Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Fundies Edit Bible

I can't count all the arguments I have been presented with concerning the authority and inerrancy of The Bible. So, imagine my suprize when I read this article at Pharyngula. Seems that a group of fundamentalists are taking on a project to take out the things in The Bible that they disagree with and to change some words to sound more conservative.

If you change The Bible to fit your beliefs can you still be called a fundamentalist? It doesn't really matter. I just hope they take out the parts about stoning your children and killing all teh gay. But, that's probably too much to ask for.

52 comments:

Tracy said...

Wow - thanks for the link to the article about a group who call themselves fundamentalists editing the Bible. As a Christian I find that really scary stuff.

I'm saddened by the fact that you see fundamentalists as a group of people who stone their children and want to kill gay people. But, I've gotta admit that as a group, we've really failed at demonstrating the love of God.

Tracy said...

OK, now I feel really stupid because I just read the entire "Conservapedia" that you link to. It's more apparent upon reading the entire thing, totally an ironic piece. Kind of along the lines of Jonathan Swift's "A modest proposal".

ethinethin said...

Tracy, it may have been meant as ironic, but if you read the discussion page, you might notice that it echoes a sentiment of many.

Anonymous said...

Why do I get the feeling Robert was an abused child, and possibly has homosexual thoughts?

ethinethin said...

Perhaps because you're projecting?

Robert Madewell said...

Tracy said, "I'm saddened by the fact that you see fundamentalists as a group of people who stone their children and want to kill gay people."

When did I say that, Tracy? I mentioned those things because they are in the bible, not because fundies do that. Maybe, this group will take that crap out of the bible.

Robert Madewell said...

Anonymous said, "Why do I get the feeling Robert was an abused child, and possibly has homosexual thoughts?"

So what if I was and do? Oh! I get it! You were trying to insult me! Tu Quoque!

Robert Madewell said...

Tracy, I've read the discussion and it seems that several Conservapedians are taking it quite seriously. Andy Schlafly himself seems to be taking it seriously.

Anonymous said...

Actually I wasn't trying to insult you. I just was judging by the particular things you bring up. There are many things God does in the Bible that to a non-spiritual man may seem brutal. Seemed odd you cherry-picked those two particular things. I'm thinking that your father used the "stone a rebellious son" passage to excuse his own abuses and diminish their extremity.

GCT said...

"There are many things God does in the Bible that to a non-spiritual man may seem brutal."

I would hope that genocide and rape (to name just two examples) seem brutal to all people.

Anonymous said...

Exactly, that makes these two stand out as the ones Robert always discusses. I just wondered if he wasn't considered "soft" by his dad, who then took the opportunity to "toughen him up" in the wrong way.

Robert Madewell said...

"There are many things God does in the Bible that to a non-spiritual man may seem brutal."

Like GTC, I think filicide and hate should be considered brutal by anyone. Whether you're "spiritual" or not. I know I do dwell on Deuteronomy 21:18-21. And yes it is because I was physically abused. However, you are not that close to the mark. My Dad never thought of "toughening me up" or whatever. His extreme discipline was motivated by his religion. Not only was I physically abused by him, but both of my brothers and my mother. All motivated by religion. When religion motivates brutality, that's when it goes too far. I'm sorry if you don't like me pointing that out (and the verses supporting it).

I suppose you could call it cherry-picking, because I meantion only one brutal verse out of hundreds. Still doesn't change the fact that there are verses in the bible that support brutality and child abuse. If you take a fundamentalist position then you can't ignore those verses. You should deal with the verses instead of defending them.

Tracy said...

OK, I read that piece again and maybe it is for real.

But remember back in school when we all had to study the bell curve? These Conservapedians are definitely on the small, extreme side of the curve. So to use them as an example of fundamentalists is kind of like putting down a straw man. I think someone like James Dobson, since he's a politically active fundamentalist or Billy Graham, since he spent many years preaching as a fundamental preacher would be more representative of the group than this Conservapedians crew. That stuff is way out there.

Robert Madewell said...

