Class Warfare Blog

July 9, 2020

How to Read the Bible

Filed under: Reason,Religion — Steve Ruis @ 12:07 pm
Tags: , , ,

As I have mentioned I am reading the book The Use and Abuse of the Bible (subtitle: A Brief History of Biblical Interpretation) by Henry Wansborough, OSB. Since OSB stands for Order of St. Benedict, that might be a tiny hint as to where the author stands, but I am a supporter of the Law of Unintended Consequences, so I push on.

One of the effects repeated when looking at various Church Fathers is that many of them provided new ways to read the Holy Book, e.g. “The way of reading the Bible in the Western Church was radically altered by Jerome, in several ways” and “He (Origen) evolved techniques (for instance, textual criticism and comparison of the four Gospels) which have continued to serve the understanding of Scripture to the present day.”

Add this to one of the philosophical drivers of the Protestant Revolution, namely that the Bible could be read and understood by ordinary people if provided in a suitable language and that we “didn’t need no stinking priests to tell us what it meant.” This has culminated in the Protestant fundamentalist literalists who insist that everything you read in the Bible is literally true.

Whew!

But my point is this. There is almost total agreement amongst Christians that the Holy Bible was written by men inspired to do so by their god, to the point that the words in their Bibles are the “words of God.” This is not the same “inspiration” that you might get at a party to take out your half-finished novel manuscript and begin working on it again. This is really in-spired, that is “breathed in.” The authors breathed in the Holy Ghost and the words that flowed out were from that source, not from the writer’s own thoughts.

If Christians believe that, I have a question for them: why did your god deliberately make the words so written hard to understand? Why are their “hidden meanings” in scripture: allegories, symbolic meanings, and the like. For example, in “Revelations” there is a reference to a “Seven-headed Beast” which actually stands for Rome, the capital of the Roman Empire, which was built upon seven hills. Was John, the author of the work he gave no title to, but we refer to as “Revelations” (and various other titles), such a pussy that he feared that Rome wouldn’t like his writings and would proscribe them and lock him up as well, but his god offered no protection? If so, how are these the words of a god. which is supposed to be all-powerful? Couldn’t John have been teleported to safety, taken up into the heavens and dumped out somewhere else? Couldn’t Yahweh/Jesus have made a few hundred copies of his writings and distributed them around? Where’s the effing magic here?

But I digress.

My point is scriptures were created in order for people to know god’s wishes, primarily that they be saved from Yahweh’s curse of mankind. (Yahweh was apparently incapable of just lifting the curse, with a muttered “My bad,” and be done with it.) But Yahweh/Jesus apparently wrote these things so that they would be hard to understand, thus preventing the people they were written for from understanding, doing the right things, and getting saved. Isn’t this a bit contradictory, more than a bit counterproductive, for the God of Love? (Apparently He loves Himself more than His Creations.)

One could argue that the literacy of the common people in that region, at that time, was somewhat limited. (Some argue that literacy was rather quite widespread, however.) Certainly reproduction technology was at a low ebb at the time (no printing presses, no Internet, no TV, telephones, etc.) so it was necessary for these things to be read out loud to “the people.” But this is not what the priestly classes did. Instead, they interpreted them for the people. Why? Because the priestly divines were convinced that if they were to just read the scriptures to the people, the people wouldn’t understand! Heresy, heresy . . . those priests claimed that the Holy Ghost was a bad writer! (I would rent my cloak except it is hot and I am not wearing much and what is being worn isn’t rentable.)

Basically Yahweh’s/Jesus’ narrative goes like this “Okay, okay I cursed all y’all, you know that. But there is a way out! A way to Heaven and an escape from Hell . . . and it is all here in these here scriptures. Unfortunately I wrote them so that they would be hard to understand. Think of it as a test, a really hard one. Good luck! Yahweh

Just when are people going to look at this storyline and say “This isn’t even good enough to make a B movie from! Script!”

 

31 Comments »

  1. The only response … Follow the money.

    Liked by 4 people

    Comment by Arkenaten — July 9, 2020 @ 12:37 pm | Reply

    • Closely followed by “Follow the Egos.”

      On Thu, Jul 9, 2020 at 12:37 PM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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      Liked by 2 people

      Comment by Steve Ruis — July 9, 2020 @ 2:19 pm | Reply

  2. It’s actually ‘The Revelation’ of John, singular, and the first verse stated it is ‘The Revelation’ of Jesus Christ. Said another way, it is the revealing of jesus christ. Doesn’t make it much less confusing, but at least you have the proper context.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by jim- — July 9, 2020 @ 1:14 pm | Reply

    • It actually came with no title, just like the Gospels and various titles are in use for it, including John’s Apocalypse, and many people say “Revelations” when referring to this book.

      It is getting to the point that I know too much about these topics … .

      On Thu, Jul 9, 2020 at 1:14 PM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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      Liked by 2 people

      Comment by Steve Ruis — July 9, 2020 @ 2:24 pm | Reply

  3. I have a friend who claims that the bible was written this way specifically so the priests could interpret it to mean just about anything. If taken out of context, or even in context for that matter, the bible can be ‘interpreted’ in such a way as to prove god wants/demands/condemns/etc. anything and everything, and it has been used in exactly that way. I am by no means a biblical scholar, but I suspect there is considerable truth to his claim.

