A summary of the beliefs of Christianity

April 15, 2007 at 11:51 am 26 comments

Sacrificing Animals to appease GodThis is written specifically to the atheists who read this blog but do not have a Christian background.

Here’s what the Bible tells us about the history of the world and how “God” relates to humans:

  1. The world was created by God in 6 days (order of creation a bit vague since there are 2 contradictory creation accounts)
  2. The world is approximately 6,000 years old (if you use a literal interpretation of the Bible that a day is a day and a year is a year. Not sure why you would not.)
  3. For the first 2,000 years, it’s not clear how humans were saved or damned. In was probably based on actions or lineage since there was no mechanism in place for salvation or damning people to hell. Well, hell really didn’t seem to exist at this time.
  4. Approximately 4,000 years ago, Abraham came on the scene. God, all of a sudden, began to take an interest in his creation beyond wiping them all out with a flood and occasional talking to someone. He selects Abraham out of all the people alive as the person he would use to create a “chosen people.” Every other family tree after this time were more or less damned (until Christianity that is, but that’s jumping ahead).
  5. This “chosen people” had to kill and massacre animals and birds in order to be appease God and allow him to pardon their sins. Remember, if you were not a part of this wandering desert tribe in the Middle East, you were outside of God’s interest. They were the chosen ones and bound for paradise. Hell didn’t really exist during this time either so I’m not sure what happened to those who were not a part of this tribe. During this time period, God was pretty much a killing machine. He killed people for complaining, for picking up sticks on the Sabbath, and a variety of other petty reasons.
  6. Then about 2,000 years ago Jesus was born. He died on cross as the ultimate sacrifice for the sin of humanity. On that day, all the Jews, the previous “chosen people,” were no longer chosen unless they accepted Jesus as Messiah. God now had a new “chosen people,” Christians, and non-Jews could now be included as a part of this group. God is now a loving, merciful, compassionate Father in heaven.
  7. The previous set of rules that allowed the Jews to be redeemed were no longer valid. They were now damned to hell, which exists at this point, along with everyone else who do not accept Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. Yes, if you don’t accept Christ, you are going to hell for an eternity of torture! BURN! BURN! BURN!

I should add that about 600 years after Christ, Islam introduced another branch in the “chosen people” tree. Just as Christians point to prophecies of Christ in the Old Testament, Muslims point to prophecies of Muhammad in the Bible. However, Christianity rejects this new branch just as Judaism rejected the Christian branch.

- The de-Convert

Entry filed under: The de-Convert. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , .

The Bible Myth ala Penn and Teller Creationism ala Penn and Teller

26 Comments Add your own

  • 1. mary  |  April 15, 2007 at 11:57 am

    Amen!

  • 2. Tina  |  April 15, 2007 at 1:22 pm

    I’m learning as I go. I read so many religious posts from a lot of different bloggers, I don’t know what to say in a comment anymore. But I will say this, I find way more common sense coming from atheists and agnostics than religious people.

  • 3. poppies  |  April 15, 2007 at 1:22 pm

    Wow. I was hoping to find at least one accurate statement in this list, but to my dismay, there wasn’t even one. No wonder you deny Christianity, AA, if your formulation of it was how it actually was, I wouldn’t believe it, either.

  • 4. Marcus Vibius Hortulanus  |  April 15, 2007 at 1:54 pm

    Well, poppies, why would it be different? After all, the man bases his affirmations on the Bible. Isn’t the Bible the book that God gave to all people to understand his work and to worship him? So, why would you understand correctly and not the author of the blog?
    Maybe he is the one who fully understood God’s greatness and you didn’t. Maybe all that God wants is to race Stalin and Mao Zedong to the supreme title of “Murderer of the Universe”.

  • 5. nullifidian  |  April 15, 2007 at 2:19 pm

    That pretty much sums up what I’ve heard about it all. There’s definitely something fishy about the whole affair…

  • 6. PB and J  |  April 15, 2007 at 2:45 pm

    i think one must be careful in saying all “christians” believe this or that. i also think one must be careful saying all atheists believe this or that.

    i dont doubt that there are many christians who believe the points you mentioned above. however, make sure you are openminded enough to recognize not everyone can be put under one label.

    pb

  • 7. agnosticatheist  |  April 15, 2007 at 4:08 pm

    PB,

    I agree. I try to use Bible when I can vs. Christians. The reality is a majority of Christians do not believe in the God of the Bible and many Bible commands so it’s hard to point to consistent Christian beliefs.

    poppies,

    Care to elaborate? It’s hard to summarize the Bible and 6,000 years of human history in 7 short points. It’s really impossible to come up with 7 points that all Christians will agree to since the Bible is NOT a very simple book to understand and is full of contradictory points.

