Bible fiction or non fiction?

(72 Posts)
GotMyGoat Sat 19-Jan-13 19:48:36

So, as an atheist I consider the bible to be fiction - a collection of stories,

However according to library cataloguing rules it's non fiction, and i'm not sure if this is accurate or bizarre.

What do religious folk think? Which side of the fence are you on? Genuinely baffled.

PedroPonyLikesCrisps Mon 21-Jan-13 19:55:55

Good comeback

GinandJag Mon 21-Jan-13 19:49:29

The lady doth protest too much, methinks

PedroPonyLikesCrisps Mon 21-Jan-13 19:47:58

Humans have been around for somewhere between a conservative 100,000 years to perhaps 250,000 years, but even in the lowest estimate, to believe Christianity is to believe that God sat around and watched the human race through 96,000 years of barbaric and immoral behaviour before suddenly deciding that enough was enough and that it was time for him to step in and do something about it all. In order to do this, he decided that the best course of action was to reveal himself to a single, uneducated, illiterate tribe in sub-saharan Africa at a time when the Chinese were already sophisticated in language and writing. If God truly does exist, then he (or she) is clearly an idiot.

SolidGoldFrankensteinandmurgh Mon 21-Jan-13 18:08:41

The people who made up the religions tended to appreciate the importance of having an 'us' and 'them' divide. That's why the imaginary friends are always confusing, capricious and inconsistent in the attitudes and activities people assign to them.

headinhands Mon 21-Jan-13 15:22:08

But what with all the confusion wouldn't it have made more sense to reveal himself in the same way, by the same name to everyone knowing as he would how humans like to fight over differences n'all. (Wasn't Jesus pretty clear that people could only get to god through him?)

niminypiminy Mon 21-Jan-13 14:15:03

Not sure what you mean, headinhands. Both Christians and Muslims believe there is only one God, the creator of everything that there is, so of course he is the same. We have different beliefs about him, but both recognise he is the one God.

headinhands Mon 21-Jan-13 13:17:48

So Allah and Yahweh are the same god but in different guises? I just wonder what wisdom was responsible for not making that clear in these texts. It seems a bit off to pit his followers against each other by allowing his followers to not realise this. Would make a good film plot though!

MadHairDay Mon 21-Jan-13 12:47:24

Hello Ellie, fancy seeing you here wink

I'd disagree with most of what you just said, but you know that anyway grin

Good to see you.

EllieArroway Mon 21-Jan-13 12:40:33

The Bible is not fiction - it was never intended to be and shouldn't be viewed as such. But that doesn't mean that any of it is actually true in any meaningful sense of the word. We know that Adam & Eve, Abraham, Moses et al never actually existed, but the people writing the stories down may have believed it. Of course there was never a great flood, people being turned into pillars of salt or men living in the belly of a whale.

There are references to real people but they were attributed to actions that never happened - King Herod was real, but he never ordered the Slaughter of the Innocents for example.

Where would you put ancient classical myths about Zeus & Apollo? That's the shelf the Bible belongs on.

I personally believe there was a chap called Jesus, we have a lot of evidence of that Whatever gives you that idea? We have no evidence at all the Jesus existed. There are inferences that can be made that suggest he may have lived - but lots of evidence? Nope. Not a sausage.

MadHairDay Mon 21-Jan-13 12:33:50

For me it's also that the Qu'ran and the Bible are very different in essence. For example, the bible does not claim to be dictated by God word for word. It has many books and acknowledges many authors, with different genres, all telling a story of the continued revelation of God, culminating in Jesus Christ. The Bible is written by humans but I believe inspired by God,and has good reliable accounts of Jesus. There's a big difference. Jesus did not write the book himself, unlike Mohammed.

Like niminy, I do not think for a minute that there is no truth in Islam. But my study and my experience have led me to believe that God is fully revealed in Jesus.

niminypiminy Mon 21-Jan-13 11:18:12

I can't speak for MHD,of course, but it seems to me that it isn't really the contradiction you think it is. The Qur'an is a revelation of God, I wouldn't deny that. However, Christians believe that the fullest revelation of God was in Jesus Christ. From that point of view, the Bible is truer than the Qur'an. That is not to say that it must be read literally, or that Islam has no truths. But for Christians, the Bible contains the essential truths about God's purposes for us, about his nature, his love, and his saving grace.

headinhands Mon 21-Jan-13 11:05:06

Hello mad, if we keep bumping into each other like this people will start talking grin

Can you acknowledge that it could appear a little disingenuous to feel able to accept supernatural claims of one holy book over another seeing as both have been passed down via the same methods? How are you able to accept the paranormal and historical validity of the Bible while accepting the historical but refusing the paranormal claims the Qur'an makes?

