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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i mentioned earlier the difference between terror and reverence as a form of fear. Not only do I not hate bullies, but God is not a bully. And no I wouldn't kill the innocent because in fact He told me NOT to. I don't know if you are familiar with the Ten Commandments? Most people tend to agree that they are pretty morally sound set of rules, break them, and them blame God for making them. Man up and swallow your pride.

"Most people tend to agree that they are pretty morally sound set of rules, break them, and them blame God for making them."
Again, no. You're continually asserting that most people follow your particular religion, when in fact less than half of the population of the planet does so.

 

You bring up the Ten Commandments, so let's look at them. The first question is which set of commandments? There are two, you know, and they are not the same. The first set, the set that most people think of when the Ten Commandments are mentioned, is found in Exodus 20: 1-17 and also in Deuteronomy 5:1-21. The second set, the set that was carved into the tablets on Mt Sinai and are actually called the Ten Commandments by the Bible, is also found in Exodus, in Exodus 34:1-28.

 

The first set (Exodus 20:1-17):

1 And God spoke all these words:

 2 “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.

 3 “You shall have no other gods before me.

 4 “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. 5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.

 7 “You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.

 8 “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. 11 For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

 12 “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.

 13 “You shall not murder.

 14 “You shall not commit adultery.

 15 “You shall not steal.

 16 “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.

 17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.” 

 

The second set (Exodus:34:1-28):

1 The LORD said to Moses, “Chisel out two stone tablets like the first ones, and I will write on them the words that were on the first tablets, which you broke. 2 Be ready in the morning, and then come up on Mount Sinai. Present yourself to me there on top of the mountain. 3 No one is to come with you or be seen anywhere on the mountain; not even the flocks and herds may graze in front of the mountain.”

 4 So Moses chiseled out two stone tablets like the first ones and went up Mount Sinai early in the morning, as the LORD had commanded him; and he carried the two stone tablets in his hands. 5 Then the LORD came down in the cloud and stood there with him and proclaimed his name, the LORD. 6 And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, 7 maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation.”

 8 Moses bowed to the ground at once and worshiped. 9 “Lord,” he said, “if I have found favor in your eyes, then let the Lord go with us. Although this is a stiff-necked people, forgive our wickedness and our sin, and take us as your inheritance.”

 10 Then the LORD said: “I am making a covenant with you. Before all your people I will do wonders never before done in any nation in all the world. The people you live among will see how awesome is the work that I, the LORD, will do for you. 11 Obey what I command you today. I will drive out before you the Amorites, Canaanites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. 12 Be careful not to make a treaty with those who live in the land where you are going, or they will be a snare among you. 13 Break down their altars, smash their sacred stones and cut down their Asherah poles. 14 Do not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.

 15 “Be careful not to make a treaty with those who live in the land; for when they prostitute themselves to their gods and sacrifice to them, they will invite you and you will eat their sacrifices. 16 And when you choose some of their daughters as wives for your sons and those daughters prostitute themselves to their gods, they will lead your sons to do the same.

 17 “Do not make any idols.

 18 “Celebrate the Festival of Unleavened Bread. For seven days eat bread made without yeast, as I commanded you. Do this at the appointed time in the month of Aviv, for in that month you came out of Egypt.

 19 “The first offspring of every womb belongs to me, including all the firstborn males of your livestock, whether from herd or flock. 20 Redeem the firstborn donkey with a lamb, but if you do not redeem it, break its neck. Redeem all your firstborn sons.

   “No one is to appear before me empty-handed.

 21 “Six days you shall labor, but on the seventh day you shall rest; even during the plowing season and harvest you must rest.

 22 “Celebrate the Festival of Weeks with the firstfruits of the wheat harvest, and the Festival of Ingathering at the turn of the year. 23 Three times a year all your men are to appear before the Sovereign LORD, the God of Israel. 24 I will drive out nations before you and enlarge your territory, and no one will covet your land when you go up three times each year to appear before the LORD your God.

 25 “Do not offer the blood of a sacrifice to me along with anything containing yeast, and do not let any of the sacrifice from the Passover Festival remain until morning.

 26 “Bring the best of the firstfruits of your soil to the house of the LORD your God.

   “Do not cook a young goat in its mother’s milk.”

 27 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Write down these words, for in accordance with these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel.” 28 Moses was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights without eating bread or drinking water. And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant—the Ten Commandments. 

