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During a discussion I had with someone, I mentioned that human fetuses should be legally recognized as persons and I said that they are alive. A person then suggested that I got the idea that human fetuses are living human persons from Christianity and from the traditional Christian concept of the soul. But that is not the case with me [even though I used to be a Christian]; to me it is just obvious and virtually axiomatic. That is probably the case with many Christians as well. I don't need a minister or a holy book to tell me that human babies and cat babies are alive and I don't need to be told that they are alive while still growing and developing in the womb. Though I can't define what life is, "I know it when I see it". Many human fetuses are even alive for a while after they have been aborted. That is because the word "abortion" as technically used in the medical field doesn't really seem to mean (to me) aborting the fetuses and embryos, but rather aborting the pregnancies pertaining to those fetuses and embryos. The general meaning of the word "abort" means "end" or "terminate" as in "abort the mission" or "abort the countdown". When the fetuses and embryos are removed from the womb, their mothers are no longer pregnant (in other words, their mothers' pregnancies have ended), but the entities were alive prior to the abortions and sometimes still alive for a period of time after being removed from the wombs. Some people say that human life and personhood begins at birth, but even by their own definition some babies of aborted human pregnancies were living human persons for while.
I do not believe the human soul is immortal. [Even when I was a Christian I did not believe that humans souls would attain immortality prior to receiving a resurrection or rapture by the biblical God. Now I don't even believe in the existence of a god.] I also do not believe the human soul is "mind" (though I believe that the mind is a part of it) or something which God imparts to a person at any time. To me the soul as defined in the Bible is the entire person (or even the entire animal, such as cat, dog, horse, etc.), namely the body plus mind, emotions, personality, and life force energy (in the case of those souls which have not yet died). For more about the soul, see below. Sometimes the Bible calls the life force energy the "spirit" of the person, other times the Bible calls the breath of life the "spirit" of the the person, still other times the Bible calls the mind, emotions, and/or personality the "spirit" of the person.
Scientists speak of looking for life on Mars, yet they are not speaking of looking for intelligent life on Mars. They have in mind bacteria (or mold or some other very simple organism). They thus consider bacteria to be one type of living organism, even though it does not have a soul (in the sense most people define that word) and even though it is not intelligent and even though most believe that it does not have any degree of consciousness. Yet biology books say it is a life. My argument is that if even bacteria are alive, then the far more complex human fetuses are also alive. If a baby (whether a human baby or an animal baby) is considered alive one second after it is born, isn't it also alive one second prior to it is born? Before it is born it was still growing and its heart was still beating. Though it was not breathing, it was taking in oxygen in dissolved form through the umbilical cord. If a human baby is considered a person one second after it was born, what was it one second before it was born? To me it was also a person one second before it was born, and one minute before it was born, and one hour before it was born, and one day before it was born, etc. Granted at conception and while an embryo it might not have had any consciousness or mind (what many consider to be the meaning of the word "soul", though not what I consider the meaning of the word "soul"), but to me while that perhaps means it was not yet a person (maybe it does not become a person until it becomes a fetus) it is still a living creature/being from the moment it was conceived. I consider trees and amebas to be alive (except when they are dead, such as when a tree is chopped down) even though they possibly have no degree of consciousness; they definitely are not conscious in the normal/conventional sense of the word. (For example when people are asleep but not dreaming, they are considered to be unconscious even though their consciousness [including their subconscious] still exists.) For example, some philosophers, scientists, and myself wonder if even human made thermostats are conscious to some degree since they react to their environment. Such things are contemplated when one thinks about whether it is possible for humans to invent/create computers and robots which are conscious and self aware and when one asks what is "consciousness" in the first place.
People speak of keeping individual cells of the human body alive in petri dishes for long periods of time, thus recognizing that they are alive during those periods of time. Individual cells of the body (whether human, animal, or plant) are alive (unless they have died) and the organs and tissues which are made of them are also alive (unless they have died). People can receive organ transplants which will function in the person because the organs are still alive at the cellular level at the time they were transplanted into the person, though the donor person might have been clinically dead and been brain dead at the time the organ was removed from the donor. People even receive partial brain transplants!
The Biblical meaning of the soul is different than what most Christian denominations teach about the soul. The idea that most Christian denominations have of the soul comes almost entirely from ancient Greek philosophy instead of the Bible. I interpret the Bible as saying that the soul is the entire person (or even the entire animal), not just the mind/consciousness of the person (or animal). I further interpret the Bible as saying that the ultimate fate of those who persist in their unbelief about Yahweh Elohim (Jehovah/LORD God) and Yeshua Messiah (Jesus Christ), is eternal death - where death is defined as ceasing to exist as a conscious being and with the body turning into dust. In other words I interpret the Bible as saying the ultimate fate will be the same as what atheists believe happens to people and animals when they die. This idea (regarding the fate of persistent unbelievers) even appears in the apocryphal book of the Wisdom of Solomon. In that book the idea is mentioned of the righteous receiving immortality (the earliest book of the Bible-Apocrypha to teach that, however that book seems to say that immortality is obtained for the righteous when the physical body dies [rather than when the Messiah rules] and that belief was probably borrowed from Greek philosophy), but even that book makes no mention of the unrighteous and/or ungodly and/or non-believers receiving immortality. Neither that book nor the Old Covenant/Testament makes any mention of eternal torment for anyone, instead the Bible in Ezekiel 18:4, 20 [in highly literal translations] says "the soul that is sinning, it itself shall die". Some Bibles use the word "person" in that verse instead of the word "soul", but the Biblical word in those verses is "nephesh" and it literally means "soul". In the New Covenant/Testament Jesus says that the gift he gives is eternal life, that implies that those not receiving the gift will receive eternal death. In contrast if someone were tormented for eternity, that would mean they had eternal life (though in unhappiness instead of in happiness). The Bible teaches that faithful Christians will receive eternal (even immortal) life when Jesus Christ returns during the combination of the rapture and the first resurrection event. However now that I am no longer a Christian and now that I don't believe in a god or anything supernatural; I no longer believe in the Christian rapture nor in the resurrection of completely dead people.
While it is admirable that the "Holy Name Bible" and other Sacred Name Bibles use the Father's Name and the Name of his Son wherever they appear in the ancient Biblical manuscripts, there are things about the "Holy Name Bible" and many other Sacred Name Bibles which give me concern and hence the reason why I now issue a warning in regards to most Sacred Name Bibles.
