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Posted: 3/22/2006 8:16:13 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/22/2006 8:19:07 PM EDT by _disconnector_]
**** This is a new thread started in response to my post in THIS THREAD ****

My post



Originally Posted By _disconnector_:
Also, I noticed an amazingly capricious and bloodthirsty God in the Old Testament. Entire cities killed, children murdered, young women sold into sexual slavery, etc ALL AT THE COMMAND OF GOD! The typical Christian response to this is that "we cannot judge God . . . he is above judgement" or that "these people were being judged by God". HORSESHIT! By his own rules, killing for no reason is wrong. Murdering innocents is a SIN - and morality isn't relative by Christianity's own definitions. I can judge God - if he exists he is far more bloodthirsty and barbaric that Hitler ever was PLUS he throws temper tantrums like a 4 year old. For example, we giggle our way through the plagues of Eygpt, but do you ever stop and think of the horror of EVERY innocent first-born male being killed because of the FUCKING PHAROAH'S CHOICES THAT WERE FORCED ON HIM BY GOD HIMSELF? If that doesn't bother you, you aren't reading closely enough. Or how about Numbers 31? Kill all of the men, children, and women EXCEPT the virgins . . . one can only imagine what for. Barbaric, cruel, and petulant are the best word to describe the god of the old testament.



Her response interspersed with my answers:



Hi guys/gals!

Livefree, I don't know who has told you not to judge God/question things He has done, but they were wrong. For crying out loud people, even Biblical figures questioned God.
Ref: Genesis 18:20-32 Abraham questioned God wiping out Sodom and Gommorah if there were good people living there! I could go down a list with people asking God why...

Anyway, I hope I can explain this where you might understand, problem is, it will be lengthy, so bear with me and try to read all of this, k?
You may still not agree and think it was all wrong anyway, but I am still going to give it a shot.

The first five books of the Bible are full of stories of the conquest of Caanan.
The most widely questioned section of Numbers 31 is verses 17-18:

“Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him. But all the women-children, that have not known man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves.”
To understand this passage, one must realize that Numbers 25 is the “prequel” to the events recorded in Numbers 31. Numbers 25 tells how the Midianites, specifically the women, led the Israelites astray into worshiping the Baal or Peor. The Lord’s anger burned against Israel, and He struck them with a plague. The plague ended when Phinehas, the grandson of Aaron, killed an Israelite man and the Midianite woman he brought into his family (Numbers 25:6-9). The relations with Midianite women were in direct violation of God’s commands in Deuteronomy 7:3-4: “Neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son. For he will turn away thy son from following me, that they may serve other gods: so will the anger of Jehovah be kindled against you, and he will destroy thee quickly.”

As a result of these events, God instructed the Israelites to “Vex the Midianites, and smite them; for they vex you with their wiles, wherewith they have beguiled you in the matter of Peor, and in the matter of Cozbi, the daughter of the prince of Midian, their sister, who was slain on the day of the plague in the matter of Peor” (Numbers 25:17-18). When, in Numbers 31, the army brought back the women, it was in direct violation to God’s order in Numbers 25 to destroy the Midianites, who would lead the Israelites into apostasy.



I'm with you so far. The Midianites had a typical Eastern style religion of the time, which included a plethora of temple prostitutes that you could have sex with to "become one with god". Obviously, ol' Jehovah would have had a hard time with this.

But to kill every living thing EXCEPT the virgins, including the children that had never even had a chance to be imprinted into the religion? And as a woman, you do know what "But all the women-children, that have not known man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves" means right? This is a normal practice of any ancient genocidal group . . . kill all except those that cannot defend themselves and take them as slaves.

Paints an entirely different picture of the whole thing, doesn't it. Imagine the pure horror of a little girl seeing her parents and brother brutally slaughtered and hacked to death. Even if there was no rape (which I doubt considering the context of the story) this is still horrifying beyond belief.

Yep, sounds like that little girl really committed some sin worthy of that treatment by having her parents simply worship a "false god". The god of the old testament has the emotional maturity of a 4 year old at best. If this story is true (and by your faith IT MUST BE!) you are following a god who is at best a murderer and at worst a rapist.

Let me ask you a question. If Slobadan Milosavic (sp?) or Hitler claimed divine inspiration for the atrocities he had ordered, would it change your opinion of the facts of the case? Is genocide, murder, and wanton cruelty ok if god says it is? THINK ABOUT IT!




Those inhabitants were destroyed because of their wickedness (Deuteronomy 9:4; 18:9-14). They were so evil that their Creator no longer could abide their corruption. That they had numerous opportunities to repent is evident from the prophetic books (Nineveh did repent, for example, and for a time stayed the day of destruction). Complaining about Jehovah’s order to destroy innocent children is a vain gesture when one realizes that the children were spared an even worse fate of being reared as slaves under the domination of sin. Instead of having to endure the scourge of a life of immorality and wickedness, these innocents were ushered early into the bliss of Paradise. If the male children had been allowed to mature, they most likely would have followed the pagan ways of their forefathers, and eventually would have taken vengeance on the Israelites. Killing the males not only prevented them from falling into the same abominable sins as their parents, but also kept Israel from having to battle them later.



A worse fate than being "reared as slaves under the dominion of sin"? You must be joking. Please say that you are, because by that logic you should be slitting the throats of the children of Unitarians, Atheists, Jews, muslims, animists, etc. Is this your normal practice? If not, why not? These children WILL grow up and become adults that you will have to fight in the courts (ACLU, Micheal Newdow, etc), on the battlefields (Muslims), or in the field of ideas (everyone else).

So if you are not for killing these children, why not? So at one time it was "ok" to commit mass murder for the sake of religion, but not now? I guess we need to give the Muslims a pass . . . maybe now is their time.

Yep, brutally murdering children is FAR more compassionate that letting them grow up under a "false" religion Imagine someone kicking in your door, dragging you and your children out into the street, and methodically killing all of you for no other reason than your religion. Does it make your skin crawl? Does it INSTINCTIVELY strike you as wrong (CS Lewis is spinning now)?

By the rules that Christians themselves have created, morality and right/wrong is not dependant upon circumstance. Genocide was wrong then and it is wrong now. Injecting god into this is just a justification for a land grab and conquest, nothing more and nothing less.




The allegation that the Israelite men spared the young girls in order to rape them is nothing but baseless supposition predicated upon a lack of biblical knowledge. In the custom of the time, marriages were conducted at a young age. Therefore, the reference to the young girls who had not “known man by lying with him” would indicate that they were very young, likely under the age of twelve. These girls were too young to be able to lead the men of Israel away from Jehovah; therefore, these girls were allowed to live. As to raping them, it is more logical to assume that they wanted these girls for servants. This would be similar to Joshua 9, where Joshua allowed the Gibeonites to live in compelled servitude to the Israelites. Moreover, it would have been sinful for the Israelite men to rape the Midianite girls because rape was (and still is) abhorrent to God (Deuteronomy 22:23-28, esp. 25).

The simple answer to the questions surrounding Numbers 31 is that God ordered the Midianites to be killed in Numbers 25:17-18. When the army did not carry out this order at the time of the Midianite defeat, it was carried out in a delayed fashion when the army returned with the captives. As to Moses allowing the young girls to remain alive, that was a judgment call from the man with God’s authority over the Israelites.



Honestly, I don't know. It still doesn't change the outcome of my first point.



God is the omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, and all-righteous “I Am” Who is over all things—so He may do whatever He wishes, so long as it is not in violation of His character. However, God does everything for a reason. Sometimes that reason may be unclear to us. In the case of the destruction of people like the Canaanites, God’s reasoning had to do with His justice. Deuteronomy 32:3-4 records: “For I will proclaim the name of Jehovah: Ascribe ye greatness unto our God. The Rock, his work is perfect; For all his ways are justice: A God of faithfulness and without iniquity, Just and right is he” (emp. added). Men may not always understand God’s justice, or His reasons for exercising it as He does. As Job 4:17 asked: “ Shall mortal man be more just than God? Shall a man be more pure than his Maker?” (emp. added). The fact is, God does condone killing—in the name of justice (whether it be justice in regard to one person, or a whole nation). Even in modern times, the death penalty is an acceptable means of administering justice (Romans 13:1-7; cf. Genesis 9:6). While God is all loving, He also is a God of justice, and He will execute that justice in the most propitious manner—including by means of death.



Is mass murder of innocents "in violation of His character"? Is it just to kill a child for the sins of his or her parents, regardless of that childs likely future rebellion? Please don't quote scripture in this context about god's "perfection" . . . to me it just throws more light on the pure hypocrisy and rational disconnection of the old testament.

Capital punishment != mass murder. In capital punishment you carefully weight the facts of the case, seperate out the guilty, and execute THE GUILTY if their crimes warrant it. What crimes were the children if the Midianites guilty of? Being born on the wrong side of a religious divide?

Yes, I am judging god here! I AM JUDGING HIM BY HIS OWN WORDS AND PRINCIPLES THAT ARE SUPPOSEDLY UNIVERSAL AND PART OF HIS NATURE! If this story actually occured it is reason enough to disbelieve in god.

If you have kids, ask yourself this question - If you weren't a Christian, would your children have any less value? Is your childs life worth more than that of a Jewish or Midianite child just because of YOUR faith?

Think about it. I am not trying to attack you here, but this type of thinking really gets under my collar.

