Senate Atheism 4.0 - Now Discussing: Religiosity and intelligence

Discussion in 'Community' started by Lowbacca_1977, May 18, 2010.

  1. Narutakikun Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 8, 2012
    star 4
    ITT: People whose unshakable belief that they're right, despite no hard evidence to the contrary, and whose manic need to convert everyone they encounter, leads them to ceaselessly, arrogantly preach their beliefs about religion anywhere and everywhere they can, generally annoying the **** out of people who don't share their holier-than-thou attitude, their need to make themselves feel important by belittling those who don't share their beliefs, their unwillingness to admit that people they disagree with may not only be people of good will and decency but may also have a few valid points, and their inability to shut the **** up about how much better they think they are than everybody else.

    Oh, and there are some Christians, here too.

    *gotta star out the whole word.
    Last edited by Jedi Merkurian, Dec 18, 2012
  2. Fire_Ice_Death Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 15, 2001
    star 7
    Right, because this thread is all about the converting what with the amount of time you've been here for all of a month. Unless you're going to pull that, 'I used to be here under another name.' Nancyallen perhaps? That's the only person I know who would come in here with a **** stain sense of 'wit' and add nothing to the discussion
    SWBob likes this.
  3. Condition2SQ Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 5, 2012
    star 4
    Nancyallen was awesome. My favorite post of hers when she suggested that there should be an internet-wide "troll database" that forum administrators could consult when approving new registrations.
    Last edited by Condition2SQ, Dec 16, 2012
  4. Fire_Ice_Death Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 15, 2001
    star 7
  5. anakinfansince1983 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 4, 2011
    star 7
    Exactly.

    And without having read this entire thread, has anyone addressed the issues with multiple translations? I've studied languages and even one translation causes a work to lose some original meaning. That's why if you are watching a comedy movie or TV show, you need to watch it in the original language or the jokes fall flat.

    The first stories in the Bible were not told in English, Bibles for centuries were not written in English, so even the fundamentalists' beloved King James Version likely has so many inaccuracies and variations from the original story that it makes a game of Telephone look like a valid court document.
  6. LostOnHoth Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 15, 2000
    star 5
    I'm not sure if that is what you meant to say, but I do admit that until hard evidence to the contrary emerges, the belief that I am right will remain unshakeable. I also miss Nancyallen but I miss WormieSaber more.

    The translation issue is raised in the Bart Ehrman lecture which I linked on the previous page. I agree that it is definitely a problem, but only for those who claim that the bible is the inerrant word of God (although those people do not consider anything to be an obstacle for their belief in God). I did lol though when I learned that the 'snake handling' verses at the end of Mark were actually later additions made by scribes who were disapointed at the abrupt and anti-climatic ending of the gospel of Mark - I guess fabrication was their only recourse as there was no rottentomatoes.com in the ancient world..
    Last edited by LostOnHoth, Dec 16, 2012
  7. Jabba-wocky Chosen One

    Member Since:
    May 4, 2003
    star 8
    I'll comment that it is atheists who seem most fixated on the historicity of the gospels. While, of course, every conservative--let alone evangelical--stripe of the Christian faith holds to the inerrant nature of the texts, that's not what the religion is centered on. From the beginning, the cardinal importance of Jesus was in the following facts: 1) He was believed to be the messiah 2) He was believed to be divine 3) He was believed to have been resurrected. The biographical details of his life are comparatively insignificant. And, indeed, that's why a pretty huge portion of the New Testament was written before anyone ever got around to penning the gospels. Even reading them, you'll notice there's relatively little in the way of new doctrines or teachings proportional to what comes later in the New Testament.

    In light of all this, I'm sort of trying to figure out the source of all the atheists' enthusiasm on this point. Also, I would offer this is as an explanation for the behavior you sometimes see. It's not that Christians ignore arguments about the gospels because they are in denial or have some sort of gross cognitive dissonance. It's that, really, this isn't that much more important than the dating of any random Israeli archaeological dig. It altogether misses the core of the faith's central claims.
  8. LostOnHoth Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 15, 2000
    star 5
    I don't know about that. Doesn't 1 & 2 come from 3? Let's face it, you are only going to be resurrected by God if you are 1 or 2 or a combination of both. Correct me if I am wrong, but the entire resurrection narrative comes from the gospels, they are the primary source of evidence for the theological claim that Jesus died and was resurrected. There is a mention of Jesus being resurrected in some of Paul's writings, but the details of the resurrection come from the gospels. Isn't the resurrection really the entire crux of Christianity?

