Theists using the bible as argument: please dissect my rebuttal
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11-01-2017, 01:19 PM
RE: Theists using the bible as argument: please dissect my rebuttal
(11-01-2017 01:09 PM)Szuchow Wrote:  
(11-01-2017 01:00 PM)morondog Wrote:  There's a quote in the book Wild Swans by Jung Chang, where the authoress makes friends with some hardcore Mao supporter, at a time when politics in China was a bit dicey, but she said something that I always remember (I was reading it at a time in Zimbabwe when politics was a bit dicey too) to the effect of that by this time she'd realised that whatever ideologies people espoused, the more important thing was whether or not they were a kind person. The rest is interesting and all, but life is richer with more friends IMO.

Can't agree with such view. If someone would be Mao, Stalin or Hitler supporter then I wouldn't give a shit about how nice they were, ideology they espouse would show their true color - niceness to some, death, hunger and suffering to others deemed subhumans, parasites, or class enemies.

Life is hard. People are scared. Lots of people are dumb. Someone sells them a dream. At the time of the book, China was a one party (still is) state where criticism of the communist party could get you disappeared. Scary as hell. Mao supporters were not in short supply, in fact they'd be the majority, and of course there was a climate of fear because you didn't know who to trust if you were a dissident (I have never been there, I quote from memory of the book). In such a time, IMO, you take friendship where you find it.

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(06-02-2014 03:47 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  And I'm giving myself a conclusion again from all the facepalming.
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11-01-2017, 01:25 PM
RE: Theists using the bible as argument: please dissect my rebuttal
(11-01-2017 01:19 PM)morondog Wrote:  
(11-01-2017 01:09 PM)Szuchow Wrote:  Can't agree with such view. If someone would be Mao, Stalin or Hitler supporter then I wouldn't give a shit about how nice they were, ideology they espouse would show their true color - niceness to some, death, hunger and suffering to others deemed subhumans, parasites, or class enemies.

Life is hard. People are scared. Lots of people are dumb. Someone sells them a dream. At the time of the book, China was a one party (still is) state where criticism of the communist party could get you disappeared. Scary as hell. Mao supporters were not in short supply, in fact they'd be the majority, and of course there was a climate of fear because you didn't know who to trust if you were a dissident (I have never been there, I quote from memory of the book). In such a time, IMO, you take friendship where you find it.

Hardness of life and being scared are no excuses for dehumanizing others and supporting mass murderers of which Mao was one. Now I never lived in totalitarian regime, so I can only hope that I wouldn't befriend supporter of genocidal tyrant.

The first revolt is against the supreme tyranny of theology, of the phantom of God. As long as we have a master in heaven, we will be slaves on earth.

Mikhail Bakunin.
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11-01-2017, 01:37 PM
RE: Theists using the bible as argument: please dissect my rebuttal
(11-01-2017 01:25 PM)Szuchow Wrote:  Hardness of life and being scared are no excuses for dehumanizing others and supporting mass murderers of which Mao was one. Now I never lived in totalitarian regime, so I can only hope that I wouldn't befriend supporter of genocidal tyrant.

See, I used to be mates with some kids who were sons of Zimbabwean government ministers. Quite a lot actually. The school where I went was one of the best government schools in Harare, so a lot of them sent their kids there. They were good guys. For them, everything wrong with the country was the fault of the Whites. Even stuff that was demonstrably traceable to their parents antics. The parents were literally robbing the country blind and the kids were *proud* of them for doing a good job in government, because they sincerely believed they were doing the right thing. Personally I could never find it in me to dislike them. Talking to them was a lot like talking to theists though - they had their point of view and they couldn't be swayed.

We'll love you just the way you are
If you're perfect -- Alanis Morissette
(06-02-2014 03:47 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  And I'm giving myself a conclusion again from all the facepalming.
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11-01-2017, 01:40 PM
RE: Theists using the bible as argument: please dissect my rebuttal
Plus for people living at the time, Mao's stuff was believable. Things like the great leap forward, other stuff... It only became apparent that it was genocide later. People don't hear about things immediately. If Mao kills a bunch of people up North, down South they don't hear about it probably for years. Especially if Mao orders the news to be suppressed.

