Best christian faith books according to redditors

We found 875 Reddit comments discussing the best christian faith books. We ranked the 166 resulting products by number of redditors who mentioned them. Here are the top 20.

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Top Reddit comments about Christian Faith:

u/uncletravellingmatt · 811 pointsr/atheism

The really sick thing is that the shooting victim's own mother sells a book based on that story, even though that story has been discredited.

In reality, "Most examinations of witness testimony state that Bernall was not asked anything before she was shot. According to witness Emily Wyant, who was hiding under the same table as Bernall, Eric Harris said "peek-a-boo" before shooting Cassie." link so it sounds as if her Mom is pimping a fictional story about her daughter dying as a martyr.

u/TooManyInLitter · 81 pointsr/DebateReligion

How about the evolution of Yahweh/Allah as a second-tier God in a large henotheistic polytheism into a straight monotheism where there is only one God, where that God is Yahweh/Allah?

Here are some references on the growth of monotheistic Yahwehism from a historical polytheistic foundation to the development of the henotheism/monolatry, and then monotheism of early Biblical Israelites:

u/PopcornTruther · 42 pointsr/exmormon

I was in the same spot as you years ago. I knew the church as an organization wasn’t healthy or helpful but I couldn’t give up the Book of Mormon.

At that time I finally realized I would need more than a feeling that it was true. Here’s a video about how people with very different beliefs can receive spiritual witnesses and “know” their religion is true.

I wanted some minimum standard of evidence to accept that not only was The Book of Mormon a factual history but also that it was passed on to us in the way the church claims (visions, plates, translation). So I researched it. Take a look at TBM apologetics sites like this:

Then take a look at a balanced site like this:

Try studying other people’s beliefs. Here’s a good podcast- they have guests of different beliefs who study the Bible (believing Christians, Jewish atheists, etc.)

A book recommendation that goes through what the Bible and Jesus says about heaven and hell:
Love Wins by Rob Bell

As someone mentioned, exmos who have faith and/or are involved with another kind of faith community generally don’t need reddit. I myself didn’t bother identifying as “ex-Mormon” or seeking out others until recently when I realized I have trauma from being raised Mormon and it’s helpful to hear from others with the same experience.

To answer your question, yes I have faith in God and Jesus. Depending on the day. Some days I’m more agnostic than others. But I don’t believe my eternal destiny hinges on my ability to be certain about what happens after death. The truth is that nobody really knows for sure, and the intensity of your belief doesn’t make it so. Here’s a book about certainty that I appreciate.

And a really cool interview with Andrew Garfield by Stephen Colbert. Near the end he says, “A life of faith is not a life of certainty- a life of faith is a life of doubt.”

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/Valendr0s · 38 pointsr/atheism

Here's my subscription list in YouTube in alphabetical order:

  • C0nc0rdance - dedicated to cutting through scientific hype and helping the laymen understand the real science behind the hype. Not so much anti-religion as pro science.

  • cdk007 - Evolution explanations. General creationist lie busting. Try his "Logic of Religion" Series.

  • DarkMatter2525 - sort of a humorous site, he pokes fun more than most, but he exposes some fallacies.

  • DonExodus - His older stuff is better IMO, but still a very solid channel.

  • dprjones - some good stuff here, he's more up on the YouTube drama than some of the others.

  • Evid3nc3 - Some interesting, "how I became an atheist" stories. But the real gem of this collection has to be: A History of God part 1. Which is essentially a book report on the book "A History of God: The 4,000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam"

  • GreatBigBore - His newer stuff is way off base of his older stuff... He used to do critiques of creationist/atheist debates, creationist papers, and religious propaganda, pointing out every logical fallacy he can find. Try the "God's Quality Control 2.0" series.

  • Jon LaJoie - not religiously related, but HILARIOUS nevertheless, you needed a break anyway - start with everyday normal guy and keep the laughs coming.

  • National Center for Science Education - The group trying very hard to keep Evolution in schools and Religion out of them. Dr Eugenie Scott is probably one of my personal heroes.

  • NonStampCollector - very funny, has lots of biblical contradictions in here. He loves em. Funny guy. But if there is a hell this guy's goin there unless god's got an infinite sense of humor too...

  • Philhellenes - If there was an atheist church, this would be the pastor. Warning, it can be a tear jerker... Science Saved My Soul. Deliberately uses religious tactics to invoke emotions in scientific minds to great effect.

  • potholer54 - Another personal hero. Former science news correspondent, destroys creationist arguments with his huge hammer of justice. Also has Potholer54debunks.

  • ProfMTH - again, older stuff is amazing. His "Brief Bible Blunders" series was really good.

  • QualiaSoup - Now we're cooking with fire. This guy is who you're looking for. He destroys religion's base arguments. He decimates every argument with his soft accented voice. Putting faith in its place is where I'd start.

  • A single video by smsavage32 - Was Jesus a Myth? - very enlightening.

  • TheraminTrees - Here's the brother of QualiaSoup. Deals with the psychological effects of religion. Amazing two guys here, can't go wrong with them. I'd suggest Atheism as congruence and Transition to Atheism for his personal story.

    To recap, almost everything in TheraminTrees and QualiaSoup's channels are just amazing.
u/ChaoticAgenda · 37 pointsr/aaaaaatheismmmmmmmmmm

I was a little over-zealous so the first thing out of my mouth after introductions was, "Why do you guys worship somebody who murdered so many people?"
They were a little confused since they couldn't think of any times he did that so I reminded them of the flood where he almost destroyed the entire human race and Sodom and Gomorrah.
They tried to justify it by saying that God can judge us for our sins. I pointed out that sin could only exist if God decided to stay silent while watching Eve get tempted. You can't honestly expect a person with no knowledge of good and evil to understand that what they are doing is wrong, yet we are punished for it to this day.

At this point they wanted to just cut their losses and leave me with one of their books so I offered to give them my copy of A History of God too and they could learn about how the polytheistic Canaanite religion led to polytheistic Judaism and from there to monotheistic Judaism. The trade was declined, but one of the guys said he would look into it.

I felt pretty good about the whole exchange. I didn't change any minds, but I defended my position solidly where they could hardly think of what to say.

u/Nekro_Ed · 34 pointsr/Buddhism

If I can, I'd like to suggest a book. It's called Going Home by Vietnamese Monk Thich Nhat Hanh. It does a fantastic job of going over the parallels (and differences) between the two. This will definitely benefit you more than I could hope to do in a comment section on reddit.

The book is pretty popular so you may be able to find it at you library or order off of Amazon for $10.

u/JanetYellensFuckboy · 27 pointsr/CFB

I'd highly recommend Kevin Roose's book The Unlikely Disciple for a fascinating, concise glimpse into Liberty's culture. He was then a Brown University student (ie extremely open-minded "liberal") who did a semester at Liberty out of morbid curiosity. It's a super quick read too!

Edit: I seem to have created a downvote-enemy in this thread. Still cannot recommend the book enough! In the words of LaVar Burton: Don't take my word for it!

u/Anteater1138 · 27 pointsr/TrueAtheism

One that is quite popular in the culture of conservative Christianity (think Southern Baptists) is I Don't Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist. I read portions of it years ago, and it seemed to largely be a regurgitation of common theist arguments, in what was admittedly a reasonably well-written, if not fallacious work.

Link for the lazy

u/rainer511 · 26 pointsr/Christianity

tldr; There are millions of us that feel the same way. I hope you don't forsake Christ in name in response to those around you who are forsaking Christ in deed.


I'm writing this during a break at work. Since I have to make it quick, I'll be recommending a lot of books. There is really too much here anyway to do justice to all of the questions you've put up, so even if I were to give a real, detailed response, I would probably have to resort to suggesting books anyway.

> 1.) I don't think that all of the Bible can be taken literally. I strongly believe in the sciences, so I think that Genesis was written either metaphorically or simply just to provide an explanation for creation. Are there others here that believe that or something similar? How do others respond to your beliefs?

There are many, many, many others who believe similarly. And not just recent people responding to evolution, there has long been a tradition of taking Genesis metaphorically. For a good group of scholars and prominent Christians that take a stand for a reading of Genesis that respects the way that science currently understands origins, see the Biologos Forum.

For a good book that shows the error of inerrancy, how it stunts your growth as a Christian and a moral agent, and how inerrancy limits either human free will or God's sovereignty see Thom Stark's excellent new book The Human Faces of God.

> 2.) Why does it seem that Christianity is such a hateful religion? I am very disappointed in many Christians because they spew hatred towards other instead of spreading love. I think that the energy that is going into the hatred that many spew could be used for good. Why aren't we putting these resources towards helping others? This would help bring people in instead of deter them away.

Again, millions of us feel the same way. It makes me sick as well. However, I don't think the answer is forsaking Christ in name in response to others forsaking Christ in deed.

There are many strands of the Christian faith that have strongly opposed violence of any sort. Look into the Anabaptists, the Mennonites. Podcasts from Trinity Mennonite are pretty good.

For a good book about Jesus and nonviolence see Jesus and Nonviolence by Walter Wink.

> 3.) How can people be against gay rights still? This is clearly religious issue and not an issue of morality. If you choose to follow the parts of the Bible that are against homosexuality, then why do you not feel the need to follow many of the other ridiculous laws that are in the Old Testament?

I'd like to stress that, again, there are millions of us that feel the same way. And many, many of those who still believe it's a sin think that we have no place emphasizing that in a world where LGBT teenagers are killing themselves from the humiliation. There are many, many of us that think that whether their lifestyle is "sinful" or not the only thing we should show them is love.

For more about interpreting the Bible in light of today's social issues, see Slaves, Women & Homosexuals: Exploring the Hermeneutics of Cultural Analysis by William J. Webb and Sex and the Single Savior by Dale B. Martin.

> Do you believe that the government has the right to say who can and cannot get married? Why can't this just be left up to each individual church?

I'm actually strongly in favor of civil unions for everyone. I wholeheartedly agree that I don't want the government defining marriage... and the only way for the government not to define marriage is for the government to take its hands off marriage altogether; whatever the sexual orientation of those getting married.

> 4.) This was a question that I was asked in my other post that I was unable to answer.

Yes, the penal satisfaction view of atonement has its shortcomings. It's not a completely bankrupt idea, but it takes a lot of nuance to convey it in a way that isn't altogether abhorrent and senseless.

The first Christians believed something similar to what we call today "Christus Victor" atonement.

For a picture of the varied atonement theories available for understanding what Jesus did on the cross, see A Community Called Atonement by Scot McKnight. For a list of ways to understand atonement in a contemporary context, see Proclaiming the Scandal of the Cross by Mark D. Baker. For more on a view of God that is consistent with the love of God as revealed in Jesus, see Rob Bell's Love Wins: A book about heaven, hell, and the fate of every person that ever lived.

> 5.) I asked this in the other post, so I feel that I should ask it here. How many of you do or will teach your children about other religions? Will you present them as options or will you completely write them off?

I'd be wholeheartedly open to exposing them to other religions. And I'd want to do it in a way that does them justice. Most Christian "worldviews" books frustrate me due to the way they portray other's religions. In the long run if you don't accurately portray the rest of the world and you try to shelter your children from it, they'll simply feel betrayed when they grow up and finally learn what's out there.

I believe Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. I actually believe this. Why wouldn't I try to raise my children as Christians?

But again, I wouldn't want to misrepresent the other religions and I certainly wouldn't want to shelter my children from them. For a book that I feel shows the good from many of the world's most prominent religions, see Huston Smith's The World's Religions.

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/MoralJellyfish · 21 pointsr/AskHistorians

A History of God by Karen Armstrong is a pretty good and accessible text about how the God concept changed over time

u/MagicOtter · 21 pointsr/Catholicism

Former fedora atheist here. For a long time, I felt like I belonged to the "skeptical, rational, atheist" tribe. But at one point I became disillusioned with the crowd, and realized that I no longer want to be part of it. I started looking for alternatives, groups I'd want to be a part of, and I settled upon Catholicism. I first approached it from a purely secular perspective, as a serious and reliable institution. But I ended up accepting the faith and God as well.

Here's my progression, what drew me in more and more:

I. The intellectual life. I was always fascinated by science. It was interactions with promoters of dishonest creationism (usually evangelicals) that originally pushed me towards rejecting religion and to become a militant atheist.

Then I read a book that changed how I view the relation between Church and science: God's Philosophers: How the Medieval World Laid the Foundations of Modern Science. I now follow @catholiclab and similar profiles on Twitter, which post interesting facts about Catholic scientists. It's simply astounding how this information is completely absent from contemporary popular culture.

II. Just on an emotional level, feeling "closer" to Catholics. It helped that my family is Catholic. On YouTube, I've watched many videos by Bishop Robert Barron, Fr. Mike. They are very lucid and reasonable in addressing contemporary issues. I'm sure there are many others.

I'm also reading biographies of martyrs who died persecuted in modernity by revolutionary ideologies. My TODO reading list includes books by Thomas Merton, Joseph Ratzinger, and the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius of Loyola.

III. The aesthetics. I'm subscribed on Twitter to profiles like @Christian8Pics which post a lot of inspiring imagery. Familiarity breeds liking. I also listen to music on YouTube: liturgy, Medieval chants, Mozart's Requiem, Byzantine chants (usually Eastern Orthodox).

All these sideways might seem very strange to a Catholic convert or someone raised Catholic who stayed Catholic. But if someone is immersed in a materialistic, mechanistic and atheistic worldview, there's no available grammar or impulse to even take God or the life of the Church into consideration.

IV. Actually knowing what theism is all about. The "god" dismissed by popular atheist debaters is a caricature of God as understood by classical theism and the actual tradition of the Church. So is the "god" argued for by Intelligent Design proponents, biblical literalists, fundamentalists.

I read 2 books by Edward Feser (Catholic) and David Bentley Hart (Eastern Orthodox) to finally become comfortable with this very simple point. The books I read are, in order:

By Edward Feser:

  • The Last Superstition: A Refutation of the New Atheism

  • Aquinas (A Beginner's Guide)

    By David Bentley Hart:

  • Atheist Delusions: The Christian Revolution and Its Fashionable Enemies

  • [The Experience of God: Being, Consciousness, Bliss] (

    Each author has his own biases, which might trip the reader up at times (Hart is biased against evolutionary psychology for some reason). But these books produced in me a fresh view of where to begin seeking for God. They gave me the confidence to proceed.

    Atheism always addresses "god" as if it's simply one entity among others, part of the natural world, for which one ought to find physical traces and then one simply "believes in the existence of god" (much like you'd believe there's a car parked outside your house, once you look out the window and observe it's there -- meaning it could just as well NOT be there).

    Creationists just muddy the waters with "god of the gaps" and "Paley's watch" style theories, which simply postulate "god" as an explanation for why this or that aspect of the natural world is a certain way, a tinkerer god which molds the physical world into shape, or which created it at some point in the past.

    This has nothing to do with how God is presented by the authors I quoted, and they go to great lengths to make this point.

    I started by understanding that there needs to be an ultimate answer to certain metaphysical questions which, by definition, can't have a physical answer (e.g. "why does there exist a physical world in the first place?"). There's a qualitative difference between physical questions and metaphysical ones, and the gap simply can't be breached by adding more layers of physicality. Hart makes this point very well (he differentiates between the Demiurge that deists, atheists and creationists discuss, and God as the "necessary being" of classical theism).

    The ultimate metaphysical cause is "necessary" because it's simply a necessity for the physical world to have a non-physical cause which keeps it in existence. If the only thing that existed was a quantum field that didn't produce any particles, or a single proton that always existed and will always exist, the "necessity" would be exactly the same. Nothing would change even if it turned out our Universe is part of a Multiverse.

    Then, through reasoning, one can deduce certain characteristics of this ultimate answer, which ends up forming the classical theistic picture of God as a "necessary being" which continuously creates every aspect of the physical universe. Feser is very good at explaining this part and especially at underlining how tentative and feeble our understanding of the unfathomable is. He also explains why it has to be a "being" rather than an unknown impersonal cause. It's a humbling experience.

    But as Bishop Robert Barron stated in his interview on the Rubin Report, philosophy only takes you halfway there. Looking back, the existence of God simply makes sense and is a no-brainer. Faith doesn't have to do with "accepting that God exists with no evidence". Faith is about what you do once you realize that the existence of God is an inescapable conclusion of rational thought. What do you do once you realize that He exists and is conscious of us? You have to go beyond the impersonal, and engage, interact. Here's where prayer, the liturgical life and spiritual exercises come into play.

    Unlike conversion, faith isn't a one-time historical event, it's a daily effort on one's part to drive one's thoughts towards the infinite and the ultimate cause of everything. This requires individual effort, but it is not an individual venture. One has the entire tradition and life of the Church to guide you: selfless persons who dedicated their lives to help people like you and me.

    Here's how Feser, in his "Last Superstition" book, describes the various ways of conceiving of God:

    >To understand what serious religious thinkers do believe, we might usefully distinguish five gradations in one’s conception of God:

    >1. God is literally an old man with a white beard, a kind if stern wizard-like being with very human thoughts and motivations who lives in a place called Heaven, which is like the places we know except for being very far away and impossible to get to except through magical means.

    >2. God doesn’t really have a bodily form, and his thoughts and motivations are in many respects very different from ours. He is an immaterial object or substance which has existed forever, and (perhaps) pervades all space. Still, he is, somehow, a person like we are, only vastly more intelligent, powerful, and virtuous, and in particular without our physical and moral limitations. He made the world the way a carpenter builds a house, as an independent object that would carry on even if he were to “go away” from it, but he nevertheless may decide to intervene in its operations from time to time.

    >3. God is not an object or substance alongside other objects or substances in the world; rather, He is pure being or existence itself, utterly distinct from the world of time, space, and things, underlying and maintaining them in being at every moment, and apart from whose ongoing conserving action they would be instantly annihilated. The world is not an independent object in the sense of something that might carry on if God were to “go away”; it is more like the music produced by a musician, which exists only when he plays and vanishes the moment he stops. None of the concepts we apply to things in the world, including to ourselves, apply to God in anything but an analogous sense. Hence, for example, we may say that God is “personal” insofar as He is not less than a person, the way an animal is less than a person. But God is not literally “a person” in the sense of being one individual thing among others who reasons, chooses, has moral obligations, etc. Such concepts make no sense when literally applied to God.

    >4. God as understood by someone who has had a mystical experience of the sort Aquinas had.

    >5. God as Aquinas knows Him now, i.e. as known in the beatific vision attained by the blessed after death.

    What I've been talking about is at #3. Atheists and creationists are debating #1 and #2. #4 is a gift to be accorded by grace, and is what people strive for in their spiritual life. #5 is the ultimate goal of the Christian life.
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/succhialce · 20 pointsr/TrueAtheism

I don't find that funny, I find it hugely disturbing. Learn about how your Bible was created and then see what that does for you.

Also please don't just downvote this guy because he's a religious person, that is counter-intuitive to the discourse here.

u/Helloimanonymoose · 19 pointsr/atheism

Here you go man.

u/xb10h4z4rd · 19 pointsr/exchristian

>Any books you can recommend covering this?

