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Author Topic: Very controversial subject.  (Read 9242 times)

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Offline MnemaxaTopic starter

Very controversial subject.
« on: January 11, 2010, 07:33:19 AM »
I won't pull any punches here - this particular article may be biased and it is certainly going to set most very devout Christians aflame (probably not literally though).  I am posting it here because it is fairly well thought out and is written well, without being too inflammatory in and of itself (aside from the usual, that is).  The article is about the Other People - the Pagans, who are not Christians, and uses bible passages to prove that there were more gods than the single god of Christianity at Genesis, and that there were other people beyond Adam and Eve.

I am not a bible scholar in the slightest, but this was a very reasonable seeming response by a Pagan household to the Jehovah's Witnesses who came to their door one day. 

http://original.caw.org/articles/otherpeople.html

Offline Thanatos

Re: Very controversial subject.
« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2010, 08:55:41 AM »
I actually found that to be a fascinating article.

And I often wondered about some of those obvious references to other people as well when I was growing up and forced to go to church.

Not that I resent going to church NOW...I did then, but it did open my mind up to checking out religions of all types to help me decide what I wanted to believe.

Offline Sabby

Re: Very controversial subject.
« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2010, 09:02:41 AM »
Sounds to me like the Gods running the Garden were deceptive tyrants and the Snake did the right thing in blowing whistle. Of course, he got punished, and snakes would forever be demonized in the Bible simply for the crime of telling the truth...

This is the morals the Bible was founded on, and actively trying to teach? Jeez...

Offline Jude

Re: Very controversial subject.
« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2010, 09:24:29 AM »
I suspected it was an unfair translation trick annnd... it took all of 5 seconds to understand what's going on here and confirm my assumption.

Quote from: Wikipedia
Elohim (אֱלהִים) is a Hebrew word which expresses concepts of divinity or deity, notably used as a name of God in Judaism. It is apparently related to the Northwest Semitic word ʾēl "god". Within Hebrew, it is morphologically a plural, in use both as a true plural with the meaning "angels, gods, rulers" and as a "plural intensive" with singular meaning, referring to a god or goddess, and especially to the single God of Israel. The associated singular Eloah (אלוה) occurs only in poetry and in late Biblical Hebrew, in imitation of Aramaic usage.
You can argue whatever you want about a particular text by twisting the translations incorrectly to serve your purpose.  Doesn't make you right.

Offline Lord Drake

Re: Very controversial subject.
« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2010, 09:49:37 AM »
Actually there is a bit more than that. I usually don't like to discuss on this kind of topics but i would like to give a bit of a word of warning about this kind of articles.

It MAY seem well thought and written and MAY seem less inflammatory than usual. This is because it is definitely aimed to those who are NOT bible scholars, and has a construction made out to SEEM solidly based and well thought out.

It is a bit like those advertisements you see on TV to build workout machines or special shoes that will make you lose weight or walk better. You see lots of 'scientific' demonstrations.. infra red scanning of people and many 3D renderings of spinal cords and muscles so to make you think that a group of Nobels had tested those great machines and their effect will be matter of scientific books from now on.

Actually, someone that had made classical studies and has a bit of knowledge of biblism would see in that article holes big enough to have trains pass through. Also this is the kind of stupid attack that is done by people who do not seek dialogue but simply wants to act as demagogues.

Despite being Christian myself I am not here to defend Christianity... so please take this as a generic rant against THAT kind of misinformation be it about religions, politics or whatever....

^^

Offline Jude

Re: Very controversial subject.
« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2010, 10:02:54 AM »
I couldn't agree more Lord Drake, and I'm not a Christian.  Also a very clever, accurate way of describing the claims therein.

Online Callie Del Noire

Re: Very controversial subject.
« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2010, 10:24:02 AM »
my FAVORITE comment was from a co-worker who was a self professed 'lapsed Jew'. We were over at his place and a Fundie showed up at the door (which was kind of weird given we were in San Deigo) with a 'Have you found Jesus?"

And my buddy goes.. "What? Did you Gentiles lose him AGAIN!?" And slammed the door in his face.

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Re: Very controversial subject.
« Reply #7 on: January 11, 2010, 10:27:16 AM »
I've also heard that the Judeo-Christian God was originally part of a pantheon (or at least a God and Goddess), which over time dwindled or was absorbed, or simply ignore and forgotten about til it turned into one all powerful God. That might be another angle on the use of Elohim.

