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freestyletrue's avatar

The Bible: Should we take it to the exact letter?

Asked by freestyletrue (126points) July 13th, 2009

I am not an expert on religion, but I remember being in sunday school with my sister, and she was kicked out of it for saying, “I don’t Believe in Cannibalism.” When we learned that people ate the flesh of christ, and drank his blood (Not sure what the full story was…). My family drifted away from church-going-stuff when we moved to Europe, but now that we are back in the U.S., I feel like so many people are taking the bible too seriously, and I have to ask:
Is the bible a sort of, “story-book” that dumbs down what really happened, or should it be taken to following everything it says. I mean, I don’t have a problem with gay people, but so many people take the bible to the extreme. Hasn’t it been rewritten, parts taken out and changed by priests that didn’t agree with it? How can people be sure that it isn’t playing like “telephone”, where the message is changed the longer it goes on? I’m sorry if this is too long or something, but it really bugs me sometimes. xD

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45 Answers

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peyton_farquhar's avatar

This person is new. Instead of throwing names at him and presenting the image of douchebaggery we can try to answer this question or at least refer him to the archives of the many hundreds of similar questions asked before this one.

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JLeslie's avatar

That is what I always say, the game of telephone, and then translated into another language just to ass another step to lose information and intent. It’s stupidity to think every single word is the word of Christ and God. I do not mean it is stupid to think there are useful lessons in the bible.

@freestyletrue what part of the country are you living in?

Rsam's avatar

the quick answer is no. especially once you look at Leviticus, alot of Ezekiel, and other Old Testament portions. its a thing christians dont like talking about. thus, troll.

freestyletrue's avatar

I’m sorry, I just joined here, I didn’t mean to sound like a troll. I tried searching for one first, but I only found users. Sorry.

peyton_farquhar's avatar

See? He didn’t mean to sound like a troll. Poor guy has to jump to his own defense on his very first question because you guys are so mean.

Thammuz's avatar

Ok serious answer: No we shouldn’t. In fact we should regard it as any piece of literature which portrays as true mythological monsters and deities (Beowulf, Hyliad and so on).

freestyletrue's avatar

I’m a girl actually! xD And really, I don’t mean to offend anyone by this question, it’s just that I didn’t know it WOULD offend people.

Thammuz's avatar

@freestyletrue it actually didnt’ sound like it was meant to offend. It sounded like you were one of those people who enjoy starting a war to enjoy the show from the sidelines…

Then again, who really cares? Troll, legit, i don’t care as long as there is debate

JLeslie's avatar

@freestyletrue welcome to Fluther, don’t get discouraged by these people, it is a great site.

ABoyNamedBoobs03's avatar

It’s a difficult question to answer. it depends on whether or not you view the bible as the literal word of god. If you do, then you kind of have to take it word for word, if you don’t, you can view them as metaphorical.

JLeslie's avatar

@ABoyNamedBoobs03 its more than that, not just metaphoric. I might say, “Jan told me that if you eat 600 calories more a day, you will gain 4 pound by the end of the month.” But, lets say later it is discovered that it is actually only 500 calories a day not 600. It does not mean the basic advice is bad, just a detail is incorrect. So, the stories of the bible might have some truth, but when something is proven to be incorrect it does not mean you have to throw the whole book in the trash.

cwilbur's avatar

Can we put an admonition against all this religion/anti-religion bullshit put into the site guidelines?

freestyletrue's avatar

Ah, thank you everyone! And Again, sorry for any annoyance or whatever! ^_^ I’ll try and make sure my questions haven’t been answered before I post them, thank you for the answers!

sap82's avatar

No, because the bible is a book written by several accounts, it is a compilation of many different stories and historical events. There are errors and contradictions. It is supposed to inspire your faith and relationship with God through Christ. The true way to have that relationship is through life and interaction with other people; just like Christ. Reading the bible won’t save you from shit.

SuperMouse's avatar

Read Jesus Interrupted, that should answer this question for you.

Jeruba's avatar

It is the work of men. Brilliant men it may be, even inspired. I happen to think that the King James Version is the pinnacle of literary achievement in English. But men nonetheless, mortal and flawed like you and me and no more gods than any other committee of translators, writers, and editors.

