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The Bible as Mythology

Discussion of Christianity and other religious systems. How can we explain our faith to Christians? How can you merge your faith in Jesus with your belief in the metaphysical?

The Bible as Mythology

Postby RuneGeek » Sun May 03, 2009 8:58 am

The Bible is a foundational book for three of our world's major religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. All three use parts (or all) of the Old Testament of the Bible as a basis; all three use other works to augment the Old Testament (the Torah, the Koran, or the New Testament). Nevertheless they can all be categorized as "Abrahamic" religions due to their Old Testament origins.

The first five books of the Old Testament are known as the Pentateuch. These five books contain many of the most familiar stories... Adam and Eve, the flood, Moses in Egypt, etc.

Bible scholars (real ones, not the ones paid for by Christian fundamentalists!) tell us that these books come from two documents: the “J” document, written between 950 BCE and 915 BCE, and the “P” document, probably written after the fall of Jerusalem in 586 BCE. “P”, composed by Old Testament prophets (primarily Hosea, Amos, Isaiah, and Jeremiah) reflects the prophets' desire to incorporate elements of the Jewish Law (i.e. Deuteronomy, which they also wrote) into the Pentateuch, thus lending credibility to their forged laws. “J”, the older of the two, is much less complex.

It is for this reason that so many contradictions can be found in these books. It is not uncommon to read a chapter and find the same story retold - differently - in the very next chapter.

Science has proven that the earth is several billion years old. Homo sapiens are over 100,000 years old. A literal interpretation of the Old Testament creation story suggests that the earth is 6-8,000 years old. Many Christian fundamentalists believe to this day that the earth is less than 10,000 years old.

There is no evidence for a global flood. There’s geological evidence for five mass extinctions over the past 500 million years, but nothing that suggests a worldwide flood in the past 10,000 years. There is also no evidence to suggest that the people of Israel were ever enslaved in Egypt.

I think it's important to view the Bible in its proper context. The Old Testament is Jewish mythology, not a whole lot different from the myths of the Greeks, Egyptians, Norse, Celts, etc. When viewed as mythology, it can have the same value as other mythological works. To take it literally, on the other hand, requires complete denial of its conflicts with science, history, and its own self.
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Postby purplesummer » Sun May 03, 2009 2:47 pm

I completely agree. I am actually having this conversation with a person right now. The Bible is a book of nice stories. Some stories contradict but that is because it was written by humans.
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Postby HallowHim » Mon May 04, 2009 6:30 am

i agree with you purplesummer....
everything is fake...
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Postby purplesummer » Mon May 04, 2009 2:40 pm

HallowHim wrote:i agree with you purplesummer....
everything is fake...

I wouldn't say everything is fake. Jesus was a real man. Jesus was crucified. Is his story correct? Who knows.
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Postby HallowHim » Tue May 05, 2009 4:04 am

purplesummer wrote:
HallowHim wrote:i agree with you purplesummer....
everything is fake...

I wouldn't say everything is fake. Jesus was a real man. Jesus was crucified. Is his story correct? Who knows.



i mean about bible...i also belive that jesus is a real man..
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Postby hicksfan » Tue May 05, 2009 9:48 am

the first five books are also known as the written torah, it was an oral tradition for an undeterminable amount of time but presumed easily thousands of years. many stories cross other cultures and myth, the great flood of noah for example is nearly identical to the flood story in the epic of gilgamesh in sumerian religion/mythology. it could very well have been an actual flood in a large region, a base level of truth with a massive amount of supernatural myth incorporated in it. it seems the farther you go back with written documentation, man had a lot harder time separating truth and fiction. arguably, they probably believed it wholeheartedly.

the 10 commandments are different in many of the chapters of exodus, arguably because they were derived from the mosaic code of some 600+ laws.

metaphorically, there is *some* enlightened viewpoints. literally, no real truth whatsoever. the bible as we know it was created sometime around 326ad at the council of nicea. st. nicholas was present, and was a key figure. you want to piss a christian off good? tell them you know for fact santa claus played a hand in making the bible!
a lie is a lie even if everyone believes it, the truth is the truth even if nobody believes it.
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Postby RuneGeek » Tue May 05, 2009 10:27 am

purplesummer wrote:I wouldn't say everything is fake. Jesus was a real man. Jesus was crucified. Is his story correct? Who knows.


