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Thu Jun 5, 2014, 01:32 PM

St. Augustine on Biblical Literalism

Often, a non-Christian knows something about the earth, the heavens, and the other parts of the world, about the motions and orbits of the stars and even their sizes and distances, … and this knowledge he holds with certainty from reason and experience. It is thus offensive and disgraceful for an unbeliever to hear a Christian talk nonsense about such things, claiming that what he is saying is based in Scripture. We should do all we can to avoid such an embarrassing situation, which people see as ignorance in the Christian and laugh to scorn.The shame is not so much that an ignorant person is laughed at, but rather that people outside the faith believe that we hold such opinions, and thus our teachings are rejected as ignorant and unlearned. If they find a Christian mistaken in a subject that they know well and hear him maintaining his foolish opinions as based on our teachings, how are they going to believe these teachings in matters concerning the resurrection of the dead, the hope of eternal life, and the kingdom of heaven, when they think these teachings are filled with fallacies about facts which they have learnt from experience and reason.Reckless and presumptuous expounders of Scripture bring about much harm when they are caught in their mischievous false opinions by those not bound by our sacred texts. And even more so when they then try to defend their rash and obviously untrue statements by quoting a shower of words from Scripture and even recite from memory passages which they think will support their case ‘without understanding either what they are saying or what they assert with such assurance.’ (1 Timothy 1)

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Arrow 23 replies Author Time Post
Reply St. Augustine on Biblical Literalism (Original post)
arely staircase Jun 5 OP
trotsky Jun 5 #1
AtheistCrusader Jun 5 #8
AtheistCrusader Jun 5 #2
trotsky Jun 5 #3
AtheistCrusader Jun 5 #4
cbayer Jun 5 #5
AtheistCrusader Jun 5 #7
cbayer Jun 5 #9
AtheistCrusader Jun 5 #10
cbayer Jun 5 #11
AtheistCrusader Jun 5 #12
cbayer Jun 5 #15
AtheistCrusader Jun 5 #16
cbayer Jun 5 #17
AtheistCrusader Jun 5 #18
cbayer Jun 5 #19
AtheistCrusader Jun 5 #20
trotsky Jun 5 #21
Warren Stupidity Jun 5 #13
cbayer Jun 5 #6
Warren Stupidity Jun 5 #14
rug Jun 5 #22
arely staircase Jun 5 #23

Response to arely staircase (Original post)

Thu Jun 5, 2014, 02:35 PM

1. Well, let's just say it's not any Christian's ignorance in topics outside his or her religion...

that causes me to doubt their "teachings in matters concerning the resurrection of the dead, the hope of eternal life, and the kingdom of heaven." Those have enough fallacies and errors on their own to be dismissed.

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Response to trotsky (Reply #1)

Thu Jun 5, 2014, 02:54 PM

8. I often have to remind believers that know me personally, it doesn't matter if you convince me

that god exists.

You still have all your work ahead of you to then convince me that such a god is worthy of allegiance, let alone respect.
Some of the ones I know seem to be laboring under the assumption that anyone who believes in existence for such a deity, would then immediately embrace it.

I don't know why they seem to think that, a large part of their faith is built on the knowledge that believers fall into sin/turn away from god.

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Response to arely staircase (Original post)

Thu Jun 5, 2014, 02:35 PM

2. In fairness

I tend to treat most believers and their apologists as biblical literalists, because I cannot determine, externally, how much and which parts of the bible an individual takes seriously and to what degree.

I try not to, but it's also a little strange to see people pick and choose too. Like, I don't know what they are doing. Or why.



But anyway, there it is. Sorry if any particular person reading this reply is one of the ones that I have treated in that manner when they are not in fact a biblical literalist. I'm not sure what sort of protocol to use going forward, but I'll you know... try not to do that. Somehow.

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Response to AtheistCrusader (Reply #2)

Thu Jun 5, 2014, 02:40 PM

3. In additional fairness...

not even those categorized most as "literalists" actually take *every* part of the bible literally. It's literally impossible.

Every Christian takes at least parts of their book literally. Which parts tends to define the kind of Christian they are.

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Response to trotsky (Reply #3)

Thu Jun 5, 2014, 02:45 PM

4. I tend to abhor inconsistency in ideology.

In most things I embrace chaos enthusiastically, but philosophy/ideology/that sort of thing, it really pisses me off.


Like, when two people read the same material and come to mutually exclusive interpretations of it, I tend to think 'Well one of ya'll is doing it fuckin' wrong! Fix it!'. Especially when it is stuff like 'rules you should be living by', etc.

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Response to AtheistCrusader (Reply #2)

Thu Jun 5, 2014, 02:46 PM

5. You could just ask, I guess.

Because only 28% of believers are literalists, so your chances of talking to someone who is not are pretty high.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/04/americans-bible-word-of-god_n_5446979.html?utm_hp_ref=religion

The assumption you make may lead you to some really erroneous conclusions about people

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Response to cbayer (Reply #5)

Thu Jun 5, 2014, 02:49 PM

7. Oh, I'm sure it does.

I've managed to do it occasionally with people like hrmjustin, but here's the problem.

When we do that, after the Q/A the discussion peters out. It places the discussion in a position that is not falsifiable. Cannot be tested for internal consistency. So it just kind of dies. Progress seems impossible.


