Greetings! I am just going to come out and say that I am what you might call I crazy, die hard, delusional Jesus freak, though I do not discourage any discussion about how wrong I am. That is essentially why I am here. I have somewhat become addicted to looking into religious discussion and anything and everything related to it. I want to acquire as much knowledge as I can, and I think this is an excellent place to do so. I am not here to offend anyone and I would love to be able to stay in this community for a while. I don't kow how accepting you guys are of outsiders, but judging by what I have seen on this site so far, most of you are pretty open. So, without further adieu, I would simply like to state how intrigued I am by atheism! From a theological perspective, you and I are polar opposites! I mean to the ends of the earth OPPOSITE. I as a christian believe what I have read in the book of Proverbs: that fear of God is the beginnig of wisdom. With that, my entire life is constantly in pursuit of God and this wisdom! I don't fear him because He is evil, but because He is all powerful. Surely this makes sense? If an all powerful God did exist, it would be foolish not to be afraid of Him. I read somewhere in the quote of the day section, that the beginning of wisdom is the "conquering of fear". Obviously this quote was intended to directly oppose the verse from Proverbs, but I am curious nonetheless whether all or most of the atheist community agrees with this. This would have intriguing implications! Does your life center upon eliminating fear? Fear of the imaginary God, fear of man, fear of death? Do you strive to live a fearless life in the sense that you don't allow fear to control your actions? I would too if there were no God. But instead I WANT fear to control my every thought! I am completely aware of how foolish that is, but I am completely okay with that too!
I want to get on the same page with you here. We are all human beings. We are all more or less equally able to think logically. I believe that the pivotal point from where all logic flows is whether or not God exists. Let me start by saying that if God does not exist, then I would completely agree nearly atheist based ideology-everything that has anything to do with the secular world view, I would LIVE by. Now assume for a moment that you were on the same side as I am, all evidence aside. There is a God. He is the perfect King. Everyone loves Him and everyong respects Him and admires His wisdom. Everyone also fears Him, for if they are on the wrong side of the law, He can justly punish them. Who would respect a Ruler who was a pushover and didn't care about justice? Now, if this God was perfect in the absolute sense, would it not be logical to dedicate your life to trying to be like Him? And if you weren't afraid of Him, would you be able to do that? I just want to try to clarify that if what I believe is true, then I am following the logical course of action by allowing this fear/love combination to take over my life. Do you agree with me? Yes? Then the pivotal point I established earlier must be real, and all ideology flows in two general directions starting from whether you believe God is real or not. No? Then lets continue.
If you disagree with me, then twe have arrived at a second pivotal point in our differences. First being whether you believe in God, and the second (being on the belief side) whether you want to follow this God or not. What do you guys think about these pivotal points? Which one is more important?
On Sodom and Gomorrah:
I haven't found any academic articles on archaeological research into the site but, just for the sake of playing, let's look at the narrative article that you yourself linked to.
"There is ample evidence of subterranean deposits of a petroleum-based substance called bitumen, similar to asphalt, in the region south of theDead Sea. Such material normally contains a high percentage of sulfur. It has been postulated by geologist Frederick Clapp that pressure from anearthquake could have caused the bitumen deposits to be forced out of the earth through a fault line. As it gushed out of the earth it could have been ignited by a spark or surface fire. It would then fall to earth as a burning, fiery mass."
I can understand how witnesses at the time could view this hail of a burning, fiery mass as being fire and brimstone reigned down by some diety. I can't, however, understand how a modern mind could cling to such superstitious poppycock, especially given the presence of subterranean deposits of bitumen.
On the flood:
Once again your own article debunks itself, and I quote: "These are just three pieces of the puzzle. None of the three (or any other piece of evidence) is enough to constitute proof of the Great Flood."
Considering the narrative of the flood itself, any reasonable mind would come to the conclusion that it is nothing more than a quaint tale that unquestionably falls into the category of mythology. For an entertaining look at just how silly this tale is, I offer the following video:
Nice one Heather, thanks!
(Say, did this happen before or after dinosaurs? I'm behind on my research.)
Yes, it seems that Semitic people encountered some Indo-European culture. As you said, barely worth mentioning. I thought you were bringing out the 'big guns' here?
On the Star of Bethlehem
And you said, "The star was demonstrated to be an actual historical event. It was the temporary lining up of Venus and Jupiter." Have you actually taken to debunking yourself here?