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← [Update-YouTube] The Big Questions - Series 4 - Is the Bible Still Relevant?

[Update-YouTube] The Big Questions - Series 4 - Is the Bible Still Relevant? - Comments

BMJT's Avatar Comment 1 by BMJT

It was great to see Richard back on our screens, but the debate was painfully one-sided with only a few voices willing to speak out on the side of reason. The arguments from the theists were atrociously shallow and fallacious, with circular reasoning seeming the order of the day. The reverend on the panel was the worst offender in my opinion, having no obvious grasp of logic and regularly contradicted himself, augmenting his beliefs to fit what was being said, especially when it came to the argument about morals.

The program only served to confirm my opinons of many theists, that is, their arguments are often based on very little, and when these foundation are shown to be false, they either simply persist in their ignorance, or try to mangle their ideas to fit. Anything to avoid honestly appraising the facts.

Sun, 08 May 2011 13:43:09 UTC | #624517

Daz365's Avatar Comment 2 by Daz365

Sensible panel I thought with Prof Dawkins, Dr Francesca Stavrakopoulou who is a kind of sexy bart ehrman (sorry couldn't resist it), even Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner wasn't too bad, then they had to ruin it with fundamentalist hate-monger Michael Nazir Ali.

Sun, 08 May 2011 13:50:04 UTC | #624520

diz740's Avatar Comment 3 by diz740

So the thing about morals: I thought most, if not all, religions hijacked morality from greek antiquity. Am I wrong? If I'm not, why did no one bring this up? And I agree, incredibly one sided debate.

Sun, 08 May 2011 13:57:02 UTC | #624522

Premiseless's Avatar Comment 4 by Premiseless

Comment 1 by BMJT :

It was great to see Richard back on our screens,

His exuding absolute befuddlement at their mass submission to speculations cracks me up repeatedly. A de-facto emotional rebalance if ever there was one. They all go round the mulberry bush paying homage to this and that and Richard comes in asking what the hell they think they're pretending is 'grown up reason' - brilliant! Of course they all just reply "It's our party! Nanananana." It would be hilarious if it weren't so painfully true!

.. their arguments are often based on very little, and when these foundation are shown to be false, they either simply persist in their ignorance, or try to mangle their ideas to fit. Anything to avoid honestly appraising the facts.

Yes - ' Rochester was on about how the Bible must be eminent in our universe since only it has made people do any good things through history - kinda babble. He is an educated mouthpiece for intellectual delusions. His head may be prone to focus on doing some good in the world but he is up the creek of garbage when he suggests religion is uniquely owning this human attribute. Quite the reverse is often the case as history shows. But hey - it's their party so there! :$

I worry about how religion uses its influences to bully rational, sincere and good people just because they won't dance to its delusions.

Sun, 08 May 2011 14:01:21 UTC | #624524

TheRationalizer's Avatar Comment 5 by TheRationalizer

This was so infuriating to watch. The Bishop said that forgiveness "comes at a cost" and people clapping because they thought this excuses nailing some bloke to a cross to die.

How many times did the point need to be driven home? The bible says good things only if you ignore the bad things. If humans had evolved to be selfish horrible murderers we could just as easily look at the bible and conclude that it reflects our inner values!

At one point my 19 month old girl started to cry, she was climbing and I shouted "Noooo!" at the TV, she thought I was telling her off and burst into tears. Poor thing! :)

Sun, 08 May 2011 14:05:59 UTC | #624525

helena!'s Avatar Comment 6 by helena!

Not available in your area! Arggg!

Sun, 08 May 2011 14:09:29 UTC | #624526

Jos Gibbons's Avatar Comment 7 by Jos Gibbons

Though I've not watched this yet, I suspect it both should be true and isn't true that only people who have actually read the Bible could comment on whether it is "still" relevant (or, indeed, how long ago it stopped being relevant). As soon as the biblical defenders of slavery were defeated, didn't the bible lose whatever relevance it still had? This is neither the most nor least recent example of a disqualifier of the Bible's relevance.

