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truecomedian's avatar

Why should I believe in the Bible?

Asked by truecomedian (3932points) September 19th, 2010

What is it about the Bible that makes it the foundation of certain religions? How do I go about believing in this book and whose interpretaion should I believe?

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37 Answers

chocolatechip's avatar

Why are you asking us what you should believe in?

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

Listen to various religious perspectives and see if any of them satisfy your needs and decide if you believe in what they teach and preach. Only you can decide.

truecomedian's avatar

@chocolatechip
because it’s a question.

BoBo1946's avatar

It’s a decision only you can make. For me, it’s the word of God, my creator and my Father. Everyone interprets the Bible differently. My suggestion would be to get in a good Bible class, get the facts, and make your own decision.

Salome my friend.

Austinlad's avatar

I get what @truecomedian is asking, and it’s a key question. We’re told all our lives we should—must—believe in the Bible, but why should we? And my reply is, we can respect and admire its finest tenets without necessarily believing either that it was written by a supreme being wrote or that everything in it is believable or relevant. It’s a guidebook, not but it’s not the only guidebook. I’ve tried to word this so as not to sound blasphemous or cynical, but I’m sure some or many will disagree strongly with me. But . ... regardless of what I believe, I would never say you shouldn’t believe it’s the Word of God. And listen, if I wind up in some eternal Bible study class in the afterlife because I’m wrong, I promise to study very, very hard.

Sarcasm's avatar

Well there are a lot of arguments to believe in some deity. e.g. certainty; comfort in thinking there’s someone protecting you; knowledge that the “someone” has a goal for you; eternal pleasure in an afterlife, etc.

To believe in the Bible specifically?
Fitting in with the community, I guess. 76% of the U.S. is still Christian.

nebule's avatar

@truecomedian I too struggle with this question and can’t see how anyone can really find any truth in the matter…unless one studies it for the entirety of ones lifetime… For the time being I lean on the view that there is so much open to varying interpretation that it’s probably impossible to actually find the truth so I trust what my heart says and treat people with compassion…that’s a much easier and quicker lesson than reading the bible and trying to figure it all out! :-)

Ben_Dover's avatar

Always ask why!

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

The Bible is the foundation of many religions, because it is (in my opinion) the textbook of the most highly evolved religious system. It represents the most successful memeplex in the religious sphere, and as such has inspired many religious people to believe that it is divine and somehow infallible.

As far as your personal beliefs go, the only good reason for you to believe the Bible is that if you are convinced that it is true. That is something you must find out for yourself, if you decide it is worth the effort. No one can, or should attempt to, tell you what to believe.

iamthemob's avatar

As stated above – you should believe your own interpretation of the bible. But that also means you also have to be ready to listen to other interpretations, and prepare to let your own interpretation grow with those.

Unlike @Austinlad, I am more than happy to state that I don’t think you should believe that the bible is the word of god. A literal interpretation just gets you mixed up in a quagmire of contradictory statements which can only be resolved through non-literal interpretations, but then you are taking some parts literal, and some parts as metaphors, and it all breaks down. If you believe that it is the word of men inspired by god, that’s something I have to respect. But men are fallible, both in agenda and in communication (whether they said something they didn’t mean to, use colloquialisms that don’t hold over time, transcribe something wrong, translate something wrong, lose a page, lose a book, etc.).

Is the bible true? No, I believe it’s not. Is there truth in the bible? Yes, I absolutely believe so. And the truth you can gain from it will become more clear to you if you study it not in a vacuum, but with an eye to it’s historical moment, development, interpretation, criticism, and the teachings it contains that are similar and different from other religions and moral philosophies.

Ron_C's avatar

Your religious beliefs should be yours alone, a person of your choosing can lead you to discover your religious beliefs but not a forum like this.

As to believing in the bible, I seen nothing good coming from that. The more I learn about it the less I believe in its god and the more appalling the stories. No one under 18 should be allowed to read it uncensored.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

You shouldn’t. But if you are of a religion that considers it important, then I’m sure this is an excellent question to be asking yourself.

truecomedian's avatar

Thank you for the perspective. I ask this because I was recently approached by two missionaries. I was polite and chose to hear what they had to say. As I listened to them I admired their conviction but it boggled my mind how they assumed that I felt the bible was true. They read some scriptures that kinda said I should believe what they do, but my belief in the book to begin with was never established, just assumed. I feel it’s odd how a religion that doesn’t believe in reincarnation doesn’t seem to take into account that they would have believed different if only they were born elsewhere. My point being, I agree that there is truth in the bible, but that no book is good enough to hurt someone over.

BarnacleBill's avatar

To me the bible boils down to key lessons:
Golden Rule – do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
Prodigal Son – the one who has strayed back from the right way and have come back are celebrated. This is a really hard one, because if you’ve been doing the right thing all along, it seems like you get no recognition for that.
The Last Shall Be First – All people have the same personal dignity.
Money Changers in the Temple – Financial reward has nothing to do with your value as a person.
Loaves and Fishes – People collectively will help for the common good.
Good Samaritan – help people in need because it’s the right thing to do.
Let He Who Is Without Sin Cast the First Stone – All people are as imperfect the next person.

If you need accountability to a book or higher authority to work towards these concepts, have at it.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@BarnacleBill “This is a really hard one, because if you’ve been doing the right thing all along, it seems like you get no recognition for that.”
Who does the right thing for the recognition?

BarnacleBill's avatar

@FireMadeFlesh, that’s exactly the whole point, which is sometimes hard for people to grasp when people get attention for no longer doing the wrong thing. Jealousy is hard, especially for young people. And for lots of not-so-young people.

