Best christian bible study books according to redditors

We found 3,796 Reddit comments discussing the best christian bible study books. We ranked the 1,111 resulting products by number of redditors who mentioned them. Here are the top 20.

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Top Reddit comments about Christian Bible Study:

u/polarbears_toenails · 282 pointsr/funny

I lost it at “I am officially Jewish, but I’m Jewish in the same way the Olive Garden is an Italian restaurant.”

Thou shalt read this book!

u/vfr · 77 pointsr/atheism

That search is what made me atheist. The truth is that there is no true history of the bible. It's long lost, a mystery. For instance, we have no idea who wrote the gospels.. .totally anonymous. We don't know who wrote the OT... At best we know Paul's letters and a few other books, and we know when certain things were added or changed (for instance the famous John 3:16 was added by a monk later on).

If you want some insight into the history of Christianity, here are some links. It's a messy world filled with 2000 years of apologetics muddying the waters. (specifically this one: Examining the Existence of a Historical Jesus: ) (responsible for converting most of Europe... by the sword. Dealth penalty for having any pagan items, sacked whole villages, etc). more:

Now, if you want some good books... I recommend:

Any other questions?

u/Altilana · 75 pointsr/ATBGE

Except that’s not what happens. They eat of the fruit of knowledge which is what kicks them out. It’s an allegory for adulthood/leaving behind innocence, knowing the difference between right/ wrong and being self aware enough to feel shame (hence covering the body.) The creation story is an explanation why humanity isn’t childlike, and living in paradise. A lot of modern translations have tamed down the sexual language in scripture but there is a shit ton of sex, and sex play going on in the Bible. The Book of Genesis by Robert Crumb is a silly read but good at shocking people into realize how much sex goes on in the Bible.

u/HaiKarate · 40 pointsr/TrueAtheism

Who Wrote the Bible? by Richard Elliot Freeman -- breaks down the composition of the first five books of the Bible, and why it seems a little funky to the average reader (hint: multiple authors and editing for each book).

The Bible Unearthed -- One of the top archaeologists in Israel today demonstrates why the foundational stories of the Bible can't be literally true.

A History of God -- Explains the known history behind the idea of the god of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and how that idea evolved from polytheistic roots.

The above three books would represent where most Bible scholars are on the issue of the historical authenticity of the Bible's stories.

u/Ohthere530 · 40 pointsr/atheism

I recently read the books on this topic by Ehrman, Doherty, and Carrier.

I found Carrier's case for a Mythical Jesus to be compelling, even though I found him to be annoying as a writer. He is rude to people who disagree with him and chooses language designed to offend. His writing is shrill and stiff. That said, his book is scholarly and well documented.

Ehrman argues for a historical Jesus. His book was almost the opposite of Carrier's. His tone was friendly and approachable. He seemed calm and reassuring. I kind of wanted him to prove his case. But his arguments sucked.

Doherty dissected Ehrman's case paragraph by paragraph. (I read Carrier first, then Ehrman, then Doherty.) Doherty raised many of the concerns I noticed myself. Ehrman's arguments just didn't make sense. Never mind the history or the evidence — I'm no scholar — his arguments didn't make logical sense.

I wouldn't say it's proven either way. Given the scarcity of evidence, it may never be. That said, Carrier made a surprisingly strong case against a historical Jesus. If Ehrman's defense of Jesus is the best that academia can do, I'd say Jesus is pretty much dead.

But I would love to see a serious and scholarly attempt to refute Carrier's work. Ehrman's work didn't cut it.

u/R4F1 · 33 pointsr/funny

Nice try, OP. This isn't lego anything, its the Brick Bible.

u/OtherWisdom · 29 pointsr/AcademicBiblical

Romans is considered a genuine work from Paul. For more information concerning forged documents in antiquity see Forged: Writing in the Name of God--Why the Bible’s Authors Are Not Who We Think They Are.

u/princemyshkin · 28 pointsr/atheism

> Where is a good place to find the true history of the Bible?

I'd recommend this, it what I read as part of a class at a Christian University (I'm now agnostic fwiw), so you can be assured it won't be a liberally or atheistically biased book if you're concerned about that sort of thing. It's also a rather pleasant read!

Good luck to you.

PS: I used "speak in tongues" but I was just faking it at first, and then somehow convinced myself that it was genuine. Now, after becoming an agnostic, Its almost laughably fake.

u/weirds3xstuff · 28 pointsr/DebateReligion

I. Sure, some forms of theism are coherent (Christianity is not one of those forms, for what it's worth; the Problem of Natural Evil and Euthyphro's Dilemma being a couple of big problems), but not all coherent ideas are true representations of the world; any introductory course in logic will demonstrate that.

II. The cosmological argument is a deductive argument. Deductive arguments are only as strong as their premises. The premises of the cosmological argument are not known to be true. Therefore, the cosmological argument should not be considered true. If you think you know a specific formulation of the cosmological argument that has true premises, please present it. I'm fully confident I can explain how we know such premises are not true.

III. There is no doubt that the teleological argument has strong persuasive force, but that's a very different thing than "being real evidence" or "something that should have strong persuasive force." I explain apparent cosmological fine-tuning as an entirely anthropic effect: if the constants were different, we wouldn't be here to observe them, therefore we observe them as they are.

IV. This statement is just false on its face. Lawrence Krauss has a whole book about the potential ex nihilo mechanisms (plural!) for the creation of the universe that are entirely consistent with the known laws of physics. (Note that the idea of God is not consistent with the known laws of physics, since he, by definition, supersedes them.)

V. This is just a worse version of argument III. Naturalistic evolution has far, far more explanatory power than theism. To name my favorite examples: the human blind spot is inexplicable from the standpoint of top-down design, but it makes perfect sense in the context of evolution; likewise, the path of the mammalian nerves for the tongue traveling below the heart makes no sense from the standpoint of top-down design, but it makes perfect sense in the context of evolution. Evolution routinely makes predictions that are tested to be true, whether it means predicting where fossils with specific characteristics will be found or how fruit fly mating behavior changes after populations have been separated and exposed to different environments for 30+ generations. It's worth emphasizing that it is totally normal to look at the complexity of the world and assume that it must have a designer...but it's also totally normal to think that electrons aren't waves. Intuition isn't a reliable way to discern truth. We must not be seduced by comfortable patterns of thought. We must think more carefully. When we think more carefully, it turns out that evolution is true and evolution requires no god.

VI. There are two points here: 1) the universe follows rules, and 2) humans can understand those rules. Point (1) is easily answered with the anthropic argument: rules are required for complex organization, humans are an example of complex organization, therefore humans can only exist in a physical reality that is governed by rules. Point (2) might not even be true. Wigner's argument is fun and interesting, but it's actually wrong! Mathematics are not able to describe the fundamental behavior of the physical world. As far as we know, Quantum Field Theory is the best possible representation of the fundamental physical world, and it is known to be an approximation, because, mathematically, it leads to an infinite regress. For a more concrete example, there is no analytic solution for the orbital path of the earth around the sun! (This is because it is subject to the gravitational attraction of more than one other object; its solution is calculated numerically, i.e. by sophisticated guess-and-check.)

VII. This is just baldly false. I recommend Dan Dennett's "Consciousness Explained" and Stanislas Dehaene's "Consciousness and the Brain" for a coherent model of a materialist mind and a wealth of evidence in support of the materialist mind.

VIII. First of all, the idea that morality comes from god runs into the Problem of Natural Evil and Euthyphro's Dilemma pretty hard. And the convergence of all cultures to universal ideas of right and wrong (murder is bad, stealing is bad, etc.) are rather easily explained by anthropology and evolutionary psychology. Anthropology and evolutionary psychology also predict that there would be cultural divergence on more subtle moral questions (like the Trolley Problem, for example)...and there is! I think that makes those theories better explanations for moral sentiments than theism.

IX. I'm a secular Buddhist. Through meditation, I transcend the mundane even though I deny the existence of any deity. Also, given the diversity of religious experience, it's insane to suggest that religious experience argues for the existence of the God of Catholicism.

X. Oh, boy. I'm trying to think of the best way to persuade you of all the problems with your argument, here. So, here's an exercise for you: take the argument you have written in the linked posts and reformat them into a sequence of syllogisms. Having done that, highlight each premise that is not a conclusion of a previous syllogism. Notice the large number of highlighted premises and ask yourself for each, "What is the proof for this premise?" I am confident that you will find the answer is almost always, "There is no proof for this premise."

XI. "...three days after his death, and against every predisposition to the contrary, individuals and groups had experiences that completely convinced them that they had met a physically resurrected Jesus." There is literally no evidence for this at all (keeping in mind that Christian sacred texts are not evidence for the same reason that Hindu sacred texts are not evidence). Hell, Richard Carrier's "On the Historicity of Christ" even has a strong argument that Jesus didn't exist! (I don't agree with the conclusion of the argument, though I found his methods and the evidence he gathered along the way to be worthy of consideration.)


I don't think that I can dissuade you of your belief. But, I do hope to explain to you why, even if you find your arguments intuitively appealing, they do not conclusively demonstrate that your belief is true.

u/Novalis123 · 27 pointsr/AcademicBiblical

You are correct, your professor is a fundamentalist. Check out The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings by Bart D. Ehrman and An Introduction to the New Testament by Raymond E. Brown.

u/BraveOmeter · 24 pointsr/samharris

Hmm. I would love for Sam to interview Richard Carrier next to see if he convinces Sam that the historicity of Jesus, like many 'fringe' historians believe, is in doubt.

edit: his book, On the Historicity of Jesus, was peer reviewed and published by a major academic press, and is the first book on the subject to do so. That was in 2014. Carrier and other mythicists believe there is not enough historical evidence to say 'Jesus, the man, probably existed,' and if you read his arguments, they're compelling. Notice, he doesn't say 'Jesus definitely never existed,' just that the other side hasn't met their burden of proof.

His earlier book, Proving History, outlines many of the problems in the field of Jesus studies, namely, that no historical criteria has led any two scholars to the same conclusion about the actual life of Jesus the man. To quote:

>“I won't recount the whole history of historical Jesus research here, as that has been done to death already. Indeed, accounts of the many “quests” for the historical Jesus and their failure are legion, each with their own extensive bibliography. Just to pick one out of a hat, Mark Strauss summarizes, in despair, the many Jesuses different scholars have “discovered” in the evidence recently. Jesus the Jewish Cynic Sage. Jesus the Rabbinical Holy Man (or Devoted Pharisee, or Heretical Essene, or any of a dozen other contradictory things). Jesus the Political Revolutionary or Zealot Activist. Jesus the Apocalyptic Prophet. And Jesus the Messianic Pretender (or even, as some still argue, Actual Messiah). And that's not even a complete list. We also have Jesus the Folk Wizard (championed most famously by Morton Smith in Jesus the Magician, and most recently by Robert Conner in Magic in the New Testament). Jesus the Mystic and “Child of Sophia” (championed by Elisabeth Schussler Fiorenza and John Shelby Spong). Jesus the Nonviolent Social Reformer (championed by Bruce Malina and others).

>Excerpt From: Carrier, Richard C. “Proving History: Bayes's Theorem and the Quest for the Historical Jesus.”

(It goes on from there.)

u/tazemanian-devil · 22 pointsr/exjw

Hello and welcome! Here are my recommendations for getting those nasty watchtower cobwebs out of your head, in other words, here is what I did to de-indoctrinate myself:

Take some time to learn about the history of the bible. For example, you can take the Open Yale Courses on Religious Studies for free.

Read Who Wrote the Bible by Richard Elliott Friedman

Also read A History of God by Karen Armstrong

Next, learn some actual science. For example - spoiler alert: evolution is true. Visit Berkeley's excellent Understanding Evolution Website.. Or, if you're pressed for time, watch this cartoon.

Read Why Evolution is True by Jerry Coyne

Read The Greatest Show on Earth by Richard Dawkins

Learn about the origin of the universe. For example, you could read works by Stephen Hawking

Read A Briefer History of Time by Stephen Hawking

Learn about critical thinking from people like Michael Shermer, and how to spot logical fallacies.

For good measure, use actual data and facts to learn the we are NOT living in some biblical "last days". Things have gotten remarkably better as man has progressed in knowledge. For example, watch this cartoon explaining how war is on the decline..

Read The Better Angels of Our Nature by Steven Pinker

Another great source is the youtube series debunking 1914 being the start of the last days.

I wish you the best. There is a whole world of legitimate information out there based on actual evidence that you can use to become a more knowledgeable person.

You may still wonder how you can be a good human without "the truth." Here is a good discussion on how one can be good without god. --Replace where he talks about hell with armageddon, and heaven with paradise--

Start to help yourself begin to live a life where, as Matt Dillahunty puts it, you'll "believe as many true things, and as few false things as possible."

u/WastedP0tential · 20 pointsr/DebateAnAtheist

You wanted to be part of the intelligentsia, but throughout your philosophical journey, you always based your convictions only on authority and tradition instead of on evidence and arguments. Don't you realize that this is the epitome of anti – intellectualism?

It is correct that the New Atheists aren't the pinnacle of atheistic thought and didn't contribute many new ideas to the academic debate of atheism vs. theism or religion. But this was never their goal, and it is also unnecessary, since the academic debate is already over for many decades. If you want to know why the arguments for theism are all complete nonsense and not taken seriously anymore, why Christianity is wrong just about everything and why apologists like Craig are dishonest charlatans who make a living out of fooling people, your reading list shouldn't be New Atheists, but rather something like this:

Colin Howson – Objecting to God

George H. Smith – Atheism: The Case Against God

Graham Oppy – Arguing about Gods

Graham Oppy – The Best Argument Against God

Herman Philipse – God in the Age of Science

J. L. Mackie – The Miracle of Theism

J. L. Schellenberg – The Wisdom to Doubt

Jordan Sobel – Logic and Theism

Nicholas Everitt – The Non-Existence of God

Richard Gale – On the Nature and Existence of God

Robin Le Poidevin – Arguing for Atheism

Stewart Elliott Guthrie – Faces in the Clouds: A New Theory of Religion

Theodore Drange – Nonbelief & Evil

[Avigor Shinan – From Gods to God: How the Bible Debunked, Suppressed, or Changed Ancient Myths and Legends] (

Bart Ehrman – The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings

Bart Ehrman – Jesus, Interrupted

Bart Ehrman – Misquoting Jesus

Burton L. Mack – Who Wrote the New Testament?

Helmut Koester – Ancient Christian Gospels

John Barton, John Muddiman – The Oxford Bible Commentary

John Dominic Crossan – Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography

Karen Armstrong – A History of God

Mark Smith – The Early History of God

Randel McCraw Helms – Who Wrote the Gospels?

Richard Elliott Friedman – Who Wrote the Bible?

Robert Bellah – Religion in Human Evolution: From the Paleolithic to the Axial Age

Robert Walter Funk – The Gospel of Jesus

u/MegaTrain · 20 pointsr/TrueAtheism

I'm no historian, but have been interested in the Jesus myth question since I lost my faith a few years ago. I am a fan of Richard Carrier, to reveal my own bias.

A few thoughts that I think are fair:

  1. Arguing that Jesus is a myth is not a good strategy for arguing against Christianity. Mythicist Richard Carrier acknowledges this and points to an excellent article by philosopher Daniel Fincke.

  2. The truth is that a historical Jesus existing is, in fact, the broad consensus of most Biblical scholars, even those who are not Christians. Obviously, this doesn't mean that it is necessarily correct (even a consensus can be wrong), but it is the consensus at this point.

  3. There are some really, really crappy mythicist theories out there. Zeitgeist the movie is a good example.

  4. Up until now, there has not been a peer-reviewed scholarly case made for mythicism. As of June 2014, Richard Carrier published a peer-reviewed book on the subject, On the Historicity of Jesus: Why We Might Have Reason for Doubt, but it is too early to say what impact, if any, this publication will have on the consensus. Carrier is compiling a list of responses to his book and his replies to their criticism.

  5. There is some indication that other Biblical scholars are moving toward agnosticism on this subject. This article by Carrier mentions several that appear to be softening on the subject, or even joining the ranks of mythicists.
u/Im_just_saying · 20 pointsr/Christianity

Answers in Genesis is basically a young earth, six day creationist group. Their founder, Ken Ham, is a questionable fellow (just google him), but is unquestionably bad with science.

I would be hard pressed to promote anything from AIG. I don't envy your predicament.

Having said that, a book on the subject I really recommend folk read is Walton's The Lost World of Genesis One. Corny title, amazing book.

u/epieikeia · 19 pointsr/TrueAtheism

Richard Carrier has explored this issue recently in a two-book series (Proving History, and On the Historicity of Jesus. Here is a lecture he gave while the second book was in progress, if you want an overview of the arguments. He's the most prominent historian I know of who considers a mythical Jesus most plausible.

u/Shorts28 · 18 pointsr/AskAChristian

I believe in and subscribe to evolution. The science is undeniable.

You probably realize that there are good and strong Christians who take different positions about creation and evolution. There are 5 main positions:

  • Young Earth, 6-day creation: The Earth is only about 6,000-10,000 years old, and God created the universe and everything we see in 6 24-hr days.
  • Old Earth, 6-day creation: The universe is 13 billion years old, and the Earth is 4.5 billion years old, and God created it all in 6 days 13 billion years ago.
  • Day-Age Theory: Each of the “days” of creation in Genesis aren’t literal days, but they represent long eras. For instance, the first “day” of creation (creation of light) could have been billions of years in the making. But each age follows the sequence as outlined in Genesis 1.
  • Gap Theory: Genesis 1.1, like the first phase of creation, happened billions of years ago. Then something cataclysmic happened, and it was all turned “formless and void,” and God started the second phase of creation in Genesis 1.2, which happened more recently.
  • Evolutionary Creationism: God created the universe and all that we see, but he used the processes of the Big Bang and evolution to created everything we see. If this is the position one takes, Genesis 1 is about how God ordered the universe to function (light functions to give us day, the Earth functions to bring forth vegetation, the heavenly bodies function to give us seasons, etc.), not about how He manufactured it. He certainly created (manufactured) it, but that’s not what Genesis 1 is about.

    At the same time, there are 6 different ways to define “evolution.” Only #6 is completely contrary to Christianity.

  • The ancient earth thesis, some 4.5 billion years old
  • The progress thesis: The claim that life has progressed from relatively simple to relatively complex forms. In the beginning there was relatively simple unicellular life. Then more complex unicellular life, then relatively simple multi-cellular life (seagoing worms, coral, jellyfish), then fish, then amphibia, then reptiles, birds, mammals, and human beings.
  • Descent with modification: The enormous diversity of the contemporary living world has come about by way of offspring differing, ordinarily in small and subtle ways, from their parents.
  • Common ancestry thesis: Life originated at only one place of earth, all subsequent life being related by descent to those original living creatures—the claim that, as Gould puts it, there is a “tree of evolutionary descent linking all organisms by ties of genealogy.” According to this theory, we are all cousins of each other—and indeed of all living things (horses, bats bacteria, oak trees, poison ivy, humans.
  • Darwinism: There is a naturalistic mechanism driving this process of descent with modification: the most popular candidate is natural selection operating on random genetic mutation, although some other processes are also sometimes proposed.
  • Naturalistic origins thesis: Life itself developed from non-living matter without any special creative activity of God but just by virtue of processed described by the ordinary laws of physics, chemistry, and biology.

    So how can the Bible and evolution go together? Very easily if we take Christian position #5 and evolutionary positions #1-5. As long as we keep God as the central and necessary sovereign intelligence, power, person, and morality in the process, I don’t see where it’s a problem.

    I subscribe to the interpretation of Genesis 1-2 laid out by Dr. John Walton in “The Lost World of Genesis 1” ( Briefly reporting, in it he asserts that Genesis 1 is about how God ordered the cosmos to function, not how He manufactured it. Certainly God created the universe (as taught in other verses in the Bible), but that’s not what Genesis 1 is about.

    The first "day" is clearly (literally) about a *period* of light called day, and a *period* of light called night. It is about the sequence of day and night, evening and morning, literally. Therefore, what Day 1 is about is God ordering the universe and our lives with the function of TIME, not God creating what the physicists call "light," about which the ancients knew nothing.

    Look through the whole chapter. It is about how the firmament functions to bring us weather (the firmament above and below), how the earth functions to bring forth plants for our sustenance, how the sun, moon, and stars function to order the days and seasons. We find out in day 6 the function of humans: to be fruitful and multiply, to rule the earth and subdue it. Walton contends that we have to look at the text through ancient eyes, not modern ones, and the concern of the ancients was function and order. (It was a given that the deities created the material universe.) The differences between cultures (and creation accounts) was how the universe functioned, how it was ordered, and what people were for. (There were large disagreements among the ancients about function and order; it widely separates the Bible from the surrounding mythologies.)

    And on the 7th day God rested. In the ancient world when a god came to "rest" in the temple, he came to live there and engage with the people as their god. So it is not a day of disengagement, but of action and relationship.

    In other words, it's a temple text, not an account of material creation. There was no temple that could be built by human hands that would be suitable for him, so God ordered the entire universe to function as his Temple. The earth was ordered to function as the "Holy Place," and the Garden of Eden as his "Holy of Holies." Adam and Eve were given the function of being his priest and priestess, to care for sacred space (very similar to Leviticus) and to be in relationship with God (that's what Genesis 2 is about).

    You probably want to know about the seven days. In the ancient world ALL temple dedications were 7-day dedications, where what God had done to order his world was rehearsed, and on the 7th day God came to "rest" in his temple—to dwell with his people and engage with them as their God. That's what the seven days mean.

    Back to evolution. Therefore Gn 1-2 make no comment on *how* the material world came about, or how long it took. We need science to tell us that. We need Gn 1-2 to tell us what it's there for (God's temple) and how it is supposed to function (to provide a place of fellowship between God and humans, and to bring God glory as an adequate temple for his Majesty).

    Feel free to discuss this. For those who have never heard these ideas, it takes a little adjusting. But they make a whole lot of sense to me.
u/NomadicVagabond · 18 pointsr/skeptic

The two best books for getting a basic understanding of the writing and transmission process of the Bible are:

Richard Friedman's Who Wrote the Bible? for the Hebrew Scriptures

Burton Mack's Who Wrote the New Testament? for the Christian Scriptures

u/[deleted] · 15 pointsr/exjw

It's a bunch of gobbledygook about the generations and the kingdom and all of that. It's all nonsense. In my humble opinion, you need to de-indoctrinate yourself to fully remove these types of fears. Not sure if I've shared this post with you before, but here's what I did personally:

Take some time to learn about the history of the bible. For example, you can take the Open Yale Courses on Religious Studies for free.

Read Who Wrote the Bible by Richard Elliott Friedman

Also read A History of God by Karen Armstrong

Next, learn some actual science. For example - spoiler alert: evolution is true. Visit Berkeley's excellent Understanding Evolution Website.. Or, if you're pressed for time, watch this cartoon.

Read Why Evolution is True by Jerry Coyne

Read The Greatest Show on Earth by Richard Dawkins

Learn about the origin of the universe. For example, you could read works by Stephen Hawking

Read A Briefer History of Time by Stephen Hawking

Learn about critical thinking from people like Michael Shermer, and how to spot logical fallacies.

For good measure, use actual data and facts to learn the we are NOT living in some biblical "last days". Things have gotten remarkably better as man has progressed in knowledge. For example, watch this cartoon explaining how war is on the decline..

Read The Better Angels of Our Nature by Steven Pinker

Another great source is the youtube series debunking 1914 being the start of the last days.

Another way to clear out the cobwebs is to read and listen to exiting stories. Here are some resources:

Here is a post with links to a bunch of podcasts interviewing JWs who've left

Here's another bunch of podcasts about JWs

Here is a great book from Psychotherapist and former JW Bonnie Zieman - Exiting the JW Cult: A Helping Handbook

I wish you the best. There is a whole world of legitimate information out there based on actual evidence that you can use to become a more knowledgeable person.

You may still wonder how you can be a good human without "the truth." Here is a good discussion on how one can be good without god. --Replace where he talks about hell with armageddon, and heaven with paradise--

To go further down the rabbit hole, watch this series.

Here's a nice series debunking most creationist "logic".

Start to help yourself begin to live a life where, as Matt Dillahunty puts it, you'll "believe as many true things, and as few false things as possible."

u/davidjricardo · 15 pointsr/Reformed

Here's my reading list on Reformed Perspectives on Creation. I don't agree with everything written by all of the authors, but they are all worth reading. The also aren't all written from a Reformed perspective, but many of them are. If you are looking more for a Scientific perspective I'd particularly recommend Collins, Jelsma, and Haarsma since those are the ones written by scientists instead of theologians. If you didn't see it already, I also listed a number of other resources by Collins yesterday in the post about his AMA.

u/Venus100 · 15 pointsr/exchristian

This was what first made me start the process of deconversion. I had for a long time held that some form of theistic evolution must be true. I had read Francis Collins, and John Walton books, and thought my reasoning was logical.

The tiny seeds of my eventual deconversion were planted however in a discussion/debate with my mother-in-law. She is a staunch creationist, doesn't think anyone who believes in evolution can possibly be a christian. We had a long discussion about the issue, and she kind of came around to my point of view--or at least didn't think I was going straight to hell anymore. But in the course of this conversation, she off-handedly made some comment about evolution meaning there was always death. We didn't really talk about the subject any more than that.

But it kept popping into my mind over the coming days. And for some reason, I had never considered this idea before. Months later, after much research, reading and considering, I came to realize that I could find no acceptable explanation for what "the fall" was, if it was a merely symbolic event. If there was always sickness and pain and death from day one, then the world was always "fallen". And without a fall, my understanding of who Jesus was and what he did was on VERY shaky ground. So it was the beginning of the end for me.

u/McCaineNL · 15 pointsr/SneerClub

Sort of indirectly related to SneerClub subjects, I hope that's ok. Apparently this guy Richard Carrier - of course not himself a New Testament specialist at all - tried to show that Jesus did not exist by waving the Bayes wand. Needless to say, it got rather bad reviews in professional journals. It seems a pretty astonishing example though of the belief that by applying Bayes' formula to any subject, you don't need to actually know anything about it...

u/benjaman_kyle · 15 pointsr/AcademicBiblical

I've seen people bash him as biased, which basically translates to 'expressing an opinion that isn't mine', but his textbook is used by Yale.

I've also never seen him engage in polemic ... the guy maintains an even tone in the face of retards, and acts like a teacher should.

u/TooManyInLitter · 14 pointsr/DebateAnAtheist

> Redditepsilon, 2 day old account. While a very young account is usually indicative of some sort of got'ca or make-a-claim hit and run account - Redditepsilon, your post history provides some evidence that you will actually discuss/debate against your topic post, so some short answers (mostly copy and paste from previous debates) to these common claims.

> If we look at the background historical data on the resurrection of Jesus, which is the empty tomb,

Let's look at what is arguably the most important narrative related to Jesus in Christianity, the Resurrection narratives. Ignoring the completely inaccurate portrayal of the Roman trial law and procedures in the Trial of Jesus, and the historically unsupportable removal of the body of the decessed Jesus from the crufix and tomb burial - which presumes that the body was actually placed in the tomb (link - warning a HUGH wall of text), let's look at the consistency and accuracy of the various canon Gospel narratives related to the resurrection. The much studied, and selected, Gospel canon narratives, canon selected by learned men who had both (1) strong motivation to select narratives that supported their worldview and confirmation bias and (2) demonstrated rejection of dogma/narratives that did not fit their self-selected criteria, results in a series of Resurrection narratives that are highly non-internally consistent.

  • Comparison Chart: Biblical Accounts of the Resurrection
  • A Table Comparing the Contents of the Resurrection Narratives in each of the Four Gospels

    Before the Christian Apologist kicks in and claims that these narratives are all essentially the same (somehow), consider the narratives from the claim that there is a truth position in Christianity/Yahweh's existence that results from the argument of internal consistency and historical fact. Given the widely different versions of the Resurrection narrative, for what is arguably the most important and essential event/tenet of Christianity, the argument from internal consistency of it's own historical fact fails to be credible.

    > the post-mortem apparances of Jesus to different people and groups of people

    Besides the claim of the apostles that they saw Jesus post-resurrection, who were these other people?

    > the origin of the disciples faith that Jesus rose from the dead

    But speaking of the appearance of post-resurrection Jesus - Jesus purposefully provided empirical physical, and falsifiable, evidence that he (Jesus) was alive and in natural physical human body form (Doubting Thomas, John 20:24-29) following the Resurrection. 1. Why does Jesus fail to provide such evidence now? and 2. In light of the actions of Jesus, why is Religious Faith considered such a virtue?

    > the willingness of Jesus' disciples to go to their deaths for that faith

    Fallacy of argumentum ad martyrium (argument from martyrdom). While the argument from martyrdom, an appeal to emotion, produces an emotional response, the act of martyrdom/suicide in no way provides, or supports, a truth position against the belief that is used to support the label of martyr. People voluntarily die for all sorts of beliefs that have no truth value.

    For a detailed assessment see: March to Martyrdom! (Down the Yellow Brick Road…)

    > is that a convincing evidence on a balance of probability, that Jesus was raised from the dead?

    No. The claim/assertions of resurrection is, at best, highly questionable.

    > And doesn't that suggest he was raised by God from the dead?

    Again no.

    > it's almost certain he [Jesus] existed.

    Did Jesus the man exist as depicted in the New Testament of the Bible?

    Given the contradictions internally within in the narratives and the contradictions in events/dates between the narratives and events/dates presented in contemporary histories, I would say that it is unlikely that, presuming existence of a historical figure, the depiction of Jesus the man in the Gospels is accurate.

    I will concede that there was a man, a Jewish man, that acted as a Rabbi, and that preached a form of divergent Judaism, and that lived around 4 BCE'ish till around 29 BCE'ish (when this man is said to have died). I concede that a historical Jesus existed, where Jesus is the name given to the archetype of the person upon which the Jesus narrative in the New Testament is based. Yĕhōšuă‘, Joshua, Jesus, יְהוֹשֻׁעַ, was not an uncommon name within the Hebrew community and may represent the actual name of this archetypal person. This Jesus character is also attributed with what can arguably be described as a lite version of the morality of Buddhism, and this Jesus was a decent, though with a rather shallow philosophy, fellow. This Jesus was also atypical of the contemporary Jews as he was in his 30's and had not married.

    The Divine narrative attributed to the Jesus character, however, is a different issue.

    If you are interested in a mythist position concerning the historical Jesus, check out:

  • On the Historicity of Jesus: Why We Might Have Reason for Doubt by Richard Carrier

    Summary: The assumption that Jesus existed as a historical person has occasionally been questioned in the course of the last hundred years or so, but any doubts that have been raised have usually been put to rest in favor of imagining a blend of the historical, the mythical and the theological in the surviving records of Jesus. Carrier re-examines the whole question and finds compelling reasons to suspect the more daring assumption is correct. He lays out extensive research on the evidence for Jesus and the origins of Christianity and poses the key questions that must now be answered if the historicity of Jesus is to survive as a dominant paradigm. Carrier contrasts the most credible reconstruction of a historical Jesus with the most credible theory of Christian origins if a historical Jesus did not exist. Such a theory would posit that the Jesus figure was originally conceived of as a celestial being known only through private revelations and hidden messages in scripture; then stories placing this being in earth history were crafted to communicate the claims of the gospel allegorically; such stories eventually came to be believed or promoted in the struggle for control of the Christian churches that survived the tribulations of the first century. Carrier finds the latter theory more credible than has been previously imagined. He explains why it offers a better explanation for all the disparate evidence surviving from the first two centuries of the Christian era. He argues that we need a more careful and robust theory of cultural syncretism between Jewish theology and politics of the second-temple period and the most popular features of pagan religion and philosophy of the time. For anyone intent on defending a historical Jesus, this is the book to challenge.

    OP, if you wish to have a more indepth discussion/debate, a suggestion... Pick just one claim/assertion, start a new topic (here in /r/debateanatheist or /r/DebateReligion), present your claim and supporting argument/position, and then defend that claim and argument. When you post as many claims as you did in this topic post (and presented without actual credible evidence or supporting argument), the length of a full and detailed response becomes silly.


    EDIT: Going back to the empty tomb argument....

    OP, here are some previous discussions concerning the claims made around the empty tomb that came up in /r/AcademicBiblical.

    /r/AcademicBiblical is a fairly active subreddit that discusses early Judaism and Christianity—with a focus on Biblical texts, but also related noncanonical literature (1 Enoch, the Dead Sea Scrolls, etc.)—in a scholarly context. A highly recommended subreddit for all those interested in studies of Judaism and Christianity.
u/unsubinator · 13 pointsr/TrueChristian

>in the opinion of modern scholars

In the opinion of some modern scholars. The opinions to which you give voice are hardly universal and they're trending toward a minority among contemporary scholars. Such views were much more widely held at the beginning of the 20th Century, for instance, than they are today.

Among the scholars to which you can refer to good scholarship and a less Modernist point of view are N.T. Wright and Scott Hahn. Both are (as far as I know) well regarded scholars of the Bible. There are others but those are the two that spring to mind.

>the disciples didn't really believe Jesus was God (if he existed)

I think this is false on the face of it, and even Bart Ehrman concludes that it was their belief in the resurrection that convinced Jesus' disciples that Jesus was God in the years immediately following the crucifixion. See here for a radio interview with Ehrman about his book, How Jesus Became God.

Ehrman courted the disfavor of his atheist admirers in one of his other recent books, where he took aim at the Jesus mythicists, arguing that Jesus was definitely an historical character.

Again, I would refer you to N.T. Wright and his works on the historicity of the Bible.

> the Bible is a collage of stolen myths

Once again, this is just flatly false and is only believed by the most extreme "scholars" in the Jesus Mythicist camp (as far as I know).

>My second question: is there a term for someone who studies Biblical topics in general? As in one who studies ancient near-east cultures, comparative mythology, languages, Biblical source documents, Jewish literature, archaeology, and other "Biblical Humanities"? That's what I like.

I don't know about a "term", but check out Scott Hahn, the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology, this book (if you can find it), and especially (for this question), I would recommend John Walton and his books, The Lost World of Genesis One and Ancient Near Eastern Thought and the Old Testament: Introducing the Conceptual World of the Hebrew Bible.

u/fqrh · 13 pointsr/atheism

Other scholars think the ratio is more likely to be 0%. Source: Richard Carrier.

u/Bilbo_Fraggins · 12 pointsr/DebateAnAtheist

> By the methods and standards of the historical community writ large, a historical Jesus existed.

I'm curious if you have any material to back this up. The most (only?) interesting part of the debate to me is whether historical Jesus studies actually uses good historical methods, and it's the topic of the book Carrier just wrote(which i haven't read yet, but have listened to an interview about).

I'm also not a historian, and really haven't looked into this issue, so I'm interested if you have any insights.

(FWIW, I couldn't care less if there was a historical, non-creedal Jesus or not. I'm really quite puzzled why people seem to care so much. But if everyone's gonna talk about it, I might as well learn something. ;-)

u/Kralizec555 · 12 pointsr/DebateReligion

I would like to point out the very obvious problem with this method; even if the New Testament were mostly or even completely accurate in regards to the naturalistic and historical aspects of the story it portrays, this in no way lends credence to the supernatural and unverified portions. In other words, just because history corroborates many of the key characters, dates, and events of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter this does not suddenly make it credible that he hunted vampires.

If you are looking for some good study on the historical authenticity and context of the New Testament, this book by Bart Ehrman has been on my reading list for a while, and is supposed to be quite informative.

u/arachnophilia · 12 pointsr/AcademicBiblical

hi /u/lenusme. this is probably not the right place for this. self promotion is generally frowned upon here, unless you have an exceptionally well researched blog post, or an actual academic paper you'd like to share. and this is a pretty surface level discussion at best, to be honest. but i'd like to discuss some problems anyways.

> Some believe that Moses wrote Genesis while was in the land of Midian. Others believe he wrote it in the desert after his encounter with God on Mount Sinai. Although there is no way to know.

in fact, modern scholarship nearly universally rejects mosaic authorship entirely. you may want to consult the popular books "who wrote the bible?" and "the bible with sources revealed" by richard elliott friedman for an introduction to the documentary hypothesis (or start with this wiki page, if you'd like).

there are a number of other notable problems with mosaic authorship too, from an archaeological/historical standpoint. for instance, the amarna letters contain a few hundred correspondences between the pharaohs at akhentaten (now el-amarna) and their vassal territories in the 14th and 13th centuries BCE, and are among many other pieces of evidence that indicate that the egyptian empire looked rather like this for most of the time between 1550 BCE and 1100-ish BCE:

other relevant pieces of evidence for this are the egyptian hittite peace treaty that places the border between those two empires approximately 100 miles north of jerusalem around 1259 BCE, signed by the great ramesses ii, and the stele left by his son mernepteh in 1208 BCE reaffirming conquest of canaan -- including our oldest positive historical reference to a people called "israel". there are also egyptian outposts like jaffa which persisted until about the mid 1100's BCE, when egypt begins to lose control canaan in the bronze age collapse.

you can probably see why this causes some problems; the entire historical context of the narrative is wrong. there was no free land to lead the israelites to: moses's destination in the story was egypt in history. so, who was moses, then?

> Although the Jews call it Bereshit because it is the first and means "in the beginning."

it actually means "in the beginning of." you may wish to see rashi's commentary:

>> This verse calls aloud for explanation in the manner that our Rabbis explained it: God created the world for the sake of the Torah which is called (Proverbs 8:22) “The beginning (ראשית) of His (God’s) way”, and for the sake of Israel who are called (Jeremiah 2:3) “The beginning (ראשית) of His (God’s) increase’’. If, however, you wish to explain it in its plain sense, explain it thus: At the beginning of the Creation of heaven and earth when the earth was without form and void and there was darkness, God said, “Let there be light”. The text does not intend to point out the order of the acts of Creation — to state that these (heaven and earth) were created first; for if it intended to point this out, it should have written 'בראשונה ברא את השמים וגו “At first God created etc.” And for this reason: Because, wherever the word ראשית occurs in Scripture, it is in the construct state. E. g., (Jeremiah 26:1) “In the beginning of (בראשית) the reign of Jehoiakim”; (Genesis 10:10) “The beginning of (ראשית) his kingdom”; (Deuteronomy 18:4) “The first fruit of (ראשית) thy corn.” Similarly here you must translate בראשית ברא אלהים as though it read בראשית ברוא, at the beginning of God’s creating. A similar grammatical construction (of a noun in construct followed by a verb) is: (Hosea 1:2) תחלת דבר ה' בהושע, which is as much as to say, “At the beginning of God’s speaking through Hosea, the Lord said to Hosea.” Should you, however, insist that it does actually intend to point out that these (heaven and earth) were created first, and that the meaning is, “At the beginning of everything He created these, admitting therefore that the word בראשית is in the construct state and explaining the omission of a word signifying “everything” by saying that you have texts which are elliptical, omitting a word, as for example (Job 3:10) “Because it shut not up the doors of my mother’s womb” where it does not explicitly explain who it was that closed the womb; and (Isaiah 8:4) “He shall take away the spoil of Samaria” without explaining who shall take it away; and (Amos 6:12) “Doth he plough with oxen," and it does not explicitly state, “Doth a man plough with oxen”; (Isaiah 46:10) “Declaring from the beginning the end,” and it does not explicitly state, “Declaring from the beginning of a thing the end of a thing’ — if it is so (that you assert that this verse intends to point out that heaven and earth were created first), you should be astonished at yourself, because as a matter of fact the waters were created before heaven and earth, for, lo, it is written, (v. 2) “The Spirit of God was hovering on the face of the waters,” and Scripture had not yet disclosed when the creation of the waters took place — consequently you must learn from this that the creation of the waters preceded that of the earth. And a further proof that the heavens and earth were not the first thing created is that the heavens were created from fire (אש) and water (מים), from which it follows that fire and water were in existence before the heavens. Therefore you must needs admit that the text teaches nothing about the earlier or later sequence of the acts of Creation.

the simplest explanation is that rashi's first reading is correct, and the masoretes have mispointed בָּרָ֣א as a perfect verb, when is should be pointed בְּרֹ֤א (gen 5:1) as an infinitive construct, which is the same kind of grammatical construction. this construction, a complex preposition in construct form, followed by an infinitive, sets up a subordinate clause. the following statement is an aside, with the initial action taking place in verse 3:

>> When God began to create heaven and earth—

>> the earth being unformed and void, with darkness over the surface of the deep and a wind from God sweeping over the water—

>> God said, “Let there be light”;

this is actually a common structure for ancient near eastern creation myths, and you can see it again in genesis 2 -- a work by a different author:

>> When the Lord God made earth and heaven—

>> when no shrub of the field was yet on earth and no grasses of the field had yet sprouted, because the Lord God had not sent rain upon the earth and there was no man to till the soil, but a flow would well up from the ground and water the whole surface of the earth—

>> the Lord God formed man from the dust of the earth.

subordinate clause, aside, initial action. you can see it other cultures, even:

>> When the heavens above did not exist,
And earth beneath had not come into being —
There was Apsû, the first in order, their begetter,
And demiurge Tia-mat, who gave birth to them all;
They had mingled their waters together
Before meadow-land had coalesced and reed-bed was to he found —
When not one of the gods had been formed
Or had come into being, when no destinies had been decreed,
The gods were created within them:
Lahmu and Lahamu were formed and came into being.

>> Enuma Elish, Babylon

i point this out because i see hints you're going down the wrong path here -- this first verse is not a definitive statement about anything. it merely locates the story temporally.

> The new testament begins with the words biblos geneseos

by accident. early church tradition assumed that the gospel of matthew was earliest, but based on the two source hypothesis regarding the synoptic problem, and editorial fatigue in matthew and luke, scholars mostly think that matthew and luke were copying the gospel of mark. mark, of course, begins "Ἀρχὴ τοῦ εὐαγγελίου Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ υἱοῦ τοῦ θεοῦ", arxe tou euaggeliou iesou xristou uiou tou thou, the beginning of the gospel of jesus christ son of god." but there's a better candidate here. consider:

>> Ἐν ἀρχῇ ἦν ὁ λόγος καὶ ὁ λόγος ἦν πρὸς τὸν θεόν καὶ θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος (John 1:1)

>> ἐν ἀρχῇ ἐποίησεν ὁ θεὸς τὸν οὐρανὸν καὶ τὴν γῆν (Gen 1:1 LXX)

it's likely that john was specifically invoking genesis here. i am not sure, at the moment, when the title "genesis" was applied to the text. i suppose i could keep going, but these are some problems i see right off the bat.

if you'd like, i could talk about the function of genesis, literary style, dates of authorship, relationship to the babylonian calendar rather than the original hebrew one, the demythologization of other deities, the polytheistic background it's explicitly rejecting, etc. this is really just scratching the surface.

u/vocino · 11 pointsr/atheism

I read his book. The Year of Living Biblically, it was decent.

u/DeusExCochina · 11 pointsr/DebateAnAtheist

Yes. His book On the Historicity of Jesus is published by an academic house and passed peer review.

He's also previously published scholarly articles, but I don't have any handy.

u/Neuroleino · 11 pointsr/politics

>start with one lie that, if true, is sufficient, but then pepper in like two or three other things that are progressively less relevant

Bingo. And it's also the mark of a truly stupid liar, because each successive addition to the excuse chain brings down the mathematical probability that the core statement is true.

(Disclaimer: considering that I'm almost 40 but I only learned about this last year from this excellent book by Richard Carrier I think it's fair to say I'm a pretty dumb motherfucker myself, but I'll try to make sense.)

Take any statement A. You don't know whether it's true or not, but you can assign it a probability of being true. Let's say that the probability is 0.5 (50%) - a coin toss is worth your best guess at this point.

Then, imagine that there are more statements like that, let's call them B, C, and D. Again, you know nothing about the truth behind them, either, but you can again estimate that each of them has a 0.5 probability of being true.

Now, take three people:

Person 1 tells you "A".

Person 2 tells you "A and B".

Person 3 tells you "A, B, C, and also D, believe me, believe me".

At this point you still don't know anything about any of those four statements, but you can calculate the probability for each person of being full of shit.

