Wednesday, 31 August 2011


I can remember my first reaction to the Bible was off being disturbed by the appallingly unethical actions which were never directly criticized. These unethical actions were done by so called leaders and patriachs, sometimes these people were said to have the spirit of the Lord on them.  Why did I not just say to myself, ' I do not believe that a loving, good God would approve of that, these people must have been very mistaken in their assessment of their own behaviour and in their estimation of what a good, loving god might want'

I should have thought to myself, if there was a good loving God then either he would send them a message direct, to inform them that they were mistaken or send an angel with the message. You could say that the actions of O.T. patriachs were criticized by parts of the law but why do you have no recorded criticizm by Jesus or Paul or any other disciples.

I can remember as a child being very fearful after hearing a hell fire damnation sermon and telling my mum I wanted to 'BE SAVED' i did the prayer but it didn't really change anything much. Maybe other people are better at just focusing on the, ' I've signed up, I'm going to heaven now. Now looking back on that night I see it as a step down the staircase to delusion & madness, it was giving in to fears. What I should have said is, 'That is not reality, The main themes of Christianity are fiction, the supernatural realm it suggests does not exist, the ideas of heaven and hell are wildly improbably'. Reject that message and just try to be loving, caring and don't hurt anyone. Just try to do well at school and in a career and everything else will fall into place.

I can remember my early reaction to the hymns in church that they seemed like mumbo jumbo waffle. Why didn't I just say, 'This is nonsense' and think no more of it?

I can remember as a teenager outside the church building just feeling a great sense of gloom about the picture christianity paints of the world. It all seemed just so dark. Then I clicked onto the few verses like 'love you neighbour', 'Treat others as you want them to treat you'. I realised there were a few good ideas in the Bible and I thought maybe under it all there was something I didn't understand, that maybe the message had got twisted a bit. Why then did I grant so much certainty to the doctrine of hell? Well the ministers seemed certain, Scripture Union claimed certainty. I think I always had a wondering if it might not be so. You hope that it isn't so.

If life is like sailing a yacht then there are winds & currents pushing you around that could drive you onto the rocks. The winds/current of my social circle were insisting that the Bible was a message from the gods. I feared I was on the wrong side of that god. I was too afraid just to assert that the Bible was not any sort of message from a god. I tried to see the hidden message in the bible, I thought you needed to solve the parables, riddles and cryptic message in order to get to heaven, I tried to believe in the idea 'trust & believe and be saved'. The winds of my social circle were driving me onto the rocks. I let my fears push me to steer the rudder of thought in a direction that actually made matters worse. Reason says that the bible ideas were no more than guesses and probably false. Now that I go by reason I am doing fine. Going by the idea that the Bible is only guesses allows you to just take a hint or flavour from the Bible without being capsized by it.

  I can remember other voices in the media that were more sceptical of the orthodox message I was getting. The voices from the Bishop of Durham, and unbelieving voices on the tv. A friend who said things like put of the matter of whether to become a christian until you are old, the bible says that people won't live past 120 and yet they have, christians should be happy to die if they are going to heaven so why do they pray desparately to be healed from cancer, christianity is a crutch. Did anyone say, 'The bible is fiction' and yet I had the attitude well parts of the bible story are certain fact look there is Israel & the Jews do they think their history wasn't like it says in the Bible. The answer is that while the history in the Bible might have grains of reality in some of its kings having existed, the narrative about them, the detail is legend & fiction. The supernatural realm dimension is fantasy. All the cultures had their hypotheses about the gods and why things happened but that was all fiction. Look at the people to day who claim , this happened because the gods were punishing people or God wants you to do that, it is all deluded guesswork.

