Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Who Needs God?

I had an offline conversation with Miracle and we agreed to cross pollinate to each other’s blogs. He proposed that we could write an article about something in our lives and we could learn from each other by showing how our faith or lack thereof affected this pivotal moment. I proposed the first article should be about how we got through our lowest point in our life. Me without God, Miracle with Him. Anyway, here is my posting. Miracle’s post will be up on Friday. I will probably respond on Monday and let miracle respond to me whenever he is ready. Check out Miracle’s site when you have a chance: http://altnoise.net.

Also, there was a great article about gaining/losing faith while in a war zone. Check out: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/18367801/site/newsweek/

And Finally, here is the first post in the series of conversations between Miracle and I entitled “Who Needs God?”

When I talk to Believers and ask how they know God exists, the most common answer I get is a personal story of how God helped them through a difficult time. Unless someone leads the most charmed existence, some tough times are in store for everyone. It’s how we handle them that determines our fate. In the midst of a crisis, I would be the last person to criticize one’s ability to get through the ordeal. However, many Believers cling to their faith years later. It seems to me that they give God far too much credit.

At the age of eighteen, I was enrolled at the United States Air Force Academy. I had literally dedicated six years of my life to reach my goal of being accepted. Once I was accepted, feelings of triumph quickly turned to fear. The day I left for the Academy, I was afraid to be exposed for a fraud. I thought I was going to learn that I was a big fish in a small pond. I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to hack it academically or physically. I was afraid of failure.

I made it through Basic Training all the same and my fear subsided quite a bit. I arrived in shape and mentally prepared and had earned a certain degree of respect from the upperclassmen. The school year started and to my surprise, I was thriving academically. The fear was being pushed aside and was being replaced with confidence. I started to believe that I wasn’t lucky to be there, but I belonged there.

A month into the academic year, I woke up feeling sick. Nothing too bad, just a cold. I decided I could tough it out, except it didn’t get better. By Friday, I decided to go to the clinic hoping that I could be put on bed rest. Several hours of uninterrupted sleep, I was convinced, would get me over the sickness. If I could get off duty Friday, I would have the rest of the weekend to recover and be fine by the next week.

Except, I didn’t get bed rest. I got handed a prescription for Amoxicillin and was told that I had a sinus infection. I dutifully took the antibiotics, as prescribed. Several days later, I was actually feeling much better but still taking the drugs. I was instructed to finish the bottle of two doses daily for ten days.

On the eighth day of the cycle, something strange began to happen. I had a rash all over my chest and neck and my eye swelled shut. I went to the emergency room on base and was treated. Amazingly, I was told to finish the cycle. The very next day I went into anaphylactic shock. I spent the next three days in an Intensive Care Unit on base under constant observation.

On the third day I was discharged. I had just came through a very near fatal medical condition and was sent back to my squadron with one week’s worth of “academics only” restrictions and then it was back to full duty. The only problem was that when I was sent back, I was nowhere near the condition I was before the incident. Physically, I was ruined. My knees refused to straighten all the way and my shoulders were so swollen that I could barely do pushups. Even worse, I was put on a regimen that included taking prescription level Benadryl five times a day for the next six weeks (chief side effect: extreme drowsiness).

The transition from high school to college is tough. The transition from civilian to military is tough. Doing it high out of your mind is extremely tough. In my mind, I had two choices which included dropping out or beating this problem. I was singular in my focus but determined and made up my mind not to fail. I averaged about five to six hours of sleep a night (I like to get eight hours if possible) and taking huge amounts of Benadryl. I had to stand up in all of my classes to stay awake and whatever free time I had was dedicated to studying. I was away from my family, I didn’t know anyone coming into the Academy, and had so little time to socialize that I didn’t have many friends. I was alone.

I never once even thought to turn to prayer. This was my problem and my problem only. There was one way to solve the problem and that was through sheer force of will. No matter how tired I got, no matter how much abuse was heaped on me, I refused to quit. I never once used my illness as an excuse. On a Friday night, I fell asleep at 6PM and didn’t wake up until 9AM the next day. When my roommate told me he went to get pizza, I was indignant that he didn’t invite me. He told me that he and two of my classmates were literally shaking me at around 8 and I refused to wake up. He figured if I was THAT tired that they should leave me be.

By the time finals rolled around, I was off the drugs and mentally much clearer. I finished my first semester making both academic and military honors – the majority of the time completely high. It wasn’t faith in a deity that got my through, it was unwavering faith in myself. To credit God with this accomplishment would negate the effort and willpower I put into making this happen.

The predicament I found myself was not a moral judgment. My illness wasn’t caused by stupidity, addiction, or bad life decisions. It was random bad luck following an expert medical opinion. My severe drug allergy is rare and the vast majority of people would have been fine following my course of treatment. This was not a life lesson – I don’t know what I would learn besides never take Amoxicillin again. To think that my life was pre-planned by the divine, to me, would be the height of arrogance. I do know that I made up my mind to get through it and I did on my own.

In American football, the most thankless job is that of the field goal kicker. The kicker is a specialized position that may play only a very few downs per game. They do not advance the ball or defend the field. They come in only when their specialized skill is required. They do not make or break tackles and they rarely even break a sweat during the course of a game. Since they do not take the physical punishment that virtually every other position doles out on its players, they are often underappreciated by their teammates and the fans. If a kicker makes a field goal, they are not celebrated and are thought to be just doing their job. If the kicker misses – then they are a worthless bum who should be fired. It’s a very difficult position to be in. The Believers have somehow turned God into the opposite of a field goal kicker. If they pray and they’re prayers are answered then they give credit to God. If they pray and the prayers are not answered, then they convince themselves that God had other plans for them.

Instead of prayer and faith in the reverse field goal kicker, why not turn to hard work and faith in oneself? If experience has taught me anything, it’s that I am far more dependable than God.

97 comments:

Small Fish in a Big Pond said...

Brilliant metaphor, AW. I guess that makes us the field goal kickers. When Christians work hard and do something by their own merit, God gets the credit. I always found it strange that Christians respond this way to prayer. When they (or at the time, I) get what they want, God has answered the prayer. When they don't get what they want, they say God works in mysterious ways. God can't lose.

BTW, I think the exchange idea is an excellent one.

MPalmer said...

Great story.

Wil said...

"If experience has taught me anything, it’s that I am far more dependable than God."

I really like that statement!

robustyoungsoul said...

Great stuff.

I've always thought that God must have the best marketing team in the cosmos. You've summarized that very succinctly here.

J. said...

I've thought this many times when watching sports. If an athlete wins a race, or a footballer scores a goal, I often see them crossing themselves or saying a quick prayer. How often do we see they one who comes last shaking their fists at the sky cursing god for his lack of input? It is a source of constant amazement to me that people who must work like Trojans to get where they have in their lives, are content to say Thank you God', when it was them making the effort.
My father-in-law is a strict catholic, and laughed out loud when he saw a piece on the TV about an African goalkeeper having a bag of bones in his goal. "What difference will that make?" he snorted, but didn't have an answer when I asked how much difference it made to cross yourself when running onto the pitch.

Miracle said...

I've got my reflection up at altnoise.net for the christian perspective. Also, I didn't read wagers before I did mine but there is a very similar trend in it.

brenden said...

It seems that a lot of religious people think that they can be convincing with their anecdotal stories about how their faith in one or more gods put them through difficult situations.

Now I'm an atheist and somehow still alive, so therefore I've obviously never had any trouble at any point in my life. But it seems to me that a critical distinction they're failing to make is that between the belief in a god and the existence of a god itself.

You can believe in something all you want, but if that's an unfounded belief except for these stories, it's not going to be true no matter how much faith you put into it.

I'm not knocking faith as a survival technique. It's a wonderful placebo. But it doesn't prove your religion.

Bible student said...

I had some “strange days”, after deciding, no more RC Church. Some, may have been guilt, having no hope, bothered me more.

When I talk to someone about God, I’ve been known to remind them, that I can’t change their religion, that’s up to them. You make your own relationship with Him or not. It’s not something I’ve read or been told, but done myself.

The first time I sat down with my fellow bible students, what impressed me immediately, were the well behaved children. No angels, mind you, but healthy, vivacious, respectful little folk.

Most of their parents could be described in almost the same way, and before and after the bible discussion, actual fellowship.
No really, conversation, warm hand shakes, friendly smiles. What I’ve come to find out is that this comes from applying Bible principals in ones own life. Hope has that effect.

The word faith doesn’t mean the same to a person who does not have it. Tested faith is what develops between a long married couple. There are things you know you know (you've used them, you've proven them). When faith is gained after years of coming to know God and being able to trust him, being faithful to you, you’re there.

Miracle said...

Biblestudent, I like your points about faith. Faith does have separate meanings between believers and not. As those who believe, we don't really define faith as believing in God's existance. It is more about being faithful to God.

I don't agree with your fellowship idea though. I've and many on this board have known plenty of Christians whom are backstabbers, superficial and fake. There is no denying that many who try to follow Christ aren't the best of people. Some of my closest and trusted friends aren't believers or fully practicing Christians. They don't apply the Bible everyday, but it is still easier to converse and share with them.

kitty said...

Great post, AW. Gave me a lot to think about.

For me, it was a difficult time that made me stop thinking of religion as this nice idea. I've been an atheist since I was 12 (so since I actually thought about it), but had this kinda hankering for - explanation - religion couldn't convince me but it seemed like a nice, comforting idea.

Anyway, about 3 and a half years ago, in my first year at uni, something awful happened and I wasn't equipped to deal with it. I tried counseling, I tried drugs (mostly prescription) and alcohol. I tried praying, and I tried near-starving myself and training for 3 hours plus a day.

Nothing changed (although I did have a body that barbie would have been happy with). And eventually I realized it's because nothing does - unless you make it. So I started to make things change, and put myself together again. Now I'm a fourth year and about to graduate, and I wouldn't recognize the person I was before - I'm more cynical, but I'm also stronger, more confident, I have a new level of appreciation for my friends and family, and no longer apologize for being atheist.

Crediting "god" for helping you through tough times doesn't only negate the effort you put in yourself, it also negates the effort and effect of the real people who help you out. Who call to see how you are, who try and make you get out of bed. Or call an ambulance when they think you've OD'd. Or send you a package of things to cheer you up. Or listen to you cry about it yet again without complaint. Without them - not so possible. Without god? No big deal.

