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Posts Tagged ‘new testament’

I have decided to seek evidence to support a new theory that suggests religion and collectivism have a common source…

I wanted to write these down before I lost track of the verses so I thought I might as well do so in a facebook note.  I got involved in a couple of discussions where I brought up a common [trick] question I ask of many Christians, mainly:

     Where in the bible does the following quote come from?:

The good lord helps those that help themselves

It’s a trick question because it’s not in the bible, but like so many other things believers believe, the fact of that eludes them and they presume that it does.  The sentiment shows up in various writings going back thousands of years and the first similar reference to it shows up way back pre-BC in Aesop’s fables in a story about a man with a cart that gets stuck in the mud.  He prays to Hercules for the help of his strength and Hercules actually shows up and tells him that his cart will not go free if he just sits and prays all day.  (it’s also where the phrase, ‘put your shoulder to the wheel’ comes from Hercules and the Wagoneer)

The reason I find this question pertinent is because the Christian bible and the Judea old testament that it springs from don’t say this.  In fact, they tell quite a different story entirely.  Namely that you are not supposed to help, do or think for yourself but simply obey and serve.  The message(s) repeated throughout suggest that one is not supposed to think for themselves, not supposed to do for themselves, one is told that judgment is not theirs to make, greed and want are sins, self-motivation or self-determination are the acts of a fool and the ability to ‘know’ is the original sin.

So I’ve started collecting the various verses that pertain to this type of thinking and I will add more later as I find them.  If you know of any other good verses in this vane, please feel free to let me know and I’ll check them out and add them to the list:

Old Testament

proverbs 3:5

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart  and lean not on your own understanding

proverbs 3:7

“Do not be wise in your own eyes”

proverbs 21:30

“No wisdom, insight, or counsel can prevail against the LORD”

proverbs 28:26

“Those who trust in themselves are fools, but those who walk in wisdom [of God] are kept safe.”

Psalm 53:1

“The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, and their ways are vile; there is no one who does good.”

Jerimiah 9:23-24

“This is what the LORD says: “Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows [God]”

Jerimiah 10:23

“LORD, I know that people’s lives are not their own; it is not for them to direct their steps.”

Jerimiah 17:9

“[Man’s] heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure.”

Isaiah 5:21

“Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight.”

Isaiah 44:25

“[I am the Lord]  who overthrows the learning of the wise and turns it into nonsense”

Isaiah 47:10

You have trusted in your wickedness and have said, ‘No one sees me.’ Your wisdom and knowledge mislead you when you say to yourself, ‘I am, and there is none besides me.’”

New Testament

John 15:5

“If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”

1st Corinthians 1:19

For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”

1st Corinthians 1:20

“Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?”

1st Corinthians 1:25

“[the] foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.”

1st Corinthians 8:2

“Those who think they know something don’t really know very much.”

1st Corinthians 3:18-19

“Do not deceive yourselves. If any one of you thinks he is wise by the standards of this age, he should become a “fool” so that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight.”

1st Corinthians 13:8

[with the coming of God’s ‘perfection’] ” if there is knowledge, it will be done away.”

2nd Corinthians 3:5

“Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God.”

original sin in the Old Testament

Genesis

2:17 “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”

3:4-5 “And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.”

(amazing that right there in the beginning of it all, we not only learn our greatest sin is our own sentience and daring to exercise free will, but in the process we meet the so-called evil Satan through the serpent – by way of God telling a lie and the serpent telling the objective truth and being the cause of man gaining knowledge and exercising free will.  That should tell you something right there about the ‘true’ nature of Judea mythology.  If that doesn’t convince you, try counting just how many people the ‘good guy’ God kills in both books some time and compare it to the number killed by the ‘evil guy’.

Who killed more people in the bible?

And no, this is not a ‘pro-Satan’ sentiment. Both notions – the existence of an all powerful God and the existence of an evil adversary that the all powerful God allows to wreak havoc on the so-called beings he created and loves – are equally absurd! I point it out merely to show the idiocy of bible doctrine. It might make for good fiction but for a way of life that you are told to follow blindly and never question? Are you serious????)

Additions:

I was driving behind a pickup today with a bumper sticker that read ‘pride kills’ then referred to this proverb:

Proverbs 16:18

Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.

This is not quite as immediately obvious in relation to the others until you look up ‘pride’ in the dictionary. Although it acknowledges modern connotations of an inordinate self-evaluation, it also refers to “pleasure or satisfaction taken in something done by or belonging to oneself or believed to reflect credit upon oneself”

This translates to a condemnation by religion in any self acknowledgement of doing things well, or taking joy or pleasure in your achievements and the possessions you earn as a result of it. Thus it is in fact the same principle – you should only be ‘glad’ according to the church, if you ‘glorify God’. And since only God can judge your adherence to these things – well, I guess you are SoL, you just can’t be glad! Your only joy is the joy of the obedient, non-thinking moron!

