Originally Posted by mike g35
This is NOT an attack. Simply an attempt to understand each other.
So many reasons with so much information behind each it's hard to present it all at once without taking all day and writing a 20 page essay. I'll try to give you a quick break down. for my view
1. It's a change in thinking. Most people simply ACCEPT the bible as true. It's presented as such from the time we're kids. A lot of us grow into adulthood never considering that the bible might be wrong. When you have the thought that "What if it isn't true?" and then begin to to dig in an objective manner... you find it hinges on expecting the reader to begin with assuming it's all true. Many Christians argue for their faith from that point of view. "God did it... here is why." They are assuming their conclusion and reasoning from there. Rather than taking the steps to evaluate the information and making a conclusion last. So you really have to QUESTION the bible first and foremost. Don't assume it's false... just don't assume it's true either.
2. We know so much more about Ancient History now than we did 100 years ago. And not only that... the information is available to everyone instantly via our technology. The reason Atheism is exploding isn't because the world is becoming decadent or evil, it's because man has access to information that he never did before. It used to be that only historians and archaeologists had such broad and detailed information. Now your average teenager can learn all they want about ancient history. And what we know is that the Ancient Jews borrowed most of their religious beliefs from other cultures that predate them. The Torah is a mish mash of mesopotamian, sumerian, and babylonian religious myths. One might ask the question "So what? Doesn't mean they aren't true." Well it kinda does because they claim these stories were given to THEM directly from God. We simply know that's not true. We know they believed in many gods and only later shaved it down to the one true God. Even after the creation of the 10 commandments the israelites kept many gods which goes against the 10 commandments of Yahweh. Putting Eden aside and Cain and Able aside... we know that the Israelite faith began with Abraham. And he was a mesopotamian. He was most likely insane. That isn't meant to be an insult but think of him not as a magical character but just as a man. This was a man that heard voices in his head. Voices that told him to uproot his family and move place to place. Voices that told him to murder his child. What would you think of such a person today. You wouldn't think he was inspired by God. You'd think he was a nut case. Islam is born from the same mad man. He had a child (Ishmael) out of wedlock with his wife's egyptian maid servant Hagar. These are the beginnings of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The ramblings of a mad man and the borrowed religions of other cultures. Not to mention the jews didn't even bother to write down the Torah for 700 years! Think about that. In a time when most people couldn't even read or write. They passed these stories down for 700 years. Think about that number. Imagine how distorted a story would get after word of mouth for that long. Each generation putting their own spin on it. It's easy to see these are all myths and legends that travel from culture to culture and get twisted and distorted to fit that cultures ideals. Not to mention we have reason to believe that Deuteronomy was written long after the rest of the Torah and is somewhat of a forgery if you expect that it was penned at the same time as the rest of the Torah. So history shows us that the bible is a bit of a sloppy document. It's got some accurate history in there. But mostly because they wrote it as they went along. It's also got some very inaccurate history as well.
I'll give you one example to illustrate (But there are tons of them in there) Luke says that Christ was born when Herod was king, Agustus was conducting his great census (The reason Joseph was traveling home mind you), and Quirinius was governor of Syria. This is impossible. We know that Herod died in either 4BCE or 5BCE. Quirinius wasn't governor of Syria until 6CE. 10 years apart. Now you might say "Okay, 10 years... big deal" Well if we assume that Quirinius was indeed governor at the time Christ was born. This means Herod had been long dead which calls into question the ENTIRE reason Joseph and Mary fled to Egypt with little baby Jesus. The easier thing to dismiss is that Quirinius wasn't governor. But then why did Luke say he was? Why such an error. This is the ONLY place that gives us any kind historical triangulation of the birth of the Messiah... and they got it wrong.
This of course tosses out the idea that the Bible is inerrant or without flaw. Like I said this is one example of many.
3. Unanswered prayers. I say this jokingly because there is no evidence that prayer does anything more than does the power of positive thinking (Which is well documented). But take a look around. Look at all the people suffering in this world. I mentioned in another thread, there is a 3 year old little African boy starving to death in a field right now. His mother left him behind because she can't carry he and his little brother because she is so weak so she had to choose. There is a vulture watching that little boy waiting for him to die in order to make a meal of him. REALLY? Jesus loves the little children. All little children of the world? Right now there is a young woman in a wheelchair. She was born with a rare disease that has basically turned her into a quad. She can't feed herself, go to the bathroom by herself, or even take a bath by herself. Her parents love her but they're getting old and can't hardly care for her anymore. She's had to watch her friends move on, get married, have kids, have careers and enjoy life. She just gets to sit there and wait to die.
You can give me all the excuses in the world about God's plan and how he works in mysterious ways. But it's all BS. It's just an excuse. If I were walking down the street and came across that young woman or that starving child and I had the power to help them... I would. Without question I would help them. God supposedly has unlimited power, can do anything, and yet chooses not to help these people. Think about that for a second. I'm not talking about petty problems like making your car payment or getting a promotion, or nailing the hot chick at starbucks. I'm talking about good people, innocent people, that never had a chance from the word go. People who's lives have been nothing but suffering. You mean to tell me this being loves us, cares about us, wants a relationship with us and lets his beloved creation suffer like this? Why? God has the power to help yet he chooses not to. He chooses not to help where as, had I the power, I would. Why am I a more moral being than this God?
When you combine that the know the bible to be a sloppily constructed document. everyday we discover one more aspect of it's tales to be unture (which causes apologists to claim allegory or fable), and we see the trail of broken and suffering people that this God claims to love so much but does nothing to help... I see absolutely no reason to think such a being exists.
But you have to begin by not assuming he's there at all. You don't have to assume he isn't. But allow yourself to imagine a wold where he doesn't. It's no different than the world we live in now.
And changing minds to better America and people in general was the reason I was given for atheists posting in a religious forum, so now I'm asking you to state your case and giving you an opportunity to change my mind....if you can.
No one wants to change your mind. You have to do that on your own. Religion is something that is force fed to most children and so they simply grow into adults accepting it. Choosing to reject that indoctrination takes a lot of soul searching and questioning. And for a believer coming out of their faith there is (as Geko45 put it) a period of mourning God. You really do feel like you've lost your security blanket and safety net. It's a strange time for a new non-believer. And you see the world COMPLETELY different. But I think you're beginning that path by asking... Why? That's an excellent start.