Questions to a Bible-Believing Christian
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01-09-2010, 06:05 AM
 
RE: Questions to a Bible-Believing Christian
Quote:The Mormon religion was started by a con man named Joseph Smith. This is a documented fact. Yet it is a thriving religion with people who are just as convinced that they are right as you are convinced that you are right.

Does the fact that the Egyptian god Horace being born of the virgin Isis on Dec. 25 more than 1500 years before the time Jesus is said to exist not give you doubts?

I'm right there with you, No J. Be it Mormon, Catholic, Muslim...These religions are not what I consider the truth. I am a non-denominational Christian, raised Catholic, but through my studies have come to understand how man has inserted himself into the truth for whatever reason. I didn't know about Horace and Isis, but am aware of many lagends, traditions, stories that seem to mimic the Bible. I know that Jesus was not born on Dec. 25th and it wasn't on year 1 BC or 0 or 0 AD or whatver you'd call that year! In an effort to appease many early converts, the Roman Catholic church incorporated many pagan rituals into their doctrine. So my point is, my goal is to always seek the truth through a personal relationship with God, that avoids all the fluff. There will always be things I don't understand, but God tells me in Proverbs 2:1-5:
1 My son, if you accept my words
and store up my commands within you,
2 turning your ear to wisdom
and applying your heart to understanding,
3 and if you call out for insight
and cry aloud for understanding,
4 and if you look for it as for silver
and search for it as for hidden treasure,
5 then you will understand the fear of the LORD
and find the knowledge of God.

It's an irresistable promise that I hope I can achieve through obedience, and dedicated interaction and study.

Guys, I know there's no middle ground here, and appreciate your patience with me and your genuine interest in this debate. I know it will sometimes be hard to understand my point of view since we are looking at the world through different lenses. I have a christian world view vs. an atheist world view. I promise not to lose my cool if you guys do the same (I'm not suggesting anyone has).
I had some questions for all of you. It seems like a good number of you became atheist after being raised (for lack of a better term) religious. What was it that made you change your mind? Not being able to totally prove there is a God? Being able to totally prove that there isn't a God? Did you perceive irreconcilable issues with the Bible? Lack of trust in organized religion? Peer pressure (don't laugh, it's possible!)?

I guess I'm asking because I know a lot of people who are disenchanted with Christianity (particularly Catholics) because of dogma, traditions, intolerance, abuse scandals, etc. So I'm wondering if some are confusing God with the imperfect humans who mess up all too often.

Anyway, I said when I joined here I wanted to see what made you guys tick, so I appreciate your answers!
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01-09-2010, 06:49 AM
RE: Questions to a Bible-Believing Christian
Hey Barley!

Quote:Did you perceive irreconcilable issues with the Bible?

While this isn't the reason I became an atheist, it is the reason I stopped being a Christian. Even after I stopped being a Christian there was about a three month period of "There has to be a God--I'm not that stupid".

If you'd like specific examples, a few of the major ones (although honestly speaking there would be too many that I found after reading objectively to list here) include:
  • Jesus' received punishment was infinitely smaller than even one person's eternity in hell--let alone everyone who has ever existed.
  • While the Bible makes it very clear that God didn't want the Israelites to intermarry with the gentiles, he orders them to take virgin women captive "for yourselves". A common argument against this is "The reason why God didn't want them to intermarry was because of their culture and practices", but I doubt the hatred they felt after having their entire nation massacred and then later raped as war bounty made them receptive to Israelite belief. =P
  • I was raised as a fundamentalist, believing that the Bible was completely correct and inerrant, but there are numerous mistakes in the Bible that can be traced back to the original Greek, like a claim in Matthew that the words of the Prophet Jeremiah were fulfilled in an an act of Jesus when that scripture isn't found anywhere in Jeremiah but in Zachariah. It's a minor point, but it shows the fingerprints of man all over the Bible. This isn't the only instance of mistakes like this that an omniscient God would not have made if he breathed the words.

Quote:Not being able to totally prove there is a God?

This one is the one that made me go "...Oh, you know, that makes sense," and "converted" me into an atheist, although I would reword it as "Seeing no evidence for the existence of God". I was stubbornly opposed to this one throughout all of my doubts--my family is very heavy in numbers of "prayer warriors" and always gives thanks to God for the "blessings" and all the bad things that happen. I believed these "blessings" to be proof of the existence of some kind of power or force or deity of magic, but later I realized everything could be simulated just the same by a milk jug.

So that's my answer, I guess! Thanks for taking your time out to get to know both sides of the story. It's easy to sit still and decide something is completely right without looking into it, but true progress is made only when you not only call something true, but find that it is and build from there.

