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Atheist Community of Austin
Doubting Christian

While it seems this board primarily has Christian's trying to prove their faith to you, I'm a bit on the other end of the spectrum. I was raised in a Christian cult/sect. I left that several years ago after figuring out that it didn't square with the Bible. I've spent the last few years in limbo I guess realizing that the denominations are just a crap shoot where you pick your favorite flavor. I recently heard an email from an atheist read on a Christian radio show that really shook my position.

My main point is I would like to find some books regarding the Bible as a historical document (or fiction, whichever it is) and/or Biblical contradictions. I have read the Bible quite a few times through and am aware of quite a few contradictions but I'd like an objective scholar's perspective. I am willing to admit I am not necessarily smart enough to understand all the finer points of Biblical translation and interpretation. Website suggestions with credible scholarship would be welcome as well.

I have always maintained that I would cease to be Christian if confronted with enough evidence to the contrary, so its put up or shut up time for me and I'd like to dialogue with you all about evidence that convinced you of your position.

We usually recommend books by Bart Ehrman (http://www.bartdehrman.com/books.htm). Robert Price (http://www.robertmprice.mindvendor.com/) is another good source.

Actually a lot of what you asked for is on this page, if not all you need, check it out.. (http://evilbible com)

Links with contradictions. contradictions of the Gospels, Old testament still valid +law contradictions, Jesus is fake. oh and check the link about the ten commandments too. Well there is much more, take some time and fight your way through it if you want.

This page is great too (http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/), has a lot of the same stuff but a good link with over 2000 absurdities in the Bible. Cruelty, violence, intolerance, failed prophecies and a lot of other things that you might want to know. Open your own Bible and compare if you need, they didn't suck it out of their fingers, unlike the ones who wrote such "holy" books...

Thank you for the website recommendations. They did indeed show what I was looking for. It's amazing to me that I've read the Bible so much and never saw these things for what they are.

Thank you for your suggestions. I have picked up some of Ehrman's books from my local library and started reading Misquoting Jesus last night. Frankly, I am surprised at the quality of work he presents because I have always heard about him in such a negative light within Christian circles. I really appreciate the recommendation.

I agree with the Ehrman recommendation. I tend to always give a disclaimer with Ehrman these days, however. Ehrman only says what other Bible scholars already know, but that mainstream Christians don't bother to learn. As a result, as he spoke out about problems with Bible manuscripts that most lay people aren't informed about, he's been pretty strongly maligned in the believing community as a hack. In my view, it isn't really sufficient to point to his credentials, because a person can be qualified in a field and still hold unpopular or unjustified views in that field. So, what I tell Christians, because I know they're going to find disparaging claims about Ehrman online, is to make sure to get access to a good Bible translation, such as NIV or NASB. If you don't own one, you can access them for free online at biblegateway.com. The advantage of these translations is that the translators insert marginal notes that show commentary on the texts--from the actual Bible translators.

If we can't trust the people translating the Bible--why would we accept any English Bible version? Clearly anyone who accepts a Bible in English is willing to accept the translation as expert/correct, especially if they support the content. With that in mind, I suggest reading Ehrman and actually looking up the margin notes of the translators while you go through his criticisms, to confirm what he's saying.

To me, this is the best way to vindicate Ehrman's scholarship. When what he says is echoed by the Bible translators, it's very hard to believe a Christian layperson who is claiming Erhman doesn't know what he's talking about. Such people are actually undermining the very validity of the Bibles they use. If they say Ehrman's views are "hack" views, and they're echoed by Bible translators, then they're saying hacks translated the Bibles they're using as "god's word." And there's something really backward about that reasoning, in my view.

So, yes, I recommend "Misquoting Jesus," and I recommend you read it along side a good, annotated Bible, and decide for yourself if he's being honest or bias in his presentation.

All the best with your studies!

I sat down and read Ehrman's books "Misquoting Jesus" and "Jesus, interupted" yesterday alongside my NASB. You are correct about people calling him a hack. I heard his name brought up with great derision before I began looking into Biblical issues. However, after trying to objectively investigate his claims, I must say I'm very discouraged by his findings. I suppose deep down I wanted him to be less convincing and less correct. I had hoped there were answers that allowed for the inerrancy I had always assumed and I was simply not educated enough to understand the melding of all the contradictions into a central belief system. I am now in a state of, "Huh, what now?" my entire life was built on trying to understand Christianity and find God's will for my life. I'm sure that probably seems silly. Again, I appreciate the time you all have taken to assist me in correcting my misinformed state.

"Old beliefs die hard even when demonstrably false."

--Edward O. Wilson.

Well, you did the only right thing to question your belief and investigate.. something that most people are not able to do, their bias towards their belief is too strong to stick to reality for long enough to actually get that far.

