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Old 05-20-2008, 04:59 PM   #16
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Originally posted by deep

It is funny there was a time that I considered these stories and others like them very valuable, probably the first half of my life.

Then I looked at them the same way I would any other story that was not "given" extra value for being "Holy".

At that point the "rose colored" glasses fell off.

Well ok, but I was getting at "The literary value in the stories of..."

I don't believe in cyclops, Hercules or Mt Olympus but the literary value of Greek mythology cannot be denied. Every child should read them.
So it is with the Old Testament. Whether you believe it's stories to be narratives, metaphors, parables or outright fiction, they are still wonderful stories. And one must be knowledgeable of them to fully appreciate much of Western art, thought and philosophy.

Reason enough I should think.

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Old 05-20-2008, 05:26 PM   #17
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I can agree with what you have written except the part that they are "wonderful" stories. There may be some, but many are terrible.

I also believe if they had to be taught in the same contexts as "myths" and "fables" on par with Olympus and the like.

"religious" people would be up in arms. Can you imagine if a teacher told a student his "religious" beliefs were on par with believing in Cyclops?

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Old 05-20-2008, 07:02 PM   #18
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I don't have any problem with the idea that the Genesis creation, Cain and Abel, David and Goliath, Jericho, Jonah, and Babel narratives are probably folkloric in origin, or that the Exodus and Flood narratives almost certainly didn't happen in the manner or on the scale described. Even if I didn't think that, I don't see why the Exodus story inevitably implies every believing reader's eternal right to seize "power over others by claiming that they are God's representatives," why the Flood account inevitably implies any and every flood is obviously deserved divine punishment on one's preferred villains, or why the Jericho story inevitably confers an open-ended free pass to invade and slaughter whomever one likes anytime.

It sometimes seems as if you still have your nose so far out of joint about the (apparently) deeply bigoted people who taught you the Bible as a child and the (apparently) highly racist, sexist, and "genocidal" lessons they encouraged you to draw from it that decades later, you're still going around projecting your own former interpretations onto anyone who identifies as Christian (or worse, I suppose, Jewish) and assuming they all see it through the same "rose-colored glasses" you once did. As long as there are ideas, stories and ideologies out there for people to find common cause through and take inspiration from, there will always be those who use them to justify all kinds of viciousness as acts in the service of 'truth' or 'justice', requiring future students of those ideas to sift through the good and the bad with discernment and conscience--qualities for which there are no foolproof formulas. Much of what Thomas Jefferson wrote about black people I find disturbing and morally corrupt, yet I also consider him a brilliant statesman and political thinker and would disagree with anyone who suggests it's 'dangerous' for me to see him in that way lest I become more vulnerable to subconsciously imbibing his less elevated ideas. And no, considering the 'Old Testament' "holy" as opposed to Jefferson's writings (though I doubt my understanding of "holy" much resembles yours) doesn't magically activate some drooling inner genocidal barbarian in me who is incapable of reading, listening and thinking critically, just as I would in any other arena of life. I wasn't raised to study scripture nor anything else that way.

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