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Contradictions in the bible

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Then one would have to conclude that in order for one to 'understand' the word of god one would have to be a scholar of the word of god. A pretty confusing word if you ask me.

PA gave a wonderful answer to this.

Depends on what you mean by "scholar". I am certainly not a scholar. And dare I say it, neither is IamsSon. The thing that I've noticed about the Bible in the thirteen years since I've been a Christian is that it is able to speak to you at whatever level you are at. It can be as simple as Aesop's Fable's (not meaning to say that Aesop's ideas were simple), but it also can be as difficult as a University level text book. And every person regardless of where they are "at" in their walk with God is able to approach God with that view in mind. For the newest of newest Christian converts the basic beliefs of Christianity are laid out. But for the long-time convert who has studied in depth they also have their own difficulties, the text raises answers that demands more questions.

If I were God, and if I were to create a text for all people for all time, I wouldn't create a book of Fable's that any teenager could understand. But neither would I create a text that only could be understood by the biblical elite. I personally believe the Bible provides a medium between the two - a text that on the surface can provide the basic provisions, but the deeper you study the more you realise you still have not yet learnt.

Just my opinion :tu:

~ PA

:tu:

Although I have taken a few biblical study courses, I am most definitely not a "scholar." But I am a well-read person, and I am also bilingual. By the time I read the Bible for the first time, at the age of 14, I had read several books in both Spanish and English and so was well aware that translation is not a perfect process; there are phrases (especially puns and jokes based on words with various meanings) that just cannot be translated literally, there are even words that can't be translated as a single word. So, I never had a problem with the idea that one might gain more insight and knowledge from the Bible than might be gained from simply reading it.

PA is right, one can learn quite a bit simply from reading the Bible, the basic beliefs of Christianity are readily available. But if one is interested in learning what the Bible does or does not say about the way life was created, the ways in which God has interacted with mankind throughout history, what God truly does and does not expect/require of His people, etc., then one should expect to have to dedicate some time to in-depth, critical study.

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Pi is the best known transcendental number and represents the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its radius. The first ten or so digits of pi is enough to calculate the circumference of the known universe, given its radius with similar accuracy, to an accuracy of significantly better than the radius of an atomic nucleus. So, God could have used, say, the first hundred or so digits to make things vastly more accurate than anything we would ever notice, and then the remaining infinite digits to send us His Teachings. No human playing games with that one -- no translations, no arguing about context and the original languages -- and it would be an undeniable, unmissable, divine message, using God's language, not ours. Instead, He seems to have wasted it and all the other transcendentals on sheer randomness.

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One things for certain. True, false or contradictory, people are talking about the bible and that gives it popularity.

It's some of the best science fiction ever written and has inspired a lot of modern science fiction.

It also surprisingly modern. It has the stuff we love: incest, rape, gory murders (A tent spike through the head? Awesome!), men loudly bragging around the size of their penises, genocide (not the depressing Holocaust kind, the "good" kind of genocide), and a ruthless god that is so incompetent that he chooses the dumbest humans on Earth to go on a mission of conquest in which they fail by their own success. We enjoy seeing a seemingly invincible mighty character making poor choices which result in their own humiliation.

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It's some of the best science fiction ever written and has inspired a lot of modern science fiction.

It also surprisingly modern. It has the stuff we love: incest, rape, gory murders (A tent spike through the head? Awesome!), men loudly bragging around the size of their penises, genocide (not the depressing Holocaust kind, the "good" kind of genocide), and a ruthless god that is so incompetent that he chooses the dumbest humans on Earth to go on a mission of conquest in which they fail by their own success. We enjoy seeing a seemingly invincible mighty character making poor choices which result in their own humiliation.

He's proud to a psychopath!

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Depends on what you mean by "scholar". I am certainly not a scholar. And dare I say it, neither is IamsSon. The thing that I've noticed about the Bible in the thirteen years since I've been a Christian is that it is able to speak to you at whatever level you are at. It can be as simple as Aesop's Fable's (not meaning to say that Aesop's ideas were simple), but it also can be as difficult as a University level text book. And every person regardless of where they are "at" in their walk with God is able to approach God with that view in mind. For the newest of newest Christian converts the basic beliefs of Christianity are laid out. But for the long-time convert who has studied in depth they also have their own difficulties, the text raises answers that demands more questions.

