General tips for atheists seeking to refute the Bible via scriptures.
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07-03-2013, 12:23 PM
General tips for atheists seeking to refute the Bible via scriptures.
So often I see those that wish to refute the Bible by quoting scriptures, dissecting them per the English, and then formulating your case for opposition.

This is fine for general, casual conversations about the Bible and addressing Christians who have minimum theological knowledge; however, this isn't sufficient for a higher form of debate. So, I encourage all of you that wish to refute the Bible to follow a few basic guidelines.

1) Bible Translational Quoting

WHAT NOT TO DO

Do not quote from dynamic translations or the King James Version.

Dynamic translations (NIV, Amplified, NLT, The Message) convey a basic message of what the scriptures say and are based based on what the collective authors of that translation are trying to convey. So, they are not necessarily correct per the Greek or Hebrew.

The two biggest mistakes I see by atheists when they have a translational quote is that they quote from the NIV or the KJV.

The NIV is probably one of the most corrupted translations. Being dynamic, it it obviously conveys the agenda of those that created the translation. Moreover, it has removed more than 40 verses; likewise, it has removed numerous words that are replaced with vague synonyms. The NIV is scoffed at by theological scholars, and it is considered a very weak translation.

The KJV is severally outdated in terms of language. Some of the translated words are not only incorrect, but also laughable (unicorn comes to mind). Scholars have moved away from the KJV because of the outdated language and the incorrect English word translations.

WHAT TO DO

Quote from literal translations (except the KJV).

Literal translations include the NASB, ESV, NKJV, Douay Rheims (DRA), Young's Literal (YLT), and Darby's.

The NKJV and the DRA are good translations; however, they have a few degrees of separation. The best and most accurate English versions of the Bible is either the YLT or Darby's. They are rigid, though, and can be difficult to read. The most accurate modern, easily readable English version of the Bible is the New American Standard Version (NASB). All of these only have 1 degree of separation as they are directly translated from the Greek and Hebrew into English.

2) Contextual Understanding

WHAT NOT TO DO

Quote a single verse to further establish a preconceived idea. So often I see those (theists and atheists alike) that latch on to a single verse, and push an idea of what is being said. All the time, they ignore the rest of the verses surrounding it, who the audience was, or the overall theme of what was being conveyed.

WHAT TO DO

Get a basic understanding of what the situation is that revolves around the verse(s) in question. Read the entire chapter, or the entire book before trying to enforce an idea. Many times accusations can easily be refuted based the actual context of verses which leaves a refutation null and void.

3) Applicable Audience

WHAT NOT TO DO

Quote verses under the assumption that everyone is the intended audience. Much of the Bible is written to a specific group or an individual person. It is wrong to make the assertion that what is conveyed is meant for all.

An example I like to use is this:

I write a letter to my wife. In it is says, "You're the greatest person alive. I love you." Let's say you find this letter. It would silly of you to say, "Wow! Jeremy thinks I'm the greatest person alive and he loves me."

WHAT TO DO

Understand the audience to whom it is written. As my above example shows, the meaning of what is written can greatly change based on the knowledge of the intended audience. The Bible serves as a basic guideline for Christians; however, that does not mean that specific instructions in it are meant for all.

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07-03-2013, 03:29 PM
RE: General tips for atheists seeking to refute the Bible via scriptures.
Wow, some good sense coming from a Christian.

Good work KC.

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07-03-2013, 04:45 PM (This post was last modified: 07-03-2013 04:49 PM by Buddy Christ.)
RE: General tips for atheists seeking to refute the Bible via scriptures.
Oh for fucks sakes.

I see the Christian mentality is still alive and well in you. You've just used all the arguments that I hear on a daily basis. Here's a modified version of your instructions.

Use the least embarrassing version of biblical translations.

The Hebrew word Re'em is the word in question. Yes it's being translated into things like wild oxen and rhinoceros... by Christians and the authors of the New American Standard Bible, so of course it's going to be translated that way. While not the white mythical horse with a horn that we know as "unicorn" today, the Re'em of the bible was still a mythical creature.

"In the Jewish folklore, the Re'em was so large that Noah had to strap it on the side of the Ark, and King David, while still a shepherd, mistook its horn for a mountain and climbed it, then the Re'em got up and frightened David. He prayed to God to save him, so a lion passed in front of the Re'em, and as the Re'em bowed down to the king of beasts, David climbed off, but was threatened by the lion. He prayed again and an animal passed by so the lion could chase it, and David left unharmed."

The first time anyone used Re'em to mean anything non-mythical is when biblical "scholars" tried to make their text sound less ridiculous.

