The Bible is roughly as "inspired by God" as "The Iliad". Every culture creates its own mythology to give special meaning to their history. The Egyptians, Sumerians, Babylonians and Greeks all had their own mythology, and certainly the Hebrews created theirs, once they invaded Canaan and became a nation. It is clear that much of the Bible was not original to the Hebrews but borrowed from older sources. The "dividing of the waters" was common to older Egyptian and Sumerian stories. The rainbow story used to claim that the rainbow was Ishtars necklace which she tossed into the sky. Think about the legends concerning American history, such as Paul Bunyan, Pecos Bill, John Henry, etc. Centuries from now, people may belive that these and people really lived as well.
Do You "Believe" In The Bible At All?
I believe that some of it had Divine influence. I certainly don't believe that it was "dictated" from the "mouth" of God directly to the pen of the writers as some people claim. There is enormous evidence that many Old Testament accounts were merely literary works that were derived from much earlier mythology (i.e. the global flood, Samson, Tower of Babel). Personally, I think that much of the Old Testament although containing historical accuracies; contains mythology and politically motivated propaganda. (except Psalms and Proverbs).
The New Testament is a different story. I find many of the parables, principles, and sayings of Jesus Christ to be very powerful and compelling. When I began studying the New Testament without the aid of Watchtower publications, I actually began to see it in a much deeper, more inspiring light. I think that there is overwhelming historical evidence that most of the New Testament is very trustworthy.
No. I believe the Bible is just a book, written by a bunch of men who wanted to control the people. They were smart that's for sure. God/The Bible/religion in general. What better idea to come up with than something that can not be proven either way. You can't prove it's true and you can't prove it's false
Like many a great story and hollywood movie, I believe the Bible is loosely based on real characters and real events with much poetic and literary license taken. Inspired? Probably not. Inspiring? Millions of Christians can't be wrong!
Speaking of movies, my son and I went to see "The Da Vinci Code" to see what all the fuss was about. He really like it and asked me what I thought. I said it was OK, but I thought it was pretty far-fetched. "No more far-fetched than the Bible" he shoots back. Touche!
The Bible is a great source of anthropological information about early civilizations in the Middle East; especially the cultures around Iraq and Iran and Syria. It has an interesting way of describing the stories which were handed down about the change between nomadic herdsmen and cultivating farmers (and remember god didn't favor those farmers). So the beginning is very slanted towards nomads. I could go on and on. Mainly I think I appreciate the Bible more for what it really is rather than what people purport it to be.
If you believe the Bible is Gods word you are taking on an impossible responsibility.
You are presuming that just because a being does something miraculous that that being is neccessarily what it claims to be.
The Bible says the Devil transforms himself into an angel of light. Well if the Devil can pose why can't any other entity impersonate God.
We are only human. Somewhere in this universe there is probably some advanced civilization that could use some wonderful technology to put on a magic show. And because of this you have to believe them or die? How do you know you are not being pacified for the round-up and transport to the slaughter house. We've got some valuable protein in our flesh.
Fortunately, miracles are kind of rare to the point of disappearing so there is no need to believe in much.
Joseph Campbell has a very interesting book on mythology "The Hero with a thousand faces" What it shows is that these myths persist through all cultures and religious text books, and are important for people to believe.
There seems little doubt that the bible can not be taken literally from cover to cover (except for fundamentalists that answer any question, problem or inconsistency with "Don't question God, with God all things are possible). However, I still believe it contains God within its pages and is valuable to life.
It's definitely not God's word. If it was it would not be so cryptic and open to interpretation.
It seems that some folks are as certain about their current beliefs as they were of their former ones...
LT, of the "prefers to give room for diversity and doubt" class
after contemplating another very interesting thread on here regarding Jesus and Zen, I definitely believe that there is an infinite Source of life, and that we are part of it, and we are all learning and growing down here on the earth school/playground. I like how someone in this thread put it: if there is a book made by God, then there would be no doubt. My "God" is huge.