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Old 01-08-2014, 09:40 AM   #1
gabbagabbahey
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How do we know anything is true?

We were asked to take this discussion outside of the Crystal Skull thread so I'm moving it over here. The gist of it was IMO there is no more proof of the supernatural elements of the bible being true than there is that aliens exist.

Indyfan82 said;

"While I could get into further evidences (beyond just "The Bible said so", though that is good enough for me- there are historical writings outside of The Bible, archaeological finds, etc.)- in view of the above post from the moderator, this would not be the appropriate place to go into that. If you are further interested in this, perhaps we can do private messages or start a separate thread in an appropriate forum."

OK, I think most would agree that the bible is not 100% scientifically or historically accurate. If you like I can start to list just the scientific and historical errors, inconsistencies and contradictions in it, and that wouldn't even be getting into the supernatural claims.

As far as historical writings outside the bible, such as? What are your examples & how do they prove the truth of the bible? Understand that if someone were to dig up a Spiderman comic 2500 years from now it very well may have mentions of 9/11, George Bush, New York City and Afghanistan in it. Would that mean Spiderman was a real, live super hero? My point is that often when stories of myth were passed down they had elements of truth in them, including real people and places. But that does not prove that the supernatural elements of the myth.

"archaeological finds.." Such as? And how do they prove anything more than elements of a myth story may have some truth in them (before the supernatural embellishments were added)?

Looking forward to a reasoned, logical debate based on the evidence. Cheers.
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Old 01-08-2014, 11:03 AM   #2
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Exclamation A Friendly Interjection

Speaking of evidence and sources, I think the anticipated participants of this thread can use a tutorial on how quotes work at The Raven.

If you take a look at how it works when you quote a post using the quote button, you'll see that the tags at the beginning and the end of a quote are different. Using parentheses - ( ) - instead of the correct brackets - [ ] - for the sake of example, here's how it works.

Say I want to quote something without attributing it to someone within the quote tags (for whatever reason). It'd look like this:

(QUOTE)You want to talk to God? Let's go see him together; I've got nothing better to do.(/QUOTE)

Say you want the quote tags you create to look just like the ones that the system creates for you when you use a post's Quote button. It'll look like this.

(QUOTE=Indiana Jones)The Ugha word for gold translates as "treasure." But their treasure wasn't gold. It was knowledge. Knowledge was their treasure.(/QUOTE)

Note that to open a quote, you just use the tag (QUOTE), or a tag containing the word QUOTE followed by an equal sign and the name of the person you are quoting, like so: (QUOTE=Marcus Brody)

Of course, to make things slightly easier, you can use the quote tag in your New Reply window, the one that looks like a speech bubble in a comic strip, and then copy-and-paste the text you want to quote smack-dab between the two bracketed tags.

* * *

As you were, folks, and try not to let things escalate too quickly.
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Old 01-08-2014, 03:54 PM   #3
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In all seriousness, I do not think the bible was meant to be taken literally at all. I like Professor Bloom's view that there is no distinction between sacred and secular texts. All should be analysed as pieces of literature.

Any supernatural descriptions in the bible are metaphors in a story telling, especially in the Old Testament. There was a person called Jesus of whom no evidence exists. There are recordings of what he said and these are called his teachings, though he wasn't trying to tell anyone what to believe. It seems he was trying to deconstruct belief.

Looking for truth in the bible, as well as anywhere else, is a purely personal journey. It will rest entirely upon the individual's perception of truth. But the bible is about truth, with a capital 't'. But it's not telling you what it is. Look up the Gospel of St Thomas. That's Thomas the Doubter. He recorded Jesus' sayings and stories and it is very interesting reading.
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Old 01-08-2014, 04:17 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mickiana
There was a person called Jesus of whom no evidence exists...

More physical evidence exists that the person named Jesus (as he is referred to in this discourse) existed, than doesn't.
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Old 01-08-2014, 04:31 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Pale Horse
More physical evidence exists that the person named Jesus (as he is referred to in this discourse) existed, than doesn't.

