Do you believe that the Bible is more of an allegory and that there is deeper meaning to everything? Or do you totally believe it to the letter and have faith in it that it is true even though you do not understand it?
asked 29 Mar '10, 22:10
Hi Karen, welcome to Inward Quest.
From my perspective and studies of this question, I believe that the bible is to be taken literal unless the context deems it otherwise. As for faith in the bible, for the things that I still do not understand, today, after many years of study, I have faith in it.
I did not start by having faith in the bible. I did not begin my journey this way.
I began with a very skeptical view about a book that was written by man, had countless contradictions and had scores of different bible versions showing me that no one knew what God even said. No only that, but also countless denominations basically saying we have the right interpretation to the book to the point of contradicting themselves. No one could have seemed to agree on even the major doctrines. There seemed to be mass different 'religious' views. WHAT A MESS OF CONFUSION!!* Also, things that were written in there were 'weird' and some things even hard to understand and/or believe.
That is where I started.
My first pressing question was to determine whether the bible could be trusted. This was the most crucial answer I needed. If I was to have this book as my personal foundation in all matter of faith and practice it had to be 100% dead on or I was not even going waste my time with it. How could I place my faith in a book which would dictate my life if I knew there might be one thing wrong with it.
I was not going to pick and choose what might be right hoping I guessed correctly or feeling what might be the right answer or what I thought would be a good or valid interpretation that would coincide and mix well with whatever else I picked up along the way of other religions, beliefs, philosophies, ideas, etc.
This was one of my most important question to be answered. Which I finally did get good solid answers to.
In the many years that I have had the opportunity to read and study the bible, many parts that did not make sense back then got answered in time. I actually did my homework to learn more about it. I eventually got answers that satisfied many personal question.
Things like, where did the bible came from (God or man), how it got to us, the different manuscripts, the different aspects of the bible including its history, its prophecy, its relevancy in today's world, The more I studied the bible the more things I learn about this creation and everything we need to know about it. It has become my standard to judge everything by.
There are thousands of valid God/bible questions that people have. You need to get these questions answered in the most satisfactory way. The answers are there. You just need to search and ask until a logical, realistic answer comes. I am of the opinion that all questions have answers. You might not like an answer you get, but that's another topic.
The answers are there. One needs to search out the matter. How bad do you want to know, is how much you will discover.
Over the years I noticed people have personal questions that they need answers to. Once this block or hurdle is done away with, their faith in God seems to flourish. It settles into a strong belief or faith.
What slows down, or bogs down, or confuses, or even turn off an inquirer in getting a reasonably intelligent answer to their questions?
In my opinion, it is the masses that go to "church". On the average they have no idea what is in the bible or even how to explain it. They go 'do their duty' and that's it. If the priest, minister, pastor, elder, shepherd, says something, it is swallowed hook, line and sinker without them checking it out what was said. Classic example: "The trinity cannot be explained, by faith we accept it". To me this was not a satisfying answer. I searched and got an answer that was satisfying to me.
I go by this principle, "Could you prove this in a court of law?"
Many of the so called 'Christians' have no idea about many things in scripture. They mumble some thing or other that does not make sense and finalize it by saying, "You have to take it by faith"
I find the knowledge of these people very shallow. They say things they have no idea what they are talking about. Bible verses are taken out of context to try to answer a question. They attempt to answer, but don't make any sense at all and finally bamboozle the questioner. I know, they did it to me.
It is these people and their leaders that bring a bad name on the bible. Because of them, the bible is allegorical, cannot be taken literally, has contradictions... etc.
This will be verified only through personal investigation.
* I personally coined this phrase, A mess of confusion to mean a level lower than just simple confusion.
answered 30 Mar '10, 03:27
Very nice answer, Frank...I think you've captured the essence of the "thinking Christian."
(30 Mar '10, 05:13) Vesuvius
Hi Vesuvius, thanks for the compliment. What do you mean when you said, you've captured the essence of the "thinking Christian."
(30 Mar '10, 14:16) Frank 1
I think Christians have a (perhaps undeserved) reputation of taking what they read in the Bible at face value (i.e. literally), and not attempting to digest the deeper meaning of the words.
(30 Mar '10, 21:51) Vesuvius
Hey Vesuvius, the first sense in the bible is always literal. Then there are other deeper spiritual applications to the same passage. By getting the literal sense first you get a better grip on the book. Then for spiritual growth you delve deeper to get more from it. I find you need both applications when reading the bible. Thanks for your comment.
(04 Apr '10, 17:22) Frank 1
showing 2 of 4 show 2 more comments
It is my understanding that Jesus was a member of the mystery schools and that his parables were designed for all people but specifically for mystery school members who knew the deeper meanings of the allegories. It is said that the bible has two intepretations. Literal and spiritual.
