The Uncredible Hallq
Philosophy, atheism, killer robots
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Link to Matthew 6:6
And this one – just to remind them how silly it is to say they “accept what the bible teaches” before they have even read it.
If anyone causes one of these little ones–those who believe in me–to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. (Matthew 18:6)
Here’s a verse to ponder:
Ecclesiastes 10:19 NIV A feast is made for laughter, wine makes life merry, and money is the answer for everything.
Since this verse is true, we can believe everything in the Bible, therefore Jesus.
You appear to have missed the rest of Ecclesiastes, or at least the entire point of what is being said there. Probably about as much as I am probably missing the entire point of your comment.
The point of Ecclesiastes is that life has no teleological meaning. That verse is consistent with that theme. What is your interpretation?
It’s been said that there are four Christian prayers: Gimme, Thanks, Oops, and Wow. Matthew describes one that is directed to others, “Look how pious I am.” The prayer before the offering collection is in the same category.If prayer worked, it could be done silently before the service began but the prayer must be done immediately before the collection and the message is directed at the consciences of the congregation to move them to give more than they were planning to.
Why would an omnipotent being need tax free money? The service is about the collection.
“What is your interpretation?”
“Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments; for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgement, with every secret thing, whether it be good , or whether it be evil.” -Ecclesiastes 12:6 see also: 12:1, 11:9-10, 9:18, 9:7-10, 8:16-17, 8:12-13,5:8,5:1-7
I suppose if one is an atheist then your interpretation makes sense.
My church doesn’t have a collection plate. Donations and tithing happen in the form of envelopes that are supposed to be discretely filled out and discretely turned in such that it is not publicly known who is paying or how much is being paid. In interviews the question is asked “are you a full-tithe payer” and that is it. The subject of tithing is only very rarely addressed. We have a lay ministry so no one is getting paid, the tithing money is used primarily for the building and maintenance of church buildings and the printing of church materials and budgets for activities; as God has no need of the money but we need places to worship and to hold other activities. Humanitarian donations are separate from tithing and are known as fast offering, being that we fast one day a month and are expected to give at least the cost of the missed meals to help those in need.
The service is about the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, again there is no collection.
Hi John The writer believes in God but doesn’t think it gives meaning to anything. He lists many aspects of life and shows that each are meaningless.
Ecc 5:1-7 is about the meaninglessness of words and vows.
Ecc 5:8 is about the hierarchy of human officials.
Ecc 8:12-13 Read the next two verses that say the righteous get what the wicked deserve and vice versa. That also explains 5:1-7 that you should fear God whether you break a vow or not.
Ecc 8:16-17 “Despite all their efforts to search it out, no one can discover its meaning.”
Ecc 9:7-10 He talks about enjoying all the meaningless days God has given you. The realm of the dead refers to being dead dead, not an afterlife.
Ecc 9:18 Wisdom is better than folly.
Ecc 11:9-10 We’ve already seen that the righteous and the wicked can get the other’s deserts and there’s no afterlife in Ecclesiastes so the judgement is rightly feared. It’s meaningless to worry about it.
Ecc 12:1 doesn’t say anything about teleological meaning.
Ecc 12:6 I think you mean verse 7 where the dust returns to the earth and the breath returns to God when you no longer exist.
Look at Ecc 12:8 “Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher. “Everything is meaningless!”
What translation are you using? There appear to be some important differences which make quite a big difference in meaning. I use the KJV, but also just checked a variety of other English, Spanish, Portuguese, and the Latin Vulgate all says that the spirit returns to God and not “the breath” and all suggest that the spirit does exist after death; Is this a Septuagint vs Masoretic difference? (or are you happening to be using the Jehovah Witness Bible?)
I usually look at the NIV because it usually has footnotes, alternate translations, and references but I try to remain aware of the original wording as best as I can. Very often we see Christian interpretation guiding the translation.
The people back then didn’t have a good concept of air. Breath seemed like magic to them. They could feel it but not see it. When a human or animal stopped breathing, they died.
It would be anachronistic to impose the later Christian ideas on the earlier writings.
“It would be anachronistic to impose the later Christian ideas on the earlier writings.”
If such things are revealed by God then assuming that it is a later interpretation by Christians isn’t necessarily correct.
When it says that God will judge ones work what would be the point of that if one ceases to exist at death?
Please pass the Dramamine. The circularity makes me dizzy.
Read the first half dozen verses of Ecclesiastes 9. You are forcing a round doctrine into a square scripture.
I had a longer comment but cut it to just that question. It says that all comes alike to all, yes, but it also says that “Though a sinner does evil a hundred times, and his days are prolonged, yet I surely know that it will be well with those who fear God, who fear before Him.” in 8:12; leading back again to the question I asked.
