Growing doubts about my Christian faith and the Bible.
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26-06-2011, 01:15 PM
RE: Growing doubts about my Christian faith and the Bible.
Personally I think happiness comes from within, no gods can grant you happiness more then they can grant you a million dollars. We make our own destinies and luck, and with that, our own happiness.

Truly though, happiness is a passing emotion, satisfaction in life, now that's a keeper, and that can only be achieved by doing your best and following your heart.

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26-06-2011, 08:12 PM
RE: Growing doubts about my Christian faith and the Bible.
(25-06-2011 10:38 AM)Lion of the Netherlands Wrote:  it's a good idea to also look into the arguments of christians(I'm quite sure that's what you mean with looking at the other side), because besides talking to my parents, I've mainly read an listened to what the atheists say, so I'm also going to look at the christian side.
The reason why I'm not really looking into the arguments from the other side lately is because I've heard the arguments from the christian side all my life, and it's really interesting for me to learn what atheists are saying, because I've avoided their arguments my whole life until now, and when I couldn't avoid it I simply didn't think about it. But I still think it's a good idea to look into both sides well, so I'm also going to read more about the christian arguments.
I definitely understand just suggesting it since if you start only looking at the Atheist side you might forget the other completely. The debates like Hitchens and such on youtube where it's the full hour with both sides debaters are an ok place. But I almost never agree with the christian debaters on anything in those.

I definitely agree with Monkey, great statement. Remember to make sure and focus on your needs and right now it seems you need to understand so keep that as your focus. We have all sorts of wants and they can make us happy to fulfill them, but the only way to be content is to succeed in fulfilling our needs.

I'm not a non believer, I believe in the possibility of anything. I just don't let the actuality of something be determined by a 3rd party.
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28-06-2011, 07:55 PM
RE: Growing doubts about my Christian faith and the Bible.
(25-06-2011 08:15 AM)Lion of the Netherlands Wrote:  
(24-06-2011 05:32 AM)Lilith Pride Wrote:  In case you're subscribed to this thread what happened Lion? Haven't heard from you in quite a while. I hope everything is going ok.

Thanks for your interest in my situation, I'm ok, and in the last couple of days I had some conversations with my mom and dad about some of the questions that I have. For example, asked my mum if the situation wer're currently in(where we have a 'free will' and are able to choose for or against God), is really better than a paradise on earth where everyone is always doing what's good(I imagined it as a worldwide garden of Eden, without the forbidden trees and talking snake of course). If the current situation where there is so much suffering throughout the whole history, and where a mayority of the people will end up in hell(according to most christians), was really God's divine plan for the world, I must admit that it has gotten seriously out of hand(a look at the 20th century with it's world wars and dictatorial regimes is enough to come to that conclusion) I had asked a question about the concept of 'free will' to my dad before I started to seriously question my beliefs, and he said that God didn't want us to be robots, but I'm really wondering if such a situation wouldn't be better for everyone. I told my mother that, the more I'm thinking about my beliefs and the Bible, the less logical it all seems to be(she didn't judge me for saying that, and I think she understands it so she's okay with me asking questions). I also talked to my dad about a couple of things, and we did a parallel reading of the resurrection story in the four gospels(Mattew, Mark, Luke, John). It was really eye-opening, because Only the gospel of Mattew talks about an angel rolling the stone away, and two guards what were scared, while the other gospels don't mention such important facts. And there are also other differences such as the number of angels and the people visiting the grave. My dad doesn't seem to have any problem with such contradictions, while it raises questions to me such as: If the four accounts contradict on certain facts, which one can we read as the version that represents the truth?
One thing that my dad said this morning really bothered me, and he said that you can ONLY have happiness in your life if you know Jesus. Huh
Such statements just don't make sense, although I admit that a lot of people had their lives changed when they were born-again and experience a lot of happines from it. I expressed my disagreement with his statement, but he replied saying: People who know Jesus and you lose it, want to have it back, because it gives you so much happiness.
I didn't want get into an argument with him over that, so I just quit with the conversation.

I'm also done watching the Evid3nc3 series on youtube, and it was really intersting to me, and I think he told his story really well, and I also liked the animations he used to explain certain things(like how his belief in God was built up from multiple beliefs that fell one by one).

I'm sure my mother is okay with me questioning my beliefs, because she admitted that I have my first crisis of belief, and she doesn't judge me for it, but she understands it and is open to my questions. She also admitted that she has more questions than answers, so she also has diffuculties with believing sometimes. I think my dad doesn't even know that I'm questioning my beliefs, because I only go to him with a few quetions that I have, while I talk with my mum about a lot more questions. I also think he wouldn't understand it if he finds out, because he simply sees no reason to have doubts.