[a history of god] (

>Old Testament actually referred to other Gods actually being thought to exist. Do they not read it?

i've been apollogetizied on those already, they are either not real gods but metaphors for worldly things or it was taken out of context /s

u/extispicy · 18 pointsr/AcademicBiblical

Ehrman has spoken quite a bit about how struggling with the problem of evil was the impetus behind losing his faith.

u/samreay · 17 pointsr/DebateReligion

Sure, so apart from a lack of reason to accept those extraordinary claims I listed before, I would also defend the statement that we have firm evidence that Christianity is a human invention, a simple product of human culture.

This should not be too outlandish a claim, as even Christians can probably agree that most of the worlds religions are creations of our changing society (after all, Christians probably would disagree that Hinduism, paganism, Nordic, Hellenistic, aboriginal religions were divinely inspired/authored).

By looking back into the origins of Christianity, and the origins of the Judaic system from which it is derived, we can very clearly see changes in religious deities and stories, as the religion began incorporating myths from surrounding areas and as general patterns of beliefs changed. From what we can currently understand, it appears the the origin of Christianity started as a polytheistic pantheon with at least Yahweh, El, Baal and Asherah. It then moved slowly from polytheism to henotheism to monaltry to monotheism, as was relatively common in the Axial Age.

All of this points to the religion not representative of singular divine inspiration, and instead being representative of being a product of human culture, changing along with society.

This is a rather large topic of course, and if you want further reading, I recommend:

u/Domhnal · 17 pointsr/DebateAChristian

Bart Erhman wrote a wonderful book about the Bible's failures to address the problem of suffering. However, like other Biblical scholars (including atheists like Robert Price), he has a lot of respect for the sophistication of Job's attempt to answer this question as it is the most honest and most sobering.

Like most critical scholars on both sides of the faith fence, he sees this as a work similar to Grimm's Fairy Tales. When approached in this way, we see that the historicity and narrative events take a back burner to the conversations between Job and his friends as well as the significance of the narrative.

Unfortunately, I lack the scholarship to walk you through it, but one of my favorite parts is it's rejection of Just World Theory, something found elsewhere in the Bible and a huge motivating force of Christianity's ails (it is just to go to war, if you are experiencing difficulty then you are being curse by God, if you are sick then you have sinned, etc.).

In 11:13-20, Job's friend Zophar presents his take on just world theory, which, in 42:7-9, God beautifully renounces:

"After the Lord had said these things to Job, he said to Eliphaz the Temanite, “I am angry with you and your two friends, because you have not spoken the truth about me, as my servant Job has."

The reason that Job can be so confusing is because it has been subject to redactions and edits over the centuries, with various scribes trying to edge in their particular take on things. It's a marvelous study well worth your time if you have an interest in ancient literature, philosophy, and generally shutting down less competent Christians with valid and grounded argumentation.

I think there is a lot of issue to take with Christianity, but faulting the religion for the book of Job is not one of them. Next to Ecclesiastes, it is a beautifully sophisticated and highly relevant work of past thinkers trying to work out why we suffer in this world.

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/the--doldrums · 15 pointsr/lynchburg

hey there. someone already did this a couple of years ago. his name is kevin roose and he now works for the new york times. he published a book called The Unlikely Disciple .


also posting this on reddit and boasting about it is probably not your best idea but have fun!

u/admorobo · 15 pointsr/Buddhism

I think it may be helpful to have a series of discussions about why you are looking to learn more about Buddhism. For many Christians non-Abrahamic religions are very difficult to understand (source: me, an agnostic raised by an Evangelical Born-Again father and Catholic mother). Part of the process for you and your girlfriend could be learning about Buddhism together, and understanding how it is both different and similar to Christianity.

As someone who comes from a Christian background myself, as a teenager I found Thich Nhat Hanh's works Living Buddha, Living Christ and Going Home: Jesus and Buddha as Brothers as effective ways of comparing and contrasting various concepts and values of both the religions. As long as you and your partner are having an ongoing open discussion about your spiritual journey I think you'll be OK.

EDIT: I'll also put forward that if part of your reason for looking outside of Christianity is that you're "not much of a social guy", you should be aware that community (Parsa or Gana) is very important to Buddhists as well.

u/eric_md · 15 pointsr/Christianity

I know that this might not be exactly what you were looking for, but here's my story, which I hope might help. I appreciate your open mind and willingness to seek answers, and your question is quite welcome here. (This response blossomed into quite a long post! I hope you'll read it anyhow.)

I was raised in a loosely Christian household by a working single mother who worked several jobs to support us, with grandparents who were Christian. I often went to a Methodist church, never learned much, but considered myself a 'believer'. When I was a teenager, as we all do, I began to rebel and question everything. The pivotal moment came when I approached our pastor and asked him a pointed question. I don't recall the exact wording, but I believe I asked something along the lines of "How do we know anything in the Bible is true, and not just some fairy tale made up by people hundreds of years ago?" His response, which at the time seemed terse, was essentially, "Because I said so." I stopped being a 'Christian' that day.

I spent about six or eight years after that, bouncing from one ideology to another. I was Wiccan, Buddhist, Taoist, Atheist/Agnostic, and probably a few I'm forgetting. I considered myself worldly, intelligent, and smart enough to figure it all out on my own. I didn't need a God, and I certainly didn't need any more pastors. I thought that people who had faith were somehow broken, inferior, and clinging to a fantasy to make up for their lackluster reality. I spent many many hours debating - antagonizing and belittling - a high school acquaintance, criticizing his beliefs and questioning his logic. Despite my obnoxious insistence, he never backed down, and always seemed to enjoy having discussions with me about faith and Christianity.

The Truth found me when I was 21. However, I have to preface this part of my story by conceding that I cannot - and do not - advocate this way of finding faith. I would probably question the validity of a person's faith if this was their story, but it is true none the less. About a year before I actually found Truth, God sent me an angel. She was cute, smart, and she enjoyed challenging me. I think the only reason we kept talking was to debate faith, but neither of us really expected to convince the other. She would later refer to this as evangelistic dating. Anyhow, I started to fall for her, and so for a while I pretended to agree with her faith. I figured, I could talk the talk and fake it for my whole life, if it meant I got to keep this hottie.

We had met, but we were dating long-distance for a while, and I even started going to church. I went back to a Methodist church, which appealed to me mostly for the music, as the hymns brought me back to happier times with my grandparents, and it felt great to walk right in and know all the songs. I even joined the choir. I still hadn't found Truth, but I kept up the act. Some unexpected life changes caused me to relocate, and soon I was living near my girlfriend, and we continued dating.

I will never forget the night that Truth found me, and not only because I felt the blessing of the Holy Spirit. It was October 31st, 2005 - Halloween. It started with a bit of a fight, because I just thought it was plain stupid that her mother wouldn't allow her siblings to trick-or-treat or do anything with Halloween, because it was of the devil or something like that. We were debating fiercely, and I don't even remember at which point it happened. I think I may even have been winning the argument, but the impact on me had very little to do with the actual discussion.

God touched my heart. I know that sounds silly, especially to those that haven't felt that, and it is hard to explain, but I felt the Holy Spirit within my body, and I knew with absolute certainty that Christ was real and with me. God reached inside me, grabbed onto my fears and doubts and ignorance, and freed me from them all. I was overwhelmed by it, and I began to sob. Now, I'm a big guy, and I don't cry. I mean, I just don't! I certainly don't weep spontaneously during an intellectual argument. This was a profound moment. I knew that Christ was the Truth which I had been searching for, and he found me.

From that moment forward, I opened my heart and my mind. I still consider myself a 'beginner' Christian, and I certainly don't know half the Bible, but God is in my heart and in my life. I have sought him intellectually for quite some time, and I will always be learning. I have found that you simply cannot convince someone of God's existence using strictly logical arguments. I can certainly talk to someone about the stories of the Bible, I can discuss historical facts, and I can tell people how I feel, but it takes faith to believe in God.

One book that I enjoyed, which you might wish to read, is called I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist by Norman Geisler. I picked it up mostly because it sounded absurd, and I thought it would be a bit different from the dry rhetoric which is the norm. TL;DR: Geisler makes a case for God based upon simple logical concepts. Both Christians and scientists believe that the world appeared out of nowhere (the Big Bang), and it makes more sense that was the work of a creator rather than a meaningless 'something out of nothing'. The whole of Creation contains such infinite complexity, that to think that 'natural selection' and other phenomena could give rise to the current ecosystem of this planet requires more faith than to believe in a Creator. (A great example is The Queen of Trees, a PBS documentary about the African fig tree.) Also, evolutionary science is based on things like DNA similarities between creatures, which I believe to be the fingerprints of a single divine Creator. To believe that those similarities are due more to an incredible natural game of chance takes a lot of faith! If any of that interests you, I'd recommend picking up that book.

In the end, we all have faith. Either God exists, God does not exist, or it doesn't matter. It all starts there. I have sought the Truth with my heart and mind, and I have faith, and nothing else makes sense to me. I saw how wretched I was toward my 'friend' in high school, and I reached out to apologize, but I can't begrudge him for not embracing me. Instead I got a fairly lukewarm 'oh, good for you'. I lost track of that one pastor, but I know now that he was young and inexperienced (very new to our church), and he was unable or unwilling to provide a simple answer and thought that I would just accept his statements. I don't hold it against him either. We are all fallible and sinful, but we are one with Christ. Oh, and I married that girl. I question Christianity all the time, and I sometimes wonder if it is all a bunch of baloney, but every time I return to God with a stronger faith. Faith in Christ is a journey, a lifelong experience, and not a singular state of existence. I am a Christian.

u/private_ruffles · 13 pointsr/atheism

Books and Concepts:

A History of God: The 4,000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam:

Well-sourced Wikipedia articles describing the evolution of Jewish monotheism from polytheism:

Enuma Elish:

Library of Ashurbanipal:

Canaanite Religion:

Did Jewish Slaves Build the Pyramids?:

Taanach Cult Stand:

Israel Enters Recorded History in Egypt at 1200 BCE:

Jeremiah's Monolatrist Polytheism:

Exodus Renaming by P verified in The Bible with Sources Revealed:


All excerpts used in this video are either copyright-free or covered under "fair use" in Title 17 § 107 of the USC, including:

The Prince of Egypt:

Vector Attributions:

A huge thanks to Snap2Objects for the many businessmen vectors I use:

Iron Age Israel and Judah:

Cloaked Israelite Women:

Gods and Israelites of War:


Asherah and Baal:







Deuteronomy Flourishes:


Paint Splatters:

Image Attributions:



Babylonian Tablet:

Babylonian Exile:

Baal Epic:

u/astroNerf · 12 pointsr/atheism

> Christian here, and I am honestly looking to find what atheists believe is the best evidence against christianity or the Bible.

The best argument against it is that there is no credible evidence to support it in the first place. This might not agree with your current thinking but I will politely challenge you to come up with the best evidence you think demonstrates that Jesus is/was the Earthly avatar of the creator of the universe.

The bible itself is not evidence. The bible is the claim. Consider that there is no evidence outside the bible from the time the bible takes place that supports the existence of Jesus. All the mentions of Jesus outside the bible occur many decades after he was supposed to have lived. Worse, the gospel accounts are anonymous.

We know enough about the history of the bible from a literary perspective to know that it was written by men. (See my notes at the bottom of this comment.) What you think of the bible today is a collection of documents that was edited and copied repeatedly, then voted on by the Council of Nicaea - some books were omitted from the canon even though they are referenced by other books in the bible that are canon.

A few things worth pointing out:

  • If you accept evolution, then there was no first human. If this is the case, then where did original sin come from?
  • The Exodus did not happen. Even Jewish religious scholars almost universally agree that the evidence that should be there just isn't.
  • Think about why Mary and Joseph had to travel in order to be counted for the census. Romans were far more efficient than that and were interested in where people lived, and not where they were born. The short answer is that the prophecy required Jesus to be born in Bethlehem, so the census was used as an excuse to explain why he was born there and not in Nazareth, where his parents lived. The bible is filled with these kinds of odd things.

    Those are three things off the top of my head. Here's one list that has many more. Another list. One more.

    In the end though, there's no credible evidence for anything supernatural in any religions. I don't believe in Jesus or Yahweh or Zeus or bigfoot or the Loch Ness monster for the same reasons - no credible, compelling evidence.


    Some additional resources as I think of them.

  • A History of God by Karen Armstrong. Summarised in video form here. Details how Yahweh went from being one god in the Hebrew pantheon to the one true god of Abraham. There originally were several gods mentioned in the books that would become the bible, but were replaced by Yahweh. This explains a lot of really unusual things about Yahweh as a literary character. For instance, the first commandment suddenly makes sense - it was intended to cement the supreme authority of Yahweh in a time when many people were polytheists.

  • Check out Bart Ehrman's work, such as Misquoting Jesus. It's a great introduction to textual analysis.

  • Lastly, if you're still here and have not angrily closed your browser window in frustration, I strongly urge you to check out Qualia Soup's video titled The Burden of Proof. It demonstrates why it is your job to support your claims, rather than it is our job to disprove them. The person who makes a claim (ie, a god exists) is the person responsible for providing support for that claim.
u/Irish_Whiskey · 12 pointsr/DebateAnAtheist

Sorry, I'm being way too wordy here, and I'll try to keep future responses shorted. I divided the answers into "Biblical accuracy" and "Morality" for the sake of clarity. Thanks for the considered responses and the patience to read it.

>My Reasons to Believe in Christianity: As I mentioned before, this is not the time for me to respond to your comments regarding my reasons to believe (although I would really love to another time) lets stay focused.

I should have earlier said something which is a standard caveat in theistic debates:

I care whether my beliefs are true. I accept that not everything I believe is true, and want to change accordingly. I do not wish to compromise knowledge of truth with that which is convenient, easy, or even may lead to otherwise positive outcomes. If any argument rests on favoring such factors over truth, it's not one I can accept.

In addition while I'm willing to not question further your reasons for believing that means any point you make which rests on assuming your belief, is essentially an empty noise, because I'm still ignorant as to why I should consider it true. I can understand your position, but without that knowledge I can't agree with it.

>If that were true that the core beliefs changed sure I would agree, I'll have to ask you for a source as well on this these claims

Sure, here's the wiki on Yahweh which, of course you shouldn't just assume true, but contains the relevant links for each statement, as well as books by Karen Armstrong, Mark Smith and others. Studying the history of the Hebrews show people who integrated stories from different cultures they assimilated with, ideas of gods changed over time, bits of which were then taken by later groups to be the only unchanging truth, even when we know that isn't the case.

That's the reason the God of the Old Testament is obsessed only with one tribe, fails in his goals repeatedly and has limited powers, why the earlier versions of the texts don't mention a Christian Satan or hell, and talks about not worshipping the lesser gods. Because while it was rewritten to conform to later beliefs, it was born from a polytheistic tradition.

>Again if you can prove significant changes to the texts of the Bible only then you would have a case here, if you cannot, identifying how it spread does not seem to have any relevance.

The story of casting the first stone isn't found in any earlier copies of the Bible, nor is handling snakes, as I said. Much of Mark's story of Jesus' death, and most of Paul's letters, were written by later scribes. The delineation of the trinity only shows up in one passage, and was discovered during the time of Erasmus, an admitted forger who said scripture and documentation should be based on providing 'medicine' for the people rather than truth, and who was called out as a fraud by fellow Christian historians of the time. It probably wasn't Erasmus himself who came up with it, but rather the faction of theologians pushing the trinity. Earlier scholars such as Origen mention nothing about it, even when discussing the concept. And then of course there's the King James Bible, a book written with flawed methods based on inaccurate sources with a political agenda in mind.

Also NaphtaliC is bang on. It's simply absurd to call any book translated between two languages 99.5% accurate that's longer than two pages. For several languages across many centuries? It's impossible and easily proven untrue by anyone whose read the earlier versions. If I pick up two copies of the Bible in the store today by different publishers, they aren't 99.5% accurate with each other, let alone ones from thousands of years ago in different languages.

>however the point remains that they are extremely accurate given the time span of its existence and given the comparison to the accuracy/# of copies of other ancient texts we have.

Right, hopefully you can step back for a moment before we get into details, and think about this as if the Bible weren't a book you believed in, and were trying to analyze objectively.

We have no originals, or copies of them. What originals did exist came only after decades of oral transmissions. Which means we could have 5 billion copies of first editions, and they would be reliable only as to their content, not as to reality.

This whole thing about 'given the time span' and 'in comparison' is completely irrelevant to the question. In a court you can't say "Well it's less hearsay than that hearsay" to make it reliable.

It is used because historians do often have to work with unreliable materials, and that's fine. But when we question the Bible more than other ancient works, it's not because there's a double-standard, it's because historians admit those other works are also not reliable, we just work with the best we have.

In addition the textual accuracy compared to other books ignores two key points:

  1. We can prove many parts of it aren't true. There are factual claims as to events and geographic details which are wrong, because they weren't written by people who were there. Textual accuracy is an indirect way of trying to prove what factual accuracy directly disproves.

  2. The nature of the writings impact reliability. Paul was a self-confessed lunatic and murderer who had visions and claimed to bring people back from the dead himself. The gospels of John and Matthew were a few among many competing political/religious factions of Christianity trying to define the growing religion. For any other religion, you'd agree it's obvious such sources can't be treated as reliable without independent confirmation. Yet for all the contemporary historians examining Judea in that time, there is no record of Jesus. Something which is plausible if he was a very minor figure, but not with the accounts of mass miracles and turnouts and political turmoil that the gospels claim of him.

    Every argument you've made for the Bible's accuracy better fits the Quran and the Book of Mormon. They were better recorded sooner in time from known sources. But they also aren't true.

    >Homer's Illiad is commonly cited as the next runner up in terms of this criteria and frankly does not hold up quite as well as the Bible did.

    Thanks for proving my point. Homer's Illiad isn't true. It's a story of gods, possibly inspired by real events, that was written after oral transmission. So even if we had a first edition signed by the author, 100% word accurate with our copies today, no one would pretend this made it accurate history, unless they were a Greek worshipper looking for justifications for belief, rather than a historian.


    Yeah, I knew Carm would be cited because they're the main source for this stuff. Carm is unapologetic about putting the Bible first, and facts seconds as needed to get people to believe the Bible. Their numbers have been examined, and it's all based on arbitrary standards as needed to manufacture impressive statistics. That there were thousands of references to Christianity in the mid-1st century proves Christianity existed, it's not at all the same as proving the stories from the time were accurate, or that those stories match the accounts we have now, except where we have surviving fragments from that time, of which we have very few.
u/Kelloggs801 · 11 pointsr/TrueAtheism

I've just finished reading this:

I recommend it if you're looking for something like that.

u/LeonceDeByzance · 11 pointsr/Christianity

I was a nonbeliever. I'm now a Catholic theologian. The best thing on the market right now that everyone should read is David Bentley Hart's The Experience of God: Being, Consciousness, Bliss. Most of the atheists and Christians I meet today don't really know what they mean by the word 'God.' A lot of classical theism has been lost to modernity. Hart gets things squared away with what we mean by the word 'God.' It's immensely helpful.

u/MoonPoint · 10 pointsr/atheism

The Time article Is Hell Dead? covers Rob Bell's book
Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived
. He's a pastor of a church that attracts 7,000 people every Sunday. He's also written Sex God: Exploring the Endless Connections between Sexuality and Spirituality, Jesus Wants to Save Christians: A Manifesto for the Church in Exile and Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith.