Sun, 08 May 2011 14:09:33 UTC | #624527

epeeist's Avatar Comment 8 by epeeist

Comment 3 by diz740 :

So the thing about morals: I thought most, if not all, religions hijacked morality from greek antiquity. Am I wrong? If I'm not, why did no one bring this up? And I agree, incredibly one sided debate.

Certainly Augustine took from the Neo-Platonists (his "City of God" could be argued used Zeno's "Cosmopolis" as a basis) and the Scholastics based much of their material on Aristotle.

Sun, 08 May 2011 14:10:17 UTC | #624528

the great teapot's Avatar Comment 9 by the great teapot

How many times does it have to be pointed out that the bible is full of contradictions and does not possess moral absolutes before these people will admit morality is determined by the zeitgeist. I despair I really do. These religious believers are beyond the touch of reason.

Sun, 08 May 2011 14:23:20 UTC | #624532

Lapithes's Avatar Comment 10 by Lapithes

It's on YT: http://youtu.be/dFpCYvL23YA

The very first discussion between the bible scholar and the former bishop was quite enjoyable. Actually it was the only discussion, what came afterwards was mainly declamatory fisticuffs.

Sun, 08 May 2011 14:29:32 UTC | #624535

knockknock's Avatar Comment 11 by knockknock

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Sun, 08 May 2011 14:30:29 UTC | #624536

grumpyoldfart's Avatar Comment 12 by grumpyoldfart

I think Richard was unwise to use the term "ignorant" about the authors of the bible. In the room that was mostly heard as "ignorant relative to their own time" when of course what he meant was "ignorant relative to now". But that misunderstanding immediately got him branded as arrogant.

Sun, 08 May 2011 14:41:30 UTC | #624538

Richard Dawkins's Avatar Comment 13 by Richard Dawkins

I think Richard was unwise to use the term "ignorant" about the authors of the bible. In the room that was mostly heard as "ignorant relative to their own time" when of course what he meant was "ignorant relative to now". But that misunderstanding immediately got him branded as arrogant.

Yes. It was pretty obvious I meant ignorant relative to now, because the whole context was talking about whether it is helpful to read the bible today, in order to derive morals for our time. But the main point is that, in any case, 'ignorant' is not a pejorative. I am ignorant of baseball and how to play the tuba. Everybody is ignorant of most of what there is to know. As it happens, the authors of the bible were ignorant of almost everything they were trying to write about.

Richard

Sun, 08 May 2011 14:44:54 UTC | #624539

the great teapot's Avatar Comment 14 by the great teapot

The biblical scholar said Jesus was a historical figure. Based on what exactly

Sun, 08 May 2011 14:48:59 UTC | #624540

Adam Miller's Avatar Comment 15 by Adam Miller

Comment 1 by BMJT :

It was great to see Richard back on our screens, but the debate was painfully one-sided with only a few voices willing to speak out on the side of reason. The arguments from the theists were atrociously shallow and fallacious, with circular reasoning seeming the order of the day. The reverend on the panel was the worst offender in my opinion, having no obvious grasp of logic and regularly contradicted himself, augmenting his beliefs to fit what was being said, especially when it came to the argument about morals.

The program only served to confirm my opinons of many theists, that is, their arguments are often based on very little, and when these foundation are shown to be false, they either simply persist in their ignorance, or try to mangle their ideas to fit. Anything to avoid honestly appraising the facts.

If asked to give a summary it would look pretty much almost word for word identical to yours.

A very good showing by the Professor and again reason was annoyingly outnumbered.

Sun, 08 May 2011 14:51:07 UTC | #624541

the great teapot's Avatar Comment 16 by the great teapot

I think it is not obvious that ignorant means ignorant of current knowledge. We know as regular visitors to this site that ignorant is not pejorative but the average viewer doesn't.

