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    23 Mar '12 00:35
    In a recent thread, one of our number asks:

    "Are you saying I still do not understand the parable of the wheat and tares?
    If so, do you understand it enough to demonstate it to the rest of us?"

    How can we know, if someone "demonstrates" (explains? provides an understanding? tells us the meaning of?) a Biblical parable or other passage in a scripture, that they have done it reliably and accurately? How do we resolve two demonstrations that contradict each other?
  2. Joined
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    23 Mar '12 00:43
    Evidence. Logic. Rationality. Scientific methodology.

    The same means by which we discern truth everywhere else.

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/carrier/archives/667/
  3. Joined
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    23 Mar '12 01:37
    Originally posted by googlefudge
    Evidence. Logic. Rationality. Scientific methodology.

    The same means by which we discern truth everywhere else.

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/carrier/archives/667/
    but the very nature of parables invalidates the scientific method in determining proper interpretations. sure, we can reasonably exclude some interpretations, but ultimately a parable will be interpreted differently based on cultural backgrounds and personal experiences.
  4. Standard membermenace71
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    23 Mar '12 03:581 edit
    Parable: heavenly or kingdom insight with an earthy way of explaining it


    We know because it is recorded as to what this parable meant. Fleshly minds will not understand I think is what Jesus meant. Example: When Jesus said I am the bread of life you must eat my flesh and drink my blood to enter the kingdom!! He was not espousing cannibalism as some thought or may still.

    Look at it in context and common sense is what I believe is who is to explain. What did Christ say regarding what is written.




    Manny
  5. Standard memberRJHinds
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    23 Mar '12 04:04
    Originally posted by menace71
    Parable: heavenly or kingdom insight with an earthy way of explaining it


    We know because it is recorded as to what this parable meant. Fleshly minds will not understand I think is what Jesus meant. Example: When Jesus said I am the bread of life you must eat my flesh and drink my blood to enter the kingdom!! He was not espousing cannibalism as some th ...[text shortened]... t I believe is who is to explain. What did Christ say regarding what is written.




    Manny
    They will have to learn what "common sense" is first. 😀
  6. Joined
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    23 Mar '12 05:08
    Originally posted by menace71
    Parable: heavenly or kingdom insight with an earthy way of explaining it


    We know because it is recorded as to what this parable meant. Fleshly minds will not understand I think is what Jesus meant. Example: When Jesus said I am the bread of life you must eat my flesh and drink my blood to enter the kingdom!! He was not espousing cannibalism as some th ...[text shortened]... t I believe is who is to explain. What did Christ say regarding what is written.




    Manny
    "Look at it in context and common sense is what I believe is who is to explain. What did Christ say regarding what is written. "

    I get from this, not to turn my thinking over to any other human. It doesn't preclude relying on the kind of advice that gf and VA gave, where appropriate. It's only common sense.
  7. Joined
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    23 Mar '12 10:19
    Originally posted by VoidSpirit
    but the very nature of parables invalidates the scientific method in determining proper interpretations. sure, we can reasonably exclude some interpretations, but ultimately a parable will be interpreted differently based on cultural backgrounds and personal experiences.
    Which makes them inherently and objectively useless and worthless as they are inherently
    vague and unclear.

    Logic and reason demonstrate this and thus clearly demonstrate why they are worthless and
    should be ignored.

    However if you still want to argue about meaning then Bayesian analysis is THE way to go
    as it will allow you to determine the most likely intended meaning given the available evidence
    and rank other meanings by their various probabilities.
  8. Joined
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    23 Mar '12 12:094 edits
    Originally posted by JS357
    In a recent thread, one of our number asks:

    "Are you saying I still do not understand the parable of the wheat and tares?
    If so, do you understand it enough to demonstate it to the rest of us?"

    How can we know, if someone "demonstrates" (explains? provides an understanding? tells us the meaning of?) a Biblical parable or other passage in a scripture, th ...[text shortened]... it reliably and accurately? How do we resolve two demonstrations that contradict each other?
    We have some advantage with the parable of the wheat and the tares because Jesus Himself provides us with the interpretation He intended.

    There are some other parables which He does not explicitly interpret. Interpretation of those is opened to sound biblical exegesis. And a teacher should have the humlity to present as best a case as possible, acknowledging that it may not be the only way to interpret it.

    Taking one of these parables, ie. the Good Samaritan, might be a better candidate for your question.

    One thing is pretty clear to me. Why on earth would I expect an Atheist who considers the Bible as junk and God as non-existent, to be of much use to explain a parable of Jesus ?

