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.
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? :-)
Welcome Jeremy! I have only one suggestion. Don't look for truth. Truth is what people say when they are not lying. The religious person may not lie. He believes that what he says is true. He still spouts nonsense! Look instead for FACTS. If you use the soft, fuzzy terms of the believer, you won't be able to get to the FACTS.
My list of book recs (adding to Nelson's):
Who Wrote the Bible, Friedman
Jesus, Interrupted, Ehrman
Biblical Nonsense, Long
The Evolution of God, Wright
god Is Not Great, Hitchens
Why the Religious Right Is Wrong About Separation of Church and State, Boston
The Christian Delusion, Loftus
The Religion Virus, James
Breaking the Spell, Dennett
The Varieties of Scientific Experience, Sagan
Atheist Universe, Mills
The Case Against God, Smith
The Portable Atheist
Atheism, A Reader, Joshi
As far as the Bible goes, I have the New American Standard but there are other decent translations.
Also, God, The Failed Hypothesis, Stenger
So what are your personal, not what people have told you, your personal opinions about Religion and God? I feel that for you to be here there must be something bugging you, an itch that needs to be scratched. It is always great to have an alternate view about the whole Universe and what we are doing here, opposing what Religion teaches. I do not encourage anyone to engage with a Religious person about the chance there is no God. Their views are most times very narrow and it can become heated and lead to anger and or some heartache. Be careful if you continue down this path you have sought out.
I personally am not very Literary, I find the time needed to read a book takes away from so many other things that I must do. I like articles that tend last a few pages of text maybe a little more. If you really want to engage in this, I personally believe that a Minister, Priests, Rabbi and a Buddhist Monk would give you you best conversation and debate subject matter.There formal education prepares them for this exact situation.
Please search out some of your own Literature through the use of the internet, Wikipedia is a good form of "General" information to start from, use this for direction and it also has some good links to other sites, but don't quote Wikipedia, you may be laughed at.
The older King James version from the 60's or 70's, it will be a little adventure to find also somewhat difficult to understand the vocabulary and will make for some good conversation while hunting it out. Used Book stores Antique shops etc...
Enjoy this quest, it could prove to be rewarding, if you are truly up to it. I for one have heard everything I will ever need to hear from any Person of Religious Faith. After many conversations with many people of Faith, a very interesting one happened just about 6 or 7 months ago with a very intelligent, kind Man. What convinced me that Religion has it all wrong was when our conversation/debate came to the question about the age of our Universe. I said that JPL/NASA and Thousands of notable and highly intelligent Scientist from every racial origin on our planet has put the age between 12 and 14 billion years.What I heard next totally popped my cork. His response was "God created the Universe 5000 years ago and made everything in it appear the age we have discovered them to be, not time but God did this to fool us into thinking these things because he is all powerful" I had to be rude and tell him he was disillusion and end that conversation. We work at the same place, get along great and we never talk about Religion or God any more. I wont allow it.
Good luck and please update us here at Think Atheist, I'm sure many of the members would be curious to read what you write.
Jeremy, Atheist means without god. The proof is on the theists to prove the existence of god or not. Not yours. Since caveman man has always been curious but the idea of god is exactly that. An idea. And the idea didn't come along in the beginning, it had to come along after many years as a way to explain things people didn't understand. Man created god in his own image, not the opposite which most Christians believe.
Biblegateway.com is a good way to look up info on the Bible. It's a bit slanted toward Christians but the Bible verses are good to know.
Jeremy, First, welcome to TA. Second, I am not as familar with writtings of this person or that, but I have been an atheist for many years. So here is my input: the truth of life is best seen thru the eyes of other comuninal animals. They protect one another, they form life long bonds, fight for the survilval of the group and mourn the loss of a member of the community. It may seem simplistic, however, we are just a more advanced primate. Thinking too much about how, or why we are here is what led to religion in the first place. LIVE your life my dear, find joy and happiness where you can. The bible, which ever you choose, read it as fiction.
Welcome Jeremy!! I think that a great site online to find information is www.topdocumentaryfilms.com. It has a massive variety of topics not just on religion but pretty much everything you can want!!