I’ve decided to finally sit down and read the bible, but I’m finding it to be terribly tedious. This book could benefit greatly from editing. I’m encountering a bunch of useless accounts of lineage and pointless stories that fail to advance the story or even one’s moral understanding. I’m working my way through Genesis right now. Can anyone offer suggestions as to the essentials of this section? In other words, what’s worth reading? I’m finding that a lot of it is a waste of my time.

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if you need coffee let me know

You ain't seen nothin' yet :-)

Repetition of inane details -- like the materials used in building temples -- is spread throughout the Old Testament.  Also, stories get repeated a lot.  If you're an insomniac, reading the Bible is a good way to get to sleep.

Ha, that's one reason I'm finding it difficult to get through. It seems to knock me out cold every time!

I read the bible a number of years back. It took me about a year. I like to take my time, and make sure I understand what is being said, and the context in which it was written, plus it is a rather complex and at times confusing work. Have also read the book of mormon, and found parts of it disturbing, and at times quite silly. Have read parts of the koran, but like the bible, it’s quite a tedious read. Own all three, and have a number of variations on disk, (of the bible) which at this moment seems to be filed in a “Black Hole". 

I think part of being an Atheist means having a curious mind, about everything. Plus, I believe you need to understand the opposition. 

I'd point out that one need not know anything about the Bible to understand the so-called opposition.  As we all have seen reported, most Christians now less of the Bible than your average athiest.  I think one could study psychology and science and gain better insight into the believing mind.

Your point would be wrong. How would you argue against an ID/Creationist? What science would you study? How would you disprove the flood story? You can’t, because you know nothing about the bible (You did say “. one need not know anything about the Bible to understand the so-called opposition”.) . Believers come in all stripes, and their reasons for believing are varied. Psychology, also a science, is very complex, and requires years of study, as do most sciences. Or do you plan to be an armchair psychologist, who believes he knows everything? Besides, psychology alone cannot explain belief, and the rest of science won’t do you a whole lot of good unless you know what you’re arguing against. You can’t truly understand why a person believes, if you don’t know what they believe.

Sorry if I seem rude, but I grow weary of geniuses, who upon reading a book or two, think themselves authorities on human nature, belief and thought. Belief is a complex thing, and to totally dismiss the believers “Book”, is rather short sighted, and to be honest, dumb.

Who said that in order to understand someone that I must win arguments or even argue with them at all?

 

And you do appear rude and a more than a little presumptuous.  And your last paragraph strikes me as very ironic.

 

I never could sympathize with the position that one must be an expert in order to understand something or reasonably accept or reject claims.  And using the Bible to prove the Bible wrong is about as meaningful as using it to prove that it is correct. 

Reggie, You’re not using the bible to disprove the bible, genius. You’re using your knowledge of the bible to formulate an argument against it. People are drawn to religion for many reasons, and not all of them can be explained by psychology, or other sciences. To believe that they can, is a very uniformed position.

 

Besides, the bible is not a worthless tome. It is full of lessons, history, and beautiful writing. It introduced many people to the "golden rule” (which predates Jesus by at least a thousand years), one of the most wonderful ideas ever conceived. “Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you” (Also known as the ethic of reciprocity). What an efin concept! If we all lived by that, “What a wonderful world”. The religion is crap, but that one idea alone, almost redeems the bible. But as I said, it’s full of interesting, and at times, profound ideas, and worth the effort.

So continue in your blissful ignorance if you like, but you’re missing out.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, I’m a very hardcore, militant, and at times, nasty Atheist. But I have curious mind!

"How would you argue against an ID/Creationist? What science would you study? How would you disprove the flood story?"

I've never argued against ID on Biblical grounds. Why should I? The great thing about ID is that you don't need to know that the Intelligent Designer is code for Yahweh; you can reject in on the sole basis that it doesn't stand up to scientific scrutiny. The same holds true for the flood story. You don't need to know it in it's biblical form; you only need to understand the argument as it's being presented to you.

Really? You see by not reading the bible, you commit the same “sin” as many of the god-groupies. When you ask them if they’ve read anything about evolution for instance, many reply “I don’t need to read that crap, the bible tells me everything I need to know about creation. Have you read the “good book?”. How would you answer?

Besides, refuting arguments formulated by todays more learned ID apologist, is much harder than it used to be. Many of them now have degrees, covering most of the sciences (and I’ll bet you thought knowledge made people smart). In some cases, you’ll have to research for hours to refute their arguments, not to mention the research you may need to do to understand your argument. There are books written defending the flood, and unless you have a good background in the “earth sciences” you’ll be hard pressed to refute them, without doing time consuming research, which you may not understand. But when you know the flood story, the events preceding it, and its aftermath, you can with minimal research, formulate an argument that will make the believer think, and it will only take a few paragraphs. Whereas your science argument will probably go over their head (Not the person who formulated the argument, but the less educated believer presenting the argument).