Mike said...

The field goal analogy is perfect.

The only time I prayed in earnest as a kid was when I thought I was doomed to receive a savage beating at the hands of unknown assailants. Then it didn't work. I think god had other plans for my face...

Atheistwager said...

@BS
So, you left the Roman Catholic church, had some guilt and then decided that without the church you had no hope? Did you read the article? Believe in yourself, man!

Later on, you went to a Bible study and there were some reasonably well behaved children there. Well, that proves it. You saw a statistically large sample size (doubtful) and realized that reading the Bible helps you raise your children? Did you do any research to see how children do raised in religious homes vs. non-religious homes? Did you take a look to see which religions helps raise children the best? Did you consider Mormonism, Muslim (their children are pretty obedient), Budhism? I doubt it.

As for fellowship, I have very good friends and our friendship is based on common interests and values versus mythology. The day my son came home from the hospital, we had a BBQ and it was a wonderful experience in fellowship. No God there, just friends and a new baby celebrating life together (thank you Kiwi and Mrs. Kiwi).

To quote:
"When faith is gained after years of coming to know God and being able to trust him, being faithful to you, you’re there."

I'll say it again, I put my faith in myself and things seem to work out. No God needed.

Atheistwager said...

@kitty
I think I can guess what happened to you and I am very sorry that you had to experience it. You seem to have a very good head on your shoulders. Keep making good decisions, change things when life throws a curve ball, and remember you are in control of your own destiny!

superzombie said...

@ AW

Awesome titles backed up with significant content. Four marks.

I fully agree with the believing in oneself, by way of personal accountability.

In the Evangelical church I went to as a kid, all credit was taught to go to god whereas all negative stuff was 'credited' to the devil. God makes/encourages/causes good and Devil makes/encourages/causes evil.

I thought something was bogus because, when I decided to terrorize sister-zombie--- that was all me.

Eh, it was all too subjective in giving recognition/blame to the god/devil/saint/sinner. Even with the 'big story book' and the tedious sermons there was no consistency.

The nail in the godfink's coffin was when I was struggling with precal in highschool and mom-zombie suggested prayer. Pray or study? The end-result was that an understanding of precal didn't come magically to me--- I studied my ass off. Go me. I think I got a 'C' but fuck it.

Bible student said...

@AW

Well if put you it like that, I wouldn’t get in my boat either.

A few days ago on your “@Paul” page, Molly called herself a “recovering Catholic” and said that “the burden of guilt is tremendous.” I had a different experience. The reason for my leaving was quite clear to me. The answer, “it’s a mystery” was not satisfying my curiosity about God’s thinking.
Since continuing on the same course expecting different results, describes insanity, it was time for a change.

Believing in myself, left a void. Hope, (The theological virtue defined as the desire and search for a future good, difficult but not impossible to attain with God's help. -- American Heritage Dictionary) had to come from elsewhere. The “thrill of the chase” was gone.

Years later.... The kids made a good first impression. A good reflection on their parents. Since 1994, I’ve had a chance to prove to myself that Mark 10:29,30 is true.

For those of you who missed it on the previous page:

**WARNING**
Scriptural citations contain additional information. Though repulsive to some, reading such imparts knowledge, pertinent to the conversation.

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage

AW, I recounted, in short, your reasons for atheism to my coworker: Discouraged by organized religion as a youngster. Relying on medicine and self to survive severe illness and recovery.

He looked puzzled, but I get it.

brenden said...

Let's put it another way:

Break one of your arms. Go on, roll over it with a tractor or something.

Now pray for it to be fixed tomorrow. Use it as normal otherwise, but make sure you pray as hard as you can for it to be fixed. Do not even think about contacting one of those heathen atheist doctors when you are delirious with pain or you have bones sticking out through your skin - all you need is faith in god.

Let me know how that works out for you.

Again, you may feel better thanks to the placebo of belief, but that does not logically lead to you being right.

MasterJediDan said...
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kitty said...

@ AW - thanks, I"m finding your blog inspirational and I'll be making mine public when I have a minute (exam season - gah!)

@ MGD

You could argue that religion is just another addiction to replace the one you're giving up - look at George Bush, he was an alcoholic - now he's an evangelical. Someone with an addictive personality can get addicted to anything that gives them a buzz - you can be addicted to exercise, so it would follow you could also be addicted to religion.

Anyway, that's a completely unfounded claim - the "higher power" in the AA 12 step program can be thought of as the power of the group together - it doesn't necessarily mean "god". Do you have any evidence to back that up?

MasterJediDan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
kitty said...

@ MGD

I wondered where the idea of a porn addiction had come from (I think it's something that I've read about once - in cosmo), and now it's apparent.

When I asked if you had evidence, I meant did you have studies that showed that people were more likely to quit if they had religion than otherwise. Just because something works for you does not mean that it's the cure for everyone. And whilst it's not possible to say conclusively without knowing you or psychoanalysis, it is possible that what you've done is replace one addiction with another. Can you confidently say that you are not addicted to religion? Because the praying every night and the coming here to argue with atheists might suggest that's a possiblity...

I can see why religion might be effective in curing (or transferring) addiction - I mean, it's a support, and "god" is someone who you can't lie to about whether or not you've been drinking/taking drugs/looking at porn/whatever which is clearly possible - even easy - to do to another human (or a computer). But - obviously - this does not make religion true. And if a bit of healthy skeptacism could cause a relapse... it's not necessarily that long lasting a "cure". Looking at the reason for the addiction - low self esteem, chemical imbalance, depression - might take longer, but if it works it's surely more real, and more robust?

I do find it interesting that you're a techie though, I'm a programmer as are the many of my friends - and they are almost all athiest/agnostic. That's more common over here in the UK, but still far in excess of the national 44% average. I'm always curious as to why someone who must have a grasp of logic and math and physics would be drawn to... such a flawed base case?

MasterJediDan said...
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Atheistwager said...

@MJD
I'm curious about your revelation of a "porn addiction". Do you really have an addiction or have you been raised to repress all aspects of your sexuality by zealous parents?

Were you spending hours daily looking at porn? Were you taking time away from your friends and school work in order to look at porn? Was your fascinationation with pornography interfering with your ability to study, socialize, make friends, etc.? If you say yes to any of these, keep on praying because you might really have a problem. I would highly recommend talking to someone and understanding the nature of your addiction and how it might affect other aspects of your life.

However, if your looking at porn occasionally and participating in (how do I say this?) self-love, that means your a teen age boy. Your friends may not be admitting to it now, but they're ALL doing it to. Somewhere between high school and college, men stop denying it and just own up to it. Stop looking at it as sin, accept it, and move on. It doesn't make you a bad person, it's part of growing up. Your religious upbringing may be heaping guilt upon you that may not be justified.

It's hard to tell which version of reality is truly going on. Just remember, 99% of men admit to masturbating, the other 1% lie about it.

Atheistwager said...

Also, please see this article about clergy and porn addiction. Dedicated men of God were not able to break their "addiction" through prayer.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/4659326/

kitty said...

@MGD

I have to agree with AW, a healthy sex drive is just that - all this "sex is dirty" rubbish that so many religious people seem to come out with just results in neurotic people who are lousy lovers. Unless you're turning down actual sex to look at porn, or it's taking over your life (you look at porn rather than go out etc) it could be just a phase that in time you'll get over.

Also - on the hacking thing - I have friends who are hackers and give them a program that's supposed to stop them from doing something, and they will circumvent it just because they can.

You should probably see a therapist though - they'll have seen it before and will be able to either determine that you have a problem or whether it's perfectly normal.

As for evolution, I'm no biologist but as I understand it although it started off with the finches we do see evolution elsewhere - for example when diseases become immune to antibiotics. There is a lot of evidence out there, for evolution - and seriously, the Roman Catholic church wouldn't have accepted it had there been a shred of doubt. Look at what they did to Gallileo. Scientists - as a group, there's the odd singularity - have nothing to gain by lying. Priests do - it keeps them in a job.

I suppose though, for me what it comes down to is trust. I trust that if evolution doesn't quite explain it we'll find something better, and won't regress to this idea of "god" - which just doesn't explain anything, it only asks more questions.

Finally, it's all very well asking questions but why do you think there have to be answers? If you think about how much humans have discovered in the last 100 years or so, well it's a lot. But everything? We'll know more in our lifetimes, I think. But probably still not everything. And that's part of the fun.

Ilja said...

Maybe as a biologist, i can share some things i know about evolution “from the inside”. I've gone from teaching myself religion (my parents aren’t religious, but were tolerant enough to let me :) ), praying and reading the bible daily (for years, a chapter a day, been three time through), gradually starting to think about what i've been reading in my teenage years, realizing this was not my view of the world, and becoming a firm atheist embracing logic, common sense and peer-reviewed knowledge of science.

Anyway. Evolution is all about changes. Slow and small, but steady, and they
accumulate. They happen perhaps too slow for a human to notice during his life span, but clues are all around. These changes are also what’s called “mutations”, but not of the X-Men type, just modifications of the DNA that happen either randomly (through environmental influences: radiation, UV, or simply by chance) or, through so-called recombination, which is what happens in sexual reproduction. Each child gets a random combination of its parents’ genes, and because this process involves a certain degree of randomness, some genes might be “broken” or new ones emerge. Genes are just blue-prints for proteins, which are what make cellular chemistry work, they are catalysts, building blocks of cell (compartment) walls, the “glue” that keeps cells together etc. Thus, if a gene changes, it will produce some different protein, which affects further steps and leads to changes that may or may not affect the individual’s ability to survive and reproduce. This new set of qualities is put to the test by the environment. If its successful, these genes that have lead to this success will spread wider than less successful genes of the “competitors”.

Success is measured by the relative contribution to the next generation, this is what’s called “fitness”. Think you have three kids while everybody else has one, your relative contribution is three times higher. Some generations later, your especially successful genes will be found in an increasing part of the population, and so what has started with a random change in the DNA ends up changing the mankind, so to speak. The opposite is also true, of course. If for some reason you don’t live long enough to have kids (e.g. an innate defect, some deficiency) or aren’t attractive to the opposite sex, that genes that made you like this end with you.

