<em>Well, I have just read your first chapter, or second if you consider that prologue one, and I have to say, I am quite impressed. I'm assuming you had to go through many painstakingly detailed readings to come up with this conclusion, but I saw some things that didn't quite meet up to standards.</em>
You're going to have to be a bit more clear here. I'm not sure which conclusion you're referring to (though I'm going to assume atheism?) nor to whose standards you're measuring this by.
<em> You see, I am a Christian and before you sigh in disgust and exit out of this window, I ask you to hear me out.</em>
How about before you judge my actions you wait for me to do them, yes? What on earth would make you think I'd "sigh in disgust"? Because I'm not a Christian doesn't mean I despise Christians.
<em> Now, with your whole 70 AD fulfillment, I want to ask why you believe that.</em>
I don't. I believe, however, that it is what the writers were referring to. To clarify, I don't think there were any prophecies fulfilled in the Bible -- I believe the authors retroactively wrote about events that had already gone by.
<em> The Bible says that the earth will have tremors "the birth pains" in the end times, that "nation will rise against nation" and "daughter against mother and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law" and that the stars will fall out of the sky and the moon will turn red. I don't know about you, but I don't recall any of that happening.</em>
The Old Testament uses the same kind of language in reference to nations conquering other nations. It's symbolic. And an understanding of the kind of descriptive language the ancient Hebrews used would definitely help you out with your interpretation. The people in the first century -- to whom Revelation was written -- would not have interpreted any of that literally. Our modern generations do because we often lack some of the key knowledge necessary to understanding ancient texts.
I recommend that you read some stuff by Christopher Black on this site. He published two essays on the topic, and they're very informative and utilize scriptures. I don't really have the time right now to go and dig up all my old research. I haven't debated preterism since becoming an atheist, and that was... gosh. Maybe three or four years ago.
<em> Now, I agree with you on some part about the pastor thing, that we preach whatever we're told, but I also have an inquisitive mind and I ask far too many questions, which usually annoys people, but I find it imperative to get the answer. </em>
That's great. I'm glad you are inquisitive. This will serve you well in life. However, that doesn't contradict my point. I never claimed to be writing about all Christians.
<em>Thus, I question my youth pastor and my dad (he has read the Bible about seven or eight times) many questions and I get answers. I am in fact reading the whole New Testament and mean to read the Torah and the rest of the Old Testament later. Most kids, mind you they're usually young and aren't bright enough to really question, don't read the Bible through and through, like you said.</em>
Oh, I'm not just talking about kids. My mother, father, grandmother, and basically every other Christian adult I know have all never read the Bible straight through. Studies have been done on this. Christians score lower than atheists, Jews, and Mormons (in that order) on biblical knowledge.
IN GENERAL. Just so we're clear on that. Some Christians, obviously, will score higher, just as some atheists will score lower.
<em> However, in the school I went to (a private Christian school) we read and memorized verses every single week since kindergarten. At this point, most people roll their eyes and say "That explains everything, you going to a private school" but I think it just gives me a view on things.</em>
I went to a private Christian school myself. I'm quite aware of the verse memorization, but that isn't what I'm talking about at all. Anyone can memorize a verse. I would guess that most Christians know at least a few verses by heart. Those same Christians, however, still have not read the Bible in its entirety. They're not really big on context.
<em> My seventh and eighth grade teacher (he taught both grades) made me think. He read us books and asked us questions. He pushed us to work harder and showed us videos about varying subjects. So, I would like to think I've accumulated something from him.</em>
Because I'm curious, what were these videos about?
<em> Moving on now… I'm confused by how you get so heated up about the "Lion and the Lamb". No, it isn't a verse. Isaiah 11:6 says that the wolf will lie down with the lamb and so on, but we generalize that the lion will not kill or chase a lamb. It's easier to say to people "When Jesus comes back, everything will be at peace. Even lions will lie next to lambs." instead of "When Jesus comes back, everything will be at peace. Even wolves will lie next to lambs." No, if you're using wolves, you'll say sheep.</em>
Whoa, whoa, whoa. It's easier to say? Is that really the excuse you're going for? Because the only reason it sounds more natural is because people have been saying it for so long. Also, I made it clear why I was "heated" in my very first chapter. The people who say this actually believe that the BIBLE says that the lion will lie down with the lamb. They think this is an actual verse -- not just someone's reinterpretation of that verse. Hell, some of them actually think the verse mentions Jesus (it doesn't). The point is, they will insist up and down that it's a verse, and when you point out to them that it isn't, they'll basically say what you're saying: "The basic idea is still there." But as I said in the chapter, that isn't the point. The point is that they never actually read that verse, but they were so sure they were correct about it. Which should lead one to wonder... What else might they be incorrect about?