Friday, 26 August 2011

The book of Job

The author of the book of Job has tried to imagine what might be going on in a supernatural realm. The author imagines there are beings called God, Satan and angels. The author writes words into his characters mouths. It is actually quite clever in having people talking to each other then God speaking to these people. Pity that the author doesn't manage to make his God character say anything particularly helpful to humanity. Infact the author gives the impression of a God who is a bit dim.
    For many years I accepted that the words written as being from God could have actually been from the very mouth or inspiration of God. Now I just see them as being words of a playwright. Looked at this way the book of Job makes a lot more sense. 
    A job lot, doing a job on job, it's a job
  Ch 1v3 'He was the greatest man among all the people in the East' and yet he is unrecorded in the writings or statues of other cultures.
  Ch1v5 He sent his children to have them purified ? What did that involve ? Sounds superstitious nonsense
  Ch1v5 Job sacrificed burnt offerings ? I doubt a real God would require that. I sacrifice burnt offerings every morning- burnt toast.
 Ch1v6 How could Satan get into heaven if only holy things can go there?
 Ch1v14 The 500 yoke of oxen and 500 donkeys were stolen by Sabeans
 Ch 1v16 'The fire of God fell from the sky and burned up 7000sheep', what exactly could this fire have been? A volcano ? Yet it didn't affect Job or his children.
 Ch1v17 The Chaldeans made off with 3000 camels
 Ch 1v 19 a mighty wind blew down the house
 Ch 1v20-22  Job is being servile, how come he didn't think to himself- I knew I should have built that house to a higher specification and probably I should have trained my servants to fight off attackers, improved security.
 Ch2v9 You won't die from cursing God, plenty of people do that all their life and live to old age.
 Ch 2v10 Job says to his wife, 'You are talking nonsense'. Why doesn't Job suggest that maybe Satan is responsible for the disasters? Well the author thinks that there is a God in control of the wind, also the actions of other tribes. Well the narration subtly lets the reader feel superior in seeing behind the scenes to 'what is really going on'
 Ch 3v13-19&26 Job wishes he had died at birth. Odd that, why not wish not to be born. If you have been born you might as well make the most of life. Anyhow Job thinks there is nothing to worry  about from death.:
  For now I would be lying down in peace, I would be asleep and at rest with kings and counsellors, why was I not hidden in the ground like a stillborn child, there the wicked cease from turmoil and there the weary are at rest.. Captives also enjoy their ease, they no longer hear the slave drivers shout. Why is light given to those in misery, and life to the bitter of soul, to those who long for death that does not come, who search for it more than treasure, who are filled with gladness and rejoice when they reach the grave ?
 Ch 4v7 Consider now: who, being innocent has ever perished? Where wre the upright ever destroyed, as I have observed . those who plough evil and those who sow trouble reap it? Does anyone see this in the real world, sometimes? but not as a rule
  Ch 9v6&7 god moves the mountains, shakes the earth from its place, makes its pillars tremble, speaks to the sun and it does not shine; he seals off the light from the stars ??? v11 when he passes me I can not see him ? Maybe that is cause he isn't there?
 Ch 9v17 He would crush me with a storm & multiply my wounds for no reason?
There are reasons why things happen, if you know what the risks are it is possible to avoid some of them or at least minimise the risk. Life is a matter if recognizing the opportunities  and trying to achieve them without being knocked down by the risks.
  Ch 12v10 In his hand is the breath of all mankind
 Ch 12v15 If he holds back the water there is a drought
  Ch13v7 will you speak wickedly on God's behalf? Will you speak deceitfully for him?
 Ch 14v10 but man dies & is laid low, he breathes his last and is no more
 Ch 14v 12 so man lies down and does not rise;
till the heavens are no more, men will not wake or be roused from sleep
Ch 14v 14 If a man dies will he live again ?
 Ch 14v16 surely you can count my steps but not keep track of my 'sin'
Before you decide about doing something you could do a risk / benefit appraisal, you could ask- do the likely advantages from doing this outweigh the likely disadvantages of doing it, do the pros outweigh the cons ?
  If you have an illness then you need to ask whether the drugs / surgery are likely to result in a better situation than if you did nothing, is there a risk that the surgery could go wrong ( infection ) or that the drugs have side effects which are worse than the condition they were trying to cure.
  In life there are conflicting priorities, it is an envelope where there is a trade off between maximising for one aspect that compromises another aspect, you often can't get everything. If you look at car design you can have sporty or economic or spacious, or the looks or environmentally friendly but not everything together.
  Ch 16v22 Only a few years will pass before I go on the journey of no return.
  Ch 18 Be sensible
 Ch 19 v17 my breath is offensive to my wife
 Ch 20v7 the mirth of the wicked is brief, he will perish for ever, like his own dung
 Ch 22 There is no link between caring behaviour and being spared from raids from neighbouring tribes. Job should have given weapons to his servants, trained them to fight and defend better, build your house stronger. On the other hand maybe he could have made stronger realtions and peace treaties with the neighbouring tribes.
  Ch 23v8 If I go to the east God is not there, if I go to the west I do not find God---maybe because there is no God
  Ch 26v4 whose spirit spoke from your mouth??
  Ch 27v 3 as long as I have life within me, the breath of God in my nostrils
 Ch 28v 20 where does understanding dwell ? As if it were a self sustaining thing. but then the insights of others can be passed on to others verbally and through writings.
 Ch 31 v1 I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a girl ? This chapter is about the goodness of taking care of those around you
  Ch 33v4 the breathe of the almighty gives me life v7 no fear of me should alarm you
  v15 For God does speak in a dream, in a vision of the night
  Ch 33v28 redeemed my soul from going down to the pit, I shall lve to enjoy the light
  Ch35 where is God my maker who teaches more to us than to the beasts of the earth & makes us wiser than the birds of the air
 Ch 36v27 he draws up the drops of water which distil as rain to the streams
 Ch35v30 see how he scatters lightning about him, bathing the depths of the sea,  This is the way he governs the nations and provides food in abundance. He fills his hands with lightning and commands it to strike its mark, his thunder announces the coming storm. WELL IF GOD IS COMMANDING THE LIGHTNING HE IS NOT USING IT EFFECTIVELY, TRY STRIKING THE DESPOTS LIKE HITLER & HUSSEIN OR THOSE ABOUT TO MURDER.
 Ch 37v2  Listen, listen to the roar of his voice, to the rumbling that comes from his mouth, he unleashes his lightning beneath the whole heaven and sends it to the ends of the earth.. After that comes the sound of his roar; he thunders with his majestic voice, v10 the breath of God produces ice, v13 He brings clouds to punish men or to water his earth and show his love, v17 can you join him in spreading out the skies, hard as a mirror of cast bronze. SORRY THIS IS ALL FALSE,  NO GOD IS CONTROLLING THE WEATHER
  READ CH38-42 AND ASK YOURSELF WHICH IS MORE LIKELY, THAT THESE ARE WORDS THAT A PLAYWRIGHT HAS IMAGINED A GOD MIGHT SAY  or that they are actual words of God himself. The author tried to paint a picture of what he imagined a God might be like, his picture is like a childs painting of people all abstract, distorted, exaggerated, very odd.  To me the image the bible authors create is of a sort of frankensteins monster, a despot, a hitler. They were guessing, I think there is no reason to think that any of what they say is true, it is primitive, superstitious guesswork. Yet they try to call the image they made 'Good'
  The author of book of Job does not make 'God' tell us the reason why this planet is the way it is. He has God say that Job has no right to ask since Job wasn't around since the start of life and does not know how life on earth formed or how nature works and since God is greater than a thunderstorm and mightier than any creature- able to fish out a levithian then Job has no right to know the answer. The real reason is that the author can not think what the answer could be. His guess is that suffering is the fault of a devil character.

Have I got an answer. One thing is certain we are all going to die, something is going to get you sooner or later, illness or accident or old age. You just have to study what the hazards are and try to avoid them as long as possible. Try to enjoy life until your time is up. Lifestyle, diet, excercise, healthy environment, health and safety, good career= wealth = strength & happiness, & time for socializing!
  Life is about knowing what the rules are and playing by them to optimise your experience of life.

