I am proud to be an Atheist and I enjoy  discussing various  topics  on A/N......I may  not believe in God  or all the  fables  in the  Old or New testament, but some of us do believe in traditions from our culture  unrelated  to any Theistic  belief.....Maybe  being  Jewish  is unique, because it is a rich culture with  a very long history as well as being a religious faith......I may  have  rejected the religious  part but  certain traditions are important to me  because  they define  who I am and  where  I came from....People  who have  roots in various  countries  of the world may  no longer  believe in their ancestral  religion  but  still are proud  of the culture  from which  they came......It defines  us.......Some traditions of a certain culture, many  may not agree with,  but it is important  to respect  them none the less....

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Comment by Freethinker31 on August 23, 2014 at 11:22am

@ Joan    I am confused, you say you were once  a devout christian  and a church community leader and you end  saying  you have been an Atheist  since  birth?.....I think you may be  extremely bitter  by the falsehoods preached  to you in your early years,which is understandable...But to condemn all Theists who maybe don't care what the truth is because  they love  their  faith is so harsh and unfair.....You have every right to no longer  believe but  some people  want to believe even when there is doubt  about  the veracity of the claims  made  in the bible........All I say is  Live  and Let live.......As long  as one group doesn't  push  their  beliefs  on the other....... 

Comment by Joan Denoo on August 23, 2014 at 11:02am

Pat, thank you for the link to  Haaretz. Coming to terms with the way and why the bible was originally written must be a great collision to believing Jews, Christians and Muslims. The fundamental basis of these beliefs depends on the Pentateuch being based on factual accounts, the exodus, the line of David, the prophecies. I would like to read from Jews about how they feel and think with this information. This is not the only writing about religious fidelity. Read 

The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology's New Vision of Ancient Isreal and..., or Forged: Writing in the Name of God--Why the Bible's Authors Are Not..., or Letter to a Christian Nation.

For myself, I had no great investment in the old testament because I didn't think during those years when I was a devout christian, a church community leader, teacher and supplicant.  I thought in terms of how inadequate I was, how I was mere filth when bowing before god or speaking christ's name. 

Dale Brunner was a professor at Whitworth College, a Presbyterian school, and our adult Sunday school teacher. He described how we are like turds in a sewer with christ laying a pure white cloth over us to hide our filth when we came to god in prayer. 

How sick can one be?! How sick could I have been to believe that crap, literally. "Oh please god, hear my prayer, I am so unworthy, I am like fecal matter, and I claim the purity of christ as my intermediary!"

As I think back on those dreadful days, on the work I did trying to make up for my squalor, how yielding, praying, confessing, crucifying myself in imitation of the crucified christ did nothing to take away my feeling of being dirty and inadequate. 

The Really Good News is that those stories were myths, fables, made up stories to justify the most atrocious thinking and behaviors that underlie all the Abrahamic faiths. 

"Respect for other peoples culture"? Why? What is there to respect? 

No, I have no respect for claims made based on fabricated stories, fictions created to give meaning to people's miserable lives! Concoctions conceived to create a hierarchy with absolutely no chance for me to be a part of the august group, or to even speak my mind without being shunned or subjected to outrageous criticism. 

I am an atheist! I was born an atheist. My mind, body and emotions are atheist! I make that statement with pride and self-respect. I am part of a growing group of people who continue to suffer the weapons and barbs of people have beliefs based on fabrications.

Respect? Why? What is there to respect?  

Comment by Freethinker31 on August 23, 2014 at 10:49am

A lot of holidays and celebrations are based on the bible..Some characters in the bible are heroes to children....Since most people are indoctrinated  with religion from birth, these  holidays  and traditions are a big part of their lives.......To try to take that all away  may be counterproductive....Not everyone is willing to give up all that they  love about the bible, as  say  Atheists...Maybe there will always  be Theists  and non Theists....To want them all to wake up and see the truth may be  asking  too much.....All we, as Atheists, can do  is provide Theists with verifiable  facts and the rest will be up to them...

