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 This all raises an interesting point: a bible, a book given to
humankind by god (according to the religions concerned), should surely
be universally applicable? So how can you have a universally applicable
book which contains concepts which can't be properly translated? I
suppose you could argue that god has a preferred language, but this
seems unlikely since if he did we would surely all speak it. The tower
of Babel argument doesn't go against this because in that story god
still created all the new tongues, so you would expect them to be
equally good at expressing his words. The other possible argument I can
see is that all languages are equally flawed and all can express but an
aspect of god's thought, but if that's the case then god should have
distributed multiple copies in different languages each expressing his
thought as well as possible in each language, so that the sum
approximated his true thought, surely? If that were the case it makes no
sense to leave the translation to human beings who, their understanding
limited to the original flawed copy, would surely make the flaws worse
in translations. This argument is enough to convince me that there are
only a few realistic possibilities:
a) There is no God
b) God isn't in fact all loving and fair but biased towards one
particular ethic/linguistic group
c) God wasn't involved in any way, through Jesus, apostles, or anyone
else, in creating any bible or mythology on the planet
d) God is very different from the way he is portrayed in the Bible,
Quran etc, and has been involved in the creation of numerous
contradictory bibles and mythologies for purposes unknown ie he has
purposefully lied on a massive scale to his creations
e) God was involved in the creation of the Bible, but has been
misunderstood or misrepresented, ie the original was something that was
universally applicable.
 Either way it seems to me that the probability is high that the Bible
shouldn't be taken at face value. It seems to me that priests who say
that "the bible shouldn't be taken literally" when faced with people
pointing out that the Bible says things which there is strong evidence
aren't true, are opting for a weak version of option (e), or possibly
option (d) although they usually don't use the word "lie".
 Anyway, sorry about all this... I didn't actually intend to write
exactly this, but I started thinking and just followed my chain of
reasoning. Any replies, or flames, off-list please so I don't upset the
list by starting a flame war. :)