The Old Testament Summed Up for Atheists

I have found that many people, especially atheists, struggle with a comprehensive understanding of the Old Testament Bible books. In this post, I mention each of the 39 Old Testament books by name; I succinctly in one sentence or less sum up that particular book or authors argument; and I tie it all together in a flowing, historical narrative that reflects the chronology of when books were written. This is literally the product of years of study. I offer it to you free.

By the way, don’t listen to Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and Christopher Hitchens. They don’t know the Bible.

So, here we go…

In a world with much suffering and meaninglessness (Job & Ecclesiastes) and in a world where we have to be trained how to love and enjoy those closest to us because of sin, especially our spouses (Song of Solomon), God promised that a special Seed (Genesis) would come through Abraham, whose family evolved into a national race (Exodus) of Yahweh worshippers (Leviticus) who after a period of disobedience (Numbers) finally inhabit a distinct land (Deuteronomy) under Joshua’s leadership (Joshua), maintain control of the land under the leadership of the Judges (Judges), realize the curse associated with leaving the land (Ruth), and endeavor to rule the land with kings (1 & 2 Samuel, 1 & 2 Kings, 1 & 2 Chronicles), the greatest of which was King David who was promised a Messianic heir to his throne (Psalms).

However, the people of Israel divided into two nations, Israel [10 tribes] and Judah [2 tribes – Judah and Benjamin] after the death of wise King Solomon despite his wisdom sayings (Proverbs) and were disobedient despite tearful prophetic warnings (Jeremiah) which were mixed with prophecies of eschatological judgment, immediate hope should they repent, and future Messianic hope regardless of what they may do at the present (Amos, Micah, Isaiah, Zephaniah, Joel) and a dramatic story of His faithful love for them (Hosea).

To keep God’s covenant people from being blinded by their Jewish nationalism in this period, God demonstrated his love for the entire world when He sent an Israeli prophet (Jonah) to preach repentance to the pagan nation of Assyria. Even though Assyria repented, they still took Israel into captivity in 722 BC from which few, if any Jew, ever returned to their Jewish homeland. As a result of this and other atrocities, Assyria was conquered by Babylon about 150 years later (Nahum) in 612 BC. Nevertheless, Judah refused to repent of her wrongdoing, and though it was hard to understand how God could use a pagan nation to discipline His people (Habakkuk) and having no neighbor to help them against their enemy (Obadiah), they were sadly taken into captivity by Babylon in 586 BC (Lamentations) where, despite visions of hope and encouragement of future religious and political restoration (Ezekiel, Daniel) their identity and existence was threatened by this pagan culture (Daniel), as well as the Medo-Persian culture (Esther).

Judah’s residents were finally able to return (Ezra, Nehemiah) to their land in 539 BC. Even though they delayed rebuilding their temple (Haggai) and even though they eventually lapsed into the same sins that sent them into captivity in the first place (Malachi), they were assured of final national victory and prosperity, accompanied by peace and justice under the coming Messiah’s reign (Malachi, Zechariah). They were ever mindful that “the Promise” would come from a virgin (Isa. 7:14) from within the tribe of Judah (Gen. 49:10) and the family of Jesse (Isa. 11) and David (2 Sam., 1 & 2 Chron.) and from the town of Bethlehem (Mic. 5:2) and in the lineage of Zerubbabel (Hag. 2:23); a righteous Branch (Jer. 23:5; Zech.3:8; 6:12,13), a tender twig (Ezek. 17:22-24), a King-Priest (Zech. 6:13), and He shall be a great ruler/judge for a Scepter shall rise out of Israel (Num. 24:17) as well as a Suffering Servant (Isa. 53) who will eventually implement an incredible kingdom on earth (Mic. 2:12-13; 4:1-8; 5:4-5).

So God has self-disclosed over the centuries, all the while, keeping the promise of the Messiah alive in each generation.

Then, there are 400 silent years, where no prophetic, written word is heard. Then, Jesus is born. In the OT, Messiah is coming. In the New Testament Gospels, he’s here. In the New Testament Epistles, he’s coming again.

Don’t waste your time with Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and Christopher Hitchens. They don’t know the Bible.

