What the Bible says about Debunking and Skepticism

WeedWhacker

Senior Member
I am not a fan of big religion . I think its a scam .

On this point, I agree wholeheartedly.

In another vein. I mean not to trample on what people call their own personal 'spirituality'...even though that term has no real actual meaning.

IF I were forced to define myself? I think I would choose "Humanist"...sadly, not a box to tick on any forms, at the moment.
 

NoParty

Senior Member.
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Actually, a "Buddhist" is a type of atheist.

http://buddhism.about.com/od/basicbuddhistteachings/a/buddhaatheism.htm
But, anyone who no longer worships the "god" Zeus...or Isis...(or any number of thousands of other "gods" in history) is also an atheist.
Not a big deal, but I personally do not think of Buddhists as "atheists" (and actually, the about.com article you linked to also says "nontheistic" is more accurate).

Yes, compared to the traditional western concept of a "creator god" and some interpretations of "atheistic" the characterization makes some sense...
but I think that as one gets deeper into Buddhism, it clearly becomes less true
(obviously not the time or place for Buddhism 101...or hair-splitting re. no necessary reliance on a deity vs. declaration that no deity exists) and I worry that
in the hands of some--not you, obviously, WW--esp. westerners who identify strongly with their monotheistic faith, "atheist" can be almost a slur:
a conscious or unconscious putdown of Buddhists.

At any rate, it's not a big deal, and obviously no one here is disparaging Apu or our other good Buddhist buddies...
but I wanted to share that some wince a bit at calling them "atheists."


p.s. And you know me well enough to know that I'm quite aware Apu is Hindu...but he is also what Lovejoy calls "miscellaneous" :)

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WeedWhacker

Senior Member
...but I wanted to share that some wince a bit at calling them "atheists."

Yes, actually. The term "atheist" has been turned into a disparaging insult, and a pejorative. When in fact, it is merely descriptive.

A simple thought exercise:

"Leprechauns" exist as soon as proof is provided. Same with "unicorns", or "bigfoot".

Absent evidence, and proof....then anything that is "believed" to exist is, by default, not a fact. When any actual proof is provided, then ANY atheist on this planet would accept it, and understand it rationally. Until then?

Since this OP is about the bible and "debunking and skepticism" shows us that the "bible" is indeed a terrible, terrible "guide" to rational seeking of actual truth.
 

NoParty

Senior Member.
Yes, actually. The term "atheist" has been turned into a disparaging insult, and a pejorative. When in fact, it is merely descriptive.

A simple thought exercise:

"Leprechauns" exist as soon as proof is provided. Same with "unicorns", or "bigfoot".

Absent evidence, and proof....then anything that is "believed" to exist is, by default, not a fact. When any actual proof is provided, then ANY atheist on this planet would accept it, and understand it rationally. Until then?

Since this OP is about the bible and "debunking and skepticism" shows us that the "bible" is indeed a terrible, terrible "guide" to rational seeking of actual truth.
Well, I've come neither to bury the Bible nor to praise it.


I'm just not much fun that way. Maybe that's why they call me NoParty... :oops:
 

WeedWhacker

Senior Member
I was trying to find a way to focus the topic on the OP. Perhaps my personal bias got in the way.

But, one last attempt at clarity: The Human species has existed on this planet for how long? !00,000 years? 200,000?

IF the "bible" (and now, we must attempt to specify the various texts, written or even orally handed down over many centuries....which version??)...IF the "bible" (or the "torah" or the "koran", etc) is to be accepted as a "truth" then.....what took so long?

AND, why are none of them "perfect"?
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
Since this OP is about the bible and "debunking and skepticism" shows us that the "bible" is indeed a terrible, terrible "guide" to rational seeking of actual truth.
I don't think the bible ever made that claim. did it? but I'm with NP, I'm neutral too.
 

George B

Extinct but not forgotten Staff Member
Hmmm, interesting Thread. I personally think there is room in human endeavors for one to accept there are sources of knowledge, information, feelings and experiences that cannot be verified or explained via a scientific construct. This is the realm occupied by religion, spiritualism, intuition, belief, superstition, etc. Because no one can validate the existence of these things, skepticism would be a natural tendency. I accept the existence of knowledge derived by sources other than by scientific sources, so I feel "belief" has a place in the human experience and is an almost universal trait of human culture and may well be adaptive.

Scripture I think is the result of a need to impose some standardization of belief. It also needs to be considered sacred so it can be handed down generation to generation. My question is why has it been so successful? Why is it still with us if it has little or no know value?
 