    However, do you agree that Jews will no longer go to heaven now unless they accept Christ? Can you imagine the moment that all changed for them? One moment they were God’s chosen people and the next they were on the outside of his plan. There had to be a specific moment in time when they went from automatic entrance into heaven to being doomed to hell. Was it at the crucifixion? Resurrection? Or was there grace period before it kicked in?

    We can start at the beginning. What’s wrong with point #1?

    aA

  • 8. epiphanist  |  April 15, 2007 at 4:45 pm

    Welcome back, MOI has been driving me nuts. The post and comments are an amusing summary of events so far. I wonder what a potted history of America written in the same style would look like? Ask a Muslim, perhaps? Fundamentalism in your country must be a real problem, people who fervently believe dogma are dangerous. Religion in Australia has been in decline for some time. The Romans are hanging on to their faithful while the protestants fade away. A few of the eastern religions have a toe in the water, but the population is predominately Apathetic. Fundamentalists are rightly considered as the lunatic fringe, though they do have a very minor political party, Family First associated with the AOG and others. Football and Cricket are BIG. But the country is bereft of soul and vision. American crap dominates the media and political and economic thinking. Another religion is definitely not the answer. We will have to find the best in what we have.

  • 9. ellegibson  |  April 15, 2007 at 7:53 pm

    It all seems a bit depressing and hard to beleive, but i know god is there and im not interested in teh rules, regulations or politics behind the whole thing.If i put my faith in god and give him my heart and ask for his guidence…………shouldnt that be enough?

  • 10. agnosticatheist  |  April 15, 2007 at 8:47 pm

    elle,

    What I’m addressing is fundamental Christianity which believes the Bible to be THE Word of God.

    For anyone who chooses to relate to “God,” that is a personal decision and one that everyone should support for that individual. After all, it’s the “believe my way or go to hell” attitude being address here. If I say that there is absolutely no god, I’m no different than the fundamentals. That’s why this is Agnostic Atheism.

    Good luck with your faith. It is enough – for you personally.

    aA

  • 11. agnosticatheist  |  April 15, 2007 at 8:53 pm

    epiphanist,

    We all have our little world views. I’m viewing the world through the lenses of my background. All of America do not see the same world. However, you are right in that Fundamentalist are an issue here. It’s not that they have their beliefs (more power to them for that), it’s that they try to legislate those beliefs and try to impose it on others.

    MOI posted a Penn & Teller video on the Bible. They have one on creationism that you should check out that will open your eyes to a bit of American culture.

    I’ll post the link as a blog.

    aA

  • 12. Creationism ala Penn and Teller  |  April 15, 2007 at 9:01 pm

    […] 15th, 2007 In response to my previous blog, “A summary of the beliefs of Christianity,” ephiphanist said: Fundamentalism in your country must be a real problem, people who […]

  • 13. poppies  |  April 16, 2007 at 2:08 am

    Aa, if you’ll be so kind as to allow it, I’d rather start with #3 since it’s the most egregiously fallacious point.

    The Bible indicates quite clearly that salvation before Christ’s earthly atoning work came as a result of this work, by way of faith (the book of Hebrews touches on this extensively). The Bible also clearly indicates the insufficiency of the sacrificial system as a source of salvation, potraying it as a symbolic ritual pointing to a future “ultimate sacrifice”.

    Speaking to Marcus H’s point, and also somewhat to PB and J’s, this view is not some splinter group opinion, nor is it just one opinion among others which are equally valid. If someone comments on the surprising nature of how Steinbeck wrote Tom Joad as a Chinese man in The Grapes of Wrath, one can just read the novel and find out that this person is mistaken. It wouldn’t be all that hard. Similarly, though the Bible has often been painted as this very complex, contradictory chaos of documents, it’s actually a remarkably harmonious work which is very straightforward in it’s presentation. Because it’s a large work, it’s easy to take things out of context and distort them, but there’s hardly anything in the Bible that’s unclear when read in context.