If I were God, and if I were to create a text for all people for all time, I wouldn't create a book of Fable's that any teenager could understand. But neither would I create a text that only could be understood by the biblical elite. I personally believe the Bible provides a medium between the two - a text that on the surface can provide the basic provisions, but the deeper you study the more you realise you still have not yet learnt.

Just my opinion :tu:

~ PA

And yet, a simple question as I asked is given a 'scholarly' response...so that kind of negates the ability of all levels to understand.

But okay, let's go with the 'murder' explanation. Suppose my neighbor has taken my dog. I tell my neighbor in no uncertain terms...give me my dog back or I'm going to kill your baby and your cousins baby and your friends baby. And he doesn't give my dog back...so I 'murder' several innocent babies. Is that okay? Does that go against...thou shalt not 'murder'? Or is it payback for not letting my dog go. This is in no way meant to be an analogy between Jews and dogs...just an example....so when God tells Pharoah, Let my people go or I will kill your babies...and then does...isn't that an afront to the commandment Thou shalt not 'murder'...or is that just because...well...God is God after all and can do anything he bloody well pleases, including murder innocent babies?

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And yet, a simple question as I asked is given a 'scholarly' response...so that kind of negates the ability of all levels to understand.

But okay, let's go with the 'murder' explanation. Suppose my neighbor has taken my dog. I tell my neighbor in no uncertain terms...give me my dog back or I'm going to kill your baby and your cousins baby and your friends baby. And he doesn't give my dog back...so I 'murder' several innocent babies. Is that okay? Does that go against...thou shalt not 'murder'? Or is it payback for not letting my dog go. This is in no way meant to be an analogy between Jews and dogs...just an example....so when God tells Pharoah, Let my people go or I will kill your babies...and then does...isn't that an afront to the commandment Thou shalt not 'murder'...or is that just because...well...God is God after all and can do anything he bloody well pleases, including murder innocent babies?

Given that you are not the Creator, that you did not give your neighbor, his child, his cousin's baby, or even your dog life, your actions are in no way justifiable. As creator, God has any and all authority and justification to do with His creation as He sees fit.

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He's proud to a psychopath!

God (as the character) is proud of lots of things but I can't recall him bragging about how he killed people. When God confronts and torments little humans like Job, he goes on and on about how he created everything. That's what God is proud of. Killing people is so trivial to God that he doesn't even bother mentioning it.

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Given that you are not the Creator, that you did not give your neighbor, his child, his cousin's baby, or even your dog life, your actions are in no way justifiable. As creator, God has any and all authority and justification to do with His creation as He sees fit.

That has to be the most lame argument I have ever heard I Am's Son. Since, I didn't ask to be created, I therefore have all authority and justification to do whatever I want, as I see fit! Lame on both sides. Lame, lame, lame! So, the crux of the question of contradictions in the Bible is that, there are no contradictions because God can do whatever He wants and it is therefore okay because He is God...but it is not okay for us to believe something different than the New Testament Tri-God theory ...but again..it is okay for God to punish his Creation in burning Hell Fire for all eternity because after all He is the creator and that makes it okay.

That is in a nutshell what I thought you would say. I wasn't baiting you by any means but the predictability of the Religious is so simple. No contradictions because God cannot contradict himself. Brilliant!

Thank you for this indepth, discussion...really mind rendering, thought provoking stuff!

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God (as the character) is proud of lots of things but I can't recall him bragging about how he killed people. When God confronts and torments little humans like Job, he goes on and on about how he created everything. That's what God is proud of. Killing people is so trivial to God that he doesn't even bother mentioning it.

http://bible.cc/deuteronomy/32-42.htm

I kill ... I wound ...

I will make my arrows

drunk with blood,

and my sword shall devour flesh.

