I’m sorry, but I don’t see “open mind” in any definition here. A skeptic is biased before listening to the facts, and thus it is this bisa which will not allow understanding .
Then you’re reading it wrong. “Doubting X” doesn’t mean “believing X to be false”. Incredulity and skepticism are not the same thing. Skepticism lies between credulity and incredulity — it’s the point at which one can legitimately be said to have an open mind. Here is an excellent video on the issue of open-mindedness.
You’re falling into the same linguistic trap that so many do. There’s a difference between “not believing X” and “believing X to be false”. The former does not imply that the issue of the truth of X is settled. That’s the central element of the skeptical framework — if you read the bible with the attitude that its truth is not yet settled, and honestly seek to determine its truthfulness, you’re being entirely reasonable.
If, on the other hand, you go into it assuming it’s true, and that any apparent discrepancies must be accepted and somehow reconciled, regardless of the absurd lengths to which you must go, you’re being irrational.
Regardless of whether you agree with my definition of skepticism, though, the original point I was addressing was an anonymous poster who made the usual fundy claim that only true believers can “properly” understand the bible. That’s claiming that the only way to “proper” understanding is to approach it with a closed mind — with a bias in its favor.
I call shenanigans. That’s an absurd attempt to stack the deck. If you can’t understand it with an open mind, then it’s most likely nonsense.
First of all understanding has to do with motivation
No, it doesn’t. That puts the cart before the horse. One first understands, then one is moved to act. To do otherwise is to invite disaster. You first seek to understand that the road is clear, then you cross.
And we’ve crossed a line here where bible quotes are just fatuous nonsense. My question was, “shouldn’t you be suspicious of this document?” Any statement the document itself makes is brought under the same suspicion, so quoting it is worthless.
It does take a great deal of study to understand the Bible.
No, it doesn’t. It takes a great deal of study to learn all of the rationalizations your particular sect has invented to cover up the obvious discrepancies, but understanding the bible isn’t all that difficult — if you don’t try to impute it any more authority than any other mythology.
I’ve been around the Witnesses for about 50 years and that is the first time I’ve heard that.
JWs have the lowest education rate of almost any branch of Christianity — fewer than 5% attend college. Only about two-thirds graduate high school, compared to four-fifths of non-JWs.
Evidently, this is because “pioneering” is seen as more valuable than education to a group that believes the end of the world is near. They evidently think that time spent on education is likely to be wasted.
Perhaps you can point out something specific to me as to one of these “discrepancies” to which you refer in general way.
Oh, come on. You can’t be serious.
Let’s start small — something mostly irrelevant, but which gets right at the heart of the matter. In Mark 4, Jesus is quoted as saying that the mustard seed is the smallest of all seeds. It’s not. A simple, factual error, but offered as a direct quote from your god’s earthly incarnation.
It’s not an important matter, but, it’s an error — either the bible is not inerrant, or Jesus himself made the error. If either one is the case, then there’s really not much supporting inerrancy.
It’s like the old joke about the man who offers a woman a million dollars to sleep with him. She agrees, and he asks, how about ten dollars, then? She asks, “What do you think I am?”, to which he replies, “I thought we’d established that, we were just haggling over the price.”
If it’s not inerrant in the little things, then why should one think it correct on the big things?
There are plenty of others — scientific inaccuracies, like talking snakes and donkeys, global floods, the whole Tower of Babel story.
You have telling little discrepancies like 1 Chronicles 21:1 vs 2 Samuel 24:1, which document the same story, but one attributes David’s taking the census to Satan’s efforts, and the other attributes it to Yahweh.
All four gospels differ on the account of who found the empty tomb, and what they did afterward. Matthew has two women, who find guards and an angel, and who were frightened and told no one. Mark has three women, who find no guards or boulder, just one young man, and who again, tell no one. Luke has at least five women, who find two men in the tomb to tell the story. John has just one woman, who finds nothing, and runs to tell the men that someone stole the body. They come back and again find nothing, and leave. Then Jesus appears to Mary alone.
These are discrepancies. You can rationalize them in a variety of ways, but that’s just your interpretation — and a biased one, at that.
Beyond that, we have simple facts like the book of Exodus, which claims that a group of more than a half-million Jews wandered the Sinai desert for forty years. Such a group would undoubtedly have left signs of their presence — archaeologists find “middens” (trash heaps left by nomad camps) in the area all the time, but none from any large Jewish groups. They’re easy to pick out — no pig bones in the middens.
You’ve got the whole Genesis creation myth with creation taking place in six days, and its conflict with evolution. There’s the claim of a kingdom that covered a pretty sizable part of Asia Minor, for which there’s no contemporary evidence. There’s the discrepancies between Matthew’s and Luke’s versions of the nativity — one has Jesus born in a house, attended by kings, before the time of King Herod’s reign, while the other has Jesus born in a stable, attended by shepherds, during the census ordered by Quirinius, which happened eight years after Herod died.
I haven’t really scratched the surface — these are just the ones that come to mind, and I haven’t bothered going to any references. You can’t really need me to list them for you — you must have heard at least some these before. Instead, I suspect you’re really just looking for me to create a list for you so you can tell me the rationalizations you’ve been taught.
Frankly, I’m not interested. Those rationalizations are just that — they’re an attempt to come up with a plausible story that still allows you to believe what you choose out of the bible. A much more plausible account of the whole thing is that it’s mythology.
It takes no stretch of imagination at all to see the books of the bible as being essentially the same as the Eddas and the Upanishads and the Odyssey.
I could outline in about three paragraphs an entirely plausible account of how the texts of the gospels came about through entirely mundane means, by people who did not even believe that Jesus was an actual historical figure. No magic required.
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