Without any assumption (no pun intended), what is the evidence? Do you mean evidence as against proof? That's fair enough. I suppose the thrust of what I'm getting at, is that what the man said is far more important than who he was. I'm inclined to think there was a Jesus who did and said those things. Now what he did (I don't mean supernatural things) and said is where my concern is at.
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Old 01-08-2014, 04:55 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mickiana
Without any assumption (no pun intended), what is the evidence? Do you mean evidence as against proof? That's fair enough. I suppose the thrust of what I'm getting at, is that what the man said is far more important than who he was. I'm inclined to think there was a Jesus who did and said those things. Now what he did (I don't mean supernatural things) and said is where my concern is at.

Precisely. Understandably this is the stage in the discussion where terms are defined. Usually the claim that A) the Bible citing evidence of itself comes into debate and B) the claim that the man in the Bible never existed.

I'm simply suggesting that there is enough archeological and literary proofs of said characters existence both in the supporting artifacts of the Bible as well as general history, that to debate otherwise would be quite reckless.

By defining and accepting that from the get go, means the discussion can move to the more philosophical aspects of the discussion, instead of the yes he did, no he didn't route this sort of discussion can normally take.
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Old 01-08-2014, 04:57 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Pale Horse
By defining and accepting that from the get go, means the discussion can move to the more philosophical aspects of the discussion, instead of the yes he did, no he didn't route this sort of discussion can normally take.
No it can't.
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Old 01-08-2014, 05:04 PM   #8
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No it can't.

God, I love you.
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Old 01-09-2014, 01:11 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pale Horse
More physical evidence exists that the person named Jesus (as he is referred to in this discourse) existed, than doesn't.


"The following are names of some of the Roman historians of antiquity who lived in and around the Mediterranean region, including some of the very places that Jesus and his apostles are said to have moved about.

Aulus Persius (60 AD)
Plutarch (c. 46-c. 119 AD)
Columella (1st cent. AD)
Pomponius Mela (40 AD)
Dio Chrysostom (c. 40-c. 112 AD)
Justus of Tiberius (c. 80 AD)
Quintilian (c. 35-c. 100 AD)
Rufus Curtius (1st cent. AD)
Livy (59 BC-17 AD)
Quintus Curtius (1st cent. AD)
Lucanus (fl. 63 AD)
Seneca (4 BC?-65 AD)
Lucius Florus (1st-2nd-cent. AD)
Silius Italicus (c. 25-101 AD)
Petronius (d. 66 AD)
Phaedrus (c. 15 BC-c. 50 AD)
Philo Judaeus (20 BC-50 AD)
Pliny the Elder (23?-69 AD)
Valerius Flaccus (1st cent. AD)
Valerius Maximus (fl. c. 20 AD)
Not a single one of these historians ever even mentions the existence of Jesus Christ, a man who was supposedly performing miraculous wonders and drawing crowds by the thousands, inciting the Jewish populace, aggravating the Roman authorities, and resurrecting from the dead. For if there were such a man, and he did the things the gospel writers claimed he did, is it possible for him to have gone unmentioned in Roman records? It is noteworthy that Jesus is not even mentioned anywhere in the official Roman historical records of the events in Palestine during the time of he is said to have existed.

As such, there are no contemporaneous (i.e. within his life time) historical records of Jesus."

http://freethoughtkampala.files.word...omanempire.gif
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Old 01-09-2014, 02:05 PM   #10
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And here, I thought you were taking a Solipsistic approach to this.

I could approach the evidence above (being good evidence) on the position that it only furthers the strengh of Publius Cornelius Tacitus {56- AD} and his documentation of The Great Fire (i.e. Nero Burns Rome), in that Rome was so gosh darned set on squelching the Way (as it was called at the time) that when even ignoring them in written History wasn't enough, buring them out was. I mean, come on, we only have to look at what today's media and history books are including or not including today to know that that practice has been around a while. His account too, is backed up the 1961 discovery at Caesarea Maritima.Archeology and the Galilean Jesus by Jonathan L. Reed

But when you combine it with Titus Flavius Josephus' {37- AD} Antiquities of the Jews, you now have two opposing yet supporting evidences of at least a man and a movement.