Disconnector


Link Posted: 3/22/2006 8:31:10 PM EDT
Again, the people who these gave the world these stories agree with you. If you open up an "Old Testiment" it wont make much sense to you because that is just a basic glimps of the whole story.


Just using the the text that Christianity calls the Old Testiment will leave you with a lot holes and confusion causing people to try and figure out what doesnt make a lot of sense. Sometimes they come up with some good stuff, but this also explains why so many people see it so many different ways. While Traditional Judaism with it entire Hebrew Scripturs has sustained an unbroken chain of understanding of its own writtings for thousands of years.

Many people will not agree with what I have said here. Once more, Just pointing out the Traditional Jewish POV on Jewish things.
Link Posted: 3/22/2006 10:13:24 PM EDT
could you give us the Jewish pov on this incident? or point us to a source where we can read up on it?

thanks!

Link Posted: 3/22/2006 10:54:56 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Dino:
could you give us the Jewish pov on this incident? or point us to a source where we can read up on it?

thanks!



The simple answer is it stems from earlier problems.

You, or anyone else for that matter probably wont understand much of this but it is the most basic of primers...the Rashi text. (and a damned better translation, it is funny how little things can change so much)

http://www.chabad.org/library/article.asp?AID=9959&showrashi=true

You have to understand that the most basic of the Hebrew Texts that is "most of the story" is 6000 pages long, and that is double sided, with very small type and larger than legal sized paper. )about 6 normal pages per page) it gets more advanced from there. It takes 7 years to go through the basic study program. And as the stereotypes would dictate we are not talking about a dumb group of people.


Link Posted: 3/23/2006 6:36:22 AM EDT
My Friend Disconnector, I very much feel your desire to point out and debate the inconsistencies of the Old Testament.

Nonetheless, after nearly five decades of life on this earth as an agnostic, I see the wisdom of (personally) not engaging in these debates. It may indeed be a very valid growth process for you.

We are talking 'apples and oranges' here.

You and I see things through eyes of History and Logic. Persons of faith see things through eyes of, well, faith. I would never want to take away another person's faith. It is a quality I do not have, and one I sometimes envy.

When a person of faith accepts a scripture on faith, that faith is outside of my world view and lexicon. They posit that something is "true" because Scripture says it. And through their faith, they rationalise (from the Latin, to make reasonable, or balanced) it, whenever it is contrary to Science and Logic.

Oh, yes I can and have 'won' many debates. I consider it not even 'sporting' to win debates based on Science and Reason. We "win" hands down, based on Logic alone. But what have we "won"? Would it be wise or ethical to cause a person of faith to waver in that faith which gives them strength and comfort?

Certainly, if we were in a position to cause a Moslem to "doubt" the necessity of mutilating his or her daughter's genitals based on a religious edict, then by all means we can and we must combat that faith-based atrocity.

But when I am among my countrymen, whose religion does me no real harm, and no more harm to others than any other religion, I think of their wellbeing above my desire to outwit another with History and Science, and wish them well in their faith.

Best wishes to you and yours.

Link Posted: 3/23/2006 7:12:00 AM EDT

Originally Posted By psyops4fun:
My Friend Disconnector, I very much feel your desire to point out and debate the inconsistencies of the Old Testament.

Nonetheless, after nearly five decades of life on this earth as an agnostic, I see the wisdom of (personally) not engaging in these debates. It may indeed be a very valid growth process for you.

We are talking 'apples and oranges' here.

You and I see things through eyes of History and Logic. Persons of faith see things through eyes of, well, faith. I would never want to take away another person's faith. It is a quality I do not have, and one I sometimes envy.

When a person of faith accepts a scripture on faith, that faith is outside of my world view and lexicon. They posit that something is "true" because Scripture says it. And through their faith, they rationalise (from the Latin, to make reasonable, or balanced) it, whenever it is contrary to Science and Logic.

Oh, yes I can and have 'won' many debates. I consider it not even 'sporting' to win debates based on Science and Reason. We "win" hands down, based on Logic alone. But what have we "won"? Would it be wise or ethical to cause a person of faith to waver in that faith which gives them strength and comfort?

Certainly, if we were in a position to cause a Moslem to "doubt" the necessity of mutilating his or her daughter's genitals based on a religious edict, then by all means we can and we must combat that faith-based atrocity.

But when I am among my countrymen, whose religion does me no real harm, and no more harm to others than any other religion, I think of their wellbeing above my desire to outwit another with History and Science, and wish them well in their faith.

Best wishes to you and yours.




Psyops4fun,

Please use your logical science and history to explain yourself. By "yourself" I mean your physical body, it's origens, etc. Why do you even exist? Why does mankind exist? Why does any real life exist on this planet?
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 7:44:20 AM EDT
Hello Shane.

I can but barely attempt to explain what I myself do not presume to understand.

By 'myself' I do not merely mean a bag of meat, but the entity which I feel is made of corporeal matter, of electrical impulses within the brain, and of a third thing which I personally call for lack of a better term, the Divine Life Force.

All sentient beings have many needs. Food, warmth, companionship or sex, etc, etc. On top of these, human kind has, since the beginning of time, worldwide and universally had a longing for something in the way of the Divine, and aspirations for a wholesome afterlife.

As all of our other needs have healthy fulfillment, I have greatest reason to hope that the same "Divine" that gave as both the previous needs and their wholesome fulfillment will likewise grant us fulfilment of the latter.

What is the Divine? one may ask me to explain. I simply do not know.

You see I am not an atheist but an agnostic Deist.

Link Posted: 3/23/2006 8:20:28 AM EDT

Originally Posted By psyops4fun:
Hello Shane.

I can but barely attempt to explain what I myself do not presume to understand.

By 'myself' I do not merely mean a bag of meat, but the entity which I feel is made of corporeal matter, of electrical impulses within the brain, and of a third thing which I personally call for lack of a better term, the Divine Life Force.

All sentient beings have many needs. Food, warmth, companionship or sex, etc, etc. On top of these, human kind has, since the beginning of time, worldwide and universally had a longing for something in the way of the Divine, and aspirations for a wholesome afterlife.

As all of our other needs have healthy fulfillment, I have greatest reason to hope that the same "Divine" that gave as both the previous needs and their wholesome fulfillment will likewise grant us fulfilment of the latter.

What is the Divine? one may ask me to explain. I simply do not know.

You see I am not an atheist but an agnostic Deist.




So you recognize that there is a "divine" part to each of us, and you admit that you are unable to explain that "divine" element.

You talk of winning debates with believers, yet you cannot explain something as basic and essential as your own being. You speak of disproving faith with science and reason, yet science and reason indicate that life should not exist on this planet. At least, not by the theory of spontaneous generation of life from some soupy sea mix.

What I'm saying is that you've taken an arrogant stance:

"Oh, yes I can and have 'won' many debates. I consider it not even 'sporting' to win debates based on Science and Reason. We "win" hands down, based on Logic alone."

Yet your stance is on a sandy foundation.
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 8:32:38 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/23/2006 8:34:53 AM EDT by SmittysWife59]
Good morning Disconnector,

I answered the best I could. It doesn't seem that you want to agree (which is fine) or try to understand what I had posted. (IMO)

I explained and gave references about the young girls, and you still want to believe that they were raped, though the Bible clearly shows that wouldn't have been the case.
The Israelites had followed God's commands in every other aspect in this story, but when it came to raping a young girl, they would go against what God said about it?

I see you have a lot of compassion for people, situations, etc. I see that you are very angry with God.
So, by having an anger towards Him, you do believe that there is a Creator?

I don't know where you stand in your beliefs and all.

I am sorry if I upset you in any way.


EDIT> Also, I am not here to win a debate. I love talking about God, Jesus and the Bible.
We disagree, and that is okay. People disagree on many things.





Link Posted: 3/23/2006 8:58:58 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Shane333:


So you recognize that there is a "divine" part to each of us, and you admit that you are unable to explain that "divine" element.

You talk of winning debates with believers, yet you cannot explain something as basic and essential as your own being. You speak of disproving faith with science and reason, yet science and reason indicate that life should not exist on this planet. At least, not by the theory of spontaneous generation of life from some soupy sea mix.

What I'm saying is that you've taken an arrogant stance:

"Oh, yes I can and have 'won' many debates. I consider it not even 'sporting' to win debates based on Science and Reason. We "win" hands down, based on Logic alone."

Yet your stance is on a sandy foundation.



Ah yes, my college days are long gone and I no longer relish this sort of thing. There is no reason to dispute that which gives strength and comfort to good hearted people, and harms no one.

Respectfully, I beg to differ that Science and Reason do not provide good reason for life to exit. Life as we know does exist, ergo I posit that is by reason of Nature.

It is with humility at the common human condition that I consider it unwise for me to personally contend to be able to explain that which I consider UnKnowable.