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That has to be the most lame argument I have ever heard I Am's Son. Since, I didn't ask to be created, I therefore have all authority and justification to do whatever I want, as I see fit! Lame on both sides. Lame, lame, lame! So, the crux of the question of contradictions in the Bible is that, there are no contradictions because God can do whatever He wants and it is therefore okay because He is God...but it is not okay for us to believe something different than the New Testament Tri-God theory ...but again..it is okay for God to punish his Creation in burning Hell Fire for all eternity because after all He is the creator and that makes it okay.

That is in a nutshell what I thought you would say. I wasn't baiting you by any means but the predictability of the Religious is so simple. No contradictions because God cannot contradict himself. Brilliant!

Thank you for this indepth, discussion...really mind rendering, thought provoking stuff!

Umm, who said this is the "crux" of any contradictions, much less all? You asked a question, I answered it from a Biblical standpoint. Absolutely no contradiction. You may disagree with the answer, but it is a completely Biblical and logical answer. If you created a work of art, and then decided to destroy it, you would have every right to do so, as long as it was still under your ownership.

The only "contradiction" being addressed here is the one some of you think must exist because God forbade humans from committing murder and then He went ahead and either carried out or ordered the deaths of people who had disobeyed Him.

The fact that I have pointed out there is no contradiction in this instance should be no reason for you to spaz out.

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And yet, a simple question as I asked is given a 'scholarly' response...so that kind of negates the ability of all levels to understand.

No, it doesn't. The basic message of the Bible is simple enough that a child can learn. But the more you study it the more you realise how much you still haven't learned. A simple message anyone can understand, and yet at the same time can stump some of the greatest minds in history at times (I am by no means one of the greatest minds in history).

Allow me to try and put it another way. A few years ago, one of the teachers I worked with was telling me about how she was involved in an academic conference on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. There were academia-level articles on the themes presented in Buffy, presentations by various scholars about the show, its creation, its appeal, its theology. The fact that there was an academic conference on this topic, dealing with some issues that will undoubtedly go over the head of most laymen, does not therefore mean that Buffy the Vampire Slayer cannot be enjoyed by the layperson also.

But okay, let's go with the 'murder' explanation. Suppose my neighbor has taken my dog. I tell my neighbor in no uncertain terms...give me my dog back or I'm going to kill your baby and your cousins baby and your friends baby. And he doesn't give my dog back...so I 'murder' several innocent babies. Is that okay? Does that go against...thou shalt not 'murder'? Or is it payback for not letting my dog go. This is in no way meant to be an analogy between Jews and dogs...just an example....so when God tells Pharoah, Let my people go or I will kill your babies...and then does...isn't that an afront to the commandment Thou shalt not 'murder'...or is that just because...well...God is God after all and can do anything he bloody well pleases, including murder innocent babies?

There's a broader theological context to consider. IamsSon mentioned part of it, which you responded to already. I do not believe God will burn us forever in Hell-fire, so that part of your argument doesn't hold weight for me - nevertheless, what he said was theologically true; God is the creator and has the Right to take life if he deems it necessary, we do not have that same Right. Just because you don't like that answer doesn't make it any less cogent.

There are two other points worth discussing, though. The first is that this ultimately hails back to the promises made to Abraham in Genesis 12:1-3. This is where God initially made his covenant with the Hebrew people. God will bless those who bless him, and curse those who curse him. The Egyptians (not just Pharaoh, though he was the prime-mover) had enslaved the Israelites, as part of that nation, they treated Israel as slaves, and that was a no-no according to the covenant God made with Abraham. Thus God acted to ensure his people were no longer slaves.

And he did so by attacking the gods of Egypt (and this is the second point I wish to draw out about the killing of the first-born in Egypt). Each of the ten plagues was an attack on one of the gods of Egypt. It was a theological commentary on the strength of Yahweh vs the lack of strength of the other gods. First God turned the water into blood. The Nile River represented the goddess Hapi, the giver of life. By turning the water to blood the Nile was no longer the life-giver, and thus Yahweh proved stronger than the goddess Hapi. I posted on this several years ago HERE, so you can read there about all ten plagues, but it goes from the first all the way through to the tenth plague which was an attack on the Pharaoh, himself considered a god by the people of Egypt. The final act that led to Pharaoh releasing the Hebrews was Yahweh showing his greatness over one final god of Israel.

