1. DonationAcolyte
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    02 Jun '05 13:00
    There are some Christian teachings I can understand, but disagree with. But try as hard as I might, I just can't make head or tail of the Garden of Eden story as depicting a good God, from a moral perspective. It's like one of those damn Magic Eye pictures when you haven't got the hang of them. Which of the following lessons am I supposed to learn from the story?

    - God is the boss, and you should do what he says. Don't listen to the Devil. Why are things this way? Answer: ignorant people don't ask questions. It sounds like you've been spending too long around the Tree of Knowledge!

    - God gave people free will, so they could either choose to obey him or disobey him. But there's no pondering of difficult issues involved in doing the right thing: you either do it God's way or the Devil's way. It's like those experiments where they put a mouse in a cage and give it two buttons to press: by rewarding the mouse for pressing the green button and punishing it for pressing the red button, the mouse learns to press the green button. This is how you should view good and evil - there aren't many alternative actions, just a red button and a green button. And the green one is always the right one. The trouble is, if you press the red button, the green one vanishes from sight.

    - If you obey God all the time, you don't need to trouble your little head with notions of right and wrong. Once you do that, you'll start thinking for yourself, which is bad because human thought is inferior to divine thought. Freedom of will is good, but God was distinctly nonplussed at the prospect of freedom of thought.

    - Adam did just fine is the whole obeying God business until Eve was added to the Garden. If men stopped being unduly influenced by women, all would be well.

    - Of course, unlike the usual experiment, once the mouse-er Eve presses the red button, she's failed the test and gets chucked out of the cage. At this point God decides that humanity is a bad mouse and puts the green button somewhere that's really hard to reach.

    - God also gave Adam and Eve a kind of collective responsibility. We don't get the same choice as them today, because they made the choice for us. Because Adam + Eve sinned, we're all bad people from the day we're born.

    -Childbirth and farming aren't difficult for practical reasons. God made them especially difficult, in order to make our lives worse. But it's not like such activity is salutary, in the sense of making people more likely to accept God. Quite the contrary - the nastiness of life on Earth seems to have the effect of making it harder for us to believe in a benevolent God.
  2. Subscriberno1marauder
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    02 Jun '05 17:32
    Originally posted by Acolyte
    There are some Christian teachings I can understand, but disagree with. But try as hard as I might, I just can't make head or tail of the Garden of Eden story as depicting a good God, from a moral perspective. It's like one of those damn Magic Eye pictures when you haven't got the hang of them. Which of the following lessons am I supposed to learn from ...[text shortened]... ife on Earth seems to have the effect of making it harder for us to believe in a benevolent God.
    It all makes sense if you look at it in a sociological sense. You have a society ruled by kings and priests who claim knowledge of the divine will, they don't want the peasants doing a lot of thinking about why the social order has to be that way (cuz it don't). Therefore, they concoct a myth with says acquiring knowledge is a bad thing; you should just do as you are told by God. Since God ain't talking directly to you, but he was nice enough to give you peple who will tell you what he wants you to do, you should simply do what they tell you. Easy.
  3. DonationAcolyte
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    02 Jun '05 19:031 edit
    Originally posted by no1marauder
    It all makes sense if you look at it in a sociological sense. You have a society ruled by kings and priests who claim knowledge of the divine will, they don't want the peasants doing a lot of thinking about why the social ord ...[text shortened]... he wants you to do, you should simply do what they tell you. Easy.
    The trouble with that interpretation is that many Bible-thumpers today claim to be staunch opponents of a powerful state, and indeed this has been true of many Christian groups in history, who have claimed that God's authority is absolute and shouldn't be interfered with by kings and the like.

    Having said that, I was tempted to write a short story, based on the Biblical one but set in an authoritarian state, as ignorance is usually such a government's most powerful tool. The tree of knowledge could be history books, or the internet, or whatever is considered 'damaging to moral character' or 'counter-revolutionary'. It would be interesting to see how American Christian conservatives would react to the story if it was transplanted to the former USSR! Then I realised I have exams next week 🙁
  4. SubscriberBigDoggProblem
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    02 Jun '05 19:08
    Originally posted by Acolyte
    The trouble with that interpretation is that many Bible-thumpers today claim to be staunch opponents of a powerful state, and indeed this has been true of many Christian groups in history, who have claimed that God's authority is absolute and shouldn't be interfered with by kings and the like.
    Perhaps these groups just didn't care for the king who was currently ruling.
  5. Subscriberno1marauder
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    02 Jun '05 19:52
    Originally posted by Acolyte
    The trouble with that interpretation is that many Bible-thumpers today claim to be staunch opponents of a powerful state, and indeed this has been true of many Christian groups in history, who have claimed that God's authority is absolute and shouldn't be interfered with by kings and the like.

