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Who was Abraham that religions get named after him?


Robittybob1
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So yes, I agree that a lot of churchgoers are and always have been hypocritical, either ostensibly in their behavior, or internally in their thoughts, and perhaps that fact has led you to be rather cynical. But I don’t agree that we can directly measure the sincerity of people’s religious belief by looking at their behavior, on the assumption that if they really believed in heaven and hell, or if they really loved and respected God, then they would automatically behave.

 

My comments are not directed at church goers specifically. You and I seem to be having separate conversations.

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@dimreepr: Yes, there is no reason that we can’t read any version and just enjoy it as literature. But, most literature contains moral lessons of one sort of another, so I guess that is why those in social power (e.g., Vatican, Stalin, Mao, Hitler, conservative American leaders, etc.) make use of censorship. Even Shakespeare was, in effect partially banned: “In 1818, Bowdler published The Family Shakespeare, in Ten Volumes; in which nothing is added to the original text; but those words and expressions are omitted which cannot with propriety be read aloud in a family.”

 

Indeed, the word “legend” by definition, suggests that the line between fact and fiction is often blurry, so that even if they take Abrahamic scriptures as just legendary stories, Jews will be still influenced to believe that the scriptures (e.g. Torah) suggest that they are the Chosen people entitled to certain lands, while Muslims will be influenced to believe that the scriptures (e.g., Koran) suggest that they are Chosen and entitled to virtually the same lands.

 

Finally, there is the issue as to whether all of the moral lessons of the skeleton (aka, some basic “nugget” version) of scriptures are desirable (aka stoning for adultery or whatever), though I acknowledge that the character of Abraham had many admirable qualities. That may not be directly related to the question of the thread, perhaps, but it is certainly relevant in terms of whether one is supposed to presume that the events really happened, and therefore, should be seen as having been approved by God, e.g., the laws of Leviticus or the numerous mass killings in the OT, not to mention killing a family member if told to do so by God.

 

So, I am not convinced that it is just a simple manner of reading about the basic Abrahamic tradition in the OT, Torah, or Koran and thinking that this will make one feel contented. (NT justice, for example, is more about retribution and stern obedience that it is about forgiveness and compassion that the OT).

 

 

You’re conflating my position with ‘Prometheus’’, they’re similar but not the same.

 

My contention is that the ‘bibles’ (of the major religions) were written to teach people contentment and are full of stories that were designed as metaphors/analogies to convey understanding rather than taken literally; the inclusion of the OT in the Christian bible seems political (maybe in order to confuse), let’s face it, how can one forgive unconditionally and, simultaneously, demand an eye for an eye?

 

Christianity, among others, spread far and wide, superseding local deeply held ‘beliefs’ along the way; how is that possible for a philosophy that doesn’t use fear as a motivator?

In anticipation of your use of ‘hell’ as a fear motivator; most beliefs have a version of hell, so either the idea was good or the threat of a different version of hell, that wasn’t a deeply held belief, was more compelling; are you a gambler because I’ll take that bet.

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TenOz: I use "Churchgoers" rather loosely to include not only those who wrote scriptures but also those who attempted to follow them. Perhaps I should have used the words Christian, Muslim, and Jewish writers if you want to contain the discussion to them rather than their followers as well for some reason. In any case, my observations that you can't assume that they (and/or their followers) didn't actually believe what they wrote (or read) because else they would have behaved better still holds for the reasons I gave in my last post. It did seem to me that you were talking about those who claimed to believe in scriptures in general. If you are just talking about the writers, you might narrow the discussion down by mentioning the a particular writer whom you found to be hypocritical.

 

dimreepr: I wonder whether you can find much scholarly support for your contention that the scriptures were written just to entertain and/or make people content with stories as you put it. Then you proceed to suggest that you are just talking about the NT, so if you are eliminating the OT from the discussion on the incredible grounds that it was included in order to "confuse" people, then that kind of leaves out Jews and Muslims from the discussion, not to mention the Abrahamic narrative, which is what I thought this thread was about. Indeed, the NT sort of completes the story of the OT (e.g., going back to Adam and Eve's sin) don't you think, so I don't know how you can so summarily dismiss it because writers just meant to confuse us, or for some political reason (which you don't specify).