Person 1 only claimed one statement, A, so the likelihood he's full of shit is 0.5 (50%).

Person 2 went further and claimed A and B. The probability that both are true is 0.5 x 0.5 = 0.25.

Person 3 is the bigliest guy with the best words, believe me. The probability of his four-part statement chain is 0.5 x 0.5 x 0.5 x 0.5 = 0.0625 - that's 6.25%.

Because person 3 is a fucking moron he went and stacked multiple statements on top of one another, thereby bringing his full-of-shitness from a 50% likelihood to a whopping 93.75%. Just like that, what a fucking clown.

PS: You can of course have different probabilities for each statement, and they can differ from one another, too. But by definition if you don't know the truth for sure then it logically follows none of the statements can ever achieve a probability of 1. The conclusion is that every additional statement will always reduce the overall likelihood.

u/matthewdreeves · 11 pointsr/exjw

Hello and welcome! Here are my recommendations for de-indoctrinating yourself:

Take some time to learn about the history of the bible. For example, you can take the Open Yale Courses on Religious Studies for free.

Read Who Wrote the Bible by Richard Elliott Friedman

Also read A History of God by Karen Armstrong

Watch this talk from Sam Harris where he explains why "free will" is likely an illusion, which debunks the entire premise of "the fall of man" as presented by most Christian religions.

Watch this video on the Cordial Curiosity channel that teaches how the "Socratic Method" works, which essentially is a way to question why we believe what we believe. Do we have good reasons to believe them? If not, should we believe them?

Watch this video by Theramin Trees that explains why we fall for the beliefs of manipulative groups in the first place.

This video explains why and how childhood indoctrination works, for those of us born-in to a high-control group.

Another great source is this youtube series debunking 1914 being the start of the last days.

Next, learn some science. For example - spoiler alert: evolution is true. Visit Berkeley's excellent Understanding Evolution Website. Or, if you're pressed for time, watch this cartoon.

Read Why Evolution is True by Jerry Coyne.

Read The Greatest Show on Earth by Richard Dawkins.

Watch this series where Aron Ra explains in great detail how all life is connected in a giant family tree.

Learn about the origin of the universe. For example, you could read A Briefer History of Time by Stephen Hawking.

Learn about critical thinking from people like [Michael Shermer] (, and how to spot logical fallacies.

For good measure, use actual data and facts to learn the we are NOT living in some biblical "last days". Things have gotten remarkably better as man has progressed in knowledge. For example, watch this cartoon explaining how war is on the decline.

Read The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined by Steven Pinker.

Watch this Ted Talk by Hans Rosling, the late Swedish Statistician, where he shows more evidence that the world is indeed becoming a better place, and why we tend to wrongly convince ourselves otherwise.

I wish you the best. There is a whole world of legitimate information out there based on actual evidence that we can use to become more knowledgeable people.

You may still wonder how you can be a good human without "the truth." Here is a good discussion on how one can be good without god. --Replace where he talks about hell with armageddon, and heaven with paradise--

Start to help yourself begin to live a life where, as Matt Dillahunty puts it, you'll "believe as many true things, and as few false things as possible."

u/extispicy · 11 pointsr/AcademicBiblical

Here is an online resource.

Or if you prefer a book: Friedman's Bible with Sources Revealed.

u/Kidnapped_David_Bal4 · 11 pointsr/Christianity

An old standard is St. Augustine's Confessions. A new one is N.T. Wright's The Resurrection of the Son of God.

I find both authors compelling for different reasons. I think Augustine is great at just writing about what it's like to be human. He knew what psychology was before it was invented, and it takes a great deal of honesty and self-reflection and humility to write about what goes on in your head, rather than what you wish went on in your head.

As for Wright, I really like The Resurrection of the Son of God because I think apologetics need to start with the cross.

u/wedgeomatic · 11 pointsr/Christianity

He's written a number of books on the subject. The Resurrection of the Son of God is a big one.

u/stjer0me · 10 pointsr/AcademicBiblical

I agree with /u/robsc_16. People are very uncomfortable with what may be perceived as a challenge to their beliefs, and our society (wrongly) sees religious belief and academic study as somehow opposed to each other.

But that view isn't wholly without reason. When you have people, say, denying evolution on the one hand, and others (such as Tyson or Hitchens) telling religious people that they're deluded and stupid, it's small wonder that everyone's a little nervous about that kind of conversation. That we can only communicate these days by yelling at each other just makes it that much worse.

Bart Ehrman's a good example. He's done a lot for the study of Christian literature, and I have the book he and Bruce Metzger wrote/updated on how the New Testament in its current form came to be. But some of the lectures he's given really seem like he has rather a chip on his shoulder about at least some Christian views, and beyond that, it's hard for all involved to separate authority from arrogance. He's also gotten some stuff wrong: for example, he said in one lecture that the "let he who is without sin cast the first stone" story didn't show up until like the 10th century, which is wrong (it's in one manuscript that's a good 500 years older). Maybe a quibble, but when this is your job...

I think the problem ultimately boils down to why people go into it. Folks who do it to get ammunition then use it as such, and so tend to turn off everyone else. But beyond that, I'm not really sure...maybe it's just something that's taken for granted? Like, how many Christians really stop and think about it?

u/brojangles · 10 pointsr/AcademicBiblical

All of these things are majority mainstream views. This is what I was taught a state university.

Bart Ehrman's textbook on the New Testament goes over this exact material.

u/coffee_beagle · 10 pointsr/DebateAChristian

That's a false either/or. Christians believe both that the Bible is inspired, and also that it must be interpreted (since all literature must be interpreted). As for how to interpret it, the Christian community must wrestle with the best way to do this. And we have. And we continue to do so.

While the method might appear arbitrary to an outsider, it is anything but. Its too complicated to spell out the actual methodology to you in this format. But if you're interested in how Christians interpret the Bible can you check out primers such as this one or this one. Both of these are good introductory texts in regards to the consistent (i.e. non-arbitrary) manner of biblical interpretation.

The only thing I would add to these books which sometimes doesn't get mentioned enough, is that Christians (the majority of us anyways) believe that interpretation belongs to the theological community in the most technical sense. While we encourage people to read the Bible individually, the theological community serves as a checks-and-balances, or a self-correcting mechanism. If we insist on only interpreting things alone, its too easy to let our own personal biases slip in, and then we are in danger of "picking and choosing." But by doing our interpretation in community (e.g. peer-reviewed journals, etc.), we help to eliminate much of this.

u/KnowsAboutMath · 10 pointsr/atheism

Well, we've already got The Book of Genesis by R. Crumb.

(It's actually really good.)

u/crystal__math · 10 pointsr/Christianity

> I cannot reconcile it with realistic interpretations of scripture

John Walton is a very well known Old Testament scholar who has written two books on why the literalistic interpretation of Genesis is incorrect and dishonest as the proper way to read Genesis (that is, the way that the ancient Israelites would have read Genesis). Surprisingly, he also criticizes the way that scientific minded Christians have forced a reading of Genesis to automatically fit with the evolution narrative. He doesn't touch on any science at all in his exposition and sticks to the text, so I would highly recommend checking it out.

u/HaricotNoir · 10 pointsr/DepthHub

Cool video! I would also recommend the book The Bible with Sources Revealed as an excellent resource on the origins of the Pentateuch. The different font colorings really highlight the mixing and matching of the multiple sources, and make it quite digestible even for casual readers with a passing interest in the historical origins of Christian/Jewish theology.

u/InhLaba · 10 pointsr/booksuggestions

Unclean by Richard Beck

The Language of God by Dr. Francis Collins

The Lost World of Genesis One by John H. Walton

Birth and Death: Bioethical Decision Making by Paul D. Simmons

The Authenticity of Faith by Richard Beck

Beyond The Firmament by Gordon J. Glover

All of these were required reads for me as I pursued a biology degree at a Christian university. I hope these help, and I wish you the best! If you have any questions about any of the books, please feel free to ask!!

u/FatFingerHelperBot · 10 pointsr/satanism

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u/plaitedlight · 9 pointsr/exchristian

It seems likely that the original authors were recording the existing mythos of their people, and the myths were used in their society like myths are used in every society: to explain and give meaning to a world they didn't understand, to provide a cohesive narrative for the group, to pass along and reinforce values. I have found learning just a little about the common mythologies of the world extremely interesting and helpful in putting the bible into correct perspective. Like, how many times a flood myth pops up and the different interactions between the diving and humanity in those stories.

You might enjoy Bart Ehrman's writing on the new testament and Jesus as he explores the story of Jesus, who wrote, changed and codified it and why, and how it became a religion.

Jesus Before the Gospels: How the Earliest Christians Remembered, Changed, and Invented Their Stories of the Savior

Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why

Forged: Writing in the Name of God--Why the Bible's Authors Are Not Who We Think They Are

u/ekballo · 9 pointsr/AcademicBiblical

If it's textual criticism you're interested in and you're just starting out, I'd recommend the following two books to wet your appetite. They both will have bibliographies to get you deeper into the study as you wish.

David C. Parker. An Introduction to the New Testament Manuscripts and their Texts. (ISBN: 978-0521719896)

Bruce Metzger and Bart Ehrman. The Text of the New Testament: Its Transmission, Corruption, and Restoration. Fourth Edition. (ISBN: 978-0195161229)

u/sleepygeeks · 9 pointsr/exmormon

Most of it came from classes and lectures. I don't have the class book list and sources anymore. I do hope you really, really like reading!

Forged writingss

Misquoting Jesus A well known book.

Introduction to the new testiment

The new testament: a historical intoduction

Revelation and the End of All Things Also a somewhat popular book

You can also do some Wikipedia reading on Gnosticism and other early Christen sects to get an idea of just how many groups their were and how differing their beliefs could be. Also look for things on the Q, M and L source.


You can likely find a number of online pod-casts (or whatever you call them) and lectures on these things.

I am not a historian so my access to books and memorized sources is very limited, I am a student and have been accused of reading serial boxes at least once when I accidentally quoted the wrong book name, It was too much fun to make the correction as no one had ever said that too me before and I felt special, like I had hit an academic milestone.

Also, Don't feel bad about asking for sources.

u/PetersTalkingCross · 9 pointsr/TrueAtheism

Here is the Amazon link! Like I said, this is the best comprehensive New Testament text book I have come across in my study and research as a budding scholar of religion.

u/sailorjupiter28titan · 9 pointsr/WitchesVsPatriarchy

This is a page from R. Crumb's illustrated Book of Genesis. He's got a commentary section at the end where he talks about Savina Teubal's book Sarah the Priestess: The First Matriarch of Genesis

make sure to view the second image in the gallery

u/xiaodown · 9 pointsr/history

Aside from Finklestein's book, there is Robert Price's Holy Fable: The Old Testament Unencumbered by Faith. Robert Price is a former evangelical minister-turned-atheist, but with a deep understanding of the bible. It is maybe a bit too skeptical, but it's still got a lot of good info.

In general:

The Torah / Pentateuch was written by (at least) 4 different sources, and compiled (much?) later. There's the Elohist, the Yahweist, the Deutoronomist, and the Priestly source. This explains why there are 2 different versions of a number of stories - for example, there are 2 creation stories; Noah is simultaneously the "only righteous man" God could find, and also a lazy drunk; there are two full sets of 10 commandments, only 3 of which overlap (so there are actually 17 commandments) etc. Someone (likely the Deutoronomist) compiled the book, and not wanting to risk being wrong, included multiple stories and tried to make them jive with one another.

Generally speaking, Moses is nearly universally agreed to have been a myth, along with Joshua. There is no archeological evidence that ancient Hebrews were ever in Egypt, or ever wandered in the desert for 40 years, although stories of Pharaoh may have come from a time when Egypt ruled the Levant (Moses is an Egyptian name, from the same root as Tutmose or Ramses).

The ancient Hebrews were, most evidence supports now, one of many Canaanite tribes, and happened to be the one that managed to stick around. They were also polytheistic for a very long time into their existence - a number of stories have been altered to whitewash this out. The 12 (13? 11 plus grandsons? sources are all over the place on this one) sons of Judah/Israel heading the 12 tribes of Israel are likely figureheads that were ret-conned into existence as more tribes joined with the Hebrews through conquest. Kind of like "Oh, well, we'll join you, we're probably related somewhere way back anyway!". There is also little to no evidence of an epic conquest of the holy land, a. la. Joshua, and many of the vast cities and huge fortresses referenced in the book of Joshua were, archaeology says, minor hamlets with hundreds or thousands of people at most.

There is very little evidence for the existence of David. There is an inscription on a very old (non-Israelite) stone tablet that may reference the "House of David" from several hundred years after David was supposed to have been around. I'm willing to concede that he may have existed, but he was likely a "chieftain" rather than a king. Almost all scholars agree that there was never a united kingdom of Israel and Judah. Jerusalem, at the time of David (10th century BCE), was a very small village or outpost, and there is also no evidence of a first (or Solomon's) temple. There is, however, ample evidence of a 2nd temple (which was greatly expanded by Herod near the BCE/CE switch).

1,2 Kings was written either during the Babylonian exile, or shortly after it. There are just too many anachronisms (bronze weapons, camels, etc) for it to have been written during the time of its subjects, and its subject matter (continued allegiance to Yahweh will bring you victory, breaking Yahweh's commandments will bring you strife) is clearly aimed at explaining circumstances to an Israelite population that has experienced lots of strife.*

1,2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah (originally all one work) looks to be a redaction and rewrite of 1,2 Kings in large part, but by the priestly source - who is working hard to clean up the image of certain people (David had Uriah killed? Nah, let's skip that. David's sons did bad things? Nix it. etc) at the same time that he's working to ret-con a place of prominence for priests of his tribe.

Anyway, skipping ahead to the New Testament, I would also recommend another extreme skeptic's book: Dr. Richard Carrier's On the Historicity of Jesus. Dr. Carrier's position is well outside the mainstream consensus, but there's no denying that A.) He is extremely well versed in his subject area, and B.) the mainstream consensus is very conservative, as it is made up of largely religious institutions and believers who all have a vested interest. So his book is good for contrast, and the truth is likely somewhere in the middle.

For starters, the earliest parts of the New Testament are the letters of Paul. Paul, for sure, wrote 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Philippians, Philemon, and Romans 1-8. The rest are kind of up for grabs, with some possibly by Paul, and some certainly being forgeries and written as late as the 2nd or possibly even 3rd century. Paul's Jesus is very vague (as in, celestial, not earthly, and working through revelation), and Paul nearly goes out of his way to not talk about Jesus' earthly life - even in places where Jesus ostensibly talked about specific topics that would indisputably bolster Paul's arguments.

Next, we have Mark. Mark's gospel was written first, and Mark's Jesus is somewhat timid and understated. Mark also has little understanding of Galilean geography (the vast "Sea of Galilee" that witnesses such horrible storms is, in reality, a pond that you could kayak across in an hour, for example). Then, Matthew wrote his gospel, using Mark as a source, along with possibly the "Q" source, or possibly just adding things that he had heard or liked. Matthew's Jesus is a scholarly rabbi, and he talks of how Christians should keep the Jewish customs along with the new customs of Christ. Matthew also corrects Mark - a lot. Then, we have Luke, who uses Mark and possibly "Q" or possibly Matthew as his source. Luke's Jesus is the Gentile Jesus, who brings new rules and is for everyone, not just Jews. Those are the Synoptic gospels; then we get to John.

Oh, boy. John... is nuts. John's Jesus is large, in charge, and slinging miracles and witticisms in every direction. There's nothing about helping the poor or healing the sick, but there's a huge serving of hating the Jews. John also contains a number of Gnostic themes that have likely been toned down over the years - John's gospel is the one that is most obviously cut up and rearranged and altered. There's a lot of things like "And then Jesus did his first miracle. And then he did many other miracles. And then he did his second miracle", or Jesus teleporting, popping up all over Galilee, one place after another. But anyway, it’s likely that John’s gospel was so popular that it couldn’t be kept out of the New Testament, once the Council of Nicaea got around to picking which books got in, so it had to be altered in order to tone it down a bit.

The contents of Acts are impossible to square with the letters of Paul - Acts tells a story of the early church, huddled together, building outward, ministering to Galilee, growing larger in harmony. But Paul - Paul does not get along with the so-called fathers of the church in Jerusalem. We also know, partly from other sources, that the early church was very fractured, and only now looks harmonious because the winning faction got to poke and rewrite a lot of the history.

The rest of the New Testament was largely written in the 2nd and 3rd centuries, and can't have any relevant information to share about the life and times of Jesus, having been written several generations at least after the last person that could have ever met him had died.

Anyway, that's a more-or-less short version of some of the ins-and-outs of some major episodes of the Bible.

* Totally my aside: the concept of religious guilt, IMO, stems from here. In olden times, gods were like mascots - you moved to a new place, you adopt the local gods -
or, you get conquered, it must have been that their god was stronger, so why not jump on the winning bandwagon. The Deutoronomist, the likely source of the idea of the "covenant with god", introduces the idea that believing in a god is a two-way street. Believe enough, and do what he wants, and good things will happen -- but don't believe, or don't do what he wants, and now bad things happen, and it's kinda your fault. The aim was to keep the Hebrews from converting to Babylonian or other Canaanite gods.
Cue thousands of years of catholic guilt, etc.

u/Kusiemsk · 9 pointsr/Catholicism

If you're wondering what makes Catholicism true among other religions, consider that Christianity is rather unique among religions for its truth value being directly tied to an historical event: Christ's Resurrection. If Jesus did rise from the dead, Christianity is decisively vindicated, regardless of the other religions' claims (which is not to say other religions may not have insights or elements of the truth, just that they are not the full truth in the way Christianity is). For that reason I advise looking into apologetics defending the resurrection. Here's a short reading list to get you started:

u/ummmbacon · 9 pointsr/AcademicBiblical

Friedman The Bible with Sources Revealed has the sections in different colors depending on the source

edited to fix link

u/SwordsToPlowshares · 8 pointsr/Christianity

> Why, Christianity as opposed to atheism or other religions?

Hey man, I can't help you much with the questions about the specifics of creation and the role death plays in it, that has never bothered me a lot and I came to Christianity already believing that evolution is true. But I can help you with this question, I hope.

If you really want to find out you will have to do your own research on Christianity and other religions and on atheism and make up your mind. That said I think the historical evidence for the resurrection of Jesus is very strong. I'd encourage you, if you have the time and money, to read the following two books: The Jesus Legend by Boyd & Eddy, and The Resurrection of Jesus by Licona. Both are very thorough and scholarly, the first dealing with the reliability of the gospels in general and the latter dealing with Jesus' resurrection in particular.

If you want a well grounded faith, you need to have a solid foundation. So many people believe in Jesus because they think the Bible is inerrant and when they discover that it isn't so, their faith quickly falls away. When our faith depends on the inerrancy of the Bible, our faith depends on our ability to resolve any and all of the apparent (and real) contradictions, both internal to the Bible and between Bible and external reality (like with young earth creationism and science). When we come across a contradiction that we can't resolve, our faith then will quickly come crashing down.

It should be the other way around: Jesus should be our foundation, and because Jesus is God and He held Scripture in high regard, we should have a healthy respect for Scripture as well. Perhaps then we won't tie ourselves in knots in trying to come up with tortured interpretations whenever the house of cards of inerrancy threatens to come crashing down. Look to Jesus when something in Scripture doesn't make sense; Jesus is the full revelation of God, the clearest picture (or icon if you like) of God that we will ever get in this earthly life.

u/pjamberger · 8 pointsr/Reformed

I can't say one single piece of evidence (or a single study) convinced me, but I can summarize the various pieces of evidence as biogeography - the fact that we see similar (related) creatures living in the same geographic area and even some creatures on different continents with similar features in places where plate tectonics would lead us to expect similarities - and genetics, most notably the human vitamin c gene, which is defective.

The evidence for evolution is not measured in single studies, but in the weight of the collective evidence. For an overview of the collective evidence across many fields, this book by Jerry Coyne lays out the general case for the factuality of evolution. If you read it you do need to be ready for some Dawkins-esque posturing - he wrote a book on why faith and science are incompatible, but the information in the book is very good. For a basic summary, this Khan Academy page does a good job.

Finally, institutions like the Biologos institute convinced me that it's Biblically okay to believe in Theistic Evolution (Evolutionary Creation? Whichever one posits God's active involvement in creation via evolution.). The final "nail in the coffin" was The Lost World of Genesis One by John Walton.

u/geophagus · 8 pointsr/atheism

The similarities of the crucifixion and resurrection to pagan stories are usually overstated.

Richard Carrier has one book out and another on the way addressing the issue from a more scholarly direction. Proving History is the first book. The second is due out in a few months if I remember correctly.

Robert M. Price also has a good work on the subject. The Christ-Myth Theory and Its Problems

Start with those two. They both have talks on YouTube about the historicity of the gospels. I wouldn't go so far as to say I'm utterly convinced, but they are pretty compelling. Carrier and Eherman have had a bit of a feud over the issue and again, Carrier seems to have the better argument.

u/Frankfusion · 8 pointsr/Christianity

Pick up a copy of How To Read The Bible For All Its Worth. It's the book I read in school and it's main point is that the Bible is written in different genres with different rules for each genre. A proverb is apithy saying while a Psalm is a poem. And even with the book of Psalmns there are wisdom psalms, lament psalms etc.... Read accodring to genre. And context. Eventually a good study Bible will help. The ESV Stidy Bible is pretty popular here, and I like the ESV Literary Study Bible (it highlights the litereary aspects of what you're reading).

u/chain-of-events · 8 pointsr/todayilearned

R. Crumb has done The Book of Genesis. I have it and it is true to the text raw.

u/piperson · 8 pointsr/graphicnovels

Jason is kind of unique. He tells fiction with often long passages of no words. He has a really subtle sense of humor. You would have to look to alt comix for similar comics, stuff like;

Daniel Clowes - He's got a dry sense of humor and often writes satirically about life and culture. You can check out the movies he made with Terry Zwigoff, Ghost World and Art School Confidential.

Charles Burns' work is often surreal and some what disturbing though fascinating at the same time. he is most famous for his massive Black Hole about teen age STD's gone wild. He just finished a trilogy which is part auto bio and part surreal dream sequences, X'ed Out, The Hive, and Sugar Scull

I guess you could include David Mazzucchelli's Asterios Polyp in this group of similar works though it's really original. It's about an architect that goes through a midlife crisis though it's one of the most inventive graphic novels to ever have been made. He uses every aspect of the comic to communicate to the reader, from the drawings, to the type face, to the color and even the very design of the book. It's a must read experience, thought completely unique.

Robert Crumb often has a dry, satirical sense of humor to his work. He is most famous for his 60's underground comics as shown in the Complete Crumb #4. He's done some really beautiful biographical work like his Patton about country blues musician Charley Patton. His newest work is the illustrated Book of Genesis a massive strait comic adaption of the Bible.

u/woodrail · 8 pointsr/comics

hardcover 11 x 8.8 x 0.9 inches 224 pages of Robert Crumb goodness. $14.58 at Amazon

I bought it immediately of course. If you don't know Crumb then you have a wonderful surprise waiting.

u/witchdoc86 · 8 pointsr/DebateEvolution

My recommendations from books I read in the last year or so (yes, these are all VERY STRONG recommends curated from ~100 books in the last year) -


Science fiction-

Derek Kunsken's The Quantum Magician (I would describe it as a cross between Oceans Eleven with some not-too-Hard Science Fiction. Apparently will be a series, but is perfectly fine as a standalone novel).

Cixin Lu's very popular Three Body Problem series (Mixes cleverly politics, sociology, psychology and science fiction)

James A Corey's The Expanse Series (which has been made into the best sci fi tv series ever!)

Hannu Rajaniemi's Quantum Thief series (Hard science fiction. WARNING - A lot of the early stuff is intentionally mystifying with endless terminology that’s only slowly explained since the main character himself has lost his memories. Put piecing it all together is part of the charm.)



James Islington's Shadow of What was Lost series (a deep series which makes you think - deep magic, politics, religion all intertwined)

Will Wight's Cradle series (has my vote for one of the best fantasy series ever written)

Brandon Sanderson Legion series (Brandon Sanderson. Nuff said. Creative as always)


Manga -

Yukito Kishiro's Alita, Battle Angel series (the manga on what the movie was based)



Jonathan Haidt's The Righteous Mind - Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion (and how we are not as rational as we believe we are, and how passion works in tandem with rationality in decision making and is actually required for good decisionmaking)

Rothery's Geology - A Complete Introduction (as per title)

Joseph Krauskopf's A Rabbi's Impressions of the Oberammergau Passion Play, available to read online for free, including a fabulous supplementary of Talmud Parallels to the NT (a Rabbi in 1901 explains why he is not a Christian)


Audiobooks -

Bob Brier's The History of Ancient Egypt (as per title - 25 hrs of the best audiobook lectures. Incredible)


Academic biblical studies-

Richard Elliot Friedman's Who Wrote The Bible and The Exodus (best academic biblical introductory books into the Documentary Hypothesis and Qenite/Midian hypothesis)

Israel Finkelstein's The Bible Unearthed (how archaelogy relates to the bible)

E.P. Sander's Judaism: Practice and Belief, 63BCE-66CE ​(most detailed book of what Judaism is and their beliefs, and one can see from this balanced [Christian] scholar how Christianity has colored our perspectives of what Jews and Pharisees were really like)

Avigdor Shinan's From gods to God (how Israel transitioned from polytheism to monotheism)

Mark S Smith's The Early History of God (early history of Israel, Canaanites, and YHWH)

James D Tabor's Paul and Jesus: How the Apostle Transformed Christianity (as per title)

Tom Dykstra's Mark Canonizer of Paul (engrossing - will make you view the gospel of Mark with new eyes)

Jacob L Wright's King David and His Reign Revisited (enhanced ibook - most readable book ever on King David)

Jacob Dunn's thesis on the Midianite/Kenite hypothesis (free pdf download - warning - highly technical but also extremely well referenced)

u/PoobahJeehooba · 8 pointsr/exjw

The simple answer is Skeptics Annotated Bible as far as spotting contradictions to know beyond any doubts that the Bible is one giant fairy tale.

If you want to go further, also recommend:

Aron Ra Foundational Falsehoods of Creationism For a preview of Aron Ra Biblical Absurdity

Bart Ehrman Forged: Writing in the name of God

There's also this fabulous presentation by Richard Carrier: Did Jesus Even Exist?

u/I_aint_creative · 8 pointsr/Christianity

How much have you actually looked? No one wants you to pretend to believe when you don't actually believe, but reading standard atheist talking points isn't exactly strong research. Have you looked at, for example, anything like N. T. Wright's The Resurrection of the Son of God?

u/harlan_p · 7 pointsr/Christianity

NT Wright

The Resurrection of the Son of God (Christian Origins and the Question of God, Vol. 3)

This is a voluminous exploration. Wright is not perfect but this is a good tome.

u/usr81541 · 7 pointsr/Catholicism

I have not read it, but I have been told repeatedly that NT Wright’s The Resurrection of the Son of God is an excellent discussion of the historical evidence for the Resurrection. It’s 740 pages long, so I imagine that he gets into the questions you’re asking.

I might also suggest Fr. Robert Spitzer from the Magis Center who has a 26 page overview of scholarship on this issue on his site. He includes references to other works you might find interesting in his footnotes. Section IV of that article addresses another of NT Wright’s works, Jesus and the Victory of God which also speaks to the witness of the early Church.

u/octarino · 7 pointsr/brokehugs

>I could not believe how much this mocks the bible and makes fun of it... Ordered it for my son's birthday guessing it would be a fun way to go through the bible. Nope. This is full of lego "gore" pictures and lots of mean faces. So sad...


> "Children's 'bible' shouldn't contain the 'rape of Dinah', men circumcising themselves or people drowning at Noah's Ark"

u/tbown · 7 pointsr/Christianity

The Canon of Scripture by F.F. Bruce and The Biblical Canon by Lee McDonald are two very good books on the subject that will answer your questions and more.

u/Why_are_potatoes_ · 7 pointsr/Christianity

>The stumbling blocks I now face in terms of figuring out what I believe mostly revolve around the question of the historicity of miraculous claims in the New Testament.

There are a couple good books on the Resurrection by N.T. Wright and William Lane Craig. Inspiring Philosophy has some good videos on it, too. If you are looking for an overall study on the historical Christ, Dr. Brant Pitre's The Case for Jesus helped me a lot, too.

Edit: Found [this] ( Looks to me to be less apologetic-y and more based on the historical facts, but comes to a similar conclusion.

u/President_Martini · 7 pointsr/exchristian

The actual purpose of the tree of life, the tree of knowledge of good and evil, and humans in the garden of Eden.

  1. The snake is just a snake. It's never mentioned that it was Satan, anywhere in the Bible. Theologians went through some great lengths to conclude that The Lucifer and King of Babylon passages in the Bible were talking about Satan. The idea is terribly convoluted and a lot of the details (armor of jewels, admired and respected in the garden of Eden and so on) are ignored.

  2. The reason humans were made. We were to tend to the garden. Nothing else. It's says it directly in Genesis 2. There's plenty of mythology from that era that describes the creation of life out of mud (golems). It's a great part of ancient Jewish mythology and that region in general.

  3. Genesis specifically says that the tree of life is used to make sure that the animals and man live forever. It's a fountain of youth. Plenty of myth surrounding items that do just this.

  4. Genesis also says that the forbidden tree is the food for the gods, in this case, the god in Genesis 2 (different from the god in Genesis 1). It is meant for the superior beings. The creators.

    Put all these things together, and what you have is a classic myth with your typical "servant takes from the master and gets into deep shit" plot.

    So Yaweh creates a garden. Calls it Eden. It's not the world, because Genesis 2 tells us exactly what land on earth it covered, which was somewhere around where Iraq currently is. He makes man, specifically so that he can tend to his brand new garden that he's making. Then he starts churning all these animals out from the ground, and Adam is naming them as they come out from the mud. Yaweh then realizes that Adam needs a helper, so he makes him one.

    Then the part that we all were frequently reminded about happens (snake, tree, Eve, Adam, fig tree loincloths, etc.) but here is the best part:

    Gen 2: 22 And the Lord God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.” 23 So the Lord God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. 24 After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side[e] of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.

    Two things here: First, the snake wasn't lying. Adam and Eve did become like gods. Second, the fruit on the tree of life sustains the gods, as is indicative by the very words of Yaweh himself.

    So a quick summary of the whole second and third chapter: Yaweh made a garden for himself to hang out. The tree of life kept his minion gardeners (man and woman) alive for as long as he wanted to maintain his weekend getaway, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil was Yaweh's tree to eat from. It wasn't put there to give us some freedom of choice as we so frequently hear about. So the minions decide to eat what the gods eat and they are kicked out, doomed to fade into nothing. To turn into the dust they once were (or I guess specifically what Adam was. It never really tells what happens to Even except for wanting to have a man and having painful births). Also notice that there's no mention of hell. The story was written long before hell was even a concept in early Jewish beliefs. The only people that actually lived forever where those that were taken up by Yaweh in a chariot to chill with him. The rest of us just stop existing.

    This, and the rise of dualism during the Babylonian Exile are my two favorite things to discuss with Christians, if I ever have the chance. I also find the Documentary Hypothesis to be extremely fascinating. I recommend checking out Who Wrote the Bible if you get a chance. It actually makes the Bible fascinating, for a change.
u/AngelOfLight · 7 pointsr/atheism

Tangentially related to the Christian/Pagan thing, Richard Friedman's Who Wrote the Bible? and Randall Helm's Gospel Fictions both demonstrate how the Bible arose as an amalgam of ancient myth and oral tradition. I believe Dan Barker also covers some of that ground in Godless.

u/tylerjarvis · 7 pointsr/Christianity

The 4-source theory (or the Documentary Hypothesis) holds that Genesis (along with the rest of the Pentateuch [First 5 books of the Bible]) were written by 4 different authors, and later compiled into the book that we have.

The 4 sources are JEDP, J is the Jahwist, E is the Elohimist, D is the Deuteronomist, P is the Priestly Source.

I'm assuming you're writing about the flood narrative in Genesis, which is generally accepted to be a Jahwist text, thought to be written around 950 B.C.E.

Use this to get legitimate sources.

There's also the traditional belief that Moses wrote the book of Genesis, which would place it at about 1250 B.C.E., but nobody really puts a whole lot of stock in that anymore.

Personally, I don't particularly buy the 4-source theory as it stands, as it seems to be an unnecessary explanation. It seems to me that the Pentateuch is a collection of Ancient Near Eastern myths compiled by one author, probably around 500 B.C.E. That's probably why you have some similarities with works like Gilgamesh and the Enuma Elish, because they all draw from the same oral traditions.

Anyways, I would look for sources on Wikipedia. Your best bet for good, solid information is on the documentary hypothesis. Let me know if you have any other questions, I'll see what i can do to help.

EDIT: Richard Friedman might be a good source. He has a few books that are accessible to the layperson. Particularly Who Wrote the Bible?.

I'd also recommend a few commentaries on Genesis. The best one I've read is the JPS Torah Commentary on Genesis by Dr. Nahum M. Sarna. It's got a lot of Hebrew stuff in it, but you can still get some good information about the Jewish interpretation of Genesis.

Good Luck.

u/GlowingStrand · 7 pointsr/todayilearned

This book was required reading at my Christian seminary.

Two other relevant, interesting and easy-to-read texts from my M.Div. program were Denzey’s Intro to “Gnosticism” and Ehrmam’s The New Testament

u/mrdaneeyul · 7 pointsr/Christianity

Hey, welcome to the sub. :)

First off, you have the right attitude (more than many churchgoers, it seems). You want to understand and wrestle and have it be real. Good news: you're on the right track. Faith is hard, at least most of the time. I'm sorry others looked down on you for asking questions and trying to figure things out; they were wrong to do so.

I agree with what others here are saying: Genesis is probably not the easiest place to start, and you'll get even more bogged down in Numbers or in Chronicles. Start in one of the Gospels. I saw Luke suggested, and I'll throw in John. Luke's writing has more details, and John's might be easier to read.

Starting in the Gospels has a purpose: Jesus is really the major focus. There's a lot to gain from reading his words firsthand, and seeing his actions. You might find it a lot different from what the culture says about him. Take your time and soak it in, and I think you'll find him pretty compelling.

After that, Paul's letters are pretty great. Philippians might be a good one to read first, though they're all really short and won't take long.

I might also suggest reading a different version of the Bible. The NRSV is accurate, but can also be archaic and difficult to understand. There are a lot of debates over Bible versions, but don't sweat them for now; I'd suggest the ESV or the CEB (if you want to study deeper later, the NRSV might be better then).

You'll probably want to find a church. This can be hit-and-miss, depending on so many factors. You won't and shouldn't fit into a church that looks down on you for struggling with faith. To start, even though it might feel silly, talk to God about it. Doesn't have to be fancy, just a conversation asking him to help you find a good church. Visit a couple, and see if they try to follow the Jesus you read about in the Bible.

(And if you're in the Dallas area, let me know... you can visit ours! :D I know a couple other great churches in the area too.)

If you're looking for more resources, it depends on what you're interested in.

  • if you want to read the Bible online. Tons of versions (again, I'd go with CEB or ESV). I find it harder to read online, but it's good to have on-hand anyhow.
  • I second Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis. It's a great read with some heavy concepts explained simply (Lewis was fantastic at this).
  • For the Resurrection (central to Christianity), check out Willaim Lane Craig's books, The Son Rises and Did Jesus Rise from the Dead?, and, for a debate, Jesus' Resurrection: Fact or Figment?
  • For the creation story, Reading Genesis 1-2: An Evangelical Conversation is a must, as there are several viewpoints on Creation (another reason starting with Genesis might be difficult).
  • For doubt, I recommend Disappointment with God.
  • How to Read the Bible for All It's Worth is a good one for... well, pretty much what the title says it's for.
  • Along the lines of Mere Christianity, try G. K. Chesterton's Orthodoxy. It's free, but might be a bit harder to read.

    BUT... don't go crazy. Start with the Gospels and maybe Mere Christianity, and go from there.

    If you have questions about what you're reading, feel free to come to this sub or /r/TrueChristian and ask. To be fair, there will be several opposing opinions on more controversial issues, which is a double-edged sword sometimes. But most everyone is welcoming, kind, and happy to discuss anything.
u/el_guapo_malo · 6 pointsr/atheism
u/LiterallyAnscombe · 6 pointsr/badphilosophy

It's probably best not to know what it means.

You know there was that straw book that not particularly bright Christians would use to argue that some of the things in the bible are well intentioned, but just, like, outdated man? Well, some lady felt left out of the stupid party and wrote her own.

Examples include sleeping on the "corner of a roof" because Proverbs. This thing was published. And now she's on CNN to inform us "what the Evangelicals think" and has an alarmingly popular blog and twatter.

u/kingnemo · 6 pointsr/Christianity

Although it may seem wild at first, I subscribe to John Walton's cosmic temple inauguration explanation. He looked closely at ancient Near Eastern literature and the Hebrew text with emphasis on the Hebrew word for "create" (bara). He discusses two types of ontologies, one material and one functional. Material creation would be what we're most familiar with, like creating a table. An example of functional ontology would be creating a meeting.

Walton makes a convincing argument that Genesis 1 is an account of God's functional creation. He took one week of 24 hour days to inaugurate his material creation, which we can observe components of scientifically but don't have a scriptural description.

I believe Adam and Eve existed but were not the first homosapiens. They were the first to be created in God's image. I also believe (not scripturally, but from our best scientific theories) in the big bang and evolution.

A good analogy would be the creation of a university. The building could take years to build. Faculty and staff would need to be interviewed and hired. Class schedules would need to be designed. The university is functionally created on the first day of class when everyone shows up and fulfills the design.

If you're interested, here is The Lost World of Genesis One: Ancient Cosmology and the Origins Debate

u/mutantchair · 6 pointsr/exmormon

Read the hysterical 1-star parent reviews of "The Brick Bible" on Amazon. If you're not familiar with the book, it illustrates (with Lego), major moments in the bible in full gory detail. Parents are aghast that anyone would let kids be exposed to this filth.

u/meabandit · 6 pointsr/DebateReligion

> but a historical Jesus isn’t a point of contention for historical/biblical scholars.

Also existence of Bigfoot is not a point of contention for lifelong believers. I don't understand why you appeal to a source with such a conflict of interest.

Point of Contention

u/ZalmoxisChrist · 6 pointsr/satanism



That's the best we can do, since the evidence is suspiciously lacking and internally contradictory.

3 4
5 6

Happy Ēostre, and happy reading!

u/lingben · 6 pointsr/Documentaries

> people who believe that Jesus never existed despite historical data

please enlighten us and share just one contemporary historical evidence of Jesus' existence

for those new to this topic: there are none - every single piece of evidence comes much later, the earliest several decades after the death of Jesus. The more detailed and dependable "historical evidence" even later, at times hundreds of years later. None are contemporary.

for those curious to learn more via an PhD academic treatise on the topic:

u/Honey_Llama · 6 pointsr/DebateReligion

Thanks for your nice message.

These arguments made a big difference in my life and if they make a difference in someone else’s life (or at the very least challenged them to give serious consideration to the evidence of natural theology) I am very happy to hear it.

I understand your reservations about the argument from desire. I think I mention in my discussion of it that it has only moderate force but has an important place in the cumulative case.

I would highly recommend some further reading because my posts are all capsule versions of arguments that are presented and defended with much greater rigour in my sources. If you only ever read two books on this subject let them be The Existence of God by Richard Swinburne and The Resurrection of the Son of God by N. T. Wright. If you have an iPad or Kindle both are obtainable in a matter of seconds online.

And regarding your question, I recommend this video: The whole thing or from around 6:00 if you’re short on time. In short: Aquinas suggested that wealth and poverty can each be either a blessing or a curse. Much more would need to be said to give a satisfactory answer but I think that is a good starting point. And of course if third world poverty is something that could be ended if first world countries were totally committed to ending it, then ultimately it is a consequence of moral evil.

All the best :)

u/sungis · 6 pointsr/Christianity

I cannot encourage you ENOUGH to read "Miracles" by Craig Keener. It also goes into the accounts of modern healers, and he interviews those who were supposedly healed by known healing giants, such as Kathryn Kuhlman and John Wimber, and from churches like Bethel.

u/Repentant_Revenant · 6 pointsr/Reformed

When folks discuss the gospels as eyewitness testimony, they're not saying that they were written by eyewitnesses, merely that eyewitnesses were the sources of the information (rather than a game of telephone.)

Have you read Jesus and the Eyewitnesses?

u/JosephPalmer · 6 pointsr/atheism
u/Entropy_5 · 6 pointsr/Christianity

You really can't go that far. There's plenty of debate on that subject. The problem is nearly all Jesus scholars are Christians, who clearly have a vested interested in Jesus actually having existed.

Here's a an example of two articles from reputable sources that disputes historical Jesus's existence.

Remember, there is not one single mentioning of Jesus that was written during his supposed life. Such a thing just does not exist. 2,000 years of people wanting it to be true have planted many many fakes (Shroud of Turin, for example). But that's not even the real problem with finding out if a particular person existed such a long time ago. Physical evidence decays, gets translated improperly, gets lost or destroyed.

I'm not saying he did, or did not live. I'm saying that your original statement "that virtually all scholars agree existed" is not true. These events happened too long ago to verify 100% that any of it happened at all. Combine that with 2,000 years of mistranslations, faked artifacts and most scholars having preconceived notions, it's just not possible to verify these things.

I understand you will disagree. But consider this: Nearly all active Mormons scholars believe the golden plates really existed. And that only supposedly happened in 1823. Time muddles the true events of everything. 2,000 of time muddles the true events a lot.

Edit: a few words

u/Nicoon · 6 pointsr/atheism

There are several books on the topic:

u/benbernards · 6 pointsr/latterdaysaints

Not a book, but a GREAT podcast to help understand the OT (including formation, content, and its place in scripture:) -- Discovering the OT

For books, I also really like the Bible with sources revealed -- it only covers the first 5 books in depth, but gives you a good flavor of how it came to be. (The 2 creation story in Genesis always bugged me. This really helped clarify!)

u/autonomousgerm · 6 pointsr/atheism

If you're going to read it, read "The Bible With Sources Revealed". It color codes the writings according to the separate known writers/epochs. Reading it in this way brings quite a bit of context and clarity to the texts.

u/JCmathetes · 6 pointsr/Reformed

I've not only answered you, but given you sources after you demanded them. I'll even add another:

F.F. Bruce.

But you do you, Tanhan.

u/MadroxKran · 6 pointsr/Christianity
u/EarBucket · 5 pointsr/Christianity

I'd highly recommend John Walton's The Lost World of Genesis One, Thom Stark's The Human Faces of God, and Pete Enns' The Evolution of Adam. It seems like you're using an extremely literal reading of Genesis, and it might help to look at the text in the context of its time and culture.

u/RyanTDaniels · 5 pointsr/Christianity deals head-on with this controversy in a polite and open manner. Seriously, they rock.

The Language of God, by Francis Collins, is a great starting point for the science-end of the issue.

The Lost World of Genesis One, by John Walton, is a great starting point for the Bible-end of the issue.

The Bible Project's podcast episode Science and Faith handles this issue wonderfully, as per the norm with Tim Mackie.

There are loads of other places you could go, but these are great starting points that can lead you to other sources of information. They were very helpful for me.

u/love_unknown · 5 pointsr/Christianity

>Does anybody here have any insight? Suggestions on where I should start? I want to believe in Christ but I don't know how, and I'd very greatly appreciate any insight I could get.

Yes. Read The Resurrection of the Son of God by historian and New Testament scholar N. T. Wright, or watch this lecture summarizing the book's contents. In short: the basic historical facts which justify the inference to the Resurrection are all established by critical historical scholarship, and, in an attempt to explain the emergence of those historical events, the 'Resurrection hypothesis' has, by far, the greatest explanatory power.

u/Cherubim45 · 5 pointsr/Christianity

The video provides a summary of a more detailed argument he gives in several of his books (two of which are linked below), but the gist of the argument is that, all factors considered, the claim that Jesus did indeed rise from the dead has more explanatory power than other hypotheses.

u/dschaab · 5 pointsr/DebateAChristian

> Christianity is not an evidence-based religion. It's like all other religions, which is faith-based.