The description for Jesus Wants to Save Christians: A Manifesto for the Church in Exile states:

>There is a church not too far from us that recently added a $25 million addition to their building. Our local newspaper ran a front-page story not too long ago about a study revealing that one in five people in our city lives in poverty. This is a book about those two numbers. Jesus Wants to save Christians is a book about faith and fear, wealth and war, poverty, power, safety, terror, Bibles, bombs, and homeland insecurity. It's about empty empires and the truth that everybody's a priest. It's about oppression, occupation, and what happens when Christians support, animate and participate in the very things Jesus came to set people free from. It's about what it means to be a part of the church of Jesus in a world where some people fly planes into buildings while others pick up groceries in Hummers.

u/sbsb27 · 10 pointsr/TrueAtheism

One of the main and repeated sources Christopher Hitchens cites in his "God is not Great" book is Jennifer Hecht and her book "Doubt: A history: The great doubters and their legacy of innovation from Socrates to Jesus to Thomas Jefferson and Emily Dickenson.

While not argumentative it is full of careful study and resources.

Karen Armstrong and her "History of god: The 4,000 year quest of Judaism, Christianity , and Islam" is a wonderful read as well.

I think the point about confrontation is a good one. So while there may not be many women debating about religion on the public stage, there are women writing great reviews of the development of religions.

u/frabelle · 10 pointsr/FundieSnark
u/El_Thoughtzos · 10 pointsr/Columbine

Daniel Mauser hit me particularly hard, especially when I learned he was a friend/acquaintance of Devon Adams and he was affectionately called "Moose" by the members of the debate club. It was easy to tell just how loved he was in his family, particularly where his father is concerned.

Also, I'm not sure if you're looking for specific Columbine documentaries/material (e.g. about the victims, etc), but I've personally read and enjoyed No Easy Answers by Brooks Brown, A Mother's Reckoning by Sue Klebold, and Columbine: A True Crime Story by Jeff Kass. I haven't read any of the books about the victims written by their families, but I know there's two about Cassie and Rachel. Whatever you do, just don't read Columbine by Dave Cullen.

I've only read bits and pieces of the 11k, so I can't say for sure, but I haven't encountered much of Kelly Fleming at all in the reports. She was probably referenced by library witnesses and by police officers describing where she was shot, where her body was found, in what position, etc, but I can't imagine they'd include much else, since it's not really relevant.

u/reading_internets · 9 pointsr/FunnyandSad

I read a book about a Brown student who transferred to liberty. He was the last person to interview Jerry Fallwell. It was pretty interesting.

The Unlikely Disciple: A Sinner's Semester at America's Holiest University

u/Parivill501 · 9 pointsr/Catholicism

> Hans Urs Von Balthasar taught the possibility of universal salvation

The book to read is Dare We Hope that All Men Be saved by von Balthasar. He doesn't go so far as to say with certitude universalism, but he concludes that we may be "hopeful universalists" given the reading of Scripture and various, Pre-Augustinian church fathers.

u/karateexplosion · 9 pointsr/worshipleaders

Highly recommend Worship Matters: Leading Others to Encounter the Greatness of God

u/ldpreload · 9 pointsr/Christianity

Possible answers include:

  1. Actually, nobody is good enough. The Christians you know are, on their own merit, going to Hell. The non-Christians are also going to Hell. The Christians are saved from Hell by grace "through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast." A perfectly almighty and just God would send everyone to Hell; an almighty, just, and yet loving God manages to save some people on the grounds of something other than their being good.

  2. It is certainly possible that a loving God would save people and let them enter heaven even if they do not manage to believe all the doctrines like they're "supposed" to, and whatever the condition is, it is neither being morally superior or being theologically better-read. "I tell you the truth, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you."

  3. Actually, popular theology is all wrong and that's not how heaven and hell work at all, and this is, though heterodox, Biblically sound.
u/kerrielou73 · 8 pointsr/exmormon

Yup. Once I had determined Mormonism was false, I researched Christianity and determined it was also false.

While I read others, these two books by Karen Armstrong killed any kind of literal interpretation of Judaism, Christianity, or Islam for me.

The Spiral Staircase

History of God

u/SsurebreC · 8 pointsr/DebateReligion
u/Thunder_score · 8 pointsr/AcademicBiblical

Was assigned N.T. Wright's, The New Testament and the People of God in seminary (Regent College, UBC) a decade ago. Very readable and a great place to start. Highly recommended.

u/TheBaconMenace · 7 pointsr/communism

Thanks for the response. I'll give a sparce reading list, as I find it pretty extensive.


u/Ibrey · 7 pointsr/Christianity

David Bentley Hart's book The Experience of God: Being, Consciousness, Bliss might provide some reassurance of monotheism. It's great.

u/MrRykler · 7 pointsr/atheism

All I got was this. At least they're okay with me "asking questions" though.

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/sitNspin · 7 pointsr/Christianity

I'm a Presbyterian(PCA) and I would strongly recommend Timothy Keller. I think that you would find him very insightful. You can go here and there are some free sermons. He seems to me to be one of the most rational and intelligent theologians out there, but yea I would strongly advise him. He has also written some books and you can find them on Amazon. The books I would suggest by him are Reason for God, Counterfeit Gods, and the Prodigal God.

u/Im_just_saying · 6 pointsr/Christianity

It's a big, tough read, but Hans Urs Von Balthazar's Dare We Hope That All Men Be Saved? is a solid, theologically profound, well thought out, rooted-in-the-ancient-faith study that addresses your question. Von B. was a Roman Catholic theologian - JPII's favorite theologian - brilliant but deep writer.

u/uberpirate · 6 pointsr/exchristian

There's even a book about it.

u/Stark_raving_mad52 · 6 pointsr/exmormon

I stopped praying when I realized that if there was a god in charge of this world, then he (she/it) was doing a really horrible job of taking care of people who really needed it the most. 21,000 people die every single day of hunger alone. The lack of clean water for the vast majority of the population in the world is staggering. I just couldn't bring myself to thank god for "blessing" me. It felt wrong. I imagined how society would treat a father who gave everything to a few of his children while letting a few starve to death. That father would be arrested and put in prison.

The book that really changed my mind about prayer and thanking god for "blessings" was "God's Problem" by Bart Ehrman. I recommend it.

"I could no longer reconcile the claims of faith with the facts of life. In particular, I could no longer explain how there can be a good and all-powerful God actively involved with this world, given the state of things. For many people who inhabit this planet, life is a cesspool of misery and suffering. I came to a point where I simply could not believe that there is a good and kindly disposed Ruler who is in charge of it."

u/vertigo42 · 6 pointsr/IAmA

Yes, kind of, etc yes. I don't really care to go into depth on this as I would be stealing the AMA.

When I say kind of on Hell, I mean its not the fire and brimstone that is so popular in the pop culture understanding. Hell is the ultimate separation from God and everything that he is. The place where he is not, therefore anything of him is void in that area. Love, compassion, joy etc. Hell is one of 2 choices then in this matter. You can choose God, and everything that he is, or you can choose not to be with God. It is not a place of torture and destruction, but it is a place that is devoid of him(God) and everything that he is.

When you look at it this way you see him as a God who is truly giving free choice in the matter. You chose not to be with God, he isn't going to punish you for that, he will just put you where your choice led you.

I'm really bad at putting my thoughts down on paper, and I almost didn't post to this comment because of that.

Now this book has a good explanation of what I believe hell to be. There are some parts of it that I don't agree with, or am not sure of, but the basic Ideas of most of the book are excellent. This book clears up alot of misconceptions about Gods character too.
In the end, it is about making your faith your own, exploring what it means to be a christian, praying and genuinely seeking the meaning of the bible.

Now can I be wrong? Yes,but my core foundation still stands. God is the creator of the universe, his son(him/trinity yadda yadda) made the perfect sacrifice for our sin, and he offers me life through him. From there exegetical studies of the culture and scripture must be made while taking into account proven facts of our universe.

Hope that's enough of a post for you. I would be willing to talk through PMs or IMs. I do not claim to be an expert on Christianity, and I know I don't have it all figured out, but that is part of the journey.

u/Nicoon · 6 pointsr/atheism

There are several books on the topic:

u/MJtheProphet · 6 pointsr/DebateAChristian

If we're going to get into the Bible as the source for a description of god, then we certainly have an issue. Which Bible are you reading? If its one of the millions of Bibles in the US, then its likely an English translation, and it isn't actually describing the god worshiped by Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. For that, we have to go back to the Canaanite religion, which we've learned about from clay tablets found at the Ras Shamra site. The Canaanites were polytheists who worshiped a great number of gods. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were primarily followers of El Shaddai, "God of the Mountains", another name for El Elyon, or "God Most High". El Elyon appears to Abraham in human form at one point. Jacob is described as asking El Elyon to become his elohim, or primary god, in order that he might receive special protection. He also climbs a ladder to heaven and speaks with El Elyon in person, and later even wrestles with El Elyon.

Its also not the god of Moses. Moses was a follower of Yahweh, the war god of the ancient Israelites. Yahweh wasn't a Canaanite god, but he also wasn't a monotheistic god. In the (likely mythical) story of Exodus, the Israelites even note after gaining their freedom "Who among the gods
is like you, Yahweh?
Who is like you—
majestic in holiness,
awesome in glory,
working wonders?." (Exodus 15:11) It helps the verses make more sense to get the full context; upon reaching the promised land, the Israelites stray and worship other gods. That seems silly in today's version; why worship Baal or Asherah when you know that there is only THE LORD? But when you realize that Yahweh was just the war god, as Ares was to the Greeks, it makes more sense. Once you're no longer in a time of trouble, why not worship Baal (god of fertility and storms) or Asherah (the mother goddess) instead of Yahweh (god of the armies)? And its a lot more obvious why the Old Testament god was so obsessed with blood and death; he was the war god, like Ares.

Yahweh didn't become the primary god of Israel until the reign of King Josaih, a strict Yahwist, in about 640 BCE. This was the period of the Deuteronomic reforms; it was at this time that the book of Deuteronomy was "found" in the temple, supposedly a new book of law written by Moses that placed Yahweh above all other gods. However, its rather convenient timing and the linguistic signature indicate that it was actually a forgery, created for political expediency. Even here, though, there is still evidence of polytheism, in the Ten Commandments themselves. "6 I am Yahweh your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. 7 You shall have no other gods before me." (Deuteronomy 5:6-7)

Only in about 570 BCE, when the Israelites were exiled into Babylon, did the monotheistic god "the LORD" appear. An author known as Second Isaiah had his words appended on to the original Isaiah, the book of Leviticus was authored, and the history of Israel was rewritten to say that El Elyon and Yahweh were the same god, and that this god was the only god. The other books extant at the time were rewritten to make it look like there had only ever been one god of Israel. So despite the story saying that this god has always existed, he only appears in the archaeological record 2600 years ago.

A very different picture appears when you know where all the stories came from, and put them in their proper historical context. The Old Testament just screams polytheism, even through the multiple rewrites and translations. I recommend A History of God by Karen Armstrong for more details. Or, you can find a good summary on YouTube from Evid3nc3.

u/lucilletwo · 6 pointsr/atheism

so_yeah does a great job clarifying the reason; if (as we do) you assume that the supernatural aspects of the bible are inaccurate, the logical next step is to examine the non-supernatural claims (the purely historical ones) to see if they are also flawed. After all, if you believe some portion of a source document is flawed, you should also examine the rest to look for more flaws.

If you are interested in the factual, historical, literary origins of the bible, I would highly recommend "The History of God" by Karen Armstrong (link)

It details academically the history of the authors, the events, and the social and political pressures which shaped the creation of different components of the 3 main western monotheistic religions (Christianity/Judaism/Islam). Highlights include:

  • The original shift from polytheism to monotheism
  • The distributed authorship of the pentateuch (first 5 books of the bible which form backbone of OT belief system)
  • The historical evidence (and lack thereof) for the figure of Jesus as the bible portrays him
  • The origins of the theology of the early church, such as the concept of Jesus dying to 'pay for our sins' (~70 AD), and invention of the concept of original sin (4th century).
  • The political pressures which shaped and created these concepts, and which lead to the adoption and spread of christianity through the roman empire

    It's very dry and intellectual, but I can't recommend a better book when it comes to understanding the origins of western monotheism. It is absolutely not a "new atheist" book written in an attempt to disprove individual stories or facets of the bible, rather it assumes from the start that many stories are some combination of fact and fiction, and focuses instead on the contemporary (at that time) reasons they were written and the factors that caused them to take hold, as well as how and why they mutated over time.

    TL;DR: The social and political history of western religion, and how it influenced the creation and adoption of individual stories and theological tenets.
u/CalvinLawson · 6 pointsr/atheism

Oh yeah; I was brainwashed hardcore. Ever heard of A Beka? I'll bet you have...

It's like any grieving process; it takes about a year, so you're getting close. Not that there's a sudden change but it does get easier.

There are some things you can do to help the process along.

Before you do anything, order this book. It's a short read and it will set your soul free.

Stay involved in your Christian friend's lives. Hang out with them; talk to them about religion. You'll quickly figure out what friends are worth keeping around. Also meet some new friends! Start building a community that isn't based on faith.

Stay in touch with your family. Don't cut them out of your life. You need family, even if they're kinda fucked up. You're going to have to deal with religion again, but make sure they understand you aren't hanging out with them to be preached at. And remember, family is more than just blood relations, especially just the immediate ones.

Lastly, but of utmost importance, educate yourself on religion. Learn more about Christianity than Christians do. Focus on religious history and learn to interpret the bible using higher criticism. Karen Armstrong is a good start for a lot of people, her book A History of God is a bit of an informal "Religion 101" textbook.

Hang in there!

u/JesusHMontgomery · 6 pointsr/exchristian

So, first, and I realize this isn't exactly comforting, but there will be a freak out time no matter what. There will be some time where you feel like the world is ending, and no matter what you do, it will still feel that way. It was that way for me (though we aren't the same, so maybe your experience will differ): every night, up late, praying and sweating and crying. Is there someone in the real world you can talk to? Having a meat body to grab onto for comfort is huge. Also, I wish I'd known about Reddit (not sure if it existed yet) when I went through my biz. This subreddit would have been amazing.

Ironically, part of what pushed me out of Christianity was learning more about it: being really on fire for it. When you learn church history from the church, it's very skewed and specialized, but when you step out of that and examine it from an objective historical point of view, things get crazy. And more calming.

In case you missed it elsewhere in this thread, John Shelby Spong was very comforting for me.

I think A History of God gets mentioned on this sub at least once a day. It's not an easy read, but immensely illuminating as it shows that, essentially, the guy we call god with a capital G is really just a lesser Canaanite deity worshiped by an insane shepherd. But because of Abraham's weird life, all of western history plays out.

It's been awhile since I read Jesus Interrupted, but if I remember correctly, it's about how what the historical Jesus probably said (because we can't possibly know) has been manipulated by history to satisfy different political goals.

Zealot tries to recreate to the best of the author's ability Jesus' world, the philosophies he grew up with, and the philosophies he most likely would have taught. Some parts of this read like an amazing novel, and it has some crazy historical stuff. It really blew my mind.

I read Pagan Christianity right at the start of my dark night. I've mentioned it before, and it confirmed a lot of my suspicions about Christianity actually being fancied up paganism (Zealot discusses that a little as well). It's written from very much a contemporary Christian perspective, so it has some errors that drive me nuts: i.e. Jesus almost certainly wouldn't have ever meant he and god were literally the same, because no half-serious Jewish person of any era would assert that.

It's stupid late where I am (and my toddler already makes sure I'm constantly sleep deprived), so the last thing I'll leave you with:

When I was going through my "dark night of the soul," I still considered myself Christian afterward for quite awhile. It's just that the kind of Christian I felt I had become was so radically different from what I had been that it warranted night sweats and crying. Since then, each progressive deconversion has been less and less painful by magnitudes. But while I was going through it, I kept thinking about a quote in some book I'd read about how, "God made you with the brain you have, the talents you have, the interests you have, and the curiosity you have: pursue that and glorify god." I reasoned (and I feel this is pretty solid) that if god were real, he'd have to be so outside our everyday experience that no one is getting it right; because if he weren't that alien to us, if he was even slightly comprehensible, he couldn't be god. And if god were real, he'd (it?) know how incomprehensible he is, and unless he were insane or evil, he couldn't possibly be just in punishing us for doing whatever we thought was best and in good conscience. The process was still painful, but it definitely made me feel better about ripping off that hairy band-aid.

If you don't already, I'd recommend writing as you go through all this. If you can stomach it, put it some place public, like a blog, so people can bear witness.

Dammit. I said I was going to bed 20 minutes ago.

Sorry-but-not-sorry for the wall of text.

u/Reasonable_Thinker · 6 pointsr/exjw

Dude, you need to research your shit. Stop this apathy and get some knowledge, it's the only thing that I know of that can stop the guilt your feeling.

The witnesses are wrong in a lot of ways, you made a really good step by joining this board. You need to be the change you want to see, research the bible and history, figure out what you actually believe and learn it well enough that you can defend it.

This will help you get over the guilt, IDK what to do about your family situation. That is something else entirely but I think its a really good idea for you to gain some real knowledge about the witnesses past and about their theology.

I recommend starting with "The History of God" by Karen Armstrong:

Its a great book, easy read, and I think it will help a lot. Good luck brother.

u/NukeThePope · 6 pointsr/atheism

The Bible is the current state of an ongoing collaborative editing effort on an epic story purporting both to explain everything and tell people how they should act.

Star Trek analogy

By "ongoing collaborative editing effort," consider something like the Star Trek canon. It started with Gene Roddenberry and his first TV episode, continued to be expanded and revised by him, and then other people have contributed further series, scripted spin-off movies and fan fiction. Especially if you include the fan faction, you'll see that ST is complex, self-contradictory, and frequently illogical.

We know all this because we have detailed written histories on Roddenberry and Star Trek. But now imagine the following:

  • Trekkies forced, by violence, everybody on their home continent to be Trekkies too; i.e. everybody needed to believe in the truth of the ST saga or be killed.
  • the historical documentation was lost or never existed in the first place. All we have are subsets of the ST material edited and selected by ST fan committees from time to time.

    The actual history of the Bible

    (to the extent that we can know it)

    Bible scholars and historians have managed to piece together much of the history of the Bible using textual analysis and cross-referencing historical sources.

    Very roughly and as far as we know, the Bible is Old Testament ("the Jewish Bible") with contributions from roughly 1000 BC to 0 BC plus the New Testament "the Christian sequel to the Jewish Bible" with contributions from roughly 30 AD to 400 AD.

    The history of the OT is explained very well by Karen Armstrong in A History of God. A sneak preview of that explanation can be gleaned from this video and continued here. Note that the "Jewish Bible" includes a lot of material from cultures before the Jewish one, including (off the top of my head) Sumerian, Egyptian and Canaanite religious mythology.

    Judaism took a new turn with the arrival of Jesus (so the story goes) and branched off into a whole new franchise which generated a flurry of new stories during the collapse of the Roman Empire. Lots of detail about those books can be found by Googling for Bart Ehrman's books or videos.

    Individual contributions

    For the OT, writing style and other historic details lead researchers to believe that its books were created mostly by 5 main authors, whom we know only by letters assigned to them. That they were all written by Moses is part of the myth and not supported by the evidence. These guys didn't just neatly write one chunk each, but later ones redacted the work of earlier ones for consistency and updated ideology. For example, early versions supported ideas about multiple gods.

