[Loren nods knowingly.] Been there, done that.
Indeed - up to and including imperatives to cut babes from their mothers' wombs! VERY charming! [/sarcasm]
Where should I start? Well, let's begin with Genesis. Does a christian really believe that god made all of creation in six days? Or that he created man out of dust and woman out of a man's rib? Or that a snake talked? Or god cause a flood that killed all living things except Noah and his family? Do they believe the boat carried a male and female animal of every kind? Oh! we could go on and on in Genesis alone. Would a christian believe that the Earth and all creation was created 6,000 years ago? Some claim it was 10,000 years ago.
However, let's move on to Exodus. Does a christian really want to believe in a god who caused the death of the firstborn Egyptian children? Or that he forced friends and family members to kill each other?
In Leviticus, do they believe god burned Aaron's sons to death for offering "strange fire"? Or caused a blasphemer to be stoned to death? Or that god burned 250 people to death for burning incense? Or that god killed 14,700 for complaining about God's killings?
In Deuteronomy do believers believe in a god who slowly killed the Israelite army?
Oh! I am getting tired of doing this task. Just open the bible to page one and start reading. Don't stop until the last page is turned. Then ask a christian if he or she really wants to follow such a belief as is claimed in this book.
OK, let's take another tack ... Does a christian want to follow a value system that hates women and repeatedly allows pain and suffering, simply because she is a woman. Or who endorses the enslavement of blacks, even to the point of cutting off hands and feet to keep them from running away from cruelty? Or who hates homosexual activity to the point of torturing them, mongering hatred for them because of their sexual orientation? Or who kill and destroy the property of other christians simply because they are a different kind of christian? Let us not forget that the Puritans cut off the noses of Quakers because they didn't believe the correct things.
We cannot forget the Christian Crusades, which were the legitimatizing of theft and plunder of those who held different beliefs. I shall never forget that it was under the influence of Cyril, Patriarch of Alexandria, Egypt, that incited the wrath of those who were scientifically oriented and caused the slaughter of Hypatia, and another mob that burned Giordano Bruno, an Italian Dominican friar, philosopher, mathematician, poet, and astrologer for thinking unacceptable thoughts.
Well, I am getting tired of this exercise as well. You may want to look at a very short collection of photos in my photo albums that show individuals burned at the stake or pressed to death, or drowned with a millstone tied to their necks.
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.
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. :)
Oh, and one more poser: why are there so many different religions, each differing from the other regarding beliefs and dogmas, yet ONLY ONE SCIENCE? Oh, there are different branches of science, studying different animals, plants or phenomena, but for the large portion, they are in quite cohesive agreement regarding base principles. Yes, science changes ... it refines as data gets better and incorporates new discoveries, AFTER they've been tested and found to be valid. If religion changes at all, it does so with glacial slowness.
There's also the small matter that science WORKS ... repeatedly and reliably. Religion? Not so much.
I remember reading someone pointing out that if all traces of scientific knowledge were obliterated somehow, we'd rediscover a body of knowledge that would eventually look a lot like the science we know.
If, however, all traces of, say, Christianity were obliterated, that particular set of stories would almost certainly not be reinvented in that exact form.