 

Whether or not your god is a bully is up for debate, Bill... which is what we're debating.

I really have to question your character if you would kill the innocent if "God" didn't tell you not to. Really? That's the reason you don't take innocent lives? You need someone to tell you it's wrong to commit an act as heinous as that? I don't. I choose not to kill innocent people because I think it's disgusting, and I have no inclinations to go on murderous rampages without someone keeping an eye on me.

The Ten Commandments aren't a great reference for morality, and the "most people" who agree that they are don't represent people on a site like this. Those people are called "Christians", and you already know how we feel about them, or what they believe.

First commandment: do not worship any other gods. FAIL. There are no gods. This has nothing to do with morality and everything to do with what fairy tale someone subscribes to.

Second commandment: do not make any idols. FAIL. There are worse things than creating artwork in this world, and this adds nothing to a conversation about morality. Nothing. It just means you god is jealous and petty.

Third commandment: do not use the Lord's name in vain: FAIL. I don't acknowledge the existence of your god, so avoiding the misuse of his name is not exactly high on my priority list. This has nothing to do with human morality, but does suggest this imaginary god is a bit vain.

Fourth commandment: keep the Sabbath holy. Again... I don't acknowledge your god's existence, so keeping the "Sabbath" holy is as important keeping National Noodle Day holy. People who work on Saturday do not concern me, and I don't worry about their moral character.

Fifth commandment: honor your mother and father. Sure, this is good advice. I won't sneer at the idea of honoring my parents, but I'm not going to honor them if they're abusive or controlling. Parenthood doesn't necessarily get automatic reverence; people have to be honorable in order to be honored.

Sixth commandment: do not murder. Not there is ONE command I am totally on board with. Totally.

Seventh commandment: do not commit adultery. Alright, I like this one too. People in committed relationships shouldn't cheat on each other. But I also don't believe couples should stay together if they find that there are irreconcilable differences... and divorce leads to adultery, according to Jesus. I don't agree with what the Bible defines as adultery (a man simply checking a hot chick out is not adultery).

Eighth commandment: do not steal. Okay, good one. I agree with this.

Ninth commandment: do not lie. Generally speaking, I think it's a good idea not to lie. I do believe it's sometimes necessary. It was even necessary in the Bible sometimes (remember when that prostitute hid Joshua and his henchmen in Jericho? she totally lied and God was cool with that). Everyone has to lie at some point or another. GENERALLY it's wrong, but not always.

Tenth commandment: do not covet. I don't like this one. We all want what we don't have. Most of us see something we want, and then we actually are motivated by that desire to obtain it. I would like a nicer car. I covet my friend's Honda Civic. I'm going to work hard, however, so I can get one myself. And I just don't think people's private thoughts should be monitored.

 

 

So four commands I think are completely irrelevant to the application of morality, two I agree with, and the rest are iffy.

How about a list like...

1. Don't murder

2. Don't steal

3. Don't own slaves or treat people like property

4. Don't physically, verbally, or emotionally abuse your children (then they'll honor you)

5. Be honest as much as possible

6. Be respectful and kind to other living beings

7. Treat women as equals, because they are

8. Honor your spouse/partner

9. Take care of the planet

10. Always take the time to LEARN MORE AND ASK QUESTIONS

 

I like my list better than yours. It actually has more useful applications for achieving morality.

Cara, I like your commandments, except your wording of #3. " Don't own slaves/treat other humans like animals".  It seems to me that when we say that, we are saying it's OK to treat the other animals (we are animals) badly.  Nazis putting Jews in cattle cars was terrible, but putting cattle in them, is that OK?  I keep hoping that, at least atheists will show some compassion and empathy to other animals because we accept the scientific fact that we are also animals.  I am usually sadly disappointed :-(
You're right, Dogly. It's worth rewording. But I hope you notice that I did include 6. Be respectful and kind to other living beings :) These are just, like... a suggestion of better commandments. I'll reword it for you!

Cara, Now I REALLY like your commandments.  Let's get the government to post them  in city hall!

Let's force Christians to hang them up in their churches!

The first 4 of your laws are nothing to do with morality but with the adoration of your god. To paraphrase Hitchens "you do not need to take you moral code in tablet form". I am content to take on responsibility for my own actions. I, like most Atheists that I know, have very high standards in my dealing with others.

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.

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