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I've noticed the same thing, Paladin. Most of the Christians I know have never read the bible from cover to cover even once, and most atheists I know have. If the bible was really the word of a god, shouldn't his follower be all over it?
JM, if Christians do read the bible,they believe it in literally instead of seeing the bible as metaphor.The bible is written to be taken as a metaphor &is a figurative analysis.Many Christians rely SOLELY upon what THEIR church SAYS.
In a recent national survey atheists knew more about the bible than theists.
gmwilliams, you are correct, in part. The Bible speaks both in narrative and metaphor... but, it is clear in the reading of it in context which is which.
Not necessarily true, Mitch. It often depends on denomination. Some think the creation story is myth. Some think hell is metaphor. Christians disagree on practicality all points.
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someone told me once that they had the flu, so they prayed for 5 days and it went away. Really? How long does a flu last? About 5 days - and an all powerful god couldn't cure it instantly while you still accredit getting better to his healing?
Haha, yep, that seems to be the gist of "prayerful healing." There might be some validity in strong belief giving the body the psychological boost, whether from prayer or a genuine will to survive, but most stories I hear are not that coincidental.
a prayer study was actually performed and the people who knew they were being prayed for actually took longer to recover and had more complications than those who didn't know or weren't. Performance anxiety, maybe?
lol really? Well, so much for that. It gets worse when it comes to Christian Scientists, who don't even believe in sickness, and think praying is the answer - sometimes killing kids because they refuse to go to doctors.
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So true, Borsia, so true indeed. Many highly rational and intelligent people become quite primitively childish when it comes to religion then all types of rationality goes out the window. I have seen this firsthand. It boogles the mind really!
Great Answer-The "re-written over time part" is a factor that people can't grasp. I think Americans who speak one language have the most difficulty. Interpreting for deaf people, I KNOW there are phrases that just don't translate.
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M. T. Dremer says
I agree. Much of the Bible is borrowed from other traditions.
I assume you mean Abraham and Isaac with the killing of the son, but he never did it. Is there another one? When people speak of accuracy of the bible its more than just using real people. its about undergoing standards of reliable historical doc.
christiananrkist - yes, there is also Jeptha - only god didn't see fit to save his daughter. there is no evidence for a lot of the stories portrayed in the bible. the fact that they're portrayed in actual historic places doesn't make the tale true
hey JM, long time no talk. if there is no evidence for the stories in the bible , how do know of them?
There is no evidence for any of the stories in Greek or Roman mythology either. No one suspects that the Odyssey or the Iliad are factual - even if they depict parts of real events. How do we know of them? Myth. Tradition. Story.
I see your point. I think the writings themself are evidence, especially when correlated with archaeology. you and i have been down this road before. so i know you dont accept it as reliable evidence. but its still evidence.
Are the writings of the Odyssey considered to be evidence of the stories depicted in them, or are they myth? Why are you willing to historicize the writings you believe in but not the others?
Here's my thing, I can write a story that is untrue, based on legend and center them around actual locations. 2,000 years from now will people believe them because of that? or will they critically analyze the material?
Because historical documents undergo a certain criteria to determine accuracy and authenticity. the writings of the bible pass many of these. its kinda forensic in nature when looking at history. the Odyssey doesn't pass these criteria.
Give some examples of the criteria that the Bible "passes" please. Do you think the Koran is evidence that Islam is true? Or that the Book of Mormon is evidence for Mormonism - or does your book get special considerations?
quantity and quality of writings correlating with archaeological finds, early dating, multiple sources and in the bibles case, extra biblical confirmation. no special considerations. these are accepted by many secular historians as well.
sure. What are the extra-biblical sources for any of the events surrounding (just for one example) the death/resurrection of Jesus - or any aspects of his life, for that matter? Contemporary, extra-biblical sources.
Yes, I was referring to Abraham and Isaac, not because he actually killed his son, but because the moral of the story was to obey god's command. Loving and protecting one's family is considered moral, so it seems to contradict obedience to god.
what do you mean by contemporary, just so I can give what youre looking for.
If the God of the bible exists, could he raise Isaac back from the dead? If so, what makes it immoral. If not, why do you think he wouldnt be able to?
