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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No, I was just saying that you didn't actually understand mathematics.  Or, for that matter, the science that you were claiming.  

This entire post is a blizzard of #6 to obfuscate #4.

Your statements that you didn't believe the 5th Axiom was actually an axiom were statements that you didn't believe in standard mathematics. 

This is #6. Show me where I made this statement. Find it. Link to the post. It did not happen.

Your claim that scientific observation "proved" Euclidean Geometry (parallel lines never meet) was a statement that you didn't actually understand scientific method, where mathematics is used to model reality, not vice versa.

Show me where I claimed that scientific observation "proved" Euclidean Geometry. Find it. Link to the post. It did not happen.

You have constructed for yourself an interesting worldview, but it isn't fully consistent with science as defined by the broader community. 

You've constructed a worldview and attributed it to me falsely because you've lost another argument.

And no, the existence of God is not a claim about "empirical reality" for any religion I am aware of. It's a straw man that you have created, which would be my #1 of "typical atheist arguments". ;)

So according to you, no religion claims God actually exists for real, in empirical reality, outside of the imagination? And this is the number one typical atheist argument?

Bob, I swear, my abdominals are ACHING I laughed so much after reading that! You're the perfect isometric workout! (Except I think I pulled a muscle.) You honestly don't have any idea what a complete loon you are!

In mathematics, geometry is founded on a set of axioms/postulates which cannot be proven.  Euclid enumerated five, and from this foundational set of "beliefs" one can build all of the theorems and "knowledge" that we recognize as Euclidean Geometry.  The 5th axiom, commonly described as "parallel lines will never meet" has an interesting history, in that some mathematicians did spend time trying to derive it from the other four.  In the end it was established that this could not be done; in fact, one could substitute different axioms for #5 which result in different, self-consistent geometries.   Thus there is, for example, Riemannian Geometry, where parallel lines can in fact meet.   The simplest formulation of this would be longitudinal lines on a globe, where they are absolutely perpendicular to each other at the equator (the true mathematical definition of parallel), and yet meet at the poles.  Put another way, the Riemannian axiom substitutes a curved 2-dimensional space for the Euclidean axiom's flat 2-D space.

Different founding assumptions therefore yield different, entirely self-consistent systems of thought and views of the world.   There is no way to "prove" that one is right and the other is wrong.   So that when you make a claim like this, that there is empirical evidence to support a claim that the Euclidean 5th axiom is "right", you are implying that Euclidean Mathematics can be proved empirically.  The notion that you describe, that you "believe parallel lines will never meet and it's because there is evidence to support the claim" is mathematically naive.

In physics, we use mathematics to describe and model the physical universe, and there is an implied postulate of physics embedded in that.   However, it is well-accepted science from gravitational physics and cosmology that the geometry that best describes our observations of the universe is Riemannian.   Four dimensional spacetime is not flat, it is in fact curved by the stress-energy tensor, in other words by the presence of mass/energy.    In other words, the "empirical evidence" suggests that the universe is best described by a geometry where parallel lines do in fact meet.  So your claim that empirical evidence supported the Euclidean formulation was scientifically naive.

This is why the worldview you have constructed is inconsistent with the broader mathematical and scientific community.   Axioms in mathematics cannot be proven, nor are they subject to empirical evidence.   In physics, the actual observational evidence leads us to choose mathematics where parallel lines converge, contrary to your claim.

This is number #6. Bob continues his utterly pointless detour away from God and through the bizarre land of parallel lines! Butter your popcorn, folks!

So that when you make a claim like this, that there is empirical evidence to support a claim that the Euclidean 5th axiom is "right", you are implying that Euclidean Mathematics can be proved empirically.  

Then you're admitting you're a liar. You said I "stated" that Euclidean Mathematics can be proved empirically. You're repeating the lie here in the paragraph above. I made no such statement. Now you're only insisting I implied this meaning.

Absent your ability to produce any actual statement regarding Euclidean Mathematics on my part, let me also assure you I also meant no implications regarding Euclidean Mathematics. That seems rather clear considering the actual statements I made, which explained the actual point you are now ignoring (this is a variation of #2).

