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Do atheists get a hard time?

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Yes, but why would an atheist held any higher than a Satan-worshiper? I see nothing that says or implies one is better than the other, only that a person either believes in Jesus or they don't. If your children don't believe in Jesus you must choose to stop loving them. You are not allowed to say, "Well my kid doesn't believe in Jesus anymore but I still love him all the same." You're not allowed to love your atheist child.

So you think the "sword" Jesus was referring to was the actual sword that appears seventeen chapters later, not a metaphorical sword? How was Jesus planning to send "the Earth" this actual sword as he said?

Oddly another Christian here was scolding me for emphasizing Christianity's focus on salvation too much!

I definitely think that the sword is a metaphorical sword. I was using the mention of the literal sword to show that Jesus did not mean that as a sword to murder with when he said that I come to bring the sword.

Where did I say that, or the bible say that you are not allowed to love your Atheist child? Jesus taught that you shall love your neighbor. I never read love your Christian neighbor only anywhere in the bible.

Regarding the other Christian scolding you; Who cares? I can call myself a doctor but it doesn't mean I am one or should be performing brain surgery on you. Christian is a pretty lose term these days. If it upset you that much then you should pray about it. :D I hope you didn't take my post as scolding because of my use of exclamation marks. I tend to use those more than periods.

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Well, that's exactly the point isn't it? It's illogical; however, Walker doesn't see it that way.

It is not me who doesn't see it this way. I am just following science, as I do with evolution and in all things.

All modern forms of science are illustrating how the human mind works, and its inherent connection to language. One significant sub set of these studies is called "The construction of belief" in humans.

A child must be taught how to speak which can occur simply by exposure to human speech. But as a child learns to speak it constructs symbolic attachments to words. It uses its mind to create solutions which are plausible and logical to it, given the knowledge data it posseses. It doesnt have ot be taugh how to do this. The mind plus the language skills of the mind cause it to happen as a natura;/spontaneous product of our self aware sapience. Of course most kids are also either taught about or introduced to the concept of god. But if they are not, each one will inevitably construct it, in order to make sense of what it observes in its world.

Expert opinion is that this patterning of thought creates a predisposition to belief which endures into adulthood, and explains why approx 95% of all modern humans either have a belief in a deity or in a spiritual/paranormal/supernatural, element to the natural world.

Only about 5 % of modern adults state that they are atheists or non believers in both these things. In the opinion of a range of scientists, such an enduring and powerful statistic in the modern era must have a natural cause, not one based on education or indoctrination, which is by no means common or universal in our modern world.

This natural combination of causes creates a predisposition to belief in humans. A lot of work has been done on identifying the complex and interconneceted causes of this. Again. search for "the construction of belief"

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"God is real! We should put prayer in the schools! BAN ABORTION!"

"..I don't believe in god."

"STOP FORCING YOUR BELIEFS ON ME!"

We havent quite got the technology to allow this, in place yet. But the good news is we are getting closer. :devil:

At the moment, short of intensive sensory deprivation, a comprehensive drug programme, and hypnotherapy, no one can force a belief on another person. But sooooon !!!

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I definitely think that the sword is a metaphorical sword. I was using the mention of the literal sword to show that Jesus did not mean that as a sword to murder with when he said that I come to bring the sword.

The metaphor Jesus was using was a sword for battle, since he was declaring he did not come to bring peace.

Where did I say that, or the bible say that you are not allowed to love your Atheist child?

Matthew 10:35-37. It says that members of your family who don't accept Christ are your foes and further says that's because Jesus demands you love him more than them.

Jesus taught that you shall love your neighbor. I never read love your Christian neighbor only anywhere in the bible.

Love thy neighbor is a actually a law from the Old Testament (Leviticus 19:18). Jesus just repeated it. Since Christians never read the Old Testament, they assume Jesus came up with it.

It's generally accepted that the Jews considered "neighbors" to be their fellow Israelites. For example God commanded them to exterminate or enslave all Moabites, Canaanites, and any other "foreigners" they found in the Promised Land.

I haven't found anything in the New Testament that says non-believers are neighbors. There are verses that say they are foes.

Regarding the other Christian scolding you; Who cares? I can call myself a doctor but it doesn't mean I am one or should be performing brain surgery on you. Christian is a pretty lose term these days.

I didn't really care! I'm just amazed at how some Christians drill the "You're going to HELL!" aspect of their religion yet others say "That's just a small part of Christianity. Don't worry about it." It looks to me like the idea of people suffering for all eternity for not having their Christian beliefs is exciting to some yet embarrassing to others.

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I guess I should at this stage ask our atheist members.....

Do you personally feel you get a hard time for being an atheist?

Do you feel discriminated against in a world filled with religion?

Has this thread been helpful, interesting, or not?

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Do you personally feel you get a hard time for being an atheist?

Yes, mostly from Christians. My Jewish friends don't seem to care.

Do you feel discriminated against in a world filled with religion?

