Today I present comments that have been generated on other blog posts and the Christian responses to them.
“It simply does not make sense if there is a God, intelligent force, cosmic consciousness etc., that everything should not be a part of that ‘God’ and that we are all spiritual beings having a material existence and we never lose our spirituality, or are rejected.
Just as you can’t be ‘half pregnant’ neither can God embrace some and reject others simply because of what they believe.”
If when this says “everything should not be a part of ‘God'” it suggests that all of created matter (planets, rocks, trees, humans) is a part of God, then Christianity would disagree. What is made of matter is finite and has a beginning, and God is infinite and has no beginning, therefore God is not part of the created world of nature. Instead, the created world relates to God as a painter to a painting.
Next, regarding the makeup of humans, the Bible teaches that we are a spirit-body unity (see 1 Cor. 15). Both our spirit and body are what makes up “us.”
Next, God is perfectly holy, but is also perfectly just. Humans have all sinned against this holy God (Romans 3:23) and God would not be just if he merely ignored our crimes against him. But the good news is that Jesus paid the price for our crime, and thus we can accept or reject God’s provision. So in fact God can indeed accept or reject people based on what they believe, but there’s more to the story…..the basis for that belief is not something irrelevant, but rather boils down to the core of who God is.
“Anyone who believes in absolutes, Truth/Lie or Black/White or Right/Wrong is going to have a problem. In reality life is very often grey.”
While it is true that many decisions in life are not very clear in what we should do, it does not follow that because of this, there are no absolutes. If one were to say ‘there are no absolutes’ they would actually be saying, ‘it is absolutely true that there are no absolutes’ which is a self-refuting statement. The same is true for any statement such as ‘it is a black/white truth that nothing is black/white.’
“I happen to feel that the biggest problem with the Bible and religion is the same problem which applies to The Koran and The Torah and all religious ‘books’ and that is they are interpreted literally when they were meant to be interpreted metaphorically.”
You are correct that there is much misinterpretation, and this has caused a great deal of confusion and problems. However, most of the time the interpretation is quite clear. For example, when Jesus says “I am the door, if anyone enters by me, he will be saved” (John 10:9), we do not conclude that Jesus is made of wood and has hinges. When the Bible says Jesus walked by the sea of Galilee (Matt. 4:18) then we conclude that what it really means is that the literal Jesus walked by the literal sea of Galilee. So the vast majority of the time, interpretation between literal and metaphor is very easy and clear. The same is true of the Koran when it tells people to kill non-Muslims.
“Of course there are errors. The Bible, like all religious books was handed down orally for millenia before being written down and from the point of writing, were edited numerous times.”
Of course there are not errors. All alleged errors have good answers for why they are not. Most of the time I’ve found that the “errors” people claim are because they assume errors, then set out to find them. Instead, if we approach the Bible with an open mind, we find it is truthful and accurate, error-free.
As for whether the Bible was oral before it was written, the statement above is clearly not true. Multiple evidences have been presented to factually disprove this claim….it is untrue by a wide margin. For a more detailed response to this, see the posts here, and here, and here. There are many more if you look.
“Everyone is subjective and that subjectivity, particularly given the patriarchal nature of the world at the time religions developed, has been transmitted to these books – including The Bible.”
If everyone is subjective and their statements are subjective, then the author of this statement is subjective, and therefore this statement is equally invalid. But somehow the people who make claims like this have found a way to see ‘how things really are’ and make an objectively true statement…..that everything is subjective. This statement is presented as objectively true for everyone, and is thus self-refuting.
That many societies in history have been patriarchial is a mere fact of history. However, this does not mean that 1) everything that comes from such a society is untrue, and 2) that this was psssed on to the Bible, especially in places where they directly quote Jesus. Further, if we really look at what the Bible teaches about women, it actually protects women and lifts them above the abuses in those societies. For example, the Old Testament divorce laws prevented men from passing women around like property; Jesus gave some of his greatest truths to women, and the apostle Paul named women as fellow workers, even going as far as to give his greatest letter, Romans, to a woman named Phoebe to deliver. So the accusation that the Bible in general, and the New Testament in particular, discriminates against women is patentlty false. It does just the opposite, lifting women to a level of respect.
