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Coldwinterskies

How do the Fundies who actually do read and know the Bible rationalize all the contradictions?

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Coldwinterskies

I was just watching this video where Penn Jillette mentions that ACTUALLY READING the Bible in its full context is a big part of why he is now an atheist: 


This is not the first time that I have heard an atheist say this. I know a lot of former Jehovah's Witnesses who say that part of how they ended up rejecting the religion was by actually just sitting down and READING the Bible in its actual context, instead of just looking at the carefully hand-picked, often out of context quoting of the Bible that Watchtower magazines use (nowadays they encourage people to use an online app to look at their materials to make it easier to get people to focus just on the particular portions they want people to read). 

However, I have seen several fundies that we talk about on here talk about how they actually have read the Bible cover to cover.  I am genuinely curious about how someone who believes in a LITERAL interpretation of the Bible and also really understands WHAT THE BIBLE ACTUALLY SAYS reconciles some of the weird stuff in there. 

I mean, I can understand reconciling some of it if you are a Christian who doesn't take the Bible literally. However, these people believe that the whole thing is the literal truth handed down from God, so how do they reconcile some of the stuff that is illogical, contradictory, or distasteful to modern people like the stuff about offering up your daughter to be raped or the slavery stuff? 

Do any of you who grew up in fundie families have insights on what kind of mental gymnastics they use for this? 

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SeeSunshine

I liken it to the Mormon practice of "putting it on the shelf". If you don't understand the theology or Scripture now, you put it on the shelf, for a time in the future when your faith is stronger and you can understand more. 

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Meh
formergothardite

They jump through a million hoops to "prove" there are no contradictions in the Bible. I grew up a biblical literalist and basically we were told that there were no contradictions and it was sinful to say or think that there was. 

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Toothfairy

They just ignore. No way can we question things. 

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Enraged
47of74

They redact a large portion of the New T.  Especially all those pesky words in red.

Edited by 47of74
One of these days I'll learn how to spell.

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Puzzled
Fascinated

It is a great question. I would also like to understand how one knows that God has called one to (fill in whatever it may be). Is it from the bible or is God answering prayers in a literal sense?  So many fundies seem to conveniently be called to do things that they seem to want to do?

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violynn

It is a great question. I would also like to understand how one knows that God has called one to (fill in whatever it may be). Is it from the bible or is God answering prayers in a literal sense?  So many fundies seem to conveniently be called to do things that they seem to want to do?

I asked this when my cousin said he was called to preach.  He said God started telling him that He made Ron to be a preacher, that he ignored it for 4 years because he already 'knew' what he wanted to do with his life and preaching wasn't it.  Ron said no matter what he tried God kept poking him, telling him to get up in that pulprit and preach.  Missionary Baptist preachers don't choose to be preachers the way we choose to be a doctor or accountant.  In fact, the Church won't accept someone who isn't God-called.  Once they've announced, and begun studying the Bible and references for a while, the preacher starts going around on visiting Sundays to preach until they've found their home church.

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Drala

They learn how to manage cognitive dissonance, usually through denial or minimization of the contradictions.

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uber frau

They're all gold medallists in mental gymnastics.

 

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Enraged
47of74

I asked this when my cousin said he was called to preach.  He said God started telling him that He made Ron to be a preacher, that he ignored it for 4 years because he already 'knew' what he wanted to do with his life and preaching wasn't it.  Ron said no matter what he tried God kept poking him, telling him to get up in that pulprit and preach.  Missionary Baptist preachers don't choose to be preachers the way we choose to be a doctor or accountant.  In fact, the Church won't accept someone who isn't God-called.  Once they've announced, and begun studying the Bible and references for a while, the preacher starts going around on visiting Sundays to preach until they've found their home church.

There's a vast difference in the levels of education required of church leadership.  Some of the more fundie churches don't have much in the way of formal educational requirements for the leadership and in that case a lot of its self study along with a bunch of seminars.  (And in that case I hope these churches are doing background checks).  The Catholics and the more mainline churches not only want the person to take their time in discerning whether or not they're called, but they have extensive educational requirements and include psychological testing in the process.  The Episcopal Church requires a person to have an M.Div to be ordained as a priest and for deacons there's still several years of education required.

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Cleopatra7

I think most people read the Bible through a cultural framework that tells them how to read it and what conclusions they should reach. This, more than the Bible itself, explains the fundie mindset. Gothardism is not about the Bible or about god, but is rather about worshiping a particular vision of American conservatism as imagined through the mind of Bill Gothard. I would be surprised if any Gothardites actually read the Bible, especially given that they are KJV-only and their Wisdom Book education makes even simple reading difficult for them.

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AlwaysExcited

Fundies. Read. Know. Rationalise. You can't put all these words in the same sentence!
Anyways, for actual answer. They read their KJV Bibles the same way one reads a complex text in a foreign language that is not mastered - they catch the idea, but 3/4 of text goes over their heads. And they fill these missing parts with Gothard's interpretations, their (limited) experiences and whatever else they want to be true.

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violynn

There's a vast difference in the levels of education required of church leadership.  Some of the more fundie churches don't have much in the way of formal educational requirements for the leadership and in that case a lot of its self study along with a bunch of seminars.  (And in that case I hope these churches are doing background checks).  The Catholics and the more mainline churches not only want the person to take their time in discerning whether or not they're called, but they have extensive educational requirements and include psychological testing in the process.  The Episcopal Church requires a person to have an M.Div to be ordained as a priest and for deacons there's still several years of education required.