Yes. People who aren't "spiritual" are pitied as if they were bodies with no souls who have no faith in anything.

Has this thread been helpful, interesting, or not?

I haven't read any experiences similar to mine. Maybe I'm more of a jerk atheist. :blush:

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Why do you feel the need to say they probably aren't right? Do you know for sure there has been no alien visitation?

No, I don't know for sure, and I also feel that athiests cannot know for sure there is no God. They can only know what they believe. In that way atheism is like a religion, it operates at some level on nothing but faith.

Edited for:

Maybe I should point out that at some level everything is based on faith at some level, IMO.

Edited by OverSword
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The metaphor Jesus was using was a sword for battle, since he was declaring he did not come to bring peace.

Matthew 10:35-37. It says that members of your family who don't accept Christ are your foes and further says that's because Jesus demands you love him more than them.

Love thy neighbor is a actually a law from the Old Testament (Leviticus 19:18). Jesus just repeated it. Since Christians never read the Old Testament, they assume Jesus came up with it.

It's generally accepted that the Jews considered "neighbors" to be their fellow Israelites. For example God commanded them to exterminate or enslave all Moabites, Canaanites, and any other "foreigners" they found in the Promised Land.

I haven't found anything in the New Testament that says non-believers are neighbors. There are verses that say they are foes.

I didn't really care! I'm just amazed at how some Christians drill the "You're going to HELL!" aspect of their religion yet others say "That's just a small part of Christianity. Don't worry about it." It looks to me like the idea of people suffering for all eternity for not having their Christian beliefs is exciting to some yet embarrassing to others.

Someone who tries to drag you away from Christ is your spiritual foe, yes. I don't see anywhere that it says not to love your children though, atheist or not.

The verse you are quoting is talking about putting father against son as you have to choose god over your family. God, Family, whatever else. You are putting in your own words to fit your agenda. First you said that the gospel was only for Jews and that the Romans or Gentiles weren't to be taught the gospel. (Paraphrasing). I don't guess you have read the book of Romans, huh? How about Acts 28:28, Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and they will hear it.

The metaphor come to bring the sword once again is not meaning to do battle. Jesus commanded legions of angels, he doesn't need a sword. This is a spiritual battle. Having to put something you love and can hold, behind something you have to have faith in causes strife.

Christians never read the Old Testament? Your losing credibility rapidly. Hey, how about you just quote me the same verse for the third time and try to break it down without having read the book associated with said references.

Here I'll do more bible study for you since you cannot take the time to read before you cast away your salvation. Let's go to Matthew since you seem to spend most of your time in this book.

Matthew 5:43. Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.

5:44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.

Hey if you are talking to Christians that say don't worry about going to Hell then I can see why you question your faith. It isn't the fact that you don't have Christian beliefs that sends you to hell. The reason that you are on the fast track to hell is that you have heard the word, and choose to deny it. You know better, yet still choose to tempt god with your ignorance. The difference between me and you is that if I was wrong (Which I'm not), it wouldn't matter. I just die, and am dead. When it turns out that you are wrong, you are without the presence of god for eternity.

If you take the time to read the bible a bit and actually come up with a response other than Matthew 10:35 which we have discussed twice now then let me know.

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It isn't the fact that you don't have Christian beliefs that sends you to hell. The reason that you are on the fast track to hell is that you have heard the word, and choose to deny it. You know better, yet still choose to tempt god with your ignorance. The difference between me and you is that if I was wrong (Which I'm not), it wouldn't matter. I just die, and am dead. When it turns out that you are wrong, you are without the presence of god for eternity.

In one short paragraph, you've just encapsulated why so many atheists get p***ed off with the 'faithful'. And you even managed to throw in the irrational nonsense of Pascal's wager.

So. Do atheists get a hard time? Difficult to deny when you know that all good christians think you're going to hell. You talk about ignorance but demonstrate your own extremely well. Try talking to an atheist instead of preaching. You'll never change each others' minds, but you'd be amazed what a bit of mutual understanding can achieve.

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It depends where one lives. Im an atheists and very comfy being one a to where I live I live.

Edited by The Silver Thong
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Someone who tries to drag you away from Christ is your spiritual foe, yes. I don't see anywhere that it says not to love your children though, atheist or not.

Do I have to read Matthew 10:35-37 to you again?

" For I have come to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law— a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household. Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me."

The verse you are quoting is talking about putting father against son as you have to choose god over your family. God, Family, whatever else. You are putting in your own words to fit your agenda.

How do you get "choose god over your family" when it clearly says "turn a man against" his family? That means oppose them. If your children are non-believers then you must "turn against" them. Period.

Read the entire context of that chapter of Matthew. It is all about why Jesus came to the Earth, who will oppose him, and how believers must react to his enemies.

First you said that the gospel was only for Jews

Yes, the Old Testament is only for Jews.

and that the Romans or Gentiles weren't to be taught the gospel. (Paraphrasing). I don't guess you have read the book of Romans, huh? How about Acts 28:28, Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and they will hear it.

