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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But you are attempting to maintain or enlighten your 'absolute faith'. Only relying upon folks that parrot your basic commitments, is not the way to obtain an honest insight into belief.

If you are not a 'Christian', then why is the argumention about christian subjects so important? I quess I could ask this of myself also, but you seem so insulting and unreasonable that you are a couriosity.  

I'm not entirely clear on how one can "keep quite" - possibly you can explain it to us.

RE: "If your "scholars" can refute my position..." - I'm not sure that's possible, as you've never stated your position. Please do so, be specific, and provide evidence.

Well, in terms of knowing what the authors of Genesis meant by 'raqiya' or 'firmament', Ph.Ds in ancient languages are exactly the sort of experts whom one should consult - not evangelists and astrologers.

First of all, Heather, "the intellectually honest," the evangelists I quoted was what we call a resource. If the evangelist you provided a link to might have been quoted in addition to your having provided a link we might of had a discussion. Secondly, they weren't "astrologers" they were astronomers. Respected modern day scientists.

Your response was simply to say that I was wrong because someone else said so. That isn't either intellectual or honest in debate. Its lame and stupid.

You have stated over and over that you are here to set straight our 'misconceptions', perhaps intending to present yourself as an expert on ancient languages and cultures - yet you've given us none of your academic credentials, publications, or peer reviewed articles to peruse.

Like I said. Since you obviously think it a crime to be able to think for yourself then why not provide a brief quote with a link as reference. Then I can show you how your Ph.D. is flawed. I don't know about you, but I've talked to Ph.D.s who didn't know their ass from a hole in the ground.

You are, for a fact, a Christian.  You can call yourself whatever you like, but you align yourself with the standard lies and apologetics of Christianity, flaunting a standard Liberty U style that incorporates more the the dishonesty of Hovind than rhetorical gymnastics of William Lane Craig.  You have brought nothing to the table more than any other Christians who've come here - and that is to say you've brought nothing to the table.

Bullshit.

So state your position, be specific, and provide evidence.

@David Henson

The evangelist you cited is what is known as a 'non-authoritative source'.  You might as well cite Bruce Willis when trying clear up the meaning of a particular theory in quantum mechanics.  Secondly, you didn't cite any astronomers - you cited Théophile Moreux, a professor of science and math.  Either way, he has no background in ancient languages and is no more a 'resource' on the subject than Bruce Willis is a 'resource' on the Higgs Boson.

When I provided you with an actual resource - that is a fellow who is an expert in the field, speaking within his field of expertise, openly stating that his peers align with his position, in a public forum where his peers are able to retort and none did - that clearly states several solid reason why your position is unsupportable, then it is up to you to either dig up peers to that resource that disagree, acknowledge your error, or (as you chose to do) turn tail and run.

I am not an expert in ancient languages so my opinion on the matter is irrelevant - as is yours, and as are the opinions or your so-called 'resources'.  The word is well defined and you are dead wrong.

If you were here with the intention of honest discussion then you could just admit you were wrong on that point and admit what that does to the foundations of your beliefs - and that is why I know you are Christian, because you cannot process facts and adjust your views when it comes to the meaning of Christian scripture.

You may have spoken with a Ph.D. who didn't know his ass from a hole in the ground - but if neither rectums nor excavation was the field in which he had a Ph.D. then there is no reason to believe that he would.  If you are claiming that you knew their field of study better than they did then I suggest you are so incompetent as to lack the skills necessary to diagnosing your own incompetence.

If you wish to refute the article I cited previously, here is the link http://biologos.org/blog/the-firmament-of-genesis-1-is-solid-but-th...

I know you won't, however, because as a Christian you cannot process facts regarding your faith.  At best you'll just state your own unqualified opinion or fall back on some of the standard Hovind fallacies that decorate your Liberty U style apologetics.

First of all Davy, I clicked on your link and was taken to a page that said, "404 Page Not Found" - oddly, it also had graphics, and the word, "index," which I clicked on and was taken to another page with a graphic, and the words, "SITE MAP," which I clicked on and nothing happened - so much for your evidence.

As for the biblical mistranslation, I mentioned this a couple of years ago on my own website:

"From the English KJV: Genesis 1:20, 'And god said, let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.' - word for word.

    "But I also have a copy of the same verse from the Latin Vulgate, the original source for the King James version, which says: 'dixit etiam Deus producant aquae reptile animae viventis et volatile super terram sub firmamento caeli' (emphasis, mine). Translated, - and yes, I’ve studied Latin - the italicized portion says: 'over the earth under  (not 'in') the firmament of heaven' - 'super,' meaning 'above,' 'sub,' meaning, 'below.' 

"The King James Version of The Bible has incorrectly translated one Latin preposition, 'sub,'  to read, 'in,' thereby changing the context of the entire sentence, placing heaven inside Earth’s atmospheric envelope. Yet the King James version is an English translation of the Latin Vulgate, which is a translation of the Hebrew Pentateuch, which is a translation of a number of different languages, based in part upon stories handed down verbally from generation to generation for thousands of years." 