    Any interpretation that encreases my hunger for Christ, dependency on God, and desire to abide in the Holy Spirit is at least SAFE. It may not be very accurate. It may not be the best. But it is at least not harmful.

    Any interpretation of a parable of Christ which makes my heart COLD towards Christ, dampens my hunger for God, cools down my love for the Holy Spirit HAS to be wrong, no matter how "right" it sounds.

    There is also a difference between an interpretation of a Bible passage and the application of a Bible passage. Much good teaching of the Bible is not necessarily interpretation but application. In this way a passage may have a useful contribution to my faith in one way today and a somewhat different contribution in another way next month.

    The Bible writers themselves did this I think. "Abraham believed God and it was accounted to him for righteousness" .

    I think that this passage from Genesis is quoted about three times in the New Testament. If I recollect rightly, the application is somewhat different each time.

    Now, let me justify the above paragraph in which I wrote this:

    Any interpretation that encreases my hunger for Christ, dependency on God, and desire to abide in the Holy Spirit is at least SAFE. It may not be very accurate. It may not be the best. But it is at least not harmful.

    Any interpretation of a parable of Christ which makes my heart COLD towards Christ, dampens my hunger for God, cools down my love for the Holy Spirit HAS to be wrong, not matter how "right" it sounds.


    The Apostle Paul's instructions to Timothy which I will only briefly comment on:

    "Even as I exhorted you, when I was going into Macedonia, to remain in Ephesus in order that you may charge certain ones not to teach different things nor to give heed to myths and unending genealogies, which produce questions rather than God's economy which is in faith." (First Timothy 1:3,4)

    The the teaching of the New Testament is a teaching to bring people into the realm of God's administration - God's EKONOMIA, God's household arrangement and way of managing His people. And that administration is in the sphere and realm of FAITH.

    The teaching and interpretation of Christ's parables is to encourage the listener to come under God's administration which is carried out in the realm of our faith in God.

    Therefore, teaching which damages faith, discourages faith, and turns instead to things like (but not restricted to) myths, unending geneologies, foolish questionings, distractions from Christ, discouragements FROM Christ, these are not healthy teaching. And Paul's learning co-worker Timothy was instructed not to teach that way. He was also to order other workers not to teach differently or different things from this whole way of Paul to teach God's administration - God's economy which is in the realm of faith.
  9. Joined
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    23 Mar '12 12:14
    Originally posted by VoidSpirit
    but the very nature of parables invalidates the scientific method in determining proper interpretations. sure, we can reasonably exclude some interpretations, but ultimately a parable will be interpreted differently based on cultural backgrounds and personal experiences.
    As an afterthought I would ask this.

    If you are throwing out rationality and logic for determining their meaning...
    what precisely were you thinking of using to determine what they mean?

    Fuzzy personal feelings, "my interpretation is right because it makes me feel good"?

    "I interpret it this way because that's what we do in our culture anyway"?

    Logic and reason is the only way of settling these arguments in any sort of objective way
    and if you can't settle it using logic and reason then it can't be objectively settled.
  10. Joined
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    23 Mar '12 16:45
    Originally posted by jaywill
    We have some advantage with the parable of the wheat and the tares because Jesus Himself provides us with the interpretation He intended.

    There are some other parables which He does not explicitly interpret. Interpretation of those is opened to sound biblical exegesis. And a teacher should have the humlity to present as best a case as possible, acknowled ...[text shortened]... to teach God's administration - God's economy which is in the realm of faith.
    I respect the lengths to which you go, and the civility you express, in your replies. I chose this parable precisely because it has an interpretation following it, so that the question of how do we know it is reliable and accurate applies in the case of a parable that, because it has an interpretation, should be most free of ambiguity and risk of unsound interpretation.

    You may be using the word "sound" in a way that equates to my use of "reliable or accurate". So I will use that word.

    You seem to exclude the parable of the wheat and tares from the need for interpretation, because Jesus interprets it. Granting you the point that Jesus' interpretation is sound, I question how we know we have a sound understanding of Jesus' interpretation. In effect, Jesus' interpretation REPLACES the parable, so it is our understanding of the Bible passage that is his interpretation that is of concern.

    There is always a question of literalism in passages like "The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all things that cause stumbling, and those who do iniquity, and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be weeping and the gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine forth like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear."

    Frankly, I could see the entire passage including the original passage supporting the idea that we should let God take care of unwelcome people in our midst, and not go after them ourselves, which sounds like an appeal to pacifism, somewhat removed from the fire and suffering that is promised.

