I’d like to burn some very typical straw men. Hopefully, in the debate over Christianity, these unnecessary issues can be avoided.

Creation  - Neither Genesis nor any of the scriptures demands that the earth and universe is only 6- to 10- thousand years old. The Hebrew word for “day” (yom) could mean long periods of time. The words  “there was morning and there was evening, the first day” could be translated “there was beginning and ending, the first (yom)”.

(BTW, the narrative moves to the surface of the earth in Genesis 1:2. While stars were certainly already in existence, their light was not visible on the surface of the earth until the opaque early atmosphere cleared).

Adam and Eve – While scripture does indicate they were specially created, there are gaps in the biblical genealogies that could place Adam and Eve back 60- to 90-thousand years. This would also predict increasing discovery of a common DNA originating between east Africa and the Mesopotamia.

(BTW, the word for “rib” means “side”. The story of Eve’s creation could mean God created her from Adam for symbolic purposes. I speculate a biopsy, of sorts, from the side, with a few million variations to the DNA producing a female. )

Talking Snakes - A boa constrictor with vocal cords is not in view here. That image comes largely from medieval art. The “serpent” in the garden was intelligent and used for evil. One can only speculate what sort of being it was (perhaps one no longer extant).

The Flood – The fact that a great flood is found in various cultures indicates that it happened. Two questions emerge:  which account is most accurate and whether the flood was global or local.

I’m of the opinion that the flood was regional rather than global for several reasons. First, while the flood was universal in effect, it was only regional in extent due to human’s not having moved much beyond the Mesopotamia at the time. A global flood was unnecessary.

Secondly, language like “under all the heavens”, “all the earth”, etc. are most likely from the perspective of the observer, i.e. a flood from horizon to horizon. “Mountains” could be translated “hills” with rain and water “covering” (or running over) them rather than submerging them.

Thirdly, this would mean there were not polar bears and penguins, etc. on the ark, but only animals indigenous to the region and of special relation to man.

Fourthly, a global flood would have torn the ark to pieces, no matter how well built. And it certainly would not have landed anywhere near its original location.

Fifthly, the scripture itself said a “large wind” was used in the evaporation process. Such a wind would have virtually no effect in a global flood.

Finally, if the flood were only regional why not just have Noah, his family, and whatever animals needed, hike out of the area and be safe? Why a big specifically-built ark? I think because God often operates via symbols teaching important truths or significance, i.e. salvation in Christ or deliverance through troubled waters (trials).

Use of Metaphor – The scriptures use metaphor and other literary devices. One need only utilize common exegetical analysis and context to determine what any author meant as literal or metaphorical (and on a case-by-case basis).

Inerrancy – If there are consequential or factual errors in the Bible  that does not mean Christianity is false. However, I find it remarkable how well the Bible holds up to scrutiny and that there are plausible answers to discrepancies. Personally, I hold to the Chicago Statement on Inerrancy.  

Hell – is not a place of torture (external) but of torment (internal). There are many descriptions of hell in the scriptures. The “fire” is most likely not the chemical combustion we’re familiar with. It, combined with all the other descriptions, reduces to separation from God and the judgment of God.

This does not make hell more tolerable (that’s not possible). But it does dispel hillbilly theology that has poor souls swatting flames for eternity! Christ depicted conversation taking place “in the flames”. No person could have a conversation while on fire! On our familiar planet, one is in mindless torture if burning.

It is, however, a profound tragedy to be eternally separated from God. It is a “spiritual chaos” one enters when the intact “self” survives the physical body.  There are indications that some kind of body could exist in hell.

Heaven – is a remarkably physical place. It is not ethereal or immaterial. It is a combination of a “new heaven and new earth”. We will live on earth in physical bodies that are “spiritual” which nonetheless have access to one another and continued exploration of the universe without many of the limits of current bodies affected by entropy, etc. Christ’s resurrected body could be touched and he ate food, etc. This describes the redeemed, resurrected body.

This is not to be confused with an intermediary state which is not physical. At death, one goes either into the very presence of God to await the resurrection of the body, or in a state of chaos to await final judgment.

“God will not allow anything to happen in your life that you can’t handle” – False! Scripturally, there are plenty of things that happen that one cannot handle! Devastating things! The accurate teaching is that nothing will happen that God’s grace will not get one through.