While I agree that faith is a necessary component of Christianity, you seem to assert here that faith and evidence are mutually exclusive. I think this is a false dichotomy akin to the oft-repeated "science versus religion" debate topic of the last century.

Faith alone does not a Christian make. True faith always makes itself known (always "discovers itself" in the words of Edwards) in the life of the believer. In other words, faith produces evidence that demonstrates its efficacy. A love for God, a hatred for one's sin, and a spirit that strives to obey God's commands are some examples of this evidence that is apparent not only to the believer but to surrounding people. I certainly see this in my own life.

But this is not to say that one's faith cannot be bolstered by external evidence. In this category we have arguments for the existence of God and the historicity of the events described in the New Testament documents. Chief among these is the resurrection, which Paul identifies as the linchpin of the entire Christian faith.

> The resurrection of Jesus is not historical at all. The historicity of Jesus ends with his crucifixion.

As /u/RighteousDude has already pointed out, we "prove" facts of history not in a binary sense, but with degrees of confidence. Another way to put this is that given the body of evidence (documents, oral testimony, artifacts, and so on), we seek the explanation that can account for all the evidence and do so far better than any competing explanation.

The resurrection should be treated no differently. Given the evidence, virtually all scholars (to include skeptics) agree that 1) Jesus of Nazareth died in Jerusalem by crucifixion, 2) his disciples were transformed from cowards into men who boldly claimed that they saw Jesus after his death and who went on to become martyrs, 3) James (the brother of Jesus and a skeptic) was converted in the same manner, 4) Saul of Tarsus (initially an enemy of Christianity) was converted in the same manner, and 5) the tomb was discovered empty. There are many more facts that can be extracted from the available evidence, but these five are perhaps the most critical, and as mentioned, nearly everyone who studies this subject agrees on them.

So given these facts, what is the best explanation? Many have been proposed over the years, such as ideas that the someone stole the body, or that the disciples fabricated the story, or that Jesus never actually died, or that the disciples hallucinated, or even that this entire story is fiction. But each of these ideas completely fails to account for the whole body of evidence in some way or another. The best explanation that accounts for all the evidence is simply that God raised Jesus from the dead, and that the disciples, James, and Saul were all eyewitnesses of the resurrected Jesus.

The case I've summarized above is drawn from the work of Gary Habermas, whose
Historical Jesus is an approachable introduction to the life of Jesus that pays special attention to the extra-Biblical sources. If you're interested in a more thorough treatment, N. T. Wright's Resurrection of the Son of God_ is a great choice.

u/thomas-apertas · 5 pointsr/Christianity

Not sure what sorts of perspectives you're looking for, but NT Wright is a top notch academic writing from a somewhat conservative Anglican perspective, and has written a ton on these two guys:

Jesus and the Victory of God

The Resurrection of the Son of God

Paul and the Faithfulness of God

And if ~3200 pages isn't quite enough to scare you out of attempting the project, you should also read the first volume in this series, The New Testament and the People of God.

u/thoumyvision · 5 pointsr/Christianity

If you're looking for something from the Christian perspective, but also properly historically researched, I have been told that the finest book on the subject is The Resurrection of the Son of God, by N.T. Wright.

I have not personally read it, although I do own it and will hopefully get around to it some day. I have read some of his less scholarly works, which, amusingly, often reference this and the other two enormous books in his "Christian Origins" series.

u/redsledletters · 5 pointsr/TrueAtheism

Monotheist arguments

u/Veritas-VosLiberabit · 5 pointsr/AcademicBiblical

Hill makes a pretty good argument for the early establishment of the original canonical gospels from the forensic evidence of Egyptian papyri:

I believe that Bauckham makes the case that the names recorded in the gospels statistically match with the general proportion of those names in the period, something that anyone inventing the gospels much later would have had a very hard time doing:

I’m not sure how Bauckham is received. Can anyone chime in with how his work has been reacted to?

u/AractusP · 5 pointsr/AcademicBiblical

The wiki for this sub suggests the following:

u/glassbattery · 5 pointsr/Christianity

On 1 Corinthians 14.34-35, see this paper for a good start: "the hallmarks of interpolation are exemplified" in these two verses (inconsistent placement in the text, textual variations, atypical vocab for the author, disruptive to the otherwise natural flow of the text, and early awareness in manuscripts that something was "off" about the passage).

On the pastoral letters, see this book, chapter 24, by Ehrman. Despite some of the sensationalism of his popular level books, his academic books really are well received among scholars, and this book is representative of the cumulative efforts of the field, not just himself.

> Most scholars are reasonably convinced that all three Pastoral epistles were written by the same author. . . . was that [author] the apostle Paul? . . . we do find an inordinate number of non-Pauline words, most of which occur in later Christian writings. Sophisticated studies of the Greek text of these books have come up with with the following data: . . . 848 different words found in the Pastorals; of these, 306 occur nowhere else in the Pauline corpus of the New Testament . . . This means that over one-third of the vocabulary is not Pauline.

Of the vocabulary in common with Paul's authentic letters (faith, righteous, etc.), several are now used with very different definitions. There's more than just vocabulary and style, though, so I recommend reading the full chapter on the issue.

u/kloverr · 5 pointsr/DepthHub

I don't know of any great online sources that directly answer "did Jesus exist?", but if you are interested check out The New Testament by Ehrman. It is a great introduction to "historical Jesus" studies and the origins of the New Testament documents. Also check out this Open Yale course. They both explain the historical tools used to answer these kinds of questions.

u/AdmiralAardvark · 5 pointsr/Christianity

I've posted about it before, but an accompanying book I really enjoyed and found helpful was How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth by Gordon D. Fee and Douglas Stuart. It goes through and explains the different types of genres of literature found in the Bible, and the different ways to understand them. From the back of the book it says,
>"In clear, simple language, it helps you accurately understand the different parts of the Bible - their meaning for ancient audiences and their implications for you today."

I found it to be really helpful and an easy read, I would definitely recommend checking it out!

edit: The authors of this book really like the TNIV translation of the Bible, probably because they helped with that translation, but, like a lot of people in this thread are recommending, the ESV is really a great translation and the ESV Study Bible is awesome! I like this book for the descriptions of the genres, but the translation recommendation is definitely a little biased and not why I am recommending the book.

u/vfdfnfgmfvsege · 5 pointsr/politics

This is a good graphic novel version of the bible. Good for people who don't actually want to read it.

u/pensivebadger · 5 pointsr/Reformed

I may reply more to you later, but as a quick reply, you may be interested in the work of a couple of professors, both of whom acknowledge evolution as the mechanism behind the creation of life.

One is C. John Collins, professor of Old Testament at Covenant Theological Seminary. He believes in a literal Adam and Eve and his book is Did Adam and Eve Really Exist?: Who They Were and Why You Should Care.

The second is John Walton, professor of Old Testament at Wheaton College. He does not believe in a literal Adam and Eve and his book is The Lost World of Genesis One: Ancient Cosmology and the Origins Debate.

u/angami · 5 pointsr/Christianity

A friend of mine just recommended this book to me yesterday! This is the book's description on Amazon:

In this astute mix of cultural critique and biblical studies, John H. Walton presents and defends twenty propositions supporting a literary and theological understanding of Genesis 1 within the context of the ancient Near Eastern world and unpacks its implications for our modern scientific understanding of origins. Ideal for students, professors, pastors and lay readers with an interest in the intelligent design controversy and creation-evolution debates, Walton's thoughtful analysis unpacks seldom appreciated aspects of the biblical text and sets Bible-believing scientists free to investigate the question of origins.

It sounded quite interesting. Basically, the author compares the content from Genesis chapter one to other nations' writings on the origin of the world. He also writes that our modern thinking today views the creation story as the creation of the material world, but the original readers would have seen Genesis one as the creation of the functional world. More about organization and function of things, not origin of things.

Again, I have not read the book yet, but plan on it. It does use The Bible but compared with other theories and civilizations I believe. Just thought I'd share since I just found out about this book yesterday!

u/fuzzymumbochops · 5 pointsr/Reformed

Of course "six days" means "six days." The question is what does a "day" mean for the writer(s) of Genesis. Is it a period of 24 hours or not? All evidence from the surrounding passage suggests that the writer wouldn't have meant a literal 24 hour period.

I'll simplify it. What do I mean when I say to someone "I've been stuck in traffic for a year!"? Do I mean a literal period of 356 (and a third) days? No, I'd certainly hope not. How'd you know that? Context of what I was talking about. Now reread the rest Gen 1-12 with this in mind. But also read the scholarship of the people who get paid to investigate this sort of thing.

Also, as to my Hebrew qualifications, I'd rather this not become a fight about whether I'm more or less qualified than you. That's an illogical way of arguing (ad hominem). Instead, since you're well versed in Hebrew, let's also presume that you're well versed in Old Testament scholarship. So here's a better way to go about things: let's list some scholarship. I'll start. Here's a tenured Old Testament professor who's studied Hebrew for about 40 years professionally. He teaches at a fairly conservative Christian college in the United States which has a reputation for being the Harvard of the Christian education world. He's written a book called The Lost World of Genesis One which supports everything I've mentioned. But don't buy his theological position just because of his tremendous qualifications. Read the book because of that. Make up your own mind as to the success or failure of his argument. This is how intellectual discussions work.

u/EvilTony · 5 pointsr/worldnews

This book Who Wrote the Bible is a really interesting take on the subject. As far as I can tell it's completely objective and doesn't attempt to address the validity of religion.

IIRC analyzing the book (the Old Testament specifically) like any other reveals at least 4 different "voices" that suggests at least 4 authors, and numerous contradictions. For example the 2 versions of Noah's flood that appear in the Bible are compared side-by-side and they're quite different, etc.

u/wingsup · 5 pointsr/exjw
You can find any of these books on Amazon.
Karen Armstrong A history of God.
I loved this book. "who wrote the bible, by Elliot Friedman
Spelling Edit

u/nok0000 · 5 pointsr/TrueAtheism

It is really important to read the Pentateuch in a book which shows the sources. The Moses with Pharaoh story is actually from J, P, and E! 6:1 happens to be from the E source, the rest of chapter 6 and the first half of chapter 7 is P. The part of E where they leave Egypt is 12:30-33 where you can see that Pharaoh is pushing them to leave ASAP because all their firstborn just up and died.

I recommend The Bible with Sources Revealed.

u/displacingtime · 5 pointsr/explainlikeimfive
u/speaker_2_seafood · 5 pointsr/worldnews

as far as the book being "found," it says so right in the bible, i think somewhere in kings, where it is also claimed to have been written by moses. as for it actually being written much later than moses, and likely at least partially by king josiah in order to support his religious reforms, it seems to be a rather pervasive consensus in the scholarly community, but i am having trouble finding good sources. these two wikipedia pages might be a good place to start, as well as this book.

u/bpeters07 · 5 pointsr/exmormon

> My favorite interpretation is that child sacrifice was common among Semitic tribes at the time in the area, and that Abraham was woefully paying his dues after finally having a son. And angel stopping Abraham would have been symbolic of God telling the Jews that child sacrifice was wrong, and they should put an end to it.

Some people take it even farther. According to many source critics (e.g. Harvard's R. Friedman, The Bible with Sources Revealed), the story we have now in Gen 22 is actually an edited version of an original story, in which Abraham really did sacrifice Isaac. A lot of today's critical biblical scholars agree on this point -- Gen 22 was originally a story encouraging child sacrifice, a story which was altered in order to justify substitutionary animal sacrifice when the Hebrews ceased this regional practice. Specifically, verses 11-15 look like a later addition.

Evidence of an earlier original with child sacrifice?

  • verse 5 ("we'll come back to you") vs. verse 19 ("Abraham went back to his boys")

  • The text refers to God as "Elohim" (thus, the "Elohist" author) up until the angelic intervention (verses 11-15), at which point "Elohim" is no longer the one who speaks, but instead it's suddenly the "angel of YHWH"

  • verse 16: "because you did this thing and didn't withhold you son"

  • Isaac never again appears in sections of the Torah which source critics attribute to the "Elohist" author

    Text of the story, for reference.
u/cwfutureboy · 5 pointsr/todayilearned

Dr. Richard Carrier's new book further cements the Mythicist view as very plausible.

u/WalkingHumble · 5 pointsr/Christianity

Reposting my comment from earlier in the month:

Non-religious academics

u/BillDaCatt · 4 pointsr/TrueAtheism

I find the books written by Bart D. Ehrman to be both informative and interesting. I have read three of them: Forged: Writing in the Name of God - Why the Bible's Authors Are Not Who We Think They Are

Misquoting Jesus

Jesus, Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible (And Why We Don't Know About Them)
All three of them are solid reads.

Online Bible Links: (over 100 versions and 50 translations of the bible, including audio.)
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version (with Cross-References) [Kindle Edition] [free]

(edit:formatting to make it easier to read)

u/chucktheonewhobutles · 4 pointsr/todayilearned

That is a complete misunderstanding of the Council of Nicea and completely ignores the 300 years of other councils and scribal history before it.

EDIT: If anyone actually wants to understand the history of the collation of ancient manuscripts into the New Testament as it was and is currently done for translation, I highly recommend this book:

I particularly recommend it because of Ehrman's involvement as co-author (even if I don't always agree with him) because as a strongly expressed atheist he is most interested in Historical accuracy as it applies to the transmission of the text.

People here will find a lot of answers as to how Gnostic texts are understood by historians as they relate to "mainstream" Christian development.

u/Loknik · 4 pointsr/AcademicBiblical

Came here to recommend the same Yale course, and combine that with Bart Erhman's book Introduction to the new testament.

u/ses1 · 4 pointsr/DebateAChristian

It is not just that the OT/NT were written in a language that is foreign to most people but it was written in a historical and cultural context that most "don't get" as well.

As has been said we need to figure out what it meant to those to whom it was originally written. That historical/cultural context must be the baseline for what it means to us today.

Nor Bible is a systematic theological textbook. Each book was written for a specific purpose and if one does not understand that is then they might mis-interpret what is being said.

Nor does each book utilize the same literary genre (and some employ more than one) and if one does not understand that is then they might mis-interpret what is being said.

So it is not just as simple as saying, "read the Bible in its original languages".

Two good summaries of "hermeneutics" - the theory of text interpretation can be found here or here

u/s_s · 4 pointsr/Christianity

I'd recommend reading How to Read the Bible for All its Worth by Fee and Stuart if you're not someone familiar with reading ancient texts.

It has a large section dedicated to explaining about how Bible translation works, which is probably more important than giving you a translation recommendation. With that information, you should be able to make your own informed choice.

The sections that introduce you to biblical literature are worth your time as well.

u/Naugrith · 4 pointsr/Christianity

The Bible is a collection of different texts, each one written by different people at different times for different reasons. The concept of "history" wasn't even invented for much of the period of writing, and our modern understanding of genres is only loosely connected to the genres present and recognised at the time. Much of the Bible was never written to be interpreted literally in the first place, it is intended to be read as allegorical, theological, poetry, apocalyptic, prophetic, metaphorical, or parables.

In addition much of scripture was written in one way by the author and later interpreted by the community of the faithful in another sense as well, as people saw that while the writer couldn't have known the deeper meaning of his words, the Holy Spirit can use those words to show later readers a more profound truth. In interpreting the texts, historically the Western Church has considered four general 'Senses' in which any passage can be read. This is an artificial division, but still helpful. These senses are: Literal, Allegorical, Moral, and Anagogical.

The literal sense is not just a 'plain reading' as some conservative evangelicals would understand it, but covers the sense of the text after being interpreted according to sound, consistent rules, called 'exegesis'.

The Moral sense involves the moral lessons that can be derived from the text, that interpretation which leads us to act justly.

The Allegorical sense is when we look at the text and derive a more profound understanding of how it points us towards Christ, and towards God.

The Anagogical sense (from the Greek: anagoge, “leading”) is the sense of the text that points to realities and events in terms of their eternal significance.

For example, the story of the Israelites crossing the Red Sea can be interpreted Literally, as a story of God's rescuing of His People in the past, it can be interpreted Morally as an instruction to us today to trust in God's provision during times of trouble. It can be interpreted Allegorically as a sign or type of Christ's salvation and of Baptism, and it can be interpreted Anagogically as pointing towards our final rescue and God's leading us out of this world into the Promised Land of the New Heaven and the New Earth. All four senses can be used on the same passage, though not every passage can be interpreted in all four senses.

This is all to say that the Bible cannot be taken at 'face value' but must always be interpreted. A book I always recommend as an essential starter book is How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth, by Gordon Fee. It gives a good summary of the different genres present in the Bible and how to read them to get the most out of them.

However this is only a starter text. Some would say the bible is so complicated and based on such ancient ideas that are so difficult for modern readers to understand that only certain people are qualified to interpret them, and we must submit our own understanding to that of the Church. Others would say individual 'lay' Christians are capable of interpreting the scriptures correctly but such interpretation requires much serious study, understanding of context and secondary books to guide us. Others would say that all any reader needs is the Holy Spirit and God will ensure our understanding is correct, so we don't need to study at all.

Personally I think both the former and latter extreme positions are flawed, and I think with long study, willingness to learn, serious discussion with other Christians, humbleness, and faith any individual can interpret the scriptures correctly. However we should never be so arrogant as to think that our own understanding is always correct, or that there is not something we can learn from the wider Church and our brothers and sisters in Christ. Nor should we be worried when we don't understand something. While full and accurate understanding of scripture is helpful, it is not essential for salvation, only faith in Christ. A full understanding of the deeper lessons of scripture will often come later, after many years living in faith. If you can't understand something now, just put it to one side, and have faith in God that he will help you to understand it when you're ready to do so.

u/rapscalian · 4 pointsr/Christianity

I haven't read it, but I've only heard great things about How to Read the Bible for All it's Worth, for Gorden Fee and Doug Stuart.

Also, The Last Word, by NT Wright is excellent. It's not necessarily a book strictly about interpreting the bible, but more of a theology of the bible, so to speak. Reading Wright's work has given me a lot more appreciation for what the bible is, which helps a lot with interpreting it.

Are there any particular issues you're interested in, or any books you'd specifically like guidance with? I've got a final suggestion, that deals with making sense of some of the commandments in the old testament. It's called Slaves, Women, and Homosexuals: Exploring the Hermeneutics of Cultural Analysis, by William Webb. It's an excellent approach to the old testament that reads it in light of the New Testament and is able to make sense of the hard commandments without pretending that they don't exist.

u/saved_son · 4 pointsr/Christianity

I would suggest reading some Old Testament and New Testament at the same time. Dive right into Genesis for the OT then Exodus and then Joshua. For NT, any of the gospels will do - Mark is pretty action packed, John is awesome too, then read Acts of the Apostles after it.

If you get bogged down they have this now.

u/Jim-Jones · 4 pointsr/atheism

I recommend this: [The Book of Genesis Illustrated by R. Crumb] (

Pisses off Christians no end.

> I have not purchased this book, but have read the first chapter online. As a Jew, I am personally affronted by picturing God as an old man with the flowing beard and robes. God is noncorporeal and God's name ineffable, and the Ten Commandments warns us against any kind of god-imagery, which can lead to idolatry.


> The nudity in this book, though probably true, is objectionable, and unnecessary. Not recommended. I would not keep it in my library -- not wanting to sell it, it went to the dumpster.

u/Roller_ball · 4 pointsr/WTF

The artist in the second picture, Crumb, came out with an illustrated bible. It's actually pretty good.

u/pleatedzombus · 4 pointsr/occult

His illustrated Book of Genesis is a real treasure.

u/PatIsAFatHack · 4 pointsr/opienanthony

try it for a couple years, you might get a book deal

u/The_vert · 4 pointsr/Christianity

Do you mind terribly if I copy and paste something I wrote in a similar thread? It might help you make up your mind. Represents my many years of study as a believer. It is:

Science cannot help us answer the question, "Is there a God?" because it is not testable or subject to the scientific method.

Philosophy can help, and the arguments for or against the existence of God are called ontological arguments. There are several good ones: some of the strongest seems to be the Argument from Morality, the Argument from Beauty, and the Original Cause. Not sure if I can summarize all of them but maybe this is a start:

The Argument from Morality is what really ensnared former atheist turned Christian C.S. Lewis. He believed that while we do have man made rules we also have rules about fairness and justice that seem to come from nowhere, and point to the idea that there is an ultimate giver of this morality, God.

Regardless, if you examine the question of God's existence from philosophy you can re-examine whether you want to be an atheist. I think most philosophers find agnosticism more defensible. Philosophy never gives us a slam dunk answer, only a preference or something we can "defend."

All right. So what if there is a God? Then which religion, if any, is correct is the next question. Christians believe there is a God because they believe in what Jesus said. You might find the Jesus stuff hard to believe. Here's what we know, and the logic behind my belief:

-Jesus lived, preached, was crucified - this is pretty much historical fact.

-What's in dispute is whether he rose from the dead.

-His early followers sure believed he did. Even accounting for their ancient world writings, which were subject to literary problems not found in the modern world (i.e. moving dates or changing the order in which things happened) we can be pretty sure this Jesus fellow sparked a movement of believers that really believed he was raised from the dead and revealed God.

-Therefore, either Jesus really did this, or some mistake was maid. A third hypothesis - they made Jesus up - is just silly.

From here you can examine the Christian claims for truth and compare them to those of other religions. So, in sum: study some of the basic philosophical arguments for God, study the historical Jesus and the historical Resurrection, compare to other religions, and make your own decisions. Some other links:

u/HarrisonArturus · 4 pointsr/DebateReligion

Genesis is not a Gospel. It's the first book of the Old Testament (and therefore the Bible). Beyond that, I don't know what a "a know-it-all/always right" is. It's certainly not something I'd write.

As for the things you quote: Genesis was written to a bronze iron age culture. That doesn't mean they were idiots. They could ask the exact same questions -- and certainly would have. They also had practical knowledge and common sense; they understood God wasn't telling them to eat poison berries. So Genesis is saying something else; it's not giving a play-by-play scientific description of the origins of material existence. It's very likely talking about God's establishing an order to creation and placing man in the divine economy.

John Walton has two books on this idea, The Lost World of Genesis One: Ancient Cosmology and the Origins Debate and The Lost World of Adam and Eve: Genesis 2-3 and the Human Origins Debate (with N.T. Wright). I've read both, and they're a good introduction to a better contextual understanding of Genesis and its purpose as Scripture. I personally prefer something with a little more theological and (modern) cosmological depth to it, but they're aimed at a general audience and in that respect I think they're worth reading.

EDIT: bronze -> iron.

u/rtsDie · 4 pointsr/Christianity

You should definitely stay in the faith. From what you've said you're the ideal person to be a Christian. Jesus came to save sinners, not the perfect. If you feel like you don't pray enough, remind yourself that there's no gold star for praying, and that God never says he'll punish anyone for not praying enough. You're right that being a Christian isn't always easy, but it really is worth it. And yes, it can be difficult, but it's also freedom and true life. I know personally that feeling like a hypocrite sucks, but it's worth staying with it. I went through about 5 years of flirting with atheism and feeling trapped but I'm so glad I stayed. There are answers to your doubts, very good ones. But it can take a bit of searching to find good ones.

Re. Reading the Bible, I think your instinct to be careful in your interpretation is really helpful, but that doesn't mean the only options you have is reading everything as 100% literal (as in, this is what I would've seen if someone was there with a camera) on the one hand, and 100% allegorical (as in, this is kind of like Lord of the Rings in that it makes a nice point but is really just fantasy) on the other.

If you're thinking of Genesis in particular, there's a long history of reading it as not necessarily referring to 6 literal 24hr days (for example St Augustine). [The lost world of Genesis 1] ( by John Walton is a good place to start if you want to understand the way in which Genesis fits its Ancient Near Eastern context.

On the bigger topic of archaeology, slavery, what's the point of Genesis, why is the OT so wierd, is there a way between literalism and allegoricalism? etc. Inspiration and Incarnation
by Peter Enns is by far the most helpful thing I've read.

Keep going! Read Atheist Delusions, The Lost world of Genesis 1 and, Inspiration and Incarnation. Don't give up, there's plenty of really good answers out there. Christianity is life and freedom. You may not feel it now but the more you look into it, the more you'll see it. At least, that's my experience.

u/ValiantTurtle · 4 pointsr/Christianity

I'm slowly working through NT Wright's The Resurrection of the Son of God

u/tomtwopointoh · 4 pointsr/Christianity

Also, this book.

u/blue_roster_cult · 4 pointsr/DebateReligion

You should read N.T. Wright's Resurrection of the Son of God as it changed my mind about whether the resurrection could be established on historical grounds.

u/wsmith27 · 4 pointsr/Christianity

That's a good book, but I was talking about his scholarly work, The Resurrection of the Son of God. It's a 740 page dissection into it. It's on my to read list, but I haven't read it yet.

u/ThaneToblerone · 4 pointsr/Christianity

I think the best thing to do here (especially if you enjoy reading) is to do some study into the good reasons why Christianity is believed to be correct. William Lane Craig's Reasonable Faith is one of the best, most cohesive defenses of the reasonability of the Christian faith I've ever read but there are plenty of other good sources too (Richard Swinburne's The Existence of God and The Coherence of Theism, J.P. Moreland and Bill Craig's Philosophical Foundations of a Christian Worldview, Paul Copan and Bill Craig's Come Let Us Reason, Craig Keener's Miracles: The Credibility of the New Testament Accounts, and Alvin Plantinga's Warranted Christian Belief just to name a few).

u/ampanmdagaba · 4 pointsr/Christianity

According to the patristic canon, Jesus rebuked Peter exactly because it's bad to hurt people, even when it comes to self-defense. Moreover, according to the eyewitness hypothesis, the name of the slave whose ear was cut (Malchus) is given in the Gospel (of John) because he survived the events, and thus could have been used as an eyewitness (there would be people reading the Gospels who would have known Malchus and his story, or at least would be able in principle to verity it). Which kind of changes the whole narrative: it is the fact that he was spared that allowed him to, indirectly, help to spread the Gospel.

Not to mention the fact that Jesus explicitly undid the harm Peter did. In other words, I don't think it sounds like a good argument.

u/iammenotu · 4 pointsr/atheism

If you are interested in an academic, albeit theologian's (IIRC), point of view on reasons for differences in the bible, such as the several different versions of the creation story in genesis, the several different versions of the flood and ark story, etc., the above book, "Who Wrote The Bible" by Richard Elliot Friedman, is an excellent layman's read. It is a bit dated, but is well researched and an interesting. It is not a Christian or apologist book per se, from my memory, but a book based on Mr. Friedman's doctoral dissertation at Harvard. It only covers the contradictions from the first 5 books of the bible (the Pentateuch), but still a worthwhile read in my opinion, and can be purchased for cheap on Amazon.

u/katsuhira_nightshade · 4 pointsr/AcademicBiblical

Academic Biblical studies encompass a very broad range of subjects, but I'll try to cover a bunch here. In my opinion, though many people who frequent this subreddit may protest, the best overall introductory text to Higher Criticism of the O.T. would be R.E. Friedman's Who Wrote the Bible?. Although Friedman holds a number of fringe views and the vanilla Documentary Hypothesis has overall fallen out of favor (though there has been a recent revival of it), this is definitely the best-written and most entertaining introduction to the basic theory (I read through the entire thing in about 3 days). If you're looking for more on DH after that, Joel Baden's book, The Composition of the Pentateuch, is much more scholarly and explains the logic behind source division using numerous test cases (providing both the original Hebrew and translation).

For literary studies, just start with Robert Alter. I'm not really sure if this falls under the category of "academia" or is what you were looking for, but it's certainly an interesting analysis of how the Bible (both as a whole and by source division) tells its stories.

The only book I've read on the foundation of the Bible in the mythology of surrounding cultures is Tim Callahan's The Secret Origins of the Bible, which wasn't written by a scholar, but the author sources just about everything he writes; think of it as a Wikipedia for Biblical mythology--not entirely trustworthy, but fine for reference and finding further information. This one's also the only book on this list that has information on the New Testament as well.

Finally, make sure to check AcademicBiblical's wiki! It has tons of resources including videos, articles, etc. that can help you out.

I don't really know of any good books for Hebrew language since I've just been studying it in school my entire life. If you do seem to find a good book/course though, make sure that it's in biblical Hebrew and not modern Hebrew, as a lot of the language is very different. Having studied Arabic myself though, I can tell you that it'll give a significant leg up in learning Biblical Hebrew. For example, the way that words are constructed by fitting 3 letter roots into certain formulations is the same in Hebrew, and the vocabulary of the two languages are often close cognates. Once you've learned Hebrew, it's much easier to pick up Aramaic (I know that as well), but if you're just learning it to read Daniel/Ezra, it's not worth learning the whole language; the grammar is practically the same and the words are also similar enough, so at that point it's easiest just to fake your way through it with knowledge of Hebrew and and good translation to check against (NJPS, NRSV).

u/samisbond · 4 pointsr/todayilearned

JasonMacker is correct, they were indeed monolateral polytheistic.^1 What Algenib is talking about is simply what some forms of modern Jewish interpretation cover, but he should have been more clear in his post, as many people seem to think this meaning exists within the text, which we know it cannot.^a


|^1 “Israelite Religion”, H. W. Attridge, ed., The HarperCollins Study Bible, (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 2006), pp. xliv-xlv


|^a I recommend HarperCollins Study Bible or The New Oxford Annotated Bible - both will go over the subject in great lengths - but any scholarly study Bible will do.

Further Readings:

Who Wrote the Bible by Richard Elliott Friedman

"In the Beginning", A History of God by Karen Armstrong.

u/agnosgnosia · 4 pointsr/DebateAChristian

Perhaps you've heard of documentary hypothesis? In a nutshell, its that the pentateuch is heavily edited and not written by Moses. I got The Bible with sources revealed and was curious if the Abraham and Isaac story were edited, and it appears to be.

u/JJChowning · 4 pointsr/AskAChristian

>Christians who don't believe in YEC, are you mostly in the Age Gap boat, where you feel that evolution is compatible with Scripture, and you don't take portions of Genesis literally (or some other combination that makes room for deep geologic time)?

I find gap theory fairly unconvincing. I don't think Genesis 1 is actually concerned with giving a scientific chronology of creation, but has more theological interests. My take is generally something like the "poetic framework" view, though I find John Walton's approach very informative. In general I find Biologos a useful resource for examining the origins debate from a Christian and scientific perspective.

>I'm mainly asking out of curiosity, because there seems to be a fair amount of "evidence" on both sides, but I also think that both evolutionists and creationists take a fair amount of truth from evidence on faith rather than facts. What is the main deciding factor in your belief either way (specifically, evidence that points to the truth of your belief other than that the Bible says that it happened)?

There seems to be an overwhelming amount of evidence to indicate that life has common ancestry, earth has a deep geological history, and the universe has an even older history going back to the big bang.

Either God created the universe to appear old, or it really is old.

u/Mynome · 4 pointsr/Reformed

[John Walton] ( is an OT scholar and professor at Wheaton College. I just finished the [Lost World of Genesis One] ( this week and would highly recommend it.

He argues that the creation account concerns functional origins rather than material origins. To show this he considers a few Hebrew words in Genesis 1, specifically bara (translated as 'create') and tohu and bohu (translated as 'formless and void'). He contends that bara primarily concerns function-giving instead of material creation, and that tohu/bohu refer to an unproductive/nonfunctional state instead of an empty one. His analysis relies heavily on considering ancient near east culture and how they would have interpreted what's writtten in Gen. 1, claiming that a truly literal approach to reading the Bible is found through understanding what it meant in the world that it was first written.

Of course he goes into a lot more detail, and discusses a number of other topics related to the Gen. 1 debate. If you're like I was before reading it, these kinds of arguments will be pretty foreign to you, but I found them to be pretty persuasive and certainly worth a read.

u/r0lav · 4 pointsr/Christianity

I suggest you take a look at these two AMAs from this past year:

u/The_Mighty_Atom · 4 pointsr/exchristian

WARNING: Long post ahead!

I admire your desire to avoid confirmation bias and develop a stronger and more reasoned system of beliefs. I also appreciate your honesty in admitting that in some sense, you wish that Christianity could still be true. The pain you are experiencing from questioning long-held beliefs is very familiar to many folks on this sub.

You're not alone. And you should definitely not give up. :)


>>I will follow the evidence wherever it leads.

I'll warn you up front that if you do this, you will probably be led away from any sort of belief in Christianity. Christianity is a religion whose truth or falsehood hinges upon specific historical claims. If Jesus either (1) did not exist, or (2) existed but was not divine and did not resurrect from the dead, then Christianity literally cannot be true. And having walked the same path you're on, I found that the evidence led me to abandoning Christianity. I'm an engineer myself, and eventually I had to accept that the historical evidence just doesn't support Christianity.

With that being said, I've been reading the other posts and discussions here thus far, and it sounds to me like you're stuck between two difficult options: (1) a genuine desire to be intellectually honest, no matter the cost, and (2) facing the difficulty of abandoning a belief system which has been a major part of your marriage and your family. If you want to walk the line between the two, I would recommend that you adopt a rationalistic form of classical Deism or Theism. Accepting a "minimalistic theism," as you put it, might be pragmatically very useful. It could help smooth out any potential conflicts you might have with your spouse and children. At this emotionally difficult time, that could be very beneficial to both you and them. It could also help your family start to look at religious belief in a more rational light, just as you do.

If you haven't already, take a look at some of the best Christian apologists out there --- John Lennox, William Lane Craig, Gary Habermas, Alvin Plantinga, and the like. I didn't find them convincing, but reading their arguments could probably help you develop a more intellectually rigorous belief system.

Also, take a look at some books written by theistic evolutionists, such as Evolutionary Creation: A Christian Approach to Evolution by Denis Lamoureux, and The Lost World of Genesis One by John Walton. These scholars have had no difficult reconciling science with theism, and they might help you in your quest to develop a minimalist theistic belief system.

Finally, this process can be long and painful, and you shouldn't rush yourself through it. Take your time.

And as always, please use this sub for questions and support when you need. If you have more questions, or want to discuss this further, let me know.

u/tachometr · 4 pointsr/atheism

For anyone interested, there is a great talk from David Fitzgerald about the evidence of Jesus. And then there is a talk by Richard Carrier about the Jesus myth theory. Then there is also great deal of debates where Richard debates opponents of the myth theory. You can look and see, if their arguments seem valid. Lastly, Richard Carrier wrote a book which should be his complete case for the Jesus myth theory along with apologists arguments (didn't read it but I'm going to).

u/madcowbomber · 3 pointsr/Christianity

The resource I used was The Lost World of Genesis One by John Walton.

u/pilgrimboy · 3 pointsr/Christianity

Well, that's the common idea among leading Hebrew scholars.

Here are a few other good articles.

No Contest - Why the Argument Over Genesis?

Book Review: Walton’s The Lost World of Genesis One

Personally, I recommend the whole book. Walton is one of the leading, if not the foremost, Old Testament scholars of our time.

The Lost World of Genesis One

u/tiphphin · 3 pointsr/Christianity

The Lost World of Genesis One is a very interesting book written by a Bible-believing Christian for Bible-believing Christians that discusses the theology of Genesis 1.

It mentions evolution in passing, but primarily discusses what a 7 day creation week means from a scriptural/historical point of view.

It's a very readable and interesting book. I don't agree with all of it, but it is certainly a well argued view point.

u/snarkfish · 3 pointsr/atheism
u/NukeThePope · 3 pointsr/atheism

One definition of religion is "pretending to know things you don't know." By that definition, Ehrman is religious. The evidence for Jesus' existence is so poor that Ehrman cannot honestly claim to be sure Jesus existed.

Worse, he's lying like a motherfucker. In the interview, he claims there's no serious Bible scholar who doesn't believe Jesus existed; Richard Carrier points out Dr. Thomas Thompson, a "myther" professor of Jewish studies, who is well enough known that Ehrman is sure to know of him. Later on, Ehrman comes along with the old saw about how we don't have convincing evidence for Julius Caesar either. This is a really, really poor ploy, as Caesar is richly documented by his own writings, those of his contemporaries, by monuments, by coins bearing his name and image, by the events that necessarily followed his crossing of the Rubicon, and so on.

Carrier's book Proving History compares "traditional" methods of historical verification against Bayes' Theorem and demonstrates that most of the methods most often used in support of Jesus' historicity are lacking. Obviously, the jury is still out on whether Carrier is right about this, but I've heard inklings of a small flurry of historians eager to adopt BT to improve the quality of their work. If Carrier is right, the consensus Ehrman is confidently bracing himself on (and this interview is full of arguments from authority and simple intellectual browbeating and bullying on Ehrman's part) is as fragile as the Bible's story line, and a whole bunch of historians are/were mistaken.

Even regardless of Carrier's work (soon to birth another book, The Quest for Historical Jesus), sufficient serious scholars have raised sufficient doubts that, in a field that's more aligned with the Scientific Method, researchers would have to come clean and honestly admit "we don't know," as they do about the origin of the universe or the mechanism of abiogenesis.

When he claims the historicity of Jesus is a done deal, Ehrman is dishonest.

By way of thanks for suffering through all this text, I invite you to enjoy this informative video: So…if Jesus Didn’t Exist, Where Did He Come from Then?. In this video and elsewhere, Carrier is "doing it right:" nowhere does he boldly claim one way or the other, he simply shows us the reasons that exist for doubting a flesh-and-blood Jesus.

EDIT: Here's a takedown of Ehrman's latest book. To be fair, this is a popular book Ehrman apparently rushed to slap together; his other, more scholarly works (e.g. Misquoting Jesus) are held in much higher regard in the community.

u/ruaidhri · 3 pointsr/atheism

I saw a lecture Richard Carrier gave where he gives out about jesus myth authors like this, because although Carrier himself is a notable Jesus myth hypothesis espouser, he finds the nonsense that is published saying Jesus is a myth is so flawed that it damages serious scholarly work which examines the historicity or not of Christ.

His book Proving History is an interesting book. It's more about rigor and methodology in history but he does touch on the historicity of Christ throughout. Worth a read nyway.

u/techn0scho0lbus · 3 pointsr/books

Please have a look at Richard Carrier's great book that questions the historicity of Jesus. Richard is an athiest scholar who doesn't take it as granted that Jesus was a real person.

u/deirdredurandal · 3 pointsr/exchristian

This is a better investment than the lot of them, from an honest learning perspective, even if you don't agree with the conclusion. Ehrman is a seriously flawed source where, while you're still going to get exposed to some objectively true information that will be new to you, the logical fallacies and assumptions can do as much harm to developing a realistic understanding of the subject matter as it can be of benefit.

u/ziddina · 3 pointsr/exjw

I'm very sorry to hear this, but it is natural for people to waver & wobble a bit.

When one looks at the behavior of natural systems, it's never a straight line from being (say) a desert to a green plain - or vice versa. There are always upticks and down-dips in the graph.

>He asked me again if I was going to stop going to meetings. I said "I wish I could tbh, but I'm gonna have to......................" (I paused just to make sure how he would react). He replied with "Good. As long you keep going", and he also says "if we don't have this then what do we have? Being out there in the world??"

If there was a tactful way to ask him whether your attendance made him look or feel better, I would have asked him about that.

I'm NOT tactful.

I would suggest several avenues of approach, but you'll have to consider very carefully what the effects of these suggestions might be, before you do anything:

The lack of affection in the congregation makes you feel like you're attending due to obligation, not because of any love amongst the brothers. If you can come close to stating his feelings about being "[made to] feel guilty for not being at meetings and he reluctantly goes because he feels pressured" without obviously mimicking his comments, you might be able to get a kindred feeling about how both of you really view the constant demands to attend the meetings.

What if he'd been born somewhere else? Afghanistan? Amish country? Mennonites? He wouldn't know about the Jehovah's Witnesses - but would STILL have the same attitude about being "no part of this world".

>He also said he doesn't like to talk about not going to meetings and I said if I can't talk to him about it then who would I talk to?

DON'T talk about it. Let it slide. True apathy is one of the biggest enemies the Watchtower Society has. Whenever you talk about attending the meetings, you are reinforcing the guilt he's feeling, even (especially!!!) if you're talking about the meetings in a negative way.

On the other hand, real apathy just ignores things, wishing they'd go away. Real apathy seeks out excuses to avoid attending meetings. If he's having a spurt of spirituality right now, but his past behaviors show that he really doesn't want to do it, then your best response would be to show up at some meetings with him, but fake a headache for others. When you do go to meetings with him, keep your responses flat. No response afterwards. Just so bored with it, you can't even be bothered to react negatively. If you've got an electronic tablet, then read something else while you're at the meetings.

Have you ever done a first-aid class where they teach the students how to pick up a fully-relaxed, unconscious person? That lesson amazed me; if a person goes completely limp it is VERY difficult to pick them up. A small person of around 100 pounds is harder to lift if they're as limp as a cooked noodle.

If you feel you need to attend any more meetings with him, then just go completely limp [so to speak]. NO negative resistance, but also absolutely no interest whatsoever.

Personally I'd pull up some of the books written by authentic bible scholars & read them during meetings, like "The Early History of God - Yahweh and the Other Deities in Ancient Israel" or "Did God Have a Wife?", or

Whether or not Jesus existed:

There's a whole world of research out there, that the Watchtower Society absolutely doesn't want their members to have a clue about. You could gain far more knowledge about the real (man-made) origins of the bible while you're sitting there in the meetings. You could be sitting there, cool as a cucumber, learning more about the bible than any male leader of the Watchtower Society knows, even the 7 men on the Governing Body.

That would keep your mind occupied while your husband struggles with the guilt & obligation of an unloving, manipulative cult.

For that matter, you could also read about how cults manipulate people, while you're at the meetings. Anything to feed your mind while he loses his - er, while he gets a belly-full of the banality, hypocrisy & idiocy of the WT meetings & literature.

u/ggliddy357 · 3 pointsr/TrueAtheism

You might want to pick up Richard Carrier's latest work.

u/Zomunieo · 3 pointsr/atheism

I suggest moving the Lataster (Washington Post) and Tarico (Alternet) to the top of the list. These are concise well written articles that serve as a good introduction, and are more authoritative (reviewed and edited by the publisher) than the many personal blogs on the list.

There's a few duplicates as well.

One link to add - Richard Carrier's book:

u/ugarten · 3 pointsr/atheism

If you want to read about Jesus mythicism, Richard Carrier's book On the Historicity of Jesus: Why We Might Have Reason for Doubt is a far better place to start.

u/Atanar · 3 pointsr/de

>Du greifst nur die Talpioth Särge heraus.

Du kannst also nicht bestreiten das in deiner Liste Mist steht. Was sagt das über die Verlässlichkeit der Endaussage?
>Wieso sollten die anderen Argumente nur schlecht und nicht belastend sein?

Weil sie dem Schluss, der daraus gezogen wird, nicht entsprechen.

>Hast du belastende Argumente für diese Sichtweise oder ist es mehr ein Glaube?

Die Historisierung von mythischen Gestalten kommen in der Antike andauernd vor, siehe Äneis oder Gilgamesh. Zudem ist es aus der historischen Abfolge der NT Schriften ersichtlich das eine Historisierung erst im Verlauf der Ausbildung des Christentums zustande kam. Zudem fehlen Hinweise, die man bei einer tatsächlichen historischen Existenz Jesus erwarten würde, vollständig, währen die Hinweise, die wir haben, bestens durch die Existenz einer Gottesgestalt die historisiert wurde erklären lassen ( "Argument der besten Erklärung")
Ich würde dir ja Richard Carrier und als Gegenposition Bart Ehrmann zum Lesen empfehlen, allerdings scheint es mir dass du nichtmal das kritisch gelesen und beurteilt hast was du selbst postest.

> Und eine Abhandlung über die Augenzeugenfrage.

Was als Augenzuegenbreichte in deinen Quellen gelten, wird unter historischen Methoden als "Gerüchte" abgetan.

>Auf Wikipedia heißt es:

Ein Konsens von Forschermeinungen dient dem wissenschaftlichen Prozess, nicht als endgültige Wahrheit. Der Konsens ist in diesem Falle geprägt von nicht belastbaren Argumenten.

