I'm currently having a discussion with a friend of a friends about bringing Bibles back into schools so our kids can be more moral.  I've pasted the conversation and I'm just wondering what your thoughts where on how I've responded. I tried to make my response simple and quick because I don't find long responses compelling to read.

Yes, after studying religion and the Bible for the better part of the last 10 years, reading apologetics, and watching debates my mind is pretty much made up on the matter, but I'm open to new arguments on the matter. 

 

  • Him:
     I read the Bible daily, so what is so evil with it?
  • Me:
    Well, pillaging, slavery, rape, child abuse/killing, mass murder, incest, and lying to name a few. Some of the supposed acts of God and supported acts of his followers in the bible are not very moral to say the least.
  • Him:
    Well, if you could provide me book, chapter, verse of each of these, I'd be happy to discuss them with you. Otherwise, I'd be wasting my time to say anything more on the matter, being as it appears your mind is made up.
    Me:
    Yes, after studying religion and the Bible for the better part of the last 10 years, reading apologetic  and watching debates my mind is pretty much made up on the matter, but I'm open to new arguments on the matter.
  • Here's a simple one though, revelation 2:22-23 "Indeed I will cast her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of their[a] deeds. 23 I will kill her children with death, and all the churches shall know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts. And I will give to each one of you according to your works."
    Nice to know Jesus is ok with killing your child if you commit adultery...
  • Him:
    Can we begin by placing Revelation 2:22-23 in context? The verses you quote have little if any meaning when viewed by themselves. So, I’ll frame the context for you in Revelation 2:18-ff. First, Revelation chapters 2 and 3 are written to seven churches in Asia, and the verses you quote were specifically addressing the church in Thyatira (v.18). Verse 19 actually praises the church for their “deeds, and [their] love and faith and service and perseverance, and that [their] deeds of late are greater than at first.” You see, the Son of God (v.18) initially informs the church of what they are doing that is in accordance with God’s will. Now, in v.20 the Son of God then goes on to say “but I have this against you, that you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, and she teaches and leads My bond-servants astray so that they commit acts of immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols.” Here we read that “Jezebel” (and this may or may not have been her name) has usurped Christ’s church. (The name Jezebel can also be found in 2 Kings 9:22, “…’What peace, so long as the harlotries of your mother Jezebel and her witchcrafts are so many?’” Christ may have used the name Jezebel symbolically, referring back to 2 Kings 9:22, but make no mistake certainly there was a woman in the church he is warning the church about.) Verse 20 tells us that she has deceived and seduced Christ servants (Christians), by having them commit acts of immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols (both sins). Importantly, Jezebel is distinguished from “my servants.” So, we have two different sins. The sin of Jezebel, by usurping the church (btw her sins suggest she was a follower of Balaam, so she was Pagan), and the sins of individuals in the church in that they 1) tolerated Jezebel and her evil, 2) they participated in her evil, and 3) they willfully and knowingly were sinning against God. Now, verse 21 is specific and direct “I gave her time to repent, and she does not want to repent of her immorality.” Her opportunity to turn from her sin and return to serving God is nearing an end. Christ’s patience with her is ending, or has ended at this point. Now, verse 22 serves two functions. First, this is her punishment that Christ is going to rightfully administer, unless as verse 22 concludes “they repent of her deeds,” which means second, this is probably her final warning. Separately, we also see that the members of the church will be given to “great tribulation.” They (the church) are also going to receive punishment for their tolerance and participation in Jezebel’s sin. Now, verse 23, and the verse you correctly note threatens to kill her children. I would suggest to you that if her children were killed it was because they had wholly accepted her paganism, meaning they are at an age of accountability AND are also participating in pagan worship. I draw this conclusion because the church is only (I use this term loosely) going to be punished, for now. This would suggest the church is in sin, but still may repent, but her children are pagan and do not desire to repent. On a separate note, you are a child despite being an adult, and it is possible (although admittedly we do not know) her children may in fact be older too. Our human nature causes us to read children as being young, or even babies, but this isn’t necessarily true. I doubt this is a woman of an extremely young age, based on her influence that is noted in verse 20 she “calls herself a prophetess.” Both Jezebel and her children would serve as an example to the church to stand against paganism, and stop tolerating and participating in paganism within the church. Understand, these verses are about the church, not Jezebel per se. 
    Finally, because of the way your irreverence for Jesus in your previous post, I am certain this post is going to fall on deaf ears, but, hopefully not. Just out of curiosity, are you atheist, and what are your feelings on the Quran?
  • ME:
    Are you really trying to justify someone killing someone else because their religious beliefs differ and saying it's moral in this context? I could care less how much the Jesus character was loosing his patience with anyone, because it does not put murder in a moral context. As you confirmed he was indeed threatening to kill her children for adultery and/or Jesus's made up morals, and as a parent myself it doesn't matter how old the children or if they are biologically related, they're still our children. I'll disregard, the nonsensical statement of eating things sacrificed to idols, lol. This book is not a moral book and the God it describes is not a moral character. I'd go one step further and say I'm willing to bet you and a majority of people are more moral that what's described in those books.

    I've heard the whole out of context argument before and while it may be pertinent in some instances, there's no context where rape, pillaging, slavery, and killing children to name a few are ok or morally correct.

