So my parents (who are Christians) and I just had a huge debate about the supposed "truth" of Christianity, homosexuality and reasons for belief. I'd love to hear some rational opinions about some of the points they made (which I wholeheartedly disagreed with). Feel free to pick any points you'd like to discuss. Here they are:
"When it comes to homosexuals, I don't hate the sinner, I hate the sin. The human body is not designed to have sex with someone of the same sex. That's why God created Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve."
"The Bible has PREDICTED the fall of Israel, it has also predicted an event in which the sky went black and there was fire, but no scientists had an explanation for what happened."
"There have been people diagnosed with incurable cancer and the doctors had no idea what it was but the person prayed and they were cured."
"Evolution doesn't make any sense. It doesn't make sense how there was one organism, an amoeba or whatever, that just divides and evolves into different species. And where did that come from? There has to be a creator." <---This is one where I brought up circular reasoning. Also, can someone provide some good sources for abiogenesis for me? I admit I had a hard time explaining this one (and they simply don't understand the process to begin with).
"I've read bits about other religions, Islam, Shintoism etc and they just don't make sense to me the way the Bible does."
"The Bible does not condone slavery or rape or any of those things. When people read that stuff they read it out of context, but when you read the rest of the chapter it actually makes sense."
"People always ask 'Why did God create Cancer?' - well God didn't create cancer, cancer is just something that's part of man's existence. But either way he allows it so that people can learn to be closer to God. People always bring that up when it comes to suffering kids, but God has a reason why he does certain things."
"People are all born into sin. Babies are a product of their sinful parents so it's up to them to repent when they become familiar with the word of God."
"What people need to understand is that not everything in the Bible is supposed to be taken literally. A lot of it is figurative."
"Sure there are people from all different religions, but the Bible says that they'll all be introduced to the word of God and it will be up to them to decide whether they follow Jesus or not, but only those who follow Jesus will be saved."
"People come across tough times in their lives, particularly when they're not aligned with the word of God, but then they realize that as soon as they start to read the Bible and live by God that things start to look up. That's no coincidence."
"God sent his own son down to wash away the sins of man. Man has a choice to be sinful, God gives them free will. There's a set of laws that God sets out for people to follow and if they don't, there are consequences."
"What I know is that the disciples who spoke to God were the ones who wrote the Bible, actually, Moses was one of the only people who was PROVEN to have seen God, but their word is good enough for me. "
ask them this question.
I did, and they've gotten far enough to understand that homosexuality isn't a choice. But then they brought up a scenario in which, hypothetically, a gay male chooses to marry a woman, then decides halfway down the road that he'd rather be with a man even though he is not attracted to men but wants to try something new, therefore "choice". Pretty much completely backtracking as far as logic as concerned. They don't understand the difference between choosing who you're attracted to, and choosing who to be with.
Or this - which is always worth posting every so often....
Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God's Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination... End of debate.
I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some other elements of God's Laws and how to follow them.
1. Leviticus 25:44 states that I may possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can't I own Canadians?
2. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?
3. I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanliness - Lev.15: 19-24. The problem is how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offence.
4. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odour for the Lord - Lev.1:9. The problem is, my neighbours. They claim the odour is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?
5. I have a neighbour who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or should I ask the police to do it?
6. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination - Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don't agree. Can you settle this? Are there 'degrees' of abomination?
7. Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle- room here?
8. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die?
9. I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?
10. My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev.19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? - Lev.24:10-16. Couldn't we just burn them to death at a private family affair, like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev.20:14)
I know you have studied these things extensively and thus enjoy considerable expertise in such matters, so I am confident you can help. Thank you again for reminding us that God's word is eternal and unchanging.
The answer they will get from their pastor on this though is that the OT laws aren't followed like that, and he will direct them to the passage in Acts 15 which talks about how the OT laws weren't to be followed like that anymore. All doing this does is affirm their position and reinforce their beliefs that atheists don't have good arguments and don't know what they are talking about. I call this a white noise argument. It drowns out the particularly powerful ones that are out there combined with all the other white noise arguments.
This is why I linked Darkmatter2525 earlier, because he is really good about making solid arguments against the Bible that aren't just easily swatted away. He is a real safe source.