>There is no evidence today that the existence of Jesus was ever denied in antiquity by those who opposed Christianity

Wenn man da die Bedeutung hineinliest du du wahrscheinlich darin siehst, versteht man den Kontext von Religionen der Antike nicht. Das ist kein üblicher Kritikpunkt und ist daher auch nicht zu erwarten.

u/kvrdave · 3 pointsr/Christianity

FF Bruce's Canon of Scripture seems to be the most widely accepted.

There's lots of articles all over, with the whole spectrum covered. For purely scholarly stuff from an agnostic point of view, look at anything by Bart D. Ehrman. Save his in case you are worried you are getting pulled to the light side. ;)

u/LewesThroop · 3 pointsr/AskHistorians

When I was studying this, the best sources I found were:

The Canon of the New Testament: Its Origin, Development, and Significance by Bruce Metzger


The Canon of Scripture, by F.F. Bruce

They are both Protestants but I didn't notice any particular theological bias. Both cover both the OT and NT but since we know a lot more about the formation of the NT, it gets a lot more coverage.

u/mswilso · 3 pointsr/Bible

Im on mobile, so this is just a placeholder until I get home to my references. But this question comes up quite a bit.

OK, Apologies for the delay, birthday dinners, flat tire on the way is just complicated sometimes.

So, one of the best conservative sources I am aware of on How we got the canon of Scripture is from noted scholar F.F. Bruce, "The Canon of Scripture". "Evidence that Demands a Verdict" by Josh McDowell also has a lengthy chapter on the subject as well.

But in a nutshell, the Old Testament canon was pretty much set in stone about 400 years prior to Jesus' birth, so almost no one debates which texts are canon there. There might be some arguments over the order (chronological, vs. putting the Law, Prophets, and Wisdom literature together, or combining 1 & 2 Kings (et. al.) together as one book, but even the most liberal authors agree on what constitutes the "Old Testament. See Lasor, Hubbard and Bush, Old Testament Survey.

Protestants and Catholics disagree on whether the inter-testamental books (called the Pseudepigrapha, or the Apocrypha), are canon. Catholics include them in their Bible, Protestants do not.

As for the New Testament, here's the short story: After about 90 AD (after the Apostle John wrote Revelation), there sprung up a lot of "Christian texts" from various authors, some possibly inspired, others just wanting to get on the band-wagon, so to speak.

The Christian church was not officially "organized" until Emperor Constantine in 313 AD with the Edict of Milan. He convened the First Council of Nicaea (now Iznik, Turkey) in 325 AD, which compiled a list of texts, as Constantine had ordered 50 copies (handwritten, of course, being way before the Gutenberg Bible) for distribution.

In fact, the list of books we call the "New Testament" was almost complete by Irenaeus in 202 AD. (So anyone who tries to "late-date" the NT is out of luck there. From 90 AD (writing of Revelation) to 202 AD is a knife-edge in time when talking about ancient documents...) While the Council of Nicaea contributed some to it's organization, the canon was complied by 367 AD, by Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria, who lists the exact order and books that we call the NT today.

Some things to think about, with regards to which books were included and which were excluded: All the books of the NT can be attributed with certainty to people who lived concurrently with Jesus, ("We were eye-witnesses to His Majesty", 1 John 1) and who listened to, and were discipled directly by Jesus. There were plenty of writings by disciples of disciples, but only first-hand accounts were accepted into canon. For example, Matthew (the tax collector) was an apostle. Mark (the earliest gospel) is believed to be a dictation by Peter (see Acts 12). The Apostle John, of course, and Paul, who met with Jesus on the road to Damascus. (Add to this, Peter's approval of Paul in 2 Peter 3). The other authors of NT books were all contemporaries of Jesus; Luke, who traveled with Paul, etc.

That's the short story. There are many, many sub-characters and sub-plots, of course. What it boils down to, is that God has the power to preserve His Word to all generations, regardless of men's abilities, or inabilities, to screw things up. So we can have confidence that the same Gospel Jesus taught His disciples, is the same gospel we read today.

u/an_ennui · 3 pointsr/Christianity

2 things:

  1. It helps to have a mental framework wherein a god, or "great mental entity" is even possible. There is evidence, but without accepting first that God may exist, it will be explained away as something else. You don't have to believe at first, but it's impossible to understand Christianity if you start off rejecting even the smallest possibility that God exists and wait for someone/something to prove you wrong. Inquire into The Quinque Viae with an open (but discerning) mind.
  2. Start by looking into how the Bible was made. A good resource is The Canon of Scripture. Most people emphacize the teachings of the Bible (which is good, but as you pointed out, then it's one teaching against another and how do you choose?) over the history. The Bible is not one writing; it is accounts collected over history by different writers about how God showed up in history. And the history is accurate. These are by and large the only religious documents ever made that don't take place in an unverifiable place or time. The Bible says "this happened here in X time period. Go see for yourself." The book explains pretty well why some writing is called "The Bible" and some other documents such as The Gospel of Thomas missed one or more stringent qualifications.

    Inquiring into both of these things won't necessarily make you Christian or cause you to have an experience. But you will learn something about yourself, and understand the mindset of intelligent people who approach these claims with an open mind and find something uniquely true.
u/JoeCoder · 3 pointsr/DebateAChristian

The new testament still scores pretty good compared to other ancient writings/writers.

Most of the items he listed as discrepancies between the gospels fall in the category of "an omission by one author isn't a contradiction". The timing issues have been explained by the gospel writers using different calendars and methods of measuring time, and multiple sabbaths (Therefore multiple days of preparation) during the passover week.

He touts Mark as an example of fine Greek written by a very educated man, but it's written in a Greek spoken by commoners and slaves; even approaching the ungrammatical at times.

In short, it seems that he quickly goes through a list of one-line statements that represent his side of the argument and never touches on the opposing view; when entire books have been written on many of these topics.

u/epistleofdude · 3 pointsr/ChristianApologetics

These resources will help answer your questions:

  • Can We Trust the Gospels? by Peter Williams. Williams received his PhD from the University of Cambridge. The book is a great first introduction to these issues. It's short, but scholarly.

  • Who Wrote the Gospels? by Tim McGrew. McGrew is a Christian professor of philosophy and also a Christian apologist who has debated atheists like Bart Ehrman.

  • Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony by Richard Bauckham. Bauckham (PhD, University of Cambridge) is one of the world's foremost authorities on the New Testament. This is a very scholarly book. It's long, but has tremendous depth.

  • The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach by Michael Licona. Licona also holds a doctorate. He's a Christian apologist. This book is a very long, but it addresses virtually every major issue and debate about the resurrection of Jesus.
u/dodgepong · 3 pointsr/Christianity

The problem here is that your co-worker will never acknowledge evolution's merits because he cannot say that the Bible is wrong or false in any way. Infallability and inerrancy are two core beliefs of fundamentalists about the Bible, and in his view, Genesis is very clear about what happened six thousand years ago.

If you want to convince him that it's OK to look to science for explanations of how the world came to be without giving up his beliefs about the Bible's inerrancy and infallibility, you'll have to tell him about a reasonable alternative explanation of Genesis 1 that still allows room for the reader to look to science for answers regarding the origin of the world.

Here's is a fantastic presentation by Dr. John Walton, a theologian, who interprets Genesis 1 in a different way than a lot of Christians are used to. Walton argues that the creation described in Genesis was not describing the material origins of the world, but rather the functional origins, which is more consistent with the way Ancient Israelites would have understood the concept of "creation" (he explains it all in the video). I heard John Walton talk about this in person (and read his book, The Lost World of Genesis One), and it was what finally made me more comfortable with evolution as a legitimate science, having come from a fundamentalist background myself.

It's from a Christian author and theologian who is sympathetic to the Christian view, and it's on YouTube, so it's free!

u/ND3I · 3 pointsr/Christianity

To understand the biblical creation account, you have to put it in its cultural context. God inspired the story to tell them that he, alone, was responsible for creation. He didn't give them a science textbook to explain how the cosmos worked; he gave them a story that aligned with their view of the cosmos, and their view was completely different than our view.

For example, the people in that area, at that time, saw the cosmos as: earth (the realm where we are, not a planet), with "waters" above and below. They put "waters" there because the seas they were familiar with represented the unknown and chaos.

If you want more (lots more) information about this, look for John Walton's talks and books:

An intro:

A detailed talk—the whole thing is good, but here's where he talks about the cosmology:

His popular book:

And Google will return lots, lots more.

u/yfnj · 3 pointsr/atheism

Thanks, just checking whether there was something new.

Carrier talks about this in his "On the Historicity of Jesus". His claim about Tacitus is that he was probably quoting the Gospels indirectly through Pliny, so Carrier claims it might not be an independent source.

He reviews a bunch more, including Josephus, in his chapter 8 "Extrabiblical Evidence".

If I wanted to fact-check Carrier, I would start by reading both his and Ehrman's blogs when they argue with each other, and both Carrier's and Ehrman's books on the topic.

I don't have a personal opinion on the existence of Jesus either. I asked only because it would be interesting if there were an easy way to poke holes in Carrier's work, since Carrier is so thorough.

u/Paxalot · 3 pointsr/atheism

Both Timothy verses are considered forgeries by most Biblical scholars.

Briefly this is the argument:

  1. Paul clearly taught that men and women were equal in Christ
  2. In the early church of Paul's day the end times were believed to have already started or to be imminent. There were no priests or bishops and church members were required to act as a unit with all members being equal.

    The writing style of the 'Timothy's' has nothing in common with Paul's. After Paul's death there were in circulation the 'Acts of Paul' which are a fantastic set of yarns about a superhero-like Paul and a feisty female companion/sidekick (non-sexual relationship) that keeps getting in trouble because she insists on being chaste. These tall tales were very popular. It is believed that the 'Timothy's' were written in the second century to undercut the popularity of the 'Acts of Paul' and Paul's original and radical idea that men, women, slaves and masters were all 'equal in Christ'.

    It is estimated that somewhere between 40 and 60% of Paul's New Testament writings are forgeries.
u/mavnorman · 3 pointsr/TrueAtheism

Because it's essentially advertising for his book 'Forged'.

u/Dargo200 · 3 pointsr/atheism

If you want to learn more I would suggest reading:

historicity of Jesus - Richard Carrier.

Nailed: Ten Christian Myths That Show Jesus Never Existed at All - David Fitzgerald.

u/terevos2 · 3 pointsr/Reformed

That's a nice theory, but it has no basis on fact, no evidence for it, and the oldest manuscripts do not contain any indication of any of those heresies.

In reality, the range of locations for the oldest manuscripts varies widely, while the range of locations for the older manuscripts centers in the Catholic church. Again - the only reason you might affirm Textus Receptus is if you are Catholic.

If you'd really like to dig in, the best book I've found on the subject of manuscripts is Bruce Metzger's The Text of the New Testament.

If you read the original intro for the KJV translation it gives one of the best defenses of using the best and oldest sources for material.

Lastly, there are no differences in primary or secondary doctrine between the TR and the Critical Texts (NA28 or UBS). The ESV and NASB still agree with the KJV about practically all doctrine.

u/rhomphaia · 3 pointsr/Christianity

The standard works are these:





I should say, agenda shouldn't really be too much of a problem. Textual critics share broad agreement. Opposite sides like Wallace and Ehrman will actually agree for the most part. The disagreement will be more in the framing or the language (and in a handful of texts), but the facts are mostly agreed upon.

u/Total_Denomination · 3 pointsr/AcademicBiblical

> Therefore, I want to learn about the Bible; not what it says but rather how it was written, received (and translated), preserved, and most importantly: how we can be sure we know these things (how studying the Bible works).

Then you want to read this. There is a bibliography if you're interested in delving deeper into the textual criticism arena.

Also, these IVP dictionaries are a go-to for any reference topic you are curios about. You can get on Amazon for cheaper, FYI, but that link lists all the books in the series. There is a bibliography after each article for further study if needed.

u/TurretOpera · 3 pointsr/Christianity
u/hankinstien · 3 pointsr/AcademicBiblical

For a detailed look at exactly which manuscripts we have, and how they have been discussed and used overtime, see Bruce Metzger's "The Text of the New Testament":

u/SF2K01 · 3 pointsr/Judaism

The search for the historical Jesus is a futile endevor. If he existed at all, he certainly doesn't resemble anything that we would recognize as Jesus. All we know is a a spruced up ancient Greco-Roman biography that was synthesized to transmit a new theology by playing on existing tropes.

You would enjoy reading The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings to get some more context for what was going on then and how Christianity formed.

>certainly the Romans killed a lot of Christians back then

Not anywhere as much as martyrdom theology has led you to believe.

u/pjsans · 3 pointsr/AskAChristian

>I suppose to get right down to it, one of the major things that make me unsure about the Bible is because of how it can be so misinterpreted.

I think that this should make you unsure about people, but not the Bible. People twist things, and in fact we are told that people will twist Scripture within the Bible. Beyond that, even people with good motivations are imperfect thinkers. You, myself, and everyone else, when we approach the Bible, we bring with it our own baggage. Our understanding, our lives, and what we think now affects how we read the Bible. This is normal, but we need to recognize it in order for us to get around it and try to see what the Bible actually says (I'll mention this kind of stuff more below). Even with this in mind, this doesn't have any affect on the trust-worthiness of the Bible itself.

>Of course, one of the biggest things we hear about is that homosexuality is a sin. I don't know how many places it's been mentioned, but the only thing I recall about it is the very famous line "Man shall not lie with man as he does with a woman" or something along those lines.

I referenced a few places where homosexuality is brought up, but I'll link them here. The Leviticus passage (which is what you just referenced) is not the only one.

Romans 1:26-27, 1 Timothy 1:8-11, and 1 Corinthians 6:9-11.

>But while I was trying to learn and understand more about the Bible, what's real and not etc, I have also read several times that this line was something that was difficult to translate from its original texts, and that it originally referred to "sexual satanic rituals" with large groups of people

This is indeed a route people try to go. On nearly every topic you are going to have people telling you things that seem convincing on both sides. I would recommend looking into hermeneutics techniques (how to read, interpret, and understand the Bible). I'll talk more about this in a bit.

For this specific text, I don't think it holds up. I assume that this case is made because Molech is mentioned in the preceding law. Here is that section:

21 You shall not give any of your children to offer them[b] to Molech, and so profane the name of your God: I am the Lord. 22 You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination. 23 And you shall not lie with any animal and so make yourself unclean with it, neither shall any woman give herself to an animal to lie with it: it is perversion.

The whole chapter is Leviticus 18. The first tip of hermeneutics I'll give you is "Context is King." Always check for context.

This chapter is one long list of things that the Israelites are not commanded to do and which the other nations will be condemned for (this along with the fact that they are restated in the NT are why I think they are still binding).

The law concerning Molech is either in regards to sacrificing children to the false god or dedicate them to him, likely as temple prostitutes. Either way, it does not mean that the following verse is related to Molech, and if it is then we could say the same thing about bestiality, but this (I think you would agree) is obviously sinful. Taken even further, you could argue that incest was okay, but again, this is obviously not the case.

The idea that the immediate context indicates that this is talking about temple sex worship or orgies (I think) is unfounded and it doesn't take the context of the chapter as a whole into account. With that said here is a link to a debate between James White and a guy who holds this view that you are talking about. To be upfront, this is probably the best defense of homosexual acceptance I have ever heard, and he even made me think his arguments were valid for a moment...but as the debate went on and the more I thought about it the less sense it made.

Maybe you'll come away with a different conclusion though.

I'll also link this response post by Preston Sprinkle (who does a lot of work in this with nothing but love). He addresses this concern in point 2. Lastly, here is a short video by John Piper on the topic.

>It's one of those things that make me unsure of what to believe from the Bible.
It's concerning because I keep coming back to thinking "How do any of us know what is really right from the Bible?"

It takes time. My advice to you would be "don't panic, take your time." I have had foundational shifts in my thinking change because of what I realized the Bible was teaching. This is a part of growing and maturing in the faith. Sometimes it can be painful and exhausting but it is worth it and it will help you in the long run.

I think that looking into how to do hermeneutics will be helpful. I'd recommend How to Read the Bible for All its Worth. I'll link a couple of videos that might help as well. Exegesis and Hermeneutics (its a bit choppy, but it has good content). You'll also want to be aware of two fancy-pants words: Exegesis & Eisegesis. Rather than explain those in-depth, I'll just link to this 3 min. vid by Francis Chan that explains the concepts (these are also brought up in the other vid).

The key thing you want to look for is consistency. Is what I believe consistent with this text? the context? the Bible as a whole?

Here is a clip about the textual variants issue I was talking about. I recommend the whole thing, but you'd have to order it.

>I don't want, or plan to give up on my faith, but I'm afraid that even with me believing in God, and that he will save me, I can't help but wonder if he really will save me, or if he even saved departed loved ones who believed in God, but still did small things that seem to sound like they were sinful.

I would again recommend reading Romans 8. And also let me reassure you that we are not saved by our good works or by a perfect understanding of doctrine. We all err in one way or another. Salvation is a gift, we are saved by grace through faith. If you truly wish to seek God, to do as he says, and to love him then there you should take comfort in that. God recognizes that we are not perfect, he has taken that into account. This is the reason he sent Christ. Don't let the fact that you are confused keep you from rejoicing in God. Confusion does not negate salvation.

u/ransom00 · 3 pointsr/Christianity

I second /u/Frankfusion's recommendation to read How to Read the Bible for all It's Worth.

I would also add that maybe the most important thing that you do is to read the Bible with other Christians. If you have a group of friends that attends different kinds of churches, that would be even better, because that would give you some idea of the differing perspectives their traditions will bring to the table. Even if not, I would try to find some people to study it with together, because the Bible was always meant to be a book for the whole church.

As far as how to read it, there will be plenty of other suggestions, I'm sure. I would agree that you may want to start with one of the Gospels, since Jesus is the heart of the Christian faith. Personally I think some of better known Pauline epistles like Romans are really hard to understand until you've read quite a bit from the Law in the OT.

u/sohu86 · 3 pointsr/Bible

Some of the Psalms are known as "Imprecatory Psalms". In here, the psalmist is expressing his anger verbally to and through God, as a way of channeling those negative emotions rather than letting them out in violent actions, either verbally or physically, to other people or things.

Most of these imprecatory psalms are a part of lament psalms that were written in response to the Israelites' sufferings during that time, such as during their exile (see Psalm 137).

What is important here to note is that these imprecatory psalms do not contradict Jesus' teachings on love. The word "hate" can also mean "to be unable to put up with" and "to reject". So for example 139:22, the psalmist is expressing his inability to put up with those who hate God.

If you're interested in learning more, I recommend these books:

u/Awholethrowaway · 3 pointsr/explainlikeimfive

> Wouldn't a considerable chunk of it be lost in translation and also there be possibility of misinterpretation?

This is the greatest challenge with different translations is with trying to understand the original intent of the original author and not misinterpret it. Just as you lose meaning in translating with your friends so we lose meaning with biblical translation. Each of the arguing groups all are arguing that their translation loses the least (or no) meaning. You probably doubt that. So do I. But just because each has maybe (we don't really no) lost something in translation doesn't mean we can't work to recover the original meaning and hopefully do our best to mitigate our own biases.

> They interpret it according to their own unique situation.

The great debate you usually see between which translation is best has to do with this and is usually aligned along a number of factors:

  • proximity to the original source,
  • biases of the translators,
  • the translation approach adopted (in itself a debate)

    If you are interested in looking into it further I'd recommend Fee and Stuarts text on hermeneutics: How to Read the Bible for All It's Worth
u/Engradious · 3 pointsr/worldnews

> The bible would make a pretty good comic/manga series

You mean like this?

u/LadyGrizabella · 3 pointsr/breakingmom

My mom has been upset for years that I dropped out of church after I got married. I'm like, "Dude. It's been 15 years. GET OVER IT!" She's tried everything from trying to guilt me back into church, to buying me a "hip" Bible (it's this one, to buying my son a "baptismal" outfit when he was an infant that would've made him look less religious and more like a tiny Elvis. I've kept it..because it makes me laugh.

u/KerPop42 · 3 pointsr/Christianity

Here you go! I haven't read much of it, but it's supposed to be alright.

u/ignignokt2D · 3 pointsr/exchristian

Apologies for being vague. It was an interview I heard years ago, and I couldn't recall the details. I managed to find it again. It's The Book of Genesis Illustrated by R. Crumb.

u/cypressgreen · 3 pointsr/atheism

The Book of Genesis Illustrated by R. Crumb I bought it for my son, although I admit he's only skimmed it. My son is 14 and a self described atheist, while is dad is a hypocritical christian. A christian couldn't really object much to the book, as it's just the whole book of Genesis with nothing added.

u/TallahasseWaffleHous · 3 pointsr/DebateReligion

Yeah, that's pretty weird.

I may have to re-read my copy of R. Crumb's "Genesis".
While he's not a theologian, He illustrated the entire thing from a very literal and complicated point-of-view. Highly recommend just for the amazing illustrations!

>Crumb became so fascinated by the Bible’s language, “a text so great and so strange that it lends itself readily to graphic depictions,” that he decided instead to do a literal interpretation using the text word for word in a version primarily assembled from the translations of Robert Alter and the King James bible.

u/zzzlater · 3 pointsr/atheism

here is working link

u/inkblot81 · 3 pointsr/booksuggestions

I've noticed a few on my library shelves, but haven't read them all yet:

Fun Home by Alison Bechdel. It's Bechdel's memoir about her father, and an excellent read.

The Lives of Sacco and Vanzetti by Rick Geary. It covers a milestone legal case in 20th century US.

Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud. It's a text on the nature of comics, in graphic novel form. It's a classic.

The Book of Genesis, illustrated by R. Crumb. He illustrated the entire text of this book of the bible.

And here's a good list from The Atlantic Monthly: (I've read and enjoyed a couple of these titles, so I feel safe in assuming the others are just as good)

u/countjared · 3 pointsr/atheism
u/artman · 3 pointsr/

I recommend Robert Crumb's The Book of Genesis. Much more, uh faithful to the text and times. Preview has nsfw Crumb nudes.

u/infidhell · 3 pointsr/atheism

Only $14 on Amazon I'm buying it. And if it's good, I'll probably give more away on Christmas.

This is my way to support the author/publisher so that can make more comics based on the books of the Bible. And maybe one day, Michael Bay will make a movie out of it.

u/tekko001 · 3 pointsr/comics

I heard he was working on this about two years ago, glad to know its already out, judging by the comments on Amazon its also worth the money... I'm buying it :)

u/Cordelia_Fitzgerald · 3 pointsr/Catholicism

My cousin once gave me the book A Year of Living Biblically. That's exactly what it was. I'm guessing the sitcom is inspired by the book.

u/flannelpancakes · 3 pointsr/exmormon

I believe they also referenced Who Wrote the Bible? by Richard Friedman. I haven't read it but I plan to very soon.

u/boner-of-rage · 3 pointsr/TrueAtheism

Fair warning though: If you start to openly push back after reading up some on Ehrman and a few other sources mentioned (I posted a wiki link to stuff on the NT papyri in an above comment) and your family is as hardcore fundamentalist as they sound from your description, be ready for a shitshow. ---if you need to get out

Also, Richard Eliot Friedman's Who Wrote the Bible? is a great introduction to the Pentateuch and the Documentary Hypothesis. For all the emphasis Christians place on the New Testament and how Jesus resurrected and everything, he clearly seems to have believed the Old Testament to have been true and accurate, per the gospel writers. Problem is that it's way more complicated and problematic when it comes to sources/verification than even the New Testament.

u/otakuman · 3 pointsr/explainlikeimfive

I can recommend Bart D. Ehrman's book "The Text of the New Testament", regarding the NT. Regarding the books of the Old Testament, I can recommend "The Bible with sources revealed" by Richard Elliott Friedman. Oh, he also wrote a book called... (drum rolls please...) "Who wrote the Bible?"

u/jebei · 3 pointsr/atheism

I've had a similar obsession with the bible over the years. It made no sense to me when I was part of a church but everything opened up once I realized it's one of the best insights we have into the ancient mind and I find it fun to read now.

The top response to this post says the god of the Old Testament is the same as the god of the New but that's because they are looking at it only as a religious text. Looking at it as a historical document you can clearly see a progression over time from a Polytheistic War god at the beginning who demands blood sacrifices to a Monotheistic vengeful god of a chosen few. The New Testament is clearly written with Greek/Roman influences and a kinder god that was changed in ways to better fit and grow in that society.

If you haven't read it already, a good first book on the subject is Who Wrote the Bible by Friedman. I like The Bible Unearthed by Finklestein and Ehrmann's books are good too. There are dozens of other good overviews that show the Bible's progression from ancient campfire stories to the form we see today. After reading a few, I don't see how anyone can seriously believe the Bible is the unerring word of god.

I know I'll never convince my family members that Christianity is wrong so I've focused my efforts to get them to understand the bible was written by man. Even if we grant them that a god actually spoke to Moses and Jesus is his literal son neither man wrote the words in the book. Later men took the stories and wrote them down. The books of the Torah were finalized 600+ years after Moses is supposed to have lived. The Gospels were written 50 years after Jesus is said to have died. These writers were not gods and to say they were divinely inspired is a cop-out. They interpreted what they heard but these men were also products of their times. They practiced blood sacrifice and accepted slavery nor did they have a fraction of our understanding of the world. It's why you can't take the book literally.

There may be truths in the Bible but you have to look behind the words to find them.

u/uwootm8 · 3 pointsr/islam

Hey man.

The difference between doing history with Islam and doing history with the Bible is that Islam already had a historical critical method during its crucial years. Thanks to hadith criticism, we have information that we are absolutely sure come from the Prophet and/or his companions.

One of the principles of hadith criticism is multiple attestation. The historical critical method (that which Bart Ehrman and all other historians would also use) contain such a principle as well. If there are multiple sources we know for certain are independent (ie. they cannot get together and agree to report the same thing), then we know that the claim really goes back to the source.

This is not true with the bible. So the historical critical method would be used. Some assumptions that they have are:

  • Orthodoxy developed over time (so statements from the Prophet about future sects must be thrown out- it is simply seen as a way for sunni Islam to have fabricated the hadiths so as to discredit their opponents).

  • Principle of dissimilarity. This is reverse of the first principle I listed. It states that if there is something in the historical source (usually speaking of a religious text) that directly contradicts orthodoxy, it is probably true, because the orthodoxy would not invent this. An example would be the dubious 'constitution of medina' because it gives rights to the jews that the caliphate did not (sort of an equal standing political place). I have issues with this principle. Just because the orthodoxy did not invent it, how do you know that it was not invented by a person of heterodoxy? You don't know what this information would serve. For example, how do you know this constitution of madina was not fabricated by a jewish man wanting to raise the status of jews?

  • Anachronisms, "too convenient" etc. Basically if a text contains something that we know could only be known later, it is false.

    Also, if a piece of information is too politically convenient, then it should be disregarded. Because politicians invented it.

    (there are more principles, e.g. principle of verisimilitude)

    Now, the method is great, however the problem is is that it is only going to take you so far. A lot of these principles should be overturned by multiple attestation.

    For example, if it is multiply attested that the Prophet said X thing, yet the event itself happens to benefit a group of people, then one should simply accept that the Prophet really did said this, and these group of people, rather than inventing this tale up (because it would have been multiply attested so invention of it would be highly unlikely or impossible), simply looked back at the Prophet's words and then acted in a way so as to take benefit of it. I believe the abbassids (not sure who exactly) did this with the hadith about the army with black flags. OR it was simply a coincidence.

    Now, it must be noted that orientalists can and do apply the HCM on Islam. Keep in mind that (atleast up until the last couple of decades with new historical information and some brilliant research) many consider hadith to be forged altogether. From this you know of a group of people I would term the revisionists, and you see their arguments quoted on atheist and Christian blogs everywhere. However most of their theories, in my opinion, are really atrocious. One idea is that the group of people called "muslims" did not exist, rather the Prophet called all Christians and Jews and Pagans under the banner "mu'min". This theory is advocated by people who believe the Qur'an to be from the Prophet's time by the Prophet himself. However, the assertion is ridiculous and only works if you ignore 1/3rd of the Qur'an. Another assertion is that Mecca was not the birthplace of Islam. But such a conspiracy (who changed the 'birthplace'? Why did nobody object at all? Even if there were different sects, eg. shia, proto-sunnis, etc) would be far more difficult to believe than to accept that Islam really did start in Mecca. But then, where did the Prophet Muhammad get his information? That area, according to people who reject hadith, did not have any monotheistic religions. So it must be explained.

    I could go on and on but I'm gonna stop at that.

    >On the Jews and inventing scripture, would you say that the claim that Mosaic law is eternal, would be one of those inventions? Also, what material do you recommend in regards to investigating such fabrications?

    I am actually talking about the Pentateuch, the five books of the bible that Christians and Jews call the "Torah". These are definitely not from Musa (a.s.) as they claim it is. There is a very large amount of evidence against it. The most obvious is that its internal evidence dates it to a time far further than Moses (a.s.). I will give you a blatantly obvious examples:

    >Deuteronomy 34, the account of Moses' death, including the phrase in verse 6, "no one knows his burial place to this day."

    Clearly someone after him is writing this, or else they would not say "to this day"

    >Genesis 12:6 - Abram passed through the land to the place at Shechem, to the oak of Moreh. At that time the Canaanites were in the land.

    But they were still there when Musa (a.s.) was alive, so obviously this statement was written after he died.

    There's a lot of proofs. Nobody doubts that Moses did not write the Torah (even Christians will say stuff like "well he wrote it and then someone later redacted it into a language the common people could understand at the time" which is silly IMO).

    I would recommend that you start here:

    But first please read the five books of Moses! I still have not yet finished this book because I'm getting through the bible. It's a great book BTW. Very good intro. Note a lot of things they say contradicts Islam, because of their assumptions that revelation isn't true / moses is probably a mythical figure or something / a lot of other assumptions which you can puzzle out yourself I think.
u/BracesForImpact · 3 pointsr/TalkHeathen

He must support his claims with evidence. If you make the opposite claim, support yours the same way. He has cheap evangelical tools that are not experts in their field. You have both Christian and non-Christian scholars on yours.

For a good overview, I would recommend Who Wrote The Bible by Richard Elliott Freedman

u/Sahqon · 3 pointsr/exchristian

> If not, I've been lied to and held to impossible expectations my whole life and that's hard to swallow.

You must realize that when you believed without question, you also "lied" to everybody else about the same thing. You are not a single person being lied to, you are part of a group in which likely no one is lying to anyone else, they just don't know any better (than you do), and everybody else is just confirming to the others that "of course we are right".

Read some books about the history of the religion (The Bible Unearthed or Who Wrote the Bible for the OT and the Jesus Wars for the NT are a good and rather entertaining overview), and maybe read Sagan's The Demon Haunted World to clear up some things about who believes what and why it's not necessarily a lie, but might still not be the truth. Seriously, it's about UFOs, lol.

r/academicbiblical is also good (and free), but it's sort of short answers to specific questions about the Bible. Their wiki is the best though!

u/--O-- · 3 pointsr/Christianity

I think it's sad how many Christians know so little about the history of their own religion and holy book. I really recommend you pick up a book on the topic... amazon has many. e.g:

For OT specifically, also check out the Yale Open Course on it:

u/imatexasda · 3 pointsr/AskHistorians

My religion class used Who Wrote the Bible by Richard Friedman. This is not an annotated text like some of the other suggestions (i.e.- it won't go line by line and give you notes on what the context of the verse is) but rather, it's a look at the question of authorship and the context of authorship. It might be a good entry point into a study of an annotated bible.

u/Treesforrests · 3 pointsr/Christianity

You guys could read this.

Haha. That's kind of a joke (since it's almost 750 pages long). But seriously, I've been wanting to read this for a while now.

u/irresolute_essayist · 3 pointsr/DebateReligion

The resource I hear most recommended is N.T. Wright's The Resurrection of the Son of God:

u/HerbertMcSherbert · 3 pointsr/atheism

The heavily upvoted assertions in this thread simply tell us what we want to hear. Hence there are so few requests for citations and sources for these statements.

For those genuinely interested in reading research from both sides (rather than simply the flavour of the month sensation 'the real Jesus is this' author), why not check out a source such as NT Wright's 'The Resurrection of the Son of God', a 700 page work by a man who is arguably one of the best historical researchers and lexicographers of the period and its surrounding times.

Surely either people are genuinely interested in an issue, or they're merely genuinely interested in having their own preferences confirmed.

Wonder if the downmods will flow in...sometimes it seems the wonderful Redditors who I've enjoyed good honest discussion with are being replaced with diggbots who simply downmod anything that disagrees with their own view. Reddiquette people...this contributes to the discussion by offering a well-researched alternative viewpoint.

u/secondary_trainwreck · 3 pointsr/AcademicBiblical

N.T. Wright's The Resurrection of the Son of God ( provides a readable and well sourced summary in the first several chapters. The discussion is of course directed to the central theme of the book -- the bodily resurrection of Jesus -- but that provides a useful counterpoint to Jewish ideas of the 'afterlife'.

u/xaogypsie · 3 pointsr/Christianity

Surprised by Hope by NT Wright.

Along with his scholarly work on the Resurrection, The Resurrection of the Son of God, quite literally changed the way I looks at my faith.

u/uhl987 · 3 pointsr/Christianity

> It's been a rough few years for me spiritually. I've gone through a "deconstruction" where I don't know if I agree with the typical Christian theology anymore. I took a lot for granted growing up in the church. Losing all of that assumed theology has been hard. It really forced me to question everything. And I don't have a lot of answers.

It seems like you're speaking of what's going on in my mind. Last year i even questioned God's existence; I desperately looked everywhere, because all of my foundations were failing and what i was teached since a kid could, after all, not be the exact truth. Why would God remain silent in so many situations or let the innocent suffer is just beyond me. Many things will remain unknown, but to this day i still want to believe in a God so powerful that there's nothing he cannot heal or do. This book helped me going through the doubt of His existence, perhaps it can help someone else: Miracles: The Credibility of the New Testament Accounts, by Craig Keener. My post was more in the sense that i don't know what else to do. God exists, sure, but He seems absent of our(my) suffering.

u/holyghostparty · 3 pointsr/spiritfilledbelievers

Miracles by Craig Keener...

Also, Sam Storms writes a ton on spiritual gifts... has a decent book on 'em too!

u/PrisonerV · 3 pointsr/DebateReligion

> Okay, and there's people much smarter than you or I who, after years of research, disagree with you. This shouldn't surprise you. Saying "Gospels are a complete mess" tells me you don't really know the other side very well. Probably still asking questions like "Well then who was at the tomb? One woman or three", yeah?

And there are a lot of smart people, smarter than you or I who say that the gospels have lots of historical problems for instance...

> A great recent addition to this discussion is Bauckman's "Jesus and the Eye Witnesses" -

There were no eye witnesses to Jesus. The gospels were written at least two generations after his death and the verification for the life of Jesus is pitiful. Meanwhile, some of the verifiable events (earthquake, eclipse, Harod's actions, etc.) are shown to have not occurred.

Anyway, good luck with your appeals to authority.

u/EACCES · 2 pointsr/Christianity

I'm working my way through this monster: The Resurrection of the Son of God by Wright. It's a fun read, and it's not that dependent on the first two books in the series, so maybe you should see if your library has it.

The first part of the book is a survey of what people in the first century understood about death and the "afterlife", from both Greek and Jewish perspectives. They knew about death, spirits, ghosts, shades, visions, hopes, warm fuzzies in the heart, living on in memory...and that "resurrection" is a different (disgusting) thing that just doesn't happen. Now take /u/KSW1's advice and read 1cor15, probably written in 55AD...

u/best_of_badgers · 2 pointsr/AcademicBiblical

N.T. Wright wrote a quite lengthy book about it.

u/2ysCoBra · 2 pointsr/philosophy

>our religion, ie: for Judaism

I was under the impression that you didn't believe the Torah. Do you?

>Put up or shut up.

I'm not sure how you would like me to, but I'll list some resources below. If you would rather delve into it by having a strict dialogue between the two of us, that's cool too. I may not be able to respond quickly every time, depending on how this carries forth, but I'll do what I can. As you mentioned, your soul is "at stake and all that."

Gary Habermas and N.T. Wright are the top two resurrection scholars. Michael Licona is also a leading scholar on the resurrection debate. Philosophers such as Richard Swinburne and Antony Flew have even shown their faces on the scene as well.


u/torodabest · 2 pointsr/Catholicism

For Christianity? What about the case for the resurrection? Or if you have the time you could check out N.T. Wright's Resurrection for the Son of God which I hear is excellent and is also widely regarded to be the best book on evidence for the resurrection of Christ. Besides that, you also have the lives and religious experiences of countless Catholic saints like Padre Pio, Teresa of Ávila, Ignatius of Loyola, Francis of Assisi, Catherine Emmerich, Joan of Arc, John Vianney, Anna Maria Taigi and Therese Neumann. Then you also have Catholic miracles like Fatima, Lourdes, Lanciano, Guadalupe tilma and (although not exclusively Catholic but Christian) the Shroud of Turin.

u/app01 · 2 pointsr/DebateAChristian

Sorry it has taken me a little while to respond. It seems that in many of my discussions with people over evidences for Christianity, we disagree strongly on what counts as evidence. I am curious, do you think that evidence is subjective? Can something be evidence for me and not for you?

Thanks for responding to my points. Let me give some responses to your pushback

  1. You can disagree with me about the supposed accuracy of the gospels. I agree this subject has been extensively written on and discussed from both sides. Again if you are interested in a scholarly defense of the gospels, I would point you to The Historical Reliability of the Gospels.

    As to your statement,

    > accuracy is no measure of truth

    I am not really sure what you mean by this statement. If you mean that the gospels accuracy is representing the life and words of Jesus does not mean that what Jesus says and later interpretations of his acts and words were true, then I agree. However, if the gospels are accurate in representing Jesus life and death, then the empty tomb and reported resurrection must be accounted for.

  2. Again we might not be using the term evidence in the same way.

    > Why does that rise to the standard of evidence? That would mean there is no other possible > explanation of events, other than his actual resurrection, right?

    I have yet to hear another explanation of the empty tomb, the reported sightings by the disciples and followers of Jesus and the uniform pronouncement of the early church as to the bodily resurrection of Jesus which is a alternate viable alternative. I would recommend The Resurrection of the Son of God by N.T. Wright if you are interested in further reading in this area.

  3. Humans are capably of incredible good and selfless acts, but also capable of intense acts of evil. I believe that are natural bent is toward selfish behavior which is naturally evil. Look at a two or three year old and you will see the natural ego-centric and selfish behavior towards which human behavior is inclined. Christianity provides a viable explanation for why this is true of humans and accounts for the existence of evil.

    Beyond that point, the existence of a category which we call evil demands an external standard by which good and evil can be measured. A moral law demands a moral law giver. See Mere Christianity by CS Lewis.

  4. By no means am I trying to use the argument, "I don't believe in evolution, therefore God exists." That would be a vast over simplification and a terrible argument. I would identify myself as a proponent of some form of Theistic Evolution. However, I don't think that evolutionary theory has provided a satisfactory answer to the origin of the universe. How did it start? Why is something here instead of nothing?

  5. Again, I am not making the claim that "Something is happening, therefore God exists." I am simply saying that transformed lives are an evidence of something happening in that persons life which needs to be accounted for. You can appeal to drugs, social pressures, etc.. but it must be accounted for somehow.

    I hope this provides some clarifications. Also, I am listed many books as references. I would be happy to read (or at least skim) anything which you would recommend in this area.
u/SeaBrass · 2 pointsr/DebateReligion

Has anyone read Craig Keener's Miracles? I am considering purchasing it, because I have heard it referenced in arguments by some Christians (The argument is usually something like, "You don't believe in miracles, but Craig Keener wrote a book documenting over 1,000 pages of miracles. Have you looked at all of them?).

u/ProtectiveWasKaolai · 2 pointsr/Christianity

After this beautiful exhaustive book i cannot understand how could someone NOT believe:

u/cbrooks97 · 2 pointsr/news

That's a very tortured reading of just one of the stories of a post-resurrection appearance.

I was thinking about what you said about us deserving more proof. Frankly, I think we've got far more than we have any right to when compared to previous generations.

In Jesus' day, only a few thousand people saw him work a miracle. Only a thousand at most saw him after the resurrection. In all of human history, seeing the supernatural has been confined to a relative handful of people.

Today, though, every single person in the developed world has access to

u/forgotmyusernamek · 2 pointsr/TrueChristian

There’s a lot of good responses here already but I wanted to offer some resources and ideas that have helped me.
First of all, despite what the new atheists say, you don’t need faith to believe in God, which is why there are so many deists in academia. The weight of the scientific evidence alone is enough to conclude that there must be some kind of intelligence behind reality. This includes the fine-tuning argument, a variation of which convinced Antony Flew, a life long atheist academic and strong critic of religion to change his mind about God and embrace deism, and quantum mechanics, which doesn’t prove God’s existence but rather undermines materialist assumptions about the fundamental nature of reality. These findings have convinced others in the scientific community such as lifelong atheist, Richard Conn Henry, a professor of theoretical physics at MIT to embrace deism.
So just based on what’s happening with physics, it’s reasonable to believe that there’s some kind of intelligence behind reality. However, this in no way proves the existence of the God of the Bible.
To support the Christian view of God you can look at the evidence for the reliability of New Testament accounts. This is where faith comes in. You have to decide whether or not you believe that Jesus actually rose from the dead. Obviously, there isn’t a scientific way to definitively prove whether or not an historical event happened. But if you want support for the idea that miracles happen and are relatively common, even today, I’d recommend Craig S Keeners magisterial 2 volume work “Miracles” which details hundreds of modern day miracle accounts.

Other reading:
The Divine Conspiracy by Dallas Willard who was a professor of philosophy for many years at USC, helped me to understand my faith at a deeper level, which has helped immensely. It turns out it’s much easier to believe in something when it actually makes sense to you.

On Guard by William Lane Craig explains many of the logical proofs that other commenters have offered here, which are great but can be really difficult to understand without spending a good amount of time with them.

Atheist Delusions by David Bentley Hart: Hart is a leading Orthodox theologian and philosopher who spends a lot of time talking about the logical incoherence of materialism. All his stuff is great but it’s difficult.

This is just a small sample of what’s out there in terms of apologetics but it’s a start. There’s enough that you could spend your entire life reading compelling arguments for the God’s existence. However, the most effective way to strengthen your faith, in my opinion, is to see how effective the teachings of Jesus are for yourself, to ACTUALLY DO what he says and see how it transforms your life first hand. This is how you make your faith unshakable. Nothing beats personal experience.

u/kevincook · 2 pointsr/Protestantism

Dr. Craig Keener has a good book on this. He is a highly respected biblical scholar who has taught at several different seminaries of different traditions and is widely published. This is a large book, but it looks at both the biblical miracle accounts and historical accounts, including contemporary accounts. I think his second volume that he's currently working on will have more contemporary accounts, and I heard he is sharing all types of documentation from personal accounts throughout the world, lots from Africa but also Asia and the United States too.

Sorry for the late reply; been off reddit for a while.

u/Neuehaas · 2 pointsr/Christianity

I'm not sure I agree with your definitions fully first off:

>Religious Faith asks you to, absent compelling evidence, believe in what it asserts to be factual statements regarding not just past events -but past events that would compromise the totality of compiled empirical data (I'm speaking about miracles).

Areas in italics probably should be removed from your definition. A staggering number of people in the past and today claim they have witnessed a miracle, so many that it seems to me like they can't all be explained away. Gary Habermas and Craig Keener do good work on trying to document these miracles, many happen in hospitals where there is documentation (see Miracles by Craig Keener) In fact 73% of doctors believe in the US believe in miracles, many of whom say they've seen them. 73% of Meidcal Doctors is a lot, more than enough to throw your "totality of compiled empirical data" claim into question.

So if you want to pedantically scrum over definitions I guess we can, though it seems a bit silly.

u/thelukinat0r · 2 pointsr/AcademicBiblical

You've given me a few things to research and ponder, so thank you!

For now, I'll just respond to your final questions:

> What is "agnostic"?