Contemporary. If Jesus did and said everything that is claimed of him, give me one non biblical, similar time period source.
Of course, the bible is borrowed from other cultures.The ten commandments was borrowed from Egyptian ethics. The Virgin Mary is the resurrected Great Goddess and so on. Judaeo-Christianity has gotten it ethical principles from older religions.
this is a good tactic to specify contemporary because you know there are no extra-biblical writings of the same time period. given the time and place of the biblical writings, why would you expect there to be? why are the gospels unreliable without?
First Century Judea was one of the most documented periods in history. There were historians and people who specifically wrote about miracle workers and messiahs - yet they missed all of the supernatural events surrounding Jesus' death. Why?
Perhaps it's just a personal opinion, but a father standing up to a powerful authority to protect his son seems morally right, more so than a father who is willing to kill his son for that authority.
they didnt miss it. you just dont accept them because the writings are included in the bible. what makes the writings unreliable?
you're saying the historians of first century judea (of which there were many) DIDN'T miss the earthquakes, the darkness and the horde of zombies at Jesus' death? Then where are their records? The gospels were written late and disagree, in short.
could you provide me with passages of the events your are referring to? why do you say the records were written late? what period of time would constitute early or late
Sure. Reconcile the four resurrection stories without leaving anything out, for starters. The earliest gospel was after 70. The latest after ad 100. late. Well after eyewitnesses.
you think 70 years is late? (disagree on the date by the way) do you know of other ancient docs that have earlier dating?good question on the zombie thing. i reluctantly must admit i dont have an answer...yet, lol. i will get back to you on that.
late in terms that none of the gospels were written by people who KNEW him, yes. And that the majority of the NT was written by someone relying on "scripture" (not the NT) and visions. No evidence of darkness/earthquakes and the accounts disagree.
And has not so much of what is regarded as "gospel" from the New Testament been written by persons with ulterior motive? Did they not take what bits they liked then add "titbits" to control the masses?
you lost me. didnt i already admit the earthquake/zombie thing was an issue? if 2nd+ hand accounts are unreliable, why should i trust what your saying?
what was their gain exactly?
What am I saying that is 2nd hand +? These studies are available. Almost no biblical scholar in the field think that the gospels were written by eyewitnesses, and I've spent 15 years studying it myself. The information is definitely out there.
I realize the info is out there. but you weren't an eyewitness. you didnt live in that time. you info comes from other sources. this makes it 2nd + hand. why are you more reliable than other 2n + hand sources?
If you're going to use that argument, are you an eyewitness? Were you there? Yet you are trusting the writings of others who weren't there either? Have you ever played telephone? That should explain why it is unreliable.
@christiananrkist: "JCL what was their gain exactly?" Answer: In many cases, control of the minds of masses.
iii yiii yiii, What a monumental waste of time. God, if there was one, would be totally disappointed. Absolutely fruitless discussion in a world that needs us not to waste time like this.
Billie - then why waste YOUR time commenting on it?
i guess you missed when you used that argument when you said" the majority rely on scripture". thats why i asked you the question. all history is discovered using some sort of evidence or relying on other writings. study of history is forensic.
The question becomes without corroborating evidence, why do a lot of believers consider the bible to be historically accurate?
i could see your point if it were in today's U.S. but when it was so new and unpopular, how would they have accomplished such a task?
like I said earlier, we have been down this road before. this question takes us back to the beginning.
@christiananrkist "....how would they have accomplished such a task?"
I suggest human nature has not changed over 1000s of years. Some of us are sheep, some are shepherds, some are wolves.
The "son" still travels about with the same 12 companions he always has - aries, taurus, gemini.... In ancient times it was lowest in the sky for 3 days near the southern cross, before ascending again, rising each spring equinox in virgo the virgin.
i agree people havent changed. I guess what im trying to get at is, to say Jesus was Lord in that time and place would have been very unpopular and a dangerous thing to do during a Caesar reign. whats the motivation if they knew this wasnt true?