 

And good luck trying to separate stories that were meant to spread contentment (whatever you mean by that) from those meant to be taken literally. Perhaps you could actually single out a couple of stories for discussion in order that readers can tell what you are talking about....so far, as I have been saying, your remarks seem too vague to digest.

 

Indeed, I think that it is pretty hard to sidestep the hegemonic intentions of the Bible, e.g., the Abrahamic claim that certain prime areas of land were given by God to one people or another, and the subsequent bloodshed that has resulted from conflicts about the interpretation of just to whom this promised gift was made that continue to this day.

 

Finally, you seem to say that it is full of nice, pleasant stories meant to spread contentment on the one hand, but then don't want to bring the concept of hell into the discussion, or else, if it is brought into the discussion, you want to say that its okay for Christians, etc. to believe in it, because, after all, that was just a common way of spreading ones faith at the time.

 

Yes, the OT is arguably more retributive (eye for an eye) than the OT, as if to suggest that the NT is more about compassion and forgiveness...though there is always that thorny passage about Jesus not coming to change the old laws. In any case, the NT warning that people will go to hell and/or not be saved just for not believing/following Jesus seems just as horrible (ie.., full of horrors), if not more so, as anything in the OT. At least in the OT one was typically punished for actually doing something bad, usually to someone else, while with the NT, one gets punished (forever!) just for not believing that one can be forgiven for doing bad things to others as long as one believes and tries to be nice after that. So really, not a big distinction, I don't think.

 

I don't mean to be captious, but on the surface it seems that you are just being self-contradictory in quite a few ways....however, when I look more deeply, it seems to me that you are ultimately just trying to whitewash the Bible as a whole, and the NT in particular, any way you can. Perhaps it might help if we agree to focus on the Abrahamic tradition (and its stories) rather than on the NT as you apparently would prefer to focus on.

Edited by disarray
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dimreepr: I wonder whether you can find much scholarly support for your contention that the scriptures were written just to entertain and/or make people content with stories as you put it.

 

 

Firstly, please stop putting words in my mouth and attacking them, there’s a phrase for that.

 

Secondly, you acknowledge the bible we read today is not what was originally written and so impossible to fully understand, as I’ve explained, making any scholarly investigation pointless.

 

And thus making the rest of your post pointless to read (so I didn’t).

then that kind of leaves out Jews and Muslims from the discussion

 

 

 

Sorry I lied and read on, this makes no sense to me, please explain.

Indeed, the NT sort of completes the story of the OT

 

 

 

Only by completely contradicting it.

I was right and can't be bothered to point out everything wrong.

Edited by dimreepr
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dimreepr:

 

I don't think that suggesting that stories meant to make people content are therefore entertaining is putting words in your mouth.

 

In any case, it seemed that you did not include the OT as being full of stories meant to make people content and, if so (and thus logically exclude Muslim and Jewish scriptures that are much more like the OT than the NT as well, as I mentioned before), particularly given that you stated that “the inclusion of the OT in the Christian bible seems political (maybe in order to confuse), let’s face it, how can one forgive unconditionally and, simultaneously, demand an eye for an eye?”

 

But perhaps you do not consider that OT to be the litany of horrible (not contenting) stories that many people find it to be, and perhaps you were just trying to point out that the OT and NT are so dissimilar that as to only be together in one book in order to confuse readers (Though this is a rather bizarre and unlikely motive, I think).

 

You also claimed that, “the bible we read today is not what was originally written and so impossible to fully understand, as I’ve explained, making any scholarly investigation pointless.”

 

This is an odd claim....If that were the case, one might as well say that it is impossible to do scholarly work on the Iliad and the Odyssey because we are not sure exactly who wrote it and that, furthermore, our present day versions are based on a variety of fragments, redrafts, etc. In any case, I get 19,000,000 hits when I type in the words Biblical scholars in Google, so I don't think that the concept of Biblical scholarship is so bizarre as to justify your “lie” that you didn’t read any more of my last post.

