General Question

teirem1's avatar

Has the Bible become a form of idolatry?

Asked by teirem1 (391points) March 13th, 2009

The Bible seems to hold the place in many Christians lives as an infallible document and is treated with reverence and affection. Isn’t this a form of idolatry? You see people kissing it; keeping it close by; using it in court rooms to swear on; using it to sanction actions,,,,,,at what point does this become idolatry (which I believe the Bible speaks out against)? Did the God get lost for the book?

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69 Answers

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

When I was in court for jury duty a month ago, they didn’t use a bible to swear on, so I don’t know if that is even still an option in my state.

But to answer your question, I rather doubt it. It seems to be more of a tool for the religious-minded. I read the one I own occasionally, but it is just a book, like any other in my library. I use it to research things or to find certain passages.

SeventhSense's avatar

Centuries ago..

Qingu's avatar

If “the God” you are talking about is Yahweh, then he does not exist outside of the book. Yahweh is a character in the Bible. In the same way, Marduk is a character in the Enuma Elish.

If you don’t think the Bible is true, then the god you worship is not the same god as Yahweh—because Yahweh, by definition, is the god described in the Bible.

I do agree with you that the Bible’s usage in American culture is quite perverse, like a weird magical fetish.

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

You’re making the mistake of believing that the book itself is what is being honored.

teirem1's avatar

Natuaralmineralwater: I do not believe I am making mistake, It seems the book is often honored. I am asking for opinions on the use of this book and if it does not seem like the focus on it for some Christians becomes more important than the actual worship and belief in the Christian God?

Qingu, I am speaking of the Christians God of the Bible (Yahweh and Jesus)

discover's avatar

Bible should be read as word of God. Sometimes its true that people give more importance to the book itself rather than what is inside it.

Bible changes life, but its the work of God plus the written word which brings the transformation.

Noon's avatar

When people cling to specific translations of the bible as the true word, then I think that yes, it can be said to be honored. Most American Christians have no idea how many translations it took to get the one they read now. Hell there are some who might actually think the bible was originally written in English (I’m sure I can find one).

I think this opens up to the actual book being the object of honor.

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

@Noon, most American Christians have no idea that the current bible is a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy and all the previous copies were destroyed as each new one was written.And once you get into all the various translations, well, then it just get trickier to decipher what is biblicaly true and what isn’t. It is no more an accurate translation of God’s original words to mankind than anything else. No one knows what the original bible said because that original book is lost to the ages.

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

@Noon I disagree.
@evelyns_pet_zebra What a horrible generalization.

discover's avatar

@evelyns_pet_zebra: Bible is the most reliable manuscript…even historians do not disagree with this.

KatawaGrey's avatar

@discover: I understand what @evelyns_pet_zebra is saying. The bible has been translated and re-translated so many times no one is sure exactly what the original document said. The general idea is still probably there, but individual ideas, stories, details etc. have been muddied due to translations. Even perfect translations can get changed if it happens dozens of times.

Qingu's avatar

I’m an atheist, but I’ve never really understood the idea that the Bible is unreliable because it’s a “copy of a copy.”

We don’t have any original Biblical texts, but the same is true of almost all ancient texts. We do have a lot of very early Greek and Hebrew sources that modern Biblical scholars have used to reconstruct the Bible.

The Bible’s unreliability has less to do with its “copied” status, and more to do with the fact that it is Mesopotamian mythology.

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

Fine, don’t believe me, I don’t care, but the book I read by one of the world’s most well renowned theologians says this exact thing. If you don’t agree, well, then you don’t agree. But I read it in Misquoting Jesus by Bart Ehrman. Read the book if you don’t believe it.

I won’t take offense at your accusing me of making a horrible generalization. I forgive you for the mistake. To paraphrase the bible, “you do not know what you do.”