Some of the places where the name of Yahweh the Father is used in the New Covenant of the "Holy Name Bible" are in places where the Greek text might actually be referring to "Kurios" ["Lord"] as the Son of Yahweh instead (in other words, to places where it is referring to Jesus/Yeshua/Yahshua instead). Neither the Hebrew pronunciations of "Adonai" and "Adon" (meaning "Lord") nor the English title of "Lord" are used in that Bible because the translator believes they are pagan words (even though the words "Adonai" and "Adon" are frequently used in all Hebrew manuscripts of the Bible). If the "Holy Name Bible" had chosen to use the words "Adonai" and "Adon" (or if it consistently used the word "Master" as a replacement) that would be fine, but instead it inconsistently substitutes various other words, such as "Eloah", "Yah", "Sovereign", etc. In the New Covenant it also uses the words "Ruler", "Savior", "Rabbi", (and maybe sometimes "Master") in place of the English word "Lord" (Greek word is "Kurios"). Because of the inconsistent manner which the "Holy Name Bible" Bible (and most other Sacred Name Bibles which I have read [an exception appears to be "The Scriptures"]) use replacements for the words Adonai, Adon, and Kurios, the "Holy Name Bible" and most other Sacred Name Bibles should be used with great caution (if used at all) and if they are used then comparison should be made with trustworthy highly literal non-Sacred Name Bibles (such as Rotherham's Emphasized Bible, John Darby's Bible, and the American Standard Version Bible [though these three Bibles are not Sacred Name Bibles, they do consistently use a form of the Father's Divine Name in the Old Covenant and the first two use special typography to differentiate where the word "God" means "Elohim", "El", or "Eloha"]). It is for these reasons and due to some peculiar translations of certain passages in the "Holy Name Bible", that I have decided to issue a warning in regards to the "Holy Name Bible" and most other Sacred Name Bibles. However the "Holy Name Bible" is great for those who wish to study the Sacred Name movement since that Bible translation is the first "Sacred Name" Bible translation produced.
It is good that a number of Bible translations include Yahweh's/Jehovah's divine name consistently in the Old Covenant, since that results in greater accuracy than merely saying "LORD" in place of the name of the alleged deity. However it is inappropriate to include the Old Covenant divine name in the New Covenant when translating from the exant ancient New Covenent biblical manuscripts, since the divine name is not in any of the exant New Covenant manuscripts. It now appears to me that the diving name was never in the original New Covenant manuscripts. It also appears to me that the religious movement(s) which created the New Covenant books was(were) Hellenistic Jewish from it(their) very beginning or at least since the time that Paul became an apostle of the movement.
God the Father's Divine Name is in the Hebrew language manuscripts of the Old Covenant/Testament books of the Bible about 7,000 times, yet in the King James Version it only is mentioned 4 times, plus a few times as part of place names, the rest of the time the King James Version renders the name as "the LORD", "LORD", or "GOD". The Name Jehovah is the most common English spelling of the name of God the Father, another spelling of the name in English is Yahweh, with YHWH and JHVH being transliterations of the Hebrew Tetragrammaton letters of the Divine Name. Why is the Divine Name "Jehovah" mentioned so few times in the King James Version instead of it being consistently used in that Bible? Does the insistence in excluding Jehovah's/Yahweh's Name from nearly every place it belongs in an English translation of the Bible make that Bible translation less Holy than it otherwise would be? In contrast some newer English translations of the Bible do consistently use the Divine name of Jehovah/Yahweh throughout the Old Covenant in about all 7,000 places where it occurs in the ancient Hebrew manuscripts of the Old Covenant. Those newer translations of the Bible are thus holier than the King James Version in that regard. Most of those particular Bible translations are also more literal and accurate in their translation of the Bible manuscripts, than is the King James Version - the evidence of this is provided later in this article. The earliest of these more literal and accurate Bibles were translated in the mid 1800s through the early 1900s. They include "A Translation of the Old Testament Scriptures from the Original Hebrew" by Hellen Spurrell, "A New Translation of the Holy Scriptures" by John N. Darby, "The Emphasized Bible" by Joseph Rotherham, the "American Revised Version" Holy Bible (especially the edition of 1898 by Oxford and Cambridge) and the American Standard Version Holy Bible, and "The Holy Bible: An Improved Edition (based in part on the Bible Union Version)". The New Testament of these Bibles (except for Ms. Spurrell's Bible since her translation is only of the Hebrew Old Covenant, not also the Greek New Covenant/Testament) were translated mostly from the ancient Alexandrian Text manuscripts whereas the King James Version was translated from the less ancient Byzantine Text manuscripts.
Please see the web page called "Field Guide to the WILD WORLD OF RELIGION: King James Only Movement".
As a result, some of what I consider to be the best English translations of the Bible are (listed primarily in the order in which they were copyrighted): perhaps "The New Testament: An Improved Version" (except I don't agree with many of the interpretations in the notes), perhaps Leicester Ambrose Sawyer's translation of the Bible, "A New Translation of the Bible" by John Nelson Darby, "The Emphasized Bible" by Joseph Bryant Rotherham, perhaps "A Translation of the Old Testament Scriptures from the Original Hebrew" by Helen Spurrell, the (English) "Revised Version" Bible, the "American Revised Version" Bible (especially the edition of 1898 by Oxford and Cambridge), the "American Standard Version" Bible (formally known as the "American Standard Edition of the Revised Version of the Bible"), "The Holy Bible: An Improved Edition (based in part on the Bible Union Version)", "The Twentieth Century New Testament", the "New American Standard Bible", perhaps the "New Revised Standard Version" Bible with the Apocrypha, "TANAKH - THE HOLY SCRIPTURES: The New JPS Translation According to the Traditional Hebrew Text", and the "The Scriptures" (a sacred name Messianic Jewish type of Bible, but much of its New Covenant is translated from the Textus Receptus). Another good English translation of the Bible is the Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB), sometimes also called the Christian Standard Bible (CSB). Perhaps a few more Bibles could be included as well. I would be inclined to include the 1984 edition of the "New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures", except I believe it has a very incorrect bias in many verses, but as long as one keeps in mind the bias in those verses, that translation is very useful (especially the "With References" edition of the 1984 edition since it includes footnotes and a larger Appendix).
A book which does a very good job (in my opinion) in showing the superiority of the Revised Version over the King James Version is "Notes on the AMENDED ENGLISH BIBLE: With special reference to certain texts in the REVISED VERSION of the OLD AND NEW TESTAMENTS Bearing upon the principles of UNITARIAN CHRISTIANITY", by Henry Ierson. This book is very good in showing how the Revised Version corrects problems in the KJV in such a manner that there are far fewer verses upon which to base the Trinity and other false doctrines! It can be read online on Google Books at Google Books - Notes on the Amended English Bible:. One which does an even more extensive job, but which does not try to prove the Unitarian Christian point of view, is "Some Lessons of the Revised Version of the New Testament" by the Right Rev. Brooke Foss Westcott. This book is extremely informative, an excellent tool in refuting the claims of the KJV Only Movement. It can be read online and downloaded from online at Internet Archive - Some Lessons of the Revised Version of the New Testament.
In reading the Bible from various translations, I've noticed that the "Living Bible: Paraphrased" is more entertaining to read than highly literal translations, but it is also considerably less accurate in many passages.