I would think that being agnostic on a particular question is simply neither confirming nor denying its validity. e.g. I can neither confirm nor deny the miracle claims of the Quran and Book of Mormon (along with many of the biblical miracles).

> how do you distinguish between an a priori presumption vs a conclusion?

An a priori presumption would be a decision about findings which restricts (or, perhaps, affirms) validity of certain hypotheses, despite the evidence. e.g. a Fundamentalist may have the a priori presumption that biblical miracles actually happened in history, and any evidence contrary to that assumption will be problematic to the fundamentalist. On the flip side, a secular materialist exegete may have the a priori assumption that miracles cannot happen in history, and thus any evidence to the contrary will be problematic. I don't think either of these presumptions are healthy for an unbiased view.

That said, the study of history may not be able to positively confirm a miracle hypothesis, due to the necessary constraints of such research. But there has been some work done which may suggest that historical research can positively corroborate miracle claims (e.g. Craig Keener's work). I wouldn't want to over step my competency, so I'll have to remain agnostic on that point.

Its my view that the historian must work under the constraints they're given: i.e. if a miracle did happen in history, they may not necessarily be able to positively affirm that truth. If it did not, then they can deny it's validity if they have sufficient evidence. If they are unable to deny the historicity of a miracle claim with sufficient evidence, then they ought to remain agnostic (simply allowing the validity of the miracle to remain on the conceptual table with other possible hypotheses), rather than denying its validity because of a priori presuppositions.

u/anonymous_teve · 2 pointsr/religion

Here is an extensively sourced 2-volume work on Miracles:

I have it on my bookshelf, ready to start reading after my current book. But I came across it as a reference in another book I read recently, and it looks very worthwhile--and on your exact topic!

As far as knowing what you can trust, I prefer a book like the above precisely because it details its sources. Other website testimonies may be useful, but probably need to be taken with a grain of salt.

u/john_lollard · 2 pointsr/Christianity

>For those of you who have looked in to biblical historicity, on any level,

I guess this technically qualifies me?

>how do you reconcile potential errors and inconsistencies

Such as?

>as well as the concepts that stories of YHWH and Jesus could have been co-opted from other faiths

By asking for primary source evidence for these claims.

>Are there any books or websites you could recommend?

Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes by Kenneth Bailey

Evidence for Christianity by John McDowell

The King Jams Only Controversy by James White (this is actually a book about textual criticism and manuscript transmission).

Jesus and the Eye-Witnesses by Richard Baukham.

The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach by Mike Licona.

This book series by NT Wright.

u/Ibrey · 2 pointsr/DebateAChristian

I don't think these things can be asserted so confidently as what "we know" from the research of modern historians. It is true that there are many historians who see the gospels as deriving mainly from oral traditions several decades removed from the original events (not as legends, which is the view Lewis is attacking), many excellent historians who do think the gospel authors were or spoke with eyewitnesses, like Richard Bauckham, who makes the case in his book Jesus and the Eyewitnesses that the synoptics all derive closely from the testimony of both major and minor eyewitnesses, and that the author of the Gospel of John was himself an eyewitness. Lewis' assessment of the gospels as history, which he sees as falling within his own professional expertise ("I have read a great deal of legend" doesn't just refer to how he liked to spend his free time), remains perfectly defensible today. In fact, the 20th Century largely saw a move in biblical studies away from the hyper-critical views of the late 19th Century.

u/chan_showa · 2 pointsr/Catholicism

There is one Anglican scholar who is well-versed in biblical historical studies: Richard Bauckham.

He has one book which challenges the consensus of the academia that the gospels are a redaction based on witnesses only in a derivative way.

Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony

This is not just a popular book. This is an academic book, targeted not only towards the populace but the academia as well.

u/TheIceCreamPirate · 2 pointsr/DebateAChristian

>Wikipedia does not seem to agree with your authoritative stance on these issues.

When wikipedia becomes the goto for scholarship, let me know.

>Why wouldn't you mention this evidence, or give the sources about it?

Because the evidence is in entire books that you have to read through in order to understand it. Look into the authorship of the gospels and the research that various scholars have done... a lot of it is available online, I am sure, but I am not interested in doing the research for you. There are all sorts of things in the gospels that raise huge red flags as to who actually wrote them, like geographical errors, the fact that Jesus and his disciples spoke aramaic and not greek, errors in jewish custom, etc.

>Many first hand accounts are not written in the first person, and many first hand account include parts that the author was not present, but was informed about later. You are jumping to conclusion in the extreme.

I'm jumping to conclusions? You have a piece of writing that is completely anonymous. It doesn't claim to be an eye witness account. It has numerous scenes that could not have been witnessed by anyone, and numerous other scenes that when considered together make it obvious that no one person could have been the source. That doesn't even take into account the other research I am talking about. Even based on just this, the most obvious conclusion is that it was not written by an eye witness. There is literally no evidence that points to that conclusion. Yet you say I am the one jumping to conclusions? Right.

>A few, but one of the main reasons many weren't added, was because they doubted the authorship. It's good to know that they were vetting out the letters for authenticity, even in the very early church, wasn't it?

Actually there were dozens. And the way they determined if something was authentic was basically whether the writings matched their current beliefs or not. For example, at the council of Nicea, any gospels that portrayed Jesus as being more divine than human were left out. It wasn't about determining which document had the most credibility. They didn't have forensic investigatory methods to determine that stuff. It was almost exclusively about whether the document was heretic or not. The only reason that the gospels even have the names they do is because Papias gave them those names to make them more credible (things were seen as more credible if they had an apostle's name on it... such was the state of their credibility checks). The claim at that time was that Mark was a follower of Peter, not Jesus, and that he was not an eyewitness. Iraneus was the first to suggest that more than one gospel should be followed... before him, it would have been very unusual to follow the teachings of more than one.

>To say that the apostle John did not write John, simply because it was not written in the first person, and he probably didn't see absolutely everything he wrote about personally, is ludicrous.

I'm sorry, but we know with almost absolute certainty that none of the disciples wrote John. The vast majority of modern scholars believe (and teach in schools all across the world) that John was written later having been passed orally to different communities.

Here is a book by Christian scholar Richard Bauckham that tries to make the case that the gospels are based on eye witness testimony.

In fact, he only asserts that a single one of the Gospels was written direct by an eyewitness: the Gospel of John. However, he does not think he was a disciple, but instead just an unnamed follower. Credibility kind of goes out the window when you've narrowed it down to "an unnamed follower." As I said, he doesn't actually argue that the other three gospels are based on first or even second hand eye witness testimony, and he admits that most scholars won't agree with his view on John.

I can assure you that this is taught in seminaries around the world, and is accepted by scholars all over the world, christian or not.

u/everestmntntop · 2 pointsr/de

Nein das habe ich nicht geschrieben. Mir gefällt die Idee aber gut und ich kann nur jedem empfehlen dem historischen Gehalt der entsprechenden Quellen mal gründlich auf den Zahn zu fühlen und sich nicht allein von populären, auf den ersten Blick überzeugenden Meinungen leiten zu lassen (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10).

u/jaundice1 · 2 pointsr/mormon

A concern: is it reasonable though to compare what are ultimately highly dissimilar entities? The stock market always retains some fundamental partial real-world value. With the stock market, even in '29 style crash, there is always some universally accepted residual physical value.

With the church there is NEVER a universally accepted physical value in the theology of any kind, only a vaguely individually determined emotional one, sometimes called 'spiritual', but it's emotion all the way. Personally, I would have difficulty relating the two.

One book I'd recommend that might appeal to your approach is Richard Carrier's On the Historicity of Jesus: Why We Might Have Reason for Doubt.

Carrier uses Baye's Theorem to analyze the probability of Jesus' existence. As one reviewer noted:

"Carrier rigidly applies the logic of Bayes' Theorem to the evidence for the historicity of Jesus -- and finds no reason to conclude he actually existed. While the author's rigorous use of Bayesian method makes this book a tough slog at times, it is difficult to imagine how it might be refuted. . . . Put together, our prior knowledge and the subsequent evidence shows that is far more probable that Jesus was a mythical figure who was later given a historical-sounding life story than it is that he was a historical figure even remotely resembling the figure in the Gospels."

If one comes to a logically, even mathematically, based conclusion that Christ never existed then the question of the church being 'true' is moot.

u/vibrunazo · 2 pointsr/atheism

The New Testament was written by several different authors who had different ideas that conflicted with each other. In many cases we can prove some of the authors are specifically lying to try to disprove either one of the other New Testament writers, or lying to try to disprove the Old Testament.

Quick answer:

If you're interested in looking deeper into the topic:

u/honestblackman · 2 pointsr/IAmA

Start here.

Erhman is a smart, (brutally) honest, reputable theologian

u/wolffml · 2 pointsr/atheism

>support everything in the Holy Bible

I'm not sure exactly what you mean. NT scholars do not accept everything in the Holy Bible. Scholars do not even accept the authenticity of I & II Timothy as having been written by Paul.

Check out Forged by NT Scholar Bart Ehrman

>According to the biblical scholar, at least 11 of the 27 New Testament books are forgeries, while only seven of the 13 epistles attributed to Paul were probably written by him.

>"Virtually all scholars agree that seven of the Pauline letters are authentic: Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Philippians, 1 Thessalonians and Philemon," says Ehrman.

>Individuals claiming to be Paul wrote 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, 2 Thessalonians, Ephesians and Colossians, he adds.
Other book, including the Gospels, are mis-attributed to Jesus' disciples. (Pseudepigrapha)

Not only are there discrepancies and errors in the Bible, some of the authors have lied about who they are.

u/IAmNotYourMind · 2 pointsr/exjw
u/micahnotmika20 · 2 pointsr/DebateEvolution

Chapters 1-11 sorry.

“If the creation account was meant to be taken literally(which I think is more likely) then I believe it's incorrect.”

That’s the million dollar question, how did the original author of genesis intend readers to understand genesis 1. One book(or books) I would recommend on this subject is The Lost World Series by John Walton where he writes about interpreting Genesis in the Ancient Near Eastern context.

The Lost World of Genesis One: Ancient Cosmology and the Origins Debate

u/BobbyBobbie · 2 pointsr/DebateReligion

>Yes, there should be no there. Why would a benevolent god shield a few animals in a garden while the rest were susceptible to diseases and cancers and genetic disorders. Not to mentions the necessity of ending the life of another animal to eat is pretty miserable too. Both living things want to keep living but neither have sinned to warrant their own deaths.

I think you're kind of feeding into OP's assumption here, that suffering = result of sin. I'm arguing that isn't the case.

What Genesis 2-3 could be referring to is that time when God started revealing Himself to creation in a direct way, at a time when it was deemed humans were ready to respond. A fascinating part of the book The Lost World of Genesis One: Ancient Cosmology and the Origins Debate by John Walton was that some parts of the story seems to indicate that the adam (literally , "the human") was given priestly tasks. Perhaps it was the role of these first pair to start dishing out information on God, and people would come to Eden to meet with God. Certainly we get that impression from the rest of the Bible: that God isn't content with only a few knowing about Him, but that the whole world should come to worship (and of course, this kind of finds its climax in Christ, in the story of the Bible).

> Advice recall, In Genesis it implies God doesn't want them to live forever if they know the secrets of the world. So are you saying had they not eaten the first fruit they would have lived forever?

I would rather say, if they continued eating the second fruit. But eating the first fruit (from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil) disqualified them from access to the second.

Now whatever that first tree represented is still up in the air. There's a number of good guesses. My personal favourite is that it's an idiom for "wisdom without reference to God". Kind of like how we might say "we searched high and low". We don't mean there's only two places we looked - it's everything inbetween. So too this first tree might be a metaphor for living without God, and instituting moral decisions without God's authority. It was, in effect, a mutiny.

u/ggchappell · 2 pointsr/Christianity

Interesting looking book. Here's a U.S. Amazon link, for all you 'muricans out there.

u/stebrepar · 2 pointsr/TrueChristian

I've heard good things about this book, which may help.

u/jmikola · 2 pointsr/Christianity

Regarding your second question, some would argue (rightly, I believe) that a literal interpretation requires analyzing the text as it would have been understood for its contemporary audience. This requires translating culture along with the obvious language translation. The ancient cultures (not just Jews, but Akkadians, Sumerians, Egyptians, etc.) were much more concerned with existence/creation from a functional perspective (something exists because it has purpose), in contrast to modern thoughts that they deal with the material nature.

I'm presently reading The Lost World of Genesis One: Ancient Cosmology and the Origins Debate by John Walton, and would definitely recommend getting your hands on it if this topic interests you. While you can take this with a grain of salt, Walton doesn't appear be using an escapist argument to avoid disagreement between other "literal" (e.g. 6,000 year old earth) interpretations of Genesis and modern science. He makes a compelling case for his form of literal interpretation, and the Christian/genome-scientist Francis Collins has come out in support of it.

u/HighPriestofShiloh · 2 pointsr/mormondebate

>You seem to lean quite heavily on Bayesian Methodology. If you're interested, I'd like to discuss this a little bit more. You seem to be willing to apply probabilities to historic events.

Here is an outline of Bayes Theorem and its relevance to Histoical analysis.

I recommend anything Richard Carrier.

Here is a book with the methodology in action.

I probably suffer from some extreme confirmation bias as I was completely sold on this method before I ever heard of Richard Carrier. The New Testament was the first book in the canon that are started looking at using bayesian reasoning and it was a result of that analysis that I left Mormonism. I had stopped believing in Jesus before I began examining Mormon unique topics.

When I found Richard Carrier it was simply a validation on the way I aproached the question, he just did it way better than myself.

But I guess you can thank my BYU professors for my atheism. They sold me on statistics (although I was already taking statistics courses in highschool). Statistics has always been very intuitive for me. Learning it formally was such a delight.

If you are new to Bayes Theorem I would say start here. Best explanation I have found online for beginners.

u/Kardinality · 2 pointsr/atheism

Good to hear there are still open-minded people out there. I think Richard Carrier is closer to the truth though 1, 2.

u/NNOTM · 2 pointsr/DebateReligion

I personally don't know much about the subject, but I do know that Richard Carrier has written a book about using Bayes' Theorem for examining the historicity of Jesus. I haven't read it, though.

edit: However, a review on amazon states that "Dr. Carrier is writing a second book to follow up this one called "On the Historicity of Jesus Christ" that will address that question. He does touch on the subject somewhat in this book, but the purpose of this book is to lay the theoretical groundwork for the next volume."

u/MeatBrain · 2 pointsr/PhilosophyofScience

Absolutely, Komponisto is the man too! Also, Richard Carrier's video on youtube is fantastic, and his new book Proving History has helped me to organize and answer epistemic worries that I have been struggling with for years. More and more I'm coming to understand why it truly is a revolution for rationality.

u/MJtheProphet · 2 pointsr/DebateReligion

Additionally, you may be interested in Richard Carrier's discussion of the topic, and his new book Proving History and the upcoming On the Historicity of Jesus Christ.

u/VforFivedetta · 2 pointsr/atheism

This is why I love the Brick Bible. For some reason, having Lego people act out Bible stories really highlights how crazy they are. Bonus: read the 1-star reviews to see religious people agreeing, haha.

u/Morpheus01 · 2 pointsr/atheism

The Brick Bible is great. It tells the complete story of the Bible, instead of just the "nice" stories. But it uses legos, so it isn't so horrifying.

Also, search on Amazon for World Religions. Teach them all about the different world religions and how someone's religion depends on their parents, and not truth.

This is the book I used. More education is better, especially if you live in the Bible belt.

u/ReasonsToDoubt · 2 pointsr/exchristian

Are there any subjects you're particularly interested in? I'll link a few below that I found very helpful, but I know everyone has different sorts of interests and stumbling blocks, so if there's something more specific you're looking for (or if you want more resources on a particular topic), let me know.

  • Naturalistic explanation of "spiritual experiences": Church services and retreats, where most people have very moving spiritual experiences, have quite a lot in common with hypnotic manipulation techniques. Outside of these high-emotion environments, another interesting idea I've heard is that of simulacra, through which humans can manufacture and simulate their own ideas of how reality (and God) should be, and thus experience a deception. A personal testimonial that also drove the point home for me was that of a philosophy student who started to reexamine his faith through a more critical lens.

  • Historical evidence for Jesus/gospels: According to Rational Wiki, there is very little reason to trust the gospels, and although it is likely that some historical Jesus existed, there is essentially no verification of his existence outside of the gospels until centuries later. Robert Price (Bible Geek podcast, which can be found in a number of places including here) also brings up some fantastic counterpoints to the most common apologetic arguments, and seems to really know his stuff. If you're interested in a book, I've also heard great things about Richard Carrier's On the Historicity of Jesus.

  • Contradictions in the Bible: A good graphical representation on Bibviz that compiles a few different resources. This does list all apparent contradictions, even minor ones that most Christians can easily dispute or dismiss, but there are many others that are not as easy to dismiss. (For example, in Genesis 1 and 2, did plants or humans come first?) These are most effective when considered in opposition to Biblical inerrancy/infallibility. If inerrancy isn't a big deal to you, then this point isn't as important.

  • Evolution: Talk Origins is an excellent tool for learning more about evolution if you've been brought up with creationism (either old earth or young earth). It has plenty of resources that very specifically counter the most common creationist arguments, and even has some point-by-point rebuttals to some creationist books. If inerrancy is something you struggle with, the fact of evolution can be a pretty big hit, since the creation story doesn't only crop up in Genesis 1-12, but also in several places in the New Testament. If it's not, evolution isn't a huge deal, but is still fun to learn more about.

  • Atrocities of God: The first thing that really got to me was seeing the Christian God as an abuser. As a Christian, I didn't like the comparison, but as I thought about it, I realized that all of it was true according to Biblical principles, and it bothered me. As I previously mentioned, God did condone rape in the OT. On top of that, the OT law commanded that you stone a woman who was found to not be a virgin on her wedding night. I'm sure there are plenty others, but these stood out to me. They don't disprove Yahweh's existence, but they do show that he's not such a "loving" God as Christians claim. A rebuttal I've heard (though not a good one), is that obviously a loving God can do these things, because he (or at least biblical authors) claim that he's loving, and also record him doing these things. Those are opposing claims; they cannot both be true, at least with a healthy understanding of what it means to be loving.

  • Hell: The most common interpretation is that anyone who doesn't explicitly believe in/follow Jesus will be subject to eternal damnation and torture. There are other interpretations. C.S. Lewis clearly seemed to give some leeway in who went to hell (as evidenced in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Last Battle), and at least wanted to believe that everyone had a chance at heaven, even after death (as evidenced in The Great Divorce). Rob Bell also wants to believe that everyone will go to heaven (see Love Wins), although I think many people called this book heretical. Another alternative explanation I've read supported the idea of annihilation for non-believers, rather than eternal punishment, which had far better Biblical support than I expected. Personally, I couldn't rationalize God punishing people for simply not believing in him, given how scant the evidence is in favor of Christianity, or how God could punish people who left the church because of how Christians abused them in God's name. On the other hand, if you check out what Jesus says about hell in the gospels, he seems to imply that these groups would receive hellfire and punishment of some sort. It's not so easily dismissed.

  • Natural Disasters: Not a source, but the problem of suffering is one that Christians have never been able to adequately explain. Sure, you can pin human-inflicted suffering on sin, but natural disasters? Not so much. Think of the tsunamis that kill hundreds of thousands of people around the Indian Ocean (most being Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, or otherwise non-Christian), many of whom have likely never heard the Christian gospel. These people are doomed to eternal punishment, and it's because of God's creation alone. Even if you assume they don't automatically get sent to hell, what physical or even spiritual good could this possibly accomplish? This, in my opinion, is inexcusable.

    Anyway, that ended up being way longer than I intended, but hopefully some of the sources help you. At the very least, it should give you something to think about and some possible topics to consider when evaluating your religious beliefs.
u/FooFighterJL · 2 pointsr/atheism

I personally think the historical Jesus did exist, however, you keep pestering for a solid work claiming otherwise so I recommend you read this

As a side note - you have been very rude, dogmatic and unyielding. Its neither necessary nor polite.

u/Subtile · 2 pointsr/exchristian

Just butting in here to recommend On the Historicity of Jesus: Why We Might Have Reason for Doubt

Carrier has stated he was firmly in the historical Jesus camp until he was introduced to Earl Doherty's hypothesis in The Jesus Puzzle.

I would also highly Highly recommend reading some criticisms of the myth theory, just to sharpen and refine your thoughts on the subject. Start here with reddit's (or rather /r/badhistory 's) own Tim O'Neill:

u/loonifer888 · 2 pointsr/atheism

Give her Richard Carrier's new book, it's all about how Jesus probably never existed at all.

u/aeoncs · 2 pointsr/sadcringe

As I said it is generally accepted but still debated.

Generally accepted does not mean it is a fact.

u/redhatGizmo · 2 pointsr/atheism

>new source that disputes the existence of Jesus.

There are no sources which dispute the existence of Moses or Romulus but that doesn't mean we should start accepting them as real historical figures.

>Jesus and other similarly or worse attested characters like Hannibal and Alexander the Great.

Alexander is way better attested than Jesus, we even have more evidence of Pontius Pilate than Historical Jesus.

>no respected expert in the field believe in it.

There are several, most prominent ones are Robert M. Price who holds double doctorate in NT studies and Thomas L Broody who's also a biblical scholar.

>Neither Koresh or Jim Jones had a large following

At its peak Peoples temple had a following in upward of 20,000 so i don't think its a right comparison but yeah Koresh or Marshal Applewhite kinda fits the bill.

>but is more rickety than any of them. It doesn't explain why or how. There are no sources supporting it.

I suggest you read some works on Christ Myth theory because all those point were covered by many authors, here's a good introductory article and as for books, Richard Carrier's On the historicity of Jesus is pretty comprehensive and there's also The Christ Myth by Arthur Drews which you can download freely.

u/TektonMinistries · 2 pointsr/Catholicism

Brant is outstanding. I was able to take his class one summer when he was just a young professor visiting Notre Dame (Indiana). One of the books we used in his class was "Jesus and the Eyewitnesses" by Richard Bauckham. Another outstanding book on this topic.

u/adamshell · 2 pointsr/TrueAtheism

It's interesting to me because when I talk to people and how they come to their faith, it's all kinds of different stuff that actually ends up being the "straw that breaks the camels back." Why don't I tell you what convinces me and then give you some recommendations in various directions.

Now, I was raised a Christian. That's important because I'm not sure that I would be a Christian now if I wasn't raised as one. I make that admission not because I think it's a weakness to my case, but because I want you to understand that I understand the difficulty in believing something like this seemingly ridiculous story.

Many of my friends, very few of whom are Christians, actually call me the "most open-minded person" they know or at least one of the most. One of my best friends (an agnostic Jewish girl) says that I would make a terrific atheist if it weren't for that whole "believing in God thing."

Though I have always identified as a Christian, I did go through a time when I decided to weigh the evidence.

I'll consider any evidence and look for its flaws. I like science, but I don't like the double standard that exists between science and faith. In the opinion of many atheists, if ANYTHING appears to be incompatible with their perception of faith, it's automatically proved incorrect and any effort of a person of faith to answer why it may not be incompatible is met with deaf ears. Conversely, if ANYTHING appears to be incompatible with science, that's "fascinating!" or "interesting!" or "a great opportunity to arrive at a greater truth."

With that being said, I think there are quite a few things that we (as a society) take for granted that may or may not be true. For example, we all believe that the earth revolves around the sun and not the other way around. But the reason we arrived at that conclusion was not because it was the only possible answer, but because it was the simplest answer. (By the way, I believe that the earth revolves around the sun, this is just an example). Another example is gravity. It behaves so steadily that we even label it with a gravitational constant. But we know it does funky things at the quantum level and at the cosmological level (like near the event horizon of a black hole). We have no idea why.

This thinking brought me to the realization that I might not understand nearly as much as I thought I did. It felt lacking and EVERYTHING felt like faith at that time. Because of that, I decided that I would look for internal consistencies or inconsistencies in the Bible. The one that really stood out to me was Noah's flood. I had always heard that there was varying evidence for or against a global flood, but the vast majority of the arguments didn't seem to be asking the right questions. IF there WAS a global flood, it would certainly be an unprecedented event-- something that we had never observed in our time... so how would we know what to look for? The Bible itself records that water came up out of the earth-- that's not indicative of most floods.

But even that wasn't the most interesting part of that story to me. The Bible is actually a very valuable historical resource. Archaeologists rely on many of its dates and locations to find out more about sites in the middle east. That's why the flood account is so fascinating to me. No one believes that the flood account was written down for HUNDREDS of years after it is supposed to have happened. Yet, according to that account people before the flood were living for hundreds of years (up to 969). Then, for seemingly no reason, the author of the account picks the flood as the dividing point where lives are considerably shortened. I have yet to hear a good explanation for why someone over 1000 years later, yet still over 3000 years ago, would randomly decide to put that kind of change in there. Because of that, I thought, "Hm, maybe the earth drastically changed at that point." I can't prove that, just so you know. It's just an interesting thought that I had.

Now, beyond all that, I look at the historical record of the gospels and the few hundred years of church tradition immediately after that. The thing that always stands out to me there is that, regardless of the evidence of Jesus' resurrection, we do have pretty reliable reasons to believe that prominent apostles chose to die rather than go back on their claims that Christ raised from the dead. I just couldn't wrap my head around why 12 prominent guys, plus Paul, would choose to die for something they would have known to be a lie. I could understand people today who died for blind faith, but this isn't blind faith. It's not cultish (doesn't fit the psychology). It doesn't appear to be hallucinatory (doesn't fit the current medical understanding). The only thing that I could think is that it was either an incredibly elaborate lie that hundreds of people were willing to die for, or it was the truth.

When you take that into consideration with the actual gospel accounts of the resurrection, things get really interesting. I think a lot of people read those accounts (or, trust people who have read them) without considering that they may have actually happened exactly as recorded. They're certainly not written as ridiculous accounts of mad men. They don't protect the reputations of those surrounding the events. If the gospels claimed Jesus had made a roast beef sandwich rather than resurrecting, I'd bet that most people would arrive at the conclusion that they actually happened.

That's just a few reasons in addition to the ideas that resurrection was not exactly smiled upon in that culture, that the church had to survive persecution from the very beginning that the odds of Christianity actually taking hold was so unlikely it might as well have been impossible, etc. etc. As I said, none of these thoughts are exactly original.

Now as to why you should believe, I don't know what it would take to convince you. If you're wondering why I believe in Christianity over a multitude of religions, it's actually extremely original (yes, even in light of the Horus myth). No other surviving system says, "Humanity is despicable, wicked, and evil. There is literally nothing you can do to save yourselves." Yet Christianity is viewed primarily as a religion of hope and redemption. And it has convinced millions of people.

As for your comment about "superstitious goat herders" the book I like best to explain that these guys and their accounts are actually a lot more reliable than they seem is Richard Bauckham's Jesus and the Eyewitnesses. It's not perfect, but it's very very thought provoking and fairly readable.

As I alluded to a number of times, I think most people tend to just treat the stories in the Bible as "impossible" without actually reading them and considering them. To a point, I don't blame them. It does seem unbelievable. But some really rational and reasonable people have looked at the evidence and come to the conclusion that it might not be as totally crazy as they once thought. Will it convince you? I don't know, I pray that it would, but ultimately that's up to you. If there's ever any question you have, I encourage you to come to me with it. I do this kind of thing a lot, speaking of which, here's another conversation I had with some other people on this subreddit. That conversation even caused /u/superwinner, a pretty frequent regular on this part of the site (this very thread, no less), to say, "Thats it, I'm friending the shit out of you." That's pretty much my crowning achievement on this subreddit.

I have much compassion for other members of this human race regardless of religious stance, and the same goes for you. I'm quite pleased that you seem willing to at least engage me on this issue and I thank you for doing it so honestly and respectfully. I hope that you find my response at least considerate and worth YOUR consideration. One final thought though-- it's not going to be ME or anything I say that convinces you one way or another. It'll be your own decision, perhaps in tandem with God, perhaps not (depending on what you choose). Either way, feel free to always consider me as a resource, even if you don't end up believing and you just want to understand why a Christian might believe something-- like why they choose one God over all the others. Good question, OP.

u/cyprinidae · 2 pointsr/DebateReligion

I suggest you have a look at the book Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony. There might be a little more evidence of the Resurrection than previously thought.

u/skyflashings · 2 pointsr/Reformed

Nice! Just picked up another on my wish list, Bauckham's Jesus and the Eyewitnesses

u/wanttoknowaboutit · 2 pointsr/Christianity

I am not sure I completely understand the question, but if you are looking to do an in-depth study of the New Testament, I would recommend getting some Bible commentaries.

Concordia Publishing House has a nice series called Concordia Commentary. Here is a link to the volume on Galatians:

Typically you would want something that discusses the original Greek (the actual words, the cases that some words appear in, the grammar (or lack thereof :))) . Most Bible commentaries will also contain commentary on the text, but I guess you could skip that.

With this, I think a good concordance is helpful.

You probably would also want a good dictionary that can discuss the uses of important Greek words.

EDIT: I wanted to add: If it isn't clear, you would want to try and understand the original Greek (including the different manuscripts). As such a serious study might start with a study of Biblical Greek. I can recommend:

(From what I understand this textbook is widely used.)

One more thing: I would also recommend looking at the history of the Biblical canon. Something like:

might be helpful.

u/JerryButterballs · 2 pointsr/Christianity

The Bible says on John 21:25

"25 And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. Amen."

So yes, there are many stories that were not written down on manuscripts and HAS to had been passed down orally. Think about this, there are pastors or priest that have memorize their entire Bible today. Hell, there are people from other religions that have memorize their entire Holy book. Why do you think it's so farfetched for earliest Christians to had memorize 5-6 verses? Especially if they knew that they needed to preserve the integrity of this story of literally the Messiah, the son of God himself in order to pass it down. Even as an atheist yourself, you have to admit that this is an immense extra pressure on them to preserve it as it is.

If we are gonna apply this method of scrutiny, you understand that every single religion has used an oral tradition. Christianity is actually one of the religions that has more documented history and strongest backing on his side. And I'm not trying to be arrogant or anything but it really is true. The earliest manuscript can even be traced to just 5 AD after the cross. Even in traditional history this is an anomaly. Let's look at Alexander the Great biography for example wrtten by Plutarch. It came 400 years after Alexander's death, and you would say that it is reliable. there are over four times as many sources for Jesus’ life and deeds than for Tiberius Caesar’s, which was the Roman emperor at the time of Jesus.

>What does it take for a story to be 'authentic'? Is it just that Christians have to like the story? or is it that the story has to be in the original manuscripts? Would it be fair to say 'some Christians making copies of the bible thought it was appropriate to add this passage, therefore the passage is authentic'?

No. You see, there were many forgeries that came up throughout history claiming to be genuine gospels, how to differentiate them? It's simple. You look at the rest of the Bible and see if it is consistent with the teachings/life of Jesus, the OT and NT. It's no different than using this method with any other historical manuscript.

Listen man I have to sleep but I'll tell you this, If you really want to hear more about how the New Testament was formed and the historical development of the Bible, there are sources on the internet and books available. Here are some that I recommend:

Although I'm sure many people in here would give better recommendations, these are pretty good. God bless.

u/Parivill501 · 2 pointsr/Christianity

Sorry for the late reply, you caught me between class and teaching last night.

> I did not know that about Luther. Did he say why he removed those books?

His reasoning for removing those 7 books were that they weren't recognized by the Jews as canon (who themselves only "formalized' their Scripture sometime between the 3rd and 6th centuries. There's no scholarly consensus on when it was exactly finalized or by whom). Part of his reasoning was that they weren't (debatably in some cases) written in Hebrew but instead in Greek, thus they weren't inspired texts like the rest of the Hebrew OT. The Council of Trent, a Catholic Ecumenical Council, defined the Catholic Bible as 73 books including the 7 removed by Luther and the Reformers as deuterocanon (or "secondary canon" though still full parts of Scripture).

> Also, was there ever some sort of original historical team that established a set of books that was later refined? Do we have a timeline where that occurred, and how the Canon shaped over time and research?

Wiki does a good job summarizing the major movements in the development. And as I said above, Trent was when the finalized Catholic bible was authoritatively declared, though it was basically a formal acknowledgement of what was already standard practice in the Church for about a thousand years.

>Is this what the "Magisterium's Team" is?

The Magisterium is the teaching body of the Catholic Church and they settle matters of doctrine, including what is contained in Holy Scripture. The Magisterium is what made up the various councils throughout the ages including Trent.

>Finally, is there any specific source you recommend where I can go to find out more about the history of the Canon of the Bible?

Like I said, wiki does quite a good job giving a summary level. If you want a more academic and in depth reading I recommend Metzger's The Canon of the New Testament as was already suggested (though it tends to be on the apologetic side, it is still quite reliable) or F F Bruce's The Canon of Scripture. Niel R Lightfoot's How We Got The Bible is also quite good.

u/mlbontbs87 · 2 pointsr/TrueChristian

If you are a reader, I'd suggest you check out [The Canon of Scripture] ( by FF Bruce.

u/meaculpa91 · 2 pointsr/whowouldwin

Reading back, I do not interpret my comments as you've narrated. Can you show an explicit example that shows why you do?

A second reading does not show me that I'm not telling you why I think that way. I guess I'll just try to be more explicit.

Here's how I think. I'm a person who, in their natural state, isn't very reasonable and isn't very logical, like every other human being on the planet (whether they want to admit it or not). I don't think I or anyone else has the cognizance to look at a set of beliefs as broad as Christianity or any other religion and say that it makes completely unfalsifiable claims, especially when there's things like this and this and this and this. I'm not going to go into those books individually and say why I think they're right or wrong. I'm just going to say they offer big boy arguments, believe in something falsifiable, and make arguments towards it. Saying that Descartes or C.S. Lewis had unfalsfiable beliefs is plainly and undeniably false, and worse, is unfair to the fact that they support these arguments with carefully planned logic.

Saying Fred Phelps or the average Bible Belt fundamentalist has unfalsifiable beliefs isn't. So saying the whole kitten kaboodle is unfalsifiable is a sweeping generalization of a broad range of beliefs under the term "religion."

It's just not fair to the people who wrestle with their beliefs and really try to give solid reasons for believing. It puts them in the same category as buck-tooth fundamentalists.

If you want this conversation to continue, I'm going to ask you apologize for attacking my character over something as inconsequential as an internet discussion, and I'm going to further ask you not to do shit like that again. I don't know what kind of filter makes you think any of those statements are "insulting" unless you think it's an insult for someone to say your thinking isn't fair/logical. So far the first and only insults and attacks on character have been made by you. Unless you consider "I guess you don't hear a whole lot of profound statements" a pretty big insult. I agree that it was nasty & mean to say and I've apologized to the person affected.

u/rennovated_basin · 2 pointsr/Christianity

Yea I'm in the same boat, not a scholar but I've educated myself through Bart Erhman and Mike Licona. Ill go through your list with the knowledge I have.
>As already pointed out by /u/AdultSoccer, none of the gospel authors name themselves in the text.

This is not "evidence to the contrary" as you said, but only absent evidence.
>•The Gospel of Mark is heavily borrowed from in Luke. The author of Luke-Acts makes note of John Mark in Acts 12:25, but does not identify him as the author of the Gospel of Mark.
•The Gospel of Matthew borrows even more from the Gospel of Mark than Luke. Yet, according to tradition, the disciple Matthew is an eyewitness, whereas John Mark is recording what he has learned from Peter.

Yes, the gospel writings most likely used each other as sources, but that does not discredit who they are or there story on that basis alone. For example, if you were going to write a biography of your mom, in order to get an accurate portrait of your mom, could you not ask your siblings, her friends, her relatives, etc., what she was like, to have a more complete portrayal?
>•Mark 7:31 states Jesus went from Tyre through Sidon, to the Sea of Galilee, and finally into the re. . .

I appreciate the map! But Jesus was not in a race or anything, and, if I had to guess, chose that route to show himself to as many people as possible.
>•John Mark was Jewish, yet the author of the Gospel. . .

for the Malachi prophecy, the writer only mentions Isiah, but then quotes both Malachi and Isaiah. It should be noted, though, that both Malachi and Isaiah were referring to the same event, and Isaiah would be the "greater" of the two prophets. As far as contributing the ten commandments to Moses, I'm sure you know the story. God gave Moses the commandments, and Moses then gave them to his people. The verse you gave reads, "For Moses said. . ." and Moses did indeed say these things. As far as Joseph buying the shroud on the Sabbath, the writer was just saying what happened. Yes, that would be against the law, but Jesus also worked on the Sabbath for the Kingdom of God. It appears that work for the kingdom of God on the Sabbath was acceptable, but I'm no scholar here.

I would also like to say that Plutarch's biographies don't have his named attached to them either, similarly as to the gospel's biographies of Jesus. So it is not atypical that the "by: ____" does not appear. No one denies Plutarch wrote his though. I see you called into question Papias's attributions. For Mark; Papias says, "no intention of providing an ordered arrangement of the logia of the Lord" meaning that the accuracy of sequence of events was not taken into account. Yes, Mark begins with John the Baptist preparing the way, and ends with Jesus's death, but the order of his parables and teachings, according to Papias, may not be in a chronological order. Mark just goes from one parable to the next, many times. For Matthew writing in Hebrew according to Papias; We dont have any of the original manuscripts so we dont know what the original language was. I dont see why Papias would care to lie about this, so I would say that the original language as probably Hebrew.
I appreciate your comments though!

Also, Papias was the first, but Justin the martyr also cites Mark around 150 CE. For the other gospels, all the early church fathers had one voice in who wrote the gospels, and no one else was challenging this. So the only evidence available points to their traditional authorship. The church father were not always accurate though, so, again, we cannot say with 100% certainty, but this is history 2000 years ago, and, relative to other events of the era, the available evidence is pretty good.

Lastly, if something like this is holding you back from believing (that is, "academically, we dont know who, for certain, wrote the gospels"), know that nearly 100% of new testament scholars will admit that there are at least 2 different independent sources in the gospels, and the majority of scholars say there are 4-5 independent sources. So, if you are weighing the evidence for Jesus's resurrection, know that, regardless of who wrote what, there are still several eyewitness accounts as to what happen. Check out Licona's book on this, which has over 700 pages and 2000 footnotes. He has also debated Erhman several times, you can find it on youtube

u/imnotverycr8ive · 2 pointsr/atheism

I'm not here to support Christianity, but I would rather there be more Christians supporting science education in our schools and with their families. You can point out that there are many Christians that have found ways to reconcile their faith with science. Try redirecting him to the BioLogos Foundation or this book where the Christian author argues that Genesis isn't intended to provide a historical creation account.

Christians feel safer learning from other Christians. This might get him to open up his mind a little bit.

u/mattb93 · 2 pointsr/Reformed

John Walton's the Lost World of Genesis One seems to be what you're looking for. He argues that Genesis 1 needs to be understood culturally rather than literally.

If I remember correctly, Keller's view on Genesis was influenced by Meredith Kline so reading him could be helpful. Kline helped popularize the [Framework interpretation of Genesis](

u/jiohdi1960 · 2 pointsr/DebateReligion
u/moreLytes · 2 pointsr/PhilosophyofReligion

I am fascinated with both topics as well.

Recommendations on anthropology of religion:

u/canteloupy · 2 pointsr/skeptic

It's been investigated in depth for the OT. It's a very interesting tale.

u/TheRedTeam · 2 pointsr/Christianity

I sincerely doubt you have. Read a book by a historian on the matter. I recommend this one.

or this one is also good.

u/paleo_bear · 2 pointsr/Christianity

Who wrote the Bible? by Richard Elliot Friedman is a good place to start learning about the Torah/OT.

From Jesus to Christianity by Michael White is a historical look at the early Church and the New Testament writings in that context.

u/idigdigdug · 2 pointsr/Judaism

Lots of comments here trying to argue that you're "doing Judiasm wrong" or "not hard enough" ("Of course mitzvos aren't fun... that's the point!") so I'll offer the kofer perspective.


  • Start a blog (if kids do that these days, tumblr?) and write about your thoughts and ideas. The process will help you figure out what you think. You will also get feedback from readers who will challenge you and help you sharpen and defend your point of view. Google phrases like: jewish skeptic blog, orthoprax, frum skeptic. You'll find a whole community of people asking the same questions you are.

  • Do the mitzvos that you find meaning in. Try alternatives to mitzvos that turn you off to Judiasm. For example, I get nothing out of davening so when I go to shul I bring a book that offers some personal or spiritual growth and read that on Shabbos instead. (I do not go to shul during the week).

    Here's a bunch of stuff I've found informative in my personal journey:

    Skeptic reading:
  • On the origin of the Torah - Who Wrote the Bible by Richard Elliott Friedman
  • On the origin of the Universe - A Brief History Time by Stephen Hawking
  • On the origin of people - Why Evolution is True by Jerry A. Coyne

    Skeptic viewing:
  • To see a pair of magicians aggressively attack illogical thought - Penn & Teller: Bullshit! (if you don't have Prime just YouTube it).
  • To see a bombastic, arrogant, smart, funny atheist debate R' Boteach - Christopher Hitchens and Rabbi Shmuley Boteach Debate on God - There a lots of these on YouTube. Many are worth watching.
  • Mythbusters - A good place to be entertained and learn how to attack a question/problem analytically.

    Skeptic Listening:
  • This American Life: 290: Godless America Personally, I found Act Two with Julia Sweeney particularly meaningful.
u/matts2 · 2 pointsr/AskHistorians

This is a different issue. You are referring to the documentary hypothesis. The Torha seems to come from several different sources with different religious ideas. So there are different names for God depending on the source material. In addition early Judaism seems to have been polytheist and later transforms to monotheism. So there is acceptance of other gods at times.

u/seifd · 2 pointsr/atheism

If the Bible is the word of God, it'd have certain properties. I'd expect it to be right about the history and nature of the world. All evidence suggests that it isn't. Biblical understanding of history and nature is right in line with what you'd expect from ancient people.

I would expect God to be able to keep his facts straight. The Bible does not. From what I've read, scholars seem to have a pretty good handle on who wrote the various parts of the Bible based on the agendas revealed by these contradictions.

Finally, if the Bible was the word of God, all his prophecies would come to pass. They have not.

Finally, I'd like to note that there are Biblical scholars that hold this view. They include Robert M. Price, Bart D. Ehrman, Richard Elliot Friedman, and Burton L. Mack. I guess they're all misinformed too. If only they had studied the Bible.

u/TheNaturalMan · 2 pointsr/exmormon

I know that there was (probably) no Moses and that the Bible is a collection of works from various Jewish sects. I was just using the TBM's vocabulary.

u/illogician · 2 pointsr/philosophy

This is only tangentially related to your question, but Friedman's Who Wrote the Bible might interest you if you haven't read it. He makes an in-depth investigation of the authorship of the Hebrew Bible and in the process, reveals a lot about the values the authors are representing. His conclusions contrast both what the average Jew or Christian of today might believe and probably also any sort of 'Platonized' conception of the nature of those religions. I think in Friedman's view, no such 'Platonization' should be conceivable because each Biblical author was writing with their own set of interests, for their own aims, to address their own contemporary problems, and it's largely a historical accident that we bind certain disparate texts together into a 'book'. The essentialists want to treat religious texts as though they just fell out of the sky one day and Friedman does a good job of putting them in a historical context with human writers and editors.

u/lollerkeet · 2 pointsr/atheism

Who wrote the Bible. I would suggest this as a subtler, long term approach. Make them actually think objectively about the book they base all of their beliefs on. Once they begin to see it not as the word of God but as the result of centuries-long political squabbles, they will be able to wonder which parts are true and which aren't.

u/ProbablyNotJohnSaxon · 2 pointsr/todayilearned

It's a very brief survey of the subject, but I like it:

Who Wrote the Bible?

It is not at all authoritative, and some will quibble about some areas, but, overall, it gives one a good overview of what went into making the Bible happen in the form it is today.

u/ZensunniWanderer · 2 pointsr/TrueAtheism

Should you ever find yourself in the mood, you should read Who Wrote the Bible by Richard Elliot Friedman. It's a dissection of the first five books of the OT in the attempt to explain how they were compiled, and it reads like a mystery novel.

u/ThisIsMyRedditLogin · 2 pointsr/Christianity

Genesis was written by 2 people at different times and put together later. This is why it is muddled up in places.