So obviously this isn't as simple as your analogy of just sitting back and demanding your dog back from your neighbour, else you would kill their baby and their cousin's baby and their next-door neighbour's baby and whoever else's baby you think you'd like to demand. You aren't God. You aren't a Hebrew living as a slave in direct contrast to the wishes of the God who made a covenant with you.

~ Regards, PA

Edited by Paranoid Android
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No, it doesn't. The basic message of the Bible is simple enough that a child can learn. But the more you study it the more you realise how much you still haven't learned. A simple message anyone can understand, and yet at the same time can stump some of the greatest minds in history at times (I am by no means one of the greatest minds in history).

Allow me to try and put it another way. A few years ago, one of the teachers I worked with was telling me about how she was involved in an academic conference on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. There were academia-level articles on the themes presented in Buffy, presentations by various scholars about the show, its creation, its appeal, its theology. The fact that there was an academic conference on this topic, dealing with some issues that will undoubtedly go over the head of most laymen, does not therefore mean that Buffy the Vampire Slayer cannot be enjoyed by the layperson also.

There's a broader theological context to consider. IamsSon mentioned part of it, which you responded to already. I do not believe God will burn us forever in Hell-fire, so that part of your argument doesn't hold weight for me - nevertheless, what he said was theologically true; God is the creator and has the Right to take life if he deems it necessary, we do not have that same Right. Just because you don't like that answer doesn't make it any less cogent.

There are two other points worth discussing, though. The first is that this ultimately hails back to the promises made to Abraham in Genesis 12:1-3. This is where God initially made his covenant with the Hebrew people. God will bless those who bless him, and curse those who curse him. The Egyptians (not just Pharaoh, though he was the prime-mover) had enslaved the Israelites, as part of that nation, they treated Israel as slaves, and that was a no-no according to the covenant God made with Abraham. Thus God acted to ensure his people were no longer slaves.

And he did so by attacking the gods of Egypt (and this is the second point I wish to draw out about the killing of the first-born in Egypt). Each of the ten plagues was an attack on one of the gods of Egypt. It was a theological commentary on the strength of Yahweh vs the lack of strength of the other gods. First God turned the water into blood. The Nile River represented the goddess Hapi, the giver of life. By turning the water to blood the Nile was no longer the life-giver, and thus Yahweh proved stronger than the goddess Hapi. I posted on this several years ago HERE, so you can read there about all ten plagues, but it goes from the first all the way through to the tenth plague which was an attack on the Pharaoh, himself considered a god by the people of Egypt. The final act that led to Pharaoh releasing the Hebrews was Yahweh showing his greatness over one final god of Israel.

So obviously this isn't as simple as your analogy of just sitting back and demanding your dog back from your neighbour, else you would kill their baby and their cousin's baby and their next-door neighbour's baby and whoever else's baby you think you'd like to demand. You aren't God. You aren't a Hebrew living as a slave in direct contrast to the wishes of the God who made a covenant with you.

~ Regards, PA

Why would the creator of the universe need to attack gods that don't even exist? I already know your answer (predictable right?) and that is that he was 'showing' the Egyptians that He was more powerful than all their Gods...but on it's face, even that is silly. Why didn't God say to Pharoah...let my people go or...tonight...every member of your entire military force will drop dead? No...he had to make a point by murdering innocent children. So...what Jesus then said about, If any one harms one of these little ones it would be better if a millstone were tied around his neck, etc...doesn't really carry much weight does it? Since Jesus is God and God can do anything he wants...how then is Jesus as an example suppose to make an impact? Don't do as I do, do as i say...because I'm God and I can do whatever I want. It is a stupid argument PA...I'm not saying you are stupid...just that the argument is stupid.

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Why would the creator of the universe need to attack gods that don't even exist? I already know your answer (predictable right?) and that is that he was 'showing' the Egyptians that He was more powerful than all their Gods...but on it's face, even that is silly. Why didn't God say to Pharoah...let my people go or...tonight...every member of your entire military force will drop dead? No...he had to make a point by murdering innocent children. So...what Jesus then said about, If any one harms one of these little ones it would be better if a millstone were tied around his neck, etc...doesn't really carry much weight does it? Since Jesus is God and God can do anything he wants...how then is Jesus as an example suppose to make an impact? Don't do as I do, do as i say...because I'm God and I can do whatever I want. It is a stupid argument PA...I'm not saying you are stupid...just that the argument is stupid.

