Shelved by: DeathDark on 2012-04-29
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That's a pretty solid argument...
The god of the Bible can easily be the bad guy in the story. You notice that the opposition never gets to argue their point, and it's only stories from god's side. But on the other hand, god kills children, punishes all of Adam's descendents for Adam's actions, and curses all snakes for the actions of either someone posing as snakes or one snake.
Also, the 'scumbag god' memes aren't just funny - most of them are actual valid points.
Not trying to be blasphemous, so all the hardcore christians/catholics can relax... but just sayin'...
Perspective is everything.
I, on the other hand, am trying to be blasphemous. They're silly things to believe, so people should feel silly for believing them.
Wow, those are remarkably solid and concise points.
Shit got out of hand pretty fast on this picture hahaha.
It was going well for a while.
( i am not trying to force my religion down you throught it is your choice if you want to thank about this) if you read the bible and the book of morman i explans it see acording to several points in our books it states that in the beginning god was a vengful god boom head shot
Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 Samuel, 2 Samuel, 1 Kings, 2 Kings, 1 Chronicles, 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Job, Psalm, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi
this is what happens when people read a book with no basic knowledge of the language it was originally written in.
It's still possible to understand the story through translation, though specifics may not remain the same.
no because the text is being nderstood from the perspective of a 21st century westerner. This is a text written by near eastern man from thousands of years ago. words and ideas had completely different meanings than they do now
so are you saying the bible served a purpose at the time, but now it is an outdated document? if you're saying that, then i completely agree with you.
no. it still serves a purpose if properly translated then the truths it explains are still as true today. the issue is that too many preachers don't take the time to learn the true meanings of the words written. this ignorance and arrogance has caused many to doubt the truth behind the words
but that raises the question of truth. there's no objective way to read the bible. even if you know the culture, context, and language of the original intended audience of the books of the bible, how can you be sure that you're reading it correctly? on top of that, the books of the bible are riddled with historical and textual inconsistencies and inaccuracies. on top of that, there are no original manuscripts for any of the books of the old or new testaments; all we have are copies of copies that have been dictated, translated, edited, recopied, etc.
but let's say (hypothetically) that the bible had no inconsistencies and we had access to the original manuscripts and we were able to read the original languages in such a way that we fully understood the text in the correct cultural perspective. even if that were the case, in what sense would the bible offer truth? the bible's mere existence does not indicate truth, nor does its insistence that i have to have faith that its texts are true. faith and truth are distinct and nonequal. i was a devout christian for many years when i began to realize this. i'd be interested to hear your thoughts.
You're right, it's mere existence does not indicate truth and I agree one shouldn't have to have faith to see the truth in the Bible. The truth that it offers is that there IS a better way to live. The Bible tells the story of a God who wants His people to be the happiest and best that they can be so He gave them guidelines to live by. Guidelines that basically state: be good and treat everyone you meet with Love, put yourself second and God will always put you first. That is the truth that the Bible offers, and you don't get this by simply reading the text and having faith that it is real. This is a horrible teaching that has been handed down through western churches for too long. The way you see the truth is by reading the Bible and living the way it instructs people to live.
As for the other parts, we do have access to many of the original texts from the New Testament, or at least manuscripts that have been dated back far enough for it to be a reasonable assumption that they were written by either the original author or someone in their inner circle. And the Old Testament manuscripts we may never have access to, the were presumably taken and/or destroyed by one of the three people groups that sacked the two temples of Israel. However, we do know that to the ancient Hebrew people the words themselves were considered sacred and changing even a slight spelling could have been met with death so, again, it is safe to assume their accuracy to the original texts.
What historical inaccuracies and inconsistencies are you referring to? For the most part, the major Biblical events were proven to be correct through documents from cultures other than the writers'.
oh and for the record I was a devout athiest until I figured all this out
A devout atheist? Did you go to atheist church?
I think it's great that the message you get from the Bible is that you should love other people and treat them better than you treat yourself. However, the Bible makes it clear that treating others well is only good in that it is pleasing to God. And why should one want to please God? Because he will send you to Hell if you don't. The Bible tells you to do good things so that you can go to Heaven, and it also tells you that if you don't accept God's love through Jesus you will be sent to Hell to burn eternally. There's no way around that. So the morality one derives from the Bible is one based simultaneously on fear and desire for a reward. Fear-based and/or reward-based moral codes are unjustifiable and should be discarded.
Moving on. I stand by my assertion that no original manuscripts of the books of the Old or New Testaments exist. Numerous Christian websites will acknowledge this. To claim that we possess any whole original texts is purely a matter of faith. Also, don't you find it a bit odd that "changing even a slight spelling error could have been met with death?" I mean, we're talking about followers of this supposedly all-loving god. Killing a scribe for something as minute as a spelling error should be at odds with God's love right? As it turns out, not so much. The god of the Old Testament has done many things that we can clearly identify as being immoral. He punishes all of mankind because Adam and Eve screwed up, even though at the time they did not have knowledge of good and evil. He kills everyone on Earth except for Noah and his family simply because they aren't living in a way that pleases God. He tells Abraham to kill his own son and then tells him not to because it was all just a test to see if Abraham would actually do it. He lets Satan utterly destroy Job's life and happiness just to win a bet with Satan. He destroys entire cities because he dislikes their lifestyle. He kills Ananias and Sapphira because they lied about how much money they were contributing to the church. I could go on, but I won't because the god of the Bible disgusts me with his intolerance and disregard for human life.