    The NT consists of letters ("epistles") by Paul of Tarsus, undoubtedly Christianity's greatest PR man, who worked hard to get followers of Christ in the Roman Empire to adhere to a common story; and of a selected and vetted subset of the "Jesus stories" ("gospels") written by (presumably) 4 main authors. These authors are known by names identical to those of 4 of Jesus' apostles but we can be pretty sure they weren't the same people. As best we know, the gospel authors never met Jesus personally, as they all wrote decades after his death. Many, many other gospels were not included. There's also some other material whose origin I don't remember - consult Ehrmann or Wikipedia for that!


    This is a summary off the top of my head. I probably botched up some details. Corrections welcome!

u/NomadicVagabond · 5 pointsr/religion

First of all, can I just say how much I love giving and receiving book recommendations? I was a religious studies major in college (and was even a T.A. in the World Religions class) so, this is right up my alley. So, I'm just going to take a seat in front of my book cases...


  1. A History of God by Karen Armstrong

  2. The Great Transformation by Karen Armstrong

  3. Myths: gods, heroes, and saviors by Leonard Biallas (highly recommended)

  4. Natural History of Religion by David Hume

  5. Beyond Tolerance by Gustav Niebuhr

  6. Acts of Faith by Eboo Patel (very highly recommended, completely shaped my view on pluralism and interfaith dialogue)

  7. The Evolution of God by Robert Wright


  8. Tales of the End by David L. Barr

  9. The Historical Jesus by John Dominic Crossan

  10. Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography by John Dominic Crossan

  11. The Birth of Christianity by John Dominic Crossan

  12. Who Wrote the New Testament? by Burton Mack

  13. Jesus in America by Richard Wightman Fox

  14. The Five Gospels by Robert Funk, Roy W. Hoover, and the Jesus Seminar (highly recommended)

  15. Remedial Christianity by Paul Alan Laughlin


  16. The Jewish Mystical Tradition by Ben Zion Bokser

  17. Who Wrote the Bible? by Richard Elliot Friedman


  18. Muhammad by Karen Armstrong

  19. No God but God by Reza Aslan

  20. Approaching the Qur'an: The Early Revelations by Michael Sells


  21. Buddha by Karen Armstrong

  22. Entering the Stream ed. Samuel Bercholz & Sherab Chodzin Kohn

  23. The Life of Milarepa translated by Lobsang P. Lhalungpa

  24. Introduction to Tibetan Buddhism by John Powers

  25. Zen Flesh, Zen Bones compiled by Paul Reps (a classic in Western approached to Buddhism)

  26. Buddhist Thought by Paul Williams (if you're at all interested in Buddhist doctrine and philosophy, you would be doing yourself a disservice by not reading this book)


  27. The Essential Chuang Tzu trans. by Sam Hamill & J.P. Seaton


  28. Atheism by Julian Baggini

  29. The Future of an Illusion by Sigmund Freud

  30. Doubt: A History by Jennifer Michael Hecht

  31. When Atheism Becomes Religion by Chris Hedges

  32. Atheism: The Case Against God by George H. Smith
u/Bab5crusade · 5 pointsr/Christianity

Actually there is a good book that answers your question.

Here is an 15 video summarizing the ideals of the book that the current god came from a mixture from the polytheistic gods of Canaanites and Babylonians.

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/Not-That-Other-Guy · 5 pointsr/Bakersfield

Attended valley baptist over a decade, rarely to never would they care about politics to that level, especially during a main service. to be entirely fair Southern Baptist Convention leadership is pretty anti-trump,

u/mandalorethecold · 5 pointsr/CringeAnarchy

There is several logical proofs of his existence such as Aristotle's or the Aquinas proof.

u/DJSpook · 5 pointsr/TrueChristian

I commend you to start doing some personal research on acquainting yourself with the literature defending the rational justifiability of Christianity. The work of professional analytic philosophers persuaded of Christianity like William Lane Craig and Edward Feser would be, I think, indispensable to your intellectual development if you would give them a chance. has amassed tons of material answering just about anything you could ask about or argue against Christianity (see the Q&A section, popular articles section and podcasts). His work Reasonable Faith sets out a defense of Christianity in general, offers various defenses of God's existence and explicates the historical evidence for some of the New Testament's most central claims (such as the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth).

Edward Feser's latest book Five Proofs of the Existence of God systematically defends the five most historically significant arguments for the existence of God, which have survived scrutiny and enjoyed wide assent for centuries, the present ignorance of which in mainstream atheism and academic philosophy says nothing about the arguments themselves and everything about the (pitiful) state of contemporary philosophy (not to mention the quality of religious discourse today). His book The Last Superstition is a more approachable but less ambitious project rebutting the arguments of and generally responding to the "new atheist" movement (championed by Richard Dawkins and his ilk).

It so happens that Dr. Feser was an atheist for about 10 years after he began his studies of philosophy and, subsequently, he experienced a complete shift of paradigm that he attributes to his studies of the arguments for God's existence and the general truth of Christianity. That's not to say he must be right or that he's therefore impervious to bias, but I hope it helps cast doubt on the popular atheist assertion that Christian belief can only consist in emotion-driven fideism.

I wouldn't expect to find every conclusion of both of these writers to be compelling or convincing (I personally disregard Craig's arguments from contemporary astrophysics simply on the grounds that the science they adduce is subject to future revision, for example), but the general impression I hope this will make to you is that extremely intelligent, reflective Christians who can offer an articulate and well-reasoned defense of their beliefs aren't hard to find.

David Bently Hart and C.S. Lewis would also be worth looking into.

As for critiquing the atheistic worldview indirectly, I think the points made in this essay are quite salient. In it it is argued that atheism is impossible to be lived out consistently and that, therefore, no self-described atheist is capable of manifesting logical consistency in their lifestyle or with respect to the peripheries of their belief systems and fundamental presuppositions about the value of human life, the meaningfulness of the concept of morality, and so on.

I should also add that educating yourself on theology in a systematic fashion would be extremely helpful in learning to defend Christianity (after all, you can't really defend an idea you have yet to completely understand or define). There's a long lecture series on under the "defenders class" with a curriculum on theology that I think would be an excellent resource and, perhaps, a place to start.

I'm also open to talking to you if you're interested. God bless!

u/the_brainwashah · 5 pointsr/DebateReligion

So, to summarize the discussion so far:

Your claim:
>People who take the Scriptures as authoritative accounts of God's plans have evidence in their own terms for what God's plan is.

Counter-claim (with source, including brief description of what the source tells us):
> The Bible fails to answer the question of evil/why we suffer. Excellent book you should be reading right this very second right now

Your claim:
>Actually you just added a claim to it – “The Bible fails to answer the question of evil/why we suffer” – that plenty of people, including me, reject.

He didn't actually add a claim to his response, he was responding to your claim that scriptures address the problem of evil. You have yet to provide evidence for your claim that scriptures address the problem of evil.

Your claim:
>A case would need to be the made for this claim because many who hold the free will defense, especially those in the Calvinist tradition, don't find the claim convincing.

>Free will or not, this still leaves the question of natural evil (volcanoes, EQs etc.) addressed.

>I won't go deep into freewill, however, the question still remains why god would allow the free will of someone to be infringed by another human's own free will. Furthermore, god is still supposed to be all-powerful and all-knowing and thus be able to advert such acts of free will.

Your counter:
>Not necessarily: it depends on the theodicy in question.

Includes no link to debate, nor even a one-sentence description of what the debate it about:
>Since you like Erhman, I suggest listening to his debate with Richard Swinburne on the subject of evil. The program is too short for natural evils to be addressed, but the freewill of others causing harm to others is addressed.

The only claims that remain unaddressed are your own. We have two claims: one, that scriptures address the problem of evil; and two, that free will is a defense of the problem of evil.

Bonus points if you can tie the two claims together to show us that scriptures say that free will is a defense for the problem of evil.

My guess is that you won't be able to win the bonus points.

u/Flyby34 · 5 pointsr/Christianity

Hell is one of many areas that Christians have a good deal of disagreement and/or uncertainty about.

One Christian approach to the question of hell is the hope or belief that everyone will go to heaven, which is known as universalism. This theory was raised by Origen in the 3rd century, so it's an idea almost as old as Christianity itself. A good assessment of universalism by a Catholic priest is here. A Protestant pastor named Rob Bell published a book on this topic last year, which generated plenty of debate among Christians.

In response to your suggestion that a more just God would put everyone in heaven, imagine a hockey game where the referee didn't send any player to the penalty box, even if some players were committing lots of hockey sins. Would this seem like a just hockey game to you?

u/ThidwickTBHM · 5 pointsr/exmormon

Do you have time to check out the Rob Bell book, Love Wins

So many good things there. Like the fact that the real story of the prodigal son is the fit the good son throws when the prodigal son returns. Or the story of the rich man who asks for a drink of water in hell. He's still so stuck in the world that he demands people serve him -- in hell! Take you a few hours to read it, tops, and it has such lovely universalist doctrine in it that it makes most mormons squirm a little.

My favorite go-to is always the "Whom does Jesus say to love in the first great commandment?"

37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

38 This is the first and great commandment.

39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

Point out that there are three people you're supposed to love. God, your neighbor, and yourself. And how many people forget about the yourself bit, and how important it is to live an authentic life of self-respect and courage.

u/ErrantThought · 5 pointsr/OpenChristian

I recommend Rob Bell's Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived. He reexamines the descriptions of hell in the bible (in context, in the original languages) and presents a fresh (and much more compassionate) view of hell.

u/GregoireDeNarek · 5 pointsr/Christianity

A recent work by David Bentley Hart, The Experience of God is well worth reading (it is more philosophical than its title lets on).

Ed Feser's The Last Superstition is good and I would also recommend his Scholastic Metaphysics.

u/infinityball · 5 pointsr/mormon

I suggest starting with the book The Experience of God by David Bentley Hart (here). It's a book that attempts to show what the major religious traditions traditionally meant by "God." It's extremely different from Mormon God and very eye-opening.

I remain chiefly interested in Christianity. I also have difficulty saying what I believe is "factually true" about Christ's life, but I find myself drawn toward Christ as a person: his wisdom, humility, and love. In short, I continue to desire to be a disciple, even if I operate with less certainty than I used to. Christ, as the archetype of the Good Man, resonates with me. For now, for me, that's enough.

u/trolling2day1 · 5 pointsr/exchristian
u/Shoeshine-Boy · 5 pointsr/TrueAtheism

Personal research, mostly. I'm a big history nerd with a slant toward religion and other macabre subject matter. I'm actually not as well read as I'd like to be on these subjects, and I basically blend different sources into a knowledge smoothie and pour it out onto a page and see what works for me and what doesn't.

I'll list a few books I've read that I enjoyed. There are certainly more here and there, but these are the "big ones" I was citing when writing all the comments in this thread. I typically know more about Christianity than the other major faiths because of the culture around me.

Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years - Diarmaid MacCulloch

A History of God: The 4,000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam - Karen Armstrong

The next two balance each other out quite well. Hardline anti-theism contrasted with "You know, maybe we can make this work".

The Case for God - Karen Armstrong

The God Delusion - Richard Dawkins

Lately, I have been reading the Stoics, which like Buddhism, I find to be one of the more personally palatable philosophies of mind I have come across, although I find rational contemplation a bit more accessible to my Westernized nature.

Stoic Philosophy of Seneca: Essays and Letters - Translated by Moses Hadas

Discourses and Selected Writings (of Epictetus) - Translated by Robert Dobbin

The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius - Translated by George Long

I'm still waiting on Fed Ex to deliver this one:

A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy - William B. Irvine

Also, if you're into history in general, a nice primer for what sorts of things to dive into when poking around history is this fun series on YouTube. I usually watch a video then spend a while reading more in depth about whatever subject is covered that week in order to fill the gaps. Plus, John and Hank are super awesome. The writing is superb and I think, most importantly, he presents an overall argument for why studying history is so important because of its relevance to current events.

Crash Course: World History - John Green

u/MrPeligro · 5 pointsr/DebateAChristian

That's not much of an argument. A better source. Here's a book by a christian theologian that talks about the history of God. I still find it surprising she remains christian after this, but shes a theologian. Most theologians find evidence to contradict their beliefs but ignore it anyway.

Delusion for sure.

u/tikael · 4 pointsr/Borderlands

Well, it may help to understand that when judaism first formed it was out of many folk stories that were then woven together to create a singular culture to motivate the judean people to "reclaim" their land in the north (Israel). Part of this was to make stories connecting the two peoples (the exodus and conquest of Canaan), but also it was changing the nature of God. Elohist sources seem to favor the northern part of Canaan (Israel), while Jahwist sources favor southern Canaan (Judea). It appears that over time the Jahwist way of thinking overtook the whole of the religion, changing it from the pagan or pseudo pagan Elohism into more modern Judaism by singling out Jahweh as the one true god or the true nature of god. There are a couple of very good reads on the subject, A History of God (which is summarized fairly well by this video, though I'm sure there are other summaries out there.) and The Bible Unearthed (which takes a look more at the cultures that the stories originated in and the archeological evidence we use to determine whether parts of the bible are reliable, in short some of the figures probably existed but nearly the entirety of exodus is unreliable as a history).

u/Zamboniman · 4 pointsr/DebateAnAtheist

There have been purported holy books written since probably ten minutes after writing was invented for the first time.

We know that many of the myths in the bible were copied from earlier myths. We know that many of the parts of the bible are the same story rewritten by different people.

There are many excellent sources of study in how the bible came about. You may be interested in beginning with something like Karen Armstrong or Google the various wonderful books on the subject.

The current original version of the bible, not accounting for various translations and changes in interpretation and by subsequent councils and dictatoral decree for various political reasons, was crafted during the Council of Nicaea in 325 AD where various decisions were made by voting about what content to put in, ignore, avoid, etc.

u/Chiparoo · 4 pointsr/TrueAtheism

A History of God, by Karen Armstrong

It's a history of how the concept of a single deity came to be, and how Christianity and Islam came to branch off Judaism.

Note: this isn't an "atheist" book per se, but an academic one revealing some great facts about the evolution of religion.

u/zelphthewhite · 4 pointsr/exmormon

I think most Mormon kids outside of Utah/Idaho/Arizona are more sensitive to these things on balance because they tend to have more friends and acquaintances who are from diverse backgrounds. But not always.

BYU is like Mormonism on crack -- situated right in the middle of Mormon culture -- and exhibits all the worst tendencies, insular viewpoints, and navel gazing that zealously-lived Mormonism can offer.

Be assured that this isn't unique to Mormons or BYU. After reading The Unlikely Disciple: A Sinner's Semester at America's Holiest University, you get the sense that most hardcore religious universities suffer from similar problems.

u/EACCES · 4 pointsr/Christianity

This series can keep you busy: The New Testament and the People of God/ Christian Origins and the Question of God, Vol.1

Wright has lots of other good (and shorter) stuff too. He's a retired Anglican bishop.

u/digifork · 4 pointsr/Catholicism

Here are two scholarly books for you:

u/hedgeson119 · 4 pointsr/TrueAtheism

This is something that has become quite popular, I know Eric Hovind and Sye Ten Bruggencate love this apologetic, see Bruggencate's webpage.

This is also known by some theists as the "Road Runner Tactic" (as popularized in "I don't have enough Faith to be an atheist" by Frank Turek and Norman Geisler) it exists not so much to prove you wrong as to derail the conversation. As above you can pretty much say the same thing with with different words and it becomes logically valid.

For a review of the book and a deconstruction of it from an atheist's view check out this series.

u/AmaziaTheAmazing · 4 pointsr/mildlyinteresting

Hey, no need to be offensive now. I'm merely stating that this man is using weak and shallow analogies as proof that God exists. If you want some solid food for thought, look into the book I don't have enough faith to be an atheist it will really make you think.

u/fatkid1371 · 4 pointsr/Christianity

I would suggest I Don't Have Enough Faith To Be An Atheist by Norman L. Geisler and Frank Turek. It's kind of an all in one and a good place to start.

u/penguinland · 4 pointsr/atheism

Zeitgeist is full of misinformation; do not rely on it as a source. If you want a thorough debunking, start here (admittedly, that's a very long read, because there's so much to debunk).

The Old Testament (Torah) is a collection from several different sources, including Babylonian and Canaanite mythology. Here's a decent overview, and I suggest you read its source, A History of God by Karen Armstrong, for details.

u/plong42 · 4 pointsr/AcademicBiblical

The N. T. Wright Christian Origins and the Question of God series are all $4.99 each. If you purchased the print copies at some time in the past, they are only $2.99. Whether you love or hate Wright, all four of these are excellent and a great value at a mere $5.

New Testament People God

Jesus Victory of God

Resurrection Son of God

Paul and the Faithfulness of God: Two Book Set, Biggest bang for your buck.

u/jjanczy62 · 4 pointsr/Catholicism

Its interesting but there's a lot that needs to be unpacked.

>Can I prove that God exists?

Well that depends on what is meant by "prove." Does Peter mean, "Can I prove God exists by scientific means?" Is so then of course the answer is "No." Now if he means "Can I provide a solid philosophical or logical proof for the existence of God?" Then I'd have to say that it is quite possible to prove God's existence.

Ed Feser's book Five Proofs for the Existence of God does a great job of summarizing some of the available proofs, as well as some of the more potent objections against them.

Of course it goes without saying the St. Thomas Aquinas provided 5 very good metaphysical arguments (read proofs) for His existence.

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/YoungModern · 4 pointsr/DebateCommunism

My impression is that the most prominent objection of an orthodox Marxist to characterising what they believe as "religion" would be that they are operating with objective, materialist, ontological naturalist, scientific criteria, and that reject revelation, faith, spirit, supernaturalism and mysticism. Under orthodox Marxism, the concept of science encompasses a much broader definition than most modern philosophers of science or scientists accept, particularly those working in the analytic tradition. Here's non-Marxist radical socialist Noam Chomsky on the concept of "Marxism".

The various definitions and connotations that terms like "religious" hold are situated in a social and cultural context which changes over time. It's matter of semantics, and comes across from the Latin root of the word "religion" in "religio" meaning "obligation, bond, reverence" and "religare" meaning "to bind" . For example, existentially speaking, committing oneself wholly to the revolutionary cause would be considered religious form of life in Kierkegaardian terms. If you aren't already familiar with what I mean, I suggest looking up Kierkegaard. Sartre was attacked by many orthodox Marxists for trying defining the purity of Marxist philosophy with his existentialist philosophy.

Some Christian philosophers, like John Macmurray, endorse Marx's critique of religion as a valid critique of institutional and established religion as false-religion, much in the same way that Kierkegaard rejected the established church. Atheist Marxists like Zizek and Badiou claim that Christianity is the foundation of the only true form of atheism, that Calvinist soteriology provides the model for earthly salvation, and that the Saint Paul the apostle is the founder of universalism and the left tradition. Terry Eagleton is another prominent Christian Marxist who emphasises the political revolutionary character of Jesus. I'd recommend his Reason, Faith, Revolution and Why Marx Was Right as better introduction to Marxism for where you are coming from than simply diving into Capital etc.