Hi lion, I have been reading your thread with interest. The following snippet about Jesus' resurrection may help you put the story into context...

The Romans crucified Jesus. It must have been a devastating and humiliating end to the hopes of his supporters. Most of the authors and editors of the Gospels could not have their hero simply disappear from the scene after such an unfortunate demise. They had to spruce the story up to make Jesus really special. Some of them had heard a rumour Jesus had risen from the dead, which would have come as no surprise to them because a god in those times was more or less expected to rise from the dead. The Egyptian god Osiris, the Greek god Dionysis and the Persian god Mithras, all of whom were popular in Jesus’ day, had risen from the dead too.
The resurrection of Christ proved the divinity of Jesus. It is the central tenet of the faith; the one most important belief upon which Christianity is based. The original authors of Matthew, Luke and John probably had no hesitation including this fabulous event in their gospels. What about the original author of Mark? Mark’s gospel was the first to be written, and the one that other gospel authors used to base their biographies of Jesus on. Obviously then, Mark’s description of the resurrection would have been the most original, and one that relied on sources close to Jesus. Yet Mark’s gospel only devotes the second half of the last chapter to it, as if it was just tacked on like an afterthought. There are only 20 or so lines describing what many people consider to have been the greatest event in the history of the world. Why might that be?
Many scholars claim the style, content and character of the last twelve verses in Mark (the resurrection story) are different from the rest of the gospel. They say at 16:9 there is an abrupt end to the narrative flow and the style loses its descriptive quality. Mary Magdalene is spoken of (16:9) as if she had not been mentioned before, although she has just been twice alluded to (15:47, 16:1). What is more, the resurrection story in Mark is absent from the two oldest Greek manuscripts, from the oldest Latin manuscript, the oldest Syriac manuscript, and from about one hundred early Armenian manuscripts, as well as the two oldest Georgian manuscripts (written 897 CE and 913 CE). In many later manuscripts that include verses 9-20, asterisks or obeli mark the verses as doubtful or spurious. What is more, Clement of Alexandria (ca. 150-ca. 215 CE), Origen (ca. 185-254 CE) and Tertullian (ca. 160-ca. 225 CE), three very well known and important early Christian scholars, are completely unaware of the existence of a resurrection story in Mark. Eusebius and Jerome, also prominent Christian scholars from the early and late 4th century are aware of the existence of a longer ending, but note that it is absent from their earlier Greek transcripts.

There is an explanation. The resurrection ending (16:9-20) was added to the end of Mark by an unknown author sometime after the latter part of the 2nd century, a fact admitted by most New Testament scholars in the past century! The importance of this fact is staggering! The original authors of Mark created the first biography of Jesus but failed to mention he rose from the dead!

The Jerusalem Bible admits a genuine resurrection ending in Mark is questionable. It states
“The ‘long ending’ of Mark, vv.9-20 is included in the canonically accepted body of inspired scripture. This does not necessarily imply Markan authorship which, indeed, is open to question.” (Jerusalem Bible). Even the Catholic Encyclopedia cannot ignore the evidence and states;
“Catholics are not bound to hold these verses (16;9-20) were written by Saint Mark.” They also make the following rather ridiculous claim as one of several possible explanations for the lack of a resurrection ending;
“If, then, Mark concluded with verse 8, it must have been because he died or was interrupted before he could write more…” Imagine Mark sitting at his desk, pen poised, just about to create history by writing the final 20 lines of his epic when...oops...he dies! A little trail of ink is all that is left where he was going to write about the resurrection. If you are able to believe Mary died a virgin you can probably believe this “must have” happened too.

The real reason was there was no resurrection.

Church leaders who know about this think that since the last 12 verses are "canonically authentic" there is no need to compromise the faith of their flock. That is dishonest.

The Catholic encyclopedia goes on to state
“…whoever wrote the verses, they are inspired, and must be received as such by every Catholic.” They admit they don’t know who first documented Jesus’ resurrection. I wonder how they justify this unknown person was “inspired”, as they don’t even know who he was? I assume they are guessing he was “inspired” by God. Yet wouldn’t the story be more believable if he had been inspired by the facts? Consider the tone of the Catholic commentary. Impartial historians do not order their readers what to believe as if they were children; they present facts and opinions and allow their readers to draw their own conclusions. The authors are obviously not impartial historians, and are commanding their readers how to think using an authority they assume they have rather than one they have earned with their scholarship.