The Bible is a cross section of  the possible ideas about what happens when you die . Some authors think you cease to exist , others in the N.T. think you live on in some manner. You could guess without inspiration- you either continue or cease just by logic. The Bible is guess work.

The author of the Bible imagined that everything that was happening was controlled by a god who lived just above the sky, whose voice was the mighty thunder. They had no idea why things happened.

Ch 38v8  Where did the water on this planet come from, probably not from springs beneath the surface, that would only be a matter of redistribution. The author can't think of how a God might have put the water on this planet. Scientists wonder if a meteor struck earth.
Ch 38v10&11 it is gravity which holds the water in place- in the dips
Ch38v12 The author thought that the dawn passed across a stationary earth
Ch38v19 What is the way to the abode of light- I would think that was fairly obvious- the sun
Ch38v25 cutting channels in the sky for rain to fall, I doesn't need it
Ch38v32 The constellations don't move, it is earth travelling around the sun which make it seem like the constellations move.
Ch38v35 The lightning is not controlled, it is random
Ch38v39 Do you think a god provides the prey for lions?

Monday, 22 August 2011

Jesus Interrupted-Misquoting Jesus- Inspired by Bart Ehrman

The Bible has Jesus say 'don't call people Matt 5v22,"you fool"'  but Jesus doesn't stick to this maxim. Jesus is supposed to be perfect and so wouldn't say something unintended. So did Jesus say something imperfect or did the Bible authors misquote Jesus ? Through out the Bible authors don't comply with the maxim not to use terms like, 'you fool'. So how can anyone say that the Bible is inspired by God if it doesn't comply with Gods own rule as expressly spoken through Jesus in Matt 5v22?

The imaginary Gods/ intelligent designers never imagined humans travelling fast & colliding hard with solid objects in crashes otherwise they would have given humans a stronger skeleton in the manner of the Wolverine comic character who had adamantium infused through his bones and advanced rate of healing powers. Humans have a metal in our skeleton but it is calcium - one of the softer elements (ok probably irrelevant when in bone,why?) . What if we had steel skeletons or titanium ?

Read about Dan Atherton who built one of the world's toughest downhill mountain bike tracks in Wales- Redbull Hardline. Some of the jumps are crazy difficult and Dan broke his shoulder blade testing it when he overshot the landing. If Jesus had been real and had been around would he have dared to try such a course ?

ReWrit Luke 4 - The devil tempts Jesus to go a little bit further.
v9 Then the Devil said unto Jesus, "If you are the champion of God then cycle the Dyfi Hardline for it is written he will command his angels to lift you up with their hands so that you will not strike your foot against a stone"
And Jesus did reply, "Cool mate, you're on, I'm really stoked and up for this test, it will be so fun, safe in the knowledge that the angels will dive down and save me from crashing onto the ground and suffering horrific life degrading injuries. Get behind me Satan, cheer me on"
And the Devil tempted Jesus to doubt saying, "So you really trust the angels to literally  save you even though they fail to protect so many other people?"
And Jesus said, "Well I know they have a poor track record but if they fail me I shall use my back up powers to turn the stones into bread so that when I land on them it will be a soft fluffy landing"

ReWrit 2 And the devil tempted Jesus to cycle Redbull hardline promising that the angels would protect him and if all else failed he could just turn the rocks into soft bread but Jesus replied, "Get behind me Satan, those are naught but comforting myths, in reality if I tried it & crashed horribly I would probably die within a few days or be left crippled for life since there is no 21st century medicine anywhere within 20 centuries of here"

Youtube video,"Dan Atherton redbull hardline 2015 testing crash"

Sunday, 21 August 2011


I'm going to start a church were the main creed is that God is imaginary

Good morning, and welcome to this church

It is going to be called RE WRIT
Sub title Holy writ rewrit,, or wholly shit, writ off, rewrite

We use the reversed standard version interpretation.
We worship the God who should have been but never was.
We aim to rise to the level of Nietzsche's superman, rising above religious conditioning to a higher moral plane which relies on science and reasoning. One which is aware of all the arguments for an against, which values all sides of the arguments and condemns no valid points and despises no helpful philosophy.

Welcome to our church where the aim is to behave ethically, the aim is to be caring and not hurt anyone.
We are trying to identify solutions to the difficulties that humanity faces in order to maintain a sustainable future
Let us worship an idealized imaginary god, the trinity of goodness, love and truth.A concept God.
We advize against the worship of false images of godliness that are infact despotic, tyrannical, cruel, fear inducing, unethical, despicable phantoms.

We say Isaiah 49v9 to the captives, 'Come out' and to those in darkness, 'Be free'
We say Isaiah 35v3 Strenghten the feeble hands, steady the knees that give way , say to the fearful, "Read all aspects of the history of world religions, be sceptical, compare and contrast, notice all the parts that are false, "Be strong, do not fear" reject the failed hypothesis. Cry together, 'There is no real God'. Let us worship care and love and every good attribute.

