Comments about ‘The Bible still matters, literally’

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Published: Friday, June 6 2014 11:45 a.m. MDT

Updated: Monday, July 28 2014 10:58 a.m. MDT

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RanchHand
Huntsville, UT

I wonder how many of the believers have actually read the book. I mean seriously read it. From cover to cover, not just a verse here and there.

New Yorker
Pleasant Grove, UT

Amen, Ranch Hand

And what miniscule portion of a lifetime would it take for one to seriously read it cover-to-cover?

What would the opinion percentages be among those who have actually completed such an undertaking?

What is the relative value of informed opinions vs. uninformed opinions?

Hutterite
American Fork, UT

There are a lot of people out there who can cherry pick their way through it like a law professor, and justify whatever they want. It's a tome that (somewhat) describes the past, promises the future but mostly is used for to enable power here and now.

Tyler D
Meridian, ID

@RanchHand – “I wonder how many of the believers have actually read the book.”

I think the percentage is likely small and of those who have I’d guess the percentage is miniscule regarding those who have read it with their critical thinking skills fully engage - as they would be when reading any other sacred book from a different tradition (which is presumably why we do not see mass interfaith conversions – intra-faith (e.g., Catholic to Mormon) conversions don’t count as they are already primed to believe in Christian dogma.

An interesting question believers should ask is, “why do other sacred books (say, the Quran) which detail many of the same claims (word of God), miracles, moral teachings, etc. not inspire religious awe and belief?”

This may provide some insight into how atheists/agnostics view your sacred books.

And for those who are able to read it critically (vs. in true believer awe) read the 1st five books of the OT (and 1st Samuel too) and keep the following question in mind:

Is everything in here what a perfect, loving God would say and command?

Schnee
Salt Lake City, UT

@RanchHand
"I wonder how many of the believers have actually read the book. I mean seriously read it. From cover to cover"

I haven't read the part from the middle of Psalms to Malachi. I've read the rest of the Old Testament, the New Testament and Book of Mormon (I think my bookmark is somewhere around D&C 25).

slcdenizen
Murray, UT

Tyler D, RanchHand, Hutterite

I disagree. One must assume that the sheer ubiquity of Bibles points to a large total readership, however small the overall percentage. The issue at hand is how the Bible is consumed. On one hand, if a person of trust is presenting an esoteric concept using a Bible verse or two, then errancy of Biblical claims is not even under scrutiny. Rather, it is the relationship of the persons involved that takes the stage. The Bible simply becomes a tool by which enlightening topics are discussed and any contrary verses are avoided. Moreover, with contemporary understanding of how we process information in mind, when priming a person by claiming Biblical correctness, the reader is simply affirming that which was primed. In most cases, a person of existing trust has primed the reader by claiming the Bible is the word of God and what's at stake isn't the readers' intellectual honesty, but the relationship of trust between the two parties. If one truly reads the Bible as either an historical text or prosaic life-guide, then it will most likely disappoint and even, in my own case, horrify the reader.

A Scientist
Provo, UT

I can confirm what others have written.

I have not only read (cover to cover) the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the D&C, the Qur'an, and a number of other sacred texts, but I have also studied Mormon doctrine at BYU and in weekly Gospel Doctrine lessons and meetings.

My atheism is the outcome of my years of prayerful reading and study. The best arguments against the divinity of these "sacred " texts are the texts themselves.

The Wraith
Kaysville, UT

I can echo what has been said so far. I've read the Bible cover to cover, every word. Including all the begats. I've also read the Book of Mormon ,D&C, and Pearl of Great Price - the latter 3 several times. It was reading this books and other religious texts that led to my rejection of all religion. Several prominent atheists have said that the best book to read in order to become an atheist is the Bible.

All religions make the exact same claim: Our god is the only real god, trust us on this. Sure there are millions of other gods out there but ours is the only one that's real all the others are make believe. Just trust us okay.

Of course Mormonism claims to be unique because of "Moroni's promise" but all religions tell people to pray, all tell them they can have a personal witness - and in every one, including Mormonism, it all rests on a foundation of feelings. And in every religion you find people who have had powerful personal witness that they have the one real god. So just trust us.

1.96 Standard Deviations
OREM, UT

There is a great Youtube video from the Mormon Channel about the miracle and blessing of the English translated Bible. A search for "The Blessings of Scripture-400th Anniversary of the KJV Bible" will bring this video up. It is a great tribute to William Tyndale.

Another great Youtube video (22 mins) on scriptures is entitled, "Scriptures Legacy -- Extended Broadcast Version," also from the Mormon Channel. This also mentions Tyndale, but has more information about the Book of Mormon too.

I highly recommend checking both these videos out.

george of the jungle
goshen, UT

I like the thought that somebody is looking out for me. So, Ya, I have faith in it.

sharrona
layton, UT

RE: Tyler D, Serious Bible study, Biblical Lower Criticism. Which translation is correct?

God The only one,himself God…”John 1:18 NET) VS God the only begotten Son…(1:18 ASV).

The textual problem(monogenh",“the only God”) versus (o monogenh", “the only son”) . Only one letter would have differentiated the readings in the mss, since both words would have been contracted as “nomina sacra.

The anarthrous monogenh theos found in 66 B C* L pc.. The external evidence thus strongly supports monogeneth theos. Scribes would naturally change the wording to huios however, since monogenh huios is a uniquely Johannine christological title (John 3:16, 18; 1 John 4:9).