And please, again with all due respect, I would suggest that a moment of reflection would not be misplaced before a person of faith founded upon the words of a beautiful, kind, and above all humble man sally forth with aspersions ad feminam ie 'arrogant'. Does this well portray the compassion of that Good Man of Galilee?
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 9:08:15 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/23/2006 9:36:38 AM EDT by scuba_ed]
Re:

"The first five books of the Bible are full of stories of the conquest of Caanan.
The most widely questioned section of Numbers 31 is verses 17-18:

“Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him. But all the women-children, that have not known man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves.”
To understand this passage, one must realize that Numbers 25 is the “prequel” to the events recorded in Numbers 31. Numbers 25 tells how the Midianites, specifically the women, led the Israelites astray into worshiping the Baal or Peor. The Lord’s anger burned against Israel, and He struck them with a plague. The plague ended when Phinehas, the grandson of Aaron, killed an Israelite man and the Midianite woman he brought into his family (Numbers 25:6-9). The relations with Midianite women were in direct violation of God’s commands in Deuteronomy 7:3-4: “Neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son. For he will turn away thy son from following me, that they may serve other gods: so will the anger of Jehovah be kindled against you, and he will destroy thee quickly.”

As a result of these events, God instructed the Israelites to “Vex the Midianites, and smite them; for they vex you with their wiles, wherewith they have beguiled you in the matter of Peor, and in the matter of Cozbi, the daughter of the prince of Midian, their sister, who was slain on the day of the plague in the matter of Peor” (Numbers 25:17-18). When, in Numbers 31, the army brought back the women, it was in direct violation to God’s order in Numbers 25 to destroy the Midianites, who would lead the Israelites into apostasy."


___

The idea of the G-d of the Christian "Old Testament" (the "Old Testament" is not the Torah) that is mis-interpreted as such a vengeful G-d is due to several reasons. The first is not reading the Torah, but only the Christian "version" of it; the second is a failure to understand warfare as practiced in antiquity. And finally, the literal interpretation of the non-Torah version of the "Old Testament".

Note first that the war itself is hardly dealt with; the emphasis is on cultic matters—purification and the division of spoils.

Note further that while the enemy is massacred, not one Israelite is reported missing (Num. 31:49), which leads to the assumption that this section is not an actual report, but a schematic reconstruction of events long past, with the aim of showing how G-d had protected His people and how, in return, certain things were owed to Him.

The non-historical aspects of this account may also be seen in the listing of extraordinary large numbers of people slain and booty captured.

Finally, though “every male” was said to have been killed, such was far from the actual fact. At most only a portion of the Midianites could have been killed, for not only did they not disappear as a nation, but they dominated Israel a relatively short time thereafter (Josh. 6-8).

In sum, the details of the Midianite war may be said to constitute a form of biblical interpretation of the past.

This exacerbates the moral question, for if the extermination of the Midianites did not in fact take place, what would move the authors of the Torah to write as though it had?

A midrash attempts to relieve G-d of the responsibility and comments that Moses’ anger brought him to sin, implying that it was not G-d, but Moses who issued the fatal command concerning the Midianite women.

The fact is that, as in the matter of slavery and the status of women, the Torah speaks within the context of its time. It accepts certain matters as “normal”—and wars, with their slaughter and cruelties, belonging to this time as well.

Without study of the original Hebrew text, some novel ideas are unfortunately pulled from the Torah with little true understanding of the Hebrew language, as well as similar lack of reference to midrash and Traditional Jewish understanding of the original texts.



Ed
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 9:35:22 AM EDT

Originally Posted By psyops4fun:

Originally Posted By Shane333:


So you recognize that there is a "divine" part to each of us, and you admit that you are unable to explain that "divine" element.

You talk of winning debates with believers, yet you cannot explain something as basic and essential as your own being. You speak of disproving faith with science and reason, yet science and reason indicate that life should not exist on this planet. At least, not by the theory of spontaneous generation of life from some soupy sea mix.

What I'm saying is that you've taken an arrogant stance:

"Oh, yes I can and have 'won' many debates. I consider it not even 'sporting' to win debates based on Science and Reason. We "win" hands down, based on Logic alone."

Yet your stance is on a sandy foundation.



Ah yes, my college days are long gone and I no longer relish this sort of thing. There is no reason to dispute that which gives strength and comfort to good hearted people, and harms no one.

Respectfully, I beg to differ that Science and Reason do not provide good reason for life to exit. Life as we know does exist, ergo I posit that is by reason of Nature.

It is with humility at the common human condition that I consider it unwise for me to personally contend to be able to explain that which I consider UnKnowable.

And please, again with all due respect, I would suggest that a moment of reflection would not be misplaced before a person of faith founded upon the words of a beautiful, kind, and above all humble man sally forth with aspersions ad feminam ie 'arrogant'. Does this well portray the compassion of that Good Man of Galilee?




You speak of how believers rationalize away science in order to maintain their beliefs, and openly brag of how easy it is to disprove faith with science, and then you criticize me for "aspersions" when I call you on it?!!! As for, "ad feminam," please show me where I made any reference to gender in my posts?

I recognize that you have attempted to portray great "civility" in your remarks, but frankly your condescending tone sticks out like a sore thumb.
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 9:59:14 AM EDT

Originally Posted By scuba_ed:
The idea of the G-d of the Christian "Old Testament" (the "Old Testament" is not the Torah) that is mis-interpreted as such a vengeful G-d is due to several reasons. The first is not reading the Torah, but only the Christian "version" of it; the second is a failure to understand warfare as practiced in antiquity. And finally, the literal interpretation of the non-Torah version of the "Old Testament".

Note first that the war itself is hardly dealt with; the emphasis is on cultic matters—purification and the division of spoils.

Note further that while the enemy is massacred, not one Israelite is reported missing (Num. 31:49), which leads to the assumption that this section is not an actual report, but a schematic reconstruction of events long past, with the aim of showing how G-d had protected His people and how, in return, certain things were owed to Him.

The non-historical aspects of this account may also be seen in the listing of extraordinary large numbers of people slain and booty captured.

Finally, though “every male” was said to have been killed, such was far from the actual fact. At most only a portion of the Midianites could have been killed, for not only did they not disappear as a nation, but they dominated Israel a relatively short time thereafter (Josh. 6-8).

In sum, the details of the Midianite war may be said to constitute a form of biblical interpretation of the past.

This exacerbates the moral question, for if the extermination of the Midianites did not in fact take place, what would move the authors of the Torah to write as though it had?

A midrash attempts to relieve G-d of the responsibility and comments that Moses’ anger brought him to sin, implying that it was not G-d, but Moses who issued the fatal command concerning the Midianite women.

The fact is that, as in the matter of slavery and the status of women, the Torah speaks within the context of its time. It accepts certain matters as “normal”—and wars, with their slaughter and cruelties, belonging to this time as well.

Without study of the original Hebrew text, some novel ideas are unfortunately pulled from the Torah with little true understanding of the Hebrew language, as well as similar lack of reference to midrash and Traditional Jewish understanding of the original texts.



Ed



Mishneh Torah says word for word what I had posted in regards to the book of Numbers, unless I am misunderstanding what you just posted.
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 10:18:20 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/23/2006 10:29:18 AM EDT by scuba_ed]

Originally Posted By SmittysWife59:

Originally Posted By scuba_ed:
The idea of the G-d of the Christian "Old Testament" (the "Old Testament" is not the Torah) that is mis-interpreted as such a vengeful G-d is due to several reasons. The first is not reading the Torah, but only the Christian "version" of it; the second is a failure to understand warfare as practiced in antiquity. And finally, the literal interpretation of the non-Torah version of the "Old Testament".

Note first that the war itself is hardly dealt with; the emphasis is on cultic matters—purification and the division of spoils.

Note further that while the enemy is massacred, not one Israelite is reported missing (Num. 31:49), which leads to the assumption that this section is not an actual report, but a schematic reconstruction of events long past, with the aim of showing how G-d had protected His people and how, in return, certain things were owed to Him.

The non-historical aspects of this account may also be seen in the listing of extraordinary large numbers of people slain and booty captured.

Finally, though “every male” was said to have been killed, such was far from the actual fact. At most only a portion of the Midianites could have been killed, for not only did they not disappear as a nation, but they dominated Israel a relatively short time thereafter (Josh. 6-8).

In sum, the details of the Midianite war may be said to constitute a form of biblical interpretation of the past.

This exacerbates the moral question, for if the extermination of the Midianites did not in fact take place, what would move the authors of the Torah to write as though it had?

A midrash attempts to relieve G-d of the responsibility and comments that Moses’ anger brought him to sin, implying that it was not G-d, but Moses who issued the fatal command concerning the Midianite women.

The fact is that, as in the matter of slavery and the status of women, the Torah speaks within the context of its time. It accepts certain matters as “normal”—and wars, with their slaughter and cruelties, belonging to this time as well.

Without study of the original Hebrew text, some novel ideas are unfortunately pulled from the Torah with little true understanding of the Hebrew language, as well as similar lack of reference to midrash and Traditional Jewish understanding of the original texts.



Ed



Mishneh Torah says word for word what I had posted in regards to the book of Numbers, unless I am misunderstanding what you just posted.



__

Hi SmittysWife59!

I believe you did well. I was attempting to offer explanation to the post from _disconnector_ (disconnected?) about the angry, blood-thirsty G-d of the Torah.

Blood-thirsty G-d of the Torah? An incredible amount of blood was shed on European soil (aside from the Holocaust) by the enlightened Christians of the Crusades as entire Jewish villages were destroyed and looted on the way to the Holy Land.

If the allegory of the Torah is so offensive to _disconnector_, truely, then, modern history must sour him further. Blood-thirsty G-d, or blood thirsty humankind. Please lay blame not upon G-d, but upon humankind.

