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What is the Purpose of the Bible?

Discuss philosophical questions regarding theism (and atheism), and discuss religion as it relates to philosophy. This includes any philosophical discussions that happen to be about god, gods, or a 'higher power' or the belief of them. This also generally includes philosophical topics about organized or ritualistic mysticism or about organized, common or ritualistic beliefs in the existence of supernatural phenomenon.
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jerlands
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Re: What is the Purpose of the Bible?

Post by jerlands » April 2nd, 2018, 2:26 pm

Belindi wrote:
April 2nd, 2018, 6:06 am
This discussion should be about how we interpret.
Is there progression? That is, does man develop? Do we start out as an egg and develop into a chicken or a man which seems obvious but does it go beyond the physical and into the mind? I think the discussion should first establish what is and develop from there into how to reach that place from here (which some argue is simply here.) Ah, oh yeah, that was done long ago but we're here today arguing over what is (still.) The illusions you present are tests of creativity but the question is how to teach that, that is, how to teach vision?
"It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so." - Mark Twain

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Re: What is the Purpose of the Bible?

Post by Belindi » April 2nd, 2018, 3:30 pm

Sorry Jerlands but I cannot understand how your reply to my post has anything to do with interpretation.

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Re: What is the Purpose of the Bible?

Post by jerlands » April 2nd, 2018, 3:48 pm

Belindi wrote:
April 2nd, 2018, 3:30 pm
Sorry Jerlands but I cannot understand how your reply to my post has anything to do with interpretation.
So do you see the duck or the rabbit or do you see both at the same time? The picture gathered from the illustrations are interpretations in that our minds can observe the same image and arrive at totally different conclusions. The mind chooses for whatever reasons between this or that (the rabbit or the duck) then goes on to reexamine and might arrive at a different conclusion. That is progression, moving forward and is part of the creative process. Vision is also progression in that it is one of the last of our physical senses to develop. Vision of the mind however develops later in life and the ability I believe needs to be cultured.
"It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so." - Mark Twain

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Re: What is the Purpose of the Bible?

Post by Belindi » April 2nd, 2018, 7:06 pm

But Jerlands, it's the same mind-brain that alternates the interpretations.The point I am making is that the two interpretations don't contradict each other. Nobody worries about the alternating interpretations of the material object which is a simple arrangement of marks on paper. On the contrary we intuitively accept that we can view the same object from different perspectives.

So as regards The Bible one individual can read it from different perspectives, which is another way of say that the individual can read it with various interpretations.

And as regards materialism and immaterialism (idealism) it's easy to switch perspectives so that we can see what exists as material stuff and then as mind stuff. It's good to see different aspects of the same thing.

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jerlands
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Re: What is the Purpose of the Bible?

Post by jerlands » April 2nd, 2018, 8:31 pm

Belindi wrote:
April 2nd, 2018, 7:06 pm
But Jerlands, it's the same mind-brain that alternates the interpretations.The point I am making is that the two interpretations don't contradict each other. Nobody worries about the alternating interpretations of the material object which is a simple arrangement of marks on paper. On the contrary we intuitively accept that we can view the same object from different perspectives.
Marks on a paper represent motion, movement, flow and direction, all of which cast impressions on the mind. A study of the duck/rabbit image indicated more people saw the rabbit during the spring season and more saw the duck during the autumn season so there are environmental factors that influence our perception including emotion.
Belindi wrote:
April 2nd, 2018, 7:06 pm
So as regards The Bible one individual can read it from different perspectives, which is another way of say that the individual can read it with various interpretations.
That may be true as there are depths to any body of water however I believe the only way to truly read the old testament requires knowledge of Hebrew.
Belindi wrote:
April 2nd, 2018, 7:06 pm
And as regards materialism and immaterialism (idealism) it's easy to switch perspectives so that we can see what exists as material stuff and then as mind stuff. It's good to see different aspects of the same thing.
Yes but then it's also a good thing to put the pieces together to become cohesive.
"It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so." - Mark Twain

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Re: What is the Purpose of the Bible?

