New in town

nedbrek
Theist
Posts: 195
Joined: 2006-12-08
User is offlineOffline
New in town

Hello all,
I was told of this site by a friend. All the current threads seem to be pretty well developed, so I thought I would start a new one...

I have always been a theist. Although my journey has taken me to a lot of different places; I was never able to accept atheism. So, I'm curious to hear why people choose atheism.

Thanks!
Ned


suttsteve
Posts: 82
Joined: 2006-07-25
User is offlineOffline
Well, it's the default

Well, it's the default position, when you're born, so it's not really a choice. A better question would be to ask why people choose theism. This is largely not a choice, either, but something which is taught and accepted as fact, because it comes from authority figures. Without the teaching of religion as factual, whether from parents or other sources, it would simply seem like the fairy tale that it is to everyone and would be acknowledged as such.


Sapient
High Level DonorRRS CO-FOUNDERRRS Core MemberWebsite Admin
Sapient's picture
Posts: 7523
Joined: 2006-04-18
User is offlineOffline
I think asking why someone

I think asking why someone chooses atheism avoids a more appropriate question, which is "Why don't we accept the claims of theism."

You see, we are atheists because we find no reason to be theists. We don't pick atheism because it's some sort of religion or set of beliefs that we adhere to, atheism is merely the absence of being theist.

So to answer what I consider a more appropriate question in the most concise manner... I choose not to be a theist because I see no good reason to be. I see no proof for a god, and furthermore see a good amount of logic and evidence against gods that have been presented to me.

Why do you choose to be a theist?

- Brian Sapient


Buy popular atheist books and support the Rational Response Squad at the same time on Amazon.


Kemono
Posts: 137
Joined: 2006-08-13
User is offlineOffline
Hello, nedbrek, and welcome

Hello, nedbrek, and welcome to the forum!

nedbrek wrote:
So, I'm curious to hear why people choose atheism.

To me belief is not a choice but a spontaneous reaction to evidence. I am an atheist not because I choose to be but simply because it is obvious that gods are make-believe. I could no more choose to believe in gods than I could choose to believe that the Earth is flat.


Voided
Posts: 1195
Joined: 2006-02-20
User is offlineOffline
Well I what you find true or

Well I what you find true or false isn't really a choice. I mean I don't choose to believe there is gravity or the earth is round. For me I am atheist because there is no reason to believe in a god. More over I can say there is no possible way for the christian god of the bible to exist.


nedbrek
Theist
Posts: 195
Joined: 2006-12-08
User is offlineOffline
Sapient wrote:Why do you

Sapient wrote:
Why do you choose to be a theist?

I guess it's just the opposite for me. "The heavens declare the glory of God" (Psalm 19:1). The existence of God is obvious because of the way the universe was made.

I guess a better question would be, "What happens after you die?"

Thanks!


nedbrek
Theist
Posts: 195
Joined: 2006-12-08
User is offlineOffline
Kemono wrote:Hello, nedbrek,

Kemono wrote:
Hello, nedbrek, and welcome to the forum!

Thanks! Hi!

Kemono wrote:

To me belief is not a choice but a spontaneous reaction to evidence. I am an atheist not because I choose to be but simply because it is obvious that gods are make-believe. I could no more choose to believe in gods than I could choose to believe that the Earth is flat.

But your point of view will affect the way you interpret evidence. Often we do not see what exists, but what we want to see. There is evidence of God (some people are deluded, but give theists some credit). There is evidence which makes it hard to believe. In the end, it is a choice.


Kemono
Posts: 137
Joined: 2006-08-13
User is offlineOffline
nedbrek wrote: But your

nedbrek wrote:

But your point of view will affect the way you interpret evidence. Often we do not see what exists, but what we want to see. There is evidence of God (some people are deluded, but give theists some credit). There is evidence which makes it hard to believe. In the end, it is a choice.

The apologists of all religions and pseudosciences develop arguments for their belief system. They are never credible (just look at the arguments of all religions but your own, whatever your religion may be) and are for the most part designed to keep existing believers from deconverting, not to convert non-believers.

Real evidence works like this: you have a hypothesis that makes empirical predictions. You then make measurements. If the predictions closely approximate the observations, you have evidence for the hypothesis. If they do not, you have evidence against the hypothesis.

Religions and pseudosciences have no legitimate evidence for their claims. Their apologists know this but instead of admitting that their theories are humbug they place the blame on the "materialistic" and "reductionistic" scientific method, demanding that their claims be tested on terms of their own choosing. For example, proponents of "alternative medicine", when reminded that double-blind tests of the efficiency of their product always come up empty, will invariably claim copious amount of anecdotal evidence in their favour.


nedbrek
Theist
Posts: 195
Joined: 2006-12-08
User is offlineOffline
Kemono wrote: Real evidence

Kemono wrote:

Real evidence works like this: you have a hypothesis that makes empirical predictions. You then make measurements. If the predictions closely approximate the observations, you have evidence for the hypothesis. If they do not, you have evidence against the hypothesis.

That is evidence to support a scientific theory. I don't think belief in God can be expressed that way. By definition, God's gift of free will includes our ability to reject Him. If we had repeatable, demonstrable evidence of God, only idiots would reject Him. That's not love, that's rape.


Kemono
Posts: 137
Joined: 2006-08-13
User is offlineOffline
nedbrek wrote: That is

nedbrek wrote:

That is evidence to support a scientific theory. I don't think belief in God can be expressed that way.

