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Old 08-02-2001, 11:29 PM   #11
Muad'Dib
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I agree with Hezekiah and QoS; it's interesting both for its reflection of the ancient world and useful for understanding our own.

If I had to pick one book that you'd likely find interesting (other than the gospels), I'd recommend Ecclesiastes; even as a nonbeliever I still find that work fascinating.
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Old 08-03-2001, 03:27 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by Xtopher:
<STRONG>I once tried to read it from cover to cover when I was about 12 years old because someone told me you could add seven years to your life every time you read the whole thing. I got through the first few books and begat a great headache when I got to the geneologies, so I gave it up and haven't had the gumption to pick it up again since.

Obviously, many of those who post here (theists and non-theists alike) have an extensive knowledge of the bible and have probably read the whole darn thing several times (you should live to be about 140 yrs old ).

I don't have to read the bible to affirm my disbelief of xianity, but I think I might actually get a kick out of reading it with my "new" perspective and improve my ability to intelligently argue my position with xian friends.

Blatant generalization follows: most xians assume we atheists want nothing to do with god and the bible (true) and therefore have rejected religion without so much as a second thought so we can sin all we want and be as wicked as we want to without any rules (far from true). So, if anything, I'll read it just so I can slap a pompous xian upside the head with it if he waves it in front of me and ask if he has read teh whole goddam thing like I have.

I am interested as to how many non-theists out there see some value in reading the bible as a non-theist (xians need not tell me your perceived "value" in reading the bible -- lemme guess). Are many of you driven to read it as a matter of self-affirmation? Or would I be wasting time better spent reading philosophers / other materials?

Thanks for your input.

[ August 02, 2001: Message edited by: Xtopher ]</STRONG>
I would have to agree that the Bible could be termed as a snapshot of historical culture.
Read from that standpoint, it serves to help us better understand the human mind and the effect of mythology and superstition on ancient cultures.

As a non-theist, I am convinced that the only way to rid mankind of the belief in the supernatural, is to educate.

Education would be (as the nuns used to do)
a slap on the head with the contridictions
and the absurdities that abound in this book.

Is it a roadmap to happiness, a design for
a better life, a source of inspiration as theists say?
Heck no!

But if you enjoy a good novel, it's a dandy.
All the right elements.
Love, death, murder, ethnic cleansing,sex (and perversions of sex)
violence of every imaginable description.
Lies, deception, power hungry madmen.

Is it a valid "history book"?
Not really.It cannot be trusted for accurate
recorded history.

If you intend to fight in any way the superstition and dark age mentalities, you
need to know the enemy.
wolf
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Old 08-03-2001, 05:36 AM   #13
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Thank you for the responses, especially the recommended reading. My next question was going to be whether there are any good Cliff's Notes on the bible out there.

I will, however, take John MacArthur's transcripts with a grain of salt. here's a bit from the first one I looked at:

"Back to the Future" Part 1

Revelation 1:1a

Let's turn in our Bibles to the book of Revelation. We are beginning with our study tonight an examination of the great truths of this marvelous book.

Yikes!

On the other hand, Kirsch's books look interesting (cuts straight to the good parts, the sex and violence), and "The Bible Unearthed" looks to be right up my alley. This from a review of that book:

The organization of the book clearly has the lay reader in mind. The authors do not even assume readers will be acquainted with the Bible and its stories, but instead follow a pattern whereby within each chapter they summarize what the Bible says (those of us who already know this like the back of our hands can simply skip these sections), then present the evidence for the earlier view, held even through much of the 20th century, that archaeology had confirmed the Bible in most respects. Then they present the findings of archaeology since the 1970's, and especially ground-breaking work in the 1990's, that has totally overturned most of these earlier beliefs.

[ August 03, 2001: Message edited by: Xtopher ]
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Old 08-03-2001, 08:09 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by critical thinking made ez:
<STRONG> Look at the Bagwan Reshnees,[...] Hundreds of books written word for word as it poured from his mouth.[...] Yet he admitted himself, not to follow him, not to believe in a God, [...] Yet people still followed him and made him a cult leader because of their weak nature. </STRONG>
"Only the REAL messiah would deny being
the messiah. HE IS! HE IS THE MESSIAH!"

- Monty Python really should be required
in the modern education system....

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Old 08-03-2001, 12:40 PM   #15
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Exclamation

Quote:
Originally posted by Xtopher:
<STRONG>I will, however, take John MacArthur's transcripts with a grain of salt. here's a bit from the first one I looked at:

"Back to the Future" Part 1
Revelation 1:1a

Let's turn in our Bibles to the book of Revelation. We are beginning with our study tonight an examination of the great truths of this marvelous book. Yikes!</STRONG>
Now keep in my mind, Xtopher, I never said he taught from the point of view of objective intellectual or observer. He happens to have a very strong Christian worldview, so of course you have to listen to him with a grain of salt from a skeptic's viewpoint. Just as a person with a Christian worldview would have to read Barker's Bible with a grain of salt. I feel that the best understanding of a particular worldview comes from reading from those who hold that particular worldview. You get much more insight from their perspective, but you don't have to agree with it.

[ August 03, 2001: Message edited by: MOJO-JOJO ]
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Old 08-03-2001, 03:55 PM   #16
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I have not read it cover to cover/front to back, but more in a roundabout way. I agree with hezekiahjones that it's a valuable cultural artifact and the mythology is truly fascinating, especially when compared to other myths.
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Old 08-03-2001, 04:10 PM   #17
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I'm surprised no one has said it yet, so I shall: The most beneficial thing to come from studying the Bible is the inescapable conclusion that the book is NOT the word of God. Sure, it's a trick answer to what I understand the topic to be -- but from what I understand, it's true for many deconverted atheists. (Not myself, however, which is why I hoped someone with personal experience would make the comment.)
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Old 08-03-2001, 07:04 PM   #18
Muad'Dib
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Talking

Quote:
Originally posted by Xtopher:
<STRONG>My next question was going to be whether there are any good Cliff's Notes on the bible out there.</STRONG>
Actually, there are Cliff's Notes on the Old Testament and New Testament! I've not read them, but they seem awfully thin, so I'm skeptical about their completeness.

Personally, I've found Isaac Asimov's Guide to the Bible to be quite interesting.
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Old 08-04-2001, 07:08 AM   #19
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" Cliff's Notes on the Old Testament and New Testament"

"God creates man, then gets upset at everything man does"
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Old 09-26-2001, 06:00 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally posted by hezekiahjones:
<STRONG>

I believe that was from Kiss Me, by Stephen "Tin Tin" Duffy.</STRONG>
SORRY... KING JAMES VERSION : SONG OF SOLOMON CHAP 1 VERSE 2
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