Maybe not as predictable as you imagine. You are only partly right that my answer would be that he was showing the Egyptians (the lesser part, actually). More important to the narrative is that the events of the tenth plague led to the celebration of the Passover (when the Angel of Death "passed over" the homes with the lamb's blood on the doors, and the next day led to the freedom of the Hebrew race from slavery). The Passover became one of the central pieces of imagery in the death of Jesus (God's own first-born son), the lamb that was slain to save us from death and spiritual slavery. That is a far more important purpose than just showing the Egyptians that Yahweh was stronger than their gods (though it wasn't just the Egyptians he was showing - he was also showing us who read about it).

Incidentally, the tenth plague referred to the first-born, not necessarily children. Grandfathers were potentially killed by this plague too if they were the first-born. In the end, it comes down to two things. Looking backwards, to the promises in Genesis 12:1-3, and looking forwards, to the fulfilment of those promises in Jesus' death and resurrection.

On Jesus' comments about harming the little ones, I don't agree that God's actions make it meaningless. God has his purposes for acting as he did. It is not a case of "because I'm God and I can do whatever I want", as you say. God never does what he wants just because he can. He always has a purpose. Always. By saying that God has the Right to end a person's life does not mean that God just goes out willy-nilly killing people. At the end of the day, we aren't God. We don't have any Right to take away the life of someone just because we may want it. God does have that Right and in some instances when he deems it necessary to fulfil his purposes, he did that in the Bible. God acts towards his purposes, and so we cannot do the same to the full extent that God can. We are to show compassion and love for others, especially children. In my opinion, God's actions here in the Passover do not diminish Jesus' teachings.

~ Regards,

Edited by Paranoid Android
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I'd just like to make a quick point...the Israelites also had to put blood of a lamb on their doorposts and lintel, so that the angel of death would passover (thus the name Passover) and not kill their (the Israelites') firstborn. I can't help but feel that some of the Egyptians may have been aware of what the Jews were doing, and if they asked a Jew, and the Jew told them, and the Egyptian did likewise, the angel of death would have also passed over that Egyptian's house, sparing his or her firstborn. Just as if anyone had believed Noah, and got on board with him, s/he would have been saved from the flood.

If anyone is interested in hints of supernatural origin of the bible, I would highly recommend "Hidden Treasures" by Chuck Missler. You could probably read it in a couple of hours, depending on your reading skills.

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I've said this before. I think the bible was embellished by adding all this drama to make it more appealing to the reader

and so the reader will pick it up and go through it's contents. And you know what, it work whether you believe in it or not.

If the stories were wrote down in their originality, they would be boring and no one would read them and possibly lost in time.

Same goes for Hollywood Movies. Adding some fiction to the truth could make the movies a Blockbuster Hit.

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a wise man once said "consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds"

that is all

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Maybe not as predictable as you imagine. You are only partly right that my answer would be that he was showing the Egyptians (the lesser part, actually). More important to the narrative is that the events of the tenth plague led to the celebration of the Passover (when the Angel of Death "passed over" the homes with the lamb's blood on the doors, and the next day led to the freedom of the Hebrew race from slavery). The Passover became one of the central pieces of imagery in the death of Jesus (God's own first-born son), the lamb that was slain to save us from death and spiritual slavery. That is a far more important purpose than just showing the Egyptians that Yahweh was stronger than their gods (though it wasn't just the Egyptians he was showing - he was also showing us who read about it).

Incidentally, the tenth plague referred to the first-born, not necessarily children. Grandfathers were potentially killed by this plague too if they were the first-born. In the end, it comes down to two things. Looking backwards, to the promises in Genesis 12:1-3, and looking forwards, to the fulfilment of those promises in Jesus' death and resurrection.