This is precisely what I was talking about. Because there is no legitimate evidence for theism, the apologists have come up with an excuse why there is none and why you should accept the kind of "evidence" they are able to provide.

Every religion and every pseudoscience does this. There are thousands of these belief systems, and pretty much all educated adults can easily tell that everyone else's belief system is bunk. The hard part is seeing that one's own belief system is no different.

Quote:
By definition, God's gift of free will includes our ability to reject Him. If we had repeatable, demonstrable evidence of God, only idiots would reject Him. That's not love, that's rape.

This does not make sense to me. Only if there was a god and we knew it could we make a rational, informed choice to reject him or not to reject him. And that would be a moral choice, not an epistemological one.


nedbrek
Theist
Posts: 195
Joined: 2006-12-08
User is offlineOffline
Kemono wrote:This is

Kemono wrote:
This is precisely what I was talking about. Because there is no legitimate evidence for theism, the apologists have come up with an excuse why there is none and why you should accept the kind of "evidence" they are able to provide.

Evidence for the existence of God falls under historical evidence, not scientific evidence. Can you provide repeatable evidence for the existence of George Washington, or Julius Caesar?


melchisedec
melchisedec's picture
Posts: 145
Joined: 2006-11-21
User is offlineOffline
nedbrek wrote:Kemono

nedbrek wrote:
Kemono wrote:
This is precisely what I was talking about. Because there is no legitimate evidence for theism, the apologists have come up with an excuse why there is none and why you should accept the kind of "evidence" they are able to provide.

Evidence for the existence of God falls under historical evidence, not scientific evidence. Can you provide repeatable evidence for the existence of George Washington, or Julius Caesar?

But there is conflicting accounts of God throughout history. Following your proposition can I assume the existence for the Gods of the vedas or Greeks?


melchisedec
melchisedec's picture
Posts: 145
Joined: 2006-11-21
User is offlineOffline
nedbrek wrote:Kemono

nedbrek wrote:
Kemono wrote:

Real evidence works like this: you have a hypothesis that makes empirical predictions. You then make measurements. If the predictions closely approximate the observations, you have evidence for the hypothesis. If they do not, you have evidence against the hypothesis.

That is evidence to support a scientific theory. I don't think belief in God can be expressed that way. By definition, God's gift of free will includes our ability to reject Him. If we had repeatable, demonstrable evidence of God, only idiots would reject Him. That's not love, that's rape.

Well you might want to talk to those who follow the teachings of Aquinas, some think the five ways are rock solid. How about Anslem?


nedbrek
Theist
Posts: 195
Joined: 2006-12-08
User is offlineOffline
melchisedec wrote: But there

melchisedec wrote:

But there is conflicting accounts of God throughout history. Following your proposition can I assume the existence for the Gods of the vedas or Greeks?

Some of the accounts are wrong, and some are right. That's what happens with historical accounts.

I don't know anyone who asserts the Vedas or Greek mythology describe anything real. The Vedas are heavily interpreted, and taken as "guidelines" and "pointers to the truth". Greek mythology is equivalent to modern soap operas.


nedbrek
Theist
Posts: 195
Joined: 2006-12-08
User is offlineOffline
melchisedec wrote: Well you

melchisedec wrote:

Well you might want to talk to those who follow the teachings of Aquinas, some think the five ways are rock solid. How about Anselm?

I have a book by Aquinas, but I haven't been able to get very far into it. I am not familiar with Anselm at all. Wikipedia equates him with Aquinas.

Obviously, their proofs are not good enough for you... and I didn't use them to make my choice.


melchisedec
melchisedec's picture
Posts: 145
Joined: 2006-11-21
User is offlineOffline
nedbrek wrote:melchisedec

nedbrek wrote:

I don't know anyone who asserts the Vedas or Greek mythology describe anything real. The Vedas are heavily interpreted, and taken as "guidelines" and "pointers to the truth".

Isn't the bible also heavily interpreted? In regards to the Vedas, many definitely feel it describes real things, as did many Greeks did to their mythology. While certain accounts were considered mythology others were thought to be very real. I would compare this to how some christians follow creationism while others feel the creation naratives were "pointers to the truth".


nedbrek
Theist
Posts: 195
Joined: 2006-12-08
User is offlineOffline
melchisedec wrote: Isn't the

melchisedec wrote:

Isn't the bible also heavily interpreted?

The hermeneutic I use says that the Biblical message was directly useful to the original audience. So, where it is figurative is obvious from context.

The application to use today takes some interpretation (since we aren't ancient Jewish herders speaking Hebrew).

This interpretation is relatively mechanical. The original documents are reconstructed from fragments, and directly translated to the target language (English for me). The translations are compared backward and forward to other known documents. Errors are traced as copy errors, with preference given to older documents and total scriptural harmony.

The result is very cohesive and instructive.

You'll generally want multiple translations (word for word, versus phrase match, versus chapter feel). The tool I use also has the original language available for all verses, with a common dictionary.


Kemono
Posts: 137
Joined: 2006-08-13
User is offlineOffline
nedbrek wrote: Evidence for

nedbrek wrote:

Evidence for the existence of God falls under historical evidence, not scientific evidence.

