Long post, as I'm probably going to respond to everything here.
Does this means that if you accepted that the bible was written by god, your faith would be weaken? Very interesting implications here...
Not entirely. It would be more accurate to say that I can't accept that a supreme being couldn't put together a set of religious writings that didn't have internal consistency. Even regular authors, both of fact and of fiction, do a better job of keeping their message consistent than the Bible does. It's much more likely that some of the Bible was written by people who believed they were saying what God wanted them to say, and some of it wasn't. Maybe some portions of it originated from God, but there's no way to tell how much (if any) because the ground has been plowed over so many times.
In short, you're openly a cafeteria christian.
If you're picking and choosing which parts of the bible to follow, you're not actually following the bible. You're following your own sense of morality, and using the bible to back up those beliefs.
Even fundamental, orthodox Christians do that - as evidenced by the number who obsess over the handful of scriptures regarding homosexuality while ignoring things like "do unto others" and "love thy neighbor", never mind the majority of the laws in Leviticus and Deuteronomy.
The difference is; theories are meant to be studied and examined. They have criterias for falseability(or should, anyway), and when made, the scientists know that there is always the possibility that they may be proven false.
Plus, scientific theories have been thrown out before.
That's the problem with religion. Not that it isn't verifiable, but that too many people believe that its lack of verifiability means that it doesn't need to be examined or studied. A religion isn't a scientific theory, and it shouldn't be treated as one, but people have an obligation - to themselves, if nothing else - to question their religious faith. Just because those questions aren't answerable using scientific methodology doesn't mean they can't be answered.
So you are a "cafeteria Christian". One who picks the parts they like and ignores the others. Problem is there are a lot of your peers out there trying to force their take on all of us. What is your justification for a belief in a sky daddy? Seems like the rational approach would be to have proof before taking a leap like that.
Those people don't understand that trying to coerce a belief is inherently doomed to failure. Good intentions don't justify bad deeds.
My justification? Well, I don't accept the Christian doctrine of a being who is omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent, and omnibenevolent, who nonetheless has a close, personal relationship with every worshiper. If God exists, my opinion is that he either exists completely outside the universe, or he is the universe in some way, or possibly something I haven't thought of.
Okay, so your beliefs are not based on the bible. Fine.
So the next question is ... why are you a Christian?
I assume your parents are Christians and that's where you got it from.
Not exactly. It's true that I did go to church with my parents when I was younger, and I went through confirmation, but I haven't attended a single service in over a decade.
The reason I call myself a Christian is not because of doctrine (you may have noticed that my beliefs don't exactly follow Christian doctrine). It's to honor a man who gave his life, not to save the world, but to keep his followers and disciples from being executed alongside him. A man who ministered to the sick, the poor, outcasts, and foreigners, and at least tried to teach of a different way than what was commonly accepted.
It might not be Christian doctrine, but it makes sense, especially if you ignore all the after-the-fact deification and glorification that was written long after the fact by people who weren't there.
Do you think that is a good reason to believe in the existence of god?
I ask because clearly, you don't have any evidence to back up your belief in god.
Well, we know that the universe works in such a way that allowed it to be more than just an expanding space filled with hydrogen and vacuum, and that life came to be on at least one planet, and that it then evolved into creatures with the ability to know, to reason, and to think. The only thing which can't be determined from that is whether this happened purely by coincidence, or if it happened by design. If it was the latter, then would not such a force be 'God' to us?
That's my rationale for God. However, I don't think that can be used to justify God as Christians generally conceive.
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out you believe in god because that's what people around you believe. If you had been born in India you would believe in Vishnu. If you had been born in Iran you would believe in Allah.
Its ingrained in your personal and cultural identity.
I hope you do have the capacity to step back and see your beliefs what they are. The left overs of an ancient, barbaric pile of superstition.
Where I was born and the parents I grew up with make all the difference, of course. But the fact is that I can only answer as the person I am, rather than a hypothetical person I might have been if my life had been that different from the beginning.