Originally written on 2011-04-29 (but now contaning some later revisions): Most of the Bible translations I list as being among the most accurate translations are those which have a strong reputation as being one of the most literal translations; further when I compare their New Covenant English text (except in the case of the two Old Covenant only Bibles) to the interlinear English translation of the Alexandrian Text type of those books, those translations are in closer (more precise) agreement to the Alexandrian Text type. My personal view is that the most literal translations (provided that their English readers can still understand them) are more accurate than most less literal translations, that is because the most literal translations have less personal interpretations in the translations. I prefer that the translators do as little personal interpretation as possible when translating the Bible. If I want a scholarly interpretation, I prefer that it be in study notes or in commentaries, that way possible multiple meanings of a text are not obscured by its translation in the main text. However there is a place for less literal Bible translations and even paraphrases, but I don't use them as my main Bibles for study and I don't consider them to be consistently as accurate as more literal translations. It is also noteworthy that the Bibles (except for some Catholic Bibles) which use some form of YHWH's name (the name given for God in the Hebrew Scriptures) in the Old Covenant are also highly literal Bibles and as stated before, my personal view is that highly literal Bibles are more consistently precise/accurate than less literal Bibles.
I don't consider the "New Revised Standard Version" Bible with the Apocrypha to be a very literal translation (when compared to the ASV and to English interlinear translations), but I consider it to be fairly literal, its English (which is modern/contemporary) is easier to understand than that of the American Standard Version Bible (with the Apocrypha of the Revised Version) and of the New American Standard Bible (NASB), it does not heavily adhere to a Christian bias in its translation of the Hebrew Scriptures, and I like its translators' notes (of alternate readings and renderings). As a result I also consider it to be one of the best English translations of the Bible with the Apocrypha. Three of the things I like about "The Twentieth Century New Testament" is that it is written in modern/contemporary English even though its final revision was published in 1904, that it is translated from the Westcott and Hort text of the Greek New Testament (officially known as "The New Testament in the Original Greek"), and that it also has critical notes which I appreciate. The "TANAKH - THE HOLY SCRIPTURES: The New JPS Translation According to the Traditional Hebrew Text" is included in the list because it is a highly respected Jewish translation of the Old Covenant and I wanted to include a translation which is translated from the Jewish religious perspective. "The Scriptures" is included because unlike the various other Sacred Name Bibles I have examined, it is conservative and consistent in its use of the Divine Name and titles in the New Covenant, and it also does not seem to interject unwarranted doctrinal views (in my opinion) into the translation . Like the KJV, RV, ASV, NWT, and NASB, it also appears to be a literal translation of the manuscripts it is translated from. Another good English translation of the Bible is the Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB), sometimes also called the Christian Standard Bible (CSB).
This subsection is copyright 2010 and 2011.
I noticed some things about "THE HOLY BIBLE - An American Translation" by William F. Beck (with revisions by a few other people) and copyright in 1976. The translator and revisers of that Bible were all Lutherans as mentioned in the Preface of that Bible. There is nothing wrong with that, but I have noticed that this particular Bible does not translate certain words consistently and it translates certain words less literally than the Revised Version Bible of 1885. In all of the places I noticed it doing this, I noticed it is done in a manner which is made to harmonize with Lutheran theology/doctrines. I find these things troubling. Theology which claims to be based upon the Bible should be made to conform to the Bible, rather than distorting the translation of the Bible to make it conform to the theology. Here is one example:
Genesis 2:4 in the 1976 edition says "This is the history of heaven and earth when they were created. When the LORD God made earth and heaven, " thus removing all reference to Genesis 2:4 saying the creation took place in one day. However I notice that a later edition, one published by Holman corrects this (in the quote I added boldfacing of the correction). The Holman edition includes the words "In the Language of Today" in the name of the title of the Bible translation. That edition says in Genesis 2:4 "This is the history of heaven and earth when they were created in the day when the LORD God made earth and heaven." The later edition also includes changes to verse 5. It should be noted that Mr. Beck completed his translation of the Old Testament in 1966 (whereas his translation of the New Testament was first published in 1963) which was the year in which he died. His translation was then revised by two others from 1971-1975. The 1976 edition says further revisions would be considered from other people and the Holman edition mentions some additional revisers.
In the two above paragrahs, regarding Beck's translation I said "but I have noticed that this particular Bible does not translate certain words consistently", however I have noticed that it mainly only seems to do so in those places where the King James Version also does so, such as when using the words "Hell" and "grave". Beck's Bible thus does not seem as problematic as I initially thought. However Beck's translation is also inconsistent in using the words "soul"and "being"/"one".
Like in the King James Version, where the Greek word "Hades" is used in the context of torment or punishment (like in the case of account/parable in Luke chapter 16 of the Rich Man and Lazarus), Beck's Bible translates it as "Hell", but when it is used in the context of being dead without torment, he translates it as grave. He also translates it as "grave" at Revelation 20:14 where "Hades" is said to be thrown into the lake of fire, the lake of fire being defined as the second death. He (and the King James Version translators) apparently chose to translate "hades" as "grave" instead of "Hell" in that verse because they believe that Hell lasts forever, whereas that verse clearly is saying that Hades will be destroyed by being cast into the fiery lake (the Lake of Fire).
Beck's translation says "being" or "one" in those verses which say the Hebrew word "nephesh" became alive and when it died, but his translation says "soul" in all other places. For example, though the King James Version says "soul" at Genesis 2:7 where the verse says that the man Adam "became a living soul" (rather than merely received a soul), Beck's translation says "became a living being". Likewise though the King James Version says "the soul" at Ezekiel 18:4 and 18:20, Beck's translation says "the one" in both verses, verses which say that the nephesh which sins shall die. Granted both verses clearly use the word "nephesh" in the sense of "person" (or "one"), but that is part of the Old Testament Biblical definition of the word in the first place. Thus if "nephesh" is translated as "person" (or "one") in those verses, then it should also be translated as such in all the other verses of the Old Covenant which use the word "nephesh". Thus by his translation not consistently translating the word "nephesh" as soul or "being"/"one" but by using "soul" in some places and "being"/"the one" in other places, Beck hides the Old Covenant Biblical teaching that the soul (whether the human soul or the non-human air-breathing animal soul) is the entire person/being of the combination of body and mind, not some eternal consciousness which has no need of a physical body for its existence.
Like the King James Version, Beck's translation inaccurately translates" the Greek word of "daimons"/"daemons" as "devils" instead of as "demons". The Greek word for the plural word of "devils" is never used in the Bible, though the singular word for "Devil" is used.
At Luke 9:31 Beck's translation says "leaving this world" instead of "departure". A literal translation of the verse in Luke does not specify what departure Jesus would be making, but Beck's interpretive translation of that verse only allows for one possible interpretation, an interpretation which may or may not be the correct one.