Okay. What is the hypothesis and what is the historical evidence for it?

nedbrek wrote:
Can you provide repeatable evidence for the existence of George Washington, or Julius Caesar?

Certainly. The repeatability criterion is rarely a problem in the study of history: if I can read a document about Julius Caesar, you can read it too. Historical evidence excluded by the repeatability criterion would be something like the golden tablets "discovered" by Joseph Smith.

BTW, would you like to respond to my objection to the freedom of choice issue? I would very much like to know why so many theists seem to find the free will defence credible.


nedbrek
Theist
Posts: 195
Joined: 2006-12-08
User is offlineOffline
Sorry, I lost track of this

Sorry, I lost track of this one...

Kemono wrote:

This does not make sense to me. Only if there was a god and we knew it could we make a rational, informed choice to reject him or not to reject him. And that would be a moral choice, not an epistemological one.

Perhaps a god we made up might be pathetic enough that we could choose him or not. The God of the Bible is not a wimpy god like that. The God of Abraham burns unclean people with fire when they are in His presence (Leviticus 10:1). He is so far separated from us, that just to be in His presence would destroy us (Exodus 33:20). What we consider good, God considers like filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6).

That is the God we rebel against. A God so good, we will do anything to deny His goodness, to put our own first.


nedbrek
Theist
Posts: 195
Joined: 2006-12-08
User is offlineOffline
Kemono wrote: Okay. What is

Kemono wrote:

Okay. What is the hypothesis and what is the historical evidence for it?

That God exists, and is revealed to us in the Bible.

The evidence is the Bible itself (protected over thousands of years). The Jewish people are also good evidence (how many other groups of people have been extinguished, with a lot less effort). There are sources outside the Bible for the life of Jesus (Josephus and certain Roman records). The empty tomb. The lives (mostly the deaths) of the early Christians.


Kemono
Posts: 137
Joined: 2006-08-13
User is offlineOffline
nedbrek wrote: Perhaps a god

nedbrek wrote:

Perhaps a god we made up might be pathetic enough that we could choose him or not. The God of the Bible is not a wimpy god like that. The God of Abraham burns unclean people with fire when they are in His presence (Leviticus 10:1). He is so far separated from us, that just to be in His presence would destroy us (Exodus 33:20). What we consider good, God considers like filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6).

That is the God we rebel against. A God so good, we will do anything to deny His goodness, to put our own first.

So if we knew there was a god it would be so bad an idea to reject him that no-one would. And that would mess with our free will, so god only hints at his existence, allowing many or most of us to conclude he does not exist and therefore to implicitly reject him.

It still does not make sense to me.

If I am aboard a ship and there is a leak, the captain does not take away my free will when he tells me in no uncertain terms that I can either get on board a lifeboat or end up in a watery grave. I can still choose not to get on the lifeboat, however stupid that might be. Certainly the captain does me no favour by starting a vague rumour that the vessel might be headed for the bottom of the sea.

(I will address the historical evidence tomorrow as it is getting late on this side of the globe.)


nedbrek
Theist
Posts: 195
Joined: 2006-12-08
User is offlineOffline
Kemono wrote: If I am aboard

Kemono wrote:

If I am aboard a ship and there is a leak, the captain does not take away my free will when he tells me in no uncertain terms that I can either get on board a lifeboat or end up in a watery grave. I can still choose not to get on the lifeboat, however stupid that might be. Certainly the captain does me no favour by starting a vague rumour that the vessel might be headed for the bottom of the sea.

Are you assuming God cares whether or not we believe in Him (many Christians (wrongly) assert that...)?


Kemono
Posts: 137
Joined: 2006-08-13
User is offlineOffline
nedbrek wrote: Are you

nedbrek wrote:

Are you assuming God cares whether or not we believe in Him (many Christians (wrongly) assert that...)?

No; I will entertain any assumptions that you want me to since it is your hypothesis. In the ship example I assume the captain to be a moral person who cares about the free will and the survival of his passengers. (Survival here is a metaphor for salvation.) Of course if your god does not care about the salvation of his creatures, the ship scenario does not apply. But it would be hard to reconcile that with his preferring love to rape, which is implied when you say it would be rape, not love for him to give scientific evidence of his existence.

So you tell me; does the god of this hypothesis care about whether we believe in him or not, and does he care about our salvation?

Then, onto the other issue:

nedbrek wrote:

[The hypothesis is] That God exists, and is revealed to us in the Bible.

Okay. Before we examine the evidence, we need to determine a few things to make the hypothesis more solid:
1) What reading (literal, metaphorical...) of which version of the Bible reveals this god?
2) How do we derive predictions of observable events from the Bible in a consistent, non-ad hoc way? In other words, what are the criteria for deciding (before the observation is made) whether the Bible predicts something about a particular phenomenon?


Sapient
High Level DonorRRS CO-FOUNDERRRS Core MemberWebsite Admin
Sapient's picture
Posts: 7523
Joined: 2006-04-18
User is offlineOffline
nedbrek wrote: I guess a

nedbrek wrote:

I guess a better question would be, "What happens after you die?"

Do you remember what it was like before you were born? We only have evidence to show that death is similar to how you felt before you were born.

- Brian Sapient


Buy popular atheist books and support the Rational Response Squad at the same time on Amazon.


nedbrek
Theist
Posts: 195
Joined: 2006-12-08
User is offlineOffline
Sapient wrote:Do you

Sapient wrote:
Do you remember what it was like before you were born? We only have evidence to show that death is similar to how you felt before you were born.