Comment by Alan Perlman on August 23, 2014 at 10:35am

The Torah is part of the Old Testament.  It's the oldest part of the Bible -- the first 5 books -- Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.  Often referred to as the "Pentateuch."  These, plus the next 19 books, comprise the so-called "Hebrew Bible" or Tanakh.  These 24 books are referred to by Christians and others as the Old Testament.  

The earlier parts of the Bible are heavy on myth, legend and supernatural involvement in human events.  But as far as accuracy is concerned, the Bible is not to be mistaken for history.    

The existence is David and Solomon is still highly debatable.

Comment by Luara on August 23, 2014 at 4:16am

The evidence in favor if a single man named Jesus who was THE Jesus Christ is not good enough.

You talk as if the default were to assume that someone mentioned in ancient writings did not exist.  This would be a strange assumption.  There's nothing weird about the naturalistic depiction of Jesus, so Occam's Razor suggests that such a historical person existed. 

The Jesus's myth was made up by modifying earlier similar myths.

Have there been any other people who were considered historical by modern historians, with the confidence that historians in general have that Jesus existed - and later were found to be mythical?

Have you read any works supporting Jesus' historicity, such as Bart Ehrman's book Did Jesus Exist?   Or do your views come just from mythicists online?

Comment by Luara on August 23, 2014 at 3:55am

In the case of the Jews, NOTHING in their holy Torah happened

Doesn't the Torah include the Old Testament?  According to The Bible Unearthed, the Old Testament generally is more historically accurate in the later parts.  The authors say there definitely was a historical King David, but almost nothing is known about him. 

Comment by Freethinker31 on August 22, 2014 at 11:22pm

@ Alan.....I keep thinking of the Hasidic Jews.....These men  spend their entire lives  reading and  interpreting the Torah, which is mostly fairy tales, although sometimes  just words  of wisdom.....These men  don't even work because reading  the Torah  is their life's work....It is such a sham  and  yet these men would risk everything to live by this Torah....I guess it would be cruel to tell them this and all the other  devout  Theists who love  living by their Faith...These people will have to adjust in their own way and on their own time table......

Comment by Michael Penn on August 22, 2014 at 11:14pm

That's the problem with religions, Alan. They do this and act as though they believe it, and today the Christians and Islamists are all doing the same thing. Then they want to bring this thing into government.

Well, you know the story.

Comment by Alan Perlman on August 22, 2014 at 9:39pm

In the case of the Jews, NOTHING in their holy Torah happened, yet the Orthodox (and others as well) live their lives as if it did.  And then countless hours are wasted (well, not to them) in spinning midrashim, stories that interpret the Torah (e.g., "What was Isaac thinking as his father got ready to sacrifice him to an insane [my word] God?")  Stories upon stories.

Comment by Michael Pianko on August 22, 2014 at 4:59pm
There is a good amount of evidence that Julius Cesar for example, existed. The evidence in favor if a single man named Jesus who was THE Jesus Christ is not good enough. No portraits, the historian Philo did not mention him, and so on. The Jesus's myth was made up by modifying earlier similar myths. Jesus's body was not stolen because there was no Jesus. Among all the people in ancient Israel around the time Jesus was supposed to have lived, you can call one of them Jesus and write a book "proving" he existed, but the evidence would be merely citing other peoples phony evidence. For comparison, there is plenty of evidence in favor of the existence of god, but it is all phony evidence which sounds silly to us but religionists take seriously.

It is not the case that Jesus existed and that he merely did not have any of the characteristics Jesus in the myths had, but actually Jesus just did not exist. Without having any of the characteristics he had, there is no sense in proving that some unimportant random man we call Jesus existed. The Jesus we are referring to is a concept or mythical character, not a real historical person. The evidence in factor of Jesus is all phony.

And when it becomes better known that Jesus was made up or never existed, believers will not cause any more harm than believers are causing given the fact that god is imaginary too.

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