How much further anyone wants to believe in the rest of the story is up to their own choice.

But back to the Solipsistic nature of the original question. Or as Indy might say, what is true .......and what is fact?
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Old 01-09-2014, 02:44 PM   #11
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I am not entirely dismissing the possibility that there was man named Jesus who was a leader of men. What I am saying, however, is there is no way, no how anyone can prove the supernatural claims about him 2000+ years after the fact. This is important, because everything, the entire Christian religion, rides on the claim that Jesus was a supernatural being.


Another POV;

"There are many reasons to suspect the Josephus passage/Testimonium Flavianum as a whole to be a forgery, a recounting of which can be found in my excerpted article “The Jesus Forgery: Josephus Untangled” and in the writings of Earl Doherty and Ken Olson, among others. I will only address a few of the arguments against authenticity here."

http://freethoughtnation.com/does-jo...torical-jesus/

We can really back and forth on this all day, really, I don't think you and I are too far apart in our beliefs about providing evidence etc. My gut tells me though that the simplest explanation is almost alway the most likely, and if Jesus was really the son of the creator of the entire universe, that he would let that be pretty well known in an obvious fashion. There would be no dispute about him & the events surrounding his life. As it stands now the facts about Jesus Christ & Christianity are anything but proven fact. The world has many different religions and gods and even with Christianity there is little agreement about who Jesus was & what his teaching meant, Really, a god couldn't think of a better way of spreading word to his people? If there is a god he is a terrible office manager. : ) Cheers.
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Old 01-09-2014, 03:22 PM   #12
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Before I say anything on this topic, I do want to point out a few things.
As a follower of Christ, I have two commands particularly in The Bible that I want to guide my end of this discussion (and of course, my life in general.)
Philippians 2:14 says, "Do everything without complaining or arguing,"
So, to clarify from the outset, I don't want to be complaining about anything and I don't want to be arguing about anything.
Any participation I have in this thread, I intend as a friendly discussion and not an argument.
One other verse I have been thinking on this week applies here as well.
James 1:19-20 says, "My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires."
So that's something else I want to keep in mind. I certainly don't claim to be the best at either- I've definitely disobeyed these verses many times unfortunately- thankfully, Jesus is forgiving when I come to Him in repentance. (see 1 John 1:9)
But I want to clarify, for myself as much as anyone else, that this is meant to be a mutually beneficial discussion, conducted with gentleness and respect. I realize everyone has different beliefs regarding God and everyone is entitled to them. I don't seek to offend anyone in anything I say on here- hopefully just add something worthwhile to the discussion that we can think on, just as I hope to find useful insights from others to ponder on as well.
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Old 01-09-2014, 03:29 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gabbagabbahey
I am not entirely dismissing the possibility that there was man named Jesus who was a leader of men. What I am saying, however, is there is no way, no how anyone can prove the supernatural claims about him 2000+ years after the fact. This is important, because everything, the entire Christian religion, rides on the claim that Jesus was a supernatural being...

I have to remember this thread stemmed from a different discussion, not one necessarily of archelogical/anthropoligical evidence and how can we believe anything*, but one of faith and the proofs therein. In that discussion the rules are much different. There is less citing of sources and the evidence is becomes much more subject to attack. I say that with no judgement on you.

Your position (paraphrased by me) is thus: Is the Bible True? Answering it with "I Believe it by Faith" and evidence that belief with a life changed by it's teachings is not proof enough.

If I am wrong concerning that, I'm willing to be corrected, but I don't want to go any further until that's settled.
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Old 01-09-2014, 03:48 PM   #14
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Your position (paraphrased by me) is thus: Is the Bible True? Answering it with "I Believe it by Faith" and evidence that belief with a life changed by it's teachings is not proof enough.