Honestly, I sometimes have my doubts about even that... however, I did find that documentary, The Lost Tomb of Jesus, to be rather compelling.

If he did exist, I think he was probably involved in Jewish mysticism (some suggest Buddhism as well)... at least some mystery tradition where inner knowledge is more important than the litany of rules that made up the religion of the Pharisees of his day. Gnostic Christianity, which seems to have been the original flavor of the faith, appears very much to me to fit the definition of a mystery tradition. Of course Gnostics had no need of synagogues or priests (i.e. Pharisees) which would explain not only why the felt the need to kill Jesus but also exterminate the Gnostic Christians themselves and as much of their writings as could be found. :(

I'm no fan of Christianity in its present-day form... I think there are too many unhealthy things about it. The idea that we're all born "sinners" (i.e. bad!), the idea that there is no feminine principle in divinity, the idea that "the flesh" is something to be denied... it just seems like a recipe for emotional dysfunction.

But no one should be killed for expressing his or her opinion or beliefs... and that's what probably happened to Jesus. If so, it was most definitely a tragedy. And then for those that followed to twist it into a patriarchal religion that was forced on pagans at the point of a sword... I believe that's completely opposite the original intentions of the Christian movement.
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Postby hicksfan » Tue May 05, 2009 10:36 am

RuneGeek wrote:
purplesummer wrote:I wouldn't say everything is fake. Jesus was a real man. Jesus was crucified. Is his story correct? Who knows.


Honestly, I sometimes have my doubts about even that... however, I did find that documentary, The Lost Tomb of Jesus, to be rather compelling.

If he did exist, I think he was probably involved in Jewish mysticism (some suggest Buddhism as well)... at least some mystery tradition where inner knowledge is more important than the litany of rules that made up the religion of the Pharisees of his day. Gnostic Christianity, which seems to have been the original flavor of the faith, appears very much to me to fit the definition of a mystery tradition. Of course Gnostics had no need of synagogues or priests (i.e. Pharisees) which would explain not only why the felt the need to kill Jesus but also exterminate the Gnostic Christians themselves and as much of their writings as could be found. :(

I'm no fan of Christianity in its present-day form... I think there are too many unhealthy things about it. The idea that we're all born "sinners" (i.e. bad!), the idea that there is no feminine principle in divinity, the idea that "the flesh" is something to be denied... it just seems like a recipe for emotional dysfunction.

But no one should be killed for expressing his or her opinion or beliefs... and that's what probably happened to Jesus. If so, it was most definitely a tragedy. And then for those that followed to twist it into a patriarchal religion that was forced on pagans at the point of a sword... I believe that's completely opposite the original intentions of the Christian movement.


whether or not jesus was a man or a movement, the base enlightening brought forth by the movement was that the common man (in all forms) was allowed into the temple. that was something that was not allowed before, but was challenged by "jesus".

jewish historian josephus has a couple written accounts of jesus, one was the challenging of the mishnah (rules of the *country club* temple) and the fit of rage in the temple of the "money changers"... the temple had created it's own form of currency and exchange rates varied depending on who you were.
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Postby hicksfan » Tue May 05, 2009 5:04 pm

purplesummer wrote:
HallowHim wrote:i agree with you purplesummer....
everything is fake...

