There are a few reasons why Christians are Christian. One of the main reasons is to do with Jesus and who he was and what he did. After all if he was who he said he was and performed those miracles, rose from the dead then it would be foolish to deny his claims about being the son of God and that the way to heaven is through him. What's a way to convince them that the gospels cannot be true?
Can we please not try to deconvert Christians by recommending poorly researched crap like that?
"It would make sense that they'd take on the success of older religions and spin them for the newer generations. "
It makes more sense, however, for a group of devout apocalyptic Jews to build on their Jewish religion. Which is what virtually all scholars agree happened.
These ideas about Christianity being a pagan offshoot have been utterly debunked time and time again. It's barking up the wrong tree.
Exactly why I cringe any time I see the Zeitgeist movie posted on an atheist site. Google is your friend!
It makes more sense, however, for a group of devout apocalyptic Jews to build on theirJewish religion
If you can't take religion on with the ridiculous books and myths they already accept, don't discredit atheism by resorting to poorly-established sources of information. Even if you succeed that means more people believing in stuff without proper evidence....
Their own book should be all that you need. Start with genesis, and ask them to visualize & describe it according to the book (even if they think it is a metaphor, then ask what kind of metaphor that would be).
I don't have much experience debating Christians, but MUSLIMS sorta use those historical similarities (such as the flood myth in Sumerian religion) for their own and say that God was telling the same story (Islam) all over the history but some of it (say all the essential parts of the belief except some crazy stories) was lost.
When I first watched zeitgesit, I was like "Is this against Christianity or for it? Why would people from VERY different cultures believe in the same messiah figure?"
If you really want to go against religion by its roots don't forget that History is a science that works on evidence with regards to time, location and principles of casuality. The Egyptian origins of the Judaistic religion would be a much better bet, with more reliable information.
Also early mesopotamian cultures and beliefs have some good stuff.
Funny you would say that, reading the bible is what broke my agnosticism and converted me to atheist. I don't argue with them I always say this, "I'm an Atheist because I read the bible and you're a pushy christian because you haven't. Go read your bible from cover to cover then come back and talk to me." The four people that did read it never wanted to argue it again. All of them stopped being pushy about it. One became and Atheist.
Reading their very own bible cracks the foundation of their belief system. How funny is that?
Actually there's a lot of confusion about the terms atheism and agnosticism, because just as with the word "theory", the way they are used by the general public and by professionals tend to differ quite a bit.
The term atheist as used by philosophers is usually as a dichotomy with the word theist; i.e. theists have a positive belief that there is a God, which means atheists are all the people who -for whatever reason- do not have a positive belief in God. This is also the term adopted by the New Atheist movement, for which we were criticised by many because they thought we were "expanding the meaning of atheism". In reality however, we were simply taking the philosophical definitions that had existed for quite some time, out to the general public.
By this simple dichotomy, you, as well as many thousands of others who use the label "agnostics" are actually atheists.
Agnosticism is something else entirely, and refers to the position that the answer to a given question (in this case whether there is a God) is unanswerable, and knowledge about it is fundamentally unapprehendable.
So agnosticism is a very technical position that states not simply that there is no good evidence to believe or disbelieve in God, but that evidence either way cannot be found.
So you'd be a non-agnostic atheist under the most widely held philosophical distinctions. So am I, and pretty much everyone on this site.
We can quibble about definitions and labels, but ultimately we all believe roughly the same.
a"hh ... well no. Call yourself what you will, but any dictionary definition I can find is very similar to what I wrote above."
Dictionairy definitions are actually useless in this context. Dictionairies record the common usages of a term, which is why definitions for the word "theory" are also similarly confusing.
The point is, we're talking about a philosophical term here, and so it makes sense to talk about how philosophers use this term. And I'm sorry to say that all professors of theology (from Nagel to Plantinga) use "atheism" in the context that I've detailed.
Still though, arguing about what a word "has" meant is not as useful as talking about how a term is most usefully defined. And here we notice a problem with your set of definitions, because it leaves a huge gap. On the assumption that a theist believes in a God and an atheists believes that there is no God, what about all the people in between? They can't be classified using either.
So perhaps they are agnostics then (butchering the usage of another philosophical term while we're at it)? Alas, this is nigh useless because then the word agnostics is a grab-bag of all people who don't wish to make a definitive statement either way: including (i) those who believe it is fundamentally unknowable (ii) those who claim no knowledge about God but who believe in him anyway (agnostic theists like Kierkegaard) (iii) those who claim no knowledge about God but disbelieve in him anyway (iv) those who find it likely that God doesn't exist etcetera etcetera...
This is why this set of definitions isn't used in an academic context: it can't actually do the job of accurately labelling people.
The definitions used by philosophers instead are the ones I am using: the terms atheist-theist specify what you believe; you are a theist/deist if you have a positive belief in a God, you are an atheist otherwise (which effectively divides the groups, rather than your definition). Then other terms such an agnostic specify the reason why one holds the belief or why one does not hold the belief.
It's simple, it's accurate, it's exhaustive. It's the best way of classification.
In any case atheism is a very specific in that it states god cannot exist. (isn't using 'bold' such good fun?).
I know of no atheist philosophers who use the term in that way. I also know of no New Atheists (or other self-proclaimed atheists) who use the term in that way.
You're right, to claim God cannot exist is stupid. That's why nobody actually adopts that position, so by your set of definitions, pretty much nobody would actually be an atheist.
Starting to see the problem yet?
The word 'disbelieve' means tro believe the opposite. I don't like words like 'believe'.
Words like believe and disbelieve are the only reasonable ways of dividing people. Do we classify people on the subject of evolution based on whether or not they think evolution "cannot" have occurred? No, we classify based on whether they believe that it has or that it hasn't.
Ditto for God.
Wow, we need a new hobby or something...
Not at all, words convey meanings and so it's important to understand the context in which they are used. The fact is, the vast majority of people who call themselves atheists use the words in a radically different way than you are (in fact by their vocabulary, you are an atheist as well).
Now you can either dig in and proclaim that your vocabulary is the correct one, or you can try to understand why we chose to use words in this way.
Matt, Did you know that a common rats testicles make up 10% of it's mass. They evolved what's called "sperm competition" mating system. The theory is that they forgo direct confrontation in matting by flooding the eggs with an inordinate quantity of their own sperm in hopes to overwhelm the competition.
Does that sound familiar to you in any way? heh heh
Dude, I like what you have to say but really, isn't the idea of common usage to make it easier to convey information? Getting hung up on something this simple is arguing for the sake of arguing.
If a tree falls in the forest, does it make a sound?
A doctor who specializes in skin diseases will dream that he has fallen asleep in front of the television. Later, he will wake up in front of the television, but not remember his dream.
Would you agree?