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

many copies allows for many mistakes. You can’t correct the mistakes with the original, because there is no original to use for fact-checking. Sort of like the telephone game.

teirem1's avatar

So, if you are an inerrantist and take the Bible as infallible and true, would this be idolotry as you are putting the book on par with God? Relying on the book’s direction more than your relationship with God,

If you are an errantist and believe that translations have caused differences and therefore by implication mistakes (unless you accept it as a fable), isn’t it a form of idolatry than to quote from it and use it as a basis of judgement?

PupnTaco's avatar

A very interesting point to consider. Good Q.

ponderinarf's avatar

I keep trying to write an answer but the question is loaded.

The Bible is not a mere book. In fact, it is not a book at all. Rather, it is a collection of writings and sayings, which are sometimes collectively labled “The Word.” Christians use this “lable” in part to point to the God-given authority. While it is written by people, it appears to be inspired by God. Most of the Bible’s prophesies are learned to be accurate. Yet
a friend once said, “even had we the video footage of Jesus rising from the grave, we cannot be certain of what that means.” I am not saying I agree with him, but it make sense to me. So, to some level “faith,” I trust, is required.

Here are key verses which strike me as relavent:

(NIV) 1Sam 16:7 “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”

James 1:22—Do not merely listen to the word (NOT the Bible); do what it says.

Matt. 12:6–8——6I tell you that one[a] greater than the temple is here. 7If you had known what these words mean, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice,’[b] you would not have condemned the innocent. 8For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.”

To conclude, loving the Bible as a relic is dangerous. Looking to it as a way to grow in the way of God—well, that too is risky buisness.

I hope this inspires a better answer than mine. I loved this question topic by the way.

patg7590's avatar

“We believe the Bible to be the voices of many who have come before us, inspired by God to pass along their poems, stories, accounts, and letters of response and relationship with each other and the living God. These words have been used to describe God and his character for thousands of years, and we call this theology. Theology is one of the best ways we can come to know and love God; it is also how we understand who God calls us to be and what he calls us to do. Theology comes from the Greek words “theos” and “logos.” Theos means God, and logos means word. Words about God. ”


I love this explanation

For so many Christians, the Bible is a battleground, ammunition to use against other people, (especially other Christians) to judge them and tell them how bad or wrong they are.

I think if you try to look at the Bible as a whole, and the story it tells, is one of a God who is consistently trying to rescue us in spite of our shortcomings.

So back to the question, yes, I believe people can, in reading the Bible, become so preoccupied with who’s wrong and who’s right that they miss the whole point. That God is putting it all back together, he is “making all things new.”

To some, the point becomes the book, rather than the story.

Introverted_Leo's avatar

@ponderinarf: this is just a thought I had when I read your answer.

As a Christian, one of the things that’s been bothering me constantly of late is the fact that so many Christians keeps calling the Bible “God’s Word.” You need to hear and listen to “God’s Word,” they’ll constantly remind you.

The term “God’s word” has become a misnomer and a catchall phrase used to describe the Bible. When I think “God’s Word” I’m thinking the Ten Commandments. I’m thinking the words those people in the Bible believed they heard coming from the mouth of God Himself. I’m thinking of the prophecies dealing with the coming of Christ and those prophecies coming true.

If anything is going to be “God’s Word” it would be those things.

The rest of the Bible is full of accounts written by men who are relaying a tale of events which took place long ago. I cannot ascribe those details as literally being “God’s Word.”

It’s semantics, but it’s necessary. I mean sometimes people use the phrase like it’s something everyone should already know what they’re talking about. And it is so overused; I get a headache just thinkin’ about it. “God’s word says to do such-n-such.” No, actually Paul said we should do such-n-such. I get what you mean (at least I think I do), but you’re not doing anyone here a great service by always saying, “God said such-n-such” when in fact it was someone else.

<sighs> Anyways…believe it or not, I think that the Bible has become an idol for some people. And to be perfectly honest it drives me absolutely nuts.