The resurrection of Jesus only became a popular belief in some circles in the early second century. The original followers of Jesus did hope he was going to return, but never believed he had already done so, because he never actually did.
The same interpolator(s) who added the resurrection ending to Mark also added lines into the earlier parts of the gospel in which Jesus predicts he will rise from the dead. The authors of the other Gospels included a resurrection story because by the time they were writing the resurrection myth had been widely circulated, although it is quite possible their resurrection stories were added at a later date too.
All four Gospels give markedly different accounts of the sequence of events after the death of Jesus. The reason is they didn't have this part of Mark's story to copy, so each made up their own, and they are all different. Matthew adds an earthquake at the moment Jesus dies and the corpses of holy men walking around Jerusalem and appearing to many people. He thought Jesus wasn’t the only one to rise from the dead! I wonder what these walking corpses got up to? Did they help clean up the rubble from the earthquake? Did they join their relatives around the dinner table? We are not told.

The first reason the Catholic Encyclopaedia gives for claiming the Gospels are truthful is
“First of all, they commended themselves by their tone of simplicity and truthfulness, which stood in striking contrast with the trivial, absurd, or manifestly legendary character of many of those uncanonical productions.” I will leave the reader to judge the veracity of that claim for him or herself. The other three authors don’t mention the absurd story of walking corpses, an impossible omission if it really happened.

Luke and John have the risen Jesus appearing in Jerusalem, far more prestigious than Galilee, which was considered a backwater, where Mark has him appearing. There are numerous other inconsistencies. Christian apologists have tried to reconcile the four very different stories with each other, with no success.
Jesus did have brothers, two of who, James and Jude, have probably written their own letters in the Bible. If one’s brother had recently risen from the dead, there’s not much else worth talking about. One’s head would be spinning with the awe of discovering the afterlife was real, but neither mentions the resurrection. Nor do we find any testimony to the resurrection in the epistles of Peter or John. They too were written before the tradition of the resurrection was widely known.

Paul, whose name presides over one third of the New Testament, believed in a resurrection, but this is how he describes how he got to know God’s son;
“Then God, who had specially chosen me while I was still in my mother’s womb, called me through his grace and chose to reveal his Son in me…” (Galatians 1:15-16 NJB). He was writing roughly 20 years after Jesus died. He gave no description of Jesus. His experience of God’s risen son was not a genuine physical reappearance of a once dead, but now risen, Jesus, but emerged from his own imagination that he thought was inspired by God.

There is no first century writer other than Paul outside the Gospels (which in any case were probably first written in the second century) who mentioned a risen Christ. If a resurrected Jesus had appeared many historians would have documented the fact, yet they don’t. The resurrection of Jesus is a myth!
What about all the millions of people who are convinced Jesus rose from the dead? The authors of Christian literature about the resurrection just assume it happened, or they dissect the four gospel stories in minute detail and then attempt to reconcile them with each other (unsuccessfully), as if that proved they were true.
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29-06-2011, 05:57 PM
RE: Growing doubts about my Christian faith and the Bible.
If anyone thinks it is unlikely to think that first century Christians would "embellish" the Jesus stories, all they need to do is listen to modern day Christians. I am repeatedly amazed at the intellectual dishonesty displayed by Christian apologists and ministers.

“There is no sin except stupidity.” Oscar Wilde
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29-06-2011, 08:52 PM
RE: Growing doubts about my Christian faith and the Bible.
Keep us posted, Lion. I just finished reading through this entire thread and I'm astounded
by your willingness to explore and your desire for further understanding. It really makes me
happy to see discussions like this taking place on forums, this is exactly what forums are for.
I was never religious at any point in my life, as I wasn't raised in a religious home, so it always
interests me to hear what those who did grow up in religious homes have to say. You've been
very reasonable throughout this thread and I sincerely hope you continue to explore both sides
and eventually reach a comfortable position in your understanding. I'm also 17 and it brings me
great joy to see others searching so avidly for a sense of understanding.

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01-07-2011, 05:49 AM
RE: Growing doubts about my Christian faith and the Bible.
(26-06-2011 08:12 PM)Lilith Pride Wrote:  I definitely understand just suggesting it since if you start only looking at the Atheist side you might forget the other completely. The debates like Hitchens and such on youtube where it's the full hour with both sides debaters are an ok place. But I almost never agree with the christian debaters on anything in those.

I definitely agree with Monkey, great statement. Remember to make sure and focus on your needs and right now it seems you need to understand so keep that as your focus. We have all sorts of wants and they can make us happy to fulfill them, but the only way to be content is to succeed in fulfilling our needs.

I've watched a debate between Christoffer Hitchens and William Lane Craig on youtube(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FofDChlSILU) and it was really interesting to see the arguments from both sides respresented in a debate.