For the curious, check out this book.

u/czah7 · 2 pointsr/TrueAtheism

The books mentioned. Amazon Zombie bot should be around to reply shortly.

"The Bible Unearthed" by Israel Finkelstein.

"Jesus, Interrupted" by Bart Ehrman

"Forged" by Bart Ehrman

u/williamsates · 2 pointsr/conspiracy

>Honestly, I'm just looking to be better informed about the manipulation of the Bible.

This is a very interesting topic of discussion.

> I've always heard "Either the Bible is the word of God or it's not"... My gut tells me it's not that black and white.

You are absolutely right to smell BS with this claim, because it is false. It is logically flawed to conclude that because the Bible is not the 'word' of god then it does not contain anything true about god. You just have to read, discuss and form your own judgments.

> I also would like to know why some people believe the KJV is the best and others believe the older Latin Vulgate translations are more accurate.

Well, KJV preference can be based on a few positions. It could simply mean, one prefers the style and the idioms, over the others. It could mean one is committed to the view that the manuscript collection that the KJV is based on, textus-receptus, is more accurate, or it can be purely a religious commitment.

>I feel like the Bible has been corrupted and the current Christian view of salvation is flawed.

The bible has been corrupted, but I can't really comment on salvation. I can recommend two more books for you to pursue. One is concerning the KJV.

The second is

Or you can bite the bullet and read the scholarly version of the one above:

u/SomethingWonderful · 2 pointsr/TrueAtheism

Specifically, I'd recommend Forged as a good place to start.

u/key_lime_pie · 2 pointsr/Christianity

No, what I'm telling you is that your assumption that Jesus' death was necessarily a penal substitutionary atonement indicates a lack of knowledge on the subject.

Regardless of whether or Christ was divine, no one in academia is taken seriously if they deny that Jesus the person existed:

"He certainly existed, as virtually every competent scholar of antiquity, Christian or non-Christian, agrees" - Bart Ehrman

"In recent years, 'no serious scholar has ventured to postulate the non historicity of Jesus' or at any rate very few, and they have not succeeded in disposing of the much stronger, indeed very abundant, evidence to the contrary." - Michael Grant

"There are those who argue that Jesus is a figment of the Church’s imagination, that there never was a Jesus at all. I have to say that I do not know any respectable critical scholar who says that any more." - Richard A. Burridge

If you're denying that Jesus was a real person... well, you're ignorant. Unless you happen to have some new evidence to bring to light. Do you?

If you're denying that Jesus is who the Gospels says that he is, you're a skeptic, and that's fine. You're in the majority, quite obviously. But you seem to be hung up on the idea that Jesus had to die for our sins, because God required some sort of sacrifice to cancel out the sins of man. This is penal substitutionary atonement, and it's just one theory of atonement. There are others, some of which don't require anything of God or even require a statement on the divinity of Jesus. Believing that Jesus was who the Gospels say he was doesn't require believing that he was a "literal human sacrifice", as you have repeated several times in this thread.

u/sp1ke0kill3r · 2 pointsr/AcademicBiblical
u/in_time_for_supper_x · 2 pointsr/DebateReligion

> What exactly is it that you think the Bible is, specifically the gospels.

> How was it written? Is it a pure fabrication? A lie? Is it fiction? A myth? Based on a true story?

> Who was it written by? Devious men trying to deceive people into being good? Schizophrenics? A fiction novelist?

It is a collection of books compiled into one big book. It's a stretch to say it's pure fabrication or a lie by devious people. I'd say it's just a collection of literary writings, that express the beliefs of some groups of people from that time. Because people didn't know how the world works but they still had to live in it, they invented stories that they thought best explain the world. And they explained natural events and phenomena through magic and deities and demons and other supernatural beings and influences. It's no different than other writings and beliefs of those times.

Some of it may be written by devious people, of course. Bart Ehrman, academic religious scholar, posits in his book Forged, that some New Testament books are literary forgeries and shows how widely forgery was practiced by early Christian writers—and how it was condemned in the ancient world as fraudulent and illicit. His scholarly book, Forgery and Counterforgery, is an advanced look at the practice of forgery in the New Testament and early Christian literature. It makes a case for considering falsely attributed or pseudepigraphic books in the New Testament and early Christian literature "forgery", looks at why certain New Testament and early Christian works are considered forged, and the broader phenomenon in the Greco-Roman world.

> Something that the detective pointed out, is that if people are going to fabricate a story to deceive people with, when confronted with the penalty of a gruesome death if they continue believing their lie, they would most likely give in and admit that they made it up. That didn't happen to the apostles.

The premise that people would never "die for a lie" is demonstrably false. People throughout history have, in fact, died for beliefs which turned out to be false, deceptive, poorly understood, and even mutually exclusive. At Jonestown, over 900 people committed mass suicide while under the influence of the cult leader Jim Jones. In 1993, 76 people died at the Branch Davidian compound in Waco Texas because they believed their leader, David Koresh was a prophet of god. In 1997, 39 members of Heaven's Gate committed suicide in the belief that a UFO following the comet Hale-Bopp would transport them to "Their World". Many Muslim martyrs have died for their beliefs in the face of persecution. Tibetan Buddhist monks have lit themselves on fire and let themselves burn to death in public squares as a form of protest towards the Chinese government and as an affirmation of their own faith.

The Apostles may well have had first hand knowledge but that doesn't lend any credibility to the claim because we don't have first hand knowledge about them or of their claims. We also have only vague accounts of the death of the apostles, which are generally known by "tradition" or biased sources, rather than primary sources.

Many people who have personally witnessed a seemingly paranormal phenomenon, and genuinely believe that what they saw was a supernatural element, only for them to discover after a meticulous analysis that what they witnessed was actually a regular incident with a logical and natural explanation (Will-O-Wisps were thought to be ghostly apparitions before being identified as the manifestation of chemical reactions).

There's a lot more to be written on this subject, but I think that for a Reddit comment I have provided enough.

u/arquebus_x · 2 pointsr/AcademicBiblical

Read Brojangles' reply, which is more accurate than mine. In this case, the KJV does have the line, but it's translated differently. There are many cases where the KJV includes or excludes lines that appear in modern translations, but this isn't one of those cases.

But to answer your question, this is the book you want.

u/kempff · 2 pointsr/AcademicBiblical

Hard to say why. It answers a lot of questions lots of people have, and lots of questions people didn't think to ask.

One of the top remarks theology students get is the old canard that the bible has been copied and translated so many times that we simply cannot know what it originally said. That is not so. Yes there are countless errors in extant manuscripts. But what kinds of errors? And what counts as an error? This book addresses these and many other salient issues in good prose.

u/pacoherte25 · 2 pointsr/DebateReligion

You should try to be more condescending in your replies. It really helps make your point.

This author seems to think Greek was the original language

[And another one] (

>"For seminary students, the goal of studying Greek grammar is the accurate exegesis of biblical texts."

Why would accurate exegesis of biblical texts be related to studying greek if the majority view held that aramaic was the original language?

>"The only complete English translation of the Peshitta is by G. Lamsa. This is unfortunately not always very accurate, and his claims that the Peshitta Gospels represent the Aramaic original underlying the Greek Gospels are entirely without foundation; such views, which are not infrequently found in more popular literature, are rejected by all serious scholars.

Brock, Sebastian P, The Bible in the Syriac tradition

>Indeed, the Greek Matthew throughout bears the impress of being not a translation at all, but as having been originally written in Greek

From the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia

>Mark employs the common coloquial Greek of the day, understood everywhere throughout the Greek-Roman world.

Same Source for Mark

>that many Aramaic idioms are preserved in the Greek

Of course they are. That's the language that Jesus and everyone around him spoke. If there are actual quotes of Jesus in the gospels, they are in Aramaic and translated to Greek. But that doesn't mean the Gospels were originally written in Aramaic any more than bits of text in elvish in the Lord of the Rings proves that the original text of Lord of the Rings is elvish.

I could write a story right now about experiences I've had in Mexico. I could include quotes by people that spoke to me in Spanish. But I would be composing the story in English and that would be evident to someone who had a copy of my story in English and a Spanish translation and spoke both languages. The New Testament is written in Greek about people who spoke Aramaic.

>Adolf Deissmann(who would actually argue many of the instances are more international phrases than isolated hebrew-isms).

So one of the sources you cite disagrees with you?

Speaking of sources, you haven't cited any scholarly works that actually support your crazy idea, much less that it's the slightly majority view.

u/MrWally · 2 pointsr/AcademicBiblical

Just looked it up:

Unfortunately we recently moved and all my books are in storage, so I can't get the page reference.

u/sonicwarhol · 2 pointsr/atheism

Thanks. I have his book The New Testament which is excellent if you want to see all the early strains of "Christianity" and the way they all had differing versions and how that came to eventually be unified and people who didn't hold to the adopted version were persecuted:

u/CalvinLawson · 2 pointsr/DebateAnAtheist

I don't think there's such a thing as a "Christian scholar" or a "Muslim scholar". That's an oxymoron, really. Faith has no place in the methodology of science.

Now, one can be a scholar of Christianity or a scholar of Islam. And indeed, there are many of these. Although some of them are religious, most are atheists and agnostics. This should not be surprising, it's my experience that studying religion makes one give up their faith.

So I repeat, wide scholarly consensus is that Mark was in some form composed either late in The Great Revolt. Soon after at the latest. If you're interested in why you could start here:

It's written biblical scholar who used to be a Christian but is now an atheist/agnostic. He's writing for a low level college class, and is careful to only include content with wide consensus around it.

Now, of course they could be wrong. And history is a soft science at that. This point is, you shouldn't deny the results just because you don't like them. That is something a "Christian scholar", "diaper scholar", or even an "atheist scholar" might do.

u/blammer84 · 2 pointsr/Bible

Pick up a copy of the book "How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth". That will help.

u/soliloquent · 2 pointsr/Christianity

Reading the whole Bible is a really admirable aim, and worthwhile. If you're wanting to get the most out of this, I would encourage you to consider reading a guide before you jump. Just as you'll get a lot more out of visiting a city if you've looked at a map or read a guidebook beforehand, a guide is a good way to get a sense of the unfamiliar genres that you'll be reading, and the structure of the whole collection.

Two good books to consider are:

Fee & Stuart, How to read the Bible for all its worth
Goheen & Bartholemew, The Drama of Scripture

u/Carramell · 2 pointsr/Reformed

The textbook I used in my hermeneutics class was [Grasping God's Word] ( with a supplement text of [How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth] ( Both I would suggest, they take a position of inerrancy and do an excellent job of teaching Scriptural study.

u/GospelWhiskey · 2 pointsr/Christianity

You read the Bible as the story of God reaching out to humanity. It has a few specific sections: in the beginning it is the story of God calling and creating the nation of Israel, and central to that story is the promise of a chosen people and an eventual savior.

In the middle, it is the story of that nation wandering and coming back to God, God's judgment and mercy upon them, and his communication through the prophets, and some poets. Again, the promise of an eventual savior is central to the message.

Then there's the New Testament when the savior appears. It tells the story of his ministry, the history of his disciples after his death and resurrection, and the letters from the apostles to the churches.

Here's a pretty good book on the subject:

One of the most important things to avoid is reading the Bible as a list of commands for us to follow. There are some of those, but most Biblical commands are products of a specific situation for a specific group of people.

u/B0BtheDestroyer · 2 pointsr/Christianity

How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth or How to Read the Bible Book by Book might be what you are looking for. They are both by Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart. I don't remember which school used which, but they have both been used by my undergraduate school and seminary as introductions to academic Biblical Studies.

Edit: Sorry you are getting downvoted! You are asking earnest questions and that should be appreciated even if people here don't agree with your sources. My advice to you is to get support from an academic Christian community of some kind, whether that be at your church or school. I doubt you will be content with answers from people who are not prepared to approach the Bible critically. Keep in mind that the Bible was not written with a modern perspective. It may contain plenty of history, but it is not a history book in the sense that we would expect today. It is theological, but it contains no systematic theology. It was written over hundreds of years and was shaped by generations of faith communities. The Bible's authors had contexts very different than ours, but that does not mean their witness does not contain truth for us today.

u/samiam111 · 2 pointsr/Christianity

I do not know of any Novels although there is a Manga Bible that I bought take a look here -

u/Yourehan · 2 pointsr/KotakuInAction

Have you read the Good Word? It got translated into weeb recently.

The Manga Bible: From Genesis to Revelation

u/mnemosyne-0002 · 2 pointsr/KotakuInAction

Archives for the links in comments:

u/Vodis · 2 pointsr/madlads

For the uninitiated.

I vaguely recall seeing an ad for this thing in some sort of mail catalog, Scholastic or Science Fiction Book Club or one of those, and having a laugh about it. I haven't thought about it in years.

u/CaptWalmart · 2 pointsr/atheism

This gets my award as best trick to get kids to read the bible:

u/The_Fooder · 2 pointsr/TheMotte

I'm surprised no on mentioned Jordan Peterson's extensive analysis of Genesis, which may be one of his more useful contributions to the public record, IMO. He views and describes Genesis through the lens of psycho-social development, and makes, what I think is a pretty compelling description of how a person can hear these stories and see themselves within the narrative as protagonists aligned with the ancients seeking a covenant with God (Peterson's definition of God is roughly, that which represents the highest attributes and ideals). If anyone was interested in this reading and this topic, I highly suggest listening to the Peterson lectures; I found them very interesting.

One final thing on this point, Peterson remarks quite frequently about the self-referential nature of the bible, that it has numerous links throughout the text back to other stories and that these should often be taken as updates, revisions and remarks on the original tales. It's one of the things that makes the New Testament so interesting to me because it acts as a commentary on the body of work that had been meticulously edited and passed around for a few thousand years recasting the meaning of the Old Testament as the means to the NT ends, i.e. forgiveness of Sin for our endless bullshit into a new age of grace ennobling us to move forward.

I'd also add that R. Crumb's illustrated Genesis is amazing and really drove home the human element underlining these stories. While his aesthetic is more cartoony than realistic, he's clearly a master of his craft and really drives home the emotion and strife of the various actors and lays out the stories in a fun and thoughtful way.

u/nattyd · 2 pointsr/funny

Actually, I was raised in a Unitarian church and read nearly all of the Bible (and several other religious texts). You're playing a bit of "no true scotsman" and a lot of selective reading. Some congregations are tolerant, many others are not.

The famous quotes about gays in the bible are usually:

Lev 18:22-23 "You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination." Lev 20:13 "If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act; they shall surely be put to death."

1 Cor 6:9 "Or do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals"

But of course, you can read any part of the Bible and find all kinds of nasty stuff. Seriously, just pick it up and start with Genesis. Or, if you find it boring, get R. Crumb's The Book of Genesis Illustrated, and just flip a few pages to find plenty of violence, rape, slavery, incest, etc.

You can argue all you want about what the Bible "means", but what it actually says is, unfortunately for your argument, a particularly well-preserved matter of record.

u/srgmpdns · 2 pointsr/atheism
u/MonkeyBones · 2 pointsr/todayilearned

R. Crumb wrote a comic version of the book of Genesis.

u/OIlberger · 2 pointsr/atheism

[Robert Crumb’s comic version of the book of Genesis]( is supposedly very good.

u/puripurihakase · 2 pointsr/jerktalkdiamond
u/troutmask_replica · 2 pointsr/Christianity
u/joegekko · 2 pointsr/AskReddit

The illustrations in this book absolutely confirm it.

The pictures are drawn using Genesis as word-for-word inspiration with no embellishment (other than the artists style- there is no content that isn't straight from the Bible).

u/dogsent · 2 pointsr/atheism

There were two people who spent a year trying to live according to the rules laid out in the Bible. One was a man and one was a woman. They each wrote a book. Life became very difficult for them. Just goes to show that Christians ignore most of the Bible.

u/BreckensMama · 2 pointsr/ifyoulikeblank

Late to the game, but people always need more books...

The World Without Us was great, really interesting read about humanity's effects on the planet, with lots of references to expand on if you wanted to do that.

A Year of Living Biblically was interesting, even if you aren't a Christian or a Jew, if you find religion interesting.

And last but not least, Rocket Boys by Homer H. Hickam. This was made into the movie 'October Sky', and it's a memoir, one of the best I've ever read. But all the science of the rockets is in there too, I learned a lot about propellants and DeLavalle nozzles lol.

u/undercurrents · 2 pointsr/TrueAtheism

I was raised Jewish with all the schooling but never believed in a god. TzniusNotMyNameOh writes good questions to ask yourself. This year I refused to even be seated at the seder table (in the past I sat but didn't participate) because the entire Haggadah is just praising a god for killing other people. If you reread the stories of Lot and Dinah, they are also just as disgusting. And ask Orthodox about what they believe was the reason for god not intervening in the Holocaust- because he is too great for us to understand his reasons.

Some other books to check out:

God Is Not Great: How religion poisons everything by Christopher Hitchens

Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of my Hasidic Roots by Deborah Feldman

The Year of Living Biblically by AJ Jacobs

Unchosen: The Hidden Lives of Hasidic Rebels

interview with Nathan Englander

u/haladur · 2 pointsr/lgbt

If you want to live by the bible atleast do it right.

u/SomethingClever666 · 1 pointr/DebateReligion

Bart Ehrman literally wrote an entire book promoting the view that many of the New Testament books are outright forgeries. Nearly all of his works are attacks on the Bible. He's not just a skeptic, he's vehemntly opposed to any veneration of the Bible as authentic, reliable literature, and has a million reasons why. Do you have a family history of schizophrenia by any chance?

u/PM_ME_GHOST_PROOF · 1 pointr/DebateAChristian

> You’ve asserted that three times now and still won’t back it up with anything more than an online encyclopedia where the whole of epistemology can change at the click of a mouse.

I recommend Forged by Bart Ehrman. If you don't want to spend money and would like a quick version, here's a lecture he gives at Cambridge on the subject. Ehrman's not only a distinguished scholar in the field, but he's just a great character -- he was a fundamentalist Christian (like I was!) who became an agnostic atheist through intense, obsessive study of the Bible, while still retaining an incredible enthusiasm for and appreciation of Christianity and its history.

I honestly get into just as many debates with atheists who subscribe to the Jesus Myth hypothesis, a fringe concept that Ehrman vehemently opposes. He even wrote a book defending the historicity of Jesus. The state of Bible scholarship is really interesting, and Ehrman does a great job of relating it to casual readers, e.g. people who don't speak ancient Hebrew.

u/Flubb · 1 pointr/AskHistorians

Bruce Metzger worked with Erhman on this book but if Erhman makes you suspicious, then Metzger has one on his own on the Canon of the NT, but both of those are about the NT only, not about the results.

Philip Jenkins' Jesus Wars is also eminently readable, but you might want to check the ToC to see if the subject matter is what you're looking for.

u/Whiterabbit-- · 1 pointr/Christianity

The Text of the New Testament: Its Transmission, Corruption, and Restoration is a good read on this issue. In general I don't think Ehrman is a great historian, but this book is pretty good. it is not only informational, it is a fun read.

u/zxphoenix · 1 pointr/skeptic

You can look at religion (in my example religious text) from an academic lens (ex:Bart D. Ehrman’s textbook on the New Testament) where using historical fragments of manuscript you can see what portions were likely edited or added later. You factor in writing styles and other variables and evaluate it as a historical text that changes over time (and why those changes occur). This evaluation let’s you see that say some authors may have influenced the writing of other later writers who may have added elements they thought weren’t sufficiently elaborated (ex: resurrection) which then led to later editors adding that to the earlier authors so they all were in agreement. It can actually be really interesting to look at the text in this way.

Within Catholicism, the Jesuits are particularly interested in science / academia which has sometimes created theological debate where they push / publish something at odds with a historically held position. They’ve actually contributed to several areas of science (ex: experimental physics in the 17th century), but someone with more background would need to speak more to this.

Comparing a class I had in primary school (the equivalent of 6th grade) to later classes outside of school in the US there were notable differences. The first emphasized ethics and pulled in history and science as tools to help explain and answer “why is this the case” or “how does this work” questions while the second was more “this is what is true and anything that conflicts must not be true” which threw out a lot of history / science that didn’t agree (ex: evolution).

It’s the difference between allowing scientific knowledge to influence your beliefs so that you see evolution as an even greater and more powerful miracle than a simple creation as is vs. ignoring science and seeing evolution as fiction because it wasn’t in the book.

u/tx340 · 1 pointr/Catholicism

Honestly, it's not something I've put a lot of thought in to... His textbook on the New Testament is the one we used for our class, and it is actually a pretty good analysis of the history, structure, etc of the New Testament, but it isn't a theological text that attempts to confirm/deny the validity of Christianity.

Now, I'm assuming (but correct me if I'm wrong) that the "beliefs" you asked about are his beliefs that the Bible has been corrupted over time and is therefore unreliable as a theological text. And, by extension, if the Bible is unreliable, the things it says about God must be false. I think this is one of the big problems one runs in to when using Bible as the sole source of your faith, as many of our protestant brothers & sisters do. In Catholicism, we base our beliefs on not only what the Bible says, but on the teachings & traditions that have been passed down to us since apostolic times. Indeed, I'd say the we tend to give primacy to the teachings & traditions that are handed down over those put forth in the Bible, which is a good thing since books/passages in the Bible often have multiple interpretations (on a side note, that's why there are 20,000+ protestant denominations).

So, say that Mr. Ehrman was able to 100% prove that the Bible was corrupted and is entirely false -- impossible, but play along for sake of discussion. Would it cause some theological difficulties? Sure. But would it affect the teachings & traditions of Christianity? Not so much, unless the Bible was your sole source of theology (applies to many protestant denominations, not Catholicism).

I hope this makes sense. If not, feel free to ask for more info.

u/DSchmitt · 1 pointr/DebateAnAtheist

Who Wrote the New Testament and The New Testament a Historical Introduction are both good places to start. The latter is by Bart Ehrman, who Bikewer mentioned.

u/TehGogglesDoNothing · 1 pointr/offbeat

If you need to do school work, you should totally not read The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings.

u/Ancient_Dude · 1 pointr/AcademicBiblical
u/grumpy-oaf · 1 pointr/Christianity

You copied this list directly from this wiki page about a book that advances Jesus mythicism, the notion that there was no historical Jesus, a thesis that is rightly dismissed by every tenured professor at leading research universities who study first century Judaism and Christianity.

Even Richard Carrier, the most prominent Christ mythicist, calls the book "unreliable," citing damning methodological problems.

>In general, even when the evidence is real, it often only appears many years after Christianity began, and thus might be evidence of diffusion in the other direction. . . . [then he cites several other methodological problems]

>All this is not to say Graves didn't have some things right. But you will never be able to tell what he has right from what he has wrong without totally redoing all his research and beyond, which makes him utterly useless to historians as a source. For example, almost all his sources on Krishna long postdate Christian-Nestorian influence on India. No pre-Christian texts on Krishna contain the details crucial to his case, apart from those few that were common among many gods everywhere. Can you tell from Graves which details are attested by early evidence, and which by late? That's a problem.

When even Carrier, who is largely dismissed by the academic community, dismisses something as unreliable and utterly useless, you know it's bad.

If you want to study how early Christianity was related to other systems of belief contemporary to it, go to the scholars who are well regarded in the field, and avoid sensational, popular-level books. Bart Ehrman wrote a good, undergraduate-level textbook on the New Testament and early Christianity.

u/craklyn · 1 pointr/politics

>> That's what this conversation is about.

> It's a simple enough problem: If Jesus existed and is not a deity, then the people who claim he is immortal might well be wrong about every word they've said about him, which calls the entire bible (and any other "sacred" or "holy" works) into question.

No, please read the wikipedia article on the Historicity of Jesus that I linked. The article explains the process by which modern, secular scholarship studies secular and non-secular sources to conclude that a historical Jesus existed.

For further reading, see Bart Ehrman's textbook, (The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings )[]. It goes into some detail on the question of a historical Jesus. (Sidenote: I recommend this book to you because Bart Ehrman is not a Christian.)

u/effinmike12 · 1 pointr/Christianity

Book recommendations? I don't know what you mean exactly. A supplement or resource? The following resources can probably be found in your church, public, university libraries. Often, you CANNOT check out these types of resources, so you may want to consider investing in a few books. Until then, check out It is a little odd to navigate, but it is FREE!

Resource Standards (A serious must)

  1. The Commentary Why you need these explained here

    A single edition condensed commentary as well as a set of solid commentaries such as The NAC and HarperCollins. There are several solid choices.

  2. Systematic Theology Explained here

    I HIGHLY recommend one of the following: Christian Theology(used in many seminaries/MDiv OR Intro to Christian Doctrine

    3.Biblical Dictionary

    Holman's and Unger's are two well received one volume editions.

    The three aforementioned tools are in the libraries of every single minister I know. The names do matter, but there are plenty of fine, scholarly companies that produce up-to-date, relevant versions of very similar, but not identical, resources. Above is a minimal (and I mean minimal) list for putting together a 4-10 lesson study of Job. If you would like to learn more about hermeneutics, you should read How To Read the Bible For All Its Worth as a primer. There are several other required resources to add to your library if proper exegesis is something you are passionate about. I taught/lectured on systematic theology, intensive studies, and church history to a well-educated group of adults (some of which were my professors). Even so, remember this always-

    >HEB 5:12-14 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.

    Job: Interesting observations/thoughts to consider

  3. Regarding the person of Job, the author, the date (probably 1st penned book), history, etc HERE IS THIS

  4. Was Job a parable (mythology)? Research this point.

  5. Was Satan trying to tempt God anywhere in Job, and if so why?
u/BellsSC2 · 1 pointr/Christianity

This is a great resource for that question:

I'd say that for layman, the key is to understand some of the broad literary types - myth, history, poetry, wisdom lit, prophecy, letters - and some of the rules for reading them. These rules aren't arbitrary, but generally accepted practices (granted, with some dispute) by Biblical scholars based around literary and historical information.

The chief question being asked ought to be, "What was the original author saying to the original readers, and what implications does that have for today?" This is why the library is important - different literary types demand different ways of answering that question.

What most people think of as "literary" readings of the Bible ignore this questions altogether and start with "What does this verse say to me?"

u/srmiller2 · 1 pointr/Christianity

The predominant theory of origins to The Gospel of Luke is the 3 source theory. It explains Luke in the context of three sources:

  1. The Apostle Paul, Luke was Paul's close confidant and The Gospel of Luke is actually considered Paul's Gospel by many.
  2. The Gospel of Mark, this is the earliest written account of Jesus life with his disciples. Mark was the confidant of the Apostle Peter and wrote his gospel in the form of Miracle Worker. It was a common form in which to write during those times and made his gospel somewhat different.
  3. Source Q, now this might seem a little far fetched but the academic understanding is that both Matthew and Luke used this Q source in their recording of the their corresponding gospels. The Q sources is believed to be a 'logia' which is greek for quotations. The source was a compilation of different recorded quotes of Jesus.
    Great book to read which explains more than I do is, [How to Read the Bible for all its Worth] (
u/AlexTehBrown · 1 pointr/TrueChristian

this one is a classic if it isn't already in your collection

u/FA1R_ENOUGH · 1 pointr/Christianity

>To me, the most obvious explanation for why you don't think Genesis should be taken literally is that you understand that it can't be literally true and so you conclude that it wasn't intended to be so. On the other hand, you want to believe in Jesus and the gospels, so you believe that they're true, and then decide that they must have been written as truth. If this isn't the reason for your position, then please tell me what your actual reason is.

Could you be a little more condescending here? How is this the "most obvious explanation"? This is the most obvious explanation if you take me to be an idiot or intellectually dishonest; I do not appreciate those implications. Charity will ensure that our discussions are fruitful.

If we are going to interpret the Bible, then we must discern how different genres should be interpreted. The Bible has a plethora of different genres: narrative, poetry, song, genealogy, letters, apocalypse, law, prophecy, etc. We need to understand the nature of these genres so we can read them right. Otherwise, we are going to produce absurd ideas. For example, if we read the newspaper thinking that it's a love poem, we will probably become frustrated.

Genesis 1 has a lot of poetic elements to it. It is a story of how God created the universe and assigned function to everything. It should not be difficult to see the poetic nature of this chapter. For example, Days 1-3 depict God creating various containers; Days 4-6 depict God filling the containers. On Day 4, he creates sun, moon, and stars, which corresponds to Day 1 - light and dark. Day 5 has fish and birds which fill the sky and sea (Day 2). Day 6 is plant and animal life and humans, which fills the land made on Day 3.

Anyway, the story is much more a story about God than about the mechanics of creation. It is not a historical narrative. Thus, trying to interpret this like we would a historical narrative is an unfortunate category mistake. I've found John Walton's The Lost World of Genesis One to be a helpful deconstruction of this chapter.

Now, the Gospels are a different genre. They are biographies of Jesus Christ, and they focus on what he did. These are quite similar to other, secular biographies that we have from the same time period. Furthermore, fiction from that time is not written like the Gospels. The Gospels demonstrate eyewitness sources. To say that they were not to be intended as actual history is to say that the writers effectively invented a brand-new genre of realistic fiction. Mythic writings in this time were not like the Gospels. For example, contrast the Revelation or 1 Enoch (apocalyptic literature) with the Gospels. One should easily be able to tell the difference.

The point is, we should realize that the Bible has different genres, was written over the course of hundreds of years, and is a diverse document. As it sounds silly to question if the epistles were written to actual people because the Psalms are worship music, the idea that Genesis 1 is not intended to be historical implies nothing about the historicity of the Gospels. If you are interesting in a full understanding of the different texts, I would recommend Fee/Stuart's How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth, and How to Read the Bible Book by Book. They are helpful introductions to the topic of Biblical Intepretation.

u/MJStrider · 1 pointr/Bible

Great question! I'm going to recommend two helpful books by Gordon D. Fee to you that I hope you will find very encouraging and easy to read. These are incredible, well written, non-technical resources to help us improve as readers of the Bible so that we can be certain we are reading the Bible as it was originally intended.

  1. How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth

  2. How to Read the Bible Book by Book: A Guided Tour

    Also I'd like to recommend some additional, more technical or scholarly resources that can help you in your study of Revelation specifically.

  3. The ESV Study Bible

  4. The Returning King: A Guide to the Book of Revelation by Vern Sheridan Poythress

  5. The Book of Revelation (NICNT) by Mounce, Robert H.

  6. If you want to listen to a full class from D. A. Carson on the book of Revelation, here are 26 lectures that are very helpful.

    Praying the the Lord enriches your study and fills you with the knowledge of his will in Christ Jesus. Have fun!!
u/VeryOldHero · 1 pointr/AskReddit

Hi, sorry for the late reply. I was busy with school work. In reply to the historical evidence of Jesus' existence, the first source in the Wiki page of Jesus Christ tells you that "Virtually all modern scholars of antiquity agree that a historical Jesus existed."

In reply to your question, you should understand that there are differences between the Old Testament and New Testament. The Old Testament was written for the Jewish people as a guide for their daily lives because Jesus had not come yet. Think of it as a guide that you have to follow before you can scuba dive because the scuba instructor isn't present yet. Then the scuba instructor comes and corrects the mistakes you made. The scuba instructor is Jesus. The Old Testament commands are inapplicable unless they are restated in the New Testament because the instructor overrides whatever what was in the guide. I hope you understand this analogy. Being raised Catholic, I was hoping you would know about this. I guess you never really read the Bible? May I suggest a book? It's not a perfect book and there are some questionable conclusions in this book, but it is a good start in learning how to read the Bible: How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth. If you can find it at your local library, that would be great. Of course, I also believe that people are incapable of understanding the Bible without God's wisdom. So, you can't look at the Bible in a completely academic way.

In response to the violence of Christians, you should understand it is easy to claim to be a Christian. I knew some people who claimed to be Christians but were only claiming to be to able to take advantage of other people. I could claim to be an atheist and massacre people and you wouldn't question my claims to be an atheist right? It's in the same page with Christians. Lastly, your final sentence, I'm sorry, is stupid. Why am I responsible for the wrongdoings on those kids? Do you blame the current generation of the Japanese people for World War 2? You don't! Because they didn't do those things. The rapes and torture are just unfortunate results of people taking advantage of the Christian faith to feed their sick minds. Also, being raised Catholic, you should know that no one in the Catholic community thinks that raping or torturing children is an acceptable thing to do.

u/JxE · 1 pointr/Christianity

It all depends on what you're looking for. If you're looking for a word for word translation go with the NASB. It uses a more recently found manuscript that is more accurate to the original text and it trumps the KJV and NKJV. If you're looking to have a better understanding of the text use the NIV or TNIV. They use a sentence by sentence translation and will bring things into context which makes it easier to read and understand.

As far as your question goes, off the top of my head that is literal. Why is that question throwing you off?

I recommend reading a book called How to Read the Bible for All its Worth as well. It's taught me a lot about interpreting scripture in context and how to make sense. The theme I took out of the book is "Scripture can never mean something to you that it didn't mean to the original hearers." It keeps you from stripping verses out of context. for instance 2 cor 6:14. (If you don't know many people apply that verse to marrying someone of a different faith, when there is no mention of marriage in the entire book)

u/Jen9095 · 1 pointr/Bible

I recommend "The Harper Collins Study Bible". It's NRSV, with all the footnotes, nice introductions before each book, etc. I'm also a fan of the ESV. Please avoid King James (KJV and NKJV)

Also, I highly recommend How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth. This is written for Christians, so it might be a little dense (I haven't read it for 10 years). But it is an excellent tool for learning how Christians (especially Christian leaders - theologians and pastors / priests) read.

I will point out one major thing, since you're so new to the topic. There are two basic approaches to reading the Bible. One is more academic and the other more experiential. Neither is right or wrong, and as a Christian, I think it's important to do both. But sometimes you'll notice people will kind of make it seem like you should only do one or the other. Here are details of each:

Read it, meditate on it, let God speak to you through it, try to apply it to your life, put yourself in the story - General method used by Christians when they read the Bible every day and pray. This a daily practice recommended in most Protestant denominations, often called "devotions" - Catholics and Orthodox might use approaches that are more about daily rituals / prayers, but Protestantism grew out of the Enlightenment and the idea that people could and should read for themselves, but unfortunately that also tended to lead to a rejection of ritual / tradition.

(Aside, in case you don't know, there are three major branches of Christianity: Eastern Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant. Many people hear about all the Protestant denominations like Lutheran, Anglican, Methodist, even Amish and don't realize that they are all grouped together under "Protestant" because they grew out of the Reformation. Church history is a subject that can explain how these groups arose.)

Understand the historical context, use literary analysis (some books of the Bible are letters, some are poetry, some are allegory, so they should be read differently), and developing a cohesive theology (a set of beliefs that fit together and don't contradict each other). Some people find this approach to be offensive / showing a lack of faith since you aren't "letting God interpret / guide you."

Ultimately, the best approach, used by Christian leaders, combines the two into one process. The book I recommended explains this process and quite a bit more. It's meant for Christian leadership, but might give you a good understanding of the Bible and how to approach it.... or it might confuse you with it's technical jargon. Anyway, here's the basic process. Read to understand these things in this order:

  • What the passage meant in its original time and place (historical, literary)
  • What universal truths it teaches about God and the world (theology)
  • How to interpret it for our modern life / your personal life (experiential)

    Hopefully this gives you some structure for approaching the topic.

    I also agree with several people here about where to start:

  • Genesis for creation, the fall, and God choosing the Isrealite - these tend to be the Old Testament sunday school stories of Adam and Eve, Abraham, Moses, etc
  • Gospels = Matthew, Mark, Luke, & John, they all told the story of Jesus. Many people really like John. He tells the story of Jesus from a more approachable perspective - less Jewish ideas because he was trying to appeal to a broader audience. This is the book where you hear ideas like "Jesus is the light".... everyone can understand how important light is in a dark night, without needing to understand the Jewish traditions that predicted Jesus and stuff. But it also makes John a bit more poetic and sometimes cryptic. Luke was more of a "just the facts" type.
  • Acts tells about the early church. It's important to realize they weren't "Christians" with a different faith than "Jews" - they were originally just a sect of Judiasm.

    Finally, here are the most common areas of study if you want to learn about Christianity:

  • Biblical Studies - most of the stuff I mentioned above, basically ancient languages, how to read the Bible, etc
  • Theology - basically like philosophy. But philosophy is about the nature of humans, while theology is the nature of God. This is where you get the great debates (What is the Trinity? What is the nature of God? Why did Jesus "have to" die? What is atonement?)
  • Church History - Basically everything that's happened for 2,000 years. Includes theological debates that led to church splits.
  • Other categories: Christian ethics, missions, ecumenical studies (Christians studying other Christians and working together), leadership, etc. Most of these are more about how the church works today. At this point, I think you'd be more interested in the first three.
u/heresybob · 1 pointr/religion

I'd prefer a copy of Everybody Poops..

The Manga Bible

Mark Millar's Chosen

u/dave_hitz · 1 pointr/atheistparents

I think it's important for kids in our culture to be familiar with Jesus. He is an influential figure.

Even though I am an atheist, it doesn't bother me that religious family members tell my daughter about Jesus and God. In fact, I bought R. Crumb's Illustrated Book of Genesis because I thought it would be a fun way for her to learn about Bible stories. I also read her a book of Greek myths. And Harry Potter.

But that doesn't mean you need to pretend to agree with those stories. When my daughter asks me to tell her about Jesus, I start with, "Some people believe...." Sometimes she asks what I believe. I tell the truth.

I'd be upset if my wife (now ex) had objected to me sharing my beliefs. Likewise, I can understand why your husband would be upset that you don't want him to share his beliefs.

u/itsableeder · 1 pointr/writing

It's public domain for the most part (some translations aren't), hence awesome things like this and this being able to exist.

And just to head this off early; they're awesome because of the illustrations and the way those stories are adapted, not because of the actual content. I'm an atheist.

u/strangewine · 1 pointr/Showerthoughts

There's even a version adapted and illustrated by Robert Crumb. All original text.

u/muhfuhkuh · 1 pointr/pics

If you dig a unique spin on it, here's Robert Crumb's "The Book of Genesis". His drawings are really detailed!

u/swampfish · 1 pointr/AdviceAnimals

Buy it here.

u/Ghiizhar · 1 pointr/atheism

For those that have not read the entire book of Genesis, here's an illustrated version, with full text, that you may find more entertaining than just reading the text:

The Book of Genesis Illustrated by R. Crumb

u/SpookyTanooki · 1 pointr/atheism

The Book of Genesis Illustrated by R. Crumb isn't exactly what you're looking for (i.e. it's only Genesis) but it is awesome and the illustrations really bring the book to life (though there are some passages that may not be suitable for your girls...I'm looking at you Lot).

u/the_good_dr · 1 pointr/atheism

Not the whole bible but...

u/RedStick83 · 1 pointr/atheism

The Book of Genesis Illustrated by R. Crumb I know this isn't exactly what you were looking for but I flipped through this while at the library and thought it was pretty neat.

u/AmanitaZest · 1 pointr/IWantToLearn

If you're interested, start with The Illustrated Book of Genesis, by Robert Crumb. You get the full text of the first book in the Bible series, with lots of well-drawn pictures. This way you can also still see how there are actually two distinct creation myths, and you can clearly see how the Bible is the greatest soap opera known to man.

u/amoralnihilist · 1 pointr/atheistparents

The Book of Genesis illustrated by R. Crumb. Seriously, this is a real book, and he treats all the subject matter literally. It's a great read and the literal interpretation highlights how strange some of the Bible stories are. I just wish he had done the whole Bible as a set.

u/Generality · 1 pointr/atheism
u/IamABot_v01 · 1 pointr/AMAAggregator


I am an author who helped put together the biggest family tree in history, spent a year obeying the Bible literally, and read all 33,000 pages of the Encyclopaedia Britannica. AMA!

Hi reddit. I’m AJ.

I’m an author, journalist, human guinea pig and also your cousin.

I’ve written four New York Times bestsellers -- The Year of Living Biblically, where I tried to obey the Bible as literally as possible for one full year, The Know-It-All, when I read all thirty-two volumes of the Encyclopaedia Britannica, Drop Dead Healthy, where I tried to become the healthiest man in the world and My Life as an Experiment where I went undercover as a woman, lived by George Washington’s moral code, impersonated a movie star, and more. A TV series based on The Year of Living Biblically will debut on CBS in the winter.

More recently, I spent three years trying to build the biggest family tree in history. The quest took me around the world.. I drank beer with a US president, found myself singing with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and unearthed genetic links to Hollywood actresses and real-life scoundrels. In the end, I threw a global family reunion with about 10,000 people at 40 events around the world!

The experience inspired my new book, It’s All Relative. It’s about my family. And yours. Because it’s the same family. The book is about the extraordinary changes happening in family research and DNA, and how they have an impact on politics, race relations, health and happiness.

I’m very excited to be here today and talk to all my relatives. AMA about genealogy, writing, living Biblically, or whatever else reddit has in mind.



IamAbot_v01. Alpha version. Under care of /u/oppon.
Comment 1 of 1
Updated at 2017-11-10 16:47:38.416983

Next update in approximately 20 mins at 2017-11-10 17:07:38.417002

u/glegleglo · 1 pointr/religion
  • I LOVE the Life of Pi. I recommend reading the "editorial reviews" because Amazon does a terrible job summing up how great the book is.
  • I also highly recommend the Ramayana this is the version I read. I like this retelling because, while long, it give you a sense of what this story truly is--an Indian epic.
  • Books by Deepak Chopra (I suggest looking through reviews of diff books to see if any catch your eye).
  • The Universe in a Single Atom: The Convergence of Science and Spirituality
    by the Dalai Lama because it is a very sincere book and I can almost visualize what he is saying.
  • If you're in the mood for a bit of silliness, I recommend The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible because while being funny, it does teach you a little bit of the lesser known tenements of Judaism and Christianity.
  • Last but not least, I recommend reading travel books. If you look for well written (read: not just looking for cheap laughs) books, even if they don't intend to, they inevitably talk about their personal views on the world--their personal religions.
u/prpslydistracted · 1 pointr/Christianity

I just started to comment and the post was removed. Highly recommend

This was the most fun book I've ever read about trying to do the impossible in a modern age. Really, you will laugh as you uncover gems of philosophy in how to become a better person.

u/evilgiraffemonkey · 1 pointr/videos

Haven't read it yet, but this guy tried.

u/RemoteViewingTrainee · 1 pointr/videos

A guy tried to strictly follow the bible for 1 year:

u/FISH_TACOS_NOW_ · 1 pointr/DebateReligion

>Wrong, my day job is in science. Science is not based in trust whatsoever; it happens to be the case that trustworthy scientists are employed by large academic institutions because of the quality of their work—for the most part (there are exceptions).
Take my field, for example. If I'm working on some cell line mechanism in the lab, I will indeed be working based on something someone has done before me. There will be prior evidence which I have to utilise. I don't just blindly accept it and work on it. I have to read it, analyse it, and see whether other independent groups have come to the same conclusions. That's the whole basis of meta-analysis—you don't trust one person's work. It's a fundamental aspect of science.

>Science is not based in trust whatsoever;

And, then you also explain what you trust in science:

>That's the whole basis of meta-analysis—you don't trust one person's work. It's a fundamental aspect of science. And it happens to be the case that trustworthy scientists..

That is what I am saying about Biblical Studies, in particular language. Trustworthy scholars do the work. Not one person.

That's the whole basis of meta-analysis—you don't trust one person's work. It's a fundamental aspect of science textual analysis in Biblical Studies. No one person verifies the work of all the others, not me or anyone else, because that is impossible, but that is what you think ought to happen "to be sure" of whatever.

>The fact that you're questioning my credentials based on a really obvious flaw makes you argument incredibly weak.

I assumed you could not work in science because of how self-contradictory your argument was, but I just showed you how you did it with science too. The problem, I see, is definitely more based in logic.

>Perhaps you're just talking about mathematicians and statisticians, where prior mathematical proof is easier to validate. Others can do it there and then, whereas in the physical sciences you have to physically set up an experiment and replicate it.

No, I am talking about all sciences.