LostInParadise's avatar

I am having trouble understanding the question. The online Merriam-Webster dictionary gives two definitions for idoatry:

Certainly the first definition does not hold. As for the second definition, the purpose of any holy book is to act as a guide to how one should live. What use would it have otherwise? If you think Christians take the Bible seriously, you should look at how Orthodox Jews treat it. They engage in rituals and follow rules regarding things like what they can eat all based on the Bible.

cwilbur's avatar

The problem with idolatry is that it violates the commandments against having other gods before God and of making idols (of any form, of any thing).

God created everything. When you elevate a book of Scripture above everything else—including the natural world, including everything you can see and observe—you are committing idolatry, because you are placing higher value on the multiply-translated words passed down for generations (and demonstrably mistranslated in several places) than you are on other works of God, and often before God Himself. And you let your emphasis on the words of long-dead men, even inspired as they were by God, get between you and God.

What other word is there for that than “idolatry”?

Harp's avatar

How many of the writers now included in the Bible sat down with their pens and said,“OK, here goes, I’m going to write a book of the Bible?” A few, but not most. People decided way after the fact what was “Bible” and what wasn’t. A whole lot of writings didn’t make the cut because they didn’t fit in with the ideology of whoever was doing the compiling. Those decisions, made by people who most Christians could never name (and who’s theology many would take issue with) have had enormous impact on the shape of religion. Imagine, for example, that the book of Revelation hadn’t made the cut (and this was widely disputed).

When you consider how this selection process was carried out, it becomes difficult to accept that just because a writing got some committee’s stamp of approval it suddenly becomes God’s word down to the jot and tittle. Political considerations were certainly in play; some of the “gnostic gospels” were considered to dangerously erode the authority of the clergy, for example. Others were too difficult to reconcile with prevailing interpretations of older scripture, so rather than have to deal with the paradoxes they would pose, they were simply left out. It’s like what they say about sausage: you don’t want to know how it’s made.

Qingu's avatar

@evelyns_pet_zebra, you said “many copies allows for many mistakes.” But the copying errors that we know about tend to be rather trivial.

More importantly, a perfect copy of a Mesopotamian myth would still be… a Mesopotamian myth. I see absolutely no reason that some hypothetical “original Bible” is somehow “more true” than the Bible reconstructed by modern scholars we have today.

laureth's avatar

Copying errors may be trivial, like a typo. It’s the intentional translation changes to watch out for.

syz's avatar

@discover “Bible is the most reliable manuscript…even historians do not disagree with this.” Which historians? My understanding is that there is verifiable proof that various and multiple individuals have intentionally altered the Bible to be more “understandable” or more pertinent to their own times.

Qingu's avatar

@laureth and @syz, again, I don’t think there are actually that many intentional copyist changes.

The major one is an addition in the Gospel of John, but this was made quite early in the manuscript’s history (probably before 100 A.D.) so I don’t think it even really qualifies as the kind of “copying errors” you guys are talking about.

Another problem with your claims is that you are assuming there is such a thing as an “original manuscript” when it comes to the Old Testament. Most scholars believe the Old Testament was orally composed long before it was written down. The dates for the oral composition for the first five books are around 1000 B.C., for the Deuteronomistic histories a couple centuries later. The prophets are generally dates around the time of the Babylonian captivity. And it’s not clear when any of these texts were actually set down in writing—some scholars date this as late as 400 B.C.! Obviously, the “texts” evolved during their long period of oral transmission. So I think it’s a mistake to even presume that there is such a thing as an original, pristine “text” for most of the Old Testament. These texts gradually emerged and at some point around 2,500 years ago people started writing them down.

What we do have are very early manuscripts dating from a time when most Jews had agreed upon a sort of cannon. Some of these manuscripts come from the “Masoretic text,” an ancient Hebrew collection dating from the 800’s A.D. But we also have earlier Greek texts from the Septuigent dating from late antiquity. The Dead Sea Scrolls are the earliest texts we have, from around Jesus’ time. And if you compare these three sources, I don’t think you’ll find many thematic changes at all.

I think we’re probably getting off topic, but do either of you have any examples of cases where a Biblical copyist introduced a major thematic change to the text?