I wouldn't say everything is fake. Jesus was a real man. Jesus was crucified. Is his story correct? Who knows.


crucifixion was a very common method of execution for the roman empire, whom the temple handed him over to. it's weird how politics keep playing points years down the line. it wasn't until the 1950's that the catholic church dropped the orthodox of the jews being responsible for christ's death. but hey, it wasn't until 1992 that they rescinded the declaration of heresy towards galileo for his crazy notion the earth revolved around the sun and not vice versa.

jesus, as a mortal man (or movement of common men), broke the legacy boundary the temple previously had. you had to be of descent or married into, it was country club elite. i can see where a regular joe would consider jesus a saviour if he made access to the temple available to those who never had it before. but it's the evolution of the thought that counts moreso than any one figure, in my opinion. you can thank constantine for adding the supernatural effects (son of god, born of a virgin mother in a cave, etc) about 300 years after he was dead and gone.

p.s. - mel gibson and his dad are real "old school" catholics, which explains his resentment towards jews in his little legal debacle.
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Postby SoraQuasar » Tue Jun 23, 2009 1:05 pm

i think one this is sure:

everything is a theory.

and if you know the true [and scientific] definition of a theory... then your head will really hurt with trying for find the trueth.

but hey, thats why we, humans, live for - to have a lot of headacks.


and the painkiller for that headack is beliefe in something...


wow im very metaphorical today O_O

:lol:
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Postby AP670 » Tue Jun 23, 2009 6:54 pm

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Postby moon_wolf » Fri Jun 26, 2009 8:35 pm

i personally cant understand how the bible saysthe earth is only 10 thousand years old here in australia t is proven aboriginals have been here 40 thousand years
i dont belive alot of what the bible says as they havent even sad anything about the dinosaurs but it is proven there are fossils that are millions of years old
just my opinion
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Postby RuneGeek » Mon Jun 29, 2009 7:30 am

moon_wolf wrote:i personally cant understand how the bible saysthe earth is only 10 thousand years old here in australia t is proven aboriginals have been here 40 thousand years
[snip]
just my opinion


Yes, wolf, that's your opinion... but your opinion in this case is based on proven scientific facts. To me that makes it a little more than "just" an opinion. :)

SoraQuasar wrote:if you know the true [and scientific] definition of a theory...


For those who may not know... in American English, we use the word "theory" rather loosely. We often say that we "have a theory" about something, but our theory is based on conjecture. In science, that's barely enough grounds for a hypothesis, much less a theory.

In science, theories are made up of lesser theorems, all of which have been through a process of the gathering of empirical data about observable phenomena. In other words, a theory is based on less-complex but related ideas which have stemmed from careful observation and measurement.

Or, as a bumper-sticker so wisely says it... "Evolution is a theory... like gravity."
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Postby One Walker » Tue Jun 30, 2009 2:13 pm

There's a lot of argument about all this and none can be conclusively proven because it's all subject to interpretation; aside from the accuracy and clarity of written information. The glaring fault about scientific dating has been the Carbon-14 method. Carbon-14 was originally chosen not for its accuracy but simply because it has the steadiest, most easily measurable rate of decay. The truth is, no two things decay at the same rate and Carbon-14 is only a part of the decay process. There is also Carbon-12 and a whole group of other carbon states that come and go in the decay process.

Remember that scientists go about 'proving' theories the same way law enforcement goes about 'proving' guilt. They take a bunch of circumstances and then see who or what they can fit it to. This is a system designed, set up, and run to produce an expected result. This is an obviously faulty system. Just look at the number of convicted people who have had their sentences subsequently overturned because DNA testing showed they were not present or active in the commission of a crime.

There's some interesting reading on the dating process here:

http://www.christiananswers.net/q-aig/aig-c007.html

You don't have to agree with it or all of it. Just consider both sides of the question, then decide for yourself.
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Postby RuneGeek » Thu Jul 02, 2009 10:41 am

One Walker wrote:The glaring fault about scientific dating has been the Carbon-14 method.


I'm sure Carbon dating isn't perfect. But science tells us that the Earth is a little over four billion years old; the fundamentalist Christians, 6,000-8,000 years old. I don't think the science is off by 99.999809524%. :)
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