    But you go on to offer some "negative" indicators -- by which I mean indicators that an interpretation is NOT reliable or accurate. One is that it comes from an atheist. Your wording is unclear. Do you believe that ALL atheists consider the Bible as junk? I can see your being dismissive of such atheists as interpreters of the Bible, since they would have no appreciation of the fact that the Bible is, among other things, a compendium of the human wisdom of its age, and many of its passages are relevant today. There are atheists and non-theists who have this appreciation. Are their interpretations automatically unsound?

    Another negative indicator is that reference to increasing proper religious hunger and desire, that indicates that it is at least SAFE. This does not quite make the mark of a sign that it is sound. Equally negative is the criteria that a sound interpretation would not make your heart cold. Would it be that a sound interpretation always warms the heart?

    Do you see what I am getting at? What can we see, that differentiates a sound interpretation from an unsound one?

    I appreciate and agree that a passage may be if different uses in different situations. However, I doubt that you would consider all of the uses to which Bible passages have been put have been sound or good. So I don't see how the fact that a passage can have multiple uses, helps in identifying soundness.

    Your allusion to Abraham as a believer reflects the negative definition that non-belief will not yield sound interpretations.

    Generally the rest of your reply (which I appreciate) expands on safety, although part of it advises against foolish questions -- advice some people may think I am violating with these very words. 🙂

    I would like to hear more about the economy angle, and ask for you to indicate how to know an interpretation of a Bible passage IS sound, not just how to know that the interpretation of a Bible passage IS NOT sound.
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    23 Mar '12 17:42
    Originally posted by googlefudge
    Which makes them inherently and objectively useless and worthless as they are inherently
    vague and unclear.

    Logic and reason demonstrate this and thus clearly demonstrate why they are worthless and
    should be ignored.

    However if you still want to argue about meaning then Bayesian analysis is THE way to go
    as it will allow you to determine the ...[text shortened]...
    and if you can't settle it using logic and reason then it can't be objectively settled.
    [combined answer]

    as a matter of discussion, parables are useless for dispensing truth for posterity. they may have direct meaning and context to your immediate audience given their similar cultural backgrounds, but there is no guarantee that the same nuances of language and understanding will translate over to other cultures, languages or to other ages.

    people do use rational faculties to come up with the interpretations. but they also use the same faculties to come up with different interpretations for other biblical texts. when something (like the bible) is vague on dispensing various ideas, rationality does not always provide the same answers.

    even in modern use of scientific method (and legal documents), scientists/lawyers have to be very careful how they use language to convey their ideas and experiments to other people. simple/careless use of language can lead to wrong interpretations even by well meaning individuals.

    i'm unfamiliar with bayesian analysis, i'll check it out when i get the time to see what that's about.
  12. Standard memberavalanchethecat
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    23 Mar '12 18:58
    Originally posted by RJHinds
    They will have to learn what "common sense" is first. 😀
    Appealing to 'common sense' is a false argument.

    http://www.don-lindsay-archive.org/skeptic/arguments.html
  13. Hmmm . . .
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    23 Mar '12 19:161 edit
    Originally posted by VoidSpirit
    [combined answer]

    as a matter of discussion, parables are useless for dispensing truth for posterity. they may have direct meaning and context to your immediate audience given their similar cultural backgrounds, but there is no guarantee that the same nuances of language and understanding will translate over to other cultures, languages or to other ag iliar with bayesian analysis, i'll check it out when i get the time to see what that's about.
    I agree with your original post. I think googlefudge (with whom I agree more often than not) is perhaps confusing language games, and assuming that a parable ought to be subject to the same rules of interpretation as a propositional truth claim, and that subjective interpretations of parables (and poetry, say? Or a symphony?) are somehow necessarily “useless and worthless” tout court. Use and worth have to be judged in the context of the domain of discourse (language game) involved, and its purpose.

    There are different kinds of speech: aesthetic, therapeutic and elicitive/evocative speech cannot properly be analyzed according to the rules of logical discourse.

    To be fair, theists can be (and in my experience often are) guilty of the same thing.
  14. Standard memberRJHinds
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    24 Mar '12 02:18
    Originally posted by avalanchethecat
    Appealing to 'common sense' is a false argument.

    http://www.don-lindsay-archive.org/skeptic/arguments.html
    It is only a false argument to those who do not have "common sense". 😏
  15. Standard memberavalanchethecat
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    24 Mar '12 08:18
    Originally posted by RJHinds
    It is only a false argument to those who do not have "common sense". (idiot smug face deleted)
    No. It's always a false argument. Resorting to it, as you just did again, means your argument has failed, as yours just did again.
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