TheKNYHT's avatar

Scripture when translated, is always going to lose something of the original, yet the primary significance doesn’t necessarily need to be lost at all. If this were the case, any translational issues would be problematic, and UN translators would be unable to convey the statements made by various political officials.
As to how well the BIBLE has been translated? Impeccably so, from the original documents (long destroyed by age and the elements) to its multi-generational copies.
I’ve had the privilege of visiting the Shrine of the Holy Scriptures in Jerusalem where the most ancient of texts are carefully preserved by chemical treatments and vaccuum sealed glass cases. From those texts and their transliterated (not merely translated)equivalents, they read practically verbatum compared to the KJV, which itself is based on the Textus Receptus, the most reliable ancient text available, and which the early church read for themselves.
Scribes that copied scripture were utterly fastidious when it came to their sacred duties. Careful checking and cross checking were standard. Hebrew and Greek letters were also numerics, and scribes would resort to mathematics to confirm their texts were copied accurately as well. If they missed by just one letter, rather than scratch it off, and write in the correct letter, they would throw out the ENTIRE parchment! And start all OVER!
As to worshipping the Bible, as a Christian, I do not, and its inappropriate to do so; carrying a Bible around, holding it close, giving careful regard to its truth however, is not worship. Its certainly being reverential, and respectful, which is due, considering this is a text inspired by God Himself, and is demonstrably proveable to any who would do the research (particularly in regards to eschatology).
On a final note: the very Name of God is so revered and exalted by the Jewish people, they won’t even write out or pronounce His Name; they write YHWH or say “HaShem (The Name)”. Names in OT times would reveal something about the person, their character, or some noteable deed they accomplished. God’s character and His accomplishments are second to none and thus His Name is Holy. Yet for all that, there is one thing that God exalts even higher than His Name. Psalm 138:2b states He ”...exalts His Word above His own Name…”
If His view of His own Word is so high, we do well to revere it as well.
It was mentioned earlier that the Word of God doesn’t include actions and statements made by people in scripture, but only that direct revelation by God Himself, via His Spirit or prophets and apostles so anointed by the Holy Spirit. Certainly this is true in the explicit sense, yet we consider all the Bible to be the Word of God in that what ever isn’t revelation as revealed by the Rhema (spoken Word, as in inspired), should be considered God’s documentation of various events. A kind of Divine documentary using the Holy Spirit as the ‘camera man’ as it were. Recording such statements and deeds however does NOT mean they are sanctioned by God or in any way are approved by Him.

Ria777's avatar

has spaghetti become a form of food? same question, really.

teirem1's avatar

TheKNYHT, though this is a bit off topic, how is the text “demonstrably proveable to any who would do the research (particularly in regards to eschatology)”? As I understand it eschatology is the study of the end of times, parusia, destiny, is that provable?

SeventhSense's avatar

So are you actually saying that the King James Version of the bible is an accurate translation? This is diametrically opposed to most scholars consensus. As to their reading verbatum from ONE LINE Psalm 86:13:

For great is your love toward me;
you have delivered me from the depths of the grave.-NIV

For great is your steadfast love toward me;
you have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.-ESV

For your love for me is very great.
You have rescued me from the depths of death-NLT

For great is thy mercy toward me: and thou hast delivered my soul from the lowest hell KJV

You tell me who had a political motivation. And why would anyone trust a source certified by a monarchy?
Through subtle differences like steadfast love(like a mother or father) to mercy(like a judge or magistrate) and death, grave(depression, sorrow) to hell(torment punishment) a very significant change occurred. Isn’t God supposed to be the authority? And where did hell come from?

