Created by Chickenmen
How do you interpret the Creation Story from the Book of Genesis in the Bible?
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26 / M / USA
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Posted 7/24/14 , edited 7/24/14
=PLEASE READ BEFORE TAKING THE POLL=

Reading some of the extended discussion posts in the forums, I get the sense that there's a pretty sizable population of Christians, as well as an even larger population of Atheists/Agnostics (sorry for grouping you all into one category). While our personal beliefs can vary widely, I think there's no reason why we can't have civil discussions to explain our views. In particular, I notice that users who have different sets of values will focus on different aspects of any given issue.

In this poll, I want to know how you interpret the creation story of Genesis. The choices are interpreting it literally, interpreting it as an allegory, interpreting it as a myth, or "never read it." Please select the choice that best describes your opinion.
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23 / M / UK
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Posted 7/24/14
Basically a few thousand years ago some guy pointed at the sun and went "That guy told me to give you all your stuff" and the other guy was like "Yeah right ... good one". So the original guy stepped up his game and improved the scam, he created a book that said if people didn't give him their stuff they'd go to hell and he declared himself a priest/preacher, he wrote a book that lists women as property, is ok with slaves and genocide and thinks that we should behead homosexuals. The next time the guy tried his scam, guy two was so fearful and naive that he went along with the idea that he had to give what pittance he had as donations to this church just to stay in line. Cue 1000s of years of war, murder etc and people still believe it, I bet the con artist is laughing in his grave.

Think my theory of how the bible originated is baseless? It's still an equal amount to the evidence supporting it as the claims in the 'Holy' book have.
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Posted 7/24/14 , edited 7/24/14

To be fair, JollyClaret, the Wellhausen hypothesis exists and is favored by scholars - as opposed to a single author explanation.


As to the original post, I belong to the third group, after all, it's how we treat every other fanciful story of old, is it not? Unless there is substantial, testable, and corroborative evidence for the beliefs of the religious, there's no real reason to treat them as anything more than myths or legends - barring the first choice. While the second is an insincere and disingenuous attempt at glossing over any number of the inconsistencies and problems found throughout the Old and New Testaments.
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Posted 7/24/14 , edited 7/24/14
It is a myth, but I find varying allegorical interpretations of it interesting.

Depending on the interpretation, the main problems with it are timescale and the order of events. For example in an extreme Deist interpretation (that is, Yahweh caused the big bang) one must throw out both the timescale (if one divides 13bn years into six days, each day will be over 2bn years, squeezing the entire lifetime of the Earth into roughly two days) and re-order events, particularly the formation of the Earth and the rest of the universe.

Leaving aside all that came before humans, one could say Adam and Eve were the first humans to have souls. This still leaves you with pretty much throwing out everything pre-Adam, but hey, does that part really matter in the long run anyway? I say not, and I can't imagine why this interpretation isn't more popular.

But, then again I'm an atheist, humanist, rationalist, naturalist cat.
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26 / M / Pandemonium
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Posted 7/24/14 , edited 7/24/14
I interprate it the same way I interprate all other creation stories from that time -- as fairytales, made in order to try and give meaning to the lives of the primitive people who lived back then, and who didn't know any better.
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24 / M / San Francisco Bay...
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Posted 7/24/14
I would probably use the word 'mythology' to describe it, but how I define mythology is different than how the original poster defined mythology, so I feel I need to elaborate here.

For me, a myth is a culturally relevant story--and I could probably expand upon that definition. A modern example of what I would call a mythology but most people wouldn't would be the recent Cosmos: A Spacetime Odysssey. Now, that particular show is highly nonfictional, to the point that anything that might be false can probably be referenced (i.e. corroborated) in a peer review academic journal, and anything that's usually more unsure about (e.g. if Isaac Newton burned Hooke's painting portraying his likeness) is still flagged as such. But that isn't the point: the point is that Cosmos is bringing together both the history of science and science itself and weaving it together into a story that's both inspirational and explains a bit of who we are. In that sense, I suppose the term 'nonfictional mythology' would be appropriate, and that probably sounds like an oxymoron even though most people require mythology be fictional. I, however, do not. If need be, I can dig up my old classical mythology textbook that goes into painstaking detail of defining mythology (to the point the first chapter out of about ten is dedicated to just defining mythology in accordance to its use in academia)--but at this point, I'm content just using the operational if not vague definition of 'culturally relevant story.'

Going back to the Genesis story, on one hand I do feel that it's culturally relevant. The story of Adam and Eve indicates that we all suffer from sin--and just the fact that Ancient isrealites believed in sin shaped their culture and in turn ours. If I were interested in studying American culture, I'd consider reading the Bible and by extension Genesis important to that end. That said, I find people and by extension culture ostensibly boring, so I'd probably not do that. More just making a point that even if Genesis is false--i.e., not true--I still feel that's a different question from whether or not we should 'bother to talk about it.' Just as an example, many people who study Ancient Greece and macadon will often treat the Odyssey and Iliad as primary sources: not because they consider them true (they, after all, consider Homer's works to be mythology) but because they're true and we can still gain insight into Greece's ancient culture, such as, for example, how important good hospitality was.

THAT BEING SAID, I'm pretty sure the question the original poster is looking for is whether or not I think God--as described by Genesis and/or other books in the Bible--created the world. The answer to this is no. I don't know what created the world in any abstract sense. By that, I subscribe to the notion that our planet is made up of starstuff that condensed billions of years ago into what we now call our galaxy--but, if you asked me where that starstuff ultimately came from I couldn't give any concrete answer. That's what I mean when I say I don't know what created the world in an 'abstract sense.' My view about religion is ultimately apatheistic: i.e. I'm an agnostic who just finds religion irrelevant to my life. And I suppose that's about it.

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Posted 7/24/14 , edited 7/24/14
I believe in it. Deep in my heart of hearts. How it went down exactly, I don't know. I used to say that Genesis if written today would be a huge chemical equation.
I'm pretty straight forward. I chose to continue in this belief, and it serves me well
I don presume to "know" if I'm right or wrong, only that there are more things in heaven and on earth, then are dreamt of in my philosophy.
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17 / M / Crimson Mage Village
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Posted 7/25/14 , edited 7/25/14
I believe it's a myth, just like every other religious text.
However, I don't feel that there's no reason to discuss it.



(I'll leave it at that,
for fear of angering a fellow Christian)
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30 / M / Central KY.
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Posted 10/8/14
Guys hallucinating in the Desert.
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