If the Bible was divinely inspired, then why would it have so many really obvious contradictions?



Theological doctrines:

1. God is satisfied with his works
Gen 1:31
God is dissatisfied with his works.
Gen 6:6
2. God dwells in chosen temples
2 Chron 7:12,16
God dwells not in temples
Acts 7:48
3. God dwells in light
Tim 6:16
God dwells in darkness
1 Kings 8:12/ Ps 18:11/ Ps 97:2
4. God is seen and heard
Ex 33:23/ Ex 33:11/ Gen 3:9,10/ Gen 32:30/ Is 6:1/
Ex 24:9-11
God is invisible and cannot be heard
John 1:18/ John 5:37/ Ex 33:20/ 1 Tim 6:16
5. God is tired and rests
Ex 31:17
God is never tired and never rests
Is 40:28
6. God is everywhere present, sees and knows all things
Prov 15:3/ Ps 139:7-10/ Job 34:22,21
God is not everywhere present, neither sees nor knows all
things
Gen 11:5/ Gen 18:20,21/ Gen 3:8
7. God knows the hearts of men
Acts 1:24/ Ps 139:2,3
God tries men to find out what is in their heart
Deut 13:3/ Deut 8:2/ Gen 22:12
8. God is all powerful
Jer 32:27/ Matt 19:26
God is not all powerful
Judg 1:19
9. God is unchangeable
James 1:17/ Mal 3:6/ Ezek 24:14/ Num 23:19
God is changeable
Gen 6:6/ Jonah 3:10/ 1 Sam 2:30,31/ 2 Kings 20:1,4,5,6/
Ex 33:1,3,17,14
10. God is just and impartial
Ps 92:15/ Gen 18:25/ Deut 32:4/ Rom 2:11/ Ezek 18:25
God is unjust and partial
Gen 9:25/ Ex 20:5/ Rom 9:11-13/ Matt 13:12
11. God is the author of evil
Lam 3:38/ Jer 18:11/ Is 45:7/ Amos 3:6/ Ezek 20:25
God is not the author of evil
1 Cor 14:33/ Deut 32:4/ James 1:13
12. God gives freely to those who ask
James 1:5/ Luke 11:10
God withholds his blessings and prevents men from receiving
them
John 12:40/ Josh 11:20/ Is 63:17
13. God is to be found by those who seek him
Matt 7:8/ Prov 8:17
God is not to be found by those who seek him
Prov 1:28
14. God is warlike
Ex 15:3/ Is 51:15
God is peaceful
Rom 15:33/ 1 Cor 14:33
15. God is cruel, unmerciful, destructive, and ferocious
Jer 13:14/ Deut 7:16/ 1 Sam 15:2,3/ 1 Sam 6:19
God is kind, merciful, and good
James 5:11/ Lam 3:33/ 1 Chron 16:34/ Ezek 18:32/ Ps 145:9/
1 Tim 2:4/ 1 John 4:16/ Ps 25:8
16. God's anger is fierce and endures long
Num 32:13/ Num 25:4/ Jer 17:4
God's anger is slow and endures but for a minute
Ps 103:8/ Ps 30:5
17. God commands, approves of, and delights in burnt offerings,
sacrifices ,and holy days
Ex 29:36/ Lev 23:27/ Ex 29:18/ Lev 1:9
God disapproves of and has no pleasure in burnt offerings,
sacrifices, and holy days.
Jer 7:22/ Jer 6:20/ Ps 50:13,4/ Is 1:13,11,12
18. God accepts human sacrifices
2 Sam 21:8,9,14/ Gen 22:2/ Judg 11:30-32,34,38,39
God forbids human sacrifice
Deut 12:30,31
19. God tempts men
Gen 22:1/ 2 Sam 24:1/ Jer 20:7/ Matt 6:13
God tempts no man
James 1:13
20. God cannot lie
Heb 6:18
God lies by proxy; he sends forth lying spirits t deceive
2 Thes 2:11/ 1 Kings 22:23/ Ezek 14:9
21. Because of man's wickedness God destroys him
Gen 6:5,7
Because of man's wickedness God will not destroy him
Gen 8:21
22. God's attributes are revealed in his works.
Rom 1:20
God's attributes cannot be discovered
Job 11:7/ Is 40:28
23. There is but one God
Deut 6:4
There is a plurality of gods
Gen 1:26/ Gen 3:22/ Gen 18:1-3/ 1 John 5:7

