think of all the millions of people over the ages who didn't make the cut because they never heard of this particular god.
  • Glory was a god, but Buffy still beat her. So you religious types should be glad the Buffster isn't around to kick YOUR god's ass.
  • Here’s the information I have so far: According to the Jewish calendar, the flood occurred around 2100 B.C.E. Unless someone can come up with evidence of a separate account of the Noah flood myth, the earliest date a written account can be a attributed to is 1300-1400 B.C.E, which is when God gave/dictated the Torah to Moses. The earliest copy of the Epic of Gilgamesh is, at the latest, dated to 1800 B.C.E. With these numbers, the Epic of Gilgamesh was written 300 years after the supposed date of the flood. What does this suggest to people? After the flood only 8 people were alive—Noah’s family. Somehow, these survivors or their decedents remembered/discovered the existence of King Gilgamesh and decided to write a mythical epic based on him within 300 years (note that the epic contains other similarities with stories found in the bible, not just the flood myth). Based on the information, which is debatable, does this make anyone skeptical?
  • Time is an illusion. depending on who you are, Tim might be an illusion too.
  • What manner of man can summon fire without flint or tinder?
  • Some men call me....Tim. "Look at the bones!!"
  • Time is an illusion. It's hard to see how so many things could be an illusion without illusions also being illusionary. Can't someone quote from Life of Brian or The Twelve Monkeys or Brazil or Fear and Loathing, etc.?
  • Reality isn't an illusion. It's what your brain makes out of it what is an illusion. There, my two cents.
  • Brazil? What is quotable from Brazil? Odd choice, if you don't mind me saying. Now Life of Brian.... I was blind, but now I can seeeeeeeeeeeee
  • What is quotable from Brazil? There has to be something. We have two threads--Python and Gilliam--meeting at a knot (Holy Grail), and on these threads we hang concepts like religion (Life of Brian), time (Twelve Monkeys), and distortions of time (drugs in Fear and Loathing). Does Brazil relate to anything talked about?
  • "My complication just got a little complication." for those more boisterous threads maybe? Mmm, kinda lame. Definitely drawing a blank here.
  • will Rocky Horror work for you Freethought? "There are those who say that life is an illusion, and that reality is but a figment of the imagination." What charming underclothes you both have...
  • will Rocky Horror work for you Freethought? It's not for me. I'm being as pseudo-random as the next gal or guy, getting into the spirit if you will. I have no idea how Brazil fits in, but I'd be willing to e-mail Terry.
  • Sam Lowry: How are the twins? Jack Lint: Triplets. Sam Lowry: My, how time flies!
  • I favour Blackadder "It's a bullet, with my name on it."
  • Half a bee, must philosophically ipso facto half-not-be. But half the bee has got to be Vis a vis, its entity. You see? But can a bee be said to be Or not to be an entire bee? When half the bee is not a bee Due to some ancient injury?
  • Life's an illusion, lobe is a dream...
  • Dammit. LOVE is a dream.
  • surlyboi has dreamy lobes! *runs away*
  • LOVE is all there is, surly. The rest are all Value Added Products.
  • A-singing: Lah-dee-dee, One-Two-Three, Eric the Half-a-Bee! A-B-C-D-E-F-G, Eric the Half-a-Bee!
  • This is a dog license with the word "Dog" crossed out and "Cat" written in in crayon!
  • The man didn't have the right form.
  • the loony detector van, you mean.
  • look, it's people like you what cause unrest.