The atheist response to the text of the Bible is based primarily upon the young earth creationist interpretation, which is flawed. If I put myself objectively in the position of the atheist attempting to debunk the Bible I would start with Genesis Chapter 1. The Chapter passed the inspection of this former atheist.

The Hebrew verb consists of two different states. The perfect state indicates an action which is complete, whereas the imperfect state indicates a continuous or incomplete action.

At Genesis 1:1 the word bara, translated as created, is in the perfect state, which means that at this point the creation of the heavens and the Earth were completed. Later, as in verse 16 the Hebrew word asah, translated as made, is used, which is in the imperfect state, indicating continuous action. The heavens and Earth were created in verse 1 and an indeterminate time later they were being prepared for habitation, much the same as a bed is manufactured (complete) and made (continuous) afterwards.

What this means is that the creation was complete even before the six "days" of creation even began, in fact, later verses in the chapter reveal it was more than likely a long time in between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2.

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David, maybe it would be better to blog about your thoughts on god rather than setting up an "atheist challenge" in a discussion forum.

 I'd like to use the word "calculating" in accordance to what you are doing here and your last discussion as well. "calculating" in the same sense that I would use in accordance to some large corporations. Perhaps these corporations haven't broken the law, done anything "wrong" or are even inherently evil but they planned for an outcome and that outcome depends upon a particular set up.

  I do sleight of hand tricks. These tricks are just that -tricks. They are calculating and they depend heavily on the set up. These are for fun. The only fun on this discussion that there has been was at your expense. Then you go on to explain that you are the resident "scapegoat". If you bring it all on yourself then that is not a scapegoat. I'd rather say it's a bit masochistic of you.

 So rather than all the song and dance why don't you blog. This would eliminate all of the "guess what I'm holding behind my back." "wrong" and "wrong" and "wrong but keep guessing" bit.

I think it's called e-martyrdom, Jared :)  It's a bit wussy because you get to walk away afterwards

Virtual martyrdom.  Once you find that you have become a human pincushion from all the arrows sticking out of you, you take the virtual reality goggles off, and shut power off to your X-box-like system.

Sounds like all you managed to do was prove that whoever wrote Gensis was lousy at Hebraic grammar...

After having read through the entirety of this discussion, I find your post to be interesting, but altogether inconsequential. All you are doing is arguing semantics, and that's going to be a problem for you to convince anyone. The only people who actually care about semantic arguments are lawyers. To most of us here, is doesn't matter that a particular translation of a language from 2500-3000 years ago gives some leeway to a different interpretation of a myth. It's still just a myth.

We care far more about evidence, and the evidence is (as Arch has pointed out in numerous places) that these are all just stories written by different people at different times and assembled as we know it know by other men who came afterwards. Moses, who you say wrote Genesis, is considered by the academic community to never have existed. The enslavement of the Jews by the Egyptians never occurred. Modern archeology has found that this is true.

Gallup said that a great many of the sciences when viewed as a whole prove that the Bible is nothing more than a work of fiction. They do more than that. They explain how the whole history of religious thought is nothing more than superstition.

Actually Sagacious, according to the Bible, approximately 2 million Jews left Egypt under the leadership of Moses, at a time when the entire population of Egypt was only 3.5 million - such an Exodus would have decimated the Egyptian economy, yet there is no mention of it in any of the Egyptian annals, and those guys were anal about annals.

But I've read a couple of sources that indicate the possibility that there was a small band of Levites, who may have been enslaved in Egypt and were released, but that still leaves no indication of a Moses.

Further, there is no indication that the Jewish people worshipped Yahweh until after the so-called exodus. Exodus has god telling Moses that his name is Yahweh, but that he was known to Abraham, Issac and Jacob as "El Shaddai" It makes sense that whatever Jews actually DID go into Egypt worshipped "El Shaddai," but over the 400 ensuing years, may have lost their religion entirely. Upon leaving Egypt, whoever their leader may have been, he would have wanted to unite the people, and one of the best ways of doing that was to provide them with a god who would punish them if they don't follow his rules.