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Ok, so maybe I shouldn't have asked all my questions at once. It's defiantly overwhelming. That being said, the questions were for everyone Gaytor, and I appreciate your prompt response. Usually when I ask questions, I get blank looks not though provoking answers.
I have a strong suspicion that we could talk about this stuff for years, so I don't know what to address first. I'm not a scientist like some of you, but I do want to be fully convicted in my beliefs. I guess I'll just start at the top, but if there is something specific you want to address in more depth, feel free to pick and choose.
1. I don't know how to test observable evidence. This sounds like a cop-out, but I'm serious. Do you read specific scientific journals or case studies? I know how to test the bible, and truly feel it's an all or nothing book. Either the bible is divinely inspired truth or it's not, period. If you can prove totally, and beyond doubt that there are contradictions in the bible, then I'm converted, simple, right?
2. I'm a firm believer in absolute truth. I have little tolerance for people that say that whatever feels right to you, is truth in your paradigm. I've always said that truth is like a laser pointer, it's that precise.
3. I believe that the only true God is the judeo-christian God of heaven. That's obvious, I'm sure. God will never reveal himself to you in a burning bush, or a voice from heaven when your on the road, anyone who says otherwise wants your money. I'd love to talk more about this one though. The fact that you wouldn't believe in a God that you knew existed bothers me though. Is that true? If there is no good and no evil does that not mean that there is no good behavior, nor evil behavior? Therefore, I still don't get why you have morals. Is it just fear of disobeying man made laws and the social order of society?
4. I don't get the whole Abiogenesis thing. If you want to explain it to me, that's fine, otherwise I'm leaving that one at the door. Maybe I'm just not intelligent enough to understand?
5. I'm glad you enjoy life, but what is your purpose for existing. Every experience in life is not good, and bad things happen to good people too. How do you get though the tough times, the financial struggles, family pressures, and even the work week without the hope that something better is coming?
6. When you go to heaven to you finally have free will without consequences? Can God cast you to Hell for desiring things he would consider immoral? At what point do you get to make choices that harm no one else without fear of reprisal? This is too much to answer in one post, so I'll post it as a separate question and we can talk about it, unless you were being rhetorical.
-to be continued-
I'll get back to this. It's long, which is fine. I'd just like to go enjoy the daylight. Must... see... sun! I want to say this as food for thought though, from my perspective. If you find happiness and fulfillment as a Christian, I'm not looking to talk you out of it. I'm happy to share my positions and thoughts, but there are certainly positions of Christianity that hold looser standards than a entirely inerrant Bible. The Catholic Church accepts evolution and Genesis as poetry. Nahum 1:3 "His way is in the whirlwind and the storm, and clouds are the dust of his feet." Does god create the tornadoes in the Bible Belt only because he's angry at them? Are clouds dust or are they made of H2O? Just keep the idea open that maybe my positions mean there is something new to read which is fun too.
doone:
If you believe in Ganesha, what ya doin at TA?
Is that anything like the big top?
"God will never reveal himself to you in a burning bush, or a voice from heaven when your on the road, anyone who says otherwise wants your money."

Are you prepared to say this to Moses and Paul? (just kidding)

1".... Either the bible is divinely inspired truth or it's not, period. If you can prove totally, and beyond doubt that there are contradictions in the bible, then I'm converted, simple, right?"

