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.

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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...  

Blaine,

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.

Kris,

Assuming that you have at least a rudimentary knowledge of the Bible, would you say it contained more information on how not to live your life than how to live it or not? By example. What do you think it meant when it said there would be a resurrection of the unrighteous as well as the righteous, or that upon death we are acquitted of sin? What do you think Jesus meant when he told his disciples that the gross sinners would inherit the kingdom of God before them, or what was the meaning of his favorable comparison of the gross sinner over the righteous Pharisee?

Your approach sounds intellectual but isn't entirely accurate, is it?

Kris,

Perhaps we are at cross purposes? I'm not entirely sure what political justification the Christian congregation would have for suggesting what you are or are not capable of doing with your genitals.

The Law of Moses was given to a nation created for those laws, in a sense. Each and every man, woman and child was gathered at one point and read these laws and agreed to them. They failed in adhering to those laws, as was expected. That arrangement was dissolved, in a sense, mutually.

Though a guide to the Christian the Law of Moses is no longer in effect. The morality of the Christian is upheld by the Christian congregation, though often misinterpreted. Certainly not in effect to the non-Christian.

As a non Christian you and I can observe the political usefulness of, even the abuse of Christendom's self appointed moral policing of the globe but are not in fact under any real apolitical obligation to it without the political abuse being recognized as such, a worldly obfuscation of the Christian morality itself, and likewise, the same implication of the attempted outside obfuscation of the Christian congregation delivered through social means of the times.

In other words, the Law of Moses is void. The Christian laws apply to Christians and the nations have their own.

What then are you protesting?

Atheists tend to think of the Bible as primarily fantasy and secular history as fact.

Atheists reject theist claims that God exists. That's all. If someone tells you he is an atheist, you know nothing about what he believes. You know exactly one thing he does not believe. Anything beyond that is your own assumption.

Atheists reject theist claims that God exists. That's all. If someone tells you he is an atheist, you know nothing about what he believes. You know exactly one thing he does not believe. Anything beyond that is your own assumption.

Right. Unless he is a former atheist, then he must have got it wrong, eh? My experience has been that there are three kinds of atheist. I know there are dozens of new terms describing degrees of atheism, which is ridiculous. You either believe or you don't.

Of the three types of atheist I have encountered the primary one, in the majority by far, are the non-militant. Everyone I know, all family and friends of mine, fall into this category. They don't know about God and they don't care about him. They see the concept and belief as absurd and they don't want to waste a moment discussing it, or arguing about it. They would consider doing so as monumental a waste of time as arguing about the Easter bunny - without really having the faintest idea of where the myth of the Easter bunny came from in the first place. They are not bothered by theist or the religious. If these people could organize themselves they could have an impact greater than that of the freedom movement of any other minority. Gays, blacks, women . . .

The second group are the what I call the militant (meaning more outspoken and active) atheists. They are the minority by far. They are, obviously, more outspoken. They protest the violations of unnatural union of church and state, a loathsome and dangerous combination, school prayer, another loathsome tradition, they hang billboards with atheist slogans, bumper stickers, bus advertisements, buy propaganda from Dawkins, Harris, Hitchens, Give money to the cause without a cause.

This second group consists of two parts. The politically minded and the science minded. They have an unrealistic and exaggerated perspective of either of these two forces as a sort of utopian social paradigm.

I personally think that politics is more dangerous than religion. Religion, has been used in the past as a tool for political destruction, only as a pawn. The political is dangerous and should be destroyed. Will, I believe, be destroyed by Jehovah God.

I would argue, though, that the science and technology should have their day. The point of the Bible tells how man rejected God to choose to make up his own mind about what is good and what is evil. God has given us a time to test this. I think, though, that science and technology will have a much more destructive and rapid day.

The third group are the bitter formerly religious. Had to be pretty stupid to join a religion and haven't learned much from the experience. 

Unless he is a former atheist, then he must have got it wrong, eh?

No. It just means he chose to believe in god(s) despite the lack of evidence.  