On Jesus' comments about harming the little ones, I don't agree that God's actions make it meaningless. God has his purposes for acting as he did. It is not a case of "because I'm God and I can do whatever I want", as you say. God never does what he wants just because he can. He always has a purpose. Always. By saying that God has the Right to end a person's life does not mean that God just goes out willy-nilly killing people. At the end of the day, we aren't God. We don't have any Right to take away the life of someone just because we may want it. God does have that Right and in some instances when he deems it necessary to fulfil his purposes, he did that in the Bible. God acts towards his purposes, and so we cannot do the same to the full extent that God can. We are to show compassion and love for others, especially children. In my opinion, God's actions here in the Passover do not diminish Jesus' teachings.

~ Regards,

But in the same breath PA you said the more important lesson was the correlation to Jesus...so...God killed innocent children to make the point of Jesus? Here is what I think my friend...once you are steeped into the religion of the Bible in any of its many facets...you think...you literally 'think' within a context of The Bible..instead of thinking within a context of truth. I stepped out of the Bible Box PA many years ago after living most of my life within the confines of that context...and what I have found 'outside of the box' is that the truth isn't The Bible. The truth is what it is...but when one has to twist and contort scriptures to make sense of life...well, it is just one big contradiction...and the real contradiction of the Bible is to the Truth. I love you though man!

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But in the same breath PA you said the more important lesson was the correlation to Jesus...so...God killed innocent children to make the point of Jesus? Here is what I think my friend...once you are steeped into the religion of the Bible in any of its many facets...you think...you literally 'think' within a context of The Bible..instead of thinking within a context of truth. I stepped out of the Bible Box PA many years ago after living most of my life within the confines of that context...and what I have found 'outside of the box' is that the truth isn't The Bible. The truth is what it is...but when one has to twist and contort scriptures to make sense of life...well, it is just one big contradiction...and the real contradiction of the Bible is to the Truth.

I spent the first 20 years of my life "outside" that Bible box. I was not a believer. I didn't believe the Bible or any Holy Book could provide the truth. I believed that all the world religions were mankind's attempt at understanding the divine and therefore all were equally "right". Then when I was 20 I began to read the Bible with an intent to learn what it actually says (as opposed to reading it in order to quote-mine contradictions and such) and lo and behold I gave my life to Christ as a young adult. My understanding of the Bible is obviously better than it was 13 years ago when I first became a Christian, but so far nothing has led me to believe that I made the wrong choice all those years ago. In short, I know what it is to live outside the BIble box; I did so for the majority of my life. And I found the truth in the Bible, so I moved to it.

And no, it is not quite correct to say that "God killed innocent children to make the point of Jesus". First, there was the promise in Genesis 12:1-3 to uphold. God made his covenant with Abraham and God was simply holding up his end of the bargain. And he did so via the plagues. And the tenth plague in particular became a vital part of Jewish festivity - the night that God saved his people from slavery, the night that the Angel of Death passed over their homes as God took special protection of them. As hard as it is in our modern eyes, we need to look at it from the perspective it was written. The point of the narrative was never the suffering of the Egyptians. The point has always been about the liberation of the Hebrews. I haven't looked into this to see if what I am about to say is correct or not, but I would lean towards the suffering of the Egyptians to be a more or less modern criticism of the text (the word "modern" in the context of 2 millennia of Christianity, maybe even around the time of the Age of Enlightenment in the 18th Century AD). The introduction of the Passover festival (which is still celebrated by Jews and even some Christian groups) was a key event in the history of Judaism and Christianity. Christians see it as a foreshadowing of Jesus, true enough on that account, but it wasn't as simplistic as you are making it out to be.

I love you though man!
And I love you! Edited by Paranoid Android

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I've said this before. I think the bible was embellished by adding all this drama to make it more appealing to the reader

and so the reader will pick it up and go through it's contents. And you know what, it work whether you believe in it or not.

If the stories were wrote down in their originality, they would be boring and no one would read them and possibly lost in time.

Same goes for Hollywood Movies. Adding some fiction to the truth could make the movies a Blockbuster Hit.

