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tigersgrowl1093
12 Apr 2011, 16:28
Please, take no offense to these. I am truly curious how you approach these. I am trying to figure out my beliefs, but I struggle the most with the fulfilled prophecies and history in the Bible.

The thing I struggle the most with: How did the men who wrote the Bible do it with such unity? I mean, the Bible all fits together (or so it seems). Prophecies matched up with the other writers and History.

I'm just really struggling. I want to believe in God, but so many things I can't agree with. How can a loving God do some of the things he did? But then I get stuck on the prophecies and history in the Bible.

Once again, I'm not meaning any offense and I would appreciate no snarky comments. I am truly asking.

Thanks.

Crimson Horizons
12 Apr 2011, 16:36
So, are you implying that all non-christians are atheists? Or are simply asking strictly for the opinions of atheists? I realise that this thread is posted in the atheist section, but your questions could apply to those of us who follow gods other than your own just as easily as those who follow no gods at all.

tigersgrowl1093
12 Apr 2011, 16:41
So, are you implying that all non-christians are atheists? Or are simply asking strictly for the opinions of atheists? I realise that this thread is posted in the atheist section, but your questions could apply to those of us who follow gods other than your own just as easily as those who follow no gods at all.

No, I'm sorry, you're correct.

I wasn't sure where to put it so I figured I'd put it here and just titled it that way since it was in this section.

I apologize.

ETA: Changed the title :)

magusphredde
12 Apr 2011, 16:45
Simple ...


If you can't bring yourself to believe in the Judeo-Christian realm of religion then don't ...


I don't ...

Crimson Horizons
12 Apr 2011, 17:24
Understood. No offense taken.



The thing I struggle the most with: How did the men who wrote the Bible do it with such unity? I mean, the Bible all fits together (or so it seems). Prophecies matched up with the other writers and History.


The first thing I notice when dealing with the bible is actually its lack of unity. How many different versions of the bible exist? And I'm not talking about translations, but distinct versions. Off the top of my head there is the Roman Catholic, the Greek Orthodox, the Russian Orthodox, the Gregorian and the Anglican. That list is nowhere near complete, and it is (more or less) just different versions of the new testament. The old testament, if lacking that much current diversity, did have its own share of fluidity on its path to canonisation. Look to the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls as an example and you'll see what I mean.



I'm just really struggling. I want to believe in God, but so many things I can't agree with. How can a loving God do some of the things he did? But then I get stuck on the prophecies and history in the Bible.


To answer this in any meaningful fashion, I need to know which history and prophecy fulfillment you're referring to.

Roknrol
12 Apr 2011, 17:35
Edit: I also echo Crimson's comment - Pagan does NOT = Atheism. There are different belief structures around the world, and each of them contains their own values and pitfalls. To clarify the difference here I'll try to make this brief (and please, I know there are exceptions to everything - for the peanut gallery, only correct me where I'm flat-out WRONG...semantics just make a mess out of stuff like this) :

Christians, Muslims, Jews, Mormons, Jehovas Witnesses, Catholics, and dozens of other Abrahamic religions all came from the same roots, essentially believing in one, all-powerful God.

Pagan religions *may* believe in one all-powerful God, but frequently they believe in many Gods, or at the very least many different aspects of one God. Usually (although not always), Pagan Gods tend to not claim the same kind of "all-powerful deity" as the Abrahamic religions claim about their God.

Agnostics - Tend to believe that there is or are (a) God(s), but they don't put much more thought into it than that - there's "someone", but I don't know how to reach them. Sometimes it's because they just don't care, and sometimes it's because they DO care, but they get so bogged down in religious bullshit that it's not worth it to them to continue seeking.

Atheists (such as myself) - Believe that there is/are NO God(s), and generally say that they would be willing to believe if there were any evidence to suggest that God exists. Of course, most Atheists that say that are full of shit - they wouldn't know proof if they were nailed to a cross with it. Personally? I'm willing to listen, but the burden of proof is on the claimant ;)


Please, take no offense to these. I am truly curious how you approach these. I am trying to figure out my beliefs, but I struggle the most with the fulfilled prophecies and history in the Bible.As long as I'm not treated like an idiot, I won't be offended ;)


The thing I struggle the most with: How did the men who wrote the Bible do it with such unity? I mean, the Bible all fits together (or so it seems). Prophecies matched up with the other writers and History. They didn't. It became "unified" I believe in the at the Council of Trent (IIRC - I could be wrong) wherein they decided which scriptures should be put in the Bible and which ones shouldn't. The authors - of which there are many - are mostly unknown and the majority of the texts are said to have been written by _______ just because it sounds like something they would have written. To put that in perspective, that would be like taking something that Bono says and attributing it to John Lennon because that's the sort of thing he may have said. For me, that doesn't carry much weight - we basically have thousands of texts on potentially a variety of topics where the bits that we read were handpicked because they "fit" with the rest of the story. That's editorialising God (if the Christians are correct), which still puts the whole belief system into question for me.


