Author Topic: Searching for answers.  (Read 215 times)

Searching for answers.
« on: September 24, 2019, 07:01:43 PM »
Hello my name's Justin.

I've been trying to discover my belief quite ambitiously recently. I never doubted the biblical God's existence until I hit highschool. For a little background, I've been raised in a Christian family and going to church every Sunday. I always thought Gods existence was obvious, until my understanding of physics biology and chemistry got extended. I'm still undecided as there are a lot of convincing attributes of the Bible but I also have found it to be quite exotic (e.g. Joshua 10, the sun stops in the sky). Nevertheless, I have a question that I'm curious as to what the atheist's response is.

1) is the Bible ever inconsistent with itself? For example, Isaiah 53 prophesied of Jesus. How he would remain silent (53:7), how he'd be given stripes/slashes (53:5), and how he'd be rejected by men (53:3).

Mathew 27:12-14 speaks about Jesus remaining silent,
John 19:1 & Mathew 27:26, speaks about jesus getting scourged (meaning whipped).
And Luke 4:28-30 implies that Jesus was rejected by men.

If these prophecies were written so much earlier than Jesus' time, than how could they seem so accurate to later scriptures without being real?

As I stated, I hesitate to believe the Bible, but I can't deny that it seems to have some validity too. I try to examine both perspectives, christian and atheist's. But I haven't been able to find much yet on the atheist perspective on prophecies coming true (for now I'd be specific to Isaiah 53). So I was curious what you guys would think, are there any loopholes in Isaiah 53?

Thanks for your responses in advance!!!






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« Last Edit: September 24, 2019, 07:09:24 PM by jtar40 »

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Re: Searching for answers.
« Reply #1 on: September 24, 2019, 07:04:22 PM »
Atheist, not athiest.
"If we have to go down, we go down together!"
- Your mum, requesting 69 last night.

Atheist Mantis does not pray.

Re: Searching for answers.
« Reply #2 on: September 24, 2019, 07:20:20 PM »
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1) is the Bible ever inconsistent with itself? For example, Isaiah 53 prophesied of Jesus. How he would remain silent (53:7), how he'd be given stripes/slashes (53:5), and how he'd be rejected by men (53:3).

Mathew 27:12-14 speaks about Jesus remaining silent,
John 19:1 & Mathew 27:26, speaks about jesus getting scourged (meaning whipped).
And Luke 4:28-30 implies that Jesus was rejected by men.

If these prophecies were written so much earlier than Jesus' time, than how could they seem so accurate to later scriptures without being real?

As I stated, I hesitate to believe the Bible, but I can't deny that it seems to have some validity too. I try to examine both perspectives, christian and atheist's. But I haven't been able to find much yet on the atheist perspective on prophecies coming true (for now I'd be specific to Isaiah 53). So I was curious what you guys would think, are there any loopholes in Isaiah 53?

Thanks for your responses in advance!!!


Hi Justin!

I don't have enough time at the moment to deal with this as well as I'd like, but I'll see what I can do.


First off, what makes you think the Isaiah verses were about Jesus? I don't think they were, but that they were cherry picked by someone who then said they were about Jesus.


As Thomas Paine said, long ago, "Everything in the Old Testament is perverted and distorted into meanings never intended by the writers. The practice which the writers of the books employ is not more false than it is absurd. They state some trifling case of the person they call Jesus Christ, and then cut out a sentence from some passage of the Old Testament and call it a prophecy of that case. But when the words thus cut out are restored to the places where they are taken from, they give the lie to the New Testament."