How does your imaginary, hypothetical God originate the universe, father a Messiah, and answer prayers?

The notion that you describe, that you "believe parallel lines will never meet and it's because there is evidence to support the claim" is mathematically naive.

Yes, yes, Bob. I had no idea initially that the quick example you gave regarding parallel lines would become such a focal point of the conversation in such excruciating detail-- how could I given its irrelevancy?-- and later be expanded to include the curvature of spacetime and whatnot.

That is why when you persisted I drew a distinction between parallel lines 'not' meeting and parallel lines 'never' meeting, a distinction between the empirical and the abstract. Allow me to restate the point which you are straining rather hard to miss so you call me naive: there is empirical evidence-- the double yellow lines on a roadway-- for 'parallel lines do not meet'; but 'parallel lines never meet' requires only an abstract construction, not evidence.

(To head off any additional attempts at twisting my words beyond recognition or infusing them with "implied" meaning they do not contain: empirical evidence supports the claim that (a given instance of) parallel lines do not meet, such as ten feet of parallel lines. One may reasonably extrapolate from this, given the available evidence, that if the lines were to be extended forever they would continue not to meet. It does not mean the claim is forever absolute and irrefutable. It means the presented, available evidence: (parallel lines) supports the premise (do not meet or never meet). If more evidence is introduced later (such as the curvature of spacetime) which shows this is incorrect, no problem, just revise the conclusion. The problem with God? No evidence at all. No data. Nothing to work with. Where is the empirical aspect of God?)

Confronted with this distinction between the abstract and empirical reality you placed God firmly in the realm of the abstract, the imaginary, and the hypothetical, along with Harry Potter, not only on behalf of yourself, but for all the religions of the world.

On parallel lines you've got lots to say, but on God-- who created the universe, fathered Jesus, and answers prayers despite not actually existing-- you've not made a peep on how this works. Naturally.

Well, I could use the break. My guts still ache from laughing.

Dear me, that was a lot of chaff.  It was quite a bit of atheist #5, belittling the person in a playground fashion rather than addressing the argument, plus a bunch of the new #8.

Let me see if I can simplify for you.

God is a postulate.  Euclid's 5th Axiom is a postulate.

You cannot prove a postulate.  Either one.

Postulates are not based on empirical evidence.  Either one.

The lack of evidence for a postulate does not invalidate the system of thought.  Either one.

It is irrational to reject Euclidean geometry simply because the "claim" about parallel lines is axiomatic.  It is irrational to reject theism simply because the "claim" about God's existence is axiomatic.

Therefore, your original post in this long tangle of a thread, wherein you rejected (Judeo-Christian) theism on the basis of the first lines of the poetic tale of Genesis 1 was irrational.   It was likely a manifestation of atheism fallacy #1. 

As an aside, whether or not your lines on the road meet I would think depends on the goals and level of attention of the person painting them, not on anything else.  In terms of selecting the most successful geometry for modeling the "empirical" universe, however, the proper choice is the geometry in which parallel lines converge.

RE: "(Judeo-Christian) theism" - I'm curious, Robert, you seem to continually leave "Islamic" out of what should be a trinity. Is there a reason for that?

Maybe because they have Jesus, son of Mary, come back to the world to break all the crosses and condemn the Jews and Christians to hell and well that is just not cool.

Bob, if “God is a postulate” as you say then you are telling me that God is assumed to exist. That is fine for argument and intellectual debate. It is not argued though by Christians that it is only a postulate. The existence of God is offered as a statement of fact and not as an assumed to be so. It is held by xians to be the truth. If you say it is a postulate then are you admitting that you don’t take your God to exist in reality?

You cannot prove a postulate? Well, you can’t even attempt to if there is nothing being offered to suggest that it is anything more than just that – an assumption that something is factual.

It is not argued though by Christians that it is only a postulate. The existence of God is offered as a statement of fact and not as an assumed to be so.

Well, we teach Euclidean Geometry to teenagers as "fact" as well, don't we?  Relatively few people actually continue study sufficiently to understand the basis and philosophy of mathematics (at least if the failure of my analogy here is any indication).  So if you ask an average user of geometry, they will tell you that parallel lines never meeting is a statement of fact.  Just as people have here.