Missionary Baptist Churches follow 1 Timothy when determining who will be accepted as preachers who are supported in the church:

Blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach; not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but gentle, not quarrelsome, not covetous; one who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence (for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?); not a novice, lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same condemnation as the devil. Moreover he must have a good testimony among those who are outside, lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.

Absolutely there are background checks as well.  Basically, other sister churches accept a preacher who is new based on his home churches recommendations.  Before a home church will send their 'Called' preachers out to start giving sermons they are required to take comparative religion classes, biblical studies and many other university courses.  Then the preacher goes through a biblical testing from other preachers and deacons, I forget what they actually call that process, but it requires him to not only know the bible up and down, but Missionary Baptist canons.  I think the process between my cousin announcing his calling and finally becoming Approved was 5 years total.  He was allowed to start preaching in his home church after a year or so, but other churches considering him for a position as Pastor in his own church took the 5 years.

Oh, and his wife is evaluated pretty throroughly as well, so that she will be a help to his ministry and whichever church would eventually take him on.

 

Sorry about the wonky fonts, I can't get it uniform.  

Edited by violynnkelly
Can't get the words 'his' and 'same' changed from red to white either. Yeesh. :/

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kettlingur

My whole extended family is varying levels/kinds of christian, but I have one relation who is a particularly intense kind of fundie. He is currently doing some kind of degree in being a missionary/pastor, which includes a lot of bible study groups that reiterate his church's specific viewpoints through reading and rereading sections of the bible that support them and 'reinterpreting' those sections that might cause issues/contradict, it's a whole lot of 'if you look at the original greek/latin, they actually meant THIS'. I realise that he is unusual in that he actually has the education to read latin (sort of) and stuff, but I think that this way of looking at the bible might  be present in more regular fundies also. If you are so used to jumping through mental hoops in order to maintain your worldview, then you can reinterpret text to mean pretty much whatever you want, even if you're reading the whole bible literally.

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2xx1xy1JD

Observant Jews read it, but in a very different way than Christian fundies do.  The reading is usually accompanied by commentaries (Rashi is the most well-known), and those commentaries often identify common questions or contradictions, and provide explanations.

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Trynn

I have a book by ken Ham about bible contradictions. Would you guys like me to write about some of it when I have time?

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Meh
formergothardite

I just read this article and thought of this thread. I wonder how the KJV only folks are going to react to this.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/15/books/earliest-known-draft-of-king-james-bible-is-found-scholar-says.html?_r=0

It pretty much show that writing the KJV was less of a "god inspired" process and more of a very man made book. 

The draft, he argues, also complicates one long-cherished aspect of the “mythos,” as he put it, surrounding the King James: that it was a collaborative project through and through.

“Some of them, being typical academics, either fell down on the job or just decided not to do it,” Professor Miller said, with a laugh. “It really testifies to the human element of this kind of great undertaking.”

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Palimpsest

I just read this article and thought of this thread. I wonder how the KJV only folks are going to react to this.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/15/books/earliest-known-draft-of-king-james-bible-is-found-scholar-says.html?_r=0

It pretty much show that writing the KJV was less of a "god inspired" process and more of a very man made book. 

Blasphemy!  We all know King James wrote the Bible.  Jim Bob Duggar said so!

It is a great question. I would also like to understand how one knows that God has called one to (fill in whatever it may be). Is it from the bible or is God answering prayers in a literal sense?  So many fundies seem to conveniently be called to do things that they seem to want to do?

It seems that way sometimes.  Especially when they are called to live by grifting and preaching.  On the other hand, I have known people who seem to have real ongoing struggles with what they feel are called to do by God and what they want to do.

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Four is Enough

What Toothfairy said. They ignore it. Because they have "limited Understanding." Yeah. Not just of God's word, but of everything.

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Tired
purple_summer

My whole extended family is varying levels/kinds of christian, but I have one relation who is a particularly intense kind of fundie. He is currently doing some kind of degree in being a missionary/pastor, which includes a lot of bible study groups that reiterate his church's specific viewpoints through reading and rereading sections of the bible that support them and 'reinterpreting' those sections that might cause issues/contradict, it's a whole lot of 'if you look at the original greek/latin, they actually meant THIS'. I realise that he is unusual in that he actually has the education to read latin (sort of) and stuff, but I think that this way of looking at the bible might  be present in more regular fundies also. If you are so used to jumping through mental hoops in order to maintain your worldview, then you can reinterpret text to mean pretty much whatever you want, even if you're reading the whole bible literally.

I grew up in a church that stressed looking up words in the original Greek as well. We've probably owned at least 3 or 4 different versions of Strong's Concordance. There is a lot of hoop jumping, and it's generally not backed by any understanding of context.

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kettlingur

I grew up in a church that stressed looking up words in the original Greek as well. We've probably owned at least 3 or 4 different versions of Strong's Concordance. There is a lot of hoop jumping, and it's generally not backed by any understanding of context.

Yeah, my father is not fundie, but the focus on original languages kinda permeated my childhood, because his worldview is shaped by his understanding of greek/latin which is based in the bible study he did as a young man. Luckily for me, both my parents learnt to think critically a while before I came along, so the focus on root languages is actually kinda useful. The hoop jumping is almost comical, if it wasn't so freaking disturbing. I really don't get how so many people think in such a convoluted way.

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