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"Christians, like slaves and soldiers, ask no questions."  Jerry Falwell
"Who says lying doesn't get you anywhere? Look at the success of Christianity!"  C. Spellman
"There is a sucker born-again every minute."  C. Spellman

Re: Searching for answers.
« Reply #3 on: September 24, 2019, 07:23:51 PM »
Concerning other biblical inconsistencies, you can find a lot of them here:

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"Christians, like slaves and soldiers, ask no questions."  Jerry Falwell
"Who says lying doesn't get you anywhere? Look at the success of Christianity!"  C. Spellman
"There is a sucker born-again every minute."  C. Spellman

Offline Baruch

Re: Searching for answers.
« Reply #4 on: September 24, 2019, 08:56:44 PM »
Justin - please introduce yourself in the Intro section.

BTW - your questions are pretty ordinary.  So I hope you don't think you are strange.  Having questions is a normal condition for adolescence.  And a healthy attitude for the rest of your life.
πŽπŽœπŽœπŽŸπŽŒπŽ€πŽπŽŽπŽ€πŽ€πŽšπŽ€πŽŸπŽπŽœπŽœπŽŸπŽπŽ€πŽπŽ‰πŽ€πŽ€πŽšπŽ€
luu shalmaata luu balt’aata
May you be well, may you be healthy

Re: Searching for answers.
« Reply #5 on: September 24, 2019, 11:26:47 PM »
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Hi Justin!

I don't have enough time at the moment to deal with this as well as I'd like, but I'll see what I can do.


First off, what makes you think the Isaiah verses were about Jesus? I don't think they were, but that they were cherry picked by someone who then said they were about Jesus.


As Thomas Paine said, long ago, "Everything in the Old Testament is perverted and distorted into meanings never intended by the writers. The practice which the writers of the books employ is not more false than it is absurd. They state some trifling case of the person they call Jesus Christ, and then cut out a sentence from some passage of the Old Testament and call it a prophecy of that case. But when the words thus cut out are restored to the places where they are taken from, they give the lie to the New Testament."
That's definitely an interesting argument. I would however, disagree that it's not talking about Jesus. Reason to justify this is that individually these verses are not all that descriptive of him, but collectively they are identical. You may have heard of the game "Akinator." In this game, a set of criteria is either confirmed or denied by the user, until the computer can use a collective amount of information to guess what famous individual the user was thinking of.

Similarly I think you can look at this scripture, in the sense that, an individual being "silent" means little to nothing. But collectively being silent(verse.7), despised, rejected(3), lashed(5), wounded for our transgression(5), brought to be slaughtered(7), a bearer of other's sins(12), smitten of God (4), a healer (5), taken from judgement (8), absent of violence (9)....Portrays nobody other than Jesus.

Even if all of the above was incorrect, or misinterpreted, then I'd highlight the next one.....
" Neither was there any deceit in his mouth (9)." This is identical to Luke 23:8-15.

So how do you know it was speaking about Jesus? Because Jesus was the identical portrayal of these collective attributes. Furthermore I would also argue that there is no justification in saying that the man described is likely somebody else; especially given the fact that it said "the Lord laid out sins (iniquities) on him" (6). A verse that is virtually identical to 1 Peter 2:24.

At this point I sound like I am supporting the Bible as true, but that is not exactly the case. I do believe that Isaiah is talking about Jesus, but I hesitate to say that the Bible wasn't changed in the coarse of History to this. Or of course some other alternative is always possible as well.

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« Last Edit: September 24, 2019, 11:32:49 PM by jtar40 »

Re: Searching for answers.
« Reply #6 on: September 24, 2019, 11:39:50 PM »
I will start my reply to your questions with a post I made in 2014:

Finished Carrier’s book--On The Historicity of Jesus.  Why We Might Have Reason to Doubt.

As no other book has, this one addresses the question of Jesus as a myth or a real man very clearly.  Basically, the book is in two parts.  The first part he lays the groundwork and states the question--Jesus real or myth.  He then lists 48 elements that need to be considered for both sides of the question.  He then spends the last half evaluating those elements and assigning probabilities for each side.  The book is highly footnoted and one could spend a lifetime reading all of his listed source material.  I am willing to admit that I approach this question with a large bias--and he addresses how one needs to deal with that when reading any historical records or documents.  Even so, I think he confessed his, addressed them and came to a very reasonable and thought out conclusion.