This is why sexuality is such an essential part of all life. It makes us evolve and adapt to our environment. And, obviously, it makes as survive as a species. Which is true for us just like for every other species. And because we have to be able to reproduce even in the worst situations, we have a sex drive. If not for it, what would a child do, whose parents never explained it what to do? Therefore this “mechanism” has to function without the need to be taught, and it does, as everyone of us knows, and that’s normal. It’s natural. We are taught to act rationally, but when it comes to sexuality, we’re dealing with a force that’s older that our society and morals, that evades rationality, and that’s scary for some people. Parents, in particular :) and those preaching morality. But this is just something way have to find a way to deal with personally and as a society. But keep in mind that sex drive is a totally natural thing, and everyone of us exists thanks to it.

If you take creation as described in Genesis for a fact, then what better proof could there be for evolution than a look at all the differently looking people out there. If they are all supposed to have descended from one couple, why are there black and white and yellow etc. people? And the outer appearance is only the surface, there are also deeper differences. There are people who are allergic to milk because they lack the protein to digest it. The Japanese (at least some part of the population) are said to not be able to metabolize alcohol and become drunk more easily. The answer: small physically detectable changes that accumulate. Evolution.

Or look at dogs, they are all the result of artificially applying these principles to a species (probably the wolves) that looked so much differently from the Great Danes and Chihuahuas of modern times.

Now if this process is extrapolated beyond the emergence of Homo sapiens and multiply these changes by millions of years (millions! hundreds of thousands of generations! Compared to 42 according to bible from Adam to Jesus Christ…) is it so hard to imagine that chimps and we have common ancestors? And they had common ancestors with other mammals etc. Look at all the similarities in the anatomy of mammals. Or even fish: paired pectoral and pelvic fins, just like the paired limbs of every mammal. The cranial bone patterns, circulatory systems, etc. If this is all supposed to be Gods creation, one has to ask, why they are so similar in general and so different in detail? Why not just stick the same circulatory system into every tetrapod? God should have been able to find one that works flawlessly for all, shouldn’t he? And, “he decided that it was good” this way is a most lame answer i can think of, the answer you get from somebody who doesn’t take the time to actively read up the facts that are there available for everyone. Saying “Convince me” is so much easier, because you’ll let others do the work for you. Science doesn’t need a following, it won’t come knocking at your door and try to lure you into a church, you have to decide to take a closer look for yourself.

IMO there’s nothing wrong in believing in some kind of god/higher power, and derive personal strength from it, even if that’s placebo effect in action. If it helps you believe in yourself and stand up and set things in motion, then please, go ahead, unless you try to force your ideas onto others. We are born free to make up our own minds about everything. But sorry, bible is just folklore.

PiGuy said...

@ MJD:
As if I could actually add something meaningful to what AW and kitty have already said...

Science isn't a way of knowing - It's a way of finding out. Science expects that knowledge - that is, "That which is TRUE" - will change as we learn more new stuff. I think that this is what kitty means when she says "I trust that if evolution doesn't quite explain it we'll find something better..." In science, all theories/models/formulas/etc come with a set of assumptions and are, thus, understood to be approximations of the behavior of nature.

Newton's Laws aren't wrong or untrue. They're just limited to modeling events/phenomena where the players aren't too big or going too fast. Beyond those limits, Uncle Al's (Einstein) rules are the way to go. But Newton's Laws are more than good enough appproximations to get rockets to the moon and a lot of other stuff on top of that. big lots.

The same goes for EVOLUTION. At at worst, evolution is only part of the answer but, considering the volume of support, it looks as though it's a big part. I mean, like "That's a big Twinkie" kinda big.

You have to keep an open mind and unbiased eye to do science correctly (and, of course, there are bad scientists). Religion tends to demand the donning of blinders and discourage open-mindedness for the express purpose narrowing the view and repressing challenge. To quote kitty again: "...it keeps them in a job."

MasterJediDan said...
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Bible student said...

@Ilja

The idea of natural selection is almost irrefutable. Where scientists lose me is suggesting that all of this complicated human (animal or plant) engineering developed from “primordial soup.”

When I was in school, the search was on for the “missing link.” A transitional fossil, to explain the evolutionary gap between apes and humans.

Though hominids were here, did signs of cognition show before 6000 years ago? Nation building, commerce, religion? Some on this blog have said that bible writers were explaining man to man. Since there were no scientists back then, is it possible that the creation account best explains this complex process to the agricultural society?

brenden said...

Six thousand years ago, the dog had already been domesticated for several thousand years.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dog#Ancestry_and_history_of_domestication

MasterJediDan said...

@ Brenden

Unfortunately, dating methods like carbon dating don't go back quite that far.

Ilja said...

@MasterJediDan:

How to prove bible wrong? Proving that something didn’t happen is always more difficult than that something did. I’d say, the proof is up to those who make claims (i.e. Christians), and as long as they have no proof as well, be skeptical and consider the whole book a work of fiction/religious propaganda, probably with some correct historical details (rough historical setting, some prominent figures like kings etc.). Ask yourself, why would you choose to believe stories/claims with no hard facts to support them? And remember, Christians are just another group of people claiming to know the truth. Why would you choose them over Muslims or Buddhists?

But just to name one more thing where the bible seems not to get things right: To raise to sea level high enough to cover all land you’d need quit a lot of water. Where did it come from? Ice caps melting down in a matter of days? Oh, wait, i forgot, back then people lived for hundreds of years. But how about ~30 millions of species (times 2) that had to be put into Noah’s ark? How huge was that thing? Well, there are actual measurements given in the bible, but unless Noah’s cubits where also not what they are now, that would hardly be big enough. How about food for the whole zoo? And what about the animals in Australia and the Americas? How did they get there? Noah just waited till the dove didn’t come back and left the vessel, nothing is said about sailing to other continents. And there seem to have been no other ways to find out whether it was safe to leave other than if the dove didn’t come back, it must have found land (read: no windows in the ark). Lots of holes in the plot. :)


@Bible student

The primordial soup is just a hypothesis, a possible scenario, probably the best we have, but no serious scientist will claim it to be the certain truth. Yes, it is hard to imagine, but so are other things: the infinity of space (shouldn’t it have a border somewhere? but what’s behind it?), or large time scales (imagine 4.5 billions of years, the age of Earth. i can’t).

But the point is, it’s okay not have answers to some questions. Why not be honest and admit it, instead of inventing some omnipotent being, that noone has ever seen or otherwise proven to exist, to explain everything? That would be a simple answer that’s sort of easy to accept and very hard to debunk, but why is this necessarily the correct one? Even if the chances of the primordial soup idea seem so small, how is this a proof of god? The scientist are at least trying to find an answer, and aren’t just hiding their unanswered questions behind the “this is what i was told to believe and now prove me wrong” attitude.

As for the rapid development of culture in the last couple of thousands years, my own point of view is that a small change can make a huge difference and this is why we have a civilization and other animals don’t. And the change came with language. Once you can write down or just tell what you’ve learnt during your life, you save your descendants the work of finding out the same things again for themselves. So they can build upon what you’ve left them and accumulate knowledge. Also, you start asking your parents questions about the world, like “Where did the first humans come from?”. And because the parents first didn’t know what to answer and were getting annoyed at their kids asking questions they didn’t have answers to, they sat together and decided to tell them some story they would sort of accept and could not debunk that easily. And as those kids grew up, they told their kids the same stories, because their own parents told them, that was how the things truly and honestly were. Then some of that kids had an idea how to make some easy money, and became priests. :)

That’s at least my personal opinion.

---

What made me think why do i read this book was the passage where god and Moses conspire against the Egyptians to make them bleed. If god says things like “go ask the pharaoh to let you go, but he’ll say no because i’ll make him do so, and then i’ll slay their children”, i.e. basically i’ll slay their kids and we’ll let it look like the pharaoh had a choice, then what gives you the certainty that you are not on the wrong side? Because if it’s Moses’ tribe against the rest of the world, then the chances of not being born a member of Moses’ tribe are quite high…

Atheistwager said...

@MJD
Why does it always come down to evolution with you? You drop a huge bomb shell claiming that you had a porn addiction and the only way you could stop yourself was through prayer. Turns out you don't really have an addiction, you just own a teen age penis. You also give all the credit to an imaginery deity when you could just say you decided to stop looking at porn after some self reflection and stopped doing it.

Bible student said...
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Bible student said...

@Ilja

In my first sentence, three weeks ago, I introduced myself with the words. “I did not inherit the my parents religious beliefs, I'm much to sceptical.” My love of philosophy and science runs deep. I miss Carl Sagan, even though I don’t agree with his religious view.

Before I sat down, almost 13 years ago, with my fellow bible students, I was sure that it would be a short relationship. I promised myself that my last visit, would be the one that presented the same absurdity I had come to know from other religions.

Just Friday, my friend, let me know, how he explained God’s infinity using man’s tool to estimate tremendous quantities; he said start at zero and count. (1, 2.….) let me when you run out of numbers. Go back to zero and count backwards, (-1, -2.….) the same. We can conceive a number system without end, why not what it measures?

Maybe parents wrote fairy tales that way, but the Bible as a whole is a masterpiece. The science proves true, as has the history. Advise on everything from child rearing to burying the dead, has been proven through use. And more.

I checked, my Bible says “let Pharaoh’s heart become obstinate” (or unresponsive) at Exodus 7:3; 8:15; 9:12; 10:1; 11:10 and Romans 9:18. Maybe this is why I stayed with these folks. (If you would like a copy, let me know.)

Considering that God hasn’t made atheist harden their hearts, but lets them, this makes sense.

MasterJediDan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
brenden said...

@ MasterJediDan

"Going back to Pascal's Wager"? Pascal's wager is ludicrous. If you accept that kind of logic, you also have to accept every single other god because the benefits of being right outweigh the potential loss of being wrong.

And carbon dating is not the only method of dating. There are a number of other radiometric dating methods, geographic layers, paleomagnetism, AND that thing where you count the rings in the trees. They all have the same result and agree with each other.

Ilja said...

@Bible student

1. How does the infinite amount of whole numbers has anything to do with god? If you can think of something, it doesn’t necessarily need to reflect any aspect of reality/the world as it is. Just as an example: i can well imagine that a story like Star Wars could be true. Does this say anything about whether it really happened? No. What you have there is a thought experiments, they are usually only the first step, and are of limited interest unless backed up with practical results or experiments. Can you name any practical experiment that can only be explained through god’s intervention?