The origin of "El Shaddai" is interesting. Genesis relates that Abraham came from "Ur of the Chaldees." The Chaldeans were a people who occupied Southeastern Mesopotamia around 700 BCE, but didn't even exist in the time Abe allegedly lived. Further, there was indeed a city in Mesopotamia called "Ur," but "Ur" was simply the Sumerian word for "city." From there, according to Genesis, Abe traveled to Haran, on the Syrian border. Interestingly, there is a small city just 20 miles east of Haran, called "Ur-fa," the residents of which to this day, pride themselves as living in what they swear is the birthplace of Abraham. That would make far more sense, as moving to a city (Haran) only twenty miles away, is a far simpler explanation of Abraham's relocation, than to believe he traveled the entire length of Mesopotamia.

Mesopotamia (Iraq) was first ruled by the Sumerians for 4,000 years, then taken over by the Akkadians for a thousand years, and finally, by the Amorites, or Amurrites, who originated in Syria, the location of both Ur-fa and Haran. Throughout the Issac story and the Jacob story, Abe's nephew is known as "Laban, the Syrian," which would certainly indicate that either Abe and his entire clan were Syrian, or at least came from there.

But as I mentioned, Syria was the original home of the Amurrites, whose one god was known as "Amurru," which is how the people themselves were named, being followers of Amurru. The fascinating part of all this, is that "Amurru" had a nick-name - he was known as "El Shaddai"!

It would appear then, that the Jews followed Amurru until they went into Egypt, lost their religion, returned to the Levant, where for a time, they teamed up with another Arab tribe known as the Kenites, aka, the Midianites, who followed a single god they called YWH.

Shortly after, we have the Israelis following a god named YHWH, aka Yahweh, who admits he was known to Abe, Ike and Jake as "El Shaddai." I'm sensing a horse change in the middle of the stream.

Because too many people fall for these fantasies.

The problem is, Blaine, that you can mold your fantasy to fit you precisely, whereas facts are facts, and to connect with them you have to do a little self-modification from time to time. 

It is the easiest thing in the world to imagine your personal relationship with your deity, because you really don't have to make any effort.  You just rearrange your interpretation of your deity to fit you snugly (reference Westboro BC for example).

Taking on personal responsibility for yourself and your actions requires you to be an adult and stand on your own two feet.  To do this you must be prepared to learn, and change, and adapt to your environment without the pacifier of being forgiven and absolved. 

I think you're expressing the main reasons TA exists. Some are here to blow off steam with people who share the frustration. Some (like myself) are also here to try to understand why woo is so ingrained and easily accepted by human culture, and maybe learn to respond against it with more savvy and effectiveness. (It ain't easy!)

What I find amusing, David, is that you continue to delve into ancient texts for answers. You seem to take them as God's word, but you forget that at one point, every one of the fantastical and tragic events that happen in the Bible were current events. Part of the reason they take on an air of divinity is because they are seen through the eyes of legend--therefore edited for effect.

Imagine yourself as the editor of the Biblical Times, a newspaper dedicated to writing down the events as they happen. An ace reporter brings you in an account of a leader of a band of former slaves coming back from a 40 year journey, and he has inscribed tablets that they say are direct from Hisself. You David, would be the one debunking every unbelievable story. You have shown that you have an interest in research, but somewhere along the way, you stop when someone supposedly authoritative in ancient history says goddidit. If you were there, you would be the one saying "no He di'n't". 

The ancient accounts you read have all of the authority of the blogs you might read today. Certainly the stories were honed by oral historians, not for their truth, but for their mnemonics. If you were there, right as the first accounts were coming in, you, of all people would be the most skeptical. 

Even regarding Genesis 1:1, someone would bring you the information that they know how the world was formed. You would ask how they got the info and they might say they got it from their grandpa. You would go ask him and he would say he heard it from his grandpa. At some point you will realize that it is totally unprovable, what was said, and it would not even make page 13 of the Biblical Times.

So, I encourage you to go on with your research of Abe Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Or Jebus Horatio of Nazereth: Water Walker. They are pretty much the same thing.

In my impression, the Bible is the National Enquirer of ancient literature.

BTW, Mel, had you said, "Jebus of Nazereth, aka Luke WaterWalker," it might have been funnier, but what do I know?

Anybody notice that David Henson is pleasantly absent this evening? Anyone know if Saturday is considered the Sabbath by Jehova's Witlesses?

I can check in my Book of Mormon that you had me order online yet failed to advise me that  it would be delivered personally to me by those nice young men in suits and ties on New Years Day, Arch... I can tell you what they say.

But is there a website you want to direct me to for the equivalent JW opportunity, I wonder...

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