    I am an Atheist and my feelings towards the Quran are the same as the Bible and most other religious text. They are historical works of fiction with some reality thrown in sparingly. They have some good things and some bad things, some nice poetry, and some interesting stories. A good example I've found of a comparative is Abraham Lincoln Vampire hunter.

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I would prefer public secular schools such as ours have copies of the Bible, so when I denigrate the scripture for it's utter profound and obvious stupidity, it pays to have it freely available to students to investigate and understand that I am not telling lies.  Reinforcing my teaching and thus adding extra shielding against their being indoctrinated into Christianity.  Yes, the Bible is a good weapon against Christianity if approached the right way.  I think this is why Richard Dawkins supports their introduction.  The bible can become the bane of Christianity, due to the absurd stupidity it contains if exposed correctly.

Tell him he is wrong about you, and judged you unfairly, in accordance with his own holy book's admonishment against judging others. Certainly you're not close-minded, you are open to any evidence he can provide his position is true.

Should he actually provide such evidence, then you would be required by reason to alter, abolish, modify, or amend your own position. But if there were actual evidence for his faith, then it would be science, not faith, and no belief without proof would be needed.

Belief without proof is not a virtue, it is gullibility. I have a bridge in New York to sell to anyone who has faith in me. Low price, good water view.

The anecdotal story of a police officer giving a homeless man shoes is specious.

I am an atheist and have bought new clothes and toys for the homeless, thus that particular moral idea (charity) does not proceed from the Bible.

I was also homeless and no Christian ever bought me anything I am aware of, certainly did not crow about it in the press, in violation of Jesus's own commands about humility.

"God gives us free will" is nonsensical.

A) if he gave it to us, it is not free.

B) if the penalty for unbelief is hellfire and damnation, it is coerced, not free.

C) if pearly-bliss is not simply given to all, it is not free (it has a payment).

D) if one believes for fear of punishment, one is hedging his bet (against ten thousand other gods he is atheistic about) in favour of one, he is not being faithful.

E) Your mind is not closed, his is. He believes without proof one religious interpretation of Christianity over thousands, does not adequately defend his faith (only denigrates you with an ad hominem attack - you are close-minded), and only believes one religion over tens of thousands of religions without any ever proved or any reason his is correct other than his holy book (and the others have holy books too).

You only ask for evidence. 1 Peter 3:15 requires him to provide the reason for his belief, not you for your unbelief. He is not following the demand of the New Testament, and if he is not following the dictates of his own faith, why should you?

There is also this. Many different studies have indicated that the religious are generally found on the left side of this curve. Some non-religious also are, but the vast majority are found on the right-hand side. As intelligence is supposedly God-given, why do you suppose that is? God rewards the least intelligent? If he is only looking for the intellectually-challenged for his army in Armageddon, Satan will get the best generals.

(On the chart, a member of Mensa is in the yellow, 132, a member of Intertel is in the purple, 148, a member of ISPE or Triple Nine is off the chart, 164). The chart shows the distribution of people and their relative ability to solve complex problems (IQ). God is not a complex problem: he can be demonstrated to exist, or he can't. 1 Peter 3:15 puts the onus of demonstration on your friend, not you. If he cannot follow the Great Commission, he is not a Christian.

Maybe the reason I'm an atheist is my IQ score of 145, though I don't think so, because I was a believer for a short time, though I ran a series of tests that the Pentecostal Christian group failed badly on, so I left, never to return.

I believe that if even highly intelligent individuals fall into the superstitious traps that religious indoctrination practices, they too may become stolid theists. 

Such as a highly intelligent man I knew that became a priest and 30+ years later, realized he was wrong.  He retired and died an atheist.

Statistics are deceptive, they rarely give an honest picture.

Aye M8!

Thanks again for the replies. Some very good points and the 1 Peter 3:15 verse is especially useful.  This individual ended up deleting all his replies and disappeared from the conversation, it's a miracle....;)

And that is ofttimes the response one will get in such an argument.

The rules of debate have built-in a sort of humility, that is, if your position is shown to be false or lacking, you must acknowledge that fact.

In the case of your friend's debate, and his subsequent deletion of his replies, it shows he is not capable (at this time anyway) to even submit, "Gee, I don't know. I will go read my Bible, ask other Christians, &c. and get back with you." I don't know is always an acceptable answer in science, heck, it is what drives scientific enquiry, the quest for an answer to "I don't know."

"I don't know" is anathema to religious faith. Faith must be certain, cannot question, or it is false faith. Yet 1 Peter 3:15 is quite clear. He must be able to give reason for the joy of his faith. The deletion of his posts shows he has none (neither reason, nor apparently joy). At least for the moment his faith is shaken, and he cannot adequately answer why.

Faith challenged ofttimes becomes faith frustrated.

Frustrated enough times by enough people, where he constantly has to withdraw from conversation, and he will either a) think himself a martyr for his faith, which puts him at odds with 1 Peter 3:15, or b) eventually cause him to think about what he is saying.

At the very least, he will put forth more reasoned apologetics. He should thank you for bringing up these questions, as they are legitimate questions to his faith he is commanded by the NT to answer.

One can hope the seed of doubt is planted, and he will evaluate his position more sceptically, but I doubt it.

One can also hope if he is not open to alternative views to his own, he will quit bringing them up, as proselytisation works best against the defenceless.

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