http://www.faithstreet.com/onfaith/2011 ... ason/17054
Christopher Hitchens wrote this year was a peroration against recent translations of the King James Bible, designed to update religion for the modern world and get rid of all those pesky thees and thous, which modern worshippers supposedly cannot comprehend.
Alluding to the common cultural references that the King James version has provided for every great writer in the English language, Christopher asserted:
“A culture that does not posses this common store of images and allegories will be a perilously thin one. To seek relentlessly to update it or to make it `relevant’ is to miss the point, like yearning for a hip-hop Shakespeare. `Man is born unto trouble as the sparks fly upward,’ says the Book of Job. Want to try to improve that for Twitter?”
The essay describes the abandonment of the King James version by many modern churches, including the Church of England, as “yet another demonstration that religion is man-made, with inky human fingerprints all over its supposedly inspired and unalterable texts.”
Of course, some well-known religious believers, apparently unaware that one of the reasons atheists become atheists is that they have read the Bible carefully, mistook Christopher’s beautiful elegy for our common culture as a sign that he was abandoning his atheism. That one may love these glorious words and images without believing, say, that God created the world in six days or that a man rose from the dead is lost on the faithful literalists.
http://www.pewforum.org/files/2010/09/r ... report.pdf
Atheists and agnostics, Jews and Mormons are among the highest-scoring groups on a new survey of religious knowledge, outperforming evangelical Protestants, mainline Protestants and Catholics on questions about the core teachings, history and leading figures of major world religions.
On average, Americans correctly answer 16 of the 32 religious knowledge questions on the survey by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life. Atheists and agnostics average 20.9 correct answers. Jews and Mormons do about as well, averaging 20.5 and 20.3 correct answers, respectively. Protestants as a whole average 16 correct answers; Catholics as a whole, 14.7. Atheists and agnostics, Jews and Mormons perform better than other groups on the survey even after controlling for differing levels of education.
Assuming God gave man
the ability to think
then why would it stink
The Bible is quite inconsistent
which is consistent
A Bible that's more consistent
would make us more confident
of Divine Inspiration
but it wouldn't still be free of interpretation
as many sects
interpret the Biblical Text
to fit a given context.
How do you know that your interpretation
is the correct interpretation?
If you claim your interpretation
is correct and not subject to correction
then that can only be spiritual pride
that's quite easy to deride.
Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
John 20:29 (ESV)
John 20:29 quote above, has Jesus placing a higher value on those who believe without evidence, than those who are able to verify by sensory evidence.
Let’s state plainly what Jesus was saying: “To believe based on what you can personally verify is ok, but if you make a leap of faith and believe based on hearsay, then you are truly blessed.” This is some of the worst advice that one could give, seeing as how all sorts of nonsense from bogus cancer cures, to Nigerian email scams, rely on people’s unquestioning acceptance of claims without proof. Essentially, Jesus is placing a spiritual premium on being gullible and naïve. Credulous acceptance of any and all claims is a virtue. Mindlessness is next to godliness. P. T. Barnum’s sucker-born-ever-minute had just been granted sainthood.
The Old Testament also promotes this attitude, as evidenced in this popular Bible verse:
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.
Proverbs 3:5 (ESV)
In the New Testament, the writers of the Gospels shrewdly muddy the waters by claiming that people refused to believe despite witnessing Jesus performing miracles. This of course, goes hand in hand with the Christian refrain that atheists know God exists, but simply choose to deny this. Why provide evidence if some people aren’t going to believe anyway?
In Luke 16, Jesus tells the story of a rich man who ends up in the torments of Hell and begs Abraham to send someone back from the dead to warn his brothers so they don’t end up there too.
Abraham replies that the man’s brothers have the writings of Moses and the prophets, and that should be enough. The rich man, recognizing the value of evidence in persuading people, insists that if someone is raised from the dead that will make his brothers take notice. Abraham replies that even then, the brothers would still not be swayed. In other words, why give them evidence, if they won’t believe anyway.