I'm not arguing that the earliest christians knew it was a willful lie. Maybe they believed that they had received a revelation from god, and they believed it. It happens all the time - believing something doesn't mean it is actually true.
thats very true. somewhere in the beginning many people were being convinced of the stories, so much so that they were imprisoned or killed. this doesnt make it true, but does leave questions as to why and for me is a piece of a puzzle.
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JoLynn Potocki says
I'm not easily offended, but to be associated with Bill O'Reilly because he is a so called christian. ouch!
apologies for the O'Reilly connection. :D
I have to say that including O'Reilly is hitting below the robe. But I've heard the same ignorant quote from other Christians. Ones who apparently never took basic science and don't know what causes the tides, or sunrise / sunset for that matter.
LOL. no problem
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Christin Sander says
if people have experienced or seen miracles, is it still blind faith?
Yes, because it is their faith/mind that healed them, not a diety.
i'm sure that events (which are on the surface indescribable) happen all of the time. Attributing them to a source automatically seems dishonest. How do you prove who did them unless you're automatically looking for conformation to existing beliefs
Miracles are also subject to embellishment. Unless it was caught on camera, or was witnessed by hundreds of people, it is held to the failing memory of the individual. People struggle to remember where their keys are every day.
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Billie Kelpin says
Winston Smith 84 says
It might depend upon the beginning and the ending of the loop on which the evidences rest...are there gaps between the links upon the circular continuum? If not, absolutely. However, if questions remain in a conjectural state...No.
Bill Akers says
The atheist point of view is not another religion. Also, atheist people are a very heterogeneous group, with widely differing opinions.... whereas those proclaiming christianity are often very dogmatic and closed-minded.
Why does everyone assume Christians are so close minded? jstfishinman, I strongly dissagree that their minds are completely made up. some that maybe true, others can be convinced however. Its done all the time on both sides. Bart Ehrman comes to min
Jonny even atheism is a belief system. christian, I am not saying that there aren't windows of opportunity when two or more people are able to put their defense mechanisms down. Otherwise we butt heads for hours with no progress. Pick your battles!
What, pray tell, are the dogmas, tenants and beliefs that all atheists share and must adhere to? I'd really like to know.
@christiananrkist "Why does everyone assume Christians are so close minded?" Not assuming..... I know that some are, as are some atheists. Can the closed-minded christian person opt out of that for just one moment? Have the faith to?
My mind is not closed to the possibility of a God. However until there is irrefutable evidence to prove it, I have no need to abdicate logic in lieu of nonsense. Your accusations of Atheists being closed minded is shallow and desperate.
getitrite , is that directed at me? Do you see my statement as shallow and desperate? I said "some," in relation to christian and atheist people... Is that not true?
@jonnycomelately, my comment was directed at jstfishinman. I have no qualms with your statement. Sorry for the confusion.
Getitrite, it takes two to butt heads. Open discussions are fun for some of us, but to just butt heads without understanding is useless. The Christians are as guilty as those opposed to Christianity. That is why we have to pick our battles.
If we ceased "butting heads," containing "closed minds," would we need the battles? It could develop into a gentle, interested and interesting, respectful sharing of views. Let's hear from christians who can do this without judging?
Jstfishinman, since you are asserting that atheism is a belief system, I would like to know what you think atheism dictates in regards to beliefs, dogmas or doctrines.
I would love that jonny, but it just doesn't seem to happen very often. I can't figure out why people can't get along with each other, and agree to disagree on certain subjects. I guess I'm just old and remember when that was possible.
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H.B. Fortinberry says
Evidence itself doesnt change. its just sitting there waiting to be discovered. Just because we dont know how to gather it or interpret it all the time doesnt make it less reliable. How else do you think we should look at history or solve crimes?
"Evidence" for each of us is what we perceive with our (5) senses and then interpret with our brains. Once those senses and the brain cease to exist, away goes the awareness. Without awareness (consciousness) there is No-thing.
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Norine Jackson says
yes, that's the whole point of skepticism. So you don't fall for things that are untrue.
Completely agree with your assessment here -
Thank you ChristinS! To dogmatic and fundamentalistic religionists, non-traditional spiritualists incl. atheists are considered to be "the other" to be should "be guided" and "saved." Religious hegemony is QUITE ALIVE AND WELL..
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Haha, so I will escape an argument, lol!