Gen 32:30 states, "...for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved." However, John 1:18 states, "No man hath seen God at any time..." Both statements cannot be true. Either there is an error of fact, or an error of translation. In either case, there is an error. And if there is an error, then infallibility of the Bible (in this case the King James Version) is falsified. A typical defense used here is to look up the meaning of the original Hebrew / Greek, read that one of the words can have multiple meanings, and then pick the meaning that seems to break the contradiction. For example, the Christian might argue that "seen" or "face" means one thing in the first scripture, and something completely different in the second. The logical flaw in this approach is that it amounts to saying that the translator should have chosen to use a different word in one of the two scriptures in order to avoid the resulting logical contradiction that now appears in English—that is, the translator made an error. If no translation error occurred, then an error of fact exists in at least one of the two scriptures. Appeals to "context" are irrelevant in cases like this where simple declarative statements are involved such as "no one has seen God" and "I have seen God." Simply put, no "context" makes a contradiction or a false statement, like 2 = 3, true.

If one is prepared to allow for the possibility of translator or transcriber errors, then the claim of Biblical inerrancy is completely undermined since no originals exist to serve as a benchmark against which to identify the errors. Left only with our error-prone copies of the originals, the claim of infallibility becomes completely vacuous. Pandora's Box would truly be open: You could have the Bible say whatever you want it to say by simply claiming that words to the contrary are the result of copying or translation/interpretation errors, and nothing could prove you wrong.

Contradictions:

2 Kings 8:26 says "Two and twenty years old was Ahaziah when he began to reign..." 2 Chronicles 22:2 says "Forty and two years old was Ahaziah when he began to reign..."
2 Samuel 6:23 says "Therefore Michal the daughter of Saul had no child unto the day of her death" 2 Samuel 21:8 says "But the king took...the five sons of Michal the daughter of Saul"
2 Samuel 8:3-4 says "David smote also Hadadezer...and took from him...seven hundred horsemen..." 1 Chronicles 18:3-4 says "David smote Hadarezer...and took from him...seven thousand horsemen..."
1 Kings 4:26 says "And Solomon had forty thousand stalls of horses for his chariots..." 2 Chronicles 9:25 says "And Solomon had four thousand stalls for horses and chariots..."
2 Kings 25:8 says "And in the fifth month, on the seventh day of the month...Nebuzaradan...came...unto Jerusalem" Jeremiah 52:12 says "...in the fifth month, in the tenth day of the month...came Nebuzaradan...into Jerusalem"
1 Samuel 31:4-6 says "...Saul took a sword and fell upon it. And when his armourbearer saw that Saul was dead and...died with him. So Saul died..." 2 Samuel 21:12 says "...the Philistines had slain Saul in Gilboa."
Gen 2:17 says "But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day thou eastest thereof thou shalt surely die [note: it doesn't say 'spiritual' death] Gen 5:5 says "And all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years: and he died."
Matt 1:16 says, "And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus..." Luke 3:23 says "And Jesus...the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli"
James 1:13 says "..for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man." Gen 22:1 says "And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham..."
Gen 6:20 says "Of fowls after their kind and of cattle [etc.]...two of every sort shall come unto thee..." Gen 7:2,3 says "Of every clean beast thou shall take to thee by sevens...Of fowls also of the air by sevens..."
Luke23:46: "And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost." John 19:30 "When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost."
Gen 32:30 states "...for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved." John 1:18 states, "No man hath seen God at any time..."

Factual Errors:

1 Kings 7:23 "He made a molten sea, ten cubits from the one brim to the other: it was round all about, and his height was five cubits: and a line of thirty cubits did compass it round about." Circumference = Pi() x Diameter, which means the line would have to have been over 31 cubits. In order for this to be rounding, it would have had to overstate the amount to ensure that the line did "compass it round about."
Lev 11:20-21: "All fowls that creep, going upon all four, shall be an abomination unto you." Fowl do not go upon all four.
Lev 11:6: "And the hare, because he cheweth the cud..." Hare do not chew the cud.
Deut 14:7: " "...as the camel, and the hare, and the coney: for they chew the cud, but divide not the hoof." For the hare this is wrong on both counts: Hare don’t chew the cud and they do divide the "hoof."
Jonah 1:17 says, "...Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights" Matt 12:40 says "...Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly..." whales and fish are not related
Matt 13:31-32: " "the kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed which…is the least of all seeds, but when it is grown is the greatest among herbs and becometh a tree." There are 2 significant errors here: first, there are many smaller seeds, like the orchid seed; and second, mustard plants don't grow into trees.
Matt 4:8: " Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them." Unless the world is flat, altitude simply will not help you see all the kingdoms of the earth.
I like that you are here. You are pleasant and curious and non-hostile. Endearing qualities. :o)