>Whilst I can't say with 100% certainty (and no one ever will) that Jesus did not walk on water, raise from the dead or turn water into wine, it goes against all current scientific knowledge. For those to be true, fundamental laws of physics and chemistry would need to be re-evaluated.

But that wasn't your claim. Your claim was that parts of the Bible are "exagerated or fabricated" within the contect to textual analysis. You are questioning the veracity of the text itself, and that is what I am answering. This isn't about what is particularly "un-scientific" abou the Bible, however interesting a subject that might be.

>And, indeed, thorough historical proof that it happened. AFAIK the only solid evidence is that Jesus was crucified. There is no evidence from that generation which conclusively says he went missing from his grave.

Now you turn to historiography, rather than emperical science, as the source of your complaint. Since this is closer to the subject at hand, textual analysis, I will address it briefly. That are scholars who argue in exhaustive detail the historicity of the resurrection. If you have time to read a 700 page book on it by a professor who's taught at Oxford and Cambridge, I recommend N.T. Wright's [
Resurrecetion of the Son of God*]( It offers what the author, and plenty of others, regard as evidence for the historical ressurection. If you have not read it and refuted its contents, you are not in a position to say there is no evidence, even if you continue to say there isn't, which I fully expect to be the case.

u/_tt_t · 1 pointr/DebateAChristian

>lack of evidence

If you are interested in re-evaluating your position, I recommend a 700 page argument for the historicity of the resurrection of Christ. It might be more informative than a reddit conversation.

The Resurrection of the Son of God: Christian Origins and the Question of God, Vol. 3

What (other than prejudice) would keep you from reading it?

u/ITzNybble · 1 pointr/Bible

Well said, I read a book on Genesis 1 recently that went into the other early far eastern text and how they speak to creation and all the books were more focused on the functionality or purpose of the creations not the actual creation itself. I.E. They didn't seem to care how the trees were made, it was more important to know whom made them and what they purpose was for, in this sense science is helping reveal to us more the why and how.


link to the book just to source it. I obviously paraphrased the entire book in one sentence which does not do it justice

u/thescroggy · 1 pointr/Christianity

I would encourage you to read “The Lost World of Genesis One” by Walton.

it’s worth it.

u/bravereviews · 1 pointr/Christianity

You made me think of this book ... (John Walton)

u/AlwaysUnite · 1 pointr/MapPorn

> Do you think a book written today, about someone living today [etc]

Yeah this makes me think you think there was an actual fellow named Jesus who preached in Judea about 2000 years ago. Which considering the evidence is very unlikely 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. The first two sources being the best scholarly work on the historicity of "Jesus" reviewing and coming to the conclusion that any positive belief is unwarranted. The other three giving a very detailed description of how the jesus story contains elements from various pagan mythologies popular around that time in the region of wider Judea, concluding that it is likely that the jesus story is a fictional account consisting of a Hebrew substrate overlain with pagan motives.

u/doofgeek401 · 1 pointr/Apologetics

Right away, a curious observer would find themselves wondering how, if this Theorem is the wonderful instrument of historical objectivity both Craig and Carrier claim it to be, two people can apply it and come to two completely contradictory historical conclusions.  Yet they both use Bayes Theorem to attempt to "prove" historical things.  Something does not make sense here.

Then if we turn to who doesn't use Bayes Theorem to analyse history we find this category includes ... pretty much every single historian on the planet.  Again, this should strike the objective observer as distinctly odd.  After all, if Bayes Theorem can genuinely be applied to determine the truth or otherwise of a historical event or proposition, it's exceedingly strange that thousands of historians all over the world are not applying this remarkable tool all the time.  Richard Carrier maintains that this is because every historian on earth, except him, is too ignorant and mathematically illiterate to understand the wonders of this remarkable tool and only he has been clever enough to realise that it can be applied to history.  Given that Thomas Bayes ' theorem was first published in 1763, our objective observer would be forgiven for finding it remarkable that no-one noticed that it could be used in this way until Richard Carrier, an unemployed blogger (and a person who isn't taken seriously by most scholars), came along.


There are two problems here when it comes to trying to apply Bayes Theorem to history: (i) Carrier and Craig need to treat questions of what happened in the past as the same species of uncertainty as what may happen in the future and (ii) historical questions are uncertain precisely because we don't have defined and certain data to feed into the equation.

Bayes Theorem only works in cases where we can apply known information.  So, in the example above, we know how often it rains in a year and we know when the weather forecast is and isn't correct.  So by inputing this meaningful data, we can get a meaningful result out the other end of the equation.

This is not the case with history.

Bayes Theorem's application depends entirely on how precisely the parameters and values of our theoretical reconstruction of a real world approximate reality.  With a historical question, Carrier is forced to think up probabilities for each parameter he put into the equation.  This is a purely subjective process - he determines how likely or unlikely a parameter in the question is and then decides what value to give that parameter.  So the result he gets at the end is purely a function of these subjective choices. 

In other words: garbage in/garbage out.

So it's not surprising that Carrier comes up with a result on the question of whether Jesus existed that conforms to his belief that Jesus didn't - he came up with the values that were inevitably going to come up with that result.  If someone who believed Jesus did exist did the same thing, the values they inputted would be different and they would come up with the opposite result.  This is why historians don't bother using Bayes Theorem.

So what exactly is Carrier doing by applying this Theorem in a way that it can't be applied?  Apart from being incompetent, he seems to be doing little more than putting a veneer of statistics over a subjective evaluation and pretending he's getting greater precision. 

Not surprisingly, despite his usual grandiose claims that his use of Bayes Theorem is some kind of revolution in historiography, his book Proving History: Bayes's Theorem and the Quest for the Historical Jesus (2012)   has pretty much sunk without trace and been generally ignored by historical Jesus scholars and historians alike.  His failure to convince anyone except a gaggle of historically clueless online atheist fanboys of his vast genius means that Carrier is most likely to remain what he is: an unemployed blogger and general nobody with a fringe thesis.

u/peto0427 · 1 pointr/exchristian

I would recommend Nailed by David Fitzgerald, Proving History by Dr. Richard Carrier, and On the Historicity of Jesus, also by Dr. Carrier

And I’ve perused Nailed, and have read both of the books I recommended by Dr. Carrier

u/NukeGently · 1 pointr/atheism

I'm mostly on your side, but I'd like to oppose your recommendation of Ten Beautiful Lies.

Fitzgerald (of Ten beautiful lies, published as the book Nailed) is a poor representative of Jesus mythicism. He's no scholar, just an author hanging on the coat tails of real scholars, and some of the inaccuracies in his book show it.

Nailed was my first introduction to Jesus Mythicism and Fitzgerald's video about it is compellingly fun, but the material at the beginning about similarities (born on Dec 25, etc) between Jesus and other deities parallels Zeitgeist in being incorrect. I was sadly disappointed when I later discovered this.

Reputable names in the Jesus Myther field are: Earl Doherty, Robert Price, Thomas L. Thompson and Richard Carrier.

On the subject of Josephus and his Testimonium, I enjoyed what this guy had to say on the subject. He's arguing against well known "traditional" Bible historian Bart Ehrman, whose arguments for the historicity of Jesus often devolve into appeals to authority and chest thumping.

Personally, I think the guy to watch is Richard Carrier, whose recent book Proving History proposes using Bayes' Theorem to evaluate the validity of historical claims, and demonstrates that many of the methods used in "traditional" history, especially on the topic of Jesus, are inadequate. I'm looking forward to book 2 in this series, which specifically looks at the Jesus story.

You may enjoy Carrier's video talk, So…if Jesus Didn’t Exist, Where Did He Come from Then? , which summarizes his more important findings.

u/jubydoo · 1 pointr/atheism

You can't cite the non-existence of a source, unless you sit down and read every book that's ever been written.

The most popular "source" that Christians cite for the historicity of Jesus is Josephus. However a number of historians have shown that those passages in Josephus (along with some others) were inserted after the fact.

Ultimately, though, the argument from skeptics and atheists is this: There is no historical evidence to back up the claims made in the Bible about Jesus. Being such extraordinary claims, one would expect these startling events to have been recorded by contemporary historians, but they were not. Therefore, until better evidence comes along, we are forced to conclude that Jesus -- at least, the Jesus of the Bible -- did not exist.

Here's a couple of good skeptical sources on the historicity of Jesus:

u/rivvers · 1 pointr/todayilearned

No we shouldn't.

The controversy is that the evidence for Jesus is from Christian sources, and none of the evidence is from a time when he was said to have lived. There's also no record that he was mentioned in Roman Court, which is very very strange because 1.) Paul was tried at court, and it was not for following Christ even though he was at that time period. and 2.) Pontius Pilate supposedly executed him, and there would be a very bold record of that.

Currently the best source on these theiries are Richard Carrier, and mind you, he is an actual historian, not some crazy dude on the street. Check out his latest book if you're curious:

These are theories by actual historians, that are just as qualified and respected as Christian Scholars.

I'm not going to debate you because neither of us are qualified to do so, but please realize that there are other world views than your own, and that doesn't mean they're wrong.

u/ArtemisCataluna · 1 pointr/atheism

Pretty much a Comic Book Bible

Edit: There's a Greek mythology one now, nice.

u/cisforcereal · 1 pointr/pics

I prefer the Brick Bible, myself.

u/damememans · 1 pointr/blessedimages
u/DevsMetsGmen · 1 pointr/lego

I'm inclined to agree despite that all I initially said was "you have no leg to stand on" but on the other hand, there's an equal amount of upvoting for the comment I replied to, which is inaccurate. It being reddit, I think people are just likely to upvote religious "neutrality" (and anti-theism) and downvote what they perceive as "pro-religion."

In the end, Lego is a company looking for consumers. There are more than enough examples of how Lego has no problem taking Christian money, and if other religions were as easy to market to I'm sure you'd find that throughout, also.

I'm actually surprised that there hasn't been a legitimate Lego nativity, at least that my super abbreviated Google search has pulled up. The Fisher Price Little People Nativity is a huge product every holiday season, and it would seem that with the different stages of Lego product they could probably hit the same families two or three times if they played their cards right (a Duplo set, a Juniors set, a Creator set, and maybe even a Collector's Series or whatever that super detailed, mega-sized edition is). Not all at once, of course, but over time.

Santa is a symbol of the Christmas spirit or Christmas marketing or whatever you want to call it, but is indelibly tied to the holiday itself with its religious roots. The Advent Calendars aren't called even something benign like "Christmas Countdowns" or "Winter Calendars" like the "Winter Village" and that says that the marketing people were in no way scared off by the religious connotation of the word "Advent."

Lastly, for all of those who want to pretend that Lego is this great Switzerland of religious neutrality, I put out there the Brick Bible which is explicitly "not endorsed or created by LEGO" but in this day and age I'd be shocked if a company couldn't put the kibosh on such a thing if they wanted to. But, why? It's marketing. It creates purchases, and enthusiasts, and it doesn't incite anyone to violence like other world religions might if their holy book was recreated in the same fun-loving spirit.

u/ryanmercer · 1 pointr/lego

I want one!

Edit: here is the set on amazon. Ordered :)

Edit 2: looks like there are a ton in a childrens series, Bible stories in lego for kids.

Edit 3: fairy tales too!

u/urbster1 · 1 pointr/deism

Actually, testing your faith as an outsider is necessary for being able to determine its objective truth and hardly "a waste." For instance, suppose you were raised as a Catholic, baptized as an infant. Ask yourself, how do other reasonable people first become believers, or insiders, if from the outside they can't understand Christianity? Which comes first, faith or understanding? If, as a nonbelieving outsider, someone cannot understand the Christian faith, then how does God expect them to reasonably come to faith in the first place? How do you get from being an outsider to being an insider as a rational, thinking, skeptical adult? If you were raised Catholic from childhood then you know that as children we had not yet developed critical thinking faculties to question what our parents told us. We didn't know any better. Isn't it unfair to bring up a child in that environment? How many Catholic parents have adequately questioned their own faith and investigated its truth content before raising their children Catholic?

How many Catholics would accept Catholicism if it were forced upon them when they were 18 years old? Wouldn't we have asked some questions about what our parents told us? If someone came along and tried presenting you a brand new religious paradigm, for example, Scientology or Mormonism, at your age you would, as an outsider, take a critical, skeptical stance against accepting those views. At some point along the line, as we become adults, we need to critically examine what we were taught as children. Doubt and skepticism are learned virtues and as we learn to question, we become thinking adults. But strangely most people don't seem to question their religious faiths which seem too obvious and have become too ingrained in us, usually because they are a part of the culture we live in. Not only that, your faith has ingrained in you a fear of Hell if you deviate from it (of course there is no evidence for the existence of heaven or hell, either), although if you do deviate from it, you can always return later.

Given the abundance of religions around the globe, the probability that the one you happened to have been brought up in is true is highly unlikely. Basically all religions teach that they are the one true religion. At best, only one can be true, as you pointed out earlier. At worst, they are all false. The only rational way to test one's culturally adopted religious faith is from the perspective of an outsider, a nonbeliever, with the same level of reasonable skepticism that a believer already uses when examining the other religious faiths he or she rejects. If you can do that and show how Catholicism is still objectively true, then Catholicism is the one true religion, and all nonbelievers could rationally convert. The problem is that there is just no evidence to support its truth. Again, Richard Carrier's Proving History and its companion On the Historicity of Jesus are the most comprehensive scholarly treatments on the existence of Jesus. Carrier has done a lot of scholarship on the early history of the church and the facts do not hold up the way that the Catholic church would make you think they do. Not to mention that "God's true church" has been involved in some nasty terrible acts throughout history and held some embarrassingly mistaken views about reality, and it is not the paragon of moral virtue that an institution with divine inspiration would exhibit. I would challenge you to question your faith as an outsider. Read those books by Richard Carrier, for instance. Read The Outsider Test For Faith by John Loftus and question your faith as an outsider would. And if you still hold to Catholicism as the one true religion, then you have not lost anything. But if you are convinced by reasonable, skeptical arguments that Catholicism is mistaken at bare minimum or at most totally false, then you have gained a truer perspective on reality.

u/lilrabbitfoofoo · 1 pointr/worldnews

Ah, ye olde appeal to authority and/or popularity. If that's your opening salvo, you've already lost this argument.

How about we just jump to the end?

Find a single solitary historian who can present ANY contemporaneous evidence of Jesus of Nazareth. One will do.

Because if you can't, and you can't, then their starting assumption that Jesus actually existed cannot be supported by the evidence.

Then, ask yourself why they might hold onto this assumption, in light of a complete lack of evidence?

It really shouldn't be too hard to figure out.

In the meantime, here's a good layman's article on the topic.

And here is the peer-reviewed master's class.

u/stewmangroup · 1 pointr/politics
u/ticocowboy · 1 pointr/exmormon

Yup. It's all made up. Beginning to the end. Here's a scholarly analysis of the evidence, both for and against historicity.

u/T1mac · 1 pointr/atheism

LOL. Scholars think there's only a 1 in 3 chance that a character of Jesus really existed. Those odds are probably too high.

u/TheWrongHat · 1 pointr/atheism

If anyone is interested in a great back and forth between a mythicist and a historicist, check out this debate between Richard Carrrier and Zeba Crook.

I think Crook ultimately comes out looking better, but they both make some good points.

Richard Carrier has published a peer reviewed book called "On the Historicity of Jesus: Why We Might Have Reason for Doubt".

u/thinkitthrough · 1 pointr/philosophy

Yeah, I wasn't sure how Amazon links were treated here. Here's the full URL:

u/emmazunz84 · 1 pointr/serialpodcast

If you want to know what got me into Bayes, it's Richard Carrier and his methodology for proving that Jesus never existed ;)

u/unidentifyde · 1 pointr/atheism

It seems as though your only source, that isn't the bible, is Bart Ehrman. In fact, almost everything that you've written on the subject is almost verbatim Ehrman's own phrasing, especially this little gem which Ehrman has never provided any evidence for:

> Each and every one of these scholars with a teaching position at a university not only believes that Jesus existed...

So, either you are Ehrman or you've read a single book that validates your viewpoints and have begun a crusade on r/atheism.

I will see your one, single source, and raise you 2 additional doctorates in the field that disagree directly with Ehrman:

On the Historicity of Jesus by Richard Carrier, PhD Ancient History

The Messiah Myth by Thomas Thompson, PhD Theology who also was a professor of religious studies at a few universities despite the incessant assertions of both yourself and Ehrman that every single scholar in a teaching position believes the same as you.

The Christ-Myth Theory and Its Problems by Robert Price, PhD Systematic Theology and PhD New Testament yet another professor of religion at a university.

u/Zonveine · 1 pointr/Suomi

Jeesuksen historiallisuudesta on loppujen lopuksi todella vähän nykyaikaiset metodit täyttävää tutkimusta. Ja Carrier on kollegasi kun hän on väitellyt historiasta tohtoriksi todella kovasta yliopistosta (Columbiasta New York). Carrierin metodi ja lähdekritiikki kestää päivänvalon.

Uskontoja syntyy ilman, että tarvitsee olla historiallista sankaria kaiken takana. Itseasiassa Jeesusta vanhempia mutta kovin samankaltaisia mysteerijumaluuksia tunnetaan lukuisia ja niitä kaikkia pidetään keksittyinä. Miksi tämä yksi olisi poikkeus?

Tietenkin jos löytyisi yksikin todiste historiallisesta Jeesuksesta niin kysymystä siitä onko Jeesus olemassa vain musteena paperilla ei tarvitsisi käydä vaan voitaisiin miettiä minkälainen henkilö siellä loppujen lopuksi oli.

u/kickstand · 1 pointr/TrueAtheism

> how do respond to the claim that Jesus is essentially too unique and revolutionary not to be a God? That his message was so subversive and out of the blue that there's no way he could just be some guy?

Actually, around the time of Jesus there were a lot of apocalyptic preachers going around. He wasn't unique at all. Jesus is just the one whose influence happened to continue to our time.

You might want to search YouTube for "Richard Carrier" or read his book.

u/uncle_money · 1 pointr/TrueAtheism

On the Historicity of Jesus by Richard Carrier

u/aquinasbot · 1 pointr/atheism

>You claim that your god interacts with the physical world in response to prayers and according to his "plan" to influence people and events and yet have never shown any proof of the truth of such a claim nor have you even advanced a theory on how such an external supernatural action would occur outside of physical laws.

There are those who may say they have proof in the experiencing the miracles or answered prayers themselves, but I do not believe I'll be able to provide you with "proof" that God interacts with the world. What would that proof look like anyway?

>On top of that, you claim that wine and bread literally transforms into blood and body of Christ. Not allegorically, not metaphorically, literally. This claim is easily disprovable and hurts your credibility. As well, the claim that blessings, confession, sacraments, adoration or any of these ceremonies has a basis in reality is absurd and has zero evidence to back it up.

Yes, I do believe that at the words of consecration from the priest, the bread and wine literally, substantially, truly become the body and blood of Christ.

The claim is easily disprovable in what way? Do you want to take the bread and wine and examine it? We assert that even under a microscope, the bread and wine will still look like bread and wine.

The doctrine of the Real Presence states that Jesus is present under the appearances of bread and wine. So any testing would still reveal that bread and wine are still present.

Even Jesus' own followers left him after hearing him say that we must eat his flesh and drink his blood, it is not surprising that those not of the faith would scoff at it. It is a scandalous claim indeed.

>Spirital as it pertains to biological as well as life-after-death. You say a lot about what the afterlife is like and what the parameters for attaining it are without any basis of proof aside from stories from ancient illiterate shepherds who had no idea how reality worked. You have zero actual knowledge of souls, sins, resurrection, afterlife, etc. and yet you make many claims about them and call these claims "truth".

This depends on what you mean by "knowledge." Are you suggesting that the only way of attaining knowledge of something is to prove it scientifically?

This proof you are seeking is nothing something we've ever claimed that we've had. These things you mention (sins, resurrection, afterlife, etc.) are things we believe de fide divina et ecclesiastica (of divine and ecclesiastical faith).

As far as the soul, I think there is room for discussion about the evidence of the soul. Intentionality comes to mind.

Also, you said that our basis for proof comes from:
> "stories from ancient illiterate shephards who had no idea how reality worked

This is a genetic fallacy

And to suggest they "had no idea how reality worked" is an absurd claim.

>Again, you say this and yet your church makes many claims about knowing precisely this. Belief is irrelevant, evidence is relevant. You can believe what your books say all you want. Even if everyone on Earth believed something that was untrue, say that the Earth was flat (coughthebiblecough), it doesn't make it true.

Belief is not irrelevant and knowledge of something being true is not solely contingent upon seeing scientific proof of it.

For example, you rightly believe that there are other minds apart from yourself. But it is impossible to prove this scientifically. Does it make the belief unwarranted? No, it is a properly basic belief.

Also, the bible does not attempt to tell us how the material world actually is. It's not a science book. There is nothing in the bible that says the earth is flat. What you would most likely refer to is where, in the Bible, it means the "four corners of the earth."

>I have enough evidence to reject it in favour of the null hypothesis for reality with a little help from Occam. The null hypothesis would be that there is no unseen, spiritual world and the only world that exists is what we can detect with our own senses and scientific measurement. Since we have seen exactly zero evidence that contradicts this or supports a magical spiritual world, the only possible conclusion is that magic doesn't exist.

You're starting point is that the only "proof" you'll accept is scientific. The entities in question are not empirical, thus the scientific method is of no use for determining the reality of the after life.

So if your criteria for determining the reality of the after life is that it must meet the standard of scientific proof, you're making an assumption that that's the only proof that is acceptable.

If there is intentionality, a will, I think it's compelling evidence of something "other wordly" that has power over the material world. When I move my leg, I willed my leg to move. This is a good starting point for understanding the spiritual as it related to the biological.

>They aren't credible to anyone unless you already accept their truth a priori. They're about as credible as Homer's Odyssey or any other story devised by man.

Do not treat the Bible as one single book, first off.

Secondly, if you treat the New Testament, especially the Gospel accounts, as you would any other historical document, you may find the historical reliability of the gospel accounts on the resurrection of Christ are quite compelling. See here for quick reference.

For a more in depth look, see here.

>In sum, you use the word "truth" in reference to your claims, yet there can be no truth without evidence.

Are you talking about scientific evidence? Because if you are, then this is simply not true.

You can arrive at truth without scientific in many things, in fact, you have to. Take for example mathematical truths. You cannot prove these with science because science must presuppose them.

You can arrive at logical truths without scientific evidence. You can also know things are true, such as someone is beautiful, without scientific evidence.

u/lolrj · 1 pointr/atheism

What sorts of things specifically are you interested in? I'm just throwing out most of the stuff that isn't C.S. Lewis, Alvin Plantinga or Francis Collins.

He quotes this guy Lamin Sanneh, and his book Whose religion is Christianity. Now I look at it, that looks really interesting.

For The Glory of God, By Rodney Stark

Jesus and The Eyewitnesses, Richard Bauckham

'Cultural Relativism and Universal Human Rights'

Um, I was expecting for the chapters where he talks about the historical basis of the Gospels to be full of sources, but his only sources seems to be Jesus and the Eyewitnesses and The Resurrection of The Son of God, by N.T. Wright. This book is turning out to be more disappointing than I thought was possible. I was actually going to investigate some of his historical conclusions a bit more.

u/Kenosis_Mantra · 1 pointr/TrueChristian

Sorry I'm a little late replying.

u/0FF_MY_MEDS · 1 pointr/DebateReligion

I would say there is more truth to cypherhalo's comment than first appears. Most biblical scholarship and textual criticism (as well as biblical archaeology) unfolds naturally according to the particular scholar's philosophical pre-dispositions. Welhausen's DEJPQ theory is an example, as is Davide Hume's natural history of religion. In other words, I would say there is no such thing as "biased" vs "unbiased" views on a subject this large, one that requires multiple non-empirical judgments and hunches in order to form an opinion on. I would perhaps use an equally blunt contrast of "university press" vs "popular press" publishing – and stick with the former.

If you are interested in a full-throated defense of the resurrection by an Oxbridge academic, give The Resurrection of the Son of God by N.T. Wright a look. It is 740 pages, so not exactly light reading; but what kind of scholarly investigation into such a subject would be?

u/chubs66 · 1 pointr/Christianity

Yes, sure. If you imagined a literate culture with wide access to papyrus you certainly would. I think, however, an ancient historian would tell you that historians often have to rely on a single account of history from a single official source. If you want a strong case for the miraculous around Jesus death, ancient historian / bishop / leading theologian N.T. Write digs into the circumstances and argues convincingly that the early church could not have begun the way it did if Jesus had not been raised from the dead. The Resurrection of the Son of God: Christian Origins and the Question of God

u/Wakeboarder1019 · 1 pointr/atheism

> Hard to have a grudge against something you don't think exists.
I see your point, but I would also say that if God does exist - this stance toward God is in itself a grudge.

>What makes you say everyone, even Christians, has a grudge against God? That sounds like an interesting idea even though I already disagree.

The short answer is that all have sinned/are sinners. It's hardwired in our very existence - that we are enemies of God and by nature objects of wrath. The longer answer would take some lengthy conversations about one's understanding about Christianity, and discussions about terms such as sin, salvation, grace, redemption, justification, sanctification.

> My point earlier was that admitting Jesus existed doesn't mean admitting any of those other things.

I agree with that - my answer above was that this is the easiest route to take. If Jesus doesn't exist, I don't have to worry about any of his claims, or examine any of his life.

> No one comes back from the dead, and no one ever will.

I'd highly recommend this book. It's long and dense - but Wright makes a compelling case for the historicity of the Resurrection. But your adamance in the impossibility of coming back from the dead I think is useful as well - Human beings know this to be true, which is what makes the Resurrection story a gamechanger.

u/Mdicjdnsosk__ · 1 pointr/Christianity

I'm not sure about one book in particular but N.T. Wright would be a good place to start – perhaps The Resurrection of the Son of God.

u/amdgph · 1 pointr/DebateReligion

> Yeah there are people in my extended family that converted to catholicism (albeit it was because of marriage). They seem more chill than the christianity i'm normally exposed to.

Well from the sound of it, they’re probably non-practicing/cultural Catholics. Unfortunately, this is common. xP

> I consider myself a seeker. I wouldn't be asking these questions and currently trying to read the bible if I wasn't. I've been to church. I don't get that fuzzy feeling everyone else does.

Kudos to you for your love for the truth!

>but I cant bring myself to be confident in the mechanism by which this higher power has manifested life, death, and everything in between. It would not be humble of me to claim such things with 100% certainty. I feel like there's always something to learn.

Ah, well just to clarify, Catholicism does not claim to know everything. There is a lot that we do not and cannot know because we are human and not God. However, there is also a lot that we can and do know due to divine revelation and human reason (see the classical theist tradition for example).

The evidence is out there. I mean if there wasn't any, then being an atheist or agnostic would be the clear-cut choice right? Yet there are many brilliant people in the world today who believe in God as a result of compelling philosophical, scientific and historical evidence. Anthony Flew for example, the world's most influential atheist in the 20th century, converted to deism in 2004. He came to believe in the God of Aristotle, a God that possessed the attributes of immutability, immateriality, omnipotence, omniscience, oneness or indivisibility, perfect goodness and necessary existence. He also ended up developing a great respect for the Christian religion saying: "I think that the Christian religion is the one religion that most clearly deserves to be honoured and respected whether or not its claim to be a divine revelation is true. There is nothing like the combination of a charismatic figure like Jesus and a first-class intellectual like St. Paul…If you’re wanting Omnipotence to set up a religion, this is the one to beat" (There is a God: How the World's Most Notorious Atheist Changed his Mind, 185-186).

> And if in the process of me learning, I die and go to hell, well f**k me right? Like what can I do?

If you die in the process of learning then you will be judged by God who is perfect justice. Again, you aren't screwed. If you've lived a good life and tried your best to follow the truth then I have no doubt you'll be saved.

>The hostility is unwarranted and should not happen. However, I don't think it's necessarily the hostility that contributes to their reluctance. Whether they are right or wrong ...or whether believers are right or wrong, there is some kind of resistance there for sure, but if its coming from a genuine place, how do both parties work with each other and come to a solution? Not everyone who doesn't believe is wanting to continue to sin or rejects Jesus. I personally believe Jesus historically existed. Sometimes it's just hard to believe in a resurrection, I don't know how to make it any more philosophical than that.

There are biases on both sides. The bias for Christianity can stem from seeking comfort in the idea of God during hard times, loving the idea of heaven or falling in love with Christ and one’s faith.

On the other hand, the bias for atheism often stems from an atheist not wanting to make significant changes to himself and the way he lives his life, especially in the matters related to sex (although I was never an atheist, I could relate to this). If there is one thing about Christianity that rubs modern man in the wrong direction, it is its sexual ethos – that’s where all the hate and vitriol comes from really. If atheism is true, then we are free to do as we please. However, if Christianity is true, then there is a rightful way by which we should live, a life of virtue, and more is expected for us. In the light of Christianity and its demands, atheism is very attractive, comforting and relieving.

This bias for atheism makes them atheists less receptive to the gospel and hinders them from weighing the evidence for the existence of God objectively. Few gladly follow the evidence wherever it leads because many want atheism to be true.

>Sometimes it's just hard to believe in a resurrection, I don't know how to make it any more philosophical than that.

I wonder what it’s like for an atheist like you, who was never a Christian, to approach Christianity and all its claims..

Anyway, if you’re interested, I suggest seriously looking into the evidence for the resurrection. Check out what we Christians have to say on the topic, what are our strongest arguments, etc. For starters, I recommend checking out this article by Dr. Kreeft but if you’re looking for a serious challenge, I suggest picking up N.T. Wright’s magisterial study The Resurrection of the Son of God.

>So it goes back to my OP, which is how do you "unknow" what logically makes sense to you?

The only way to "unknow what logically makes sense to you" is to learn more and realize that you're wrong. When that happens, you'll make changes to your worldview based on this new information that you perceive to be correct.

u/kleptominotaur · 1 pointr/atheism

Minimally, if the effect of prayrer is unverifiable, it would be wrong to say it universally fails (I don't know if you said that but someone did). Prayrer isn't deliberately unfalsifiable, I suppose the nature of prayrer and testing scientifically if prayrer 'works' is . . not really a matter of science, even though I can imagine certain kinds of scientific tests to observe if certain prayrers 'work', and even the term 'work' is difficult to use because of the nature of prayrer. So maybe it would be better to say a significantly better methodology would need to be employed.

If God didn't heal 100 out of 100 amputees, the most you could say based on that experiment is that God said no, 100 out of 100 times. . and then you are assuming there is a God in the first place, and God could have morally sufficient reasons for saying no 100 times.

In regards to the nature of answered prayrer, it is not true theologically speaking that all answered prayrer must happen supernaturally. So answered prayrer could come in the form of a friend meeting a need, and I completely grant that that makes the conversation in regards to science and prayrer even more confusing, which I think supports my point regarding the general untestability of the effects of prayrer in a certain sense.

We live amongst brilliant people so I think something could be done, but the experiments im aware of are either too simple or are based on a superficial understanding of prayrer.

Not that you need to read it, but theirs an incredible book by Craig Keener called Miracles that has significant crossover into the conversation we're having here, more in the region of things like exotic medical ailments being undone. Very well documented. Conclusions aside, it is good work. And its nice to hear what you have to say, too, so I appreciate your conversing :)

u/progatician · 1 pointr/NoStupidQuestions

It doesn't really matter what my beliefs are, just that, no, not every religion can be disproven, which is what you said.

However, my two big reasons for thinking there's probably a god (or, at the very least, a spiritual realm) are NDEs and documented, modern miracles.

edit: I forgot one: Edith turner and similar anthropologists

u/meanstoanend · 1 pointr/Christianity

God gives us logic, and then occasionally circumvents the rules He established.

It's not blind acceptance of the irrational. It's accepting that God's miraculous intervention in our universe can circumvent known laws of nature. This book outlines hundreds of scientifically supported examples of miraculous events occurring. This is not explained by science alone. Miracles do seem to occur on occasion when situations are charged with religious significance. The acceptance of a rational only universe (according to Newtonian mechanics) is in my opinion, lacking in evidence. It does not best explain the universe I see. I approach the evidence like a jury approaches the evidence in a murder trial - what is the likely event, beyond reasonable doubt, given the evidence we have available. When new evidence surfaces, we can revise our decision.

I consider this a rational approach, and it means accepting that God has circumvented the laws of logic.

u/HmanTheChicken · 1 pointr/Catholicism

I don't know if He hasn't. If you've got a library near you or are willing to shed big bucks, I'd recommend Craig Keener's book Miracles. It's in two volumes and it basically goes through arguments for accepting miracles, then a listing of modern miracle claims. I've not read all of it, but while I was at Uni I got to read a good portion. It's amazing stuff: I think it will answer your question better than I can.

Either way, God is under no moral obligation to do anything but punish sinners. If He wanted He could justly have never came and saved us and just let us all be damned.

u/benjybokers · 1 pointr/exchristian

I would check out the long amazon review on the book

Keener takes Pat Robertson seriously.

See a pro-Christian blog

" In other words, Keener isn't giving us much to go by. But he is providing more than Chris suggests. "

" Keener notes that he found more than 25 cases with "something like [healed amputees] " something like it

His evidence is "eyewitness accounts" like in Robertson's book where somebody saw it happen "in Ghana" and cases of things like spontaneous cancer remission.

u/-truthspeaks- · 1 pointr/TrueAtheism

>There are processes that select for more complexity and rationality.

Again, processes require an agent to set up the initial process. That agent also must be very intelligent if the program goal is to select for complexity and rationality.

Also, an ordered process is not at all likely to arise within this universe. The reason being is that the 2nd Law of thermodynamics states that the universe is constantly becoming more and more disordered: If such a process has arisen, then it needed an agent to help it.

My point is simple: Name something else, besides what you think of the brain, that uses itself; and that is not designed.

There really isn't anything else. Hammers need carpenters, skis need skiers, planes need pilots, and computer need users. The brain is a computer, and as a computer it requires a user.

We haven't even talked about DNA, which is somehow a code without a writer. How can a code not have a writer? Check out this recent study done with DNA at Harvard:
Quote from the article:
"In another departure, the team rejected so-called "shotgun sequencing," which reassembles long DNA sequences by identifying overlaps in short strands. Instead, they took their cue from information technology, and encoded the book in 96-bit data blocks, each with a 19-bit address to guide reassembly. Including jpeg images and HTML formatting, the code for the book required 54,898 of these data blocks, each a unique DNA sequence. "We wanted to illustrate how the modern world is really full of zeroes and ones, not As through Zs alone," Kosuri said."

If the modern world is full of zeroes and ones, and DNA is a code capable of doing this experiment, then that code requires a super intelligent writer that exists outside the realm of the code (so outside the natural world) Same as a software designer exists outside the software.

>There's no evidence whatsoever anything like a supernatural realm exists, which is what my original post was searching for I believe.

Well, I just posted some evidence straight from Harvard.
I would also suggest checking out this book on documented modern miracles:

Also, here's a link to my website:

If we're going to go by empirical evidence here, then is it really logical to dismiss ALL testimonies of supernatural encounters? Especially when we are talking about millions of them that have happened over thousands of years? Not everyone can be insane or lying.

By the way, the number 2 isn't based at all in the natural world. It is not a material thing. Does this mean that the number 2 doesn't exist?

Btw, the reason I know all this stuff is because I used to be an atheist. It was because of all these things I've laid out, not to mention a few of my own supernatural encounters, that I was forced to change my mind about my former beliefs.

u/encyclopg · 1 pointr/DebateAChristian

Sauces...Ah, can I just refer you to a book?

Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony by Richard Bauckham

Jesus was a very common name indeed. That's why you often see disambiguation when Jesus' name is referred to in conversation but not in narrative (because which other Jesus would they be talking about?):

> Matthew 21:6--The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them.
> Matthew 21:11--And the crowds said, “This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth of Galilee.”
> Matthew 21:12--And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all who sold and bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons.

And then a few chapters later:

> Matthew 26:64--Jesus said to him, “You have said so. But I tell you, from now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.”
> Matthew 26:69--Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard. And a servant girl came up to him and said, “You also were with Jesus the Galilean.”
> Matthew 26:71--And when he went out to the entrance, another servant girl saw him, and she said to the bystanders, “This man was with Jesus of Nazareth.”
> Matthew 26:75--And Peter remembered the saying of Jesus, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly.

But that one is supposed to be easy, because Jesus was a fairly common name (6th most popular in Palestine among Jews). However, outside of Palestine, Jesus was not a common name at all. So would someone outside of Palestine 150 or so years later know to do this kind of disambiguation if they were making up this story? Possibly, but it's unlikely.

The name of John the Baptist is also disambiguated in John 14 in much the same way.

I mention this because if the Gospels are not eyewitness accounts, they use person names very convincingly. The apocryphal gospels, on the other hand, use names in very wacky ways, for example, the Gospel of Thomas's main character is a dude named Didymos Judas Thomas, which means Twin Judas Twin, and no one used names that way back then.

What's also interesting is that in the NT Gospels (early to mid 1st century, except for John which was written probably later 1st century), Jesus is called Jesus. In the Gospel of Philip (mid 2nd century), he's still called Jesus, but he is mostly referred to as "Christ". And then in the Gospels of Peter (late 2nd century) and Mary (late 2nd century), the name "Jesus" isn't even present. Instead you have mainly "Lord" and "Savior".

So yeah, someone in the 2nd century probably had no idea what were the common names in the 1st century among Jewish Palestinians. But the gospels, which were supposedly written so late, gets those kinds of names right. Without the internet.

u/Labarum · 1 pointr/AcademicBiblical

Jesus and the Eyewitnesses, Richard Bauchman

u/barpredator · 1 pointr/DebateAChristian

User Basilides answers your eyewitness claim eloquently:

> " of the things Bauckham (Jesus and the Eyewitnesses) proposes is that the Twelve Apostles are named in order to identify them as eyewitnesses and also that the twelve were responsible for assuring the accuracy of the gospel narratives. But if that were true, how is it (As Stephen J. Patterson noted in his review: "Jesus and the Eyewitnesses," Review of Biblical Literature; 2010, Vol. 12, p365-369)
that we ended up with four wildly divergent accounts? If the Twelve took it upon themselves to "peer review" the manuscripts of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, then whence so many discrepancies?

> I have already pointed to plenty of bullshit in the gospels. As Richard Carrier pointed out in his essay on the Resurrection, why is it that no one else in history noticed the tearing of the temple veil mentioned in Mark's passion narrative, not even the priests whose sole duty was attendance of the veil? Also see my previous post on the subject of gospel reliability here. Fact is, either the gospels are not based on eyewitness testimony or the eyewitnesses are pathological liars. Neither hypothesis is encouraging for someone arguing the resurrection."

> Was Jesus Raised: Reliability and Authorship of NT Documents

The claims of an eyewitness account are extremely shaky.

> bottled in the same plant

Are the factory codes the same? The factory codes on the can would be the analogy to the oxygen ratios of the rocks.

> Evidence?

Do you have evidence they witnessed it? Let's see it.

> commonplace for people to write down history

Not only do we have many manuscripts from that time, but we are talking about a singularly unique event: Re-animated corpses wandering around the town for days. And no one wrote a single page about it? Writing was indeed common then, so why don't we have documentation of it?

> Tacitus' Annals ... yet no one questions his authenticity

No extraordinary claims are made. We don't really have a reason to doubt them. I'm sure we could dig up someone who would disagree with their historical accuracy. How is this relevant to the veracity of the resurrection claim?

> Few objects of that sort survive this long.

The most important figure to ever walk the earth is crucified, and there are no relics of his life left behind? There are no souvenirs? We have manmade relics that date back thousands of years before Christ. They survived the ages just fine.

> Faith is the evidence of things not seen.

Faith by its very definition is gullibility. It is belief without evidence. It is belief without reason. People had "faith" in the god Mithra long before Jesus was around (6 BC). They had the exact same evidence you have. Born on the 25th of December to a virgin, witnessed by shepherds who followed a star, known as the son of god, could raise the dead, cure the blind and sick, sacrificed at the spring equinox (Eostre or Easter), rose up after three days and ascended into paradise. Get this, followers would even 'eat' their god in the form of wafers and bread marked with a cross. Followers even spoke of a judgement day when 'sinners' and the 'unbaptized' would be dragged into darkness.

Sounds pretty familiar right? These followers had just as much evidence and faith as you. Why are they wrong, and you are right?

u/aardvarkious · 1 pointr/DebateAChristian

Two thoughts. First, if you are interested in a scholarly work that refutes Ehrman et al, here is one you can check out.

Second, "what is true"?

A painting [generally] isn't photorealistic. It has all sorts of things that aren't accurate in it. In some senses, it isn't "true." But the difference between it and reality also serve a function. Because of these differences, the artist is able to communicate a message. The artist didn't make something photorealistic because he wasn't trying to. Instead, he was trying to communicate something.

Ancient biographers approached their work in much the same way. They were completely uninterested in doing modern biography, where you lay aside all bias and present the facts in precise chronological order. They felt free to play around with details (especially of chronology and geography, and especially by mixing and matching different speeches) to present a picture that they thought most accurately painted the life, personality, and core teachings of their subject. In some ways they treated biography more like literature than journalism. So when you ask "what time precisely did Jesus die [or what order did he call the disciples, or did he clear the temple at the beginning or end of his ministry, etc...]" my answer is:

The Gospel authors weren't concerned with communicating that. So I'm not going to evaluate them the way I evaluate modern biography. I will evaluate whether or not they were accurate in the things they were trying to be accurate in. But those weren't details like chronology and geography.

u/imbadatthese · 1 pointr/atheism

Yes, I do believe it is a possible to behave in a way which is contradictory to God's morality, but to believe that one is behaving in accordance with God's morality. So, what, then shall we do? It boils down to this: Truth either exists or it doesn't (I believe it does). I believe Christianity is true, and it is quite possible that I am right. Looking at the evidence (cross-referencing, continuity in text, prophecy (read Isaiah 53)) it seems most plausible. Theism is more logical than atheism to me. Christianity is more logical than any other religion. It stands apart in that God saved humanity.

If my beliefs are determined by my geography, then clearly you are an atheist because of where you were born/lived. I believe China now has the largest Christian population in the world. Why?

I'm not here to convert you to anything either. I'm here to share the truth as I know (believe) it. I don't gain points by "converting" just like you don't for "deconverting" me, which I do not think you're trying to do.

Honestly, I'll buy this book for you, if you will read it. If you won't read it, that's fine. Please don't have me buy it for you and cast it aside though. That wouldn't be nice.

What does Richard Carrier believe happened?

We have over 5000 Greek manuscripts from the new testament. Why so many if this was mythological? Clearly, some things were meant to be historical accounts with the way that they were described.

Which historians see the gnostic gospels as fully relevant?

Specifically, what is highly embellished, made up or recycled?

u/ursisterstoy · 1 pointr/atheism

Well technically those records from the mid 100s are saying that christians exist, and they did. The epistles of Paul were written in the 50s, the gospel of Mark written in the 70s, Matthew and Luke written in the 80s or 90s, and John, the revelation of another John, the revelation of Peter, and the ascension of Isaiah and many other Christian stories written in the 100s to the 300s before the ecumenical councils were started in 325 when they decided to narrow down Jesus eventually settling on the trinity by the fourth ecumenical council pushing out Gnosticism like the gospel of Thomas, Marcion, and Origen as well as Aryanism, Nestorianism and other "heresies" leading to the church of the East, Coptics and other early schisms. After the next four councils they came to the idea about iconoclasm where the Eastern Orthodoxy was against the use of iconography and the Catholics stuck with icons such as the crucifix, statues of Mary, and other icons. This was all by the time of the 600s.

Soon after this time the orthodox christians, Coptics, Islam and other sects went their own ways. In Islam Jesus is the chosen human messiah but not the son of God nor was he crucified before his ascension. In some Eastern religions Jesus is sometimes seen as another transcendent beings like the Buddha and Buddha is sometimes seen as a reincarnation of Vishnu in some forms of Hinduism.

