Our forums generate great questions and insightful responses and are a good place to go for conversation with smaller groups of people. In addition, anyone is welcome to join our forums so there are opportunities for conversation and debate with theists.
One question in the debate room brought up by a Christian (Lutheran) member who goes by the name zfoor was:
...I've just been taking some time to test my beliefs...[according to atheists] what makes the Bible false?” This question, in various forms, is a one we hear quite a lot, and a type of demand many of us get from theists. Something along the lines of “ok, so if you think my holy book is a lie, tell me why you believe that.”
Jeff Vella Leone spent some time responding to that and subsequent questions:
That is not the right question if you are objective about it. The right question is; What makes it truth from other books like lord of the rings, etc…?
Both books have dragons, and both books have suffering and the rest. Why do you actually believe one and not the other? Is it just because it was forced upon you when you were kid? or just because everybody else around you believes it? Or because it is 2000 years older? Or because Jesus seemed a nice guy? Would you be a Christian if you were born in India? This question alone would let you know that all the reasons that you think Christianity is the truth fall apart. Simply because your truth is not build on critical thinking which is universal but on faith/gullibility to whoever is/was in power in your area. Although I can go on and prove to you that Christianity is a fraud but for now just think about what I said."
These are interesting points, but first, I must say being objective is entirely impossible. Also, I will not deny my location of birth and environment growing up being a result of my faith as it is today in any way. However, being born in India or into a non-Christian family does not make Christianity false. Likewise, you have to remember here that we are not talking about innocent people in India, or wherever; all people, myself included, are sinful and deserve damnation according to the text. I'm not sure what you mean by "2,000 years older," but I assume you mean "Do you believe in it because it existed for an extensive amount of time, and for a large period of that time, claimed to be truth by a sizable amount of the population?" If that is the question, I would say yes, of course, but that is not what my belief is built on as much as it is a branch from the tree. As for Jesus being a nice guy, no, that is not a contributor. There are lots of "nice guys."
Lastly, we cannot know who is gullible until we know the answer to our origins, can we? My understanding of truth is very much built on critical thinking, as critical thinking does not always give you a right or wrong answer, but I digress. In truth, I probably think about this more than anything else--the meaning of life and is my understanding of it correct--I've tried to prove it wrong myself, trust me. But I can't answer where our morals come from, why I (and every other person) is practically born wanting to know if there is a God and where we come from, our sense of guilt and our conscience, how mere chance created us, and how nothing became something. I mean to say the entirety of the text. One issue I continuously run into when hearing out an atheist's viewpoint is their pointing to how the Bible says to sacrifice animals, how an all-powerful God would give us more insightful instructions, and the absurdity of all these laws in the Old Testament that are nowhere to be found today. This is frustrating to me, as the New Testament frees us from the Law of the Old through faith in Christ's sacrifice. Now, the aforementioned is more for clarity of my stance than part of my argument, though you may know that as I'm sure you're informed, but I want to make it clear. So, let's start with the story of creation in Genesis if you don't mind, right from the beginning.
Jeff Vella Leone:
,,, can't you look at the bible and treat it as if you never heard of the book before and read it afresh? Forget what you have learned and you would be objective. Trust me once you start reading it you won't recognize it. In genesis god invents shadows and light before he makes the sun. If i didn't point it out, you would not even realize it because when a Christian reads the bible just does not read it objectively. Now do you think that without the sun, there could be light?
Don't you think that a benevolent god would not create you sick and demand you to be well? This idea that god needs to test you does not fit well with the idea that god knows everything, since then he would not need to test you at all, he would already know the result.
...You don't need to know your origins to be able to think critically. That is a fact. Our morals grow with time and knowledge, that is why in the past slavery was ok and now is not ok. Christianity supported slavery since at the time it was a moral thing to have. So Christianity was built on the current morals and did not give moral teachings at all.
we are born hungry for knowledge, that is true. But god does not answer those questions, science is the only path to discover those answers with time...it is bad to attribute to god things that we don't know or understand yet.
We don't know if we were created by chance or not, whoever says that is assuming a lot of things. We still don't know the answer for that and it is OK to say that we don't know. Saying god did it really answers nothing since we don't know which god or what god is.
Other people gave great feedback to this individual and the conversation branched out and continued for quite some time. If this type of engagement is interesting to you, please register for our forums and participate! We’d love to see you over there.