I know there are dozens of new terms describing degrees of atheism, which is ridiculous.

Baron D'holbach described implicit and explicit atheism in "Good Sense Without God" in the sixteenth century. Terms describing degrees and types of atheism aren't new. They're only new to you.

You either believe or you don't.

You say that because you don't know the Bible very well. Some of the most informed atheists I have encountered online are history buffs. They don't  believe the Bible is inspired, and like all histories they think it too has myth and legend and inaccuracies, but they wouldn't be foolish to discount it's incredible historical importance.

Due to archeological findings, and the discovery of so many more manuscripts, Newton would be even more enthusiastic.

Speaking of archaeological findings, David, you are aware, aren't you, that there is absolutely no archaeological evidence that Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, or Moses ever existed. The cities the mythical Joshua "destroyed" were ruins long before the time that Joshua was alleged to have lived. Actually, David is the first biblical character for which there is actual, historical evidence - but he was not quite as great as his reputation, however, as evidence has been found that his fabulous kingdom consisted of a hamlet roughly three blocks square.

Add to that, the attested fact that the first five books of the Bible, ascribed to Moses, were actually written hundreds of years after he allegedly lived and not finally edited and combined into a single tome until 400 BCE, nearly a millennium after the time of Moses.

Of course, when, in the NT, Jeshua refers back to Moses and the Patriarchs, it's evident that he believed they existed as well, which discounts any possibility that he was in any way divine, or he would have avoided that subject. But then, the likelihood of his having any spark of divinity, or as having even even existed, for that matter, is slim to none, as all four of the "Gospels" that attest to his existence, were all written anonymously, not by anyone who could ever have been eyewitnesses to any of the events they depict.

But except for those few gaping holes, I see no reason why belief in the Bible shouldn't hold water --

You say that because you don't know the Bible very well.

You know nothing about Blaine, so where do you get off making statements like that? You know nothing about Zeus! There.  So far, every argument you presented began with an insult to the other person's intelligence. You claim you want to have a meaningful debate, yet you resort to childish name calling, and petty insults, in a failed attempt to establish intellectual superiority, and to throw the opponent off balance. How very Christian of you.

They don't  believe the Bible is inspired, and like all histories they think it too has myth and legend and inaccuracies, but they wouldn't be foolish to discount it's incredible historical importance.

Because the bible does have myths, legends and inaccuracies, just like every other ancient history; but unlike other ancient histories, the theists will claim that their myths and legends are real, and provide no evidence of backing it up.

I will claim that the story of the Odyssey is myth, even though it contains historical places, that are real. The bible on the other hand, while containing the same far fetched stories of monsters and wizards, I am to assume is real, because it has real, historical places?

Of course no one will discount it's historical importance! The theocratic monsters who used it to control the ancient world for 2000 years made sure of that. But you know who else had historical importance? Osama bin Laden. Should we hold his teaching in high regard too?

You are doing the same song and dance as every theist you seem to think is "wrong."

You quote your holy book, make claims not based in reality, and then when all that fails, you hurl random insults at anyone who happens to disagree.

You have avoided answering pretty much all the questions asked of you, yet demand us to answer your questions. That is not how a debate works, that is not how a discussion works, that is not how a conversation works.

We have had theists here who were willing to have a civilized discussion in the past. It is very rare, and as special as you think you are, sadly, you are not one of them. You fall right in line with the overzealous visitors we get, who come waving the olive branch, while hiding a dagger behind their back. It is clear from your previous posts that you are not here to discuss. You are here to proselytize, and stroke your own ego.

No, thank you.

"Some of the most informed atheists I have encountered online are history buffs. They don't  believe the Bible is inspired, and like all histories they think it too has myth and legend and inaccuracies, but they wouldn't be foolish to discount it's incredible historical importance."

Atheist history buff here. 

There's little in the bible which is supported by contemporary historians or archaeology. That's not to say that myths and fables don't often have a more worldly explanation, it's just that they are not taken literally.

Æsop's fables also impart important lessons on morality and history. Mostly better ones than the bible, yet he's not deified. 

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