Attempted Discussions with Theists
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08-08-2010, 05:52 PM
Attempted Discussions with Theists
Howdy all,

Since we don't seem to have any active theists here, I thought I'd start a thread to share some discussions we've had or are having with theists. I'll start with mine. Sorry if it's a little long.

So, over the last few months I've started to feel more comfortable with my lack of belief and in my reasons for not believing in God - specifically in Christianity. And so I've attempted some conversations with theists in my life. One is a pastor who, sadly it seems, either doesn't have any answers for me, or maybe doesn't want to have a discussion (despite the fact that he ends almost every sermon with "and if anyone wants to debate these things, you know where I am and how to reach me" or something to that effect). It's obvious I'm not high on his priority list.

The other is someone very close to me. I've asked them both the same question - one regarding the practice of slavery that is condoned in the Bible.

Here is my question to them, in its entirety:

Quote:Several scriptures indicate plainly that God condoned the practice of slavery and gave instructions and regulations for it. Yet today we recognize that slavery is completely immoral.

Leviticus 25:44-46 describes taking slaves from other nations.
Exodus 21:2-6 describes owning the wife and children of a Hebrew slave, even if that male slave is set free.
Exodus 21:7-11 describes the regulations for selling your daughter into slavery.
Exodus 21:20-21 explicitly states that a slave is your property, and that you can beat your slave to within an inch of his life, as long as he doesn't die right away, you won't be punished.

As far as I can tell, these are instructions given by God. Even Jesus never said anything against the practice of slavery.

So, why does the god of the Bible condone slavery?

Now, first I got the usual response of "slavery in Biblical times was not the same as we think of it now," and "there were other translations, 'slave' didn't really mean 'slave' and so on. So I sort of let some of that pass, but then turned it to a more personal question.

I asked this person: "Do you believe that slavery - the act of owning another person as property, owning them as a 'thing' - is morally wrong?"

And you wouldn't believe (well, you probably would) the circles she ran around in trying to answer that simple, personal morality question. Because of fear of being caught in some sort of atheist trap, I guess, the best I got from her was "I don't know." Seriously? I asked her if she meant that, and she says "well I don't want to have a slave - because I don't want to own anyone." When I asked her, again, if the reason she didn't want to own anyone is because she thinks it's wrong, I got, again - "I don't know."

It still amazes me that religion turns people into minds that literally cannot even answer a personal question for themselves. Makes me want to beat my head into a wall.

Our brains deceive us on a regular basis, so we have to find ways to fight back.
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08-08-2010, 09:38 PM
RE: Attempted Discussions with Theists
My favorite response is the "biblical scholars" argument. The Bible is supposed to be literal word of God and yet theists will tell you that the plane words on the page don't mean what they say they mean because a "biblical scholar" has explained the "true" meaning of a given passage.

Shackle their minds when they're bent on the cross
When ignorance reigns, life is lost
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09-08-2010, 07:06 AM
RE: Attempted Discussions with Theists
(08-08-2010 09:38 PM)BnW Wrote:  My favorite response is the "biblical scholars" argument. The Bible is supposed to be literal word of God and yet theists will tell you that the plane words on the page don't mean what they say they mean because a "biblical scholar" has explained the "true" meaning of a given passage.

Ah yes. That was close to the first thing I heard in response to my question - "you can't read the Bible like you read any other book." Ok, why? "Because it's a book of antiquity." Ok, meaning what? "You have to take into account the time it was written in, and the historical situations it was surrounded by." Ok, I agree with that, but aren't you telling me that this book is a guide for our lives today? Huh

Our brains deceive us on a regular basis, so we have to find ways to fight back.
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09-08-2010, 07:10 AM
 
RE: Attempted Discussions with Theists
The most common defense is that the things in the Bible are not meant to be taken literally. They are all metaphors. I'm sure there is a proper rebuttal to the logic of this but I can't think of one right now. Why worship a metaphor? If they are all morality tales, as I am often told, why not treat them like all other fair tales? Use them to teach morals, if you find these morals to be acceptable, and leave it there.

Of course, when I show them quotes from the Bible invoking violence and slavery and whatnot, they refuse to believe it. They are never read these sections. They will say that you have taken that line out of context. I'm pretty sure murdering and raping an entire town is bad no matter what context it is in.

They'll respond by saying we can just choose the good lines and not the bad ones. So, what is the need for the Bible at all? You clearly already have an independent moral guide that lets you make these choices, so why the need for the Bible?

Of course, they'll end it with "It's just faith." Great, let me debate someone with no arguments and no logic. Naturally, anyone could win that one, but since its religion, these things are somehow not necessary.
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09-08-2010, 07:44 AM
RE: Attempted Discussions with Theists
(09-08-2010 07:10 AM)TruthAddict Wrote:  The most common defense is that the things in the Bible are not meant to be taken literally. They are all metaphors.
What I want to know, is the bible is all metaphors, what the hell is Noah's Flood trying to convey?

(09-08-2010 07:10 AM)TruthAddict Wrote:  Of course, when I show them quotes from the Bible invoking violence and slavery and whatnot, they refuse to believe it. They are never read these sections. They will say that you have taken that line out of context.
Funny thing, I actually found out what context makes it okay. If you are reading a book about mass genocide and slavery, yet is unsure if that is an okay thing, close the book and look at the cover. If the words "Holy Bible", are on the front, it's okay.

I don't believe Jesus is the son of God until I see the long form birth certificate!
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09-08-2010, 12:12 PM
 
RE: Attempted Discussions with Theists
I had this discussion on another board, where my signature reads..

97.2% of the world population are idiots, the other 2.8% are Atheists

I had a poster there, post the following in his signature who hates me..

Why do Atheists get Easter and Xmas off if they don't believe in anything?

I had to school the guy on where the ideas from this "religion" come from, to which he changed his signature, and came back with some excuse as to why he put it up as retaliation. I have failed to reply back to that comment, if making your self look ignorant to get me back.. have at it!

As for other discussions, I think the one I get the most is..

How do you believe in nothing? I reply back, same as you.. Except my nothing doesn't have a name.
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09-08-2010, 01:14 PM
RE: Attempted Discussions with Theists
Quote:What I want to know, is the bible is all metaphors, what the hell is Noah's Flood trying to convey?

Always wear a life jacket.

Shackle their minds when they're bent on the cross
When ignorance reigns, life is lost
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10-08-2010, 10:28 AM
 
RE: Attempted Discussions with Theists
Quote:What I want to know, is the bible is all metaphors, what the hell is Noah's Flood trying to convey?

Incest is allowed in order to repopulate the planet?
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10-08-2010, 10:31 AM
RE: Attempted Discussions with Theists
Only if the Ark lands on Spruce Mountain.

Shackle their minds when they're bent on the cross
When ignorance reigns, life is lost
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10-08-2010, 12:05 PM
 
RE: Attempted Discussions with Theists
why is it that i must not believe in anything if i'm an atheist? i believe in plenty of things, just not an all powerful god that created everything and defy's human logic.

slavery and rape's definition haven't changed since recorded history began. there's no way to spin slavery or rape into meaning something positive even if jesus himself were reading the bible. it's another cop out of an excuse for defying logic.
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