We are currently discussing narrative in one of my classes, so I'll make a more in-depth thread on it later. We're discussing things such as how the mind thinks in narrative, learns in narrative, and how there are cognitive processes in place to interpret things in story form.
Before I go any further in my next post. I want to get a preliminary feel for people's opinion on the subject.
The bible is clearly written in a narrative format. It is isn't written like a textbook or an encyclopedia. It is laid out as a story form.
Ignoring the psychology behind it. Have you thought of this format at a bad thing, or a good thing for religion? In other words, if God is real, is this a smart move or a bad move?
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You are quite correct, story forms are the oldest and best way of communicating ideas between groups of humans. Early education is founded on it.
Humans wrote all the stories in bible, they are human down to their contradictions and inaccuracies. 'God' has nothing to do with it, it is the subject of the stories along with their foundation myths. And myths they are.
In Dreamtime First Nation stories here we have the same narrative style telling the various stories of their 'creation" and interaction with the earth and all on it. Again, no question of a god is needed, its a human thing to tell stories..
Unless of course you are arguing that their various stories are as true, and as divinely inspired, as your nasty book of tricks Breezy?
I made my living telling stories and making up stories Breezy, but you would hardly describe me as 'divinely inspired' , now would you, John?
The question leans more towards asking, if you were divine, how would you covey your message?
Now, you bring up an interesting point about inaccuracies and contradictions. The lecture we had today was presented by a cognitive psychologist, ex FBI agent. He was telling us that when he would sit down to listen to people's stories of an event, and he noticed that a good way to know when a story was fabricated is when it was too perfect and error free. Whereas stories that had inaccuracies abs contradictions, but kept their motive constant, turned out to be true in further investigation.
The bible is written by people, it literally says so itself. But the question I would ask, is if those inaccuracies in the account, support the truth of the event, more than if it was squeaky clean and refined? You don't have to agree God is real, but I would argue that the way the narrative is told, shows the authors believed that what they are saying happened. It's not somebody purposefully writing a workof fiction.
Another question is, Is the veracity of a narrative more important than its utility? For example, is Animal Farm a bad book because it's inaccurate and fictitious, or a good book because it has utility when it comes to the story of communism.
But Animal Farm is more "real" where the Bible is plagiarized.
"is if those inaccuracies in the account, support the truth of the event, more than if it was squeaky clean and refined? Ask any policeman, if a car accident happens in front of 50 people you will get at least 39 different accounts of the same events, the rest will not admit to seeing anything.
Inaccuracies and errors are entirely a part of being human and do not point to the veracity of talking donkeys, burning, talking bushes, migrations that never happened. They are fantasy John, not witness accounts.
A well researched historical novel is what it says..a fanciful story about otherwise provable events.The bible is a fantasy collection about unevidenced events, and a nasty set of tales at that.
I can't see the utility of the bible when there are many books that display more moral tales and less plagiarism that that collection of "Amazing Tales" from the bronze and early iron ages.
You would be better off worshipping the "Cat in the Hat" than than anything in the bible it is more moral, has a clear message and doesn't demand tribute.
I agree completely, though i'd also add that I don't think it reads like an homogeneous narrative at all, rather a collection of different superstitious narratives, arbitrarily cobbled together much later in order to maintain the particular beliefs of those who made the decision about what was allowed in, and what not.
"Ignoring the psychology behind it."
Cannot. That is all religion does. It attacks the psyche. It seeks to only suppress the psyche. And you ask us other "true" humans to ignore such FACTS (Formulated Accurately Codified Truth in Science)?
"Have you thought of this format at a bad thing, or a good thing for religion?"
If it is religious, it is ALWAYS a bad thing. There is NO good in any religion.
"In other words, if God is real, is this a smart move or a bad move?"
First, prove your Sky Faerie is real. Remember Hitchens's Razor and Arakish's Razor. And it matters not. Since it is still religious, it is ALWAYS a bad move.
If it has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with religion, then the narrative is very good way to tell a story. Even though it can be quite boring. Ever read Faulkner? Absolutely excellent author, but his stories dragged into boredom due to his "narrative" style. Narrative is OK, but if it ain't interspersed with many fast-paced action sequences to "hold" a reader's attention, it dies just as Faulkner died for me. I read one of his books (cannot remember the title, don't really want to either) and started into a second one. However, his completely boring narrative style ruined it for me. And the worst book for complete and absolute boredom, bordering on the desire to commit suicide, is that lousy piece of garbage known as the Bible. Although I read it many times, while attempting to find new avenues of research into the Bible, the only thing I can say about it is that it is the worst narrative ever written about the most horrifying and terrifying monsters to ever haunt humanity. It definitely needs a rewrite while leaving out about 95% of it. Focus on the horrors and terrors this imaginative demon does to humanity.