Post by Namelesss » April 3rd, 2018, 1:34 am

Belindi wrote:
April 2nd, 2018, 6:06 am
Nameless, you think that materialism and immaterialism(idealism) cannot both be true. I think that they can both be true.

Consider the duck/rabbit and the young woman/hag psychological experiments.

Each of these is a line drawing which is open to any interpretation under the sun. It so happens that ducks, rabbits, young women, and hags are common images so we all tend to see one or the other of those images and not two headed dogs or weeping skulls. So within our accustomed range of images we can comfortably see 1. the duck and the rabbit and 2. the young woman and the hag alternately. Yet the marks on the paper don't change.

This discussion should be about how we interpret.
This seems to fit, and is clearly explained by my offering of a single all inclusive unchanging Reality that is perceived (simultaneously) by an 'infinite number' of unique Conscious Perspectives.
From one Perspective, reality is perceived like 'this', from another, it is simultaneously perceived as 'that'.
From another, it is the 'other', etc... etc......
All are unique Perspectival 'features' of the One Omni- Reality.
Simple. *__-

And "how we interpret" is easily translated to; "the particular Thoughts that we perceive", at the moment. We perceive a 'rock' and a 'thought' regarding the rock is commonly called 'interpretation', as if it were something for which 'you' are responsible. It isn't.
The telescope is not responsible for that which is before it.

An illustration;

'Point to the left'.
Easy.
Note where you are pointing.
Now turn 1 degree and point to the left.
Again note the results.
Now another degree, etc...
And another 1/4 of a degree...
Turn in every possible direction, on every possible axis!
It turns out that every direction is 'left', 'left' is a 'cloud needing a particular Perspective to have any 'direction' at all!
Now point to the 'right'!
Same drill!
Note that the exact same cloud of 'left', is also, at the same moment, a cloud of 'right'!
And a cloud of 'up'!
And a cloud of 'down'...
Do the experiment!

The only 'distinctions' ('qualities') that can even be called 'left' or 'right', OR 'up' and 'down'... are a matter of Perspective!

Ultimately, We are One (unchanging (motionless), all inclusive) 'Cloud'/Reality!!

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Re: What is the Purpose of the Bible?

Post by Belindi » April 3rd, 2018, 6:01 am

Jerlands wrote:
Yes but then it's also a good thing to put the pieces together to become cohesive.
I agree that's what we should do whenever possible. However sometimes we cannot do it as we are creatures of time and circumstances. It's a great thing to be able to accept uncertainty in religious convictions as in any other thoughts we have.

The guide to what is probably the better way to interpret The Bible or any other text is to gather together all the best information we can get hold of. The best information comes with our most energetic digging into facts and using the best reasoning of which we are capable. Thus it's not enough to know the ancient language that was spoken by this or that Biblical character. We also have to know what their world view and traditional religion was all about, even what the climate and terrain were when ancient events happened, and what political forces were in operation,which powerful men and so on.
Even in view of all the Biblical scholarship some man reading The Bible can read it as a work of art from which that man can learn what he takes to be truths about his own life and times. How an ancient Jew read The Bible may not have much in common with how I or you, or your great- grandfather , read The Bible.

Nameless wrote:
clearly explained by my offering of a single all inclusive unchanging Reality that is perceived (simultaneously) by an 'infinite number' of unique Conscious Perspectives.
From one Perspective, reality is perceived like 'this', from another, it is simultaneously perceived as 'that'.
From another, it is the 'other', etc... etc......
I agree. I'm tempted to look at science as the bearer of the best perspectives. Applied science seems to accumulate facts despite the history of discarding outworn paradigms. Moral values therefore are best looked at from a scientific perspective in the sense that the arts are about communication of moods whereas science casts the light of reason upon motivations.

Over all, and practically, I believe that we have to contend for the values that we hold the most dear, even fight to the death for them. If there were a merciful God He must feel very sorry for us, which is of course why He incarnated to show us the eternal values. If you believe and trust that powerful story!! This too is another story another perception. There is no absolute certainty.

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Re: What is the Purpose of the Bible?