So I think what you're describing is just a difference in level of knowledge or sophistication of individuals, rather than something genuine within the discipline.  If you read Pope Francis' interview in America this week, he actually implies that people who claim God exists with complete certainty are frauds.  "That is the proof that God is not with" such a person.   Well-educated faithful, like well-educated mathematicians, understand that fields of knowledge begin with postulates.   Just because that is so does not mean that the field is invalid.

I actually think religions are more honest about it than mathematicians or scientists, despite our efforts to introduce "Nature of Science" instruction in the K-16 schools.  They at least openly acknowledge a need for "belief."

"They at least openly acknowledge a need for 'belief.'"

I see that as being because they wouldn't know what to do without it, just as long-term prisoners often don't know what to do with freedom.

Well, we teach Euclidean Geometry to teenagers as "fact" as well, don't we? Relatively few people actually continue study sufficiently to understand the basis and philosophy of mathematics (at least if the failure of my analogy here is any indication).  So if you ask an average user of geometry, they will tell you that parallel lines never meeting is a statement of fact.  Just as people have here. So I think what you're describing is just a difference in level of knowledge or sophistication of individuals, rather than something genuine within the discipline.

Not quite. Pinocchio is describing his own wrong turn and subsequent wanderings through the land of parallel lines (#2).

If you read Pope Francis' interview in America this week, he actually implies that people who claim God exists with complete certainty are frauds.

Grain of salt. Just like, in the world according to Bob, Richard Dawkins condones child rape as harmless.

"That is the proof that God is not with" such a person.  Well-educated faithful, like well-educated mathematicians, understand that fields of knowledge begin with postulates.   Just because that is so does not mean that the field is invalid.

Postulate: something taken as self-evident or assumed without proof as a basis for reasoning.

Self-Evident: evident in itself without proof or demonstration; axiomatic.

axiomatic: pertaining to or of the nature of an axiom; self-evident; obvious.

Evident: plain or clear to the sight or understanding.

obvious: easily seen, recognized, or understood; open to view or knowledge; evident: an obvious advantage.

axiom: a self-evident truth that requires no proof.

That's it. Bob nailed it. Well-educated faithful are like well-educated mathematicians. Why? Bob's imaginary God is so obvious, so easy to see, so plain to our sight, so clear to understand, so open to view, that he's self-evident.

(It all rather smacks of that pesky empiricism doesn't it?)

Here's the part where Bob panics, leaps over the first six words of the definition of 'postulate' and ignores them ever after. He's only interested in the seventh, eighth and ninth words in the definition, which I have underlined for convenience because, after all, the convenience of not needing proof is the reason why Bob chose them.

Postulate: something taken as self-evident or assumed without proof as a basis for reasoning.

Let me take this last moment to direct your attention, dear readers, to the last five words of the definition, which are decidedly inconvenient for Bob, this being his cause to ignore them with such profound ferocity.

The five words are:  ...as a basis for reasoning.

So in our quest to ascertain whether or not God exists, our story so far is:

Crackpot: God exists!
Me: Evidence, please.
Crackpot: God is a postulate. There can never be evidence. God doesn't exist in empirical reality. No religion says he does. God only exists in the imagination.
Me: Reasoning, please? How does this imaginary God originate the universe, dictate the Bible to the prophets, answer prayers, father Jesus, head his church, bring Mary up to heaven, perform miracles, forgive sins, define morality, reign in heaven, or accomplish anything non-imaginary? How did an imaginary God exist before a human mind existed to imagine him up?
Crackpot: [[Ignores the question. Again and again and again and again and again. No answer. A variation of #2.]]

Imaginary God is a stillborn postulate, absent a reasonable basis for the empirical happenings he is credited with.

Thus Bob's argument loses again (and again and again and again and again), not for its lack of merit, but for its lack of existence. There is nothing to debate. There never was.

I tol' you and tol' you, he's the Gene Kelley of religious debate --

I tol' you and tol' you, he's the Gene Kelley of religious debate --

Except Gene Kelley danced well, was an agnostic, and there's nothing here to debate.

But otherwise yeah, dead ringer.

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