So my mother told me that she and my dad have begun to question their faith and the morality of the god of their faith in particular. She said they had read some passages in church that they found disturbing and I thought this was a very good thing. I enouraged her to look into it and find out what it was that bothered her most, So she and dad started reading the entirety of the bible, a few chapters a day over their dinners. I thought that I would offer myself in assistance and try to let them see by example that not believing doesn't negate the possibility of living happily.

 

So the next time I was over I offered to join them in their reading and discussion. Come to find out they're reading the Appologetic's Study Bible.

 

http://www.bhpublishinggroup.com/apologeticsbible/

 

If you have not seen this book it is filled with side articles and notations containing every logical fallacy imaginable in an effort to try to make sense of the passages that give people problems with their faith. Needless to say I was appalled to see that these arguments and fallacies were coaxing my parents back into quiescence. When I attempted to point this out it became a big argument and my parents got fairly upset and I went home with no idea where to go next.

 

Please advise! What do I do so as not to seem as though I am actively trying to destroy their faith?

Tags: appologetic, bible, fallacy, help, parents

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Anybody?

Wow I have to say your lucky that your parents are even questioning and have a interpersonal morality not destroyed by the cult mentality. My family members are totally beyond the veil. They are certain that god - and their version of god, exists, and devote their lives to trying to get other people to see 'the truth' (i.e baseless lies.)

 

About what you can do... first get them to read a atheist commentary on the bible. Then explain to them how many other people believe just like they believe (with faith) other gods, other religions, other philosophies. Explain to them how looking at the world through the lens of single book perpetuates turmoil and how all religion is fundamentally the same. Explain how religion has been used as the 'opiate' of the masses throughout history to further the elitist agendas of various kings. Have them read the Koran, The Book of Mormon, The Book of Enoch, The Mahabharata, The Vedas, The Tao, The Tibetan & Egyptian book of the dead, the Taoist book of changes... ect. Have them watch the series Ancient Aliens from history channel....

 

Have them Visit the sites below:

 

http://www.skepticsannotatedbible.com/

http://www.atheistsbiblecompanion.com/

http://bs4a.blogspot.com/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herbert_W._Armstrong

 

Hope this helps Alli

 

Oh are you in anyway related to this man Herbert_W._Armstrong? I was unfortunate enough to have a doctrine similar to his shoved down my throat by my devote parents.

 

Peace & Love, hope we find it ^^

Wow thanks very much for the linkage. I will surely use that.

 

Yes I am very lucky in that my parents are very humanistic and secular in their worldviews. That however makes their faith even that much harder for them to doubt because they can fit it into any container they build for it. which in turn makes it that much harder for them to understand my own unbelief. Somehow being their child means that I should share their faith.

 

Oh and as far as I know I'm in no way related to Herbert Armstrong. ;) At least I hope not. My Grandfather had three or four brothers and I never met them.

I'd encourage you to also examine the apologetics offered by Christians in refutation of sites like the Skeptics Annotated Bible, so you'll be familiar with common defenses of the arguments you are making and will be ready if your parents try to use those apologetic arguments.

 

Also keep in mind that not all of the arguments in the Skeptics Annotated Bible are valid.  Even secular atheist historians will say that some of the arguments are taken out of context or are obvious metaphors.  In other words, don't take these sites as gospel (pun intended).

 

Here is an apologetics site that tries to refute the claims in the Skeptics Annotated Bible:

http://www.berenddeboer.net/sab/index.html

 

Hi Alli,

First off, welcome to the Nexus. I hope you have a great time here :)

The thing about the Apologetics Bible is that they essentially go over all the ostensible errors and inaccuracies in the Bible and try to find a way - any way, really - to not make it seem like it's a contradiction. Now basically, at that point it becomes impossible to read the Bible and point out contradictions, because they'll be so coached into thinking that there must be 'some' way in which it all makes sense.