Advertisements

35 Comments

Filed under Atheism, Atheist, Christianity, God, Jesus Christ, Larger Story, Messiah, Old Testament, Prophecy

35 responses to “The Old Testament Summed Up for Atheists

  1. >By the way, don’t listen to Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and Christopher Hitchens. They don’t know the Bible.

    I’ll agree that they don’t know the Bible. Harris’ The End of Faith was interesting, but that’s all I’d say. I read A Letter to a Christian Nation in a Borders book in one sitting and then put it back on the shelf. I’m glad that I didn’t waste my money. I have yet to crack a book by Dawkins or Hitchens. When I do, I’ll read Dawkins for science and for laughs, and not for biblical insight.

    The books about the Bible I’ve liked most are Beyond Born Again, A History of God, Inspiration and Incarnation, and Why I Became An Atheist. These authors include a moderate evangelical (Peter Enns), a liberal Christian (Robert Price – at time of writing), a religious pluralist (Karen Armstrong), and an atheists (John Loftus).

    >God promised that a special Seed (Genesis) would come through Abraham

    In Genesis, seed is plural. Only in Galatians 3 does seed become singular. http://failingtheinsidertest.blogspot.com/2008/11/hermeneutics-of-paul-seed-and-seeds.html

    >They were ever mindful that “the Promise” would come from a virgin

    Isaiah was more likely talking about a young women with no implications about virginity. When arguing for a contradiction, I would have the burden of showing almah means young woman. But when you are arguing for prophecy, you have the burden of showing almah means virgin.

    Also, 7:14 says “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign.” In context, you=Ahaz.

    >and from the town of Bethlehem (Mic. 5:2)

    Bethlehem was Ephrathah’s son in I Chronicles 4:4. That makes Bethlehem Ephrathah a clan and not a town. Furthermore, the ruler prophesied about in Micah 5:5-6 is to defeat the Assyrians.

    >as well as a Suffering Servant (Isa. 53)

    Using the OT alone, can you justify your belief that the Suffering Servant is the Messiah? If not, it’s a bit misleading to suggest this is part of an overview of the OT. It’s really an overview of how Christians misread the OT.

    And when was Jesus crushed (53:5)? A big deal is made out of Jesus being pierced, so should not a big deal be made out of Jesus not literally being crushed?

  2. I am aware of all the issues you speak to. We do have the advantage of New Testament prophetic application of OT prophecies which helps us a great deal.

    I do plan on offering a NT overview as well, written for the atheist reader, who I believe, needs someone to address these issues with some credibility.

    I do believe in “Promise Theology” though – each of the OT books advance the Messianic story-line and keeps the Promise alive. This we can be sure of. And Christ is the fulfillment of the long awaited Messiah.

  3. You seem to be under the odd impression that Atheists have never actually read the Christian Bible. Generally speaking, this is false.

    I can only speak for myself in terms of specifics but I have read it cover to cover on quite a few occasions. I’ve read and studied various theological interpretations of it, I was brought up and educated in Christian schools and so on.

    So I can say with some surety that I know it reasonably well. Unlike, for example, the holy texts of other faiths which I have had little exposure to therefore I tend not to comment on them since I am in no position to do so.

    Getting back on track; I am familiar with the Judeo Christian Bible as outlined above. But a critical analysis, especially when compared to scientific/archaeological/other evidence, reveals it to be a load of bunk.

  4. Reading it is not the same as understanding it. If you really understood it, you would see a Person looking back at you from within it who is something other than a “bastard”.

    Having studied the Bible for years, it is apparent to me by the way you handle your comments on the Bible that you are very ill prepared to make comments that you have just made.

    Quite honestly, Matt…you don’t know what the hell you’re talking about. But, if you will open yourself up to thinking in new, fresh ways, you can pull something out of this post that might help you get a hold on the larger story.

  5. Ah, so just because I don’t share your particular interpretation or get warm fuzzies from the Bible, I’m obviously wrong? Such a dogmatic perspective you have there.

    Especially when you combine that with the complete and utter lack of evidence you’ve been forthcoming with to back up your statements.

  6. This then is eternal life: that they (Matt, Joey) may know You, the one true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. John 17:3 (paraphrase)

    It’s not knowing about God; but actually knowing God that yields life eternal. this is the larger story; get off your soap-boxes and begin to understand the bigger picture.