    Liked by 2 people

    Comment by grouchyfarmer — July 9, 2020 @ 2:01 pm | Reply

    • I don’t think they were bright enough to pull this off. I think these dudes wrote in a genre, just like romance authors and science-fiction authors do. You write like them other famous dudes. And then I think the editors were equally bad. Including two “loaves and fishes” miracle stories because they were equally popular and nobody wanted their version left out. So, it seems as if the story is told twice because the second time the trick is pulled off the same disciples are still stunned by the trick! Same with the two Genesis “in the beginning” stories … with different things created on different days. What fucking editor would pass on that?

      On Thu, Jul 9, 2020 at 2:01 PM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by Steve Ruis — July 9, 2020 @ 2:27 pm | Reply

      • Perhaps, but there were definitely con-men in the midst of it all. There are too many carefully positioned ambiguities to be entirely accidental.

        Liked by 1 person

        Comment by The Pink Agendist — July 9, 2020 @ 5:55 pm | Reply

        • Agreed Pink! The smartest of Romans (Hellenists) knew very well how to connive and manipulate politically—hell, they even knew how to murder secretly without getting caught!—that much/most of the final Canon of the New Testament was very, VERY cunningly thought out for Greco-Roman purposes, not Jewish… but done so over several centuries, i.e. retro-fitting big time.

          Liked by 1 person

          Comment by Professor Taboo — July 9, 2020 @ 6:12 pm | Reply

          • Hey, if you want Roman state power, there is a certain amount of sucking up needed. It has been pointed out to me now that the people most praised in the gospels and much else of the NT were … Romans. Go figure. One researcher seemed to think that the Romans distinguished between “good” and “bad” Chrsitians. The bad Chrsitians were the apocalyptic sicarii types, those who kept foment revolutions and the good Chrsitians were those the Romans could co-opt. Guess who won and guess who died young.

            On Thu, Jul 9, 2020 at 6:12 PM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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            Liked by 1 person

            Comment by Steve Ruis — July 10, 2020 @ 12:21 pm | Reply

            • I couldn’t agree more with your precise assessment Steve! Bravo! 😉

              Like

              Comment by Professor Taboo — July 12, 2020 @ 1:14 pm | Reply

              • Thank you. A compliment goes a long way around here … having little contact with other humans. :o)

                On Sun, Jul 12, 2020 at 1:14 PM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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                Liked by 1 person

                Comment by Steve Ruis — July 12, 2020 @ 9:54 pm | Reply

        • I was married, briefly, to a con woman, and I was shocked at how deeply she believed things I knew were untrue. I imagine the Christian “faith” attracted these people like honey attracts flies.

          On Thu, Jul 9, 2020 at 5:55 PM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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          Liked by 1 person

          Comment by Steve Ruis — July 10, 2020 @ 12:17 pm | Reply

  4. I have only one comment about the bible — take it away and a BIG majority of “Christians” would never know it was gone.

    Liked by 2 people

    Comment by Nan — July 9, 2020 @ 3:56 pm | Reply

    • Ah, snark is so preferable to other forms of negativity! Good one, Nan!

      On Thu, Jul 9, 2020 at 3:56 PM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by Steve Ruis — July 10, 2020 @ 12:11 pm | Reply

  5. If Christians believe that, I have a question for them: why did your god deliberately make the words so written hard to understand?

    Can I make a 15-year educated stab at that answer Steve? Well, here goes…

    Because Christians, that is all descendants of the Greco-Roman Earliest Church Fathers (170 CE to 325 CE) who wrongly portrayed the Jewish Rabbi-reformer Yeshua bar Yosef (Jesus), do not have a clue about what actually took place historically, that is authentically verified historically, during Second Temple Judaism/Messianism and where/how Yeshua/Jesus fits in the entire contextual narrative. Christians do not realize just HOW HEAVILY influenced their Cult-Faith is ladened with Greek Apotheosis. It has very little to do with Yeshua’s real intentions as a Jew, as a Sectarian Jew wanting to UN-corrupt their people, the Temple, and the Torah.

    Like

    Comment by Professor Taboo — July 9, 2020 @ 5:26 pm | Reply

    • Ahhh c’mon, PT. You’re just making all that stuff up! The Christian bible is real and honest and true … and … and … factual!! Ask any believer.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by Nan — July 9, 2020 @ 5:35 pm | Reply

      • 😄 HAHAHA! Yes, so true Nan. 😉

        The powerful influence of the Placebo-effect, peer-pressure/assimilation in crowds (Mob-Herd effect) in a Theater (church) of excited Divine performances by other actors/actresses, and the regular repetition of all these influencing factors… does make the paranormal (miracles) as you say “real and honest and true … and … and … factual!!” 😄

        The gullible, malleable human brain intoxicated by emotion is a wild, wild propagandist. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

        Comment by Professor Taboo — July 9, 2020 @ 5:43 pm | Reply

        • I wasn’t the best student, often preferring my out counsel over that of my teachers, but if a fucking god wrote a book and I thought it determined whether I went to Heaven or Hell, I would read the damned thing, Hell, I would memorizze the damned thing!

