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heartfire
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Hello, my name is Matt. I am a currently an Eastern Orthodox Christian, but have been experiencing doubts for a long time now and have finally come to a place in my life where I am ready to at least look at the other side of the coin. What would be most helpful to me would be a suggested list of the best skeptical/atheist resources. I am not looking for a list of hundreds of books or video, rather I am looking for a list of maybe the top 10 or so very best arguments offered. I am specifically looking for information on:

 

1. Proof that there is no creator, god, and/or Supreme Being. I am not looking for personal attacks on Christians (i.e. the Crusades, Salem Witch Trials, hypocrites, ets), but rather more scientific and rational proofs/arguments.

 

2. Biblical Errancy: Proof that the Bible is not divine, but mythology and human in origin. I am not just looking for a book that only shows perceived biblical contradictions, but actually demonstrates that the biblical history is itself false or a man-made myth. For example: Did Moses actually live and lead an exodus out of Egypt? What about Noah and the ark? How accurate is Old Testament History? Was Jesus a real person or a myth or was he real, but the information on him is false? What about the historicity of the New Testament?

 

I am genuinely seeking for answers and would appreciate any help I could get. I am looking forward to dialoging with the people here as I will have many questions I am sure.

 

 


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Hello Matt

Without being a smartass, check out the many reference points on this board, Google and pan for gold there and also hit the library and read the many Atheist books out there.

 

I hope it all becomes clear for you soon.

 

Here are the books l'd suggest:

god is not great - Christopher Hitchens
The god Delusion - Richard Dawkins
Sense and Goodness without god - Richard Carrier
The Quantum Brain - Jeffrey Satinover

 

Oh and head over to www.patcondell.com, he's always got a good point to make

 

How can not believing in something that is backed up with no empirical evidence be less scientific than believing in something that not only has no empirical evidence but actually goes against the laws of the universe and in many cases actually contradicts itself? - Ricky Gervais


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Hello Matt, welcome to the

Hello Matt, welcome to the forum.

heartfire wrote:
I am not looking for a list of hundreds of books or video, rather I am looking for a list of maybe the top 10 or so very best arguments offered.

1. Proof that there is no creator, god, and/or Supreme Being. I am not looking for personal attacks on Christians (i.e. the Crusades, Salem Witch Trials, hypocrites, ets), but rather more scientific and rational proofs/arguments.

There are a multitude of arguments against the Christian God and the Bible, but there are only a few criticizing the possibility of an intelligent creator. I'm not sure if I know any best arguments. Personally, the only statement I've ever needed to make is to ask the theist for positive evidence; when they fail to present such evidence, the default position is agnostic atheism. Plus, so far, I feel that every argument for a creator is flawed. Some, such as TAG or Kalam's Cosmological Argument, are very ad hoc and contain some unjustified assumptions. Others, such as Pascal's Wager or the ontological argument, are fallacious to the point of being silly.  

heartfire wrote:
2. Biblical Errancy: Proof that the Bible is not divine, but mythology and human in origin. I am not just looking for a book that only shows perceived biblical contradictions, but actually demonstrates that the biblical history is itself false or a man-made myth.

Honestly, I haven't delved much into Bible scholarship or read many books on the subject. Simply reading the first several books of the Bible by myself was more than enough to convince me that it was filled with fiction. I'm sorry I can't help you more.

Here is a video from AronRa that I liked.  

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZFrkjEgUDZA

Tell me what you think about it.  

I'll type more later. 

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


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Hello Matt, welcome to

Hello Matt, welcome to the forums.

 

If you are looking for information on biblical errancy, you would do yourself a favor and pick up a couple of books by Bart Erhman. I would specifically recommend “Jesus Interrupted”, “Lost Christianities” and “Lost Scriptures”.

 

Seriously, if the bible is the inerrant word of god, don't you think that he would want it to be correct and unvarying? Hells bells but the earliest bibles such as the Codex Sinaiticus don't even contain the same list of books.

 

As far as accuracy of biblical history, take a step back from any source of biblical archeology and check regular archeology. If anything in the bible is true, then there should be confirmation of the same events outside of the bible. Seriously, the history of the ancient world is fairly well known, at least as far as the major events are concerned.

 

Did the events of the Exodus actually happen? Well, the Egyptians were meticulous record keepers. Don't you think that there would be some mention of the vast tracts of farm land needed to feed several tens of thousands of slaves over a period of several centuries?

 

Add to that that Egypt was one of the major military powers of the region and only their army kept rival civilizations from overrunning them. If they lost the whole army overnight, would not those rival civilizations have acted on that fact?

 

Another point is that Cairo is only about 300 miles from Jerusalem. Assuming that moving all those people through the desert is roughly comparable to moving an army, that trip ought not to have taken more than a month or so.

 

As far as the biblical flood is concerned, where did all the water come from and where did it go? Seriously, we know how much water there is in the oceans and ice caps. Just how did enough water to cover the earth to a depth of a mile or more escape the notice of geologists?

 

Was Jesus a real person and what can we know about him? Well, to be honest, I am not a huge fan of the whole Jesus myth school of thought. It seeks to establish a proposition based on there not being any reliable evidence, which to my way of thinking doesn't really go anywhere useful.