The only thing you can try to do is try to talk about the methodology they are using, and make them see why it presupposes its own conclusion. For example, if the Bible is the word of an omniscient God and is the best book ever written, why are there ostensible contradictions that need to be reconciled in the first place? Could an all-powerful being not write a book which does not contain commandments for genocide and slavery?
Ask them how we could distinguish between a book that was written by humans and a book that was written by God. Would a book written by God contain sexism, racism, and genocide? Would it contain passages which are ostensibly in contradiction and can only be reconciled if one makes truckloads of assumptions? Where does the Bible fit in this?
Ask them how, if you were God, you would convince people that you were divine? Would you come up with a book like the Bible or would you send them Shakespearean poetry coached with scientific knowledge and refined moral wisdom? Does the Bible look like this or does it look more like something which ancient people would find convincing?

The point I'm trying to make is that as long as they simply presuppose that the Bible is the word of God, they will always find some way to reconcile contradictions they find. Your only chance is to (politely and inquisitively) seed some doubts around those preconceptions in the first place.

To disagree a little with Will though, don't do this:

"Explain how religion has been used as the 'opiate' of the masses throughout history to further the elitist agendas of various kings."

Because that I think is a grave oversimplification. More often than not kings were extremely religious themselves (often to the point where it conflicted with their political interests). There's enough good arguments you can make without having to use historical arguments which rely on oversimplification.
Hope that helps a little.

Kind regards,

Matt

Thanks very much Brandon for the links. They were great and I'll be using them.

 

Matt, thanks so much. I really want to make sure I don't overstep into an argument that will just shut down the conversation for good. I wanted to keep the channel of communication open and your suggestions seem excellent.

 

Thanks again!

 

Alli

Hi Alli,

How did you go with your parents? Have you had another chance to speak with them? How did they react?

Regards,

Vangelis

Thanks for asking Vangelis. Actually I've been completely overloaded with class stuff lately and haven;t been over to see them much and when I have it hasn't come up. I'm kind of waiting for the topic to arise before addressing it so as not to seem threatening.

The very fact that such a version of the Bible exists is it's own argument for how riddled the Bible is with nonsense. If it made sense you wouldn't need to spend so much time and effort "apologizing" for it. I'm familiar with what you are talking about and it is a time honored practice of dealing with the "difficult" texts.

 

After all, if it is the Word of God it all has to be consistent and make sense. The problem is that it doesn't and you have to turn yourself inside out to make it so.

IMO, the best thing to do is to allow it to run it's course. The same critical thinking that brought them to where they are will eventually make nonsense out of what they are reading.
If they are secular and humanistic (not religious fundamentalists), they're not getting conned by any charlatans, and you otherwise get along with them, maybe let them figure it out on their own. I'm usually suspicious if someone comes off as too eager to persuade me of something. It usually turns me off to it. If they were questioning their faith, most likely this "apologetics Bible" enables them to tell themselves what they want to hear, but faith like that can unravel easily...
Hi Alli,

May I make a suggestion? First, make sure you let your parents know that you love them no matter what they choose to believe (and isn't that true?). And truly, make it okay [ this is a statement about you, not about them ]. You can never have an easy-going dialog with them about these things until your own baggage is out of the way, never mind theirs.

Second, buy for them perhaps one of the best books ever written on the subject ( and actually recommended by Sam Harris in the back of Letter to a Christian Nation, under Ten Books I Recommend ) so it's not just my recommendation.

It's called "Atheism: The Case Against God", by George H. Smith.

In fact, get two copies and read one yourself, if you haven't already. Right up front it explains what a god is and why it is impossible (this is before it gets to the Christian god). It's unoffensive and takes the time to be clear.

In my opinion it is far better than something like "The God Delusion". George Smith takes the time to demonstrate why such things as omnipotence and omniscience cannot exist at the same time, and things of this nature that believers (and some atheists) have likely never thought of! It is a very enlightening and easy read.

Get it for them, and suggest that they at least educate themselves on both sides before considering themselves informed. They might even agree.

Peace

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