Post by jerlands » April 3rd, 2018, 10:53 am

Belindi wrote:
April 3rd, 2018, 6:01 am
Jerlands wrote:
Yes but then it's also a good thing to put the pieces together to become cohesive.
I agree that's what we should do whenever possible. However sometimes we cannot do it as we are creatures of time and circumstances. It's a great thing to be able to accept uncertainty in religious convictions as in any other thoughts we have.
It's not a great thing but that's the way it is in that in this age, for whatever reason, there is uncertainty i.e., doubt. Father, my father, why have you forsaken me. The Christian religion operates on faith. We have only testimony, the closest thing outside of ourselves, to concepts of righteousness. The reason that is remains a mystery, an unknown. Possibly it leads us to questioning, to maintain a certain perspective in this life.
Belindi wrote:
April 3rd, 2018, 6:01 am
The guide to what is probably the better way to interpret The Bible or any other text is to gather together all the best information we can get hold of. The best information comes with our most energetic digging into facts and using the best reasoning of which we are capable. Thus it's not enough to know the ancient language that was spoken by this or that Biblical character. We also have to know what their world view and traditional religion was all about, even what the climate and terrain were when ancient events happened, and what political forces were in operation,which powerful men and so on.
Even in view of all the Biblical scholarship some man reading The Bible can read it as a work of art from which that man can learn what he takes to be truths about his own life and times. How an ancient Jew read The Bible may not have much in common with how I or you, or your great- grandfather , read The Bible.
The entire Bible casts a shadow of a passage through time, getting from here to there. Are there eternal truths found in the bible? The only thing really written in stone are the ten commandments so the first question is whether or not the Hebraic God of the Bible is the true God.
"It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so." - Mark Twain

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Re: What is the Purpose of the Bible?

Post by Gertie » April 3rd, 2018, 10:59 am

I'm not sure there's a straightford answer to what is the purpose of the Bible as a text. It's a collection of lots of writings , which cumulatively present a partial and slanted insight into the lives and beliefs of a culture over several hundred years. The purpose of each text within the Bible varies, but generally it's a series of snapshots of religious belief and people putting forward why their views are the correct ones/attempts to teach or persuade, depending on the context of each text.

My overall impression of the Old Testament is its historical scope. Literally beginning at the beginning with a religious creation myth which attempts to explain existence, human nature and suffering, a bold start! Then history plays out for Yahweh's Chosen People as a series of catastrophes (the stuff people write about I suppose), with an explanatory theme of the people turning their backs on Yahweh, and suffering the consequences (a flood, exile and occupation by enemies). With various prophets with claims of special holy insight giving their takes and admonishments. Jesus is in this tradition. Once again the Jewish people were occupied and oppressed by their enemies, and Jesus was saying how this is because Yahweh is withholding his pastoral care of his people because they've gone astray. Again.

But there's a big shift with Jesus, in that his death and the failure of his apocalyptic prophecy that the Kingdom of God will literally arrive on earth any day (so repent now because Judgement is imminent). The reports of his resurrection are the game changer. And brought to the fore themes of everlasting life, and over time a shift away from Yahweh as a local god, to the universal monotheistic God. Largely because of Paul's Cristological interpretation and subsequent mission to convert gentiles (to the reported disapproval of the Temple Council - Jesus' senior disciples who actually knew him). And the four gospels chosen for inclusion build Jesus an evermore detailed backstory, and with increasingly 'supernatural' and universal claims. The purpose at that point being not simply to explain the death and resurrection, but to appeal to potential followers from outside the tradition.

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Re: What is the Purpose of the Bible?

Post by jerlands » April 3rd, 2018, 12:28 pm

Gertie wrote:
April 3rd, 2018, 10:59 am
I'm not sure there's a straightford answer to what is the purpose of the Bible as a text. It's a collection of lots of writings , which cumulatively present a partial and slanted insight into the lives and beliefs of a culture over several hundred years. The purpose of each text within the Bible varies, but generally it's a series of snapshots of religious belief and people putting forward why their views are the correct ones/attempts to teach or persuade, depending on the context of each text.