Take care! =)

"It does feel like something to be wrong; it feels like being right." -Kathryn Schulz
I am 100% certain that I am wrong about something I am certain about right now. Because even if everything I stand for turns out to be completely true, I was still wrong about being wrong.
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01-09-2010, 06:52 AM
 
RE: Questions to a Bible-Believing Christian
(01-09-2010 06:05 AM)BarleyMcFlexo Wrote:  <cut>

I had some questions for all of you. It seems like a good number of you became atheist after being raised (for lack of a better term) religious. What was it that made you change your mind? Not being able to totally prove there is a God? Being able to totally prove that there isn't a God? Did you perceive irreconcilable issues with the Bible? Lack of trust in organized religion? Peer pressure (don't laugh, it's possible!)?

I guess I'm asking because I know a lot of people who are disenchanted with Christianity (particularly Catholics) because of dogma, traditions, intolerance, abuse scandals, etc. So I'm wondering if some are confusing God with the imperfect humans who mess up all too often.

Anyway, I said when I joined here I wanted to see what made you guys tick, so I appreciate your answers!

I have a rather lengthy post on my blog that explains why I am an Atheist. If you click the "www" button, it will take you to my blog. The entries you are looking for (if you are looking) are titled "Why I am an Atheist"

But before I had scientific reasons for doubting god, I had oral ones. Being raised an Atheist was much more interesting than becoming one. I got thrown out of friend's houses at an early age for spouting my parent's disbelief. And I truly believe that the influence of a parent at an early age carries with you for a very very long time.

I don't see how the same god that condoned slavery could have founded this "Christian Nation" that ultimately rejected slavery. We would no longer be a "Christian Nation". The bible condones genocide (and when Moses is directed to do it, CELEBRATES it), infanticide, hate and bigotry.

I have logical problems with religion as well. If God is all powerful, why aren't we already in heaven?

If God is all powerful, how did Satan rebel in the first place?

If God is all knowing, then he knows my beliefs before I do, so conversion is impossible.

If God is all present, how did he stand by and watch so many of his chosen people die in Germany?

These are the beginnings of my problems with the Christian God. I have problems with other deities, rest assured.

But the only answer that fits (for me at least) is that religion and the books are all man made to explain things that we didn't have knowledge about before. Now that we have knowledge, the religion becomes unnecessary, like a cocoon or a discarded snake's skin. We can emerge newer, and better than we were before.

Just sayin'.
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01-09-2010, 07:24 AM
RE: Questions to a Bible-Believing Christian
Quote:I have not read the whole Bible, but I have read a good chunk of it. I think I know where you are coming from on this. The whole "Bible Atrocities" thing? I can say many things about it. Like, if I said "Hitler was an evil man who ordered the torture and killing of millions of Jews", I am stating a historical fact about an atrocity. Does that mean I condone it, or that I am like Hitler? What about incest, slavery, polygamy, etc. You are right, the Bible has tons of instances of these things, and even either seems to or actually does condone it. All I can say is, I don't have all the information. Was slavery in 4000 BC the same as slavery in 1850? Was our genetic makeup more amenable to incest back then, as it was clearly necessary to populate the earth? Maybe? At least maybe.
So you know about the bad stuff in the bible, thats good. So, before Jesus, God wanted sins to be atomenented by sacrificing a certain amount of certain kind of animals and punishing the ones who mock God by stoning them to death, but then God sends himself in the form of Jesus to earth to suffer so people wouldnt have to pay for their sins by sacrificing animals and punishing people cruerly. So God is not all-knowing because he changed his mind and he enjoys pain. Does that make sense to you?

Quote:There is virtually no mathmetical possibility that all the prophecies in the Bible that have come true could happen by chance. Take prophecies about Jesus' birth. There are upwards of 70 of them. All made and recorded before he was born.
And what makes you think Jesus was a historical person and that the biblical stories about him are exactly as things happened, even though none of the writers of the new testament never saw Jesus.
Quote:What was it that made you change your mind?
Looking for answers. Religion doesnt give answers to the big questions.