You're probably right. However, I was not criticizing all fundamentalists for what the conservapedians are doing. Sorry, if it sounded that way. My intention is to criticize the conservapedians. Many of whom claim to be fundamentalists like Andy Shlafy.

I said, "Seems that a group of fundamentalists are taking on a project to take out the things in The Bible that they disagree with and to change some words to sound more conservative."

A group is not all.

Tracy, you seem to read more than what I write into my articles.

Anonymous said...

I have been in the fundamentalist Christian "world" my entire life, and let me tell you that child abuse is NOT condoned in any way. Your Dad is a bad example of a Christian. While he may truly be saved, he has taken scriptures and twisted them to support his abusive acts. I sincerely wish he went to a church around here. I would bring this up to his pastor, and he would be approached about this.

Tracy said...

Sometimes I'm an idiot and miss stuff. I just realized what you said about your dad Robert. What he did was wrong. You are right in saying that "When religion motivates brutality, that's when it goes too far" - brutality is wrong.

I read the bible passage in Deuteronomy that you refer to; there are lots of very specific things throughout these law books that I do not believe apply to us today. The typical Christian thought is that Jesus brought in a new covenant; one of grace instead of law. The thought process is that there is a spirit of the law (in that Bible verse the spirit of the law is to teach your child to be obedient)instead of the letter of the law. However, to be totally candid, I'm never sure what to do with scriptures like this one. But I figure that I need to go with the things in the bible that are repeated over and over and just set aside, until some future time when I may understand, the things that are not repeated. In the New Testament parents are told to love and not provoke their children.

notsoace said...

I'm amazed by this too. Mind you, all Christians mentally edit the Bible, by leaving out the bits they don't agree with. Even with the life of Jesus, they choose to major on the love and compassion, rather than the bits where he was angry or possibly racist. These guys just have the balls to admit it.

Robert Madewell said...

"I read the bible passage in Deuteronomy that you refer to; there are lots of very specific things throughout these law books that I do not believe apply to us today."

That's my point, Tracy. There are very brutal commandments in the bible, yet most christians either don't know about them or just ignore them. My take on this is that an ancient legalistic priest wrote that verse in order to gain power in his religion by using fear. I do not accept that this rule was just for those people in those times. Killing your children is evil. No matter when or where you've lived. What makes it even worse is that the verse is written like it's God commanding it.

Of course, I have no problem with anyone who would ignore that verse or say that it's evil and we don't follow those kind of commands. What I have a problem with is when fundies defend that verse, like it was good because God is good and he commanded it for those people back then. Example Here.

Well, Tracy, I'm accusing you of being a cafeteria christian, but don't worry. I see nothing wrong with being a cafeteria christian. Almost all modern christians are cafeteria christians. Even Fundamentalists are cafeteria christians. They just don't admit it.

The fact that we as humans can go through the bible and judge each rule as being good or evil and keep the good, proves to be that we do have some kind of innate morality that really doesn't come from a dusty old holy book.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, you've put yourself in another quandry, because innate morality = proof of God

ethinethin said...

innate morality = proof of God

How so? Would you care to back up this assertion?

Robert Madewell said...

innate morality = proof of God

Unfalsifiable claim.

Anonymous said...

Show me an animal that shows morals aside from those that preserve the life of either it or it's kind.

GCT said...

Dolphins - have protected and saved humans from sharks.

Dogs - have protected humans and saved humans from things like house fires or burglars (no, not necessarily from training).

Regardless, I fail to see why morality must be defined in the narrow way that you've defined it. The rudiments of morality can and are found in our animal cousins.

Robert Madewell said...

"Show me an animal that shows morals aside from those that preserve the life of either it or it's kind."

The way you worded that is suspicious. I would differ that human morality is basically preserving the life of humankind. Only recently have we expanded our trend toward mercy to other animals.

Not to mention that you're wanting to judge other animal's morality against human morality. In that case, there are several species of animals that are much more peaceful to each other than humans are. Cattle don't fight wars, they just have usually non lethal "one on one" fights among males. Horses don't try to wipe all donkeys off the face of the earth (genocide). Seagulls don't torture each other for long periods of time.

