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?

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Bill you stated earlier that the Science and the Bible to hand in hand. I only hear Jehovah Witnesses say that. I suspect from your earlier postings that you are Pentecostal or a SDA. Anyway get it clear in you head: Science and the Bible are not compatible. The bible is NOT a science book. The story of creation is not science but mythology. Isaiah did not know the world was round.

There is no evidence for miracles. Hume described miracles very well when he defined miracles as the physical laws of nature being suspended. So should we take the translation of a version of a story about a miracle as fact without seeing any evidence? Were the physical laws of nature temporarily suspended? I think even most Theists today would dismiss – say – the loaves and fishes story or raising the dead as untrue if they were first reported last week.

Re Josephus - There are two references to Jesus in surviving copies of Josephus’s Antiquities of the Jews. Josephus was a Romanized (and very pro Roman) Jewish scholar. These two mentions both look like interpolations by later Christian scribes. One of them is clearly such: it could only have been written by an enthusiastic Christian, which we know that Josephus was not. This passage is missing from an early table of contents of the Antiquities, and does not begin to be cited by Christian writers until the fourth century. At any rate, Josephus's Antiquities was most likely written in the 90s C . E . SO it's too late to be an independent source: if Josephus had included references to Jesus, he could have gotten these from what Christians were saying. Josephus provides no independent testimony to the existence of Jesus, much less to any particulars about Jesus.

Re Prophecy - The reported fulfillment of prophecies in the Bible is suspect, because in some cases the prophecies were actually written after the events reportedly prophesied, and in other cases, the events were reshaped to fit the prophecies . The detailed prediction of future events given in Daniel, which presents itself as a prophecy written in the sixth century BCE , was actually (according to all but fundamentalist scholars) penned in the second century R .C.E.

Credit to David Ramsey Steele in Atheism Explained for last 2 paragraphs.
I really don't understand the fear part. Why must you fear God? If you love, respect, and admire him, then I would guess you trust him as well. I don't personally think that fear is a bad thing. We developed fear for reason to survive and it does its job. I think that we fear things we don't trust, like predators or place that limit our vision or other senses. I don't fear things just because they can punish me. For example, cops creep me out. They have since I was a kid, but that fear comes mistrust. I worry that they don't have my best interest in mind but are out to push people into submission so that they are easier to govern. Now, not all cops or even most fall under that description, yet that is why I fear them. With this in mind then, if God is here in support of me and I could trust him then I can't see why I would fear him.

For example, cops creep me out.

 

Perps creep me out a lot more than cops. But I've rarely had opportunity to interact with perps. Had a lot more opportunity to interact with cops.

I wonder if there's a (cops vs perps) connection there. Some kind of inverse relationship, I think. Not a pure or absolute rule, but pretty significant correlations. Scientifically speaking.

perp

</ramble>

Hi Bill, welcome to Think Atheist, FWIW.  You're right, we're not so different.  I was where you are, just a few years ago.  Think Atheist is a great place to hang out.  It's been great for me to have a place to go to interact with incredibly intelligent people who value logic over superstition.

I could get into the tit-for-tat debate over your finer points (I am the dataguy, after all) but we both know that what really counts in christianity is what's 'in the heart.'  Your inability to answer why you believe what you believe is not simply a function of location and American culture demonstrates this.  When it comes right down to it, you believe what you believe because it's what you want to believe, it lines up with what makes sense to you in light of what you see around you.  Just like what I believe makes sense to me in light of what I see around me.

In other words, what you believe can't really be proven, it comes down to faith and your own personal experiences.  It's recorded that Jesus said, "by their fruit you will know them" and I submit that by the fruit of christianity, a logical person can easily tell it's a farce.

Your bible has been proven to be morally wrong many times, on issues such as human rights, slavery, female oppression, etc.  I left christianity and enjoy hanging out with atheists because as an atheist (actually I'm more of a deist) I'm free to judge morality based on issues as they related to human suffering instead of superstitious and bigoted rules.