My overall impression of the Old Testament is its historical scope. Literally beginning at the beginning with a religious creation myth which attempts to explain existence, human nature and suffering, a bold start! Then history plays out for Yahweh's Chosen People as a series of catastrophes (the stuff people write about I suppose), with an explanatory theme of the people turning their backs on Yahweh, and suffering the consequences (a flood, exile and occupation by enemies). With various prophets with claims of special holy insight giving their takes and admonishments. Jesus is in this tradition. Once again the Jewish people were occupied and oppressed by their enemies, and Jesus was saying how this is because Yahweh is withholding his pastoral care of his people because they've gone astray. Again.
Yes, these are all common views people hold regarding the Bible.
Gertie wrote:
April 3rd, 2018, 10:59 am
But there's a big shift with Jesus, in that his death and the failure of his apocalyptic prophecy that the Kingdom of God will literally arrive on earth any day (so repent now because Judgement is imminent).
I'm uncertain where you get this notion that Jesus taught the apocalypse was in the next day or so but I've never gotten that impression. The words of John the Baptist were "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near."
Gertie wrote:
April 3rd, 2018, 10:59 am
The reports of his resurrection are the game changer. And brought to the fore themes of everlasting life, and over time a shift away from Yahweh as a local god, to the universal monotheistic God. Largely because of Paul's Cristological interpretation and subsequent mission to convert gentiles (to the reported disapproval of the Temple Council - Jesus' senior disciples who actually knew him). And the four gospels chosen for inclusion build Jesus an evermore detailed backstory, and with increasingly 'supernatural' and universal claims. The purpose at that point being not simply to explain the death and resurrection, but to appeal to potential followers from outside the tradition.
Christianity was never mean to replace Judaism but was a teaching for Gentiles (nations outside of Judaism.) That I believe self evident simply through historical adaptation of the belief.

The question I posed in asking "What is the purpose of the Bible" also asks "where does it lead us?" Does it lead us to life or death? Is the Bible a lie or is it truth? If it's a lie then it's a mighty dangerous lie which can't be dispelled except through truth.
"It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so." - Mark Twain

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Re: What is the Purpose of the Bible?

Post by Belindi » April 3rd, 2018, 1:23 pm

Jerlands wrote:
It's not a great thing but that's the way it is in that in this age, for whatever reason, there is uncertainty i.e., doubt.
Those arrogant and vain people who don't doubt that they are bloody-well right are the cause of much suffering and conflict. Such people are sometimes religious people who believe that they actually know beyond any doubt what the Almighty wants them to do! They then engage in acts of cruelty and oppression because their little idol of a god is telling them what is what and what they should do about it.

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Re: What is the Purpose of the Bible?

Post by Gertie » April 3rd, 2018, 2:29 pm

Jerlands
Gertie wrote:
April 3rd, 2018, 10:59 am
I'm not sure there's a straightford answer to what is the purpose of the Bible as a text. It's a collection of lots of writings , which cumulatively present a partial and slanted insight into the lives and beliefs of a culture over several hundred years. The purpose of each text within the Bible varies, but generally it's a series of snapshots of religious belief and people putting forward why their views are the correct ones/attempts to teach or persuade, depending on the context of each text.

My overall impression of the Old Testament is its historical scope. Literally beginning at the beginning with a religious creation myth which attempts to explain existence, human nature and suffering, a bold start! Then history plays out for Yahweh's Chosen People as a series of catastrophes (the stuff people write about I suppose), with an explanatory theme of the people turning their backs on Yahweh, and suffering the consequences (a flood, exile and occupation by enemies). With various prophets with claims of special holy insight giving their takes and admonishments. Jesus is in this tradition. Once again the Jewish people were occupied and oppressed by their enemies, and Jesus was saying how this is because Yahweh is withholding his pastoral care of his people because they've gone astray. Again.
Yes, these are all common views people hold regarding the Bible.

Well, there's a reason for that.
Gertie wrote: ↑
Today, 3:59 pm
But there's a big shift with Jesus, in that his death and the failure of his apocalyptic prophecy that the Kingdom of God will literally arrive on earth any day (so repent now because Judgement is imminent).
I'm uncertain where you get this notion that Jesus taught the apocalypse was in the next day or so but I've never gotten that impression. The words of John the Baptist were "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near."
Read the next few lines after that quote from the opening of Mark's Gospel. It's the central theme of Mark, which is the earliest gospel and probably the closest we can get to reality. Which remember was written decades after Jesus's death and the resurrection story had taken hold, along with a reassessment of who Jesus was and what he represented. He's now seen as the risen Messiah by his followers, and his story is told in light of that.