    To those who would claim otherwise, basing opposition on the fact that there’s so there’s so many different interpretations, etc., I highly recommend either reading the Bible all the way through attempting to remain as objective as possible, or, if this requires too much time or effort, I’m happy to provide a blog entry which summarizes the main points upon request. I’ve found that people who stray from the clear meta teachings of the Bible most often have a personal viewpoint they’re trying to support with the approval of God.

  • 14. MTran  |  April 16, 2007 at 4:08 am

    poppies says:

    though the Bible has often been painted as this very complex, contradictory chaos of documents, it’s actually a remarkably harmonious work which is very straightforward in it’s presentation.

    If by straightforward you mean that the Bible’s endless contradictions, outright falsehoods, and morally dubious teachings are so obvious that they scream off the pages at anyone who doesn’t already subscribe to its inerrant sanctity, well I guess then it is straightforward.

  • 15. agnosticatheist  |  April 16, 2007 at 7:47 am

    poppies,

    Here’s what we have in the Bible from creation to Abraham:

    1) 2 Creation accounts with contradictory information
    2) Fall of man when they ate from the tree of good and evil
    3) Story of Cain and Abel with God accepting Abel’s BLOOD offering but rejecting Cain’s fruit offering. This was simply an “offering” to God.
    4) God’s favoritism for Abel and his desire for blood instead of fruit caused jealousy in Cain and he kills Abel
    5) Bit about Cain’s family (not sure where he found his wife). Seth is born and a bunch of genealogies listed with their ages… many lived over 800 years including Methuselah who lived to be 969 years old. No real mention of God communicating with man other than the vague statement “Enoch walked with God for 300 years.”
    6) A bit about Noah, the building of the ark, how Noah saved millions of species by gathering them 2 by 2 into the ark.
    7) God commits the ultimate act of genocide by killing everyone in the earth with a flood except Noah and his family
    8 ) Noah then sacrifices one of every clean animal and bird to God (hope they all had babies during the 40 days and he didn’t wipe out species). God smelled a “soothing aroma” and promises not to flood the earth again… the rainbow.. yada yada..
    9) Tower of Babel where God feared man’s ability to build a tower to the sky because they were unified so he confuses them and introduces different languages.
    10) Genesis 12 – Introduction of Abraham… this is when the sacrifice for the atonement of sin really began to take form including Abraham intending to sacrifice his son, Isaac, as a burnt offering to God.

    Hence my comment about things being a big vague during this time period. It’s only 11 chapters and not very much material to go on.

    aA

  • 16. agnosticatheist  |  April 16, 2007 at 8:07 am

    MTran,

    I agree. I challenge any Christian to read through the following links:

    Killings by God in the Bible (incomplete list)

    A small sample of the laws of God

    and give the “harmonious” explanation as to how God is a loving, compassionate, kind, merciful Father in heaven who cares about his children and has a good plan for their lives.

    aA

  • 17. PB and J  |  April 16, 2007 at 4:18 pm

    guys good comments all around. i think yall bring up some great issues.

    personally they are some i have vigorously struggled with in the past few yrs. a little background: i went to west point and am in the military now. used to think the Bible was to be taken “literally” meaning when God commands war, we are still to go to war, etc. i had a life changing experience, and began questioning everything.

    my conclusions from the past few yrs has been very illuminated by contextualizing the Bible in Hebrew culture. i found that although the Old Testament commands “eye for eye”, etc, the Jewish people have never actually put this command into practice. i read rabbinic commentary and found that this was because God gave Moses commentary on the Torah simultaneously with the commands. basically God gave the way to interpret the written Teaching.

    i also found that the rabbis of the past and present look at the Bible as multiple layers in each text. you see the literal doesnt always mean the purpose. so eye for eye might have the purpose of proportional punishment, not literal application.

    in the same way, i think it has been vastly important for me to realize that the God of the Bible (real or imagined) wasnt forcing men to reach Him but for Him to reach them. what i mean is this:

    when a parent has a baby, they breast feed, then spoon feed, then teach the child to feed itself, then teach more lessons. they tell the child not to play in the street with no explanation, then they explain the rule, then they allow the child to play in the street at a certain age because they are mature enough.