 

Indeed, though the God (and moral outlook) of the OT is significantly different from that of the OT, according to Harold Bloom (who actually labels himself as a Biblical scholar) from that of the NT, I see no reason for you to object to the commonplace claim that the OT and NT are meant in the minds of, I think, most Christians to represent an integrated whole:

 

"When one studies the Scriptures, it becomes apparent there is a profound unity between the Old and New Testaments. For example, this unity is demonstrated by the fact that over one third of the New Testament is made up of quotes from the Old Testament. In truth, many Old Testament passages simply could not be understood without the New Testament." from an online article entitled 'The Unity of Scripture-The Old and New Testaments are deeply integrated, making up the complete, unified Word of God." https://www.cbcg.org/unity-of-scripture.html

 

Here are few comments you have made that appear to me to be about the purpose of Biblical stories (OT as well as NT?):

 

“I wouldn’t be at all surprised if all the prophets/sons-of-god/s were too, they just evoked a spiritual element to promote a contented populace.”

“you should maybe read miracles as exaggeration, misdirection or just plain dishonesty”

“Time strips the details whilst the truth remains, for instance, forgiveness matters because it stops the world going blind, who cares about the details?”

 

“The “nuggets of truth” are the things that go towards helping a person achieve contentment; what makes a person content is the same now as it was two millennia ago, whatever the location or religion (the major ones).”

Judging from your posts about contentment, it seems to me that you are suggesting that those who wrote the Bible probably didn't believe the stroies anyway (though I would suggest that this too is a very odd and unlikely generalization) and just meant to make the people feel content and/or teach moral lessons (e.g., to forgive).

 

In contrast, I would suggest that the overall thrust of scriptures paints an ethnocentric picture of tribes and nations in conflict, e.g., multiple military conflicts of the OT and the Roman/Jewish/Christ conflict of the NT. But even the sort of contenting, spiritual virtues that one finds in various parables tend to apply to those to the in-group of believers and not to infidels, whether one examines the stories themselves or the manner in which the stories have been used throughout history, particularly, as I say, if one includes the OT, the Tanakh, and the Koran (e.g., salvation for believers, damnation for nonbelievers and infidels of other religions; land to those selected by God, mass slaughter for those already on the land). Indeed, it is controversial as to whether Jesus meant that one should have a sense of compassion for those who were not Jewish.

 

So I have no objection to the idea that there are individual stories in the Bible that seem to be uplifting and instructive (in perhaps a Sunday School sort of way), though you haven’t really attempted to discuss any one in particular (for some reason that eludes me, as that seems to be a central claim of yours. Perhaps you make the effort to at least do that, rather than just saying that I am wrong and you were “right and can't be bothered to point out everything wrong").

 

However, I, like many readers, see a less luminous and numinous picture when looking at the overall narrative of the various scriptures of the major monotheistic religions (particular with reference to the Abrahamic narrative) than I do when just looking at a few select NT parables; and, judging from history and the conflicts that have arisen in connection with many of the less 'peaceful' stories over the centuries, I fail to see that the Bible narrative is as consistently beneficent, given an overall assessment of it from an anthropological, psychological, or literary point of view, as is often claimed.

Edited by disarray
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What I am finding is that Christians need the OT for the Christ was prophesied in the OT. But then it becomes a trap for the OT has stories in it like Adam and Eve, and Noah and Abraham, which now are treated as just fables. So the person we say is "God" didn't know the truth and was proven wrong by believing such stories.

 

The way I look at it now is that Jesus was raised in a culture that taught the children and adults that these were facts and he took it on trust that they were fact, and there is no sin in that. So even if it was wrong it was not a sin to believe it. But for us it doesn't mean we have to believe the fables for there is no proof of their truth upon scientific analysis.

 

I think Christians on the whole accept this but I'm not so sure about the other Abrahamic faiths.


Could the Jews accept that there never was a person called Abraham?

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RobbityRob1: Well, again, from a non-faith perspective, we can't assume that there was a divine, historical Jesus that actually existed to make such assumptions, but I take your point, and I think that scriptural writers in general truly believed that the miracles, angels, words from God, etc. actually happened, and indeed even a very high percentage of the population as well as theologians today take much if not all of the Bible as fact, even the "fables" which you mentioned.