Nine months before I was born, I didn't exist, I won't have memories of not existing. I may have deep laden memories of warmth and sound from that nine month period that make me comfortable.

Are you saying death is annihilation? That's ok. Declare what you believe!


nedbrek
Theist
Posts: 195
Joined: 2006-12-08
User is offlineOffline
Kemono wrote: So you tell

Kemono wrote:

So you tell me; does the god of this hypothesis care about whether we believe in him or not, and does he care about our salvation?

All heaven celebrates when someone is saved (see the parable of the prodigal son). But God is not sitting at home, crying, waiting for people to love Him.

God created the universe to display His glory. We can do this by letting Him show His incredible love and forgiveness by being saved (which we do not deserve), or by being judged (for God is just).

Kemono wrote:

Then, onto the other issue:

Okay. Before we examine the evidence, we need to determine a few things to make the hypothesis more solid:
1) What reading (literal, metaphorical...) of which version of the Bible reveals this god?
2) How do we derive predictions of observable events from the Bible in a consistent, non-ad hoc way? In other words, what are the criteria for deciding (before the observation is made) whether the Bible predicts something about a particular phenomenon?

As I stated above, only the original texts are God's word without error. We rely on copies and translations, that do a very good job.

I don't have a particular favorite English version (I'm not a KJV only guy). I like the modern or new King James for word accuracy. I use a living or Bible in basic English for chapter feel. The dictionary I use is Strong's. The Hebrew Old Testament is the Tanach. The Greek New Testament is Westcott-Hort, I have also used the Textus Receptus. I have not noticed any difference. I also have a Greek Old Testament (Septuagint), that I use for Greek word searches.


nedbrek
Theist
Posts: 195
Joined: 2006-12-08
User is offlineOffline
Oops, hit post too soon

Oops, hit post too soon Smiling

Kemono wrote:
2) How do we derive predictions of observable events from the Bible in a consistent, non-ad hoc way? In other words, what are the criteria for deciding (before the observation is made) whether the Bible predicts something about a particular phenomenon?

Predictions would be in the form of Bible prophecies. I don't think there are any remaining prophecies that matter (the end times prophecies will be too late to impact belief). I imagine you have already rejected the prophecies that have already been fulfilled, so I have no compunction to debate them with you.

That said, the evidence provided by the Bible is not mainly in prophecies. It's existence is the evidence.


Kemono
Posts: 137
Joined: 2006-08-13
User is offlineOffline
nedbrek wrote:All heaven

nedbrek wrote:
All heaven celebrates when someone is saved (see the parable of the prodigal son). But God is not sitting at home, crying, waiting for people to love Him.

Great. Back to the ship parable, then. The ship is sinking, and the captain (who loves us) would prefer to see us saved rather than have us drown. There is no reason why the captain should not make it absolutely clear to all of us passengers that the ship is sinking: we would still have the option of not getting on the lifeboats (although that would be daft). If he does not make it clear, some of his dear beloved passengers who would have wanted to live end up drowning because they did not know the ship was sinking. Now how could the loving captain allow that to happen?

nedbrek wrote:
As I stated above, only the original texts are God's word without error. We rely on copies and translations, that do a very good job.

Okay.

Quote:

Predictions would be in the form of Bible prophecies. I don't think there are any remaining prophecies that matter (the end times prophecies will be too late to impact belief). I imagine you have already rejected the prophecies that have already been fulfilled, so I have no compunction to debate them with you.

Prophesies would be an extreme form of prediction, but there are others. For example, a literal reading of Genesis would predict that plant life appeared on the planet almost simultaneously with human life, which should be reflected in the fossil record. So the question is, how do we interpret the Bible? We need to find an interpretation that makes empirical predictions so that we can compare those predictions to the data.

The reason we need to do this is that any document, whether it be the Bible, the Quran, or the Iliad, can be reconciled with reality; the real test is whether it can predict observations about the empirical world.


nedbrek
Theist
Posts: 195
Joined: 2006-12-08
User is offlineOffline
I'm going to reverse the

I'm going to reverse the order to make my point:

Kemono wrote:

Prophesies would be an extreme form of prediction, but there are others. For example, a literal reading of Genesis would predict that plant life appeared on the planet almost simultaneously with human life, which should be reflected in the fossil record. So the question is, how do we interpret the Bible? We need to find an interpretation that makes empirical predictions so that we can compare those predictions to the data.

The reason we need to do this is that any document, whether it be the Bible, the Quran, or the Iliad, can be reconciled with reality; the real test is whether it can predict observations about the empirical world.

The Bible is not a science book. It is God revealing Himself. It is a list of promises, requirements, and judgments. It also contains narrative and personal communication that reveal the nature and character of God. It makes predictions only so much as "rejecting God implies hedonism", "uniformitarianism will be used to deny the accuracy of the Bible", and such. These things are rather obvious, when you think them through.

Kemono wrote:
Great. Back to the ship parable, then. The ship is sinking, and the captain (who loves us) would prefer to see us saved rather than have us drown. There is no reason why the captain should not make it absolutely clear to all of us passengers that the ship is sinking: we would still have the option of not getting on the lifeboats (although that would be daft). If he does not make it clear, some of his dear beloved passengers who would have wanted to live end up drowning because they did not know the ship was sinking. Now how could the loving captain allow that to happen?