Also I would feel dishonest using this, because of knowing the NT text says that the OT law was not real, and that is why it had no effectiveness (Hebrews 10:1). When we use arguments against the bible that we know aren't even valid criticisms, just to get people to think, we encourage people to not take us seriously and we lose credibility.
That will likely be their reply, but the sad fact is that the NT also says that the OT laws are to be followed. In Matthew, Jesus says:
"Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke or a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished." Matthew 5:17-18
So according to the New Testament and straight from Jesus, the OT laws still count. So which is it Bible? Yes on no?
Yeah, the problem is that these texts are saying things that modern eyes can't catch. A major religious failure is their belief that they can read almost 2000 year old documents and understand them right. You can tell from reading other documents that convey 1st century thought like parts of the Talmud and the dead sea scrolls, that it just wasn't popular to read the OT literally in the 1st century.
A first century Jew could completely say something like this Matthew passage about the law and mean something completely different than literal. But the problem is that even if Jesus said this, the later texts from Paul and the author of Hebrews provide a figurative interpretive lens. Documents from about 160 CE also show a figurative interpretive lens too.
So this argument isn't air-tight. We want the air-tight arguments getting popular, not the ones that the bible as it now is understood to be ends up explaining away inside of itself.
The idea behind this one, is that we need to look at where the bible practices its own rationalizing away of things that don't make sense. Like Job for instance, rationalizes away why bad things happen to good people. Colossians and Hebrews rationalizes away why the OT is so freaking ridiculous. But the problem is that they canonized that rationalization. So at this point the rationalization is their definite go-to answer.
But if these two arguments were all we had to work with, or the best we had to work with, then I would totally understand. But there are just way better ones that don't get popular because these are in the way. These ones end up taking up all the space, then people don't realize how awesome the others are.
Which, basically, is what Steven DiMattei was trying to say --
Any examples of the much better arguments?
Reesie, I am going to hook you up with some great ones. I don't know if you saw my previous post on page 4, so I will post this. I have some info for you there about the psychology at work in this whole process of talking to your parents on that post too. But here is the link I had for you there Hopefully it embeds: if not it is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I225Vcs3X0g
This is one of my favorite. Darkmatter2525 uses cartoons to illustrate some very devastating arguments against the bible.
Also, the books of Joshua and Judges have conflicting accounts of what cities got destroyed and which ones remained standing.
The bible has a prophecy of the destruction of babylon by violent overthrow which never happened
The bible has a prophecy against the destruction of Tyre that never happened.
Judas dies in two different ways. In Matthew, he hangs himself after returning all 30 pieces of silver. The silver is used by the priests to buy a field
In Acts Judas is in the field he bought with "the reward for his wickedness" and he falls and his belly bursts open and he dies.
Errancy.org points out In Gen 15:7 YHWH introduces himself to Abraham as YHWH.
In Exodus 6:3 He says he did not make himself known to them, and I will add to errancy.org's point that the I Am name that YHWH gives himself is directly tied to the hebrew roots of YHWH, so it is supposed to imply YHWH is the name that God gave Israel when he was freeing them from Egypt. But Gen has God making himself known by that name. BTW Errancy.org is a pretty good site.
But seriously, that flood story from Darkmatter is great. The material you will get from that guy, is worth taking the time watching, even if some of the characters have very squeaky voices.
But once you are done with those preliminary things, you can move on to http://contradictionsinthebible.com, which will teach you all sorts of crazy things about the true multi-god pagan origins of the bible. You can search it if you scroll down to the bottom by book or by month
Why bother? Do you actually believe they'll "turn" due to any arguments you offer them?
No, but they held some really ignorant views based purely out of a lack of knowledge (particularly regarding sexuality) so I provided some insight.
Wow... Those are the usual arguments. I guess my question is why you are debating them to begin with? Believers don't have any proof. Mostly they believe because it makes them feel better to believe. I doubt that you are going to change their mind about anything no matter how good your argument. As a former believer myself, I know that someone telling me wouldn't have changed anything. It took me to start asking questions and finding no answers to lose my faith. Good luck with the debate!