Best,

Ed
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 10:28:44 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Shane333:


You speak of how believers rationalize away science in order to maintain their beliefs, and openly brag of how easy it is to disprove faith with science, and then you criticize me for "aspersions" when I call you on it?!!! As for, "ad feminam," please show me where I made any reference to gender in my posts?




Ad feminam is simply the correct version of ad hominem when the author is female, and in no way brings gender difference to issue any more than do the pronouns 'him' or 'her'. This is to distinguish malice towards a person, not towards the idea or argument (ad argumentum )presented by that person.

I entered this to call persons persons not of faith to reflect upon the wisdom of 'debating' or contesting things 'of faith' in ways that could cause them to doubt the very thing (faith) which gives them strength and comfort. I came here specifically NOT to debate.

Even Christian theologians will state that things of Faith are not things of Logic. This is my point, and personal insult and quarrelling does neither of us any good, and only lowers my estimation of Christians in general.

I wish you nothing but good will, we have in fact exchanged words of high opinion towards one another in the past, but will decline to continue any further exchange in this particular debate, and hope that we meet on a better day.
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 10:49:20 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/23/2006 10:55:06 AM EDT by scuba_ed]

Originally Posted By neshomamench:

Originally Posted By Dino:
could you give us the Jewish pov on this incident? or point us to a source where we can read up on it?

thanks!



The simple answer is it stems from earlier problems.

You, or anyone else for that matter probably wont understand much of this but it is the most basic of primers...the Rashi text. (and a damned better translation, it is funny how little things can change so much)

http://www.chabad.org/library/article.asp?AID=9959&showrashi=true

You have to understand that the most basic of the Hebrew Texts that is "most of the story" is 6000 pages long, and that is double sided, with very small type and larger than legal sized paper. )about 6 normal pages per page) it gets more advanced from there. It takes 7 years to go through the basic study program. And as the stereotypes would dictate we are not talking about a dumb group of people.





___

Hi neshomamench,

For the part of the text referred to, and railed against by _disconnector_, encouraging gentiles to 7 years of study is a bit extreme simply to understand this portion of Torah and midrash.

Re:
____

"You, or anyone else for that matter probably wont understand much of this but it is the most basic of primers" is a bit harsh; it's not in heaven....

I understand your point, however.

Below, again, is my Jewish POV on this "Old Testament" reference which _disconnector_ railed against:

____

The idea of the G-d of the Christian "Old Testament" (the "Old Testament" is not the Torah) that is mis-interpreted as such a vengeful G-d is due to several reasons. The first is not reading the Torah, but only the Christian "version" of it; the second is a failure to understand warfare as practiced in antiquity. And finally, the literal interpretation of the non-Torah version of the "Old Testament".

Note first that the war itself is hardly dealt with; the emphasis is on cultic matters—purification and the division of spoils.

Note further that while the enemy is massacred, not one Israelite is reported missing (Num. 31:49), which leads to the assumption that this section is not an actual report, but a schematic reconstruction of events long past, with the aim of showing how G-d had protected His people and how, in return, certain things were owed to Him.

The non-historical aspects of this account may also be seen in the listing of extraordinary large numbers of people slain and booty captured.

Finally, though “every male” was said to have been killed, such was far from the actual fact. At most only a portion of the Midianites could have been killed, for not only did they not disappear as a nation, but they dominated Israel a relatively short time thereafter (Josh. 6-8).

In sum, the details of the Midianite war may be said to constitute a form of biblical interpretation of the past.

This exacerbates the moral question, for if the extermination of the Midianites did not in fact take place, what would move the authors of the Torah to write as though it had?

A midrash attempts to relieve G-d of the responsibility and comments that Moses’ anger brought him to sin, implying that it was not G-d, but Moses who issued the fatal command concerning the Midianite women.

The fact is that, as in the matter of slavery and the status of women, the Torah speaks within the context of its time. It accepts certain matters as “normal”—and wars, with their slaughter and cruelties, belonging to this time as well.

Without study of the original Hebrew text, some novel ideas are unfortunately pulled from the Torah with little true understanding of the Hebrew language, as well as similar lack of reference to midrash and Traditional Jewish understanding of the original texts.



Ed
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 11:29:43 AM EDT

Originally Posted By psyops4fun:

Originally Posted By Shane333:


You speak of how believers rationalize away science in order to maintain their beliefs, and openly brag of how easy it is to disprove faith with science, and then you criticize me for "aspersions" when I call you on it?!!! As for, "ad feminam," please show me where I made any reference to gender in my posts?




Ad feminam is simply the correct version of ad hominem when the author is female, and in no way brings gender difference to issue any more than do the pronouns 'him' or 'her'. This is to distinguish malice towards a person, not towards the idea or argument (ad argumentum )presented by that person.

I entered this to call persons persons not of faith to reflect upon the wisdom of 'debating' or contesting things 'of faith' in ways that could cause them to doubt the very thing (faith) which gives them strength and comfort. I came here specifically NOT to debate.

Even Christian theologians will state that things of Faith are not things of Logic. This is my point, and personal insult and quarrelling does neither of us any good, and only lowers my estimation of Christians in general.

I wish you nothing but good will, we have in fact exchanged words of high opinion towards one another in the past, but will decline to continue any further exchange in this particular debate, and hope that we meet on a better day.



Fair enough.
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 12:01:16 PM EDT
thanks for the link and thanks for the summary :)

The Jewish POV towards the Torah seems to be very modern in comparison to the standard Christian view of the Bible.


Link Posted: 3/23/2006 8:09:28 PM EDT

Originally Posted By scuba_ed:

Originally Posted By neshomamench:

Originally Posted By Dino:
could you give us the Jewish pov on this incident? or point us to a source where we can read up on it?

thanks!



The simple answer is it stems from earlier problems.

You, or anyone else for that matter probably wont understand much of this but it is the most basic of primers...the Rashi text. (and a damned better translation, it is funny how little things can change so much)

http://www.chabad.org/library/article.asp?AID=9959&showrashi=true

You have to understand that the most basic of the Hebrew Texts that is "most of the story" is 6000 pages long, and that is double sided, with very small type and larger than legal sized paper. )about 6 normal pages per page) it gets more advanced from there. It takes 7 years to go through the basic study program. And as the stereotypes would dictate we are not talking about a dumb group of people.





___

Hi neshomamench,

For the part of the text referred to, and railed against by _disconnector_, encouraging gentiles to 7 years of study is a bit extreme simply to understand this portion of Torah and midrash.

Re:
____

"You, or anyone else for that matter probably wont understand much of this but it is the most basic of primers" is a bit harsh; it's not in heaven....

I understand your point, however.

Below, again, is my Jewish POV on this "Old Testament" reference which _disconnector_ railed against:

____

The idea of the G-d of the Christian "Old Testament" (the "Old Testament" is not the Torah) that is mis-interpreted as such a vengeful G-d is due to several reasons. The first is not reading the Torah, but only the Christian "version" of it; the second is a failure to understand warfare as practiced in antiquity. And finally, the literal interpretation of the non-Torah version of the "Old Testament".

Note first that the war itself is hardly dealt with; the emphasis is on cultic matters—purification and the division of spoils.

Note further that while the enemy is massacred, not one Israelite is reported missing (Num. 31:49), which leads to the assumption that this section is not an actual report, but a schematic reconstruction of events long past, with the aim of showing how G-d had protected His people and how, in return, certain things were owed to Him.

The non-historical aspects of this account may also be seen in the listing of extraordinary large numbers of people slain and booty captured.

Finally, though “every male” was said to have been killed, such was far from the actual fact. At most only a portion of the Midianites could have been killed, for not only did they not disappear as a nation, but they dominated Israel a relatively short time thereafter (Josh. 6-8).

In sum, the details of the Midianite war may be said to constitute a form of biblical interpretation of the past.

This exacerbates the moral question, for if the extermination of the Midianites did not in fact take place, what would move the authors of the Torah to write as though it had?

A midrash attempts to relieve G-d of the responsibility and comments that Moses’ anger brought him to sin, implying that it was not G-d, but Moses who issued the fatal command concerning the Midianite women.

The fact is that, as in the matter of slavery and the status of women, the Torah speaks within the context of its time. It accepts certain matters as “normal”—and wars, with their slaughter and cruelties, belonging to this time as well.

Without study of the original Hebrew text, some novel ideas are unfortunately pulled from the Torah with little true understanding of the Hebrew language, as well as similar lack of reference to midrash and Traditional Jewish understanding of the original texts.



Ed



Gotcha! Wasn't quite sure what you were getting at, but then again, I had read the post before I was finished drinking my 1st cup of coffee.
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 9:34:43 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/24/2006 4:33:33 AM EDT by SmittysWife59]
Something hasn't been sitting right with me when it has come to Disconnector's posts.
When he went ahead and started a new thread concerning me, and got so hot under the collar, the warning bells went off in my head and I decided to sit once again and read through all his posts on the other thread, because something had been nagging at me all along anyway, but couldn't put my finger on it.
Once I sat down and re-read them without any "preconceived notions and beliefs" it was interesting what I saw through my new eyes....

Something smells sir, and the only bunk here is you! Funny how you go on about all the "sins" in the Bible, how God is this and that, the contradictions, etc.
Thing is, you didn't even notice all the contradictions and sins in yourself within your own posts!

Let's go with some of the things you have said.