We'll love you just the way you are
If you're perfect -- Alanis Morissette
(06-02-2014 03:47 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  And I'm giving myself a conclusion again from all the facepalming.
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11-01-2017, 01:47 PM (This post was last modified: 11-01-2017 02:01 PM by Szuchow.)
RE: Theists using the bible as argument: please dissect my rebuttal
(11-01-2017 01:37 PM)morondog Wrote:  
(11-01-2017 01:25 PM)Szuchow Wrote:  Hardness of life and being scared are no excuses for dehumanizing others and supporting mass murderers of which Mao was one. Now I never lived in totalitarian regime, so I can only hope that I wouldn't befriend supporter of genocidal tyrant.

See, I used to be mates with some kids who were sons of Zimbabwean government ministers. Quite a lot actually. The school where I went was one of the best government schools in Harare, so a lot of them sent their kids there. They were good guys. For them, everything wrong with the country was the fault of the Whites. Even stuff that was demonstrably traceable to their parents antics. The parents were literally robbing the country blind and the kids were *proud* of them for doing a good job in government, because they sincerely believed they were doing the right thing. Personally I could never find it in me to dislike them. Talking to them was a lot like talking to theists though - they had their point of view and they couldn't be swayed.

That's why I'm not fond of people thinking that they are doing good job, or people saying something about greater good. I like those who doubt, even or rather especially in their own goodness.

Edit: As for knowing I think that people knew thanks to who they are being killed even if they blamed not the Tsar but his underlings as saying go. Though those who knew of this events only from press might have had different idea. I read only one or two books on Mao China so I can't say much.

The first revolt is against the supreme tyranny of theology, of the phantom of God. As long as we have a master in heaven, we will be slaves on earth.

Mikhail Bakunin.
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11-01-2017, 03:13 PM
RE: Theists using the bible as argument: please dissect my rebuttal
I personally don't care if someone believes the Great Pumpkin is a god as long as they shut the hell up about it. If they keep threatening me with meaningless drivel, like the Great Pumpkin is going to send me to hell if I don't believe in Pumpkin bread I'm going to have a few things to say about it.

I don't mind Judaism. I may disagree with the god concept but still, they aren't forcing people to believe in a god if they don't want to. I know several secular Jews and their families seem to accept their atheism a 1000 times more easily than Christian families do.

Shakespeare's Comedy of Errors.... on Donald J. Trump:

He is deformed, crooked, old, and sere,
Ill-fac’d, worse bodied, shapeless every where;
Vicious, ungentle, foolish, blunt, unkind,
Stigmatical in making, worse in mind.
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12-01-2017, 02:22 PM
RE: Theists using the bible as argument: please dissect my rebuttal
(11-01-2017 08:58 AM)unfogged Wrote:  
(11-01-2017 08:05 AM)Aliza Wrote:  Because I don’t agree with their practices, my best argument against Christianity it is to attack the validity of their religion by demonstrating that it doesn’t match up to the foundation it claims to have. It’s really the only tool in my arsenal, so I wield it often. You may have heard my spiel 1000 times, but I can’t rely on a new member to have read my past comments and know what my position is, so I introduce it every time.

This is where it sometimes seems hypocritical. From an atheist perspective, it is like listening to somebody arguing over whether the original Star Trek is "truer" than the Abrams version. When you point out that their claims don't match your claims it carries little weight since I don't see any support for your claims either. yes, the Christians butchered it but you really can't say they are wrong, only that they are different.

When you say that it is your book and your people wrote it so they should know what is means I don't see that that matters. Perhaps the Jews misunderstood and for thousands of years they wrote explanations for their version that were equally wrong and that's why a new prophet was sent to fix the misunderstanding.

I can understand why, from an atheist perspective you might feel that way, but I’m often not addressing atheists when I speak about religion. I’m usually addressing an audience that already accepts that the Hebrew Scriptures are true and that up until the point of Jesus, they believe the Jewish people had the one true religion. If a Christian raises an objection about the validity of Judaism, then I’m happy to use only the KJV to refute their Jesus claims… It’s just that that’s a lot less common. Most Christians I encounter are willing to accept the validity of the Hebrew scriptures because they understand that the foundation of their religion relies on the truthiness of mine.

