Thou Shalt Not Murder!

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algebe's picture
@JoC: It’s always prudent to

@JoC: It’s always prudent to look at the original language of the text when reading it.

What percentage of worshipers, including clergy, have the capacity to do that?

jonthecatholic's picture
More than you might think.

More than you might think. Many priests and bishops take up Latin, Greek, and Hebrew. Many lay people do this as well. Most of the OT was written in Hebrew then consequently translated to Greek. It's actually this version of the Old Testament (Greek Septuagint) which the Catholic Church recognizes as canon).

Greek and Hebrew aren't dead languages that can't be learnt today. Greek is still spoken in Greece. lol.

Sky Pilot's picture


The original Bible was written in Latin. Everything else is a translation.

jonthecatholic's picture
Really? Where are you getting

Really? Where are you getting this, Diotrephes? If you're talking about the Latin Vulgate, that is actually a translation from the original Hebrew and Greek.

Sky Pilot's picture


You can't produce an authentic original Bible in any language produced before 692 A.D.

Tin-Man's picture
@JoC Re: Pen analogy

@JoC Re: Pen analogy

Perhaps I'm just too nit-picky sometimes, but you really should consider using a better analogy. At first you say....

"...when you write something down on paper, you move the pen and make scribbles. The pen does not think and therefore simply follows. With God, He used human authors as his, "pens". "

Okay, makes sense so far. Pretty good at this point. And you should have stopped there. Because then you went and totally flubbed it up with this next jewel of wisdom...

"Since they are human with personal preferences and all, they can choose to write the truths revealed to them in any number of ways." (oops.)

For your analogy to be accurate, man would simply write exactly what God was telling them without thinking. Period. They shouldn't have been allowed to "choose" anything. But, wait! It gets even better. You even took it a step further....

"Say the truth that is being put forth is, "God made the universe.". Plain, simple, concise. However, both God and the human author of the first chapters of Genesis knew it wouldn't be passed on written as plainly as such." (What the...???)

1. If God knew that, then why hell did he not simply have it written so it WOULD pass? 2. If the human arthors didn't think it would pass and they changed it themselves, then it stands to reason they believed they knew more than God. Basically, they were saying, "Hey, I know this is what God said for me to write, but it just seems to be missing something. Hey, ya know, surly he won't mind if I dazzle it up a little. After all, gotta be able to sell this stuff to the masses." Either way, by your OWN analogy, one is almost forced to see how totally NON-perfect those writings are, and that they were quite obviously left open to man's own interpretations.

Really, JoC, you are not doing yourself any favors with that one. You should seriously consider revising/tweeking that "argument" a bit. Granted, you may have had some luck with that on some other, more gullible individuals/groups somewhere, but on this site you pretty much shot yourself in the foot with it.

Old man shouts at clouds's picture
@ TM

@ TM

Re:@JoC Re: Pen analogy

In the words of the Eurovision song contest ( a famous moment when the Norwegian entry scored zero in all the rounds LOL)

Tin Man: Dix points
JoC: Null points


jonthecatholic's picture
You have to remember that

You have to remember that even when God inspires the human authors, he does not take away their free will as that would be a contradiction to his nature. He therefore allows his human authors their own style of writing. So when the human author decides to use hyperbole, God will allow him to do so. When the human author decides to use parables, they're allowed to do so. If they want to write in poetry, they may do so.

I'm just saying that God doesn't possess the human to write exactly what he wants in his own words. This would entail taking away the free will of his human authors.

So I'm saying, for us to know what God is trying to tell us, we have to understand the Biblical authors, the place and time where and when they wrote the books they wrote, for what purpose so we'll have a clearer understanding of what they mean when they say certain things. We do this to practically everything else we read. Why not the Bible as well?

Sheldon's picture
The point youre missing is

The point you're missing is what it can't mean. It can't be offered up as objectively moral on the strength of its claimed divine origins. Whilst simultaneously claimed to be fallible enough to require subjective interpretation.

As usual religious apologists want to have their cake and eat it.

algebe's picture
@JoC: What do you think

@JoC: What do you think divine inspiration means?