    i truly believe that is why so much of the Bible seems contradictory and messed up. because it is God reaching people where they are, teaching them to be where they should be.

    so in a polygamous and idolatrous culture, he doesnt emphasize monogamy, but teaches them to abstain from idol worship. slowly, over time, he teaches them the original intent.

    so i believe it may not seem harmonious, but that is because we are hardheaded and slow to learn. i dont believe God has changed, merely the way we see Him. and thus the writers of the Bible progressively get more and more to the point.

    thats my perspective. yall feel free to ravagely attack.

    i am not trying to put anyone down, i think that both sides have many valid things to say. i personally have just found the God of the Bible to be consistent in my own life, and i believe He has been throughout history as well.

    may we learn from each other and not throw stones
    peter

  • 18. poppies  |  April 17, 2007 at 2:21 am

    In accordance with PB and J’s wish that we learn from each other and not just attack, I’ll just finish off by saying anyone who wants to see the straightforward clarifications for the “contradictions” previously mentioned can find a good resource at http://www.apologeticspress.org

    Two good examples:

    The “contradictory” creation accounts: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/2194

    How Cain found his wife: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/2181

    For the sake of intellectual honesty, I plan on checking out the links you provided, AA, and giving them serious consideration. I would appreciate your posting any other links which you feel are healthy for Christians to wrestle with.

  • 19. MTran  |  April 17, 2007 at 3:07 am

    Hi PBandJ,

    And congrats on West Point!

    PBandJ’s investigations into the ancient Hebrew works outside of the Bible are very helpful in understanding how they interpreted passages that pose real barriers to Christians who rely solely on the Biblical text.

    I always figured that the ancient Hebrews understood the meanings of their own holy books better than anyone else could, so I heartily endorse their study by Christians.

    PBandJ said:
    so i believe it may not seem harmonious, but that is because we are hardheaded and slow to learn. i dont believe God has changed, merely the way we see Him. and thus the writers of the Bible progressively get more and more to the point.

    I think your statement here is one that is shared by quite a few people. And as far as being “hard headed”, yeah, whether there is a god or not, we humans can be extremely hard headed.

    But I have a different take on many of the contradictions in the Bible, especially within the Pentateuch & the early histories. I base it on rather extensive textual criticisms, comparative mythology (especially ancient Egyption, Sumerian, and Babylonian), and what we know of the history of the relevant geographic areas.

    There were several contributors (writers, editors, whatever you want to call them) to the text we now call the Old Testament. The various contributors were not in agreement with one another but politically they could not simply edit out stuff that supported their political rivals, but they could insert new material in order to buttress their own claims.

    You don’t need to do this very often to come up with a real hodge-podge of conflicting tales. It seems that the internal competition between the scribes & ancestors of those who represent the ancient Hebrews in Isreal vs those of Judah are reflected in the numerous contradictions of the Bible’s early books.

    Also, there are many anachronisms within the texts that can help direct investigations and studies to particular times and places, and by so doing, shadows of the politics and crises of the surrounding civilizations can be seen.

    It’s all quite fascinating, but the more I studied, the more I became convinced that the Judeo-Christian origins, rather than being unique, were just more of the same tales coming from other ancient peoples.

  • 20. nullifidian  |  April 17, 2007 at 8:51 am

    Poppies post a link to Apologetics Press, which contained this gem in one of their ‘explanations':

    When skeptics allege that Jesus lied when He stated He would rise from the grave “after three days” (Mark 8:31), because on other occasions He indicated that He would rise “the third day” (Matthew 16:21; 17:23; 20:19; cf. Acts 10:40), they fail to recognize a common figure of speech in ancient times. “After three days” and “on the third day” frequently meant the same thing

    Then why not translate it as the same thing? If, in the idiom of the time, they meant the same thing, then clearly they would be translated to a singlular phrase, rather than the contradictory results we see. Or were the people who made these translations not smart enough to know the difference? If that’s the case, they have no business translating anything, let alone something that is supposed to be a god’s literal espousings.

