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ʝօɦռ 6IX ɮʀɛɛʐʏ's picture

I've always found it interesting that many non-Christians think they know or understand the Bible better than Christians. Particularly since nonbelievers don't believe they're rewarded for knowing Scripture, whereas Christians have heaven to obtain and hell to avoid by reading it.

Who should we assume will read it more? The man that does it just to win debates, or the one that believes he'll live forever if he does, or burn forever if he doesn't? (rhetorical)

I believe many atheists, regardless if they were once Christian, simply look for things they disagree with, or hope to disagree with. They don't read the Bible for themselves. They read what others tell them is wrong about it.

I would like each of you to tell me three things that you believe the Bible does right, and then three positive things about Christianity.

This should be difficult or perhaps impossible if you are heavily based.

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mykcob4's picture
And you'd be wrong Breezy.

And you'd be wrong Breezy.
Atheists have studied the bible looking for reasons to believe, not to find reasons not to believe. It is reading and researching in depth that causes atheists to realize there is nothing to the bible. To read the bible and believe it, one has to make all sorts of irrational assumptions.
Christians don't read the bible for truth or to seek the truth. They read it like a student body goes to pep rallies. they read it to feel the comfort of a religious social network that reinforces a myth.

ʝօɦռ 6IX ɮʀɛɛʐʏ's picture
Thats fine. I'm giving you

Thats fine. I'm giving you the opportunity to prove your case. Can you present the positives?

MCDennis's picture
You are wrong. MOST theists

You are wrong. MOST theists don't study their bible. Most atheists do study

Cognostic's picture
In Short - are there any good

In Short - are there any good things said in the bible.
1. Matthew 7:12, 12 Therefore, all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them; for this is the Law and the Prophets. (Calling this "Biblical" is not exactly correct but your Jesus, if he did actually exist, was intelligent enough to repeat it.)

2. " Thou Shalt not kill " Not a bad little caveat but still highly subjective and certainly not a condition that most Christians or human beings in general follow. As subjective as it is, it is a nice bit of morality that flies in the face of "An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth."

3. "Thou shalt not steal". I don't really have any problems with this one; however, it too is not exactly a Christian teaching. Jesus, once again, if he existed at all, was simply intelligent enough to repeat it.

Now down to the nuts and bolts: There is no Christian belief that says, "Read the Bible for salvation/" You are wrong. You are either saved by belief and faith or works depending on the sect of Christianity you follow. Most Christians have no idea at all what the bible actually says. They do not know it is a document that tells them to hate their own families to be disciples. They do not know that it fully supports slavery. They pretend that when Jesus rages and calls people "fools" it is okay for him to do it but if they do it they will go to hell. (READ YOUR BIBLE and you will not find yourself making silly assertions about the text.)

ʝօɦռ 6IX ɮʀɛɛʐʏ's picture
Well, seeing how you spent

Well, seeing how you spent more time telling me why your own examples are flawed, I don't think they qualify. The point of this is to defend against my claim of confirmation bias. That's like asking you to name one good thing about a random girl, and your response is her eyes, even though they're not that pretty, and still uglier than everyone else's.

I don't really care if you disagree with who knows the Bible more. I want you to defend yourself personally. Hardly anything is so evil that it has nothing good. Even Hitler made good paintings. So what are some good things about the Bible, that you aren't going to caveat and hedge.

Cognostic's picture
What you should be using it

What you should be using it as is evidence that Jesus actually said nothing at all that was not said before him. There is absolutely nothing in the Christian faith that belongs specifically to the Christian faith. Not even Jesus or the resurrection.

Next: All you are attempting to do is pay a burden of proof game. If you think you can say three things that are positive about your Jesus or your Bible and have them stand against criticism, let's hear them. You were given three and it was rightfully pointed out that they are not the sole preview of the Christian faith. If you think you got something better "put up or shut up."

ʝօɦռ 6IX ɮʀɛɛʐʏ's picture
I'm not really a fan of the

I'm not really a fan of the burden of proof game. I think you've also inadvertently proven the point I was hoping you'd be able to disprove.

LucyAustralopithecus's picture
so you are not a fan of

so you are not a fan of providing actual evidence to support your claim, and a monumental claim at that?
we should accept what you say, simply because you say so?

ʝօɦռ 6IX ɮʀɛɛʐʏ's picture
Burden of proof is basically

Burden of proof is basically about whose job it is to prove something.

I think it's dumb, because I always make it my responsibility to place the burden on myself, for everything I believe, and everything I don't. I can't sit around waiting for everyone else to prove things for me.