          On Thu, Jul 9, 2020 at 5:43 PM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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          Liked by 1 person

          Comment by Steve Ruis — July 10, 2020 @ 12:15 pm | Reply

    • Yep and most modern Bible translations go back to the first Latin translations, which were created from the Greek translations, eventually resulting in the penultimate translation, the KJB, sponsored by King James to settle a religious dispute but for which neither side requested such a thing. Does the game “Telephone” come to mind?

      On Thu, Jul 9, 2020 at 5:26 PM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by Steve Ruis — July 10, 2020 @ 12:14 pm | Reply

  6. The title of the bible would be more apt as “The Con Mans Road to Riches” or “How To Get Paid For Absolutely Nothing”

    Like

    Comment by shelldigger — July 10, 2020 @ 12:24 pm | Reply

    • I often refer to Chrsitianity as The Big Con, but I do not doubt the sincerity of most of the people engaged in it. I doubt their intellect, their integrity, but not their sincerity. I know too many people who are professing Chrsitians to label them all “con men.” rather, I tend to think most of them are victims of the con, not perpetrators.

      I am reminded of a practice of the Catholic church to ordain second and third sons of wealthy royals, claiming they were doing them a favor by preventing battles over inheritance rights. Of course, the #1 son would go off to battle bandits or infidels or whatever, get himself killed and the second or third son would inherit. Since they took, knowingly or unknowingly, a vow of poverty, the church inherited the estates in their place. This was a major source of land and wealth acquisition of the Church. Even the wealthy weren’t immune from this con.

      On Fri, Jul 10, 2020 at 12:24 PM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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      Like

      Comment by Steve Ruis — July 10, 2020 @ 12:31 pm | Reply

      • I hear you, the average believer is caught up in the con, their sincerity is real right up to the point to where the inner hypocrite lives. But the average preacher, I’m not so sure.

        In fact the more popular the preacher the more I feel they are invested in the con. Some sort of proportional inverse probabilty rule in play.

        Something like preacher + level of hierarchy in the system + popularity + amount of $$ rolling in = very high probabilty of the con man. Of course with the possibility of the con man being there from day one or coming into being anywhere along the way as well.

        I have always thought the first time some lucky bastard made a prediction that came to pass, that guy became our first shaman. From that point it was game on! Why work for a living when the tribe will supply you with food/shelter for having some phony insights to the universe? All you have to do is be right some of the time, and ambiguous enough the rest the time to keep the game afloat.

        I really don’t see much of a difference in the game today except they don’t have to rely on a lucky guess to get started. The whole damn system is mapped out for them now and tons of misguided fools stand ready to freely sign up so they can hand over their $.

        However it came to be, it was/is the most successful con in the history of man.

        Liked by 1 person

        Comment by shelldigger — July 10, 2020 @ 1:21 pm | Reply

        • As comedian Jonathan Winters said after a stint in a mental rehab clinic, “Got to be careful, can’t go back to believing in my own stuff.” I think too few of the clergy are well-trained, and too many believe their own press releases. They end up equating their popularity with their salaries and participation in their programs with salvation, so that anything that increases attendance, tithing, etc. is all to the good. An easy enough trap to fall into and no real quality control mechanisms built in. The parent organizations get tithes passed on to them, so the success of their individual congregations is their success also, so the trap snaps on then, too.

          I follow a wonderful blog of a reformed preacher (The Life and Times of Bruce Gerencse) who tells it like it was from the inside. Nice man, tried to do good and just fell off of the wagon, then realized how much self delusion was involved. Worth checking out of you have not yet.

          On Fri, Jul 10, 2020 at 1:21 PM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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          Liked by 1 person

          Comment by Steve Ruis — July 13, 2020 @ 1:21 pm | Reply

          • That’s an interesting and probably a fair assessment of the inside track. It makes a lot of sense from a, we are all human, perspective.

            Thanks for the blog tip. I will check it out when time allows 🙂

            Like

            Comment by shelldigger — July 13, 2020 @ 1:38 pm | Reply

      • I am reminded of a practice of the Catholic church to ordain second and third sons of wealthy royals, claiming they were doing them a favor by preventing battles over inheritance rights. Of course, the #1 son would go off to battle bandits or infidels or whatever, get himself killed and the second or third son would inherit. Since they took, knowingly or unknowingly, a vow of poverty, the church inherited the estates in their place. This was a major source of land and wealth acquisition of the Church.

        Do you have any evidence or concrete examples of this claim that the church acquired large amounts of their land this way?

        Like

        Comment by consoledreader — July 11, 2020 @ 3:17 pm | Reply

  7. I wish I could offer you references. I remember reading it in the Durant’s The Story of Civilization and then I read that a number of times afterward that reinforced that practice. I do not remember exactly where I read it, however. Mu best guess it was a practice during the time of the Crusades.

    Like

    Comment by Steve Ruis — July 11, 2020 @ 9:40 pm | Reply


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