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Comments

Islander

"The Bible" huh? "The Book"-
been around in it's present form for about 1600 years. It is a frequently violent, morally dubious set of texts, dating from the late bronze age: much more input for our Aotearoa-NZ civilisation has actually come from Greek & Roman sources (law; language organisation, and - especially - the roots of the scientific method, the best way of thinking humans have yet devised.)
Heoi.

Danyl Mclauchlan
And how many people do you know that have actually read the entire vedic texts?

Polls in the US suggest most Christians (58%) don't know who gave the Sermon on the Mount. I'd guess that the percentage of Christians who have read the entire Bible is somewhere in the high single digits.

There are probably more athiests in the world than Hindus.
That is correct, but atheism (and Christianity) are a very recent schools of thought, while Hinduism has been practised in the worlds most populous region for approximately 7000 years. I think they're way ahead on numbers.
And outside of the Indian sub continent where is the art, architecture or literature inspired by the vedas?

Well . . . there's Eliots 'The Wasteland' for starters . . .

robk

Hamish
You're almost right about the bible "It's. Just. A. Book." (A nit-picker might point out it's actually a collection of books.)

We could also say YOU are just a collection of molecules - but what an amazing collection of molecules you are!

robk

Islander
Books are not violent, people are violent! :-)
The bible does record a lot of violence because that's a fact of life since the rebellion in Eden. God does seem to have ordered violent acts (hard to understand) but He says "I have no pleasure in the death of ANYONE who dies".
I suspect Life is not a game, but has important consequences so we need to be sure we are on the right track. If we consistently give God 'the finger' I guess He may have to take some drastic action because we are stuffing up HIS creation.
I'm no student of history, but I don't think we got our "Protect the weak" laws from the Romans or the Greeks.

robk

Notice that the Bible doesn't gloss over historical events (and a lot of it is history accurately recorded), the 'heroes' are recorded warts and all. The writers could have doctored their storys to make them more acceptable, but it seems they were scared to tell lies. (A concept that really needs God to be there to make any sense - Christians and Jews MUST do their best to tell the truth, Atheists have NO compelling reason to do so)

david@flair.net.nz

Actually robk, atheists ahve far more compelling reasons to tell the truth than christians.

We know and accept that this life is all we get and we should make the most of it, and one of the guiding lights for that is to treat others with respect and acceptance.

OTOH, christians can a) be forgiven, if they are micks and ask absolution, b)don't need to care if they follow the dispensationalist form of protestantism, or c) not ned to worry because their "good works" ensure their palce in heaven.

Mabe this is why you see so few atheists as leaders of violent nations, bent on war.

Danyl Mclauchlan

Notice that the Bible doesn't gloss over historical events (and a lot of it is history accurately recorded), the 'heroes' are recorded warts and all. The writers could have doctored their storys to make them more acceptable, but it seems they were scared to tell lies. (A concept that really needs God to be there to make any sense - Christians and Jews MUST do their best to tell the truth . . .

There's a lot more archeological evidence to support the Iliad than there is for the entire Bible. And Homer also depicted his hero's 'warts and all' (Achilles spends most of the book crying or sulking in his tent). Does that mean that Pallas Athena MUST exist?

robk

Hi David
Your point blew me right out of the water! All these years I thought that because God said "You shall not bear false witness" I had to tell the truth... Life will be so much easier now I can lie my way out of trouble. :-) Damn! that means I'll have to have a really good memory :-(
I note you say "one of the guiding lights for that is to treat others with respect and acceptance" - no mention of telling the truth? I have seen disrespect and rejection acted out by religious folk, but atheists usually seem to believe in, and act on: 'Survival of the Fittest'. More than that, 'Survival of Self'.
Christians at least TRY to treat their fellow man with respect, acceptance AND honesty. (Some high profile examples have spectacularly failed, admittedly)
And yes, we can be forgiven if we 'repent' but it HAS to be genuine...
Now - you say "Mabe this is why you see so few atheists as leaders of violent nations, bent on war." I can see how you might think this, as some religions are extremely bloodthirsty. This is one of the things that sets Christianity apart (or should do) Some Islamist governments, for example, actively target civilians. George Bush claims to be Christian and may not be a great example but at least TRIES to limit "collateral damage"
Aethist leaders of violent nations:
Hitler
Stalin
Mao Tse Tung
Pol Pot

Neither religious nor atheists are clean.

I don't really defend "Christianity" or the "Church" because it is so easy to find bad examples. But there have been many many individual believers in God and especially Jesus who have enormously helped other people often at the cost of their own lives. There have been some atheists, too who have done this, but this seems to be contrary to atheistic / evolutionary logic.

robk

Hi Danyl
re: "(Achilles spends most of the book crying or sulking in his tent). Does that mean that Pallas Athena MUST exist? "

Good point. No.
Greek gods & demi-gods are certainly an interesting bunch, but I don't feel drawn to giving them my allegiance for some reason... ;-)

andrei

Danyl
"Well . . . there's Eliots 'The Wasteland' for starters . . ."

Thats a big stretch my friend

To be sure T S Eliot's poem "the Waste Land" references the vedas

But also draws from Shakespeare, Dante and many many others including the Holy Bible.

Danyl Mclauchlan

I can't think of a single Biblical reference in 'The Wasteland' ('Son of Man?'), altough Dante and St Augustine do get namechecked.

Of course, I only cited 'The Wasteland' because that's the title of yuor thread. The Veda - an addition to influencing all of Buddhism - were a massive influence on American and European thought and art in the 19th and 20th centuries. Hesse, William James, Whitman, Heidigger, Ginsberg and Huxley are examples off the top of my head - I'm sure google could dig up hundreds more in the West alone.

FRANK FREEMAN

Robk: 'Hitler an atheist' I hardly think so. He considered himself a protestant christian in the protesting mold of Luther. He even went as far as to blame the Jews for murdering Christ. He was one helluva Christian!

robk

Frank, thanks for pointing this out. I withdraw Hitler from my list for the sake of clarity.

Atheist leaders:

Stalin
Mao
Pol Pot

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