At Matthew 17:9 Beck's translation says "what you have seen" instead of the literal translation of "the vision", thus allowing an interpretation which supports the Lutheran doctrine that Moses and Elijah were literally present and thus alive during the transfiguration (and that the righteous go immediately to heaven upon the death of their human bodies) and thus also preventing the interpretation that the transfiguration was a vision of what will happen at about the start of Christ's Millennial Kingdom when Jesus Christ comes in glory.
On 2011-04-13 I was browsing through the Bibles at a local Lifeway store (near the Cedar Hills Crossing Mall in Beaverton). While looking at some NIV Bibles I noticed that the Preface of the 2011 edition of the NIV (like the TNIV) has no reference to "YHWH"; it does not say that "LORD" and "GOD" in all capitals mean "YHWH", though the 1984 NIV did so. I am very displeased by the 2011 NIV (and the prior TNIV) not including the explanation about YHWH. Now the NIV has no explanation that "LORD" and "GOD" in all capitals refer to a personal name for God (whether it be YHWH, Yahweh, or Jehovah) and the NIV's footnote for Exodus 3:15 does not help readers much in this regard either.
As a side note, when the New Covenant writers said "Jesus is Lord" and when they wrote that people addressed Jesus as "Lord" did they mean it in the same sense that the Septuagint says "Lord" in verses where the name "YHWH/Yahweh" appears in the Hebrew manuscripts? That might be the case if the Apostle Paul and all of the other New Covenant writers were reading their Old Covenant Holy Scriptures in the Greek Septuagint translation instead of in the Hebrew. Maybe as a result they mistook a lot of passages about Yahweh (since in the Septuagint it would say "Kurios" [meaning "Lord"] instead of "YHWH") being about the Messiah/Christ instead of being specifically about Yahweh Elohim (Jehovah God) the Father, especially in those places where YHWH is described in anthropomorphic terms, and even more so if the passage does not also use the word "God" ("theos"/"elohim"). As a result it could have resulted in the early Messianic/Christian readers getting the idea that the Messiah/Christ would be some sort of heavenly/cosmic divine being (or even some kind of god), especially when they also read about the heavenly being who is called "someone like a son of man" in the book of Daniel. Furthermore, in the time period shortly before the 1st century CE/AD, some Hellenistic (or other Greek speaking) Jews may have formed such an interpretation about the prophesied future Messiah/Christ. Since Paul never met Jesus Christ (except he claims to have had a conversation with Jesus Christ in a vision, but his vision might have been nothing more than a hallucination, especially if Paul had temporal lobe seizures [maybe even to the point of having temporal lobe epilepsy] and if he had been fasting for many days prior to the vision) he might have had such an idea about Jesus Christ. That could explain why the Gospels (all of which were written after Paul's letters} have people worshiping (or doing obeisance to, according to the New World Translation) Jesus and why they frequently call Jesus "Lord", and why 1 Corinthians 12:3 (NWT) says "... and nobody can say: "Jesus is Lord!" except by holy spirit."
As a result of the above stated possibilities, I am not sure if Paul was dishonest or intentionally deceptive, he might have sincerely (though incorrectly) believed in what he said about Jesus Christ and the teachings of Jesus Christ.
I have been doing some more reading of the Good New Bible with the Apocrypha, and I noticed that a number of its verses appear to have considerably inaccurate meanings (often due to one word being inaccurate in a given verse) and that is diminishing my appreciation for that translation. I already had a low appreciation for it to begin with, because it is written at a lower grade level (and thus has less precision in translating specific words) and because I don't like the sound of the language of many its sentences. However I may keep that Bible with the Apocrypha since it is widely used and quoted by others, but it appears to me that the Contemporary English Version might be more accurate (even though it is written to a slightly lower reading level, and even if it might be a little more freely/loosely translated). I like the footnotes in the Contemporary English Version. A chart at http://www.apbrown2.net/web/TranslationComparisonChart.htm says the following about the CEV "Clear, simple English that a child can understand, but with a mature style that adults can appreciate."
Update (of 2011-10-07, along with some later revisions) to the above paragraph: I'm now starting to disapprove of the Contemporary English Version, because now to me it seems to take too many liberties with the wording of the Bible. I am now starting to prefer the Good New Bible with the Apocrypha - Second Edition. I have recently replaced my copy of the Good New Bible with the Apocrypha - First Edition with the Good New Bible with the Apocrypha - Second Edition. However if people are having a hard time understanding a passage in a literal translation of the Bible, it might be helpful to use the CEV and other free [paraphrase style] translations as a commentary to show them a possible interpretation of the passage.
The Good News Bible claims to be a translation, but Zondervan says that many people got the impression that it is a paraphrase, so in the USA it is now published under the name of "Good New Translation" instead of "Good News Bible" (see Good News Bible and TEV for more information). But the meaning of the word "paraphrase" is now changing. It used to only mean the restating of words of something (such as a writing) into other words of the same language, but now people are also using it in the sense of loosely/freely [instead of literally] translating the words of something (such as a writing) of one language into a different language. The latter used to be called "free translations" but many of the general public now call them paraphrases when the translation is very free/loose. For example, the Living Bible used to have the word "Paraphrased" on its front cover but the most recent editions of it have the word 'Paraphrased" excluded form the front cover, and on the title page they now have the subtitle of "Paraphrased: Thought-For-Thought Translation" (see Living Bible). According to Wikipedia the Living Bible started out as being a paraphrase of the American Standard Version (ASV), but other information sources add that by the time it was finished it was largely loosely/freely translated from the Hebrew and Greek languages (or at least made some use of those languages) instead of being simply a rewording of the English language of the ASV. It annoys me when the meaning of English words becomes diluted ("watered down"), but that happens when the general public forms an incorrect idea of the meaning of the word; their idea ends up becoming one of the new meanings of the word and sometimes it eventually becomes the primary meaning of the word.
I don't really have any "litmus test" verses for comparing translations to see if they are literal (except to see if they are hyper literal), instead I often just compare verses at random. In regards to the Good News Bible I compared verses at random with the CEV, NWT, and ASV. As a result, to me the Good News Bible (including in the Apocrypha) is a free/loose translation (a thought-for thought type of translation), but not anywhere nearly as free/loose as the Living Bible or the Message Bible (the publishers of the Message Bible claim their Bible is a very free translation instead of a paraphrase). These Translation Comparison Charts may be of help to you. The first chart shows the CEV as being more loose than the GNB/GNT, but in the initial verses I examined randomly, the CEV has the more correct (to me) meaning than the first edition of the GNB/GNT. But as I later examined more verses, I came to the conclusion that the GNB/GNT (especially the Second Edition of it, which is the revised edition of 1992) has the more correct meaning than the CEV. But I think it is odd that the first chart claims the RSV is more literal than than the KJV (for some words it is, but for many others and in regards to the word order, it is not - in my opinion).