The versions you claim are the most "corrupted" versions are actually using the closest translations of the Hebrew and Aramaic texts. The Hebrew word se'irim that was translated into Satyr is actually an improvement from its original meaning. The se'irim were goat demons, led by Azazel (from Fallen). The biblical witches were kishsheph, translating to "to practice the magical article." It's not worth looking up dragon or leviathan's Hebrew word because they wore crowns, did battle, and were tossed into a lake of fire... so there's more concerning ideas here than "did they translate it correctly."

You're basically telling me Alabama doesn't have a racist history as long as I don't look at any historical document earlier than 1990. Just read the new, updated versions and be satisfied with that.



Everything was taken out of context

So when Psalm 137:9 says "Blessed shall he be who takes your little ones and dashes them against the rock!" you have to understand that it is taken from this verse:

Remember, Lord, what the Edomites did
on the day Jerusalem fell.
“Tear it down,” they cried,
“tear it down to its foundations!”
8 Daughter Babylon, doomed to destruction,
happy is the one who repays you
according to what you have done to us.
9 Happy is the one who seizes your infants
and dashes them against the rocks.

Clearly smashing infants onto rocks is gleeful and joyous if it is the babies of your enemy! Now that everything is put into context, I completely understand. Like when the children were mauled by bears and torn to pieces, well they DID mock a man for being bald. Context.

And I find it amusing that you're warning atheists not to cherry-pick verses.



Well that's just how things were back then

This is my grandma's favorite excuse. "Well they did take slaves up to a cliff and throw them off one by one but you have to understand that's just how things were back then! Sex slaves, and prisoners, and rape, and genocide, those were just the trendy activities of the day. Rape was like xbox to these people. It's something they did to pass the time!" I may have been paraphrasing my grandma there, but the fact remains that morals are not subjective to the culture and the time period. Rape was as wrong then as it is today. The fact that God's chosen people got direct orders from God himself to "take the spoils of war as you please" and to "smash the kingdom into bits and slaughter every man, woman, and child" is indicative of the type of being God was. "It is an abomination for man to lie with another man as a woman." God only hated fags back when it was fashionable. He's since learned the error of his ways.


I see you've spent your time away from the forum at Bible Camp.

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"We see you cry. We turn your head. Then we slap your face. We see you try. We see you fail. Some things never change."
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07-03-2013, 04:49 PM
RE: General tips for atheists seeking to refute the Bible via scriptures.
What a nasty, mean spirited post after KC tries to be helpful. Of course, I would define nasty and mean spirited based on the Bible. How did you come to define dashing infants on rocks as bad from a naturalist's perspective? Really no harm done if one eats an infant if you are a strict Darwinist, right?
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07-03-2013, 04:54 PM
RE: General tips for atheists seeking to refute the Bible via scriptures.
(07-03-2013 12:23 PM)kingschosen Wrote:  WHAT NOT TO DO

Do not quote from dynamic translations or the King James Version.

As I've said before, the KJV was the *only* version for over 200 years. If it was so terrible, then God is an awful editor and publisher. He didn't push anyone to supplant it or replace it for quite a long time, or direct its translators to do a better job with translation.

And of course for over 1000 years before that, the Latin vulgate was the only version, and that couldn't even be read by the common person who spoke his or her nation's vernacular. Once again, this shows God to be a pretty awful publisher if He really wanted everyone to be familiar with his words.

I don't entirely disagree with how awful the KJV is, but have you ever wondered why an omnipotent God would rely so heavily on a poor translation for so long? Different translations of the bible don't even have to be a thing -- God could have made his holy book readable to anyone in any language, much like "speaking in tongues" but in written form.

On another note, it's too bad that you don't like NIV either because that is the most popular version among English-speaking countries.

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07-03-2013, 05:00 PM
RE: General tips for atheists seeking to refute the Bible via scriptures.
(07-03-2013 12:23 PM)kingschosen Wrote:  3) Applicable Audience

WHAT NOT TO DO

Quote verses under the assumption that everyone is the intended audience. Much of the Bible is written to a specific group or an individual person. It is wrong to make the assertion that what is conveyed is meant for all.

Again, this makes me question God's editing skills. If it wasn't meant for a general audience, then it ought not to have been published to a general audience. Wasn't God supposedly in charge of what ended up in the bible? Isn't it "God-inspired"? Your analogy is poor because you chose to compare it to something that wasn't published or written with instruction in mind. Because instruction, lessons, and laws are interspersed with narrative, it's quite easy to assume that people will derive lessons from parts that were not intended to be read that way. God, being all-powerful, could have made it clear... but He didn't. Color me shocked.