If you're interested in inaccuracies in the Bible, there are many. I invite you to simply Google "historical inaccuracies in the Bible," but one example that comes to mind is The Exodus. The Old Testament claims that around 2 million Hebrews left Egypt with Moses. Since at the time Egypt's population would have been no more than 3.5 million or so, Egyptian historians would have certainly noted a crippled economy and workforce when more than half the population left overnight. There is no such record of any Exodus except in the Bible. Another example is from Acts 5. Luke writes about Gamaliel's speech, which took place around 35-40 AD. However, the verses reference Theudas' revolt as if it has occurred already, even though the revolt did not occur until about 46-47 AD. The historian Josephus, as well as many others, made note of the correct dates. A final example, since I am tired: Herod's slaughter of babies. Matthew writes that Herod had all baby boys under two years old murdered. Josephus chronicled Herod's actions in detail and this event is never recorded anywhere except in the Bible.
Regarding inconsistencies, again, there are many. If you've read the 4 gospels, you've seen that none of them completely agree with each other. A second example is Asa. 2 Chronicles says that Asa was perfect is God's sight for all of his days, but it also says that Asa stopped relying on God and later came down with a disease and still did not turn to God for help. The final example I will provide (due to sleepiness) has to do with God's desire for people to be saved. Books like 1 Timothy and 2 Peter say that God wants everyone to be saved, yet books like John and 2 Thessalonians say that God has planned to have some people not accept the Gospel and thus be damned.
My point in all this is that it's ok to pull some positive moral lessons from the Bible if they are beneficial to people. But it is not ok to say that the Bible (taken as a whole) provides the ultimate moral truth that we should live by. You don't need a book to tell you what is right and wrong. Modern morality is commonly accepted by both the religious and nonreligious. All the Bible really does is supply threats if those morals are disobeyed and offer rewards if those morals are followed. Reward-based morality reduces good deeds to selfish acts done out of greed. And fear-based morality reflects the corrupt, tyrannical nature of the god described in the Bible. The twisted version of morality supplied in the Bible is enough reason to abandon the faith.
With this handy dismantling of christianity you have shown the philosophy claims you made in the Infinite Universe debate, and, despite our ideological differences, I no longer question your credibility.
Splendid. Let us retire to the billiard room for cigars and brandy.
I just spent a long time pointing out with a ton of evidence, the flaws in all that you said, but found out that I went over the 5000 character limit and lost every word. Now I am too tired to retype it all so I will cut to the chase and point out what I see to be the biggest flaws. You say that reward based or fear based morality is wrong and doesn't teach good moral values. My question is, how did you get your morals? Most likely they were taught to you by your parents who rewarded your good deeds and punished your bad. In fact, every child psychologist says that this is the best way to teach children morals. Also, you claim that "Modern morality is commonly accepted by religious and nonreligious" what morality are you speaking of? What is moral to one may be immoral or overkill to another. Morality and moral codes are based on culture. I'm reminded of a story a friend told me once from when he was a missionary. He was in this remote village in Indonesia, I believe, and was having difficulty getting people to see Jesus as a good moral person. He was flustered and finally asked one of the elders what the issue was. It turned out that in their culture, a person who cheats or deceives another was the greater one morally and the one cheated was weak and hated. You see, what you consider to be morally right may not be what others consider morally right. Now, I'm assuming, by the way you write, that you are from a western culture, probably American or Canadian (my theory is mid-western college student studying liberal arts) if so then the moral code that you go by is a Judeo-Christian set of morals derived from biblical teaching, so therefore your assertion that you don't need the Bible to give you your morality is very flawed.
The last thing I want to point out is that you seem to be judging the Bible and Christianity based on what organized religions teach. I implore you to understand the difference. Organized religion is not what God intended for His church. In fact, it's what Jesus came to preach against.
p.s. I would gladly take the time to show you the evidence to prove that your other assertions are either misguided or outdated, but I'm not typing all of that out on here again only to lose every word.
Sorry to hear that you lost your original rebuttal. I, too, have suffered from the character limit, so my response will be divided into two parts.
You are correct to an extent in some of your claims. When I was a child, my parents did punish me for disobeying them, and when I did as I was told told, I was sometimes rewarded. When I was punished, it usually involved a spanking or being grounded. Never did it involve unending torment in a lake of fire for all eternity. And I never feared that my parents would seriously hurt me for disobedience. A spanking was mild pain, and they spanked because they had been taught to do so. Research now suggests that many children don't make the causal connection between disobedience and being spanked. That's one reason why many new parents are abandoning the practice. Also, when my parents rewarded me for my obedience, it was usually a trip to the movie theater or a small toy. Never did my parents send me to a plane of eternal paradise where there was no sorrow and I had to worship and praise them eternally. But my parents did not always reward me for doing good. I think they wanted to teach me that no reward was necessary for doing good, because many people (when acting in the culturally-accepted moral way) do the "right" thing simply because it is the right thing to do at the time, not because they need a reward for not doing the wrong thing. Imagine if we lived in a society where parents would say, "We gave our child a car because he decided not to murder our neighbors." Or what about an employer who says, "I gave Ted a huge promotion because he did not embezzle money"? It's nonsense. I think the comparison you are drawing between parental discipline and God's "moral justice" is flawed. With God, punishments and rewards are extreme and eternal. It is my opinion that neither eternal punishment nor eternal reward are justified as the results of a finite amount of human actions.
You correctly called me out about my statement on "modern morality." I was tired when I wrote my response, and I should not have generalized morality like that. I was referring to the moral codes observed by modern Western society, which as you have said, are not universally observed. I agree with you that morals are subject to cultural relativism. I actually take it a step further because I don't think "right" and "wrong" actually exist. I think a society derives its morals from the opinions of those in power; "Might is Right" so to speak. What I intended to say in my statement about modern morality is that, in a given society, people tend to follow general moral guidelines (don't murder, don't steal, etc.) regardless of whether those people are religious or not. In an interesting side note, research has shown that atheists generally commit less crime than religious people, predominantly atheist nations have lower crime rates, and the percentage of atheists in prison is disproportionately low compared to the percentage of atheists in the general population.
