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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You act like because you haven't been spoon fed this by some religious propagandist it is something unheard of.

Why not stop trying to blow smoke up my ass and tell me what all these scholars you keep not referencing have to say on the subject?  I have given J. Orr and The International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia as references.

Er, uh, how about this? T. Moreux, former head of Bourges Observatory, France, “this expanse, which to us constitutes heaven, is designated in the Hebrew text by a word which the [Greek] Septuagint, influenced by the cosmological ideas prevailing at the time, translated by stereoma, firmament, solid canopy. Moses transmits no such thought. The Hebrew word raqia only conveys the idea of extent or, better still, expanse.”

Théophile Moreux?  Professor of Science and Math?  J. Edwin Orr the evangelist?  What scholarly articles did either of these men ever publish on ancient Hebrew?

You see, unlike your Liberty U days, in mainstream circles truth is discerned, not asserted.  I know all your indoctrinated friends lap up your self-assured assertions backed up with vague references - but that Hovind style doesn't fly around here.

The Rabbinic tradition, going back to before the common era, is quite clear on what is meant by the firmament.  Outside of some very backward, somewhat inbred, Orthodox sects of Judaism, even modern Jews don't assert that their book has literal value and they don't go around modifying it to try to fit modern scientific understanding of the cosmos.

You will be called on your bullshit here at every turn to if you can't hack it then I suggest you pack up your cartload and wheel off.

As far as what mainstream scholars think - well let's just start with one, Peter Enns, an evangelical biblical scholar, theologian, and writer.  He has a masters in divinity and a Ph.D. from Harvard in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations.

He has an article in The Biologos Forum, a pet project of  Francis Colins (whose academic and scientific accomplishments should need no introduction), that speaks directly to what mainstream and biblical scholars alike understand about the 'firmament', as well as the history of the Semitic cosmological model.

When you start looking for scholarly articles on the matter, you run into a lot of people who have post graduate degrees, lengthy lists of publications from books to peer reviewed articles, and very high accolades in their current lectures.

These people are rarely found amongst the Liberty U alumni and gravitate strongly away from the Hovind crowd.  Their articles do not support your fringe views and I won't expect to see you sourcing any of them to support any of your malarkey here.

"The obvious design evident in the cell is one reason I believe in God."

This statement is ludicrously silly. The apparent design in the cell is a result of both the chemistry  of the cell as well as external pressure (selection) and random mutation. As this results in a slow but steady change over time (evolution) it does appear as if the cell is designed. 

Therefor, to claim that an intelligence is responsible for said design is ridiculous. In stead of providing evidence for such a designer it is simply asserted. 

Another question follows from this line of thinking. If the cell is so complex that it is "obviously" designed, than that means that the designer by itself has to be so complex that it obviously has to be designed as well, this lead to an infinite regress of infinite deities. 

The theory of evolution breaks that cycle as it explains how the appearance of design can follow from natural forces acting on organisms, it explains how you can get from something very simple to something very complex by very small incremental steps.

"My study of the Bible has revealed who the Creator is—namely, Jehovah God"

How do you determine what is god? What is your definition? Can you explain this in such a way that it on the one hand proof the god of the bible while also simultaneously disproving all other religions? If not, then why did you start at the Bible? 

"Young ones in school who are being taught evolution may be unsure of what to believe.This can be a confusing time for them. If they believe in God, this is a test of faith."

It is not a test of faith, it is a matter of scientific understanding or scientific ignorance, faith has nothing to do with the question of the validity of the theory of evolution at all. 

"I have personally done this and have concluded that the Bible’s account of creation is accurate and does not conflict with true science."

Ah, True science, the science that does not follow the scientific method and is always in complete agreement with the specific religious dogma of the claimant. The kind of science that does not require testing, hypotheses, education or anything of the sort. The kind of "science" that can simply be asserted. 

You, mr. Henson, better come up with something a bit less silly if you wish to have meaningful discussions with other people on this site. It seems that you are the kind of theists who will claim all sorts of things without being burdened by any actual knowledge and we've had many, many of those before you and they could not contribute anything meaningful either.

The obvious design evident in the cell is one reason I believe in God.