  7. Being aware of the problems in the Bible doesn’t mean you have reasonable solutions.

    The problem with “Promise Theology,” or any other way of rationalizing the NT’s abuse of the OT is that it breaks the number one rule of rational interpretation – try to figure out what the author actually meant. A Muslim could say he has the “advantage” of knowing that Jesus was pointing to Muhammad, and thus he knows that he should reinterpret everything Jesus said. It’s not an advantage. It’s an excuse for ignoring what the passage actually says.

    It’s bad enough to just believe that some set of books was written by God. But to also believe that the correct way to read this book involves overlooking what it actually says…

    The very need for a “Promise Theology” demonstrates that just reading the OT and trying to see what it says leads to conclusions that debunk Christianity. If I were God, I would have pulled this one off a bit more smoothly and made prophecies that were actually prophecies.

  8. aforcier

    While you, erudites, paste together old stories… trying to justify them as real…

    i, without a word in my mind,
    sit on a log by the river…

    http://www.ANaturalPhilosophy.com

  9. Joey … that last comment of yours was meant to be some sort of meaningful rebuttal of all the specific points that have been brought forth to rebuke your earlier statements?

    No. Not only are you employing circular logic through referencing the Bible (which is clearly inaccurate, contradictory, etc) but also not actually saying anything. You do need to start trying much harder and addressing points raised.

  10. Aforcier… you make me smile…

    Matt…just because you smell a bad egg, doesn’t mean that I have to clean it out of the coup. In fact, you are really great at smelling bad eggs, but you lay very few good ones of your own.

    Until you can answer the deeper questions of life (which is what this blog is about – and no, I’m not going to rehash them again – read my posts and you’ll see them addressed in comments too), then maybe I’ll “try harder.”

    The fact is, as an atheist you cannot prove the God does not exist. the fact is, as an atheist, you have no satisfying answers to the deeper questions of life. The fact is, as an atheist, you refuse to acknowledge the love of God written into the Bible, yet you use the Bible strangely enough to debunk a “bastard” God. I think it is you who are circular. Selah.

  11. The Tofu

    “The fact is, as an atheist you cannot prove the God does not exist.”

    This one? AGAIN? You can’t disprove Odin, fairies, sasquatch, the Loch Ness monster, boggarts or the invisible pink unicorn. Yet for some reason you don’t believe in them.

    “the fact is, as an atheist, you have no satisfying answers to the deeper questions of life.”

    The fact is, this has no bearing on the actual truth of Christianity (or any religion) in any way. False answers are not satisfying- I would rather be honest and say “I don’t know.”

    “yet you use the Bible strangely enough to debunk a “bastard” God. I think it is you who are circular.”

    Using the Bible to show inconsitencies with itself is not “circular.”

    Please address our actual arguments.

  12. This post is about a comprehensive, yet remarkably succint, analysis of OT information. I have simplified truckloads of information into a few paragraphs that present a very compelling argument for God’s intervention into human history and the coming of Messiah, the hope of the ages.

    And all you want to talk about is how evil God is, and thus you miss the larger scheme of things, the beauty and excitement of God’s plan, snaking it’s way down through history, despite the “atrocities” of man against Him.

    I’m ready to talk about graduate level stuff that answers life’s deeper questions, and all you want to talk about is pre-school issues.

    I show you how and why Christianity is true, and all you want to discuss is how I am a failure at answering your preschool questions. Graduate beyond the same old objections you roll over into every blog post. Open your mind a little. See beyond your “offended” feelings and begin to grasp how awesome divine self-disclosure is, especially as it is revealed in the Bible and the person of Christ.

  13. aforcier

    Joey,

    I am glad i brought a bit of levity in your heart.

    I too, once lived, secluded and enclosed within the confine of ancient stories. Fighting. Defending them.

    But then, one day, (again) sitting by a river, i had a revelation.

    the river, the water, the trees, the soil, the sun, the clear sky… we… were but one.

    The past had died.
    only the present existed.

    (And that Joey, is the future of humanity.)

    http://www.ANaturalPhilosophy.com

  14. >I’m ready to talk about graduate level stuff that answers life’s deeper questions, and all you want to talk about is pre-school issues.