(11-01-2017 08:58 AM)unfogged Wrote:  It is completely valid to point out that the Jewish interpretation of the Torah/OT is different and that the Christians reworded it in translation. I just see no justification for claiming that either interpretation is better or truer or anything other than older or newer.

Well, I suppose if I’m debating a Christian and I can’t effectively illustrate my argument using the tools at my disposal, then you atheists can attack from a different angle.

(11-01-2017 08:58 AM)unfogged Wrote:  
(11-01-2017 08:05 AM)Aliza Wrote:  Gentiles don’t need to know Torah. If they wish to learn it, they can come to us on their own terms and do so, but what benefit could it possibly offer them?

If there is no benefit to them, what benefit is it to you? The very nature of your question sets up an us-vs-them mentality that sets the Jews apart with a special relationship with their god. It may be that the intent is just that each nation has their own unique relationship but the impression that comes across, at least for me, is often one of privilege.

Judaism is about how you live your life, not about what you think in your head. It’s a huge benefit to me because this is what everyone in my family does. It’s my culture, my heritage and my lifestyle. I like it, and I’m not going to stop. In fact, I’m going to raise my family to be Jewish too. Those little kids are going to love Hanukkah and matzoh ball soup.

I think many other cultures are equally good, but I don’t want to join them. I don’t want to uproot my life and change the way I do everything.

If you have the impression that we’re arrogant or think we’re somehow better than other people, then… sorry. That’s not the internal message. Maybe outside influences are attributing that arrogance to us? We mean to convey a message that every civilized culture is good and we’re all in this together as equal partners and we all have to work together to improve our lots in life. Yes, we think we have a special mission. We think everyone has a special mission… we just kept a record of ours.

(11-01-2017 08:58 AM)unfogged Wrote:  
(11-01-2017 08:05 AM)Aliza Wrote:  If gentiles wish to have a special relationship with G-d, they don’t need the Torah to do that. They also don’t need Torah to live happy, healthy, productive lives, and I generally think they’d be less happy as converts to Judaism than they are as gentiles. (So why bother?)

I don't think anybody needs the Torah to live happy, healthy lives and I generally think everybody would be better off if everybody abandoned religious beliefs. What I don't get is why you think the Jews should continue to accept the Torah or to value it as anything other than cultural history.

Fear of divine retribution isn't a factor, so we obviously see some value in our religion that you do not see, otherwise we wouldn't keep doing it.

(11-01-2017 08:58 AM)unfogged Wrote:  
(11-01-2017 08:05 AM)Aliza Wrote:  Maybe our resistance to share Torah is strange to you because perhaps proselytization is your default expectation.

If I had something that I believed was "Truth" then I think it would be selfish and immoral not to want to share it. Christians take it too far in many cases but in some ways I have more respect for their apparent motivations. This feeds back into the impression that Jews want to keep something they believe is of immense importance to themselves out of a sense or privilege for themselves or disdain for others. Again, I'm not claiming that is the intent but only that it is how it can appear from an outside view.

I can’t imagine why it would be selfish or immoral not to share our religion with outsiders, especially considering that we're not preventing them from joining us.

I don't think non-Jews are flawed and need Torah to fix them and to help them understand the universe. Can't they just get a degree in biology and find happiness and truth in curing cancer? I don’t believe that there is one, single, valid way to live, and suggesting that everyone needs to believe what I believe and act just like me is the ultimate in arrogance. I’d also fear that we’d lose the critical component of diverse thought, which I believe we need in order to progress as a society.

(11-01-2017 08:58 AM)unfogged Wrote:  
(11-01-2017 08:05 AM)Aliza Wrote:  Jews do not mean to share the Torah with gentiles because it’s always been our concern that the gentiles would take it, completely misunderstand it and use it to invent Jesus. The next thing you know, they’ll be out fighting the school board to ban science because of the badly misunderstood creation story in Genesis.

Perhaps if the Jews were more public about sharing their interpretation it would not have gotten so corrupted. I'm certainly not advocating more proselytizing but when you keep the books to yourselves you can't really complain than others misinterpreted them and that the stories diverged over time. What else would you expect?

Every effort the Jews have made to course correct the Christians has resulted in terrible expressions of antisemitism and accusations of deicide. Where's the boon in that?