I became a Christian at 13 and have seriously attended church my entire life. I have a Bachelors degree in Bible and youth ministry, led my youth group while I was growing up, and have pastored a church. I married my wife from Christian college and have been raising my children in a Christian atmosphere. Finally, after 23 years of it I have realized that it all is a load of crap.

Over the years I have read many posts from people that supposedly had been a Christian and then WHAM! now they are an atheist.
Of course, ALL of them had extensive Bible knowledge due to all the college courses they had taken, usually always led some Bible group or even more grandiose, pastored a Church, blah blah.
So by your years added up, you'd be about 36 yrs old. Unless of course we do the math again on another post where you say

I believed because at 13 I was a confused, hurt young man in the middle of my Moms second divorce. The youth pastor of a local church (and still a REALLY nice guy) took me under his wing and pretty much became my father figure. Now, 35 years later, I am finally able to pull myself up and out of it.
Which is it, 23 years according to your first post, or 35 years in this one? You're right, I think you are confused in alot of areas.

Let's see some other contradictions here

Needless to say all of my friends and family are pretty freaked out right now.

Next post read...

My wife knows and my pastor knows. No one else yet

What happened to ALL your friends and family?



Looks like I'm in for a bit of a hard time. Any good Atheist resources that anyone can recommend?

Then your next post is this..

Well, about a year ago I sat down and tried to read the Bible nad for once in my life to try to push aside all of my preconceptions and beliefs. I wanted to read it like I had never read it before. For the first time in my life I tried to read it without the lens of faith that had always skipped me over the hard parts. I was utterly amazed at what I found . . . a book full of contradictions, chaos, a capricious and bloodthirsty God, and an unbelievable amount of tension in the New Testament between the real apostles and Paul (check THIS out).

Seemed like you already found some atheist links just fine on your own.

Question. Were the stories in the Bible a year ago somehow different than your Bible in college and what you had your sermons from since you pastored a Church and all? Speaking of....funny, all we have read about is the study you had in Bible class. Gee whiz! That means my husband can go ahead and pastor a church because of the first and second grade Bible classes he had.


Now for your comments on

I sat down and tried to read the Bible and for once in my life to try to push aside all of my preconceptions and beliefs

However in your later posts as well, you tried studying the Bible on your own? How sir could that be possible when you went on Catholic websites, and atheist ones. Your words were:

My journey from faith began on April 2, 2005 with the death of Pope John Paul. I had been raised as an Evangelical by my single Mom, who still finds all of her friends and relationships through the church.I had been taught that Catholics were well meaning, but incorrect on certain matters of theology. When the Pope died, I thought that it would be intersting to look into what they really believed because I had never looked for myself. I found Catholic Answers.com and began to read some of the Catholic apologetic works. I figured that it would be a bunch of off-kilter superstitious nonsense . . . instead, it rocked the foundations of my faith.

First off, remember your foundation was already rocked? Also, you learned all about Catholic teachings from your mother? Great Bible college you went to. My son is going to College, and that is one of the things he is learning about. The history of Christianity, including all the denom's.
So, because of all the things that were told to you about what the Bible says, how God is, etc., from other people you are now are going to other Joe Blows and taking their preconceived notions and accepting them as Gospel? okaaaay... Great way you thought on your own there.

Seems to me, with your next post that is following my comment here, you spent that first year talking to Catholics, and whomever. Studied the Bible for yourself huh? Bunk! You're more interested trying to get people to go Catholic sites, etc.

For a quick start on this issue, please see THIS. Please don't claim that all of the denominations are only differant in the details because that is patently NOT TRUE. From that thinking comes Jonestown and the Branch Davidians. The scriptures themselves actually speak against Sola Scriptura, but do your own research . . . that is not the point of this.

After several months of hardcore study, including communications with several Catholics and reading many Catholic apologetic works (especailly this book) I had come to the conclusion that my faith had many rational weaknesses that were glaringly obvious.



Hardcore? Hardly. All you are quoting from is the Catholic and atheist viewpoints.

You haven't checked out crap. Did you go on James White site to see what he says FOR Sola Scriptura?



As an honorable man, I married my wife and made certain promises to her that I will not break. I will humor her and let her bring in folks to pray for me (for now).


You will humor her??!! Meaning, you, as an honorable man, will be lying and pretending? Don't you think you had done that long enough for 23, oh sorry, 35 years.? What do you mean have people come over to pray for you? Noone knows, remember??

Eventually, though I will probably stop attending church. Also, I will be pouring FAR more energy into life

More dishonesty with others, and I think you're pouring far more energy into the bullcrap you're trying to convince people here about.

I'm not going to go into details, so please understand that I am not trying to mount an attack on Christianity via a couple of posts on a gun board. IF YOU HAVE FAITH, NO AMOUNT OF RATIONAL ARGUMENTS CAN SWAY YOU! Which, in my opinion, is the primary issue with faith. Check out the Skeptics Annotated Bible for details about contradictions - I'm not even going to try to start that here.

So why bother posting these if it won't sway anyone?

Of course there are many many other points that led me to this place, but I'm not here to convince anyone. Right now, I am demanding a rational and empirical belief system. Faith simply will not do. Faith leads to unprovable, irrational, and ultimately untenable belief systems. If god wants to be known, why doesn't he make himself a little more obvious?


Oh my..CHOKE. You are so obvious it is pathetic.

PLEASE people do not give this guy the time nor day. He has never been a believer, he is just doing what I have seen too many times before with other sites.

Please save time and your energy on people who really want to know answers to things.
Only a true atheist from day one, and not a year ago, would have started a new thread just to attack someone.

Disconnector, you sure are, ... "disconnected" from reality...


I'll talk with Dino, at least he is honest about who and what he is and has been....



ETA...I really don't care if this guy's an atheist, whatever.
What I don't like and have zero tolerance for, is his lying, period. I do not mince words with a person of his character.
Link Posted: 3/24/2006 4:57:35 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/24/2006 5:06:32 AM EDT by psyops4fun]
I find nothing at all to lead me to suspect that the gentleman is other than sincere. His journey is not unlike that of many persons who have come to agnosticism and/or Deism, and others to atheism.

As for the disparity in the numbers of years: If one is raised as a nominal Christian all one's life, and then makes the concious decision to "accept Christ" in puberty (ie "becoming a Christian" in the terminology of evangelical Christianity) then both dates are chronologically reasonable.

As for having found resources on atheism, I sense that he was asking for supportive sources, as in community and fellowship, rather that empirical evidence sources or substantuative reading. On can easily find resources on the internet with such search words as "atheist" and "skeptic". These provide the sort of written Logic which contrasts what I will term the human drama (bloodshed, revenge, rape, etc) of the Old Testament with universal notions of Compassion. The internet does not however provide fellowship and a human support system as resources . Many agnostics and atheists coming out of a religion have a great, unmet need for such.

For years I participated extensively with an on-line Deism resource, and "met" many people in that situation. Sadly, outside of the unpalatably liberal Unitarians , there are few agnostic or atheistic human support systems. But I have known of many, many people seeking like him for fellowship.

Indeed, for one schooled in comparative religions, it seems ill-advised for one to use Catholic literature to refute Protestant or Baptist religion. Nonetheless, they are both Christian, at least by their own claims. Of course few would contend that either Jonestown and Branch Davidian were indeed Christian, but they certainly claimed themselves to be, and a layman should not be faulted for at least seeing Christianity (the churches, as compared to the teachings of Jesus) as their rootstock.

As to why would one bother posting, if not to sway another's viewpoint? Fellowhip and support!

Again, I find Disconnector's life story of 'faith lost' quite typical of persons coming out of Faith and into Science and Reason, and without inconsistency.

I for one do not judge him.

ETA: And unlike some Christians, I DO care about ANY person's spiritual struggles. THAT is the Compassion of which that beautiful man of Galilee both spoke, and with which He Himself contended.

Link Posted: 3/24/2006 7:46:45 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/24/2006 8:10:10 AM EDT by _disconnector_]

What I don't like and have zero tolerance for, is his lying, period. I do not mince words with a person of his character.


I will respond to this in full later when I have time. I take it you ignored the IM that I sent you before I posted my response.

Ad hominem attacks in response to a religious question? How typically Christian

I really don't need to defend myself or my faith (or lack thereof) to you or anyone on this board, but characterizing me as a liar from a couple of posts on the Internet demands a response. I admit that some of the details are inconsistent (I'm writing things aff of the top of my head and some of the details WILL get muddled), but the basic gist and direction of the story is truthful.

As for yourself, how about responding to the responses that I have given instead of attacking my integrity? Even if I am a complete lying slimeball (which I am not) the issues with the passage still stand and no ad hominem attack will remove them.

I will get back to this tonight after my children are asleep.

ETA: Thanks for the support psyops4fun. You hit many nails directly on their little metallic heads.
Disconnector
Link Posted: 3/24/2006 7:55:25 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/24/2006 8:36:19 AM EDT by SmittysWife59]
Sorry psychops

I have less respect for "agnostic deists" than I do for atheists.
As least an atheist has taken a stand for what they believe.
An agnostic is the same in my book as a bi-sexual.
Both can't get a backbone and decide what side they really want.

ETA
Even Jesus says in the book of Revelation how He can't stand lukewarm people. His words were, Rev 3:15-16
I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I will spue thee out of my mouth.

Pretty much says it all there...

Link Posted: 3/24/2006 8:15:41 AM EDT


Maybe some of you will get this?? Especially Disconnector?