It's often pointed out that Marx was an eschatological thinker. However, these tend to gloss over Marx's view of theory of praxis as dynamic. Even so, many Marxists and anti-Marxists alike take their cues from Carl Schmitt in viewing all political traditions as being historically derived from theological traditions.

When speaking of Marx and "Marxists", it always pays to remember Marx's famous quote: "what is certain is that I myself am not a 'Marxist' ".

u/FooFighterJL · 3 pointsr/DebateReligion

>That's not any more arrogant than knowing the contents of your football coach's playbook and stating this to be the case.

The Bible fails to answer the question of evil/why we suffer. Excellent book you should be reading right this very second right now

So my point that people saying 'its gods plan' still stands because its assuming to know the mind of god/gods plan.

>A case would need to be the made for this claim because many who hold the free will defense, especially those in the Calvinist tradition, don't find the claim convincing.

Free will or not, this still leaves the question of natural evil (volcanoes, EQs etc.) addressed.

I won't go deep into freewill, however, the question still remains why god would allow the free will of someone to be infringed by another human's own free will. Furthermore, god is still supposed to be all-powerful and all-knowing and thus be able to advert such acts of free will.

u/spinozasrobot · 3 pointsr/atheism
u/ransom00 · 3 pointsr/Christianity

>If we are as freely able choose as God, how is God punished if he fails to love us? In fact, how is God punished for failing to love Esau? Just as it is written: “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.” (Romans 9:13)

I don't really understand your sentence. How does our ability to choose have to do with God being punished? Or even with us being punished?
We only punish ourselves by not choosing God, since it keeps us from living the abundant life we could have if we did.

As for Jacob and Esau, that's a quote of Malachi 1. In that prophecy, God is answering Israel's claim that God hasn't loved them, but showing how he has favored them in land over "Esau," which means the Edomites. Esau was understood to be the father of that people group. This doesn't mean that God literally hated the person Esau.

Likewise in Romans, Paul is quoting that to make a theological point about who is "in" as regards Israel, saying that simply being a physical descendant of Abraham doesn't make you a part of the family. It also shows that God in his wisdom chooses certain people for certain purposes, and that that is God's free choice.

Thus, this has nothing to do with whether or not God actually loved the actual person Esau. God clearly loves all people and wants them to love him back (1 Tim 2:4, for example).

>And who was the ultimate author of that temptation. Who allowed the serpent into the garden just as he allowed Satan to torture Job?

God does not tempt us (James 1:13). Satan does, because God allows him to. (I'm not sure I believe in a literal powerful evil being like Satan, but I do believe in evil spiritual forces.) Permitting something to happen is not the same as causing it. As for Job, God only allowed Job to be so tempted, because he had confidence that Job would remain faithful and not curse God.

>There you go again with that word "naturally", as though Jesus had nothing to do with it. Jesus personally cursed Adam and Eve for eating of the fruit (Genesis 3).

First of all, why do you keep referring to Jesus as the agent here? Jesus means the Second Person of the Trinity incarnate in a man, which hadn't yet happened...

God is not the "first cause of sin." Humans are the ones who sinned. God did not make them do so. God enforced the consequences of sinning, which are "natural" in the sense that they are a necessary consequence of doing things our way instead of God's way. I suppose you could get into the theoretical questions about whether or not God had to have created the universe in such a way that disobedience led to certain consequences, but that's a pointless question since there is no way to know the answer.

Per your obvious anger about God's command that they kill, I don't have an obvious answer. It's confusing to me, too. I could hazard a guess, but I'm not sure I even believe that, so I won't.

>Matthew 7:13-14 says that only a few humans will ever be saved. What kind of a dip shit god can only manage a .125 batting average?

That isn't exactly what it says. God doesn't manage a saved/unsaved batting average. God draws all people to himself, but some people refuse to accept him. Jesus isn't saying God damns anyone to the road that leads to destruction, he just says few people find it. If you've been outside of your house recently, you'll probably notice not many people are finding that road based on the number of assholes in the world.

Also, there are several people who think that eventually all will be saved. I'm not sure I buy that argument, but it is a viable option I think. Check out the book Love Wins for a very recent expression of it. (He makes good points, but his writing style is atrocious.)

Finally, we are under the curse of sin without our choosing, but it was our "parents" in the human race who caused that to be, not God. God is working out it in his time frame, but there are signs of the way things are in many miracles as well as acts of love and service in the name of Jesus. God, in his mercy, allows the human race to continue so that his church can witness to his name in hopes that all will be saved. Eventually, Jesus will return to inaugurate his reign whether anyone likes it or not, but when that will be no one knows.

u/TheDGJ · 3 pointsr/todayilearned

I recently read a fantastic book on just this subject - Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived. Written by a fairly progressive minister, its about how little of what most popular Christian discourse on judgment and afterlife is actually founded in scripture.

I thought it was great. Currently has 3.5 stars on Amazon; I'd bet a nickel that many of the 161 1-star reviews are from fundamentalists who disagree with his message.

edit: 3 minute youtube teaser -

u/sirsam · 3 pointsr/AskHistorians

> Were there/are there today sects of Christianity that don't emphasize hell very much, if at all?

There are actually Christians that don't believe in Hell (Unitarian Universalists come to mind), but that's not true of most denominations that you'll encounter in the US. A pastor named Rob Bell actually published a book recently which suggested that all people might be eventually saved, even after death. It was controversial, and he got torn to shreds by some better biblical scholars.

But that's all very current and you're asking more about the development of the doctrine. I suggest reposting this question in /r/Christianity; there are many scholars there better educated than I, and I'm sure it would provoke some excellent discussion.

u/BayronDotOrg · 3 pointsr/changemyview

> I know people will say "but some Christians support gays rights" yes, that's absolutely, but this support come from cherry picking the Bible.


One thing to understand is that just about every perspective about the bible is the result of cherry picking. The argument goes something like this:


  • Person A: "The teachings in the bible are good!" (insert verses about love and acceptance)

  • Person B: "You're ignoring all the bad stuff." (insert verses about sin and judgment)


    Both people here are ignoring the verses that don't support their positions. If you're going to use Leviticus, then Christianity doesn't hate you any more than it hates people who braid their hair, shave their beards, sell their land, or eat animal fat. How is it that Christians don't see any of those things as sin, but homosexuality is? That's a human distinction, not a biblical one.


    The bible isn't the divinely inspired word of God, it's not inerrant, and it never claims to be. People made that claim long after it was written. It's best to think of the Bible not as a book of ultimate truth, but as a library of poems, letters, songs, and myths that we can use to make sense of our experience.


    It's the menu, not the meal.


    I feel your reservations about respecting the religion are grounded in a pushback against those who think every word of their modern, 20th Century English translation of these ancient texts is to be taken at face value and followed to the tee.


    This simply isn't how the religion is supposed to work.


    More and more of us are moving to a place where we don't think of God as a fixed point, but as more of a direction. And so we no longer see Christianity as a fixed set of lifestyle choices and beliefs, but as a fluid, ever-evolving journey to connect with the Divine.


    The Greek word "Theos" comes from the Greek "Theo" which means to run or flow.
    Our word Spirit comes from the Latin "spirare," meaning breath. The very idea of God is one of movement, rhythm, oscillation, expansion and contraction. When living organisms stop doing these things, it's because they're dead. So whenever an institution sets out to crystallize God, it starts killing God.


    BUT, books like Rob Bell's Love Wins and John Philip Newell's The Rebirthing of God paint a more optimistic picture of the future of the Christian faith - a future in which Christianity is understood to be a living, breathing organism that continues to evolve and mature.


    I guess my point in saying all this is that I think your real problem is with the bible, not the religion, so don't throw the baby out with the bathwater. You quoted a couple verses in Matthew about the law, but you missed this one: "Do to others what you want them to do to you. This is the meaning of the law of Moses and the teaching of the prophets." That basically says if you read the law and consequently become a bigot, you've missed the whole point.


    Don't think Christianity is about bigotry, just because a shitload of Christians do. Yes, Moses wrote a list of rules for the Levites to follow, and yes, Paul wrote a letter with commandments to a church in Corinth. But there's no reason to act as though those letters were written to us. "Person A told Person B that God wanted them to do X 2000 years ago, therefore God also wants me to do X today." That's ridiculous, and a lot of us have come to realize that.


    Humanity has evolved in the past 2000 years, and Christianity is admittedly a bit slow on the uptake, but we're evolving too. So instead of writing it off as hateful and destructive, I'd follow Wayne Gretzky's famous advice, and look where the puck is going, rather than where it is.
u/Zaerth · 3 pointsr/DebateAChristian

It's understandable, and in truth, I thank you for pressing me. This was a good dialogue and helped for me to articulate what I actually believe. I know you're an atheist, but if you're interested in the subject, there are two books that I have not read yet (but I've ordered them!) that kind of follow my line of thinking:

  • "Love Wins" by Rob Bell. Bell got a lot of flak when this came out, and I'm sure some of may have been justified. However, he was also stirring the pot on a controversial subject. From what I've gathered, he leans towards universalism, i.e. everyone eventually goes to heaven, which I do not espouse.

  • "Hell, A Final Word: The Surprising Truths I Found in the Bible," by Edward Fudge. Fudge and I went to the same alma mater, so I'm familiar with his view. Like him, I tend towards annihilationism, which is that "hell" is not too different than what most atheists believe will happen when they die.
u/the_real_jones · 3 pointsr/Christianity

First I would point out that depending on your background you may be under the assumption that there is a dichotomy between the Bible and science. The reality is when you place the Bible in its proper context such a dichotomy need not exist. Secondly, I would recommend David Bentley Hart's The Experience of God. Hart points out the flaw of the strict materialism of the new atheists and shows how it is a flawed philosophical approach that most of the new atheists take (often without even being aware it) which prevents moral outrage and ultimately undercuts most of the new atheists arguments against theism. Much of his argumentation comes from being both a theologian and a scholar of Nietschze. The reason I bring this book up is the issue that I'm seeing in your post is that you seem to be moving towards this materialist philosophy. I should note that this book is an apologetics book (a discipline I don't care for) but rather a philosophy book. Ultimately Hart even argues that an atheism that is not founded on materialism actually has the ability to have profound moral outrage. I hope that this will help you navigate your journey, whatever path you end up taking.

u/TheFlyingBastard · 3 pointsr/exjw

A History of God, the real version. ;-)

u/tonytwobits · 3 pointsr/Christianity

I am at 3 years and counting. I am now 24. I am in the same boat as you in some ways. I NEVER thought that I could be an atheist and was incredibly involved in the church. I fully believed it and VERY much enjoyed it. Youth group, men's group, worship team, mission trips the whole works. But now, like you it is hard for me to imagine being swayed back.

For a while I wanted it to be true. After a while that began to fade as I realized how much bigger the world is without the god of the Bible. I am so much happier now. I guess a better way to describe it is I am much more satisfied and feel much more fulfilled about my life. I know it is a bit cheesy and dramatic, but this video had a big effect on me as I became an atheist. One line in particular addressed this feeling of wanting god to be true:
> Could it be that someone promised us something so beautiful that our universe seems dull, empty, even frightening by comparison?

At first that is kind of how I felt. I was promised heaven. I was promised that I was going to live forever with the creator. However, another part of the video addressed this and is one of my favorite lines:

>We were told long ago and for a long time that there was only the Earth—that we were the center of everything. That turned out to be wrong. We still haven’t fully adjusted. We’re still in shock. The universe is not what we expected it to be. It’s not what they told us it would be. This cosmic understanding is all new to us. But there’s nothing to fear. We’re still special. We’re still blessed. And there might yet be a heaven, but it isn’t going to be perfect. And we’re going to have to build it ourselves.

I know that I will never be as sure about my atheism as I was about my Christianity. But I have learned that is a good thing. It was un-healthy how sure I was in Christianity. Nobody can honestly be a true gnostic atheist and that is ok.

I will say however that I can be pretty sure that the god of the Bible is not god, but to say that I am 100% sure that there is no god is a irrational statement to say.

I did a lot of studying as I was becoming an atheist. Honestly I know the Bible better now that I ever did as a Christian. The more I learned the more unsure I was about Christianity.

There is a book you might like. It is called a A History of God. I am reading it right now and it is very good and I recommend it.

How do you feel now as a atheist? About life? About yourself? I am just wondering because I wonder if it was some of the same things I felt. I like talking to people as they are changing their world view in one way or another :)

u/plissken627 · 3 pointsr/DebateReligion

Am I still going to believe the bible is the errant man-made inspired word of with all of the [contradictions,]
( cruelty and violence, absurdity intolerance etc, and that's just in the new testament, don't even get me started on the old testament (it's on the sidebar in that site.)

And the the fact that it is generally agreed by archaeologists, historians and theology studies and evidence that the Israelite religion was derived from Babylonian polytheistic mythology.

u/EntropyFighter · 3 pointsr/AcademicBiblical

This is from "A History of God" by Karen Armstrong (pp. 20-21 in the paperback version).

> The Israelites called Yahweh "the God of our fathers," yet it seems that he may have been quite a different deity from El, the Canaanite High God worshiped by the patriarchs. He may have been the god of other people before he became the God of Israel. In all his early appearances to Moses, Yahweh insists repeatedly and at some length that he is indeed the God of Abraham, even though he had originally been called El Shaddai. This insistence may preserve the distant echoes of a very early debate about the identity of the God of Moses. It has been suggested that Yahweh was originally a warrior god, a god of volcanoes, a god worshiped in Midian, in what is now Jordan.^17 We shall never know where the Israelites discovered Yahweh, if indeed he was a completely new deity. Again this would be a very important question for us today, but it was not so crucial for the biblical writers. In pagan antiquity, gods were often merged and amalgamated, or the gods of one locality accepted as identical with the god of another people. All we can be sure of is that, whatever his provenance, the events of the Exodus made Yahweh the definitive God of Israel and that Moses was able to convince the Israelites that he really was the one and the same El, the God beloved by Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

^17 - L.E. Bihu, "Midianite Elements in Hebrew Religion," Jewish Theological Studies, 31; Salo Wittermeyer Baron, A Social and Religious History of the Jews, 10 vols., 2nd ed. (New York, 1952-19667), I. p. 46.

It's also worth noting that Yahweh originally was a mid-level deity in a Canaanite religion (as also detailed in the Karen Armstrong book and the book "The Evolution of God".) Baal was another mid-level god in this religion, which helps to explain why he's in the Bible. There are poems to El (the high god in the Canaanite religion) that have been found rewritten to be for Yahweh. In a literal sense, gods were transmuting and evolving in this time. This makes the answer to your question likely 'no'. But I'm extrapolating from the referenced sources. It's more like they didn't think about gods the way your question asks about them.

u/Trinition · 3 pointsr/atheism

History of God by Karen Armstrong

u/YankeeRose · 3 pointsr/atheism

Ugh. If you want to get her something she might actually read, consider "A History of God" by Karen Armstrong.

u/Shareandcare · 3 pointsr/TrueAtheism

I've never heard of this book, and I cannot find any other references to the Author 'Filius Venus' which throws up some red flags.

The Native American approach makes me think Mormons, but it could always be something more open in interpretation.

A History of God By Karen Armstrong is reputedly very solid, so whatever claims this book makes should have to line up with her account. Otherwise something strange may be going on.

u/exackerly · 3 pointsr/europe

Interestingly, the most radically orthodox versions of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam are all fairly recent developments, dating back to about the 18th century. Karen Armstrong's A History of God is especially good on this.

u/FuegoHernandez · 3 pointsr/LibertyUniversity

Hate to break it to you but someone did something similar and wrote a book about it over 10 years ago.

It’s a good read. I actually know some of the guys he lived with while in the dorms. They were juniors and seniors when I was a freshman. This guy actually got to give Dr Falwell his last interview before he died if you can believe that.

The TL/DR version of the book is he basically concludes that Liberty students have the same struggles and same desires as any other college student in America.

u/HXn · 3 pointsr/Christianity

You should read The Prodigal God.

From a review: "Keller's approachable treatise tackles the parable of the Prodigal Son as it relates to Christians, most especially those who have come to believe that the church is fraught with hypocrisy. He reinterprets the parable to show that the Christian church is made up of "younger brothers" (those who are wayward, stubborn, and unfaithful) and "elder brothers" (those who are haughty, jealous, and close-minded) as a way of understanding how the younger brothers become alienated from the elder-brother-run church community."

u/tomtwopointoh · 3 pointsr/Christianity

The Gospel. The Gospel. The Gospel.

It's what separates Christianity from religion.

I listen to this capture of it on audiobook relatively once a month.

u/kingpatzer · 3 pointsr/Christianity

I believe in the reality of the possibility, but I have a hope based in a merciful God that it is not actualized.

Basically, my answer is go read your von Balthasar

u/Gunnar_Grautnes · 3 pointsr/changemyview

>This leads me to two possible conclusions:

  1. Christianity is not true.
  2. Christianity is true, but being a Christian is not required to go to Heaven. It is more about being a good person that gets you to heaven. And you don't need religion to be a good person. This verse possibly backs it up: John 3:17 - "For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him." If belief in Christianity was required, the vast majority of the world's population that lived from 30 AD to 2018 would go to Hell. Sounds like condemning the world from a cruel God. Not saving the world from a loving God.

    These options do not seem exhaustive. For example, it could (logically) be the case that all people go to heaven, not just the ones who lived good lives on earth. You find individual thinkers and traditions throughout the history of Christianity that have endorsed or entertained this option, including in antiquity Origen and in the modern day John Hick. Prominent Catholic theologian (with an awesome name) Hans Urs von Balthasar wrote a famous book on the issue:

    As for the second option, this is one that has been very seriously entertained by Christians at various points. One of the most important documents to come out of the Second Vatican Council (Vatican II) was the Lumen Gentium. (Not to be confused with the Lumen from The Strain) Lumen Gentium declares that:

    >Nor is God remote from those who in shadows and images seek the unknown God, since he gives to all men life and breath and all things (cf. Acts 17:25-28), and since the Saviour wills all men to be saved (cf. 1 Tim 2:4). Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience—those too may achieve eternal salvation.

    (Lumen Gentium can be found here: )

    This is also an issue that many protestant theologians have thought seriously about. (Although until at least the 17th century, the official Lutheran position was that all people had heard the Gospel, since Jesus in Acts says to the disciples that "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." (Acts 1:8) ) There have been various proposals from more or less serious theologians, such as that Jesus during the three days spent with the dead preached to them, thus offering a path to salvation by hearing the gospel to those already dead.

    >If belief in Christianity was required, the vast majority of the world's population that lived from 30 AD to 2018 would go to Hell.

    Those who view belief in Christianity as required tend also to view going to hell as the default option for members of a sinful humanity. That is, to them, the alternative to Christianity would not be everybody going to heaven, but everybody going to hell. As such, the scenario you describe definitely seems preferable, even as the best of two really bad scenarios for humanity.

    >If Christianity is not required, then what is the point of being a Christian? If it is easy, if you enjoy being Christian, then no problem. But what if it is hard? Your motivation begins to fade once you realize it is not required.