“You must become like children”  - Christ said to “humble yourself like a little child”. It does not mean to be naïve, ignorant, gullible, or irrational.

Pascal’s Wager This is not an argument for God nor necessarily addressed to atheists. Pascal used a popular gambling motif to shake the French laity out of spiritual complacency and to at least move them in the direction of God.

Further, the Wager, as it is commonly used, is not allowed by Paul in 1 Corinthians 15. He said if Christ was not risen, then the jig is up! Christianity is false! He did not say believe it anyway “just in case” or because it provides a positive way of life.

I hope these internal considerations provide food for thought.

Tags: Pascal's, Wager, adam, and, creation, eve, flood, heaven, hell, inerrancy, More…the

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Zeus then. Or Ra. Or Odin. Pick a god, any god...
I think what Cara is getting at is that to us atheists the bible is fiction and that to convince us your arguments have to come from outside your religion.  If you have strong, objective, empirical evidence of a deity, then we will start to take you seriously--but not til then.

Yes I have studied that and most scholars find that assertion false. One reason is the strict Jewish context that abhorred paganism. Also, similarities do not prove same source. Do the Lincoln/Kennedy similarities prove Kennedy was borrowed from Lincoln? Imagine future scholars thinking so!

Allegations of mythological borrowing must be examined on a case-by-case basis (e.g. Mithra, Horus, etc.).

Lengthy narratives of the Kennedy assassination that are framed very similarly to narratives of the Lincoln assassination are valid evidence of one author being influenced by the other and that in no way compares to asserting both were killed by the same conspirators - or whatever the hell you mean by "Kennedy was borrowed from Lincoln."

 

The Genesis 6 reference to the 'sons of God' and the multiple references to Asherah (known throughout Semitic mythology as the Mother Goddess) are clear indications of the polytheistic roots of Judaism.  None of this, however, is relevant in light of the fact that the book documents a mythology that cannot in any way be interpreted as literal without some outside evidence of the existence of gods or God.

Find that assertion false or have proven that assertion false?

 

This argument can be applied to facts only not fables... Your still arguing that your mythology comes from knowledge and truth with no basis for said argument other than personal "revelation!".. What I consistently see in your arguments is that all other mythology is wrong because there is no basis.. Nothing.. Nada... so it can be ignored.. and I'm sorry there is no valid proof for your argument.. it is based on nothing but hearsay, constant misinterpretation and metaphor...


Your argument "similarities do not prove same source".  If I wrote a story about vampires and werewolves.. It may not be Underworld... but based upon the information that has been been written before hand and accepted as interesting and exhilarating about vampires and werewolves there would be a vast amount of similarities or my story wouldn't sell..

Kevin is a superb vehicle for illustrating to new deconverts that the evidence abounds that the bible is utter myth.  And there are so many examples of their replicated (and physically impossible) parallels, like virgin birthing. To compare Lincoln to Kennedy as an equivalent example, is simply preposterous.  For the recovering believers who might want just one more of many places to review these data, check here.  There are many links at the bottom of that page, as well.

Oh sorry, Kevin.  I forgot you were there...  So tell us, do you expect the thinking world to accept that the figure Jesus miraculously healed the sick, fed thousands with a single bread loaf, physically ascended into the sky, yada yada, and yet no one ever wrote about it in his day.  Not for 40 years? What clever Lincoln/Kennedy example can you entertain us with on this point?  No, very much unlike Julius Caesar, who appears throughout historical references from many external sources.  Jesus, sadly, has none, save for the bible.  Why? You can manufacture a really fabulous and convoluted spin about god suspending time and space, manipulating reality at his every whim.  But get real. The simplest explanation (Occam's razor): Jesus is mythical.

In my opinion, anyone who asserts that Jesus is myth can be written off immediately as far as any reasonable dialogue and can be ignored as unreliable in virtually anything on the subject!


And you "deconverts" can check atheist/agnostic Bart Ehrman's book on the subject of the historicity of Christ.

Careful, Kevin - you are trying to enforce the rules of your cult here.  Although there are many good reasons to think there was an historical Jesus, there is nothing blasphemous here in throwing his very existence into question.

I am very much reminded of those who take the Genesis creation mythology seriously.  Can we disregard all creationist and 'anti-evolutionists' out of hand from public discourse?  Will you fight the good fight to see to it that their meddling in the education system is put to an end?  If not, then why should any of us who prefer to trade in facts come to your defense when you assert it more than reasonable to assume there was, in fact, an historic figure behind the Jesus mythology?