If I am wrong concerning that, I'm willing to be corrected, but I don't want to go any further until that's settled.
On this point, perhaps it would be worth changing the question. Regardless of whether one views The Bible as true, there is the testimony of literally millions over the ages (probably more than that) who testify to the Truth of The Bible and whose lives have been demonstrably changed by not necessarily just adhering to its teachings but more specifically through having a personal encounter and relationship with Jesus Christ. It is He who works in Christians to live out The Bible's teachings. When we consider all the numerous good works of charity that followers of Christ have done in the Name of Jesus and all inspired by Him, that should speak towards the power of The Bible. (This would be true for the church in general- specific examples would include St. Francis of Assisi (who gave away all his worldly belongings and cared for the environment and all creatures in following Christ), Lottie Moon (who worked as a missionary in China and starved to death because she gave away her own food to feed those in abject poverty), Mother Teresa (who travelled all over the world, feeding the hungry and easing the suffering of the poor), William Wilberforce (whose faith in Christ and compassion for the suffering of slaves drove him to change the government and society in England so that slavery was abolished), Corrie Ten Boom (whose family's faith in Christ led them to hide Jews from the Nazis and aid them in escaping a cruel death- and for which, the Ten Booms themselves were eventually caught and sentenced to the death camps- though God delivered Corrie Ten Boom from it and she travelled over the world, bringing The Gospel and physical aid to many), and Dietrich Bonhoeffer (who was a Lutheran pastor who worked against the Nazis in World War II Germany and worked to aid Jews and who himself was eventually caught and executed for his work and of course, his faith in Christ which drove him to do what he did.))
And of course, there are numerous other examples that could be named from modern history times of people who have paid the ultimate price for their faith in Jesus.
Perhaps none of this would serve as proof to the veracity of The Bible, but it should speak as proof to its transformational power in the person of Jesus Christ.

Last edited by Indyfan82 : 01-09-2014 at 03:54 PM.
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Old 01-09-2014, 04:03 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Indyfan82
Perhaps none of this would serve as proof to the veracity of The Bible, but it should speak as proof to its transformational power in the person of Jesus Christ.

The proof of the Bible is the question of the OP. Essentially, how can I be expected to believe the power of JC, if the book about him itself isn't true.

It's a completely vaild stance. I mean, look how many twi-hard lives have been changed by Edward Cullen. Evidence of change is not evidence of proof.
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Old 01-09-2014, 04:16 PM   #16
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On pg 6 of 'The Western Canon' by Harold Bloom, "Ambivalence between the divine and the human is one of J's grand inventions, another mark of an originality so perpetual that we can scarcely recognise it, because the stories Bathsheba told have absorbed us. The ultimate shock implicit in this canon-making originality comes when we realise that the Western worship of God - by Jews, Christians and Moslems - is the worship of a literary character, J's Yahweh, however adulterated by pious revisionists. The only comparable shocks I know come when we realise that the Jesus loved by Christians is a literary character largely invented by the author of the Gospel of Mark..."

This excerpt is from the Preface and Prelude of that book. If you are interested in Literature, I would recommend reading Bloom. Don't stop at what I quoted above. I threw that into this thread knowing that without reading the five pages before it or knowing Bloom's work to some degree, that it adds to whatever scandal could be contrived by disagreement with orthodox views. I am trying to be controversialist and I'm also not trying.

There is always going to be controversy when belief-by-faith and other views attempt discussion. They seem at logger heads. Though, as more of a positivist, I think it is possible (in a ideality) to reach common ground if we discuss for long enough. The best way to do that is to convey our own views, shaped as they are by own histories and experiences and listen to others' views.

I don't think Bloom is trying to deconstruct religious views per se, even though it seems he is doing that with his conclusions, as he expresses that shock comes with the results of literary analysis. "Shock' implies finding out something that you were not particularly looking for, but it is found and challenges previously held beliefs.
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Old 01-09-2014, 06:42 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pale Horse
Your position (paraphrased by me) is thus: Is the Bible True? Answering it with "I Believe it by Faith" and evidence that belief with a life changed by it's teachings is not proof enough.

If I am wrong concerning that, I'm willing to be corrected, but I don't want to go any further until that's settled.