Now your assumptions about me were fairly close to the truth. I am American, but I live in Tennessee rather than the mid-west. I graduated college in 2009, but I did major in philosophy, so you were close. However, you are grossly mistaken when you assume that if I'm American, I must abide by the Judeo-Christian set of morals supplied by the Bible. Not only is that an illogical claim, it is also simply incorrect on a practical level. No one in the United States completely abides by the morals set forth in the Bible. Most Christians pick and choose what feels right to them. If Americans practiced all the moral codes of the Bible, we'd be killing lots of bratty kids, owning slaves, killing magicians, shunning homosexuals, not letting women go to school or get jobs, etc. Simply living in a geographical area does not imply perfect compliance with the precepts of the area's dominant religion. So no, I don't need the Bible to give me my morals (not that I really have any). I love my friends and family and care about their well-being, and I realize that the society in which I live has certain expectations of me, so I follow those guidelines to the extent that it is beneficial for me and my loved ones. I really don't care about much else. On another side note, many of the morals found by the Bible are found in numerous other religions and societies around the world, so it is inaccurate to treat the Bible as the original source for the moral codes listed in the text.
This is the rest of my response.
About your last point: The last thing I want to point out is that you seem to be judging the Bible and Christianity based on what organized religions teach. I implore you to understand the difference. Organized religion is not what God intended for His church. In fact, it's what Jesus came to preach against. You say Jesus came to preach against organized religion. There are several reasons why your statements seems odd, but here are a couple of the most important aspects you should consider. 1) The organized religion of the Jews in the Old and New Testaments was (according to the Bible) established by God. Thus, Jesus did not come to get rid of organized religion; rather, he came to revise organized religion, to address the flaws of what had become of Judaism. In Jesus' time, the Pharisees were the dominant Jewish group in the area. They were known for their arrogance, self-righteousness, and strict, literal adherence to the letter of the Law. Jesus was disgusted by them because they had lost sight of their purpose. Instead of using the Jewish customs to give glory to God, they used them to enhance their status and give glory to themselves. 2) According to the New Testament, Jesus' own apostles and disciples established the original Christian church. These churches were small and usually were hosted in people's homes. If Jesus had wanted his followers to not create any churches or assemblies, he would have told them. Now, you could argue that Jesus would not have approved of the way churches have evolved into the bizarre organizations they are today, and I would be inclined to agree with you. I think that today's organized denominations would have disgusted Jesus as much as the Pharisees did, but that would be an assumption since the Bible doesn't address the issue of what the church should look like thousands of years in the future.
You say I should not judge the Bible and Christianity based on the teachings of organized religion. I do not. I judge them both based on what I see in the Bible itself. I see a bipolar god who has no regard for human life and sends himself to die for himself to please himself so that man might be forgiven for sins that he is doomed to commit anyway. I see a god who gives man the illusion of free will, yet still holds man accountable for his predetermined actions. I see a god who is omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent, and omnibenevolent, yet lacks the will to prevent any evil, pain, or suffering. I see a god who is more similar to a robber or a crime lord than an all-loving deity. There is nothing wrong with thinking that Jesus' teaching were good and respectable. And there's nothing wrong with wanting to apply the moral lessons Jesus taught. But it is important to realize that enjoying Jesus' teachings does not make them either correct from a moral perspective or true from a historical perspective.
You have offered to supply evidence that all my assertions of the Bible's inconsistencies and inaccuracies are false. I would be interested to read that as I cannot comprehend how one would go about proving that the Exodus actually occurred or that Herod actually did kill thousands of little boys even though history records no such events. And you have yet to refute the immoral nature of the god presented in the Bible. In this post and my previous response to you, I've mentioned several instances in the Bible where god's actions are clearly evil and/or malevolent, but these have gone unaddressed thus far.
If you want to enjoy and follow the teachings of Jesus, that is completely fine. But don't make the mistake of claiming that the entire Bible is the supreme source for morality. The fact that some people still believe it and follow it does not mean the Bible is true or important for establishing effective moral codes.
I apologize for not being more clear as to my points. I too was tired and frustrated. My implication was that by being an American the morals passed down were based on a Judeo-Christian set of values. I stand by this assertion seeing that it is a nation founded by Christians which has held Christianity in high regard, albeit not as much in more recent generations. therefore, the basis for what is considered moral and just are based on Biblical concepts, if not from the Bible directly. Now, do most people hold to the strictest letter of the Mosaic law? No. Nor should they. That is what I meant by "organized religion" and what Jesus came to preach against: a group of people who hold on to legalistic traditions and put them above the actual praise and worship of God. Jesus did not come to revive organized religion as you state. If that were the case then He would have set a long list of guidelines and rules to be followed during services, which was done by the denominational leaders centuries after His death but not by Jesus. The early church fathers did not address what the church would look like thousands of years later because what the church was then was not anything like what it is now. Now the church is an entity, it is a political body, a building, and in many cases a corporation. In the earliest days of the church it was none of those things. the early church was a community of people. They did their worshiping in synagogues and met at homes to read letters from the apostles and for festival dinners. It wasn't until several centuries later, around the advent of the papacy that it started to become what it is today.
Last on this post, I will do the rest on another for space. You talk of heaven and hell, but to the original authors and audience the modern concepts of these would be as foreign as indoor plumbing. There are Biblical references to both but not in the sense that they are in the modern church. In fact, in the whole of the Bible only three people ascended to Heaven and only one was seen there after their death 9two if you count Jesus) and hell is little more than a vague reference in parables. The teaching of Jesus and the other NT writers was of the Jewish concept of the resurrection, that in the age to come everyone who had died would be resurrected in their own bodies and live on earth with God the way he originally intended. The idea of a perfect place away from creation for the just and a place of torture for the unjust is a completely Hellenistic and Grecko-Roman one. By my own research I have found tht the most likely way this became a part of mainstream Christianity was around the time Constantine made it the national religion of Rome. The Roman people would have adapted the religion to fit their lifestyles as opposed to adapting their lifestyles to fit their new religion. Do I believe in heaven and hell? Absolutely, however, I believe that the church has somewhat perverted the concept over the centuries and no one will know the full truth of what either is until the end of the age.