Further comment: [2/22/2013]
This list is specific to those verses that describe man’s pursuit of knowledge and use of his brain as being ‘foolish’ or otherwise discouraged and worthy of condemnation. If I get time, I will try to put another one together that spells out all the instances in both books of the bible that depict man as worthless, deceitful and otherwise gutter trash without the almighty revelations of ‘God’ and these unsubstantiated mythologies. I say ‘if I get time’ because I can see already that any post of that sort is probably going to be at least 10 times as long as this one due to the number of times it occurs.

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There was an old sinner in the eighteenth century who declared that, if there were no God, he would have to be invented.
– Fyodor Dostoyevski from Brother’s Karamazov

Often misattributed as “”If God does not exist, everything is permitted,” this is a contention that is either stated or implied in a lot of pro-religion arguments. Namely, that without religion as a source of positive moral values — or at least without the unseen hand of God influencing the acts of men — good things and good behavior is not possible.  That in the absence of religion, society would be incapable of doing the right thing and existence would be downright intolerable.

Despite the fact that many periods in history seem to demonstrate that under one religiously influenced or empowered regime after another life has been quite intolerable indeed, you could still make a reasonable argument that in some primitive societies, religious values have served as a moral compass to help maintain order and improve behavior in such societies.  But what about modern society?

Argumentum ad Nauseum

If you have ever had the misfortune to get into a semantic debate on specific verses of the bible, you will often run into the various ‘interpretation’ arguments.

  • Was Jonah really swallowed by a fish?
  • Did Noah really have 2 of EVERY animal on earth on his ark as the ENTIRE planet was flooded?
  • Were there really giants living in Jericho?

Any semi-reasonable Christian or Hebrew will say ‘of course not!’ and point out that such lessons are allegorical or parables.

You also run into the anochronistic-relevancy type argument when addressing various rules or verses.  “Well that applied to tribal societies in the desert, not to modern life in a technological age.

The general answer that you get from people who admit to not taking the ‘entire’ bible as rote is that the stories told in the bible are often times symbolic or serve as period-specific lessons that can be related to real life, even present day scenarios.  (yet, the same people will often rely on ‘certain’ verses to the letter when addressing specific things they do not like and want to demonize or change)

But Jesus re-wrote the book!

Even if you buy into the argument that Jesus brought forth a new age via the New Testament, there are still many verses of that testament which people do not take literally or follow as absolute rules governing their behavior.

For example, you will not find many modern Christian women that abide by the verses in 1st Peter chapter 3 that tell them to be submissive to their husbands and not wear adornments such as jewelry and make-up or to style their hair.

Another example is the focus on ‘family values’ predominant in western Christianity which seems to disregard the message of Jesus to a gathering crowd in Luke 14:25-33.  He tells them that if you are to truly be a disciple of Christ, you must hate everyone else in comparison — even your own family and even your own life.

Yet another example is the complete disregard of the lessons of selflessness and altruism repeated throughout the preachings of Christ, but especially repeated in Acts and 2nd Corinthians.  Multiple passages implore the followers (of Christ) to sell all their belongings to give to the poor, often times based specifically on ‘need’.  You don’t see too many people on the religious right repeating these verses as they condemn the social redistribution policies of their political opponents on the left.

This differentiation between old testament vs. new testament dogma is just further support of the kind of thing that I am referring to.  Determining which verses are relevant and should be taken literally and which are symbolic or dated and should only serve as a metaphorical lesson are ‘choices’ — either of the individual believer or of the particular denomination or theologian.

It’s all a matter a choice

So what does this mean amidst a culture that often uses religion as a justification for banning gay marriage or effecting the healthcare decisions between a woman and her doctor?  What does it say for a society that still fights with pockets of antisemitism and a growing xenophobia toward followers of Islam? [1]  What does it say for a culture that still struggles between views of creationism and theories of evolution and natural selection?

The reality is that most people ‘will‘ tell you that verses in the bible are often symbolic or open to interpretation.  They ‘will‘ say many are allegorical in nature or speak of only references to philosophical or moral and ethical lessons and truths.  Yet, as mentioned, the religious will still cite specific references to support their arguments on various topics. Often when challenged on those topics.  And generally such notions are challenged due to a question as to the moral right or ethical good of a given behavior or philosophical view.

What I am getting at is, that when it comes to some choices regarding what the bible seems to regard as being a ‘good Christian’ — such as selling all of your possessions, disowning your family and humbling yourself before God — the ‘believer’ makes a choice to disregard those parts of the Bible that do not suit them or the culture and age in which they live. They choose to see such concepts as metaphorical.  The same person then abdicates their choice in reference to other passages, deferring to ‘the will of God’ in support of that which might not be as acceptable outside of the context of the religion.