Yes, that is my position. Simply having faith in something or believing it in your heart does not make something true. At least , it does not make all of it true. Yes, if you believe that a sugar pill really has medicine in it & you take it & "feel" better, well, in a way it worked & is medicine. But not really, you're just fooling yourself.

You want to know if prayer is real & if it actually works? Go to a children's hospital. The parents there are all praying as hard and as with as much faith as possible, still, there is no more better of a rate of recovery or healing than in a hospital in a country that is largely secular.
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Old 01-09-2014, 06:47 PM   #18
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Yes. You said it better than I could. I would only add that all the different people who believe in different gods/religions around the world all feel that they are right. They know it, because they feel it in their hearts. Obviously they can't all be right. But they could all be wrong.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pale Horse
The proof of the Bible is the question of the OP. Essentially, how can I be expected to believe the power of JC, if the book about him itself isn't true.

It's a completely vaild stance. I mean, look how many twi-hard lives have been changed by Edward Cullen. Evidence of change is not evidence of proof.
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Old 01-09-2014, 07:06 PM   #19
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Proof of having done good deeds is not proof for the supernatural claims in the bible or of the truth of Christianity. Also, for every one good deed that has been done in the name of Christianity , I can match, and raise you two bad deeds that have also been done in it it's name. Trust me, you don't want to start down that path.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Indyfan82
On this point, perhaps it would be worth changing the question. Regardless of whether one views The Bible as true, there is the testimony of literally millions over the ages (probably more than that) who testify to the Truth of The Bible and whose lives have been demonstrably changed by not necessarily just adhering to its teachings but more specifically through having a personal encounter and relationship with Jesus Christ. It is He who works in Christians to live out The Bible's teachings. When we consider all the numerous good works of charity that followers of Christ have done in the Name of Jesus and all inspired by Him, that should speak towards the power of The Bible. (This would be true for the church in general- specific examples would include St. Francis of Assisi (who gave away all his worldly belongings and cared for the environment and all creatures in following Christ), Lottie Moon (who worked as a missionary in China and starved to death because she gave away her own food to feed those in abject poverty), Mother Teresa (who travelled all over the world, feeding the hungry and easing the suffering of the poor), William Wilberforce (whose faith in Christ and compassion for the suffering of slaves drove him to change the government and society in England so that slavery was abolished), Corrie Ten Boom (whose family's faith in Christ led them to hide Jews from the Nazis and aid them in escaping a cruel death- and for which, the Ten Booms themselves were eventually caught and sentenced to the death camps- though God delivered Corrie Ten Boom from it and she travelled over the world, bringing The Gospel and physical aid to many), and Dietrich Bonhoeffer (who was a Lutheran pastor who worked against the Nazis in World War II Germany and worked to aid Jews and who himself was eventually caught and executed for his work and of course, his faith in Christ which drove him to do what he did.))
And of course, there are numerous other examples that could be named from modern history times of people who have paid the ultimate price for their faith in Jesus.
Perhaps none of this would serve as proof to the veracity of The Bible, but it should speak as proof to its transformational power in the person of Jesus Christ.
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Old 01-10-2014, 05:11 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by gabbagabbahey
Yes, that is my position. Simply having faith in something or believing it in your heart does not make something true. At least , it does not make all of it true. Yes, if you believe that a sugar pill really has medicine in it & you take it & "feel" better, well, in a way it worked & is medicine. But not really, you're just fooling yourself.

You're creating quite the conundrum, you know. With this reasoning, one could reasonably prove the Bible to be true, but if you don't partake of it, they would see no effects of its claims. ~ But I won't go there.

Quote:
You want to know if prayer is real & if it actually works? Go to a children's hospital. The parents there are all praying as hard and as with as much faith as possible, still, there is no more better of a rate of recovery or healing than in a hospital in a country that is largely secular.

I can't find a reference in my Bible that says if you pray (and right diligently) for a child to be healed, thus it will be done. Maybe that's in one of the Gnostic gospels.

that was inappropriately sarcastic, and funny. I am sorry.