I'm just really struggling. I want to believe in God, but so many things I can't agree with. How can a loving God do some of the things he did? But then I get stuck on the prophecies and history in the Bible. Well, there are a few points that I can make on this. Firstly: The "prophecies" in the Bible weren't all that clear when they were prophesied, and also could have been "wedged" to fit in pretty much anywhere. Example? Back when I was in Grade School the Cold War was in full swing, and I couldn't go a single month without *someone* approaching me to tell me all about Revelation and how it applies to the Cold War - the world is going to end soon! But the reality is that Russia went broke, became a Democracy, and faded from public view...no longer a threat, and no longer fitting the prophecy. Of course, there are hundreds of thousands of ways to interpret what someone else dreamed. And we also all know what it's like to remember dreams - pieces are missing, the logic is lost, and oftentimes making heads or tails of them is nigh on impossible.

Also, I have yet to see ANY non-vague prophesy come true where the prediction did not follow the event.

As far as the loving God thing goes, the primary question I'd ask if God was good, and if God grants miracles (as He is claimed to be, and claimed to do), why does God NEVER heal amputees? You hear tons of people about "God cured my cancer (fuck you doctors!)", but I have yet to hear one single verifiable story about someone that has regrown a limb overnight. THAT would be a miracle. The rest of it is just guesswork. God may only help some of the people, but apparently he absolutely despises amputees.


Once again, I'm not meaning any offense and I would appreciate no snarky comments. I am truly asking.

Thanks.
No sweat man - I try to keep my shit together until I'm insulted ;) Until then, consider it a given that I usually don't *intend* offense (and it's usually pretty obvious when I do :p )

---------- Post added at 01:35 AM ---------- Previous post was at 01:31 AM ----------


The first thing I notice when dealing with the bible is actually its lack of unity. How many different versions of the bible exist? And I'm not talking about translations, but distinct versions. Off the top of my head there is the Roman Catholic, the Greek Orthodox, the Russian Orthodox, the Gregorian and the Anglican. That list is nowhere near complete, and it is (more or less) just different versions of the new testament. The old testament, if lacking that much current diversity, did have its own share of fluidity on its path to canonisation. Look to the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls as an example and you'll see what I mean.

Hell, you don't even have to go that far - there are two sets of 10 Commandments given in the Bible, one by Jesus. Either Jesus doesn't know the 10 Commandments, or the Jews got it wrong to begin with...there isn't any clarification in the Bible as to which set to follow ;)

As I said above, at least for me, the bottom line is that if I'm not going to take someone's word for something just because they say it's true, why should my behaviour change just because other people believe it too? Or because it's been believed for 2000 years? I don't know those authors any better than I know any of the folks that I've never talked to around the globe...just because they got their stories in print, doesn't mean that they weren't making shit up :)

Dumuzi
12 Apr 2011, 17:48
Please, take no offense to these. I am truly curious how you approach these. I am trying to figure out my beliefs, but I struggle the most with the fulfilled prophecies and history in the Bible.

The thing I struggle the most with: How did the men who wrote the Bible do it with such unity? I mean, the Bible all fits together (or so it seems). Prophecies matched up with the other writers and History.

I'm just really struggling. I want to believe in God, but so many things I can't agree with. How can a loving God do some of the things he did? But then I get stuck on the prophecies and history in the Bible.

Once again, I'm not meaning any offense and I would appreciate no snarky comments. I am truly asking.

Thanks.

Very good questions. :)

You know, people often move away from God because of the Bible, as if it's got exclusive rights on the idea of God. And I have seen so many people struggle with what you're describing, and even more once they encounter the contradictions and things that just don't add up, only to have everything answered once they come to Islam and the Qur'an.

You' said something really interesting, 'How did the men who wrote the Bible...'. The Qur'an has only one author, we as Muslims claim it is God. And I firmly believe if you approach it with sincerity you'll reach the same conclusion. It contains challenges, falsification tests, prophecies, scientific facts and not a single contradiction.

All I'm saying is that you don't have to give up on worshiping God just because of a book that, as you've said it yourself, was written by men, and was corrupted by their hands. A pure speech from God does exist, or at least that's our claim, and what I mentioned above is our evidence for that claim. ;)

I'm sorry, if you only wanted Atheists to answer you, but the truth is I'm 99% Atheist. I don't believe in lots of gods out there. I don't believe in any of them, except that one ;)

Roknrol
12 Apr 2011, 17:54
Um, Dumuzi? Believing in just ONE God? Yeah...that doesn't make you 99% Atheist...that makes you 0% Atheist :p

Dumuzi
12 Apr 2011, 17:58
Um, Dumuzi? Believing in just ONE God? Yeah...that doesn't make you 99% Atheist...that makes you 0% Atheist :p

I was being a smarty pants!