I just totally picked apart pretty much everything that he posted in his threads.

See how easy it is? Does what I say make it true? Is Disconnector really a liar and dishonorable man with no theological background? What I pointed out in his posts sure makes him look like one.
I can pick and choose any "verse" he gave and make him look pretty creepy..

Taking his posts that he wrote himself , I could make him look pretty darn bad without having any knowledge of his history, growing up years, or what is really going on his life at this point.
There is no "proof" what he has been believing all these years, nor is there any proof that he may have 3 screen names on here that he uses.

You guys getting what I am saying here?
You can't go by just one denomination. Even going solely to Catholic sites that helped rock the foundations of his fatih more, should have if anything made him turn to Catholicism.
There is no way Catholics would have made him an atheist, just a convert.

You also can't pick and choose verses out of the Bible to try and make a point of how horrid people were, how there is contradictions, without looking at the whole.

Anyway...hopefully Disconnector can see the fruitlessness of his arguments?

Link Posted: 3/24/2006 8:33:33 AM EDT

Originally Posted By _disconnector_:

What I don't like and have zero tolerance for, is his lying, period. I do not mince words with a person of his character.


(snippage)

Ad hominem attacks in response to a religious question? How typically Christian




My Friend, please do not allow the behavior of some individuals in the name (as compared to the spirit) of Christianity, poison your mind to the Wisdom of a good and brilliant man who lived two thousand years ago.

Argumentum ad hominem never impacts the character of the person towards whom it is directed, but speaks volumes as to the character of the one speaking it, and is best left to stand upon its own merits(?) without response.
Link Posted: 3/24/2006 8:37:25 AM EDT
ETA
Even Jesus says in the book of Revelation how He can't stand lukewarm people. His words were, Rev 3:15-16
I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I will spue thee out of my mouth.

Pretty much says it all there...
Link Posted: 3/24/2006 8:52:09 AM EDT
The Book of Revelation is based not upon the life and words of Jesus as recorded by eyewitnesses, the same as news reports are today, albeit many years after the much disputed facts.

The Book of Revelation is based upon what medical Science would term an individual's hallucination, long after Jesus was crucified.

Countless thousands of individuals continue to hallucinate about Jesus to this day.

That good man's life example of compassion stands well enough alone to be worthy of respect, without adding in hallucinations after the fact.

NB, I am going to take a break from this discourse until Disconnector has a chance to compose his response.
Link Posted: 3/24/2006 3:08:13 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/24/2006 3:15:47 PM EDT by SmittysWife59]

Originally Posted By psyops4fun:
The Book of Revelation is based not upon the life and words of Jesus as recorded by eyewitnesses, the same as news reports are today, albeit many years after the much disputed facts.

The Book of Revelation is based upon what medical Science would term an individual's hallucination, long after Jesus was crucified.

Countless thousands of individuals continue to hallucinate about Jesus to this day.

That good man's life example of compassion stands well enough alone to be worthy of respect, without adding in hallucinations after the fact.

NB, I am going to take a break from this discourse until Disconnector has a chance to compose his response.



Medical Science? Okay, and you're an agnostic, huh? PULEASE!
So with something like this, you sway to the other side? Dude/Woman ,pick a side or something for crying out loud!


Honestly folks, I came on to this website due to my husband, and was originally posting in the General forum.

I noticed a Religion board,and stopped by.
I still think Disconnector is full of beans, but whatever.
Truthfully, I don't really give a rat's rear end whether he's an atheist, you an agnostic, or whatever.
I enjoy talking about the Bible, but have a hard time when there are contradictions with people on the board trying to act like they are intelligent and have all the knowledge.. I also have a hard time with a person who was saying he was having a hard time with his beliefs, but only went to things that are the opposite instead of truly searching both sides. He didn't, and I don't care what he says.

From my experience, anyone who has to use the words "seriously went to church" or had a "hardcore study" is full of beeswax.
Who are you trying so hard to convince???
If his Evangelical beliefs were rocked, then he would have believed the Catholics, due to that they still believe that Jesus died and rose from the dead. He would have only changed denominations.
I was raised Catholic. My father was a commentator, my mother played the organ for masses, funerals, and weddings. I know what the Catholics teach, and they would have told him that their way was correct and the whys.
They would have explained why they are the only ones that believe Sola Scriptura, since protestants do not. That is why the division happened in the first place.
It has been some years since I went on a post in regards to religion, and I now remember why I quit doing it. It is such a high school mentality and bullcrap. No, that is a compliment, it is more like grade school mentality.
There are too may people out there who want to understand and learn with legitimate questions.
Not the "Let's line up the chakras and get into your past lives and all is one" mumbo jumbo, as well as the conspiracy theory garbage.

Who knows, YOU can be Disconnector as well since he seems confused/and or just plain deceiving anyway.....

Wasting my time and energy on people like this and you, and it is just that, ....a waste.
I am not going to cast pearls to swine any longer..
Take care...




Link Posted: 3/24/2006 4:30:35 PM EDT

Originally Posted By SmittysWife59:
(snippage)

Medical Science? Okay, and you're an agnostic, huh? PULEASE!
So with something like this, you sway to the other side? Dude/Woman ,pick a side or something for crying out loud!


Honestly folks, I came on to this website due to my husband, and was originally posting in the General forum.

I noticed a Religion board,and stopped by.
I still think Disconnector is full of beans, but whatever.
Truthfully, I don't really give a rat's rear end whether he's an atheist, you an agnostic, or whatever.
I enjoy talking about the Bible, but have a hard time when there are contradictions with people on the board trying to act like they are intelligent and have all the knowledge.. I also have a hard time with a person who was saying he was having a hard time with his beliefs, but only went to things that are the opposite instead of truly searching both sides. He didn't, and I don't care what he says.

(snippage)
It has been some years since I went on a post in regards to religion, and I now remember why I quit doing it. It is such a high school mentality and bullcrap. No, that is a compliment, it is more likegrade school mentality.
(snippage)

Who knows, YOU can be Disconnector as well since he seems confused/and or just plain deceiving anyway.....

Wasting my time and energy on people like this and you, and it is just that, ....a waste.
I am not going to cast pearls to swine any longer..





Such ad feminam hominemque words speak much of their othor's character and none of mine or Disconnector's. I do not reply in kind.. I limit my discussion here to ad argumentum discourse.

I remain here awaiting Disconnector's reply, and suggest that he and other respectful members ignore this sort of personal slander, and continue on with the discussion of finding fellowship and support among agnostics or atheists.
Link Posted: 3/24/2006 6:31:10 PM EDT
psyops4fun,

I get the sneaky suspicion about your involvement in this thread.

Link Posted: 3/24/2006 6:49:09 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/24/2006 6:51:46 PM EDT by _disconnector_]
OK, I've finally got the 3 yr old to bed. What a long day . . .

SmittysWife59, I really don't have any desire to respond to your personal attacks. Your opinions are obviously your own and I really don't care if you believe me or not. Your concerted anger and frustration is obviously caused by your inability to ANSWER MY FREAKIN' QUESTIONS. It must be difficult to have someone challenge the little Christian bubble that you live in . . . forgive me for the stress that I have caused you. Please run back to the apron strings of your doctrine.

But, I have had several RESPECTFUL IM requests asking me about my Christian past and in light of them (and with their permission) I will repost what I have sent to these folks.

With that in mind, here is a repost of a response that I sent to Headlice with some additional information.

*********************************
­Hi!

I will try to answer your questions briefly . . . I don't have much time tonight. You are certainly not being obtrusive since I started it all by posting autobiographical information in the first place.

If you don't mind, can I post your questions and my answers in the religious forum? I won't do so if you wish . . . .

On to your questions, though.

1. What denomination are you?
I was raised in and still attend an Assemblies of God church. Regardless of my beliefs I will always love and respect them - the folks that I go to church with are the real thing. Some of the nicest and most sincere folks you'll ever meet. Its beliefs can be best summed up through the 16 Fundamental Truths. I have known the pastor personally since I was 13 and he is honestly one of the most devout and anti-hypocritical men that I have ever met. He preaches and lives what he believes. If devotion was enough to convince me, I would never have changed my mind concerning the church. Unfortunately, devotion and sacrifice to a cause does not prove the ultimate rational or moral correctness of a cause.

2. You went to Bible school? Which one? What did you major in?
I graduated from Valley Forge Christian College (link) in 1995 with a Bachelor of Science in Bible with a concentration in Youth Ministries.

3. What did you do in the church?
4. Was the church job your full time job?
I have served as a full time paid youth minister in a church in Pennsylvania that will remain nameless for their sake. I have twice won scholarships from the church that I grew up in to continue my studies at Valley Forge. For several summers I served as a missionary when I was a teen in New York city (esp The Bowery). I have completed two internships as a pastor in my home church. For the last couple of years I have been playing in the worship band and helping with computer and technology issues. No boasting here, I'm just answering the question.

5. You said you have been a Christian since about 13. Can you tell me how you became a Christian at that age?
That is quite the question.

My mother and father were 14 and 17 respectively when I was born. They were both members of the "Pagans" - an East Coast biker gang. They divorced when I was about 5. My mom got custody and remarried again. When I was 13, the second marriage was obviously going down the tubes - constant fighting and arguing. My mom had become a Christian and drug me to church every Sunday. My Dad was so tied up in drugs that he usually wouldn't even remember to come get me on his weekend for custody.