Which Ehrman book would that be, Kevin - I have an entire library of Ehrman --

You are allowed to have your opinions, but more importantly can you present facts of miraculous events preformed by a man named Jesus that were not also attributed to others but discounted by persons like yourself.. 

Why are you a follower of Jesus but not a follower of Appollonius of Tyana?

Welcome Kevin. I'll try to take this on point by point. As a consequence, it will be long. But I'm a blabber mouth anyways, so it's nothing new.

Creation and length of days. If Yom meant anything other than days, stars and their color shift aren't the only issues. The plants are created before the animals. How would you suppose these plants pollinate if evolution didn't create more or new plants? Clearly going from needing external pollinators from being able to pollinate on your own would be a example of speciation... no? What about plants that are specifically pollinated by only one or two animals due to the location of the stamens? Clearly you need animals to pollinate a large portion of the plants and without animals, many would die out in short order. So a day is acceptable here, but much more than a day becomes an issue. I would expect that God can communicate lengths of time.

Adam and Eve and special creation. Since he was simply formed, we shouldn't see fusion of telomeric fusion of chromosome #2.. Nor should we see ERV's that exist in APE's that we share. There are 14 locations where ERV's are in both humans and APEs. This could have only been placed in the genome through reverse-transcriptase. 14 common locations out of billions of possibilities. This is conclusive beyond DNA sampling. It's simply not reasonable to ignore.

Talking Snakes... This is really just a beginning point in animals in the Bible and not nearly the most outrageous. A dragon "His tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth." Revelations 12:4 #1 dragon. #2 flying. #3 Tail reaching stars. #4 dealing with the cold and the heat. #5 stars on the earth... a third of them. A talking snake really is the least of my concerns. Unicorns, flying donkeys, talking donkeys...

Flood - You seem to accept that a full flood over Mt Everest didn't happen. Cool. The problem faced is that there are plenty that fully accept it and that's where you are getting painted with a broad brush. (Chrome is having difficulty with adding links, but here's the one that I was wanting to add. http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/nab/really-a-flood-and-ark )

Use of Metaphor - For me too many of any of the metaphor are absurd and against human nature. eg If your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. Really? I get a little hot about a woman that I'm not married to and I've committed a sin? Even metaphorically I should pluck out my eye? Seems that the desire for sex is in the design, so I don't think that I'm to blame. That would be like me complaining that my V8 truck uses too much fuel and kicking it.

Chicago Inerrancy - I have to apologize. I'm assuming that you are allowing for minor errors. Now I'm going to run with it and you tell me where I missed the point. As to extant copies, I'm going to run with a Erhman example. John 3:3 shows Nicodemus talking to Jesus about being reborn. This is central to Evangelical teachings as you must be reborn. The problem is that the word used for reborn leads to confusion and a double meaning in the conversation in Greek. However, in Aramaic, there could have been no misunderstanding. This means that the conversation either never happened at all, or how it happened as a whole was fabricated and John 3:3 is irrelevant. This means being reborn is irrelevant. Is that central enough to core, extant or not? Seriously, the Chicago Inerrancy is a new one to me and I'm not quite clear. It would be good to learn exactly what that means.

Hell - I would have to say that I'm without God. If you watched my sister face life and death as a professed Christian, versus Me as an Atheist, it would be very clear to see who is tormented, and it isn't me. I gave my father's eulogy like a boss. Not because I'm unfeeling, but because I've accepted life for what it is. I'm fully emotional. I wince at the thought of my dog dying. I cried at the Blind Side. I'm tormented by the pain people have to face in life, but not by life itself because of the acceptance of an end. It would be an interesting discussion to understand what pains us from different spectrums of religiosity.

Heaven - I have a different perspective of Heaven. Besides it being at his fathers house with many mansions John 14:2 KJV (which would have to already be here since he speaks of it in the present tense. 1 Corinthians 15:44 shows Paul saying that we are raised in a spiritual body. What really leave it confusing is, if we were already shaped in his image, will we then be an improvement upon God?

Your last three points don't really speak to me, so I'll leave them alone. Welcome to TA. I'm happy to discuss any of this, but that's my take on your blog and why I see it as I do.
Bravo Gaytor

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