Mark opens with John the Baptist as the messenger declaring the imminence of the new order to be brought in by Jesus-

1The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah,[a] the Son of God, 2 as it is written in Isaiah the prophet:
“I will send my messenger ahead of you,
who will prepare your way”[c]—
3 “a voice of one calling in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way for the Lord,
make straight paths for him.
’”[


Then Jesus is baptised and the heavenly dove miraculously confirms Jesus is the Messiah, heralding the new order.
And the very first words Mark gives Jesus are -

14 After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. 15 “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”


That's Mark's version of Jesus the apocalypticist Jew very clearly laid out right at the start. That's Mark's message, his Good News, and he gets straight to the point. He chose that story/event and those words as the dramatic way to present it. It's a flashy, attention grabbing opening, he's got Big News and you'd better pay attention!

He has John endorsing Jesus, finds a bit of prophecy to give scriptural legitimacy, he has a dramatic miracle to show Jesus is the real deal, and presents the main theme - the end is nigh, repent! A pretty skilful opening, cramming a lot of resonant stuff which would have a lot of meaning to his contemporaries in just a few lines.

Later Gospels drew from Mark and other sources, adding their own slants and embellishments, depending on what particular aspect they wanted to interpret or emphasise. And there was an overall trend over time towards a universalist Christology and meaning of the resurrection which would appeal to Gentile converts.

Gertie wrote: ↑
Today, 3:59 pm
The reports of his resurrection are the game changer. And brought to the fore themes of everlasting life, and over time a shift away from Yahweh as a local god, to the universal monotheistic God. Largely because of Paul's Cristological interpretation and subsequent mission to convert gentiles (to the reported disapproval of the Temple Council - Jesus' senior disciples who actually knew him). And the four gospels chosen for inclusion build Jesus an evermore detailed backstory, and with increasingly 'supernatural' and universal claims. The purpose at that point being not simply to explain the death and resurrection, but to appeal to potential followers from outside the tradition.

Christianity was never mean to replace Judaism but was a teaching for Gentiles (nations outside of Judaism.) That I believe self evident simply through historical adaptation of the belief.



It became a teaching for Gentiles, it began as a Jewish sect, Jesus preaching his Judaism to fellow Jews. I'd suggest the change relied on this revision of who Jesus was in light of his death, and reports of his resurrection. For many Jews he must have been just another false prophet, he suffered an awful, humiliating death, and his prophecy didn't come to pass. But for others who had believed in him, given up their lives to follow him, who perhaps found it difficult to accept it was all for nothing, I can imagine them being 'primed' to believe stories of his resurrection, it feels very human. And the resurrection, and subsequent competing Cristologies, resulted in this universal Christ figure for some of Jesus's followers (which eventually became the 'official' version), who is the saviour of all mankind. Most importantly Paul, who got reluctant 'permission' from the then sect leaders, to preach around the Med to Gentiles. Paul was obviously very driven and charismatic, and canny enough to drop the circumcision clause, or his version of what we've come to call 'Christianity' might not have caught on quite so dramatically ;)



The question I posed in asking "What is the purpose of the Bible" also asks "where does it lead us?" Does it lead us to life or death? Is the Bible a lie or is it truth? If it's a lie then it's a mighty dangerous lie which can't be dispelled except through truth.
These strike me as loaded questions. Reading the Bible will be a different experience for everyone, and it will mean different things to people throughout their lives. So I can answer for myself, but not for 'us'

''Does it lead us to life or death?'' For me, it's irrelevant as to life or death. At one time, I saw it as a human-friendly guide from God to ultimate meaning and reality, but not now. For you it might be, each to their own.

''Is it a lie or truth? '' It contains both. But it's not a collection of histories, it's a collection of religious writings which prioritises the message over accuracy.