Some bits were, you are quite right on that. The first 11 chapters of Genesis, for example, represent the pre-Abraham oral tradition of the Hebrew people. It is written in a distinct narrative, and so I tend to believe that there are events upon which these stories are based, but the stories themselves display evidence of poetry, symbolism, and all the things one would expect from oral stories told from generation to generation. The actual events of Genesis 1-11 have most definitely been embellished on. Likewise, certain passages such as Psalms are simply songs and poetry, written to herald the great deeds of certain people (King David being the most popular). There is nothing wrong with embellishing a song for the sake of imagery. An argument can even be made that the Book of Job is entirely a fictional work, written to convey theology rather than history. If that be the case, then it is obviously embellishing on truth. But it serves a theological purpose (note, I'm not saying Job IS fictional, just that it may be, I have no clear opinion on it, but the theological truths gained from that story do not hinge upon it being a real event).

On the other hand, there are other parts of the Bible that are not embellished, or at least are not to be read with that intention. I don't believe these parts were embellished, but are intended to be read as history.

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IamsSon

If you created a work of art, and then decided to destroy it, you would have every right to do so, as long as it was still under your ownership.

It's nice to see that at least you acknowledge that creation does not confer unbounded rights over the created. But there are other ways to alienate interests while retaining ownership.

For example, you can lease your work. In the case of an artist and an art work, that might take the form of loaning the piece to a museum. The artist still owns the work, but during the time when the artist has given another being an interest in the item, the artist cannot destroy the work. This is equally true whether the artist was paid or the museum's interest was a gift.

In my view, when God created sentient beings, he also conferred interests upon them. He has no more "right" to torture my dog than I do. And he never did have any such right, since the dog's claim to respect was perfected from the inception of her sentience. If God wishes to pull apart an animal-shaped inert toy, then he has the right to do that, just as my dog does. Breathe life into that toy, and then there is a second party in interest, to which any decent being defers.

But, of course, there are things your God cannot do. One of them, apparently, is that your God cannot be embarrassed.

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I spent the first 20 years of my life "outside" that Bible box. I was not a believer. I didn't believe the Bible or any Holy Book could provide the truth. I believed that all the world religions were mankind's attempt at understanding the divine and therefore all were equally "right". Then when I was 20 I began to read the Bible with an intent to learn what it actually says (as opposed to reading it in order to quote-mine contradictions and such) and lo and behold I gave my life to Christ as a young adult. My understanding of the Bible is obviously better than it was 13 years ago when I first became a Christian, but so far nothing has led me to believe that I made the wrong choice all those years ago. In short, I know what it is to live outside the BIble box; I did so for the majority of my life. And I found the truth in the Bible, so I moved to it.

The tactic of "i used to be like you, but then I found this better thing" is so often used by Christians. Sometimes I know for a matter of fact that they are lying, but they still try that. Is committing a sin in order to trick someone into Christianity ok? ...ug.

Well, I used to be a Christian, and I wanted it to be true sooo badly. I read the bible looking for answers and things that would hold true. However, I only found stories that amused ancient man and eventually I evolved past religion. Much like with Santa Claus, I may not have known how the presents got under the tree, but I decided to stop thinking it was magic that put them there. So what does that mean? Is it that you haven't been able to evolve to the next level, or that I didn't try correctly?

There are people who get hooked on Star Trek or Harry Potter and give their lives to it, and know every detail of everything related to those, but that knowledge and wishful thinking doesn't make them any less of a fantasy. How's that for a straw man?

What religion you have is most likely determined by where you were born and who your parents were (i.e. if you happen to be born in Indonesia, you are most likely going to be Muslim). People want to think they have some divine connection to a god, but usually it's just geography.

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What religion you have is most likely determined by where you were born and who your parents were (i.e. if you happen to be born in Indonesia, you are most likely going to be Muslim).

I have long wondered about the relevance of this observation to the question of God, either empirically or logically, and perhaps you can help. Let's start with empirically.

Indonesia is about10% Christian, so if you are native Indonesian, then indeed, most likely you are Muslim. For purposes of United States Immigration laws, Indonesian Christians are classified as "disfavored." That means that they are subject to violent reprisal for their "protected characteristic," professing the Christian faith in a society that is hostile to them, and willing to express that hostility outside the legal system by violence and other forms of persecution. (The United States has a different category for those victimized within their native legal system.)