All I can say is "God's grace is sufficient" (2 Corinthians 12:9).

Have you ever read "Love Must Be Tough"? Or had an abusive loved one? For these people, what you do is never enough. They will always demand more. The loving thing to do in this case, is to leave them alone. That is what God does for us.

God has provided a universe 15 billion light years across. A planet that is hospitable, filled with delight. He has revealed Himself, and sent His Son to die to make us right with Him.

He has provided me, here, to talk with you.


Kemono
Posts: 137
Joined: 2006-08-13
User is offlineOffline
nedbrek wrote: The Bible is

nedbrek wrote:

The Bible is not a science book.

Agreed. But how do we know the Bible is accurate if we cannot verify it empirically? There is no shortage of documents in the world that are claimed by this sect or that to be divinely inspired. How do we tell which ones -- if any -- truly are?

nedbrek wrote:
All I can say is "God's grace is sufficient" (2 Corinthians 12:9).

Have you ever read "Love Must Be Tough"? Or had an abusive loved one? For these people, what you do is never enough. They will always demand more. The loving thing to do in this case, is to leave them alone. That is what God does for us.

I find it hard to believe that the four billion non-Christians on the planet are people who go out of their way to not believe in the Christian god. Overwhelming evidence for a proposition tends to make people believe it. Even a truth as uncomfortable as the fact that we humans are mortal is accepted by the vast majority of adults. Surely almost everyone would recognize the existence of a deity who, for example, regularly had physical, verbal converstations with his creatures -- a trivially easy task for an omnipotent being.

Just to get an idea of how easy it would be for a creator to provide overwhelming evidence of its existence, imagine that life on Earth was the product of a technologically advanced alien civilization (I hope you like science fiction!). How easy would it be for them to convince us of their existence without messing with our brains? It would be trivial! So how hard could it be for an omnipotent being?


nedbrek
Theist
Posts: 195
Joined: 2006-12-08
User is offlineOffline
Kemono wrote: Agreed. But

Kemono wrote:

Agreed. But how do we know the Bible is accurate if we cannot verify it empirically? There is no shortage of documents in the world that are claimed by this sect or that to be divinely inspired. How do we tell which ones -- if any -- truly are?

Evaluate them logically. Take their givens as true, and read them in that light. Just as you would a science fiction novel (suspension of disbelief). In my experience, the products of human hands will fall short (although, they can be enjoyable Smiling. Anything claiming to incorporate Christianity is refuted by Revelation 22:18. Most other religions claim to "point to the truth". Jesus is the truth.

Kemono wrote:

I find it hard to believe that the four billion non-Christians on the planet are people who go out of their way to not believe in the Christian god. Overwhelming evidence for a proposition tends to make people believe it. Even a truth as uncomfortable as the fact that we humans are mortal is accepted by the vast majority of adults. Surely almost everyone would recognize the existence of a deity who, for example, regularly had physical, verbal converstations with his creatures -- a trivially easy task for an omnipotent being.

Most have never had the gospel presented properly. Also, it is hard to imagine, sometimes, but most people are not rational. They accept what they are told, and never examine their own assumptions; much less the consequences and inferences of those assumptions.


Sybarite
Posts: 20
Joined: 2006-12-10
User is offlineOffline
Ok. I deconverted when I was

Ok. I deconverted when I was about twelve, when I had decided that what Christianity had to offer was bunk. No personality changes etc. I didn't start eating children, or abandon christianity so I wouldn't get smited (which isn't a reason to abandon at all).

nedbrek wrote:
Evaluate them logically. Take their givens as true, and read them in that light. Just as you would a science fiction novel (suspension of disbelief). In my experience, the products of human hands will fall short (although, they can be enjoyable Smiling. Anything claiming to incorporate Christianity is refuted by Revelation 22:18. Most other religions claim to "point to the truth". Jesus is the truth.

What a way to shoot yourself in the foot. Jesus also claimed to point to the truth (i.e. himself *cough*narcissism *cough*). If you can't trust all other religions about their "truths", then why trust Christianity?

nedbrek wrote:
Most have never had the gospel presented properly. Also, it is hard to imagine, sometimes, but most people are not rational. They accept what they are told, and never examine their own assumptions; much less the consequences and inferences of those assumptions.

The irony piles up, and the plot thickens...


Susan
Susan's picture
Posts: 3561
Joined: 2006-02-12
User is offlineOffline
Sybarite wrote: What a way

Sybarite wrote:

What a way to shoot yourself in the foot. Jesus also claimed to point to the truth (i.e. himself *cough*narcissism *cough*). If you can't trust all other religions about their "truths", then why trust Christianity?

I think David Koresh felt the same way and we all know how it turned out for him. This could also be said for Jim Jones.

nedbrek wrote:
Most have never had the gospel presented properly. Also, it is hard to imagine, sometimes, but most people are not rational. They accept what they are told, and never examine their own assumptions; much less the consequences and inferences of those assumptions.

It seems to me that you have accepted what you have been told about your bible. There is no proof that the authors of the books were always telling the truth. There is also no proof that the people that compiled the bible didn't have an agenda. You are blindly accepting that everyone was doing the right thing for the right reason.