(11-01-2017 08:58 AM)unfogged Wrote:  
(11-01-2017 08:05 AM)Aliza Wrote:  That said, I think I’ve offered to have a private conversation with individuals (you too, if memory serves) to further explain what Judaism is and isn’t. I compare and contrast Judaism with Christianity here on the forum, but I won’t get too deep into what Judaism is publicly. It’s not why I’m here.

It isn't a question of what Judaism is because that doesn't really matter to me as an atheist (except that I like to understand things) but just that two things keep nagging at me when I read your replies to Christians...
1) when you think you know what something that is fundamental to how things work is it worse to try to push your beliefs on others or to keep quiet and let others flounder?
2) can you say somebody else got the story wrong when you don't have good evidence that you have the story right?

My claim is that Jesus isn’t the Jewish messiah and that Judaism is not how Christians believe it was. My goal is to try to show that Christianity doesn’t back into Judaism the way they think it does, and there is preexisting information that invalidates the Christian message of salvation or eternal suffering based on one’s thoughts and beliefs. I really think that between my posts, and the posts made by others, there is very good evidence to support my position.
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12-01-2017, 06:12 PM
RE: Theists using the bible as argument: please dissect my rebuttal
I think Aliza is an asset to the forum. We often get a lot of scared transitioning Christians on here and having a theist who can calmly explain the differences between Judaism and Christianity is huge in helping those who want to leave Christianity behind.

As Christians, we are taught the OT references Jesus in several places. This is a sticking point for many Christians who want to leave the fold because we are taught that the OT has prophecies regarding Jesus. I know for me in my situation, learning about Jewish beliefs was really helpful in kicking Christianity to the curb. During my transition to atheism, I watched a lot of youtube videos by Rabbi Skobac. I still fangirl over him Wink He rips all the ideas that Jesus is referenced in the OT to shreds. For me, knowing that Jesus wasn't even in the OT was really helpful in unraveling the pieces and seeing the illusion of Christianity.

I'm also someone who frequents Jewish websites (among other religions) simply because I am interested in that sort of thing. I like learning about different cultures and reading religious texts from a purely mythological point of view. Whenever I have been on Jewish websites, I have always been treated kindly by Jewish people, including rabbis who have always taken time to answer my questions and share their knowledge with me. I never felt like they were keeping anything secret from me or keeping anything for themselves, in fact they were always happy to help me or answer my questions and share their beliefs with me. I never felt like it was some secret society I was infiltrating Wink

As far as Aliza being a hypocrite--I don't see it. She does correct Christians who try to distort her belief system, which she has every right to do because they do distort the crap out of her religious texts, but how is that being hypocritical?

While I would love to get rid of religion, it is here on this planet alive and flourishing. The real enemy are those who take the Bible word for word and try to take away the rights of others, stand in the way of science, and spread hate. Theists who science and aren't out to control others lives and spread hate are people we need to align with to stop wacko theists from getting any level of footing anywhere. I see no problems coexisting with rational theists who science.

I'm with MD, it's always nice to have more friends, especially someone as nice as Aliza.
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12-01-2017, 06:22 PM
RE: Theists using the bible as argument: please dissect my rebuttal
(12-01-2017 02:22 PM)Aliza Wrote:  Judaism is about how you live your life, not about what you think in your head. It’s a huge benefit to me because this is what everyone in my family does. It’s my culture, my heritage and my lifestyle. I like it, and I’m not going to stop. In fact, I’m going to raise my family to be Jewish too. Those little kids are going to love Hanukkah and matzoh ball soup.

I was not speaking at all about cultural traditions. Most Jews I've known have been atheists but many still really enjoyed the traditional holidays and foods and all the trappings of the culture. That's all very positive.

What I don't understand is clinging to the belief that the god actually exists. I don't see that you need that to keep the rest.

Quote:I think many other cultures are equally good, but I don’t want to join them. I don’t want to uproot my life and change the way I do everything.

I never intended to imply that you should.

Quote:If you have the impression that we’re arrogant or think we’re somehow better than other people, then… sorry. That’s not the internal message.