If I were to read narrative, I'd rather read "real" stories like the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever, the Sword of Truth novels, anything by Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, Lord of the Rings, Philip K. Dick, Ray Bradbury, HP Lovecraft, Edgar Allen Poe. In other words "true" writers. Those who wrote the Bible are anything but.
Sounds like a good question. I would certainly object to the use of narration for any sort of law giving or official document. Telling stories quite obviously leaves any information being conveyed open and vague. This most likely explains the variety of Christian faiths past and present. This style of writing leads to ideas like "trinity or no trinity," "Jesus was non-corporal and had no ministry on earth as in Paul's writings, or he was a man adopted by God at his baptism, or he was of divine birth as in the Gospel of John." Telling stories is a great way to confuse the hell out of everyone and leave everything up for interpretation. For a holy book, it is probably the absolute worst choice any God could have made.
With that said, parables and fun stories are easier to remember, even when the main idea of the story is vague and up for grabs.
I would argue that depends on what the writer intends for the reader to get out of it. I'm willing to bet nobody here has ever read through the terms and conditions of any service they purchased or used. Because it's unreadable, it lacks narrative.
"Telling stories is a great way to confuse the hell out of everyone and leave everything up for interpretation.".
Well, but it appears that's not the case. Stories are a good way to teach children life lessons for example, the "moral of the story." The military often teaches strategies through retelling the stories of previous invasions, which become "object lessons." Research is currently investigating if embedding any form of information into narratives aids in learning.
When people read such stories as if they were textbooks, they often miss the point. But if you want more people to read and understand the terms and conditions of a product, give it narrative.
"When people read such stories as if they were textbooks, they often miss the point. "
This rather assumes there is a point and a deity behind it. It's also pretty obvious that an omniscient deity would know such a flawed message would be misunderstood and why and by whom.
Is your belief that your deity wants rational thinkers to be damned forever through no fault of their own?
If there was an overarching narrative, I'd expect it either to be one of fact, or one of fiction. I do not expect a work with a muddied intent that often portrays fiction as fact, and with books written by authors with different motivations.
@ʝօɦn 6IX ɮʀɛɛʐy
"I would argue that depends on what the writer intends for the reader to get out of it. I'm willing to bet nobody here has ever read through the terms and conditions of any service they purchased or used. Because it's unreadable, it lacks narrative."
You are very incorrect in your assumption. I am a technical person, my first profession was as a jet engine mechanic. Working on aircraft is about following the vast number of technical instructions. My idea of a good read is to curl up with a technical manual. So for me to peruse ALL of the terms and conditions, that is what I do.
And as David said, I too also read the EULAs. I guarantee you are the one who does not. As David, I enjoy reading technical manuals and science textbooks. Hell, I'd guarantee I am the only person here who could even pull a dictionary off the shelf and enjoy reading it.
Your belief in Christianity just makes you an incompetent whatever you want to call yourself. But a true rational free-thinker you ain't. Your mental incompetence is shown with every post you make.
That's great, but uninformative if you are merely stating a preference.
For example, a lot of people claim to be auditory learners, kinesthetic learners, visual learners, etc. But when we run the experiments, we find that these are just preferences, and they have no meaningful effect on learning.
The same applies here. You may have a preference for this sort of material. But if we run the experiment, and present that information in its abstract form, versus in a narrative form, would you perform better in things such as recall and comprehension when its in narrative? Most people definitely yes. You guys seem to think not, great, confidence rarely correlates with accuracy.. Maybe you're right, but you're probably wrong.
Nope. I retain nothing. That is why I call them "reference" manuals. I just remember where to find the information. The stuff I retain is stuff I use all the time. Such as how plate tectonics works since I teach a class.
As for learning, I learn from all ways. Call them what you may, I still learn in whatever manner. That is why I always fail those "learning style" tests because no answer fits me since all answers fit. However, I much prefer to learn by doing. A "preference" as you call it.
Right. I had a DE professor tell us that even though we would be mastering a few dozen methods for solving DE's in his class, that after the class was finished we would forget most of them. That some day we will need some of them, and hopefully we would remember there is a method for this type. Just enough to look them up, and to relearn them when needed.
And he was spot on, that is typically how it is done in practice.
Exactly. Some of the best professors I ever had actually had "open book" exams. And they all said the same thing (paraphrased), "I believe the best method of learning is NOT by rote, but by knowing where to find the information needed."