    You seem to assume that the only viable motivation for being a Christian is the expectation of hedonist rewards. Pleasure is not the only reason to do things, and it is not the only goal with which we act in our everyday lives. For example, there is the goal of truth. If the doctrines of Christianity are true, then that should by itself be a reason to believe them. Another reason might be gratitude. If God has created a world where everyone goes to heaven, then that seems to be a pretty good reason to display (authentic) gratitude towards God. Following God's commands and worshipping God seems to be pretty good ways of expressing such gratitude. I'm sure there are many other potential reasons.
u/WoollyMittens · 3 pointsr/TrueAtheism

That's literally an argument I've seen made, I think in "Not enough faith to be an Atheist."

u/ioinc · 3 pointsr/atheism

I actually read the book..

u/Anenome5 · 3 pointsr/Christianity

Here's a good start: [I Don't Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist](

I too was raised Lutheran, and I too am a man of science, logic, fact. I've been convinced by the evidence and do not struggle with trust in God.

There is hard evidence out there, ie: Josh McDowell's "Evidence that Demands a Verdict"

And in the philosophic and scientific origins cases in the first book I linked. What also compels me is the case against biogenesis. I have never been able to accept the agnostic argument for how life arises from non-life. Most accept it on the basis of materialism, but materialism is an unproved assertion. And knowing something about chemistry and the function of even the simplest cells, there's no way life can come from the primordial soup they want to imagine it came from.

I also recommend Classic Christianity to escape many of the doctrinal errors you, like me, were likely raised in via Lutheranism (ie: in and out of fellowship via sin, etc.).

Anyway, good luck with your quest for truth. You'll find answers.

u/Blackfire2x · 3 pointsr/worshipleaders

Hey there! So to echo what some have said already we are worshipers created to worship God. Our job as worship leaders is to help, enable and set an atmosphere where people can freely and comfortably come and worship. As a worship leader I have had people complain about song choices and lack of older songs/hymns etc. Jesus is our worship leader and under him is our lead pastor and then we come in the picture. I try to make sure my worship first is done in spirit and truth and is biblically how it was designed for the body. Second, that it aligns with the lead pastors vision for the church. Not everyone will be 100% happy with how we lead and that's okay! My best advice is to be completely respectful and humble when people complain and give advice and don't get defensive but be receptive and ask them more questions on why they think that way and then thank them for their thoughts. After you can pray about it, meet with the pastor to talk about it and take time to genuinely assess what they said and if there is something practical you can do or if you just keep doing what you are doing a pray for them. If you haven't read the book "Worship Matters" by Bob Kaughlin I would encourage you to. Great resource for all worship leaders/pastors.

Praying for you man and that God will reveal himself more and more to you as you lead people into his presence

u/WertFig · 3 pointsr/Christianity

There are some people, like David Platt, that interpret these verses more strictly than most Christians. I'd say it's something my wife and I struggle with a great deal as well, even though we're saddled with a hefty amount of student loans. I think the Christian life must be committed to giving as much as you can to as many as you can. Does this mean we force ourselves to suffer so that when we stand before God, we can say, "Ha! You owe me!" Absolutely not. We do this from an outpouring of our faith.

Here are some quotes from David Platt on the issue from his book Radical. Keep in mind these are his opinions, but he draws them from his analysis of Scripture.

>What is the difference between someone who willfully indulges in sexual pleasures while ignoring the Bible on moral purity and someone who willfully indulges in the selfish pursuit of more and more material possessions while ignoring the Bible on caring for the poor? The difference is that one involves a social taboo in the church and the other involves a social norm in the church.


>Regardless of what we say or sing or study on Sunday morning, rich people who neglect the poor are not the people of God.


>First, some try to universalize Jesus’ words, saying that he always commands his followers to sell everything they have and give it to the poor. ... The other error is to assume that Jesus never calls his followers to abandon all their possessions to follow him. ... That Jesus did not command all his followers to sell all their possessions gives comfort only to the kind of people to whom he would issue that command.

u/celwell · 3 pointsr/Christianity
u/TroutFarms · 3 pointsr/Christian

I think it has to do with bad language we've been using. I'm a lot more careful in how I talk about it when I preach on this topic ever since I recognized this.

We often refer to the moment when someone chooses to follow God as "being saved" and start referring to those people as "saved" from then on. That's not a biblically sound way to talk about it. The term "born again" has the same problem. I end up using the term "made a decision to follow Christ" which I think more properly conveys the idea; it's not magic words you uttered, it's a commitment you made and you will either follow through on it or not.

David Platt often expounds on this quite well in his sermons on salvation and in his book Radical

u/001Guy001 · 3 pointsr/suggestmeabook

You can check out Karen Armstrong - A History of God and Richard Friedman's books (only old testament I think)

u/MagnusEsDomine · 3 pointsr/Christianity

> From the Bible and from debating religious people.

The Bible doesn't provide this definition of 'religion.' You are admitting you've not read any academic work on religion, right? And how in the world do you have a debate about something of which you are admittedly ignorant? Could you debate English lit without having read the primary sources and scholarship on it? Why assume expertise in a field you're unwilling to engage at any level?

>How is the bible not a novel? You say making claims when you're ignorant isn't ok.. then prove God's existance scientifically right now, or never claim he's real again.

The Bible isn't a novel because it isn't a novel. Why isn't Twilight an epic poem? Because it isn't. It doesn't conform to the characteristics of the genre.

Secondly, why would one look to science, which only studies the physical world, to prove God, who by definition is outside of the physical world? Science's scope is by nature limited to the material and God is by definition immaterial. Science has no means to detect anything beyond the physical. To mistake that method for a metaphysic is one of the great epistemic problems of our age. It's a bit like using a metal detector to find buried pottery and, when no pottery is found (since the metal detector does not detect pottery), claiming there must be no pottery in the ground. It's the wrong tool for the job.

If you're actually curious about philosophical proofs for the existence of God that have been around for ages, Ed Feser just wrote a new book that you should check out. You can find it here.

u/Miragoat · 3 pointsr/atheism

I want to jump in and say that there's (imo) a great book written on the evolution of the three Abrahamic religions, and it's not written with the tone of a religious person. Here's the Amazon page.

u/darksmiles22 · 3 pointsr/atheism

Bart Ehrman's Misquoting Jesus, Karen Armstrong's A History of God abbreviated in part of Evid3nc3's youtube deconversion series though with a few unfounded theological assumptions according to this guy, and Wikipedia articles on the documentary hypothesis and historical Jesus are all good.

P.S. It looks like I am late to the Ehrman and Armstrong parade :(

u/blairop · 3 pointsr/history

Check out Karen Armstrong's books on the subject. Very scholastic yet still original and interesting.

"A History of God" and "Fields of Blood" are great introductions that still get in depth into the subject matter.

Found them to be very good.

u/troutb3 · 3 pointsr/atheism

3.3.3 Atheism: A History of God (Part 1) by Evid3nc3. Very good video. Much of the subject matter is from A History of God by Karen Armstrong.

u/Ellemennohpee · 2 pointsr/atheism

> Also on the first page of Genesis, God says "Let US make humankind in OUR image, according to OUR likeness". Wait, I thought there was only ONE God according to the bible? The "majestic plural" crossed my mind, but that isn't used anywhere else.

Have you ever read A History of God by Karen Armstrong? Amazon Link. It does a good job explaining this.

There are actually tons of references like this in the old-testament/torah to the polytheistic religion that Judaism grew out of.

u/adamwho · 2 pointsr/atheism

For information about how the old testament has been rewritten many times to reflect changing cultures and beliefs see A History of God by Karen Armstrong or a [nice video covering some of the issues](

u/Darth_Whatever · 2 pointsr/Christianity

Karen Armstrong's A History of God

u/Gregoriev · 2 pointsr/explainlikeimfive

The history of Jewish hatred is basically attributed to, as mattosaur said elsewhere in the comments, usury. However, it goes beyond that to another factor (or really set of factors): Jews have, historically, had a (relatively) small, tight-knight, endogamous community with views and practices considered barbaric and something selfish or unaccepting (before the rise of Christianity, the Roman empire charged a Jewish tax after the Roman-Jewish war for those who kept wanting to practice their faith. Before that, though, the mood in Greece and Rome was that all gods had some element of truth to them so they readily embraced other gods, like the Egyptian and British (Welsh now, I guess) pantheons of gods. Judaism has held, since the historic adoption of monotheism into the religion (a fascinating affair by itself, which you can learn more about by reading A History of God by Karen Armstrong or watching it summarized by the YouTuber Evid3nc3 in his wonderfully calming voice), that one of Yahweh's name is Jealous, for he is a jealous god, and that you can hold no others. As a result, they seemed somewhat odd to the all-accepting Romans/Greeks/Egyptians. Christianity obviously disliked Judaism for their lack of accepting of the supposed messiah, Jesus, as well as the issue of usury later on in Europe, and the issues with Blood Libel and the argument that Jews killed Jesus directly.

u/distantocean · 2 pointsr/exchristian

> A conflation of Yahweh and Baal? That doesn’t sound like anything the Bible would condone. Your Brain really is grasping at straws here.

No, actually OP is right about this. You might want to watch this brief video (based on the book A History of God by Karen Armstrong) documenting how they're connected. It's fascinating to see how the god of the Bible evolved from earlier polytheistic religions.

u/Dudesan · 2 pointsr/atheism

Always glad to help.

If it's not available in your Friendly Local Lending Library, check out here:

u/otakuman · 2 pointsr/AskHistorians

I think "A History of God" by Karen Armstrong is a pretty good start; it covers Judaism, Christianity and Islam. About the ancient christian movements before Roman Catholicism, I'd suggest you "Lost Christianities" by Bart D. Ehrman. (In fact, I'd suggest to read all his books, they're awesome)

About the different branches of christianity, I'd suggest you to study the history of the Protestant Reformation. I'm not sure about the history of Christianity in the U.S... here's a wild guess based only on the reviews: A History of Christianity in the United States and Canada by Mark A. Noll.

u/Notasurgeon · 2 pointsr/TrueAtheism

While these are not all specifically about religion, here are a few things that I think everyone should read at some point in their lives.

The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (this is where the term 'paradigm shift' came from).

Karl Popper on politics

Karl Popper on science

Get some historical perspective on the philosophy of science

The Power of Myth

A History of God

u/skankingmike · 2 pointsr/AskReddit
u/ATmega32 · 2 pointsr/exmormon

Here's a shelf cracker for you. I read this book in early 2000's and the similarities within these seemingly different religions are remarkable.

u/Muzak__Fan · 2 pointsr/atheism

Atheist here, but I study the Bible from a cultural/historical perspective. You are correct, but you could expand on the reasoning a little more. In Abraham's time, people were polytheistic (i.e, pagan). Monotheism as a concept had not been developed yet.

Human sacrifice to gods was a common practice then, and families would usually sacrifice their firstborn son because it was believed that the fertility god would use up much of his power on the first child specifically. The sacrifice was thus thought to restore the god's power.

When Abraham was asked to sacrifice Isaac to god (specifically, the god El), he did so without question because this would not be against the norm. At the last minute, El stops the ritual, not just because Abraham had shown his faithfulness, but also to demonstrate that El was more powerful than the other gods at the time and such human sacrifices were unnecessary.

Of course, the basic story itself makes no sense to us now because we project our own sense of morality onto the past, even if we do not understand the context of the time it was written. Still, just because someone is an atheist does not mean he is more educated than the theists who actually believe this stuff. Educate yourself.

Source: A History of God by Karen Armstrong

u/g33n · 2 pointsr/self

I've been asking myself some of the same questions, so I picked up A History of God and started reading.

I don't think there's anything pathological about your experiences or not praying, but the age at which you changed your habits may have something to with it. I was not tremendously religious as a child, but I did something similar - I could never sleep, and would always go down to tell my mom as much, and all she could do was send me back to my room. So, I started trying to banish my demons, literally - I imagined the earth floating in space, demons approaching from all directions, and there I was, in my bed, the sole defense against them. So I'd muster up all of my will and imagine releasing it, a tremendous blue sphere pushing the demons away, back to where they were the night before, so that for the next 24 hours at least the earth would be safe.

I understood even at this young age that these weren't actual demons; I understood that I was creating a metaphor and trying to resolve it in a way that could let me sleep. But I kept doing it night after night, and it didn't help any.

I've realized that, since then, I took to sleeping on my front. I thought it let me sleep easier, but that, too, came at a cost - as an experiment, I tried sleeping on my back again this month, and found myself waking up more quickly, fully, and more refreshed than anytime in the last ten or so years. I think what I had taken to doing was practically suffocating myself to sleep - I think the weight of my body was causing me to breathe more shallowly and fall asleep more easily, but also costing me rest. So I'm back to where I was in my teens: how do I banish the thoughts and worries that plague me at night?

Two responses, then.

One: If you're spiritual, read something like the book I suggested above and take to heart the ideas of a more transcendant deity than the one that Western Christianity favors. God is not personal; it is aspirational.

Two: No matter your religious views, consider practical meditation: prayer, buddhism, thinking about unsolvable problems in your favorite domain (for me, it's P vs. NP). Thinking about something that is impossibly hard to grasp, but that is interesting, can make the buzzing go away and allow you to fall asleep more easily and more peacefully.

I wish you the best.

u/mephistopheles2u · 2 pointsr/exAdventist

Read Karen Armstong's History of God and gain a perspective on how God is a conception (not a perceptiono) of man.

If you want community, try a Unitarian church. Great people and totally open and inclusive with no judgement.

If for some reason you are hung up on Sabbath being the true 7th day, read about the Jewish Calendar and how they kept a lunar Sabbath, not a solar one (even 300 years after the time Jesus is slotted into). So EGWhite's assertion that the Sabbath kept today is the same as creation is utter nonsense.

Give yourself a chance to learn how thoroughly you have been deceived. You will gain a freedom that the church will never provide.

u/PrescottSheldonBush · 2 pointsr/DebateReligion

If I remember correctly, according to this book all the gods crawled out of a "primordial ooze" of some kind. It was polytheism before it was monotheism. That was adopted from another religion that already existed at the time. Here's a video on Youtube that might cover it.

u/Ancient_Dude · 2 pointsr/AcademicBiblical

> Ehrman's The New Testament (amazon link) is one of the more widely used. Ehrman is very much on the "critical" end of critical scholarship, to the extent that his studies led to the weakening and eventual loss of his faith.

Ehrman says it was the problem of suffering rather than his scholarship which led him to become an agnostic with strong leanings towards atheism. See God's Problem: How the Bible Fails to Answer Our Most Important Question--Why We Suffer

u/OtherWisdom · 2 pointsr/Christianity

From a religious perspective (the one in which I agree with) there is When Bad Things Happen to Good People. From a critical perspective there is God's Problem: How the Bible Fails to Answer Our Most Important Question--Why We Suffer

u/gabroll · 2 pointsr/Christianity

For what it's worth, it appears as though a couple people downvoted you, not the enitirety of /r/Christianity.

And I hope to answer your lofty question from an individual's perspective, that is, my own. I cannot speak for anyone else, but I am inclined to believe my faith is shared by Christians who have studied and know their faith, rather than 'cultural Christians' who in my opinion comprise the majority of 'Conservative Right Wing' movements that always get so much air time.

On to my answer. I have heard that all behavior is results driven. This is a larger, more philosophical discussion to be had I'm sure, but let's assume this for the sake of simplicity. Agnosticts, Atheists, Christians, Mormons, Hindus... Our motives may differ in divisive ways, but ultimately they are all for a purpose. A goal. If you look specifically at theists, many are motivated ultimately by fear of judgement or anticipation of reward. Buddhists argue reincarnation to enlightenment, Mormons argue levels of heaven to world ownership, many Christians argue hell to heaven, although I would assume the majority of any of these faith's members do not know well enough the dogmas they both practice and preach.

Being a Christian myself, I am of the inclination that there is a 'reward' and a 'judgement' awaiting each of us, but only as it pertains to our Creator. I should clarify what I mean. I am entirely against the idea of 'heaven' and 'hell' being metaphorical allegories as promoted by a user above (who is not Christian but instead a member of The Course which is far more New Age than Judaistic in nature.) and I believe them to be actual destinations despite our having very little clarification for either. Hell is originally mentioned in different contexts (due to the English lack of similar Hebrew/Greek words, the same with 'love', etc) but certainly not enough for us to make wholesale accounts for the who/what/why/hows of it. I see that 'heaven' is mentioned in more specific context, and yet scripture equally promotes the idea that we clearly have no real concept of what it will be other than an intimate proximity to God. If hell is the opposite, it is not a place created by God, intended for His failures (nor is that descriptive of the character of God in scripture), it is the separation from Him in that it is the propitiation and eventuality of people's denying Him. People don't recognize him here, so He does not force fellowship with Himself later.

Scripture already echoes this in Psalm 81:12, Romans 1:24, etc, when it says "[He] gave them over to their sinful desires." This nods directly to the argument of free will v. predestination, but in essence God loves us and wants to be with us and has provided an easy way to do so that does not have to do with action, but our hearts. Our fellowship with our Creator is more so a challenge of our own individual pride than a call to 'stop smoking' or 'stop drinking.' He merely asks that we deny our pride and acknowledge His Son as having paid our penalty that we can be made flawless to enter in to fellowship with our flawless God. Romans 10:9 examines just how simple a step salvation can be, in that if you 'confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved." Addressing briefly the concept of works, it is commonly held by Christians that they bear not on our eventual evaluation by God, but rather are an evidence of our faith and proximity to a holy God.

Let me wrap this up. A lot of Christians are still motivated either by anticipation of heaven or fear of hell. Those motivated by 'fear' suffer an unhealthy relationship with God and a misguided perspective of him. And some of those pining for heaven miss the mark as well, still being motivated by a subtle yet selfish hope for what they will get, from the incorrectly interpreted 'mansion' and 'street of gold' to even include our being with God. I don't think this is wrong, but I have found that I believe my faith to be true. Not true for me alone, but the all encompassing, effects-everything truth under which everyone is subject. Because of that, I am often motivated more by my serving God as it pleases Him than because I will benefit. And in that way I suppose it still pleases me that it pleases Him and dissect that as much as you want. As for your question, it is difficult to answer became I am motivated by logic and reason and it's so hypothetical, "What if you just discovered there were no heaven or hell?" I cannot fathom a scenario in which that would play out short of something that both dismisses my own years of study and experience and irrefutably proves that God does not exist in which case, I would not suspend belief but follow the truth (Which, for what it's worth I cannot imagine happening, but since we're discussing hypotheticals...). As for the 'All Dougs Go To Heaven' theology, there are already thousands of Christians who believe that. Rob Bell's "Love Wins" promotes such an outcome for us, however dubious his sources are. And in my personal opinion, if somehow I realized I have been misreading scripture and it led me to that conclusion, still I would be unmoved in my love for God and therefore others as it pertains to eternity, because God has still described and even modeled what is right in regard to our conduct with others. As tempting as a 'free pass' would be to my humanity, my interest in serving God (by His strength) would steer me from much of it. I am certain I would sin. I do currently. But ultimately I am in pursuit of His glorification not/more than my own.

