Nice to have options

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Nice to have options

Postby Lausten » Sat Jan 07, 2012 5:24 pm

I have a lot more detail I can add to this, but I'll start simple, see if there is interest. Is there any possible approach to the scriptures, from a completely atheist point of view, that holds the possibility of any value, other than refuting the current dominant interpretation of those scriptures?

As usual, when someone asks a question like that, their answer is yes, so no hidden agendas here. I'm reading "Parables as Subversive Speech" by Herzong. He uses Gerhard Lenski's historical analysis of the time and offers interpretations of some parables that are complete opposites of the standard model. He lists many previous interpreters and picks them all apart, and these aren't Aquinas, Calvin or Camping, he goes after Schweitzer and Crossan.

The other recent reading I did was "Who Wrote the Bible" by Friedman. More well known, this book uncovers how we ended up with the contradictions by examining the political groups and divided kingdoms that were writing the different versions. Google "Documentary Hypothesis" for more if you like.

Both of these approaches give us an opportunity to examine politics and power structures, one of a new small kingdom in times of rise and fall and another of an oppressed people being totally dominated by an Empire. As I have looked at it this way, I keep seeing stark parallels to today.
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Re: Nice to have options

Postby DjVortex » Sun Jan 08, 2012 3:19 pm

Lausten wrote:Is there any possible approach to the scriptures, from a completely atheist point of view, that holds the possibility of any value, other than refuting the current dominant interpretation of those scriptures?


It might be because my first language is not English, but I have hard time fully understanding what you are asking here. Could you please rephrase/explain a bit?
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Postby Lausten » Sun Jan 08, 2012 8:11 pm

It might be because my first language is not English, but I have hard time fully understanding what you are asking here. Could you please rephrase/explain a bit?

There are some undercurrents and assumptions in the questions.
Traditional religious interpretation of the Bible makes some assumption of a comprehensive narrative and fits interpretation into that. i.e., Jesus came to die for our sins, so he knew he was going to be crucified. Alternatives frequently are attempts to destroy this framework. The framework does not hold up very well, so that is not terribly difficult. i.e., Jesus, or whoever he was, actually was an apocalyptic preacher, so he was not too concerned about earthly things, or about living a long productive life.

The alternative to the alternatives that I am looking for is is to start with the scriptures as historical documents of unknown authorship and develop hypothesis of their intent based on knowledge of their context. The two books I've mentioned are the only two that have come close to this approach. Are there others out there, or any other approach that might have value?
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Postby Lausten » Thu Jan 19, 2012 3:37 pm

Just talking to myself here.

One of the reason I bring this up now is the recent creation of the debunking handbook. http://www.skepticalscience.com/Debunking-Handbook-now-freely-available-download.html

One of their suggestions is, when communicating about myths, be careful to not plant the myth, and if you want to remove a myth, be sure to replace it with something else. It is best to present the evidence based information first and address the myth later.

In their example, they suggest a headline that reads "97% of scientist agree climate change is caused by human actions" is better than "Global warming denial proven wrong".

In my example, "New evidence shows message of the gospels was related to oppression of the poor" would be better than, "Jesus wasn't God, and he is misquoted in the Bible, if he existed at all"
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Postby JDoran » Thu Jan 19, 2012 4:30 pm

Lausten wrote:In their example, they suggest a headline that reads "97% of scientist agree climate change is caused by human actions" is better than "Global warming denial proven wrong".

In my example, "New evidence shows message of the gospels was related to oppression of the poor" would be better than, "Jesus wasn't God, and he is misquoted in the Bible, if he existed at all"


"100% of scientists agree that rational thinking should be taught in the classroom"

as opposed to

"Don't believe everything you read"

:wink:
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Postby Lausten » Wed Jan 25, 2012 12:23 pm

By way of example, here is my summary of one of the discussions of a parable http://www.winter60.blogspot.com/2012/01/shrewd-or-unjust.html

I start with a comparison to Martin Luther King Jr. He also promoted a revolution using non-violence. He also used prophetic language from his traditions. But we don't call him a god. We are a lot more demanding now about accurate reporting of what he said or did. And we have the video.

I don't bring in all the footnotes and detailed discussion of Greek translations but you can track that down without too much trouble if you want.
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