How to defend against this.
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05-06-2012, 10:36 PM
How to defend against this.
I have very recently come out to my mother as an athiest and although she very much dislikes it, she still loves me for who i am. We had a small discusion on what I now believe/do not believe in. She asked me to read the bible due to the fact she has heard of athiests which are converted once doing so, which I did not respond to at the time but later stated "If I do not believe in the Muslum ways why should I study their book to prove to myself that it is not true". We later started to talk about instances in the bible (which I have never read through) where I could help my possition, but there is a certain rhetoric in which I could not dispute due to my lack of knowledge (and honestly she could not state where it was) as that "What your talking about was in the old testiment and somewhere it states that all which was O.K. then is not now." I know I could find it, if I were to just read the bible, but as stated earlier I do not need to read it to prove to myself it is false.
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06-06-2012, 06:15 AM
RE: How to defend against this.
From what I understand, your mother claimed that the old laws in the Old Testament were only relevant in Biblical times, and not now, right?

Here's one strategy.
1) Ask her whether she adheres to the Ten Commandments.
2) Ask on what basis does she accept the Ten Commandments.
3) Ask her on what basis does she reject the other hundred plus laws stated in the Bible.

The answers of part 2 and 3 will most likely contradict. Use that to your advantage.

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Have you ever tried taking a comfort blanket away from a small child? - DLJ
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06-06-2012, 06:37 AM
RE: How to defend against this.
Question, if God (because the bible is the word of God afterall) gave one set of rules for a certain time period, and another for another, why has he not given us a new set recently. Afterall there is a very very huge difference in society between now and 20years, 30-40-200-500 years ago.

He doesn't seem to keep up-to-date very well does he.

And if you want to shut her up just throw out the line about 12,000 dead children each day and how God helps her favourite sports team win but not save all those children from famine/disease/disasters/etc.. and how can she believe in a God that happily slaughters those children. Then if you feel like you're on a role through in the holocaust, twin towers or whatever else into the mix. And then when she says "it's god's plan" because she will I guarantee it, ask her if she then supports all this brutal murder in God's plan upon which she either will say yes in which you say how disappointing you are in her, how can she be in favor of such cruel acts, or she says no in which you respond telling her that she has to because it's "god's plan" (do the "" hand gesture for effect).
That'll get her off your back.

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06-06-2012, 06:39 AM
RE: How to defend against this.
The first rule of debating these issues as that there is never a winner. No side goes home saying "You know, they were right. I'll change my opinion now". When trying to deal with a religious mindset the best you can hope to do is make information available to your mother from time to time and give her the opportunity and permission to think about the issues you raise. Perhaps one day she will start to question one or more of her beliefs.

That said, it sounds like you are in a great situation. If she loves you and accepts you as you are then you can't really hope for much more than that. It seems that all she is doing is asking the same of you as you would ask of her: That you allow her to make information available to you and give you the opportunity and permission to think about the issues she raises.

From your other post I'm going to assume you are an adult and are financially independent of your parents. That would suggest to me that you have either read the bible in the past or have had plenty of opportunities to read it. I certainly wouldn't discourage reading the Bible, as especially the old testament can help clarify the kind of religion that Christianity is and the kind of god it is they worship. The bible seems pretty clearly out of whack with a modern understanding of the nature of god.

Give me your argument in the form of a published paper, and then we can start to talk.
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06-06-2012, 06:45 AM
RE: How to defend against this.
Hi, welcome to the forums.

It sounds to me as if you are just starting out thinking more about this and your reasons for believing as you do.

I'd say you can simply write off the entire Bible in your own mind from the comfortable position of not buying into what superstitious barbarians in the desert
wrote down 2000 years ago.

From there, I would say you should do a lot of reading, a lot of thinking, and expose yourself to as much science as you can before you try to go toe to toe in an argument with someone about it.

The first things I would suggest to you to investigate are:
1.) What is evidence, and what conditions does it have to meet to be considered credible in the academic and scientific communities.
2.) Basic understanding about where the stories in the Bible really came from - i.e. the Canaanite and Sumerian pagan religions, and how they were compiled by Judaic sects in Israel after the fall of the kingdoms.
3.) Go read Dawkins' "The God Delusion" cover to cover. It is a very generalized book meant for the masses but he makes very good topical points that are easy to understand and get you thinking about what you want to explore next in more detail.

Don't be too hard on your mom. She's wrong but....she's still your mom.
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06-06-2012, 06:48 AM (This post was last modified: 06-06-2012 06:53 AM by DLJ.)
RE: How to defend against this.
Also, which 10? The first 10 (the well-known ones) were destroyed by Moses. I think there 613 altogether.
I think you could have a go at reading it for the following reasons:
  1. It will make your mum happy
  2. It is useful to know the myths if you get in to debates
  3. The experience of other literature (stuff like Shakespeare) is enhanced through knowledge of the King James version (or older ones)
  4. It helps to understand some world views i.e. you can see where much of the Quran came from
  5. It's funny (in a very sick kinda way)
If you want an argument for not reading it, here's a really good tome from 1911 from LK Washburn
http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/35539 called Is The Bible Worth Reading and Other Essays.

And his answer is "no" btw. It has some lovely one-liners like:

No church has all the truth, and no school either. So-called religion merely shows where the search after truth ended. But truth is the infinite reality, and it will always be for man to find.

No man ever yet tore down his altar and found a God behind it.

Every kiss of love imprinted by a mother's lips on the face of her babe gives the lie to the Christian doctrine of total depravity, and every gift which the heart of pity lays in the hand of misfortune brands this doctrine as false and a libel on our human nature.