We say Jeremiah 10 v14 All these religious folk are senseless and without knowledge, they are all shames by their idols, their images of god are a fraud, they have no breath in them, they are worthless and the objects of mockery, v 5 like a scarecrow in a melon patch, their Gods cannot speak, do not fear the Gods, they can do not harm, nor can they do good. Their images of hammered silver are all senseless and foolish


I find it helpful in life to ask, "What should Jesus have done?".  In Luke 4v1-3 I think Jesus was a bit hasty to turn down the devilishly good idea of turning the deserts stones/sand into fertile grade 1 arable land with a good crop of wheat growing to feed the hungry. Maybe he realised irrigation would be a limiting factor and just couldn't think of a way to alter the rainfall pattern.Maybe he thought that there wasn't much point since the world population would just increase all the faster and quickly get to the point where again there wasn't enough food.
   To be fair the devil only suggested turning a stone into bread, but you would have thought that Jesus would have been able to think outside the box and see the germ of a good idea in what initially didn't seem too promising.
    If  Jesus had turned the worlds deserts into fertile fields with swaying wheat as a one off magic trick then he could have said John 4v35,'look the fields are ripe for harvest'. Also if he had turned the deserts into fertile arable fields then you would have clear historical proof that a God visited the planet and undid the curse that had been on Adam, in fact this should have been the sign that Jesus had won the victory over the power of sin- a much more fertile planet and no more pain in child birth for woman. The power of sin defeated.
      If you read Isaiah 35v1-10 The wilderness will rejoice and bloom v7 grass & bubbling springs. v8 The way of holiness, v10 the ransomed will return andn enter Zion. The N.T. authors missed a trick by not writing a story about Jesus turning the desert into fields of wheat. That would have tied in well with Isaiah 35.
   Not to worry I'll just write it into the Bible margin and the next time the scribes do a reprint they can to a copy & paste into the main passage.
    Actually contrast to Matthew 7v9 "Which of you,if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone". Jesus gives himself stone in Luke 4v3. This verse hints at humanity's cry for more fertile ground & better yields and Jesus response is actually, 'No, you'll just have to make do with fantasy fiction'. No practical help, no insight into health or crop production or contraception, nothing to make the lot of humanity any better, just pie in the sky when you die and make the priests rich.
    So anyway, if Jesus was fine about turning water into wine, what did he have against turning stone into bread? You are supposed to care for your body, which means that you should feed yourself regularly- not too much, not too little. Maybe it was actually the voice of God recommending to turn the stones into bread? It's not as if the desert would miss a stone? Plants turn earth / minerals into food. Maybe the real reason was that Jesus couldn't have turned stone into bread even if he had wanted to. Maybe Jesus retort should have been, "Don't make such stupid suggestions, who do you think I am, God or something?"

  In John 8 Jesus did well to say, "Stop, don't stone her" [ps if Jesus had turned all the stones into bread then he wouldn't kneaded to worry about it] He should have added,"Such a punishment for this behaviour is not appropriate" He could have also have asked her why she did it. Had her marriage gone sour? Had her husband been very abusive toward her ? Had she been nagging and verbally abusive to him and then he had been physically abusive to her? Was her husband ill, depressed, out of work & out of money, impotent. Was she just bored of him ? Were they sick and tired of each other ? Or was she hoping to just be with someone richer, younger, cleverer, more funny, ticked more of her boxes, tickled her fancy ? At any rate what was she hoping for when she returned to her husband ? Would he have allowed her back in the house? Should he have welcomed her back? He could have said, 'Well you've made your choice, go and be with that man if you want to' or he could have said, "I enjoy your company, I think you are beautiful, please don't do that again"
   What if the woman had become pregnant. Who was going to bring up the child. The husband could refuse or could agree but only if the father paid for the upkeep of the child-ongoing finance until the child was 16. What about access agreements, would the father just have to agree to disappear, keep out of it.
   You can try for a better relationship with someone else but there is always the risk that you might end up worse off or with no one. If you lose access to your child then you might probably regret that very much. Sometimes you could be better off with a dull dependable person than a temperamental, temporary superstar lover. Maybe you just need technology, bright ideas to aid communication, to stimulate intelligent investigation and growth in the relationship. The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence but when you get there is it any different? You can run away from one relationship and its problems but maybe the next relationship will just have a new set of problems. Admittedly it could turn out alot better.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

I worship an idealized imaginary god

I worship an idealized, imaginary god, a trinity of goodness, love & truth
I worship a concept god, it is an aim, it is a god Idea, a set of values and aims
I will not worship false images of phantom godliness that look more like human dictators.


The Bible suggests the possibility of a good God speaking into the world

Mark 1v11 has a voice from the sky say ,'This is my son with whom I am well pleased'
Ex ch 3 has a voice of speak out of a burning bush
Gen 22v12 a voice speaks to Abraham telling him not to make a human sacrifice

What this world needs is the divine voice of reason, sanity, calm, sense, to speak to people before they hurt others to say "Stop, don't do it, you're going to make the situation worse, you're going to ruin your life, what is needed is communication, dialogue, cooperation".
  If you are looking for a divine voice in the Bible then the first time it really comes through the ether is John ch8 where it speaks through Jesus ,"Stop, don't stone the woman, such punishments are not appropriate response for this behaviour"
  In Ex 2v12 We needed the divine voice to say to Moses, 'Stop, don't murder that slave driver, that won't solve anything, You need to go to Pharaoh and explain to him all the reasons why he should not treat people like slaves, and instead given them freedom to leave if they want to but a viable minimum pay if they want to stay along with max 40 hour week, comply with HSE regulations, NHS, NICs. I will influence his brain so that he accepts your argument'
  In Gen 22v12 We needed the divine voice to say, 'Stop, don't kill Isaac, you are entirely mistaken, I appreciate that you wanted to try to please me but God has never wanted human or animal sacrifice. You have been conditioned by cultural superstition to think that a god might want that but I can assure you that the only real God is me, and to repeat, no one is ever to make any human sacrifice to a 'god'.
  If there was a real good God then he would have given Adam the uk 2011 laws or given them to Noah or Abraham or Moses or Jesus. You would have heard Adam having a conversation with God about the need to look at the full argument- all the reasons for and all the reasons against, about how there are competing criteria, how if you try to maximise for one aspect it often compromises another.
   If you look at male female relations there are competing desires-
The desire to be with someone beautiful for aesthetic value & for best looking children                                    The desire to be with someone intelligent, witty, erudite, who communicates well
The desire to be with someone wealthy, healthy, successful
The desire for sexual thrills, novelty,
The problem of getting bored with someone, you've heard all their stories, 1000 times, you're tired of their voice, you just want someone different.
The grass is greener on the other side of the fence, you think that someone else will be better, less problems but when you get there you just find a different set of difficulties

If there was a real God inspiring the Bible then it would have been written in an emotionally literate way. God would have revealed the secrets of science, he would have given the explanation why people should behave in a certain way, so convincing to each one born that they complied.