    Just because a pre-schooler can see that God’s evil is a problem doesn’t mean it’s an issue graduates can overlook. (Btw, who on this thread called God evil?)

    I addressed the substance of your argument, and you ignored the substance of my argument. Talking down to others on this thread is a bit unjustified.

  15. This post is about a comprehensive, yet remarkably succint, analysis of OT information. I have simplified truckloads of information into a few paragraphs that present a very compelling argument for God’s intervention into human history and the coming of Messiah, the hope of the ages.

    Where? You made a quick synopsis of the OT, which is far from a source of independent/impartial information and is therefore pretty much worthless.

    It’s nothing more than a weak exercise in circular logic; just the same as if followers of Odin used their holy texts/runes/whatever to try to support his existence.

    In short, it just does not work.

    As for the answering of questions: I can not think of one example where you have actually addressed any specific point raised. Instead you once more make generally sweeping statements and no actual evidence to back them up.

  16. The Tofu

    “I have simplified truckloads of information into a few paragraphs that present a very compelling argument for God’s intervention into human history and the coming of Messiah, the hope of the ages.”

    All you did was summarize the OT. That is not an argument.

    “I show you how and why Christianity is true, and all you want to discuss is how I am a failure at answering your preschool questions. Graduate beyond the same old objections you roll over into every blog post.”

    I’ll be happy to move on once you actually answer my questions. Which you haven’t done.

  17. aforcier…you appeal to the mystic in me…i have to admit…and that log you’re sitting on sounds really inviting…

    but God is in and around all, but his essence is distinct… pantheism is one of the more dominent worldviews, but it’s assertions are not tenable.

    but being caught up in what God has made… I’m all for and I believe in living in the present moment, as you do.

    “Don’t fear death; fear rather the unlived life. You don’t have to live forever (in this life); you just have to live.”

  18. My OT overview is in fact an argument. Fulfilled prophecy argues for the uniqueness of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, who reveals that God exists, who reveals what God is like, and who conquered death.

    Am I really this unclear or are you guys just so far removed from this kind of thinking that it’s like you’re from another planet?

  19. Suffering and evil is not a pre-school issue. But when you hang up on your spiritual journey and refuse to move to other things because you are upset over Egyptian children, you tend to stay under-developed. You’ve got to move on to consider all that we do know about God self-disclosing to us.

    Consider all the evidence, not just some part that doesn’t sit well with you. That’s what I mean by pre-school. Graduate into the great ideas on which a worldview can be built. Let the Egyptian children rest in peace, and see how God has revealed himself in other ways.

  20. The Tofu

    “My OT overview is in fact an argument. Fulfilled prophecy argues for the uniqueness of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, who reveals that God exists, who reveals what God is like, and who conquered death.”

    Prophecy fulfilled in the New Testament. Which was written by people who had read the Old Testament. Obviously they would write the story to show Jesus as having fulfilled prophecies, in order to add legitimacy to their religion.

    If you have any fulfilled prophecies that can be verified outside of the Bible, I’d like to hear them.

    “but when you hang up on your spiritual journey and refuse to move to other things because you are upset over Egyptian children, you tend to stay under-developed.”

    Yeah, sorry, the killing of innocents is a bit of a sticking point for me. It’s hard to reconcile it with the whole true love thing you keep talking about.

  21. A) The Bible is not an independent text, therefore is not valid as any sort of credible evidence.
    B) The various contradictions, historical inaccuracies and general errors in the Bible do not make it a source of credible evidence.
    C) Some of the more basic problems with the whole prophecy line of thought have already been highlighted in these comments.
    D) The other big problem is that such prophecies tend to be extremely self fulfilling. For example; One prophecy was that Jesus would enter Jerusalem through a certain gate … it was clear he knew about this prophecy and you don’t think it entered his mind to go through that gate to make sure that prophecy actually happened?

    Suffering and evil is not a pre-school issue. But when you hang up on your spiritual journey and refuse to move to other things because you are upset over Egyptian children

    It’s not just the Egyptian atrocity case, it’s also the many other examples of immoral acts that happen throughout the OT that are the problem. Many examples of God either allowing evil to happen through inaction or having a direct hand in them happening. Anyone calling such a force as holy or as a role model for humanity is truly absurd.