Absolutely nothing.

jonthecatholic's picture
Okay. Who do you think wrote

Okay. Who do you think wrote the books of the Bible? Fact is, it's a piece of literature written for a specific purpose. Any literature has a purpose. What purpose would the author of Number have in writing Numbers?

Like if I ask you why someone would write the Harry Potter books, you'd probably say, to entertain. When asked why someone would write an instruction manual, it would be to inform. Someone would write poetry to convey their innermost feelings or present something in a beautiful way. Children's books are usually written to teach a certain lesson to children. History books attempt to record happenings during a certain time period. The list goes on.

Say I took a Harry Potter book and said I felt like it was terrible poetry or that it's a poor excuse for historical literature. Or the science doesn't make sense at all. You'd laugh at me and say, of course, that's not what it's written for.

Context is important and we look at it everyday. Ancient texts are no exemption.

algebe's picture
@JoC: Okay. Who do you think

@JoC: Okay. Who do you think wrote the books of the Bible?

They were written by Bronze/Iron Age men living in patriarchal tribal pastoral communities with sky-father deities based on tribal ancestors. Their writing was influenced by exposure to more sophisticated societies, such as Egypt and Babylon. Its purpose was to maintain coherence within their tribe by emphasizing the difference between the tribe and others.

Of course context and purpose are important to an understanding of literature. But what does any of that have to do with divine inspiration? Inspiration comes from a variety of sources, none of them divine.

jonthecatholic's picture
Thanks for your answer. To

Thanks for your answer. To some degree you have it right. They were written by people. They were influenced by societies like Egypt, Babylon, Greece, Rome, Assyria, Persia. You say that it's purpose was to maintain coherence within their tribe... To some degree, some books actually promote that. Remember, the Bible isn't a book. Technically, Bible means Library. You have a whole bunch of books with different purposes for being written. No one would put Psalms and Judges under the same literary genre. The letters of Paul in the New Testament would also serve a different purpose to the Gospels - different genres. Even the Gospel of Mark and the Gospel of Matthew where written with slightly different purposes in mind (different audiences). Numbers (the book specified in the OP) also has its own purpose for being written. This is the point I'm getting at.

When Christians say divine inspiration, we don't mean God came down and sat with a scibe and said to him, "Please write everything I'm going to tell you."

*The only reason I brought up divine inspiration was because Sheldon brought up the point that he need not look at context or purpose for the Bible as that would only be reserved for human authors, not God as the author. Thing is, as you've stated, the books of the Bible were written by human authors. Context and purpose if the texts should then be taken seriously.

Sushisnake's picture
Well, I've enjoyed your posts


Well, I've enjoyed your posts on this thread, JoC- and for what it's worth, I've never thought "divinely inspired" meant most Christians believe god sat down with someone and handed him a pen and dictation pad, though let's face it, some do seem to think just that. I see the books of the bible as a sort of photo album - snapshots of people in a specific time and place. We get an idea of the social mores of their time and that's useful, because we can gauge how far the human race has come since then ( a VERY long way!). I, too, believe parts of the bible were inspired - some are breathtakingly beautiful; others reveal timeless truths about human nature; not a few tell us to practice the law of reciprocity - but " divinely inspired"? No. I don't think it's divinely inspired for a couple of reasons.

First and foremost , I can get instruction on the law of reciprocity literally anywhere. Every religion has it ( with the exception of Islam, which turned it into a statement of faith), every culture has it, every ancient civilisation has it- and as Rabbi Hillel observed so long ago, everything else is just commentary. I can learn it by listening to the instruction the mothers give their toddlers in playgroup. I can even watch many other animal species to see how it's done, because they do it, too! :-)

Secondly, religious pluralism. So many religions saying such different things about the path to eternal bliss. If any of it was really divinely inspired, you expect a lot of similarities, yet the only one is the law of reciprocity and that can be explained by evolution, because animals practise it, too. But if it was simply human inspiration, writing in a particular time and place for a specific audience with a specific purpose? Well, THAT explains the bible. THAT'S why you'll find the best AND the worst of humanity in its pages. Incidentally, I don't believe all of it was written during the Bronze Age at all - that specific time/audience/purpose thing certainly applied during the Dark Ages.