The New Testament is for anyone who wants to become a Christian. It has to be because Jesus is not the Jewish Messiah as defined by the Old Testament.

The metaphor come to bring the sword once again is not meaning to do battle. Jesus commanded legions of angels, he doesn't need a sword. This is a spiritual battle.

First you say "not meaning to do battle" then you say "This is a spiritual battle". If you think "a spiritual battle" doesn't lead to physical battles, you need to learn more history. Start with the Crusades.

Christians never read the Old Testament? Your losing credibility rapidly. Hey, how about you just quote me the same verse for the third time and try to break it down without having read the book associated with said references.

My experience is that Christians do not read the Old Testament. I have found they know almost nothing about it beyond the first part of Genesis that says we shouldn't teach Evolution to our children. They regularly make mistakes like saying that Jesus came up with "Love thy neighbor" when it was written hundreds of years before Jesus.

Here I'll do more bible study for you since you cannot take the time to read before you cast away your salvation. Let's go to Matthew since you seem to spend most of your time in this book.

Yes, Matthew contains the greatest number of errors, contradictions and things that make Christians uncomfortable. I don't know how Christians get past the very first book in the New Testament.

Matthew 5:43. Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.

5:44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.

Now take that concept and try to apply it all the way through Matthew. Jesus is damning his nonbelievers and selecting places in Hell for them, calling them serpents and vipers, is that really "love your enemies"? When Jesus repeatedly calls his generation "serpents" and even calls Peter "Satan", is that "love your enemies"? In Matthew 23-24 when Jesus does his long long "Woe unto them" speech to all that oppose him, does it sound like Jesus loves these people? It doesn't to me.

Jesus's teachings are agonizingly inconsistent. Sure, he'll say some nice things like Matthew 5:44 which Christians will put on billboards and bumper stickers, yet when Jesus is insulting people calling them serpents and vipers and damning them to various levels of Hell those kind words sound very empty and hypocritical to me.

Hey if you are talking to Christians that say don't worry about going to Hell then I can see why you question your faith. It isn't the fact that you don't have Christian beliefs that sends you to hell. The reason that you are on the fast track to hell is that you have heard the word, and choose to deny it.

I deny it because the New Testament itself tells me to. In Matthew 24:34 Jesus said in regards to everything in Matthew 23-24, that "this generation shall not pass, til all these things be fulfilled." Hundreds of generations have passed yet these things have not been fulfilled, thus Jesus was a false prophet.

You know better, yet still choose to tempt god with your ignorance. The difference between me and you is that if I was wrong (Which I'm not), it wouldn't matter. I just die, and am dead. When it turns out that you are wrong, you are without the presence of god for eternity.

I'm familiar with Pascal's Wager. The difference is that you have chosen to live your life around false teachings that are internally contradictory and externally falsified, yet I have the ability to read, understand, and evaluate the very same teachings and make my own decision about them. This has freed me to live my life without fear of a supernatural creature punishing me after I die.

If you take the time to read the bible a bit and actually come up with a response other than Matthew 10:35 which we have discussed twice now then let me know.

I have found that Christians will want to discuss another verse when the meaning of a particular verse starts to bother them.

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Do I have to read Matthew 10:35-37 to you again?

" For I have come to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law— a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household. Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me."

How do you get "choose god over your family" when it clearly says "turn a man against" his family? That means oppose them. If your children are non-believers then you must "turn against" them. Period.

Read the entire context of that chapter of Matthew. It is all about why Jesus came to the Earth, who will oppose him, and how believers must react to his enemies.

Yes, the Old Testament is only for Jews.

The New Testament is for anyone who wants to become a Christian. It has to be because Jesus is not the Jewish Messiah as defined by the Old Testament.

First you say "not meaning to do battle" then you say "This is a spiritual battle". If you think "a spiritual battle" doesn't lead to physical battles, you need to learn more history. Start with the Crusades.

My experience is that Christians do not read the Old Testament. I have found they know almost nothing about it beyond the first part of Genesis that says we shouldn't teach Evolution to our children. They regularly make mistakes like saying that Jesus came up with "Love thy neighbor" when it was written hundreds of years before Jesus.

Yes, Matthew contains the greatest number of errors, contradictions and things that make Christians uncomfortable. I don't know how Christians get past the very first book in the New Testament.

Now take that concept and try to apply it all the way through Matthew. Jesus is damning his nonbelievers and selecting places in Hell for them, calling them serpents and vipers, is that really "love your enemies"? When Jesus repeatedly calls his generation "serpents" and even calls Peter "Satan", is that "love your enemies"? In Matthew 23-24 when Jesus does his long long "Woe unto them" speech to all that oppose him, does it sound like Jesus loves these people? It doesn't to me.

Jesus's teachings are agonizingly inconsistent. Sure, he'll say some nice things like Matthew 5:44 which Christians will put on billboards and bumper stickers, yet when Jesus is insulting people calling them serpents and vipers and damning them to various levels of Hell those kind words sound very empty and hypocritical to me.