So, if Indonesia is being offered as a demonstration of some larger principle, then it would appear that you have a "dirty test tube" problem. If being publicly Christian is, in fact, violently repressed in Indonesia, then the only practical way to learn Christianity would be through private channels, of which having a family member of that faith would be a typical example.

It would also seem that Indonesia is not unusual. If there is a religious majority, of whatever religion, and that religion is hostile to evangelization by other faiths, then there will be few converts to other religions. In some places, Christianity or even varieties of Christianity, have enforced bans on evangelization. For example, Quakers were hanged on Boston Common.

As the Boston experience shows, the existence of such policies will predictably give rise to adaptive geographic concentrations of other faiths elsewhere, by refugee migration and migratory avoidance. Both Rhode Island and Pennsylvania owe their existence, in part, to the Boston gallows.

Given that religious spatial concentration has explanations that are irrelevant to the truth or falsehood of the content of the religions involved, why am I to be persuaded that geographic partition is at all informative about the truth of the beliefs?

Turning to logical difficulty, suppose there were some religion R, and the law of Nature was that wherever R is tolerated, few people display any interest in alternatives to R, because they are satisfied with it, even though any and all alternatives are available. Suppose R dominated someplace open. Would that, too, not be a place where, if you were a native, then you would most likely adhere to R, from the time you first heard of it?

Why does this make the truth of R suspect?

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The tactic of "i used to be like you, but then I found this better thing" is so often used by Christians. Sometimes I know for a matter of fact that they are lying, but they still try that. Is committing a sin in order to trick someone into Christianity ok? ...ug.

Well, I used to be a Christian, and I wanted it to be true sooo badly. I read the bible looking for answers and things that would hold true. However, I only found stories that amused ancient man and eventually I evolved past religion. Much like with Santa Claus, I may not have known how the presents got under the tree, but I decided to stop thinking it was magic that put them there. So what does that mean? Is it that you haven't been able to evolve to the next level, or that I didn't try correctly?

There are people who get hooked on Star Trek or Harry Potter and give their lives to it, and know every detail of everything related to those, but that knowledge and wishful thinking doesn't make them any less of a fantasy. How's that for a straw man?

What religion you have is most likely determined by where you were born and who your parents were (i.e. if you happen to be born in Indonesia, you are most likely going to be Muslim). People want to think they have some divine connection to a god, but usually it's just geography.

I wasn't trying to imply that "I used to be like you and then I found this better thing". I was referring to joc's comments. He stepped out of the Bible and found Truth. Those were his words. I was simply pointing out that I stepped into the Bible and found Truth. Why is joc's comment simply let fly while my comment which said exactly the same thing but reversed, suddenly I'm using common Christian tactics. What? Joc isn't???? edit: incidentally, I don't think he is using any "tactics". But then, neither was I

We both went through a process of change in our belief-system and when we arrived at where we are we both found something that we believe is true but is contradictory. I believe I am right, joc believes he is right. What is important is that we are following the path we believe is truth. To do otherwise would be dishonest to ourselves. I don't agree with joc, but it's his choice to live his life the way he sees best, and no one has the Right to demand he believe differently (which is not to say that if I were talking to him about Christianity away from the forums that I might not try gently persuading my point of view, but he may very well do the same thing with me).

Oh, and I hope you aren't implying that I'm lying when I say that I only became a Christian when I was 20 years old. I am intrigued though by your beliefs are "more evolved" than those held by others. Does it give you a superiority complex, believing that us religious folk are less evolved? Or do you just pity us?

~ Regards, PA

Edited by Paranoid Android
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If he truly is a just god (which he isn't I.M.O.) then he would have to treat everyone fairly.

Have you received the grace to follow Jesus? If the answer is no how fair is your opinion? When it comes to God or Jesus Christ being fair is beyond our human scope. We also have our free will. I believe in my heart Jesus Christ treats His flock fairly and this treatment includes those who are not followers of Christ at the moment but are written in the Book of Life because of His tremendous eternal love.
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Matthew 18:3

And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

What do many children do when they are tired and weary? They cry.

Revelation 21:4 ESV

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have

passed away.”

Romans 10:13 - For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

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