If there was a real God then people would have to comply or die before they maimed anyone
If there was a real God then Christians would be healing all the sick and walking on water and flying in the air- doing greater miracles than Jesus like he said they would, being like superman. Instead the world has continued just as if Jesus never existed.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Love your enemies?

I don't view anyone in terms of friends and enemies. Those terms trip you up right away. Admittedly it is difficult to avoid remembering negative exeriences you may have had from others and of course it is important to be on guard against attacks. I think it is a matter of looking at the truth or correctness of each statement that comes to your attention who ever speaks it. Ignorance and falsehood are the real enemyt, bad advice can be spoken by anybody, often unintentionally.
   Love the friend part of your 'enemy' , hate the enemy part of your 'friend'

It is really about batting back a good return shot whatever is fired at you, like on the tennis court.

The people who wrote the Bible didn't look in great enough detail at the subject of emotional literacy, they didn't seem to be aware of the complexity of their emotional response. They didn't pay enough attention to detail.

I think the riddles of 'love your neighbour & enemy' makes sense if it means aim to be caring and have a correct, unbiased opinion of others, look for the good points in them and acknowledge those while being aware of things about them that you distrust or loathe. Aim for their well being.
  Love your neighbour & enemy obviously can't mean trying to make yourself like or love aspects of them that you loathe or to spend time with them when you would rather not. On the other hand Abraham Lincoln said, 'I destroy my enemies by making friends of them'

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Do judge the action but make sure that judgement is sound

Luke 6v37  Is wrong, false, mistaken, it says "do not judge that you be not judged". Well I believe there will be no last judgement. Anyway maybe Jesus should have listened to his own preaching and given up on the idea of a last judgement.

   You can't not judge, everyone makes judgements, assessments about things all the time. It is part of making decisions and living a sensible life. 
1 Cor 2v15 Paul says The spiritual man makes judgements about all things

Luke 6v37 should have said, "Be specific and Judge the individual action / idea in terms of your feelings rather than trying to judge the whole person"

Judge the action but make sure your judgement is sound. Reassess your judgements from time to time especially if new information comes to light, see if that alters the balance of the argument between the reasons for and the reasons against. Make sure people are fully informed / aware of all the reasons for & against so that they can appreciate & accept why the judgement was made + agree with it. If someone challenges the judgement then listen to their presentation of reasons for and against to see if they have any valid points to make that you hadn't thought of.

There are alot of different criteria that you could judge on, terms such as health and safety, economics, aesthetics,

Luke 6v37 is one of the most screwed up ideas in the Bible, It was written by a witchdoctor who didn't know what he was talking about.

Monday, 15 August 2011

Emotional literacy in the Bible ?

The Bible has Jesus say, 'Do not judge / do not condemn others / matt 5v22 do not call people nasty names ( metaphor ) like , 'you fool'.
The Bible has Jesus say, 'The spiritual man judges all things'
My interpolation of these contrary ideas is that 'Jesus' was trying to get at the idea of , be specific and judge / assess /comment on the individual action / idea in terms of your emotions / feelings. e.g.

"I think that you did / said a foolish / mad thing ", instead of , " you're mad "
"I'm annoyed that you did that, I think you made a mistake" instead of , "you fool"
"I hate what you did / said there " instead of, "I hate you "
"I'm furious that you did it that way because I think you should have done this..." V "Twit"
"I think that is a poor decision / choice that won't work " instead of, "Stupid boy "
"I'm delighted to hear you say that, I agree ", instead of , "you are right"
"I'm frustrated with my forgetfulness", instead of, " I hate myself "
"I hate this aspect.... of my job", instead of ," I hate my job"

It is interesting that the people who wrote the Bible never stuck to this rule and often called people, 'evil', 'fool','vipers','wicked',' good','righteous', which I think become obscure meaningless generalisation. However saying 'He murdered 100 people' or 'He did x, y, z crimes' or ' He made a, b, c, runinous decisions' is clearer. Most people live an average life with isolated moments of brilliance or extreme dimness / destructive behaviour. I'm always left wondering, 'well what did that O.T. king do to be painted black ? Also Jesus is written as speaking like that. I think the Bible writer / characters were trying to find emotional literacy but they saw through a glass darkly and couldn't figure it out. The Bible is written in low resolution language which is a main reason why it is so often obscure and easy to twist into many meanings. Most of the reason lies in language. However the Bible could have been written in a more accurate, specific, less generalised, less exaggerated way.

On the other hand, often the first comment I make is a broad brush stroke generalisation which I try to correct with some finer detailed information

 I just think it is an interesting guide to use, an interpretative framework. If someone speaks to me in swearing and name calling or I mutter such under my breath about others, I would try to rephrase it as, 'He is flaming mad at what I said', 'I'm fuming furious at what he did'.

So I wonder if you agree that the Bible looks like a sort of proto thought and is written in a not very emotionally literate way.