TheKNYHT's avatar

@teirem1 Yes, you’re right!
Eschatology is indeed a study of last things, and is a segment of the larger scope of prophecy. Yet both involve a predictive sense of what is within the realm of future events.
I should have used “prophecy” rather than “eschatology” because various prophecies that have already been fulfilled can be documented and verified that they were spoken of in detail, prior to their actual occurance. The book of Daniel is a superb example of this, particularly from ch. 6 and on to the end.
Even so, eschatological events regarding the last days, speaks of a one world government, arising out of what was known as the Roman empire; it speaks of a one world religion; it speaks of commerce and trade being controlled through a numerical process; it speaks of what we know as Russia (Magog then) and Iran (Persia) having an alliance against Israel, and in fact all the nations of the world aligning against that tiny nation half the size of New Jersey; it speaks of the nation of the Jews returning to Israel, reclaiming Jerusalem, and rebuilding their Temple. Two of these last three prophetic issues are already fulfilled, and they have been producing many implements for the Temple, the attire for the priests, and have begun training young men in the various duties and rituals for the Levitical priesthood.
The issues I mentioned above are not fulfilled as yet, but compared to say, 20 or even 15 years ago, much of this was still speculative, whereas today we see a steady march towards globalism, and trends to unify world religions into a whole, non-fractious system. And as far as a cashless society where purchases are made via a numerical system, well we are certainly making head way there!. . . enough said.

SeventhSense's avatar

Where is this in the bible?

“whereas today we see a steady march towards globalism, and trends to unify world religions into a whole, non-fractious system. And as far as a cashless society where purchases are made via a numerical system”

SeventhSense's avatar

Stop preaching and start answering

TheKNYHT's avatar

@SeventhSense Which scholars? Biblical scholarship today is predominated by liberal theologians (though there are still some conservatives out there, they are becoming fewer). Most liberal scholars and theologians despise the KJV, and much rather prefer the Westcott and Hort text, which in itself is based on the Codex Siniaticus, Codex Vaticanus and the Codex Alexandrius, which are all poor texts, excluding passages, sometimes whole chapters. All modern translations are based on the Wescott and Hort text to one degree or another, including such as the NIV and the RSVB, etc. The KJV (and NKJV) are based on the Textus Receptus. Textus Receptus is the ‘received text’ and one that the first generation church produced, based on the actual writings of the scripture, penned by the apostles and NT writers themselves.
Scripture reading verbatum was not a reference I was making between Bible versions, but between the KJV and the ancient texts that I was able to view in Shrine of the Holy Scriptures, in Jerusalem. They had passages of Isaiah and Zechariah on display there, and as I opened my Bible (KJV) to those chapters, they were almost entirely identical.
The King James bible was commissioned by King James, but he didn’t certify it at all. He only financed the project and let the scholars of that time do the work. He didn’t interfere at all, but merely wanted his name attatched to this work.
If you’d be interested in listening to the history of the KJV and of the background of Professors Westcott and Hort, I can provide information on how to acquire this.
As to the verses that you addressed from Psalm 86, the Hebrew concept of love and mercy are linked, and so closely related that the one (depending on context) could be interchanged for the other. And as for hell, Christians who know their Bible know that the word used in the original Hebrew IS in fact sheol (grave, not a burial place, but an abode for the dead) and not hell as in the lake of fire or place of eternal punishment. Its merely a holding station of sorts for those who are awaiting final judgement.
While there is much in scripture to portray God as Love, and as a loving heavenly Father, there are also ample evidences of His being a Judge who will indeed extend mercy towards all who are willing to receive it.

SeventhSense's avatar

The RSV and recent versions are based on the DEAD SEA SCROLLS.

Read some more books and stop looking at people as infallible.
The orthodox churches in Jerusalem have political aims and that is the continuation of their entities. Nothing more. If they believed in the Gospel they wouldn’t fight over a peice of land. Jesus never started a religion. Jesus wasn’t a Christian.

“The King James bible was commissioned by King James, but he didn’t certify it at all. He only financed the project and let the scholars of that time do the work. He didn’t interfere at all, but merely wanted his name attatched to this work.”......OK monarchy was all about free and open discourse.

SeventhSense's avatar

Jesus was quite liberal. Give and it shall be given unto you. If a man would ask you to walk a mile with him walk two. Turn the other cheek. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. This is my body given for you. This is my blood given for you. Sounds pretty liberal wih his body, his words, his love and his blood.