    Consider all the evidence, not just some part that doesn’t sit well with you.

    That’s the thing; we have. Historical, Archaeological, Theological, Scientific … and it all points to the simple fact that the Bible is a horribly inaccurate text (OT and NT alike) and that (at the very least) the God of the OT was a jealous, petty, genocidal tyrant of a deity.

  22. >Fulfilled prophecy argues for the uniqueness of Jesus Christ … Am I really this unclear or are you guys just so far removed from this kind of thinking that it’s like you’re from another planet?

    The lens through which you interpret the OT is that it must point to Christ. Thus, you need to know Jesus is the Christ in order to “see” what the prophecy says. But this means it has absolutely no apologetic value. “Matthew was inspired, thus his interpretations are true” is reasoning that falls flat when facing the idea that Matthew wasn’t inspired.

    If the existence of the evidence for A epistemologically depends upon the truth of A, then you haven’t even made an argument. At best, you have described a consistent position without evidence, although I don’t even grant this much.

    To make a prophetic argument for Jesus, you must be willing to evaluate the prophecies from the perspective of “what were the prophets trying to communicate” and not “how can I fudge the meaning of words to make it say what I want?”

  23. Prophecy has a near view and a far view. In the near view, there was usually a referrent in an actual historical setting to which the prophecy applied. And, there was a far view, a longer range fulfillment.

    So, for example, the young woman “of marriagable” age in Isaiah was really a young woman of marriagable age during the time of Isaiah’s writing. But, the prophecy echoes into a far view of a special woman who would conceive; she would be a virgin (allowed by the grammar); her genealogy would tie to the Messianic line.

    When you look at all the Messianic prophecy, there is only one to whom they all can apply. The Lion of the Tribe of Judah; the great uncut Stone of Daniel; He who rides on the White-Stallion of Revelation – has in fact arrived!

    The Kingdom has been inaugurated in an already/not yet setting, with the full realization at His Second Coming which comes in two phases.

  24. God didn’t create evil; we chose it. Obedience will not be forced; but there will be consequences for choosing our own way, rather than the way of righteousness.

    God isn’t going around destroying all who do evil. There’s mercy and compassion. But at certain points, his judgment is released for high-handed, persistent sabotaging of the creative order. Don’t mess with God. As I said before, the amazing thing is not that all these other people die; it’s that he allows any of the rest of us to live, given our tendecy toward total and utter rebellion. We need a God who can deal with evil. Go live in a country that has decided that you and your race must be stamped out. then, talk to me about how cruel God’s judgments are. You’ll be begging for divine, intervening judgment.

    I love children. I would hate to see a child die. But I also know that I would hate to see them sacrificed to idols too. What we have to bear in mind is that God holds an entire civilization accountable based on the pesistent decisions of it’s leaders and adults. That’s why righteousness must be pursued by the leaders. If a group of people become totally decadent, I have no problem with God allowing judgment to fall. I can guarantee based on what I know about God, that children are not banned to hell. Hell is something you must choose. children haven’t done this, so they are not “sent” to hell or anywhere else. they are the innocent parties, caught up in the mistakes of their leaders, who have positioned them in a most disadvantageous position. don’t blame God. The children are fine and wouldn’t want to come back to Egypt.

  25. By the way, if Jesus self-fulfilled all of his prophecies (which he did do some of them), how did he self-fulfill Psalm 22 that talks about death by crucifixion, centuries before crucifixion was even an execution method. Aha…your theory will not hold water here guys. Matt, you don’t know what you’re talking about.

  26. Oh, by the way Matt, Jesus did do loving things for non-Jewish people, case in point – the Syrophoenician Woman. He also commended good behavior toward the non-Jew. He really is loving to all people, adults and/or children of any ethnicity.

  27. The Tofu

    “God didn’t create evil; we chose it.”

    Ok, but if it didn’t exist as an option, we wouldn’t have. If god created everything, he necessarily created evil, otherwise it wouldn’t exist- it’s sort of like how we can’t fly under our own power. We just don’t have the option.

    “But at certain points, his judgment is released for high-handed, persistent sabotaging of the creative order. Don’t mess with God.”