For example, many atheists say Christians have the burden of proof when it comes to God's existence. I think that's intellectual laziness.

I think it's a legal term, that's been wrongly appropriated into intellectual debates.

LucyAustralopithecus's picture
no, it is a branch within

no, it is a branch within philosophy concerning the theory of knowledge,
to simply dismiss it would be intellectually dishonest.

would you not concede that in actuality you dislike this because proving a god exists is extremely difficult from a non theological stand point?

but to your point in your opening posts, the obvious likes would be for remarks such as 'thou shalt not kill', I also enjoyed the sermon on the mount.

ʝօɦռ 6IX ɮʀɛɛʐʏ's picture
I enjoy difficulty and

Sure, and I enjoy difficulty and challenging myself. That's why I said I don't care about the burden of proof, because I always place it on myself. I don't care if moon-landing conspirators have the burden of proof, I'm gonna go out and make sure I'm able to defend the moon landing as if the burden of proof was on me.

That's my philosophy.

LucyAustralopithecus's picture
the burden of proof is simply

the burden of proof is simply on the person making the exceptional claim, in this case, theology.
if you have the knowledge on a subject however, you could say you are duty bound to correct misinformation.
I do this when many on here have made exceptional and inaccurate claims regarding astronomy/physics.

ʝօɦռ 6IX ɮʀɛɛʐʏ's picture
The exceptional claim, is

The exceptional claim, is always subjective. From the Christian's perspective, the exceptional claim is the one that says there isn't a God, or the one that claims we weren't created and we evolved from apes, etc.

You basically end up with a debate about whose turn it is to do the dishes, and whose job is it to prove or disprove (Hint: Its always the other person's job).

I say let the burden of proof stay within legal circles. Otherwise I view anyone that latches on to it as an intellectually lazy individual.

chimp3's picture
Is a hermeneutic a tool for

Is a hermeneutic a tool for confirmation bias?

ʝօɦռ 6IX ɮʀɛɛʐʏ's picture
Don't know what that is.

Don't know what that is.

chimp3's picture
Hermeneutic: A method or

Hermeneutic: A method or principle of interpretation.

algebe's picture
I'll admit to a strong bias

I'll admit to a strong bias against the Bible. During my early childhood, it was repeatedly used to terrify me and my classmates with horror stories like the plagues of Egypt and the slaughter of the innocents. It was all especially worrying for me as a first-born son. All through my school life I was forced to listen to endless readings that alternated between soporific and incomprehensible. School principals seemed to love John 14:2, but how the hell do you fit many mansions inside a house?

However, I did like the big disaster scenes, like the Flood, the death of Samson, and Sodom and Gommorah.

chimp3's picture
John: Why do you want

John: Why do you want atheists to defend themselves? Taking things personally?

chimp3's picture
What did the bible get right?

What did the bible get right?

I think the story of Jacob and Esau is an allegory of the ultimate dominance of agriculture over the hunter gatherer lifestyle.

The tales of slaughter and sexual slavery in Deuteronomy are validated in a recently discovered genetic bottle neck. The bottleneck reflects a reduction in the amount of men who reproduced. They probably slaughtered enemies and held their women/ girls as sex slaves (concubines). This does not prove the details of Deuteronomy but supports the fact that Biblical style warlords existed..

The parable of the Good Samaritan. Good story about people being nicel.

What are three good things about Christianity?

Some people probably would not be nice unless they feared hell or peer pressure from their church compelled them.


Aretha Franklin.