2. How to deal with the Noah’s ark mystery as described above?

3. The bible is not a single masterpiece, it’s a pieced-together collection of writings from diffent times, places and cultures, spanning several centuries, selected and put together into the bibilical canon by people like you and me.

4. Please explain what you mean by “made atheist harden their hearts”. Are you claiming athesist aren’t capable to love and care for others? That’s called altruism and was observed by other animal species as well. You don’t have to subscribe to ancient legends to treat others the way you want to be treated yourself. Look up “inquisition” and “crusades” and we’ll talk about compassion again.

Ilja said...

Some bible quotes taken from http://ffrf.org/quiz/bquiz.php (thanks, kitty), full with “Advise on everything from child rearing to burying the dead, has been proven through use. And more.” (quote from Bible student’s post above)

SPOILER ALERT! If somebody wants to take the quiz, please don’t read any further
And i apologize for the length.

How should parents treat a stubborn and rebellious son?
Answer: He should be stoned to death.

This cruelly excessive Mosaic law was actually enforced at one time by the Massachusetts colony and has been used to justify child abuse and murder.

"If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them; Then shall his father and mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of the city, and unto the gate of his place; And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard. And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die: so shalt thou put evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear." (Deuteronomy 21:18-21)

How should you feel when you dash babies against the rocks?
Answer: Happy.

Is this "pro-life"? This is one of numerous examples of god-ordained genocide. Even if you coldly feel there is justice in killing the innocent infants of people deemed "evil" by your religion, would you be happy to do it, as the bible declares? If this is not evil, then what is?

"O daughter of Babylon, who art to be destroyed; happy shall he be, that rewardeth thee as thou hast served us. Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones." (Psalm 137:8-9)

According to biblical biology, what is a bat?
Answer: A bird.

Biblical biology rates an 'F.' Bats are mammals, not birds. This is another good reason to keep bibles out of science classes.
"And these are they which ye shall have in abomination among the fowls; they shall not be eaten, they are an abomination: the eagle, and the ossifrage, and the ospray, And the vulture . . . And the stork, the heron after her kind, and the lapwing, and the bat." (Leviticus 11:13-19, where "fowl" is oph. Repeated in Deuteronomy 14:11-20, calling the same list "birds" [tsippor] and "fowls" [oph])

What happens if a man rapes an engaged virgin in the city, and no one hears anything?
Answer: They are both stoned to death.

What if she was gagged, or had laryngitis, or the neighbors were out of town? Is it fair to punish the victim of a crime, much less mete out the death penalty to a victim of violence?! The bible primitively and unfairly frames rape as a crime committed by a man against another man's property.

"If a damsel that is a virgin be betrothed unto an husband, and a man find her in the city, and lie with her; Then ye shall bring them both out unto the gate of the city, and ye shall stone them with stones that they die; the damsel, because she cried not, being in the city; and the man, because he hath humbled his neighbour's wife: so thou shalt put away evil from among you." (Deuteronomy 22:23-24)

According to Jesus, how should Christian disciples treat their parents?
Answer: Parents should be hated.

More family values from the "Good Book."

"If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple." (Luke 14:26) The word "hate" here is miseo, the Greek word for "hate," from which we get the prefix in "misanthropy" and "misogyny." The same writer uses miseo in such verses as: "Blessed are ye when men shall hate you." (Luke 6:22)

According to Jesus, how should slaves be treated?
Answer: They should be beaten for disobedience, but not more severely then they deserve.

Jesus never denounced slavery: he endorsed it! He incorporated it into his teachings as if it were the most natural order (which it was for the biblical writers who didn't know any better). Why doesn't the bible--supposedly inspired by an all-loving deity--ever hint that there is something wrong with such a brutal social institution? If it were not for the influence of the bible (see answer 'd' below), the appalling American slave trade might have been curtailed, along with the bloody Civil War.

"And that servant, which knew his lord's will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes." (Luke 12:47-48) The entire context (Luke 12:41-48) shows that this is not part of a parable--it is the explanation of a parable, after Peter asked a question. But even if it were a parable, it would carry the same weight as a teaching of Jesus.

Do the Ten Commandments prohibit incest or rape?
Answer: No.

The "ten commandments" (see Question 1) do not condemn any sexual acts. The only sexual practice prohibited by the list in Exodus 20 is adultery, which, although a valid marital concern, is a legal act between consenting adults. The violent and degrading crimes of rape and incest surely should have rated a "top ten" list, but they do not appear. Adultery in the Old Testament was considered a crime that could only be committed by a wife. Harper's Bible Dictionary explains: "The law was probably intended to ensure that any child born to the wife was really the husband's child, since it was considered crucial for the husband to have offspring, so that the family name could be perpetuated." Adultery had bearing on the patriarchy, while more violent crimes did not.

Atheistwager said...

@ilja
Thank you for your post. You beat me to it. I would add that what you've provided are just a few highlights and that there are many, many more.

@BS
Wow! We can agree on something. I'm a Carl Sagan fan too. I highly recommend "The Demon Haunted World". Great book.

We disagree on the Bible providing guidance on how to raise a child. If God is the example of a parent, he has set an extremely poor example.

kitty said...

@PiGuy

You're right - that's exactly what I mean. And on the subject of religious leaders some of them do have a motivation to be less than honest. Either because they think that it's for an overall good of people's morals - for example, in the Root of all Evil, Richard Dawkins interviews a head teacher of an evangelical school which teaches "floodology" and creationism who says that he believes "god could have done it [creationism] if he'd wanted to" (erm, not the point?!) - or in terms of business, like tv evangelicals. To me it seems like agreeing to buy a washing machine/tumble dryer which also promises to do your dishes and act as a trash compactor all for £100. A bit of skepticism is in order, surely.


@MGD

I know the catholic church has a propensity to believe 8 impossible things before breakfast but not so much with the science. Look at their attitude to stem cell research? Or sexual equality? Or the sometimes damaging effects of sexual repression? Or the way they reacted to the news that the earth wasn't the centre of the universe? But you're right on one count - I think they stopped reading the bible so thoroughly after it made people question the "truth" (as detailed better in either the God Delusion, or maybe Letter to a Christian Nation).

Also I polled 4 of my (male) friends this morning. Trust me, it's normal.


@BS

I'm curious - if you were so sure it would be a short visit, why were you there in the first place?

There seem to be a lot of people about (I'm not necessarily saying you're one of them) who claim to have "tested their faith" and "been skeptical" but when it comes down to is not actual proof, or even a full on religious experience but the lack of nerve to face up to the perceived emptiness of accepting there's most probably nothing out there. Personally I don't find it empty, I find it empowering... but I can see why people might find it scary. Doesn't make the opposite true though.


@Ilja

That quiz is insane, you can do pretty well by just picking the most stupid/violent answer. And they want to teach the bible in school? Sounds more violent than your average 18-rated movie to me!

kitty said...

This article here:

http://www.answersingenesis.org/creation/v19/i1/dna.asp

basically argues that the similarity in DNA can be explained as code reuse. I showed it to one of my SE lecturers and he said "if that was the case god would be a lousy programmer" - evolution explains the poor, messy, redundant "code" - creation, not so much.

Bible student said...

@kitty

In the 15 years after I left the RC Church, I continued to try to find a way to serve God, that sat right with me. Meaning, I was sure that God was perfect. The messages I heard from different places made me cringe. The hair that stood up on the back of my neck, let me know that they were trying to fool me.

I welcomed preachers of all sorts of religions and philosophies but none stuck. Since, I had nothing against the folks that invited me to their study, and would try anything at least once, I took a chance.

@AW

You remind me, I didn’t see the answer. Do atheists believe there are demons or not. I’ve not read Sagan’s book.
Thank you for your blog. I’ve enjoyed the conversation and the research I’ve had to do, to keep up.
My 3 favorite scriptures on child raising: Deuteronomy 6:6-7; Proverbs 13:24; Ephesians 6:4.

@ Ilja

I’ll be happy to provide answers to the quiz questions. I agreed with more that one professed atheist on this blog, that religions twist scriptures.
In an effort to keep you from sounding like them, I will do some research and post what I find.

Atheistwager said...

The link to Dr. Sagan's "Demon Haunted World" is now on the recommended books and DVDs section. Some great learnings in there including the link between UFO abduction and demonic possession.

kitty said...

@BS

The phrase "atheists believe" really annoys me (anyone else?). It's not like christianity where you can assume that someone describing themselves as a "christian" believes in Jesus and places some reliance on the bible. Atheists don't believe in any god - period - that's pretty much all you can conclude from the label.

Do you mean demons in the style of Charmed? Or is this related to the Carl Sagan thing?

Bible student said...

@kitty

I know what I’ve learned about demons. (no time for Charmed) AW and any other are people too. I’ve gotten the gist of what they think of God. They have been strangely silent on demons, even though I’ve mentioned them more than once. Just curious.

Atheistwager said...

Let me remove all doubt where I stand on demons. I don't believe in the supernatural. Period. No God. No demons. Nothing beyond this universe and stuff that can physically exists. Speaking only for myself, of course.

kitty said...

Yeah I'm a no on the demon front too - unless I meet one, in which case I will either review the situation or check myself into a secure institution! ;-)

Bible student said...

Quick ghost story, after dark, all alone on a hill in the public park, with a good view of terrain. What sounds like a noisy car enters from the street, 150 yards away, but no lights or silhouette. The sound moves up the right side of the field, (yeah, it sounds like rattling chains), then across in front of the hill, up and out the path to the street on my left. Stunned, I follow, and riding (unseen) on the next car down the block, the sound of chains and a blood curdling cackle. Believe it or not!

Miracle said...

@demon stuff

Satan, demons and angels are a somewhat later development in the evolution of spiritual ideas. It is actually more Greek/Babylonian in origin than Jewish. Satan as a devil and not just the evil inside us all was actually morphed from these other religions. As a Christian, do I believe in Demons. I hope that there isn't, but truth be told it just scares the shit out of me. I hate not knowing things and there's nothing scarier than an invisible evil.

Anyway, I suppose as atheists you guys really don't believe there is anything after this. Interesting, I never really thought about it. Its kind of sad in a sense, but you guys are after the truth and not happiness. Don't worry, I wont try to tell you of all the wonderful treasures you could possess if you just believed. Yeh, it just reaks of a bad sales pitch.

Bible student said...

@Ilja

I’m sorry, I missed your post before the quiz.