It is a waste of words to talk about God and what he knows and what he does. No man knows that God does anything, that God knows anything, or that there is a God.

Lots of men who would not associate with infidels for fear of contaminating their characters are not yet out of jail.

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06-06-2012, 06:58 AM
RE: How to defend against this.
(05-06-2012 10:36 PM)paxilpwns Wrote:  I have very recently come out to my mother as an athiest and although she very much dislikes it, she still loves me for who i am. We had a small discusion on what I now believe/do not believe in. She asked me to read the bible due to the fact she has heard of athiests which are converted once doing so, which I did not respond to at the time but later stated "If I do not believe in the Muslum ways why should I study their book to prove to myself that it is not true". We later started to talk about instances in the bible (which I have never read through) where I could help my possition, but there is a certain rhetoric in which I could not dispute due to my lack of knowledge (and honestly she could not state where it was) as that "What your talking about was in the old testiment and somewhere it states that all which was O.K. then is not now." I know I could find it, if I were to just read the bible, but as stated earlier I do not need to read it to prove to myself it is false.
Jesus contradicts himself in the New Testament. At one point, he mentions how the old testament is null and void, but then at another point he mentions that he did not come to take away the Old Testament and that it is still valid.

Of course, this all assumes that Jesus even existed.

I encourage to do some Googling to find the specific passages. It will help you educate yourself and be better prepared the next time something like this comes up.

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I am the unconverted
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06-06-2012, 07:37 AM
RE: How to defend against this.
(06-06-2012 06:15 AM)robotworld Wrote:  From what I understand, your mother claimed that the old laws in the Old Testament were only relevant in Biblical times, and not now, right?

Here's one strategy.
1) Ask her whether she adheres to the Ten Commandments.
2) Ask on what basis does she accept the Ten Commandments.
3) Ask her on what basis does she reject the other hundred plus laws stated in the Bible.

The answers of part 2 and 3 will most likely contradict. Use that to your advantage.


Even the Jews did not implement strictly the 100 plus by-laws you are referring to.

"Leading rabbis in Reform Judaism, Conservative Judaism, and Orthodox Judaism tend to hold that the death penalty is a correct and just punishment in theory, but they hold that it should not generally be used (or not used at all) in practice. "
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capital_and...punishment

I historically see the “10 Commandments” as the Constitution of a new nation of the Israelites.

A nation without a written law is likely to crumble.
Precisely the first step by a new nation is to create a constitutional law.

Those hundred plus you are referring to are the by-laws.

and reading those by-laws:
If the Israelites really implemented the capital punishment: there will be no more people left in the nation of Israel.
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06-06-2012, 07:42 AM (This post was last modified: 06-06-2012 09:49 AM by Bucky Ball.)
RE: How to defend against this.
(05-06-2012 10:36 PM)paxilpwns Wrote:  She asked me to read the bible due to the fact she has heard of athiests which are converted once doing so, which I did not respond to at the time but later stated "If I do not believe in the Muslum ways why should I study their book to prove to myself that it is not true". We later started to talk about instances in the bible (which I have never read through) where I could help my possition, but there is a certain rhetoric in which I could not dispute due to my lack of knowledge (and honestly she could not state where it was) as that "What your talking about was in the old testiment and somewhere it states that all which was O.K. then is not now." I know I could find it, if I were to just read the bible, but as stated earlier I do not need to read it to prove to myself it is false.


If one only reads the bible texts, (an approach to bible texts called "fundamentalism", which is manifest in "bible study") you basically are left with a very small, and completely incomplete piece of the big picture. If you actually study about the bible, and the ancient cultural contexts in which the texts arose, the position that the texts have some ultimate authority is called into question. Only reading the Old Testament, for example, leads one to think that Yahweh was a cruel, grudge holding, impotent, and capricious deity. Placing all that went on in the cultures from which the texts arose is enlightening. So the question is, where do you find out about all that, and where to start.

Your point about these text having no authority to speak to you, (as the Qu'ran may not to a non Muslim) is right on. What I think you're referring to when you mention "all which was ok then is not now", is actually backwards. Christians assert that Jesus was the fulfillment of the "old law", (albeight inconsistently, and only when convenient). They say that Jesus, in fulfilling the old law, ushered in the "new age", and the new law, (they often point to the letter Saul of Tarsus wrote to the community of Christians he established in Corinth, in Greece, "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." St. Paul, 2 Corinthians 5:17). So Christians assert they are no longer subject to the requirements, and duties of the "old law", (or what they call the First Covenant ... see the S.T. Ranger thread for our discussion about that really was all about). Why Saul did that is a long story, (why and when and how Christianity pulled away from Judaism, during a long and complicated historical process). If you're really interested in all that, there are some here who can help you with clues about where to look into that.

Christians conveniently omit mentioning that their (supposed) founder, Jesus, (Yehua bar Joseph, or Yushua ben Josef), actually said : "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill", (Matthew 5:17), and Matthew 5:18 "For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled." So I guess you're left to question "how would you know Yeushua was the "fulfillment", and what was meant by "fulfillment?" (and a scholar might ask "why and when did the literary device of placing those words in his mouth, by a gospel writer, originate, and what did it mean in context of it's historical environment". (Matthew was written for a specific Jewish audience which was fighting about exactly this issue).

So that's probably what the reference to the "ok then is not now" you were thinking of. It's not really "ok then, not not", it's more like "ok then, but no longer necessary now". ??

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein
Those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music - Friedrich Nietzsche
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07-06-2012, 06:47 AM
RE: How to defend against this.
I appreciate all of your responses.
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