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13-11-2012, 09:39 AM
Noob Question
To those of you that don't know, I am very new to the forum here and I need a little direction. I was recently having a discussion with a believer and we were talking about the death penalty. They made the statement that they didn't agree with the death penalty and I pointed out the various areas in the bible that it promotes stoning, etc. Their response to me was, "that was under the old covenant, we are under the new covenant now".

So, here is my question. As a new 'debater' for atheism how do you argue the differences in the covenants?

Thanks for the positive responses beforehand!!
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13-11-2012, 09:52 AM
RE: Noob Question
Matthew 5:17-20
17 Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. 18 For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19 Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

20 For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.

'Nuff said? Drinking Beverage

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13-11-2012, 09:58 AM
RE: Noob Question
Letting go of the whole "is the bible even valid" approach, I would start by:

1. Asking him to cite the verses that he's using to make that argument. Jesus is very wishy-washy on why he's here and what the new rules are. Here are a few examples:

Matthew 10:34 - "I come not to bring peace, but to bring a sword"
Matthew 5:17 - "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them."
John 14:15 - "If you love Me, keep My commandments."

2. Ask him if he thinks the 10 commandments (Old Testament) are still applicable, and if he says yes, why other Old Testament laws aren't;

The problem with the Bible is that it's an old, contradictory, vague collection of primitive writings. You can cherry-pick it to validate almost any angle you can think of. Why do you think there are so many different schools of thought among just Christians? Regardless, your friend has to accept the following:

1. His god flooded the Earth;
2. Jesus didn't speak out against slavery or condemn the lower status of women;
3. God told Moses and numerous others to murder for him, and they did;
4. The Passover is the celebration of the murder of an entire city of first-borns;
5. All other religions are apparently false;
6. God quietly watched us for thousands of years, then finally decided to sacrifice himself for our flaws... that he created;
7. God lost a wrestling match;
8. Donkeys and snakes can talk;

And on and on...

I wouldn't ever approach a debate by trying to "win." Just ask your friend why he believes what he believes, put him to task on bad or weak answers, and learn a little about each other.

If Jesus died for our sins, why is there still sin? If man was created from dust, why is there still dust? If Americans came from Europe, why are there still Europeans?
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13-11-2012, 09:58 AM
Noob Question
To continue this debate you'd need some basic information about the Bible. Use the google machine is you don't already know what the Old and New Covenants are. If you know a lot about the Old Testament, ask which Old Covenant are they referring to? Adamic? Noahic? Abrahamic? Davidic? And so on.
But more basic than that, ask them why they think homosexuality is a sin (assuming they do). Ask them why they believe in following the Ten Commandments. Ask them why they believe in tithing ten percent of their income (assuming they do). These are examples of Old Covenant material that New Covenant Christians still practice.

It was just a fucking apple man, we're sorry okay? Please stop the madness Laugh out load
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13-11-2012, 10:11 AM
RE: Noob Question
Thanks everyone. I don't want to "win" a discussion I just don't like to be unprepared. It seems to me that many believers regurgitate the information that has been fed to them without any type of background etc. I believe I might have been over thinking their statement and contributing it to a dispensational theological viewpoint. In retrospect I doubt they even know what that is.
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13-11-2012, 12:04 PM
RE: Noob Question
Hey, Wolf.

First, the notion that all sects of Christianity share a single interpretation of the Bible is demonstrably false. So any argument of, "Well the Bible says," might seem like it would work, maybe even that it should work, but it won't work because the dogma of a particular sect lies in the interpretation, not the source. That's an important distinction.

For example, the Catholic Church believes in original sin, the United Church of Canada does not. Mel Gibson's Catholic theology presented in The Passion of the Christ, is markedly different from the theology of the Church in Rome and represents a schism about 800 years old.

As a simpler example, if I say "fuck off" perhaps I mean it jokingly, maybe it's an inside joke between us, a holdover from my foul-mouthed army days, maybe I'm saying it to the heavens, maybe I'm telling you to fuck off, the possible intentions are endless. But if you interpret it as a personal attack, you may have an angry emotional response. But that emotional response comes from the interpretation, not the source. This of course doesn't mean that the source and the interpretation are unrelated, the interpretation is a reaction to the source, but that there is a necessary discrepancy between the two.

Something like a particular sect's position on capital punishment, again, lies in their interpretation of the Bible, not the Bible itself. Some sects read about the stonings and they're all about it. Other sects dismiss capital punishment outright because Jesus is love and that overrides all other concerns.

So, as frustrating as this might seem, in order to challenge a Christian's ideological assumptions, one must first understand what that ideology is. Again, it's based in interpretation, not some perfect 1:1 understanding of the Bible.