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deirdre

Senior Member.
Hmmm, interesting Thread. I personally think there is room in human endeavors for one to accept there are sources of knowledge, information, feelings and experiences that cannot be verified or explained via a scientific construct. This is the realm occupied by religion, spiritualism, intuition, belief, superstition, etc. Because no one can validate the existence of these things, skepticism would be a natural tendency. I accept the existence of knowledge derived by sources other than by scientific sources, so I feel "belief" has a place in the human experience and is an almost universal trait of human culture and may well be adaptive.

Scripture I think is the result of a need to impose some standardization of belief. It also needs to be considered sacred so it can be handed down generation to generation. My question is why has it been so successful? Why is it still with us if it has little or know value?
kinda like quantum physics. its not what you know, but what Might be true : )
 

NoParty

Senior Member.
Hmmm, interesting Thread. I personally think there is room in human endeavors for one to accept there are sources of knowledge, information, feelings and experiences that cannot be verified or explained via a scientific construct. This is the realm occupied by religion, spiritualism, intuition, belief, superstition, etc. Because no one can validate the existence of these things, skepticism would be a natural tendency. I accept the existence of knowledge derived by sources other than by scientific sources, so I feel "belief" has a place in the human experience and is an almost universal trait of human culture and may well be adaptive.

Scripture I think is the result of a need to impose some standardization of belief. It also needs to be considered sacred so it can be handed down generation to generation. My question is why has it been so successful? Why is it still with us if it has little or no know value?
I've always been interested in the human psychology involved here...
but at the end of the day, I always remember that science and religion are less similar than apples & oranges...and don't even play on the same field.

Screen Shot 2014-04-20 at 9.15.21 PM.png
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
I've always been interested in the human psychology involved here...
but at the end of the day, I always remember that science and religion are less similar than apples & oranges...and don't even play on the same field.

Screen Shot 2014-04-20 at 9.15.21 PM.png
don't exaggerate there are some facts in religion.
 

George B

Extinct but not forgotten Staff Member
While religion and science are not considered the same fruit, many scientists profess religious belief and religious practitioners use scientific methodology to explain their beliefs. It would be hard to argue the Church did not support scientific inquiry and did not promote deductive and inductive logic over the centuries.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Yes, this is a rather old post of mine. I just remembered it, and thought I would mention it for Easter, as many of the Bible excerpts were about the resurrection,

And yes, I'm an atheist.
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
Yes, this is a rather old post of mine. I just remembered it, and thought I would mention it for Easter, as many of the Bible excerpts were about the resurrection,

And yes, I'm an atheist.
so did you debunk the easter bunny for all the kids today? <just kidding
 

WeedWhacker

Senior Member
Wait....the 'Easter Bunny'?

I think a lot of fans of Hugh Hefner might wish to maintain that fantasy.....(just sayin').

....not that I condone such things.....
 

Gary Cook

Active Member
You have to look at it from a neutral perspective.

On the one hand you have some religious zealots making up a story, several decades after the actual events.

On the other, you have the creator of the universe, incarnate in human flesh, died and risen from the dead.

So, the question is, which of those two things seems more likely?

I call it mysticism. There is little science in the Bible. Most of it is, 'God works in mysterious ways', when ever you question how valid any of the claims to be. Yet the Majority of the world is religious and that effects others who are not.
 

Melbury's Brick

Senior Member.
http://www.biblica.com/en-us/bible/bible-faqs/when-was-the-bible-written/

Word of mouth??? Where were the cameras?

(One thing always puzzles me.....When Jesus went "full time" prophet, what happened to his carpentry business?......................"Messiah my arse! I'm still waiting for my fitted wardrobes.")
 

NoParty

Senior Member.
http://www.biblica.com/en-us/bible/bible-faqs/when-was-the-bible-written/

Word of mouth??? Where were the cameras?

(One thing always puzzles me.....When Jesus went "full time" prophet, what happened to his carpentry business?......................"Messiah my arse! I'm still waiting for my fitted wardrobes.")
It's just like the parlor game "Telephone" (aka "Chinese Whispers") except instead of the results being absurdly hilarious, the ancient results became "history."
 

George B

Extinct but not forgotten Staff Member
It's just like the parlor game "Telephone" (aka "Chinese Whispers") except instead of the results being absurdly hilarious, the ancient results became "history."
Yes, oral traditions become distorted over time. But human behavior and culture traits; however, are extremely predictable. Marriage, language, beliefs (religion), music, law are almost always repeat offenders. There must be a reason for their existence in human society. They exists even in our most primitive cultures.