Sun, 08 May 2011 14:53:59 UTC | #624544

chawinwords's Avatar Comment 17 by chawinwords

Yes Richard, you mentioned the greatest religious delusion which remains: that, somehow the ignorance of the cosmos by the ancients is somehow relevant today as a continuing reality. The phenomenon also highlights the entrapment by professional, clergy storytellers, and to what extent humans can be so trapped, for eons. As well, one definition of a storyteller is: "A person who has lied or who lies repeatedly." Humans love stories, far more than reality!!!!!

Sun, 08 May 2011 14:56:29 UTC | #624546

hiss's Avatar Comment 18 by hiss

Comment 16 by the great teapot :

I think it is not obvious that ignorant means ignorant of current knowledge. We know as regular visitors to this site that ignorant is not pejorative but the average viewer doesn't.

Well, then they're ignorant.

Sun, 08 May 2011 14:59:16 UTC | #624548

Adam Miller's Avatar Comment 19 by Adam Miller

Comment 14 by the great teapot :

The biblical scholar said Jesus was a historical figure. Based on what exactly

Not a whole lot and its definitely a much more real argument than the majority like to recognise, but there is some evidence from him being mentioned in other documents outside of any type of biblical cannon (Something like a total of 5 places where not much is said).

However its a trivial point. Someone with the name Jesus existing in those times proves nothing. Are those stories based on him, whether they are factual and whether he did what he is said to have done in another. If it were as true as could be Jesus existed it changes nothing. He DID NOT walk on water and WAS NOT born of a virgin, these are the facts, his existence does not prove them. The prophet Muhammed was certainly a real historical figure, whether God spoke to him is as up for debate as it would be whether his existence was dubious.

Sun, 08 May 2011 15:03:27 UTC | #624550

seals's Avatar Comment 20 by seals

An interesting programme though of course, there were the usual frustrations alongside quite a few voices of reason. Richard was accused of fundamentalism for suggesting there is nothing special about the bible and not using it as a guide to morality. When he asked how they decided what to cherrypick out of the bible as a moral guide, the faith-heads just didn't get it I'm afraid. They diverted into arbitrary explanations for the presence in the bible and possible message implied by the story of Lot giving his daughters to the mob, raised by Nicky Campbell (he had definitely done some homework!)

As already mentioned there were howls of outrage when RD said the bible was written by ignorant people - it seems that word has acquired a lot more than its literal meaning, and the historian there seemed particularly to take issue with it, but then it turned out (if I recall and understood her correctly) that she thought the biblical authors' 'knowledge" was equally as valid as present day knowledge, so her definition of knowledge appeared to different from what is usually meant.

When they applauded the person who said there could be no forgiveness without cost, that was puzzling. Surely if there is a cost extracted that is not forgiveness, but compensation. And a god who requires, or even permits, compensation in the form of human sacrifice isn't immediately appealing as being worthy of worship.

Sun, 08 May 2011 15:09:35 UTC | #624552

Dr. monster's Avatar Comment 21 by Dr. monster

very entertaining.

BMJT - i can't see how you thought it was one sided against reason. the voices for reason were strong, clear and united. there may have been slightly more theist voices but they were constantly bickering amongst them selves.

this was a top RD performance with strong support from Francesca and audience.

Sun, 08 May 2011 15:11:41 UTC | #624556

jez999's Avatar Comment 22 by jez999

Comment 5 by TheRationalizer :

This was so infuriating to watch. The Bishop said that forgiveness "comes at a cost" and people clapping because they thought this excuses nailing some bloke to a cross to die.

How many times did the point need to be driven home? The bible says good things only if you ignore the bad things. If humans had evolved to be selfish horrible murderers we could just as easily look at the bible and conclude that it reflects our inner values!

Come on guys, have you seen The Big Questions before? It should be well-known to anyone with some knowledge of British TV that this thing is just a religious group masturbation, chock full of know-it-all religious types, Nicky the inane host, a charged-up religious audience, and round after round of pointless applause as if to congratulate someone on having said something profound about one of the 'deep issues' they think they're discussing. All on a Sunday morning, to be watched by those spirituals who haven't quite the interest in going to their place of worship, but still want to feel like they're mature intellectuals.

