Awake! Special Issue - Can You Trust The Bible?
Not once does the Bible endorse harmful (to society or the individual) practices. Not just once. It does so many times. Every time something is sacrificed, it is wasted. Since Jesus provided the atonement for all sin, anything above and beyond that is merely redundant and hence wasteful. Every lamb that is offered up as a sacrifice is a waste of potential food and clothing (except the sick ones that would have died anyway, and the Bible decries that).
And what about all those cases where everything was supposed to have been destroyed? Upon entering the Promised Land, the Israelites were ordered to kill everyone in that land, for the heinous crime of minding their own businesses and being prosperous. Even all their goods were to be destroyed. This was a waste of potential wealth that could have been used in the Israelites' daily lives. And the ideas that led the Canaanites to be wealthy were purged, preventing the nation of Israel from picking up on it and even improving on it. This is inherently harmful to society, which was held back because progress had been destroyed.
Later, when the Greeks dominated, the Bible warns people to stay away from "empty philosophy". What is this "empty philosophy"? None other than Aristotle and Socrates! Were the nation of Israel to get involved in that, they would have totally lost their need for God to lead them. They would have quickly broken out of their stagnation traps, and within a few hundred years would have developed a society that would be ahead of where we are now. Jesus would have come into a world where cars are already in place, the Internet was under construction and in use (and no spyware, either), people were exploring space, and disease was well on its way to being cured. He would have helped build Jerusalem up into a modern city with skyscrapers similar to the ones seen in New York City. Jerusalem would have been like New York City without any of the crime and litter seen there.
Now, when the Bible warns people to stay away from "empty philosophy", they are cutting off progress. Because of that, we are about 2,000 years behind schedule and falling even further behind. We allowed the parasitical rulers a head start in getting entrenched, and the whole existence of earth and its inhabitants is threatened with no certain way out. This is the result of the Bible!!!! People following that stupid advice to stay away from "empty philosophy" as a nation allowed Plato and the church, and then the secular, leaders a chance to get the upper hand. This to me is the ultimate harmful practice that the Bible condones and even commanded.
Not once does the Bible condone harmful practices, because it does so many times. People live in stagnation. There is tremendous waste because of sacrifice to higher causes that do not need us. People let the parasitical secular and religious leaders get a head start, and there is no guarantee that they can be defeated with the huge lead they now have, thanks to the Israelites' being commanded by the Bible to stay away from these "foolish and empty philosophical reasonings" coming from Aristotle and Socrates. Had the Bible encouraged the Israelites to look into, and adopt, those rational philosophies, Israel would have had the upper hand and enough of a head start to have a supersociety in place. Envious nations would have gone to war (and lost) to destroy it, but ultimately they would have been taken down and the smart nations would see Israel working and copy it. And most of our problems would be avoided.
Nice going, Watchtower! You are even worse at encouraging stagnation, strife, and misery even than the Bible was. Time wasted in service, the boring meetings, the no-college rule, no independent study, and giving up everything that is fun all contribute to great emotional and economic harm. I think it's time to give up on the Watchtower and start studying Aristotle and Socrates.
I cannot believe they would publish such an article full of lies and dishonesty.Ex.all their A&W and books are published by WBTS and are (c) yet they say in this A see such and such book published by Jehovah's Witnesses.Also the article mentions that they aren't trying to convert anyone bs.
Well Wizard, you can't jump from an agrarian society to the interwebs, but keeping everyone ignorant and subservient while dismissing science as evil kept progress at a standstill.
Besides, the same shopworn arguments the WT pulls out about the "spherical earth" scripture and other things to prove the Bible as scientifically accurate, consider the funny things it also says:
- Seizures are caused by demons, not by epilepsy
- Jacob takes peeled tree branches and uses the branches to breed spotted livestock
- Don't even get me started on how many problems exist with the Flood...
Edit: Oh, and by the way, that opening line under their second "proof" is spot on. If the Society lies to you even once, even though they seemed to tell the truth in the past, all that trust is gone. They are absolutely right about that. And that's why I don't care about what they say anymore. Their opinion has as much weight as the corner yokel.
I cannot believe they would publish such an article full of lies and dishonesty
Why can't you believe they would lie ?
The "candor" is mostly a function of the presumption of authorship. Numbers does not claim to have Moses as its author and scholars today do not regard Moses as its author. Jonah does not claim to have the 8th-century BC prophet as its author and scholars today concur that it was written quite a few centuries later. The author of Matthew does not describe his own personal abandonment of Jesus, nor does the book claim to have been written by someone who was there. Moreover, the story about the flight of the disciples was taken word-for-word from Mark (compare Matthew 26:54-56 with Mark 14:48-50), it is not a personal reminiscence.
It is tiresome to see the same-old use of Job 26:7 and Isaiah 40:22 as proof texts. Don't they realize that there are very different interpretations of these scriptures by scholars? Do they care? The Society keeps citing them with nary a word on what others say about them. Rather than seeing "science" in Job 26:7, why not comment on the many mythological elements of ch. 26 of Job (e.g. the Rephaim, Abaddon, Mount Zaphon, the pillars of the heavens, the dragon Rahab, etc.)
How many of you are just wowed by the depth of the discussion here. This isn't just milk, it's heavily diluted skim milk.
Has the brochure, A Book for All People, been scanned?
Reductio ad absurdum:
The Alphabet of Ben Sira shows much candor and honesty, giving this book the ring of truth. The author honestly admits that he was conceived in a bath house from the semen of the prophet Jeremiah after he masturbated in the water. Only a true inspired book would show that much honesty. And he relates how he cured Nebuchadnezzar's daughter from a bad case of flatulence. Not exactly his greatest accomplishment, so this can only be an honest autobiographical account. It also must have been embarrassing being asked such questions like "Why do dogs hate cats?" and "Why does the donkey urinate into another donkey's piss and why does it smell its own excrement?", so we can trust that these are accurately reported by the author. Thus, we can accept that the Alphabet of Ben Sira was a work of remarkable candor.