Are these cultural imperatives programmed into our genetic code? We don't observe them expressed clearly in animal groups or do we? If cultural traits are adaptive (we assume they are) how then does religion accomplish its purpose?
 
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deirdre

Senior Member.
what cracks me up isn't jesus rising from the 'dead' or the parting of the Red Sea, it's the fact that the gospel writers decades later think they got it right. I mean how many times do the disciples say "huh?" "what?" when Jesus is talking. THEY didn't even know what he was talking about half the time!

That said, scientific explanation or not, if I had a bunch of people chasing me and the sea happened to open up just at that time to let me through I'd give my "guardian angels" a thumbs up!
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Yes, oral traditions become distorted over time. But human behavior and culture traits; however, are extremely predictable. Marriage, language, beliefs (religion), music, law are almost always repeat offenders. There must be a reason for their existence in human society. They exists even in our most primitive cultures.

They exist, but are often radically different to those concepts in the modern Western world. They most likely exist (in some form) because they are advantageous to the success of a society.
 

AluminumTheory

Senior Member.
I've wondered similar things myself. I once felt that religion was a mostly a negative force in the world and that the ideas were mostly conjured up as a means to control the ignorant during a time of intellectual darkness. While I still feel that the latter might have some element of truth to it, I now think that religion and how people choose to practice it is more of a reflection of an individual or group's personal character, culture, and education.


The less a person knows, the more likely that person is to accept scripture as literal fact. There are Christians who believe in evolution and there are Christians who believe the earth is flat.

Western religions both seem to preach positive and negative things. The positive things being love and compassion toward others through charity and forgiveness. The negative ones being prejudice, fear, and violence. And of course we have people who seem to gravitate toward one side or the other or perhaps in the middle somewhere.

Where people might fall in this spectrum probably has to do with cultural upbringing and personal character. Someone who expresses their faith positively is probably a good person aside from their religious beliefs. And I feel that the same goes for those who express their faith negatively.

So that being said, I don't see religion as such a negative force in the world. If the world were purged of all religion, I think people would just invent new ways to hate each other and believe in nonsense.
 

George B

Extinct but not forgotten Staff Member
They exist, but are often radically different to those concepts in the modern Western world. They most likely exist (in some form) because they are advantageous to the success of a society.
Do you feel the big boy religions: Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism are basically not "advantageous"?
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
What has changed?

Rather a big (off) topic. But basically science and public education give people answers. And society in general has evolved away from religion as the primary motivator and provider of moral codes. Since religion is at odds with science it's now a divisive force.

But the issue here is how the Bible does not encourage free-thinking and questioning - that in itself is a significant disadvantage of religion over nonreligion.
 

George B

Extinct but not forgotten Staff Member
Rather a big (off) topic. But basically science and public education give people answers. And society in general has evolved away from religion as the primary motivator and provider of moral codes. Since religion is at odds with science it's now a divisive force.

But the issue here is how the Bible does not encourage free-thinking and questioning - that in itself is a significant disadvantage of religion over nonreligion.
Hmmmmm, I think the Franciscans may disagree with your premiss. It is my understanding they have a tradition of teaching critical thinking. The Catholic Church was the protector and repository of Western Civilization during the dark ages; St Patrick is revered for such efforts I thought? This would no doubt include scientific skepticism.

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Role_of_the_Catholic_Church_in_Western_civilization

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Patrick
 
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Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Hmmmmm, I think the Franciscans may disagree with your premiss. It is my understanding they have a tradition of teaching critical thinking. The Catholic Church was the protector and repository of Western Civilization during the dark ages; St Patrick is revered for such efforts I thought? This would no doubt include scientific skepticism.

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Role_of_the_Catholic_Church_in_Western_civilization

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Patrick

But my point was specifically about the Bible.
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
But my point was specifically about the Bible.
just to play devils advocate... as we have all seen here at Metabunk, some people aren't capable of critical thinking even when the facts are pointed out to them. Maybe jesus ( or matthew?) was just trying to make people feel bettr about themselves and basically saying, "it's ok if you don't know to ask you can trust me, i'll be your brain".

I'm probably wording that very badly.
 

Syrez

Member
What I was wondering, is what the Bible's advice or opinions on Skepticism and Debunking might be...


The resurrection of Jesus is the cornerstone...

The cornerstone is the Word. Up to and including his ascribed words within the later books, for Christians, that is, or further to the last prophet, for others.