    In the Cain’s wife episode, we see these apologists arguing that Cain’s wife must have been a near relative and take the bible literally to justify this conclusion, then recant on the doctrine of the unchangingness of their god by citing a mosaic law as the start of laws against incest, and then follow this up by calling the ‘patriarchal age’ where man was supposedly relatively sinless, contradicting the doctrine of original sin, and then start talking about genetics. C’mon, you can ride a white elephant, sideways, though those inconsistences.

    So, apologetics now means pulling any old opinions out of your arse the air to justify presupposed conclusions and create a runway-sized bypass around blatent inconsistencies?

  • 21. PB and J  |  April 17, 2007 at 7:59 pm

    mtran

    thanks for your engagement on the points. i think you bring some real issues that followers of Jesus have to address. let me comment a little on your pt about the similarities with other religions. let me be up front: I AGREE!

    you see, i think people are too quick to reject everything another person has to say because they dont agree with one pt. i agree with you, i think there are many similarities in religions ancient and present. i think we probably might disagree on the conclusions from that, however.

    personally, i believe the reason that there are similarities is because the “Divine Spark” (as Quakers call it) or God’s image or God’s Breath of Life is in all humans. so even if a person doesnt have complete understanding of God (and to be honest, who does? i know i dont), this doesnt mean that they should be rejected entirely. so as one who follows Jesus as my Lord, i apologize for others who can be overzealous in that regard.

    at the same time, i dont believe in nothing (nihilism or whathaveyou). i believe that there are some things that make more sense than others. i believe, not in perfect knowledge or proof, but in probability. personally, weighing the different factors, i believe the God of the Bible is God and that He exists and is an infinite-personal God.

    so i agree that there are similarities, because i think there are truths in all of us, even atheists :)

    peter

  • 22. MTran  |  April 18, 2007 at 2:41 am

    PBandJ said:

    personally, i believe the reason that there are similarities is because the “Divine Spark” (as Quakers call it) or God’s image or God’s Breath of Life is in all humans.

    Again, I have known many people who would agree with you completely. In fact, the many appearances of similar biblical motifs among disparate religions caused me to want to know more about all religions. And for a while, I too shared the notion that these similarities were the most real evidence of important ideas that undergird many religions.

    But as I investigated further, it became clear to me that there are perfectly good, natural, human, social, non-religious reasons for these similarities. Just as there are natural human reasons for the way trousers and gloves are designed by many different peoples throughout history.

    But part of all of these personal investigations tend to lead to definitions of god different from the one typically found in traditional religions.

    In the end, I found that “god” was not an answer to any question I had, nor was it an answer to any other question worth asking.

    YMMV

  • 23. nullifidian  |  April 18, 2007 at 5:05 am

    In the end, I found that “god” was not an answer to any question I had, nor was it an answer to any other question worth asking.

    A most excellent observation.

  • 24. Justin T  |  April 26, 2007 at 8:00 am

    This is a pretty unfair assertional of Christianity. Not inaccurate, mind you, but unfair. Its a good thing that his message is intended to fall on the ears of the unbeliever, because I can’t see it being well received by the typical Christian (of course, its his blog, he doesn’t HAVE to make a message that would be well received… I’m just saying…)

    However, his target audience are those who don’t believe in God (such as myself), and those who have little background in Christianity (I don’t fit into that bill).

    If you’re going to use this information “against” a Christian, I highly suggest you study up a bit. There is nothing like considering yourself knowledgeable on a subject after only reading 7 synopses. Still, you won’t have to look too hard to understand why Christianity, along with all the other religions, are total bunk.

    Religion is the antiquated system which begins to rust with age, polluting and corrupting the very soul the clergymen purport to save.

  • 25. kendarius evans  |  August 13, 2009 at 4:49 pm

    that is right

  • 26. Realist  |  November 29, 2009 at 6:41 pm

    It’s hard to beleive how so many people believe this shit.

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Attention Christian Readers

Just in case you were wondering who we are and why we de-converted.

de-conversion wager

Whether or not you believe in God, you should live your life with love, kindness, compassion, mercy and tolerance while trying to make the world a better place. If there is no God, you have lost nothing and will have made a positive impact on those around you. If there is a benevolent God reviewing your life, you will be judged on your actions and not just on your ability to blindly believe in creeds- when there is a significant lack of evidence on how to define God or if he/she even exists.

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