Correct me when I'm wrong.
Accept me or go to hell.
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01-09-2010, 07:33 AM
 
RE: Questions to a Bible-Believing Christian
I wasn't raised atheist, but what I heard, saw, and read about in christianity made no sense to me. If there was a supreme being of the sort claimed, you'd expect that the whole business would make perfect sense, but there are logical conundrums, contradictions, and clearly mythological 'explanations' all through the bible. If this is the word of god, then he's evidently not very 'supreme'!
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01-09-2010, 08:26 AM
RE: Questions to a Bible-Believing Christian
Goodness me, where do I begin? Well first off this thread now has the possibility of derailing into "why did we atheists become atheists" but I'll try to answer that question quickly. Once upon a time I was a Bible-believing Christian and maybe later more of a cultural Christian. After listening to various claims by theists and apologists and reading Lee Strobel's "The Case for Christ" I began to look up rebuttals to their arguments and "evidences." What I found were logical and rational rebuttals that more or less destroyed their arguments and that often (if not always) what they proposed as evidence for specific claims were either a) not evidence, b) not good evidence (as in what we might hold to be good evidence in a court of law or scientific investigation) or c) completely deceptive.

For example, I read "The Jury Is In" which is an online rebuttal to Josh McDowell's "Evidence That Demands a Verdict" (which is a book that keeps getting passed around where I'm at). I'll admit I have not read all of McDowell's book, but he basically seems to go into more detail of some of the things that Strobel covered in his book. "The Jury Is In" often (if not always - it's been awhile since I've read it) debunks McDowell's claims, evidence, and arguments. http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/j...wder/jury/

When I went about to find out how people (Christians, pastors, preachers, etc.) who claim to have knowledge about God and the history of the Bible and so on - actually have this knowledge I find that they don't. It is often based on logical fallacies, assumptions, traditions, non-evidence, falsehoods, and at times, outright lies.

Add to all that the fact that you (or anyone, I mean "you" in the general sense) would have a difficult time demonstrating that Jesus actually existed as a person, let alone did all the things that Christians claim he did, and that he was the Son of God (or God himself, that's always another confusing topic) and it's quite easy to stop believing in it. Further reading, thinking, listening to some different opinions and arguments, and reading some more caused me to give up belief all together.

Phew, that went longer than I intended. So back on topic.

Earlier you mentioned that "some parts of the Law are good and should still be kept." Two questions.

1. Jesus doesn't seem to state anywhere that his sacrifice was going to stop some parts of the Law from being followed. I don't have the verse handy, but I believe he stated "not one letter of the Law shall pass away." So how can you state that some of the Law doesn't need to be followed anymore?

2. How do you determine which parts of the Law should still be kept since it doesn't appear that God or Jesus gave any criteria for this decision?

Also - welcome to the forum. I can't seem to get any believers in my real life to discuss these things, so hopefully I can pick your brain from time to time.

Our brains deceive us on a regular basis, so we have to find ways to fight back.
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01-09-2010, 08:35 AM
RE: Questions to a Bible-Believing Christian
If you are interested in why I am an atheist, basically I have been for most of my life -17 in january- I was always a very analytically thinking kid, I went to the same catholic school for all of elementary and we had a bible class every day before lunch.
It started when I was 7 -said this before in another post- when the teacher told us rain is caused by god weeping for the damned souls of the non-believers, when I brought up precipitation and the water cycle I was removed from the class and sent home for being disruptive and a negative influence -the irony, it hurts-... sorry for forming my own opinions?

I guess the reason why I am an atheist today is because I had information being presented to me in the form of the bible that didn't match what was in piles of science/astrology/chemistry/geometry etc etc.
I only had a basic understanding of all the different forms of science but thats all you need to disprove god and the bible, all the information they gave to me was complete garbage and I was frowned upon and labelled "damaged" because I don't believe in god.

Hey brother christian, with your high and mighty errand, your actions speak so loud, I can't hear a word you're saying.

"This machine kills fascists..."

"Well this machine kills commies!"
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01-09-2010, 08:55 AM
RE: Questions to a Bible-Believing Christian
Quote:Like, if I said "Hitler was an evil man who ordered the torture and killing of millions of Jews", I am stating a historical fact about an atrocity. Does that mean I condone it, or that I am like Hitler?
Forgot about this one. Of course it doesnt mean you condone it, but what does this have to do with biblical atrocities?

Quote:Was slavery in 4000 BC the same as slavery in 1850?
Probably. Slavery changes a little from culture to culture, but it's still slavery.

Quote:Was our genetic makeup more amenable to incest back then, as it was clearly necessary to populate the earth? Maybe? At least maybe.
How could it be possible?

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Accept me or go to hell.
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01-09-2010, 10:27 AM
 
RE: Questions to a Bible-Believing Christian
Forgive my bluntness, but I do have a job to attend to, so I will be brief in my answers. I do apreciate the dialogue.

