First off, I'd like to apologize for my lack of activity for the last few days. Eli
, and I are currently working on a project called Chariots of Iron
, an atheihumaskeptic
(a word mojoe made up) podcast for freethinkers. In case you're wondering; yes, we are well aware of the abundance of atheist/skeptic podcasts on the internet and we've decided, with conviction, to add to the noise pollution anyway.
Now to the real point of this post: I need your opinions and input.
I would like to encourage group participation and foster a friendly, interactive learning environment. We have some really smart people in this group and I think that having some fun topics to discuss will produce some truly enlightening conversation.
As I mention in the group description, we're not going to concern ourselves with picking out minor contradictions (Did Solomon have 4,000 horses or 40,000?) or scientific errors (Pi equals 3? WTF?). While these errors are valid for any argument against scriptural inerrancy, they're really not that fun to talk about. Instead, I would like for us to explore much larger issues with scripture. So, I'm going to suggest some topics. These topics cover a lot of ground and each topic may span multiple threads in a series. Don't let that intimidate you; it'll be more fun than you think. Holy books may be nonsense, but I'll be damned if they're not interesting nonsense.
Here are the topics I recommend. I'd like for everyone to pick one for us to start with and express your opinion in a reply in this thread. On Monday we'll go with the topic that was most popular. If you're favorite topic wasn't chosen, don't worry. If you're involved in the discussion you'll still have a blast.
Topic 1: Disharmony of the Gospels
When I was growing up, I remember seeing a chart in the back of my bible called "The Harmony of the Gospels." The purpose of this chart was to demonstrate the reliability of those texts by showing how well they agree with each other. Well, as it turns out, they don't—at least not to the extent the apologists would have you believe. It can be demonstrated that the gospels contain mutually incompatible biographies, and the problems run much deeper than the contradicting genealogies of Matthew and Luke (which I assume you already know about).
Topic 2: There's a Boat in Them Thar Hills! Biblical Archeology
Is the archaeological evidence for the validity of the Bible really the slam dunk that apologists make it out to be? Who's providing all of this so-called evidence anyway? Are these real
archaeologists or just Indiana Jones styled adventurers searching for lost arks, holy grails, and broken tablets. What does the archaeological evidence really
Topic 3: The End is Nigh! Christian Eschatology
Have you ever read the Book of Revelation? If so, did it feel like you were reading graffiti on the walls of a padded cell in an insane asylum? You're not alone. Nobody does "doomsday" better than the Christians, and no other religion I know of has as many conflicting hypotheses about the end times. Do biblical prophecies really describe our modern world? Was the establishment of the modern state of Israel really predicted? What about the Palestinian conflict, Islam, or the Western powers supporting the Jewish state? This is an enormous topic that will span a lot biblical text and denominational divides.
Topic 4: The
Second First Coming! Jewish Eschatology
Since Jews aren't evangelical (G-d bless 'em), most people aren't aware that they too have their own Judgment Day beliefs. As one may suspect, they share a lot of prophecies with the Christians, excluding the New Testament. There's no Apocalypse, no mark of the beast, and no second coming of Christ. So, what do they believe? Are Jews still waiting for their Messiah? If so, what does the Tanakh and the Talmud really say about him? Do all Jews even agree on the issue, or are they divided like the Christians?
Topic 5: The Other Apocalypse: Islamic Eschatology
On careful observation of the current state of Islam, one would think Muslims were tired of waiting for Allah to bring an end to the world and have taken that task upon themselves. Appearances can be deceiving. They too have their own doomsday prophecies, and lucky for us, they're no less insane that anyone else's. Allah has no sons, but Jesus (Isa) is the Messiah, and according to many Shi'a theologians, there will be a second coming. What do the Sunni say? Are they just as nuts?
If there's a topic that I haven't mentioned that you're more interested in, feel free to mention it. I'm all ears.