<em>But there is a message in that verse that pertains to the lion and the lamb, and if you search deeper or even ask someone who knows the Bible well (no I'm not saying go to the pastor if you feel he's that evil), then you'll find all of this out.</em>
I'm quite aware of the message behind that verse. I know the Bible pretty well myself. I just don't agree with most Christian interpretations as to what the author actually intended the message to be. But I don't think pastors are evil. I never implied this. You seem to be very quick to judge me based only on the fact that I'm an atheist who disagrees with Christianity.
<em> Next we come to "test everything". I love experimenting, my dad loves inventing and experimenting with me. We have had long debates on the whole meaning on life, if the universe is that big, and even if there are aliens and if so how they would have come to be. I absolutely think testing is essential and I beg you to test as well.</em>
I do test. It's why I'm an atheist. If there is a God, though, she/he is ultimately untestable.
<em> I'm not saying that this is the main reason, but I have noticed that some people are upset at you. It's not my business, but I've noticed a pattern of irritation and aggravation with atheists.</em>
People are upset with me because a single girl lied to them. As for this "pattern," yes, atheists are often very aggressive. There's a simple reason for this: We're constantly on the defensive. As the title of my book suggests, we're a very small minority. Also, we are one of the most distrusted minorities -- at least here in America, where surveys have found that people trust Muslims over atheists. Often all an atheist has to do is mention that they don't believe in God, and instantly they're judged and accused and looked at sideways. People assume we must be immoral. Hell, you've already done it to me. You assume that because I'm an atheist, I must therefore be a judgmental b***h who hates Christians and thinks that pastors are evil. So are atheists often quick to become angry? Yes, but that anger is born of defensiveness caused by constantly being crushed by the religious.
<em>For some reason, the ones I know go off on a tangent, even if I say I had no means of making them angry.</em>
Give me an example of what you said and their response. I've noticed that a lot of Christians can be very offensive without meaning to be.
<em> Also, if you are an atheist, which means you don't believe in God, then what DO you believe in?</em>
Plenty of things. Though I guess that might depend on what you mean by "belief."
<em> I think you're too smart for the whole "Big Bang" theory, that is just that: a theory. But, Creation is as well.</em>
No and no. For more on a scientific theory, I recommend you read my third chapter "Evolution: Just a Theory?" I refer to evolution and not the Big Bang, obviously, but the definition of theory still applies and creationism is in no way a scientific theory (this will make sense if you read the chapter).
<em>So, I come back to my point. If you had tested everything, would you have come to the same answer that you did when you became an atheist???</em>
Depends on what you mean by testing. Obviously I don't have the means to test every single thing in the world. I am not a scientist. I am limited by my education and my socioeconomic status. But I've tested the Bible (and the Qur'an), and I've tested the idea of God(s) in a more abstract way through some armchair philosophical thinking and by talking to people and reading various accounts. I've tested what I can concerning evolution and the Big Bang theory by reading up on the known facts. So. I think I've taken my testing as far as I possibly could concerning the existence of a God, and I'm still an atheist. Of course, God is not falsifiable, meaning I can't actually rule his existence as an impossibility. But at the same time, you can't rule out the idea that there is no god as an impossibility either. This is what happens with non-falsifiable ideas.
<em>There are signs everywhere of Creation and God's action in our lives. </em>
This is called confirmation bias. I see the same world you do. I don't see signs of a designer. Not at all. I used to -- when I was a Christian. But that was because I selectively chose information that confirmed my bias. Confirmation bias. Now that I've looked at both sides of the story, I've found that this universe seems to show more of a lack of design than anything else.
<em>Archaeologists have found layers of dirt and fossils in action (giving birth, eating other animals and the like) that signified a great flood,</em>
You can't leap from "an animal died while giving birth" to "there must have been a global flood." A quick, natural disaster, yes (volcanic eruption, maybe), but not a global flood.
<em> they have found a human footprint on top of a dinosaur's signifying that evolution can't exist,</em>
Here's an article that talks about that: http://harvardpress.typepad.com/hup_publicity/2008/10/when-we-read-th.html
Here's one by a creationist who also thinks those footprints aren't human at all: http://www.angelfire.com/mi/dinosaurs/paluxy.html
<em> they've found a portion of ground in the Red Sea that has been raised for reasons unknown showing that God could have possibly have moved the waters.</em>
I have never heard of this. You'll have to give me a source.
<em> I could go on, but I know someone who just says my proof is obsolete or plain made up. </em>
Has it occurred to you that maybe it is?
<em>I do not want to delve into your past history of your Christian school because I have no idea how these things occurred or who was there, so I cannot offer anything for or against it. I also will not get into the polygamy paragraph, because I am not as well acquainted with that part of the Bible, since I am reading the New Testament as of the moment. But what irks me is your "omni-benevolent God" part. God only asked for Abraham's son, Isaac, to test Abraham.</em>
Wait, wait. I don't think I mentioned Abraham at all. I mean, it is a ridiculous story when you take into account the idea that God is supposed to be omniscient (thus rendering the "test" pointless), but that wasn't what I was referring to when I talked about God ordering the deaths of children.
