RIP Atheist Bible Study
I’ve decided to discontinue atheistbiblestudy. It is too much for me to continue to manage and I’m no longer interested in participating in this insane debate. ABS will remain as an archive which you can access and reblog all you like, but I will answer no more questions or otherwise engage in the biblical/theological discussion. I will still be active on tumblr through my personal blog (philosophersdog.tumblr.com) and, because philosophersdog is a secondary blog to ABS, when I follow or ask etc., I will always show up as ABS. This is unfortunate and unavoidable, but oh well.
yourmindisyourkingdom asked: Hello there! I have doubts of the existence of God, or any god. I suppose you can call it, my early stages. Lol And I totally love your blog and as well, admire you for this AtheistBibleStudy. And the amount of clear answers it provides for me. I was wondering what you tell those people that are believers that say "If you say the bible is wrong and it's not a book to believe, how come a book that was written long time has foreseen all those things that are happening now in the 21st century?"
I’m glad you are enjoying the blog! I hope to have new stuff posted soon, I’m just busy with school stuff at the moment. This summer will be a good time for me to get back into it a bit.
Well, I would probably ask them what things are happening or have happened that the Bible has predicted. Most of the time, your average Christian really doesn’t know anything that the Bible has predicted and is just spouting out something their pastor mentioned once. If they do actually mention an example, I address those specifically, otherwise I have a more general response:
Prophecies are made in such a way that they are bound to come true. The phrasing is usually so general that you can interpret the prophecy countless ways and at least one of those ways could be true. These are the same techniques that fortune tellers use.
Some of the more specific prophecies in the Bible have been found to either be published AFTER the events actually happened or false. There is a very small number (if any at all) prophecies which have actually become true. These can be attributed to simple guesswork—when you make so many guesses, you are bound to get some right.
It really all comes down to this: if a prophecy which has come true is evidence for the Bible being the truth, than a prophecy which has not come true is evidence for the Bible NOT being the truth. If Christians really want to make that kind of argument for their god, then they have already lost.
thehpsblog asked: I know you're an Atheist Bible Study blog but have you read the Tanakh or the Quran?
Unfortunately, I haven’t. I’ve been trying to get around to it for years, but it just never seems to happen. I was hoping to do an Atheist Qur’an Study in the future when I’ve completed the Atheist Bible Study, but it doesn’t seem like that will happen any time soon.
threequartersup asked: I had a friend tell me that when Jesus said the law of the OT isn't invalidated by the NT, and he said "until all is fulfilled", he was referring to until after his crucifixion. Is there any support for this?
Yes, that’s the generally accepted excuse. But the fact that Jesus fulfilled the law by dying for our sins, doesn’t mean that it is okay to break the Old Testament Law. In fact, it is still a sin to do those things, we just don’t have to sacrifice animals for God to forgive us.
werefoxes asked: What would your response be to someone of the Christian faith who claims that the Bible is not 'bad' because the New Testament overturns the Old?
These Christians seem to be ignoring what Jesus himself says about the Old Testament:
"Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven." —Matthew 5:17-20
It would take some serious gymnastics to explain why this New Testament passage should be ignored along with the Old Testament.
And the New Testament is still bad. Throwing out the Old Testament doesn’t miraculously save the whole Bible and the Christian faith. The New Testament condones slavery and the subjugation of women. Christians should be just as ashamed of the New Testament as they seem to be with the Old Testament.
Finally, the god that is described in the Old Testament is the same god (according to the Christian faith) as the one described in the New Testament. The god of the Old Testament is a horrible and malicious creature. According to the Bible and the Christian religion: God is eternal and unchanging, so He can never be anything but the god He was in the Old Testament. While the New Testament may offer a glimpse into His more kind and gracious side, the Christian god is still a monster. While a Christian may be able to jump through all the hoops to ensure that they don’t have to follow some of the Old Testament law, they can’t run away from the true character of their god as exemplified in the atrocities that He commits throughout the Old Testament.
Christian Speaker and Blogger Rachel Held Evans
This is what this blog tries to accomplish—it’s not about atheism being right or wrong, it’s about the conversation. Biblical literalists tend to use the Bible as a conversation-ender and this blog hopes to open the conversation back up. The conversation is an important one (perhaps the most important one, especially for believers) and must be discussed in a dynamic way.
Scriptural Evidence for Predestination VS Free Will
I wasn’t completely sure how to present this, so I figured I would just give you the verses and have you come to your own conclusions. If I have forgotten or left any verses out which you feel should be included, please let me know and I will continue updating as I get more information.
As you will see, the Bible seems contradictory at best on the subject of predestination…
“The LORD said to Moses, ‘When you return to Egypt, see that you perform before Pharaoh all the wonders I have given you the power to do. But I will harden his heart so that he will not let the people go.’” —Exodus 4:21
“Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” —Psalm 139:16
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew [chose] you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” —Jeremiah 1:5
“For many are invited, but few are chosen.” —Matthew 22:14
“The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables so that, ‘they may be ever seeing but never perceiving, and ever hearing but never understanding; otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!’” —Mark 4:11&12 (Jesus quotes Isaiah 6:9&10)
“Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed. They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen.” —Acts 4:27&28
“When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and honored the word of the Lord; and all who were appointed for eternal life believed.” —Acts 13:48
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.” —Romans 8:28-30
“It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on God’s mercy. For Scripture says to Pharaoh: ‘I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.’ Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.” Romans 9:16-18 (This is referring to the hardening of Pharaoh’s heart back in Exodus)
“No, we declare God’s wisdom, a mystery that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began.” –1 Corinthians 2:7
“For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will.” —Ephesians 1:4&5
Support Free Will:
“This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.” —Deuteronomy 30:19
“But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.” —Joshua 24:15
“If at any time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down and destroyed, and if that nation I warned repents of its evil, then I will relent and not inflict on it the disaster I had planned. And if at another time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be built up and planted, and if it does evil in my sight and does not obey me, then I will reconsider the good I had intended to do for it.” —Jeremiah 18:7-10
“This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” —I Timothy 2: 3&4
“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” —II Peter 3:9
There are a few other verses which people often times use as evidence that humans have a choice in the matter. I have not given them completely as I have the other verses because I do not think that they really address choice. They simply state that those who believe will go to Heaven. There is no mention of choice about whether or not one believes. You can check these out for yourself: Matthew 9:29, Mark 16:16, John 3:16, Romans 10:9, 2 Corinthians 5:15, 1 Thessalonians 4:14
Overall, I would say that there is a much better case to be made for predestination than for human free will. Not just scripturally, but rationally as well.
degaussme asked: John 10:26 - "But you do not believe because you are not of my sheep." I'm pretty sure he's referring to predestination? I sat through a sermon about this once. This was back when I was first questioning my beliefs. I think I began to question if I was predestined to believe. Only later did I realize there was no reason to believe the Bible when all it gave me was emotional trouble and frustration with its nonsense. Fine then, I'm not a sheep. ;)
There seems to be a lot of interest in the subject of predestination, so I think I’m going to work on a post about it. Growing up, my parents and teachers just skipped over the verses which mentioned predestination. It is a rather touchy subject for so many. There is actually just as much scriptural evidence for predestination as there is for human free will.
Who wants to be a sheep anyway?
waskommenmag asked: It is Calvinism. At least post-Synod of Dordt. He calls the people that God has not elected the "Reprobate."
Yeah, apparently it is Calvinism. It just isn’t ringing the bell like I thought it would. Ah well. Thanks, waskommenmag.