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

Tags: abraham, atheism, bible, context, debate, god, jesus, misogyny, questions, racism, More…women

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Can you honestly not see how nebulous, ephemeral and esoteric the god you describe must be? What's to worship? I'd rather worship a catsup bottle!

Ever see, "Day of the Dolphin," when G.C. Scott asks the dolphin, "Fa," who was sent to plant a bomb on the President's yacht, but he plants it on the bad guy's yacht (which includes David, a traitor) instead, "Where is David?" And Fa, who sees no shades of gray, to whom all things either are, or are not, says, "Not."

Well, the same with Enoch - he walked with god, and "was not."

Remind me not to walk with god.

Bob: Do you feel that a one-dimensional extensible line exists as a material reality?   How about negative or imaginary numbers?

Gallup: How about Huckleberry Finn and Frodo Baggins?

Ah, @Gallup, I think this is where we disagree fundamentally.  I see mathematics as genuine knowledge.  Even though I have no evidence for numbers in the complex plane, I find the use of complex analysis to be useful in modeling a variety of interactions, like alternating current circuits and electromagnetic waves.

So even though the numbers are "imaginary", a thought construct based on still more fundamental (and equally abstract) principles of mathematics, I consider that to be genuine knowledge.  It's "real".  I "believe" in it, in that I make use of those ideas and that language in my daily life, and apply that knowledge to real-world questions.

I suppose you can choose to consider mathematics a fiction like Frodo Baggins, because there's no "empirical proof" of the existence of complex mathematics.  I just don't think that sort of skepticism is very useful.

The one actual piece of anything informational in all of the above verbiage - other than the fact that you think that our profession of not believing in gods, is "pithy" - is this:

"A very large percentage of the human community finds the religious worldview useful, in terms of helping them successfully navigate the world, personal relationships, approaches to society.  It has utility for them, among other things, and because of perceived utility and other factors they therefore opt into that worldview and accept the axioms "on faith", the same way that someone who employs Euclidean Geometry.  That is not irrational."

I've yet to see any of the "usefulness" you've been repeatedly touting that religion provides. Most of the positive, beneficial qualities inherent in Mankind would have been there with or without religion, and in fact, as I stated in another comment, I have every reason to think that those responsible, in the past, for concocting religions, did so with those inherent qualities in mind, in order for their religion to take credit for them.

On the other hand, religion has been directly responsible for countless deaths, torture and hardship.

Further, atheism is only recently coming out of its closet, so to speak - if you've been following these various discussions at all, you have clearly seen the agony many of us have gone through, at the hands of our own families, as a result of our choosing to believe differently from them - yet already we have begun to form Humanist organizations designed to help others. I have every reason to believe that as more and more of us throw off the shackles, we will do much to change the world, knowing full well that this is all we have.

Further, atheism is only recently coming out of its closet, so to speak - if you've been following these various discussions at all, you have clearly seen the agony many of us have gone through, at the hands of our own families, as a result of our choosing to believe differently from them - yet already we have begun to form Humanist organizations designed to help others. I have every reason to believe that as more and more of us throw off the shackles, we will do much to change the world, knowing full well that this is all we have.

I deeply sympathize with you for that, and I salute and support your efforts.

In my faith I do a fair amount of youth work, and I have on occasion been involved with confirmation programs as an instructor or sponsor (call it like being honorary parent for a coming of age ceremony).  I always ask kids if they actually believe any of this nonsense.  I have on occasion had kids tell me "no", and I've done my best working with their parents to give them space and honor their choice.   It can be hard, but if I can buy them some room to learn and grow and be themselves, it's all to the better.   Religion shouldn't be a shackle; it has to be a choice of a particular community and path to challenge oneself and learn and grow.  If secular humanism is that path for you, Bravo!  Carry on.  As Pope Francis said, we meet each other as brothers and sisters in caring for others.

I never thought I'd hear myself saying this, but in that, Robert, I agree with you.

There are people out there, Bob, telling other people that if they don't strictly follow a set of rules that an invisible sky-fairy and a crucified and risen zombie set up for them to follow, they're going to burn, after they die, for all eternity. I don't see how you can call anyone's effort to tell people that it isn't true, that they needn't live their lives in fear, "sophomoric deconstruction." Your people have had centuries to spread your myths and fear, but with every passing day, more and more of us throw off your yoke and say, "No more!"

"you probably construct a worldview that bears a lot in common with religious teaching"

I prefer to see it from a different viewpoint - those involved with maintaining religion in the world, whether for wealth or power, took those universal human characteristics: "Care for others, striving for a just society, making personal sacrifices for the sake of the group, gathering occasionally to reflect on and renew our commitment," as you put it, and wove it into their religion, since these were things we would normally tend to do anyway, why not make it look like it was their god's idea?

I'm curious, Robert - you found ample time to respond to my Tim Minchin quotation, "Science adjusts its views based on what's observed, faith is the denial of observation so that belief can be preserved," yet you seem disinclined to answer my question, "Do you pray to a postulate?"

Do you really wonder why we accuse you of dodging questions?

@archy, I find these long threads very hard to navigate, and have relatively little time to do so.  I don't mean to dodge, I just have other things to attend to, especially now that we're in fall semester.

The answer to your question should be obvious, though.  Of course I pray to God.  Why would you think otherwise? 

Physical science postulates that the universe exists.   There really is no way to "prove" that when observational perceptions are really just neuro-electrical impulses.  We could all be plugged into the Matrix.  Yet we choose to interact with that postulate on an ongoing basis.  Observe it, experiment with it, base our behaviors and behavioral choices on those perceptions.

Sorry Gallup, these could all be true:

Yes, my senses could be tricked because we're all jacked into the Matrix. For good measure, the solar system could be an atom in the fingernail of a giant. Bigfoot could be avoiding human contact using the power of invisibility. A colony of intangible half-inch leprechauns wearing French ticklers could be living in Bob's large intestine, causing his pleasures to be endless.

Absent any evidence to support these claims consider them dismissed. There's no reason to believe them, nothing to consider, nothing to debate, nothing to discuss. Scientific standards of evidence aren't perfect, but this is no reason to discard them.

They could be postulates --

Robert, I'm beginning to lose all faith in your ability to intelligently defend your position.

LOL!  That's OK, @archy, it's nice to have you admit to "faith" in anything, even for a time.

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