Hey Guys,

So I'm just looking to brush up on my knowledge regarding Christian beliefs so that I'm better prepared to explain my position of disbelief when the discussion arises (it has been a much more common topic around the house than I'd like, especially being the sole atheist of the family). I have some general questions mainly concerning timelines, tailored beliefs and context of things relating to the Bible. Any insight or helpful links would be greatly appreciated. Alright, so here's what I'd like more info on:

1) Does the Bible condone slavery? Every Christian that's confronted with this seems to flat out deny that it does, stating that those "slaves" were people who volunteered themselves to serve.

2) Over what period of time was the Bible written?

3) What's the story of Abraham killing his son?

4) Who are Cain and Abel?

5) What misogynist things does the Bible say about women?

6) Why don't Christians like to follow the Old Testament?

7) What has the Bible "predicted"?

8) Does the Bible have any racist implications?

9) Who was Mary Magdalene and what was so special about her?

10) What other religions does the Bible "borrow" from?

Thanks in advance! <3

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1- Yes, most of it is in the Old Testament (Exodus, Leviticus).

2- 1500 BCE- 100 CE

3- God ordered Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac. Abraham was carrying the order out. God stopped Abraham and gave him a lamb to sacrifice instead.

4- Adam and Eve's sons

5- Sexual slavery is condoned, women aren't allowed to speak in church etc..

6- They are hypocrites. Jesus even said the Old Law is still applicable. We should be grateful that no one follows the Old Testament, even Jews because the penalty for just about everything is being stoned to death.

7- The 2nd coming of Christ (pro tip: it still hasn't happened). Read the Book of Revelation.

8- Noah curses Canaan. Canaan becomes black.

9- A follower of Jesus. Thought to possibly be his wife and maybe a reformed prostitute.

10- There are prebible versions of the flood, virgin birth, resurrection, walking on water, raising people from the dead like Lazarus.


#1 - There are very specific rules about who you could enslave, how long you can keep them and how severely you can beat them.

#5 - A woman's only value was how much her father could sell her for. But once she lost he virginity, she was worthless. A virgin might be raped and the rapist gets away. If she didn't scream loud enough to scare off her attacker, then it's her fault for not preserving her virginity. She was then to be taken outside of town and stoned to death. If she rapist was caught then it was public knowledge that she was useless and no man would want her. Her attacker had to marry her and he could never divorce her.

#8 - I don't think that the bible says that Canaan became black. It just says that he was cursed. There is another story that I can't remember totally. But someone in that story get cursed and he is banished to "the land in the south". Some theists interpret that area to be Africa,

Numbers c.5 v.2-4
Leviticus c.20 v.13
Exodus c.32 v.27
Numbers c.11 v.1-2
Numbers c.16 all
Numbers c.21 v.5-6
Numbers v.26 v.10
KILL anyone who engages in “DIVERSITY” or “INTEGRATION”
Numbers v25 v.4-8
Deuteronomy c.14 v.2
Numbers c.21 v.03 Canaanites
Numbers c.21 v.24 Amorites
Numbers c.21 v.33-35 Bashan
Numbers c.31 all Midianites
Numbers c.32 v. more Amorites
Deuteronomy c.2 v.34 People of Heshbon
Deuteronomy c.3 v.6 really the whole chapter. threescore cities
Joshua c.12 A list of victims of Israeli GENOCIDE
Numbers c.21 v.25
Numbers c.32 v.39
Numbers c.33 v.53
(just to name a FEW)
Numbers c.33 v.31-34
Deuteronomy c.7 v.2
Deuteronomy c.12 v.28-30
Deuteronomy c.20 v.11-16
Deuteronomy c.2 v.2
Deuteronomy c.7 v.1

Doesn't it give you all kinds of warm fuzzies and make you want to burst into a church and say, "I LOVE this book!  You people are DA BOMB?"

Diane - I think I might actually do this......no really...I have seen it happening in my head and it won't go away......thanks (I think) lol.....for everything else there's MasterCard...

If you do it, get it on video.  I think people would pay to see it.  I would.  Can you imagine the extreme level of awkwardness and moment of silence that would follow?  Alternately, you could avoid the awkwardness and open the door, Leslie-Nielson-like as he did when he opened the door and said, "We're all counting on you." in the movie Airplane, and leave without further explanation.  

Never mind you!  I might have to do this too.  Wow!  What if hundreds of people did it all over the world at the same time?  It would be like a huge Improv Everywhere skit.  I think my work on this planet might be done after that.


