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?
Here is a direct answer to their statement
Matt 5:17-18: "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 of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished."
Ah, most excellent! Thank you very much good sir.
There is, unfortunately, a flaw in this counter. I have the mixed situation of both being an atheist AND an ordained minister. The "Law" is a simple two-paragraph thing that goes "Love God with ....; and love your neighbor as you love yourself" (and it's implied that God is one of your neighbors). There is further text that you can get rid of the rest of the books as long as you follow the "Golden Rule" (which is just another phrasing of the "Law"). That's the problem of simply bashing the "Holy Books" of any faith. They have their warts and all depend on superstition to support their authority and promote absurdity in the name of religion, but they still are chock-full of cumulative insight and wisdom.
Just point out the flaws in the New Testament :) It supports slavery for one, it's very anti-gay, and still has a number of "kosher" practices (the pork restriction is gone though). And this is not an exhaustive list. And it should be pointed out that most so-called "Christians" are quite ignorant of their own religion and its tenets, and these follow the OT just as blindly as they profess they follow the NT (the NT speaks of the "laws written in stone" being "nailed to the cross" - how may "Christians" worship the "10 Commandments" do you know of? :p )
But the point being made here is you should familiarize yourself deeply with the Bible and other "Holy Texts" to handle these arguments, and not just superficial components. That's how you got nailed. It's sad that you had to deal with the issue at all, but as an open atheist you are going to have to put up with this all too often.
I wish I was in the position to go open with my family as you are.
Richard I understand that the xian dogma is as you quoted, but jesus was not a xian. When he said the laws were to be followed he was talking those 613 laws that are in place. Wasn't it Paul that changed that?
Nope. Not Paul. And he did specifically describe it as the "whole of the Law". The 613 laws were known as the "Laws of Moses", but that single "Great Commandment" was known as the "Law of God" - it actually appears in the OT. And when the "Law" was spoken of the speaker was referring to the latter. Paul was the source of the "Golden Rule" though. Jesus was supposed to have pissed off a lot of purists concerning those 613. :) Even if the historic Jesus may have been made up (or a lot of the details around him), somebody did a great job with his arguments.
Richard can you give me book and verse possibly (OT) would like to read and get context. Thanks
You catch me at a bad moment. I remember looking it up, but I had some decent references handy then. You are right about having a handy context ready when dealing with Xians. :) I think it might have been in Proverbs, but don't quote me on that. Just about every major verse in the NT has been pretty consistent about having backing in the OT though. Of course its writers were focused in rebuttals against the Jewish orthodoxy so they had to make sure they justified everything against the OT. Sorry I can't be of better help.
Biblegateway.com should help you out. It makes things pretty easy. http://www.biblegateway.com There is also http://www.blueletterbible.org/index.cfm (it has the BDB lexicon according to strongs numbers).
“Now this is the commandment—the statutes and the rules—that the Lord your God commanded me to teach you, that you may do them in the land to which you are going over, to possess it, 2 that you may fear the Lord your God, you and your son and your son's son, by keeping all his statutes and his commandments, which I command you, all the days of your life, and that your days may be long.3 Hear therefore, O Israel, and be careful to do them, that it may go well with you, and that you may multiply greatly, as the Lord, the God of your fathers, has promised you, in a land flowing with milk and honey.
4 “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.
Deuteronomy 6 1-5 (ESV)
18 You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.
Leviticus 19:18 (ESV)
Thanks! Those are exactly the quotes in question. It's been a while since I dug into this stuff.
My memory of it is fading too. Biblegateway does cross referencing and key word searches, so I just looked up the matthew passages. With the Leviticus one I just looked up "love neighbor self" I think
Are we allowed shellfish ? I love shrimp, crab & lobster.
Do not, and I repeat, do not use the verse.
It may confuse Christians, but it needs to be understood in the context of how 1st century Jews interpreted scripture which was not literal.
Spiritual re-interpretation of the OT was carried over into Christianity. The New Testament explains this as the OT law being a shadow of the real thing.
Plato basically had started a religion, where people believed that there was a world like the one he described, where our world was just shadows. This had a powerful effect on how people viewed reality. When Jesus is saying "the least stroke of the pen will not disappear", this has nothing to do with the literal interpretation of the OT.
Justin Martyr's Dialogue with Trypho, Origen and the Epistle of Barnabas provide a more balanced take on this.