I will briefly summarize his conclusion:
There is only about a 0% to 33% chance Jesus existed.  Furthermore, this means the probability that mysticism is true is about 67% to 100%--and more likely to be near the upper end of that projection.

What does this mean for Jesus studies?  It means all later tales of a historical Jesus and his family need to be seen as legendary, mythical and propagandistic inventions, and studied for their literary and rhetorical purpose and not for their specific historical content.  But more importantly, it means we need to re-examine the earliest evidence from a completely different perspective.  That means the authentic letters of Paul, but also other Epistles close to him in thought, such as Colossians, Ephesians, Hebrews, 1 Peter and 1 Clement, and perhaps other works such as the Didache. We need to to reconsider all the evidence now from a new perspective.  We need to see it in the light of what the present study has shown to be the most likely account of the origin and early development of the Christian religion, which now fits the theory of minimal mysticism.

In summary:  Before the 20’s, the Jesus that Christians would later worship was known by some Jews as a celestial being, God’s agent of creation.  Sometime between the 20’s and 40’s a small fringe sect of Jews, probably at the time led by a man named Cephas, came to believe that his Jesus figure had undergone a salvific incarnation, death and resurrection in outer space, thus negating the cultic role of the Jerusalem temple, freeing them from it politically, spirituality, and physically, which was a very convenient thing to conceive at the time.  They also came to believe that through his act their salvation had been secured through the defeat of the demonic world order, so long as they shared in that sacrifice metaphysically through baptism and ritual communion, a concept already adopted by many similar cults of that time.

This sect like many others of the same period, had been looking for hidden messages from God in the OT in order to learn how and when God would solve their present woes.  And also like many Jews, this sect was under syncretistic influences from diverse Jewish sects and the most popular and culturally diffused aspects of the Greco-Roman religion and philosophy.  Its members were also highly prone to having (or claiming to) visions, and with the combination of such visions and their searching for creative reinterpretations of scripture that spoke to their present troubles they convinced themselves that this celestial  self-sacrifice occurred and was part of God’s plan and had now been β€˜revealed’ from heaven to a select few.  We cannot know now whether the idea was discovered in scripture first, inspiring visions to corroborate or elaborate it, or whether it was creatively arrived at in visions first, inspiring the apostles to then find corroboration and elaboration in scripture.  It could have been both, each a catalyst for the other.

This cult began as a Torah-observant Jewish sect that abandoned their reliance on Levitical temple cult, and was likely preaching the imminent end of the world, in accordance with the Scripture, signs and revelations of the celestial Jesus.  In the 30’s or 40’s an active enemy of the cult, named Paul, had his own revelation from this Jesus and became an apostle spreading rather than attacking the faith.  Over the next twenty years, he converts many, preaches widely, and writes a body of letters. During this time, the original sect driven by Cephas fragmented.  There are many church schisms, and many alternative versions of the original gospel arise, including the version inaugurated by Paul, which abandoned Torah observance and more avidly sought the conversion of pagans, seeking to unify Jew and Gentile in a common community.

Between the 30’s and 70’s some Christian congregations gradually mythicize the story of their celestial Jesus Lord, just as other mystery cults had done for their gods, eventually representing him rhetorically and symbolically in overtly historical narratives, during which time much of the more esoteric truth of the matter is ir reserved in secret for the upper levels of initiation.  Right in the middle of this process the Jewish War of 66-70 destroyed the original church in Jerusalem, leaving us with no evidence that any of the original apostles lived beyond it.  Before that, persecutions from Jewish authorities and famines throughout the empire further exacerbated the effect, which was to leave a thirty year dark age in the history of the church, a whole generation in which we have no idea what happened or who was in charge.  In fact this ecclesiastical dark age probably spans 50 years, if 1 clement was written in the 60’s and not the 90’s, as then we have no record of anything going on until either Ignatius or Papias, both of whom could have written well later than the 110’s.