You say you are not a scientist "like some of us." You do not need to be a scientist, but it is ever so important to educate oneself scientifically. Many Christians (and I am not saying this is you) believe scientists are know-it-alls out to smarty-pants the world with their great knowledge, and that they refuse to see out of their own box. In truth, scientists just want to discover things. They live for out of the box. If a discovery goes against something they previously believed or thought to be true, a scientist often finds that very exciting rather than disheartening. Scientists want to know facts. Things that, as Gaytor said, can be tested by observable evidence. Objective, not subjective, evidence. If I tested out the theory and you tested out the theory and Mr. Jones down the street tested out the theory, we would all come to the exact same conclusion. It's very neat and tidy.

The human genome has been mapped. Particles beyond our rather primitive (but still amazing!) vision are being studied to see how they react. Glass is a liquid. Matter is not solid. Science helps us understand how the universe around us works. How we as biological beings work. Add sociology, psychology, some ethics, and you are one well-rounded individual! Science is truly eye-opening and unendingly interesting. I believe that the things that are unexplained are only unexplained as of yet.

Garrett Lisi, my new hero, is a self-proclaimed beach bum who is mathematically formulating how the four forces that govern the universe-- gravity, strong force, weak force, and electro-magnetism (ie, how the universe was created and continues to function bundled into one neat equation). He states that it would be going backwards for a complex being to create such a simple theory.

Beyond that, it gets circular. If god created the universe, who/what created god? I would want to know that, if a god was discovered to exist. Was god created Big Bang style? I would not be satisfied with the usual religious answers, which are usually not to question, just to accept, and shush and be a humble quiet woman.

You believe with your heart, and good for you. You feel your god and you feel you are right. Atheists started thinking. It wasn't enough to feel. We had to logically work it out, and once we got started on that, it didn't make sense that there is a creator or creators.

You also believe in your Bible. The Bible was the nail in my religious coffin. I read it and I shuddered. It is full of contradictions, hypocrisy, erronious knowledge, atrocity, anger, bigotry, etc. It made no realistic sense to me AT ALL. It made me unbelievably sad that people read that and could still worship a Christian (or Jewish) god. The Bible was written by men. Translations have been made. Things have been ommitted, added, removed, etc. at man's will. Not god's. If one were to believe in a god, that would be one of the last places I would look for it. It is like a religious written version of the game of Telephone, where you whisper a phrase such as "I hate hot dogs" into the person sitting next to you's ear, and they whisper it to the next person, and so on, until the twelfth person down the line gets to say the phrase out loud. It has become, "Nancy Smith puts mud in her underpants." Hardly the original and intended message.

You say we will not see god in a burning bush. Why? Moses did. Why can't such things happen now? Where is god these days, anyway?

I am open to the fact that perhaps a god or god may be out there. I would be more inclined to believe that they are just a different or alien type of being rather than the creator of any universe(s), as it scientifically makes more sense to me that the universe we live in is basically random. I don't know why people think (and again, not necessarily you) that it's weirder to believe that the universe was created in a way conducive to phsyics-- especially considering we are all bound by the laws of physics-- than by an all-powerful man-being living up in the sky. I would think weird would go on the other foot, thank you.