TheKNYHT's avatar

Read Daniel chapters 2 and 7 that outline all of Gentile history as it relates to Israel. Daniel chapter two is actually Nebuchadnezzars dream interpreted for him by God, via His prophet Daniel. These speak of 4 world empires: Babylon, Medo-Persian, Greek and Roman. Each of these is conquered by the proceding empire with the exception of Rome. The Roman Empire is not conquered by a proceding empire, it breaks apart into what eventually becomes nation states. Yet Rome is to rise again in an albeit different form: This is whats indicated in the scriptures of Daniel. We learn that these “horns” 10 in number are present in the last days, and that another “little horn” a title of the anti-christ, arises, displaces 3 of them, and rises to power assuming power over this entire re-born empire. Scripture is abundant, particularly in the book of Revelation that the anti-Christ will reign over all the world as its supreme authority.

As to a world religion, this is not as clearly designated as the government which has the European Union, a soon in coming North American Union; already in the works is an African Union and other supra-national organizations; all thats required to have a global government then is to link up all these unions.
Even so, there are many consortiums and councils that are promoting religious unity, such as The Assissi Conventions made popular by the late Pope John Paul II, the World Council of Churches, the Emergent Church Movement is already aligning with Islamic and Hindu leaders, emphasizing unities and downplaying doctrine that would divide.

SeventhSense's avatar

It’s all metaphorical. So amazing in their capacity to determine obscure phrases is the evangelical monster super church movements and so little desire to know the simple things. Why is that? It sells tickets. It fills seats. The beast is the spirit of the anti civilization that is perpetuated by the dualistic mind that would create wars and insanity from their darkened minds.

SeventhSense's avatar

Fear Not, I am with you always, even unto the end of the age.

SeventhSense's avatar

Good night. I’m going to bed my friend.

TheKNYHT's avatar

When the LORD Jesus returns physically to the earth, you can explain to Him that He isn’t REALLY here, because “its all metaphorical”. X D

Qingu's avatar

@TheKNYHT, what’s your opinion on the “raqia” of Genesis 1? You know, the solid dome, firmament Yahweh creates in order to separate the waters above it from the waters below it? The raqia in which Yahweh has set the stars, sun, moon, and planets? In Genesi 8, Yahweh opens “windows” in this raqia to let in the above-sky floodwaters.

Do you think that’s metaphorical?

What about Joshua stopping the moon and the sun in their orbits around the earth in Josh. 10? Metaphorical?

SeventhSense's avatar

I never said that Jesus was metaphorical. But most of his words were metaphor and come to think, most of the fetish that has been created is metaphorical. How about the prophecy regarding the Messiah from Isaiah that is well accepted among Christians-Isaiahh 53:-1–3

For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or comeliness that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. 3 He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

So this was an ugly man in appearance. Why is he always depicted as a Scandinavian man with chiseled features? Again, because this serves political purposes.
Could it be simply the vain imagination that has created these things? God has many books and many prophets and many peoples from many faiths. He is not limited by the prejudices of a creed, color, faith or religion. If God is God, then his aims are not thwarted by people, ideas, devils or interpretations. You are God’s spirit on earth in as much as in him you live, breathe and have your being.
Reminds me of an illustration by my old zen teacher. Two fish who swim up to each other. One asks, “Where’s the water?.”
” And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.”
Luke 2:10