My point here, of course, was that the supposedly "inerrant" Bible is full of errors.

And your point was?

I'm not entirely clear on how one can "keep quite" - possibly you can explain it to us.

It means when in doubt leave it out.

RE: "If your "scholars" can refute my position..." - I'm not sure that's possible, as you've never stated your position. Please do so, be specific, and provide evidence.

My position was that the firmament was a Latin mistranslation of a Greek word based upon the time in which it was given. In the Dark Ages Bible dictionaries and encyclopedias depicted the heavens as this. Due, not to the earlier Hebrew use of the word translated firmament.

My evidence for this was, aside from a 19th century theologian, and I think 2 modern day scientist, but also an examination of the Bible itself using two translations footnotes and linear notes. 

For example, the atheist claims that my Dark Ages misunderstanding is incorrect, because they want the Bible to appear wrong; by saying the Bible DID say heaven was a solid dome with sluice holes to let in rain. I quoted the Bible where it says birds fly in heaven, and clouds and dust are comparable in the Hebrew, not the Latin mistranslation of the Greek. I also quoted the Bible's description of the hydrological cycle which respected scientists have concluded, the Bible correctly describes. This proves the Bible doesn't agree with the Dark Ages and the atheist complaint is incorrect.

So lets see here, mistranslations are god's fault, right. You know the whole babble thing. So most of his followers are all wrong because he intentionally screwed it all up with multitudes of languages. Your god is an idiot !

@David Henson

David - I have no desire for you to appear wrong or right.  I've simply provided you with an article that proves you dead wrong - for reasons that I've elaborated on just a moment ago in another post.

@ Heather Spoonheim

Have you ever heard of a patent clerk named Albert Einstein? Or a secretary named Jane Goodall? They were ordinary people who had ideas that were dismissed by Ph.Ds. Just a thought.

T. Moreux is the former head of Bourges Observatory in France, you know - the heavens? This is what he said about it. “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.”

That is correct.

Lets look at your PhD. He says: “One of those issue concerns the second day of creation (Genesis 1:6-8), where God made the “expanse” or the “firmament.” The Hebrew word for this is raqia (pronounced ra-KEE-ah). Biblical scholars understand the raqia to be a solid dome-like structure. It separates the water into two parts, so that there is water above the raqia and water below it (v. 7). The waters above are kept at bay so the world can become inhabitable. On the third day (vv. 9-10), the water below the raqia is “gathered to one place” to form the sea and allow the dry land to appear.

Ancient Israelites “saw” this barrier when they looked up.”

Then he says: “According to the flood story in Gen 7:11 and 8:2, the waters above were held back only to be released through the “floodgates of the heavens” (literally, “lattice windows”);”

Heather? How is it that the ancient Israelites saw this when the flood took place long before the nation of Israel was created?

2 Peter 3:5 says this: “For, according to their wish, this fact escapes their notice, that there were heavens from of old and an earth standing compactly out of water and in the midst of water by the word of God.”

The water was used for the flood. It couldn’t have been seen by the Israelites.

@David Henson

Simple, Davey boy - the ancient Israelites viewed the sky as a barrier holding back the waters above - just as they wrote it, and in line with the views of surrounding cultures of the time, documented in the writings of those cultures.  They, nor anyone else, considered those waters to be of limited quantity, good for one flood only.

To suggest that they did you would need to provide some evidence that they did.  To suggest that their description of a solid barrier between the water above and below was not one of a solid barrier, the ubiquitous belief of the time, you would need to provide some evidence to that end.

At least you've now moved beyond Hovind who liked to play silly word games about Greek and Latin.  The text is written in Hebrew, has been preserved by the Jews for millenia, and they have never waivered in their belief about what it means to say - there are literally libraries worth of documented Rabbinical exchanges on the topic.

All of that is attested to by the people who pour over such documents, one of them being the source I mentioned, unlike your astronomer.  Now show me some evidence that the Hebrew word was ever understood, by anyone who actually studied/spoke the language, to be anything other than that solid barrier in that context, and you'll have something to support your view.

Do you even understand what I'm asking for here?  I'm not asking for your opinion on what the word means.  I'm not asking for the opinions of butchers, bakers, astronomers, or candle stick makers.  I'm asking for the informed opinion of linguists, or Rabbis who fluently read the text, or anyone who can actually back up their statement.

The "flood" you mention Davy, happened three hundred years before the fictional Noah was alleged to have lived. It covered an area equivalent to three counties, to a depth of 22.5 feet, when the Euphrates River overflowed its banks in 2900 BCE, when the king of the area, reputedly Zuisudra, an actual, historical king of the area, as opposed to the fictional Noah, for whom there's no evidence, escaped the flood by boarding a trading barge loaded with cotton, cattle and beer.

There isn't enough water in, on, under, or above the earth to cover it even to the depth of Mt Ararat, much less Mt Eveerest.

It's all crap, designed to provide nomadic shepherds with an historical lineage.

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