I deny it because the New Testament itself tells me to. In Matthew 24:34 Jesus said in regards to everything in Matthew 23-24, that "this generation shall not pass, til all these things be fulfilled." Hundreds of generations have passed yet these things have not been fulfilled, thus Jesus was a false prophet.

I'm familiar with Pascal's Wager. The difference is that you have chosen to live your life around false teachings that are internally contradictory and externally falsified, yet I have the ability to read, understand, and evaluate the very same teachings and make my own decision about them. This has freed me to live my life without fear of a supernatural creature punishing me after I die.

I have found that Christians will want to discuss another verse when the meaning of a particular verse starts to bother them.

You continue to take things out of context to try to fit your point.

I will not be a liar about saying that I understand what is being said in all parts of the bible. I don't. I'm not a scholar by any means.

I was trying to get you away from Matthew 10:35 because you keep repeating the same nonsense when taking that verse out of context. I can keep copying and pasting my last response and change a few words around and we can do this until we are blue in the face. So realize that I am not trying to change the verse being discussed because it is bothering me, I am changing it because you do not understand what is being said, and cannot be told different on said verse. Somewhat like how I feel.

If you have hardened your heart to where you cannot be saved, then that is on you to change, not me. The only one out of us that has anything to lose is you. Not me.

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Its funny that atheists get a hard time by the religious groups in the USA, when in the rest of the westernized world its generally the other way around.

I heard that atheism is statistically linked to education and intelligence level. The more you study and the smarter you are, the less religious you are. The average differance between an atheist and a dogmatic believer is almost 6 IQ points.

However, i am a deist. I dismiss both atheism and religion as superfluous and fanciful as religions seem to me like a fairytale and atheism denies any spiritual realm at all.

This is my belief, but i am open to change if any further evidence comes to hand (which is not likely)

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Its funny that atheists get a hard time by the religious groups in the USA, when in the rest of the westernized world its generally the other way around.

I heard that atheism is statistically linked to education and intelligence level. The more you study and the smarter you are, the less religious you are. The average differance between an atheist and a dogmatic believer is almost 6 IQ points.

However, i am a deist. I dismiss both atheism and religion as superfluous and fanciful as religions seem to me like a fairytale and atheism denies any spiritual realm at all.

This is my belief, but i am open to change if any further evidence comes to hand (which is not likely)

The opposite is true in Australia for a variety of logical, sociological reasons. The better educated you are the more likely you are to be religious and belong to a religious group. This reflects both the differnt nature of religion in australia (very little of it is fundamentalist and even less accepts creation as true) and our social structure including our education system.

The richest people in australia send their children to private schools, most of which are also religious based . But also, religion in australia is a social positive and perceived as such. It works with govt., and runs all sorts of businesses which care for people, and employ many more. Religion in australia can also be an important part of social networking for advancement in business, and "old boy" networks from those private schools count for a lot.

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You continue to take things out of context to try to fit your point.

I am not alone in my interpretation so you'll have to accept that people don't accept your feel-good interpretation.

I was trying to get you away from Matthew 10:35 because you keep repeating the same nonsense when taking that verse out of context. I can keep copying and pasting my last response and change a few words around and we can do this until we are blue in the face.

That "nonsense" I was saying is actually a common interpretation of the verse. It's not popular among Christians because it's one of the many cases where the Bible says things that conflict with how we choose to live our lives today. Christians have made a science out of skipping over things in the Bible that make them uncomfortable or would make them unpopular (Jews generally confront these things). That's why there are 1,600 Christian sects today -- each has pulled out whatever they like from the Bible and thrown the rest of it into the trash.

If you have hardened your heart to where you cannot be saved, then that is on you to change, not me. The only one out of us that has anything to lose is you. Not me.

If you have hardened your brain to where you cannot understand words from your Bible which conflict with what you want to believe and what science has proved then you have already surrendered a part of what makes living in our modern age so much better than in the past.

OK forget Matthew 10:35. How about Matthew 8:28-32? This was one of the cases where Jesus "cured" people by removing demonic spirits from them. In this case the spirits then asked Jesus to be put into pigs (Luke says there were approximately 2,000 of them) which jumped off a cliff and drowned in the sea. To be a Christian I must believe in demonic possession because the Bible tells me it exists. Furthermore I must believe that talking demons can be placed into the bodies of animals. I must also believe that there are people who are sick right now because they are possessed by evil or "unclean" spirits and could be instantly cured when these spirits (some who talk!) are extracted.

It isn't my hardened heart that's rejecting this hogwash.

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The opposite is true in Australia for a variety of logical, sociological reasons.

In 2009, 15% of Americans reported to have no religious beliefs.

In 2011, 22.3% of Australians reported to have no religious beliefs.

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In 2009, 15% of Americans reported to have no religious beliefs.

In 2011, 22.3% of Australians reported to have no religious beliefs.