    If the gospels are not important to Christian theology then what books of the New Testament are?
    Last edited by LostOnHoth, Dec 16, 2012
  9. Jabba-wocky Chosen One

    Member Since:
    May 4, 2003
    star 8
    Well, a few points. There were multiple resurrections. Besides the ones Jesus performed himself, a man also came back from the grave after his dead body was inadvertently thrown atop the grave of Elisha. With that caveat, though, yes Jesus's resurrection was in some respects unique. I'd say that while it can be certainly deployed as proof of his divinity, there was a distinct purpose to highlighting its occurrence.

    The details of the resurrection account come in the gospels, yes. But they are not the importance of the resurrection. The number of audiences he had with Herod before execution isn't of any particular import. What matters is the theological import, which was referenced in both the Pauline epistles as well as in the writings of other New Testament authors. These authors are all quite clear about the fact that they did think Jesus died and then came back to life subsequently. Nor has anyone ever really contested that Christians think this. Nor, again, do the details offered in the gospels really make this story any more or less believable. Because you are talking about a human being that died and then stopped being dead. There's not any scenario I can think of where that makes a terrible amount of sense from a logical stand point. Resultantly, the gospels become pretty superfluous to the actual substance of the religion.
  10. Lowbacca_1977 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2006
    star 6
    Mod note: the topic in here shouldn't be particular posters, present or not present.

    How are we catagorizing conservative? Just as when talking about religious conservatives, Mormonism often comes up, and they don't hold to the inerrant nature of the texts and account for errors in translation.
    Last edited by Lowbacca_1977, Dec 16, 2012
  11. Jabba-wocky Chosen One

    Member Since:
    May 4, 2003
    star 8
    Apologies. The "conservative mainline denominations." One can't really discuss Mormonism along side other branches of Christianity save other Mormon offshoots.
  12. LostOnHoth Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 15, 2000
    star 5
    I would agree with all of that but I guess the main reason why atheists focus on the historicity of gospels is for the exact reason which you cite - namely that a story written thousands of years ago about a man dying and being resurrected is not logical nor is it likely or plausible. On this basis, most, if not all atheists, do tend to obsess over the fundamental nature of the bible to the extent that the bible is the primary source of religious faith. If the biblical narrative of the events of the resurrectiopn of Jesus are not reliable, accurate or even plausible in the historical sense, then what is the source of a person's faith that these things actually happened, that these stories contain even a shred of truth such that you become a 'believer'? That is basically my fascination with religion and my interaction with otherwise thoughtful and intelligent Christians.
    Last edited by LostOnHoth, Dec 16, 2012
  13. Point Given Mod of Literature and Community

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Dec 12, 2006
    star 5
    I'm unaware of any concerted effort to "convert" people to atheism on these boards.

    I do find it amusing that you're personally attacking people for being "holier-than-thou" when everything in your post suggests that you're the most arrogant person here.

    Anyway, back to the topic at hand. My best friend is an aspiring priest (Episcopalian). He's always been very interested in the history behind the stories in the Bible and other religious texts. From what I gather when talking to him, he does believe in the resurrection of Jesus, but he's also willing to look critically at certain aspects of the story and dismiss them, like the water into wine or resurrecting Lazarus. For him it's more the intent behind the actions (bringing happiness to people or willing to save those close to death) which are more important that the truthfulness behind those miracles.
    Last edited by Jedi Merkurian, Dec 18, 2012
  14. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 19, 2000
    star 5
    I have also encountered Christians whose faith isn't at all based on believing the unbelievable, but instead on the humanitarian nature of Christ. When applied that way, I think Christianity is a force for good. This realization - which I hadn't really attained when I first started participating in this thread - made me stop trying to convert people, it made me stop arrogantly preaching, or belittling the faithful. Narutakikun's words no longer apply to me, and I'd even go so far as to say that they don't apply to most atheists in here. It seems to me that Narutakikan's post was based on a cursory reading of the thread, at best.