 

Indeed, the NT contains miracles as well a the OT, though perhaps not as 'fantastic'; and, as I have mentioned, Jefferson rewrote the NT with the miracles left out, to illustrate the Jesus (or perhaps any number of Jesuses of the time (by that or similar names) walked around saying wise things, but was persecuted in one way or another.

 

But I take your point, and perhaps that of dimreepr, that it is a shame that many people reject or even scoff at the Bible because it does contain many stories that, by today's standard, are just considered to be unscientific "fairy tales" (particularly, as you say, in the OT) and thus they miss out on many valuable lessons about life.

 

Of course, I tend to point out that the Bible contains many horrific stories of, for example, supposedly justifiable genocide or whatever, and to point out that the stories were composed and used for nefarious political purposes (e.g., a given group aggressively arrogating land to themselves) be it the Holy Lands by the Jews or, later on, by Spanish Catholics taking over the Americas. But I do agree that it is possible, as I think dimreepr is suggesting, to ignore the negative events as well as the shifting details of the events in an effort to take away what is positive by ignoring the chaff and digesting the grain or nugget of wisdom so to speak.

 

We could say the same about Shakespeare's work....full of evil, conniving, backstabbing, etc. yet ultimately claiming that justice will be done. Also, the works of Faulkner seem to be filled with episodes involving all sorts of seedy and corrupt behavior, yet somehow we are supposed to see the glimmer of compassion and hope that always shines through the most squalid of conditions. Indeed, in his Nobel acceptance speech Faulkner says that,

 

"The writer's ...privilege is to help man endure by lifting his heart, by reminding him of the courage and honor and hope and pride and compassion and pity and sacrifice which have been the glory of his past. "

Edited by disarray
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dimreepr:

 

I don't think that suggesting that stories meant to make people content are therefore entertaining is putting words in your mouth.

 

In any case, it seemed that you did not include the OT as being full of stories meant to make people content and, if so (and thus logically exclude Muslim and Jewish scriptures that are much more like the OT than the NT as well, as I mentioned before), particularly given that you stated that “the inclusion of the OT in the Christian bible seems political (maybe in order to confuse), let’s face it, how can one forgive unconditionally and, simultaneously, demand an eye for an eye?”

 

But perhaps you do not consider that OT to be the litany of horrible (not contenting) stories that many people find it to be, and perhaps you were just trying to point out that the OT and NT are so dissimilar that as to only be together in one book in order to confuse readers (Though this is a rather bizarre and unlikely motive, I think).

 

You also claimed that, “the bible we read today is not what was originally written and so impossible to fully understand, as I’ve explained, making any scholarly investigation pointless.”

 

.<snip>

 

 

 

It's not the first time in this thread, please explain how being content has anything to do with entertaining?

 

Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfil them.” – Mathew 5:17

 

The OT was a bible out of its time, much like the current version, he was teaching them what it was trying to convey using the NT; after all he wouldn’t need to reassure people if they didn’t think he was trying to abolish the law or the prophets.

 

However, I, like many readers, see a less luminous and numinous picture when looking at the overall narrative of the various scriptures of the major monotheistic religions (particular with reference to the Abrahamic narrative) than I do when just looking at a few select NT parables; and, judging from history and the conflicts that have arisen in connection with many of the less 'peaceful' stories over the centuries, I fail to see that the Bible narrative is as consistently beneficent, given an overall assessment of it from an anthropological, psychological, or literary point of view, as is often claimed.

 

 

As time increases and full understanding gradually moves towards no understanding; at some point on the scale politics take over and from that point on the bible becomes a clarion call.

 

For a more recent example of this process, look at what's happened to the 2nd amendment.

Understanding the words and understand the concept are two entirely different things; to fully understand a concept, all the nuances and traces of meaning need to be extracted, from the words, and understood, not just the headline acts.

Why do you think prophets pop up at different times rather than an occasional cluster?

 

You don’t always need words to understand how to be content, sometimes life provides the answer.

The problem is, whilst I understand the concept I don't fully understand the words, so my lack of eloquence impairs my ability to convey meaning, sorry about that.

Edited by dimreepr
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.....

Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfil them.” – Mathew 5:17

 

The OT was a bible out of its time, much like the current version, he was teaching them what it was trying to convey using the NT; after all he wouldn’t need to reassure people if they didn’t think he was trying to abolish the law or the prophets......

