Bible stories and semantics

Let me introduce to you two new characters for today’s story.  First, we have Lisa, young convert to Mormonism and friend of mine from work.  Second is Beer Guy; I do not know his name but he’s a local brewster hero at the county fair, and I ask him beer questions when I see him sometimes. 

We all take the train home around the same time.  And yesterday, Lisa is telling me about her new baby niece who has not been named yet.  The two of us are talking about baby names and she says she likes Isabelle, but apparently this name is off-limits because there was a bad girl in the Bible named Isabelle. 

“Really?” I say, trying to remember the story.

“She was a whore,” my friend informs me, and I say, wait, what?  A prostitute?  “No, she was married, but she slept with Solomon.”  So, an adulterer, I say, and she says okay fine.

This wasn’t ringing any bells.  I pull out my Palm Pilot because now I am curious, and I have a searchable electronic Bible stored on it.  Then just as I’m firing the thing up, I remember: not Isabelle, Jezebel!

“Yeah, that’s it!  Jezebel!” 

And I say, “But I don’t think she was married…” I don’t know that story, actually.  So here, Beer Guy pipes up.  “Jezebel was Ahab’s wife,” he informs us.  He goes on to tell us that Ahab was an evil king and Jezebel made him even more evil. 

Now Lisa is saying, “But I thought Ahab saw her on a roof, and she was married.”

“Bathsheba!!” Beer Guy and I say.  So we tell Lisa that story to everyone’s satisfaction.  Then I give Beer Guy a high-five (I got the feeling it may have been his first high-five ever) and I grin at Lisa.  “You just got schooled in Bible stories by an atheist.”  She laughs, and we agree that that’s not fair because I grew up on Bible stories and she didn’t.

Also, there was a local atheist Meetup last night, and we had philosophical debates, and I was informed that “knowledge” is just another kind of experience; or it’s no different from experience.  I am still thinking about that one.  I am pretty sure that the discussion was about 80 percent semantics, but some people disagreed.  And I remember my brother told me that you have to define the terms of a philosophical debate first thing.  Otherwise, as I saw last night, you are arguing for 20 minutes until someone suspects we are saying the same thing with different words, and by that point, it’s too late to go back and start over because you are probably talking about something different that what you started with.  That, or, you say, “Hey, wait, this is semantics,” and the other party think you’re just saying that because you feel backed into a corner.

In other news, I have mixed plain yogurt with green tea and I am drinking it from a Mason jar.

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2 Responses to “Bible stories and semantics”

  1. sunnyskeptic Says:

    I school people on bible stories, and I wasn’t brought up religious… 🙂 And of my friends at work who are religious, I am the only one out of 5 of us who owns the bible, and the only one who’s ever read it cover to cover. One of my co-workers said one day “I’ve never read the bible” and I said “Of course you haven’t, you’re still religious.” 🙂

  2. Andrew Says:

    The part about semantics rings particularly true (but also the rest of the entry too).

    I’ve spent many, many, many hours getting stuck in a semantic corner.

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