Here's a question for you: do you believe the writers of other religious texts were divinely inspired, too? Was the quran divinely inspired, for instance?

Sheldon's picture
"Okay. Who do you think wrote

"Okay. Who do you think wrote the books of the Bible?"

I'm going to go out on a limb and say, humans.

Sheldon's picture
Damn it that's brilliant.

Damn it that's brilliant.

Sky Pilot's picture


The problem with your opinion is that there is not one unique idea idea in the fairy tale. If there was then it might be possible to take it out of context. For instance, if there was just one statement that said something like "Ahab invaded Syria with 50 flying elephants" then you might be able to take it out of context. But all of the ideas in the Bible are repeated dozens of times. So when the idea that God is a murdering psycho is restated in a dozen stories it's damn hard to take it out of context. Consequently it's only necessary to cite one instance of the idea instead of listing all of them.

jonthecatholic's picture
I miss your point as to why

I miss your point as to why context isn't considered for the books fo the Bible.

Sky Pilot's picture


The biblical stories illustrate the Ten Commandments found in Exodus 34:12-28. That's their context.

Cognostic's picture
But god's rules do not apply

But god's rules do not apply to god. He can do what he wants and it is all moral because he is the creator. Or so the horseshite story goes/

Sky Pilot's picture


Don't forget you are to kill your kids if they disobey you. 6 pictures

Grinseed's picture
It doesn't get any better the

It doesn't get any better the closer you look.
Moses' first wife Zipporah was a Midianite woman; she had two sons by him.
The Midian clan was descended from one of Abraham’s six sons by Keturah, his wife after Sarah died, Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak, and Shuah (Genesis 25:2) so basically they were all family.
Yet suddenly, after the exodus, Yahweh in his unpredictable and unstable manner decides that family aren’t good enough anymore or only fit for murder victims.
Family values indeed.

Sky Pilot's picture


One of Yeshua's ancestors, Ruth, was a Moabite. They were on the shit list = 5 pictures

Old man shouts at clouds's picture
Fuck, sounds just like my

Fuck, sounds just like my family on any get together.

That's why I do not attend!

Grinseed's picture
Good thing they didn't have

Good thing they didn't have Christmas back then.

Cronus's picture
Thou shalt not kill - unless

Thou shalt not kill - unless of course those heathens worship some other invisible avenger. Then feel free to kill them all. - George Carlin

ZeffD's picture
"..Not reading in context.."

"..Not reading in context.." What's the context for the murdering first-borns?!
If religionists may see whatever context they please why not others?! Those of us not invested in the Bible might be better placed to see context more objectively.

Randomhero1982's picture
It also begs the question,

It also begs the question, why would an all powerful god need humans to do anything?!

Your telling me he can create everything within the universe, but cannot deal with a couple enjoying a cheeky squirt?

And what sort of scum bag sneaks up on a couple going at it and spears them...

It would appear this god is sinister twat but also a useless coward, much like Joffery in game of thrones.

And like him, the sooner he pissed off the better!

Cronus's picture
RH - I have thought something

RH - I have thought something similar.

When somebody tells me that they are doing " God's work" - it makes me wonder.

Is their God an inept slacker that needs a bunch of halfwits running about messing up his job's output?

Wouldn't this God person get offended? I know if I was working on something - and took a break to do something else - I would be PISSED to come back later and find some moron had finished the job in a halfassed fashion.

" God's work" indeed.

Let the supreme being handle things guys - and quit with the praying all the time. The guy has enough on his plate without having to listen to the incessant yammering.....


Sheldon's picture
What context makes a global

What context makes a global genocide morally acceptable? What context makes it ok to torture a new born baby to death over 7 days because it was conceived in an adulterous affair? What context makes it ok to buy and own other humans as slaves, and beat them to death as long as they last a day or two after the beating? What context makes the sex trafficking of girls and women ok after they are captured during the ethnic cleansing of their entire tribe?

As I asked earlier where do we get this context from if it is not just a post ad hoc subjective interpretation of things that otherwise show the bible is not divine in origin at all, but entirely human?


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