EDIT: I accidentally a word.

u/JonZ1618 · 2 pointsr/askphilosophy

This book made a lot of waves recently among theists. He does argue that Hell is real, people can go there, and the Christian God is also real, but most of what is thought of regarding Hell is inaccurate.

u/non-troll_account · 2 pointsr/DebateReligion

The book Love Wins by Rob Bell is one of the best treatments of this topic I've seen in my life. Long story short: At every point in the history of Christianity, there have been numerous Christians who have believed quite firmly that Hell is not eternal.

u/Bedoggled · 2 pointsr/atheism

I'd recommend you read Reason, Faith, and Revolution. It is a brilliant analysis of both modern atheism (which r/atheism is such a great example of) and modern american fundamentalism, and positions itself in the middle ground.

u/aletheia · 2 pointsr/OrthodoxChristianity

We can know some things about God rationally. We can only know God personally.

This is how we experience all relationships. I can know things about my friends, for example, by looking at them. I can tell how tall they are, or the color of their hair. We may be able to know something like blood pressure with the right measuring equipment. To know them as a friend though is mind-to-mind, interpersonal.

Using God as an example, I think we can know that there is a God rationally through certain rational arguments (Experience of God for some thoughts on that). Knowing him, though, is only through the hard work of interpersonal communication. For Christians (and other religions, for that matter), that is through contemplative practices. That said, we mostly accept second hand knowledge from the contemplatives. We take information from those who have known God, and apply the lessons rationally to inform non-contemplative praxis.

What career?

u/Donkey_of_Balaam · 2 pointsr/Noachide

David Bentley Hart is the author of The Experience of God: Being, Consciousness, Bliss. Highly recommended.

Here is his review of Dennett's ghastly Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon.

u/youcat · 2 pointsr/atheism

I read his book a long time ago and thought it was great. I don't know what he's like as a debater but from memory, his book was solid. If you're looking to check out apologetics "from the other side", I'd also recommend Feser's The Last Superstition. I haven't read it yet but it's well-known in Catholic circles to be one of the best books written against atheism (tied for #5 on our sub's top 20 books). Someone also recommended this book to me recently, you might want to check it out.

u/EnochEmery · 2 pointsr/Christianity

That is not what I was saying at all. I was speaking of "God" as the source of being—an understanding of God broadly affirmed by many different religions (Abrahamic, of course, but also Hindu and certain forms of Buddhism, etc.). This God is categorically different than the god whose existence is so often debated by the new atheists and their detractors. It seems to me that the new atheists have created a straw-man version of god that they deny and so many Christians have rallied to defend the truth of that fabrication.

This is a fantastic book if you are looking to learn more.

u/eldridgea · 2 pointsr/AskReddit

I'm sure I'll get downmodded for this but,

Perhaps you might take another look at faith?
I definitely do not support faking belief, but at least looking into it will show her you care deeply enough about her to reexamine your decision. Also, show her that passage in 1 Corinthians that Such_is_Mango mentioned. (But I wouldn't recommend being confrontational).

(If you want to at least try this, The Case for Christ or The Case for Faith are excellent books. They approach the issue scientifically and historically and use mainly non-Biblical sources and list tons of references. They also focus more on the original Jesus, where love trumps all, rather than all the ritualism and occasional animosity that has been built up . . .)

*Edit: formatting and links

u/raisinbeans · 2 pointsr/Christianity

My apologies, I assumed you may have been familiar with Rene Decartes.

I'll explain it this way: How do you know something? How do you know something as simple as your keyboard is in front of you?

You can see it and you can feel it, right?

But that doesn't actually prove the keyboard really exists. That just proves your eyes see a keyboard and your hands feel a keyboard.

And really, you can't even 100% sure of that. You know from experience that your senses aren't 100% trustworthy. They can be confused by psychological tricks or medical conditions can cause senses to report things that aren't really there. As mentioned before, optical illusions, phantom pain, schizophrenia, magic tricks, desert mirages, LSD, mushrooms, etc are all known cases where your eye sight, hearing, or sense of touch report things that aren't there.

So really, all you can say for 100% certainity is that you think your senses are reporting there's a keyboard in front of you.

While four hundred years too early, Decartes would have used The Matrix as a great example. Relying solely on your senses, there is no difference between your reality now and if you were hooked up to The Matrix. Everything you saw, heard, or touched would prove that the Matrix was reality- yet it wasn't.

Likewise, while it is incredibly unlikely and not at all practical, there is still a tiny tiny chance that you just may be inside a giant virtual reality world.

> When asked for evidence,

When asked for evidence I listed several resources for you. I'll explicitly bullet them for you this time :-)

u/raffastafarian · 2 pointsr/funny

> What I don't understand is who did all those retcons and why?

Hard-line Yahwists who gained power and used it to change their nation and culture. Humans do this all over the world, even today.

Here's a book link:

Here's a video link:

u/falor42 · 2 pointsr/AskHistorians

A History of God is a good source to explore the polytheistic roots of Judaism. It uses writing style correlation to map "authors" and revisions in the Old Testament and follows the eventual emergence of YAWH as the sole deity of the Jewish people.

u/mobydikc · 2 pointsr/DebateAnAtheist

> So what? What does a vendetta against religion have to do with the truth of the claims being made by religious people?

It's a little hard to be unbiased in such a state.

> Do you agree that generally speaking, an argument stands or falls on its merits regardless of who is making the argument or their goals?

More or less. It's common to think that if anyone wants to make a point, they need to supply rock solid premises and use only deductive logic to reach conclusions.

But there is more to truth than logic. Science, for example, doesn't follow strict boolean logic. Hypotheses are proposed and compete and evolve.

> What is common Christianity? What are these low hanging fruits you speak of? Is there an uncommon Christianity? What does that look like?

If you honestly want to know, try "A History of God" by Karen Armstrong. That helped me realize that the ideas you get about God as a kid are not at all what the story is about.

u/Weirdsauce · 2 pointsr/atheism

I'm upvoting the fuck out of you... and by that i mean, precisely one upvote because... well, apparently that's all i can upvote.

Edit: This book: A History of God: The 4,000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam is worth reading.

u/d3b105b · 2 pointsr/Antitheism

Bart Ehrman has some good books, I would also recommend A History of God by Karen Armstrong. She goes through the whole history of god from Abraham and up to Islam. It's really interesting, but I found it to be a pretty tough read so you might need to go through it slowly.

u/mr_pleco · 2 pointsr/atheism

A History of God

When you accept that the bible is fabricated it's all down hill from there, however being written by a former nun, it's very careful in the way it handles things.

u/jstalin_x · 2 pointsr/Christianity

Have you read a history of god? It's not exactly what you are looking for but it does a good job of chronicling the evolution of Mesopotamian myths, through Judaism, into Christianity, and then into Islam.

I would highly recommend reading books scholarly opposed to looking at websites. The amount of research and the quality of information is much higher in books on the subject. Just remember the more books you read on the same subject the more easily it will be to pick up on the bias. Here is a quick list of some books to try.

u/parasoja · 2 pointsr/atheism

>How do you propose the universe came about?

What you're doing here is engaging in what's called the "god of the gaps" argument, in which gaps in our current understanding of the universe are filled with "god". There are two problems with this. The first is that "god" does not follow from "we don't know". The second is that the realm of things which are assigned to god is continually shrinking. It used to be that god caused everything from weather to disease to the changing seasons, but now we know better. The only two things which used to be assigned to god and which we haven't yet come up with a definitive explanation for are abiogenesis and the origin of the universe.

Since we're working on those, and have several good ideas, this position is not tenable.

>Gonna tell me that Jesus/God is not real? Prove it.

Yes. The "one true god" of judaism, which later became the god of christianity, was invented in babylon around 600 BCE, during the babylonian exile. It was built from a combination of yahweh sabaoth, the polytheistic hebrew god of the armies, and el elyon, the god abraham worshiped and the chief god of the polytheistic cannanites.

I recommend reading A History of God. You may also wish to read up on the documentary hypothesis.

>Don't judge us.

We judge you because religion causes large amounts of harm in the real world.

>The Bible helps me. Try reading it.

Many atheists became atheists because they read the bible. Have you read it cover to cover?

u/runpmc · 2 pointsr/ainbow

I would recommend you read A History of God by Karen Armstrong, which contains evidence that the monotheistic practice of Judaism which eventually fathered Christianity stemmed originally from the cult of Yahweh, a Hebrew god of war.

This is the same god who in Genesis ordered Abraham to murder his own child and slew Onan for not putting his semen where he had been told. The same god in 2 Kings sent a pair of she-bears to murder a crowd of 42 children for making fun of a man's bald head. The same god in Numbers 31 instructed the Hebrews to "Kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him. But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves."

But above that, the very essence of Christian doctrine is the concept of "original sin"—that you are born evil and doomed to languish in torment and a lake of fire for eternity by default, unless your evil nature is paid for by a blood sacrifice. If that's not violent sadism, what is?

The only possible reason I can believe someone honestly believes Christianity to be a religion of peace is that they've not read their own book. Unless you suggest that the Bible is itself fallible or wrong in some way, in which case I have to ask why you'd bother with it in the first place.

u/rdudejr · 2 pointsr/exjw

I don't want to change your mind - I certainly battle with the concept of a higher power (which I feel is important) being atheist. However you should check out "the history of god". Gives some color into one possibility of why the OT came out the way it did.

Edit: book is called "A History of God"

u/Angry__Engineer · 2 pointsr/atheism

Recommended Reading

A History of God

Check that out.

EDIT: More broader then these are probably what you're looking for:

Religion is Natural

Religion is A Nautral Phenomenom

Since there have been tons of religions, it's kind of hard to fit them all into one book.

u/awkward___silence · 2 pointsr/atheism

I lived in the area and worked with many students. A defiantly not a party school. You can(could) get expected for being caught drinking even off campus and of age. Even being at a party with alcohol would earn you demerits. You can earn demerits by public displays of affection. You had to dress in business attire when I lived in the area but that was relaxed after Jerry's death. While the majority of students were religious several I knew were able to get free rides. Liberty is one of the few private colleges that had 0 debt in part because of a life insurance policy on Falwell. However that and the cult like education allowed the school to have lower rates.

I haven't given a dam about this school since I left Lynchburg however. is an interesting read.

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/ConclusivePostscript · 2 pointsr/Existentialism

> Why this one instead of any other one?

For starters, Kierkegaard sees the uniqueness of the incarnational narrative: God entering time in abject humility, the Almighty disarming the powers of this world through enacting powerlessness. See especially Practice in Christianity.

> I had a friend die who was Jewish

I’m sorry for your loss.

> and Christianity teaches that anyone who doesn't believe in Christ suffers eternal damnation.

Doctrinally, though, there is nothing inherent to Christianity that commits us to pre-mortem incorporation into Christ. Some Christians have maintained that God may grant some or all nonbelievers a clarifying vision between death and the general resurrection. Others have espoused a view of ‘implicit faith’, so that some nonbelievers are already part of the Church without knowing it, confessing it, etc. Still others hold a universalist position, or at least maintain that it is rational to hope for a universalist conclusion.

u/hobbitsden · 2 pointsr/DebateReligion

> Sorry again for the delay and length of the response, that was a pretty dense article for somebody who has been out of the game for a while.

Forgive me but your nihilist flair and admission of a Protestant past makes me ask for some clarification: Do you have a problem with the Catholic view and/or Protestant view of predestination? Is such doctrine a reason your now identify as a nihilist? I took a long journey like that in the past.

I once read a book titled: Dare We Hope That All Men Be Saved? With a Short Discourse on Hell. I thought it was a good but difficult read and may enlighten you further if this is a huge stumbling block for you.

Looking at some of your responses to others the crux of the matter seems to be; if/why God saves some and not all is incompatible with an all loving/knowing...;? I am not sure what you are after as a nihilist but it seems clear Catholics and Protestants look at predestination very differently. I have never thought of my or anyone's salvation as predestined. I/all must cooperate with grace and mercy. If I (anyone) fail or refuse to cooperate I am assured of nothing despite my Baptism or lack thereof.

The only references to conditional predestination I have come across in Catholic theology that I can think of is blaspheming the Holy Spirit and the last of the 15 promises of the Blessed Virgin Mary. One destination is hell and the other is heaven, but both are still conditional to an act of will on our part.

There was a Polish Catholic nun who died in 1938 at the age of 33 from tuberculosis; she had mystical visions of heaven, and she records in her diary visions and conversations with Jesus.

> 1728

> Write: I am Thrice Holy, and detest the smallest sin. I cannot love a soul which is stained with sin; but when it repents, there is no limit to My generosity toward it. My mercy embraces and justifies it. With My mercy, I pursue sinners along all their paths, and My Heart rejoices when they return to Me. I forget the bitterness with which they fed My Heart and rejoice at their return.

> Tell sinners that no one shall escape My Hand; if they run away from My merciful Heart, they will fall into My Just Hands. Tell sinners that I am always waiting for them, that I listen intently to the beating of their heart…. When will it beat for Me?

> Write, that I am speaking to them through their remorse of conscience, through their failures and sufferings, through thunderstorms, through the voice of the Church. And if they bring all My graces to naught, I begin to be angry with them, leaving them alone and giving them what they want.

God wants all souls to be saved but we have a part to play in our salvation.

> A Certain Moment, May 12, 1935

> 424

> In the evening, I just about got into bed, and I fell asleep immediately. Though I fell asleep quickly, I was awakened even more quickly. A little child came and woke me up. The child seemed about a year old, and I was surprised it could speak so well, as children of that age either do not speak or speak very indistinctly. The child was beautiful beyond words and resembled the Child Jesus, and he said to me, Look at the sky. And when I looked at the sky I saw the stars and the moon shining. Then the child asked me, Do you see this moon and these stars? When I said yes, he spoke these words to me, These stars are the souls of faithful Christians, and the moon is the souls of religious. Do you see how great the difference is between the light of the moon and the light of the stars? Such is the difference in heaven between the soul of a religious and the soul of a faithful Christian. And he went on to say that, True greatness is in loving God and in humility.

> 425

> Then I saw a soul which was being separated from its body amid great torment. O Jesus, as I am about to write this, I tremble at the sight of the horrible things that bear witness against him….. I saw the souls of little children and those of older ones, about nine years of age, emerging from some kind of a muddy abyss. The souls were foul and disgusting, resembling the most terrible monsters and decaying corpses. But the corpses were living and gave loud testimony against the dying soul. And the soul I saw dying was a soul full of the world‟s applause and honors, the end of which are emptiness and sin. Finally a woman came out who was holding something like tears in her apron, and she witnessed very strongly against him.

> 426

> O terrible hour, at which one is obliged to see all one‟s deeds in their nakedness and misery; not one of them is lost, they will all accompany us to God‟s judgment. I can find no words or comparisons to express such terrible things. And although it seems to me that this soul is not damned, nevertheless its torments are in no way different from the torments of hell; there is only this difference: that they will someday come to an end.

> 427

> A moment later, I again saw the child who had awakened me. It was of wondrous beauty and repeated these words to me, True greatness of the soul is in loving God and in humility. I asked the child, “How do you know that true greatness of the soul is in loving God and in humility? Only theologians know about such things and you haven‟t even learned the catechism. So how do you know?” To this He answered, I know; I know all things. And with that, He disappeared.

> 428

> But I could no longer get to sleep; my mind became exhausted by thinking about the things I had seen. O human souls, how late you learn the truth! O abyss of God‟s mercy, pour yourself out as quickly as possible over the whole world, according to what You Yourself have said.

> 741

> Today, I was led by an Angel to the chasms of hell. It is a place of great torture; how awesomely large and extensive it is! The kinds of tortures I saw:...I, Sister Faustina, by the order of God, have visited the abysses of hell so that I might tell souls about it and testify to its existence....But I noticed one thing: that most of the souls there are those who disbelieved that there is a hell. When I came to, I could hardly recover from the fright. How terribly souls suffer there! Consequently, I pray even more fervently for the conversion of sinners. I incessantly plead God‟s mercy upon them. O my Jesus, I would rather be in agony until the end of the world, amidst the greatest sufferings, than offend You by the least sin.

  • 741
u/bblasnalus · 2 pointsr/Catholicism

Dare We Hope That All Men Be Saved?

It has some of the longest sentences I have ever read and is pretty deep from my view but it is a good book for thought on the subject.

u/ascra · 2 pointsr/Christianity

Hi there! I’ll answer the ones that I feel like I can speak into. All of your questions are great, and a lot of the topics are highly debated still in the Christian community. I’ve just answered the ones that I feel confident I have some knowledge about.

1.) How do we know Christianity is true? There are literally an uncountable number of faiths and religious beliefs, so how do we know we are correct?

I’ve struggled with these kinds of doubts too, and found that there is actually a lot of evidence that the Bible is true. I would highly recommend this book, which presents Christianity in a scientific, historical, logical, philosophical, and moral light. It has way more to say on the subject than I can.

The biggest things for me, though?

  • I believe that Jesus really did rise from the dead. There are enough historical accounts for me to be satisfied by this. And if he rose from the dead, then everything that he said while he was alive is true, which means that Christianity is true. Did you know that Jesus’s life and death and resurrection are more scrupulously and heavily documented than the life and doings of the Roman emperor at the time? And yet we don’t bat an eye when someone talks about what the emperor did.
  • Jesus’s life, and many, many events in history were predicted by Scripture hundreds/thousands of years before they happened. That is proof enough for me that the Bible is true, meaning that Jesus really did rise from the dead.
  • Personal experience. This is definitely something that you should continue to ask God for. I’ve seen God work in my life in undeniable ways, that there’s nothing that could possibly convince me that he isn’t real.

    2.) How do we know what sect of Christianity is correct? They all focus on God/Jesus in one way or another, but no two are exactly alike. Due to their differences, they cannot possibly all be correct, so who is 'right' and who is 'wrong,' and on what basis?

    I believe that the “sect” that is correct is the one that follows Scriptures. That’s why it’s so important to study the Bible for yourself, and fact-check everything that any Christian author or pastor, or even friend claims. I can’t trust the claims of fellow men, but I do trust the inerrancy and authority of Scripture. I’ll align my beliefs with whoever is aligning their beliefs with the Bible.

    6.) What is ACTUAL sin? I am confused on what sin actually is...

    The Greek word for “sin” in the New Testament was originally actually an archery term. It means “missing the mark,” not hitting the bull’s eye. Likewise, our spiritual sin is missing the mark. God has a standard for us. That standard is perfection by complete obedience to his commands. Anything that “misses the mark” for this standard is a sin. For example, Jesus tells us to love our neighbors as ourselves. If I don’t do this entirely, it is a sin. Thus, I’m sinning a whole lot more than I realize I am.

    That’s what makes Jesus’s sacrifice so necessary. I can’t possibly be perfect, much less be perfect all of the time. But he was, and through faith, his righteousness is counted towards us.

    7.) (related to #6) Why is sin so bad? It seems to me that sin such as masturbation/lust is not on the same level as murder. In society, lust isn't punishable by law, but murder is. In Christianity, both are considered on the same plane of wrongdoing. Can you help clear this up for me?

    There are certainly different degrees of sin. While all sin leads to death, some sins are worse than others.

    In [John 19:11], Jesus calls one sin “greater” than another. In [Luke 12:47-48], the master in a parable punishes his wicked servants differently, according to their degree of wrongdoing. [James 3:1] talks about different strictness of judgment for teachers. On the other hand, Scripture talks about different rewards for different acts of obedience and righteousness. So while all sin is bad, murder is definitely not viewed by God as the same as telling a lie.

    As for why sin is bad at all, that’s really difficult to answer. The only thing that I can think of is that God defines perfection, and falling short of that perfection (sin) separates us from God.