As for what you are calling evil/ and or malevolent actions by God I submit a differing viewpoint on them. Let's start with Adam and Eve. You stated that God punished all of mankind for their eating the fruit even though they didn't know any better, but that's only partially correct. No they didn't have any concept of good and evil but they did have a concept of right and wrong. They were offered a life set apart from the world in perfect harmony with God if they simply obeyed one rule, which they didn't. They may not have known the difference between good and evil but they did know the difference between what is right and what is wrong. Furthermore, I submit that all of mankind wasn't punished for their actions, only they were. If you read the story more carefully you will notice that it states that after killing his brother Caine moves east and marries a woman who was living there. This implies that there were others living in the world outside of the garden. Now, if you look at the story of creation as more metaphorical than factual then you will see similarities between Adam and Eve and the nation of Israel. I think this story was as much a prophecy as it was genealogical. You also have to look at why Moses wrote the creation story in the first place. He was correcting the false teachings of other religions in the area as to how the world was created. I could give a dozen or so examples but don't have the space and I can't find those books right now.
As for the story of Noah, if you recall, when God told Noah of His plan, Noah pleaded with God to let him look for just ten righteous people in the world. God agreed that if Noah found just ten that he would spare everyone for the sake of those ten. Noah couldn't even find ten. This was by far the worst people in all of history. Having said that I will ad this. After enacting His plan the Bible says that God was deeply saddened by the loss of life so he vowed to never do it again.
You also mentioned Abraham's sacrifice of his son. Foor this there are a couple of interesting points to be made. For starters you should understand the concept of a covenant as it would have been done in Abraham's time. If the heads of two households entered into a covenant the way that Abraham and God did, a common practice was for each man, when his eldest son came of age, to give that son to the other to be raised. In this way they would become family. Next note, and this is where it becomes symbolic, but in my opinion very cool. The words God uses to describe Isaac are, "Your son whom you love so much" (side note, the first time that the hebrew word describing a father's love was used in the Bible) this is the same way he described jesus at His baptism, "My son, whom I love so much". Last symbolic point, the mountain where God asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac was the very same spot where Jesus was later crucified. I say all of tht to say this. That moment was not something that God did to play with Abraham's emotions or to simply test him. I submit that at this moment God began an act that would solidify His love for mankind. He asked Abraham to give his first born to him to solidify their covenant, but instead had His own Son step in for Isaac.
The last one you mentioned was Job. Your assertion on this one is, I believe based mostly on false information and a bad translation. First off let's cover the story of Job itself. There is much debate among theologians as to whether the story of Job is a historical account or simply a prophetic one. I have seen the arguments for both and t=each side has valid points. as for me, unfortunately, my Hebrew isn't quite there enough to be able to read the original texts well enough to fully form an opinion. I lean more towards the idea that it is like the genesis story, not either or but a bit of both. I do know that my understanding of hebrew is god enough to know that the person debating with God over whether Job would be righteous under any circumstances wasn't actually the devil that the modern church knows. The term used here is not a proper name, it is in fact ha satan a term that simply means "the agitator" or "the opposer". In fact, the being that is arguing with God is, in fact, an angel and one of God's inner council. This was not torturing a man to settle a bet as you put it but was a testing of his faith to prove to this angel that humans are better than the angel claimed they were.
Okay, I will have to do a third post to give you proof that your historical inaccuracies actually aren't
So, your first problem is your sources. I'm sure if I googled any of the questions we have posed here I would get countless websites, many of which are very credible, that support both sides. That's why I steer away from the internet for stuff like this. I do, however, have access to many of the top theologians in the field today. That is why I say that my claim that we have original texts is not based upon faith but I have seen the manuscripts and the evidence showing me that it is more likely than not that they were written by either the original author or someone in their inner circle. If not by them then they would have been copies of the originals made by the intended audience.
Your other source cited was Josephus, who incidentally is an excellent source. he was an amazing theological mind and avid scholar. However, there are sources that are available today that weren't available in his lifetime. You see, with Herod being the arrogant man that he was he most likely had the chronicles of his kingship, which would have been written by Jewish custom, stored in the temple. The Romans were very good at one thing and that was war. When they invaded or wanted to destroy a people they would destroy their holiest sights and ransack their towns for gold but destroy everything else, which is exactly what they did to the temple in Jerusalem in 74 AD. Since the Romans cared very little about Israel before this date they wouldn't have kept records of their "king's" decrees. (I use quotes because they didn't consider him an actual king, he was just a tool to keep the people in check) This is why Josephus would not have found any evidence of the decree in his day. I'm not sure how much you know of the Essens or the dead sea scrolls so I'll give a brief history. The Essens were a zealous sect of Israelites who happened to also be avid chroniclers. They also were extremely reclusive. They lived in caves miles from the city where they stored their chonicles. Well, sometime around the destruction of the temple the Essens were wiped out as well, but their caves remained hidden for almost 1900 years until a hiker stumbled upon them in the mid twentieth century. In the caves have been found thousands of scrolls containing more information about the culture of the jewish people at that time than anyone could ever imagine. It has taken decades to catalog and restore these documents. Among them has been found records of herod's decrees. Including the one you spoke of.
As for the exodus, as you may know, the Egyptians were notorious for chronicling the entire lives of pharaohs on their pyramid walls. well, I have personally seen photos and videos of hieroglyphs from a fairly recently excavated tomb in egypt depicting what appears to be a large number of, what appear to be, slaves walking away and heading towards a body of water. Now,no one can say definitively yet whether this is the actual exodus story written out bt it does appear that way, at least for now. Who knows what the rest of the excavation will turn up.
Lastly, you spoke of Thadeus's revolt being mentioned in Acts. You have to remember, most likely, the books of Luke and Acts were written during Paul's house arrest as part of his defense so they would have been written well after the revolt. Did Luke write the events in an incorrect order? Yes, but it was most likely for some kind of dramatic effect and not an inconsistency.