On 2011-08-11 I noticed that the 1992 revised edition of the Good News Bible [also known as the Good News Translation] made some improvements to the translation by making certain verses more literal. For example it no longer includes the phrase "the king" in the first half of Psalms 110:1. The phrase "the king" in prior editions of the GNB likely gave readers the idea that the verse was referring solely to King David as "the king", instead of a future Messianic King. While that interpretation might be correct, the source manuscripts don't say "the king" in that verse. In addition, according to the gospels, Jesus Christ applied the verse to himself (the part about the second Lord being spoken to and about him sitting down at the right side of Yahweh [the LORD]).
The 1992 revised edition of the Good News Bible [also known as the Good News Translation] also includes more inclusive language and its preface lists that as the first reason for the 1992 revised edition.
During the first few days of 2011-September I had been comparing the New King James Version (NKJV) Holy Bible with the King James Version (KJV) Holy Bible. As a result of my comparison, to me the NKJV is an excellent replacement for the KJV for most of my uses. I noticed that for the most part the only changes I saw are: 1) the replacing of archaic language (such as thee, thou, thine, didst, etc.) with contemporary equivalents, 2) using a different word when the word used in the KJV no longer means what it meant in 1611, 3) making the word order in sentences adhere to the standard of regular English instead of to that of the Hebrew and Greek, 4) making some use of the words "Sheol" and "Hades" (and probably less use of the word "hell"), 5) translating some verses more accurately than was done in the KJV, 6) including translators' footnotes (in the New Covenant section) which which mention what are many of the alternate readings of the Nestle-Aland critical Greek text and of the Majority text [note not all NKJV editions include the translators' notes, but the reference editions usually do], 7) having the word "LORD" in all capital letters in those New Covenant verses which are quotes of the Old Covenant verses in which the name YHWH/Yahweh appears in the Hebrew text, and 8) removal of the name "Jehovah" from the four places it was in the KJV and from the three place names it was in the KJV (thereby making the translation more consistent) but supplementing that by adding the translators' footnote of "Heb. YHWH" to Exodus 6:2 and the translators' footnote of "Heb. YHWH, traditionally Jehovah" to Exodus 6:3. I see all of those changes as improvements except for the removal of the name "Jehovah" from the few places it was in main text of the KJV.
In light of the above, for those who use the KJV as their primary Bible, I recommend that they switch to using the NKJV in place of the KJV.
It should be noted that no edition of the NKJV includes the Apocrypha. It should also be noted that the copyright holder (Thomas Nelson, Inc.) told me they will probably never produce a NKJV translation of the Apocrypha, because they say not many readers of the NKJV want such. Therefore if people want a literal translation of the Apocrypha, I recommend that they read the Revised Version (RV) of the Apocrypha (of 1898) in place of the KJV Apocrypha, as their primary literal English translation of the Apocrypha. Two other good choices, though not as literal, are the Revised Standard Version of the Apocrypha - Expanded Edition and the New Revised Standard Version of the Apocrypha.
Here is a YouTube video in which James White is interviewed, the video is called ""New Age Bible Versions" & the "King James Only" Controversy - A Refutation". One of the things Mr. White says in the video, is that Gail Riplinger's book called "New Age Bible Versions" is the single worst book that he has encountered as far as honesty is concerned. He also says there are more errors per page in Gail Riplinger's book called "New Age Bible Versions" than you will find in the Jehovah's Witnesses pamphlet [booklet] on the Trinity. A few years ago I read portions of the "New Age Bible Versions" and looked up some of the quotes in it from the modern Bible versions and I noticed that the book contained many outright false statements and misrepresentations in it, so many that it caused me to be filled with anger and hatred for that book. Please see also the web page called "Field Guide to the WILD WORLD OF RELIGION: King James Only Movement".
For the other side of the issue, see this video in which Gail Riplinger defends her book, the video is called "errors in Riplinger's book NewAgeBibleVersions".
Should Christian translations of the Bible have their Old Covenant translated from the Greek Septuagint instead of directly from the Hebrew-Aramaic? I ask that because the Greek New Covenant has many quotes (maybe all of its quotes) from the Greek Septuagint Old Covenant instead of the Hebrew-Aramaic Old Covenant. Also the Greek New Covenant manuscripts used the Greek word for "Lord" when quoting Old Covenant passages of where Yahweh's name is used in the Hebrew-Aramaic manuscripts, perhaps because most copies of the Greek Septuagint Old Covenant substitute the Greek word for "Lord" in place of the name "Yahweh". In other words, since many of the New Covenant quotes are not precise translations of the Hebrew-Aramaic Old Covenant and since the New Covenant seems to misinterpret portions of the Hebrew-Aramaic Scriptures, maybe Christians should come to the conclusion that not any part of their religion is really directly based upon the Hebrew-Aramaic Scriptures, but rather upon the Greek Septuagint and the Greek New Covenant/Testament. Besides the wording of verses often being significantly different in the Greek Septuagint than a literal Greek translation of the Hebrew-Aramaic Old Covenant, a number of Greek New Covenant verses quote from the Greek Septuagint in such cases. In addition, a number of verses in the New Covenant make allusions to verses in the Apocryphal books of the Greek Septuagint. That means that some doctrinal teachings of the New Covenant books are dependent upon the Greek Septuagint, and therefore if the Hebrew Scripture text is used in place of the Greek Septuagint, then a foundation is removed from some New Covenant teachings. The Greek Orthodox Church uses an Old Covenant which is based upon the Greek Septuagint instead of being directly based upon the Hebrew-Aramaic Scriptures, maybe their approach is correct.
In contrast maybe only those Christians (and Messianic Jews) who are part of the Sacred Name movement and who strive to keep the laws of the Torah and who don't believe that Jesus is God (or a god or a divine being), should have the Old Covenant sections of their Bibles directly translated from the Hebrew-Aramaic Scriptures. What do people think about this?
For example if Christians based their English translations of the Old Covenant from the Greek Septuagint, they would be justified in saying "virgin" instead of "young woman" in Isaiah. They would also be justified in saying "the LORD" or "the Lord" instead of Yahweh (or YHWH or Jehovah) in those verses where the Hebrew-Aramaic Scriptures says YHWH. There would thus be fewer conflicts/inconsistencies in their Bibles and they would be distancing themselves further from the Jewish religion. That might possibly make it harder to convince Jews to become believers in Christianity, but then probably few Jews who read the Old Covenant Scriptures in Hebrew-Aramaic become believing Christians anyway.
Does Sin exist? If it does exist, what is it from Christian, Jewish, Pagan, and Atheistic Humanist perspectives? I'm not asking for a list of sins, such as murder, adultery, theft, etc. I asking what is the meaning of what "sin" is. Is it the same as evil, immorality (both sexual and non-sexual kinds), is it defined as the breaking of God's laws or standards (which would depend upon which God a person has in mind), is it a "missing the mark/target", and/or is it the making unfavorable actions and thoughts? Is its meaning entirely of a religious nature and thus is sin considered something which is non-existent by the non-religious?