This is a bit off topic, but it's sure useful if you're going to be having these kinds of discussions. One of the things that Christians often say, infuriatingly, is that the Bible is the perfect word of God, is timeless, doesn't contradict itself etc. They obviously haven't read or comprehended any of it. This is a graphic showing the gratuitous number of contradictions spanning the old and new testaments. They're not all things that are 'interpretive', either; it's everything from 'When was Heaven created?' to 'Who were the sons of Benjamin?' or 'Did Jesus baptize anyone?'. Very handy reference.


Wow, Asidius, you don't ask much, do you?

First of all, if there are theist vs realist debates going on within your family, technique is more important than facts, since your theist will rarely use any, so I suggest you check out,

How to Answer Theist Arguments

A seminar series for atheists and freethinkers

That done, let's take a look at your questions --

1) Does the Bible condone slavery? Every Christian that's confronted with this seems to flat out deny that it does, stating that those "slaves" were people who volunteered themselves to serve.

Obviously, to answer all of your questions in detail would require a book, or at the very least,a page of biblical chapters and verses, which I doubt that anyone has time to produce, so in some cases, I'll just have to point you in a general direction, and let you do further research for yourself - as for slavery, scan Leviticus. For answers to many other questions, try this.

2) Over what period of time was the Bible written?

It began in 950 BCE, with a group of Priests known as the Yahwist Source from the Southern Kingdom of Judea; in 850 BCE, another group, the Elohist Source, wrote in the Northern Kingdom of Israel; in 750 BCE, these two were combined by a Redactor, when the Elohist group fled south to Judea, fearing the destruction of Israel by the Assyrians, which finally happened in 722 BCE. Later, after Jerusalem was sacked by the Babylonians, and most of the Hebrews taken into captivity in Babylon for nearly 50 years, until freed by the Persians, yet another group arose, the Priestly Source, who blamed the Hebrew's troubles on their flagging allegiance to their god, and wrote works designed to bring the Jews back to their belief, in the late 500's BCE. Independently, of all of this, the entire book of Deuteronomy was "found" in a dusty storeroom in the temple of King Josiah, in the 700's BCE, in Jerusalem - it was believed to have been written by Josiah himself, who claimed it was a lost book of Moses. The works of all four of these groups were combined, in 400 BCE, by a group of Redactors (editors) into the Torah. The entire Jewish Bible, what Christians call the Old Testament, is actually known to the Jews as the Tanakh, and wasn't entirely put to gether until about 400 CE.  The New Testament was written between 72 CE and 325 CE.

3) What's the story of Abraham killing his son?

Not sure what you mean by, "What's the story" - we have a story of a crazy old man, reputedly 112, who hears voices and believes an invisible sky fairy told him to take his 12-year old son on a 3-day journey to Mt. Moriah, take him up the mountain, slit his throat and burn his body.

So he got a couple of his servants together and sneaked out of camp early one morning, without mentioning to Sarah, "Guess what WE'RE gonna do today?!" - nowhere in the Bible do you ever see that he and Sarah ever lived together again. Of course, at the last minute, an angel appeared and said, "Hey, you know what? Forget it."

4) Who are Cain and Abel?

The stuff that legends are made of.

5) What misogynist things does the Bible say about women?

Again, Leviticus, Deuteronomy, and some of the forged letters of Paul, who himself, seemed to have a favorable opinion of women, even suggesting they'd make good priests.

6) Why don't Christians like to follow the Old Testament?

Because it's hard for people to believe the god who drowned everyone in the world, except 8 people, "so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him - yada, yada, yada --"

7) What has the Bible "predicted"?

That there are a lot of gullible people in the world, other than that, nothing.

It's really easy to predict things, when you're writing after they happened, but making it look like, to an ignorant, illiterate, gullible population, that they were written centuries earlier. In the case of Isaiah "predicting" the coming of a "Messiah," the story of Jesus was concocted, beginning 45 years after his alleged death, if he ever actually existed, to make it appear as if the predictions came true.

8) Does the Bible have any racist implications?

Not in and of itself, but there have been those who have used, "the mark of Cain," and in Gen 9:22, when that little old winemaker, Noah, drank a little too much of his own joy juice and passed out naked on his bed, and his son, Ham, wandered into his tent without knocking on the tent-flap and saw him and was cursed (25-27) to serve his brothers, were both used by racists to maintain that (in their minds) we all came from Noah, so Blacks can only be explained if we assume black skin was the mark of Cain, or that Ham was turned dark by the curse. Interestingly, in Gen 9:25-27, it's Ham's son, Canaan, who did nothing, who was cursed to servitude by his loving grandfather, not Ham, who was likely blinded at the sight of a naked 600-year old man. On a further side-note, if one believes the Bible (snicker) and follows biblical chronology, a descendant of Ham was "Nimrod," who the Bible tells us became a great Mesopotamian ruler, while the Semites (Shemites), became nomadic tribes that inhabited the Middle Mast and North Africa, while the descendants of Noah's third son, Japheth, were never heard from again, so there's a curse that didn't quite work out as planned.

