That's well said, Joan. Your take on Genesis was enough. Who could possibly believe what it says in that book? Yet, christians claim to believe every word of that book as absolute truth complete with creation, the garden, the tree, the snake, and the fall. They fight so hard for belief in Genesis. They have to. Without Genesis you have no fall of mankind. If you have no fall you have no need of any of the rest of it. No need of Jesus, or god, or salvation. Take Genesis away and there is no need of mankind doing a juggling act to "please god." The bible then is unprovable stories told for no reason, and told about others whom we cannot ever know if they really existed. It was that way anyhow, but without Genesis there is no need or reason to "follow."
By gosh, you are right, I could have stopped with Genesis. "Without Genesis you have no fall of mankind." "without Genesis there is no need or reason to 'follow.'"
I like your posts, Joan, and you are most often very accurate in what you say. I admire that. I'm just pointing out (as a former theist) the reason why the believers value Genesis so much, believing the creation story, the literal 6000 year history, etc. They have to make this unbelievable book real to everyone, making it absolute truth. If they fail with Genesis there is no reason to go on with the fairy tale. If Genesis is not literally true there is no need of the bible story that the preachers tell.
Ask about eternity. Think of the best , most enjoyable thing you can imagine. Would it be enjoyable to do it non-stop for 24 hours, a month, five years, FOREVER? No. Certainly sitting at someone's feet on a golden street would get boring very quickly. So Heaven would suck. OK, what about the bad? Eternal torment would probably become boring as well. I also find it impossible to understand how a disembodied spirit could be tormented by fire.
Also, if god has a plan for you and your story is all laid out where he knows what you are going to do and how you'll end up, then why bother with the exercise? Why not just create souls and put them in heaven or hell? Maybe watching us is like going to the movies for him. haha
Here's a good question to ask christians. What means of transportation did the resurrected Jesus have? I'm just curious. Did he simply put his arms up in the air and fly like Superman? Did he have a time machine? Maybe it was a beaming device like on Star Trek.
I'm also very curious as to why he kept appearing to people "in another form" and exactly what "form" was it that he appeared in? How would anyone know him if he appeared in another form? How many forms does he have? Isn't this a little bit of a clue that he might not be real? Put the apologetics away and just ask yourself the questions.
Can a christian answer this? No, but he will lie to you about it if you ask him.
That's Good! Ask christians for specifics. What , exactly, was seen and heard? What references do they have? How confident are they of the report. What is the earliest written record and when was it written? Great claims require great evidence. Let us hear the evidence!
It depends on what stage of 'christian' your friend is at in his/her life. If they grew up being brainwashed and imprinted by the church & family... don't waste your breath as they'll use 'circular reasoning' in all responses or they look down upon you as a 'lost flock member' who needs saving.
If they're an on-again/off-again 'christian', you'll have more chances to hold intelligent non-theist discussions with them but be prepared to have intelligent, continuing conversation and have all your non-theist facts on hand.
I keep using the 'bible verses not preached about in churches' so christians can explain the rape, murders, virgin selling, slaves etc etc. I borrow verses from the book and site 'awkward moments not found in your average children's bible' (www.awkwardmomentsbible.com) . I know there's a list of more shocking bible verses somewhere on the internet.
i.e...have your christian friend explain this: Numbers 31:15-41 (32 Virgins - for The Lord). "Why have you let the women live? They followed Balaam's advice and caused the people of Israel to rebel against The Lord at Mount Peor. You must kill them all- every man, woman and child, EXCEPT the young virgin girls!...Keep the virgins for yourselves" -Moses (except for the 32 virgins The Lord demanded for Himself)
Love the wise words being offered in this post. :)