In Romans 7:9-16 Paul seems to be describing "sin" as some kind of being or force, in verse 9 he says sin became alive! That seems very strange to me. Is he just personifying a concept, or did he really believe it is such? If Paul viewed sin as an actual force, entity, or person/being which/who is able to command us, is that why he says that the Holy Spirit is the counter agent to Sin (see Romans chapter 8) if we allow our minds to be ruled by the Spirit (see Romans 8:5-6, and 13 in the Contemporary English Version). See also Romans 8:26-27 in which Paul claims that the Spirit Himself/itself pleads, intercedes, and/or prays for us to God. If the Spirit is a being or at least an entity, is Sin also such?
From a Christian standpoint, do non-human animals sin? Do animals sometimes murder others of their own species (for reasons other than for protection or for food) and if so that mean they are sinners? If they are not sinners, then does that mean humans should also be considered as not being sinners?
In Paul's writings he also also talks about "being slaves of sin" and he says that obeying sin results in death. Since animals and plants also die does that mean they are also slaves of sin (or slaves to sin)? Does the Christian concept (or definition) of sin really make any sense, or is it nonsense?
According to Genesis 3:22, Adam and Eve's eating of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and bad resulted in Adam and Eve knowing what is good and what is bad (the Contemporary English Version Bible says it resulted in them knowing "the difference between right and wrong"), yet it made Yahweh ("the LORD") angry. Why did it make Yahweh angry, why would he be opposed to Eve and Adam and their future children knowing the difference between and good and bad? Doesn't God (if he exists) want people to know the difference between good and bad, isn't that why the Bible claims he issues laws which enumerate what is bad? Isn't that why the Bible claims to teach humans what is good and righteous? Also why do we need Yahweh (if he is real) and the Bible to teach us those things, if we inherited such knowledge from Eve and Adam as a result of them (supposedly sinfully) eating from the tree of knowledge of good and bad?
Have you ever wondered if Christianity could evolve into existence a variety which is non-theistic (perhaps even atheistic), but which retains many of the ethical ideas of Christianity and thus being fully Humanistic, but while also retaining elements of the culture of Christian worship, and even retaining use of parts of the Bible? Well such a variety is indeed possible for I have created such, and I call it "Humanistic Quasi-Christianity". In effect it is a form of Religious Humanism from a Christian heritage, but with the following exceptions: 1) It does not consider itself a religion since it does not believe in a theistic god nor the supernatural (if some non-theistic kind of god exists [such as deistic god or a pantheistic god] that god is considered fully a part of nature and thus not as supernatural). 2) Though it does not consider itself a religion, it does consider itself a quasi-religion since it incorporates elements of Christian religious culture. Those elements include: use of the Bible and the Apocrypha from a Humanist perspective to a much greater degree than is likely used in Unitarian-Universalist congregations (including using the Bible to teach Christians that the Bible is not the word of any God); use of a guidebook that is an adaptation (by means of a rewrite) of excerpts of the Bible and the Apocrypha from a Humanist perspective; and use of Christian songs/hymns and carols rewritten from a Humanist perspective in a way which extols Humanism and the values of Humanism (including science, logic, and critical reasoning). If you wish to learn more about Humanistic Quasi-Christianity and perhaps even join it, then please visit the web site of the Yahoo Group I have created for it at Humanistic Quasi-Christianity. See also my related (and older) Yahoo Group called Educators and Students of Naturalism.
From a humanistic perspective, what value do the words attributed to Jesus in the Gospel of John offer? Other than the first chapter and some words in an early part of chapter 17, it seems that Gospel is basically only saying the following (in regards to what it says Jesus taught): Jesus proclaims himself as the Son of Man, the Messiah/Christ, the Son of God, the Bread of Life, that the flesh and blood of Jesus must be eaten, the only way to the Father, that he has ascended to heaven and descended from heaven, that he was sent into this world (from heaven?) by the Father, and that he has power to forgive sins. All of these things are things which a sane Jewish person would not say about himself, and none of these things are what a Humanist can believe about a historical Jesus (other than that person may have falsely said such things about himself). The gospel also has Jesus claim to be Light of the Word. The gospel also says that he performed impressive miracles, but a Humanist would not believe that those kinds of events took place (such a person who was born blind being cured by washing in the pool of Siloam after having clay mixed with spit being rubbed onto his eyes). Thus virtually all of the gospel attributed to John is about theology and extreme miracles, the trial and execution of Jesus, the alleged resurrection of Jesus, and the alleged post resurrection appearances of Jesus, none of which has any teaching value to Humanists. As a result, I see virtually nothing which can be used in an atheistic humanistic perspective from this gospel, except for the lesson of humility in the story of Jesus washing the feet of his disciples and for trachings about love. In addition, many of the theological claims are highly repetitive and thus needlessly verbose, something which annoys me. All of the theological claims of this gospel could have been succinctly stated and described in three chapters or less, but unfortunately they weren't. As a result, of the four biblical gospels, this one is the least interesting to me, such was the case even when I was a devout Christian. When I was a Christian my favorite gospel was the one attributed to Matthew and now as a non-theist it is still my favorite.
From an atheistic humanistic perspective, perhaps the best sayings attributed to Jesus in the gospel which is attributed to John are the sayings about loving your neighbor as yourself (a saying which actually comes from the Old Covenant), that the disciples of Jesus should love one another just as Jesus loved them (John 13:34 -35 and John 15:12), and that there is no greater love than when someone is willing to die for his/her friends [in order to protect them] (John 15:13). However the idea of dying as an atonement sacrifice to God does not make sense.
Most of John chapters 18 and 19 seem like a plausible account of actual events, but even the seemingly plausible portions of it still might not be correct, they still might be fiction.
