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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I think that the skeptical perspective at this point would be that the existence of God would be conjectural.

Conjecture is not the skeptical perspective. Scientific skepticism requires claims to be well-supported by evidence and subjected to rigorous scrutiny. Conjecture, in contrast, is a claim asserted without evidence. You might as well say the rational perspective at this point is that we're being irrational. 

Also, at this point there isn't a conflict with any of the fields of study you have mentioned.

Please, David. There is no evidence of God. None. The claim that God exists is in direct conflict with science because science requires evidence to support claims. 

And at this point only the first verse of the first chapter have been considered.

And it claims God exists. So that's the claim we're considering. 

"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." Genesis 1:1, King James Bible

Okay, GM,

Fair enough. We can agree, I assume, that from a scientific perspective the supernatural can't be tested, from a logical perspective we can't prove a negative and from a philosophical perspective . . . well, lets not even go there.

The OP put me in the position of the objective atheist examining Genesis chapter 1. I would naturally be skeptical of the existence of the supernatural. Of Jehovah God. However, even as an atheist for the first 27 years of my life I didn't place a great deal of  interest or - for the lack of a better word - faith? in science. Being, of the opinion that science was the imperfect observations of men. Much like Bible interpretation in that sense.

Please, reader, spare me the infinite praise of all things wonderful and science, I mean no offense.

What if the evidence produces itself in our continued examination of the Bible. That is where I would expect to develop an informed opinion on the subject.

Should we continue? If your claim of no God in the specific case of the Bible is correct it should manifest itself without dismissing God.

Perhaps what we need to examine, what at this point in the examination could only be a preconceived notion you can't suppress, so tell us why is there no God without advancing any further in our examination of the Bible.

You STILL don't get how it works, do you, Dave? RE: "so tell us why is there no God" - YOU provide verifiable evidence that there IS a god, then our examination can continue.

Didn't ANY of you guys mention that to him? I'm surprised at you!!

I did in his "Irreligious Bible Student" post, but never got a reply. Still waiting on that evidence.

Fair enough. We can agree, I assume, that from a scientific perspective the supernatural can't be tested,

The scientific method:
1. observe
2. theorize
3. test
4. repeat

There is no evidence of the supernatural. So the supernatural never even makes it to step one. That's why it can't be tested. 

from a logical perspective we can't prove a negative 

"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." - Gen 1:1

Genesis 1:1 is a positive statement that God exists. It is not a negative statement.

and from a philosophical perspective . . . well, lets not even go there.

Okay. But if we DID go there, philosophical skepticism also requires evidence. There is none. So the God statement doesn't pass muster here either.

The OP put me in the position of the objective atheist examining Genesis chapter 1. I would naturally be skeptical of the existence of the supernatural.

Agreed. Let's be skeptical and take the skeptical approach.

Of Jehovah God. However, even as an atheist for the first 27 years of my life I didn't place a great deal of  interest or - for the lack of a better word - faith? in science.

Please identify the branches of science based on faith. Mathematics? Chemistry? Geology? 

Being, of the opinion that science was the imperfect observations of men.

My keyboard is 11.5 inches long.  Mercury boils at 674.11 °F. Two plus two equals four. Light travels at 186,000 miles per second. There are billions of other observations like that. They are accurate, not inaccurate.

Much like Bible interpretation in that sense.

Natural science is about nature, not the supernatural. Science is nothing like the Bible.  

Please, reader, spare me the infinite praise of all things wonderful and science, I mean no offense.

I've mentioned before that the discoveries and accomplishments of science in the last fifty years alone, printed on paper, would easily fill an aircraft hanger. What discoveries and accomplishments has the Bible produce in the last fifty years? The last hundred? The last thousand? Can you name even a single example? Science is deserving of high praise because it is the most successful method we have for discovering nature.

What if the evidence produces itself in our continued examination of the Bible. That is where I would expect to develop an informed opinion on the subject.