A better way for me to approach this is, what are you specifically asking?
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Old 01-10-2014, 09:00 PM   #21
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I'm not asking anything. My original comment was simply a response to the CS thread were I said space aliens are no more far fetched than the god of the bible. From there it sort of took off on it's own.: )

"I can't find a reference in my Bible that says if you pray (and right diligently) for a child to be healed, thus it will be done. Maybe that's in one of the Gnostic gospels."

Christians pray to their god because they be;live that he hears them and (sometimes) answers their prayers. My contention is there is no proof that praying to god is any more effective than praying to Danny Devito (thanks George Carlin!).
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Old 01-12-2014, 01:24 AM   #22
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Exhibit A for why I don't worship God:

The ten plagues of Egypt.

Why?

I don't approve of worshipping a deity that slaughters innocent children just to arm-twist a pharaoh into freeing slaves. You can tell me as much as you like that God is loving, all compassionate, all wise, and so on...and I won't believe it, because of that event. Maybe if God at some point apologized for such sickening cruelty, but if I'm not mistaken, the Bible doesn't have God ever expressing any sort of remorse. Because, hey, he's perfect. You can't mess up if you're perfect. Right?








Right?

And as insurance to keep me from being accused of ranting without relating to Indy, the Ark's portrayal in Raiders is quite accurate to God's attitude. No matter who opens it, they'll get killed for daring to, um, look in it. Wow, this dude's really fond of overreacting.
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Old 01-12-2014, 02:09 AM   #23
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Exhibit A for why I don't worship God:

The ten plagues of Egypt.

Why?

I don't approve of worshipping a deity that slaughters innocent children just to arm-twist a pharaoh into freeing slaves. You can tell me as much as you like that God is loving, all compassionate, all wise, and so on...and I won't believe it, because of that event. Maybe if God at some point apologized for such sickening cruelty, but if I'm not mistaken, the Bible doesn't have God ever expressing any sort of remorse. Because, hey, he's perfect. You can't mess up if you're perfect. Right?








Right?

And as insurance to keep me from being accused of ranting without relating to Indy, the Ark's portrayal in Raiders is quite accurate to God's attitude. No matter who opens it, they'll get killed for daring to, um, look in it. Wow, this dude's really fond of overreacting.


It was a double page spread of animals drowning in the flood in an illustrated Bible I had as a child that started me questioning. That, along with the thought that just because I was being brought up as a Christian didn't mean it was right, since in other families children were being brought up as Hindus, Muslims, Jews etc.

God is an autocrat no different from Hitler, except for maybe the flatulence and bad breath. Hitler demanded people support him, and when they deserted him in 1945 he ordered that the remains of Germany be destroyed.

"God is a thought which makes crooked all that is straight."

Friedrich Nietzsche, "Upon the Blessed Isles", Thus Spoke Zarathustra.


Jesus undoubtedly existed. But he was just a man leading a rebellion. The myths surrounding him can be traced back to earlier times, so he becomes a composite of former belief systems.

It's a mystery how Christianity overcame a multitude of older gods and came to such dominance. But it's been sustained through fear for centuries since.

'God fearing folk'.

The threat of hell to keep you on a certain path. (Suicide was a sin or else the poorest and most abused serfs might simply kill themselves instead of continuing to work for their masters).

The promise of heaven for those who consented.

Organized religion existed to organize and control people. The divine right of monarchs to rule.

Even if it was all true, I'd want no part of it.

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Old 01-12-2014, 09:56 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by Montana Smith

God is an autocrat no different from Hitler, except for maybe the flatulence and bad breath. Hitler demanded people support him, and when they deserted him in 1945 he ordered that the remains of Germany be destroyed.


At least if you live in a country ruled by a dictator (like North Korea) you can die to escape. No such luck with an eternal god. He never, ever, ever leaves you alone.
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Old 01-12-2014, 10:11 AM   #25
Montana Smith
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Originally Posted by gabbagabbahey
At least if you live in a country ruled by a dictator (like North Korea) you can die to escape. No such luck with an eternal god. He never, ever, ever leaves you alone.

And so it is how man becomes shackled by superstition and fear, and compelled to perpetuate the cycle for the next generation...
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