This is the first half of my response. I would think you were a troll if your responses weren't so lengthy. I would request that you carefully reread my posts and then reevaluate your responses so you can see how you've managed to avoid addressing my main points and criticisms of the Bible. I don't have the time presently to address everything you've mentioned above in detail, but there are several issues I must respond to. I did not state that Jesus came to revive organized religion; I said he wanted to revise it. In other words, he was fine with people meeting as a group of believers, but he wanted to address the flaws of what had become of the main Jewish groups of the day. I stated that clearly in my last post. But it is irrelevant as there are more important points to address.
Regardless of whether you think the text describes heaven and hell in a fundamentally different way than most people interpret them today, you have to acknowledge that the Bible clearly establishes that there is a place of eternal punishment for the damned. No matter what your perspective, an eternal punishment for a finite number of sins is unjust.
Also, you make a mistake in your understanding of the Creation account. You say that Adam and Eve understood right and wrong without understanding good and evil. In a post below, I've already explained why that semantic mind game is nonsense. But let me rehash it. The fruit of the tree was the key to moral understanding. Thus, even if Adam and Eve knew that God has said it was "wrong" to eat from the tree, they wouldn't have understood what that really meant until after they ate the fruit. But you also say that Moses wrote Genesis to correct the false teachings of other religions of the day. The implication is that you consider the stories in Genesis to be true. It is my hope that you do not take the stories in Genesis as being literally true because that would seriously hurt your credibility in my eyes. Anyway, you also confused Noah and Abraham. Noah did not try to bargain with God to save the world if there were 10 righteous people. That was Abraham when he tried to save Sodom and Gomorrah. In either case, it still portrays God as a monster. God basically says, "These people really displease me, so I want to kill them all." How does that reflect God's wisdom and love? And then after he does flood the world, he feels bad about killing everyone. This god clearly lacks the ability to reason through the consequences of his actions.
Moving on to your attempt to justify the story about God telling Abraham to sacrifice his son, you say it should be understood as reflecting a tradition in the culture of handing off a son to be raised by another son. But, you see, it doesn't matter if that was the tradition at the time. The fact that it was a tradition doesn't make it a morally justified story. Anyone who "solidifies a covenant" (to use your language) with someone else by telling them to kill their own son is not worth having a covenant with. Has it never struck you as bizarre that the supreme being in the universe has an insatiable appetite for praise and honor and worship from lesser beings who are bound to disappoint him before they are even born? If that was the attitude of a king, we would call him a tyrant.
Similarly, you miss my point about Job. It doesn't matter if it was actually Satan or an angel or Carrot Top. The fact is, this being tells God that Job will curse him if He takes away Job's happiness. Instead of saying, "No I won't ruin a man's life to show you that you are wrong," God actually just goes on and ruins Job's life. He kills his family, removes his crops and cattle, strikes him with sickness, and basically makes it impossible for Job to be happy. And there is no reason to do this other than God's curiosity to see if Job will actually give up on God. To me, it's a terrible story that outlines God's disregard for man's well-being.
Next, you have tried to discredit my sources without actually doing so. You say you have access to "top theologians" as if that settles the matter. But there is no reason for me to believe your claims. I could say I have access to top historians and archaeologists, but that doesn't make it so. Even if it were true, how would you prove it? Also, the oldest manuscripts we have are from the Dead Sea Scrolls, (yes, I am familiar with them) and even those are widely acknowledged as being copies rather than original documents. I, too, have seen portions of the scrolls, notably portions of Isaiah, but that doesn't make it true. Also, you say that the Dead Sea Scrolls mention Herod's slaughter of Jewish boys, but that is false. They reference the fact that he did kill people frivolously and even killed his sons, but nothing in the scrolls establishes that he massacred hundreds of Jewish boys.
Additionally, your "evidence" of the Exodus is too easily dismissed. I, too, have seen photos and videos of Egyptian hieroglyphs and I saw a helicopter and a jet plane, so the Egyptians must have either had those devices or aliens must have visited them. Right? No, the fact that hieroglyphs have images that appear a certain way doesn't mean that it is the correct way to interpret those hieroglyphs. You can't make historical claims based on something so subjective to interpretation. I won't even detail how the supposed evidence that the Egyptians enslaved the Hebrews is dubious at best. However, I urge you to read the account in Exodus about the number of Hebrews who left Egypt and the number of animals they took and how they lined up to walk and how long it would have taken to move such a number of people. The figures are absurd. And then read about how the Hebrews survived in the desert and the number of quail God provided and the wood they needed to build their houses (yes houses, not tents) every time they stopped travelling for a while. You should be able to see how the entire story is nonsense.
And you yourself acknowledge that Luke had his dates listed incorrectly, but you say it is not an inconsistency. You are right. It is just a plain historical inaccuracy. But if the Bible was truly inerrant, those mistakes would not be there.
From my perspective, you have not discredited my claims of inconsistencies and inaccuracies, nor have you addressed God's moral shortcomings. But that is okay. If you just want to live according to Jesus' ministry then you don't have to worry about all that. However, if you are concerned with the validity, truth, and moral superiority of the Bible, then I urge you to reread all my posts and see the reasoning behind them. I was blind to the hard truth of the Bible's flaws for a long time and spent many years trying to reason away the more problematic portions of the text. But my life got much simpler and happier when I realized that the Bible is no more than a, ancient glorified fable collection. It may still have some value to today's society, but there is no reason to use it as a source of knowledge or truth.
I thought i had answered your original questions but I will attempt to do so more clearly. One of the first questions you posed to me was what truth does the Bible offer? My answer is a textbook one but it does fit. The truth that the Bible offers is that God created the world and the people in it for the purpose of taking care of the world and loving one another. This is clearly laid out in the first two chapters of Genesis. When God created Adam He told him that the world was his to care for then decided that Adam shouldn't be alone so He created Eve. Many misinterpret this as Biblical backing for marriage but I submit that this is actually a model for humans living in fellowship and love with one another.