SuperMouse's avatar

@Jeruba, may I add, mortal men with an agenda.

veronasgirl's avatar

If we take the Bible completely literally we should be stoning adulterers, sacrificing animals, not eating fruit from trees that are younger than three years old, not wearing clothing of mixed fibers, and not having any physical contact with women who have their period. And most of that is just a few examples from the old testament.
@freestyletrue I have asked this question before, and I don’t think you meant to offend anyone. As @Thammuz said, you might be one of those people that just wants to watch from the sidelines as we battle it out over theologic differences. OR you could just be curious. I read the Year of Living Biblically by A.J. Jacobs and I learned a lot.

nebule's avatar

Was the word “troll” used in this sense; developed by the good kind people of Fluther for this purpose? It seems a little incongruent with the friendly nature of the place :-)

Dorkgirl's avatar

@veronasgirl recommended “The Year of Living Biblically” and I do too. It’s an interesting experiment, in part done humorously, but with a serious side.
AJ Jacobs does not purport to give any difinitive answer to this question, but he does explore it from an interesting perspective.
Also, give Bill Maher’s “Religulous” a try. It’s a documentary that asks similar questions about why people believe. He’s not very subtle, but it is interesting.

Jack79's avatar

I don’t think it is meant to be taken literally. Unfortunately some people do.

CMaz's avatar

“it depends on whether or not you view the bible as the literal word of god. If you do, then you kind of have to take it word for word”

Says who? It is a matter of knowing what was factual (truly factual) , what to take out of context. And, to understand what relates to the time and the mindset of the people there in.

brettvdb's avatar

@lynneblundell Unfortunately while most people here are very friendly, there are some who see a question they don’t like and simply attack immediately. This type of behavior is counter-productive to a site like this, where all kinds of questions are supposed to be encouraged.

Ivan's avatar

I’d really like to know what all of those ‘removed’ comments said.

brettvdb's avatar

@Ivan they were premature accusations about trolling.

Ivan's avatar

Of course

jeanna's avatar

I’m glad to see the comments were removed. I was quite disappointed when the very first comment said nothing but “troll”.

jeanna's avatar

Having read the bible, I find that it does religious people great harm in following it word for word. Everything is left for interpretation, right? I like to believe that true christians take the good parts from the bible and live their lives as they should, doing the good works their god would want them to do.

Jeruba's avatar

@SuperMouse, yes, indeed, you may.

bea2345's avatar

You cannot take the Bible literally, because some of it is contradictory, and much of it is difficult to understand, and it has come to us through too many translators and transcribers, some of whom had agendas. But that does not make it useless. There is much of good information in its pages, notably the accounts of Jesus’ life ind the Gospels; inspiration for prayer in the Psalms, and so on.

Dorkgirl's avatar

@jenna who determines the “good parts”? And what’s makes a “true christian”?

Also, Christians are not the only people who follow or believe in the contents of the bible. The Torah is the first 5 books of the bible and Jews follow the Old Testament. Also, much of the Qur’an is identical to the bible.

Even people who may not align themselves with a religous group may still hold values that can be found in the bible—do unto others, etc.

Blondesjon's avatar

If it works for you, why not? If it doesn’t, good luck finding something that does.

see how easy that is

chris1002's avatar

well it is deluted the bible is a good guideline on how to live your life just like pretty much any other religion out there it all the same basic structure be good to others and they will be good to you dont steal dont kill just treat others the way you want to be treated and youll have a good life. i know there are a few that may not follow this but the majority does. there are books missing from the bible ones that have been taken out and probably some we havent even found yet. and as jlelsie said the game telephone it been rewritten so many times that there is no way that its still accurate to the original.

cyn's avatar

thank-you for asking the question.
I must confess that I do believe in God, but I also believe that the bible is written in story-form.

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

It would be ridiculous to assume that nothing was allegorical in the Bible. Reading it as literal as it seems you are reading it is simply incorrect.

As far as being certain that the bible is correct you need only investigate for yourself. Read it with an open mind and an open heart.

cyn's avatar

…...therefore, I don’t rely in the bible so much.

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

don’t hate me because I thought this was a troll masquerading as a legit question; I made a mistake, I am sorry I jumped to conclusions. You just never know anymore.

besides, it was epony’s fault, he started it, hate him instead of me, I was led astray by the monkey man. ;-)

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Did they REALLY kick your sister out of Sunday School?

OK, I know Christ kicked out the money lenders in the temple, but that was because they turned Gods house into a den of thieves.

But to kick a kid out of Sunday School…? Really?

That’s exactly the mentality that gives Christianity a bad rap these days. What in the world would go through a child’s mind with that one? To be young and accused of heresy because she wouldn’t drink the cool-aid… Those who laid the guilt trip on her will have the most to answer for at the pearly gates. Christian in name only.

Oh yeah… the Bible

Look for the lessons. Beyond the history, prophecy, seemingly apparent contradictions, vulgarities, injustices, mandates, and dogma… Look for the lessons.

They are the same wonderful lessons that you will find in most any other religious text.

mattbrowne's avatar

What does the word ‘sunrise’ mean to you? There are 7 letters and 2 phonemes. Does the sun actually rise i.e. move above the horizon?

mattbrowne's avatar

I meant 2 morphemes of course.

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