So if he says, "We're in the new covenant," find out what that means. Understand the construction of his ideology so that you can then deconstruct it.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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13-11-2012, 12:46 PM
RE: Noob Question
It's already been said, but a short summary:

1. All forms of Christianity today practice "Old Covenant" stuff, like the 10 commandments - they just pick and choose. "I like the 10 commandments so I keep that, I don't like stoning disobedient children to death so I won't keep that". So it really is NOT about "old" vs. "new" covenants, but rather about cherry-picking what parts of their mythology they want to enforce.

2. Jesus didn't create a "new covenant" at all, he just took the old stuff and said we're going to keep all that, but here's some new stuff to add to it. See the two posters above who quoted Matthew 5:17, among others, to confirm that Jesus didn't throw away anything from the "old covenant". So in short, the "new covenant" includes everything in the old covenant plus more (new) stuff from Jesus. So they really should say "Original Covenant" and "Revised Covenant" since it's only a revision, not a replacement.

Given that, the believer with whom you were discussing this clearly had no real idea of what he/she was talking about. You could use this info to educate that believer, but odds are that he/she will simply ignore you and continue cherry-picking their favorite bits. So don't expect to win such a debate. Best you can realistically hope for is to open their eyes a little bit and maybe they will start asking a few questions of their own rather than accepting everything on blind faith just because the guy at their church says so - but don't even count on that.

"Whores perform the same function as priests, but far more thoroughly." - Robert A. Heinlein
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15-11-2012, 11:44 PM
RE: Noob Question
I find the easiest one is to ask if they agree with the 10 commandments. If they say yes (they always do), I tell them that they are OT as well not NT. I rarely have to take it farther than that, but I am always willing to.
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16-11-2012, 01:33 AM (This post was last modified: 16-11-2012 02:07 AM by Bucky Ball.)
RE: Noob Question
The business of being "freed from the law" came from the letters of Paul, especially the one to the Romans. The entire idea of it, was hotly debated by the early church, (in Acts), so clearly they did not know for sure, what Jesus' view on the subject was. He obviously had not made himself clear. Actually Jesus, (being an apocalyptic preacher, thought the end times were immanent, so the question was unimportant to him. Jesus thought the end times were immanent. Paul is contradictory on the subject. When it's convenient he says they are freed from it, but when he wants to use it , he keeps it. Paul said salvation comes from faith, not works, (ie keeping the law).
But now we are released from the Law, having died to what was binding us, and so we are in a new service, that of the spirit, and not in the old service of a written code." Romans 7:6. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_the_Apostle

But when discussing the place of women, as he hated "uppity" women", he said they were still bound by it. There are numerous places where Paul says that women must still follow the law. In 1 Corinthians Paul contradicts himself both about the law, and the role of women in church. He says: "Let the women keep silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be in submission, as the Law also says. If there is anything they desire to learn, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is a disgrace for a woman to speak in church."

Jesus and Paul also disagree :
Romans 7:2-3
For example, by law a married woman is bound to her husband as long as he is alive, but if her husband dies, she is released from the law that binds her to him. So then, if she marries another man while her husband is still alive, she is called an adulteress. 1 Corinthians 7:39
A woman is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to marry anyone she wishes, but he must belong to the Lord.
However, Jesus said that there could be a condition in which a divorce could occur…

Matthew 5:32
But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, causes her to become an adulteress, and anyone who marries the divorced woman commits adultery. Matthew 19:9
I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery."

So Paul needed to make up his mind, and since the gospels had not been written yet, when he wrote Corinthians, he would have no way of knowing what would be put in them.

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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16-11-2012, 05:55 AM
RE: Noob Question
(13-11-2012 10:11 AM)Wolftyr72 Wrote:  Thanks everyone. I don't want to "win" a discussion I just don't like to be unprepared. It seems to me that many believers regurgitate the information that has been fed to them without any type of background etc. I believe I might have been over thinking their statement and contributing it to a dispensational theological viewpoint. In retrospect I doubt they even know what that is.
I'm begging you not to get into an us vs. them mentality, because it's an easy step from there to irrationality. You don't like the idea that they "regurgitate information", but you'll often find yourself doing the same... after all, not all of us have the time to re-invent the wheel on every philosophical question by contemplating every answer for ourselves. I'd ask that you think critically, and try to see your answers from an outside perspective. Would your argument be persuasive to you if coming from a believer? Are you accusing your opponents of something that you are doing yourself? Just be careful, man.

My girlfriend is mad at me. Perhaps I shouldn't have tried cooking a stick in her non-stick pan.
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