MadHairDay Mon 21-Jan-13 10:34:34

headinhands (hello again smile ) I am not a Muslim because I believe in the revelation of God in Jesus Christ.

That does not mean that I do not think oral tradition was only effective in the Christian bible confused

niminypiminy Mon 21-Jan-13 10:03:58

No, they don't.

SolidGoldFrankensteinandmurgh Mon 21-Jan-13 00:34:34

All religions essentially believe the same old willy - that there is an imaginary friend in the sky, obeying its commands will mean that you go to some special lovely place when you die, and that heterosexual men are more important than any other class of human being.

niminypiminy Sun 20-Jan-13 23:36:03

It's true that there are some Christian groupings, a very few, who do not hold to the Nicene creed. (And most of those belong to denominations that split off from the rest of the church after the council of Nicea in 325.) But for the vast majority of Christians (probably over 95%), the Nicene creed summarises the essential and unalterable beliefs Christians have in common. So, yes, they are believing essentially the same stuff.

PedroPonyLikesCrisps Sun 20-Jan-13 23:20:02

Are you seriously suggesting that ALL strains of Christianity are essentially believing the same stuff? Because there's some pretty compelling evidence that they are most certainly not.

niminypiminy Sun 20-Jan-13 22:49:53

The beautiful, resonant phrasing in the KJV is there because it is a translation of the beautiful, resonant phrasing in the original Hebrew and Greek.

In the Dewey system of classification, religion has its own classification, followed by particular faiths such as Christianity, Islam and so on -- it's somewhere near the beginning of the sequence (my library assistant days too long ago to remember the number exactly). But just to clarify, the Dewey system, which is used in most UK public libraries, is used internationally. It's an expandable system which means that you use the basic framework to create sub-classifications, as many as you wish.

SolidGoldFrankensteinandmurgh Sun 20-Jan-13 22:34:10

Well it's all a load of old willy anyway. There is, I concede, some beautiful, resonant phrasing in the King James bible, but that's down to whichever English people handled that particular version.

I'm still interested in whether the 'special' books associated with Islam, Judaism, Sikhism etc are given a special categorisation under the current UK system, or whether it's just the Christian mythology which gets that, due to the privileging of it as the Official UK Superstition. (and also, what about books about Christianity, Hinduism, Shinto, shamanism etc.)

HolofernesesHead Sun 20-Jan-13 22:32:47

Pedro, as you probably know, the answer to Northern Ireland's problems is much more complex than a matter of biblical interpretation. Why are you not answering any of my questions regarding the issues in biblical interpretation which you, yourseare raising?

PedroPonyLikesCrisps Sun 20-Jan-13 22:26:50

Really? Is that why they shoot each other in Nothern Ireland then?

GinandJag Sun 20-Jan-13 21:56:37

Perot, most of the fractions will have the same beliefs/doctrines, but in a very local scale.

HolofernesesHead Sun 20-Jan-13 21:34:12

Pedro, wrt 'young woman' / 'virgin' - The Hebrew (not Arabic) word in Issiah is alma, which, yes, means 'young woman.' Issiah was translated into Greek sometime around 3rd / 2nd c. BCE, along with other Hebrew scriptures. Greek word used in this translation of Isaiah was 'parthenos' which means both young woman and virgin. Matthew quotes the Greek Isaiah text, not the Hebrew text, and so yes, this quotation from Isaiah is a big part of the origin of belief on virgin birth. But it's not a conspiracy theory, it's a plausible development of language between two very different cultures (Hebrew and Greek). Where did you get the idea that Arabic is important in the Bible from? Are you thinking of the Quran? Or was it a Chinese whisper? wink

headinhands Sun 20-Jan-13 21:25:25

Going on that logic mad why aren't you also a Muslim seeing how you're fully confident in the passing on of oral history?

PedroPonyLikesCrisps Sun 20-Jan-13 20:20:14

It's not just the translations, it's the interpretation. The Chinese Whispers come first from the translation of text, then from the interpretation by Bible scholars, preachers, vicars and then to the 'flock' who will be interpreting the surmans they hear. If it is not plain enough already, just look at the number of different strands of Christianty. Hundreds if not thousands of different groups interpret the Bible in different ways. This comes from both the specific text they use and the manner in which they understand it. Many of these differences result in social discord and even wars.

There is no question at all that meanings are distorted because of this fact. It simply cannot be argued otherwise.

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