As regards '' a dangerous lie'', whether it contains some religious truth or not, I'd say its had good and bad consequences, hard to weigh one against the other. As long as it's treated as an individual's own biz, I think the harm can be minimised and it can bring a lot of comfort to individuals. As an institutionalised religion, there's still potential for lots of harm.

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Re: What is the Purpose of the Bible?

Post by jerlands » April 3rd, 2018, 3:14 pm

Belindi wrote:
April 3rd, 2018, 1:23 pm
Jerlands wrote:
It's not a great thing but that's the way it is in that in this age, for whatever reason, there is uncertainty i.e., doubt.
Those arrogant and vain people who don't doubt that they are bloody-well right are the cause of much suffering and conflict. Such people are sometimes religious people who believe that they actually know beyond any doubt what the Almighty wants them to do! They then engage in acts of cruelty and oppression because their little idol of a god is telling them what is what and what they should do about it.
What specifically are you talking about? An event in history? Or just babble...
"It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so." - Mark Twain

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Re: What is the Purpose of the Bible?

Post by jerlands » April 3rd, 2018, 4:00 pm

Gertie wrote:
April 3rd, 2018, 2:29 pm
Jerlands
Yes, these are all common views people hold regarding the Bible.
Well, there's a reason for that.
I'm uncertain where you get this notion that Jesus taught the apocalypse was in the next day or so but I've never gotten that impression. The words of John the Baptist were "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near."
Read the next few lines after that quote from the opening of Mark's Gospel. It's the central theme of Mark, which is the earliest gospel and probably the closest we can get to reality. Which remember was written decades after Jesus's death and the resurrection story had taken hold, along with a reassessment of who Jesus was and what he represented. He's now seen as the risen Messiah by his followers, and his story is told in light of that.

Mark opens with John the Baptist as the messenger declaring the imminence of the new order to be brought in by Jesus-

1The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah,[a] the Son of God, 2 as it is written in Isaiah the prophet:
“I will send my messenger ahead of you,
who will prepare your way”[c]—
3 “a voice of one calling in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way for the Lord,
make straight paths for him.
’”[


Then Jesus is baptised and the heavenly dove miraculously confirms Jesus is the Messiah, heralding the new order.
And the very first words Mark gives Jesus are -

14 After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. 15 “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”


That's Mark's version of Jesus the apocalypticist Jew very clearly laid out right at the start. That's Mark's message, his Good News, and he gets straight to the point. He chose that story/event and those words as the dramatic way to present it. It's a flashy, attention grabbing opening, he's got Big News and you'd better pay attention!

He has John endorsing Jesus, finds a bit of prophecy to give scriptural legitimacy, he has a dramatic miracle to show Jesus is the real deal, and presents the main theme - the end is nigh, repent! A pretty skilful opening, cramming a lot of resonant stuff which would have a lot of meaning to his contemporaries in just a few lines.

Later Gospels drew from Mark and other sources, adding their own slants and embellishments, depending on what particular aspect they wanted to interpret or emphasise. And there was an overall trend over time towards a universalist Christology and meaning of the resurrection which would appeal to Gentile converts.
If the teaching of Jesus is ultimately proclaiming the end of the world then why didn't followers behave that way. No, instead they go out into the world spreading the gospel and preparing for the future, not the end.
Gertie wrote:
April 3rd, 2018, 2:29 pm
Christianity was never mean to replace Judaism but was a teaching for Gentiles (nations outside of Judaism.) That I believe self evident simply through historical adaptation of the belief.

It became a teaching for Gentiles, it began as a Jewish sect, Jesus preaching his Judaism to fellow Jews. I'd suggest the change relied on this revision of who Jesus was in light of his death, and reports of his resurrection. For many Jews he must have been just another false prophet, he suffered an awful, humiliating death, and his prophecy didn't come to pass. But for others who had believed in him, given up their lives to follow him, who perhaps found it difficult to accept it was all for nothing, I can imagine them being 'primed' to believe stories of his resurrection, it feels very human. And the resurrection, and subsequent competing Cristologies, resulted in this universal Christ figure for some of Jesus's followers (which eventually became the 'official' version), who is the saviour of all mankind. Most importantly Paul, who got reluctant 'permission' from the then sect leaders, to preach around the Med to Gentiles. Paul was obviously very driven and charismatic, and canny enough to drop the circumcision clause, or his version of what we've come to call 'Christianity' might not have caught on quite so dramatically ;)