ChocolateReigns's avatar

Just think about it. Think back to high school science. You know how complicated your body and the entire world is. Could that have possibly just showed up without any creator? That’s a bit of a stretch. The Bible is the one book, Christianity is the one religion that fits together as intricately as it does. I’m continually amazed at it. I hope people understand what I love about it.

BarnacleBill's avatar

@ChocolateReigns, it sounds like you get the same satisfaction that I get out of perpetuating Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy. Not to say that I don’t believe in a supreme creator of some sort, I do. I believe that Jesus and the resurrection story is a way of combating fear of death, and what happens after you die, as if as a human we can control it. Humans are all about control. And that’s where the trouble begins. When people are more interested in controlling others than in controlling themselves.

Jabe73's avatar

Even though I’ve read the bible I do not remember a great deal of it but I do believe there are some very true spiritual messages in it. I can’t tell you what they are however, it is something you have to decide for yourself. I would be careful not to take everything literally however but there are some important messages in the bible.

Russell_D_SpacePoet's avatar

You shouldn’t. Even the main Christian religions pick and choose the parts of it they abide by.

ChocolateReigns's avatar

@Russell_D_SpacePoet, By the way, not all of us pick and choose. I will take any part of the Bible you might try to tell me I’m not living by, and I’ll take it and either try to change my life because I wasn’t living right, or I’ll show you how, when taken in context and if you use the original Greek, it doesn’t actually mean what you thought it did. I know that sounds kind of strange.

Russell_D_SpacePoet's avatar

@ChocolateReigns Even the parts about the treatment of women.?You’re ok with slavery? I don’t know how well read you are on the bible. There are things in there that I have a hard time believing you could go along with.You see the church picked and chose from MANY gospels long before you or I were around. They omitted the parts that didn’t fit their overall agenda or views for the time.

iamthemob's avatar

@Russell_D_SpacePoet

Are you talking Old Testament or New Testament.

Russell_D_SpacePoet's avatar

@iamthemob The old testament has most of the stuff ignored, glossed over, or forgotten. Why should it matter if it is old or new testament? I thought it was all supposed to be the word of God?

ChocolateReigns's avatar

@Russell_D_SpacePoet The ones about treatment of women were in different circumstances, and you might be taking it out of context. And, no, I don’t think slavery is all right. I don’t think God specifically addressed whether or not slavery in general was all right. It was more like being an employee back then, anyway. When the Bible references slavery, it’s telling the equivalent to employers to treat their employees well.
And, yes, sadly, people still do pick and choose which parts of the Bible to use or not use. That’s not how it should be.

iamthemob's avatar

@Russell_D_SpacePoet

It matters because the new testament laws were meant to supersede much of the law in the old testament. If you’re talking about Christians, the new testament was meant to supersede a lot of stuff form the old testament.

Russell_D_SpacePoet's avatar

@iamthemob See, that is one of my problems with religion. God said this, but wait, no he said this…Then of course all of that is open to interpretation.

iamthemob's avatar

@Russell_D_SpacePoet

But we’re talking about the bible – if you read it with a full understanding as to it’s historical and political contexts, the languages and translations it’s gone through, then there is reason to believe in it because the statements made can be understood in context, and don’t seem so ridiculous.

Russell_D_SpacePoet's avatar

@iamthemob That’s just it. The bible was written by man. It was therefore influenced by the politics of the time frames it was written in. It was changed and molded to keep faithful subservient. when the church decided what gospels were to be used in the new testament, they omitted many gospels. Gospels which were supposed to be the word of God also, but the books omitted didn’t fit the direction the church was going. I also think that no one has a full understanding of the historical and political context of the bible.

iamthemob's avatar

@Russell_D_SpacePoet

Nobody said it was written by god. There’s a difference between taking a literal interpretation of the bible and understanding and believing in the bible.

You, for instance, are taking a literal interpretation of “the word of god.”

Russell_D_SpacePoet's avatar

@iamthemob Well, the authors of the various gospels said it was the word of God. Said they were “divinely” inspired. BTW, I have had many Christians tell me the bible was written by God through man. So I have been told it was written by God.

iamthemob's avatar

@Russell_D_SpacePoet

Nope. You were told it was written by God through man.

Besides, are those the ones you think are of the majority opinion? No. Divine inspiration, yes. But that doesn’t negate fallibility.

There are plenty of things that we believe in that are totally open to fallibility.

Russell_D_SpacePoet's avatar

@iamthemob I’m sorry. You were not in my conversation with this person so you don’t know what all I was told. I made the point the bible was written by man. I was told it was written by god. God took control of the man and wrote through him,. “Therefore the bible was written by God.” Exact quote from the guy. I agree there are plenty of things we believe in that are totally open to fallibility. Like interpretation of the bible, God, etc.

iamthemob's avatar

@Russell_D_SpacePoet

You were never told god sat down, with a pen in hand, and wrote the bible. If you had been, you would have said so. Another person’s argument about how they mean “written by god” is what some guy or girl said, and not what you yourself should necessarily get from the bible.

But assuming, sure, okay…someone told you it was. And?

Artie's avatar

I don’t believe in the Bible because there are six! different Bibles:

1. Jewish
2. Protestant
3. Catholic
4. Anglican
5. Greek-Orthodox
6. Ethiopian

and they contain anywhere from 24 to 81 books. The only way you could possibly believe in any one of them is if you were raised to believe in it. If you weren’t how would you even know which one to pick?

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