Victims Of Vagueness

vagueNeed a justification for your perversion? You’ll find it in the bible. From rape to slavery to torture, the bible offers just the right amount of malleability to accommodate even the most perverse beliefs.

While most cultures accommodate the bible in a relatively innocuous fashion, societal beliefs are not the effect of biblical understanding, but rather any particular compilation of biblical doctrine is more often the effect of societal beliefs.

When I was young, I was taught that the bible was the word of God, and that those who read it with an open heart would uncover the divine truths therein. There were 2 problems.

  • The bit of the bible that is stated clearly is frequently perverse as with clear cases of rape and slavery committed by the Israelites with the full endorsement of God. Apologists become contortionists in their attempt to explain these away.
  • The vagueness of the remainder allows for a sundry of interpretations that you can co-opt to bolster your own agenda. For every political and social ideology in the world, you’ll find biblical justification. For every practice such as slavery, the subjugation of women, and the torturing of children to excise demons, you’ll find adequate justification in this “word of god”.

You would think that a god that hands humanity a book of divine truth on our alleged eternal destiny would either make it as clear as a precise legal document, or at least provide some kind of mechanism to assure the faithful transmission of its truths from letters to concept. A cursory examination of all the various brands of christianity spread over the world’s cultures tells a different story. No other book has generated such a diversity of “faiths”, all claiming to be the “true” christians. And each of these groups will promote reading the bible with an open heart. If there is any spirit of any god that might guide the reader into a correct understanding of the book, it is very odd that bible readers very rarely arrive at an understanding of scriptures that is very far removed from the orthodoxy of their particular “faith” of their community. I would suggest that there is clearly no “holy spirit” or other mechanism to assure that the divine words on the page are faithfully conveyed to a human mind. I would suggest that the words are not divine. I would suggest that both the clear vulgarities and the vagueness of the bible are something humanity could quite do without.

Below you’ll find a series of videos demonstrating how the bible is appropriated in Nigeria in a very disturbing way. However, read your bible. If you read it literally, you’ll find more than sufficient justification for this ontic of demons and witches.

After watching, consider how various cultures appropriate the bible to their own ends, whether that be capitalism, nationalism, communism, or any other “ism”. The bible in its vagueness coupled with its claims of divine origin has been, and will continue to be, the justification for all manner of atrocities.

Shame on those who promote the bible as the “word of god”. Watch the series below.

1

Did you note how the concepts such as witchcraft and demons in this culture very closely reflect concepts found in the bible, though now dismissed in much of the christian West? The bible is a smorgasbord of possible doctrines.
“Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.” (Exodus 22:18)

2

Here’s an article about casting out demons from a Western site with the blurb “Taking God’s Word seriously”.

3

Embedding may be disabled. View this video here.

4

5

This woman exhibits the same familiar tone of arrogant and less-than-righteous indignation seen in America’s Evangelical leaders.

6

Embedding may be disabled. View this video here.

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14 thoughts on “Victims Of Vagueness

  1. john says:

    wow. scary.

    find your thoughts on the holy spirit interesting.

    it might be that all this bible shit isn’t really understood because people don’t have ‘the holy spirit’ to understand the god who wrote it to begin with which would mean they aren’t, uhm, christians?

    having said this, i do think there is a consistent truth that everyone sees about god even if they can’t figure his words… that he’s just, right, etc… he’d have to be to put up with our imperfection, esp. when i watch these youtube clilps on how one can justify their positions.

    i mean, hitler killed millions of people in the name of jesus christ. good thing we saw that he wasn’t really again…’christian’? i’m not sure i even really know how to define a christian these days anyway.

    i think we also see that he’s just damn angry a lot; he’s not always merciful. but then again, i don’t know why he has to be merciful anyway.

    sorry. i’m sort of black and white about this stuff.

    thanks for the post.

    • It’s interesting to watch each group of christians claiming that the other groups are heretics or worse. The point is, if there was a god that gave the bible as a guide for humans, he certainly forgot to provide a mechanism for the faithful transmission of biblical truths into the minds of the readers. Take any culture throughout history and throughout the globe, and you’ll find the bible largely conforming to the personality and beliefs of that culture rather than the other way around. This makes the bible a dangerous tool since it can be used to invoke divine endorsement of any practice due to its vagueness.

  2. john says:

    guess i’m saying i reasonably can’t say that a god can’t exist because people don’t know how to read it… or that if a god did exist gave a certain freedom to people to figure it out without having to unjustly make them robots…

    anyway, point well taken.

    • It seems to me that free will is the freedom to reject clear revelation. If the revelation is not clear, there is nothing to reject, and therefore no free will in effect. Yet it does seem that the god of the bible condemns people for ignorance. Romans chapter 1 requires an enormous stretch of the imagination to assert that the disbelief of a jungle pagan is due to rebellion against the gospel clearly seen in “the things which are made”. There is no free rejection of christ among those who have not heard of christ. This is just absurd.