Now if you think about it. Any spiritual or mental knowledge that comes to our thoughts are in images or emotions that need to be translated into a language in order to express this knowledge to others. As soon as that interpretation has begun, the truth begins to be distorted. True knowledge or knowing can only be had experientially. Our minds can understand spiritual concepts better through symbolism and allegories than through literal translations where from language to another language distorts the true understanding. To me, my interpretation is as good as anyone elses and will mean more to me because of it.
answered 30 Mar '10, 02:11
Hey RPuls, your first paragraph is interesting. Out of curiosity, what reference do you have that Jesus was a member of the mystery schools. Also, which schools would these be. Thanks
(30 Mar '10, 19:48) Frank 1
I came across a book called the "secret doctrines of Jesus" and "The Mystical Life of Jesus" They both mention the Brotherhood of the Essenes. and an Egyptian Mystery School.
My books are packed away, But I think both books were published by the Rosicrucian Order AMORC.
(31 Mar '10, 11:09) RPuls
Thanks for the info. RPuls
(31 Mar '10, 18:26) Frank 1
showing 2 of 3 show 1 more comments
Hello... I have been recently scanning the pages of this site and have been quite shocked at the debating techniques utilized by most of its members in relation to the Bible. There seems to be quite an exchange of personal opinions and hear-say regarding the absolute literal truth or allegorical validity of the Bible.
The Bible has absolutely nothing to do with relativity concepts [II Peter 1:20,21]. The Bible has an absolute literal foundation, and its content is to be understood properly, progressively, and incrementally fitted together [Isaiah 28:9,10]. If you approach Biblical content in an allegorical manner, you are taking the Bible's claim of being and containing absolute truth, and you are placing the Bible in the foreign realm of relativism. Therefore, you will be missing out on all the valuable, literal information concerning the origin of time, the origin of space, the origin of the earth, the origins of nature, the origins of animal life, the origin of man, man's geneologies, the history of nations, the history of kings and rulers, the chronicles of wars, Jesus Christ, the miracles, His death/burial/resurection, the origins of His Body(ie.church), life after death, prophecy, faith, hope, charity, and eternity. Because of the historical, geographical, political, scientific, practical, and prophetic nature of this information, its relevance is demonstrable even in our so-called 'modern' times.
Now, regarding such a vast array of information, either the whole Bible is to be taken literally OR the whole Bible is to be taken allegorically. You cannot honestly position yourself as THE authority when deciding which Bible portions are literal and which are allegorical. Also, you cannot claim a mixture of both because one aspect of GOD's character is that He is NOT the author of confusion [I Corinthians 14:33]. Thus, when GOD deals with facts, He presents them as factual information. When GOD deals with parables, proverbs, or ecclesiastical observations/poetry, He presents them as such and always provides the proper spiritual interpretation in other portions of the Scripture. Thus, in summary, the Bible is either literal truth or allegorical truth due to the following logical and rational formulae:
Literal + Literal = Literal (This is an immutable absolute fact)
Allegory + Allegory = Allegory (This is an immutable absolute fact)
Literal + Allegory = CONFUSION! (This is an immutable absolute fact)
In light of the aforementioned statements, proper Biblical understanding begins with a LITERAL foundation upon which all SPIRITUAL truths may be discerned, formed, and solidified. Discerning, forming, and solidifying SPIRITUAL truths from an ALLEGORICAL foundation will result in SPIRITUAL SUICIDE!
In conclusion, the Bible defines itself throughout its pages as absolute literal truth and should, therefore, be accepted as such.
Thanks for reading.
answered 10 Jun '10, 20:01
Dear Concerned Citizen: Your central argument fails terribly and further you come off as an elitist individual who believes has superior intellect. You stated: (the bible) and its content is to be understood properly, progressively, and incrementally fitted. You make an unintelligent and blanket statement. My question is as follows: what is the standard for "proper", "progression", and "incrementation". Does such a "bar" or "standard" exist. The bible is as confusing as quantum physics. Quantum phsyics is the physics of disorder and making sense of this disorder.
(11 Jul '10, 16:02) John Milo
MILO: My "unintelligent and blanket statement" has Bible verses listed. Did you verify them? Bible knowledge is to be assembled in "increments". Bible prophecy is to be understood "progressively". And, the "proper" way to meet GOD is on His own terms, not yours. Everything begins with the SIN question: Are you a sinner? GOD says you are [Romans 3:23]. IF you agree, then His judgements on SIN, His prophecies concerning His judgments, and the historical context of His prophecies are REAL, and the whole Bible becomes REAL and RELEVANT. IF you disagree, the Bible remains a "closed" book to you.
