Thursday, March 29, 2012

Guide To Interpreting the Bible


DennisCDiehl said...

That pretty much covers it. With all our cultural and religious upbringing it is very difficult to wrap one's mind around the reality that the Bible is man made and man written. It's "inspiration" is questionable when one knows the issues and problems in the texts and reported events. Neither Birth nor Death stories are anywhere near coherent. If one would simply study "Midrash" to see how Matthew tells his story of Jesus, a whole world of "oh, that's not prophecy after all, " would open up.

Byker Bob said...

On the other hand, following it correctly soas to understand the New Covenant really adds quality to one's life, significant quality that you can feel by the seat of your pants! The proof in the Bible is favorably changed lives. After stumbling around and being spiritually homeless for over three decades, the present is truly the best time of my life! And, believe me, I lived life to the fullest extent my own way and never could actually get to that nagging itch that needed a good scratching.


DennisCDiehl said...

"The proof in the Bible is favorably changed lives"

I do understand. However this would also be true of "Modern Health," "Astonomy Magazine," "The Koran", "Self", "The Power of Now," "The New Earth," and most of the Self Help section at Barnes and Noble :)

Byker Bob said...

Yes, Dennis, but we're dealing in percentages here, and clearly have an opportunity to bet with the odds, or against them.

Reducing to the very basic, mankind's physical needs are for air, food, water, clothing, and shelter. If you think about it, all needs beyond those are spiritual in nature. Man's frustration is that he has a history of attempting to meet spiritual needs through other people, or through things physical and material. That does not work. It does leave one with an eternal itch. To paraphrase an old biker saying, "Life's an itch and then you die!"


DennisCDiehl said...

I agree BB. Perhaps it's the search that is more rewarding than finding. I think if I found something specific, I'd still keep searching. I guess that's why I'd rather to have been a paleontologist

Andrew said...

Byker, that is only if you suppose that a thought or a concept, or knowledge, or information, are all spiritual things. Are you sure about that? Just because something is intangible, does that make it "spiritual"?

If that were true, then educational institutions would be spiritual institutions (so much for the separation of church and state). Knowledge workers in the knowledge-based economy would actually be spiritual workers in a spirit-based economy. Businesses would actually be spiritual in nature because at the heart of every successful business is a philosophy, a mission statement, and conceptual business plan. The internet would be a spiritual tool (who knew that porn could be so...spiritual!). Computers would be portals between the physical realm and the spiritual realm (if only I could get ahold of my dead relative's email addresses, I could email grandma, or better yet, we could skype!)

Are you sure about this, Byker?

Douglas Becker said...

If you want good positive stats results, look in to Rational Recovery.

Retired Prof said...

Bob, I appreciate your comments about spirituality for the insights they give into the lives of people who suffer the unscratchable itch you describe. Besides enlightening people like me, your remarks guide others like you, I expect, and give them the hope that they can someday find the same consolation you feel.

For the sake of readers who lack that itch, however, let me assure you that you too are normal. Many of us get by quite comfortably assuming that material existence is the basis for reality, and that abstractions such as spirituality are spun from electrochemical processes in our material brains. I'm not trying to persuade you that we are right and Bob and his ilk are wrong. I'm just trying to give you consolation that you are not necessarily defective if you don't happen to feel some deep but indescribable void in your life. If you don't, then know when you are well off, and don't let anybody persuade you to go in search of one.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget that converting to Islam has given countless people indescribable peace in their lives, and besides the spiritual benefits, has had so many practical benefits for people, too.

Allahu Akbar!

Douglas Becker said...

No doubt Scientology has given peace and prosperity to the members grateful for the science fiction writings of L. Ron Hubbard as well.

Now, if we could just reconcile Scientology with the Mormons and Islam, grace would surely abound, only if they also kept the Sabbath and Holydays.

No, wait.

There's some sort of religion out of Australia like that....

Anonymous said...

I feel as though the comments here describe religion as not unlike hospice. It doesn't fix anything, or cure anything. After all, there's nothing that can prevent your inevitable death, but religion can at least make what time you have here more comfortable. It's a anaesthetic that numbs the eternal itch on your phantom limb. Just because there's no way to scratch it, that's no reason why it should drive you crazy.

It doesn't have to be true to be helpful. Religion adds significantly to one's quality of life in the final years of your life...the ones that begin with your birth.

Byker Bob said...

We're losing a point here. There is a distinction. Yes, there is such a thing as "religion". It's a man-made box of cherry-picked "truths", and as Jackson Browne always used to say, "they've got a little list of all those things of which they don't approve" (Redneck Friend)

There is a huge difference between "religion", and a relationship with God. One has limitations, the other has none. Religion concerns itself largely with physical rituals that are supposed to leverage or open the spiritual. But, it very rarely reaches the heart.

I'll go for the personal relationship any time. Depression, many illnesses, narcissism and horrendous ego,anxiety, and an assortment of other problems result from failure to nourish the spiritual. Humanity is lacking a crucial factor, and most don't even know it!

Some claim not to have voids and itches, yet they're here amongst us because of some sort of unfinished business or deficiency, attempting to scratch that indescribable itch.


Anonymous said...

I think I'm still missing your point, BB.

Be honest, this "relationship with God" you refer to is just a crock isn't it? You can't find God anymore than I can, but keeping an imaginary all-powerful friend around helps ease the discomfort of your final days in a world that doesn't always make sense. I get your distinction, but to me, it doesn't seem to be a meaningful one. Explain to me again how "religion" or "a relationship with God" is not like hospice?

Sure, BB, I've got an itch. It's called, "the world doesn't make sense." Unfortunately, neither does God, religion, or any of it's followers. Using God to scratch the first itch just makes new itches pop up in other places. Ever had that happen?