Anyway, welcome.
7. “Treat others as you would be treated.” These are lessons in empathy. We only have divisions on questions of where life begins and dictates that most churches don’t even follow such as being anti-homosexual. You knew this was coming but here's the point at which I throw scriptures from a book that you don't believe in at you...
Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

Yes, to be a Christian (as apposed to a "believer in God") means turning from evil and doing good, but I don't believe that anyone has it all together. We all sin, so to speak and no one is good enough for God. People will probably make fun of me for saying this, but one of my best friends is an Atheist, and another is Gay. In both cases we have a fundamental difference of philosophy and theology but in my experience, life is very boring when everyone agrees with me... I prefer interesting people with various opinions.
Sin is a mental construct, a devious trap that is dressed up to look like common evil to ensnare the guilt-ridden before the "cure" is surprisingly offered.

To this day I still have NO idea what the Holy Spirit is supposed to be or what it even looks like.

To be Christian means to follow the golden rule. But does that mean non-Christians are incapable? I've read to many websites that suggest that.

so then if your best friends are atheist and gay, how can you sleep at night knowing that your beliefs would condemn the people you love to an eternity of hellfire while you're up havin' a good 'ole time in heaven? that is one thing i've never been able to understand about christanity...but whatev

I love what you said about "the holy spirit hasn't caught me". Did you ever think he would? I guess some christian religions must teach this, or else you wouldn't have said it. It gets back to the principle teachings of the bible.
"Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be." I guess what I'm trying to say is that we catch him, he doesn't catch us, if he did, we wouldn't have free will.
It's like the argument that a perfect God, who made perfect humans, wouldn't have given them a tree that would cause them to die. What is love without free will? If we don't have the choice between right and wrong, good and evil, then we have nothing. Choices are what life is all about, agreed?
This is the longest response that I've ever given. So many points to cover. I added a word.doc. I like what you've done in separating out new discussions. You'll get more from many than you would just me. Dave G has responded as well while I was writing so moving it out into new discussions bit by bit is a good idea as you want to take on new subjects. We're pretty off the main topic of this discussion. But here come the novel!

1. I don't know how to test observable evidence. This sounds like a cop-out, but I'm serious. Do you read specific scientific journals or case studies? I know how to test the bible, and truly feel it's an all or nothing book. Either the bible is divinely inspired truth or it's not, period. If you can prove totally, and beyond doubt that there are contradictions in the bible, then I'm converted, simple, right?
If we are talking about Biblical contradictions, you can find many. One that always struck me of how could this be so different is te death of Judas. Matt 27:5 states that Judas "threw the pieces of silver....and he went away and hanged himself." Versus Acts 1:18 states, "and falling headlong, he burst open in the middle and all his bowels gushed out."
Messianic Prophecy is that the Son of Man was to come from the Davidic Line. This way you could trace from Adam, to David, to Jesus. Paul calls Jesus the Last Adam for a deeper reason. Certainly Joseph wasn’t Jesus’ father. So the tradition is traced back to Mary. The problem is that prior to 200 CE Jews traced their lines only back through men. So it would be a cultural break with tradition. But let’s allow it. Jeckoniah was not pleasing to the Lord.. he was flat evil. So God says this about Jechoniah Jeremiah (22:28-30) declares, “Thus says the LORD: 'Write this man down as childless, A man who shall not prosper in his days; For none of his descendants shall prosper, Sitting on the throne of David, And ruling anymore in Judah.'" In Matthew 1:1 he lists Jechonias (same person, different spelling) as an ascendant of Jesus. We know that it doesn’t work according to Jeremiah. So how does Jesus fulfill the prophecy?
Scientifically I believe that I noted the age of the earth as being older than 6000 years. So let’s try something else that doesn’t require a science background and is outside of say a man living in a fish. Let’s try something newer in terms of argument or discussion. Revelations 12:4 “His tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth.” “His” refers to a dragon. The tail is able to sling 1/3rd of the stars out of the sky and to the Earth. So many scientific problems here I don’t know where to begin. It’s a clear misunderstanding of what stars are. It is consistent with Genesis 1’s placing of the stars in the firmament. But it’s inconsistent with size, distance, heat, etc. This is one of those places where you have to view it as poetry, or welcome to being an Atheist.