    Does high-handed, persistent sabotage include petty insults? Cause at one point god sends bears to kill children because they make fun of someone’s bald head. Overreacting much?

    “Go live in a country that has decided that you and your race must be stamped out. then, talk to me about how cruel God’s judgments are. You’ll be begging for divine, intervening judgment.”

    Notice that god does nothing in these countries- neither judgement or anything else.

    In any case, are you so unimaginative that you can’t think of one thing god could do to stop evil other than killing lots and lots of people? If he’s supposedly all-powerful, than he has literally infinite non-violent options, yet according to the Bible, his first thought in most situations is to rain down fire and brimstone.

    “I love children. I would hate to see a child die. But I also know that I would hate to see them sacrificed to idols too.”

    Yeah, great logic there.

    God: “Oh no! Those people are sacrificing their own children! I must punish them by… killing all their children! I’m a genius!”

    “What we have to bear in mind is that God holds an entire civilization accountable based on the pesistent decisions of it’s leaders and adults.”

    Well that’s a pretty stupid way to run things. What about holding the people who actually make the decisions accountable?

    “I can guarantee based on what I know about God, that children are not banned to hell. Hell is something you must choose. children haven’t done this, so they are not “sent” to hell or anywhere else.”

    All you’ve really said is that killing children is ok because they’ll go to heaven anyway. I’ve already addressed this argument elsewhere. You wouldn’t accept this excuse from a mortal killer- why is it different for god?

    “The children are fine and wouldn’t want to come back to Egypt.”

    What were you saying about “assuming too much” earlier? How could you possibly know this?

    “how did he self-fulfill Psalm 22 that talks about death by crucifixion, centuries before crucifixion was even an execution method.”

    The prophecy (if I’m thinking of the correct one) merely states that the messiah would have his hands and side pierced. It’s not really that specific. You might have a case if it said “He will be nailed to a cross of wood until he dies.” but it doesn’t.

    And again you’re using the Bible as evidence that a Biblical prophecy came true. It’s possible that Jesus did not exist and die on the cross, and that the writers of the NT simply wrote his death to match the prophecies.

    Any prophecies you can verify using sources outside the Bible?

  28. Here is our fundamental issue. You think that this life is all there is. If this is true, then we must hold on to it at all cost and accuse God for taking it from us.

    I believe that this life is NOT all there is; that death is endless beginning. It is not the end-game you make it out to be.

    Our decisions do matter and result in innocent people being killed. Yes? Can you agree with that? If so, then it is imperative that you and I and Egyptians make good decisions, which honor image-bearers and preserve the creative order, and honors a just, righteous, and holy, loving God. Whether you think it’s “stupid” to hold people accountable or not is irrelevant, what you will find is that you can’t live in a sane world where no one is accountable; no one can live in that world. God will sacrifice the privilege of life in order to preserve life for the creative order. The level or degree of judgment is His call. You’ll have to take that up with Him.

    I am NOT saying to kill kids and send them on to heaven. I am saying that our decisions do matter and innocent people die because of them – even children are not exempt. But don’t blame God. And in those cases where children’s lives are taken, you mustn’t assume that its the endgame for them. The reason I can speak with some confidence as to where the slain children end up, is because my “worldview” informs such a belief. For God to damn a child, raised in an anti-God environment, and based on what we know from the life of Christ and the attributes of God, it is ridiculous for anyone to assert this misguided notion that children are damned.

    In addition, I am convinced that some Christian Theists send themselves to an early grave because of their behavior and lifestyle. Their lives are taken, but this does not mean that heaven will be denied them. Our decisions do matter and have a direct bearing on whether or not we live in a physical body on this planet.

    Also, when you have a God-Man who did what Jesus did and who taught what Jesus taught and who conquered death like Jesus did, then I have no problem with looking at his life closely, analyzing OT prophecy, and then looking for a fulfillment in the Person of Christ. His credentials argue for such a consideration. Upon close investigation, you will find that only Christ could be the referrent to Messianic Prophecy. That’s what the NT writers were doing – simpy seeing how things were stacking up and comparing/contrasting with what the prophets said and what they saw in Jesus.

