Questions About Religion
(Are There Answers?)
I have two questions for you. I'm 16 years old and I am not quite an atheist. I believe I have to read about all the religions before I can deny they are right or exist. I have read quite a bit of the Bible but quit, mostly because what I got out of it was bull. I am now in the process of reading the Koran which is generally a good idea but on the whole it is also bull.
Now back to my questions, I will start off with Noah and the great flood. after it was all over God said "I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake, for the imagination of mans heart is evil from his youth neither will I again smite anymore every thing living as I have done" (Genesis 8:21). I take this to mean God will not destroy mankind because he knows that man is evil at his root. Now a big jump to the end of the book, the book of Revelation. It seems the destruction of mankind comes yet another time which it seems he promises not to do at the beginning. Really what I am looking for from you is a correction because I don't think this sounds right.
My second question I can not back up with Scripture, I can only go on what I gather from "Gods followers" (whom I find know very little about anything there preacher didn't say on the previous Sunday). My question is if God has a master plan, then aren't we predestined before time itself whether we go to heaven or hell? This is just another correction rather then a question.
Now, anything after this you can ignore or read, it is just my rambling. First of all, since the Christian religion is the major religion in the USA, I chose to read the Bible first. I read a lot of it and found I don't believe in the message of "do as I say not as I do." I don't like this idea and am now looking into different religions. I may come out a "born-again" (ick!) or even more of an atheist. For the time being I choose the atheist point of view, and seeing how few of the religious people actually have an understanding of their religion, I like to argue it.
As I said before I can not believe something unless I understand it. There are exceptions to the rule but religion is not one of them. I dislike the fact that people choose to follow God and not understand what he stands for, so I must argue it with the "followers." The way I see it, God has helped a few people but hurt a lot more.
And this new President absolutely sickens me, he goes against almost everything our country stands for. Not only that, his stance on abortion is sad, how can he tell a woman what to do to herself? What is next, body piercing being outlawed because it doesn't go along with his conservative outlook (not on a political standpoint). I can't argue for or against abortion but morally I am pro-choice.
I will probably think of more to say or ask about, after I send this so you will probably hear from me again whether you want to or not. I am sorry for my poor grammar and spelling I go to public school. well damn that could be a better place for the money bush plans to spend on his church (you know only the Christian religions are gonna get any money) to be spent on, what a thought!
Thank you for even reading this, I love your site and have read what I can when I get time. Please if you could write back with any answers or corrections to my questions, or with an e-mail address for someone who can. or even just post it on your site for a reader to answer them for me (if you find it worthy).
Congratulations on the amount of hits on your site!
From: "Positive Atheism" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Re: WebMaster:_Positive_Atheism_Index
Date: Saturday, February 03, 2001 9:29 AM
I believe I have to read about all the religions before I can deny they are right or exist.
Most of us simply remain unconvinced by all the religious claims (having never heard most of them). This is a valid meaning for the word atheist, someone who simply lacks a god belief. The rest of us attack the very idea of God as either contradictory or meaningless. If it's contradictory, then it is, like a square circle, impossible. If it's meaningless (that is, unfathomable), then we cannot believe it even if we want to (neither can we disbelieve it -- but then, atheism is more often a passive lack of a belief than it is an active disbelief).
As I said before I can not believe something unless I understand it.
This is exactly what I was saying about meaninglessness. This position that you describe is called noncognitivism, and is a form of atheism (though a few see it as an alternative to atheism).
Thus, if you lack a god belief (even if it's because you don't understand the god claim), you remain an atheist.
I dislike the fact that people choose to follow god and not understand what he stands for so I must argue it with the "followers".
If God is so unfathomable, then why are they telling me about Him? Why don't they just shut up and leave me alone?
The problem is that the preachers pick and choose which passages to teach to the flock, and very few devout Christians your grandmother's age have read as much of the Bible as you probably have in the past year.