Why do you think prophets pop up at different times rather than an occasional cluster?

 

 

The Jews had Abraham's covenant for the promise of a huge number of descendants. They had Moses' covenant for the promised land of Israel, and King David's covenant that a descendant of David would reign forever.

You can see there are some obvious reasons why they would prefer to keep what they had even if it wasn't panning out that great.

For when was the last time a King reigned who was from the House of David?

 

The story was causing consternation rather than contentment for the Jews for they have continually being looking for their messiah.

Do you accept that Mohammed was a prophet? There are these 3 Abrahamic religions but do we share their prophets?

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The story was causing consternation rather than contentment for the Jews for they have continually being looking for their messiah.

Do you accept that Mohammed was a prophet? There are these 3 Abrahamic religions but do we share their prophets?

 

 

Have you read this thread?

Edited by dimreepr
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Have you even read this thread?

I must have missed that bit then. Look, off course I read the thread except I don't go into it where the conversation was just between Disarray and yourself or others.

The question is still there and I doubt if it has been covered by the thread as yet.

"There are these 3 (main) Abrahamic religions but do we share their prophets?"

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I must have missed that bit then. Look, off course I read the thread except I don't go into it where the conversation was just between Disarray and yourself or others.

The question is still there and I doubt if it has been covered by the thread as yet.

 

 

But it's part of the thread, and should be addressed.

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But it's part of the thread, and should be addressed.

Your conversations were being addressed between you two or three, albeit poorly in my opinion, but it seemed to me to be largely off topic.

So what "should be addressed"?

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@Robbity: You write “What do you reckon, could the Jews and Muslims ever accept that there never was a person called Abraham? “

 

why not include Christians in that question. And speaking of Christians, I am sure many literalists have been exposed to the arguments of progressive Christians who claim that the stories are just metaphors and even that some characters such as Abraham never really existed. So no, be it Jews, Muslims, or many Christians, they have would, I suspect, be strongly resistant to the idea, and perhaps never accept such a claim. For one thing, questioning the existence of the Patriarchs leads to questioning the existence of Jesus or Muhammed (Christians typically do not claim that Muhammed did not exist or was not a prophet or was not descended from Abraham, by the way). In short, their beliefs depend upon a literal interpretation of scripture, not a metaphorical one, particularly when it comes to questions regarding land ownership, methods to achieve salvation and a delineation of absolute morals…in short, they have a vested interest in believing that Abraham was an actual person and thus are more likely than an disinterested person to reject information that does not support the claim that he was an actual person with miraculous abilities, etc. ….This is called “confirmation bias.”

 

@Dimreepr: Speaking of this particular example, and not vague references to other times, there will usually be a certain amount of inaccuracy when one paraphrases someone elses thought. Indeed, synonyms for "content" range from “reconciliation” to “appeased” to “pleased as punch” and I found that “comforted” was a synonym for both “entertained” and “contented”...so the meaning of the terms "contented" and "entertained" overlap according to the thesaurus I viewed. And aren’t most stories, Biblical or otherwise, meant to entertain in the sense that any “teacher” tries to make their stories entertaining in order to maintain the reader’s attention as they convey some sort of message? I think you are grasping at straws here by claiming I deliberately? misconstrued what you meant.

 

So again, I fail to see any basis for your reaction. I merely made an effort to understand your meaning, as seemed that you were not making an effort to explain what you meant by the word "content" and/or to give actual examples from the Bible.

.........................................

You write that “The OT was a bible out of its time, much like the current version”

 

So, are you stating that there were just two Bibles all together, an old what that Jesus had access to and then perhaps another one that we have today? Really? Where are you getting your information?

 

And anything that Jesus said (e.g., what he came to do with respect to the law) is heresay, and hardly the basis for your scholarly? exegesis as if it were literally true that he said something. We have no idea what exact words an actual historical Jesus said, much less that an actual historical Jesus ever existed, much less what religious documents he actually read, even if he was a real person.

 

You stated that, “the inclusion of the OT in the Christian bible seems political (maybe in order to confuse,” but again. What could you possibly mean from this: If your point is that the OT and NT don’t or weren’t meant to make a unified whole, I can provide online quotations from perhaps a hundred theologians that says that it was.

