my mother and her husband are both devout Catholics. they go to Church a good 3-4 times per week. so i was a bit surprised to find out, while having drinks on Xmas Eve, that neither of them had read the Bible. for me, this confirmed what we suspect about most Believers - that they have no idea what in the hell the Bible says.
still, they are lifelong Catholics who are in their 60's. how can you be an ardent follower of your chosen faith without ever reading the Holy Book that your faith is based upon? it also reminds me just how it is possible for so many Christians to behave so unlike their savior. they don't know what he was. they have some preconceived notion of a Jesus who loves them and died for their sins, but they don't even know the basics of his ministry. i think they must be attached to the miraculous - the walking on water, the turning water into wine, the virgin birth, coming back from the dead - without giving much thought to what made him so important in the first place (assuming, that is, that he even existed at all).
so for my part, i went out and bought them a Bible. my Mom thought it was a very thoughtful gift and said they would display it in their dining room. i doubt they have any intention of reading it. just like their religion, it's gonna be all show without any substance. sums it up perfectly.
Bought them a bible, did you? How devious. Now, if you can just get them to read it, it may change their entire outlook. I know it did mine!
:) that's the idea, Pat. if my mom did read it, i think she's really hate that God figure - what an asshole. and that Jesus dude would seem so different than the version she hears about on Fox News.
Do those of you who were former believers and church attenders remember being given a text to open as the preacher or teacher told everyone what it meant? On further inspection, the interpretations were often a distortion of what was meant or a created delusion that had nothing to do with the topic. We went home with the fabrication story in our minds and worked like the dickens to do what the interpreter stated. Never mind the actual words of the scripture, before and following.
To open the bible, read it word after word, paragraph after paragraph, opens ones eyes to the reality of the intent to dominate and exploit in the interest of the institution of church.
When church combines with state, the common human is in deep fecal matter.
I remember only too well being told that what was printed was not what was meant. Now, when I hear "What it really means is...." my response is something like this.
"I have a B.S., M.A, and J.D degree. I'm literate. Really. Trust me on this one! I can read what the words in front of me say. And, what I don't need is some dumb assed apologist to try and twist their meaning into something that is not being conveyed. Moses brought down the 10 commandments which in part said, 'Thou shalt not kill,' and proceeded to kill 3,000 of his own people. Don't tell me he was being courteous and giving them a free trip to heaven!"
Pat, that reality is exactly what makes no sense; the bible thumpers assume they have authority over others using "promises" given by some imaginary power. Some person, with no education, no understanding of the historical, political aspects of religion, or of the exploitation or manipulation of power-hungry institutions, or of the harm fallacious dominator values bring upon others. The assumptions of the preacher/teacher are that we are too naive, lazy, uninformed or deluded to delve deeper into the meanings, or that the meanings basically give authority to those who have no respect for just principles. The bible has no interest in justice, but in obedience to authority. Whose authority? Who decides?
Matthew, your criticism of the Bible is my first and probably the most obvious point to make. I would quickly add that Jesus is also a fabrication of deeply held yearnings for what they want the scripture to state, and more importantly, what the Roman Catholic church wants their followers to believe. It is a manipulative device to take power out of the hands of the masses and place it in the hands of the pope, potentates and property rights, written by those who gain by the rules.
"Luke 6:20-21 Then he looked up at his disciples and said: 'Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God."
This statement is the justification for poverty, not for the elimination of it. When institutions exist to benefit one group and not another, poverty often results, not because it is just, but because it is lawful. It is lawful to have poor people, so feed them crumbs from the table of the "justly" wealthy, while the poor are to be quiet. The poor are lambs, fit for nothing but following; sheep do not think. The sayings of Jesus became the opium of the masses.
Mark 10:29-30, Luke 18:29-30, and Matthew 19:29)”. The New Testament has Jesus saying, “Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel's, but he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life."
Matthew 10:21, Mark 13:12, and Luke 21:16. "the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death."
Luke 9:59-62 and Matthew 8:21- 22. All family attentions are influenced by Jesus' self-seeking commands to potential followers. "And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God. And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house. And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God."
And for what? the delusions of a man who thinks he has something to offer when in fact, nothing of value is offered except unprovable promises? That is a pretty weak stance to take in the affairs of human interaction with others one loves.
Mostly what they do Mindy is start making shit up! LOL (I'm so glad you posted using that phrase.) Like Pat said, he doesn't need some christian apologist telling him all about the bible "what it really means is..." but they do that all the time. That's because the bible does not change but the language and subject matter must change or you will think that god was a maniac! If you read the bible this is exactly what you will think . A bullying maniac with a lust for blood.
The very fact that science and our world changes but these ancient stories do not is what will end up sending Jahveh to join Thor forever and forever. The Internet has already started that great battle and it's just a matter of time.
I ask these same questions (to myself) all the time. I know that both my mother and one of my sisters attends bible study. I frequently see passengers on planes reading the bible during their flight when I'm at work. I often see their bibles marked up with different color highlighter pens. I'm always curious as to what prompts a particular bible verse to be special enough to highlight. But alas, that's certainly not a conversation I wish to start with a stranger while at work. And you're right, Mindy. What do the people who are reading and studying the bible do when they come upon the horrible parts and the obvious contradictions?
My born again mother-in-law (lots more about her later! ;-] ) got me a journal with biblical quotes on each page. I thought, Perfect!! I've been wanting to write about secular life while sandwiched between two religious families (me, recovering Catholic; my husband, the only one not to go along with the BAs in his family.)
So for each quote, I point out the hypocracy. Started with something about "I bring you peace" or some such crap. I wrote, WTF, how is God a source of peace?? I just might ask people about some of these someday.
The other was the infamous John 3:16 (?) that my young nephew says "sold" him on his religion, about how God so loved his son that he sent him to earth to be humiliated, tortured and freakin' crucified for......what? To make a point? Mr. Omnipotent Almighty Peace-Monger couldn't fight his own battles?!
When I thank her for this gift, I can honestly say that I'm finding it useful and a source for inspirational thoughts. Mwahahahah........