But theos as the older and more difficult reading is preferred.

Karen R.
Houston, TX

I am one of those whose exposures to the Bible were characterized by horror. "Slaughter" seemed to be a favorite word of many authors. I remember wondering, "Where is the peace? Where is the wisdom everyone keeps talking about?"

I was once manipulated into reading the Book of Esther when a well-meaning believer appealed to my ego and said I reminded her of this character. I was horrified to discover what this "hero" thought was okay to do after securing the freedom of her people. It was yet another story where "slaughter" was used with apparent relish. It made me wonder what I'd done to earn such a comparison! Um, thanks?

The book I ended up turning to for solace, wisdom, and peace was "To Kill A Mockingbird." It has my vote for The Greatest Story Ever Told.

Sasha Pachev
Provo, UT

I have read the Bible cover to cover several times and I accept it as the word of God. The mass killings in the Old Testament are hard for us to understand but they need to be understood in the context of the Law of Moses - what an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth really means. They help us understand and appreciate the importance of the Atonement of Christ which fulfilled the Law and allowed us to live without such violence. This is also symbolic of what would happen to a sinner - all of us as a matter of fact - without the Atonement.

Tekakaromatagi
Dammam, Saudi Arabia

I am reading the Bible this year. I started in Genesis in January. I am in Revelations now.

What stands out is the uniformity. I've studied literature originating in stoneage cultures. There is a cultural uniformity but the deeper message is not unified. It comes out as organized and structured as Aesop's fables. In the Bible I am seeing a bunch of bronze age shepherds, and what not, repeating the same message and I see that it evolves and becomes the New Testament.

With regards to the slaughter I am horrified at the Old Testament stuff. But this was in the middle of the Late Bronze Age Collapse. What I learned from it is that God is not just a god of civilized people with rolexes, but he's a god for savages too. If someone is a tattooed savage from a stoneage culture and he forgives his brother, or cares for a widow or an orphan or a stranger, he has as much praise in God's kingdom as someone driving a lexus to go teach a business class in a university.

Hamath
Omaha, NE

"Just trust us" or is it more "find out for yourself"? I think that is an important distinction.

The Wraith
Kaysville, UT

I'm sorry Sasha but there is no context in which genocide can be understood or justified. There is no context in which human slavery can be understood or justified. I remember the days when I put my brain through the mental gymnastics in an effort to explain these biblical issues away. It was all nonsense. Once I put the Bible in context by placing its writings with the other mythologies of the time it all started to make much more sense. I now prefer the rational view of these things. Genocide is wrong, always and without exception. Slavery is wrong, always and without exception. Period. The end.

Semi-Strong
Louisville, KY

I am no scriptorian. But I have read the Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price several times. In them I find value (yes, in the OT as well).

Tekakaromatagi is correct. God takes us where were are and teaches us to be better.

Someday, folks a few hundred years from now will think of us as backward and unsophisticated as well.

Karen R.
Houston, TX

@ The Wraith

Agreed. I don't buy that the word of a purportedly all powerful god must be read "in context." This doesn't sound very powerful to me. In fact, it sounds very much like the power is in the hands of the humans. Which is, of course, exactly the case, in my opinion.

The Bible is a valuable piece of literature in that it gives us a window into our past, how our ancestors viewed the world, and the answers they came up with for the mysteries they could not explain at the time. I think this is the only context in which the Bible can realistically be read.

And keep it away from children. It'll give them nightmares!

sharrona
layton, UT

RE: Semi-Strong. The O.T.. Types and Shadows of Christ. a few examples:

Adam is a type of Christ in that he was the representative of humanity in Rom 5:12-21. Adam’s federal headship–together with the guilt, corruption and death that his disobedience brought on all humanity–is contrasted with the federal headship of Christ, and justification of believers through His obedience and substitutionary death.

Joshua=(Jesus) His name in Hebrew, is a type of Christ in that he was the one who would lead God’s people into the Promised Land. Jesus is the Savior of the covenant people.

Melchizedek was a type of Christ, Jesus is the Prophet, Priest and King of His church. Melchizedek typified Him in two of the three offices (Zech. 6:12-13). He was “King of Righteousness” and “King of Priest.” Jesus is the King in whom “righteousness and peace kiss” at the cross (Ps. 85:10). Like Melchizedek before Him, Jesus had “no beginning of days, nor end of life.” He is the eternal Priest to whom Melchizedek pointed. never will he be, replaced as High Priest of the Church.

The Wraith
Kaysville, UT

@Hamath

Every single religion says essentially the same "find out for yourself" thing; just pray to our god and you'll know. And every single religion can claim members who have found out for themselves that their god is the right one by taking that path.

As an example: because I live in Utah, Mormons always tell me I can find out for myself by praying and getting a special feeling. Well other religions may not use the same words but they say the same thing. So if I were to pray to Odin and get a really special feeling which proved to me beyond any doubt that Odin was the one and true god, well, what would my Mormon friends think? They would think I was being fooled by a dark force, that my feeling didn't really come from the true god. As would every religion but Odin worshipers. So the whole find out for yourself with special feelings just doesn't work; because it's the same thing everyone says. It all comes down to "trust us, our special feeling is the right one all the other ones are wrong."

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