(12 Jul '10, 15:34) Concerned Citizen
IN RESPONSE TO FRANK'S POSITION THAT THE BIBLE SHOULD BE TAKEN LITERALLY, I DISAGREE
LET US CLEAR ONE PIECE OF INFORMATION
I AM DEIST
AND I BELIEVE I AM NOT CRASHING ANYONE'S PARTY BY BEING ON THIS SITE
AS A DEIST, I BELIEVE IN A GOD OF ORDER AND CREATOR OF THE COSMOS
I DO NOT BELIEVE IN A GOD OF INTERVENTION (PRAYERS, MIRACLES)
I DO NOT BELIEVE IN FAITH IN ABSENSE OF EVIDENCE
LET US MAKE A SIMPLE THEORETICAL OBSERVATION
I STATE "THEORETICAL" BECAUSE AS A DEIST, SCEPTIC, AND RATIONALIST, I TRY TO KEEP MY BELIEFS GROUNDED
GOD'S GREATEST CREATION IS THE COSMOS (SPACE, TIME, MATTER, ETC.)
WE OBSERVE GOD'S CREATION FIRSTHAND BY LOOKING INTO THE SKIES AND STARS
GOD IS A GOD OF PHYSICAL LAWS AND NOT HUMAN LAWS
IF GOD'S PHYSICAL LAWS ARE VIOLATED, WE INSTANTANEOUSLY FEEL ITS CONSEQUENCES
HUMAN LAWS, MORAL LAWS, MIRACLES, AND THE SUPERNATURAL CANNOT BE OBSERVED
GOD'S PHYSICAL LAWS WITHIN GOD'S GREAT COSMOS CAN BE OBSERVED
GOD IS OF A COSMIC NATURE AND GOD IS NOT OF AN ANTHROPOMORPHIC NATURE
THEREFORE GOD CANNOT BE AN AUTHOR
THE BIBLE IS OF TERRESTERIAL AUTHORSHIP
TO STATE THAT THE BIBLE SHOULD BE TAKEN LITERALLY AND ARE THE WORDS OF GOD ARE A FALSE POSITIVE
THE MAN-MADE BIBLE HAS SOME RELEVANCY IN UNDERSTANDING NATURE AND ETHICS
BUT THE BIBLE DOES NOT HOLD TRUTHS ABOUT MANY SUBJECT MATTERS BECAUSE IT IS FAITH BASED
ANYONE CAN MAKE A WONDERFUL AND CONVINCING FAITH BASED CLAIM AND MAKE A WONDERFUL AND CONVINCING IMPRESSION ON THE MASS
THIS IS MY THEORETICAL AND RATIONAL OBSERVATION TO THE BEST OF MY COGNITIVE AND CRITICAL THINKING ABILITIES
I WOULD BE DELIGHTED IN RECEIVING CRITICISMS OF A RATIONAL NATURE
answered 02 Apr '10, 01:56
Hi John, welcome to the site. You are most welcome here to express your thoughts/ideas. The comments you have made concerning the beliefs you have is understandable. I more or less came from where you're standing right now. I've research many things and got many answers. As time affords, I would like to share with you and the rest of this Inward Quest community some of the info I found. Then after reviewing it, it will be your judgment call to consider or trash it. We are free beings to decide what we want to believe. Hope you find the answers you're looking for. All the best.
(02 Apr '10, 03:59) Frank 1
John, I like your comment in all caps. That way you you can use God or god and be polite. You mention God's greatest creations is "space, time and matter" what about "mind" or "consciousness?" How about the cognitive ability? or imagination. Just because we can't observe something doesn't mean it doesn't exist. There was a time when radio waves wasn't observed until someone tried to invent something that would prove the existance of this intangible wave that was only a theory or concept. Maybe God is physical laws and not seperate from them and permeates as an unobservable force or intellignce
(04 Apr '10, 03:15) RPuls
Hello John, I just wanted to make you aware that you have deleted your other answer to this question so no-one other than the moderators and yourself can see it. But since you are continuing to edit it, you might not have noticed you have deleted it. You will need to undelete it using the link at the bottom of your answer if you want others to see it
(09 Jun '10, 06:09) Barry Allen ♦♦
Since God has seen fit to put tools in our hands that tell us that the age of the earth is about 4.54 billion years, and that evolutionary theory and natural selection consistently explain many aspects of nature, I would contend that the Genesis account is almost certainly allegorical, as is the account of the tree of life and the serpent.
In the Bible, Jesus almost always spoke in parables.
answered 29 Mar '10, 23:11
Could you imagine a primitive mind with a primitive language trying to explain the images and visions received from God? Genesis could be literal. Obsurd to a modern mind with a modern language.