Sun, 08 May 2011 15:15:46 UTC | #624557

Daz365's Avatar Comment 23 by Daz365

Comment 14 by the great teapot :

The biblical scholar said Jesus was a historical figure. Based on what exactly

err.....History?

Sun, 08 May 2011 15:18:15 UTC | #624560

Marcus Small's Avatar Comment 24 by Marcus Small

On the 40ish% of Americans who are creationist. What strikes me is that neither Richard's atheism or my reasonable-ish Christianity will ever make the slightest bit of difference to them. Partly because I live in the UK, I am at a loss to even imagine a mass of creationists within the church let alone society as a whole is like. Still it is 40% not 60%, so may be we should be thankful for small mercies.

Sun, 08 May 2011 15:18:40 UTC | #624561

Dr. monster's Avatar Comment 25 by Dr. monster

richard i think many people now use ignorant to mean stupid. the modern meaning of the word may have changed. long words confuse people. although i love reading them in your books as i get an education every time. you may want to simplify your vocab for debates.

Sun, 08 May 2011 15:22:49 UTC | #624563

the great teapot's Avatar Comment 26 by the great teapot

Daz365

Err what history?

Sun, 08 May 2011 15:30:09 UTC | #624564

Kernel's Avatar Comment 27 by Kernel

It's amusing: They're all idiots. Sadly, that is how most people are. Very depressing to have to acknowledge this, but I'm afraid it is true.

Poor Richard. I think he's still having trouble getting to grips with the fact that the real world is not like Oxford.

Sun, 08 May 2011 15:30:17 UTC | #624565

BMJT's Avatar Comment 28 by BMJT

Comment 21 by Dr. monster :

very entertaining.

BMJT - i can't see how you thought it was one sided against reason. the voices for reason were strong, clear and united. there may have been slightly more theist voices but they were constantly bickering amongst them selves.

this was a top RD performance with strong support from Francesca and audience.

Yes I see your point, I think it was the sheer amount of airtime that was given the religious voices of varying tones that made RD and the one or two others seem a bit ambushed.

Sun, 08 May 2011 15:32:46 UTC | #624567

Psychedelic Warlord's Avatar Comment 29 by Psychedelic Warlord

Its interesting the gymnastics Bible believers have to perform to get the scriptures to say and stand for what they want it to. As a human construct it is obviously going to suffer from human revision and adaptation as it goes along, just as it already has done for so many years.

I thought Lez Henry was excellent and could, maybe should, have been a panelist. RD was his usual self. I cringed when he used the term ignorant, as I just knew it would be taken out of context, thats not his fault though.

I think the Bible is relevant and fascianting for obvious reasons and I cannot wait for the day when it will be studied in a secular manner, just like other mythology and ancient literature. The truly edifying features could then be used and viewed in a progressive way and the unedifying and immoral features reflected on in a proper manner. I wonder how many years we are away from that.

Sun, 08 May 2011 15:36:11 UTC | #624570

Slugsie's Avatar Comment 30 by Slugsie

Interesting debate in some ways. Prof Dawkins did a great job of ridiculing most of the arguments in a way that it was hard to really take offence at. The theologian (who I admit I pigeon holed when she was introduced) was a breath of fresh air, wow, very interesting. I'd quite like to see her to a talk of her own. The Rabbi, well, she just kept on saying basically 'that's not what we Jews believe'. Well, OK, so she was basically arguing that Judaism took the Bible as a starting point, but then modified it, and progressed beyond it. Which to my mind basically means that she was arguing that the Bible wasn't relevant anymore.

As to that Bishop. I'm afraid that he continually had me yelling at the screen trying to shut him up as he continually butted in and talked over everyone else. His arguments were just silly, and he is not a good ambassador for so called Christian values and morals from what I saw in that show.

Sun, 08 May 2011 15:38:00 UTC | #624572