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07-03-2013, 05:20 PM
RE: General tips for atheists seeking to refute the Bible via scriptures.
(07-03-2013 04:54 PM)Starcrash Wrote:  
(07-03-2013 12:23 PM)kingschosen Wrote:  WHAT NOT TO DO

Do not quote from dynamic translations or the King James Version.

As I've said before, the KJV was the *only* version for over 200 years. If it was so terrible, then God is an awful editor and publisher. He didn't push anyone to supplant it or replace it for quite a long time, or direct its translators to do a better job with translation.

And of course for over 1000 years before that, the Latin vulgate was the only version, and that couldn't even be read by the common person who spoke his or her nation's vernacular. Once again, this shows God to be a pretty awful publisher if He really wanted everyone to be familiar with his words.

I don't entirely disagree with how awful the KJV is, but have you ever wondered why an omnipotent God would rely so heavily on a poor translation for so long? Different translations of the bible don't even have to be a thing -- God could have made his holy book readable to anyone in any language, much like "speaking in tongues" but in written form.

On another note, it's too bad that you don't like NIV either because that is the most popular version among English-speaking countries.
Not going to disagree with you. Don't know why He would do something like that. Then again... "time" isn't an issue with God nor salvation. The Bible and understanding its content aren't a requirement for salvation. It's only there to help us understand God more fully.

I don't know... maybe it wasn't necessary for those people of the time to read and understand theology... maybe God revealed Himself in other ways to those that were elect at that time.

And yes, I know the NIV is a favorite... still though... it's pretty shoddy.

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07-03-2013, 05:36 PM
RE: General tips for atheists seeking to refute the Bible via scriptures.
(07-03-2013 05:20 PM)kingschosen Wrote:  Not going to disagree with you. Don't know why He would do something like that. Then again... "time" isn't an issue with God nor salvation. The Bible and understanding its content aren't a requirement for salvation. It's only there to help us understand God more fully.
I love your rational thinking. Admitting that you don't have an answer is harder than you may think (because it comes easy to you). I rarely do it.

Time may not be an issue with God, but it would clearly be an issue for a creature with a limited lifespan (and thus limited time to become saved). I'm curious... how would one know how to become a Christian without having any access to the bible or its contents? This is the question that one must grapple with when considering cultures and tribes that have lived in this very situation. The bible has a response to this -- that God can be seen even in nature itself -- but that's not true about "God", just the existence of "a god" (and clearly some of us can look at nature and come to different conclusions).

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07-03-2013, 05:47 PM
RE: General tips for atheists seeking to refute the Bible via scriptures.
(07-03-2013 05:36 PM)Starcrash Wrote:  
(07-03-2013 05:20 PM)kingschosen Wrote:  Not going to disagree with you. Don't know why He would do something like that. Then again... "time" isn't an issue with God nor salvation. The Bible and understanding its content aren't a requirement for salvation. It's only there to help us understand God more fully.
I love your rational thinking. Admitting that you don't have an answer is harder than you may think (because it comes easy to you). I rarely do it.

Time may not be an issue with God, but it would clearly be an issue for a creature with a limited lifespan (and thus limited time to become saved). I'm curious... how would one know how to become a Christian without having any access to the bible or its contents? This is the question that one must grapple with when considering cultures and tribes that have lived in this very situation. The bible has a response to this -- that God can be seen even in nature itself -- but that's not true about "God", just the existence of "a god" (and clearly some of us can look at nature and come to different conclusions).
Wow. Thanks for the compliment. Didn't expect that.

Well, scripture does say that it's about "God" not just a "god". Those that see gods in nature didn't have God reveal Himself to them.

It's a "by faith" argument. God will reveal Himself to those whom He has chosen (per Romans).

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07-03-2013, 05:56 PM
RE: General tips for atheists seeking to refute the Bible via scriptures.
(07-03-2013 05:36 PM)Starcrash Wrote:  
(07-03-2013 05:20 PM)kingschosen Wrote:  Not going to disagree with you. Don't know why He would do something like that. Then again... "time" isn't an issue with God nor salvation. The Bible and understanding its content aren't a requirement for salvation. It's only there to help us understand God more fully.
I love your rational thinking. Admitting that you don't have an answer is harder than you may think (because it comes easy to you). I rarely do it.

Time may not be an issue with God, but it would clearly be an issue for a creature with a limited lifespan (and thus limited time to become saved). I'm curious... how would one know how to become a Christian without having any access to the bible or its contents? This is the question that one must grapple with when considering cultures and tribes that have lived in this very situation. The bible has a response to this -- that God can be seen even in nature itself -- but that's not true about "God", just the existence of "a god" (and clearly some of us can look at nature and come to different conclusions).
The ones that end up in heaven were meant to be there. Predestination.
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