Christianity is actually the work of the Jewish faith. It wasn't a sect that developed but it was through the presence of Jesus that other Jewish people truly believed and it was they who actually set out and planted the seeds of Christianity. This perspective however is naive in that it first necessitates a historically true Jesus and second it excludes all prior history that brought the world to this moment in time.
Gertie wrote:
April 3rd, 2018, 2:29 pm
The question I posed in asking "What is the purpose of the Bible" also asks "where does it lead us?" Does it lead us to life or death? Is the Bible a lie or is it truth? If it's a lie then it's a mighty dangerous lie which can't be dispelled except through truth.
These strike me as loaded questions. Reading the Bible will be a different experience for everyone, and it will mean different things to people throughout their lives. So I can answer for myself, but not for 'us'

''Does it lead us to life or death?'' For me, it's irrelevant as to life or death. At one time, I saw it as a human-friendly guide from God to ultimate meaning and reality, but not now. For you it might be, each to their own.

''Is it a lie or truth? '' It contains both. But it's not a collection of histories, it's a collection of religious writings which prioritises the message over accuracy.

As regards '' a dangerous lie'', whether it contains some religious truth or not, I'd say its had good and bad consequences, hard to weigh one against the other. As long as it's treated as an individual's own biz, I think the harm can be minimised and it can bring a lot of comfort to individuals. As an institutionalised religion, there's still potential for lots of harm.
The search for the truth of the Bible is exhaustive and actually leads back to Egypt where we have yet to gain any full knowledge or appreciation of so we still have a long way to go.
"It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so." - Mark Twain

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Re: What is the Purpose of the Bible?

Post by Gertie » April 3rd, 2018, 5:22 pm

Jerlands
If the teaching of Jesus is ultimately proclaiming the end of the world then why didn't followers behave that way. No, instead they go out into the world spreading the gospel and preparing for the future, not the end.
The most reasonable guess at Jesus's message imo is that Jesus is proclaiming the imminent coming of God's Kingdom to his fellow Jews, the chosen people who have turned their back on their God. When the Kingdom of God comes, they will be Judged, and thus need to repent. He was one of the apocalyptic prophets who turned up now and then, doing miracles and attracting followers, as he travelled around preaching to fellow Jews. And his chosen disciples did just up and leave their jobs and families to follow him, because if the Kingdom of God was nigh, that took priority.

As I've said, the twist comes after his crucifixion (a very un-messianic fate), and the new post-Jesus story emerges of the resurrected messiah, eventually Jesus as part of the Godhead, and saviour of mankind. Returning any day now... It's this post-Jesus story which is spread to non-Jews. Along with Paul's doctrine of Justification by Faith, rather than by Works. Paul largely shaped the Christianity we've inherited, someone who never heard Jesus preach, and according to Acts was at logger-heads with the disciples who had.
Christianity is actually the work of the Jewish faith. It wasn't a sect that developed but it was through the presence of Jesus that other Jewish people truly believed and it was they who actually set out and planted the seeds of Christianity.
Sure, Jesus taught a particular brand of Judaism which eventually morphed into its own religion.
This perspective however is naive in that it first necessitates a historically true Jesus and second it excludes all prior history that brought the world to this moment in time.
I think the evidence is strong that Jesus existed, but it's hard to know how much we can know about him. A lot less than most people think, I'd guess. We have assorted Bible stories and letters, apocrypha and other bits n bobs, written down long after his death, which are religious texts not attempts at histories, we only have copies of copies of translations, and the ones which made it into the Bible have been hand-picked by committee to try to arrive at some kind of consensus of the Jesus story at a particular moment in history.
The search for the truth of the Bible is exhaustive and actually leads back to Egypt where we have yet to gain any full knowledge or appreciation of so we still have a long way to go.
A bit cryptic, but if that's your take, OK.

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