TheKNYHT's avatar

Isaiah is definitely considered to be the quintessential Messianic prophet, as so many prophecies given by him had to do with the Christ, especially after chapter 40 (but of course there is Isaiah 7:14 and 9:6 as well).
The chapter you quoted from is very Messianic and descriptive, however this verse I believe doesn’t depict Christ as being naturally ugly, but mutilated as a result of the harsh Roman treatment of beating, scourging, and crucifixion. If you back up and read some of the preceding chapter (Chapters and verses were added to the books of the Bible to make referencing easier, around the 2nd and 3rd centry AD, and sometimes they break chapters and ruin the continuity of the thought), it speaks of this brutality that would be perpetrated on the Messiah (check out 52:14).
Also Isa 50:6 “I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting.” Also Psalm 22.
While I can appreciate the artistry behind portraits of Christ, I recognize that this is merely a rendition, and not actual, as there is no description of the physical traits of Christ Jesus (other than those relating to His Passion).
As to the multi-cultural plug for validity in all religions, may I politely disagree by saying that if God indeed revealed Himself adequately, and made His mind clear enough to us through a single representation manifested in a book, any other books would be superfluous, and whereas they disagree with that divine revelation, they would be wrong.
Which begs the question, So why is the Bible the exclusive truth?
Good question and worth answering!

SeventhSense's avatar

Jesus said, I am the way, the truth and the life
Buddha said, Under heaven and earth, I alone am holy.
They were both saying the same thing.
When you can grasp that you can tackle Revelation.

fireside's avatar

When we teach a child about morality, we start very simply Yes and No.
As the child gets older, the messages need to change because there really aren’t clear cut answers to many questions so it becomes Yes, but and No, because.

Do you really think Humanity was mature enough 2000 years ago to understand the complexities, or is there some reason to think that a Loving God would provide an updated message?

@SeventhSense – and Krishna said, “When goodness grows weak, when evil increases, I make myself a body. In every age I come back to deliver the holy, to destroy the sin of the sinner; to establish righteousness.”

Introverted_Leo's avatar

I haven’t really read any of the newer responses, but this has nothing to do with them…

Anyways, for clarification of my thoughts, even though I think the Bible can become a form of idolatry for some people that doesn’t make the Bible itself an idol. The Bible is meant to give us good news (hence the term “The Gospel”) and meant to be used as a guide to living the way God meant for us to live. It does not save people and it does not change people. It only shares a message (about Jesus, the God he serves and their power to bring about profound change in believing people’s lives) and gives believers advice. There really isn’t anything beyond these things that it was meant to do.

What people chose to make of it, add to it or take away from it is up to them. But to turn it into anything else (say, a tool of war or blame, etc.) is making it into something it is not. That’s where people, Christians or otherwise, tend to get into trouble.

SeventhSense's avatar

The one I quoted clearly speaks of a youth young plant etc.
You refer to the following which points to his cricifixion and abuse
ISAIAH 52:14
14 Just as there were many who were appalled at him [c]—
his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any man
and his form marred beyond human likeness—

fundevogel's avatar

I suppose if you read it, it’s a religious tool, but if you just like to thump the cover it’s something else.

From a personal stand point I don’t know if I’d go as far as to call it an idol, but as a Christian you are definitely taught to treat it as a sacred object. It’s got those infuriatingly thin pages, that you have to handle oh-so-carefully or they’ll tear and the gold along the edges of the page and the fancy embossing. And a lot of the time you get yours as some sort of sucky present masquerading as a landmark in your life. They stuff the front with family trees and generic personal inscriptions.

Bibles may not be idols in and of themselves but they are definitely trumped up as significantly more than the paper they’re printed on, which, at the very least puts it in the neighborhood of say….the American flag, an object which is seen to embody more than thread and dye, and as such you pay it honors and respect not for what it is but what it is symbolizing.

I don’t really care for that. It’s a thing. I’ll treat it like a thing. I’ll treat it good if I want to keep it clean, or make sure it lasts, but that’s the extent of motivation behind my treatment of it.

Sellz's avatar

@fundevogel: You summed that up perfectly


fireside's avatar

@fundevogel – How about the US Constitution instead of the flag? Same sentiment?

fundevogel's avatar

I personally wouldn’t put the Constitution in the same ballpark. Mostly because it is rarely held sacred or special as an object in the way that a Bible or flag would be. Few people have copies of it and often when it is reprinted it is just as text (the original writing is pretty hard to read). The original certainly has significance, but I think that comes from it being a historical artifact, not an object people get stoked about making pilgrimages to. At least not most people.