The biggest question you have posed to me was about God's supposed immorality and lack of caring for the lives of people. I have tried t show you how your interpretations of text to show this are not as black and white as you think they are. I understand that when you read the bible you are seeing a bi-polar God who views humanity as more of play things than beloved children, trust me I used to be arguing your side against others more in depth than you could imagine. I know I can't change your opinion, not what I'm trying to do, what I have been trying to do is show you that there is a possibility that things aren't as black and white as you think.
To reiterate my main point I was trying to make about Job, since this was part of your evidence of God's immorality. (I got sidetracked trying to talk about how it wasn't a bet with satan). The book of Job holds a rare distinction among the books of the Bible in that it doesn't fit neatly into any section of the Old Testament, that;s why they slipped it into the section simply known as "the writings". It is more likely than not that there was no actual person named Job; that the book itself is a metaphor and a prophecy, like the book of Hosea. Most believe that it served multiple purposes. 1) To warn Israel of her impending exile and hardships. 2) As encouragement during the exile to show the Israelites that if they held on to their faith God would bring them out of it. 3) Aas a model for every generation to see how to handle strife, not by giving up on your beliefs simply because its the easiest way, but to hold true to your convictions and God would eventually release you from your suffering.
Another example you used that I have not been able to successfully get my point across with was Abraham. Let me clear up my point I was trying to make the last time. The concept of trading first borns was a purely human custom and one that Abraham would have been familiar and comfortable with. This was not God's custom or what He wanted, btu it was abraham's and He honored that. Another point that i should have made, that gets overlooked a lot was a small phrase that Abraham spoke to his servants. He told them "We will return" . Now to a modern reader this would have just been him trying not to scare his son, but to an ancient hebrew words were too important and Moses woudl have never intended that meaning. Therefore, to the original audience it would have been obvious that Abraham knew God would find a way to spare his son and still fulfill the covenental obligation.
again, I had more but fell victim to the character limit and don't feel like typing it out again right now. I'll do it tomorrow.
Another point I want to clear up, as it also is among your evidence of God's immorality, is the story of Adam and Eve. I submit that this is in fact not evidence of immorality but of care and protection. First I need to respond to your claim of a semantic mind game. The flaw in your thinking is that you are assuming that right and wrong is the same thing as good and evil but they are not. Right and wrong are actions where as good and evil are causes for those actions. Therefore, I stand by my statement that Adam and Eve would have known the difference between right and wrong without knowing good and evil. Also, and more importantly, their exile from the garden was not a punishment as you claim but was meant as a protection. God makes the statement after He learns that they ate the fruit and now understand what trues evil is, that they must not be allowed to stay in the garden for fear that they would eat from the tree of life and live forever. Can you imagine what an immortal being with free will and evil in their hearts would be like? So therefore, it wasn't a punishment at all but was in fact meant to protect not only Adam and Eve but the entire world.
The one piece of evidence that you keep throwing up to say that both God and the Bible are immoral is that, as you claim, there is definitive proof throughout the Bible of eternal damnation for sinners, but this isn't true. That's the point I was trying to make before. To an Ancient Near Eastern Jewish audience the mere idea of a lake of eternal fire or torture would have been so foreign to them that they would have laughed at anyone who proposed it. The Bible does say that the wages of sin is death but I don't believe that this is necessarily physical death but is in fact a spiritual one. Now do I believe that there will be eternal life for the righteous? Absolutely, there is evidence of that throughout all scripture, but, contrary to modern Christian thinking, I argue that this is not the point the Bible tries to make. Especially when you take into account that it was barely referenced in the OT or by Jesus Himself. What Jesus said He came to do was so that we would, "have life and have it more abundantly" He never mentioned an afterlife and there must be a reason for that. Do I know what that is yet? No, but hopefully I will one day.
Now. as for discrediting your sources. I don't have to. Your soucres are Google searched and unnamed Christian websites. As one who fairly recently graduated from college with a degree in Philosophy you are, no doubt, familiar with the rules of professional writing. As such, you should also be aware that your sources, by their very nature are not credible. Now, you were right in calling me out for my sources. I apologize for my arrogant way of phrasing my sentence as simply access to top theologians. You are also right that i can't prove my claim. What I can do is give you the names of three people who I am almost directly quoting because whether I know them or not the statements I am citing them for are public knowledge from their lectures and writings. John Oswalt, Mickey Gumble, and Steve Robbins are the three men I speak of. Simply researching the men will show their levels of knowledge and training in the Bible. Research will also show that many of the points I make are backed up by them. One of those is that we do have manuscripts that are able to be dated back to the time of the original author, not from the dead sea scrolls either. Yes they are proving to wield some amazing material and some old documents but not much NT items, mostly OT scriptures. The Essens would not have given the early Christians enough credibility to want to keep any of their teachings. You are correct that the oldest OT documents are being found in the caves, but not NT documents. And I stand by my assertion that there is evidence of Herrod ordering boys below a certain age in a certain region to be killed within these documents. I am not making this up or making it on faith. This is something I know for a fact.
I do take issue with part of what you said about my evidence of the exodus. You said that "You can't make historical claims based on something so subjective to interpretation" But this is how we have any knowledge of the ancient Egyptian culture, through interpretation of hieroglyphs. This is a proven scientific method. But I should point out that the interpretation given of this possibly being proof of the exodus story was not from me. It was from the archaeologist who discovered them. And yes I do knwo logistically how hard it would be to have moved that many people out of a city. It wasn't done in the span of a few hours, don't forget that Pharaoh allowed the Hebrews to leave and changed his mind. The Bible doesn't say how much time had passed just that they had gotten to a certain point by then. And yes I know what argument you will use against the enslavement of the Hebrew people I have heard and rebutted them from others before but they are a moot points as most archaeologists are in a greement that the pyramids must have been built by slave labor and the egyptian peoples numbers were not high enough to account for the slaves. There also had to be a reason why they stopped building pyramids suddenly, a loss of those slaves would account for that.