2. I'm a firm believer in absolute truth. I have little tolerance for people that say that whatever feels right to you, is truth in your paradigm. I've always said that truth is like a laser pointer, it's that precise.
I would accept that there are absolute Right and Wrong behaviors. If you choice impacts someone else is a negative way due to no fault of their own, then it’s wrong. Let’s take something horrific like the rape of a child. There is no excuse for it, but there are parts of the world where nothing is done about it. In Islam it’s ok if she’s married and into having her period. The bride was sold, she is his property and it’s acceptable legally and endorsed by Muhammad’s behavior. An important note, Muslims believe in the same Abrahamic God as Judaism and Christianity. All three are based on the Old Testament first. The only question to ask is, is someone willing to do something about the immoral behavior? Mistreatment of others is always wrong and one has to paint a convoluted hypothetical for that to not hold true.


3. I believe that the only true God is the judeo-christian God of heaven. That's obvious, I'm sure. God will never reveal himself to you in a burning bush, or a voice from heaven when your on the road, anyone who says otherwise wants your money. I'd love to talk more about this one though. The fact that you wouldn't believe in a God that you knew existed bothers me though. Is that true? If there is no good and no evil does that not mean that there is no good behavior, nor evil behavior? Therefore, I still don't get why you have morals. Is it just fear of disobeying man made laws and the social order of society?

Just to be clear, if the Christian God proved his existence, it’s not that I wouldn’t believe, it’s a question of following. This may come off harsh, but I’m just trying to illustrate what I see. The Old Testament opens with God putting a challenge in front of Adam and Eve. They fail. You and I still have to pay 100’s of generations later. Then he murders everyone in the world and commits over 3 million murders in the Old Testament. To apologize for this behavior he murders himself. Then says he’ll be back to murder anyone that doesn’t accept this apology. I reject that sense of right and wrong. I would suggest that it’s absolutely wrong. Think of how we view Satan in society. Now how many people does he kill in the Bible? (arguably 10 from Job’s family) Who feeds the Devil these bodies to torture? This macro-view of what is said in the Bible is why I would choose to not follow. It’s like the old saying about war, “Only the winners decide what were war crimes.”
Why do I have morals? What would I choose to do that is immoral? Let’s say cheat on my wife. If I did so, it would be selfish. I can imagine how it would make me feel if she did that to me. I’d like to have someone in my life to create a healthy child. She is healthy. I would like someone intelligent and driven. She is. I would like someone whom would be protective of the child. She is. So damaging that relationship not only is selfish and hurts her, it damages my chances of spreading my genes effectively. There is certainly a more emotional explanation, but I think that it is driven by the need to create family in this case. The larger picture of not stealing, murdering, etc didn’t begin with the 10 commandments. These morals come from the dawn of community building. Even Neanderthals have had burial sites found with flower petals fossilized and other rituals that show a sense of community and caring. Some even suggest religion. We are talking about 140,000 years ago.


5. I'm glad you enjoy life, but what is your purpose for existing. Every experience in life is not good, and bad things happen to good people too. How do you get though the tough times, the financial struggles, family pressures, and even the work week without the hope that something better is coming?
My father died at the end of February. When things like this happen, I don’t seek a reason that someone allowed this to happen. My father smoked a lot and painted cars without a respirator for 40 years. It’s sadly life. We will be faced with hardship. The beauty of life often comes with a price to be paid. I love dogs for example. I will bury the dog that I have and love today, and likely five or six more after him. I would not give up the experience of seeing his happiness and sharing that life for my having to carry him out of the house one day while it rains on my face due to the pain. In my case I’ve always seen life that way. Maybe someone who has converted is better equipped to explain the difference between hope and rolling up your sleeves and just making a better life?

