Unreliability of the Christian Bible
The Gospel of Matthew 2:13-18 tells the account of Herod's slaughter of the innocents in an attempt to hopefully kill the child Jesus in the slaughter. There is, however, not one contemperaneous account of this event outside the Bible, not one from the time when it happened, Josephus decades later made no mention of it, though Antiquities of the Jews mentioned Jesus, now recognized to be a spurious interpolation added long after Antiquities was written. Seutonius didn't make mention of it, neither did Tacitus.
Why might this be ? Why is this account found in the Bible alone, and no one else makes mention of it ? Could it likely be that the slaughter of the innocents simply never happened, that some unknown redactor interposed that into the story of Jesus decades after Matthew was originally composed. Maybe even as much as three to four centuries after Matthew was penned.
Archaeologists digging in the Sinai Peninsula have dug deep enough to find hunter gatherer tools and weapons, but have been unable to find any trace of any Hebrew encampments in the Biblical desert wilderness, they have found no traces wherever they have looked in Sinai. Jericho was not an inhabited city when Israel would have come to it. It was destroyed hundreds of years earlier. Archaeologists find no evidence that the Hebrew kingdoms of David and Solomon ever existed.
There are no traces of a Hebrew presence in Egypt. And if you look for evidence of Noah's global deluge in the earth's strata you won't find it. The geolgic column is properly ordered and not jumbled and mixed as they would be if there had been a catastrophic global flood. The geologic column is a geologic record of the progression of life from simple to complex. The Christian Bible is just not reliable.
I've tried long and hard (on a few occasions, late into the night) to illustrate the gross debacle that is the "holy scripture" with my theist friends. Between the fact that the earliest writings of Christ came long after his death, the multiple - and conflicting - accounts, the gross character anomalies and monotheistic reinventions of their so-called "loving" God, and everything in between - I simply can't wrap my head around how so many still regard this preposterous book as inerrant, despite the fact that I was once one of them.
They CONTINUALLY concede that these are problems for which they have no answer, but profess a trust in God's character and "goodness", then conduct absolutely no research whatsoever into the insurmountable problems with their beloved stories. Unfalsifiable? Yep. Self sealing? Yep. MIND-NUMBINGLY aggravating? No question. This is the stage at which I lose their reasoning. I couldn't NOT know. For every hole that I found in atheistic explanations for the nature of the universe, there were 5 new ones in creationism. I read and read, then read some more; one day, I realized I just didn't believe any longer.
Being that I know almost everyone who will read this has experienced the same "bang your head against a fucking wall" type of frustration debating with theists, my questions are as follows: is it morally permissible to leave them to their unreasonable belief systems? Is it worth it (by your own conclusions) to keep pressuring them to see truth? Maybe most importantly, HOW exactly do you recharge your batteries after going through something so exhausting, which nearly always yields next to no results?
I apologize if I hijacked your topic Anthony, I really believe that these questions are well suited to what you've already begun talking about, so I didn't want to start a new thread, but add to your conversation.
For reasons that escape me some people are just more deep thinkers than other people. When it comes to religion many deep thinkers are able to free themselves from the shackles of the delusion that is religion. You are one of those deep thinkers, and you must realize that faith is the antithesis of reason. Faith is believing even in the face of overwhelming evidence against the propositions of faith. The word delusion is defined as: In psychology, a rigid system of beliefs with which a person is preoccupied and to which the person firmly holds, despite the logical absurdity of the beliefs and a lack of supporting evidence.
To quote Michael Specter: "People wrap themselves in their beliefs. And they do it in such a way that you can't set them free. Not even the truth will set them free".
Some believers just cannot be freed from their religious dogmas. I've met many who, even in the face of every disaster or setback, refuse to see that the argument from evil is one of the strongest proofs against the existence of an omnipotent and omnibenevolent God. They've taken the position of Job in the Bible: "Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him." Job 13:15 KJV. Nothing will sway these kind of believers. The best we, as atheists can do in such cases, is plant seeds in their minds and hope somehow they will eventually take root.
Most believers are harmless, but there are those who are violently fanatical, and it is for this reason we must keep up the good fight using the only weapon we have...rationality and reason.
"Not even the truth will set them free"
Are you listening American Atheists? I think we've found your next billboard. Harsh? Sure, but why not?
I agree Greg!
I'm on a roll here. I might as well continue to hijack this thread.
I heard a brilliant line in a horrid movie (Goonies) that my kids were watching the other night.
"Brand, God put that rock there for a purpose... and, um... I'm not so sure you should, um... move it..."
Take my wife...please.
I'll be here every night this week, next week, until the rapture.
ha ha Greg! Love it!~ Melinda
"I'll be here every night this week, next week, until the rapture."
I'm a little confused. Are you an atheist being facetious, or are you a theist being serious ?
I think he's joking Anthony. After the "rapture" though, we'd all still be here, so Greg could continue with his comedy routine! ;)
Just kidding around. Humor is dancing for the mind.
"A revolution without dancing is not a revolution worth having." -Emma Goldman
Hahaha I get the sense Anthony was joking as well - as for Greg and Booklover, what are you thoughts on "taking on" religion? Morally good, or could it be said that it is neither good or bad? Thanks for the input so far, peeps!
I'm probably going to regret hitting the "Add Reply" button but here goes.
I'm all for "taking on" religion. Seeking to discover and disclose the truth (or the un-truth) is never morally bad. I have no stomach for hypocritical liars. I just want to do it smart and as respectfully as possible. No matter how successful we are in our efforts, we still have to live with these people. Just as we would argue their "choice" of religion was determined by their geography, I would give most theists some leeway in finding the path out of the house of mirrors. It's not necessarily an easy thing to discard the accumulated wisdom (or stupidity) of all your ancestors. Our position is a bit like being a geology professor with a student who says they think god made the world in 6000 years but put in a bit of effort to make it look much older. You want to bang your head on the wall but you carry on hoping something you say will sink in. This project is not for short term thinkers.
Ultimately, I believe we will lead by example, not by beating some "truth" into their heads. We've already shown them the truth and will continue to do so. They need to believe we can build a better world without the myths. Too many times I've heard people claim atheists are mean, miserable liars who want nothing more than to tear down what others hold sacred. Nope, not going there. We want to be the happy, open and optimistic people we know we need to lead towards a better future.
Just my opinion of course. I'm going home now to take my meds (just kidding). All this caffeine is making me feel bipolar.
I don't know about "taking on" religion. I find if you do, they only dig their heels in deeper. I do however think it's funny when people find out that this nice, middle-aged, mid-west mom is an Atheist. I think it throws them for a loop. I know our fundie neighbors can't figure out how we raised such nice young (Atheist!) adults. You can almost see them scratch their heads... ha haha