I think you missed the point and I may have worded it poorly... I was not implying that Jews as individuals are arrogant but that Judaism can appear that way. The message to outsiders is: god exists and we have a special relationship with him and we are keeping it to ourselves. I think I said a couple of times that it may not be the intent but it can be perceived that way especially when contrasted with the way Christians go around begging people to join them. Both groups think they have a line on the truth but only one actively wants to share it.

Quote:es, we think we have a special mission. We think everyone has a special mission… we just kept a record of ours.

Understood, but growing up I always heard "Jews call themselves the chosen people" and the clear implication was that they considered themselves to be elevated above the rest of us poor bastards. It wasn't until I actually started learning a bit about it that I realized that "chosen" wasn't "preferred" but "given a special task" (I'm oversimplifying I know). The problem is that because Judaism is inwardly focused that message only gets to people outside who care enough to find out. To everybody else it still sounds like the Jews considered themselves to be the preferred nation.

Quote:Fear of divine retribution isn't a factor, so we obviously see some value in our religion that you do not see, otherwise we wouldn't keep doing it.

I don't think I mentioned retribution or fear but, again, I see a lot of value in the culture and traditions but not maintaining the belief and I don't see that as inseparable.

Quote:I can’t imagine why it would be selfish or immoral not to share our religion with outsiders, especially considering that we're not preventing them from joining us.

To be fair, becoming a Jew is nowhere near as simple of a task as joining most other religions but the point again is not that Jews aren't willing to let outsiders in but that any group that isolates itself culturally is bound to be looked at with suspicion by outsiders.

Quote:Every effort the Jews have made to course correct the Christians has resulted in terrible expressions of antisemitism and accusations of deicide. Where's the boon in that?

We're back to where we started with my question of how Jews can course-correct Christians when both are arguing unsubstantiated beliefs. You say they don't understand the Jewish scriptures and they say that you are the ones that misinterpret your own scriptures. My question is whether either side has any basis for saying they have a superior claim. The Jews have a longer tradition but that doesn't add any weight to the claim.

Quote:
(11-01-2017 08:58 AM)unfogged Wrote:  It isn't a question of what Judaism is because that doesn't really matter to me as an atheist (except that I like to understand things) but just that two things keep nagging at me when I read your replies to Christians...
1) when you think you know what something that is fundamental to how things work is it worse to try to push your beliefs on others or to keep quiet and let others flounder?
2) can you say somebody else got the story wrong when you don't have good evidence that you have the story right?

My claim is that Jesus isn’t the Jewish messiah and that Judaism is not how Christians believe it was. My goal is to try to show that Christianity doesn’t back into Judaism the way they think it does, and there is preexisting information that invalidates the Christian message of salvation or eternal suffering based on one’s thoughts and beliefs. I really think that between my posts, and the posts made by others, there is very good evidence to support my position.

I don't think you addressed either question.

There is good evidence that your position is backed by Jewish tradition but, as I said, that doesn't carry any weight as far as I can see. If the story was misinterpreted at the start then the fact that it has been consistent since then doesn't make it right.

You are absolutely correct that Christians and Jews have different interpretations of Jewish scripture and of the nature of Jesus. From a Jewish perspective they have it wrong. From a Christian perspective you have it wrong. From my perspective it looks to me like you are arguing about how many buttons were on the coat that Captain Nemo typically wore.

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12-01-2017, 06:28 PM
RE: Theists using the bible as argument: please dissect my rebuttal
(12-01-2017 06:12 PM)jennybee Wrote:  I think Aliza is an asset to the forum. We often get a lot of scared transitioning Christians on here and having a theist who can calmly explain the differences between Judaism and Christianity is huge in helping those who want to leave Christianity behind.

I do see value in pointing out to Christians that Jews interpret the scriptures differently. I just don't think that will make much of an impression on them.

Quote:As far as Aliza being a hypocrite--I don't see it. She does correct Christians who try to distort her belief system, which she has every right to do because they do distort the crap out of her religious texts, but how is that being hypocritical?

I knew I'd be sorry to have started this... Big Grin

Where I see hypocrisy is in criticizing Christians for interpreting the scriptures incorrectly when there is no basis for claiming that the traditional interpretation is correct. They are definitely different but neither has as valid claim to truth.

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