“The reality is that there are many things in the Bible which are sourced in the petty minds of men and all the politics, powerplay and manipulations that involves.”
Some of this is indeed mentioned as accurate history, and rightfully condemned by the Bible. It does not teach that these things are proper and good.
“As a part of that subjectivity the word ‘virgin’ for instance in The Bible has taken on a meaning which was never a part of the original Aramaic where the word meant, not a woman with an intact hymen, but an independent woman – a woman who was not dependent on a man.”
Actually the word ‘virgin’ in Hebrew, Aramaic, or Greek, means “virgin” just as it does in English. Not sure where this other definition came from, but I don’t think it was from the dictionaries or lexicons, which are the documentation of the languages.
“The word Amen for instance comes from the ancient Egyptian and and was their word for the Sun God they worshipped – as Christians now worship the Son (Sun) God today.”
uh….no. The Greek word Amen is of Hebrew origin, according to Strongs lexicon. As for the “Sun/Son” analogy, this similarity only works in English, not any other language.
“And the Lord’s Prayer has also been found in ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs. The spiritual teachings of Christianity, at core, can be found in the ancient Goddess religion, in Hinduism, Jainism, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism and all religions and thus reflect the inherently spiritual nature of human beings. The teachings of Jesus for instance, in the main, existed long before he did – in the sayings of Mithras and numerous other saviour/redeemer gods.”
“I actually believe we all find our own way in our own way and there is not one answer for everyone – I also believe that our task in this world is to become more conscious and that requires a lot of questions, some answers, and a life’s journey.”
What we believe must match up with reality, or we belive incorrectly. In this case, Jesus happens to disagree, see John 14:6. And I’ve never quite figured out how one becomes “more concious.” It would seem that conscious is something one either is, or is not. I do not know what partially conscious woud look like.
“Our Truth may not be the Truth of someone else but they are Truths all the same. You find yours in the person and teachings of Christ – I do not find my Truth there and neither do many others. Some find their truth in Nature, others in Buddha, Mohammed or numerous other religious figures or systems.”
Actually, something is either true for everyone or its not. There are no truths that are only true for some and not others. What if some “find their truth” in something that is false? The ones you listed do not agree in fact, and cannot all be true at the same time. See here, and here.
“At core all of religions and spiritual belief systems say the same things. The teachings of Christ can be found in all religions, just attributed to others and the teachings of Christ can also be found in the most ancient of religions – Isis, Mithras and legions of other mythical and historical and semi-historical figures.”
Actually, no. The teachings of Jesus do not line up very well at all with the teachings of other religions or cultures. Yes, there are a few common things (treat all people well), but the only way one can make a statement such as this is to only look at the things that are in common and ignore the differences, then claim that all things are in common. No other religious figure claimed to be the unique God (John 1:1, 8:58), the only way to salvation (John 14:6). It can be said that all religions are the same as Christianity, except for their teachings on God, heaven, hell, sin, salvation, Jesus, and the afterlife, all of which disagree. For but one example, see here.
“I suspect that in the next world, in fact as Christ said, what will be taken into account is not how much we believed, nor how often we went to church or mosque or synagogue or temple, nor how often we prayed – but how we lived our lives; how we treated ourselves and how we treated others.”
How I wish this were true, but it is not. In fact, the Bible says that where we put our trust now will indeed determine how we live in the afterlife. The Bible clearly tells us that Jesus is the only way (John 1: 12, 14:6; Acts 4:12), and that no amount of good works will get us to heaven (Ephesians 2:8-10). Jesus is the only way to heaven, and we cannot get there by going any other way. See Matthew 7:13-14; John 10:1-11.