1. You mentioned that you had trouble imagining “the infinity of space” and “large time scales.” My buddy illustrated a simple way to envisage an incredible number. I thought it might help.

2. The ark 50 to 60 years to build from cypress (like Phoenician’s). A football field and a half long by 25 yards wide by 50 feet tall. 100,000 ft2 of floor space on three decks. One cubit (approx. 18”) tall opening under a pitched roof, on all four sides, for ventilation. Covered in tar. One big door. Room for animals and food.

The animals The “kinds” of animals selected had limits set by the Creator, within which boundaries creatures are capable of breeding “according to their kinds.”

It has been estimated by some that the hundreds of thousands of species of animals today could be reduced to a comparatively few family “kinds”.

Had there been as few as 75 “kinds” of quadrupeds and 195 bird “kinds” in the ark, they could have produced the variety of species known today.

Remember, the variety of human traits and variations all came from the one family of Noah.

The deluge On the second creative day, when the atmosphere began to take shape, the Bible says there were: “waters . . . beneath the expanse” and “waters . . . above the expanse.” (Genesis 1:7) When the Flood came, the Bible says: “The floodgates of the heavens were opened.” (Genesis 7:11) Evidently, the “waters . . . above the expanse” fell and provided much of the water for the inundation.

People walked into the western hemisphere, why not animals. Australian animals may be explained in that oceanographers say that at one time land ridges connected what are now isolated land areas.

3. With all those differences, the Bible is of one mind on many subjects. It has one theme, front to back. Though you knock it, it helps me answer these question in the 21st century.

4. Pharaoh chose to ignore the warning from God’s representative. God allowed this. If you have convinced yourself that God and Moses conspired to knock off the leading military power of the day, you are showing signs of a pretty stiff neck. (Psalm 75:5)
I don’t doubt your ability to love.

Bible student said...

@ Ilja
What makes “the flood” real to me are the variety of culture that have stories of this in their heritage. Check: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flood_(mythology)

Wil said...

@kitty
"The phrase "atheists believe" really annoys me (anyone else?). "

Yeah, it gets under my skin a bit. It all started when I told someone I didn't believe in God and they responded with "what do you believe?" I took a second to think, and replied, "I don't believe, I think." True they're often construed as the same meaning in our language, but in a religious context, believe is often misinterpreted.

@MJD
Masterbation/porn is wholly normal in people's lives. Yeah, there's guilt - keeping it a secret from family, imagining what the people in it are like outside of it - thinking of them as people than objects. The guilt's there, but it's just another bad feeling to overcome.

@The flood/ark

I think this story holds a bit of historical merit though over time it's been warped through retelling, writing, translation, merging with the Noah story, etc.

- the general biblical area is the mediterranean
- The Greek island of Thera once erupted sending a massive tsunami around the mediterranean, crushing the Minoan civilisation on Crete and neighbouring islands (it swept over them)
- A flood is present in the Epic of Gilgamesh
- To take the number of animals on Noah's ark into account as all on earth is impossible. Take the ones present in the mediterranean and you've got a more reasonable basis
- Most of the story is probably false - including Noah - but chances are the actual flood did happen, and chances are the flood crushed many cities.

Bible student said...

@Ilja

Another evidence of the flood is found in the Greek myth Hercules. Genesis 6:4 says: In those days, and for some time after, giant Nephilites lived on the earth, for whenever the sons of God had intercourse with women, they gave birth to children who became the heroes and famous warriors of ancient times. (New Living Translation)

Quiz answer #1:
How should parents treat a stubborn and rebellious son?

This was no little kid, if he’s being sentenced as a glutton and drunkard. The age of consent was closer to 30 years of age, in that culture. Nor was it without legal hearing.

The reason is at the end of the scripture you quoted: “ so shalt thou put evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear.

A deterrent; how many of us were warned by loving parents with something they wouldn’t wish on us? (“shoot your eye out”, “get yourself killed”, “rot in jail”)

Massachusetts goes on our list of governments that abuse scriptures, along with those who committed the “inquisition” and “crusades”.

Bible student said...

@Ilja

Quiz answer #2:

How should you feel when you dash babies against the rocks?

Answer: Like it’s poetry.

Satan is said to “lead the whole world astray” ---Revelation 12:9 (Today's New International Version). One of his tools is false religion.

Since historically this started in Babel, the “daughter of Babylon” is religion and it’s babies are those practicing vile things, in it's name.

Will I be happy when they are gone? Yup.

The next is easy.
Quiz answer #3:
You need a better Bible, mine counts bats “among the flying creatures”, not birds, at Leviticus 11:13.

Miracle said...

@wil & Kitty

I know you guys hate the term believe, because of its historical misuse. Yet, in its basic form you can't get around the fact you do believe that there isn't something that originally created. You can't rationally prove a theory of an original creator being/object/event or everything has continuously caused everything. You believe that since there is no proof of God then there is no God.

Believe - to follow a decision made by rational thought and/or pure faith.

Thinking requires no active action. You don't just happen to think that God doesn't exist. You actively follow the decision.

kitty said...

@Miracle

It's not about historical misuse, it's about how it's not reasonable to make generalizations about the beliefs/opinions of atheists as a group - grouping people by what they don't think is pretty meaningless.

I'm also lost as to what you mean by "You don't just happen to think that God doesn't exist. You actively follow that decision". According to Richard Dawkins, there are two kind of atheists. Those that see it as the neutral position in the absence of any proof as the statistical likelihood of any of the wide variety of religions is so low (a 6 on his scale), and those who literally believe there is no god (7). I would say I'm a 6; I think it's a statistical improbability, I live my life on the assumption that there's nothing out there, but I know what would change my mind.

So it's not "You believe that since there is no proof of God then there is no God" - more "You believe that since there is no proof of God then it is reasonable to assume that there is no God".

Miracle said...

@kitty

I haven't ever read Dawkins, so I don't know his statistical argument. I didn't realize there were different levels or camps of atheism so I'm sorry for my misconception/assumption.

My point is still that you follow the decision "its reasonable to assume that there is no God" based on a mix of rationale and/or faith and thats a belief. Just like I follow the decision that even though we don't have any proof doesn't mean we won't, can't or maybe since it is the first creator we aren't seeing the evidence correctly, it is reasonable to assume that there is a first creator/God.

I don't think either one of us are dumb for the conclusions we draw. We use rationale to get us to a point and then we have to make a decision. We believe that decision to be right or probably right until a future event that changes it.

Miracle said...

@kitty

I was reading the comment you were replying to and would like to correct a mistype on my part that probably miscommunicated a point.

I said, "You can't rationally prove a theory of an original creator being/object/event or everything has continuously caused everything."

What I meant to say is "...theory of an original creator... or **THEORY** that everything has continuously caused everything."

I was contrasting my conclusion and one I gathered from you/someone else on another wager post [at least I tried to understand it].
---

Also, I want to talk about the statistical analysis that led you to conclude that God is improbable. You and I both would laugh at a Christian who would say that God is more probable than improbable because his data would be faulty. God is not like a red jellybean being picked from a bag of counted colored jellybeans. In order to make a true statistical conclusion, we must have all of the data as variables in the equation. How are we to know that we have all the data/variables to make a statistical conclusion about God? There is no way. So any statistical conclusion made from anyone about God is at best a mere scenario and at worst useless.

You could say that you agree with Dawkin's statistical scenario and that it seems to be a good predictor, but I don't think (correct me if I'm wrong, by showing me how he has all the possible variables) you can say its statistically proven that God is less likely to be true.

kitty said...

@Miracle

I think I used statistical when I meant probability. You should read the God Delusion - it's an interesting read, although a bit strongly worded at times.

You're right we can't make any claims about the exact probability, but we can consider things like how likely it is that the bible was fabricated by man in order to explain things. For example, is it consistent with what we'd expect [if it were fabricated]? Do we have examples of humans making up religion to explain things? (Like the cargo tribes, for example). How much of it is proven? How much can be better explained given how much more we know now?

Obviously this is somewhat subjective - but at the very least looking at those things you have to come to the conclusion that it's *possible* that christianity, and every other religion were fabricated.

Hopefully that makes more sense - but really you should read the God Delusion. RD explains things far better than I ever will ;-)

Bible student said...

Quiz answer #4
What happens if a man rapes an engaged virgin in the city, and no one hears anything, in the city?
Answer: They are both stoned to death.

The next verses say: “But if out in the country a man happens to meet a young woman pledged to be married and rapes her, only the man who has done this shall die. Do nothing to the woman; she has committed no sin deserving death. This case is like that of someone who attacks and murders a neighbor, for the man found the young woman out in the country, and though the betrothed woman screamed, there was no one to rescue her. --Deuteronomy 22:25-27 (Today's New International Version)

Justice!

Quiz answer #5
According to Jesus, how should Christian disciples treat their parents?
Answer: Parents should be hated.

Hatred here has the thought of loving less.

While Jesus was still talking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside, wanting to speak to him. Someone told him, "Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you." He replied to him, "Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?" Pointing to his disciples, he said, "Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother." --Matthew 12:46-50 (Today's New International Version)

If my mother suggested that return to the religion of my youth, I would decline.

Quiz answer #6
According to Jesus, how should slaves be treated?
As part of the community they were subject to Mosaic law.

Being a great teacher Jesus used examples such as slaves, Samaritans, sheep, seeds, things that this community saw regularly.

“From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” is the explanation of the parable. --Luke 12:48b (Today's New International Version)

Quiz answer #7
Do the Ten Commandments prohibit incest or rape?
Answer: No.

Correct!

End of quiz!

Ilja said...

I think that religions are an expression of too little knowledge about the physical laws that make the world behave as it does. The early people didn’t know that lightnings are electrical discharges between clouds and earth, so the imagined that there’s some kind of an angry individual sitting above the clouds and throwing bolts at sinners. They didn’t know that (local-scale) floods simply happen every once in a while and imagined that the victims were punished by some being mighty enough to make a flood happen (=almighty). And what for? Well, they must have committed some kind of a crime, otherwise their deaths would have no sense, and that simply could not be true.

Time passed, they’ve learnt things and figured out more and more about the world, but the old beliefs in impersonated forces of nature die slowly, and there are always people who are afraid to accept the new discoveries. They prefer to stick to what they have grown up with, thinking that that is old and proven wisdom, maybe even passed to men by a god. And those who question the old beliefs are heretics. Isn’t it obvious? Those holding on to ancient beliefs are afraid of changes, they want to world to freeze. Here among us is a nice example of a person who’d like to stick to rules that were valid 3000 years ago. But life is all about change, and growth, and development.