7. “Treat others as you would be treated.” These are lessons in empathy. We only have divisions on questions of where life begins and dictates that most churches don’t even follow such as being anti-homosexual. You knew this was coming but here's the point at which I throw scriptures from a book that you don't believe in at you...
Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

Yes, to be a Christian (as apposed to a "believer in God") means turning from evil and doing good, but I don't believe that anyone has it all together. We all sin, so to speak and no one is good enough for God. People will probably make fun of me for saying this, but one of my best friends is an Atheist, and another is Gay. In both cases we have a fundamental difference of philosophy and theology but in my experience, life is very boring when everyone agrees with me... I prefer interesting people with various opinions.
So if you treat others equally, is that consistent with the Bible? I know of at least one passage that disagrees with that behavior. 2 John 1:9-11 “Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.
10If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed:
11For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.”
I fully agree with where you stand, I just don’t know if we can square that up with the whole of the Bible. I will not mistreat someone for my gain.

I love what you said about "the holy spirit hasn't caught me". Did you ever think he would? I guess some christian religions must teach this, or else you wouldn't have said it. It gets back to the principle teachings of the bible.
"Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be." I guess what I'm trying to say is that we catch him, he doesn't catch us, if he did, we wouldn't have free will.
It's like the argument that a perfect God, who made perfect humans, wouldn't have given them a tree that would cause them to die. What is love without free will? If we don't have the choice between right and wrong, good and evil, then we have nothing. Choices are what life is all about, agreed?
Choices and consequences are critical to enjoying life. I can’t disagree and I don’t want to. “What is love without free will?” I’ve never considered it. It feels like sound reasoning. I have a feeling my brain will be playing ping pong with that one for a bit even when I’m not conscious of it. I like it.
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If a million people believe a lie, it's still a lie...

This is the truest thing I've heard yet. So here we go.

Yep. And the corollary is also true, If no one believes a truth, it is still true.

How do we tell the truth from the lies?

To start, we have to realize that our own perceptions are not 100% reliable. This is why repeatable evidence from multiple sources, controlled conditions, peer review, and other aspects of the scientific method are so important. They help us control for our inherent perceptual and cognitive biases and get at the underlying facts.

Is there absolute truth or is truth merely subjective to our own experiences?

I suppose it depends on what you define as truth. Is there an underlying reality which is factually based, where the facts/laws are strictly defined? I believe so. We may have a hard time deriving those facts/laws, perhaps might never be able to absolutely define them, but we can get very close. For example, Newton's Laws of Gravity were close, and served us well for centuries. Then Einstein refined the theory of gravity and came even closer to the actual truth of gravity. However, even Einstein's theory is not perfectly accurate and in the future we may refine it still further, coming ever closer to the 'absolute truth' of gravitational laws.

However, 'truth' can have a more subjective definition when opinions and preferences come in to play. As an example, say you and I both attended a concert where you loved the music and I hated it. When asked how the concert was, my response of "It was awful." and yours of "It was great!" are both true, despite being opposite.

If God were to exist, how would we know it?

Verifiable, empirical evidence would be a good start. Anecdotes, stories, and other unverifiable sources are not good evidence, particularly with the human tendencies towards confirmation bias, agency detection, cognitive dissonance and just plain making stuff up.

If he doesn't exist, how do we prove it?

In general, you can't prove a negative. How would one prove that there is not a space-going purple duck flying between the stars? The best we can do is measure the probability of things. With the evidence we have, the odds of there being a space-going purple duck are sufficiently low that there is no reason to afford it any belief. Likewise, the evidence we have does not support the existence of a deity, in fact the evidence is what we would expect if a deity did not exist, so the probability of one existing is low enough that it can be safely discarded until new evidence is found that is significant enough to force a reevaluation of the probability.

If there is a God, which one is the right one?

The one to which the evidence points, which at the moment is none whatsoever.

Is there more than one God?

Not as far as the evidence shows. See the last two answers.

If there is no God, and no Satan, does that mean there is no Good and no Evil?

If you mean Good and Evil as absolutes laid down from on high, then yes, they don't exist. If you mean good and evil as concepts, then they do. What is good and what is evil is something which the study of morality and ethics is concerned with. As we learn more about ourselves, our neurology, our social structures and the like, we further refine our understanding of morality and ethics. For example, two hundred years ago, it was considered moral to hang someone for stealing a horse. Two thousand years ago, slavery was not only not immoral, but a common part of many societies.