These are from the census figures and therefore have no basis in real religious terms.

As part of a protest, in my last census i put my religion as "Jedi Knight" so therefore would be counted as having a "religious belief"

People who were baptized put themselves down as Anglican or Catholic whether or not they have ever seen the inside of a church since baptism

Edited by Professor Buzzkill

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In 2009, 15% of Americans reported to have no religious beliefs.

In 2011, 22.3% of Australians reported to have no religious beliefs.

Non sequitor

The point was that in australia the more educated you are, the more you tend to have religious beliefs. Ps in 2006 18% of australians reported no religious belief, which is an equally chronologically comparable statistic.

However the census changed the way it asked this question, prompting more people to say no, if they did not actually attend a church. Before this one could have only a nebulous religious belief, or simply a family heritage of belief, and the question would expect you to answer it as a positive. eg you were baptised or confirmed as a child ,made you a christian..

I think this change reflects a more accurate, if narower, interpretation of "religious."

Ps from memory last census they no longer counted jedi knight as a legitimate answer to the religon question, although they did for at least a couple of census. and it got up to 75000 or so members

Edited by Mr Walker
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Since Christians never read the Old Testament, they assume Jesus came up with it.

Actually, quite a few Christians have read it. Many of them find it a feature, not a bug, that Jesus teaches from the Hebrew Bible. It is difficult to imagine how any book could be read by one or two billion people, without some people misreading it. If such people are typical in your experience, then maybe that says something about your sampling method, and not so much about the population you're sampling from.

You might also recall that even in the New Testament, Jesus doesn't always "come up with" the formula. Luke 10: 25-28 has a "scholar of the Law" (that is, somebody who knows the Hebrew Bible) give it as his answer to Jesus' question, and Jesus approves of this answer.

As we know, that these verses could be taken as summations of Torah was a view with adherents at the time, quite apart from any Jesus movement. Jesus is depicted as aligning himself with them on this point, just as he is aligned with the pre-exisitng John the Baptist movement. The New Testament view is that Jesus is consistent with the best traditions that preceded him, not that everybody got it wrong until he showed up (perhaps you are confusing Christianity with Islam, I notice that many atheists do.)

Speaking of Jewish precedents for Jesus' teaching, the Matthew 10: 35-37, which you find so revealing of Jesus, is a paraphrase of Micah 7: 6. That chapter as a whole is an invictus poem. Jesus seemed to like those, and might sometimes quote part to convey the whole, although his doing that carries the danger that those who don't catch the reference will misunderstand. Compare Jesus' very abbreviated recital of Psalm 22 on the cross, often mistaken for a moment of doubt.

So, yes, all this is revealing. Turns out that Jesus was a well-read Jew. No doubt you can find, have found, Christians who are surprised by that, but it is a little odd to judge the cogency of a position held by billions by its least well-informed adherents. That policy does economize on the amount of effort required to engage them, however, so it's not completely unfathomable.

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I know a couple of Atheist friends,they seem pretty good. Which is saying much,since my beliefs are with God. But I have no religion.

As far as I'm concerned, atheists/religious people are kind of the same, as we have our.. well, our extremists.

Atheist: Try to convert you to science; insult others' beliefs. (I've seen this happen once or twice. And on the threads here.)

Religious: Try to convert you to God by fear/anger; insult others' beliefs. (I know we've ALL seen this).

I simply follow my own morals,and the Golden Rule: Be nice to others, and yadda yadda. If religious people didn't follow the Bible closely, since it's BADLY mistranslated, and some of those extreme atheists calmed down a bit, then yes. Like Arbenol68 said, we would all reach a mutual understanding. Again, fighting each other and preaching over the Internet woudn't really solve much. I'm just simplyanswering the question stated as best I could. This actually seems like a good topic.

Or, am I preaching already? Can't tell anymore. XD

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Actually, quite a few Christians have read it.

The ones I've known haven't read the whole thing or have long forgotten it. They know the Creation, Noah's Ark, you know, the stories that have been turned into big movies.

One even told me that the Old Testament proved to him that Jews are savages and Jesus was sent to turn them into enlightened and civilized people. I had never heard that one before! Is that a source of Antisemitism among Christians? Of course he didn't know of my ancestry but I can completely understand his viewpoint. The Old Testament depicts much less civilized behavior than the New Testament.

Many of them find it a feature, not a bug, that Jesus teaches from the Hebrew Bible.

Yes they do, because many of them feel that Jesus's interpretation (and in several cases misquotation) of the Hebrew Bible frees them from having to read the thing themselves.

It is difficult to imagine how any book could be read by one or two billion people, without some people misreading it. If such people are typical in your experience, then maybe that says something about your sampling method, and not so much about the population you're sampling from.

When I lived in the Midwest, I knew dozens of Christian Americans who went to their churches every Sunday. That was my sample.