I mean, there were times when people thought that the world is flat and stars are dots on the heavenly sphere. Now we know better. Earth breaking up and swallowing sinners? That’s called plate tectonics and happens even if there’s nobody to be swallowed. Can’t we just get over these burdens of our society’s dark ages and take this thinking all the way further? And just forget about gods, since they are only real in legends and ancient books of questionable origin?


@bible student

I don’t doubt your ability to back your opinions with bible quotes. But please don’t give up your own judgement by strictly sticking to this book. You’ve taken on the answers from the quiz, so let’s take on another one. The one about death penalty for a rape victim. I seriously hope that you or anybody else will never have to go through this, but just for the sake of a thought experiment, imagine for a moment that this would happen to your daughter. How would you act? Follow god’s will to treat her like a piece for furniture, with now human rights, or lend her all support you are capable of as a sane father should?

As for the flood being mentioned by different cultures, they all seem to have their own survivor. So if we assume that all history accounts of a flood wiping out the whole humanity mention the same great deluge, then it looks like Noah and his family were not the only survivors after all?

And if i get the idea of the expanse with water above and below it right, then we are actually living in a bubble, surrounded by water from all sides, right? And the water above is held back from pouring down by some kind of a hard shell with flood gates in it? So what is you opinion about space travel?

Bible student said...

@Ilja

The book is fine with me. Learning, and applying the principals have enhanced my life.

I don’t dwell on impossible situations. Mosaic Law has not been enforced in centuries. What concerns me these days is the survival of my family, in a culture that despite it’s advanced intellectual state shows very little sign of spirituality.

My teenage son agrees that we are in the best place to be serving God. Not because I told him, but because he was encouraged to listen carefully and make up his own mind. People rise to their expectations. Living up to Bible standards produces great results.

He is sure of one thing. God don’t play! By Bible reckoning, a little more than 6000 years ago, the first married couple decided to take Satan’s word on how to behave. God took their life.

A sane father, makes sure she knows to scream, kick, gouge, and run. Make her know that bad things happen to good people, but worse things happen to the ignorant.

As to the flood being mentioned by different cultures, I don’t know how you count. If every story, no matter where it is told, says that one boatful survived, I count one boatful.

No bubble, the expanse is the sky. If all of man lived on land that was above sea level before the flood and below after the flood, he’d need a boat. That flood trick only works one time.
Space travel works fine, most of the time.

Wil said...

@Miracle

I wholly agree with your definition, though my gripe is with the connotation opposed to the denotation. It's nothing huge, just a bit of a multi-meaning term when used in discussion that can be confused.

"Yet, in its basic form you can't get around the fact you do believe that there isn't something that originally created."

"You believe that since there is no proof of God then there is no God."

"Thinking requires no active action. You don't just happen to think that God doesn't exist. You actively follow the decision."

On the contrary, I just don't think of it in the same way I do not debate the existence of Zeus or Odin (I realise that seems quite contradictory due to my posting here). To me they are all just not there, and unless something significant (like Ragnarok) occurs, I'm never really going to debate the existence of any deity with myself as there is absolutely no basis for such debate.

In the same way that some people just know and accept a higher deity/deities in their lives, I accept there isn't and welcome a more plausible and scientific approach than blind faith in such deities.

My thought process is detailed a bit in my only blog post, though it's very tangentous compared with my normal writing.

Bible student said...

@Ilja
We agree:
“But life is all about change, and growth, and development.”

Paul wrote to the Romans:
So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.--Romans 12:1,2 (The Message)

We have been able to live with one set of natural laws, from the beginning of time. (Jeremiah 33:20-21)

Human nature has never changed. Stealing meant the same thing 3000 years ago.

God does not change. Some though, consider the guidance provided in Christianity to be a more developed than Mosaic Laws.

I don’t recommend following blindly. John 17:3 says: This means everlasting life, their taking in knowledge of you, the only true God, and of the one whom you sent forth, Jesus Christ. (New World Translation)

Proverbs prescribes digging for truth as you would buried treasure. (Proverbs 2:4)

kitty said...

@BS

"A sane father, makes sure she knows to scream, kick, gouge, and run. Make her know that bad things happen to good people, but worse things happen to the ignorant."

You're fond of your bible quotes, I'm going to quote you something from another book.

"Inside the tunnel, where broken beer bottles, old leaves, and other, as yet indiscriminate, things littered the ground, I became one with this man. He held my life in his hand. Those who say they would rather fight to the death than be raped are fools. I would rather be raped a thousand times. You do what you have to."

That's from "Lucky", by Alice Seabold. It's the story of how "her life was utterly transformed when, as an eighteen-year-old college freshman, she was brutally raped and beaten in a park near campus".

Read it - and if you can still defend that passage... I don't know. Because whether she screams or not, or whether she's drunk or sober a man has no right, or justification to violate a woman in such a way. It's disgusting. And personally I don't think you can *ever* make it her fault. That's just sick.

Bible student said...

@Kitty

Sorry for the misunderstanding. We agree! This is what my statement means.

“A sane father, makes sure she knows to scream, kick, gouge, and run.”

Though I do not have a daughter, I did raise a son. There is a danger of pederasty or pedophilia in almost any community. Sexual molesters exploit a child’s ignorance. So we taught him the proper and the improper use of his private body parts and that there are people who would like to take advantage. We let him know what to say and do if the situation arose and reviewed this when we thought necessary.

We taught “scream, kick, gouge, and run” as defensive moves, to extract himself from dangerous situations.

We let him know that even if he was molested there was never a reason to not tell us. We had his back!
Thus: Make her know that bad things happen to good people.

On the other hand, we could not be with him 24/7. We encouraged good decision making, especially by asking any question. It was at his peril ignore all this counsel:but worse things happen to the ignorant

So my point was that it was better to prepare your child rather than commiserate later.
My ire was up when Ilja suggested it was “god’s will to treat her like a piece for furniture”. In my haste, I clearly mislead, please forgive.

There is something I want you to notice about these two “ghastly” ancient laws. They were not enforced by mob rule. In both scriptures posted by Ilja, “gate” is mentioned. The gate of a city was like “downtown” today.
The market, news center (because of travelers and merchants and workers who toiled outside the city passed through each day) and court. Where the elders sat in judgement for anyone who had a grievance.

As is attempted today, justice was more important than “the letter of the law.” The judge’s hands were not bound by statutes, as some claim today. Mercy was even more important than punishment, with a vital sentence.

kitty said...

@BS

I'm not sure we do.

So there are two things that strike me about that passage:

1. It specifies the woman is engaged - what if the woman isn't engaged? (Answers on a post card). That this changes things is where the "piece of furniture" thing comes in - the scenario is changed because the woman is seen as the property of her future husband.

2. It specifies in a town. Now, as you mentioned the laws are less brutal to a woman in the sticks - but that doesn't make the laws for in the town any less ridiculous. Is it any less stupid that women aren't allowed to drive in Saudi because they can in every western country?

I also don't understand the point of your final two paragraphs. This book that you consider infallible states that is the correct course of action. Do you, or do you not agree with that?

Bible student said...

@kitty

I hope we agree, that rape is never the woman’s fault.

Quiz answers:
1a. An unbetrothed woman/girl would be covered by another law, this law says engaged.

1b. The 1952 version of the song “You Belong to Me” has been, according to wikipedia, recorded by no fewer than 70 artists. Most recently Rose McGowan for the Planet Terror segment of the movie Grindhouse, released last month. It’s a love song.

Nowhere in the bible, is mistreating a person condoned.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/You_Belong_to_Me_(1952_song)

2a. Rape is illegal in both town and sticks. The law makes a distinction between rape and consensual sex.

2b. If you’ve ever seen a Saudi woman, you would understand why it is not permitted. (joke) Seriously, I do not understand, though I’ve tried, the reasoning behind several Islamic Laws. Ask them.

Because of it’s infallible source, Mosaic Law was perfect. Check with lawyers or law students, I believe it is still studied as the greatest law system, ever.

Though you imagine how these laws could abused, the nation of Israel was warned that they would be accountable to their maker.

If you have had limited exposure to God’s commands and are interested in knowing more, let me know. It’s great stuff once you understand.

kitty said...

@BS

1. Exactly, why does it make a difference? And what is that law?

Ooh look: Deuteronomy 22:28-29 NLT
 
    "If a man is caught in the act of raping a young woman who is not engaged, he must pay fifty pieces of silver to her father.  Then he must marry the young woman because he violated her, and he will never be allowed to divorce her."

Now you say "Nowhere in the bible, is mistreating a person condoned", and really I think that previous quote was enough but - I have more:

Genesis 19 - Sodom and Gomorrah Destroyed would beg to differ. Lot offers up two women to "do with what you will". In the end, he gets away when the city is destroyed.


I don't understand why you say "these laws could be abused" - it's pretty clear what it says, and following that would not appear to be an "abuse" - it would merely be the literal interpretation of this "perfect" law. And if that's not what was meant... why was that what was written down?

Bible student said...

Deuteronomy:
There’s a rock and a hard place. Pay now and for the rest of your life.

Exodus 22:17 explains that in case the father refuses to give her in marriage, the silver must be paid, without the marriage.

Genesis:
The Bible doesn’t recommend this course of action, just reports what happened. Let’s take a closer look.

Lot was pretty sharp, offering his daughters to homosexuals, they never touched them. These women were engaged to men of the city, so relatives, friends, or business associates of his prospective sons-in-law might have been in the crowd.

What an act of faith! Lot depended on divine protection and was not disappointed. God’s angels did intervene, and the young women were kept safe. (Genesis 19:10)

Aren’t you glad you live in the 21st century!

kitty said...

@BS

The guy who raped her doesn't get killed though does he? There is a significantly different action dependent on whether or not the woman is engaged. Would you like to explain why this is?

Before you said "condone" and now you're saying "recommend". Now I'd say that if the offering of the women is done, and then Lot is rewarded that's basically condoning. After this, his daughters pretty much rape him and - well where's the fire and brimstone there?