It tends, from my perspective, to leave things in a 'well ok' state, rather than actual mutual understanding.

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Response to AtheistCrusader (Reply #7)

Thu Jun 5, 2014, 02:54 PM

9. Well, see that's the nature of discussions about religion.

Is the goal to win the debate or come to a better understanding of the matter being discussed? What kind of progress are you aiming for?

If you are looking for mutual understanding, then "well, ok" may be the best conclusion to reach.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #9)

Thu Jun 5, 2014, 02:58 PM

10. Motives matter.

If my motive was just Q/A or understanding, I'd probably go to the interfaith forum instead. Non-believers are welcome in a non-debate no-argument format.


But that's not why I come here. I come here, among reasons, to sharpen discussion skills. Test things I consider true or false, etc. Building and testing, and reinforcing or replacing parts of my worldview. That's a somewhat contentious thing, not a hold hands discussion thing. If I hold a thing to be true, I want it to withstand someone driving a truck into it. And I want people to try.

Otherwise, I ain't learnin' nothing.

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Response to AtheistCrusader (Reply #10)

Thu Jun 5, 2014, 03:02 PM

11. Well, that explains a lot.

I wish it were not true, but whatever.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #11)

Thu Jun 5, 2014, 03:04 PM

12. Why? Doesn't interfaith already support non-contentious discussion?

Wanting to improve my worldview is important to me. This is an effective means to accomplish it.

This forum is specifically for debate/discussion. I am interested in the material, and the process of bettering myself by improving my ability to articulate, attack, or defend ideas. These are important skills.

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Response to AtheistCrusader (Reply #12)

Thu Jun 5, 2014, 03:11 PM

15. Interfaith is a place where people can post without fear of being attacked.

That does not mean that people should focus on attack in this group. That's just a wrongheaded conclusion to draw.

From what I read, I didn't get anything about improving your worldview. What I heard was that you want to sharpen your debating tactics and argument so you could sin.

Anyway, it explains a great deal about your style and the frustration of trying to have a discussion with you at times. Again, what I read is that you really aren't interested at all in finding areas of commonality or mutual understanding.

In light of that, I'm not going to try to do that with you. But I'm also not going to be one of the people you use to "improve" yourself.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #15)

Thu Jun 5, 2014, 03:22 PM

16. Actually, that isn't what I said.

"Again, what I read is that you really aren't interested at all in finding areas of commonality or mutual understanding."

Improving my worldview actually DOES include finding areas of commonality/mutual understanding. 6 months ago, I couldn't name a single Christian sect that didn't hold homosexuality to be a sin, for instance. Interacting with hrmjustin in a debate format improved the accuracy of my worldview.

I absolutely seek mutual understanding, where appropriate. And I have been surprised at times, by the nature of things I learn here.



Also, improving debate skills is just one of many reasons. I gave three separate reasons, and suggested more, in post 10.

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Response to AtheistCrusader (Reply #16)

Thu Jun 5, 2014, 03:26 PM

17. Google could have done that as well.

And you started this subthread by stating how you make an assumption that is incorrect and could have been easily researched.

I understand that Discussionist is a very combative place. Have you checked it out?

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Response to cbayer (Reply #17)

Thu Jun 5, 2014, 03:31 PM

18. Discussionist looks like a total hellhole.

Pass.

A search could have discovered that, yes, Wikipedia has a good sect by sect write up on it. But the motive for me to ask that question came from here.

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Response to AtheistCrusader (Reply #18)

Thu Jun 5, 2014, 03:33 PM

19. Discussionist looks right up your alley, actually.

There you could really sharpen your skills. And you could do it with people who really aren't on the same team as you.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #19)

Thu Jun 5, 2014, 03:36 PM

20. I'll give it another look.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #15)

Thu Jun 5, 2014, 03:39 PM

21. I see your point.

And I believe you are correct, unless you have accused other DUers of promoting genocide in Interfaith. Have you?

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Response to cbayer (Reply #5)

Thu Jun 5, 2014, 03:08 PM

13. Well not so fast Cbayer. That was 28% of everyone, and when gallup altered the question and sorted

believers they got different numbers entirely.



58% of Christians are either strict literalists, or a little fuzzy on the math. (27% strict, 31% wtf) Only 31% of Christians volunteered "not to be taken literally".

I'm now wondering if you read your source, the title of which is "28 Percent Of Americans Believe The Bible Is The Literal Word Of God" and willfully re-interpreted that as 28% of believers, or if somehow when you typed "believers" it accidentally came out "americans"?

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/04/americans-bible-word-of-god_n_5446979.html?utm_hp_ref=religion

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Response to arely staircase (Original post)

Thu Jun 5, 2014, 02:48 PM

6. I was not familiar with that and appreciate you posting it here.

Recent PEW data shows that 28% of american believers are literalists, which is still too high.

But it means, of course, that 72% are not.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #6)

Thu Jun 5, 2014, 03:09 PM

14. "americans" cbayer, not "american believers".

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Response to arely staircase (Original post)

Thu Jun 5, 2014, 08:16 PM

22. That comes from his commentary on Genesis, De Genesi ad Litteram (Book I, Chapter 19, Paragraph 39)

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Response to rug (Reply #22)

Thu Jun 5, 2014, 08:22 PM

23. thanks for posting nt

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