On reflection, the cornerstones are light, logos, and Noahide law. The narrative concerns free will, a choice in life between Noahide law and the adversarial philosophy of 'do as thou wilt'. The consequences of 'do as thou wilt' are of course explored in great and bloody depth throughout the ages it describes.

This choice is what I believe truly concerns religious people. This and, of course, gratitude for the grace of living to that which has caused to be. It is that simple to me.

The Bible does not always look kindly upon seeking wisdom.
I am glad you cited this book as upon reading the opening lines of this thread I was going to suggest it in particular as perhaps the most relevant. However, I would have to vehemently disagree with respect to your interpretation of it. I feel such an interpretation also lacks historical context.
So I feel it can quite safely be argued that the Bible is very anti-sceptic. "Knowledge" and "Wisdom" consist largely of knowledge of God's will, and not knowledge of the world.
Could you expand as to the difference between these two, as Jews, Christians, Muslims, Hindus, and others may see them as essentially identical.
The foundational story of the bible is that of Adam and Eve, who are cast out of paradise for the very skeptical act of seeking knowledge - a type of knowledge that the bible warns against.
They were cast out for disobedience but you raise a very good point. In fact, one could explore this particular book in itself, within the framework of your question, rather than attempt to encompass the entirety of the bible, as it is perhaps the archetypal or exemplar tale concerning the very points you raise in this topic. We even have within it the tree of knowledge, the metaphor of all metaphors. For sure, disobedience aside, the underlying, direct problem resulting from the eating of the fruit concerned the enabling of ability to differentiate between good and evil. Within the human story this can be seen as representing the moment we became cultural entities with 'agency', in a sense that we understand ourselves to this day. Why was the acquisition of this particular piece of knowledge the crux of the very first tale in our collective human story? It is a very curious tale.

Is this what you genuinely think it is about, the suppression of the human desire to question the world around us?

One last point, within the historical line of events, the chronicles, if you will, from light and logos, to knowledge of self and of will, to culture, to kings and to law, it was the role of the prophets, specifically, to rise at this point and question the authority of judges. That is why they are there, and that is why they are heralded by the people at the wall of the city as custodians of truth. I feel it is scepticism that defines them within the biblical narrative.
 
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MikeC

Closed Account
On reflection, the cornerstones are light, logos, and Noahide law. The narrative concerns free will, between Noahide law and the 'adversarial' philosophy of 'do as thou wilt'.

IMO it is a false dichotomy that those are the only 2 options.

There are many cases know of societies having laws and rules of behavior without them coming from the x-ian god (or the hebrew or islamic versions) - and in the case of buddhism there is no god at all - but karma is a bitch!

Your comparison of the 2 as if they are the only optoins is, IMO, typical of hte closed mindedness engendered by the circular belief that the bible is the word of god therefore everything in the bible is true because it is the word of god.
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
IMO it is a false dichotomy that those are the only 2 options.

There are many cases know of societies having laws and rules of behavior without them coming from the x-ian god (or the hebrew or islamic versions) - and in the case of buddhism there is no god at all - but karma is a bitch!

Your comparison of the 2 as if they are the only optoins is, IMO, typical of hte closed mindedness engendered by the circular belief that the bible is the word of god therefore everything in the bible is true because it is the word of god.
Is gov. really so different than religion? Just a different set of 'primarily' men telling us what we can do, and what we can say, and what we can eat. it's all one half a dozen of the other, imo.
 

MikeC

Closed Account
I've just started reading a series of Sci-Fi books by someone who's name I don't recall about a clone soldier....his (the soldier's) take on the old testament is that the old testament god IS government - pay taxes, follow the rules, do as you are told or we'll kill you.

The new testament he doesn't get at all :)
 

Syrez

Member
IMO it is a false dichotomy that those are the only 2 options.
There are many cases know of societies having laws and rules of behavior without them coming from the x-ian god (or the hebrew or islamic versions).
There are societies that have barely encountered outsiders in centuries. Not sure what your point is there, I'm afraid. I see no false dichotomy but perhaps I was unclear. By 'do as thy wilt' I did not mean exercise one's right of choice in all things including matters of no particular consequence as well as morally grey areas. I meant act within the constraints of Noahide law, or transgress it, at one's will. A binary option, and the short essence of the bible, I'd say.
Your comparison of the 2 as if they are the only optoins is, IMO, typical of hte closed mindedness engendered by the circular belief that the bible is the word of god therefore everything in the bible is true because it is the word of god.
Really, how did you come to that conclusion?
 
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