Holy books

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Valiya's picture
No Nyarlathotep

No Nyarlathotep

You have got me completely wrong!

I said the earnest truth seeker can always understand the truth. But that does not mean that anyone who disagrees with me is wrong. If the person disagreeing with me can show me using Islamic exegetical methods that my view is faulty, then I will change my view. This has in fact happened on several counts.

I would like to know how you iron out differences with fellow atheists. Wouldn’t you debate based on a commonly accepted standard… in your case logical reasoning or whatever you call it. And then you come out with one of the 3 positions: you are right or your opponent is right or both of you are right (both being NOT mutually exclusive). If you think you are right, and your opponent doesn’t agree with you… what do you do? You might either just let him be… or if the thing that you differ over is something crucial affecting the public in some way… you would press on and try to create awareness on why his ideas are wrong.

It’s exactly like this that differences are settled in Islam.

Nyarlathotep's picture
So you weren't honestly

So you weren't honestly seeking the truth in those cases? heh

Valiya's picture
what do you mean?!?

what do you mean?!?

CyberLN's picture
" would like to know how you

" would like to know how you iron out differences with fellow atheists."

I'll say it one more time...unlike theist groups, there is zero need for atheists to agree on things. The only, again, the only thing we have in common across the board is that we have no gods.

Valiya's picture
What a convenient cop out.

What a convenient cop out.

This is a means of escapism. What will you do if you are the head of a secular government, and you have to take a decision on death penalty. If one group of MPs in your government support it and one group rejects it, will you just sit back and say both are right.

Will you not apply your interpretive methods and come to a decision, going against one group of people?

This is exactly what religion does. When it comes to acting on morality, you have to take a position. You cannot live in a sort of limbo and pretend everything is hunky dory.

CyberLN's picture
Okay, I just rolled my eyes

Okay, I just rolled my eyes so far I saw my own brain.
Again, the only thing atheists have in common is having no gods.
Your pretend situation does not apply and is, well, silly.
Disagreement happens all the time, in both secular and religion-bound governments. And you fail to get that many secular governments have some religious folk as the people's representatives.
As to your last sentence in this post, oy! You actually posit that people who identify as atheist pretent that everything is hunky dory just because they don't 'belong' to some homogenous atheist cadre?
And, btw, I do indeed take moral positions on many things without the need of a religion to do so.

mysticrose's picture
I agree that these books are

I agree that these books are really filled with flaws that only led into the discovery how fake the religions they represent are.

beneames's picture
I know I'm jumping in at the

I know I'm jumping in at the end of a long discussion here already, but here are some of my thoughts on the opening question. Part of the reason interpretation is required is that the messages in the religious texts are communicated through specific cultures and languages. At the most basic level then, translation requires interpretation. You have to ask "What does this particular word mean here?" And so on. So for God to communicate in a way that couldn't be misunderstood he would have had to create a universal language that everybody in the world understood perfectly. Not to mention we misunderstand each other all the time even when we speak the same language.

But it goes beyond that as well. Sometimes we use poetic imagery when we communicate, or colourful local language, and that's a tough beast to tame. Sometimes you can't understand the meaning of what's going on in the texts unless you also understand the culture and influences of the original writers. Eg what did the word "heaven" mean to the Jews? What's the point of the exodus story? Are the stories in Daniel relating historical events or are they for some other purpose? Why did thousands of Jews go out to the desert to listen to John the Baptist speak, a wild man who ate locusts and honey, and then let him dunk them in a river? To understand that you need to understand the political climate of the time and the cultural practices of the Jews. Who was Jesus and what did he come to do? What did Paul mean by justification? What kind of writing is Revelation (apocalyptic) and how did it work?

So this is where all the different interpretations come in, but that doesn't mean we CAN'T know what they were thinking at the time. This is the work of the historians, and if we're doing our history work well we can understand more about the culture and thoughts of the people at the time, and as a result we can get closer and closer to understanding what the texts are communicating. Many of the different interpretations come from people not doing their research. But of course there are also historians who have different ideas of what happened back then too.

CyberLN's picture
I'll repeat one of the

I'll repeat one of the questions in the OP: why are they not written in a way that eliminates any chance of misinterpretation?

Your first paragraph seems to explain that they were not, in fact, written in a way that precludes the need for interpretation.

Ergo, a god that would want people to be clear on what it wants so it can reward or condem those who do not deliver, sure seems to be failing at that. If that god knows that, in the future, folks would be confused because of changes in culture and language, then it has done those future generations a huge disservice by not keeping it up to date.

But then again, maybe (at least the judeo-xtian god) did indeed have it updated on a regulat basis: Abraham and Moses --> the apostles --> Muhammad --> king James --> Joseph smith --> L Ron Hubbard.

beneames's picture
It's impossible to write

It's impossible to write something in such a way that it can't be misinterpreted. Languages change, the meanings of words change, different cultures think about things in different ways. Anything that uses words can be potentially misinterpreted, especially because the best communicators also use stories, metaphors and illustrations to paint the picture. Even if I used language a 5yo could understand (eg "The kingdom of heaven is like a seed"), it could be misunderstood ("So it's small?").

Spewer's picture
So by implication you deny

So by implication you deny that a god could be omnipotent, yes?

CyberLN's picture
Then why write anything in

Then why write anything in the first place? Seems like a complete recipe for failure.

Jeff Vella Leone's picture
"the best communicators also

"the best communicators also use stories, "
You mean the worst communicators? Ahh yes since Jesus uses stories and he is perfect then someone who uses stories is the best communicator.
Nice circular argument.

"metaphors and illustrations to paint the picture."
If I was god(and I'm not perfect) I would simply show myself to everybody personally and explain all the questions personally so there would be no misunderstandings.
Jesus with all his stories and metaphors was not clear at all, actually his stories usually tried to picture something while the message was something else.
Like as if he wanted to insert multiple meanings in a single parable to stupid peasants and slaves that could not even read.

" Even if I used language a 5yo could understand (eg "The kingdom of heaven is like a seed"), it could be misunderstood ("So it's small?").
OMG, even I don't understand what exactly you mean with such fallacious statement.

"The kingdom of heaven," could mean 1000' things, it is an unknown, not only you are using it as if such a thing actually exists as a fact but you are trying to describe it in a very nonsensical way.

Like saying "a ball in nice". Without any descriptors or more information you cannot derive what exactly are you talking about. Especially if the person doesn't know what a ball looks like.

You are doing a mix up of lack of context with lack of knowledge and a bunch of vague words.


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