I recently became an open Atheist, and admittedly I've been a bit of an ass about it with my family. I scoff at the candidates they support (Romney, and in one extreme case, Santorum), and when my family confronted me about WHY I hated these two so much, the first thing that popped out of my mouth was that they are Fundamentalist Christians (Yeah, Romney's a Mormon, BFD), and are both preaching from a book that encourages slavery, mass murder, incest, infanticide, the murder of your own children, rape, the list goes on and on. The most interesting response I got was "Well, that's all old testament. CHRISTIANS follow the NEW Testament much more seriously than the Old Testament." Well, I've heard broad sweeping generalizations before, but this one had me a bit stumped. I made a bit of a cop out by simply stating that it was damned convenient for them to be able to pick and choose which bits of God's word and law that they follow.
So here's what I need help with: I would like to find New Testament examples of God Gone Wrong, General Hypocrisy, etc, etc, etc...Do any of you have a good idea of where I can start?
As much as being angry and shouting will rarely, if ever, achieve anything, it is a moral obligation to oppose even those religious beliefs that appear innocuous. Religion is much like a virus in so far as it can change quickly and adapt to meet individual or factional needs and satisfy personal agendas. Although someone might not currently seek to meddle in politics or education, they may go on to influence someone else (a child, a friend, someone on a religious website) who could then interpret those beliefs differently. Their own beliefs could also change in character.
One of the greatest dangers of religion is not what it currently does, but what it has the potential to do. It can be manipulated effectively and often with impunity to serve virtually any whim or policy. This risk will only be eliminated when it is gone. This will never happen, of course, but the chances can be reduced.
Don't get me wrong, I lack the energy and selflessness to fully act on this principle, but it would serve the long run interest to fight religion in all its forms wherever it appears.
You do bring up the problematic issue, Reg, of how best to achieve this. It could be through ostensible respect, resulting in deeper analysis and hopefully the abandonment of religion (religious people do have a habit of ignoring criticism, however rational, so uncritical discussion might be best...). However, I think that to grant them too much 'respect' is to allow them to flourish too freely. I think this would be more dangerous.
Okay - so, of all the New Testament verses, please list every novel, enlightening thing the mythological "Jesus" supposedly said or taught (and if I recall correctly, he wasn't consistently nice to non-Jews) that didn't already exist in Greek or other cultures' writings prior to or contemporary with "Jesus."
God is a concept that you carry in your "mind".
Sure it might depend on what the meaning of the word "is" is.
But is anyone denying the existence of love?
1 John 4:8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
37...love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
38 This is the first and great commandment.
39 And the second is … love thy neighbour as thyself.
40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
This isn’t too hard to understand.
Didn't I just refer to 37-40 just a bit ago? :p No, the biblical "God" is not just a concept. The Bible presents the entity as an actual being, independent of ourselves, frequently, and not just an idea.
. Do they believe in Adam and Eve, Noah's Ark, Issac and Abraham, Lot and his wife, the 10 Commandments?, .... If they believe in all that, then they believe and follow the OT.
Think about it, what Christian doesn't believe in the 10 Commandments.? That right there makes their argument about not following the OT invalid. Unless they're cherry picking,
"Well, we follow the 10 commandments just not the stuff about owning slaves..".
I know my dad buys into the whole Old Testament "This is how it happened", but I think my mom may be a bit more liberal on the subject, in so far as that she's skeptical as to how Noah could cram so many animals onto his boat without it being a God Damned TARDIS...
Oddly enough, she doesn't even bat an eye at the incestuous implications of the Adam and Eve story. I even asked her straight up who the hell she though Cain mated with, since Eve (his mother) was the only other woman on the planet? And even if Cain didn't bang her, then that means she and Adam had MORE kids, who DID perform incest to propagate the species...
What I find interesting is that some Christians who say they basically only follow the New Testament will use the "prophecies" from the Old Testament as proof that Jesus is God.
Diane, that is understandable. Theology can become confusing because you are dealing with the contents of a book that is still huge even when it is printed on rice paper...
Basically, the prophecies are not part of the law. The Jews separated them as the Law, the Prophets, and the Writings.
The OT doesn't get disregarded, it is more like it is a coupon that expired. To say "This prophecy proves this was going to happen this way" is similar to saying "my coupon was valid at the time of purchase". In that sense the person isn't being inconsistent.
However, if you look at those prophecies in their Ancient Near Eastern context, most of them don't have anything to do with predicting the far future. Some of them have nothing to do with anything.
Ooh! That's a good one! Actually I see real problems with it since apparently Paul actually talked to the other people, or at least he was an unusually damn good liar. Try having them authenticate Abraham or Moses though. Remember what Moses's standing was in Egypt? And what was supposed to have happened? The Egyptians where good about recording major events, even those where they didn't come out the winner. No reports on the Plagues or Moses have been found that I know of, other than the OT story. And the NT is supposed to base its authority on the OT. :)
And then there's that...I learned long ago that parents are "too busy" to research anything, and even if I do it for them, they don't care to read what I've found.