I addressed that verse a couple of posts ago. The writer answers it in verses 14 and 15.
“14 There is something else meaningless that occurs on earth: the righteous who get what the wicked deserve, and the wicked who get what the righteous deserve. This too, I say, is meaningless. 15 So I commend the enjoyment of life, because there is nothing better for a person under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad. Then joy will accompany them in their toil all the days of the life God has given them under the sun.”
He says maybe sometimes God lengthens the days of the righteous but maybe it’s the other way around. It doesn’t matter. You can’t count on God to do what you would expect. There is no other judgement. You should enjoy life while you’re living.
Greg G., given that your translation completely changes the meaning of everything that is being said contrary to what every other translation that I am familiar with says and that you assume a particular development of “breath”, “spirit” and “air” contrary to what is found elsewhere in scripture then I don’t think going further is useful. Under your idiosyncratic translation and interpretation you are correct, under my idiosyncratic translation and interpretation I am correct. Unless you have more information which you have not shared (in the terms of primary sources) then I will take the translation which is consistent with what is in multiple languages and in the rest of scripture.
Hi John The word “spirit” comes from the Latin spiritus which means breath. The ancient Hebrews thought breath was magic. We know that breath is not magic. Calling breath “spirit” makes it sound more mysterious. In that sense spirit does reflect the magical side of the concept, so it’s not exactly wrong in translation. But let’s not kid ourselves, they were still talking about breath. Somewhere along the line, Christians realized that breath wasn’t magic so they changed the spirit idea to something more ethereal. The magic breath in the Hebrew scriptures are not the same as the Christian spirit concept. Most Bible translations are done by Christians so their theology tends to be overlaid on the translating.
Given the New Testament then the Christian concept of spirit was known to the Jews by the time the gospels were written. Assuming they spoke Aramaic (the common assumption) then the words are pretty similar to the Hebrew, meaning that I think you need more in the way of primary sources then that Semitic languages are like Indo-European in having wind/breath and the person-specific thing giving motive force to the body be the same (or nearly the same) word in order to prove your claim.
Edit: But also, thanks for pointing this out, I vaguely knew this to be the case based on Genesis but not the specifics. Looking up the Hebrew and other roots has been interesting, I should probably learn to read Hebrew sometime.
I’m not even sure where I got the idea. This is the first thing that came up on Google just now: The Holy Spirit in the Hebrew Bible and Its Connections to the New Testament. I didn’t read the whole thing as it’s too close to bedtime but after a quick scan I think it agrees with me on the spirit = breath in the OT part. I’m sure I’d disagree with the actual subject of the thesis.
Actually, given the context, I’d say that Chris Hallquist’s interpretation is closer to what is being said:
” 5 And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
7 But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.
8 Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.”
Meaning those pastors that stand on street corners and pray (or open places on college campuses, or national conventions, or public events) should, at the very least, make sure they are praying for God and not to be seen, to influence others, or to deliver some sort of message to others. It’s actually a form of idolatry as prayer is worship and so praying to be seen of men and not God is worshiping something other than God.
I was totally aware of that verse when I was Catholic. I… I forgot what I thought about it. I think I took it to mean that prayer was best done privately, but I didn’t think too much about the implications of this.
Hell, I didn’t pray anyway, ’cause prayer was awkward and boring. Prayers were like brussel sprouts–supposedly they were good for me, but it was easier to toss them out and just pretend I ate them.
Well, with all due respect, this verse in the context that it is intended is directed towards people who make outward displays of righteousness when we know that we are all wretched sinners, and encouraging these people not to do so. And with your Matthew 10 reference, again in the context that it is intended, Jesus is addressing whether believers fear man more than God when faced with challenges to their faith.
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There are prayers we pray just between us and God that aren’t to be done for show, which is what this is in the context of. Hypocrites do everything for show and out of pride and Jesus was saying not to be like them. You can’t take scripture out of context and ignore everything else. Just a few scriptures, (Acts 1:14 These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers. Acts 2:42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. Matthew 18:19-20 “Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.” James 5:14-15 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.
As for people claiming that the bible isn’t consistent, the bible says, (1 Corinthians 2:14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.) Also, (2 peter 3:16 …as also in all his [Paul] epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures.) If someone who doesn’t truly know God reads it, he’s going to get messed up and not really understand and get into error as so many do. Then, other people hear this and claim that the bible teaches different things on each subject so that it isn’t possible to understand what it really means, which is not true. The bible interprets itself and has to be taken as a whole and not have scriptures taken out of context to mean something that someone wants it to say. (Isaiah 28:10 For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept, Line upon line, line upon line, Here a little, there a little.”)
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