Lately when reading much of the Bible, I have been doing so from the perspective of it being mythology. It now astonishes me to see how mythological much of the Bible seems. The mythologies are more readily apparently when I ignore the rest of the fictional narrative of the Bible. I thus now want to write a book called "The Mythologies and Horrors of the Bible, Including of the Apocrypha: Being a Collection of Passages of the Bible". In Genesis chapter one I could use the phrase "the [council of the] gods" instead of "God". I could include the tales of the creation, the talking serpent, Yahweh walking in the garden, the flood, the tower of Babel, Sodom and Gomorrah, the plagues upon Egypt, the parting of the red sea, Yahweh speaking at mount Sinai, the Ten Commandments being inscribed, manna from heaven, the Israelites staring at an image of a snake on a upright poll in order to prevent them from dying of snake bite, Miriam and others being instantly struck with leprosy from Yahweh, Balaam's talking ass, the contest between Baal (and his priests and prophets) and Yahweh (and Elijah his priest and prophet) regarding sacrificial fire upon altars, Yahweh ordering the execution of numerous people, Yahweh using angels to kill people, Elijah ascending into heaven upon a fiery horse drawn chariot, Daniel interpreting dreams, Nebuchadnezzar going mad in living like a wild beast, the writing on the wall, a dead man coming to life upon contact with Elisha's dead bones, the Magi (magic practicing priests) following the star of Jesus, the virgin birth of Jesus, the miracles of Jesus, Satan tempting Jesus (and transporting him to various places), demons causing diseases and torments, demons talking with Jesus and calling him the Son of God, the story of the rich man and Lazarus, the resurrection of Lazarus and others, Jesus saying to eat his flesh and to drink his blood (and they being true food and true drink), the saints (holy ones) being resurrected at about the time of Jesus dying (and of the darkness covering the land), the resurrection and ascension of Jesus, prophecies of Jesus returning upon clouds, Ananias and his wife instantly dying due to lying to the Holy Spirit, Herod being eaten alive by worms/maggots, etc. That list doesn't even include what is in the Apocrypha!
I think that such a book about the Bible, by letting the Bible speak for itself, would give a good witness against the Bible being any more inspired of a god than the books of pagan mythologies.
Update of 2011-10-21 (with revisions made in 2012): I'm now thinking of publishing (probably only on the internet) a list of scripture citations of the hihgly mythological sounding passages of the Bible, so people can read the passages in their own Bibles, instead of me going through the work of producing a full length book which quotes the scripture passages. The list of scripture citations could also be included in a book based upon my outdoor lecture of 2011 - September - 3, which was called "Evidence That the Bible is Not God's Word".
In Exodus chapter 4 Yahweh gives leprosy as a sign and he takes it away as a sign, he also turns a staff into a snake and turns the snake back into the staff. The power of Yahweh is amazing, is it not? [wink] Is it not a factual account or is it only mythology? I am now certain it is only mythology. The Bible is full of it. [big grin]
In the gospels there is the account of the Holy Spirit descending like a dove (or in the form of a dove) upon Jesus and then God the Father speaking down from heaven to the people who are present at the baptism of Jesus. When God speaks, some people say they think it only was thunder. The part about God speaking reminds me of Greek mythologies in which Zeus speaks down from Mount Olympus, Zeus was an alleged God of lightning and thunder, he was also claimed to be the Father of many gods.
The biblical story of the immoral incredibly strong human Samson reminds me of the stories of the heroic incredibly strong Hercules (Hercules [Heracles is the Greek form of the name] being the son of a human mortal woman and of Zeus "God the Father"). When Samson kills himself and all of the Philistines who were in the temple of Dagon at the time that Samson caused the temple to collapse, was that a likely source of inspiration for some Muslims (including some Palestinians) to make suicide bombing attacks on Israeli populations? Note: the Roman emperor Hadrian renamed Provincia Judaea [meaning Province of Judea] as Provincia Syria Palaestina [meaning Province of Syria Palestine] in honor of the Philistines, that is is how the land of Israel became known as Palestine.
Holy Spit! That's right I said "Holy Spit!" How many Christians believe in the healing powers of Holy Spit? According to the Gospel attributed to Mark (see 7:31 - 37 and 8:22 - 26), Jesus used his Holy Spit to cure a person of deafness and muteness and to cure a person of blindness. When I was a Christian those passages were hard for me accept (not just the ridiculousness of it, but also the nastiness of rubbing spit onto eyes), but I accepted them anyway. It now amazes me that for so many years I took seriously the so-called miracles of Jesus the so-called Christ the so-called Son of God. For many months now, it has been obvious to me that the so-called miracles in the Gospel attributed to Mark either started out as a collection of untrue stories which were believed by gullible people, or the writer of the Gospel fabricated them himself/herself and created those false myths. Possibly the writer of the gospel thought God (that is, what the writer considered to be God) revealed the accounts of the alleged miracles to him/her, but if that was the thought of the writer, then the writer was mistaken. If only I had not been raised by devout Christians, then I probably would never had believed the nonsense of the so-called miracles of the New Covenant.
Please read the article "Christianity is mythology". To me there is no longer any escaping it, much of the Bible (not just much of the Apocrypha) meets the definition of the word "mythology", including much of the content of the gospel accounts of Jesus (whom most Christians consider to be God, a god, or divine in some sense). Except for the sayings attributed to Jesus and for some of the narrative of the crucifixion, the gospel accounts attributed to Mark and John are no less mythological and legendary than the Infancy Gospel of Thomas (that is, the Infancy Gospel which is attributed to Thomas). What is scary to me, is that it took me so long before I realized it. It took me so long, because I was indoctrinated by my parents and grandparents and my denomination (including the congregations I was a member of) to be a Christian. The only real difference regarding the type of mythology in the Bible and in Greek literature, is the number of Gods/gods. Namely, the biblical Jews only fully recognize one God, they consider the others to be false/imaginary gods or gods which have very little power (it depends which biblical book is describing the other gods). Then again, even the Old Covenant uses the expression "sons of God" sometimes when referring to supernatural beings who live in heaven with Yahweh Elohim (Jehovah God) and a few of the Old Covenant books refer to evil spirits (including a "lying spirit" which was used by Yahweh). More so than Yahweh Elohim God the Father, Jesus Christ Son of God most closely resembles the pagan Greek gods, because in the Gospels Jesus (though portrayed as a god) spends about 33 years of his life living as a human on our planet. During at least 3 of those years he does things which can only done by the power of the gods (either by a god doing it directly or through a human). Having a talking Devil and talking demons in the Gospels also makes the Gospels closely resemble pagan Greek mythology, since the demons are quasi-gods or pseudo-gods and they are interacting with God's son Jesus (who is both divine and human). The demons are not explicitly described in the Old Covenant (though a few books refer to evil spirits), but the portion of the Bible (namely the Greek New Covenant scriptures, especially the Gospels) which is written in the language of the pagan Greeks makes frequent mention of demons, even the word "demon" is a Greek word (a more precise transliteration of the Greek word into English is "daemon"). See Wikipedia article called "Daemon (classical mythology)" for more information. Even the Gospels' concept of demon possession can be traced back to the pagan Greek literature, since the last paragraph of the Wikipedia article mentions "After the time of Plato... in Hellenistic times, the daimon was external to the man whom it inspired and guided, who was "possessed" by this motivating spirit."
For me the freedom to fully embrace and pursue the knowledge of truth is a great reward I received when I left behind religious indoctrination. For me, the freedom of mind and the freedom to pursue truth is the greatest gift I received from non-theism in general, I deeply cherish that most precious gift! Not even the Christian hope of eternal life comes close to it.