 

You then state that “As time increases and full understanding gradually moves towards no understanding; at some point on the scale politics take over and from that point on the bible becomes a clarion call.”

 

Well perhaps, but there is often a degree of propaganda/persuasion in any scriptural manuscript or document in whatever of its versions, (and arguably in virtually any story ever written), so I don’t think that there is any particular point in time where we say that one version is political and the next is not, if I understand you correctly. But at least you acknowledge that stories can be political as well as something that makes and/or is meant to make readers content.

 

You state that, “my lack of eloquence impairs my ability to convey meaning, sorry about that.” Well I’m pretty sure most if not everyone feels that they can’t adequately express their thoughts from time to time. However, you need not assume, if that is what you are doing, that I am being unreasonable or whatever when I ask you to clarify some statement or give an example. I have merely suggested, for example, that you select a story from the Bible and then explain how it was meant to make people content.

Edited by disarray
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Your conversations were being addressed between you two or three, albeit poorly in my opinion, but it seemed to me to be largely off topic.

So what "should be addressed"?

 

 

 

Hmmm, let me think... perhaps we should probe the origins of Abrahamic religions, as per the OP.

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Hmmm, let me think... perhaps we should probe the origins of Abrahamic religions, as per the OP.

The thread has evolved and covered a lot of aspects but the OP simply stated "Is there any truth to his existence? What did he really do to get all this respect?" I don't mind when it wanders and meanders a little. But since you brought up questions regarding prophets I was exploring your opinion on that topic.

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So again, I fail to see any basis for your reaction. I merely made an effort to understand your meaning, as seemed that you were not making an effort to explain what you meant by the word "content" and/or to give actual examples from the Bible.

.........................................

 

 

The only facts in this thread are bibles and religions exist.

 

And digging holes long after the prise is found, is frowned on when you're already out of your depth.

Edited by dimreepr
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@Robbity: You write “What do you reckon, could the Jews and Muslims ever accept that there never was a person called Abraham? “

 

why not include Christians in that question. And speaking of Christians, I am sure many literalists have been exposed to the arguments of progressive Christians who claim that the stories are just metaphors and even that some characters such as Abraham never really existed. So no, be it Jews, Muslims, or many Christians, they have would, I suspect, be strongly resistant to the idea, and perhaps never accept such a claim. For one thing, questioning the existence of the Patriarchs leads to questioning the existence of Jesus or Muhammed (Christians typically do not claim that Muhammed did not exist or was not a prophet or was not descended from Abraham, by the way). In short, their beliefs depend upon a literal interpretation of scripture, not a metaphorical one, particularly when it comes to questions regarding land ownership, methods to achieve salvation and a delineation of absolute morals…in short, they have a vested interest in believing that Abraham was an actual person and thus are more likely than an disinterested person to reject information that does not support the claim that he was an actual person with miraculous abilities, etc. ….This is called “confirmation bias.”

 

....

 

I would have included Christians but since starting this thread I have come to accept that Abraham may just be a myth, and when Jesus argued Abraham was pleased to see my day, that was just a reference to a myth. When St. Paul argues Christians are an adopted part of the children of Abraham that is just part of the myth.

So I needn't include Christians for one has already accepted that it may be a myth. But are we aware of the same happening among the Jews and the Muslims, for surely they must be reading/seeing the same evidence (lack of) against the reality of Abraham?

 

The existence of Jesus has been discussed before, and is in no way linked to the existence of Abraham.

(Even though his family tree probably claims to be derived from Abraham or beyond.)

Edited by Robittybob1
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@dimreepr: You say that “he was teaching them what it was trying to convey using the NT;” Are you suggesting that the NT was around when Jesus supposedly lived? Are you suggesting that there was a single Bible that an alleged Jesus might have read from?