Zoroastrianism heavily influenced monotheism and the traits of the supreme god found in most abrahamic religions. It added the concept of heaven and hell. It added armageddon. Many forms of Christianity didn't start out believing in an afterlife but the Catholic concept of heaven, hell, and purgatory was under question by Martin Luther especially the concepts of the church selling something that allows them to skip purgatory and changing the message of the bible from the originally intended meaning. As a result most protestant religions don't have a complicated hierarchy with bishops, archbishops, popes, and such but they'll have a pastor and perhaps deacons and that's about it. The eastern orthodoxy has a few of their ecumenical decisions but the Catholics kept it going up until they went from 7 to 21 with 15 or 16 being related to the protestants being excommunicated and doomed to hell. In the first Vatican council (ecumenical council decision #20) the church rejects rationalism, materialism, and atheism and anything that could cause problems with the church doctrines. More recently (since the 1960s) they have gradually adjusted to science and with the removal of hell and the acceptance of evolution and the ongoing pedophilia the church is falling apart and might again break into multiple denominations.

The protestants went on another path and in the 1900s the rise of fundamental literalism led to a resurgence of young earth creationism and flat earthers while just a few decades earlier the seventh day Adventists, Mormons, Jehovah witnesses and Baha'i came out of the various religions holding fast to creationism and the existence of Jesus.

While these beliefs account for the majority of held religious beliefs (Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Baha'i, Zoroastrianism) only the abrahamic religions of Christianity, Islam, and Baha'i rely on Jesus being historical. Scholars who hold these beliefs will claim they have evidence that Jesus matches their religious idea such as an empty tomb pointing to a resurrection. The scholars who try to establish historicity on either side will fall back to some random Jewish rabbi, perhaps Jesus ben Annanias or Yeshua ben Yosef who was a preacher mulch life the more established John the Baptist and like John was killed and remained dead while his followers shared their memory of him by word of mouth so that he gradually gets more and more absurd and magical by the time the gospels were written. Others will point out that Jesus was a spiritual being probably hundreds of years before the first century when Paul, Peter, Timothy, and others spoke of their visions (related to gnostic Christianity) and it was another couple decades before a Greek speaker unfamiliar with Judaism and the geography of the region wrote the gospel of Mark. Other stories were also in circulation in the following decades such as the Q document so the authors of Matthew and Luke took the various gospels at the time like Mark, Q, and possibly a couple others and combined them with the contradictory birth narratives I pointed out previously. The kept the same crucifixion but added a resurrection which was later added to mark and gave Judas different reasons for betraying Jesus. Then in the next five decades wildly different concepts of Jesus arose such as an attempt to state he was just an ordinary person that was possessed by the son of God. The gospel of John, using gospels like the gospel of Thomas and a sayings gospel was written so that he became more of a superman character. He left off the birth narrative starting with the popular baptism cult of John the Baptist and this time he wasn't turned in by Judas at all but instead told Judas and his army that he is the one they seek. After this there were various acts of the apostles and revelations about Armageddon and various apocrypha that the early church leaders decided to leave out so that they could say Jesus was born to a virgin, died by crucifixion, and had a bodily resurrection from the dead. They left behind just enough contradictions that they decided upon the trinity so that he could be an eternal being equal to the father and spirit and after the death of the son the holy spirit is released to the apostles to spread to the early church.

Basically by the 300s there was a dominant sect holding to a divine human Jesus and that was the sect that set up the early church considering everything else to be a heresy including Islam when it rose up out of Zoroastrianism and Nestorian Christianity. Throughout the middle ages they produced a lot of hoaxes like cups, foreskins, pieces of petrified wood, and a shroud. As time went on it was just assumed that Jesus was a historical figure and it was the consensus about 100 years ago. Since then the consensus has come under scrutiny so that Bart Ehrman and Richard Carrier are at the head of each side of the debate and neither of them hold fast to the gospels being reliable depictions of Jesus nor are the documents that came 100 years later saying that christians exist. There are many people holding many different religions. It doesn't automatically make their beliefs true. Josephus was tampered with by Eusebius and the rest don't really make any claims about a Jesus being real but only relaying what the christians had said about their beliefs such as a messiah who was crucified by Pontius Pilate 100 years ago. By this time everyone who could corroborate his existence had died and while he would have been still alive Philo of Alexandria wouldn't be wondering where he was and Justin Martyr wouldn't be saying that he predated the demigods that were being worshipped by at least 1500 years before Jesus was supposed to have lived.

Here are some books from both sides of the debate:

Richard Carrier:
(Jesus was probably a spiritual mythical being first and a man later)

Bart Erhman:
(Jesus was probably an ordinary man but we can figure out more about the historical Jesus)

Robert Price:
(Debunking the religious apologetics put forth by Lee Strobel)

Lee Strobel:
(Defending the divine human Jesus of Christianity)

I'll let you decide.

u/Justavian · 1 pointr/atheism

The question of why christianity emerged has a fairly complex answer. It's tied to the roman occupation of jerusalem, influence from mystery cults, societal discontent, a feeling that the jewish leadership was immoral, a constant re-reading of scriptures to search for hidden truths, and a kind of darwinian elimination of other competing sects.

If you're actually interested in the case against historicity, Richard Carrier has a masterful work called On the Historicity of Jesus Christ - Why We Might Have Reason for Doubt. This is incredibly well researched, heavily footnoted (i've never seen a book more thoroughly documented), and over 700 pages.

Dr Carrier wrote the book in such a way as to push this discussion into a format that can be analyzed in a scientific way. Up until now, this debate has just basically been a series of opinions. He's changing things by trying to take all of the assumptions and assign them probabilities. All of the evidence and assumptions are broken into the smallest pieces and assigned an "element number" which can allow historians to push this conversation along. Disagree with Dr Carrier? Great - point to the element that isn't right, and we can refine the model.

u/darkgojira · 1 pointr/politics

It maybe he didn't exist at all

On the Historicity of Jesus: Why We Might Have Reason for Doubt

Jesus: Neither God Nor Man - The Case for a Mythical Jesus

u/tuffbot324 · 1 pointr/exchristian

A friend actually bought me the book, and I did end up reading it. I ended up giving him Forged by Bart Ehrman, as I thought the arguments were fairly strong and had more of an academic feel compared to some of his more popular works, but my friend never bothered to read it. I have also given away The Historical Figure of Jesus by EP Sanders, who is a respectable and honest NT scholar. I've even seen the book on some bookshelves belonging to Christians, even though Sanders argues how some stories in the NT aren't historical and even at times contradictory.

When reading IDHEFTBAA, I ended up taking notes with points I disagreed with or found problematic and noted the page number. I personally found the book weak. It tries to cover so many topics ranging from philosophy, morality, evolution, and history all crammed into 400 pages, and the authors don't specialize in any of those topics. The authors say that evidence is provided "every step of the way", yet make a lot assertions. For example, they claim that 11 out of the 12 disciples died for their beliefs, yet don't cite a single source. Also, semantics are also played throughout the book and over simplifies or misrepresents issues. I actually did find the book somewhat enjoyable to read though.

u/TruthWinsInTheEnd · 1 pointr/Christianity

Bart Ehrman has a number of good books on this subject. I just finished Misquoting Jesus and am in the middle of Forged. Ehrman has a nice writing style that is easy to read.

u/slipstream37 · 1 pointr/DebateAChristian

Who Wrote the Bible by Friedman.

I only mean that it is impossible to prove that God can punish you, but convenient for a ruler to say you'll be punished after you die by going to Hell if you go against him, and therefore God.

It's the ultimate con. Why should anyone be afraid of the afterlife if their body cannot experience it?

u/srg2k5 · 1 pointr/AdviceAnimals

>>What tangible evidence would that be exactly?

Me repeatedly telling you I don't care to talk about it anymore.

Alright Mr. Fair Shake At All Sides I will give you 4 books you should read. You say you are well versed, prove it. If you have read counter points to your beliefs, go ahead and list them for me. Otherwise you should read these 4 books:

Atheist Material:

Dawkins - The God Delusion

Harris - End of Faith

Actual Scholar Material:

Friedman - Who Wrote The Bible?

Ehrman - Misquoting Jesus

Actually Ehrman has many books, but I don't want to overload you.

Until you actually READ the counter material, you won't get anywhere.

u/ljak · 1 pointr/Judaism

Your best bet is Richard Friedman's Who Wrote the Bible?. It provides a layman overview of the documentary hypothesis.

If you have more time, there's a free online course from Yale that goes over the entire Hebrew Bible. The lectures are great, and refer you to a various texts you can read.

u/Aesir1 · 1 pointr/atheism

Richard Elliot Friedman also has an excellent book on the Documentary hypothesis called "Who Wrote the Bible." For those interested in reading each of the authors contributions to the Pentateuch I highly recommend "The Bible with Sources Revealed."

u/soundofthesun · 1 pointr/answers

stop everything and read this book. it explains a lot about origins and sources. it might even change your beliefs. ultimately they believe ezra edited the bible and made it somewhat what it is today.

u/exeverythingguy · 1 pointr/atheism

OT: Who Wrote the Bible

NT:Text of the New Testament - this one is quite technical

Whose Bible is it?

anything by Bart Ehrman or Bruce Metzger should be interesting...

u/wifibandit · 1 pointr/worldnews

> The Bible was still legit

Take some time to learn about the history of the bible. For example, you can take the Open Yale Courses on Religious Studies for free.

Read Who Wrote the Bible by Richard Elliott Friedman

Also read A History of God by Karen Armstrong

Next, learn some actual science. For example - spoiler alert: evolution is true. Visit Berkeley's excellent Understanding Evolution Website.. Or, if you're pressed for time, watch this cartoon.

Read Why Evolution is True by Jerry Coyne

Read The Greatest Show on Earth by Richard Dawkins

Learn about the origin of the universe. For example, you could read works by Stephen Hawking

Read A Briefer History of Time by Stephen Hawking

Learn about critical thinking from people like Michael Shermer, and how to spot logical fallacies.

u/tkrex · 1 pointr/atheism

Remember that there are multiple ways to interpret most parts of the Bible. It's very easy to scoff at the literal view that many fundies take, but not all Christians take the bible literally. If i'm asked to swallow the creation stories in Genesis as actual accounts of how the world came into being, i can't but roll my eyes. However, when I view the creation stories in Genesis as mythology, I can appreciate them as poetry on the same level that i appreciate the mythology of ancient Greece. So, approach the bible as you would Homer or Ovid (but with less coherence to the stories).

Also, remember that the authors of the bible were usually using fictionalized or fantastical stories to relay something that actually happened. Quick example: Jonah and the whale. Though many fundies take this story as literal, it was actually written as an allegory for Israel not heeding their God's instructions. Jonah is Israel, being swallowed by the whale is Israel being taken into captivity as punishment for ignoring their deity. This type of interpretation holds for quite a few of the old testament stories.

Also, learn about how it was written, and who it was written for. Gain a sense of literary context, if you will. I recommend this book for an overview of how the Torah was written. It's actually pretty interesting.

tl;dr: If you read the bible the way fundies do, you'll end up with a poor understanding of it, just like the fundies. If you approach it as an academic, you'll understand their own sacred text better than they do themselves.

u/lungfish59 · 1 pointr/atheism
u/PwntEFX · 1 pointr/exmormon

Right before I left the church, I was Gospel Doctrine teacher. It was my favorite calling. I loved teaching.

Not sure what I can add to the list of pharisaical things Mormons do, but I will throw this out there if you're teaching about the OT. I just got finished reading "Who Wrote the Bible?", and it was very enlightening. Helped the OT make more sense: the short version (which I hadn't gotten from other sources) is that the Torah was a compilation of two different sources, one pro-Judah and one pro-Israel that got written after Israel was divided after Solomon died. They cut and pasted each story side by side. The compilation likely happened after the Babylonian Exile, which would have been after Lehi btw.

Oh wait, if you're in UT, you could mention the on one hand anal way people drive (never let people in because they should have seen the yellow line) combined with utter social cluelessness (I know I'm where I'm supposed to be, so even if I'm doing 50 in the fast lane, not my problem).

u/ropers · 1 pointr/atheism

I'd give them this book. It's serious, it's not condescending, and it's scientific without being boring.

u/badtim · 1 pointr/DebateReligion

good intro work:

Friedman is a great guy, and ridiculously knowledgeable. i took a class from him ages ago at UCSD, should have taken more :)

u/iamadogand · 1 pointr/news

Some of it is political, yes. Not all of it, but more than most people realize. I'm not an expert so o have to be careful with what I state is true!

My info above mostly came from this really interesting book Who Wrote The Bible by Richard Friedman. The four authors theory is pretty well known and widely accepted. This book lays it all out in a great overview.

u/iamaravis · 1 pointr/TheFacebookDelusion

Regarding who wrote the Pentateuch, I enjoyed this book.

u/Sigvarr · 1 pointr/atheism

For validity of the bible you can start here

If you are going to have a problem reading a book like that out in the open you can start with Evid3nc3 he has two episodes directly about the bible on YouTube. They are short and should get the wheels moving in your head which will most likely force you to read the above book. I suggest looking at all his videos they are amazing. They really helped me to finally shed that "the devil is temping me" feeling when I deconveted.

u/fizzix_is_fun · 1 pointr/exmormon

For the Pentateuch here's what you want I've found the translation a bit wonky (I can read Hebrew myself) but it'll give you exactly what you're looking for, sections colorized by author group as per the Documentary Hypothesis.

If you're not willing to shell out money, you can get a (IMO worse) verse assignment for Genesis here. You can also see Exodus as well.

u/troubadour_einar · 1 pointr/TrueAtheism

If you want more information on how the Bible was written, look into the book "Who Wrote the New Testament: The Bible with Sources Revealed"

u/ChristianityBot · 1 pointr/ChristianityBot

Removed comment posted by /u/bdw9000 at 01/04/15 22:27:15:

> The Bible With Sources Revealed
> In addition to a good explanation for why scholars have come to the conclusions they have, it includes the OT "books of moses" in their entirety, color coded to correspond to the JEDP authors. This helps you read the bible with a new perspective and gain a greater appreciation for what each author was trying to do.

... in response to submission Question: Looking for books on JEPD. Any good resources? posted by /u/RevMelissa at 01/04/15 19:32:08:

> I want to write a bible study this Summer on the four early voices in the Hebrew Bible: Jahwe, Elohim, Priestly and Deuteronomical. Any great resources?


Removed comment posted by /u/Checake1 at 01/04/15 22:28:11:

> Does conversion from one religion to another prove anything? I am sure if you google religion x to conversion to religion y where x and y are all religions in the world, you'll find numerous examples. Does Bart Ehrman's leaving the Christianity, even though he is more knowledgeable in Bible and Christian history than 99.9% of Christian population prove christianity is not true? No, apostasy in my opinion aren't really evidence for anything. Numerous factors go into. I am sure in America you'll hear of numerous jews converting to christianity. Where as in Israel you'll hear of numerous Jews staying fast to their faith.

... in response to comment posted by /u/evo64 at 01/04/15 22:03:05:

> I haven't watched them and am not sure I will for a while.
> I presume an interesting counterpoint might be the testimony of Father James Bernstein, an Orthodox Christian priest who first became an evangelical Christian, but then converted to Orthodoxy. His father was an Orthodox Jewish Rabbi in the Old City of Jerusalem.
> Hw authored a book that is popular with Orthodox Christians entitled Surprised by Christ: My Journey from Judaism to Orthodox Christianity

u/Neanderthal-Man · 1 pointr/todayilearned

The majority of biblical scholars acknowledge that the first four books of the Pentateuch are composite documents comprised of material spanning hundreds of years. Those who contend otherwise, asserting Mosaic authorship, are typically extremely conservative or fundamentalist Christian and Jewish scholars (i.e., those whose views of scripture are at stake if Mosaic authorship is denied).

The documentary hypothesis, particularly the traditional JEPD formulation, is not considered the final word on the subject. Like any other academic enterprise, there's certainly debate. Scholars don't always agree about how many sources were involved and the period in which they were composed. However, it's a working theory which makes reasonable sense of differences which can't be reconciled by a traditionalist, fundamentalist doctrine of scripture. The scholars who aren't sold on JEPD, as traditionally understood, typically have a different theory of compositional development and don't adhere to conservative Christian or Jewish views of the Pentateuch.

How can you insist that there's no grounding in history or reality for such a theory? If you read the literature produced by scholars (and not Christian apologists or conservative theologians summarizing the documentary hypothesis only to immediately denigrate it), the theories are well grounded in the language and thematic elements of the texts. One can still disagree, of course, while recognizing that it's a thoroughly plausible and nuanced theory.

Efforts to preserve Mosaic authorship and, ultimately, rigid concepts of the nature of the biblical texts, rely upon implausible and frequently irrational explanations which would never be extended towards nonbiblical texts. In other words, conservative or fundamentalist explanations for the origin of the Pentateuch are ultimately motivated from a need to protect one's concept of the Bible. There's a lot at stake for such folks and attempts to argue in behalf of Mosaic authorship or against compositional development and redaction are rarely motivated by unprejudiced scholarship and textual evidence.

It's similar to the Synoptic Problem with the New Testament gospels. The differences and divergences are present within the text. One may elect to explain them in a way that upholds the belief that the Bible is inspired/inerrant/infallible/God's word, but such arguments are unlikely to be as compelling or as rational. It’s unfortunate that some allow their religious beliefs to lead them into intellectual dishonesty, rather than following the textual evidence and drawing a conclusion from scholarship which may run counter to what they want to believe. Conservative views of scripture demand many presuppositions about the nature of the biblical texts which, ultimately, can’t be logically supported. They require that the Bible be considered exceptional to all other human documents and often claim some supernatural component. So, ultimately driven by the need to defend such views, conservatives dismiss seemingly threatening scholarship out-of-hand and rarely take the time to evaluate whether their presuppositions cause themselves to be unduly and unreasonably biased.

I do encourage you to read the opening section of The Bible with Sources Revealed - which I’ve uploaded here – and tell me what you think. I wouldn't mind dialoguing about specific elements of Friedman's version of the documentary hypothesis which you consider to be “merely an elaborate theory without root or grounding in history, let alone reality."

u/Juniperus_virginiana · 1 pointr/Christianity

In a general sense yes. The full documentation is more complicated but I loved reading it with color coded sources and it gave me so much more depth and sense of history to what I was reading. It was like a cultural time machine.

Of course oral tradition dominated in this time so it likely existed for some time before being written. And that is indeed attributed to Moses, which I think is dope because he himself claims poor speaking ability and yet is a sublime poet. Behind Jesus (duh) he's my favorite father of faith.

u/LadyAtheist · 1 pointr/atheism

Worth reading: Forged, by Bart Ehrman

u/Suougibma · 1 pointr/exjw

If you want something related, but not JW specific, these might interest you:

"The Origin of Satan: How Christians Demonized Jews, Pagans, and Heretics"


"Forged: Writing in the Name of God--Why the Bible's Authors Are Not Who We Think They Are"

I found them interesting and they do tie indoctrination, particularly since JW are big on the Satan Concept and Paul's teachings, most of Paul's books of the bible were not written by Paul. I might be biased in my enjoyment of these books. I do not believe in Satan, I think it is just a boogeyman concept to instill fear. I also think Paul/Simon was a sack of shit, but it seems as though most of the books attributed to him were written in his name well after his death. None of this is groundbreaking, it is pretty well established and accepted biblical history, but it is well written and easy to follow.

u/WeAreAllBroken · 1 pointr/Christianity

>It upsets me that I believed that without doing research.

Don't be too upset. It's a very common mistake—even among religious people.

>I can accept that the writings may have been done by witnesses.

Rather than claim that the witnesses were the ones to place pen to papyrus, I would start with the more modest proposition that the Gospels contain eyewitness testimony—and there is good evidence that this is the case. I am partway through a very interesting book on this subject in which the author challenges the old idea that the Gospels are based on generations of anonymous oral tradition, but instead record first-hand eyewitness testimony.

>I still believe that the writings can be deluded seeing as we all know that over time, stories can be blown out of proportion.

I understand. Even if it's shown that the Gospels do give us the actual testimony of the Apostles, it is possible that the Apostles themselves are not perfectly reliable. Let me tell you something that many, many Christians are deeply (and often passionately) mistaken about: Christianity is not dependent on inerrant, infallible, or even on inspired writings. This ought to be readily apparent when you consider that Christianity predates those writings. Even if only a few of the most elementary points recorded in the Gospels/Acts are accurate—points which the overwhelming majority of both religious and secular scholars affirm—then there is sufficient grounds for basic Christian belief.

u/nightfly13 · 1 pointr/Reformed

The best resource that I own and have used is F.F. Bruce's 'The Canon of Scripture'. Pretty accessible, but won't win awards for entertainment.

u/Kreaping · 1 pointr/Christianity

I encourage you to read some stuff by F.F. Bruce if you really are that interested in finding answers.

NT documents book

Overall docs

You can purchase both on Kindle for about $25.

PM if you are super interested in this an have a kindle. I'll gift you the copy of the NT one.

u/raisinbeans · 1 pointr/Christianity

Hey there brother, I would encourage you to do a little more research into how canon was established.

A few points:

u/poorfolkbows · 1 pointr/ReasonableFaith

The big thick one. It's called The Resurrection of Jesus. The section on historiography is especially helpful. It's something hardly any other book goes into in such detail.

u/yohj · 1 pointr/exchristian

No such thing as a dumb question! And that question specifically is an excellent question! IMO, always ask for the facts and arguments that another person has, rather than asking for their conclusions. That way you can calculate the conclusions yourself from the facts/arguments. IMO, half the stuff you'll google or find on reddit talks about conclusions and not data/arguments (e.g. "Jesus never existed". Okay, well reddituser, could you explain more why you think that?)

u/PleaseDonAsk · 1 pointr/atheism

ME First the above quote is out of context. It is common apologist argument that is cherry picked. I can go through and show the real facts of every one of those "proofs". Whether you are a believer or not evolution is a solidified fact, one that even that catholic church is is agreement with. I can deal with almost any religious stuff but the denial of scientific fact, proven theories, I cannot abide by. That article is full of misinformation and misconstruing of documentation and facts. If you want to believe in god that is fine, but don't pretend to know science and biology when over the past 150 years more and more evidence has come to light proving the theory of evolution. And don't say "it's just a theory" when a theory in the scientific discord is of the highest caliber of proofs so to say. Whatever you wanna believe is fine, but proven fact denial is ignorant.
15 hrs · Like

ME I'll even give you a compromise, god used evolution to create the world we live in. It is a proven concept and you can see it in action if you would like sources. It is a well researched, conclusive theory that explains all the life that has occurred on this planet, including you and me, and the evidence for it grows and grows all the time.
14 hrs · Like

DBAG , that RawStory "Did Jesus Exist?" article is ridiculous propaganda peddled out to credulous suckers. It doesn't speak well for their case that the "scholar" they hang their hat on- David Fitzgerald- isn't a scholar at all, but a self-publis...See More

Did Jesus Exist?
One may well choose to resonate with the concerns of our post-modern despisers of established religion. But...
12 hrs · Like · 1


The Extra Biblical Evidence for the Historicity of Jesus Christ.
Documentary: Evidence for the historical existence of...
12 hrs · Like · 2

ME Religion is ridiculous propaganda peddled out to credulous suckers. Was there a hippy running around at the time pissing people off? Maybe, but all the supernatural bullshit did not happen. So it doesn't matter either way.
2 hrs · Like

ME Either way this was about evolution, which if you don't think makes sense you aren't worth bothering with anyway. The Jesus thing is whatever, evolution is facts. End of story.
2 hrs · Like

DBAG Actually, this did start out as a discussion about Jesus. And your assertion that "all the supernatural bullshit did not happen" has not been demonstrated to be true.
2 hrs · Like

ME Demonstrate me some supernatural stuff then.
2 hrs · Like

DBAG Well YOU asserted that the supernatural stuff didn't happen, so the burden of proof is properly on you to prove it DIDN'T happen, but in fact there is a pretty solid historiographical case for the Resurrection.

The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach
The question of the historicity of Jesus' resurrection has...
2 hrs · Like · 1

ME Your reasoning is wrong, I have nothing to prove to you. I am done with this conversation, it is boring me and is the same apologetic garbage. Talking snakes, resurrection, people turning to salt, whatever makes you sleep better at night. If you wanna believe in a genocidal egotistical maniac that wipes whole races of people out for no reason, lets people starve and die every day for no reason, and wants you to be ashamed of what you are on your basic human level then good for you. I will live my fulfilling life without the necessity to believe in fairy tales.Good day sir.
1 hr · Edited · Like

DBAG So basically, your mind has been closed from the beginning, and you're unwilling to consider any evidence that might challenge your pre-formed conclusion, since that would involve opening yourself up to possibilities you've already decided were wrong before the discussion began. Do I have that right? Great "rational", "evidence-based" reasoning, bro!
1 hr · Like

ME I have done more reading on this stuff and grew up a staunch believer, I know what they have to say and I keep up with it bro. I've read my bible cover to cover, I've read all these apologist arguments, circular reasoning. everything. I keep up with it. And my conclusion still comes to hogwash. Like I said before :
Joshua Hege's photo.
1 hr · Like

DBAG You obviously know jack-shit about what you're talking about if you uncritically believe an internet puff piece hawking a book by a vanity-press kook, and are completely oblivious to the historical consensus on Jesus. Like most atheists promulgating the Christ-myth garbage on the internet, you've never read a single book on the subject (Whenever I encounter an atheist posing as an expert on the historicity of Jesus, the question "Name a single book you've read on the subject" always stops them dead in their tracks,) and I'm guessing you've cobbled together your information from things you saw in facebook graphics and YouTube videos. Basically, you make a mockery of the evidence-based worldviews you claim to have. Not everything you read on the internet is true, bro. Read a book for once in your life, something that actually gives sources for its claims, it won't kill you!
1 hr · Like · 1

ME No Meek Messiah: Michael Paulkovich, there's a book I read. I read consistently. I never said he didn't exist, I said it is unlikely, and very unlikely he existed as he is portrayed today. As for your typical rude Christian attitude when someone questions your beliefs, loving as it may be, go fuck yourself. I'm done arguing with you.
1 hr · Like

DBAG Ah yes, "No Meek Messiah", published on that prestigious "Spillix, LLC" imprint. As I said, if a vanity press publication by an author with ZERO academic qualifications is the first and only book you've read on the subject, you obviously chose a book that you felt was going to reinforce your pre-formed judgements on the matter. You're starting with your conclusion, and then choosing your evidence to fit your conclusion. Basically, you're doing exactly what atheists always accuse Christians of doing.

Look, I get it. You're an atheist. You like pretending you're smart. It's kinda your thing. You like looking haughtily down on the views of the great masses and clucking "herp derp fairy tales derp derp santa claus herp derp." Unfortunately, as with all edumacated-by-teh-intarwebz atheists, there's really no substance behind the superior posturing.

Well you've run into at least one guy here you can't bullshit. You know it too— if you were really pleased with your performance, you wouldn't keep responding to my posts after saying you're done.

All I'm asking is that you proceed with a little more humility. You're an atheist!?! Hey, more power to you! Here's the cookie you've always wanted! You believe it's "unlikely" Jesus existed!?! Well you have as much right to your opinion as the people who think it's "unlikely" we landed on the moon, or it's "unlikely" 6 million Jews died in the Holocaust! We're all special flowers, unique in our own way! Just realize that there are people VASTLY more knowledgable and intelligent than you who have arrived at different conclusions than you have, that you're dealing with a 2000-year-old intellectual tradition you can't even begin to grapple with, and that if you go posing as an expert on the interwebz, you're bound to get checked by people who ACTUALLY know what they're talking about.

u/JerryBere · 1 pointr/Christianity

Depends on what your gonna take as evidence. If you want unanimous, written records that Jesus the son of Joseph was resurrected, there is none(well, Gospels, but you're not Christian, so yeah). That being said here's a [debate from my favorite agnostic-atheist scholar, Bart Erhman, about the historicity of Jesus' ressurection ] ( and here's a book. Here's another video too, but I'm really not too fond of it.

Disclaimer, I haven't read the book, the Priest at my local Catholic church recommended it however.

u/DavidvonR · 1 pointr/Christianity

Sure. If you want scholarly resources on the resurrection, then I would suggest The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach by Licona. You can get it on Amazon for about $35 and it's a long read at 700+ pages.

Another good scholarly resource is The Case For the Resurrection of Jesus by Habermas and Licona. You can get it for about $13 dollars on Amazon.

I would also suggest getting a general overview of the New Testament. Bart Ehrman is probably the world's leading skeptical scholar of the New Testament. His book on the New Testament, The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the New Testament Writings, is a great resource and can be bought on Amazon for around $6.

Other books that I would strongly recommend would be:

Early Christian Writings. A short read at 200 pages. A catalog of some of the earliest Christian writings outside the New Testament. You can get it for $3 on Amazon.

The New Testament: Its Background, Growth and Content Bruce Metzger was one of the leading New Testament scholars of the 20th century. You can get it for $20.

The Fate of the Apostles, by McDowell. An in-depth study of how reliable the martyrdom accounts of the apostles are. A little bit pricey at $35-40.

Ecclesiastical History, by Eusebius, a 3rd century historian. Eusebius documents the history of Christianity from Jesus to about the 3rd century. You can get it for $10.

u/That_cant_be_good · 1 pointr/news

What if I told you scriptures are not a scientific tome, but rather a generalized explanation of a relationship between a divine being and people, how we should live with one another, care for one another, and help one another?

And that study of Science is there to help us understand the world we live in, and further the aforementioned goal of living with one another, caring for one another, and helping one another?

And that Scriptures were never intended to be a scientific tome, or even be referenced as a scientific tome?

John Walton, "Lost World of Genesis.", and "Lost world of Adam and Eve"

Anyway, I'm not saying you're wrong, but suggesting that perhaps the people who do have the position you correctly point out are very confused about what they have been taught about their scriptures.

u/fatherlearningtolove · 1 pointr/Christianity

I think that your instincts are right on - that you're right to think that the defense given for these positions does not cut it. And you are absolutely not the first person to notice this. I will say that I once believed as your pastor (was it a pastor or youth pastor?). But I've since really examined a lot of my beliefs and come to different conclusions. I think this is happening more and more.

I would encourage you to check out different churches, but I'm guessing because of your age that this might be difficult to do? If that is the case, I would encourage you in the meantime to do some reading. On evolution, I would recommend the following:

The Lost World of Genesis One: Ancient Cosmology and the Origins Debate

The Evolution of Adam, What the Bible Does and Doesn't Say about Human Origins

On the topic of homosexuality and the Bible, while it might seem to be selfish of me, I'm going to recommend a blogpost I wrote on the subject. There are books out there on this subject - I, however, arrived at my conclusions through much google searching and reading information from many, many websites. So I can't pick a book I haven't read and recommend it.

u/haploid-20 · 1 pointr/Christianity

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This comment contains 1 pricing graph(s)


Product 1: The Lost World of Genesis One: Ancient Cosmology and the Origins Debate (0830837043)

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u/Rostin · 0 pointsr/Christianity

I think the most important reason is Jesus. We have good reasons to believe that he rose from the dead.

The arguments are sketched out in a book that was published several years ago called The Case for Christ. Recently, there have been two more scholarly treatments of roughly the same subject, one by a guy named Richard Bauckham, called Jesus and the Eyewitnesses, and the other by N.T. Wright, The Resurrection of the Son of God.

A guy named William Lane Craig is probably the most active popular defender of the historicity of the resurrection. He has written lots of books and essays on the subject, and google will also turn up transcripts and recordings of his debates.

u/nopaniers · 0 pointsr/Christianity

There's lots, on all different levels. So it depends what you're looking for and what questions are important to you. You might consider:

u/buzz_bender · 0 pointsr/Reformed

There are a number of books on exegesis, but a good number of them are terribly technical.

I think the best way to do it is to actually do it with somebody who is more mature. Read a passage and talk/discuss/debate about the passage.

Having said that, there are several useful books. Let me see if I can remember them.

  1. Robert Stein - Basic Guide to Interpreting the Bible
  2. Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart

    I think those two books are quite useful.
u/nevermark · 0 pointsr/atheism

Well I think all kinds of sources are needed. "Enemies" of a religion might not be fair minded, but many intelligent critiques of religions are not by enemies. Also believers are highly unlikely to highlight (or even acknowledge) obvious problems with their religion.

The best sources are the original documents or as close to those as exist. I.e. the best critique of the Bible is the Bible, etc. Applying scientific and logical thinking (i.e. thinking which actually attempts to check itself against bias and coincidence) to original texts has left no good religion unsullied.

Or maybe the best source would always be a faithful graphic novel of the original sources. This seems to bring the wackiness of Genesis to life in a humorous way:

u/christgoldman · 0 pointsr/DebateAnAtheist

In history, especially as it applies to the Christian tradition, you should never go with what the majority says for many good reasons. You should check every bit of work you find and read it for yourself. The majority of biblical studies is a cess-pool of preconceived notions and bad scholarship.


The End of Biblical Studies, Hector Avalos

Online: Ignatian Vexation, Richard Carrier

Proving History, Richard Carrier

One of the first Great examples of using historical methods on theological issues: The Life of Jesus, Critically Examined, David Friedrich Strauss (1860)

u/yself · 0 pointsr/TrueAtheism

If the mythical Jesus never actually lived, then no. It's like asking if it is at all true ithat Hermes actually brought messages from the gods. Since probably everything we know about Jesus comes from mythical writings, we have good reason to doubt that he existed. See Richard Carrier's recently released book, On the Historicity of Jesus: Why We Might Have Reason for Doubt.

u/monedula · 0 pointsr/ukpolitics
u/oO0-__-0Oo · 0 pointsr/todayilearned


Tell me about your childhood situation:

parents marital situation

financial situation



Elaborate as much as you feel comfortable


yeah, you are an very conservative mormon, and somehow you think you didn't suffer childhood trauma. Okaaaaayyyyyyy.......

You do realize that parents long-term, consistently lying to their children is broadly accepted, and has been for a long time, as significantly traumatic to a child, right?

and do some reading on something called NPD

Instead of bottle-ing up your misgivings about devoting your entire life orientation around a gigantic lie your parents forced on you, you might try being honest with yourself and doing some actual research about the topic. Here's a good place to start if/when you summon up enough courage and honesty to do so:

Obviously you're intelligent enough analytically to already realize that Mormonism is complete and total bullshit, yet you can't seem to accept it and move on. The problem seems to be you can't accept that your parents subverted your life for their own desires. Again, you'll find reading about NPD's effects on children very enlightening. I'll take a wild guess that there are some addiction and avoidant issues you need to address as well.

Here's a good start:

Ronningstam, Harvard U., and is considered one of the, if not the, best researchers in the world on NPD. Hopefully that measures up to your grandiose personal standards of quality research.

Btw, ADHD is one of the biggest garbage can diagnoses in modern medicine. Can't focus consistently DOES NOT automatically = ADHD. It's just as worthless a standalone dx as "irritable bowel syndrome". Amazingly, nearly every person with a personality disorder and/or significant addiction could also qualify for an ADHD diagnosis, if their other issues were not taken into consideration (DSM, flawed as it is, actually qualifies this in hierarchical diagnostic criteria, but I'm sure you already knew that from your super extensive personal research into ALL of psychology, psychiatry, and brain science, not just some reading about ADHD, right?).

Case studies are FULL of examples of zombie-fied children of religious-version narcissistic parents. You can plenty of case study books available for purchase online.

Good luck!

u/IamArabAndIKnowIt · 0 pointsr/DebateReligion

The Bible IS corrupted. Not said by me, but by Christian scripture scholars.

TooLong;See you next month:

u/logik9000 · 0 pointsr/funny

> Can you cite to any peer-reviewed historians other than Ray Price for your position? Can you explain why the book is "drivel"?

It's published by InterVarsity. It's a christian apologetics publisher. If I post a book by Dawkins as my proof that he didn't exist, would you accept that? If so here's my equivalent 'proof'. I couldn't make it through the entirety of your book. The authors will say one thing "consistency is what matters" then throw that out the next page, and just accept inconsistent evidence. It's just awful.

> I'm not seeing you provide any reasoning or reference to authority (other than, "there's no evidence because I choose not to recognize any of the evidence"),

If you'd post any that was real, I'd look at it. But there isn't any. Just a few books written 300 years after he died, with so many contradictions that they're useless as a history book.

> so at this point it seems like you are simply stating your opinion.

My opinion is that Jesus did exist. I just walked the Via Dolorosa, and went to the Holy Church of the Sepulchure last month. But I don't delude myself that there's any 'proof', and none should be needed. That's what faith is all about.

>If so, then I can't respond. If your opinion is that chocolate is better, I'm not going to try and convince you to prefer vanilla.

Likewise, it's simply your opinion that he did at this point. You've posted nothing substantial, then ask me to do so. Which I will. Now its your turn to not post something horrible and shitty as 'evidence'

Here - the only peer reviewed work to ever be published on the topic. we'll call this one 'better than anything you can provide'

u/TheNerdery6 · -1 pointsr/DebateAChristian

Here's what I read in my grad school class. This is probably the best place to start IMO. Link.

u/MRH2 · -1 pointsr/TrueChristian

Hi! No, it's absolutely not a sin. It's just church tradition that calls it a sin. The passage in Corinthians is not about marriage, but probably idolatry. (Source) . Furthermore, Christian sociologists (Source) have shown that the early church had an abundance of Christian women and not that many Christian men, so it was common to marry non-Christian men, and indeed that's one way that Christianity spread. 1 Peter 3:1 talks about this (and does not call it a sin). 1 Cor 7:13-16 does not call it a sin either. Both passages indicate that it was a common thing.

Have a wonderful marriage and life!

u/ianyboo · -1 pointsr/Christianity

And I suggest you read Richard Carrier - On the Historicity of Jesus: Why We Might Have Reason for Doubt. He's an atheist who is upset at folks like Bart Ehrman who he feels have dropped the ball when it comes to this particular subject despite being generally clear thinkers on other subjects.

u/Disputabilis_Opinio · -2 pointsr/DebateReligion

I wasn't kidding when I said I didn't have time to get into a detailed debate about the Resurrection. However, I would like to make a few general remarks.

The first is that the view you are advocating has been atomized at the highest levels of academia by the brightest minds with deep and specialised knowledge for a very, very long time. And if you think that it can lead to the justified conclusion that nothing unusual happened on the first Easter Sunday then you are simply ignorant of the matter of which you speak.

For instance, the established historical explanadum includes post mortem appearance experiences. And every serious historian must account for them.

Take Bart Ehrman. “Historians,” he writes, “have no difficulty whatsoever speaking about the belief in Jesus’ resurrection. For it is a historical fact that some of Jesus’ followers came to believe that he had been raised from the dead soon after his execution.” He then goes on to place the Resurrection hypothesis in historical quarantine because, he says, miracles by their very nature lie beyond the explanatory scope of the historian.

Dale Allison may be held in even higher regard than Ehrman in high academia. And as Craig concludes of Allison's book Resurrecting Jesus: The Earliest Christian Tradition and Its Interpreters,

>That Allison should, despite his sceptical arguments, finally affirm the facts of Jesus’ burial, empty tomb, post-mortem appearances, and the origin of the disciples’ belief in Jesus’ resurrection and hold that the resurrection hypothesis is as viable an explanation as any other rival hypothesis, depending upon the worldview one brings to the investigation, is testimony to the strength of the case for Jesus’ historical resurrection.

My point is that whatever explanatory entity you appeal to you will still be tasked with providing an explanation for how and why the disciples came to a fierce belief in the physical resurrection of Jesus because it is historical bedrock for virtually every critical scholar with a terminal degree in a relevant field. And it follows from this that the hypothesis that the New Testament was given mythological embellishments is only going to get you so far—and certainly not to a justified denial of the Resurrection Hypothesis.

My second point is that I think you are very impressionable and this concerns me. One day you are working yourself into a lather that Islam is the one true religion. On the next you are accusing Islam of teaching idolatry—probably the single-most offensive thing you could suggest to a Muslim. On a third day I notice your flair is something about Saint Paul being a heretic who is burning in Hell. On a fourth day I am surprised by a PM in which you tell me you will probably end up being a nondenominational Christian.

It concerns me because I think it lacks wisdom, prudence and love and these are properties that I believe should supervene on anyone who is in communion with God. I once saw you tell someone who objected to the doctrine of hell (you were wearing your Islamic hat at the time) that they were, "God's bitch," and he could do as he pleased with them. Whatever religion God has revealed himself in, one thing is for sure: He would not approve of this.

And whatever religion you are tomorrow you will I take it still be a theist. And I think belief in God has practical moral implications for our everyday life. I think it means that we ought to try to act with love, patience and prudence. I don't know, dude. Maybe just chill as a basic theist for a while and pray to God for guidance and discernment in discovering his true revelation in history. Surely this would be better than alternately defending and trashing religions? Trashing atheism is fine. God is different. Even in my criticism of other religions I try to be respectful. God is sacred and I think we should be solemn and loving in our quest for him.

Lastly, if you want to really get stuck into the Resurrection (instead of, you know, taking glib potshots like you are currently doing) this is the book you need to read. Have at it!

u/mCopps · -2 pointsr/AskHistorians

I'm not a historian but afaik the historical records of Jesus are slim to none.

Edit: as for your main question this is a bit of a side to your question but does deal with some of the issues

u/CircularReason · -5 pointsr/DebateReligion

Hi OP, thanks for the insightful post. You did a lot of collecting of good Bible verses to make the point.

Essentially, your argument is a reductio ad absurdem taking the form: "If X, then Y. Not Y. Therefore not X."

  1. If the world is full of magic (as the world seems to be described in the Bible), then there will be verifiable, creditable magic to be present in history and in modern times.
  2. But there isn't verifiable creditable magic in history and modern times.
  3. Therefore, the world is not how it is described by the Bible -- a world full of magic.

    I think you well supported the first premise. And the conclusion follows from the two premises.

    The place to look is your second premise. The second premise you simply stated. You said that history and modern times are not replete with miracles (except ones that are "discredited").

    If I challenged the second premise, asserting that anyone who cares to investigate miracle claims (from Christians or any other group) will discover that the observable world is indeed full of them, what would you say?

    I'd venture that some people (and just wait for the comments!) will mock me. But let's ignore them.

  • Some people will say that many miracle claims have been discredited. That's true! But many historical claims have been discredited, and that doesn't discredit all of history, only those claims. Many historical claims, and many miracle claims, have been credited and verified.

  • Some people will say "Where's the evidence? Prove it to me." To that I say, four things: first, I'd say beware of sealioning. It's not my job to prove to flat-earthers that the earth is round. It's not my job to prove to materialists that reality is material and formal. If you don't know how things stand, or who to trust, that's on you. But if the question is sincere, perhaps start with Craig Keener's book, Miracles ( Thirdly, "proof" is completed when the proof has been given. Persuasion is not the same as proof. I can prove things to my five year old son that will not persuade him because he is being unreasonable. So you have to persuade yourself; the proof is out there.

    Fourthly, and relatedly, the problem with doubting a thing's existence is that doubt disincentivizes the search for evidence. If I don't believe in sea creatures, I am not likely to go swimming in the ocean looking to "prove" to myself that the ocean is indeed empty.

    All that to say, the evidence and proof are plain to most people and readily available unless you are (a) already so sure that you're right that you only mock and dismiss those who could potentially offer you evidence and (b) don't go out of the way to seek the uncomfortable truth about our world.

    I believe in science, have a Ph.D., and have personally experienced miracles and know people who perform miracles with some regularity. So, despite skepticism of some particular claims, I credit many of the Biblical stories, historical stories, and modern stories. I don't think that I am weird in this way. Disbelief in the supernatural is a minority report, globally. Most scientifically educated Americans believe in the supernatural. About 50 percent of working scientists are religious and believe in a god or higher power (footnote:

    So there is nothing particularly wild or mysterious about the phenomena you describe as "magic." I've seen it personally, and hundreds of people I know have experienced it personally. So, when I consider the evidence impartially (including verifiable eye-witness accounts), I'd say your second premise needs revisiting.

    But like I said, I appreciated the post, and enjoy thinking these things through.

    I'd appreciate non-mocking thoughtful responses as well.


    Edit: added footnote to verify claim that a slight majority of scientists believe in a god or higher power (51%) according to Pew.