So I was talking to a Christian (catholic to be exact) and was told that I was "taking verses out of context" and that "if you (I) want to learn about the bible you (I) should go to the people who claim to have written it." Of course I brought up the FACT that the catholic faith is not responsible for writing the bible, BUT it brought an interesting idea to my atheist brain.....why don't I do that?

Why not go to seminary and learn from the people who support it? I'm always wanting to debate theists because I believe that religion will be the plague that destroys mankind. I think the only way to defeat it is one person at a time. I know most disagree citing that it will take to long and by that time the religious nuts will have control of nukes....well in my opinion that is all ready the case. (look at my country for an example...)

So I am considering going to seminary. Actually sitting in class and learning this junk they spew forward as the truth....I'm even considering going to an Islamic seminary of some sort to learn their awkward beliefs as well. I just wanted to throw the idea out here first and see what my fellow atheists think....any warnings or advice I should keep in mind? Should I even do it? Why or why not?

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They'll let an atheist in? Go for it if you can.
Not sure...
"They'll let an atheist in? Go for it if you can.

Well,the Jesuits probably would, they'd see it as a challenge.

Of course better to become a High Church of England (Episcopalian) agnosticism or atheism are job requirements. :O)

A seminary is last place I'd go to study the bible. I'd probably begin by going to a good university to learn ancient Greek. I'd then study the NT in as original sources I could find,plus as many apochryphal works as possible.
Then I'd be leaving myself open for "well you didn't learn from the church! That's why you don't believe!!" I'm trying to out maneuver the typical arguments
*yawn* woke up early...

Morning James.

Interesting idea, it's triggering a memory in me of an presentation Dan Dennet gave at the AAI conference - which was about atheists priests. Who lost their faith while training but feel bound by circumstance to hide in plain sight. Something that caused this to happen was confronting evidence and particularly when seminaries teach textual criticism (we don't and can't know who the original authors of the gospels were) The kind of knowledge that people like Bart Ehrman are *ahem* bringing to the laity (us) is common knowledge in the seminary colleges. The presentation if I recall focussed on the sheer surprise of some fundamentalists whose reactions vary but in some case turn secretly to atheism.

So to answer Jared's question: maybe not "let in" but they certainly have us amongst their number.

On the point about attending seminary college just to get a good argument; I admire your passion, but honestly why waste the time, debating the artificer of delusion and contending with the nonsense that they manufacture? That the beauty of science, it can to a degree*, be explained to someone with no professional future in the sciences and understood because the evidence is there to be seen.

The point about the atheists in cloth that Dennet knows is that they saw the evidence and revolted

I don't honestly see what stands to be gained.

* and some might well argue urgently needs to be


The Dan Dennet Lecture.
"The Evolution of Confusion."
I've seen that. I found it very interesting to. I love Dennet, he's so articulate. Anyway, to answer the question...what do I see to gain? Well, basically the majority of the Christians here look at the bible as the truth. No questions asked. That's it. Alpha Omega...yada yada yada. To even begin to break them down you have to break the bible down. If you are successful in that then you have made GREAT headway.

I also think that preachers/pastors/or whatever are taught to indoctrinate. I think there are actual methods taught in these seminaries of how to manipulate. Maybe not admitted manipulation but I'm sure it's there. I learned how to "hack" about 4 years ago. Hacking is reverse engineering. You have to know how it works to reverse the order and take it apart. I want to apply this to debating theists. The majority DON'T know the evidence surrounding atheism. BUT like wise the majority of us don't know their methodology in convincing others our "evidence" is wrong. I would like to learn how they do that.

Does that make sense?
Hmm reverse engineering. Interesting idea. Well I'm just listening the Dennet lecture now, and he makes the point that there is no class in seminarial college about how to tell lies and indoctrinate, it's the total effect of taking classes of bible study and asking awkward questions and finding that actually this is not gods word in textual form but a human document with lots of gaps and a suspect publishing history.

I'd tempted to argue in terms of your own personal enlightenment, haven't we already accomplished to some extent the mental work of reverse engineering the arguments that say "Weeeelll this is truth if you're prepared to accept heresay as an inviolate standard of evidence!" - which what you'll encounter at seminary.

Perhaps - and he's an idea - given your background in policing: an entrepreneurial enterprise to visit seminaries to lecture on the dispassionate collection and assessment of 'evidence' and reaching conclusions that can be objectively supported. Hold discursive workshops to get them to share.
Not as a 'scientist' but as a 'former law enforcement official and national hero (Good PR)

For this you'd get: a novel career; self employment; access to multiple colleges and multiples view of students and faculty (which if I've understood is the purpose of the exercise.) Now you can contrast and collect the vast array of approaches to evidence and what arguments are used; maybe take a questionnaire with you; progress to maybe doing filmed interviews. As a visiting expert you may not feel bound to obligate yourself to social pressure to conform, you set the tone and in so doing may get to inject a little of the sceptical critical scepticism that we so value. And if you are really canny, they'll pay you to do it.

After 20 years present your research notes to Dennet or his successor and transmogrify into an associate professor of the sociology of religion in the south of America in the early decades of the 21st century. ;-)
Wow....that sounds way to good to be true. Problem there is an old takes money to make money. Besides I'm not in to self employment. I'm just looking to get a better understanding and "infiltrate" the actual learning process that these people go through. Maybe I could even film my day to day and make a movie? Hmmmm there is a thought! Who knows what could be done...the point is I really just wanna change some minds. Get people thinking for themselves. Not so much bashing them over the head with Atheism but just leading them to think for themselves. It will lead to Atheism eventually anyway or at a minimum agnosticism.

By the way stop calling me a national hero!!! lol You are gonna make my ego grow to an explosive size!!!
>>takes money to make money

Quite true.

It was just an idea. ;)

>>Maybe I could even film my day to day and make a movie? Hmmmm there is a thought! Who knows what could be done...the point is I really just wanna change some minds.

Then start broadcasting on the web. Do a podcast. Cheap to set up. An audience of potentially millions, and the possibility of achieving exactly what you desire.
good point
I'm just full of good ideas, me. ;)
You should use some. Then get rich and loan me the money to start that business!!!!!!!!




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