You might also recall that even in the New Testament, Jesus doesn't always "come up with" the formula. Luke 10: 25-28 has a "scholar of the Law" (that is, somebody who knows the Hebrew Bible) give it as his answer to Jesus' question, and Jesus approves of this answer.

But where is it written in the Hebrew Bible about what you have to do gain "eternal life"? The "scholar of the law" (or lawyer depending on which version you read) said a few laws about loving God and thy neighbor but I don't recall anything about these laws promising eternal life in the Hebrew Bible. Jesus just stuck that part on, manipulating the original teachings to support his salvation campaign.

Also there is a truckload of other laws that Jesus should have told this guy but Jesus also couldn't name all ten of the Commandments either.

As we know, that these verses could be taken as summations of Torah was a view with adherents at the time, quite apart from any Jesus movement. Jesus is depicted as aligning himself with them on this point, just as he is aligned with the pre-exisitng John the Baptist movement.

Yes, there were several divergent movements in the Jewish communities at that time (well, almost all the time). But ultimately the New Testament conflicts with the Old Testament in far too many ways so I'd never say it was a "summation" of the Torah. If it were, Christians could just throw the Old Testament out since it serves no purpose to them.

The New Testament view is that Jesus is consistent with the best traditions that preceded him, not that everybody got it wrong until he showed up (perhaps you are confusing Christianity with Islam, I notice that many atheists do.)

There are just far too many differences between Jewish and Christian laws. If by "best" traditions you mean "most popular" traditions then I'd agree with that. The biggest problem is there's no concept of mass salvation or afterlife or destruction of the Earth in the Old Testament. That is an entirely new concept introduced in the New Testament and invalidates much of what the Old Testament teaches.

Speaking of Jewish precedents for Jesus' teaching, the Matthew 10: 35-37, which you find so revealing of Jesus, is a paraphrase of Micah 7: 6. That chapter as a whole is an invictus poem. Jesus seemed to like those, and might sometimes quote part to convey the whole, although his doing that carries the danger that those who don't catch the reference will misunderstand.

In my opinion, this is another case of Jesus taking a marvelous and illustrative verse from the scriptures and misusing it to support his own campaign. Why was the Son of God was so lacking in insight that he had to adapt words from scriptures to make his point?

So, yes, all this is revealing. Turns out that Jesus was a well-read Jew. No doubt you can find, have found, Christians who are surprised by that, but it is a little odd to judge the cogency of a position held by billions by its least well-informed adherents.

Here's what I think: Christianity wants its adherents to be poorly informed. If these people actually studied the entire Bible and understood what was in it, I believe there would be about a billion fewer Christians in the world. The religion as it stands today has fragmented into about 1,600 sects which have all declared themselves separate from all other Christian sects. How can that be if the word of Jesus is so clear? Well, it isn't and each sect has cherrypicked the teachings that they like and rejected or ignored the rest.

In the Hebrew school I went to, we confronted every line of the Torah head on and it wasn't easy or fun. We found that God was a savage being and often killed people just to make a point, in one case nearly exterminating all life on the planet. We found that the Israelites were commanded by God to commit genocide against their neighbors and sacrifice animals in horrific ways. The Rabbis didn't pussyfoot around this stuff and left it up to us to try to make sense of it all. This is not how Christianity is taught.

Why is Judaism not as popular as other religions? I say it's because they're confronted with an unpleasant history following a cruel god and there's no easy way to apply this to modern times other than thinking God is a lot nicer these days. Many Jews have been able to deal with this problem in other ways but they don't (all) ignore what's in the Torah.

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The Old Testament depicts much less civilized behavior than the New Testament.

It would be depressing if the earlier times were more civilized than later times, millennia later.

But where is it written in the Hebrew Bible about what you have to do gain "eternal life"?

I don't know that it is written. In Luke 10: 25ff, it is the teacher of the Law who asks about it. We know the Pharisees believed that at the end of days the righteous were supposed to rise again, although other Jews did not. The Pharisaic view became the Christian view through the Pharisee Paul. So, it would be an interpretation, rather than a black-letter instruction, IMO.

Although Jesus often tilted with Pharisees (and scribes, which is another possibility for that "teacher of the Law"), his biggest fan turned out to be a Pharisee, and Jesus and the Pharisees had a common rival in the Sadducees. I don't think, then, that there is anything there that "Jesus just stuck in," but rather that he gave his reading, and placed it within the constellation of competing readings of his day... which is more or less the job description of a rabbi.

That would also cover some of your later objections about the lack of mass salvation, etc.

But ultimately the New Testament conflicts with the Old Testament in far too many ways so I'd never say it was a "summation" of the Torah.

Me neither. It was the "Golden Rule" idea that was offered as a summary, not the New Testament. Good enough for Hillel the Elder, good enough for me, and I won't weigh in on a dispute among Jews about Judaism.

There are just far too many differences between Jewish and Christian laws.

Christians aren't Jews.

Why was the Son of God was so lacking in insight that he had to adapt words from scriptures to make his point?