(28-06-2011 07:55 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  Hi lion, I have been reading your thread with interest. The following snippet about Jesus' resurrection may help you put the story into context...
[...]
There is no first century writer other than Paul outside the Gospels (which in any case were probably first written in the second century) who mentioned a risen Christ. If a resurrected Jesus had appeared many historians would have documented the fact, yet they don’t. The resurrection of Jesus is a myth!
What about all the millions of people who are convinced Jesus rose from the dead? The authors of Christian literature about the resurrection just assume it happened, or they dissect the four gospel stories in minute detail and then attempt to reconcile them with each other (unsuccessfully), as if that proved they were true.

Thanks for your interesting oulook on the resurrection story, and thanks for reading my tread. I can't say I'm convinced that the resurrection story was a myth, buth I think it's certainly interesting to read about it, and see what others have to say about it, instead of just looking at what my own side says.

(29-06-2011 05:57 PM)nontheocrat Wrote:  If anyone thinks it is unlikely to think that first century Christians would "embellish" the Jesus stories, all they need to do is listen to modern day Christians. I am repeatedly amazed at the intellectual dishonesty displayed by Christian apologists and ministers.

Do you mean by 'intellectual dishonesty' that Christian apologists and ministers use fallacy's, or do you mean something else by it?

(29-06-2011 08:52 PM)Mindprowler Wrote:  Keep us posted, Lion. I just finished reading through this entire thread and I'm astounded by your willingness to explore and your desire for further understanding. It really makes me happy to see discussions like this taking place on forums, this is exactly what forums are for. I was never religious at any point in my life, as I wasn't raised in a religious home, so it always interests me to hear what those who did grow up in religious homes have to say. You've been very reasonable throughout this thread and I sincerely hope you continue to explore both sides and eventually reach a comfortable position in your understanding. I'm also 17 and it brings me great joy to see others searching so avidly for a sense of understanding.

Thanks for you interest in my tread, and for being positive about my exploration. I'll keep you all updated on my situation as i'm learning more.
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01-07-2011, 09:40 AM (This post was last modified: 01-07-2011 09:44 AM by Lilith Pride.)
RE: Growing doubts about my Christian faith and the Bible.
The Hitchens debates are pretty good, though I've not seen many where the christian side seems to have much to offer. For me apologetics just doesn't cut it. In some of them, the chrsitian/whatever side doesn't even get to defending their religion. Often they spend the whole time attempting to prove deism as it's easier to do. I've always seen the stories as just a book though, even if I can understand religious people well enough since I've lived around so many.

If you've not read elsewhere, I put the book down in the first chapter of Genesis. I have a lot of respect for life in general and when they claimed humans are over everything as god is over them I couldn't take it. I don't want a hierarchy, and I Have never felt it to be proven that there's anything extra special for humans. That's my little guard against most religions =p. That and the fact that almost the entire book is putting women down.

Since this forum is for The Thinking Atheist have you listened to Seth's podcasts? He is a very understanding and calm person. TTA 18: Apologist Acrobatics for instance will give you a better idea of how we find apologetics to sound. And TTA 16: Grief Without God really is a very inspiring hour. It took me a while before I checked out the podcasts, but they are a pretty easy going run towards different ideas. They also reference a lot of things you can look into. Something important Seth says in the apologist acrobatics one is that it would seem just disproving one story should make the whole bible questionable.

I know Mark's takes are kind of tough to digest, but do realize that the rapture Jesus talked about was one that people living around him would experience. He was one of those people spreading the end is near messages. Along with the inconsistencies in the stories it gets hard to look at. Remember this, every time you read a story from the bible think about what people who do the same thing today are considered. Don't accept it as just that was a different time, because this is the book of proof. Nowadays this kind of person ends up homeless and drunk, sometimes in a (psych ward). Christians laugh at people who are like this anymore. The mystical part of the bible seems to be that it happened long ago, but people often act similarly despite innovations. The attitudes remain in tact. You can find people to base a modern day Jesus off of. Many have found their answers by comparing biblical history to real history. If that is an interest of yours we have plenty of people here who can give you a lot of information to read through.

Have you become rather convinced the earth is not young yet? You came here while teetering on that question. I would actually suggest reading some Sumerian stories (the Sumerians being a civilization older than 6000 years =p) Their stories are often referenced in later religions, and I think you'll like the types of messages they were saying. Very fantastical stories, but it was a long long time ago. Sumeria is one group that was not so misogynistic, women were empowered in their religion. Most of the western religions put women down heavily. in their religion Incubi (incubus=male and succubus=female) were simply another life form much more powerful than themselves. They are not what people would call demons nowadays, because they can be good or bad as they see fit.