It’s during this dark age that the canonical Gospels most likely came to be written, by persons unknown, and at least one Christian sect started to believe the myths they contain were real, and this began to believe that Jesus as a real person, and then preached and embellished this view.  Because having a historical founder represented in controlled documents was a significant advantage.  This β€˜historicizing’ sect gradually gained political and social superiority, declare itself β€˜orthodox’ while condemning all others as β€˜heretics’, and preserved only texts that agreed with its view and forged and altered countless texts in support.  As a result, almost all evidence of the original Christian sects and what they believed has been lost or doctored out of the record; even evidence of what happened during the latter half of the first century to transition from Paul’s Christianity to second-century β€˜orthodoxy’ is completely lost and now almost wholly inaccessible to us.

More to come--the topics covered in this book are large, fascinating, thought provoking and head shaking.


I strongly recommend you find Richard Carrier's book and read it carefully.  I is highly footnoted so you can go as deep as you want to.  I is a long read, but I found it fascinating.
Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
Then he is not omnipotent,
Is he able but not willing?
Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able or willing?
Then why call him god?

Re: Searching for answers.
« Reply #7 on: September 25, 2019, 01:42:50 PM »
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Even if all of the above was incorrect, or misinterpreted, then I'd highlight the next one.....
" Neither was there any deceit in his mouth (9)." This is identical to Luke 23:8-15.

OK, let me focus on this, for the moment.

Quote
Neither was there any deceit in his mouth.

Does this refer to Jesus? Then Jesus never lied? What about the lie he told his people about not going to a feast, to which he then went?

Quote from: John 7:8-10

Go ye up unto this feast: I go not up yet unto this feast; for my time is not yet full come.
When he had said these words unto them, he abode still in Galilee.
But when his brethren were gone up, then went he also up unto the feast, not openly, but as it were in secret.

Again, I'll have to use a link, since I'm short on time:

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"Christians, like slaves and soldiers, ask no questions."  Jerry Falwell
"Who says lying doesn't get you anywhere? Look at the success of Christianity!"  C. Spellman
"There is a sucker born-again every minute."  C. Spellman

Offline Baruch

Re: Searching for answers.
« Reply #8 on: September 25, 2019, 06:36:49 PM »
Hi, Justin ...

Just to put my cards on the table, so you know where I might be coming from if you ask me something.

As described, I am a non-religious theist.  Mature in age, but quite a few of us are.  I am not stuck on institutions, I am very individualist.  I treat agnostic and atheist arguments fairly (compared to religious apologists/polemicists) ... otherwise I wouldn't be tolerated here.  Immature or dishonest promoters of religion, when they come here, are chewed up and spit out.  Over a very long process, I came to my own conclusions, and am still developing (again not unique given the older people posting here).

I recommend thinking for yourself.  Being critical, including self critical without being mean.  Base yourself on what you have experienced yourself.  For this reason, I can only treat scripture, including the Bible, as man-made literature.  I treat religion as culture not as revelation.

So has G-d ever spoken to me?  No.
Has any miracle (as commonly defined) happened to me?  No.
Have literal dead people arisen from graves, other than on TV?  No.

So Christianity is a non-starter for me.  Unless I were to radically reinterpret it.  But I have compassion (and Old Testament frustration) with humanity.  I don't hate religious people, or non-religious people (for those reasons anyway).  Hatred comes from fear.  And "fear is the mind killer".  Fear is countered with courage.  And with courage there is no need to hate (or that is what I keep telling myself anyway).
πŽπŽœπŽœπŽŸπŽŒπŽ€πŽπŽŽπŽ€πŽ€πŽšπŽ€πŽŸπŽπŽœπŽœπŽŸπŽπŽ€πŽπŽ‰πŽ€πŽ€πŽšπŽ€
luu shalmaata luu balt’aata
May you be well, may you be healthy

Re: Searching for answers.
« Reply #9 on: September 25, 2019, 06:47:07 PM »
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Hello my name's Justin.

