I don't have a lot of experience in these kinds of debates, but recently on my blog a fundaMENTAList has made the mistake of trying to convert me, here's our most recent exchange (I write under a pen name on my blog):
Russ // August 12, 2008 at 2:33 pm (edit)
There is plenty of evidence to support the Bible. For example, the nation of Israel dwelling in the land of Israel today is evidence that the Bible is true.
In the latter years you will come into the land of those brought back from the sword [and] gathered from many people on the mountains of Israel, which had long been desolate; they were brought out of the nations, and now all of them dwell safely. [Ez 38:8]
‘For behold, the days are coming’, says the LORD, ‘that I will bring back from captivity My people Israel and Judah,’ says the LORD. ‘And I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall possess it.’ [Jer 30:3]
And there is much, much more evidence that the Bible is the word of God.
I suppose that you have mountains of evidence that the Bible cannot be God’s word. Can you share just one or two of them?
J.P. Franklin // August 13, 2008 at 3:40 am (edit)
The nation of Israel dwells in the land of Israel because an international council chose to give that land to the Jews, likely in a misguided attempt to bring about the “end times”, the forming of the nation of Israel was not the work of god.
And he said unto me, These sayings are faithful and true: and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to shew unto his servants the things which must shortly be done. [Revelation 22:6]
This verse is saying that the ends times were to occur shortly after the resurrection.
2 Kings 8:26 says “Two and twenty years old was Ahaziah when he began to reign…”
Whereas 2 Chronicles 22:2 says “Forty and two years old was Ahaziah when he began to reign…”
Matt 4:8: ” Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them.”
This would only be possible if the Earth was flat and very small, even standing on top of Mt. Everest, one could not see all of the Earth.
Christianity is essentially a combination of Judaism and a 2600 year old religion known as Mithraism. Here are some interesting facts about Mithra:
1. Mithra was born of a virgin on December 25th in a cave, and his birth was attended by shepherds.
2. He was considered a great traveling teacher and master.
3. He had 12 companions or disciples.
4. Mithra’s followers were promised immortality.
5. He performed miracles.
6. As the “great bull of the Sun,” Mithra sacrificed himself for world peace.
7. He was buried in a tomb and after three days rose again.
8. His resurrection was celebrated every year.
9. He was called “the Good Shepherd” and identified with both the Lamb and the Lion.
10. He was considered the “Way, the Truth and the Light,” and the “Logos,” “Redeemer,” “Savior” and “Messiah.”
11. His sacred day was Sunday, the “Lord’s Day,” hundreds of years before the appearance of Christ.
12. Mithra had his principal festival of what was later to become Easter.
13. His religion had a eucharist or “Lord’s Supper,” at which Mithra said, “He who shall not eat of my body nor drink of my blood so that he may be one with me and I with him, shall not be saved.”
14. “His annual sacrifice is the passover of the Magi, a symbolical atonement or pledge of moral and physical regeneration.”
15. Shmuel Golding is quoted as saying that 1 Cor. 10:4 is “identical words to those found in the Mithraic scriptures, except that the name Mithra is used instead of Christ.”
16. The Catholic Encyclopedia is quoted as saying that Mithraic services were conduced by “fathers” and that the “chief of the fathers, a sort of pope, who always lived at Rome, was called ‘Pater Patratus.’”
Wow, maybe Mithra and Jesus should do lunch some time, they have a lot in common.
I know it’s hard for you to understand how a person can be good and moral without god. I was a christian too. I had seriously considered studying theology, until I started to do some studying on my own and found that things just didn’t fit. As a christian, most of what you hear from the bible is what your minister reads, or what you read in bible study guides. They tend to leave out the contradictions. I know the bible quite well, I can’t say I’ve read all of it but I have read several full books and assorted parts of the other books. If you want to try to prove to me that god exists, you can’t do it using the bible. The bible holds as much validity in this kind of debate as the torah, the quran, and whatever holy books other religions use. What makes your religion more valid than any other religion? There is a saying we atheists like to use when talking to people of faith, “We are both atheists, I just reject one more god than you do.”
Am I handling this well? I sometimes have a habit of sounding extremely cynical in my writing, and I don't want this guy to get the impression that I'm just some "asshole atheist".