Hello, everyone. I was an atheist until at the age of 27 I began to study the Bible in order to debunk it. I learned quickly that the Bible was grossly misrepresented by apostate Christendom's adoption of pagan teachings such as the immortal soul from Socrates, the trinity from Plato, the cross from Constantine, hell from Dante and Milton, Easter from Astarte, Christmas from the winter solstice celebrations, and most recently the Rapture from Darby.
Though I have never and will never be a part of organized religion, my beliefs are not entirely dissimilar to that of The Jehovah's Witnesses, due to the removal of the aforementioned pagan influence. I have studied briefly the history of the major world religions, Buddhism, Christianity, Confucianism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Shintoism and Taoism and have published sacred and non-sacred texts from each of these online: The Dhammapada, Four Noble Truths, Paradise Lost, Divine Comedy, Analects Of Confucius, Bhagavad Gita, Qur'an, Pirqe Aboth, Nihongi, Kojiki, Tao Te Ching and Chuang Tzu.
Having been an atheist most of my life and given that nearly everyone I know is atheist, I think I understand and respect where most of you are coming from. I don't believe in "converting" anyone to anything, but I do think the atheist tends to be mislead when it comes to the Bible. Not that that matters much, except for that I do enjoy, given the opportunity, to correct them in thoughtful and polite discussion and debate.
I hope we can have some interesting conversations.
I was of the impression that the Greeks had some isea that the earth as round fairly early. Sadly the reference is not at hand. Would any one have a reference to this point?
About 300 BCE, James. Unfortunately, Isaiah was in the 7th century BCE.
Sadly, in my memory of history, whats a few hundred years plus or minus. Thank you for the correction.
"Study" and "faith" don't play well together for me. Why would you bother to study anything that requires faith?
Truth does not require faith.
John 17:3 says that those seeking knowledge of God and the one whom he sent forth will gain everlasting life.
Acts 17:11 calls those noble minded who didn't take the word of Paul for granted but checked the scriptures daily to make sure what Paul told them was in accordance with them.
1 John 4:1 cautions the reader to test even the inspired expressions.
Truth may not require faith but accurate perception of truth is dependent upon study less you have faith in your own judgment or the traditions of men.
"Truth may not require faith"
It is an absolute condition: Truth does not nor ever will require faith to meet the definition.
Faith is believing that which you know ain't true. -Mark Twain
I found a book once writen by a priest concerning the concept of 'Being'. After a few chapters, I felt as if the vail was still over my eyes, and that while I had 'being', I still knew little about it. As I have matured, I still know little about 'Being', but the question has gotten larger. Sadly, I think I should have read the sequal 'Faith'.
I visited the local Benedictine Abby a few years ago for a mental health holiday. While there I went to their wonderful library, and read a few journals to fill the afternoon. One of my favorites, 'Metaphysical Quarterly'. After a few pages, I had a funny question, 'would a metaphysician slice and dice time into such arbitrary units as 'quarters'? I asked this question of the nun sitting at the checkout, she seemed to be too occupied with her sorting books into tight little catagories...LOL
In my opinion any one who holds the jehovahs witnesses up as their theist model and who have the most "correct" views is Bat S--T crazy.
The JW's are more accurate because they removed the pagan influence that began to infiltrate Jewish and then Christian teachings beginning about the time of Alexander The Great. The immortal soul from Socrates, Trinity from Plato, Cross from Constantine, Hell from Dante and Milton, Easter from Astarte, Christmas from the winter solstice celebrations, and finally the recent Rapture from Darby. If you stop and think about that, it is the majority of teachings of the majority.
In HS, I did some bible study with a friend that was JW. At the time I was just being to ask, what I thought, to be deeper questions. The characteristics of 'God/god' are rather interesting, and subject to analysis. The odd 'all knowing', 'all powerful', 'all present', 'and time transendent', can be a fun why to entertain yourself, when video games are not available, and football seems a little too rough for the brain cells.
I asked questions about these characteristics of my friend. It became clear that he could answer questions concerning biblical teachings, but had no idea what do with these more abstract and important points. If these points are held as 'articles of faith', the mind becomes silent it seems.
If 'God/god' cannot have these primary characteristics, due to logical contradictions, or paradox, what happens to 'god' as a concept? If we accept the mental silence as the beginning of faith, how can we consider faith as a moral/ethical state of the human mind?
So 40 years latter, I still return to these questions, a little more certain of my conclusion...
Atheists tend to think of the Bible as primarily fantasy and secular history as fact. Secular history always contains legends, myth, fantasy, not to mention biased reporting and propaganda. The Bible , according to Isaac Newton, who was an expert in ancient texts during his time, remarked on the historical superiority and reliability of the Bible. Chances are, that if secular history or modern day scholars disagree with the Bible, the Bible will eventually prove the more accurate.
I'm a 46 year old male born and raised in the Bible belt. My family has always been, not militant atheist, but irreligious non believers. Atheist.