See 1 John 2v9 'Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness'
       1 John 3v15 'anyone who hates his brother is a murderer'
  What is meant by, 'I hate you'? People mostly mean that they loathe one aspect of that person, eg their voice or somethings they did / said, or maybe they have a long standing annoyance like against an ex partner who blocks parental rights. However I think it is just part of being human to have an emotional response to each experience, it is necessary and is not something to criticise, infact hating certain behaviours / ideas is part of being a balanced caring, loving person.
  I have an emotional response / setting to each piece of music, film, book, joke, tv  I have heard. Some music thrills and delights me, other pieces torture and grate on me.
 "There are many aspects about him that I feel repelled by but I realise that there are many people that are attracted to those some aspects. I find his manner arrogant but others admire it as boldness, fearlessness, self confidence.
   Just say a person had been the victim of sexual abuse then they might say, ' I hate what he did to me, i was very upset by it at the time but I have come to terms with it, however I am strongly opposed to anyone abusing others as he did. I recognise that that was not the only feature of his life and that most of the rest of it may have been considered average but certainly the abuse that he committed has blackened his reputation / record and I would not trust him not to do such a thing a again as I have never heard him renounce his position.  So I try not to think about that matter but if you mentioned it to me I would be angry and upset by what was done. I hate the things he did, I hate that he did that.but I am not going to let hatred drive me to take revenge or any violence against him or to incite others to do such. The issue is really whether that person can be trusted to live in the community without committing further abuses  and if not should they be in prision or on somesort of programme.
   Just say a person's child was killed in a car crash as a result of someone driving wrecklessly. That person might say. I am tormented by negative feelings about the whole matter, I feel devastated at the loss of my child, I'm furious that that person drove carelessly. I am always going to feel angry about that matter if I was to think about it. I try not to dwell on it. The driver needs a change of attitiude before they are allowed to drive again. They need to sit another series of lessons, counselling, test. I hate the careless attitude, What I hate most is that they don't seem to comprehend the damage they have done, that they have robbed me of my child but I am not going to let the anger I have push me into senseless destructive acts that wouldn't help but rather ruin my life more.I'm not going to let my anger push me into breaking the law- taking the law into my own hands, not will I incite others to do such. I am going to channel my anger into positive actions to make the world a better, safer place.
   Just say a person has been sacked and they think it is unjustified, they could feel a grievance and say, ' I think that it wasn't fair, I think I was doing the job well enough, I think I was up to doing it, I hate that they sacked me, I'm angry and upset about it, I am going to seek a tribunal to see if I can get it back
   Just say a person has been bullied for months at school. The victim might say, 'I hate what they have been doing, I hate how they have been treating me, I'm so unhappy about being on the receiving end of that abuse. They should not be acting like that, they should be caring, respectful and not hurt anyone.

 1 John 3 v15 'anyone who hates his brother is a murderer' is a dud, nonsense sentence. It jumps several stages between hatred and murder. Dislike of some characteristic or hatred / anger about somethings they did or said is normal and healthy response, nothing to criticise. However if that hatred was to become an obsession leading the persons thoughts down a path toward planning retaliatory acts or inciting others to take part in destructive, unlawful, retaliation then it would need to be channelled into a different path. It requires the skill of putting the matter down and trying to focus on something else. It is also about having the intelligence to find a way forward, to find something to do that will make your life better, happier, richer, more rewarding, consolling, comforting, a constructive solution rather than making the loss worse.
  Having hatred toward some aspect of another person is a long way from murdering them. There are laws in U.K about not inciting to murder and laws which prohibit sectarian chant / propaganda.
   The way 1 John has written about negative emotions is like using a sledge hammer to crack a nut. The gist of the idea would seem to be to discourage hatred or malice but it is written in such over the top language that it commits a similar offence to what it tries to solve. 
   Matt 5v22 anyone who is ANGRY WITH their brother will be subject to judgement. Surely it is unavoidable and nothing to criticise to be displeased about somethings your brother has done / said. Surely it is not a big deal to be irritated by some long standing issues that have not been resolved. In fact it is a normal, healthy necessary part of being a mature, sane adult. Even orthodox christianity says, 'Hate the sin, love the sinner' or rather , ' Hate the mistake, care about the person, talk over the all the pros and cons. I can't understand why you have chosen that option, I have looked at the argument as best I can and it suggests to me a different conclusion, would you like to point out some reasons in favour of doing it you way, that I have forgotten.
   I realise that I am vexed about those issues but I try not to think of them and rather focus on being respectful / friendly / peaceable. On the other hand I have made it clear to him that i strongly disapprove of his position on that matter.
   I  suppose really it means that if you were angry about something your broter did and your response was to cut off dialogue & contact and to scheme to cause harm against them or to attempt to generate bad feelings among others toward that person, eg sectarion  or racially abusive propoganda then that could become incitement to murder.

Surely it would have been easier to say, 'Do  not propagate hatred or incite others to do violence but rather aim to facilitate peaceful relations and caring attitudes, positive solutions : I think you should do this... in order to achieve this...' an aim /target
  If you were a manager you might have targets to reach in many areas of the task - to have zero accidents in the office, zero accidents on the roads, clear all the packets, have good working relations, minimise sick absecnce, find extra revenue streams, You might mark your employees performance, praise them for the parts they passed and help them to do better where they haven't met targets. You certainly wouldn't use the sort of language found in Revelations.
  The Bible is the writings of people from 2000+ years ago who were little more that witchdoctors. They were well intentioned to find  rules, systems for being more loving / caring but what they wrote has failed because they didn't seem to have a proper grasp on emotional literacy

Saturday, 13 August 2011

What I want the Bible to say

I want the Bible to say: Be loving, caring, don't hurt anyone, seek peaceful resolution, seek fair trade, seek the fair treatment of fellow men, try to live a life that does not mistreat or abuse anyone, try to treat animals well. Try to treat animals in a way that minimises their suffering. Seek sustainable solutions for the worlds ecosystems, seek the long term wellbeing of the life on earth. Do nothing perverse or disgusting. Do not entertain ideas which support or tolerate acts of violence against other peoples. Do not speak in support of criminal activities. But you can explore the whole argument pro and con for each human activity, exploring the likely consequences of each action.

Treat others well so that you can feel good about yourself.

To what extent does the Bible say this? There are many voices in the Bible. Many different people wrote things in the collection of writings called the Bible. Which ideas do you agree with?