Of course Abraham’s assertion that a book is all the evidence needed is ridiculous, but this is how it works in the fantasyland of Christianity. Christians have a Bible filled with miraculous, unprovable claims and they believe those claims, simply because they are found between the covers of that book.
The Apostle Paul does his part to promote evidence-free belief:
For we walk by faith, not by sight.
2 Corinthians 5:7 (ESV)
And, let us not forget the unnamed author of Hebrews who devotes the whole of chapter 11 to the praise of mindless belief.
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
Hebrews 11:1 (KJV)
Who needs evidence when belief itself becomes the proof?
In a revealing admission, after enumerating the assorted exploits of the heroes of the Jewish faith, the author of Hebrews says:
And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised,
Hebrews 11:39 (ESV)
Get that folks? All these people died (some of them in horrible ways) without ever seeing the result of what their faith promised them. The golden carrot on the stick dangled just on the other side of death, as it still does. And, since Father Abraham doesn’t like the idea of sending anyone back from the dead to verify the state of the afterlife for us, you just have to devote your life to your religion and its invisible god, in the hope – or should I say in ‘faith’ that there will be a life after death, and that heavenly carrot will be waiting for you.
In the Christian faith, mindlessness is next to godliness. To trust reason and require evidence is to imperil your very soul. Blind belief becomes a feat of spiritual strength to be admired and emulated. Strap a Bible to your head and send your brain on a suicide mission for Jesus; become a mind-martyr for the cause.
http://debunkingchristianity.blogspot.c ... on_11.html
For the believer, the retreat into dogmatic belief is like a warm, soft security blanket they can wrap themselves in when facts and reason provide cold comfort. Doubt is disparaged and demonized by religion, but doubt is actually a valuable tool, guarding against self-deception and delusion.
https://bible.org/seriespage/lesson-70- ... ns-1116-24
Spiritual pride is an insidious enemy that we all continually must guard against and fight. It was one of the main sins of the Pharisees. They thought that they were a notch above their fellow Jews (John 9:28-34) and far above the despised Gentile dogs. To confront such pride, Jesus told the parable of the Pharisee and the publican who went up to the temple to pray (Luke 18:9-14). The Pharisee thanked God that he wasn’t like the publican. But how many times have you read that story and thought, “Thank God that I’m not like that Pharisee!”
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/06/0 ... f-Unreason
Paris' conservative establishment was horrified at the emergence of enlightened thinkers.
Why? Well, for starters, the French literati promoted atheism because they saw the church use god to terrify and control the uncontrollable rabble.
They explained evolution two centuries before Darwin proved it, and discussed advanced mathematics even though the unfathomable formulas that made it work wouldn't be invented for centuries.
They expounded on natural history to prove that the Earth was much older than the 6,000 years the Bible claimed it to be. Indeed, they showed conclusively how the Bible was a random collection of myths and fables that changed with each new translation rather than being the divine word of a non-existent deity.
If French thinkers were around today, Texas schoolbooks wouldn't be allowed to mention a word about them.
Centuries on, we still face a near-daily pummelling by the religious right and its political spearchuckers who insist that only when America bows to a specific, narrow Christian version of a god will eternal peace and prosperity shine upon us. They infect elections and policies.
Our founders knew this was hogwash and enshrined their concerns in a Bill of Rights. Thomas Jefferson, who crafted most of the Constitution, wrote frequently that future Americans were likely to be atheists or maybe Unitarians so he had to protect their non-beliefs from the tyrrany of religion and politicians who use divinity as a weapon.
It's never made a whit's difference to me if someone follows a religion or worships a god. Their faith doesn't affect me - as long as they keep it private. Yet having faced down the crisis of my own mortality, I know that America faces its own crisis because far too many politicians insist on throwing their faith in my face, endorsing anti-thought, anti-science and anti-learning policies that fall outside their own narrow view of the world.
French thinkers of the Enlightenment would understand the problem religion and churches pose for us in 2012.