I've been trying to discover my belief quite ambitiously recently. I never doubted the biblical God's existence until I hit highschool.

You say that like it was a long time. You were still living in your parents' house, for crying out loud. It can take a lot to break away from your parents' brainwashing and make up your own mind on things.

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For a little background, I've been raised in a Christian family and going to church every Sunday. I always thought Gods existence was obvious, until my understanding of physics biology and chemistry got extended.

If God's existence is so obvious, why are there so many religions? Why are they so many different types of Christians? Theists can't even agree on which god(s) it is so incredibly obvious exists.

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I'm still undecided as there are a lot of convincing attributes of the Bible but I also have found it to be quite exotic (e.g. Joshua 10, the sun stops in the sky). Nevertheless, I have a question that I'm curious as to what the atheist's response is.

There is no atheist doctrine or creed, nor a single way of thinking that all atheists share. All that we have in common with each other is that we do not believe in gods.

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1) is the Bible ever inconsistent with itself?

Is the Bible inconsistent with itself? Boy is it. But first, I'll address these examples you give.

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For example, Isaiah 53 prophesied of Jesus. How he would remain silent (53:7), how he'd be given stripes/slashes (53:5), and how he'd be rejected by men (53:3).

Mathew 27:12-14 speaks about Jesus remaining silent,
John 19:1 & Mathew 27:26, speaks about jesus getting scourged (meaning whipped).
And Luke 4:28-30 implies that Jesus was rejected by men.

If these prophecies were written so much earlier than Jesus' time, than how could they seem so accurate to later scriptures without being real?

Isaiah has nothing to do with Jesus. The Jews at the time didn't believe that it was a Messianic prophesy. It was retroactively reinterpreted by Christians to be a prophecy, conveniently plucked out of their original context. Go back and read Isaiah and tell me when it stops being a self-contained story to start talking about something completely different. It doesn't happen. And of course the new verses matched the same verses those authors reinterpreted. They wouldn't be very good liars if they were like, "This old prophecy says that Jesus would remain silent, and yet he wouldn't shut up. Why did I bring up that prophecy just to say he didn't fulfill it? I dunno."

We have no one to corroborate with their versions Jesus' story. Only people trying to convert us to their religion. We don't even know who the authors of the Gospels are. Three out of the four Gospels originally had no names attached to them, and the last doesn't even pretend to be an eyewitness (only that he finds eyewitnesses to talk to). All of them were written several years after Jesus' death, and definitely were not written by Jesus' disciples, as the names that were later attached to them imply.

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As I stated, I hesitate to believe the Bible, but I can't deny that it seems to have some validity too. I try to examine both perspectives, christian and atheist's. But I haven't been able to find much yet on the atheist perspective on prophecies coming true (for now I'd be specific to Isaiah 53). So I was curious what you guys would think, are there any loopholes in Isaiah 53?

No loopholes necessary. Only the original context. Isaiah 53 is talking about Israel. It's that simple.

Now I promised to address the consistency of the Bible. This video addresses that question very concisely.

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« Last Edit: September 25, 2019, 06:59:53 PM by Blackleaf »
"Oh, wearisome condition of humanity,
Born under one law, to another bound;
Vainly begot, and yet forbidden vanity,
Created sick, commanded to be sound."
--Fulke Greville

Re: Searching for answers.
« Reply #10 on: September 30, 2019, 08:25:22 AM »
I advise jtar40 to go on this website : You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login

Re: Searching for answers.
« Reply #11 on: September 30, 2019, 01:25:33 PM »
This one's good, too:


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"Christians, like slaves and soldiers, ask no questions."  Jerry Falwell
"Who says lying doesn't get you anywhere? Look at the success of Christianity!"  C. Spellman
"There is a sucker born-again every minute."  C. Spellman

 

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