It is really the idea of hell and the idea that most might go there that I found most upsetting. Especially the idea that I might go there just by not believing the right things or just by not being a chosen one. If you delete that idea and delete the idea that  anyone is receiving text messages or communication from a God then the rest of the Bible is not so bad. If you read the Bible as just people trying to guess rules which might make for good society or trying to guess what a good god might want then it becomes an interesting book- non threatening, non scary.

Does the idea of 'love your neighbour', have any real meaning?

The Bible is really irrelevant. The main engine for anyones life is to have a skill set which allows them to earn a living wage where they can at least support themselves, preferably support others as well. Well maybe that isn't quite correct because the most basic thing is to be sane and socially functioning.

Greater love needs no man than that he goes and works 40 hours a week and brings in enough to provide for himself and pays his pension contribution, insurance, taxes - which provide for those in retirement, childhood and sickness and also gives him credit that he will be treated likewise in his retirement or sickness.

To be able to work you need to be focussed, on the ball, calm ,clear thinking, good memory, organised, in good enough health. However there also needs to be work available. You need to be living in a social system where you have a chance, given your skills, to get employment.

Schools are right in emphasizing the importance of gaining skills, passing exams, going on to further education to get pieces of paper to suggest that you are heading in a promising direction, that you have not go bogged down in worries.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Genesis 22 Abraham, a fresh angle on the angel

If there had been a real, good God inspiring Genesis 22 then you would have the angel say to Abraham,'Stop, you are entirely mistake, God has never wanted human or animal sacrifice and would never ask for it'.

Actually if it had been possible for an angel to appear before people then there are many incidents in the Bible stories and in real life when it would have been really handy to have an angel appear. Why didn't an angel appear before Eve to persuade her not to eat the apple, or to say, 'Stop, don't eat it, remember God said not to'. It would have been good to have an angel appear before Hitler or any crazed gun man to tell him, 'Stop, don't do it. Also what about if Mark 1v11 could have God shout down to Jesus then how come he didn't shout down to Hitler, "Stop or you'll be fried by a lightning bolt". None of these things happen in real life becaue they never happened in ancient times either. It is amazing what a playwrite can make happen on paper, fiction.

 Or are you going to say that the angels got confused about the message? Or did God think that revealing to Abraham that he never wanted human or animal sacrifice was too big a step for Abraham to make in one jump. I suppose it is like when you get a present, you appreciate the thought but you really want to tell them that you never wanted such a thing. So maybe this passage is about the idea ' it is the thought that counts, the willingness to please even if the gift is unwanted. God was too afraid to upset anyone. It is clear to me that if Abraham existed then he was following the cultural superstition of the day, the talking heads of humanity had told him that the gods appreciated human sacrifice so he thought he would do it. In the original story he did sacrifice Isaac but later priests were embarrassed by the story and changed it by placing the angel to say "No" but why not say, "No, the desire to please is appreciated but it doesn't please that you even thought God might find that acceptable". What you really want is for someone to come down and give the full argument / reasoning.

There has been a long debate between orthodox and sceptical Bible scholars about whether the Bible is the word of God or the word of Man. I say it is the word of man.
   The old priests used to imagine they had a word from God and they would say, "This is what the Lord says to you, "You shall drink a can of beer when ever you want to or else you will become frustrated, you shall eat a scone and jam on a Tuesday, if you want to. You shall eat as much as you like but only as long as it is enough and not too much or too little"

Monday, 8 August 2011

The role of the church in examining ethics

The church should be about educating people about the whole history of religion, the history of western philosophy, comparative religion, the current state of play in the battle between orthodox and sceptical Bible scholarship. Theology verses Atheology.

The church should be about examining questions of morality and ethics. It should be about educating people about what the current U.K 2011 law is, emphasising that that is the one which is current and relevant to us, and also looking at the ancient law codes like in the Bible and Hammurabis code and doing a compare and contrast excercise and examining the reasons why in the uk we have arrived at the law we have and the benefits & disadvantages of the current law in comparison to the old laws. It is about understanding why we do things. It is about getting people to think through the real life consequences in terms of  health and happiness on earth. It is about looking through all the reasons for and against each behaviour, It is about looking at health and safety considerations.

Part of this is to start from the position that the Bible is just guesses. You need to be able to criticise the Bible characters and say where you think they acted unethically and suggest how they might have been better to deal with that situation. Part of having a healthy view of the Bible is to acknowledge that there are immoral and unethical and mistaken ideas in it. It is not an e-mail from any God. None of holy writ is faxes. That does not mean to say that it is worthless or that we should abandon reading it or that there isn't good ideas in it.

  It is an important question to ask what a perfect manager of the world might want, what would a perfectly good, loving, caring God want or decree, what is the ideal way to behave, what would a perfect, good god be like if there was one. What is the model for getting through life best, what is the best route through life, how should i live. Does it matter ? Is one way better than another if I live within the law.

Bible fiction

What would make you think that the Bible is different from any other fictional writing?
How can you be sure that it isn't just another historical fiction like the novels of Sir Walter Scott ?

How could anyone know what is going on in a heaven, how could anyone know what God said? It is all just the invention of the Bible writers. All the old priests and witchdoctors of the world religions claimed to know what God wanted but inspite of all the theatricals they were just following their own imagination.

There has always been a quarrel about what a god might decree
See the spiritual adultery bible study series
Jeremiah 23v25-29 "I have heard what the prophets say who prophesy lies in God's name. They say,'I had a dream!'...they prophesy the delusions of their own minds"
Jeremiah 14v14 The prophets are prophesying lies in the name of 'God'. God did not send them or speak to them. they are prophesying to you false visions, divinations, idolatries and delusions of their own minds.
Jeremiah 23v16-18 "Do not listen to what the prophets are prophesying to you, they fill you with false hopes. They speak visions from their own minds, not from the mouth of a 'God' or 'Lord'. Which of them could have stood in the council of a God to see or hear his Word?
Jeremiah 23v21-22 These prophets have not been sent by a god, they have run with their own message

How could anyone have known what Jesus prayed on the Mt of Olives if all the disciples were asleep? It isn't recorded that Jesus had time to tell them before the guards came or after the alleged resurrection.