The ancient Greeks were even longer ago than Christians, their culture was pretty backward by modern standards (though, they weren't anywhere near as bad as the ancient Hebrews, since I don't think the Greeks ever went in for wholesale genocide), and they were even more superstitious than modern Christians. Yet, much of what they came up with still lives on in our modern culture today. So maybe one shouldn't be so eager to throw aside everything about a set of beliefs merely because it happens to be ancient, barbaric, superstitious, etc.
You seem to recognize that following an old book does not necessarily make sense. Yet, you cling to some of what this book has to say. But ask yourself, why would an all powerful god either write, or inspire this book, and only this book, thousands of years ago? Humans wrote this stuff, and while some of it makes sense, most of it no longer makes any sense.
I believe I said that I didn't accept that the Bible was written by God, and that it was written by people for varying reasons, and that much of it no longer applies.
The stories and events and rituals within this book might have meant a lot to the ignorant humans who passed the stories around, and began writing them down. But can you honestly say that modern humans can actually relate to the book, its god, and its overall message today?
One of the problems with the Bible is that people try to relate to it without understanding the basis of why it was written, and rely on translations (made long after the fact) rather than trying to understand the source material. And another problem is that the overall message is...confused, to say the least. It doesn't help that the spiritual father of Christianity (Paul) was a zealot, and a convert to boot.
Honestly, I don't think most believers actually try to relate to or understand the Bible. I think they only do so because they're taught to do so from a young age, or because they had a spiritual experience and thus believe based on that. How many Christians use the Bible except to justify what they already believe to be true?
I think it is possible to relate to the Bible and to God today (though, not in the sense of accepting everything written in it as the "Divine Word of God"), but I also think the vast majority of Christians don't. If they even bother to read the Bible on their own at all rather than just accepting a preacher's pronouncements, mostly they just cherry-pick a scripture or two to justify what they already believe and leave it at that. I think, if it happens, it's something that a person has to do for themself, and even then, they can never afford to forget that there is no way to guarantee that they aren't completely wrong, since there's no way to prove it in any case.
Come join the forum, you're one of the few believers we get to talk to that can write coherent sentences, using proper punctution and grammar! I'm giddy...
Thanks for the compliment.
All hail the magic decoder ring! One more Christain who knows what his god "really" meant, and can ignore those nasty ol' inconvenient things as he sees fit.
First off, I don't accept the Bible as the "Divine Word of God". That being said, it would be completely ridiculous for me to claim that same aura of divine infallibility.
Second, I don't ignore the "nasty ol' inconvenient things". I just don't consider them to be compatible with the example a Christian should live by. That includes the letters written by a converted zealot who had a pastime of persecuting heretics beforehand.
I can't find the quote but Martin Luther in a preface to an explanation of the 10 Commandments said that even part of that was obsolete.
The 10 Commandments appears twice in the Bible -- once in Exodus and once in Deuteronomy.
Luther was creeped out that a wife was included among property.
At least the writer of Deuteronomy put the little lady at the top of the list. Lutherans use a rewritten version of the commandments with Deuteronomy as the base and put a break after wife and rephrase it as if that was original wording.
I'm not surprised. I imagine that this isn't the only example of where the Bible was modified after the fact by someone who believed that what was originally written wasn't really what God was trying to say.
The Buffet of Belief combined with god-of-the-gaps; not new or interesting. Try again.
Did you actually read what I wrote, or did you just skim? For one thing, I didn't even mention the "god of the gaps" idea, and it's not something that I consider to be sensible or smart in any case. Trying to fit God into the gaps that we can't currently explain via science is a self-defeating proposition. Of course, trying to rationalize God as Christians envision with what we know of science is not exactly a winning proposition.
As I stated above, I consider myself a Christian because I respect what Jesus was trying to do - or at least what I believe he was trying to do. I don't accept the deification or the glorification, especially since those almost certainly happened after the fact and grew in the telling. Maybe other people wouldn't accept that as a Christian belief, but I don't really care about that. What I care about is living in a way which I can accept as both moral and rational.