Over the centuries, we've improved and refined our understanding of morality, and with it our understanding of good and evil.

How does one tell right from wrong?

Is there such a thing as right and wrong?

Where do morals come from?

Is there a such thing as morals?


I'm going to take these as a group, as they all bear upon one another.

Our innate sense of morals, or right and wrong, have developed as a part of our evolutionary heritage. We are a social species, and patterns of behavior, such as empathy, altruism, family and the like were selected for. Studies have shown that all people, regardless of culture, share some basic moral impulses. These impulses may be hijacked and twisted by cultural upbringing, but when the cultural biases are negated, the same basic values are present.

How did we get here?

Abiogenesis is a field of intense interest. Currently, the RNA World hypothesis is favored, and studies have shown that amino acids and other chemical prerequisites for life not only can form on their own, but are actually pretty common, not only on Earth but in space as well. These chemical compounds can form simple nucleotides which then form primitive RNA. The earlier idea that this occurred in the surface oceans is beginning to give way to the hypothesis that the first instances of life may have appeared in deep sea vents, where there would be an abundance of energy to power the process.

Where are we going?

Planet 10! (Sorry, a Buckaroo moment)

Wherever we choose. No Destiny, no Grand Plan, no Ultimate Purpose. The meaning our lives have is what we choose to give them. I'd love to see humanity grow, spread out to the stars and explore the known universe, or as much of it as we can reach.

What happens when we die?

No one knows for certain, but from the evidence, when we die, we die. The electrochemical reactions in our brains stop, our consciousness fades away, the biological machinery of our body shuts down, and the chemicals we are made of get recycled into other things, either quickly or slowly, depending. If you wish to be poetic about it, we are simply a part of the universe, briefly awake, and when we die we return to the universe which spawned us. Almost every atom in your body was once a part of a star, and one day may be so again.

Is there any purpose in life?

See Where are we going?

How do we find happiness?

Each person finds happiness for themselves. Some people find happiness in art, others in nature. Some are happy when writing, others in sports. Some people find happiness in others, some in quiet contemplation. There are as many answers to your question as there are people.

Are you (all of you) firmly convicted in your beliefs, and why?

I don't have a belief when it comes to the existence of a deity, I have the lack of a belief. Specifically, the evidence that I've seen, that has been presented to me, is notably lacking and therefore I do not believe. If new evidence were to be presented, I'd examine it and see if it was enough to convince me. If not, I'd remain unbelieving.

How did you come to the decision to ditch religion (any religion)?

It just didn't add up. Religions constantly were making provably false claims, and the ones that were made that could not be disproved could not be proved either. They were just empty words and unsupported promises, none of which had evidence to back them up.

If every word you are saying is true and there is no God, why not continue in the beautiful lie of religion rather than taking the blue pill and having the ugly truth?

Who says it is a beautiful lie? An eternity of torture for failing to bow to the demands of an omnipotent tyrant is hardly beautiful.

And even if it were a truly beautiful lie, it is still a lie. I value truth, honesty, fact. I would rather know the truth than be deceived, even by myself. Once you know the truth, you can work to improve things. If you are starting out with a false premise, everything you do may be thrown off course, and your efforts to improve things may make them worse. (See the Catholic Church and their inexcusable behavior with regard to condom use and the AIDS epidemic in Africa)

Do you spend your life searching for knowledge?

Among other things. I love to learn, and am a voracious reader.

How can we know anything?

Now we're delving into existentialism. Sure, we might all be figments of your imagination and you're actually a brain in a jar being fed artificial stimuli while your body is being rebuilt after a rocket crash in the year 8326. But it's not particularly likely. :)

Absolute, 100% certain knowledge is something we'll probably never have. Like any good scientist, the best we can possibly do is calculate the odds and say which is the most likely. For example, I'm 99.99999999... % certain that the sun will rise tomorrow. But I can't say 100%, because something might happen which would prevent it. However, the odds of that are so low that I feel it is safe to act as if it were certain.

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