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Re: Very controversial subject.
« Reply #8 on: January 11, 2010, 10:50:20 AM »
At one point in time, someone actually made this essay into a pseudo-Chick-Tract.  The thing I like about it is that - whether you end up believing it or not, it prompts you to think.


Hairy:  There is a Judaic tradition of a female portion of Deity - Shekinah.

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Re: Very controversial subject.
« Reply #9 on: January 11, 2010, 10:56:40 AM »
To me it reads like something Glenn Beck might have written on a slow news day.

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Re: Very controversial subject.
« Reply #10 on: January 11, 2010, 11:09:02 AM »
Hairy:  There is a Judaic tradition of a female portion of Deity - Shekinah.

That might be what I was thinking of. It was years ago I heard it, so kinda fuzzy on the exact details.

Offline MnemaxaTopic starter

Re: Very controversial subject.
« Reply #11 on: January 11, 2010, 11:11:36 AM »
Actually there is a bit more than that. I usually don't like to discuss on this kind of topics but i would like to give a bit of a word of warning about this kind of articles.

It MAY seem well thought and written and MAY seem less inflammatory than usual. This is because it is definitely aimed to those who are NOT bible scholars, and has a construction made out to SEEM solidly based and well thought out.

It is a bit like those advertisements you see on TV to build workout machines or special shoes that will make you lose weight or walk better. You see lots of 'scientific' demonstrations.. infra red scanning of people and many 3D renderings of spinal cords and muscles so to make you think that a group of Nobels had tested those great machines and their effect will be matter of scientific books from now on.

Actually, someone that had made classical studies and has a bit of knowledge of biblism would see in that article holes big enough to have trains pass through. Also this is the kind of stupid attack that is done by people who do not seek dialogue but simply wants to act as demagogues.

Despite being Christian myself I am not here to defend Christianity... so please take this as a generic rant against THAT kind of misinformation be it about religions, politics or whatever....

^^

You'll note I did use a lot of 'seems to' and 'looks like' in my introduction, and mentioned I was not a Bible Scholar myself, for just the reasons you stated.  I never trust any religious tract, not even my own.

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Re: Very controversial subject.
« Reply #12 on: January 11, 2010, 11:14:10 AM »
It was a few years ago for me as well.  The thing that kept it accessible in my mind was that Leonard Nimoy put out a book of photography by that name, and there was a bit of a stir about it.

Offline Lord Drake

Re: Very controversial subject.
« Reply #13 on: January 11, 2010, 03:38:51 PM »
You'll note I did use a lot of 'seems to' and 'looks like' in my introduction, and mentioned I was not a Bible Scholar myself, for just the reasons you stated.  I never trust any religious tract, not even my own.

I was not referring to you. ^^

I was actually basing myself on what you wrote to construct my little elucubration. Again I am not here to discuss the basics of Christian Faith.... but I find difficult to think that the first moron out there could come out and find such blatant evidence when twenty centuries of study on it did not.

This is not the way to confutate a thing... I should be actually be happy, being Christian, since this kind of attack usually strengthens the target. The problem is... it usually creates also confusion and tension.

So I do not like it.

Offline Trieste

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Re: Very controversial subject.
« Reply #14 on: January 11, 2010, 05:43:50 PM »
Picking on Jehovah's Witnesses is a little bit like kicking a legless puppy: it's easy, kinda pathetic, and nobody's really impressed. At least they are out evangelizing and putting the word out. It's better than some of the religions that believe everyone but them is going to Hell.

If you're really worried about my soul like that, why the hell aren't YOU out door to door? Who cares if it's stupid, hokey, annoying? If you can save even one soul from the fires of Hell that way, wouldn't it be worth it? The JWs and other religions that actively proselytize actually garner a lot of respect from me. (And no, that doesn't stop me from telling them unequivocally when they come to my door that I do NOT want them back.)

I enjoyed the alternate point of view of Genesis, but the author sits firmly in the realm of "asshole" in my mind. Do no harm indeed.

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Re: Very controversial subject.
« Reply #15 on: January 11, 2010, 05:54:13 PM »
Possibly because pagans don't proselytize. It's against their beliefs. Or at least against the beliefs of those types that I know about.

