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Bible a Dangerous Moral Guide?

From: Ed Babinski
To: Jen
Sent: Monday, December 15, 2003 5:00 PM
Subject: Re: Fw: "The Bible a Dangerous Moral Guide"

ED: Jen, Please see my replies, interspersed within your email below.




From: Jen
Sent: Saturday, December 13, 2003 8:44 PM
Subject: "The Bible a Dangerous Moral Guide"


Hello,


ED: Hello, pleased to meet you.




I, as a born-again Christian, have to say that this article takes everything it quotes from the Bible out of context on top of the fact that it is using the wrong translation.


ED: I did not write the article in question, a former minister did, and that minister died in the first half of the 1900s.. In my own discussions I use the King James almost all of the time, since some Christians read nothing else but the King James, and it's also not copyrighted, so it's free to use.




On part of that slavery thing, I do not agree with slavery, and it is not taught in the Bible. To make your point you should have used the version of the Bible (the true version) that the people were using at that time, which is the KJV Bible.


ED: Whether or not "slavery is taught in the Bible" was the very question that split America's Baptist, Methodist and Presbyterian denominations in two right before the Civil War. Major theologians on both sides debated this question and could not arrive at an answer from the Bible that they all could agree upon, instead splitting their denominations right down the middle. Today, most scholars agree, like Mark Nolls of Wheaton College and author of America's God (read the chapters on the slavery debate amongst churches back then), that the Southern ministers had a greater prima facia case in favor of slavery that the Northern ministers did against it. The Bible never declares slavery to be a sin. It says it is O.K. for Israel to buy slaves from the nations around you.




People who were pro-slavery used the passages out of context. They took the mark of Cain in Genesis to be that Cain became black, but as the Bible clearly shows that all of Cain's descendants were destroyed in the flood, this cannot be. The Hebrew slave thing, in context is teaching that if someone owes you something, and cannot pay you back, he can work to pay you back for a set amount of time. The year of jubilee also requires all slaves are free. That is only one of the issues that the author has misrepresented.


ED: Actually, "the mark of Cain" is far off the mark concerning the slavery question. Though some verses in Genesis were used to support slavery, verses that mentioned "the curse of Ham," whose descendants (via one of Ham's sons) were allegedly "cursed by Noah" to be the "servants of servants" (or "slaves of slaves") for eternity. The history of how those "cursed" descendants came to be identified with the Black race is interesting -- there are books on that topic. But that was not the only reason why Bible scholars in the South defended the right to own slaves. There are plenty of other verses that mention the everlasting practice of slavery.


Concerning the "year of jubilee," it only refers to HEBREW slaves. And even then it only included the freeing of MALE Hebrew slaves, the females remained slaves as did any children the females bore. And a male slave must speak up the first time freedom is offered and take it, otherwise his ear was pierced with an awl and he remained a slave for life. I suggest you read something that I wrote on the Bible and slavery, it contains the verses concerning such matters and it is far more complete than the short essay by the former minister that you read:


"Jesus' Wide and Profound Effect Upon Humanity"




Another thing he misrepresented is that he says the Bible is incorrect scientifically? How can this be if it was written way before scientists knew many things? For instance, Leviticus 17:11 says that the life of the flesh is in the blood, and it took scientists many years to discover this.


ED: Ancient peoples all agreed that the pounding heart and racing blood (and loss thereof) caused the loss of life, along with the loss of one's "breath" that also ended at death. In other words, science was not needed in order to draw attention to the blood and the heart and the breath, all of which were viewed by the ancients as belonging to "life." So the Bible merely reflects that ancient view, not modern scientific views. What science eventually did was to explore that quiet organ, THE BRAIN, and understand it's necessity for the "life" of people's emotions and decision-making abilities, and also to run all the other organs, via the nervous system. The Bible authors were ignorant of the primacy of the "brain and nervous system," and hence the Bible does not draw any concerted attention to the brain, but instead mimics the old ancient pre-scientific ways of envisioning "life" as being directed by the "heart," depending on the "blood" and "breath," not to forget the fact that the Biblical authors also believed that other organs also "directed" human being, like the "kidneys and bowels":


Here are some of the verses in the King James Bible in which the Greek and Hebrew terms for bowels and kidneys are literally translated:


My bowels are troubled for him; I will surely have mercy upon him, saith the Lord Jer. 31:20.
Be ye straitened [restrained] in your own bowels 2 Cor. 6:12.
I long after you in the bowels [affection] of Christ Philip. 1:8.
(T)he bowels of the saints are refreshed.... (R)efresh my bowels in the Lord Philemon 7:20.
(S)hutteth up his bowels of compassion 1 John 3:17.
Thus my heart was grieved, and I was pricked in my reins [Latin, renes, which means kidneys, a literal translation of the Hebrew] Ps. 73:21.
My reins [kidneys] also instruct me in the night seasons Ps. 16:7.
Oh let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end; but establish the just: for the righteous God trieth the heart and reins [kidneys] Ps. 7:9.
Yea, my reins [kidneys] shall rejoice when my lips speak right things Prov. 23:16.
I am He [God] which searcheth the reins [kidneys] and hearts Rev. 2:23.


The Talmud (Berakhoth 61a) says that one kidney prompts man to do good, the other to do evil. The kidneys (among other organs, yet excluding the brain) were especially reserved for Yahweh and sacrificed to Him as a burnt offering Lev. 3:4-5. Even if the Hebrews regarded this insight into the kidneys as "pure poetry" (which is doubtful, based on historical comparisons, and since figures of speech have to originate from ideas), it is a poetry that no longer survives or interests mankind. In fact, in the above verses the Hebrew word for kidneys has been translated soul in modern English Bibles to avoid cumbersome explanations of why the ancient Hebrews attributed moral significance to a person's kidneys.




Also, the Bible says that the earth is a sphere (a circle, in other words) and it took many years for scientists to figure this out, too.


ED: The Bible says no such thing. It says circle. No translator at all ever has translated that word as "sphere." And in fact, read the context of that verse in Isa. It describes heaven as a "tent," not a spherical image at all. Furthermore, the Bible never says the earth moves. Never. Except during an "earthquake" when both heaven and earth are moved out of their places.




There are other facts that the Bible said before they were even discovered. This proves that it is written by God using "holy men of God" to write it as well as that it is infallible.


ED: It proves no such thing. See my replies above.




This is all I have time to deal with right this moment since I have toget ready to prepare for our Christmas performance at church to glorify God through my instrument. I await your reply. I would be much interested to see if you can disprove what I have said.


ED: There are disproofs to what you have said. The question is whether or not you will continue to read and learn more about the Bible and it's all-too-human failings. That does not mean you need to become an atheist! There is still a huge middle ground of various options that lay between atheism and inerrancy of the Bible.




Jen


P.S. Another thing I noticed is that you never really dealt with your title, as well as, if the Bible is not God's word, the why do you capitalize Bible and Scripture? JG


ED: I did not write that article. "Bible" is capitalized when referring to either the Jewish or Christian Bible. Though the word "bible" does simply mean literally a collection of books. There is after all, a Hunter's Bible, and other sorts of bibles out there. Scripture is also capitalized for the same reason, when referring to the particular scriptures (literally the word scripture means simply, "writings") of a particular religious tradition.

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