  3. john says:

    honestly, can’t explain why a god would condemn those who haven’t heard… that’s sort of news to me about god. i thought he hated evil and evil never understands good… i don’t think evil people will ever understand god and so i never thought it was an issue that to assume that if god existed, he couldn’t condem horrible dictators and those who practice injustice in the world. i would want to follow god who believed they should know better… and probably always did even though they may not have some ‘clear’ voice from some trascendent being telling them what they should do…

    i dig your definition of free will; makes sense to me. the other side of your definition is troubling because if i have ‘heard’ of christ and then reject him, by your definition i’m no longer ignorant. if some deist guy comes to my door one more time and tells me what i intellectually understand… by your definition it means it’s completely acceptable by their god to judge me because now i’m not deemed ignorant? i’ve made the choice of what is clearly made known to me, right? their god has every reason to ‘condemn’ me because by the narrower defintion of free will: i have rejected what i clearly know.

    • Right, you’re now not ignorant because you have heard the “gospel”. However simply hearing about someone’s god does not warrant belief. The next steps are to 1) assess their definition of god for coherency (or the lack thereof), 2) assess any positive or negative evidence that is presented, and 3) employ the notion of falsification which would include broken promises that the alleged god has made. I address these 3 steps in other posts.

      Thanks for your insightful comments, John.

  4. sam says:

    I’m sorry to say but to put on balance the bible and a bunch of charlatans it’s to simplistic.
    What the clips are showing is pure animal instincts expressed and pushed via religion interpreted through a weird mixture of irrational statements.
    The real evil is the greed of better economically positioned nations and wicked nigerians who learned the skills of exploiting the naivety of their brothers. Not in a book .
    To save these children and other unfortunate human beings should be a challenge for everybody irrespective of their belief.
    I cried for them and I’m ashamed I’m human, let alone christian.

    • Thanks for your thoughts, Sam.
      If christianity were merely an ideology that did not claim to have The Almighty as the author, I could agree with you. However, the best you can say of christianity in light of this type of atrocity is that the christian god is impotent in respect to the transmission of truth from the written word to minds, and/or in respect to those who you perceive to be grossly reinterpreting divine revelation to achieve their own agenda. Is not this situation a prime opportunity for The Almighty to smite such offenders as he is alleged to do in the Old Testament so as to protect the innocent, destroy the iniquitous, and make his glory know to all?
      This is just one more example of divine impotence in spite of the impassioned and sincere prayers of millions. Everywhere the world operates within the same parameters of probabilities without a testable miracle in sight. When will humanity catch on?

  5. […] day while googling out of boredom I searched for “agnostics” and came across this blog .  I was caught by the authors’ sincere and open presentation of his journey from being a […]

  6. john says:

    i understand your point on the idea of an OT god who you would ‘think’ would take this opportunity to smite these bastards. one’s silence or lack of action, however, never implies impotence. that nations do nothing during times of injustice around the world does not mean they don’t have the ‘power’ to do so.

    having said this, sam appreciate your sincerity. while i in some sense respect humility found in confession, it does not negate or excuse ones’ involvement in a religion which this post points out the inability of a supreme god to transmit truth so that things like this don’t happen.

    i guess what i’m saying is this: if i or anyone else claims to follow any deity we had either explain how a god could allow such things or just flat out admit we’re not able to explain it. i would respect that answer far more than feeling ashamed.

    thanks for the good comments here.

  7. sam says:

    Phil, I’m honestly 100 percent with as regarding to facts. They are there for all to see, or hear.
    I also think that a world without beliefs in outside powers or in afterlife wouldn’t be too different. Life has its inherent absurdity, people will always have a loose imagination, the innerlife will always be thousand times richer than the visible one. Taking these on board I feel that there is no point in cutting myself off such a widespread powerful belief. At the same time I don’t run away from new experiences. I am still in the growing up process despite my being of a certain age :)
    In other words I don’t consider myself a Christian in the strict sense of one having exclusivity for knowing the truth. Nor do I consider people who don’t hold mainstream beliefs as lost and damned forever. That would be too foolish

    John,
    The second option : I am not able to explain it.
    I usually tell people half-jokingly that I will ask God this and that when He’ll find time for my questions :)

    • Thanks again for the comments, Sam.

      What is it about christianity then that makes you feel like it must be an essential part of your life. Do you feel that a life without belief in god is somehow unsatisfying?

  8. sam says:

    To be again frank and honest I can’t say I have too much to say here. I was born in a Christian family, the majority of my relatives and friends are Christians. Again, why should I lower the quality of my social life to a degree were I could end up alone and with nothing better in exchange? As I said I don’t imagine a very big improvement in my life if I was to give up on christianity. It would only be different. I know I’m not making a strong case for the christianity here. I can only understand what I feel and see. The only reasonable (I believe) point I can make it’s similar to the one put by Emil Cioran , a philosopher who said that once you got to the point of proving yourself that you can take your own life there no satisfaction in actually doing it.
    I could be an atheist or agnostic easily but I don’t feel the attraction to it.

    Thank you for being a patient host

  9. john says:

    sam, i actually resonate with this thought: “i can only understand what i feel and see.” thank you.

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