    Wocky, as Condition said, the Bible is an ancient collection of literature with an unparallelled cultural impact, and that's the reason I am so interested in its inception. I think any atheist with an interest in ancient history would be interested. I am also interested in the Gilgamesh and the Vedas but there aren't too many threads about that here. I'd like to start up a topic about Greek mythology some day.
    Last edited by SuperWatto, Dec 17, 2012
    DarthBoba and Jedi Merkurian like this.
  15. Lady_Sami_J_Kenobi Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 31, 2002
    star 6
    Google has made the Dead Sea Scrolls available for anyone to view, including several translations (in case you can't read archaic Hebrew), and scholarly essays.
  16. VadersLaMent Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Apr 3, 2002
    star 9
    anakinfansince1983 likes this.
  17. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    It must be extremely painful to reassess beliefs that people have held since childhood, or for any length of time. I really admire the LDS members who have the strength to take on that assessment in adulthood and reach a conclusion that can be very costly in terms of relationships with family and friends.
  18. Sarge Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 4, 1998
    star 4
    http://www.amazon.com/Who-Moved-Sto...374436562&sr=1-1&keywords=who moved the stone
    About 70 years ago, an investigative journalist named Frank Morison set out to prove that the resurrection of Jesus was a myth. After investigating all the historical records he could find, he concluded his research by writing Who Moved the Stone? It's a very well-known book; I'm sure your local library has it if you don't want to pick up one of the used copies for less than 50 cents on Amazon.
  19. timmoishere Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 2, 2007
    star 6
    If disbelieving in a lie causes you to lose family or friends, then those people weren't worthy of your time to begin with.
  20. Champion of the Force Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 27, 1999
    star 4
    On a related note regarding the Internet, I often wonder how religious groups such as the Jehovah's Witness are going with the door knocking/witnessing now that anyone can just jump onto Google and find scores of websites critical of their pitch (I know they're still out there doing it as I got a door knock only a few months ago).
    Last edited by Champion of the Force, Jul 22, 2013
  21. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    The interesting thing about the Jehovah's witnesses is that they probably come the closest to the apocalyptic theology that Jesus preached, if he existed.

    I wish more mainline Christians could enjoy the experience these Mormons have when they realize that their founder was a cheap "Oz the Great and Powerful" style carnival charlatan.

    The problem for Christians is that it takes a "hell" (giggle) of a lot of reading to really get up to speed on textual criticism of the new testament. The history of the manuscripts is fascinating, however, and the development of the doctrine and the gradual and belated trend toward turning the historical figure of Jesus (assuming there was one as most scholars do) into a divine triumvirate in the 3d and 4th centuries is slippery and difficult to get a firm grip on. It doesn't represent necessarily a deliberate conspiratorial fraud like the one at the heart of the Mormon church, but an arbitrary evolution of the religion with an endless series of minor frauds and a few large doctrinal bottlenecks through which earlier views of Christianity were not able to pass.

    Ehrman's "Forgery and Counter-forgery: The Use of Literary Deceit in Early Christian Polemics" is a pretty deep dive into the topic, but really worth a read for any practicing Christians looking for a better understanding of the real secular history of their sacred text.
    LostOnHoth likes this.
  22. Sarge Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 4, 1998
    star 4
    They come visit me every couple of weeks. We agree on a lot of things, and I think a lot them really do know God (including the one I usually talk to), but they've been taught a doctrine that is too legalistic.
  23. LostOnHoth Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 15, 2000
    star 5
    I'll take the likes of Dr Bart Ehrman over the likes of Frank Morison and Lee Strobel any day.
    Jabbadabbado likes this.
  24. Champion of the Force Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 27, 1999
    star 4
    I know they're still operating, but I'm curious how many 'converts' they still get by this method of witnessing in this Google age. Sites such as this one don't paint encouraging figures but it's a JW-critical website.
  25. LostOnHoth Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 15, 2000
    star 5
    Wherever there are lost, depressed and misguided people who are at a low point in their lives, there will be converts.