As I understand the Christian position, the Son of God might have had a certain fondness for words which he would have inspired in the first place. As for my own position, I can't muster surprise that a Jewish preacher would use words from the Jewish scriptures to make his points. That another Jew might disagree with him is fine with me, too.

As to your summation, I am not Jewish, so I have never studied the Hebrew Bible as "my" scripture. I commend reading without flinching. My main point, though, was that there are Christians who read the same text you did, also without flinching, confident that the omelet of their salvation fully justifies dozens of broken Bronze Age eggs. Many of them find a nicer way of putting it than that. For example,

other than thinking God is a lot nicer these days.

Why wouldn't he be? God got what he wanted, in the Christian view, namely Jesus' career. All that you find cruel in his behavior before that, they find instrumental, expedient to bring it about.

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It would be depressing if the earlier times were more civilized than later times, millennia later.

Why? We're talking about what happened 2,000 years ago. There was still plenty of uncivilized behavior around even a thousand years after that.

The problem is that the Old Testament demands behavior that to us is horrifying. For example, if you described a ritual where an animal is sacrificed and the animal's blood is sprayed on the participants, the average Christian would think you were talking about some kind of evil Satanic ritual. Nope! That was an animal sacrifice as requested by God Himself! It's very difficult to read this with modern eyes and not cringe. So people don't read it.

I don't know that it is written. In Luke 10: 25ff, it is the teacher of the Law who asks about it. We know the Pharisees believed that at the end of days the righteous were supposed to rise again, although other Jews did not. The Pharisaic view became the Christian view through the Pharisee Paul. So, it would be an interpretation, rather than a black-letter instruction, IMO.

That's my point. There is nothing in the Old Testament that promises afterlife. Salvation was a brand new concept that was being shoehorned into Judaism at that time (didn't John the Baptist precede Jesus in promoting it?). Since this is the main point of Christianity, the Old Testament isn't relevant to Christians. Why read it?

Although Jesus often tilted with Pharisees (and scribes, which is another possibility for that "teacher of the Law"), his biggest fan turned out to be a Pharisee, and Jesus and the Pharisees had a common rival in the Sadducees. I don't think, then, that there is anything there that "Jesus just stuck in," but rather that he gave his reading, and placed it within the constellation of competing readings of his day...

Good point. I believe that, however Jesus also claimed to be the Son of God and the Messiah. This was the best he could do? Add his reading to a multitude of competing readings?

which is more or less the job description of a rabbi.

Maybe at the time, not so much these days.

Christians aren't Jews.

Exactly. That's why Christians don't read the Old Testament.

As I understand the Christian position, the Son of God might have had a certain fondness for words which he would have inspired in the first place.

That does make sense, however Jesus usually cited what he was quoting (that's how we've found he was often misquoting or adding words) and other times like in this case he just inexplicitly copied the structure of something in the Old Testament as if they were his own words. 2,000 years later, this has led to Christians believing that Jesus alone came up with these snippets of wisdom. "Love thy neighbor" is a perfect example of Christians quoting Jesus's wisdom when he was simply repeating a Mosaic law. Jesus could have said "As God told Moses in Leviticus". But then Jesus couldn't even quote all ten Commandments.

Why wouldn't he be? God got what he wanted, in the Christian view, namely Jesus' career. All that you find cruel in his behavior before that, they find instrumental, expedient to bring it about.

In the Old Testament, God wanted a whole lot of things from His Chosen People. In return, God promised a lot of things. God apparently made a huge change in plans with Jesus. It means that God had given up on the Israelites and for some reason decided not to massacre people any more. This throws everything in the Old Testament that we knew about God up in the air. It might as well be a different God -- not a popular view!

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Why? We're talking about what happened 2,000 years ago.

Compared with 200-2000 years or more before that. That's an interval over which lack of progress would be depressing to me.

You keep saying people who have Christian faith don't read this stuff. I'm telling they do, and some can tell you the finer points of how a Hebrew sacrifice compares and contrasts with a style of sacrifice that you can see today in India. But yes, of course, removed from its context, and placed in, say, Westchester County, either one would be shocking. "Satanic cult or wannabe" might even be a reasonable guess under some displaced circumstances.

Salvation was a brand new concept that was being shoehorned into Judaism at that time

Pharisees were around before the New Testament. And, um,

(didn't John the Baptist precede Jesus in promoting it?).

Wasn't that my point? That Jesus had Jewish antecedents, which his audience understood him as teaching from or in alignment with? And, at the risk of sounding like Bill Clinton, it depends on what it is. What the Baptizer and his pupil promoted is not necessarily what Paul the Pharisee promoted, which is not necessarily what modern Christians think of those things as being - assuming they agree among themselves on that, which they don't.

Jesus also claimed to be the Son of God and the Messiah.

Messiah, yes, I think he believed he was. "Son of God" is very slippery. Nicene Christians believe that he is literally God's son, but this seems still to have been in play in the Second Century, never mind in Jesus' own thinking.