When such a person skims through the Old Testament they choose to see the instructions to stone the infidels or to cut the throats of adulterers as ‘dated’ concepts but then call upon the lines in Deuteronomy to condemn same-sex relationships or rules in Leviticus to demonize abortion procedures and those that participate in their practice.

By their fruits you shall know them…

History is full of examples where religious ideals or specific biblical passages have been and still are used to justify genocide, slavery, segregation, rape, barbarism, sexual and racial discrimination and many other concepts that are no longer considered [chosen] to be acceptable today by the majority of civilized society.

The word ‘chosen‘ is the important thing here.  People choose what they seek to identify with as as good moral behavior or good ethical decision making.  And the religious choose to see a verse as a referential lesson rather than a firm law from God.  And when they do so, they choose to instead include observations of reality as a means to determine what really is truly good and what should be deemed bad.

The important thing to observe, which is why I keep repeating it, is that the same religious people will willingly quote from their book verbatim to justify that which they do not consider to be a choice — as justification for that which might be subject to challenge by the others in the society in which they live. They defer to the bible rather than exercise the responsibility to prove their case for those questions which are most likely to be seen by others in our society as questionable.

The ‘Good’ stems from choice, the bad relies on dogma

As someone who uses reality as a compass for my moral code, I am of course going to assert that when you utilize your senses and your capacity for reason that you will arrive at more accurate premises and conclusions when it comes to moral and ethical decisions. People can and should question anything presented to them ‘as fact’, seeking proof of said fact for themselves. (especially when such things come without a basis of evidence to support them)

Thus I think it is a reasonable thing to assert, religion is not a source of good moral behavior or sound ethical lessons.  Even the Christians demonstrate that they choose what is ‘good’ for themselves.  But when it comes to ‘bad’ behavior, what better source than the Bible (or the Torah, Koran, book of the Dead, etc.) to rationalize it, justify it and make it ‘seem’ reasonable.

In other words, people ‘choose’ what they see as good, they use the ‘bible’ to justify what others know is bad.

[1] Yes, I am aware that there are sound reasons to be critical of fundamentalist Islam and even Islam as a whole for not condemning the extremists under their fold.  But what I refer to specifically is, given the history of both Christianity and Judaism, do people speaking from either of those religious perspectives have the integrity to criticize Islam for fundamentalist extremes?

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(originally posted to Facebook on Friday, November 26, 2010)

I figured having a reference for all the ‘socialistic’ altruism in the bible might be useful.  I’ll add more as I come across them.

Old testament

Exodus 22:25
“If you lend money to one of my people among you who is needy, do not be like a moneylender; charge him no interest.”

Leviticus 23:22
“And when you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not make clean riddance of the corners of your field when you reap, neither shall you gather any gleaning of your harvest: you shall leave them to the poor, and to the stranger.”

Leviticus 25:25
“If your brother becomes poor and sells part of his property, then his nearest redeemer shall come and redeem what his brother has sold.”

Leviticus 25:35-37
“If one of your countrymen becomes poor and is unable to support himself among you, help him as you would an alien or a temporary resident, so he can continue to live among you.  Do not take interest of any kind from him, but fear your God, so that your countryman may continue to live among you.  You must not lend him money at interest or sell him food at a profit.”

Deuteronomy 15:1
“At the end of every seven years you must cancel debts.”

Deuteronomy 15:7-8
“If there is a poor man among your brothers in any of the towns of the land that the Lord your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward your poor brother. Rather be openhanded and freely lend him whatever he needs.”

Deuteronomy 15:11
“There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land.”

Deuteronomy 23:24-25 *
“If you enter your neighbor’s vineyard, you may eat all the grapes you want, but do not put any in your basket.”

   * I need to remember this one next time I’m at a devout Christians house – the fridge is free game baby!

New Testament

Matthew 5:42
Jesus said, “Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.”

Matthew 6:2,3
Jesus said, “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do… when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.”

Matthew 19:21-24 (also Mark 10:21-25, Luke 18:22-25)
Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”  When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth. Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”

Luke 14:13,14
Jesus said, “But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”

Acts 2:44-45
“All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need.”

Acts 4:32-35
“All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had… There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need.”

1 Timothy 6:17-18
Paul says, “Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.”

2 Corinthians 8:13-14
Paul says, “Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality. At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. Then there will be equality.”

2 Corinthians 9:6-7
Paul says, “Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”

That last one is a cute one.  ‘not reluctantly or under compulsion.’ And what’s the alternative under Christianity?  BURN IN A FLAMING HELL FOREVER!!!!  Translation:  “God loves blind obedience.”

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