 

That being said, there certainly is a huge hole in the historical writings of the period as far as Jesus in history. He certainly seems to have escaped the notice of the major historians of the first century. Also, whoever wrote the book of acts seems to be unaware that there were gospels, which strongly suggests that they either did not exist (even as verbal histories) at the time or that they were not considered to be important works. Mind you, of course, that we already know that they were in fact written later but even so if there was any substance to early Christian writings, the whole set of works should have existed at the same time and been cross referenced.

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heartfire wrote:1. Proof

heartfire wrote:
1. Proof that there is no creator, god, and/or Supreme Being.

Difinitive proof would be difficult in the case of existence. But keep in mind that gods never show up, so our only source of information about them is other people. The issue is really whether or not we believe those people. Do they give us any compelling reason to believe them?

For instance, often a believer will describe their god, but one is left to wonder where their information came from. If it came from a holy book, then why should that book give a better description than any other holy book? Indeed, why would someone believe the stories about Jesus, but not about Thor, Zeus, or Tiamat?

When really pressed, believers will sometimes say that they don't believe in a god with a beard on a throne, etc., but in a cosmic something-or-other that rules the universe. The trouble there is that the description defies knowledge. It's like pulling teeth getting information about that type of god, which apparently some people believe in. The odd thing there is that someone can believe in something that they can't describe. One can only wonder what the benefit of believing in a something-maybe-nothing can do for a person.

So my personal view is that it is impossible for a god to exist, because either:

a) people define gods as things that do not exist as other things do, or

b) people insist that natural phenomena are "gods", when we have perfectly good names for the phenomena already.

That is, gods exist just as much as any idea or figment of the imagination.

As for Biblical errancy, there is recent archaeology, which continues to show that much of the Old Testament is more legend than truth:

False Testament

If that part of the Bible is wrong, what other parts of the Bible do you think could be wrong?

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There is no proof of

There is no proof of anything ever existing at all. :/ So I'm not going to offer you any nifty book titles or whatnot.  My advise: just do whatever makes you happy.  I mean, all that exists "for sure" to an individual is their consciousness, right? So work from where you're at, find whatever truth is acceptable to you, and trudge on until this crazy train ends (if it does, who knows?).


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heartfire wrote:Hello, my

heartfire wrote:

Hello, my name is Matt. I am a currently an Eastern Orthodox Christian, but have been experiencing doubts for a long time now and have finally come to a place in my life where I am ready to at least look at the other side of the coin. What would be most helpful to me would be a suggested list of the best skeptical/atheist resources. I am not looking for a list of hundreds of books or video, rather I am looking for a list of maybe the top 10 or so very best arguments offered. I am specifically looking for information on:

 

1. Proof that there is no creator, god, and/or Supreme Being. I am not looking for personal attacks on Christians (i.e. the Crusades, Salem Witch Trials, hypocrites, ets), but rather more scientific and rational proofs/arguments.

 

2. Biblical Errancy: Proof that the Bible is not divine, but mythology and human in origin. I am not just looking for a book that only shows perceived biblical contradictions, but actually demonstrates that the biblical history is itself false or a man-made myth. For example: Did Moses actually live and lead an exodus out of Egypt? What about Noah and the ark? How accurate is Old Testament History? Was Jesus a real person or a myth or was he real, but the information on him is false? What about the historicity of the New Testament?

 

I am genuinely seeking for answers and would appreciate any help I could get. I am looking forward to dialoging with the people here as I will have many questions I am sure.

 

 

1. You want proof of three separate things, so I'll break it into three separate parts.

a. (Creator).  There is not yet proof that the universe did not have a creator, however the idea that it did does not solve the causation problem because we can just ask "what caused the creator."

b. (God).  You have not yet given a sufficient definition of this term, so no examination can be performed

c. (Supreme Being).  This is a mathematical impossibility.  Given any infinite set S, it is possible to take the power set P(S) and achieve a new set that is more infinite than S.  Thus there is no highest cardinality of infinity, and so there can be no supreme being.

 

2.  Life on earth evolved over several billion years (with much evidence to back this conclusion), while the bible claims it all appeared in a matter of days (with no evidence to back this conclusion).  Thus the bible is wrong.

Questions for Theists:
http://silverskeptic.blogspot.com/2011/03/consistent-standards.html

I'm a bit of a lurker. Every now and then I will come out of my cave with a flurry of activity. Then the Ph.D. program calls and I must fall back to the shadows.


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Welcome! Unfortunately,

Welcome!
Unfortunately, with your qualifier, there is no source to disprove a god. Every religion defines god just a bit differently, and only after a definition has been presented can it be verified or discarded. However, the sources mentioned so far are an excellent start on hearing our side of the argument. I hope they help you, whichever direction you eventually choose. Smiling

Proud Canadian, Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.


kyitb
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Proof is impossible if you

Proof is impossible if you do not subscribe to basic principles of reasoning.  Look around  it's there. 

 

Don't bother yourself with such trivial things.  Believe in Santa Clause or don't.

 

I'd imagine you've been baptised.  You won, you are saved!  Assuming you are right.

 

Can you prove to me that God exists?  It's childish to go there but, you did it first...