The moon obviously looks like it follows you, therefore it follows you. 

The sun obviously looks like it orbits the earth, therefore it orbits the earth. 

The infinite decimal 0.999... obviously looks like it is less than 1, therefore it is less than 1. 

A cell obviously looks like it was designed (does it?) therefore it was designed. 

The paradoxical and the counter-intuitive have natural explanations so they are not evidence of the supernatural.

David H. said:

"I have, with my own abilities..."

I laughed so hard I now have snot dripping off my chin. :O

I have been laughing since I started reading this thread, and I'm only on page 3, OMdoG I hope I don't expire before I get to the end.

BTW DH nice tunes on your website.

In the interest of full disclosure:

Paula Kincheloe is a researcher at Emory University which was founded in 1836 by a group of Methodists. link

When science thought that darkness came from vapors from the ground and daylight from vapors from the sky which Bible writer said they came from the luminaries?

The modern-day scientific method is not the philosophy of classical antiquity that also called itself science. 

Besides, even if the scientific community ever did propose these models as explanations for light and darkness, they have long-since been tested and rejected as incorrect.

That's exactly how the scientific method operates. Observe. Model/Theorize. Test. Revise. Self-correction is a strength of the scientific method not a weakness.

How many thousands of years before science did the Bible say that the earth was spherical?

The Bible says the earth is a circle not a sphere. Besides, it's still wrong even if it does say the earth is a sphere. The earth is an ellipsoid. 

It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in. - Isaiah 40:22

Also, the sky is not a dome holding up an ocean on the other side. 

"And God said, “Let there be a vault between the waters to separate water from water. So God made the vault and separated the water under the vault from the water above it. And it was so. God called the vault “sky.” - Genesis 1:6-8

And the moon is a reflector not a light. 

"God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night." - Genesis 1:16

It's worth adding that a complete list of every scientific discovery in the last 100 years alone, printed on paper, would easily fill an aircraft hanger. Likewise, for the number of updates and revisions science has made in the light of these new discoveries.

What new discoveries has the Bible produced in the last year? The last hundred years? The last thousand? Can you name even a single example?

You gotta help me out here, David, RE:

"When science thought that darkness came from vapors from the ground and daylight from vapors from the sky which Bible writer said they came from the luminaries? How many thousands of years before science did the Bible say that the earth was spherical?"

Could you possibly tell me first, when it was that "science thought that darkness came from vapors from the ground and daylight from vapors from the sky," and when you've finished, exactly when did science say the earth was spherical?

I need your time frame to work with.

David welcome to TA and hope you'll stay around for some time.

First you say you were an atheist till age 27 and so on, what are you now? What god, if any, do you believe in? 

I do not claim to anything about the bible except that it is contradictory in almost every page. An example comes to mind in exodus i think chapter 30 Moses is having a word with god. we are told they talked face to face as we would and before that chapter closes, god tells Moses he has to hide his face or he will die; please tell me how this is meant to be understood.

You also claim that you are here to help us where we have mis-interpreted the good book, but before we get there, how can anyone of us tell that book was dictated by a deity? Is that the best they could come up with. If you claim that the said deity created the universe, how is it he does not mention the other stars, galxies, heck he doesn't even mention the Milky Way our galaxy? 

If you claim the bible authors were inspired, how can we know this? Did they know it was god in control of their faculties and if this be the case, did they have any free will in the matter?

Do you think Allah is the same god as YHWH and that the koran was dictated by him? If you disqualify the Koran, on what basis do you do so? And if by any chance you do not disqualify the Koran, how is it that your god fails to mention he will be sending an update in Arabic so all of us should have a working knowledge of Arabic?

On a side note, what is this knowledge that you have come by that you haven't shared with church ministers and bible scholars to put the matter to rest once and for all?

Hello, onyango, and thanks for the welcome.

I consider myself a student of the Bible. A believer so far. Like the writers of the Bible I am henotheistic, meaning I worship one true God, Jehovah above all others but believe there are many gods. A god is simply something that is considered mighty or is venerated.