Personally, I am fond of a take on the problem which is attributed to Joseph Campbell (supposedly in a face-to-face exchange with an ex-nun), that if Jesus said he was the Son of God, then he meant that we are all potentially Sons and Daughters of God, in whatever sense Jesus meant by the phrase. The Nicene Creed uses the word only, Jesus is "the only Son of God." Where that only comes from, I don't know. Not from Jesus, I don't think

This was the best he could do? Add his reading to a multitude of competing readings?

What do you have in mind that he should have done instead? Keep his reading to himself? Burn the writings or the teachers of different views? What could he have done, really, except present his case, and let people take it or leave it?

Jesus usually cited what he was quoting

Huh? That's why I use Bibles with footnotes, most of the time you have to dig it out otherwise. (Even with footnotes, I still had to dig out that Micah one myself. The editor should be ashamed.)

But if all you want me to agree with is that some Christians underestimate the Jewish antecdents of Jesus' teaching, then that's fine. Some Celtics fans think it was Red Auerbach's idea to make the ball round. Same thing.

But the high-scholarhip Christian churches (that's maybe 75% of Christians by membership worldwide) teach the antecedents. Whether everybody learns what is taught is another matter. However, many Christians read Bibles with footnotes.

BTW, I never did quite catch the basis of Jesus being unable to recite the Ten Commandments. Do you have a cite for that?

Anyway, the Christian view is that the Old Testament, from Genesis 3 forward, is all about God preparing the world for Jesus' doing his thing, using the Hebrew people. John reclaims those loose three chapters and puts Jesus at Genesis 1: 1. Perhaps if the Jewish church had survived, then there would be a different view, but only the Gentile church did survive.

So, he's the same God, they think, but maybe with different problems now that the central event of human history has been accomplished, therefore using different methods which reveal a different side of his character, until judgment day rolls around. That, apparently, will be just like the good old days.

Edited by eight bits

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You keep saying people who have Christian faith don't read this stuff. I'm telling they do, and some can tell you the finer points of how a Hebrew sacrifice compares and contrasts with a style of sacrifice that you can see today in India.

You obviously hang out with academic Bible scholars. I would invite you to hang out with regular American Christians. When I lived in the Midwest I hung out with dozens of average church-going Christians who came home after church and watched football games on their Tivo. The only one I met who knew anything about the Old Testament was the one that told me it proved Jews are uncivilized.

Messiah, yes, I think he believed he was. "Son of God" is very slippery. Nicene Christians believe that he is literally God's son, but this seems still to have been in play in the Second Century, never mind in Jesus' own thinking.

Where in the New Testament does it not make it perfectly clear that God impregnated Mary?

What do you have in mind that he should have done instead? Keep his reading to himself? Burn the writings or the teachers of different views? What could he have done, really, except present his case, and let people take it or leave it?

I would think that a prophet or messiah or whatever Jesus claimed to be who was in communication with God could have been done better than rework phrases from early scriptures. The prophets in the Old Testament came up with wonderful verses. Why couldn't Jesus do this? Why did Jesus need to steal the phrasing from Micah almost verbatim?

Huh? That's why I use Bibles with footnotes, most of the time you have to dig it out otherwise. (Even with footnotes, I still had to dig out that Micah one myself. The editor should be ashamed.)

Bibles with footnotes is a recent invention. Do Bibles point out the Jesus misquoted Deuteronomy 6:13 for example?

But the high-scholarhip Christian churches (that's maybe 75% of Christians by membership worldwide) teach the antecedents. Whether everybody learns what is taught is another matter. However, many Christians read Bibles with footnotes.

Wow, where are these Christian scholars? I had no idea that 75% of all Christians are Biblical scholars! I couldn't find a single one of them. Where do they hide? Where did you get this number anyway?

BTW, I never did quite catch the basis of Jesus being unable to recite the Ten Commandments. Do you have a cite for that?

This confusing bit starts in Matthew 19:16 when a guy asks Jesus what he had to do to get this eternal life Jesus is selling. Jesus responds to follow the Commandments. Then this guy really pushes his luck by asking Jesus which Commandments he needs to follow. Maybe he didn't own a Bible and wanted to write them down. Unfortunately Jesus was only able to name six of them and one of them ("love thy neighbor") has never been a Commandment. Jesus did not come across as a learned man in this scene.

Anyway, the Christian view is that the Old Testament, from Genesis 3 forward, is all about God preparing the world for Jesus' doing his thing, using the Hebrew people.

That seems like an incredible stretch to me. The Old Testament predicts a Messiah but not Jesus or anything like him. In fact the idea that a human can forgive sins is just plain incompatible with Jewish beliefs -- God alone can forgive sin. Jesus completely breaks the rules of the Old Testament.

John reclaims those loose three chapters and puts Jesus at Genesis 1: 1. Perhaps if the Jewish church had survived, then there would be a different view, but only the Gentile church did survive.

Are you saying that Jews have no church therefore they have no view?

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