Quote:Jesus' received punishment was infinitely smaller than even one person's eternity in hell--let alone everyone who has ever existed

I know this is just one example of perhaps tens or hundreds of similar ones you may have, but I felt particularly compelled to address this one. I wholeheartedly diasgree with this conclusion. Scripture tells us that everything was created through and by Jesus (that part of the Trinity), so Jesus was fully God before he abdicated his throne to become human here on earth. Imagine giving up your godliness to become a human! And for eternity too. That too me is a huge sacrifice, comfortably matching and exceeding the punishment of an eternity in hell.

Quote:If God is all powerful, why aren't we already in heaven?

You quote logic, but I can't see the logic in questioning why an authority figure would do one thing over another. It's His will? He wanted his children to be prepared for the awesomeness of heaven? I think my main answer would be, thank God he gives me a choice to love him and go to heaven, rather than making me a puppet that is programmed to love Him and predestined to go to heaven without any input from me.

Quote:If God is all powerful, how did Satan rebel in the first place?

Again, choice. He gave us a choice out of love.

Quote:If God is all knowing, then he knows my beliefs before I do, so conversion is impossible

I do not see any logic flaws here. Just because God knows what you will do or think does not mean it is still not your decision. And you won't know what he knows until it actually happens! Or did I misunderstand you?

Quote:If God is all present, how did he stand by and watch so many of his chosen people die in Germany?

This is a common question that I ask myself often as well. "Why does God let bad things happen?" My reasoning is that a) again, he let's us decide what to do. We are not pre-programmed, and thus as humans will make mistakes. b) I will not presume I know know God's reasons for anything He does unless He tells me, but many times he let's His chosen people be conquered by the enemy because they have fallen away from Him. Heck, he made them roam the desert for 40 years because they did not trust Him when He told them to enter the promised land the first time. c) just whosestandard are you using when determining what is acceptable punishment or discipline? When talking about things that God does, we should be using His standard. We might never know how the Holocaust played into His plan. And please do not interpret this as my approval of what happened, I just don't know the big picture.

Quote:So God is not all-knowing because he changed his mind and he enjoys pain. Does that make sense to you?

Not everything abut God makes sense to me, but how could it? He defies human understanding! To your point, He didn't change his mind. He knew what was going to happen. To explain briefly, God is perfect, holy, nothing but light. There is no evil or darkness in him. He cannot be associated with dark, evil and sin because of his nature. When sin was introduced into the world, his justice demanded death. But because of His love, he spared his creation from the penalty of sin through the sacrifice of animals, and ultimately His Son, God himself. People often complain that God is not loving, but they forget that he is perfectly just. If he went back on his word, he'd ba a liar.

Quote:And what makes you think Jesus was a historical person and that the biblical stories about him are exactly as things happened, even though none of the writers of the new testament never saw Jesus.

Untrue. The Gospel of John, John's letters, and Revelation were all written by Jesus' disciple John "The one Jesus loved". Peter, Jesus' best friend is believed to have advised Mark on his Gospel.

Quote:Jesus doesn't seem to state anywhere that his sacrifice was going to stop some parts of the Law from being followed. I don't have the verse handy, but I believe he stated "not one letter of the Law shall pass away." So how can you state that some of the Law doesn't need to be followed anymore

That's in His sermon on the mount. I am quite familiar with that passage. Matthew 5:18. Keep reading, and you will see that Jesus qualifies this with "until everything is accomplished". Fast forward to His crucifixion. "It is finished" (John 19:30). His death fulfilled the Law and brought on the New Covenant. That's why his followers are not Jews, but Christians.

Quote:How do you determine which parts of the Law should still be kept since it doesn't appear that God or Jesus gave any criteria for this decision?

Good question! I can answer that 2 ways. Firstly, Jesus does give some guidance. He told one man to follow the Commandments, but the greatest commandment was to love. Secondly, the answer to that comes with study, prayer, and obedience. Just like I can't bench press 400 pounds right now, if I trained every day, ate right, got plenty of sleep, and kept at it, eventually I would be able to. Similarly, you can't expect to meet a girl (or guy) and know everything about her/him and want to marry her/him in the first 5 minutes. That's why God above all wants us to know Him, so we can love Him more. I hope I will learn more each day about what Gods wants from me. Keep in mind, though, that God isn;t asking me to be a know-it-all. He wants me to believe in Him. Big difference there. But if I truly beilieve in Him, then I will want to learn more and do my best to be obedient to him.

Thank you for your civility and willingness to discuss and let me speak on your forum!
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01-09-2010, 10:56 AM
RE: Questions to a Bible-Believing Christian
(31-08-2010 08:50 PM)BarleyMcFlexo Wrote:  Unbeliever, I think I answered why I believe the Bible (prophecy - but there are many other reasons as well).