The Bible authors have created scenes just like any other scriptwriter. With Shakespearian relish they have written words into the mouths of the Bible characters. The Bible authors put wrote words into Jesus and the disciples mouths and there is no way to be sure that they said anything like it.

The Bible authors have claimed that demons spoke through people but how would you tell that it wasn't just the persons words. What would make you think a supernatural thing was having an influence. I believe there is no supernatural realm. What has happened is that the author created a scene that never happened and put words into the mouth of an imagined demon. Anyone can do that, I'll give you an example:

     I was walking down the street yesterday and a demon appeared unto me.
I said, "Oh hi Bub you old devil, how are you doing",
he said," Oh flaming fabulous, I'm just back from a flaming fantastic holiday to Tasmania, it was flaming hot, I met up with an old flame and we drank too much XXXX and had f'ing great sex, all in all it was raving hedonistic"
I said enviously, 'Sounds great, you're making me feel jealous, but I don't like intense heat'
Bub said, ' Well there was plenty of airconditioning inside and the water was lovely a cool, with shading from the hot sun.'
I says to him, 'Sounds heavenly'
Bub says, 'It was wick ed'

There never were any demons or devils. In pre scientific times people tried to come up with an explanation for illness, epileptic fits, unethical behaviour and they invented the hypothesis of demons. They were wrong about that.

The Bible is actually a really funny book if you believe there is no cosmic God.
Here follows a revised version of some Bible passages from a 'There is no real God' perspective. However remember that it is still possible to explore & imagine the question of what a perfect being would want. This is the value of religious thought- what is the best way to behave, what would a perfectly godly, divine being want. It is very important to try to identify what is the ethical thing to do and to try to live that way.
2 Corinthians 11v13-15 "God's messengers?" They are counterfeits, dishonest practitioners masquerading as messengers of a christ/ saviour. Nor do their tactics surprise me when I consider how ignorance and conditioning and emotional fears masquerade as angels of reason
Eph 4v14 We who listen to the evidence of science and reason shall not be children any longer, tossed one way and another, carried along on every wind of doctrine, at the mercy of all the tricks priests play and their cleverness in practicing deceit. If we live by truth and in love, we shall grow in reason, truth and logic & love.
1 John 2v20 You all have a brain, use it, excercise your common sense and reasoning abilities, be sceptical and ask what is the evidence, you all have a certain amount of spiritual insight, indeed I have not written this warning to you as if I  were writing to people who don't know what error is. I write to you because your eyes are clear enough to discern a lie when you come across it.
Col2v18-19 Do not be taken in by people who imagine there are angels and worship such imaginary beings. A man of this sort is not united with his head.
Acts 20v29-31 watch out for people making a travesty of the truth
Deut 18v20-22 If what a prophet proclaims does not come true then that is a message the lord has not spoken. [Well the Bible has Jesus predict that his kingdom would come in the first century and it hasn't] This is a really interesting verse because it means that you can have a hundred different prophets making random predictions and the one that turns out to be like what actually happens in the future was the 'Word of God' and all the others weren't. You don't know which is a 'true' guess until after the future has been and gone.
   Deutermoronomy 13v1-3 If a prophet comes among you wanting you to follow the practices of other Gods then you are not to follow their instructions. "The lord you God is testing you to find out whether you love him, recognise his voice and follow only his instruction". Well then how come Abraham didn't think when he thought of sacrificing Isaac,' Oh that is just a pagan idea, I'm not doing that, that can't be an instruction from the loving, good God'. Then a real God god would have replied, 'Well done, you have passed the test'
   Jeremiah 9v2-6"Beware of you friends, do not trust your brothers. For every brother is a deceiver and every friend a slanderer. Friend deceives friend, and no one speaks the truth- because it isn't possible to work out a certain conclusion, science can give us some certainty about evolution and the age of life on earth and the state of our universe  but it still hasn't worked out what there was before the big bang. You live in the midst of deception.
   Jeremiah 23v33-36 You must not mention 'the oracle of the Lord' again, because every man's own word becomes his oracle. You are all just guessing about whether there is a good, loving god and what he might want or do or say.
  Jeremiah 5v11 The house of Israel and the house of Judah have lied about 'God'. Their words are but wind and they have no special word from a 'God'
   Lamentations 2v14 " The visions of your prophets were false and worthless. The oracles they gave were false and misleading
  Micah 3v5 As for prophets who lead people astray, if one feeds them, they proclaim 'peace'; if he does not, they prepare to wage war against him"
  Jeremiah 23v30-32  I am against the prophets who wag their own tongues and yet declare, 'The Lord declares'. Indeed I am against those who prophecy false dreams. They tell them and lead people astray with their reckless lies, they were not sent by a God'
  Isaiah  56v 10-11 "Israels watchmen are blind, they all lack knowledge, they are all mute dogs, they cannot bark, they lie around and dream. They are shepherds who lack understanding, they all turn to their own way, each seeks his own gain"
  2 Cor 11v19-20  Don't be tolerant of somebody who makes slaves of you, makes you feed them, imposes on you, orders you about and slaps you in the face, in the name of 'the Lord'
  Ezekial 13v17-19  Now son of man, set your face against the daughters of your people who prophesy out of their own imagination. Speak against them and say, by lying to my people who listen to lies you have killed those who should not have died. You disheartened those with common sense by your lies.
   Jeremiah 23v 25-29   Is not scientific evidence like a hammer which smashes the Bible to pieces