So, maybe human evolution has developed human morality as a survival feature. Makes sense to me. Not to mention the even human morality is subjective across cultures, too.

ethinethin said...

Show me an animal that shows morals aside from those that preserve the life of either it or it's kind.

You're barking up the wrong tree, Anon. God created animals too, so wouldn't his innate morality be given to them as well?

We're damned if we do, damned if we don't with this claim of yours.

But (I'll ask again), rather than asking a question, why not provide some evidence to support your assertion? I fail to see how innate morality is "proof of god", and you have yet to provide any reasons why this is the case.

It's not a very convincing argument when you make a claim without backing it up.

Anonymous said...

Animals would not be given the same innate morality, because they were neither made in God's image or given a soul.

If there is no God, and we are all the product of chemical reactions, then we would be born with ZERO knowledge of any kind and would simply learn from carried on traditions of our parents.

(BTW, GCT you gave no evidence of your claims about dolphins or dogs.)

ethinethin said...

If there is no God, and we are all the product of chemical reactions, then we would be born with ZERO knowledge of any kind and would simply learn from carried on traditions of our parents.

Then why do animals exhibit instinctive behavior?

We're not just the "products of chemical reactions", though all biological functions are dependent on chemical reactions. We're more than the sum of our parts (thanks, emergent properties of organisms!).

Humans (and non-human primates) do indeed learn much of our behavior from parents. That is called culture or shared learning. We also have some instinct, but the trend to rely less on instincts and more on shared learning happened long, long ago, in early primates.

Early primates began relying more on learned behavior and less on instinct, similar to how they began relying more on sight than on sense of smell.

Simply saying "all humans possess innate morality" would be partially flawed, without actually devoting time to studying humans in a holistic manner. Morality, among different human cultures, is such a subjective and variable term in that it differs widely from culture to culture.

Still, if none of this was true, how would it point to god as the answer (and specifically, jesus)? What, again, is the compelling evidence?

Anonymous said...

"We're more than the sum of our parts"

Because of God. Human knowledge says A + B = AB

If A + B = something > AB, then we have evidence of something supernatural. If you want to assume that supernatural being to be something other than God, that's your choice, but if you are honest with us (and yourself) you know that if "a" god exists, it is the Christian God, Yahweh, Jehovah.

ethinethin said...

No, you're wrong. That's the nature of emergent properties, not something due to god. You can't boil it down to a simple A + B formula because that doesn't show how A and B interact.

A living cell (or tissue, or organ) is more than the sum of its part due to the way those parts interact.

but if you are honest with us (and yourself) you know that if "a" god exists, it is the Christian God, Yahweh, Jehovah.

Yet another baseless assertion. If I am honest with myself, I come to the conclusion that Yahweh has as much chance as being real as Zeus, Odin, and Xenu.

Robert Madewell said...

A + B = AB

Anonymous, I think you ought to go back to math class. As far as I know, that statement is only true if both variables equal either 0 or 2.

in other words

0+0=0(0)
2+2=2(2)=4

GCT said...

Dolphins - please don't claim that it really was a miracle and therefore doesn't count, because that would be special pleading and begging the question.

Dogs

Additionally, your math is horrible, it does not imply the supernatural, and I see no reason to hold that your god is any more likely than any other. In fact, I would hold that since your god is logically contradictory, it may be even less likely than other gods.

Robert Madewell said...

Talking about dogs and altruism:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DgjyhKN_35g

Anonymous said...

You are skeptical of God, but believe these stories? Pick a side man.

Anonymous said...

More proof that atheists are delusional!

Robert Madewell said...

Anonymous,

Your name calling convinced me that Jesus is the son of God. So, I'm dusting off a sinners prayer and I'm going to recite it right after I'm done with this comment. I realize that your attempts to insult me proves that the entire universe is doomed because my remote ancestor was persuaded to eat some bad fruit by a talking snake.

Thanks, I didn't realize that childish namcalling could be so convincing.

Anonymous said...

Praise the Lord!

Michael Mock said...