But it is not your fault that you were inside the religious bubble for so long.. it is the fault of people who rotted away long time ago, they told others that they are too stupid to understand "God", discouraged them to question the dreamworld they were forced into.. and explained them that they have to submit to it with no buts, with no proof and no reason to actually do it other than fear, both of dying and being forgotten but even more the fear of dying without being in God's fan, that is much worse than just dying.. It is like "holy smoking", you think if you stop smoking "the holy cigarette", it will hunt you down and smoke you in pain for all eternity, most people can't even imagine to stop believing.. It is almost funny, they just believe blindly but most of them claim to KNOW! And many of them even "talk to god"

Those people in the past used the books to force the illiterate uneducated masses into submission.. the real problem is, the virus spread over the world for such a long time, people cling to religions not realizing how much death and violence and intolerance and idiocy still comes with it.. and that it was built on hate and genocide.. and a huge portion of ignorance.. and last but not least brain washing and extortion. The world is full of religious people merely because they were brain washed and mesmerized with the imaginary world and bribed with an eternal orgasm in God's candyland.. and threatened to stick to their belief.. hell came later to make it worse. The church is claiming to do God's work but it does so with YOUR money.. Later a greedy priest who wanted to build a huge church came up with the idea to let people "pay for their sins".. and given the law contradictions in the bible you can't be free of "sin" no matter how hard you try.

However it should be enough to read a small part of the crap to actually see what was done there.. at least for somebody who isn't "under the religious spell". Just read the stories and laws in the old testament.. although the new one isn't that much better, but keep in mind that Jesus had nothing against the things in the Old Testament, actually the exact opposite.

"Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest part or the smallest part of a letter will pass from the law, until all things have taken place." Matthew 5:17

So better make sure you don't beat up your slave too much, he needs to get up and work after 2 days at latest!!

Well Jesus the fake messiah who was supposed to be named Immanuel, actually said that "Heaven and Earth will pass away" around 2000 years ago.. so he pretty much failed before Christianity set foot in the world..

But lets ignore him, look how God was depicted in the Bible. Here my favorite part from Deuteronomy:

"And thou shalt have a paddle upon thy weapon; and it shall be, when thou wilt ease thyself abroad, thou shalt dig therewith, and shalt turn back and cover that which cometh from thee: For the LORD thy God walketh in the midst of thy camp, to deliver thee, and to give up thine enemies before thee; therefore shall they camp be holy: that he see no unclean thing in thee, and turn away from thee." (Deuteronomy 23:13-14)

Too bad he didn't turn away.. But of course, that sounds plausible (?) not only is God so kind to bring his enemies to me instead of fighting them on his wn, being omnipotent and stuff sure gives him a reason to let me do it.. but the funny part is he can't even watch his step so i have to clean up after relieving myself?

No matter how hard I try, I don't see God's word in there, and i doubt anybody would see it without "God drummed into their heads" so bad that they ignore such things, if they ever read them at all.. but there is too much idiocy in those books to actually miss such things!

Another one, pretty funny (for people who like black humor)

Deuteronomy 7:20 "Moreover the LORD thy God will send the hornet among them, until they that are left, and hide themselves from thee, be destroyed."

Wow hornets? Really? I thought he made dinosaurs and giants.. but he sends few hornets to help me fight HIS enemies?

But make sure you don't piss him off, thats when he gets really mad!

"Behold with a great plague will the LORD smite thy people and thy children, and thy wives, and all thy goods: And thou shalt have great sickness by disease of thy bowels, until thy bowels fall out by reason of the sickness day by day." (II Chronicles 21:14-15).

"And after all this the LORD smote him in his bowels with an incurable disease. And it came to pass, that in process of time, after the end of two years, his bowels fell out by reason of sickness: so he died of sore diseases. And his people made no burning for him, like the burning of his fathers." (II Chronicles 12:18-19).

Nice job there God! give the folks plague and bowel diseases. Does this sound like the word of some divine all-loving and almighty being to you? Especially after saying "He had promised to maintain a lamp for him and his descendants forever."

And here his divine justness:

"And your children shall wander in the wilderness forty years, and bear your whoredoms, until your carcases be wasted in the wilderness. After the number of the days in which ye searched the land, even forty days, each day for a year, shall ye bear your iniquities, even forty years, and ye shall know my breach of promise." (Numbers 14:33-34).

"And thou shalt eat the fruit of thine own body, the flesh of thy sons and of thy daughters, which the LORD they God hath given thee, in the siege, and in the straightness, wherewith thine enemies shall distress thee:" (Deuteronomy 28:53).

"And toward her young one that cometh out from between her feet, and toward her children which she shall bear: for she shall eat them for want of all things secretly in the siege and straitness, wherewith thine enemy shall distress thee in thy gates." (Deuteronomy 28:57).

Sure! Punish the kids, and let people eat their children! That will teach them!! (especially the eaten and murdered kids will learn their lesson). No wonder they tell people that they are too stupid to understand that.. If you were intelligent enough to understand it you would definitely not obey.

But there is WAY too much more to actually be in doubt about such things..