For more examples of biblical barbarity see here: http://www.evilbible.com/Rape.htm

Yep I'm very glad to be living in the 21st century and in the west. I'm grateful for sexual equality, liberation, and that religion is on the way out. There is some properly sick stuff in the bible - and if you like, I can carry on bringing it out, and you can keep on trying to defend it, but I gotta tell you, I'm pretty lost as to how you can, when you seem to be for the most part a decent, non-murderous human being.

If you can say - hand on heart - that you think the bible is completely right, utterly infallible, 100% correct - then you are defending this idea that a woman who's been raped in a city should be killed. Now I don't really care how much you would like to interpret the meaning and try and change that - as an argument, it's not convincing. It's written down there, black and white. Either you agree, or you don't. Either the bible is completely and utterly correct... or it's not.

Ilja said...

@BS

Kitty pretty much said it already, i just want to hear a clear opinion. So, once again:

Rules: Please imagine, you have a daughter, who is engaged. One day, while she is down-town, the disaster happens and she falls victim to a rapist, who gets away afterwards. There were no eye or ear witnesses (perhaps because it happend in the middle of night, and inner-city areas in many cities happen to be where people work, the living quarters tend to lie towards the outside, i.e. its only crowded during the day). She makes it home, crying and totally disturbed, and somehow manages to tell you what happened. What is your reply:

a) "Sorry, my dear, that's bad luck, but we'll have to stone you, because Deuteronomy 22:23-24 says so."

b) Make sure she gets all the love you can summon without consulting the bible first, and once she can think straight again. Then call the police and hope they can find the bastard, and punish him according to the laws valid in current time and place.

If you choose (b), then please supply a quote, why Deuteronomy 22:23-24 doesn't apply to this situation.

Yes I know you would do anything to prevent it, you said that already, which is the right thing to do, but all I want to hear from you is an opinion based on the assumption, that the described situation has already taken place. Maybe because god wanted to repeat Job’s story, with you as the main character. Or maybe it just happened, and the girl was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Just (a) or (b).

Bible student said...

@Ilja

Easy, (b).

Two quotes:

Romans 10:4 For Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.

Romans 7:6 But now we have been released from the law, for we died to it and are no longer captive to its power. Now we can serve God, not in the old way of obeying the letter of the law, but in the new way of living in the Spirit.

Although, I'm a Bible student so I try to make sure that everything that I do is guided by it's principals.


@kitty

The bible is completely right, utterly infallible, 100% correct.

I’ve answered enough questions in a row, your turn. Which of these three laws would you defend to the death? Legal abortion, deportation of undocumented residents or income tax.

No matter which you pick,

a) There are plenty of people who would disagree with you.

and

b) It’s the law of the land. Disobeying it has consequences.

I can not make you like what it says in the Bible, or why. If you have serious questions, I'm all ears.

Explaining misleading and slanderous website accusations is great excercise but if there's no gain, why bother. Thanks for the tussle though.

Atheistwager said...

@Bible Student
Tom in a previous post did my homework for me quoting from Matthew. So the Bible is infallible but it contradicts itself over a MAJOR detail. Does Mosaic law apply or not? You say it doesn't and provide your reasoning. Others say it does:

"The New Testament says this on the Old Law (Matthew 5)

5:17 - “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.
5:18 - For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.
5:19 - Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
5:20 - For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven."

Which one is it? Hardly infallible.

kitty said...

@BS

Legal abortion, obviously - it's a basic tenet of sexual equality, and forcing a woman to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term is 1. mentally damaging, and 2. a violation of her bodily domain.

Sure there are people who would disagree, for the most part, however, this is due to religious reasons so in America - for example - this would be a clear violation of the separation of church and state. In the UK it's less of an issue because we live in a far more secular society. We have in theory more restrictions as to when a woman can receive a termination but there is no discussion as to making it illegal (bar some cranks like the Scottish Christian Party but they did not even get one seat at the last election).

I have serious questions as to the moral framework provided by this "utterly infallible, 100% correct" book. I think it's at best dubious, and at worst brutal, violent, and even - "wrong" - by todays moral standards. It may have worked when near martial law was required, and religion may have been what caused humans to pull together enough to form societies etc but I think there is much in it that cannot be defended now.

How are these websites slanderous? They are merely making people aware of the parts of the bible you don't hear about in church. I know at boarding school I was forced to go to 3 hours a week, every week - and I never heard about any of them. Nor were they touched upon in the "bible study" classes I was forced to attend. Sure the ones I've indicated so far have been because they're violent - let's even things out, some of the ones here are funny (albeit in a somewhat twisted way): http://www.churchhopping.com/ten-verses-never-preached-on/

I know there's now this idea that the only way to understand the bible is through extensive studying and interpretation, but that doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me. Obviously there's this idea of context, but that only partially seems to explain it. I just think if it was genuinely inspired by a divine, all knowing, being they would have come up with something rather better - than 2000 years later would not seem tantamount to a horror story.

Bible student said...

@AW

In the New King James Version at Luke 4:43
Jesus said “I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also, because for this purpose I have been sent.”

Matthew 5:17a says “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. (He came to “preach the kingdom”.)


Matthew 5:17b says I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.

The risen Christ said at Luke 24:44, 45 “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.”

Matthew 5:18 For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.

So when was the Law fulfilled?

Galatians 3:13 says: Christ has redeemed us out of the curse of the law, having become a curse for us, (for it is written, Cursed [is] every one hanged upon a tree,)

It was fulfilled when Christ died without breaking the law. Fulfilling every prophesy in the O.T.

Matthew 5:19 Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

There was nothing wrong with the O.T. and Jesus was surely not there to upset their government system.

Matthew 5:20 For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven."

Being the established religious leaders of the day and general bad example of the day, he says don’t follow their lead in worship.

AW, if you copied Tom’s homework you saw my first objection to those that say the law is not dead:

Where is this law being enforced and by what government?

How about what replaced it? The "Law of Christ" (Galatians 6:2)

Bible student said...

@kitty

The only way to learn something new is to be teachable. The bible is broken down into ideas. Black and white, letters on a page.

I love the story of the man who asked Jesus about the Law and Jesus answered, “How do you read?” Meaning what do you know already?

You can talk yourself out of anything. I’ve noticed that you can read and spell and type and string words together into coherent sentences and paragraphs.

If your teacher(s) told you that could not possibly do these things, and you believed them, where would you be.

Ilja complained that his Bible was written wrong. I said get a better Bible. You complained that years of Bible study couldn’t make you learn. Get a better teacher.

The ruling class of Jesus day called Peter and John unlettered and ordinary. (Acts 4:13) In other words uneducated simpletons. I’m glad to have gotten out of High School. The children at the bible study get it!

Or maybe you just can’t get by that prejudice.

Atheistwager said...

@Bible Student
Your answer is about as clear as mud. Tom provided very specific verses of the Bible that CLEARLY state Mosaic Law still applies. You point to verses of the Bible that CLEARLY state it doesn't. How are we supposed to know which is correct? How can they both be right?

If I were picking and chosing, I would pick the portion that says Mosaic Law doesn't apply because I like bacon cheeseburgers.

Ilja said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ilja said...

(had to delete the previous comment to fix an unfortunate typo)

I really like this quote:

“Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”

Does it say, that whoever breaks the law (on purpose), and teaches others to do the same (as in “false prophet”), still gets a seat in heaven? I can’t care less if i’m called “great” or “least” there, as long as i can do whatever i want and still get in. That’s a deal.

@ Bible student

I didn’t complain about anything, Please don’t put words into my mouth i didn’t say. If my bible is wrong, what makes you sure that yours is right? Remember, English is not the language the bible was originally written in, and before you go into linguistics of your or my translation, and which one has the correct words of god, you should better get yourself a Hebrew original and a skilled interpreter who knows the ins and outs of the language.

And just because i stumbled upon it again yesterday, here’s the famous “Flying Spaghetti Monster” manifesto: http://www.venganza.org/about/open-letter/. So if i cannot believe this, why should i believe in the bible, which is supposed to be the one and only truth because it itself states it is? It boils down a proof that can be found in the outside world/reality. And, my friend , you still didn’t name me an experiment that can only be explained by divine intervention.

@ kitty

Thanks for this:

Ezekiel 16:17 NIV:
You also took the fine jewelry I gave you, the jewelry made of my gold and silver, and you made for yourself male idols and engaged in prostitution with them.
Comments: What did she do with her gold and silver idols?

Yes, i know what i just said about linguistics, but that’s just hilarious.

kitty said...

@BS

I didn't complain that years of bible study didn't make me learn - I said that years of having the bible inflicted on me and yet none of the verses which seem so morally dubious were mentioned.

So even the nice, watered down version of christianity remained fundamentally unconvincing to me.

As for "get a better teacher", I chose "get some better books" instead.

Of course your children get it. Young children are programmed to believe pretty much anything you tell them. Give me a couple of hours and I could probably convince a child that it was in fact an alien/monkey/hippo/marmot that had just been temporarily displaced from it's real body.

I wouldn't do that though, because it would be cruel.

kitty said...

@Ilja

Rarrr! Did you hear about the kid who go suspended from school for wearing full pirate regalia - as expected by the flying spaghetti monster? Religious discrimination! It's shocking! ;-)

Bible student said...
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Bible student said...
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Bible student said...

(two typos)

@AW

I like cheeseburgers too. I’m afraid it’s only CLEAR to you. Please point to the passage that has you convinced. To me, fulfilling the prophecy and ending the Law are two different things.

My lawyer friend, Paul, explains better at Hebrews 10:1, “For the Law, since it has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the very form of things, can never, by the same sacrifices which they offer continually year by year, make perfect those who draw near.” (New American Standard Bible)

Once the “good things” (Jesus and his covenant) arrived, the law was unnecessary.
Paul point to animal sacrifices that were no longer required.


@ Ilja

Careful what you think, this may be another “hate your parents” quote. Those in called them least. Doesn’t say the least was in. Remember, the book is perfect. If it doesn’t make sense, read again.

You let us know that your Bible said that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart.

To repeat my previous post:
“I checked, my Bible says “let Pharaoh’s heart become obstinate” (or unresponsive) at Exodus 7:3; 8:15; 9:12; 10:1; 11:10 and Romans 9:18.

I’ve found that though not a science book, the science mentioned in the Bible, is right on.
When you said that your Bible called a bat, a bird:
Quiz answer #3:
You need a better Bible, mine counts bats “among the flying creatures”, not birds, at Leviticus 11:13.