<em>God provided a ram in the brush to sacrifice instead. As for the other ordered deaths, I would like you to point out where the Bible refers to this precisely.</em>
Deuteronomy 13:12-15 "If you hear it said about one of the towns the Lord your God is giving you to live in that troublemakers have arisen among you and have led the people of their town astray, saying, 'Let us go and worship other gods' (gods you have not known), then you must inquire, probe and investigate it thoroughly. And if it is true and it has been proved that this detestable thing has been done among you, you must certainly put to the sword all who live in that town. You must destroy it completely, both its people and its livestock."
This above verse would include children.
Isaiah 14:20-21 "Let the offspring of the wicked never be mentioned again. Prepare a place to slaughter his children for the sins of their ancestors."
Hosea 9:16 "Ephraim is blighted, their root is withered, they yield no fruit. Even if they bear children, I will slay their cherished offspring."
Ezekiel 9:5-6 "As I listened, he said to the others, 'Follow him through the city and kill, without showing pity or compassion. Slaughter the old men, the young men and women, the mothers and children, but do not touch anyone who has the mark. Begin at my sanctuary.' So they began with the old men who were in front of the temple."
Isaiah 13:15-18 "Anyone who is captured will be run through with a sword. Their little children will be dashed to death right before their eyes. Their homes will be sacked and their wives raped by the attacking hordes. For I will stir up the Medes against Babylon, and no amount of silver or gold will buy them off. The attacking armies will shoot down the young people with arrows. They will have no mercy on helpless babies and will show no compassion for the children."
And there are probably others, but I think these should suffice.
<em>And as we come to the end of the chapter, I get slightly angry again. The Bible was written by man, yes, but did you at all know that the Holy Spirit was speaking through the men? That it was God using the men, so that there would be no mistakes?</em>
I know that is what some Christians believe, but I certainly don't think it's true. The mistakes, ya know, tell me otherwise. And why should this make you angry? Do I not have just as much of a right to my opinion as you do? If the fact that I disagree that the Bible is error free makes you angry, the problem isn't my disagreement. It's your reaction to my disagreement.
<em> However, the Bible has survived many generations, so there might be mistakes. But, if you think that, maybe you should read the translation closest to Hebrew, or learn Hebrew yourself if you think it's so mistaken.</em>
Here's the thing: if God exists, I shouldn't have to learn Hebrew just to understand the Bible in its purest form. Couldn't God update the Bible himself? Inspire new people and write a new, error free version? Couldn't he lead me to a true understanding? But he doesn't. Not for anyone. The Bible is the most debated text to ever exist. Every Christian who has ever lived has disagreed with other Christians' interpretation of the Bible. Even when those Christians are reading it in its original language.
Which wouldn't help, by the way. No original copies exist.
Also, I make it a habit to find out what the text meant in the original culture in which it was written. Just so we're clear on that.
<em>So I come upon your question of "What did Jesus actually sacrifice?" and "Did Jesus really pay the price of sin if the price of sin is some kind of eternal punishment?" If you had read the Bible, you would have seen.</em>
I've read the Bible all the way through twice (read parts of it dozens upon dozens of times) and I'm working my way through it again. But thanks anyway for the implication that I haven't read it. That's always nice.
<em> Jesus sacrificed Himself.</em>
No, he didn't. Read my fifth chapter "Jesus' Sacrifice and the Price of Sin."
<em> I'm not satisfied with this answer, so I'll divulge more. Jesus sacrificed being away from God, being separated from His very existence for three days. He literally died, since death is the separation from God. He sacrificed basically being Himself.</em>
And... Jesus regained his immortality and Godhood three days later. Nothing was truly sacrificed because nothing was truly lost.
<em> And sin's punishment is not eternal punishment. It's death.</em>
And death isn't eternal... how?
<em> Death is separation from God. The only way to be rid of sin is if a perfect and blameless sacrifice is offered. Hence Jesus. When we sin, and if we do not accept Jesus, we will be eternally condemned, but in Romans it says that the wages of sin is death. Now, Jesus took the punishment on His shoulders. He was dead until God resurrected Him.</em>
Read my fifth chapter. It'll tell you a lot about what I feel about this subject.
<em> In retrospect, I apologize if I am harsh or ridiculously rude, but I just could not sit by when you have these facts out as if they are truth when they do have faults.</em>
And yet you haven't really found one yet. You've just told me I'm wrong but haven't actually refuted my points. You tried to refute a couple of off-hand points that I didn't really get into because they weren't the topic of the chapter, but if you read the other chapters, you'd see that I backed up some of those points later.
<em> Must be since humans make mistakes.</em>
Just like the authors of the Bible, eh? And you?
<em> I have not read the rest of your chapters, and I think I will read them later, but not now. So, you can get angry, you can spit in my face and post as many rude comments, but I just thought that I should lay this down. </em>
...and, again, this is why atheists are often so angry.
· Thu Nov 15, 2012 @ 07:43pm · 0 Comments