At least now you know why you don't believe the Christian claims, and will soon realize that Islam is just a variation of the same idea. It is not until you get into the more monistic religions, such as modern paganism, pantheism, Hinduism, and the like, that you'll start finding some truly different ideas. Islam is not as dualistic because Satan, in Islam, is not evil but is, rather, a big dunce. When Ayatollah Khomeini called Jimmy Carter "The Great Satan" he was calling him "stupid," not "evil." In many forms of Judaism, Satan is God's prosecuting attorney and is actually on God's side (see Job). Christianity is about as dualistic as it gets, coming from the Persian religion. It is dualistic not only in its concept of good vs. evil, but also in its flesh vs. spirit dualism as well. To me, the conscious aware Self is established by the structures and processes within the mind, and I see no way for a "soul" to function or interact with what's already there. Descartes was the last to seriously consider this notion.
the book of revelations it seems is the destruction of mankind yet another time which it seems he promises not to do at the beginning. really what I am looking for from you is a correction because I don't think this sounds right.
The Hebrew book of Genesis is, for the most part, myths of more ancient cultures, rewritten and adapted to the Hebrews. Many think that Ezra, after the Babylonian captivity, edited the version that we have today. I forget where it is, but at one point, someone finds the Book of the Law which the entire culture had forgotten. When I read this (as a Christian), I wondered if this was where the book was even written!
The New Testament is basically an endeavor to find Jesus within the pages of the Hebrew Scriptures. From this perspective, you will see a lot of places in the New Testament that are clear cases of NT authors contriving a situation to be a "fulfillment" of some Hebrew Scripture. The clearest example is where Jesus rides two asses (stolen asses, mind you) because the Scripture said, "Riding on an ass, and the foal of an ass"; the NT writer was oblivious to the way Hebrew poetry is composed, incorporating lots of repetition: "an ass, the foal of an ass" is, in the Hebrew text, referring to a single animal.
However, the New Testament misses some very clear messages contained in the old: the most striking is the commandment to kill anybody who advocates worshipping other gods (such as Jesus).
The book of Revelation, like the book of Ezekiel, was written on acid, and I cannot speak to what it says. Seriously, these "visions" were political tracts, deliberately obfuscated in an attempt to skirt censors. They also wanted to put on the same appearance of authority that books such as Daniel enjoyed, and used much of the same symbolism. In fact, I don't think there is a symbol or metaphor in Revelation, however contrived, that is not found in some context, somewhere in the Hebrew Scriptures (including Apocrypha). That they cannot possibly be a communication from a deity is shown by the fact that no two commentators have ever agreed as to what they mean. Ditto for the Parables that Jesus never bothered to explain (and for a few that he did explain!).
my question is if god has a master plan, then aren't we predestined before time itself wether we go to heaven or hell? this is just another correction rather then a question.
There are about five times as many passages in the Bible that advocate predestination than describe human free-will unto salvation. And the free-will passages can more easily be explained within the context of a predestination model than can the predestination passages be explained within the context of a free-will model.
In other words, free-will advocates are more likely to squirm over a given predestination passage, and predestinarians can easily claim that God wills that we will. In Calvinism, God foreknows, then predestines, then calls. In calling, God reveals Himself to the predestined saint, making it impossible for the saint not to recognize his glory. Or so the story goes. Without this special personal direct revelation, we are all so totally depraved from Original Sin that it is impossible for us to see or love God.
However, post-Enlightenment humanism has rendered the free-will model much more popular from the late nineteenth century onward, to the point where predestination, though enjoying a more wide base of Scriptural justification, is now a fringe belief.
I cant argue for or against abortion but morally I am pro-choice.
Me too. Being adopted, I abhor abortion. But to make it illegal would cause significantly more damage than keeping it legal. Because this is so controversial, perhaps we do well to form coalitions to fund abortions privately, as a trade-off for the fundamentalists backing off on trying to ban it. I think this will be a non-issue real soon, with the advent of the abortion pill: we have just pushed the window up to within a few days after conception. By making abortion more difficult to obtain, we push the window back toward the point of birth.
Fundamentalists, being famous for black-and-white thinking, will not stand for a few days any more than they'll stand for partial birth abortions. They can more easily lobby to ban partial birth, but to them, in their black-and-white little world, it's all the same. It may look like a steamed prawn, but by George, there's a fully-grown child in there!
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