No man has ever seen Jehovah's face and lived. Often when Jehovah God appears before men it isn't exactly him that appears, but a representative of him. So, you have some of these representatives appearing being called "Jehovah," "God," "angels (meaning messenger)" and "men" sometimes all at the same time by different witnesses. Jacob, for example, wrestled with "God," who was actually an "angel" or spirit creature who presented himself in the form of a "man." Also, in the case you mentioned regarding Moses, the term face to face is used. This sort of term was used commonly throughout the Bible as "appearing before" some one. For example, Moses was told by Pharaoh, that if he tried to see Pharaoh's face again he would die, meaning that he was forbidden to present himself to Pharaoh again. It was a term to present yourself before someone as well. (Exodus 10:28 / Numbers 12:6-8 / Exodus 33:20 / Acts 7:35, 38 / Galatians 3:19 /  Genesis 32:24-30 / Hosea 12:3, 4)

As for the divinely inspired books, I wouldn't recommend the atheist set out a personal study with divinity in mind. Let the Books prove themselves to you first and then tackle the issue of divinity. Just because it claims divine authorship doesn't mean that is the case as far as you are concerned.

As for the stars, the Bible says Jehovah knows them by number and name. (Isaiah 40:26) He names the Ash, Kesil, Kimah, and Mazzaroth constellations. What do these mean? Probably not the same to you as to Job but the Milky Way wouldn't have been the same to Job as it is to you.

Where in the Bible does it say that God was in control of their faculties? They always had free will.

The word Allah means "the god." The tetragrammaton, meaning four letters, probably was Yahweh, the English translation being Jehovah, meaning "He who causes to become." They are not the same. My own personal opinion after having read several translations in English of the Koran, is that it is the uninspired work of someone moderately familiar with the Hebrew and Christian texts.

I have shared the knowledge I have acquired for nearly two decades. It isn't anything original. I have know small children and mentally handicapped people who know what I know. Millions know it, including Church ministers and Bible scholars. At 2 Timothy 4:3-4 the apostle Paul warned of a time when the true teachings would be left and replaced with what he called, in the Greek, mythous. Later translated into the Latin fabulas. Myth. Fables. Ministers and scholars have to uphold tradition.

For example, the JW's don't believe in hell, which isn't a Bible teaching but a pagan myth adopted later by the apostate church. Here in the small town I live some JWs chanced upon a preacher in a local church and told him that the Bible didn't teach hell, to which he answered. "Oh, I know." Surprised, they asked him if he taught hell anyway to frighten his congregation into  attending. Laughing, he said "No. I teach it because if I didn't I would be out of a job."

His congregation were accustomed to the tradition and it made them feel morally superior to outsiders or non-believers.

When you say one true god, I am at a loss how you came to know that the one you worship is the one true god.

I see you believe in many apparitions appearing for or on behalf of god. you tell me face to face means appearing before, then why would Moses have to hide his face if god wasn't present? If it was presenting before oneself then the requirement to hide their faces wouldn't be necessary.

Just because it claims divine authorship doesn't mean that is the case as far as you are concerned. Then why waste time with it in the first place?

Where in the Bible does it say that God was in control of their faculties? They always had free will.

Nowhere but then if they had free choice on what to write, they would write what they want. 

I will tell you again that god must have been ignorant of his creation. how would he tell Abe that his descendants would be as the grains of sand, where would they stand?

Don't you think what you say of the Koran is true of the bible as well? That it is a collection of fables from the Greek, Egyptian and other traditions?

If you have met small children who know what you claim to know, like the Greek translations, I would really like to have a word with them. It would be nice to know how they came by such knowledge. Paul must have known he was telling stories, besides me and you know, he should take credit for christianity. he is the author of christianity to a great extent.

The bible I use, has jesus talking of eternal damnation. How different is that from hell? Help me here. I don't care for what JW believe or don't believe. If they are your model christians, then it is possible to see the extent to which you have been brainwashed.

As I said, I don't claim to be a bible scholar all am asking what has stopped this god of yours from sending an update or why didn't he leave a manual for interpreting the bible so we have no misunderstanding. There are several interpretations to the bible as there are christians, they can't all be right and am sure they will not agree with you. I take it that all of you are wrong.

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