Posts tagged ‘Bible’
Hello again everyone. I’m happy to say that I finally have some time to make a post on this blog. Sparing you the details, let’s just say that finishing up grad school is pretty time consuming… but enough about that, on to the my topic!
Without question, the internet has increased the level of human interaction and discussion (this blog alone stands as a perfect example). Through the years, I have seen discussions of all sorts, but naturally, I am most interested in ones concerning religious manners. I have seen countless arguments on why Christianity is a fraud, so I thought that I would share one with you.
One way to argue the falsehood of Christianity is to point out the human element of the Bible, that is, to demonstrate that the Bible contains political and social biases of the variety of authors. Doing so provides evidence that the book is more or less human invention and therefore discredits any divinity claims.
There you go! That is one way to de-bunk big bad Christianity!! The end!
This is the third installment of the series “Why do Christians de-convert?” in which I’m citing the primary reasons for de-conversion amongst the sample of the 117 de-conversion stories I read.
Billboards exhort us to “read your bible”, and perhaps it’s a good idea. For 10.63% of people in the sample, reading the bible was significant in ending their faith. For some de-convertees the bible demonstrated how little their present religion had to do with the holy text that it supposedly revered.
Consider one person’s experience when quite young:
I had to fill out a worksheet about what the teen-age Jesus did after he woke up in the morning, rolled up his mat (like a good fundamentalist child) and went out to help his father in the carpenter’s shop. When I went back to the bible and saw that no one knows what happened [in those years of Jesus’ life].
A simple “learning” activity prompted the above Christian to question their faith…
For my birthday I gave myself a HarperCollins Study Bible. It’s quite a tome of scholarly commentary running alongside the text of the Old and New Testaments. Yet I don’t actually enjoy reading the Bible; after about 16 years of intense grappling, I found the whole thing to be tiring, disjointed, and just downright difficult to grasp. Despite this, I’ve bought this thing, a book that is either highly revered or detested, considered to be either the Word of God or just another ancient religious text. So why am I choosing to torture myself in the confusing and sublime text of Christian scripture?
For me, the purpose is to unravel the text in the light of contemporary Christian and religious experience. I do this from a critical and skeptical viewpoint, taking nothing for granted. Doubt is probably the most beneficial tool here, for it seeks not merely an alternative understanding, but rather an understanding that is shaped by how I perceive and experience the world. This really puts me at odds with many Christians, who perceive that we must approach the Bible from a viewpoint of faith. It is only by faith, they say, that we can truly understand the words of scripture. By faith, we can hear the voice of God speaking through the words and directly to our heart.
It is that notion of faith that we must apply doubt first of all. For if God truly did speak through the words of the Bible to his faithful, why then do we have such multiplicity of interpretation?…
Taking a cultural perspective to belief is a useful exercise. For me, it means that I am no longer bound to particulars. What matters now is the context in which experience arises.
Not too long ago, I would read the Bible as if it were God’s Word to me now, as if God were speaking to me through the text. In fact, that was the primary way I could know God and maintain the sense of relationship. I came to speak of and relate to God as one would a person, obviously through the creative use of imagination. This God-sense began at a youth concert, where I was so emotionally moved by the sermon that I experienced a shift in my focus. It was that ‘born again’ conversion experience that so many talk about. Thus began many years of my life as a devoted follower of Christ.
Fast-forward many years into the future, and I am listening to an interview with Emerging Church leader Brian McLaren discussing the metaphorical nature of hell. It was my first exposure to the idea of universal salvation. Suddenly, an entirely different paradigm came rushing in to shatter the foundation of my faith. If the message of the gospel as proclaimed within evangelical churches is that Christ saved me from hell, and hell is not real, what is left of the gospel? I felt disillusioned and immediately stopped attending church, whilst beginning to explore the alternative approaches to scripture. Over time, a lack of exposure to evangelical Christian church services and a range of books and podcasts would blast away any remaining hope that I had in a literal view of the Bible…
The debate as to whether a god exists has been around since man first believed in a god. This debate is unlikely to end anytime soon and I do not plan to make an attempt to end it. I will instead give a few reasons why the most popular God in the world, the Christian God, is not at all the powerful being he is made out to be.
In Christianity, God is said to be the creator of the universe, perfect in every way, a being of infinite power. It is believed that God can accomplish anything he wishes, There are of course no obstacles in the way of an omniscient being. These beliefs, although fully accepted by the Christian people, are flawed. In fact the flaw, or flaws, lie in the most important writing of their religion, the Bible. The Bible depicts God throughout its large number of books and in many of these depictions God is shown as a less than perfect, less than omniscient being.
The best area to begin with is Genesis, the beginning of the Bible. In Genesis God is depicted during his creation of the universe. An admirable feat by any account, but not admirable enough. The flaw in this situation is that God is not all powerful. He takes quite a bit of time to create the planet earth and the rest of the universe. Of course the rest of the universe is created very quickly, while this little planet earth takes the bulk of the six days, but I won’t stress that point. Taking time, any time at all in fact, not to mention an entire six days, is not a quality of a supreme and infinitely powerful being. A being of infinite power would create the universe infinitely fast and to a state of complete and utter perfection…
A common topic discussed on non-religious or post-religious sites is the subject of morality. Many religions, particularly those who consider Abraham the father of their faith – Judaism, Christianity, and Islam – believe they have the corner on morality and that “God” though his “holy book” is the source of morality in the world.
We’ve had our share of discussion on this site including HeIsSailing’s The Bible does not contain a guideline of moral absolutes, AThinkingMan’s Challenging Religious Myths 1: No Morality without Religion, and Stellar1’s You do not need religion to be moral. Of course this is not an exhaustive list as this issue is a part of several other excellent blog entries.
For many, the 10 Commandments set the foundation on which morality is based. The 10 Commandments are found in Exodus 20:2-17 and Deuteronomy 5:6-21. Depending on your religion or denomination, there are 12 commandments used to make up some version of the 10 Commandments. They are:
- I am the Lord your God
- You shall have no other gods before me
- You shall not make for yourself an idol
- You shall not take the Lord’s name in vain
- Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy…
This is a true story that just missed being included in the bible by a whisker.
Herschel and Lucy Goldman are in their early 40’s living in Judea. Herschel is a tent maker and Lucy is a homemaker. They work hard all day and in the evenings when they gather as a family for a meal, they always invite local people who have no family of their own to join them. They believe this is how Yahweh wants them to treat others.
Every Saturday, they go to the synagogue to worship God and pray for a messiah. They are praying for a saviour to free them from the Romans and bring peace to the region. They hope for a king of the Jews to lift them out of their hardships. They trust god, who has brought them this far, to continue to be at their side and help them know when ‘the One’ has come.
At this time, there are regular rumours and mumblings of messiahs. People are so desperate for salvation that it seems that some are willing to fall for any old claim. Hershel and Lucy are reasonable people. They believe that god will make it clear to them who is the one, and that they should trust him. While they have an idea of what they are expecting in a messiah, they know that Yahweh moves in mysterious ways; so they tell their children to always keen an open mind.
Recently, there has been another messiah claim. This time it is about a guy called Jesus of Nazareth…