Yeah, I forgot to erase that bit of my post.

See, I use a technique called "fisking" when examining posts critically. I break each post down into chunks and examine those chunks, taking each statement on its own and checking it for logical issues. This means that I am responding to the bits at the beginning before reading through to the end. Usually, if something turns up later which reflects on the things at the beginning, I go back and change or erase what I said there before I post, but I missed it this time. My apologies.

Quote:As for the claims that many prophecies are incorrect, how can you be so sure?

The bolded bit of my post was a link to a site with the answer to this question.

Quote:And keep in mind that the Bible tells us that there will be false prophets and how to distinguish a true prophet from a false prophet.

So all the Old Testament prophets were false, then? If they were true prophets, they wouldn't have been wrong.

Quote:Also I believe that your claims about the New Testament and Jesus are incorrect. The New Testament was based on Jesus and His Gospel, which fulfilled the Old Testament and created a new covenant

Sorry, but this doesn't work.

The existence of a historical Jesus Christ, Son of God, has not been established. You cannot use the existence of this person as a basis for rejecting my argument when this person's existence has not been proven.

Quote:It has not been altered. That's actually a Muslim claim that is totally false.

Actually, no, it's not. They have been altered. It has been conclusively proven...

Quote:The dead sea scrolls were a very important discovery that confirmed the transcripts, not disproved them.

...by the Dead Sea scrolls.

Quote:RE: radioactive decay rates. I have heard of many instances where it yielded false results (I can dig them up if you wish)

Please do so.

Quote:Using these techniques, a freshly dead animal was calculated to being some 30,000 years old.

You may find this video enlightening.

Quote:Besides, if the process measures the amount of "whatever" now, and then goes back in time using the decay rate, which may or may not be constant (I don't know...just a possibility), then how do you know how much "whatever" was there in the first place>

Because the element doesn't just decay into thin air.

See, when a radioactive element decays, it changes from one element into another (or one isotope to another). For example, uranium-235 decays to lead-207. By examining the total amount of these elements, we can determine how much uranium there was originally. Get it?

Quote:"So your god created the universe in such a way that it looks exactly as if he hadn't" I don't follow you there. On the contrary, he created the Universe and told you and I exactly how he did it!

No. You say that he did. You haven't proven it.

Quote:RE: Incest & genetics. God created man and woman in His own Image, that means good and perfect.

Unproven. You can't use this as the basis for an argument. You can't use something that is unproven to prove something else that is unproven.

Quote:Before the fall there was no death, suffering, aging, etc.

Evidence?

Quote:So as Adam and Eve, and their offspring reproduced, obviously they had to reproduce together, but their bodies were still closer to "perfect" than we are, and so they were able to overcome the problems related to incest.

How?

This is the key point. What possible mechanism can allow a population of two people to breed to the point where they have seven billion descendants without the entire colony collapsing into inbred mental retardism and other genetic defects? It's no good to just say that they could. You have to show how this could happen. Once you've done that, you have to prove that it did happen.

Quote:I know I'm probably going to get ridiculed for this belief, but before you call me crazy, please just consider one thing: is this explanation at least possible?

No.

Quote:Why Christianity and not some other faith? To name a few, other religions are man made

So is Christianity.

Quote:contradict themselves

So does Christianity.

Quote:have false prophecies.

So does Christianity.

Quote:I guess in general, I would encourage you to stop looking for "gotcha's"

Sorry, but that's exactly what we do here.

This site is called "The Thinking Atheist", after all. It is a site which encourages rational critique of religion and beliefs. We do this through logic. Those things which you refer to as "gotcha's" are, in reality, logical fallacies, patches of faulty thinking in your beliefs.
Besides, take away our ability to say "OBJECTION!", and this would just be all of us sitting around hugging - and that's not very interesting, now is it?

Quote:So I hope you can cut me a break when I say "I don't know", but also give me credit when I raise possibilities that cannot be refuted.

Why should we?

Possibilities that cannot be refuted are just that - possibilities. It is an irrefutable possibility that Lucky the Leprechaun lives outside the universe with John Lennon and the other Beatles, in a yellow submarine that they use to tour the Realms Outside for their super-inter-galactic band, "Lucky and the Jailhouse Hussies".
You cannot disprove this. Is this a good reason to believe that it is true? Of course not.

For further illustration, I encourage you to read up on the burden of proof.

"Owl," said Rabbit shortly, "you and I have brains. The others have fluff. If there is any thinking to be done in this Forest - and when I say thinking I mean thinking - you and I must do it."
- A. A. Milne, The House at Pooh Corner
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