The Chicago Philosophy Meetup Message Board › Philosophy bible readings

Philosophy bible readings

Miguel A
Miguel_A.
Chicago, IL
Post #: 1,275
There are great writings with good philosophical points and extraordinary insights of human nature - look at the works of Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy, Shakespeare... But the Bible is definitely NOT one of them. For each piece of "good stuff" that you can find in it there is such amount of atrocities, absurdities, contradictions and pure nonsense that it really amazes me that it can be thought in any way as a source for good thinking:

http://www.skepticsan...­

An I insist, this gem from 1 Corinthians 1:21-27 is one of the greatest direct insults to intelligence I have ever found (pointed out to me in a discussion as a response to my remarks "such and such point in the Bible does not seem to make sense"):

1:21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.
1:22 For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom:
1:23 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness;
1:24 But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.
1:25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
1:26 For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:
1:27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;

In other words: don't try to understand, God made things deliberately confusing to embarrass the wise, just "believe" and be saved. I.e.: shut up and believe, period!

Someone tell me how that can be a starting point for any kind of worthwhile "philosophy".


Brian
Brian_NA
Chicago, IL
Post #: 48
"Someone tell me how that can be a starting point for any kind of worthwhile "philosophy". "

Why not start with something that resonates with you? Isn't that a better place from which to move forward? Or do you like being upset?
Miguel A
Miguel_A.
Chicago, IL
Post #: 1,276
Why not start with something that resonates with you? Isn't that a better place from which to move forward? Or do you like being upset?
Something that resonates with me in the Bible? That would be like looking for a needle in a haystack. There are far better places to look for wisdom.

There is however some entertaining value in watching Bible scholars trying to solve Biblical conumdrums, such as e.g. the contradictory genealogies of Jesus in Matthew 1:1-17 and Luke 3:23-38. Their position is to take Biblical inerrancy as an untouchable axiom and do their best from there - so e.g. you can explain that contradiction by claiming that one genealogy is the one going through Joseph, and the other one through Mary, or there is also the levirate marriage "theory", etc.

But those are harmless puzzles, where things get really messy is when the Bible contradicts scientific findings such all the evidence in favor of the Theory of Evolution. That leads to this pitiful situation in which nearly half of the American people don't believe in a fundamental pillar of Biological Sciences.

How can one remain indifferent witnessing such disastrous effect in the intellectual level of a whole nation?


Marco G.
Terra-Tremuit
Chicago, IL
Post #: 1
I feel the problem with these ancient texts is that people may approach the Gospels with bloated disdain and prejudice. We must take care of our philosophical spirit, and not succumb to emotion and early dismissal.

Miguel, perhaps unknowingly, makes great examples of the philosophy to be found in the Gospels when he cites Corinthians. A very common theme in the Bible, especially the Corinthians passage, is the necessity of childlike humility to obtain Truth. It can be argued that our beloved Socrates agrees when he says "“The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.” The NT repeatedly emphasizes that the wisdom of "this world" as lacking, and suggests that we’ve become prematurely, emotionally, and willingly attached to it so that it prevents us from abandoning it for the very reason we became philosophers in the first place.

What Jesus is saying, is that real Truth cannot be obtained without the will of an external and divine source. This god will not impart Truth without one accepting this and thus will be unknowable to those who reject this idea. That’s why you will hear people mention “divine revelation”. There are also other things to discuss, such as whether a monotheistic god can exist as a union of 3 distinct “persons” ie Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit.

I don’t see what the problem is. Plato would have a field day with this stuff. Why can’t we?
Miguel A
Miguel_A.
Chicago, IL
Post #: 1,278
A very common theme in the Bible, especially the Corinthians passage, is the necessity of childlike humility to obtain Truth.
The common theme in the Bible would be better described as the necessity of childlike gullibility to believe the unbelievable, but in any case, that passage of Corinthians goes beyond that because it claims that God is making things deliberately absurd with the only purpose of confusing us. If there is a Supreme Being trying to tell us something He/She/It is doing it in a extremely twisted way.

It can be argued that our beloved Socrates agrees when he says "“The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.” The NT repeatedly emphasizes that the wisdom of "this world" as lacking, and suggests that we’ve become prematurely, emotionally, and willingly attached to it so that it prevents us from abandoning it for the very reason we became philosophers in the first place.
I don't see "Socrates' wisdom" in the NT, what I see is "believe and shut up" (with the threat of eternal punishment if you don't do so). Definitely not Socrates' message.


A former member
Post #: 8
What about the passage from the Gospel of Thomas I posted? Is that not clearly philosophical?

As far as the passage about bears in Kings, perhaps it is valuable precisely in that it doesn't obscure the negative side of human nature, what Jungians might call the shadow. Do we not all secretly wish death upon our enemies? And is not precisely the danger of unbalanced "good" that it leads to evil in the name of good? In fact, I am reminded of aspects of the Iraq war, our use of drones, and aspects of the Palestinian situation.

Also--to me the very fact that ideas can be "obviously" problematic, yet readily accepted by numerous people, is surely an interesting and even important philosophical problem.
Miguel A
Miguel_A.
Chicago, IL
Post #: 1,281
What about the passage from the Gospel of Thomas I posted? Is that not clearly philosophical?
I don't know since I don't understand it - perhaps I could be better understood within context... But you are not going to find it in your usual Bible since the Gospel of Thomas is one of the apocrypha and so not included in any version of the Bible.
eric
user 14003769
La Grange, IL
Post #: 63
My wife is a therapist and I overheard her online training on emotional coaching while I was making pancakes this morning. The speaker said that middle schoolers start to see the hypocrisy of their parents and become introspective and start to develop idealistic Utopian models in their mind. This impulse continues in adolescence and can lead to the child thinking they are superior (the parent needs to recognize this and make amends i.e. I am not perfect, etc. in order to maintain a healthy relationship with their kids.) You can see this impulse in Christ in how he related to the Orthodoxy of his time (i.e. the money changers). You can see the same impulse in Buddha to the Orthodoxy of his time (he was critical of the emerging caste system, etc.). You can see it in some posts in this thread. I posted some links to Spiral Dynamics in Miguel's recent thread. The way they talk about this differentiation is that individuals devalue the value they previously had when those values are no longer appropriate to the individuals changing life conditions...the old "laws" no longer hold water. Spiral Dynamics claims this cycle is endless because life conditions never remain static. Most people will go thru 4-7 developmental shifts during their lifetime. The NT encapsulates one of these shifts...from an eye for an eye to turn the other cheek.
Miguel A
Miguel_A.
Chicago, IL
Post #: 1,282
The NT encapsulates one of these shifts...
The NT is basically the account of the branching of a new religion from an older one. The account is of course full of fabrications, e.g. Pilato's reluctance to condemn Jesus, and his resort to a presumed custom of the Roman governor to release one prisoner at Passover - to my knowledge there is no historical record of such custom, that passage is an obvious attempt to exculpate Romans from responsibility for the crucifixion (and place it exclusively on the Jewish people) at a time when the new religious movement was cutting ties with Judaism and trying to spread through the Roman empire. The maneuver was indeed successful, Christianity kept spreading outside the Jewish world, and at the same time placed a charge of deicide on the Jewish people - http://en.wikipedia.o...­
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