Atheist Books, purchases on Amazon support the Rational Response Squad server.


nedbrek
Theist
Posts: 195
Joined: 2006-12-08
User is offlineOffline
Susan wrote:It seems to me

Susan wrote:
It seems to me that you have accepted what you have been told about your bible. There is no proof that the authors of the books were always telling the truth. There is also no proof that the people that compiled the bible didn't have an agenda. You are blindly accepting that everyone was doing the right thing for the right reason.

You're saying the authors of the Bible made up a story to make themselves look like a bunch of idiots, so that their neighbors would kill them?


Susan
Susan's picture
Posts: 3561
Joined: 2006-02-12
User is offlineOffline
nedbrek wrote: You're saying

nedbrek wrote:

You're saying the authors of the Bible made up a story to make themselves look like a bunch of idiots, so that their neighbors would kill them?

You're saying that the stories in the bible make the authors sound like idiots? Why then do you quote it so liberally throughout this thread?

Atheist Books, purchases on Amazon support the Rational Response Squad server.


nedbrek
Theist
Posts: 195
Joined: 2006-12-08
User is offlineOffline
Susan wrote:nedbrek

Susan wrote:
nedbrek wrote:

You're saying the authors of the Bible made up a story to make themselves look like a bunch of idiots, so that their neighbors would kill them?

You're saying that the stories in the bible make the authors sound like idiots? Why then do you quote it so liberally throughout this thread?

Have you read the Bible?


Susan
Susan's picture
Posts: 3561
Joined: 2006-02-12
User is offlineOffline
Susan wrote:nedbrek

Susan wrote:
nedbrek wrote:

You're saying the authors of the Bible made up a story to make themselves look like a bunch of idiots, so that their neighbors would kill them?

You're saying that the stories in the bible make the authors sound like idiots? Why then do you quote it so liberally throughout this thread?

My apologies. Perhaps you are assuming that I meant the authors were the blasphemers, adulterers and all the folks that the bible saw fit to condemn.

I was alluding to the fact that it's more than probable that the authors of the bible were the ones that wanted to eradicate the blasphemers, adulterers and others they wished to condemn. These writings would perhaps give them the authority to do just that.

[author edit for misspellings]

Atheist Books, purchases on Amazon support the Rational Response Squad server.


Susan
Susan's picture
Posts: 3561
Joined: 2006-02-12
User is offlineOffline
nedbrek wrote:Susan

nedbrek wrote:
Susan wrote:
nedbrek wrote:

You're saying the authors of the Bible made up a story to make themselves look like a bunch of idiots, so that their neighbors would kill them?

You're saying that the stories in the bible make the authors sound like idiots? Why then do you quote it so liberally throughout this thread?

Have you read the Bible?

My apologies, but I'm confused. That didn't answer my question. Are you saying that the authors of the bible sound like idiots to you?

If so, please tell me why you quote it so liberally in this thread.

Atheist Books, purchases on Amazon support the Rational Response Squad server.


nedbrek
Theist
Posts: 195
Joined: 2006-12-08
User is offlineOffline
Susan wrote: My apologies.

Susan wrote:

My apologies. Perhaps you are assuming that I meant the authors were the blasphemers, adulterers and all the folks that the bible saw fit to condemn.

I was alluding to the fact that it's more than probable that the authors of the bible were the ones that wanted to eradicate the blasphemers, adulterers and others they wished to condemn. These writings would perhaps give them the authority to do just that.

Oppressors throughout history have needed little justification for their deeds. See my comment in the other thread about what the Bible says about the people most able to make edits.

All indications are that the authors of the Biblical books are the people they claim to be, or their direct descendants. For the New Testament books, that means the writers were put to death shortly after writing.


Susan
Susan's picture
Posts: 3561
Joined: 2006-02-12
User is offlineOffline
nedbrek wrote: All

nedbrek wrote:

All indications are that the authors of the Biblical books are the people they claim to be, or their direct descendants. For the New Testament books, that means the writers were put to death shortly after writing.

That very well might be true. However, that still doesn't mean they didn't have an agenda. It doesn't mean they didn't change some things around while writing. Perhaps it would even be in the manner of some of the slanted news reporting we see today.

You are going on blind faith that the authors wrote nothing but bare truth.

Atheist Books, purchases on Amazon support the Rational Response Squad server.


nedbrek
Theist
Posts: 195
Joined: 2006-12-08
User is offlineOffline
Susan wrote: That very well

Susan wrote:

That very well might be true. However, that still doesn't mean they didn't have an agenda. It doesn't mean they didn't change some things around while writing. Perhaps it would even be in the manner of some of the slanted news reporting we see today.

You are going on blind faith that the authors wrote nothing but bare truth.

Have you read the Bible? I can't imagine what scheme you are imagining...


Susan
Susan's picture
Posts: 3561
Joined: 2006-02-12
User is offlineOffline
nedbrek wrote: Have you read

nedbrek wrote:

Have you read the Bible? I can't imagine what scheme you are imagining...

Yes, I read it years ago as a teen and wasn't impressed even then.

There was a lot of "obey the lord" and "praise the lord" and "god is good and loving." Of course that last part was New Testament.

In my opinion, a good and loving god would not allow birth defects or cancer or devastating hurricanes or children being in poverty (etc etc etc).

I don't believe that these are obstacles to make humans stronger. I see it more like an abusive husband that beats his wife just to make sure she loves him even more afterward. Who could praise that?