” The Dead Sea Scrolls—a collection of biblical and other texts from around the first century—have shown that our Old Testament existed in several forms at the time of Jesus… Jesus used different versions of Scripture”

http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/1999/april26/9t5098.html

 

In any case, we cannot assume that an actual Jesus, especially a divine one, actually existed, much less whether he actually said what those who wrote about him said that he did, so the question is not really what Jesus meant, but rather what those who wrote about him meant for readers to believe about his life and his connection with the OT. Again, it is commonly accepted that the OT and the NT is considered by theologians to be an integrated whole, e.g., there are several passages in which God states that a descendent of Abraham will be a savior, though Jews see the connection in a slightly different way, and Muslims see scriptures as focusing on Muhammed as the key spiritual descendant.

 

Entertain and contentment are synonyms, e.g., they both have connotations of giving comfort according to the thesaurus.com. I can only paraphrase (make a guess) about what you don’t bother to clarify yourself, so you need not nitpick about this. Spiritual leaders around the world throughout history routinely relate stories to listeners in an entertaining and comforting manner to the effect that they and their culture and/or “race” and/or country is favored by God and that they can, as individuals and/or as a group, be saved by absorbing the message of the stories. It's entertaining to think that you are the Chosen race and people are often so mesmerized that they believe everything they are told. In this sense, Hitler knew that he was entertaining the masses. But, in any case, I don't think that comforting and entertaining was the main thrust of such spiritual stories, but rather (as Weber points out) to get people to behave better, to defend or conquer other people and their land, to take pride in their own culture, to conform to societies rules, etc.

 

@Robbity:
Yes, I agree, Jews of the time were anxiously awaiting the appearance of the prophesied savior and there were apparently several people walking around claiming to be such a savior. For all we know, many of them had or were called the equivalent of the word “Jesus” by his followers: “Jesus’ Hebrew name is Yeshua, which is a shortened version of Yehoshua. Yeshua means ‘he will save’, and is translated into English as Joshua. Yeshua translated into Greek is Iesous. Iesous transliterated into Latin is Jesu. Jesu became Jesus in English. Jesus’ name is actually “Joshua”.

http://godwords.org/what-does-jesus-mean/

 

So to claim that Jesus was walking around telling stories to make people content (whatever that is supposed to exactly mean) misses the point that he was trying find them a way out from persecution and a way to gain power:

 

"the focus for many Jews has been looking forward to a political Messiah, one who would finally, irrevocably free them from conflict with other nations. In Jesus' time the Jews were under domination from the Romans. And many Jews were hoping that Jesus was the Messiah who would free them from the Roman government." http://www.everystudent.com/wires/judaism.html

Indeed, Nietzsche's main objection to Judaism was that it was essentially a religion in which the weak were full of resentment against those who had more power than they did, and so welcomed the idea of a savior who claimed their persecutors would not be saved.

 

So yes, I agree that discussions about the NT are irrelevant except to show that the character of Jesus was meant to fulfill prophecy of the coming of a savior as predicted in the Abrahamic narrative as found in several specific Biblical passages. (By the way, there are an estimated 300 passages in the OT relating to the coming the Jesus of the NT). So again, if we reject the Abrahamic prediction (God's promise to Abraham) that Abraham's descendant (i.e., as it turns out, Jesus) would come as a savior or if we determine that Abraham didn’t actually exist or that the stories about his conversations with God were fabricated, then such a rejection, of course, tends to detract from the legitimacy of claims that Jesus actually existed as depicted in the Bible.

 

When you remark that “There are these 3 Abrahamic religions but do we share their prophets?” I think a sensible response is that they all three have scriptures that were cut (i.e., via numerous rewritings, revisions, excisions, interpolations, and collations) from the same cultural-narrative cloth over the centuries. That doesn't mean that prophets from areas a great distance from each other had similar visions, I would suggest, but rather that manuscripts and oral stories were passed freely passed around over the decades and centuries, and often revised to suit and favor whatever group was retelling them.

 

However, that in no way means that such a character as Abraham actually existed (as described and portrayed by any scriptural account). Indeed, the name “Abraham” which God allegedly gave to him, means a person who provides strength and protection to many nations, much like, arguably, the name of Jesus and certainly the word “Christ” (meaning messiah or the anointed one), were chosen, arguably, by writers, perhaps even after his death, to reflect his role as a savior

 

What this suggests to an anthropologist making a comparative study of religions is that later writers gave Abraham and perhaps even Jesus their names to suit their role. Different religions use the same stories about the prophets but modify them in a way that 'flatters' their own culture and/or nation.

http://www.abarim-publications.com/Meaning/Abraham.html#.V2HfgzUQmUk

Edited by disarray
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To answer an earlier question “you were not making an effort to explain what you meant by the word "content"

 

The standard definition is “a state of happiness and satisfaction” but these are both emotions and therefore fleeting, whereas it’s perfectly possible to, permanently, live a contented life.