    Having said that, I was tempted to write a short story, base ...[text shortened]... the story if it was transplanted to the former USSR! Then I realised I have exams next week 🙁
    I don't think that's true; present fundies only have a problem with a sectarian state, not with government power in general. For example, they have supported criminal laws regulating personal moral behavior like abortion, sodomy, adultery, blasphemy, etc. Calvinist thought which is very strong in the US, opts for a quasi-theocratic type of government where all governmental decisions must comply with religious principles. This was the type of government the first settlers in Massachusetts and Connecticut set up. At any rate, you were asking as to the original meaning of the story and I think the answer I gave is the most logical one, unless you really believe there was a Garden of Eden in ancient Iraq complete with talking snakes.😲
  6. Standard memberNyxie
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    02 Jun '05 23:58
    Originally posted by no1marauder
    I don't think that's true; present fundies only have a problem with a sectarian state, not with government power in general. For example, they have supported criminal laws regulating personal moral behavior like abortion, sodomy, adultery, blasphemy, etc. Calvinist thought which is very strong in the US, opts for a quasi-theocratic type of g ...[text shortened]... ss you really believe there was a Garden of Eden in ancient Iraq complete with talking snakes.😲
    I would think the garden of eden story was a parable.
  7. Subscriberno1marauder
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    03 Jun '05 01:01
    Originally posted by Nyxie
    I would think the garden of eden story was a parable.
    Of course I was assuming it was a parable but what is its central lesson? That you don't need knowledge you only need to do as you are told. This is a perfect "moral" lesson for an autocrat and/or a theocrat to impart to his subjects ain't it?
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    03 Jun '05 01:07
    Its a stiff one
  9. Standard membertelerion
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    03 Jun '05 01:19
    Everything in the story makes a lot of sense except the talking snake.

    Oh yeah and the vegetarian lions (talk about unintelligent design!)
  10. Subscriberno1marauder
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    03 Jun '05 03:56
    Originally posted by telerion
    Everything in the story makes a lot of sense except the talking snake.

    Oh yeah and the vegetarian lions (talk about unintelligent design!)
    Well, there had to be some reason why snakes slither on the ground, didn't there? There's a word for such a myth that explains observable things in nature but I can't recall it from my long ago courses in Greek Mythology.
  11. Not Kansas
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    03 Jun '05 05:24
    Originally posted by no1marauder
    Of course I was assuming it was a parable but what is its central lesson? That you don't need knowledge you only need to do as you are told. This is a perfect "moral" lesson for an autocrat and/or a theocrat to impart to his subjects ain't it?
    I agree with this.
    Gotta keep the flock together and all.
    Thank the gods we can all read and write nowadays ...
  12. Donationbbarr
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    03 Jun '05 05:33
    Originally posted by no1marauder
    Well, there had to be some reason why snakes slither on the ground, didn't there? There's a word for such a myth that explains observable things in nature but I can't recall it from my long ago courses in Greek Mythology.
    Those would be the etiological myths.
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    03 Jun '05 09:37
    Originally posted by Acolyte
    There are some Christian teachings I can understand, but disagree with. But try as hard as I might, I just can't make head or tail of the Garden of Eden story as depicting a good God, from a moral perspective. It's like one of those damn Magic Eye pictures when you haven't got the hang of them. Which of the following lessons am I supposed to learn from ...[text shortened]... ife on Earth seems to have the effect of making it harder for us to believe in a benevolent God.
    The story of Adam and Eve is an easy truth to understand. The story is to be understood on different levels of understanding. Part of the problem for those that do not understand is......... Have you acceptted GENESIS 1:1? If you have not accepted the first words that GOD spoke, in the beginning of the understanding that has been given, to man. Would it not be hard to accept any else that GOD said. Or to accept the understanding of the wisdom that GOD has given to man to understand.
    Have you ever tried to look at the story of The Garden Of Eden, from the view of wisdom? To look at THE WORD OF GOD, from the point of gaining Wisdom. Acording to THE WORD OF GOD, wisdom comes before understanding. PROVERBS 1:2. If you are truly seeking to undrstand the WORD OF GOD. Would it not be a wise thing to put down, your own percieved ideas, Or you own percieved ideas on understanding. Trying looking at What happened in The Garden of Eden from a different perpective. Try looking at THE WORD OF GOD, seeking the wisdom of the understanding that you are searching for.
  14. Subscriberno1marauder
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    03 Jun '05 14:471 edit
    Originally posted by blindfaith101
    The story of Adam and Eve is an easy truth to understand. The story is to be understood on different levels of understanding. Part of the problem for those that do not understand is......... Have you acceptted GENESIS 1:1? If you have ...[text shortened]... eeking the wisdom of the understanding that you are searching for.
    Try actually writing a post that isn't such complete gibberish. In a way, it reinforces my point however inadverently.

    BTW, thank you, Bbarr.
  15. Standard memberthesonofsaul
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    03 Jun '05 15:15
    Originally posted by blindfaith101
    The story of Adam and Eve is an easy truth to understand. The story is to be understood on different levels of understanding. Part of the problem for those that do not understand is......... Have you acceptted GENESIS 1:1? If you have not accepted the first words that GOD spoke, in the beginning of the understanding that has been given, to man. Would i ...[text shortened]... looking at THE WORD OF GOD, seeking the wisdom of the understanding that you are searching for.
    I thought that the Bible was only inspired by God, not actually spoken.
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