The percentage was in relation to the number of 'gods' out there. :D

Sometimes I make the comment that Atheists are half Muslim. Cause what makes you a Muslim is to believe that "There is no god, except Allah", and Atheists only believe in half of that statement :-P

Caelia
12 Apr 2011, 18:12
Please, take no offense to these. I am truly curious how you approach these. I am trying to figure out my beliefs, but I struggle the most with the fulfilled prophecies and history in the Bible.

I have my coffee, so I won't bite :)



The thing I struggle the most with: How did the men who wrote the Bible do it with such unity? I mean, the Bible all fits together (or so it seems). Prophecies matched up with the other writers and History.


Historically, as mentioned by others, the Bible wasn't so consistent. Even now there are huge differences. Heck, even with a canonized version of any Bible there are massive inconsistencies in the accounts of Jesus in the gospels. I won't even touch the whole G-source issue.



I'm just really struggling. I want to believe in God, but so many things I can't agree with. How can a loving God do some of the things he did? But then I get stuck on the prophecies and history in the Bible.


I have to agree if you don't believe, you don't believe. There is nothing wrong with that at all. Heck, there are non-theist Christians out there.

I also suggest an episode of Moral Orel that really puts it into perspective. It's a spoof of the old David and Goliath cartoons, but it teaches lots of things. The particular episode in question addresses how God can be depicted with the attitudes He has in the Bible and overall why man should fear Him. Hilarity ensues, but Orel's straightened out by his pastor. The pastor sums it up with how God is neither loving nor angry as a default setting: He is just.

When I was Christian I got stuck on the prophecies too. As time wore on and I got to a place where I wasn't pressured into trying to believe one way or another I realized lots of those prophecies didn't really ring as prophecy to me. Lots of it mimics the personal struggles a person goes through in life.



Once again, I'm not meaning any offense and I would appreciate no snarky comments. I am truly asking.

Thanks.
One thing to consider: if there were no prophecies to worry about, what would you believe?

Hope I could help :)

Medusa
12 Apr 2011, 21:12
Wanting to believe in God and wanting to believe in the truth are two entirely different things. If you want to believe in God then just overlook all those other things. Until one day you can't. Then you end up here.

thalassa
13 Apr 2011, 05:48
Please, take no offense to these. I am truly curious how you approach these. I am trying to figure out my beliefs, but I struggle the most with the fulfilled prophecies and history in the Bible.

The thing I struggle the most with: How did the men who wrote the Bible do it with such unity? I mean, the Bible all fits together (or so it seems). Prophecies matched up with the other writers and History.

I'm pretty sure this has been mentioned (I haven't read other replies yet, but I'm willing to err towards that)...the Bible actually manages to contradict itself very well. I would recommend reading just about anything by New Testament scholar Bart Ehrman (Jesus Interrupted and Misquoting Jesus specifically) for a great illustration of the ways that the Bible is contradictory, and why most people don't catch it (because they read it piece by piece or "vertically" rather than "horizontally"). Granted, his work just pertains to the NT, but...there are plenty of issues with the OT as well...and that is without getting into the historical origins of God (for which I would recomment reading A History of God by Karen Armstrong.

I think reading more about the Bible in a historiocritcal methodolgy and the history of the Abrahamic religions is probably a good way to go. I'm not an atheist (much less a militant anti-religious one) and I don't belive in the Bible, but I also don't believe that Christianity is not valid as a path just because its not factually accurate or consistent.

B. de Corbin
13 Apr 2011, 06:34
Everybody has already answered your questions with the same answers I'd give, but let me throw out one more thing -

If you want to believe in God (or a god), why not go right to the source? Talk to God. If God doesn't answer, either he's not there, or not at home, or not taking messages, or doesn't want to talk to you. If that's the case, you'll have to figure things out on your own.

But if God answers, you'll have first hand information which comes direct from above, without the mucky business of the Bible and it's history getting in the way...

It's worth a shot.

When pagans worship, or perform a ceremony, direct contact with a diety is, at least sometimes, what they are going for.

tigersgrowl1093
22 May 2011, 07:51
Thank you everyone, I appreciate the replies and sorry I haven't answered sooner, I've been sick.

At the time I posted this, I was really struggling with wanting to believe, but I was having a hard time doing it. I was raised that way, I'm around that type of thinking all the time, and just thought it would be easier. I was really grasping for straws.