(04 Apr '10, 03:20) RPuls
Hello, Vesuvius... Unfortunately, the 'tools' which are in our hands are not from GOD. I say this because there are too many scientific reports disputing various aging techniques that contain huge error margins for any sensible agreement. GOD is NOT associated to error. 'Evolutionary theories' are still looking for the 'missing links' to clearly fill the large gaps which still exist today. Concerning 'natural selection', even Darwin doubted his own theories on his death-bed. The 'serpent' was literally Satan, and Jesus only spoke in parables AFTER He was rejected as Messiah [Matthew 13].
(12 Jun '10, 00:16) Concerned Citizen
@Concerned: That's certainly one point of view, but if you take this point of view seriously, you might as well throw out all of science, because it it incompatible.
(12 Jun '10, 17:28) Vesuvius
Hello, Vesuvius... No, I do not think that you should throw out all of science. 'Science' is the knowledge or understanding of a collection of truths or facts assembled via DEMONSTRABLE OBSERVATIONS. As long as a 'science' is true to its own definition, then it could be accepted as 'science'. However, 'science' becomes very dangerous when it starts becoming guesswork, pretexts, or suppositions. Unfortunately, you see plenty of this in the evolutionary debate. Because of this, many people who will not do any personal research will call a thing 'scientific' when it is clearly NOT!
(12 Jun '10, 18:28) Concerned Citizen
showing 2 of 4 show 2 more comments
A little bit of both. Studying the history of biblical times reveals what is truth, such as information about the rulers throughout the bible like King Solomon, Herod, and Pontius Pilate.
In my opinion, the Bible is mainly allegory. When it comes to Jesus, as Vesuvius said, he mainly spoke in parables. He actually said that the reason for speaking in parables is so that the unworthy wont be able to understand his deeper meanings.
This might also help.
answered 29 Mar '10, 23:55
I think the Bible was probably relevant in the times that it was written when life was completely different to how it is these days.
In my opinion, trying to relate some things in the Bible to the world as it is now and apply it word for word does not make much sense as it was written to be consistent with the world and the way people lived a long time ago.
If we want to apply teachings from the Bible now, we should take the time to understand the true underlying spiritual meaning (the essence) of those teachings first and then adapt it to everyday life.
answered 30 Mar '10, 10:08
Hi Rani, I thought the same way as you explain it in your answer. If you honestly study the matter you will find that the bible is more current than we think. Actually, we (mankind) are actually catching up to the bible. One quick example. In 2 Peter 3:10 it says, ..in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat.. This verse was used in 1900's to disprove the validity of the bible. What could be so hot that this will happen, they said. Some 2 generations later the discovery of the atomic bomb silenced that attack on the bible.
(30 Mar '10, 14:14) Frank 1
You said "THE BIBLE DOES NOT HOLD TRUTHS ABOUT MANY SUBJECT MATTERS BECAUSE IT IS FAITH BASED" but then belief or faith is the foundation of each person's reality, I attract and manifest my reality according to my belief system and you according to yours so to say it is belief based hence does not hold true is just truth from your perspective perhaps but for those who do believe in it the reality is different. By-the-way I am not Christian by religion so I am not defending the bible based on my faith, just stating my perspective on all religious books. I do think that all religious books do require more than a superficial understanding, these are books which contain great wisdom which holds true over the millenia.
When I first came to this site I was at that stage where I questioned rthe purpose of religion and whether it really holds true in this day and age, but over the past month or so I realized that when we talk of the Universe and the Source we are talking we are talking about God and the rituals of prayers were basically designed for people to tap into that source as not everyone is even in this day and age able to grasp the concept of tapping into the source through meditation etc. As for miracles well all those who have been practising LOA and doing vibrational work will testify that several "miracles" have occcured in their lives - including mine.
Your point regarding "GOD IS A GOD OF PHYSICAL LAWS AND NOT HUMAN LAWS" well yes that is true in a way but the human laws were made to ensure that our vibrations are positive and hence we are able to tap into the Source. If murder, rape, theft were not outlawed first by the religions and then the law the human race would have fallen into such an abyss of misery and negativity that nothing good or beautiful or pure would be possible in our lives.
answered 08 Jun '10, 20:16
I Think Therefore I Am
Since our spoken language can not fully describe spiritual and cosmic reality, symbolism in the old testament and parables in the new testament try to get us to think about the truth of life. translations by scribes who had the option to decifer the meaning of the action words of the document in hand often relied on personal beliefs to arrive at the senario that made most sense to them. this is part of human nature as is seen today by the way one chooses to interpret any written word. it would be interesting to me, if there was a computer program that could carried through a particular belief system for every verb or noun that had the possibility of more than 1 intrepertation and see who many different literal stories would ensue. In particular, using a thread of reincarnation and the natural law of cause and effect, should the word have a possible meaning of such.
answered 11 Jun '10, 22:43
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