Aren't we limiting ourselves to Genesis 1:1 at this point? 

Should we continue?

If the claim that God exists fails with the first sentence of the Bible, then the rest of the Bible fails because it's all based on the God claim. So yes, there's no point in continuing. 

If your claim of no God in the specific case of the Bible is correct it should manifest itself without dismissing God.

I'm didn't make the claim. The Bible did. The Bible claims that God exists. You're attempting to support that claim.  

Perhaps what we need to examine, what at this point in the examination could only be a preconceived notion you can't suppress,

God is the preconceived notion, as presented by the Bible and by you. I'm not trying to suppress it, I'm simply pointing it out and challenging it.

so tell us why is there no God without advancing any further in our examination of the Bible.

Burden of proof, David. Remember? Tell me you've built a better mouse trap, found a cure for cancer, or discovered life on Mars. I say great. Show me.

You are unable or unwilling to present evidence to support your claim, so I don't believe you. As Hitchens once put it: claims presented without evidence may be dismissed without evidence. No claim is required on my part.

Crackpot: I've invented cold fusion!
Me: Amazing! Let's see it!
Crackpot: I can't show it to anyone.
Me: Sorry, I can't take your claim seriously.
Crackpot: Oh yeah? Prove that I HAVEN"T invented cold fusion.
Me: I can't disprove your invention because you haven't shown it.
Crackpot: (Triumphantly) SEE! I really HAVE invented cold fusion, nyah nyah!

"If the claim that God exists fails with the first sentence of the Bible, then the rest of the Bible fails because it's all based on the God claim. So yes, there's no point in continuing."

Yet it continues. Over and over and over I see requests for evidence in support of any supernatural (beings). None EVER eventuates - none ever will. Why continue to argue this with people that we all know will do nothing but sidestep the central issue?

When the occasional open-minded questioner wanders in, by all means answer all their questions. But too often people who KNOW the answers (evidence-free answers) come here to teach us. This seems to me to be every bit as futile as using the Bible to refute the Bible.

We do it because they might think about what they were challenged on. For example, when Jessica/Sarah visited and tried a similar strategy to Dave here, she received the same "show us evidence" reply from us. It continued until she actually tried to show us evidence, which was then proven false, and last I remember of her, she was having quite a hard time supporting her belief aside from "it makes me feel warm and fuzzy, but I know there is no proof of it."

In my book, that is a small, but important victory in the larger scale struggle.

Unfortunately, Kir Komrik led her away like a Pied Piper, with his much-touted "deconversion technique," which is regrettable, as it was an opportunity to watch a transition in progress.

Plus she was a sweet kid - it's rare for everyone here to actually like a theist, but everyone did like her. I think the difference was that she actually listened to what we had to say, which is a rare quality in a theist.

RE: "And at this point only the first verse of the first chapter have been considered."

Do you mean the one that reads, "In the beginning, God --" Only four words in, and already  we have a problem - back to you, Gallup --

Right, Archy,

4 words into this examination and we have our conclusion. We've settled it. Now to the question of 42. Everyone go home. Turn the radio station and send your money elsewhere. Poor Sam Harris. What in the hell is he going to do now?

David, 

I think you miss the point Archy is making. Genesis 1:1 starts with a premise that there is god, before we go into the semantics of Hebrew or whatever language you want to show us you know, settle the question first of whether a god exists then the rest should be easy. That is the crux of the matter and that is what Gallup is asking, now can you provide evidence that a god, more so the Gen 1:1 exists?

Onyango,

I understand the point Archy and Gallup are making. Is it possible my own point isn't being addressed or understood? I along with everyone else here have an opinion on the existence of God. The OP attempts to reexamine the evidence presented by the text itself.

Lets say scientist received some transmission from somewhere out in space claiming to originate from some extremely advanced beings. Should we listen to the skeptics who say those beings don't exist or proceed objectively?

I guess that is up to the individual, but do you see my point.

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