But isn't that my point?
You have a point?
Please sum it up in a short, concise, and logical paragraph.
Storybooks > textbooks
Steven Pinker's books get more citations by other scientists than his actual science papers. I too forget a lot of what I've been taught, so I keep folders upon folders of all the textbooks and papers I've read on my computer. Interestingly, even though I've learned things a lot more in-depth than most pop books go into, the stuff I remember most is the stuff I've read by people like Oliver Sacks and Malcolm Gladwell, which know how to embed information inside a narrative.
Oh fk. Breezy is making points again. See what happens, I don't log in for a day and the Breezy escapes and starts making points. Damn! When am I going to get some time to myself.
"Ignoring the psychology behind it. Have you thought of this format at a bad thing, or a good thing for religion? In other words, if God is real, is this a smart move or a bad move?"
Assuming that a god was behind everything, it reeks of massive stupid incompetence. The bible clearly identifies that this god desires to be worshiped. Thus it is reasonable to assume that this god would make itself very conspicuous to all. One does not seek adulation but hide from the eyes of those one desires that worship. In fact, this god made it very clear that it was the only god to be worshiped. So if people don't know what god to worship, that sole god has eliminated itself from being worshiped.
"You don't have to agree God is real, but I would argue that the way the narrative is told, shows the authors believed that what they are saying happened. It's not somebody purposefully writing a workof fiction."
And the only valid conclusion we can derive is that those authors did believe. But their belief is not proof of any god. There are many tales of other gods, and those authors also held to a firm belief. By your logic, thus Odin, the goddess Queen Mother of the West, and Zeus are just as real as the christian god. There have been Buddhist monks who immolated themselves because of their beliefs, there are fanatics willing to fly into skyscrapers or strap on a suicide vest because of their beliefs.
A firm conviction is just that, it is not proof of anything.
Its proof that it is written by someone that is recounting an event, as opposed to fabricating it. I don't know to what extent you think things like the gospels were fabricated and written years after the event by people that weren't there, vs written by the people that were there.
When you look at the gospel accounts for example, where one person describes an even as happening slightly different from the others; or one person says two blind men came up to Jesus, but the other person says there was only one.. these are disparities you would expect to see, and do see, when people who experienced the same event retell their stories later. It has everything to do with the way memories are encoded and recalled.
Firstly, stating that the style of writing is “proof” of anything other than the author’s wit or ineptness is a fallacy. One could understand the concept that writing as a narrative is more compelling, and choose to write it in such a way that it would seem more reasonable to readers. What would truly prove beyond a doubt that these events happened would be a written record of their existence from multiple sources, graves and bodies of these people, any physical evidence of their existence, NOT a storybook. Systematic, scientifically accurate records would be much more compelling to me at least.
Have you heard of the Unabomber and how he was caught?
What about it, I’m not witty enough to see the correlation.
You said that using writing style as proof of anything beyond the writers wit is a fallacy. The Unabomber was essentially caught because of his writing style.
Fair enough, but the writing style makes it read like a story as well, some sort of epic like Gilgamesh was written in much the same way. Would you suppose that Gilgamesh is historically accurate, or Beowulf, or any other epic tale written in narrative form? Why is the Bible different from the rest? Because the people who wrote it believed the stories to have actually happened? Tell me, if an insane man who seemed in every of his mannerisms to be perfectly sane, and was an excellent orator, told you a tale that there is a god that speaks to him, and only him, would you believe him? If you were a child, or naive, or, perhaps, an illiterate, uneducated goat herder living in a small village, would you then perhaps believe him? If his stories were the only stories you’ve ever even heard before, could a sort of cult be formed by this insane man? This is simply a hypothetical but I think you see my point.
The point of the thread is effectiveness not accuracy. So don't confuse that. I don't really care if you believe the bible, I care if it's the most effective method of communicating it's message
However it's worth noting that a major difference between the bible and texts of other religions is that the bible story is embedded within a definite time and space. Do you know if the epic of Gilgamesh or other religious texts have that? So for example, can we know when and where the main character in the epic of Gilgamesh lived, the way we can know when and where Noah is claimed to have lived? I haven't looked into Hinduism enough to defend my point, but from the little I know their narrative appears to take place almost before time began.
John, you wrote, “The point of the thread is effectiveness not accuracy.”
Ok, that made me chuckle a bit. Do you actually think that the narrative in the bible is effective? Effective at what?
Yesterday he told us that X proves Y in the thread. Today he tells us the thread isn't about accuracy. I wonder what the thread will be about tomorrow?