I too don't have time to touch on everything that you stated earlier so i am going to stop here for now.
I can see that you have made up your mind about these Biblical topics so I will push them no further; however, I would advise you to be more skeptical in your approach to the Scriptures. When you make definitive claims about knowing how the original audience of the texts would have understood them, you are making unfounded claims since there is no way for a modern reader to fully understand the nuances and subtleties of the text. It is a matter of having faith that you are reading the Bible in the correct light.
As a former atheist, you must have realized that even having faith that a god exists has no rational basis. Belief in God requires blind faith, which differs from normal faith. With normal faith, you believe something based on prior observation or evidence. Since no religion or sacred text can provide that, blind faith (faith with no basis or logical foundation) is required. You simply believe because you want to, which is fine to an extent. When making claims about the supernatural, the rules of formal logic must necessarily be suspended because logic only applies to the natural world. Thus, claims about ghosts, gods, mythological creatures, etc. cannot be argued logically, and any claims of evidence will always fail to create a logical bridge to God. Even if all your claims and assumptions of evidence were proven true, there would still be no evidence for the existence of any supernatural power. This fact is basically what killed my faith. I realized that all belief in God is logically unfounded; reason prevents me from believing in any sort of deity. I have no problem with you believing it, but I do find it problematic that you believe that your evidence and sources (if true) provide evidence of God. It simply goes beyond the bounds of logic and reason. However, I can tell that your beliefs are dear to you and that you don't desire to force your beliefs on anyone, so I respect you for that.
As I respect you for the fact that you don't judge people for their beliefs. That takes a big person, especially in today's western culture where almost everyone is judged for being different. And i would never force my beliefs on anyone. You said you are from Tennessee, I grew up not far from you in the Carolinas where, almost daily, I was being bombarded with so called Christians screaming at me through a bull horn that I was going to hell. This was one of my biggest reasons for denying God for 2 decades.
I have most definitely viewed the scriptures extremely skeptically and that is how I came to the beliefs that I have. That is why me, having been an actor all of my life and having a bachelors in arts, decided to get my pos graduate degrees in theology; so that I would be able to make the determinations for myself. Which is what I would like to challenge you to one day do. Eliminate from your mind everything that you have ever heard about who and what God is, both from the church and the world, and read the scriptures and commentaries on them (try to stick with theologians who are more contemporary, Fuller seminary tends to graduate these types) You might be surprised what you will discover.
I will end with this note. My faith in God is not bind or based without logical foundation. My questions began to arise when I realized that there was too much in the world that science couldn't explain. Things that couldn't be possible unless there was a higher power involved. A good way to see some of these things is to check out on you tube a series of videos by a guy named Rob Bell called everything is spiritual.
I have enjoyed our debate. If you have any other questions for me at any time feel free to ask away.
I feel like I should mention that I went to a Christian university, so I had a thorough Biblical education in addition to the rest of my regular coursework. It was during my senior year that I realized that faith in God had no logical foundation.
You asked me to make determinations for myself, not based on what churches or others tell me. That is exactly what I have done. I was unsatisfied with what the Bible professors (respected theologians) were teaching, and I did a great deal of independent research and reading to make sure I was thinking clearly on the topic. I never found anything that I would consider proof that a god didn't exist, but I discovered plenty of reasons why I find it highly unlikely that the Biblical god exists, some of which I have already mentioned. On a side note, the Bible department at my school loved Rob Bell, so I have seen many of his videos and read several of his books.
Also, I stand by my assertion that any kind of faith in a supernatural deity is inherently without a logical foundation. If you've studied formal logic, you will understand that the rules of logic become useless when trying to discuss or characterize deities, since a god is definitionally beyond the bounds of human understanding. This is why belief systems like ignosticism exist. You need to understand that saying things like "I realized that there was too much in the world that science couldn't explain. Things that couldn't be possible unless there was a higher power involved" are meaningless statements for which no proof or logic can be supplied.
Regarding things that science can't explain, I agree with you; there are things that modern science has yet to explain. But it is wrong to assume that that means that science cannot and will not ever be able to explain those things. 200 years ago, science did not explain things like eye color, twins, genetic defects, global weather patterns,solar flares, etc. Humans did not understand many things and their science could not explain them; thus, they (like you) attributed things they could not understand to God. However, over time, we have improved our understanding of the natural world and the universe, so things that were once attributed to God no longer are. As Neil deGrasse Tyson has said, "God is an ever-receding pocket of scientific ignorance that's getting smaller and smaller and smaller as time goes on." Think on the wisdom of those words.
And what does it even mean to say that some things couldn't be possible without the involvement of a higher power? Just because one lacks a sufficient rational explanation for the occurrence of an event, that doesn't prove that some higher power is involved. And at what point does a seemingly inexplicable event qualify as an event with divine intervention? You see, there is no objective way to answer either of those two questions. What you are left with is a belief based on nothing. It is absurd to use that fact that today's science has not explained certain things as proof that not only a deity exists, and not only is that deity the god described in the Bible, but also that the god of the Bible is intervening in random events in the natural world.
So yes, there are many logical problems with believing in the Biblical god and yes, faith in the existence of any god is inherently blind faith since there can be no logical basis for belief. In fact, the Bible understands that. If there were any logical foundation for belief in the Biblical god, that would mean that there was some shred of proof for God's existence; thus, free will would be obsolete. For free will to exist, your god must rely solely on the blind faith of his believers. There is no way around that.
TO LONG DIDNT READ xD
So i like... Totally fucking scratched my shoulder today.
If the message of god is so important, then why, in his infinite power and wisdom, did he make it so hard to understand?