I suppose the JW were picked for the story since their door to door activities are pretty well known to everyone. I think they even came to my door once, but that was some years ago. At least they're polite, and better than the guy with the microphone who stands in the city center, haranguing everyone who passes with his opinion that they all fscked.

Offline Beguile's Mistress

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Re: Very controversial subject.
« Reply #16 on: January 11, 2010, 05:58:46 PM »
No all JWs are charitable in their outlook.  I got a letter from one when my grandfather died commiserating with me over his death and the fact that as a practicing Roman Catholic he was going to hell.  I got another when my grandmother died.  Before that, when members would visit from the neighborhood congregation I would speak with them for a few minutes, offer them something to drink, take their pamphlets and give them information about my religion.

After the letters came I called the office of their local place of worship and asked that they stop coming to my home.  I was so hurt and angry that I was afraid to answer the door if they stopped again.

I don't care what you believe or even if you believe in nothing.  That's your choice and should be respected.  I do believe that if you live a good life as best you can and if there is an after life for you a reward will come your way.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2010, 10:14:03 PM by Beguile's Mistress »

Offline Trieste

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Re: Very controversial subject.
« Reply #17 on: January 11, 2010, 06:06:01 PM »
I didn't say they are charitable. I was raised JW and I know precisely how mean-spirited some of them can be.

Fortunately for you, Beguiles, the person from whom you received those letters must have been lapsed and probably will not come to your door, because JWs do not believe in Hell as torment for evil people. :P

Offline Paradox

Re: Very controversial subject.
« Reply #18 on: January 11, 2010, 06:09:13 PM »
I was a devout Christian once-- so much so that I was planning on attending seminary to join the priesthood; however, I ended up exploring a bunch of other belief systems and finally returned to Christianity with a much more open mind. I believe in forces other than God, though I don't worship them. I mostly stick with Christianity because it's a convenient and familiar framework from which to focus my worship, but at heart,  After having explored those other beliefs, the idea that a being who created the entire universe in all its infinite majesty decided to make himself known to only a select group of desert dwellers just doesn't work for me anymore.

Instead of derailing this by rambling about my own beliefs, I'll recommend an interesting book that talks a bit about what Mnemaxa originally mentioned:

http://www.amazon.com/God-Biography-Jack-Miles/dp/0679743685

It's a great read that explores some of what Mnemaxa originally mentioned. The treatment of God as a literary character is entertaining, enlightening, and refreshing, and some of it deals with the existence of multiple deity figures co-existing with the Christian god.

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Re: Very controversial subject.
« Reply #19 on: January 11, 2010, 06:13:14 PM »
Actually, once someone knocks on a person's door, invades their space, and confronts them, they have stepped into the ring, as it were.  I do not go to their place of worship and tell them what I think they should believe. 

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Re: Very controversial subject.
« Reply #20 on: January 11, 2010, 10:03:01 PM »
Eh, not really that controversial. I'm a Christian (though not a fundamentalist) and have said for years that the Bible says their are other gods. Yes they are false gods; God is the only one you may worship and all that.

I do maintain that they would have to be of equal or lesser power though.

The Bible also confirms the existence of witches and demons. Just so you know.

Offline Serephino

Re: Very controversial subject.
« Reply #21 on: January 11, 2010, 10:19:59 PM »
I am not a scholar and don't know if it's all true, but it does make you think.  And believe it or not, the Bible does indeed have holes in it you coould fit several dozen trains through, but Christians tend to deny their existence. 

Oh, there was one article I loved that was something like thirteen examples of why if Jesus were on earth today he would be Pagan.  That also used scripture and made a lot of sense.  Using the Bible's own content to argue against it is all too easy.  Some words may have been twisted, but the Bible is open for interpretation is it not?  Christians do the same damn thing to support their views.

Now I'm not knocking Christianity here.  If that is what you want to believe, yay for you.  I'll worry about my soul, you worry about yours.  And I'm sorry... but those people who come to your home are extremely annoying.  I don't take well to threats of burning in a Hell that I don't believe exists if I don't submit to their way of thinking.  I leave them alone and expect the same courtesy.  I'll worship God in the way I see fit, and y'all can do the same as far as I'm concerned.  It doesn't affect me so I don't see any reason to care.  The only way to prove who is right beyond a shadow of a doubt is to drop dead, so why cause trouble?  They could easily be wrong and I could be right.   