I have removed the shackles from my mind which had been placed upon me by religious indoctrination. Oh what a joy such freedom brings! Free at last, I thank atheistic Humanism that I am free at last! I am no longer a slave to the Watchtower, nor to Christianity, nor to the writers of the Bible, nor even to the Bible. Now my mind is free, truly free, free at last! I thank and praise Humanism, science, logic, and critical thinking for showing me the way to such freedom and joy and enlightenment!
A free mind is the greatest gift of all. Nothing else compares to it - nothing else comes close to it! No more must I pummel my mind to be in subjection to those teachings of religion which are inconsistent, illogical, and even evil. No more must I deny myself certain harmless joys and harmless pleasures of the world. No more must I have a religiously induced guilty conscience for me simply being a human animal who makes mistakes while seeking happiness. Atheism, not Christ, has set me free from bondage!
Now I give my testimony of Humanism and my mindful and heartfelt conversion to it. Now I share the vision of metaphysical naturalism and atheistic Humanism to Christians and other theists. Now I share the enlightenment of atheistic Humanism and it is a bright light indeed, yet gazing at it does not cause blindness. For by others seeing my vision of atheistic Humanism and learning of my experience of atheistic Humanism, they too may come to love and cherish it and be set free by it.
I am glad there are those who are expressing the joy they derive as a result of now being atheists. Other atheists should also express their joy. Ultimately that will be the most effective tool in evangelizing atheism and Humanism. Ultimately that will reach the most minds of Christians, for it will do so by way of their figurative hearts, by way of their emotions. An intellectual appeal is not enough, a positive emotional appeal in addition to it is what is crucial. It is what will renew humanity.
An emphasis on the emotional benefits of a Humanist mindset is what will accomplish the most in setting Christians free. Freedom of mind is the greatest freedom of all, the greatest gift of all, and the greatest reward of all. It is even the greatest blessing - though it is not conferred by any God. It is a blessing, though not by any deity, because it confers well being and prosperity. Imagine a USA society consisting mostly of Humanists instead of Christians. Imagine the United States of America as a Nation of Humanists - not as a Nation of Christians. Now Imagine a Humanist World. Imagine the peace. Imagine.
Is there any geologic or other scientific evidence to prove that Allah turned a mountain into dust? Also why did Allah destroy a mountain just to prove his godship? Or maybe the passage (quoted below) is saying that so much energy emits from God, that when he came near a mountain, God's brilliance turned the mountain into dust, thus showing that a mere human could not see Allah and live. The following quote I have from the Koran is from an edition (translated by J. M. Rodwell) which does not include verse numbers, except for every tenth verse. The quote is from Sura VII-Al Araf and the passage is just before verse 140. It says 'And when Moses came at our set time and his Lord spake with him, he said, " O Lord, shew thyself to me, that I may look upon thee." He said, " Thou shalt not see Me; but look towards the mount, and if it abide firm in its place, then shalt thou see Me." And when God manifested Himself to the mountain he turned it to dust! and Moses fell in a swoon.'
Here is video which is critical of the scientific claims of Islam, it is Islam is so wonderful and sciency and peaceful. Here is another anti-Islam video, it is Muhammad tells it like it is.
Here is a video that exposes Islamic creationism (and creationism of other religions), it is How To Be a Good Creationist 4. It is very funny. The women appear to be Arabic, but perhaps they are non-Arabic.
The Koran and Islma has some extremely harsh things to say about infidels and Christians. The following quotes are from J. M. Rodwell's translation of the Koran.
Sura IX-Immunity in between verse 120 and verse 130 says the following about war (or perhaps about a particular war) "Believers! wage war against such of the infidels as are your neighbors, and let them find you rigorous: and know that God is with those who fear him." That passage might explain a lot of the hostilities committed by some Muslims (a very small percentage of Muslims). The following verses are also causes for concern.
Sura V-The Table in between verse 10 and verse 20 says: "God hath promised to those who believe, and do the things that are right, that for them is pardon and a great reward." "But they who are Infidels and treat our signs as lies--these shall be mated with Hell fire." ... 'And of those who say," We are Christians," have we accepted the covenant. But they too have forgotten a part of what they were taught; wherefore we have stirred up enmity and hatred among them that shall last till the day of the Resurrection; and in the end will God tell them of their doings.'
I notice that some Muslims say "God is Great", but not all of us believe in Allah, Yahweh, or some other theistic God. For those of us who don't believe in a theistic God (even if we do believe in a deistic God), how about saying "Humanity is Great" or "Nature is Great"? In one Christian fictional movie about an evil one world government of an antichrist/anti-messiah, the slogan was "Great is Man", but I see no reason as to why that should scare us from saying "Humanity is Great" or "Nature is Great". What do you think? Do you think the slogan of "Humanity is Great" could catch on, in other words, become popular?
For example when we humans peacefully resolve a conflict or when we rescue people from a natural disaster, those would be excellent opportunities to proclaim "Humanity is Great". I think such a slogan would promote our common humanity and help unite us internationally, it would also help draw attention to our own human abilities to solve problems without relying upon an imaginary/mythical theistic deity. It might also be a good slogan for Humanism. What do you think?
If there is no god, and there are ample reasons to believe there is no god (and thus I am an atheist), then as far as our planet is concerned, Humanity is indeed Great.
Some say that because humans are conscious, that our universe is thus conscious. But only a small part of the universe (as we know it) is conscious since human brains are an extremely small fraction of it and since human brains have no influence beyond our solar system (they have some influence upon space probes sent out by humans). Thus I believe it is incorrect to say that by means of human brains all of nature is conscious and able to reflect upon itself, unless even things such as bacteria and rocks are conscious (which is a possibility since weird things happen at the quantum physics level), and if they are conscious, their consciousness is not a result of human brains.
While the human brain is probably the most complex thing in our solar system, it is presumptuous to say it is the most complex thing in the entire universe or in all of nature or in all of existence. We don't know what exists on distant planets beyond our solar system.
College textbooks (and other books) which have a considerable amount of content about biological evolution are ones about the following sciences: biological evolution (evolutionary biology) [often simply called "evolution"], general biology, historical geology, physical anthropology (also called biological anthropology and called bioanthropology), general anthropology, paleoanthropology, and paleontology (the scientific study of fossils). Archaeology (a branch of anthropology) books include information about dating methods, including radiometric dating methods; they also sometimes include information about prehistoric species of the genus Homo and other prehistoric hominin species (including information about fossils of such). Physical geology textbooks sometimes include content about dating methods of rocks and somtimes of fossils, but otherwise have little, if any content about biological evolution.
Books about cosmology include content about the evolution of the universe, including sometimes some information about astrobiology. The latter is about the origination of life and about biological evolution. For example, the above mentioned book called "Cosmos" includes some information about abiogenesis, biological evolution, and the possibility of life on other worlds. Sometimes astronomy books include some information about astrobiology also, such as the college textbook called "Pathways to ASTRONOMY" by Stephen E. Schneider & Thomas T. Arny.
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