If you want to know what sort of life philosophy I look at since we've talked a lot I consider myself somewhat animistic. Animism is easiest to understand as a way that many small tribes see the world. If you're familiar with Native Americans or a large number of tribes throughout the world. A religion where one of the main ideas is that there is indeed something imperceptible (generally they use the word spirit) which exists in absolutely everything. In some animistic religions the spirits are bad, but I much prefer the religions where the spirits are all seeking harmony, and it is important for the human to maintain the balance. The Ainu (a group in japan prior to the Japanese) saw "gods" within the essence of everything, there was a bear god, and a snow god, and every bear for instance was a representative of the true spirit of bears.

Remember that all of these religions were considered very real during their times, in their cultures, and ask what makes them fake ones as opposed to christianity. The fact that many believe in it currently just states that it shares the same position these others used to share. I've found many more acceptable religions to choose from than the Abrahamic ones, which I just plain see as violent. I see it as violent by looking at the people who follow it. I see it as violent by reading it and not giving any part forgiveness for it's age. I've been called a demon before, because the bible says that men and women were created in gods image so since I'm not a man or a woman I must be a demon. Everything I find important almost, is discouraged within the book.

Even Jesus' message ends up being said more as listen to the church because they know, than saying question everything. The message of peace is a pretty agressive stance as he literally declares a revolution, which from those not sharing his ideas would be seen as a revolt. Even if Jesus never cast a stone, his messages convinced others to. And in his own book, he looks down on his disciples and many different sorts of people. he can't even sound nice in his own book. Which, by the way is the only book which discusses him. The best reference outside of the bible for pre-christianity Jesus information is the occasional use of the term Khristos which is just talking about a messiah. Many Jews took that title, there is no reason to attribute it to one specific one.

Sorry for the long post I just really want to be helpful in giving you a lot of information. To me it is most important to help those who are young. It's very hard to find answers as a young person when most look at you as a child, and with how hard my search for many answers was I take great pains in helping youths to find their answers a bit easier than I did. Hope this helps.

I'm not a non believer, I believe in the possibility of anything. I just don't let the actuality of something be determined by a 3rd party.
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01-07-2011, 08:00 PM
 
RE: Growing doubts about my Christian faith and the Bible.
(28-06-2011 07:55 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  The authors of Christian literature about the resurrection just assume it happened, or they dissect the four gospel stories in minute detail and then attempt to reconcile them with each other (unsuccessfully), as if that proved they were true.
I'm currently writing a defense of the Gospels, but its weeks, if not months away from being finished. I would be interested in your opinion when it's finished.
(01-07-2011 05:49 AM)Lion of the Netherlands Wrote:  Thanks for your interesting oulook on the resurrection story, and thanks for reading my tread. I can't say I'm convinced that the resurrection story was a myth, buth I think it's certainly interesting to read about it, and see what others have to say about it, instead of just looking at what my own side says.
It's interesting to know that one of the leading authorities on the resurrection actually became a Christian because of the resurrections historical validity. His name is Gary Habermas and has written numerous books on just that one subject. There's a podcast entitled "Apologetics 315" were they interview him concerning the resurrection, you should check it out. He has built a construct solely on the agreed opinions of liberal scholars and still validates the resurrection. Awesome stuff. There's also a podcast called "Unbelievable?" and they have one or two interviews with him as well. Let me know if you can't find them and I'll send you a link, but there fairly easy to locate.
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02-07-2011, 07:30 AM
RE: Growing doubts about my Christian faith and the Bible.
I would definitely suggest posting the links within the posts hunted, you're more likely to get casual readers to check them out. Just because we have strong personal stances on things doesn't mean we aren't occasionally going to reach out to alternative views.

It's not proselytizing to post a link inside of your post. We all share ideas, and I'm sure some will look at yours.

I'm not a non believer, I believe in the possibility of anything. I just don't let the actuality of something be determined by a 3rd party.
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05-07-2011, 07:56 PM
 
RE: Growing doubts about my Christian faith and the Bible.
(02-07-2011 07:30 AM)Lilith Pride Wrote:  I would definitely suggest posting the links within the posts hunted, you're more likely to get casual readers to check them out. Just because we have strong personal stances on things doesn't mean we aren't occasionally going to reach out to alternative views.

It's not proselytizing to post a link inside of your post. We all share ideas, and I'm sure some will look at yours.
Sorry been away for awhile, wish I had more spare time to post here. I'll look for the links, though there podcasts? Ah... I'll figure it out. Thanks for the reply, very generous of you. Heart
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