Into this world of chaos walked the youth minister of a local church. He pretty much adopted me into the youth group even though I was technically too young. Everyone was very accepting and loving giving me something that I had never had since I was a complete nerd/geek- a peer group. Those folks helped me keep my sanity during a very rough time. Regardless of my beliefs, they are owed a certain amount of respect and love. To be honest with you all I feel that they will still accept me even after they learn about my decision.

I had always been a voracious reader and my youth pastor gave me a pile of books. One night while reading "Perelandra" by CS Lewis I decided that I wanted to take the "step of faith" that my Youth Pastor had been speaking of. My Mom prayed with me and "viola!" I was a Christian. I was baptised in the Holy Spirit about a year later.

I threw myself headlong into the church and Christ. I literally had no friends outside of the body. As stated before, I began to get interested in missionary work, especially to New York City. My youth pastor, Paul Johannson, and I helped create the youth internship program at the New York School of Urban Ministry in Queens to help facilitate bringing groups of Christian youths to NYC to help with feeding the homeless, building projects, street evengelism, etc.

During High School I had always assumed I would and felt called to go into the military and become a chaplain. I applied to the Air Force academy and was selected as the first alternate, but ended up getting rejected due to lack of sports participation in high school. So, I applied to the Virginia Military Institute and was accepted into their Chemistry program. I packed up my stuff and enrolled as a rat in the VMI Class of 88. What an experience! I hated it, but now I look back and I can see the incredible positive life changes that this experience gave me. But, as my Rat year drew to a close I knew that I would not be coming back, even though I had been selected as a cadre corporal. Why? Because I felt that I have received a call for full time youth ministry.

So, I took a year and attended the Virginia Commonwealth university and continued my Chemistry studies. During this time I decided to attend Valley Forge Christian College as a Biblical Science (I didn't realize at the time how oxymoronical that statement was) major with a concentration in youth ministry. While at college I met my wife and we married in 1992. We were both heavily involved in ministry while in college, especially music and youth outreach. My home church back in VA helped us pay the bills to prepare us for ministry.

While in college I accepted a position as the youth pastor of a church in SE Pennsylvania. We continued in that position until we moved to West Chester to where I was hoping to finish up my Chemistry degree while we waited for a position to open up in VA.

Continued . . . .
Link Posted: 3/24/2006 6:51:00 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Shane333:
psyops4fun,

I get the sneaky suspicion about your involvement in this thread.




You guys think that it is so unusual for two folks to have the same opinions that are contrary to yours?

Wow, what incredible arrogance.

Have the mods check our IPs if it bothers you that much.

You guys are too much.

Disconnector
Link Posted: 3/24/2006 7:05:29 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/24/2006 7:23:13 PM EDT by _disconnector_]
Continued . . .

The position that we were waiting for in VA never opened. We both agreed that we enjoyed living in PA and decided to stay there for a few more years. I took a job as an IT guy for the Home Depot in Exton PA and started working full time. I never did finish that Chem degree (one of my life's greatest disappointments) but we moved into a house and get pretty settled into PA and our church there. We were active in the youth group and I actually got to preach occassionally . . . it was a really cool time in my wife and I's lives.

In 1999 I found that they were building a new Home Depot in the town that I grew up in. Since my wife and I had decided to move back to my home town to be near family when we decided to have children, I asked for and received a transfer. Once we moved back, I jumped back into the body that I grew up in with both feet, were I worked and worshipped until now.

That's the story in a nutshell.

*************************************­

How does a person change a lifetime of belief? For one, it did not happen over night. During college I drove several of my more intellectual profesors insane with questions. I guess that I have always had a deep seated issue with the rationality of my faith. I could ignore that problems as long as I kept the "filters" over my eyes that kept me from asking the really HARD questions.

In fact, I just sent an email to an old professor of mine today. I still have not received a reply, but here is the text of what I sent to him:

*************************************­


Dr. Marino,

Greetings! In the middle 1990's I spent many hours being captivated by your wit and charm in Theology class at VFCC :^) I am hoping that as a form of penance for the depth of torment that you placed upon me that you would read this email and possibly respond when you have the time. I realize that you are extremely busy and I will understand perfectly if you are unable.

I will preface this missive by stating that there are no questions that I am asking you to answer in this particular document. The purpose of this document is to hopefully get your interest and develop a correspondence between the two of us.

Why you? It's simple - you are the only intellectually active Christian that I know or have ever known. I know plenty of intelligent folks with great faith, but you always seemed to be willing to actually debate rationally without immediately running back to the apron strings of doctrine. I have always (and still do) respect the atmosphere of open debate that you encouraged, even within the Byzantine religious politics of Valley Forge.

OK, I've sucked up enough, here's the story in brief:

"The beginning of knowledge is the discovery of something that we do not understand"
Frank Herbert, "Dune"

The death of Pope John Paul in April of 2005 led me to begin to investigate the Catholic faith. I had never really looked at any of their doctrines outside of what I had been taught at Valley Forge. I was completely secure in my smugness knowing the complete superiority of my belief system over a bunch of half-pagan Mary worshippers. I was just interested in an intellectual way, kind of like how an astronomer might collect maps that represent the Earth as flat.

Imagine my surprise when many of their basic tenets of faith seemed far more logical and reasonable than ones that I had been taught. I was knocked completely off balance by the logical coherence and rationality of many of their positions, especially in the realm of Sola Scriptura and Sola Fidelis. I began to read Roman Catholic apologetic works such as Catholicism and Fundamentalism: The Attack on "Romanism" by "Bible Christians (which I still highly recommend) and several works by Scott Hahn which attacked many of the root suppositions of the Evangelical movement and the Reformation itself. I was a half-convinced Roman Catholic who went as far as to sneak over to a local Catholic Church to speak to a priest about Catholicism. The Romans had several things that I thought were hooey such as hyperdulia and the veneration of saints, but as a whole the system seem much more logically consistent than the one that I knew.

But before I could take such a huge step and subject my wife and two children to the complexities and difficulties of such a change I decided to embark on a hard-core search of scripture to try to make sure one last time that I was correct. In order to do this I needed to remove the filters that I had always placed over my eyes when reading the Bible. These filters of interpretation had always led me to read verses in a way that bent their meaning to coincide with the system that I had been indoctrinated into since a young boy; filters that caused me to automatically interpret certain verses without thought - filters that kept my rational mind from actually processing what I was reading. I determined that I was going to read scripture with an entirely open mind (as far as I could) and let my mind and reason crunch the data rationally.

I was immediately beset by a host of problems that were entirely unexpected. I found that I was reading a book full of cruelty, inconsistencies, logical disconnects, and hypocrisy of the highest order. Reading without the filters I had stumbled into minefield of horrific proportions. I literally could not read it without getting angry that I had believed that this was actually inspired by god. I desperately tried to find apologetic material that would explain the inconsistencies that I had found, but all of the material that I had found seemed an attempt to cover up the issues without directly attacking them. I am not going to detail the problems that I found at that point, but perhaps we can discuss some of them later. The slaughter of innocents (the Midianites), huge discrepancies in biblical stories(Paul's conversion, the death of Judas), glaring hypocrisy (Jesus himself lying to his brothers) are a very short list of the difficulties that beset me.

I especially noticed a chasm between the beliefs of Paul and almost every other author in the New Testament. Paul's gospels seemed to contradict the teachings of the other apostles on many accounts. I began to research the reasons behind this and found an extremely interesting book called The Mythmaker: Paul and the Invention of Christianity by Hyam Maccoby. This book completely demolishes the New Testament by attacking directly the writings of Paul via the Pauline Conspiracy (which I'm sure you're aware of) and in my mind fits many of the contradictory pieces of the New Testament together into a coherent whole far better than the patchwork of theology that I was taught.

Many other issues with scripture followed this revelation. Obviously by this point my faith in the Bible as a source of revelation is shattered. And without inerrancy, the bible is just a bunch of old fables to scare children.

I began to try to find a reason for my belief in god himself and without scripture I could find none. I tried to find god within logic and reason and instead I found nothing. No god, no Jesus, nothing on the other side of the sky but more sky. Agnosticism seems to be a cop out (kind of like being a little bit pregnant) so I've gone the whole enchilada and thrown out anything that I cannot empirically or logically deduce. Intellectual honesty forces me to it.

In short, I've become an atheist.

I would like to begin a friendly discourse with you to discuss several points that bear on this issue concerning the existence of god and the inerrancy of scripture. I have many questions that I would love to have your thoughts on. Perhaps to start I could state a passage or issue and offer my perspective, to which you could respond.

I'm expecting that this will be a rather slow exchange of information considering my work schedule and family obligations leave me with very little time lately to stop and type out long letters, so this shouldn't absorb too much of your bandwidth.

What say you? This might be a perfect discussion launcher for your theo classes, too. I wouldn't object to you sharing this correspondence with others if I can do the same. You can discuss how to deal with nutty atheists with examples from real life :^)

Disconnector
Identity withheld



*****************************************­****

Hopefully I will hear from him soon.

Sorry this has gone on so long, but I just wanted to clear the air a bit.

Yes, it is possible for someone to question Christianity, pray fervently, seek counseling, get prayed for and STILL decide that it is not a trustworthy and coherent belief system. Atheism is the only rational response to my conclusions.