What I see around me ('fruit' if you will) is christianity as an excuse for christians to hate others.  Your experience may be different, but it's what I see all around me, and it leads me to my conclusion that christianity is a farce.
Bravo!

Glad to be here dataguy! You must be a very well educated and bright guy. All deists that I know are very intelligent. I beg to differ on your point that I lack the ability to answer why I believe what I believe, though you followed that statement up quite well. What I see all around me has a LOT to do with it, but not everything. Allow me to inquire. You believe in creation, but reject the Judeo-Christian God because of the Christians and because of the Bible. I don't see any evidence that the Bible condones slavery and female oppression, and you can read up on these issues and what the Bible really says about them at www.gotquestions.org, but that issue aside, lets look at the Christians.

Here is an analogy I once heard from a very wise man. A man comes into your home and steals your coat. He then runs off with it and commits other thefts. Later, the police come knocking at your door with a pair of cuffs to put you under arrest. No matter your reply, they say "we know it was you because we saw your coat!"

 

A deist friend of mine vehemently rejects anything to do with Christianity because his family used to regularly attend church until they found that the church had actually stolen from them.

Bill. Bill? My blood pressure just went up slightly when I read that you (conveniently) don't see any evidence that the Bible condones slavery or the oppression of females.

Okay, you know, it's fine if you choose to believe in this god. I believed in that god, too, but... c'mon. Come. On. Please!!! I'm actually begging you not to rationalize these two specific arguments away. If there's anything the Bible is clear on, it's on how to treat women and slaves. I don't need you to point me to a book about the Bible because I'm not that stupid. I can read the Bible. I've seen what it has to say, inside and outside of context.

As a devout Christian, the message that I chagrined the most at was that I was to submit to a fucking man and be a good little housewife, who never spoke up in church, and who was forbidden from having authority over men... just because I don't have a penis. And of course, it doesn't worry you because your gender has never had to deal with this kind of discrimination; you've never been told you were less than human because you lacked the right genitalia. And I bet you're white, too? Damn. It must be good to be you. It must be nice to dismiss these arguments because they just don't affect you.

You know what, I'm not even going to bother citing the Bible to prove your wrong, because I'm sure you'd just come up with some flimsy excuse, or tell me I got it out of context, or explain that I'm reading the wrong translation. But you're wrong, Bill. Dead wrong. The authors of the Bible, especially Paul, had nothing but disrespect for women. I clearly remember reading an excerpt by Paul, who said he'd traveled the world over and never encountered even one righteous woman. And he was firmly against marriage, unless of course you couldn't control your urge to fuck something. Then it was okay. Paul hated women, and he's not the only one. Sure, Jesus had some nice things to say, but overall? The very pravalent and undeniable message is that women are inferior and it's okay to own slaves... and God will even instruct on how exactly one may beat their slave. It's okay as long as you don't kill them. Even if you knock them out for three days. But be sure not to beat your Jewish slaves!

This really makes me sick. It amazes me how much Christians can rationalize away about their own religion so it doesn't sound so GOD awful.

Very well put!

Oh, and just to be clear... I'm white, and I can admit I have no idea what it's like to be discriminated against because of the color of my skin. Sure, I've felt the tension of being the only white girl in the room, but that feeling is not the same as being treated less than human because I'm black or Hispanic. I can relate to the way they feel, however, because I know what it feels like to be treated as less because I'm a female. The audacity of one human being to tell another human being where their "place" is, whether at the back of the bus or in the kitchen.

And do you know where I'm treated as a lesser being the most? In churches; amongst Believers. I've heard sermons out the ass on how a woman should act, accompanied by Bible verses. Trust me, as a Christian, I tried really hard to believe I was misunderstanding something about what the Bible said about females. As an intelligent female, I could not wrap my brain around why God would expect me to submit to a man just because he was a man. Doesn't he have to at least earn my submission? Doesn't he have to at least be smarter? Nope. He just has to have a penis. What a weak qualifier. Oh, well... maybe it has to be a circumcised penis. Whatever.

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