I've always had an indescribable need to search for the truth in life. I never really grew up in a religious home, only taught that God was real. Now, as an adult, I am searching for information, history, philosophy, and logical processes to lead me to the most truthful conclusion.  If anyone has resources for me to learn and build a repertoire to debate theists, let me know. Right now I'm reading Dawkins' books, and A History of God by Armstrong. I also feel I should familiarize myself with the bible...but which version is the most historically correct?  Hope to get to know a grow with you all.

Jeremy

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Welcome to Think Atheist Jeremy. I don't know if you know this already, but there are some good debates on Youtube (on the atheist side) if you check out Dawkins, Sam Harris, and Christopher Hitchens (to name a few). I personally like John Loftus a lot. I don't think he is on Youtube but he has written some books and has a blog.

I don't know which bible is the most historically correct, although I do believe the King James version is one of the  more popular ones. From what I understand, Catholics do not use the King James Version. I don't know if twhat they use is more historically accurate than the King James version. They might both be equally inaccurate lol.

My understanding is that serious scholars lean towards either the Revised Standard Version or the New Revised Standard Version.

The New International Version and many newer evangelical versions are egregiously dishonest in places.

Thank you Nelson! This is quite a list. Where I am now is just learning because I have no real religious background, but being a scientist I cannot believe in the idea of God. I want to learn to explain my point though when it comes to telling people why I believe what I do...especially my wife- she doesn't know I'm atheist. She is a believer and has had a personal "contact" with God; however she grew up in a strict Catholic home. I'm very interested in the psychology of belief because I think most people hold on to their beliefs because of a false personal relationship that was probably only in their head. Thanks again.

"the most historically correct" bible. Brilliant! I haven't laughed like that in a while. Thanks. That's akin to asking which Dr. Seuss book or Harry Potter novel is more historically correct. I know of no discernible or at least valuable truths to be found within that tome unless they are well hidden amongst the iron-age superstitions, delusions, outright fabrications and distortions of history that make up the majority of that wholly inaccurate "holy" book.

Just remember; God loves you, and he'll kill you if you don't believe that.

Hi Jeremy. I can recommend Demon Haunted World and God is not Great. Also for familiarising yourself with the bible for the purpose of debate you cannot beat Nonstampcollector on youtube!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RB3g6mXLEKk

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PK7P7uZFf5o&feature=relmfu

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j_BzWUuZN5w&feature=relmfu

The truth in life is everything that is and everything that has been. In a constantly changing world (universe), the truth changes with it. And as long as life and intelligence evolves, the truth will continue to change. Some, from Socrates and Constantine I  to Martin Luther and Mao, have sought to install their own versions of the truth. But there will never be an absolute truth as long as any degree of  awareness has the ability to make change. So I suggest you go to DQ, buy a cup cone, and enjoy the sunset.

I find this sums it up for me:

I believe in time, matter, and energy, which make up the whole of the world.
I believe in reason, evidence and the human mind, the only tools we have; they are the product of natural forces in a majestic but impersonal universe, grander and richer than we can imagine, a source of endless opportunities for discovery.
I believe in the power of doubt; I do not seek out reassurances, but embrace the question, and strive to challenge my own beliefs.
I accept human mortality.
We have but one life, brief and full of struggle, leavened with love and community, learning and exploration, beauty and the creation of new life, new art, and new ideas.
I rejoice in this life that I have, and in the grandeur of a world that preceded me, and an earth that will abide without me

Hi Jeremy,

I'm always glad to meet a fellow seeker. It sounds like you're reading from good sources. The #1 book for debating theists is, of course, the Bible: but be prepared for a LOT of boring and redundant material -- especially in the Old Testament.

Christopher Hitchens compiled a book of essays by influential freethinkers. It's called "God is not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything". It's a really great collection that will provide a strong foundation for freethought.

Morality is the Bible's biggest weakness. Be on the lookout, while you read the Bible, for examples of immorality. I'd even use a highlighter to emphasize them. It will come in handy when you want to recall those examples for debates. Actually, there's lots of digital Bibles online that makes research VERY easy.

Finally, I'd like to refer you to a slam-dunk argument against God and the Bible . . . I've used variations of it on this site and it has proven effective against the occasional believers who frequent T|A. Check out the latest version here.

I believe the Hitchens book you are referring to (collected essays) is The Portable Atheist Essential Readings for the Non Believer.  It was published the same year as god is not Great, which is entirely authored by Hitchens.  Hitchens deliberately broke the rule of capitalizing the first word of the title, for some reason.  ;)   god is not Great is more of a new-asshole-tearing indictment of religion as an institution than it is an argument against the existence of god.

Well, I don't know much about different versions of the Bible.  The Catholic bible has more books in it; such as Tobit, Judith, 1st & 2 nd Maccabees, and Ecclesiasticus (all OT), which were left out of the Protestant bible.  Possibly these books were left out because they are not in the Jewish version of the OT?  There are other "Apocrypha" books as well that are not included in either type of Bible....like the Gospel of Thomas, and Mary Magdalene.

As for which version of the Bible is the most historically correct, that depends on which theological camp you ask. Currently the English Standard Version (ESV), which is based off of the Revised Standard Version (RSV), seems to be growing by leaps and bounds in conservative, Evangelical Christianity. Before that one, and which is still immensely popular, is the New International Version (NIV). That being said, the NIV is a "thought for thought" translation and the ESV is a "word for word" translation, and there are huge debates about which translation methodology is superior. The more liberal elements of Christianity use the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV), which is an updating of the RSV and is also gender inclusive.

If you're just looking for a version where you can read and come up to speed with the basic elements of what the Bible teaches, probably any version will suffice.

For a critique of the historical reliability of the Bible, including any version that's available, check out some of Bart Ehrman's books. He used to be a Christian and went to seminary, but after achieving enlightenment has left the fold.

If the NRSV is gender inclusive, does it say that men and women may both beat their spouses with a sticks no thicker than their thumbs?  Or, is it not quite that "gender inclusive?  :-)

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