Now I'm really confused. What is this "innate" morality? What is it, precisely, that everyone is supposed to know about right and wrong? 'Cause as far as I can tell, for any example you choose (say, "Murder is wrong"), there are prople out there who clearly missed the memo.

And I really don't see how "if 'a' god exists, it is the Christian God, Yahweh, Jehovah." If there's an omniscient, omnipotent, omnibenevolent Creator out there somewhere, then you're talking about something so utterly, fundamentally different from us as to be nearly incomprehensible. If G-d really is as He is described, then I'm at a complete as to how we could be "made in His image" - how do human beings resemble something like that?

Michael Mock said...

Ahem. "...at a complete loss as to how we could be made in his image."

Apparently sentences work better if you remember to include all the words.

GCT said...

Michael,
When I speak of morality that we have, I'm generally speaking of the evolutionary roots of it. We know that other animals exhibit altruistic and moral behavior, so it's a very good bet that it has some sort of evolutionary aspect to it. In general, things like 'Don't murder others of your group,' are things that we observe, because populations that practice too much of that won't survive. We can, of course, find incidents that go against the general principle, like honor killings, etc. but the trend it still there. I hope this helps clear up what I've been talking about at least.

Anonymous said...

"'Cause as far as I can tell, for any example you choose (say, "Murder is wrong"), there are prople out there who clearly missed the memo."

Some people can become so callous as to let their emotions to override their moral fiber. Doesn't mean they don't still know it is wrong. They just reason around it.

BTW, the name-calling, delusional comment was not mine. Somebody is trying to discredit my comments by including childish namecalling under "Anonymous."

GCT said...

Considering that everyone who clicks on the "Anonymous" option shows up the same way, it's a bit premature to conclude that they are trying to discredit you. In fact, I have no way of telling which anonymous is you and which is someone else.

Anonymous said...

Once again the atheist shows his immorality by discrediting me and then justifying it. Thanks for showing your true colors, GCT, it only helps our righteous cause.

Anonymous said...

Okay I'm done with this blog. That wasn't me either.

GCT said...

I'm inclined to think that the anonymous from 2 comments ago is Poe in disguise.

Anonymous said...

"it's a bit premature to conclude that they are trying to discredit you. In fact, I have no way of telling which anonymous is you and which is someone else."

... which is exactly the way you discredit someone by imitation.

Ah well. This discussion is going nowhere anyway.

Robert Madewell said...

Guys, seriously, get a freaking google acount. I'll always allow anonymous comments, but I can't feel sorry for you when something like this happens.

Google accounts can be fairly private and you can create your own blog and say whatever you want.

Anonymous said...

Google accounts might be the mark of the beast. It's spelled out quite clearly if you'd READ YOUR BIBLE, ROBERT MADEWELL.

I find it ironic that your name is Madewell and yet you don't believe you were created ("made"). I think it's god's way of saying "psst.. I'm over here" to you in his still silent voice.

But, believe what you want. Nothing created everything, life came from pure random chance, and we've all directly evolved from puddles of slime to the complex, dominant lifeforms of the universe. Makes perfect sense.

GCT said...

"... which is exactly the way you discredit someone by imitation."

So, by imitating you one discredits you? Sounds like you have an issue with your arguments.

Anonymous said...

Are you being obtuse, or are you honestly that ignorant? Imagine I take your name and use atheist "jargon" in an unweildy enough way to make it humorous how ridiculous I sound. People credit you with the statement, and discredit your future posts because of it.

It's parody done poorly enough it's not OBVIOUS parody.

Robert Madewell said...

"I find it ironic that your name is Madewell and yet you don't believe you were created ('made')."

Ray? Is that you?

(Click Here to get the joke.)

GCT said...

My name is GCT i am atheist nothing created nothing created everything u circular logic, strawman phallus-y, XTIAN majority, true christian father beat me as a child, no child left behind, thor/zeus/xemu

GCT said...

Well, it seems that Anonymous followed through with his threat to impersonate me. I guess we know who is doing it now.

Is anyone else having trouble loading this website with IE? It continually crashes on me when I try to load it. It seems to work in Firefox though.