I appreciate everyone taking the time to answer and not bashing me :D

Roknrol
22 May 2011, 16:39
No sweat :) I hope you're feeling better!

Dark Dragon
31 Oct 2011, 00:04
Everybody has already answered your questions with the same answers I'd give, but let me throw out one more thing -

If you want to believe in God (or a god), why not go right to the source? Talk to God. If God doesn't answer, either he's not there, or not at home, or not taking messages, or doesn't want to talk to you. If that's the case, you'll have to figure things out on your own.

But if God answers, you'll have first hand information which comes direct from above, without the mucky business of the Bible and it's history getting in the way...

It's worth a shot.

When pagans worship, or perform a ceremony, direct contact with a diety is, at least sometimes, what they are going for.
I think this was well put took the word's out of my mouth

AuroraWinters
02 Nov 2011, 10:20
At the time I posted this, I was really struggling with wanting to believe, but I was having a hard time doing it. I was raised that way, I'm around that type of thinking all the time, and just thought it would be easier. I was really grasping for straws.


I don't think I can say much more here on the topic of the Bible and its origins than has already been said (I especially like the suggestion to check out Bart Ehrman - he's one of my favorite religious scholars).

Just wanted to say this is exactly how I felt. I was raised Christian and realized more and more that I just didn't believe it... I wanted to believe, so frikin' bad. But I just couldn't. Like B. de Corbin said, I tried talking to God all the time - never seemed to get an answer. So I was left on my own to conclude that forcing myself to "believe" when, deep-down I didn't, was just going to be harmful to my spiritual development. That doesn't mean that everything I've ever learned from Christianity is worthless to me now. On the contrary, being able to study religion in college without the veil of "I can't look at anything that offends my beliefs" has made me understand the religion more than most of my Christian friends and family do, and I have gained a greater appreciation for it.

babyfyrefly
02 Nov 2011, 13:51
I'm not atheist, but I'm not Christian either because I have always found it difficult to find coherence in the Bible. Why would an all-powerful, all-knowing, all-seeing God: a) have to bargain with Lucifer over the souls of HIS 'children', b) give such control and domain to a mere fallen angel over the souls of his 'children', c) have to sacrifice his son to anyone for the sins of all (still sounds like bargaining), d) give humans free will and then tell them that they pretty much cannot use it and expect them to always be compliant, e) be an interactive presence with man during the first half of our existence and then suddenly only occasionally speak to a select few in visions and dreams? I could go on for a while with the contradictory aspects that I see in the Bible.

When I was younger, I was ONLY aware of Christianity. I didn't understand why I didn't agree with all that I was being taught about religion, about God. I knew there were certain things that felt wrong. Over the years, I have learned that much of religious writings were meant to inject a sense of ethics into the populaces and to gain control over rowdy communities. To bring order, basically. Superstitions and mysticism evolved from fear and ignorance of the unknown. "Magic" and "miracles" are just words to half-explain the unknown. As science develops and brings greater understanding, superstitions and mysticism makes way for principles and laws of nature. The universe is a great mystery that unravels minutely through scientific study. Just because we don't know a governing principle, doesn't mean there isn't one.

HENKIVASARA
26 Dec 2011, 10:03
Good Bible scholars all know that the "Holy Scriptures" or "Bible" are a vast collection of myths, tales and legends which were collected and assembled over many centuries. Roughly from about 600 BC to about 400 AD. They come from many different sources such as Egyptian, Persian, Hebrew, Assyian, Babylonian, Indian, etc etc. What most "Believers" don't realise is that almosy as many of these "books" have been omitted from the modern Bible as have been included in it. I am not trying to put the Judeo-Christian-Islamic traditions down, because we all know that they were put together by devoutly inspired and honorable people for the good cause of makining people act decent and get along better with eachother, eventhough they have often worked in the opposite direction. I have nothing against showing respect for the forces of nature and feelings of reverence for the beauty and majesty of our Universe, but I believe science has helped the human race overcome tremendous dificulties without the help of any devine intervention. I respect Pagan lore more than modern Christian tradition because I believe it shows respect and reverence for Nature without the grovelling prostate feafull mindslavery of Monotheism which preaches against human freedom. I believe that human developement is in fact a process of liberation and self-actualization. I believ we are in the process of becomming more natural, more free and more creative evey day. And I believe Humanity is its own creator and has not only the right, biy the moral oblugation to take it future and fate into its own masterful hands. I do not accept the idea of all powerful Father-Dictator-Creator, but rather I believ in the unlimited creative potential of Humanity itself. I also believ that we are an intimate and irreplaceable part of the Universe.