So on the whole, generally when people refer to the Constitution it is to the ideas and laws it contains, not it’s physical incarnation. As a physical object it does not seem to be treated as something beyond a piece of paper or a really old piece of historical paper they’re trying to keep from disintegrating at a museum. You could say the same of the Magna Carta.

Qingu's avatar

Two ways the Constitution differs from the Bible:

• The Constitution does not claim to be divinely inspired.

• The Constitution allows for changes to itself.

fireside's avatar

I was talking about a direct substitution.

the American flag US Constitution, an object which is seen to embody more than thread and dye parchment and ink, and as such you pay it honors and respect not for what it is but what it is symbolizing.

Sellz's avatar

@fundevogel: You summed that up perfectly


maccmann's avatar

It would be mad-funny if it was! Another in a looooong line of self-contradicting statements contained therein.


ShauneP82's avatar

These theological debates are getting old. Yeah there are a lot ass holes out their eager to peg a right and a wrong on God. What it boils down to ladies and gentlemen is faith. Do you have faith?

Sellz's avatar

@ShauneP82 I do. I like that yo. Good job.

ShauneP82's avatar

@Sellz Thank you. : )

CMaz's avatar

Has the Bible become a form of idolatry? Being part of a VERY large Christian organization. (Let’s not go there) And seeing, how absolute your faith needs to be in order for a VERY large Christian organization to run. The bottom line is IT SURE IS! And, always has been. But don’t tell them that.

kess's avatar

Faith in God by it’s very character is a state of being in which the only tangible evidence of a person possesing such is by their works or fruits.

If I say That I have faith and I base my relationship with God only on what is written by others then my faith is nothing but a legal contract or law.
I may have knowledge of God but not know God.
But that really is not Faith at all for that just law.

So when we see a book which has a blasphemous name ” Word of God” ( bible) and directly contradicts what is already established in Scripture as the guide to all truth ( Holy Spirit ) .

We must shun it, for we have created a faith for ourselves that can be seen and Judged by man.

True faith comes from within by the Word of Truth (Jesus) and this word gives one the assurance that He is a Child of God. From this Truth comes Good works, and cannot ever be seperated from it and both make up the foundation of Faith.

And clearly we see the Bible being the anti christ that was already at work at the time of the apostles.

fundevogel's avatar

@kess Interesting. But if the Bible is not to be trusted, why do you still put faith in Jesus? The claims of his goodness and divinity all originated in the book you refer to as the antichrist, and should therefore be untrustworthy by your logic.

kess's avatar

The collection of writing is bible.

The writings themselves are scriptures.

The scriptures are the knowledge of those who walk by faith.
Plus the history of the event unfolding.

Therefore the scriptures can give some knowledge of God as any man who knows God would.

But finally all must know God by their own personal faith.
This is the essence and encouragement of almost all scriptures.

By My faith I have determined the scriptures are a reliable source of knowledge, for it verify the things I have know through faith.

Scriptures can be written everyday.
Unlike the bible which is untouchable.

KingCupcake's avatar

Bible should be read as word of God. Sometimes its true that people give more importance to the book itself rather than what is inside it.

that is defiantly true!!. im guilty of this, sadly, but i don’t do it anymore. i had 6 bibles (not anymore).. at the time i only cared about the style and the smoothness rather than the content inside.. i gave my bibles away (i bought them for the looks) and i made my parents to go to Chapters to choose a bible for me.

JenniferP's avatar

If people kiss the Bible then it is an idol. But reading it, believing it and living by it isn’t a form of idolatry. What is a perfect example of idolatry to me is the way people treat the American flag. It can’t touch the ground and people need to salute it. When it is disposed of it has to be burned. It is a piece of cloth, nothing more.

Nullo's avatar

The very Word of God isn’t the local phonebook, is it?

flutherother's avatar

There are two bibles: one is open the other is closed. Like people’s minds.

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