Now I should mention, the average believer you’ll meet in an online forum for instance, will be using arguments they did not formulate, and probably don’t understand. But if you try to refute it, and don’t have your facts straight, in almost magical fashion, a more knowledgable IDer will appear, and totally baffle you with ID/creationist pseudo-science, which in some cases sounds a lot like real science. It’s much easier to attack the story.

 

Of course, if you’re that well schooled in the sciences, and love doing tedious research, I’m sure you’ll do a fair job.

 

"When you ask them if they’ve read anything about evolution for instance, many reply “I don’t need to read that crap, the bible tells me everything I need to know about creation. Have you read the “good book?”. How would you answer?"

 

I don't ask them that question. No one has read everything there is to read, so I don't think it's unreasonable that any given person, religious or not, has read the same materials as I.  If the person I am debating makes a statement that is factually incorrect, I will provide a reliable resource to the contrary when required. It's my position, my argument, therefore the onus is on me to provide the proper support.

 

Besides, refuting arguments formulated by todays more learned ID apologist, is much harder than it used to be. Many of them now have degrees, covering most of the sciences (and I’ll bet you thought knowledge made people smart). 

 

You would lose that bet.  Your whole response makes faulty assumptions about me and my nature. I don't think that religious people are inherently stupid, nor do I think that uneducated people are inherently stupid.  Knowledge doesn't make you smart; it makes you knowledgeable.  The thing is, any given person is capable of holding only a small fraction of the total knowledge base created by the species as a whole.  Debates have to occur with this limitation kept in mind.  If someone raises an argument that I am not well versed enough to handle, I neither have to counter the point nor concede it.  I simply have to state that I am not qualified to comment and take the opportunity to get read up on the subject.  It's not a big deal.

 

When it comes to ID proponents, there is a fundamental flaw in all of their arguments that I have seen to date: they start with a conclusion and conform the evidence to fit that conclusion.  No matter how many scientific facts one employs in such a process, the process itself is not science.  

 

Look at it this way.  I make a statement as follows: If my car is blue, I am the King of Siam.  Now, some very technical, scientific analysis could be done determining the colour value of my car, to the point where even just looking at it and using common sense would no longer be valid in the debate, but does that really matter?  What ID proponents want you to do is get so bogged down in debating whether or not the car is blue, that everyone gets distracted from the fact that the premise itself was clearly bullshit.

 

I will take any ID claim seriously, and even entertain the possibility that it is correct if it can avoid that basic flaw.

 

But when you know the flood story, the events preceding it, and its aftermath, you can with minimal research, formulate an argument that will make the believer think, and it will only take a few paragraphs. Whereas your science argument will probably go over their head (Not the person who formulated the argument, but the less educated believer presenting the argument).

 

And?  I'm not a preacher.  I'm not trying to score points or win converts with tricks.  It is not my goal in life to counter every story in the bible. It is not my goal in life to win debates with religious folk.  It is not my goal in life to be right for the sake of being right.

 

I will engage in dialogue with those that want to be engaged.  If a believer wants to debate the flood, they have to present their pro-flood arguments at that time.  I will become familiar with their argument at that time, and try my best not to treat the argument with prejudice.  Maybe their argument is somewhat unique from a strictly biblical perspective or conventional claims.  If I can engage them and open their perspective, that would be great.  If not, it is what it is.  

 

That said, I am not so arrogant to assert that I'm the only one who can open up perspectives.  If the debate was on historical evidence for the existence of Jesus, the man, then I'm certainly no expert.  I'm completely neutral on the subject, and a Christian who has studied the subject at length may have some interesting things to teach me.  If I'm interested enough, I will go and research those things further.  It's not going to convince me that Jesus was the son of their god, but it might convince me that the stories of Jesus have some historical validity.  I have no reason to think that I am 100% correct about everything and the Christians I interact with are 100% incorrect every time we disagree.  I'm not trying to be right; I'm trying to have some meaningful interaction that advances understanding.  If that some day leads to me reading the entire Bible, then so be it.  Thus far, it hasn't. 

Kris Feenstra, First of all, you decided to add your two cents to a debate you hadn’t been a part of (which is fine). I then proceeded to address your comments. You then reply as if I started in on you while you were just standing there waiting for the bus. That’s really disingenuous on your part.

Also. Just like the person I was debating, you know everything you need to know, or can assimilate it on the fly.  Well good for you!

 

Anyway, if you read your original comment, then my reply, your last reply is just crap. It’s just you trying to spin the debate. If you should ever decide to address my points, let me know. Until then, goodbye.

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