Noah's Brain Trust, and according to the Bible,
our direct ancestors!

9) Who was Mary Magdalene and what was so special about her?

If she ever existed, her name wouldn't have been "Mary Magdalene." In the days before last names, which custom is only a few hundred years old, people were identified by other means. Steve Johnson would literally have been, Steve, John's son. Yeshua (Jesus' real name) would have been "Yeshua bar Yusef," or, Yeshua, son of Yusef (Joseph). Since the genealogy of women was irrelevant (misogyny again!), they were identified by other means, i.e., Mary, mother of Yeshua, etc. The Mary in question would have come from the area near Bethlehem, where stood a giant tower for the purpose of raising perfect lambs for temple sacrifice. The tower was known as Migdal Edar, and Mary would have been, "Mary, the Migdalene," meaning from the area of the Migdal. There are several stories in the NT of various prostitutes, and some have speculated that one of those was Mary, but I can recall no passage that actually confirms it. Many have speculated that Mary M was in love with Yeshua, but other frequent references to "the disciple that Jesus loved," which would seem to differentiate whoever that was from the other eleven, may also have given rise to the speculation that Yeshua was gay.

10) What other religions does the Bible "borrow" from?

The entire book of Genesis borrows heavily from the various religions of Mesopotamia, beginning with the Sumerian, then the Akkadian, and finally, the Amurrite rulers of that land. The story of Noah's flood, for example, which according to biblical chronology, would have taken place about 2600 BCE, was the Hebrew version of an actual flood that occurred in Shuruppak, Uruk, and Kish - three Sumerian cities - in what is now southern Iraq, about 125 miles southeast of Baghdad - river flood sediments there have been radio carbon-dated as 2900 BCE, so scholars conclude that the flood hero was a king of Shuruppak at the end of the Jemdet Nasr period. It seems that the Euphrates River overflowed its banks to a height of 15 cubits (22.5 ft. - about the height of a 3-story building), the exact distance the Bible tells us the water stood above the highest mountains! The king escaped the flood in a trading barge, loaded with cotton, cattle and beer (oh, my!), not exactly an ark.

Approximate Area of Ziusudra's Flood - 2900 BCE

Later, in the first known work of fiction, "The Epic of Gilgamesh," the anonymous author describes the flood as being the result of angry gods, and the Jews pick it up from there. The Gilgamesh story ends with the king disemb-ark-ing and burning a sacrifice - from the Epic: "The gods smelled the savor, the gods smelled the sweet savor and collected like flies over a sacrifice" - from the Bible (Gen, 8:21): "the Lord smelled the sweet savor" - hmmm --

This is as good as time permits, hope it helps.

Sorry, wrote, "Middle Mast," meant, "Middle East" - didn't catch it til after the 15-minute edit window closed. Mea culpa --

Oh, and Atrakhasis, the fictional king of "The Epic," representing the historical king, Ziusudra, also sent out doves and ravens, as well --

I may have time for one more response to #10 - the Tower of Bable fable:

Here are some artist's concepts of the biblical Tower of Bable - the 4th is M. C. Escher's:

Here, on the other hand, is the Sumerian Ziggurat - the little dome on the top was designed for the Sumerian gods to rest, on their wearisome travels to earth.

Now imagine a real god, who created everything, and who knows all about Earth and it's atmosphere - would he really, in order to prevent them from buillding a tower to heaven, have confounded the languages of everyone, and dispersed them to the far corners of the Earth, or would he have rocked back in his celestial La-z-boy, with a plate of hot, spicy nachos in his lap and a cold Bud parked on a nearby cloud, and watched on his Biiiiiiig-screen, and laughed his holy ass off as all of the stonelayers passed out from lack of oxygen, when they reached the upper limit? How much simpler way to say, "You can't get there from here --"?

Now think long and hard about those towers - the one thing they all have in common, is that their base is wider than their top. There's a reason for that, to spread the weight as evenly as possible across as much ground as possible.

Now imagine that you arbitrarily decided on a specific distance from Earth to heaven, built your entire tower, and realized you weren't there yet - what do you do? You can't go any higher, without going back down to the ground, building a wider base, and basically building another, higher tower outside of the original, and if that one doesn't get you there, then yet another one! How many of these does an average civilization pay to finance, before calling it quits?

Even without knowing about the Sumerian Ziggarat, the entire Tower of Bable fable is absurd.


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