emv_66's picture
I still believe the Bible is

I still believe the Bible is the greatest book ever created. A lot of people look at me weird when I say that because I am an Atheist but its not strange when you think about it. If it is real then no explanation needed, it is truly a harrowing tale of salvation and sacrifice. If it is not, then it is the only fiction book in the world that has convinced millions of people to believe in a fairy tale. Both instances are mind blowing to me. This is not one of my three positive things its just my reason for reading the Bible. The first is poverty. There are many instances in the bible that talk about being generous to those in need. If in any towns in the land that the Lord your God is giving you there is a fellow-Israelite in need, then do not be selfish and refuse to help him. Instead, be generous and lend him as much as he needs. (Deuteronomy 15:7-8) The second is equality. A ton of atheists are going to argue this point when it regards to women so for arguments sake lets just say this doesn't include women. "Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all." (Colossians 3:11) There is something beautiful about a thousand year old book combating discrimination. Lastly, forgiveness. "Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. (Ephesians 4:31-32) I believe this is the number one thing the Bible did right. It amazes me when Christians can forgive people who robbed them or even murdered their children and I'd like to think that their mindset with forgiveness comes from this book. I know there are many contradictions to the things I have listed but context really matters and interpretation. Which leads me to positive things about Christianity. The first is through their interpretation of the Bible it provides hope to many people. I never understood why this type of hope could be a bad thing. I live in a very religious household and through all tragedy we've faced, the hope they found in their faith helped them get through it and improve themselves. Faith isn't the only way to get through a tragic event but if it's a method of choice for someone who am I to deny them of it? The second is the community that Christianity forms. Once again, in hard times, my family's church going friends would drop everything to help us. Not only that but they are so welcoming when it comes to anyone who is new to the church or is just curious about it. Lastly and probably the most obvious, charity work. Even though anyone can do charity work, churches just seem to be inherently better at recruiting people to help and distributing aid. They are so good in fact, that I help out at the local church and they do not mind working with an Atheist so long as they are contributing positively.
I have to hand it to you John, this was a very good prompt. Hopefully my answer gives you some hope that not all Atheists see religion as a bad thing. I do believe that Atheists are biased but I wouldn't exempt Christians either. I may even challenge you to come up with three positive things about Atheism!

chimp3's picture
The Koran and Bhagavad Gita

@em : The Koran and Bhagavad Gita have also convinced millions to believe in a fairy tale. They also have less contradictions .

Randomhero1982's picture
I won't bother to answer the

I won't bother to answer the question asked by the OP, simply because I find it irrelevant...

From my own position, I've never had any indoctrination one way or the other, so the bible to me is just another book...

However, I would like to reply to this... "Who should we assume will read it more? The man that does it just to win debates, or the one that believes he'll live forever if he does, or burn forever if he doesn't? (rhetorical)"

I think you will get more truth from a sceptical analysis of the bible then an apologetics approach in that everytime you hear a decent debate, the theist will always use "well your not interpreting it right!" So basically, you can make it for your 'bias'...

That said, I enjoy some theologians positions, especially those who readily admit that simply having faith in the bible in a major cornerstone as there are numerous contradictions.

ʝօɦռ 6IX ɮʀɛɛʐʏ's picture
I don't know which is best,

I don't know which is best, if skepticism or apologetics. But I do think that whenever presented with two opposing interpretation, one should always side with the constructive one over the deconstructive one.

That goes for everything, not just scripture.

Randomhero1982's picture
And that sir is where we

And that sir is where we differ, I prefer evidence and facts.... deconstructing is the way forward in that particular eventuality.

Otherwise we are left in a world where Noah's flood is to be considered true, where the flat earth/geocentric view of the world holds weight... And so on!

Enquiry and a methodically break down if things helps us to understand far better then taking something on at face value.

ʝօɦռ 6IX ɮʀɛɛʐʏ's picture
Great. Except I'm not talking

Great. Except I'm not talking about evidence and facts here. I'm talking about interpretations.

Maybe this is a great example. Why did you think I was talking about evidence and facts? Perhaps because by doing so, it made my position easier to disagree with. After all, who doesn't prefer facts and evidence?

Forget I said constructive and deconstructive. Replace the words with positive and negative.

Randomhero1982's picture
Now that is a better phrasing

Now that is a better phrasing!

Of course, any book has positives and negatives, even in mein kampf you'll find something if you consider it purely as a book without considering the author and what followed...

By the same token i've read wonderful books on philosophy and spirituality that you can consider bad...

I would happily post my positives and negatives of the bible but there would of course be caveats.

ʝօɦռ 6IX ɮʀɛɛʐʏ's picture
If it needs caveats don't

If it needs caveats don't post it.

Randomhero1982's picture
Unfortunately that is not how

Unfortunately that is not how this forum works... but I shall offer this, in parts it is beautifully written.

ʝօɦռ 6IX ɮʀɛɛʐʏ's picture
I'm just saying. That's like

I'm just saying. That's like when someone says, you're cute........ but for a black girl.
Is that really a compliment? The moment you caveat something, it becomes questionable.

Randomhero1982's picture
Not at all, and to be fair..

Not at all, and to be fair.. that's a piss poor analogy.

Caveats offer context, for example I could say that..
1 - I conceded that there are some good moral principles within the king James bible.

But the caveat would be, all bible's do, that doesn't make Christianity special nor should it gloss over the numerous immoral things within it, especially within the old testament.

I'm happy to concede many points found within religious texts in that some good can be found... you can in any book... but to simply not point out the fact it doesn't dismiss the wrong doing, faults etc.. would be intellectually dishonest.


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