(In reality, it was written over a millenium after Jeshua ben Sira lived, i.e. c. AD 800, and it was a satirical parody of sacred Mishnah)
Let us quote ALL of Isaiah 40:22.
22 There is One who is dwelling above the circle of the earth, the dwellers in which are as grasshoppers, the One who is stretching out the heavens just as a fine gauze, who spreads them out like a tent in which to dwell.
This is poetry, and I do not visualize the earth as a sphere when reading it, and I don't think the author meant a "spherical object" when he wrote the verse.
Let us also quote a few extra verses from Job 26.
7 He is stretching out the north over the empty place, Hanging the earth upon nothing;
8 Wrapping up the waters in his clouds, So that the cloud mass is not split under them;
9 Enclosing the face of the throne, Spreading out over it his cloud.
10 He has described a circle upon the face of the waters, To where light ends in darkness.
11 The very pillars of heaven shake, And they are amazed because of his rebuke.
In verse 7 it says that God is "Hanging the earth upon nothing.", but in verse 11 it also says that "The very pillars of heaven shake,"
Are both statements to be taken literally? Heaven has pillars?
Let us turn to Job 38:4.
4 Where did you happen to be when I founded the earth? Tell [me], if you do know understanding.
5 Who set its measurements, in case you know, Or who stretched out upon it the measuring line?
6 Into what have its socket pedestals been sunk down, Or who laid its cornerstone,
So Job also mentions that the earth has both "socket pedestals" and a "cornerstone".
The Awake! can only present superficial argument concerning the scientific accuracy of the Bible because if it goes into any detail at all, even by just considering the surrounding verses to the ones it quotes, it becomes apparent how weak their argument is in the first place.
I "agree" with them:
"when it comes to scientific matters, the Bible is noteworthy not only for what it says but also for what it does not say."
-This is The Word of God we're talking about. For several hundreds or thousands of years, these texts apparently were the only communication we got directly from Him. As such, shouldn't they include much more detailed and accurate explanations of the world around us? Why not more fully explain why people get sick and why they should stay clean (bacteria and virus), explain a few things about the solar system and the universe, explain in more accurate detail the various weather phenomena (and how they are not directly caused by God), explain what the dinosaurs were in case we found their bones one day; educate mankind about what's going on around them? I think this would be a rather obvious job for a God (as it is often the 'job' of parents to educate their children). -It may seem like the Bible would then have been several hundred pages longer than it is today, but I don't think that would necessarily be the case. It wouldn't have to be several bound volumes on science, but a little more detailed (and accurate) than today?
The point made about that - at least by the WBTS - is that the simple peasant/desert people of that day wouldn't have been able to understand detailed explanations. Why is that? I am - for this argument - assuming the Bible is correct, and if so, humans were directly created only a couple of thousand years earlier, and the first few humans were directly educated by God. In other words, these people were no more stupid than we are today - quite the contrary should be the case, with all the degeneration since the fall of Man. Did they know less than we do about the universe? Yes. But was that because they were stupid? No, they would easily have been able to understand things that an eight grader can learn today (to say the least). After all, they were 'trusted' to understand all manner of spiritual concepts, like angels, talking animals (they didn't have the explanation that this was Satan yet, and even if they did, it wouldn't make the topic easier), angels coming down to Earth and taking human wives, etc. etc. Were they so simple minded that they couldn't have understood the concept of God creating such small creatures that the human eye couldn't see them? The notion of this 'small life' may have been ridiculed for a while over the centuries, but would have been vindicated by today. Same with the weather, solar system, galaxies, dino bones, etc. etc.
If we do give a point to the Bible writers for writing that the Earth hangs on nothing and has the shape of a circle (although as VM44 explained above, these are not necessarily valid points), can it be said that this knowledge must have had a divine origin? The sun and moon have been hanging there looking like circles for all the time that humans have been here. It wouldn't be such a huge leap of imagination to conclude that the Earth may be 'circular' and "hanging on nothing" as well. In fact, in going up to a tall mountain or looking out over the ocean from a high vantage point, you might even conclude that the Earth might be (almost) spherical. This may be a moot point though, as it seems more likely they saw Earth as being a circular disc.
As for the hygiene rules of the Israelites: In the mid-1800s, before germs were thought to be the cause of disease and death, Ignaz Semmelweis was working in a hospital with a high mortality rate among pregnant women due to puerperal fever, and he discovered that the ward where the doctors and medical students weren't examining the women had a much lower mortality and disease rate than the ward where doctors and medical students would examine the women. He noticed that the midwives working in the other ward with a low mortality rate were required to have visibly clean hands, while the doctors and students were not, and that the doctors and medical students would go directly from examining dead bodies, to examining the pregnant women. He therefore 'forced' the doctors and students to wash their hands in an effective solution over a period of time, and after a while the death rate of the two wards were pretty much level. Again - he didn't know what caused it all, but he came to this conclusion nevertheless, without God's intervention. The same kind of deductive scenario may have happened in biblical times.
That the universe seems to have had a beginning may raise a few questions, but how come God is the automatic, full stop answer? Why does it stop there? A highly advanced, complicated, powerful and intricate life form wouldn't need an explanation, while a highly intricate universe would?
It doesn't seem to me like the Bible contains anything (physical) we as humans couldn't have concluded by ourselves by examining the things we see from our earthly vantage point.