I am obviously not a bibical scholar. I'll leave that to Rook. However, it's human nature to "spin" stories to make things appear in a different light. That long ago, it's unlikely the authors had much, if any, first-hand knowledge of events. We all know how stories get changed in retelling. We also know how false stories take on a life of their own and people start believing them.

Just because something is written doesn't make it the truth.

Atheist Books, purchases on Amazon support the Rational Response Squad server.


Kemono
Posts: 137
Joined: 2006-08-13
User is offlineOffline
nedbrek wrote: Evaluate them

nedbrek wrote:

Evaluate them logically. Take their givens as true, and read them in that light.

I have two major concerns about this.

First, a favourable reading of any text (no matter how incoherent) will always find it free of logical inconsistensies. The apologists of all belief systems have theological judo moves to justify apparent contradictions in their holy book. Just as Christian apologists can come up with reasons why Ephesians 2:8-9 does not contradict Matthew 19:16-21, Moslem apologists can explain away contradictions in the Quran, Mormon apologists can explain away contradictions in the Book of Mormon, etc. People tend to find the apologetics of their own religion credible and those of other religions less so. How do we devise an objective criterion to rate these texts for logical consistency?

Second, logical consistency is no guarantee of truth. It is easy to write completely fictitious stories that do not contradict themselves. Pastafarianism may be logical, but it is certainly not true.

nedbrek wrote:
Most have never had the gospel presented properly.

And when they die, they are eternally damned, not because they chose to reject the message but because no-one told it to them. Not something a loving, omnipotent, omniscient god could allow, is it?


melchisedec
melchisedec's picture
Posts: 145
Joined: 2006-11-21
User is offlineOffline
nedbrek wrote: That God

nedbrek wrote:

That God exists, and is revealed to us in the Bible.

The evidence is the Bible itself (protected over thousands of years).

Political power 'protected' the bible over thousands of years. No different then the quran, tipitaka, upanishads, tao te ching.

Quote:

The Jewish people are also good evidence (how many other groups of people have been extinguished, with a lot less effort).

Maybe this is something you could answer since you feel the jews are good evidence. Are the jews good evidence that christ was indeed not the messiah? God's own people rejected him, I find that very ironic.

Quote:

There are sources outside the Bible for the life of Jesus (Josephus and certain Roman records). The empty tomb.

Ofcourse you know that Josephus's writings are controversial and not accepted by many scholars. I wonder why Philo of Alexandria mentions nothing of Christ. For me personally I don't dispute the man that was Jesus, the myth of the man is what I dispute.

Quote:

The lives (mostly the deaths) of the early Christians.

Are you saying martyrdom alone is proof?

Can you explain to me why the sources of the bible and those who canonized it are trusted sources? My personally rejection of the bible is due to the veracity of the claims and most importantly, the trust worthiness of the sources. So if you can clarify that for me, who knows - you might just save my sourl. Thanks.


todangst
atheistRational VIP!
todangst's picture
Posts: 2811
Joined: 2006-03-10
User is offlineOffline
nedbrek wrote:Sapient

nedbrek wrote:
Sapient wrote:
Why do you choose to be a theist?

I guess it's just the opposite for me. "The heavens declare the glory of God" (Psalm 19:1). The existence of God is obvious because of the way the universe was made.

That's an argument to personal incredulity that might well have worked before the advent of cosmology... and at any rate, it doesn't lead you to the yahweh... just to 'a god'.... and even then, basically you're saying "I don't know much about cosmology, therefore god"

Is that really the best way to make a decision?

Those who know the good, do the good. - Socrates

Books on atheism.


todangst
atheistRational VIP!
todangst's picture
Posts: 2811
Joined: 2006-03-10
User is offlineOffline
nedbrek wrote:melchisedec

nedbrek wrote:
melchisedec wrote:

Isn't the bible also heavily interpreted?

The hermeneutic I use says that the Biblical message was directly useful to the original audience.

If so, then how can you hold that the book has any value for you today?

Furthermore, how do you know this? What exactly was the original audience? How do you know whether or not if some parts were created intentionally vague or not? Creating intentionally vague passages would be a neat trick when trying to mimick the mind of a 'god'.... it would allow authors 'wiggle room' to retrofit passages if required....

I would agree that books like Revelations were written for another audience.... the imagary and symbols of that book were intended for people long dead..... so why do christians attempt to use it as a prophecy?

And one more point: why couldn't an omnipotent god write something more universal? Euclid was able to do so. Why write a book for a few thousand sheep herders when you know that later on, billions of christians will be relying on it.

Think that one over: You have two audiences: a small collection of people, the overwhelming majority of which cannot even read....

Or billions of people who will later read the book...

Wouldn't you direct the book to the latter group? Or, conversely, simply have the sky rain down with updated versions?

Quote:

The application to use today takes some interpretation (since we aren't ancient Jewish herders speaking Hebrew).

Why are you, as a person living in the 21st century, trying to live by what you even consider to be an outmoded guide intended for sheep herders? Do you consider that whatever moral 'guide' you receive from the book actually originates in your own secular derived concept of morality?

Those who know the good, do the good. - Socrates

Books on atheism.


nedbrek
Theist
Posts: 195
Joined: 2006-12-08
User is offlineOffline
Susan wrote: In my opinion,

Susan wrote:

In my opinion, a good and loving god would not allow birth defects or cancer or devastating hurricanes or children being in poverty (etc etc etc).