He didn't make it hard to understand. It's actually spelled out in black and white. Our own pride and arrogance make it hard to understand. Most people don't want to agree with every word so they change the meanings of parts and then must, in turn, change the meanings of the rest to match
You said that it had to be understood in its original text, which means that we have to learn the original language and the culture, memes, slang, and figurative language of the time. However, these weren't written along with the text, so understanding it in its full original meaning is lost.
I said not understanding the context of the original writings makes it easier to misunderstand the message. A problem that wouldn't exist if people took the time to understand other cultures rather than ignore people who were different than themselves
Are you really pulling the race card for why modern christianity is the way it is?
nope. I'm pulling the ignorance and intolerance card as to why the world is the way it is
The intolerance of "other cultures." So, you're saying because people are "culturist," they changed the bible from its original meanings (but left the part about another culture being god's chosen people in), thus changing forever the word of an all-powerful, all-knowing, all-loving god who didn't see this coming somehow.
I'm saying that because people are arrogant and self centered they ignore the views of people not like them and create their own meanings to texts written by others so that they can better suit their needs. Kind of like you keep unsuccessfully trying to do to me. And I'm saying that an all-knowing all-loving God who gave people free will to live their lives as they please would have knowingly allowed this to happen. Because those who want the truth badly enough will seek it out and find it.
I'm not ignoring your views, I'm countering them because they're wrong.
Also, the problem with letting people do exactly whatever they want is that their actions affect others. If it were someone's will to destroy all of the texts that would've lead to the bible, then there would have been no bible. Thus no one could seek out this truth you claim is in it.
actually my implication was that you're changing the meaning of what I'm saying to suit your point. A point that you just proved for me.
also, I don't get your last point. are you arguing that free will is a bad thing?
I can't speak for DeathDark, but I view free will as neither good nor bad, just neutral. But I also think it's a bit of an illusion. My view on determinism makes me think that everything in the universe occurs based on cause and effect. If we could map out every preceding cause for every event, I believe we would find that people's thoughts and actions were simply inevitable. This is not a popular view because it makes people uncomfortable, but it is my opinion nevertheless. Interestingly, neuroscience research has begun suggesting that the notion of free will may simply be an evolutionary adaptation to help us cope with and process external stimuli.
Determinism happens to be all that can be observed, so assuming non-determinism would have no backing. Even the closest that we have to non-determinism, quantum physics, still adheres to probabilities, and thus a form of determinism.
"And I'm saying that an all-knowing all-loving God who gave people free will to live their lives as they please would have knowingly allowed this to happen. Because those who want the truth badly enough will seek it out and find it."
Your justification for god's decision to allow free will is that those who want the truth can find it. However, left to their whims, others can make it to where the truth is incapable of being found by destroying where it is held.
This is no misrepresentation of your words, but the meaning thereof.
Batmanism. The truth.
Question: If before Adam and Eve ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, they would not have known the very concept of right or wrong, so how could they have known it was "wrong" to disobey God, and more importantly, how could they be justly punished as they were?
Answer: God's a dickhead, essentially. Really, if we go the whole thing that Adam and Eve are children, then this curiosity is natural and should be encouraged. If we followed God's example, if your child does something wrong you should throw them out, regardless of anything.
do not mistake knowledge of good and evil with the knowledge of right and wrong. A four year old has no knowledge of evil but knows when something is wrong
Semantics. I could tell a 4 year-old that something is wrong, but they only understand that I told them not to do it. They don't understand that it is inherently bad to do it. Similarly, Genesis describes how God told Adam and Eve not to eat from the tree. The tree was the key to moral understanding, so while Adam and Eve would have known that God said not to eat from the tree, there is no reason to think that they would have understood that doing so would be sinful. But it is a bit of a moot point since even many religious people acknowledge that the story is meant to be understood symbolically rather than literally.
When will you people understand that being tortured for eternity is the only way we can learn our lessons?
so much text @_@ i dont even, but i saw someone write "written by a man 2k years ago" or something like it. So just to clarify;
the bible was written by multiple people presumably after jesus died.
Those scriptures only got compiled into the bible in 300+ AD by a roman emperor who got some experts to help out with it. (presumably out of all the scriptures only some were chosen)
after it got released said emperor more or less purged all other variants of christianity.
Or so historians claim. Most of them agree on 1 and 2, 3 is up for debate but needless to say the goverment backed bible version came out on top. Its roman catholic for a reason ^^
disclaimer: this is all based on my memories of documentaries/wikipedia, some of it may have been debunked since.
WOW......this clearly is way religion is one of those things I hate bringing up. people have to much to say about it, can't we all just get along and make fun of everything with out getting bitchy............Jesus Christ
NOPE I honestly hate arguments over the God Debate. There so pointless and there definitely not helping with the world peace issue. Really why cant People just accept the views of other People? Its so much more simpler. But nope... Just fight and argue for no reason. And in the end all you get is someone simply walking away because there tired of arguing... You should go and look at some Science and Religious videos on youtube. Sometimes the videos have arguments so large. They go on for pages in the comments section. Usually with some single poor bastard saying something on the video. And then getting into a argument. Which stops after around a week. But then someone else replies to him and there we go... Another argument. Some other people might even jump onto a already existing argument. And now theres 2 People arguing with you... Ive even seen 6 People arguing with the same Guy.... Its a total waste of Internet... But yeah its always some pointless bullshit argument...
King James bible translation:"If a man find a damsel that is a virgin, which is not betrothed, and lay hold on her, and lie with her, and they be found; Then the man that lay with her shall give unto the damsel's father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife; because he hath humbled her, he may not put her away all his days."- Deuteronomy 22:28-29
Easy-read translation:"If a man happens to meet a virgin who is not pledged to be married and rapes her and they are discovered, he shall pay her father fifty shekels of silver. He must marry the young woman, for he has violated her. He can never divorce her as long as he lives."