So my definition is “a state of being that accepts whatever is happening now”.

 

 

@dimreepr: You say that “he was teaching them what it was trying to convey using the NT;” Are you suggesting that the NT was around when Jesus supposedly lived? Are you suggesting that there was a single Bible that an alleged Jesus might have read from?

” The Dead Sea Scrolls—a collection of biblical and other texts from around the first century—have shown that our Old Testament existed in several forms at the time of Jesus… Jesus used different versions of Scripture”

http://www.christian...l26/9t5098.html

In any case, we cannot assume that an actual Jesus, especially a divine one, actually existed, much less whether he actually said what those who wrote about him said that he did, so the question is not really what Jesus meant, but rather what those who wrote about him meant for readers to believe about his life and his connection with the OT. Again, it is commonly accepted that the OT and the NT is considered by theologians to be an integrated whole, e.g., there are several passages in which God states that a descendent of Abraham will be a savior, though Jews see the connection in a slightly different way, and Muslims see scriptures as focusing on Muhammed as the key spiritual descendant.

 

I don’t know if “Jesus” existed, I don’t care and I’ve no doubt he wasn’t divine, but someone started it all and since whomever that was, is the source of the NT then, yes, of course he was teaching them the NT.

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The NT is a collection of gospels and letters written by apostles and members of the early church from around 50 to 150 CE that were first assembled during the 3rd century and canonised in the 4th century. Paul, opposed to Jesus, would be the most influential historical character in setting the NT doctrine.

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The NT is a collection of gospels and letters written by apostles and members of the early church from around 50 to 150 CE that were first assembled during the 3rd century and canonised in the 4th century. Paul, opposed to Jesus, would be the most influential historical character in setting the NT doctrine.

 

 

Thanks for that :unsure:... Please read the thread, not just the last post, before posting.

 

Back to disarray... Your arguments are getting progressively weaker and you’ve yet to provide a plausible reason for the existence of religions and bibles (please feel free to do so), otherwise, I think I’ll notch this one.

Edited by dimreepr
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-dimreaper: No need to announce your notching because of my weak posts..I am sure there are other competent posters in this thread.

 

I don't see how the intent of this thread was to provide a "plausible reason for the existence of religions and the bibles" so I see no reason to accept your challenge to do so.

 

The general trend of my posts has been to provide evidence that the figure of Abraham was largely constructed for political purposes, and such political purposes still provide fuel for conflict, particularly in the Middle East, to this day. I have no intention of just portraying religion in a bad light, however. On the contrary, I try to call a spade a spade: the various interpretations given to the Abrahamic narrative by different monotheistic religions over issues such as who are the chosen people, who is entitled to holy lands, and whose road to salvation is the only right one, have provided continual strife throughout the ages, and, for that reason, I have contended your claim that the thrust of the stories is one of providing contentment.

 

By not whitewashing these conflicts, but instead, bringing them to the foreground, I think that the the various religions connected with Abraham and his descendants can reach some sort of detente. This wish was expressed on a religious website as follows:

 

"If the Muslim is to enter into the heritage of Abraham he too must be willing to take the leap in the dark. The modern form of this community consciousness is nationalism in which religion is retained only for its value as a political weapon, and a deplorable situation arises when religion becomes the hand-maid of politics. The real value of any religion consists in what it means for its followers and not in the utilitarian ends it may be usd to achieve. To follow Abraham means the abandonment of what may be considered moral and material safeguards; it could mean the breaking away from the past in which we arc all so deeply rooted, and the ruthless cutting away of those prejudices which keep men apart. To be the friend of God in any sense of the words is to be the friend of man. Those who lay claim to being the children of Abraham must do the works of Abraham."

http://www.answering-islam.org/Books/MW/abraham.htm

Edited by disarray
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