Sure. The central message of the bible is that God created us to live in relationship with Him, but that relationship has been severed by sin, firstly at the garden of eden and then ever since. God can't dwell with sin, but He promised a way for the relationship to be restored. That way was Jesus, who died on a cross avut was resurrected. He will return as God's judge and all those who have not trusted in Him will perish.
As I pointed out very early in this discussion, the central message of the bible could hardly be clearer. That central message is the one you have a real issue with.Emphasis mine
What does the bolded sentence mean? Could you restate that more specifically please?
mm, I swear on whatever you would deem acceptable that I am not
trying to pick a fight with you. I'm really, really not. I know that you are being very sincere, and very patient, and I appreciate it. I'm being equally sincere in return.
I used to believe in God. Completely, unquestionably, believed that God existed, and was aware of me, specifically and personally, and was interested in and actively supporting my best interests. I sought to feel "the presence of the Lord". I prayed. I defended my beliefs when questioned, which was admittedly rare. And I in turn asked questions. I questioned my mother*. I went to a parochial elementary school so I questioned the nuns. When their answers didn't satisfy me, I was sent to the priest, and bless his heart, he did his best to answer my queries so that I could understand what was expected of me as a child of God. I want to be very clear - that was my motivation, I wanted to know what was expected of me as a child of God.
(*my father married into religion, so I figured my mom was a more reliable source, since learned everything he knew about it from her anyway. I believed THAT because, well duh, he didn't know about God until he wanted to marry my mom, and God wouldn't be able to recognize their marriage if my dad didn't go to church and believe in God too. I admit that I thought that meant that he wouldn't be able to pick them out of a crowd - I was pretty young, but also, I was THAT kind of believer - adopted into a Catholic family where God's presence is a given. The Ten Commandments were written on the wall at the end of the bedroom hallway, and Jesus watched over our television set from his place on the wall, right next to the Pope)
Now, to be fair, I came out of the gate with tough questions. I opened with the Trinity, and that kept me going for several months, trying to make some sort of sense of the answers gathered from all parties. Eventually I just gave up and accepted that God's ways were mysterious and that faith was the answer. So we moved on to faith.... you know, in retrospect I was
a very challenging child, although I totally didn't get that at the time.... and the faith thing kept me gong for the next few years. They never
should have used the phrase "blind faith"and I suspect my mother would have cheerfully strangled the priest for sending me home with that one.
Then, in my early adolescence, our church hosted a visiting statue of Mary (or as my grandmother would say "theblessedvirginmary") that cried
about abortion. Things began to get a bit warm when I had the audacity to ask how they knew what she was crying about
, and they got downright hot when I finally had the sense to ask what, exactly, the Catholic church's position on abortion meant for a pregnant mother in danger of dying with kids already at home.
None of the people who were, according to the belief system that I was raised in, the ones who's job it was guide me on my journey as a child of Christ, were able to give satisfactory non-conflicting
answers to a kid. On the single most important topic of my life no less!
Then I had a friend who's mother left his father for a woman, and I really understood just how much the church didn't seem to give a sh!t about real people, the church gave a sh!t about being obeyed. I finally understood that the problem wasn't God
, the problem was people
And that carried me along for years. I still believed in God, I just figured that people were really stupid and had completely missed the point. For what it's worth, that's still pretty much what I believe, except for the existence of an actual god entity.
Do you believe any of that? No. That drives all discussion/disgareement you and all atheists have about the bible.
To suggest that the fact some passages require careful consideration and lead to disagreement is a reason for disbelief is not true. The dis-belief was already there.
I don't expect for one second that, even if I could have you all concede that some passages do not mean what you claim they do, you would suddenly come to faith in God.
However, I will all the same defend the bible and the methodology used to help us best understand many of the passages.
And here's the part I want to talk about. My disbelief in God is not in any way based on the accuracy or lack thereof, of the bible. It's not based on empirical evidence. It's not because everything I know about science indicates that a god is not necessary for the existence of the universe, or of humanity. None of these things are why
, although they all serve to reinforce and support my disbelief.
I don't believe in god. Or God. Or Allah, Thor, Ba'al, Isis, Zeus or Aphrodite - I'm a gender neutral atheist, I disbelieve in god and goddesses equally. This is beyond my control. If i woke up tomorrow determined to believe in god, I could fake it, and probably fake it well if circumstance required it - I used to believe so I know the routine. Here's the problem - if I somehow turned out to be completely wrong and god does, in fact, exist, and bears any resemblance to god of the bible, he would know I'd been faking and I'd fry anyway.
Do you really
believe us when we say we don't believe in god, God, or gods? Sometimes I think you don't quite believe how much we're not kidding (you or ourselves) about our lack of belief. It's not a light switch that can be turned on and off at will - either you believe or you don't.