I have troubles accepting that somebody who reads such horrific fairy tales and idiotic laws and pseudo morality nowadays, can still find the "word of God" in there.. i see ancient inhumane slave drivers speaking who had no clue about the world, thinking it is a flat disk held by some elephants on a turtle's back, with a fixed roof as firmament held by invisible pillars.. who thought that the all powerful being with unlimited powers needed 1 day to create the earth and the universe, but needed 5 days to screw up the earth after that.. He made everything out of less than thin air but then he needed his own dirt for a guy and the guy's rib for the woman... and then he was too tired and needed a break?

I understand that was written by people who were forcing their fellow humans to do things they wouldn't do under normal circumstances.. but i can't REALLY understand people nowadays still being affected by their teachings so bad.. and "doing God's work" by paying money to the church to fight education and medicine and spread idiocy and intolerance.. and almost the whole world spreading the virus by brainwashing their children.. clearly violating basic human rights in my opinion. And people often fighting religious wars for somebody who is claiming to act by the will of God..

One would assume in these educated times where people are allowed (weren't always all allowed..) and able to read those books.. that we would throw off the religious shackles, but the sad truth is humanity is fighting a dirty war against the imaginary force of "evil and good" that it might lose.. You see yourself how difficult it is to turn away from the religious teachings and the belief in God.. and how difficult it is to see the "holy book" through the "reality" lense.. but you know, if you ask me, your problem will not be to get a grip on reality and live your life as your own boss and grow out of your "christian shoes". The problem might be to get used to the idea that so many people around you are living the "eternal lie" and are convinced that whoever isn't part of it, is wrong and doomed for all eternity.. or something like that, all because of some ancient fairy tales written by people who thought that diseases are caused by demons and witchcraft.. among too many other moronic things that they put down in their books.

But as for you, i am willing to bet that you would (will?) be just fine without The Imaginary Peeping Tom-Boss and his vice president the Holy Fake Zombie Son Jesus as the scapegoat for your imaginary sins.. Just treat them like Santa, life goes on without believing in him, and you can be a good human being without Santa's list, maybe even better if you use your own unbiased moral compass.

I can understand the fault of those who originally wrote this stuff, and the fault of those that continually refuse to think for themselves. However, I still have the personal responsibility of not questioning sooner. As one who was/is under that religious spell, it is so much harder to shed these beliefs that someone who wasn't raised in religion may realize. Perhaps you understand that first-hand as well. It was entirely too easy to listen to the rationalizing and explaining away of the passages you cited. When you hear these stories from even before you can read and they are explained as the truth, its so easy to believe and not consider anything else. Thats how these things gain a hold, they are passed from generation to generation. In some wierd way, these beliefs and stories become a part of your identity. The trick, I guess, is learning to extract them and move on. I still have that nagging fear of being wrong and going to hell forever. I mean, who really wants to have the possibility of being tortured endlessly?

Thanks Jayhennem for your time and encouragement. I appreciate it very much.

Like i said, "holy smoking" sure makes it difficult to even just start to question your belief.. a very cruel way to keep people submissive.. and on the other hand you have eternity in wonderland if you stick with it, at least you think so.

I perfectly understand you.. that is why i am saying that it is not your fault at all, it is that "traditional brain washing in the name of LORD thy God". I had the choice.. born in a mixed marriage between Muslim and Christian, my parents made a deal.. they taught us both religions without presenting anything like the ultimate truth and we could choose what we want to believe. REALLY having the choice and the chance to think before it gets drummed into your head is all it takes i guess.. to reject them all. My father always told us to believe only what we really can believe, to make choices based on as many facts as possible.. using reason and rational thinking and not believe or do something people simply force us to believe or do. And still it wasn't too easy to stop "giving God a chance", given that aside from my brother and me my whole family are believers.. very narrow minded ones among them too who pretty much hate us for rejecting their imaginary friends. But once i decided to stick to reality i started feeling much better, if there is a God and he wants anything from me, he should know where to find me to tell me in person, before he does i have no reason to even think he exists. I wish all kids would be given a chance to think and read that crap before they really decide to believe it.. if that is possible at all.. If you get it explained as something that you have no way to really know and when you see the idiocy in the books and the countless contradictions and obviously morbid and wrong teachings.. I am not sure what kind of brain damage it takes to really DECIDE to believe it on your own. No matter how you turn it, in my opinion, religious indoctrination violates basic human rights. As their closest and most important authority figure (parents), kids don't really question what you tell them when they are small, people definitely brain wash them and drag them into their dream world, wittingly or unwittingly, doesn't really matter, it is still brain washing. Also the way i see it, they are not born free if you put the religious stamp on their forehead as soon as they are born and it is not the spirit of human brotherhood but rather religious brotherhood before anything else that they are being taught. Hopefully it won't take humanity too long to stop doing such things... Oh well, enough said, just one more thing, welcome to reality! :)

I have found http://www.infidels.org/ to be a useful website as well.

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