The Bible says that when God made the earth, it was good. God then gave control of the earth to mankind. We then denied God and tried to run things ourselves. The earth as we know it today is the result.

Susan wrote:

I don't believe that these are obstacles to make humans stronger. I see it more like an abusive husband that beats his wife just to make sure she loves him even more afterward. Who could praise that?

They aren't. The Bible says all of creation is groaning, as a woman in pain before giving birth.


nedbrek
Theist
Posts: 195
Joined: 2006-12-08
User is offlineOffline
Kemono wrote: I have two

Kemono wrote:

I have two major concerns about this.

First, a favourable reading of any text (no matter how incoherent) will always find it free of logical inconsistensies. The apologists of all belief systems have theological judo moves to justify apparent contradictions in their holy book.

The Koran says that the Bible is God's Word. The Bible says Jesus is God's son. The Koran says Allah has no son. Either the Koran is lying, or Allah is not God... If you have any other serious contenders, I am more than willing to examine them.

Kemono wrote:

Just as Christian apologists can come up with reasons why Ephesians 2:8-9 does not contradict Matthew 19:16-21, Moslem apologists can explain away contradictions in the Quran, Mormon apologists can explain away contradictions in the Book of Mormon, etc. People tend to find the apologetics of their own religion credible and those of other religions less so. How do we devise an objective criterion to rate these texts for logical consistency?

Ephesians vs. Matthew is an excellent find. Although better tension is raised with Ephesians vs. James 2:17.

God calls for a perfect life, as He is perfect. If you keep the whole law (ten commandments), your whole life, you will enter heaven. Unfortunately, no one except Jesus ever has...

James mentions works (versus faith). James is saying that when we are saved by faith, we undergo a change. This change brings forth good works (like fruit). If we have no works, we should question if we have truly been changed.

Kemono wrote:

Second, logical consistency is no guarantee of truth. It is easy to write completely fictitious stories that do not contradict themselves.

It is possible, but not easy. Read any science fiction story with a suspension of disbelief. You will find weak spots in the plot. That is with a single author. Now add dozens (I think the Star Wars books have had a dozen or so authors, and most of them are pretty terrible). Now span the writing over hundreds of years. Not easy to fit that all together.

Kemono wrote:

nedbrek wrote:
Most have never had the gospel presented properly.

And when they die, they are eternally damned, not because they chose to reject the message but because no-one told it to them. Not something a loving, omnipotent, omniscient god could allow, is it?

We don't know what happens to them. Concern for the unsaved is a good sign, be glad! Eye-wink


nedbrek
Theist
Posts: 195
Joined: 2006-12-08
User is offlineOffline
melchisedec wrote: Political

melchisedec wrote:

Political power 'protected' the bible over thousands of years. No different then the quran, tipitaka, upanishads, tao te ching.

The power I speak of is God's Holy Spirit. When the New Testament was written, the political power was the Roman empire. Afterwards, the Catholic Church. As I mentioned elsewhere, the Bible in part directly contradicts and elsewhere fails to support nearly every Catholic teaching.

melchisedec wrote:

Maybe this is something you could answer since you feel the jews are good evidence. Are the jews good evidence that christ was indeed not the messiah? God's own people rejected him, I find that very ironic.

The bulk of the early Christians were Jewish converts. Jesus is hard for most people to accept, Jewish or not.

melchisedec wrote:

Are you saying martyrdom alone is proof?

Not at all, people die all the time for lies. Usually the people dying believe the lies to be truth. If they know it to be a lie, usually it is a lie that makes them seem noble or heroic. But for a fairly good size group of people to make up a lie (a lie that depicts themselves in a rather poor light), and for no one to denounce the lie at death is unusual.

melchisedec wrote:

Can you explain to me why the sources of the bible and those who canonized it are trusted sources? My personally rejection of the bible is due to the veracity of the claims and most importantly, the trust worthiness of the sources. So if you can clarify that for me, who knows - you might just save my sourl. Thanks.

The authors of most of the New Testament were either apostles of Jesus (including Paul's Damascus conversion), or direct aides. The books were selected based on authorship and content. Did you have a specific author or claim that troubled you?


nedbrek
Theist
Posts: 195
Joined: 2006-12-08
User is offlineOffline
todangst wrote:nedbrek

todangst wrote:
nedbrek wrote:

I guess it's just the opposite for me. "The heavens declare the glory of God" (Psalm 19:1). The existence of God is obvious because of the way the universe was made.

That's an argument to personal incredulity that might well have worked before the advent of cosmology... and at any rate, it doesn't lead you to the yahweh... just to 'a god'.... and even then, basically you're saying "I don't know much about cosmology, therefore god"

Is that really the best way to make a decision?

Sorry, it is not intended as an argument. I am just saying your point of view can put a skew on the data. My understanding of cosmology is that it does not preclude the existence of God.


nedbrek
Theist
Posts: 195
Joined: 2006-12-08
User is offlineOffline
todangst wrote: Why are you,

todangst wrote:

Why are you, as a person living in the 21st century, trying to live by what you even consider to be an outmoded guide intended for sheep herders? Do you consider that whatever moral 'guide' you receive from the book actually originates in your own secular derived concept of morality?

I don't try to live my life according to a set of rules. The Bible says that laws only serve the uncreative person with new ways to do wrong.