Ilja said...“you should better get yourself a Hebrew original and a skilled interpreter who knows the ins and outs of the language.
I did. That’s why I study with these folks.

Come to think of it, Kitty asked how the websites were slanderous. Picking a Bible that’s not well translated to reference fits that accusation.

Thanks for the experiment reminder: resurrection.

kitty said...

@BS

"Remember, the book is perfect. If it doesn’t make sense, read again."

OK - serious question. How do you know this? Presumably, this is a judgement you make with your imperfect human reasoning.

I make the judgement that it isn't perfect with my imperfect human reasoning.

What do you have to back yours up up?

Here's my base case: you have said yourself that the verse on what to do with a woman who's been raped in the city has been superseded - it's been made obsolete by whichever quote - free choice.

Perfect - complete; absolute
http://www.askoxford.com/concise_oed/perfect?view=uk

Absolute - not qualified or diminished in any way
http://www.askoxford.com/concise_oed/absolute?view=uk

Now obviously I only have my imperfect, human reasoning to go on - but I'd make that an imperfection ;-)


As a side issue, I don't think a disputed event which "occurred" 2000 years ago counts as an experiment.

Ilja said...

@ Bible student:

So the passage that raised in me the first doubts about the moral values taught by the bible might be an incorrect translation. I’m fine with that, now i live a life where all my actions are justified by murky, subjective things like my own judgement, conscience and gut feeling, but i don’t need to consult the bible every time a have to make a decision, and can live with the consequences of my choices. I am free. Why should i want to even think about going back? And who’s to say i’m wrong (fictional characters don’t count until proven to be real, a photograph will suffice. Same for fictional threats about fire and brimstone, until two eye witness reports are provided)?

An experiment is something you can perform anytime and in any place, and get reproducible results. The value of experiments is their ability to present anyone a result they can verify for themselves, regardless of their beliefs. You throw a stone up, and it falls back to the ground. Anywhere on earth, at any time, there for anyone to try for themselves. Objective.

I assume, that the act of resurrection you are talking about is the one of Christ reported in NT? And what is your proof, that it really did take place, other than that it’s reported in a book you believe to be true? In how far is it reproducible? Would you mind to volunteer?

kitty said...

I've discovered an explanation for the "evolutionists believe" thing:

http://video.google.co.uk/videoplay?docid=2783773121996810582&q=creation+vs+evolution

Warning: this is seriously depressing :-s

Ilja said...
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Ilja said...

(sorry, i thought to have made an embarrassing typo yet again, but then realized that it was copy-and-pasted from one of the “sources”. it’s marked [sic])

More on the topic "Science as explained in the bible". Here’s a selection of examples taken from christian and creationist websites, so the odds of them picking the passages fitting worst are quite low.

The stars are too great in number to count:
And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be. (Genesis 15:5)

Comment: Not being able to count something isn’t really a scientific achievement, isn’t?

My favorite:
The Earth rotates:
I tell you, in that night there shall be two [men] in one bed;
the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left.
Two [women] shall be grinding together;
the one shall be taken, and the other left.
Two [men] shall be in the field;
the one shall be taken, and the other left.
Luke 17:34-36

Comment: A precise statement, straight to the point. Still confused? Read the in-depth analysis here.

Almost infinite extent of the sidereal universe:
For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:9>

Comment: My house is bigger than your house, my car can jump higher that your car. Sorry for being silly, but this is how the quote sounds to me. Is there anywhere in the bible a single quote mentioning the idea of planets, or stars being actual bodies instead of dots painted on the “expanse” (=sky)? So why this talk about “almost infinite extent of the sidereal universe”?

Law of conservation of mass and energy (a.k.a the first law of thermodynamics)
But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. (II Peter 3:7)

Comment: Science can back up the first law of thermodynamics, and god just makes a bold statement and then hides from everyone. Typical.

Paramount importance of blood in life processes
For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul. (Leviticus 17:11)

Comment: 100% sacrificed animals died after their throat was slit. So they did after being stabbed into the chest. So did the infidels we’ve killed in the name of god, after staining everything with their blood. All cases have a blood leak in common. Conclusion: blood is important for life processes.

Light travels in a path, darkness does not:
Where [is] the way [where] light dwelleth? and [as for] darkness, where [is] the place thereof, (Job 38:19)

Comment: So that’s the reason why nobody has ever managed to build an inverse flashlight, that would spread darkness. I see…

The most ironic one:
Anthropic Principal [sic] (!!!)
For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I [am] the LORD; and [there is] none else. (Isaiah 45:18)

Comment: The anthropic principle is THE argument against any kind of intelligent design, and any other idea that we are here for a reason. In short, it states, that we are here because the it just happened, regardless of how low the odds are, otherwise we would obviously not be here.

The most funny one:
Dinosaurs and humans existed at the same time
Behold now behemoth, which I made with thee; he eateth grass as an ox.
Lo now, his strength [is] in his loins, and his force [is] in the navel of his belly.
He moveth his tail like a cedar: the sinews of his stones are wrapped together.
(Job 40:15-17)

Comment: From the website: “Modern science is still playing catch-up to the Bible on this issue. The verses in Genesis establish the fact that dinosaurs and man were created on the same day (the 6th day of creation). The verses in Job describe a living creature Job was familiar with” (emphasis mine). Clearly, this is about dinosaurs. Bible as precise as we know it. And the practice of establishing facts by writing down dubious statements is also how science works … not.

and many others

Comment: They’ve surely saved the best for last.

Bible student said...

@ Ilja

Just saw your latest post as I was finished with mine.

Are we applying “The book is perfect. If it doesn’t make sense, read again," or is it Quiz Answers at Slanderous Websites again?

Here’s the answer to previous posts:

@kitty

I understand American English better. The American Heritage Dictionary defines:
per·fect adj. 1. Lacking nothing essential to the whole; complete of its nature or kind. 2. Being without defect or blemish. 3. Thoroughly skilled or talented in a certain field or area; proficient. 4. Completely suited for a particular purpose or situation. 5. Complete; thorough; utter. 6. Pure; undiluted; unmixed.

No doubt, Mosaic law is obsolete, defined:
ob·so·lete adj. 1. No longer in use. 2. Outmoded in design, style, or construction.

God’s law for the nation of Israel, (local law) was improved on, from our viewpoint. In it’s place was law that governed Christians worldwide.

I found a paragraph, in my research, that tells me that the Bible is even better than I thought.

“The Bible is written in such a way that those who are not truly seeking God or who have no genuine faith in God, are induced to ‘show their true colors.’ It leaves those not wanting to serve God a ‘way out,’ an excuse to find fault, if this is their desire. The bible fulfills a purpose of God in causing persons, both proud ones and humble ones, to reveal what is in their hearts.”

James 4:8 says Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. The Bible is an invitation.

@ Ilja

Proof of the resurrection is in the 500 folks that Jesus appeared to after his death, in my book. The first century historian Flavius Josephus also included it in his account. Sorry, no photographs are available.

I have volunteered for the “resurrection experiment” with great confidence.

I’m not the first. Abraham (grandfather of Israel), had faith that God would resurrect his son. He based such faith on God’s promise: “through Isaac your descendants shall be named” (Genesis 21:12) When God told Abraham to sacrifice him, he complied. If God could give a son to the old, barren couple, he surely had the means to keep his promise. Many more have volunteered since.

You have to stick around to find out the result of this "experiment."

If that doesn’t float your boat, let’s try Romans 1:20. Speaking of God, Paul wrote, “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made,” (New American Standard Bible)

So Revelation 4:11 says, “Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created. (New American Standard Bible)

That would pretty much cover all experiments.
Remember, “the truth will set you free.” --John 8:32b (Amplified Bible)

Ilja said...

@ BS
“Are we applying ‘The book is perfect. If it doesn’t make sense, read again,’ or is it Quiz Answers at Slanderous Websites again?”

The quotes are from the bible and they won’t get better from reading them again. They are the best attempt of groups of people putting word of bible above everything (christians and creationists) to sneak modern knowledge about the world into ancient writings. If they don’t make sense as “scientific foreknowledge”, one more reason why science and bible don’t mix well.

Your interpretation of “experiment” differs from mine. What i want you to tell me is how do i summon a proof of gods existence that’s independent from belief 1) in gods existence and 2) in the bible being true because it says it is. If we are dealing with the entity that created the world and operates, or at least observes, it at this very moment, the almighty creator, the most powerful, knowledgeable and just fantastic being by all means, shouldn’t it be somehow more tangible? Where is it? What can i do to remove all doubt?

To give you a clearer idea of what i mean: If i want to assure myself that elephants exist in real life and not just in books (could be very well done forgeries depicting a fictional creature), i’d go where they live (e.g. Africa or a zoo) and once i see one, all doubt is removed – it’s real. Or, if i want to test the phenomenon of gravity, i’ll throw a stone and observe it falling back 100% of the time – I’m convinced beyond doubt.

Now, the same with god, please.

Bible student said...

@ Ilja

I’m glad I don’t study with the folks that produced those websites. From the excerpts you’ve provide, I’m sure I wouldn’t go back a second time. You should stay away too, they are very misleading.

I’ve come across most of these scriptures in my studies, and enjoy knowing what they mean.

You asked, “ What can i do to remove all doubt?”

What I would suggest, if you genuinely interested in knowing, is getting to know your Bible, as I have.

P.S. Elephants fly.

Ilja said...

Conclusion: god is a fictional character until the opposite is proven, ergo statements of the type “god + verb” are fictional, since actions of a fictional character are also fictional. The bible is a nice collection of stories about people who thought that their lives were influenced by a fictional character due to the lack of better understanding of nature and chance. If somebody decides to follow the rules given there, it’s an act of free will, nobody can stop him, but that doesn’t make god anymore real. Case closed. Any objections?

Bible student said...

We'll see.

Miracle said...

@ilja

Great find with those absurd contextless verses substituting as proof for scientific finds. You should look into Bible Codes. It actually says something about Spiderman 3.

So I apologize for all the Christian idiots who give Jesus a bad name. There are so many quacks out there that Jesus' message has been distorted. I don't think there is any excuse for them.

McSlick said...

Wow! You are such a strong and determined man! Did you ever think to thank God for what He gave you to achieve ALL the things you have? Do you only thank yourself? Wow! Now that's arrogance.

Michael Slaught
(Believer in God and prayer)