Offline Lord Drake

Re: Very controversial subject.
« Reply #22 on: January 12, 2010, 01:03:25 AM »
It makes you think... of what the author could have eaten at dinner to came out with such stupidity.

*smiles*

Actually - what I am trying to say - is that there are many things that should make people think, about Christianity or other things. Only this article is not one of those. I can only agree with Trieste about his author sitting in the realm of arsehole. Now the risk for him is to have other people sitting with him in the same realm when they try to find something good in it, out of sheer spite and annoyance for Christianity (at times, by the way, more than justified by the behaviour of some Christians).

One could actually keep it much simpler than that, to go against the Bible. Keep it strictly on scientific proof of Evolutionism and since everyone now accept that theory simply point to the fact thet Bible says that Creation has been done in seven days... it is not like it is written "and in the fifth day Protomatter was created and the Lord said 'let it evolve unto animals'...."

As you see you do NOT need to come up with too much fuss. If this is what the Bible says and it is so scientifically wrong you can simply state that everything else is. Again... keep it simple!

Christians do NOT (or should NOT) 'twist' Bible's words to support their views. The real problem here is what some Christians do... and I am surely thinking that they do that in good faith, but if I was to think about trying to show you how Christianity works I would not surely do it by pointing a Bible at you and stating first that you will burn in Hell! This is unfortunately what some of them do and not everywhere... I could even add that I am not exactly ok on how Christians in the States take the idea of proselytizing... but I also agree with Trieste when she says that if they think this will save even a single soul they are justified. Again, I personally would do that differently...

O.o

Anyway... I don't know if talking about that takes me out of topic to discuss that and to say that yes, thw WHOLE point of faith-based religion is that you do BELIEVE you are right without need of scientific proof and so it is a bit different the way to take it ecc.ecc...

So what I will say is... the way that article does is NOT the right one to 'confutate' a religion. Not Christianity only... whatever kind of religion that is based on something more than a hurriedly pieced together philosophy.
« Last Edit: January 12, 2010, 01:05:54 AM by Lord Drake »

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Re: Very controversial subject.
« Reply #23 on: January 12, 2010, 01:39:33 AM »
I deal with people of many generations.  I work with children in hospitals, their parents and their caregivers.  Other time is spent volunteering with seniors where I come into contact with their children and grandchildren as well as the staff at the residence.  Very few of these people choose unbelieving or disbelieving.  Catholicism, Christianity and Judaism are the preeminent faiths I encounter.  Some curse their god and blame him, others pray for strength and accept their lot.  Parents of small, sick children pray for miracles.  They all find comfort in the belief that there is a higher power that will listen when no one else seems to and that there is a place beyond this one that is better than our lot here. 

The peace and comfort such believing gives them should not be taken away from them nor should the love they find in the all-encompassing arms of their god.  The article I read is a farce, a joke, compared to what I see with these people.

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Re: Very controversial subject.
« Reply #24 on: January 12, 2010, 02:19:35 AM »
         The gathering of texts that we call the Bible today was approved by a papal committee around 380 AD.  After much to and fro about how many and which scrolls of various sects and regional minorities to abridge or throw out completely.  A grand exercise in politics, that. 

          I do find the notion of original sin (and less so, simple disdain for nudity) rather odd, to say the least. 

          I don't believe those that have described the web blurb as hopelessly flawed, have offered a positive explanation yet for where anyone apart from the descendants of the garden originated.  The only obvious defense I see there might be a claim that everyone must have descended from Eden somehow, and parts of the story have been omitted to suit God's (to our logic, at least) quite capricious will.  Much as the dinosaurs and many years of evolution seem to have been distorted beyond modernity's ability to account for...

          Rather little seems to be said about Adam and Eve after they supposedly attain divine wisdom of good and evil from that tree -- if in fact, they do?  (Well, they're alright at bearing children and making bloody sacrifices -- I think we can all agree on that.)  If they did attain it and if in fact the Old Testament were supposed to provide a ready moral guide, it seems odd that the authors didn't spend more time on every detail of their lives.  I would expect to see huge volumes.  If they did not attain it, then someone (they, deity, serpent, and/or all of the above) has been dishonest or perhaps deceived.  [rather sarcastic but more and more oddity] Either way, I blame the Great Cosmic Nil that preceded God such that he was able to be first before filling it, etc.  Now that's an enigma not to be trifled with. [/ahem]
« Last Edit: January 12, 2010, 02:43:54 AM by kylie »