  29. The existence of Jesus cannot be denied. Extra-biblical sources verify his presence on planet earth.

    Prophecy is unique to the Bible. However, the wise men from the East address your question about prophecy outside of the Bible. Let me post something on this.

  30. The Tofu

    So do you concede the point that god must have created evil (if he exists, obviously). You didn’t say anything about this in your post.

    “Whether you think it’s “stupid” to hold people accountable or not is irrelevant, what you will find is that you can’t live in a sane world where no one is accountable; no one can live in that world.”

    You must have misread my argument. I am all for holding people accountable for their actions. I am not for holding people accountable for the actions of others when they had no influence on those actions.

    You seem to be trying to shift the responsibility of these deaths from god onto human beings. But god, supposedly, is rational and capable of making decisions. He also would be able to resolve any “sabotaging” through non-violent means, yet he resorts to mass killings quite frequently in the OT.

    You say we should be accountable for our actions, that we should make good decisions. Why do you not hold god to the same standard?

    You also didn’t address story from 2 Kings, where god sends bears to tear up children. He’s holding them accountable alright, but any reasonable person can see that the punishment is grossly inappropriate for the crime (making fun of a bald guy).

    “I am NOT saying to kill kids and send them on to heaven. I am saying that our decisions do matter and innocent people die because of them – even children are not exempt. But don’t blame God.”

    “I am NOT saying to kill kids and send them on to heaven.”

    But you ARE saying that it’s not immoral for god to kill them, because they’re going to heaven anyway.

    “I am saying that our decisions do matter and innocent people die because of them – even children are not exempt. But don’t blame God.”

    But this is god’s decision. He is directly responsible for these deaths. Hold him accountable, as you would for any other being.

    “The reason I can speak with some confidence as to where the slain children end up, is because my “worldview” informs such a belief.”

    But you have no evidence for this belief. You have no proof. It’s just an opinion. You can say all you want about the nature of god, but you still don’t know what happened to those children after death, you merely assume that it was good.

    “The existence of Jesus cannot be denied. Extra-biblical sources verify his presence on planet earth.”

    Such as? I’ve heard of Josephus, do you have any other examples?

    “Prophecy is unique to the Bible.”

    HA.

    “However, the wise men from the East address your question about prophecy outside of the Bible.”

    What? No they don’t. They are IN the Bible. I asked you for NON-BIBLICAL sources that show Biblical prophecies to have come about.

    Please don’t waste my time by responding to arguments I haven’t made.

  31. Non-biblical evidence for the historical Jesus…

    Cornelius Tacitus – Roman historian, Annals, XV 44 (first century)
    Lucian of Samosata – Greek satirist, Death of Peregrine, 11-13 (second century)
    Suetonius – Roman historian (first century)
    Pliny the Younger (this guy gives a great statement) – he made Christians curse Christ before he killed them) (112 AD)
    Thallus (52 AD)

    In addition, Christianity is literally woven into the fabric of first century life. Christ’s existence cannot be denied and no serious scholar even does so today.

  32. No. God did NOT create evil. He created an Angelic being, Lucifer, who chose evil. He created human-beings, who chose evil.

    The existence of evil is actually a great argument for the love of God. He refuses to dictate, and allows for free-will. It was a risk creating this kind of world, but love knows no other way.

    To remove the possibility of evil, would be to remove the choices that we can make.

    And what is evil? It’s God’s good gifts with a twist. For example, God made us to rule and co-create, but we twist it into pride and rebellion. Evil exists when God is excluded.

  33. The Tofu

    Evil would not exist as a choice if it had not been created by god. It’s the same way that I can’t choose to eat a snargle-berry. It just doesn’t exist.

    “The existence of evil is actually a great argument for the love of God. He refuses to dictate, and allows for free-will. It was a risk creating this kind of world, but love knows no other way.”

    You’re saying that an all-powerful, all-knowing being couldn’t figure out a way to have free will without causing suffering?

    I’ll address your historical sources in my next post.

    You still haven’t addressed the accountability of god for his own actions, how you know where people go after death, the whole bear issue, why god uses violence when he has infinite other options, and prophecies confirmed outside the Bible (Jesus doesn’t count unless they confirm he’s the son of god).

  34. Pingback: The New Testament Summed Up for Atheists « Spiritual Questions Blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s