I may respond to a couple of SmittysWife59's objections later, once my hands recover from all of this typing

Disconnector
Link Posted: 3/24/2006 7:38:55 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/24/2006 7:40:45 PM EDT by Rmplstlskn]


'nuf said...
Link Posted: 3/24/2006 8:59:52 PM EDT

Originally Posted By _disconnector_:

Originally Posted By Shane333:
psyops4fun,

I get the sneaky suspicion about your involvement in this thread.




You guys think that it is so unusual for two folks to have the same opinions that are contrary to yours?

Wow, what incredible arrogance.

Have the mods check our IPs if it bothers you that much.

You guys are too much.

Disconnector



Wow! Talk about jumping to conclusions! Funny thing is that it never occured to me that you two might be the same person. Why are you so defensive about my comment?
Link Posted: 3/25/2006 3:42:38 AM EDT
Hello Shane,

I think he probably interpreted your comments as an accusation of trolling as a different identity because smittyswife accused me and disconnector of being one and the same.

I would be curious why you suspect my involvement in this thread. It seems pretty logical to me. I was born and raised agnostic, while disconnector is new to life without a revealed faith. Don't most folks tend to reach out and "connect" with their own kind?
Link Posted: 3/25/2006 6:43:11 AM EDT
The pseudointellectualism in this thread is providing me with the best laugh I have had in a long time!

Keep 'em coming!
Link Posted: 3/25/2006 6:48:38 AM EDT

Originally Posted By psyops4fun:
Don't most folks tend to reach out and "connect" with their own kind?



Uh, yeah... The BLIND leading the BLIND...

Rmpl
Link Posted: 3/25/2006 10:15:25 AM EDT
We are getting quite a display of why there is such a need for spiritual support and fellowship among agnostics and atheists.
Link Posted: 3/25/2006 5:07:02 PM EDT

Originally Posted By psyops4fun:
We are getting quite a display of why there is such a need for spiritual support and fellowship among agnostics and atheists.



This seems like an oxymoron to me, or just plane funny.

kinda like the agnostic that loves the Bible.

Link Posted: 3/26/2006 2:44:05 AM EDT
But there is much wisdom in that collection of writings, not the least of which is this:

"Judge not lest ye be judged"
Link Posted: 3/26/2006 5:50:10 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/26/2006 5:54:28 AM EDT by Rmplstlskn]

Originally Posted By psyops4fun:
But there is much wisdom in that collection of writings, not the least of which is this:

"Judge not lest ye be judged"



"You do err not knowing the Scripture...," Yahshua (Jesus)

We ARE to judge... Recall the man Shaul (Paul) said should be thrown out of the congregation for laying with his Father's wife and how Yahshua (Jesus) taught us to discern the type of tree (man) by its fruits (deeds/works).


as also in all his letters, speaking in them concerning these matters, in which some are hard to understand, which those who are untaught and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do also the other Scriptures. (2Pe 3:16 The Scriptures '98)


We see your fruits... and know your kind of tree. You have made it quite obvious.

Rmpl
Link Posted: 3/26/2006 1:02:57 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/26/2006 1:16:04 PM EDT by walttx]

Originally Posted By psyops4fun:
But there is much wisdom in that collection of writings, not the least of which is this:

"Judge not lest ye be judged"



If you think i am judging you,.
you are mistaken.

Why would you pick this quote out of the Bible ??
There is no judgement according to athiesm.

Link Posted: 3/26/2006 1:56:00 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/26/2006 2:39:43 PM EDT by _disconnector_]
OK, you all are right. I can see by the incredibly lucid, rational, and above all Biblical answers to my questions that your faith is exponentially superior to my own.

Thank you for helping me out and explaining so much. Thank you for revealing the true character of those who claim to be Christians. I'm sure Jesus (if he was still alive ) would be proud.

Don't worry, I'll never disturb your spirtitual gladhanding and mutual masterbation here ever again. I would hate for any of you to actually have to think for your yourselves and actually have to respond to someone that challenges your thoughts. Since you guys have all of the answers and cannot POSSIBLY be incorrect about any detail of anything you believe, I acknowledge your awesome spiritual superiority. You guys make god look GREAT.

So I'll stick to GD and the gun boards. In the mean time, why don't we rename this board the "Evangelical American Christian" forum while we're at it.

See you all in GD. Thanks for all that have gived any words of support or even prayer. I appreciate it.

Disconnector
Link Posted: 3/26/2006 4:33:34 PM EDT

Originally Posted By _disconnector_:

In the mean time, why don't we rename this board the "Evangelical American Christian" forum while we're at it.

Disconnector







Link Posted: 3/26/2006 6:46:23 PM EDT

Originally Posted By _disconnector_:
Thank you for helping me out and explaining so much. Thank you for revealing the true character of those who claim to be Christians. I'm sure Jesus (if he was still alive ) would be proud.

Disconnector



It is not our job to "SELL" you, we assist you when it is your time... It is clear Yah's Spirit is working in your life and you are fighting tooth and nail, justifying it with self-defined righteousness and intellectualism.

We pray the fallow soil is tilled and you return repentant... For some reason you are being called (we all wonder why us, as we KNOW our inner soul behind the facade)...

Have fun ProdigalOne... but nothing satisfies like sitting at your Father's table as the "restored" son...

Rmpl
Link Posted: 3/27/2006 5:30:00 AM EDT

Originally Posted By walttx:
There is no judgement according to athiesm.



um, thats a load of bull.

Atheism says nothing about judgement (or any other thing you can think of), it soley concerns a lack of belief in a deity. Anything else is something someone is tacking on to make a point, regardless of the fact that it is a lie.

Many, if not all, atheists judge others, but that judgement is based on something other than atheism. I don't like child molesters and think they should be killed vice rehabilitated. It has nothing to do with my atheism and more to do with my religion and looking at the stats on recidivism.

Link Posted: 3/27/2006 5:31:54 AM EDT

Originally Posted By _disconnector_:
OK, you all are right. I can see by the incredibly lucid, rational, and above all Biblical answers to my questions that your faith is exponentially superior to my own.

Thank you for helping me out and explaining so much. Thank you for revealing the true character of those who claim to be Christians. I'm sure Jesus (if he was still alive ) would be proud.

Don't worry, I'll never disturb your spirtitual gladhanding and mutual masterbation here ever again. I would hate for any of you to actually have to think for your yourselves and actually have to respond to someone that challenges your thoughts. Since you guys have all of the answers and cannot POSSIBLY be incorrect about any detail of anything you believe, I acknowledge your awesome spiritual superiority. You guys make god look GREAT.

So I'll stick to GD and the gun boards. In the mean time, why don't we rename this board the "Evangelical American Christian" forum while we're at it.

See you all in GD. Thanks for all that have gived any words of support or even prayer. I appreciate it.

Disconnector



hope you decide to stick around, its lonely in here sometimes
Link Posted: 3/27/2006 4:50:09 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Dino:

Originally Posted By walttx:
There is no judgement according to athiesm.



um, thats a load of bull.

Atheism says nothing about judgement (or any other thing you can think of), it soley concerns a lack of belief in a deity. Anything else is something someone is tacking on to make a point, regardless of the fact that it is a lie.

Many, if not all, atheists judge others, but that judgement is based on something other than atheism. I don't like child molesters and think they should be killed vice rehabilitated. It has nothing to do with my atheism and more to do with my religion and looking at the stats on recidivism.




I guess i should have explained myself better. I was thinking of a judgement from God.
Hence according to an athiest there would be no judgement, upon his death.
right ? no God, no judgement.

The only other judging i am going to worry about, is if i am on trial.


You guys claim you are an agnostic , athiest .
but act like you are religous. why?





Link Posted: 3/27/2006 8:30:48 PM EDT

Originally Posted By walttx:

Originally Posted By Dino:

Originally Posted By walttx:
There is no judgement according to athiesm.



um, thats a load of bull.

Atheism says nothing about judgement (or any other thing you can think of), it soley concerns a lack of belief in a deity. Anything else is something someone is tacking on to make a point, regardless of the fact that it is a lie.

Many, if not all, atheists judge others, but that judgement is based on something other than atheism. I don't like child molesters and think they should be killed vice rehabilitated. It has nothing to do with my atheism and more to do with my religion and looking at the stats on recidivism.




I guess i should have explained myself better. I was thinking of a judgement from God.
Hence according to an athiest there would be no judgement, upon his death.
right ? no God, no judgement.

The only other judging i am going to worry about, is if i am on trial.


You guys claim you are an agnostic , athiest .
but act like you are religous. why?




My bad, it sounded to me as if you were equating atheism with some sort of moral relativism.

claim to be an agnostic? act like I am religious?

I'm an agnostic because I don't believe God's existence can be proven or disproven. Many Christians are also agnostics (specifically agnostic theists). I'm an atheist because I do not believe in any God or Gods.

I'm also a Unitarian Universalist, I attend services weekly, I tithe each week in the offering plate. By definition, I am religous. Not all religions are theistic religions.

I know many atheistic/non-theistic people who follow religions that don't require belief in a God or Gods. Their faiths (and mine) are protected just the same as yours.

hope that helps explain it. If not either reply here or in IM and I'll try to clarify.

Link Posted: 3/27/2006 10:38:57 PM EDT
As a Christian I want to buy a Torah and start reading. Seems better to read the real deal than what King James thought should be put in the book.
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