    8.) What is your personal 'proof' of God? I am not trying to start an 'atheism' debate here, I am just curious. I am struggling to believe SO much right now, and hearing why YOU personally believe in God would be a big help to me.

    I can share more about my own life beyond what I answered in question 1 if you are interested. Shoot me a PM if you’d like to hear more. Please let me know if you have any questions. I'd love to talk to you more about this if you want.

    There is absolutely no shame in searching for answers and looking for truth. Keep at it, friend!
u/Inyourtaco · 2 pointsr/Christians

I've had similar struggles for a while now. I would recommend you read the book "I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist" by Dr. Norman Geisler. It contains a collection of many of the most popular arguments for Christianity and packages them in a very comprehensible, beginner friendly way.

u/ThereAreNoMoreNames · 2 pointsr/Christianity

Hello! Your post has already gotten quite a bit of response, but I'll throw my two cents in as someone who chose to become a Christian. I'll try to keep it brief. What stood out to me was that you said you don't believe 1) That Christianity is the one true religion, 2) the bible is infallible, 3) and the Earth is less than billions of years old. Personally, I believe that all of these are false too.

3) This is the easiest. I would hope that any mildly educated Christian does not actually believe that the Earth is only as old as humanity. Christians loove science. It's great! It's the study of the world around us, the world that God created for us. So, anyone who insists that the world is only a bit over 2000 years...well...don't let them represent your view on the rest of Christianity. Here is a GREAT lecture on the book of Genesis. It tells you why we can not take it literally, and how our actual story on creation came about based on the culture of the time. (Skip about the first 20 mins, this is a college class and he's going over the syllabus)

2) The Bible is NOT infallible. It was written by men. Men who are not perfect. Most of these books were written decades after the events that transpired. Imagine you were in a crowded room and suddenly a large group of people come in there and start break dancing. Then, a year later, you are asked to write everything you remember about the occasion, as was every other person in the room. There will be incredible discrepancies based on how the experience personally affected everyone, and what things they remember. Now does this make the Bible unreliable compared to other historical texts? Well, how do you think we gathered information about other events in history? The bible is one of the most accurate and sound historical texts we have, but due to its controversial nature, people are more likely to point out faults, exaggerations, discrepancies, etc. The Bible is not perfect, especially when not read in the correct way. There is history, poetry, stories, and many other types of literature within this one book, and to take a metaphorical poem to be literal would be very misleading and incorrect.

  1. This is the one that I will probably get the most disagreements over. I do not believe that Christianity is the ONLY correct religion. I believe it is A correct way to recognize the God who created us. I believe there is only one God, and many religions that follow this multi-faceted God in different ways. What gives me conviction in Christianity is Jesus Christ. I believe there is enough reason to believe that he died and rose again, and as far as I'm aware, there are no other major religions that have as much historical backing in a figure who claimed to be the son of God, predicted his own death and return, and then actually did it. Lastly, I do not believe that it is within my power or knowledge to tell others that their religion is wrong. How in the world am I supposed to know that?? I don't. I don't have the omniscience to tell anyone that their beleifs are wrong; I just believe that mine are right.

    Two things to read that I think would really help you: Mere Christianity by CS Lewis. This is light, insightful, and inspiring reading and would definitely help you out in your current situation. I know a lot of people have suggested this to you. Do it! The second one is I Don't Have Enough Faith To Be An Atheist. This is heavier reading, but makes a great scientific argument as to why God is the most reasonable and rational answer to many different aspects of science.

    The last thing I want to leave you with is this: It's okay to have doubts. It's okay and completely understandable that you would have this period of disenchantment after leaving the bubble. Focus on the love of God, and use your doubts to strengthen your faith. Know there is not an answer for everything, and be okay with that. But there's nothing wrong with wanting to know as long as it doesn't tear you away from Him. Good luck, and God Bless!
u/dblthnk · 2 pointsr/atheism

The one star reviews of his book should give you some good ammunition.

However, he apparently believes in the inerrancy of the Bible. There are so many tricky questions you could ask him relating to this. Here is a good place to get started but remember, he will probably have standard rebuttals for many of these. Try looking here to anticipate his responses and trip him up. Take the cud chewing rabbits rebuttal for example. The way they reinterpret the Hebrew word for "cud" and "bring up" makes the eating of any feces fit the definition even though they try to make the soft pellets that rabbits produce the only feces that fits. The fact is, all feces contains some degree of partially digested food and more nutrients can be absorbed from it. Pigs eat feces and have a cloven hoof but are called unclean so they solve the rabbit issue but create another. Also, the Coney also mentioned in the verse in question is almost certainly the Hyrax and this animal does not chew the cud or engage in refection.

u/Frankfusion · 2 pointsr/Christianity

Number 3 is probably the biggest offender, followed by 6. We need GOOD writers with depth to get out there and write good songs. Also, my church has a nice blend of hymns and contemporary. Hymns on a guitar are pretty awesome. Sometimes, I prefer them more. If you're a worship leader or songwriter, a few books to pick up would be: Worship Matters by Bob Kaufflin, The New Worship by Barry Leisch and Contemporary Worship Music: A biblical defense by John Frame.

u/terevos2 · 2 pointsr/Reformed

Don't know how much you've read from Bob Kauflin (I know, not capital 'R' reformed), but I think he would very much agree with you. Corporate worship is not about how we feel or getting revved up on Sunday, but about praising God.

I mean.. that's exactly what Worship Matters is about.

u/piyochama · 2 pointsr/Christianity

There are multitudes of explanations.

It totally makes sense that people in the past could've thought of any of the angels as being deities, or that they saw visions of God but misunderstood it, or were hearing demons (though I hate this particular view, because quite frankly its not at all charitable, and what the hell would demons need worship for anyway? brownie points?).

I do think, for the modern religions, its probably the second – that they're hearing the voice of God, but misinterpret it. Every single religion believes this, by the way. So its not at all an uncommon view.

Have you tried out the History of God by Armstrong? She's one of the most respected scholars on religion and does a pretty darn fair overview of the entire history of monotheism (in general), though less fair for the Eastern religions.

u/abdullahsameer · 2 pointsr/exmuslim

Karen Armstrong in History of God talks about how these prophets made it up as they went along. Worth reading but a very dense book and too much detail sometimes.

u/christiankool · 2 pointsr/DebateReligion

>humans just made this up and chose what to include and what not to include.

Humans made what up?

  1. the bible? The bible is literally a library with different forms of writing. You can't read a myth as if it's history or a poem as if it's an account of scientific explanation - you especially can't read Genesis 1 like that because the scientific method didn't exist yet. I will (and did in my previous post) agree that they "chose what to include and what not to include". But, it's not as if they just randomly chose certain texts. They chose what they believed resembled their situation accurately and truthfully. It wasn't one person's history, rather it's the history of a people - first the Jews then the (orthodox) Christians.

  2. religion? Experiences of "the Divine" exist, as such. Whether or not you believe in the Divine doesn't neglect the fact that religious experiences exist. Religions, broadly and generally speaking, are that which house a "lens" to interpret those experiences: the "why" and "meaning" of such things. Why did this happen? (Not how! science can and should attempt to answer that) Is there a meaning to this? The experiences of the given followers also influence the given religion. It's a mutual circle.

    >why would a being so powerful choose such a misunderstood way to communicate if his goal was to save us?

    This question is making some assumptions:

  3. God is a being.
  4. God has a goal for humanity.
  5. This goal is "saving us".

    Number 1 is false to any classical monotheist. Here's a blogpost I wrote about the "nature" of God and evil. Here's a reddit comment I wrote which also touches this. I only link these because I don't have the time to figure out how to write it out again in my currently allotted time (work soon). However, I will suggest two books for you that are better written and that heavily influence(d) my thoughts: God Without Being: Hors-Texte, Second Edition (Religion and Postmodernism) 2nd Edition by Jean-Luc Marion. He is a French Philosopher. The second book is The Experience of God by David Bentley Hart. He is an American Eastern Orthodox Theologian. The second of the two books will be a little bit easier to understand as it's written for a wide audience.

    Number 2 could be false, but I personally think it's true. So, I'm going to assume this with you.

    Number 3 is wrong in the sense of the goal being to save us from eternal damnation. Read my comment (or blogpost) to get a better understanding. Long story short, to quote St. Athanasius: "God became man so that man might become God".

    But, to answer your question: Humans live and participate in different contexts. Whether it be historical, societal or even religious contexts. That is burden of our "imperfect" nature. Based on that alone, we will of course misunderstand things. I can say more, but I'm running out of time.

    >my point was that if we open up the floor to interpretation...just everyone making up their idea of what is right.

    Interpretations aren't just made up. To interpret properly is to situate and figure the given materials in their proper contexts and stories. This happens from science to art. I suggest reading up on Hermeneutics. I could suggest a couples books (sorry, I'm just bad at explaining things in a quick easy-to-digest way. Especially when it comes to topics our minds literally can't comprehend). New Testament People God V1: Christian Origins And The Question Of God by NT Wright which sets up what he calls a "critical realism" approach to scripture. Phenomenologies of Scripture, which is a collection of articles detailing how to approach the bible and related topics as they "give themselves". I'm currently reading both. The first is a more historical-critical and literary approach to the bible and the second is more a philosophical approach. Both really good so far.

    >but I suppose in that case I reject both your idea of God and the existence of God.

    You cannot deny "the existence" of God because that's an absurd statement. God is not a thing or even "highest power" that exists in some "realm" called "the supernatural". If that were the case, "Existence", as such, would be ontologically prior to "God" which doesn't make sense. The Divine/God/Brahman/whatever is that which provides "Existence" to "exist". God does not exist. Once again, I highly suggest reading my blogpost (I don't have ads or anything so I won't get paid) because it's better articulated. Better yet, read the book I mentioned by David Bentley Hart. I can send you (I think) a PDF if you want. I've provided a short reading and long reading. If you want a video instead, I can probably find one!

    Sorry about all the books I recommend. Reddit is not a place I can expound on philosophical ideas, especially when we both have different working assumptions that we need to clear. That's why I'm focusing on challenging your viewpoints on certain things because we just fundamentally disagree. We can't discuss/debate things without first agreeing on something.

    Also, I've enjoyed engaging with you. You seem open-minded enough and that's a good thing. So, thanks.
u/listdervernunft · 2 pointsr/askphilosophy

I am convinced that Hegel's 'Lectures on Proofs of the Existence of God' offers a definitive demonstration. The only catch is that this work presuppose familiarity with 1) the Ontological Argument (i.e. the concept of God includes its own being), 2) the Teleological Argument (i.e. the specificity of particulars points to a self-specifying universal), and 3) the Cosmological Argument (i.e. the contingency of finite beings presupposes a necessary infinite being); -- not to mention knowledge of Hegel's own peculiar dialectical method of logic and speculative system.

The Alvin Plantiga-inspired book, Two Dozen (or so) Arguments for God is highly technical but equally persuasive.

Edward Feser's 'Five Proofs of the Existence of God'is also very well-argued and highly accessible.

Joshua Rasmussen's 'The Bridge of Reason'provides a short step-by-step rationale for God's existence.

u/TheBiggestDookie · 1 pointr/atheism

Though I haven't yet read it myself (on my backlog), I've heard "A History of God" is quite good in tracing the origins of the big three monotheistic faiths to where they are today. I'm looking forward to reading it.

u/hijetty · 1 pointr/atheism

Don't know the name of it. I read about it in this book:

It's briefly mentioned in the summary.

u/Ut_Prosim · 1 pointr/Virginia

> Shit - Liberty doesn't even require an application.

A kid from Brown faked being an evangelical Christian to spend a semester there, then wrote a whole book about the experience.

As I recall, in order to get accepted all he had to do was write an essay about how Jesus influenced his life. He bullshitted two pages and got accepted. The actually classes were not so easy he claimed - the religious coursework was especially difficult (though perhaps not so for kids who grew up on it). The online programs however are run exactly like the for-profits colleges (easy, useless, expensive, very profitable).

He also made the place sound very cult-like, though the kids themselves seemed like good people (being taken advantage of). It was a truly fascinating read.

u/TeslaIsAdorable · 1 pointr/politics

This book is a pretty amusing (and insightful) read. An agnostic quaker from Brown takes a year "abroad" to go to Liberty University.

In general, I think they sit with their dorm-mates, so there are RAs to keep track of attendance, etc.

u/NoSheDidntSayThat · 1 pointr/Christianity

Have you read Crazy Love by Francis Chan? My wife is reading it right now. Some others I like are Prodigal God by Tim Keller, Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem, When People are Big and God is Small by Edward T. Welch, and Knowing God by J.I. Packer

u/jmikola · 1 pointr/Christianity

If you're interested in his books, I recently finished reading Prodigal God and have a copy of Reason for God sitting atop my "todo pile" at home.

Prodigal God was a short read, but it was just enough to expound upon the familiar parable with a new insight. The crux of his argument was that "prodigal" is a more fitting description for God's own love for us (and the father in the story) rather than the lost son that we all associate with the word. He seems to have a knack for presenting fresh perspectives on things.

If you get a chance, I'd recommend either, although Reason for God is going to be the more substantial of the two.

u/unmofoloco · 1 pointr/worldnews

The story of Cassie Bernall created a kind of Christian revival in the wake of Columbine.

u/tjlight00003 · 1 pointr/AdviceAnimals
u/TheKoop · 1 pointr/Christianity

It's hard to answer that. Which specific period are you wanting to learn about?

If you want to learn about first century Judaism, IE Paul and Jesus' time. I would suggest New Testament and the People of God or An introduction to early Judaism

u/havedanson · 1 pointr/Christianity

So I grabbed my copy of N.T. Wright's The New Testament and the People of God It's his book about the historical context New Testament from a somewhat historical perspective.

Pages 252-254

> Jews in general did not divide the world rigidly into the physical and the noumenal/spiritual (254 - first paragraph).

I think he uses Philo (a Jewish philosopher) to come to this conclusion.

I could probably be butchering this though. N.T. Wright's book might be helpful.

EDIT ::to clarify the book is about roughly First and early Second Century:: Christianity.

u/grumpy-oaf · 1 pointr/Christianity

> Ok maybe the source isn't the best but that's not the only one.

Carrier says that it pretty much is. At the end of that review to which I linked, he laments that no one has replicated Grave's work.

But I'm happy to be convinced otherwise.

>So what are your reasons for Christianity not having ties with pagans?

This isn't how arguments work. The one making a claim provides the evidence.

But I won't deny that some pagan concepts influenced how the New Testament authors wrote. For example, Paul's use of ἱλαστήριον in Romans 3:25 almost certainly has some overtones imported from pagan Greek thought. But that's a far cry from Grave's suggestion, popular among the New Atheists today, that the whole notion of the crucified and risen Jesus is a myth taken wholesale from pagan thought.

I'll repeat my exhortation that I edited into my comment above: studying how the New Testament and early Christianity related to its own historical context is a laudable goal that I would commend to anyone willing to put in the effort, and there are good resources out there to help. Go to the scholars who are well regarded in their field, and avoid sensational, popular-level works. Ehrman's undergraduate-level textbook is a good start. For the more ambitious student, N. T. Wright's The New Testament and the People of God contains quite a bit on the historical context of early Christianity in the Greco-Roman and Second Temple Jewish worlds; it appears on many a grad school syllabus.

u/NDAugustine · 1 pointr/Christianity

> I was wondering if anyone has some solid, unbiased sources for serious Bible study?

They don't exist. Everyone has biases. The very best scholars are those who can divulge their biases and give reasons for them and reasons against the biases of others. That's part of the scholarly conversation.

For background stuff, maybe check out:
David Aune's The New Testament in Its Literary Environment

I liked Shaye Cohen's From the Maccabees to the Mishnah when it comes to understanding "Judaism" in the first century AD.

NT Wright's The New Testament and the People of God is very good.

I also really liked Brant Pitre's Jesus, the Tribulation, and the End of Exile - a reworking of his Ph.D dissertation at Notre Dame (under David Aune).

Mark Goodacre's work on Q is good. I read it early in my academic career and it has kept me from believing in the Q theory since.

The biggest journal in the field is probably Journal of Biblical Studies. New Testament Studies is another big one (from Cambridge).

Edit: Also, learn Greek. There are grammars specifically for New Testament Greek (Koine) like David Alan Black's Learn to Read New Testament Greek - which is fine for an NT Greek grammar (though he barely covers the optative since it's so little used in the NT). I would just learn Classical Greek using something like Hansen and Quinn. If you can read Classical Greek, nothing in the Bible (either LXX or NT) will give you a problem.

u/encouragethestorm · 1 pointr/DebateReligion

The assumption under which this argument functions is that others are in hell. So "maximal happiness" would be "as much happiness as is possible, even though some other people, not being united to God, are in hell."

Edit: wording. In any case I do hope that there are very few people in hell; indeed it is possible in Catholic theology to speculate that all might be saved.

u/I_aint_creative · 1 pointr/Christianity

> But Catholicism seems to have better answers with more room for interpretation for them (for example: universal or purgatorial reconciliationism).

Catholicism doesn't teach (and will never teach) as dogma universalism--but we don't bar the possibility. See, e.g. Dare We Hope That All Men Be Saved?.

u/love_unknown · 1 pointr/DebateReligion

Your comment is simply wrong. The Catholic Church, its leaders, and its leading theologians explicitly affirm that people who die as non-believers can attain salvation.

Citing Augustine, Pope Benedict XVI in 2005 endorsed the idea of salvation for non-believers. See the Zenit article, "Nonbelievers Too Can Be Saved, Says Pope," as well as the text of the general audience in which the comments were made.

One of the greatest Catholic theologians of the 20th century, Hans urs von Balthasar (who died shortly before he was to be made a cardinal) proposed that, within the Catholic theological tradition, it is entirely possible for Catholics to hope that all will be saved and that hell is, in fact, empty. He authored a book titled, "Dare We Hope that All Men Be Saved?" (spoiler alert: yes).

Cardinal Avery Dulles, writing in First Things, summarized our position thusly:

>The universal evidences of the divine, under the leading of grace, can give rise to a rudimentary faith that leans forward in hope and expectation to further manifestations of God’s merciful love and of his guidance for our lives. By welcoming the signs already given and placing their hope in God’s redeeming love, persons who have not heard the tidings of the gospel may nevertheless be on the road to salvation. If they are faithful to the grace given them, they may have good hope of receiving the truth and blessedness for which they yearn...

>Who, then, can be saved? Catholics can be saved if they believe the Word of God as taught by the Church and if they obey the commandments. Other Christians can be saved if they submit their lives to Christ and join the community where they think he wills to be found. Jews can be saved if they look forward in hope to the Messiah and try to ascertain whether God’s promise has been fulfilled. Adherents of other religions can be saved if, with the help of grace, they sincerely seek God and strive to do his will. Even atheists can be saved if they worship God under some other name and place their lives at the service of truth and justice. God’s saving grace, channeled through Christ the one Mediator, leaves no one unassisted. But that same grace brings obligations to all who receive it. They must not receive the grace of God in vain. Much will be demanded of those to whom much is given.

u/Chuckabear · 1 pointr/Christianity

He's been to several different denominations to see what they're about. I assure you he's been talked at about the gospel.

u/MegaZeusThor · 1 pointr/atheism

ebay considers it a body part, so you can't sell it there.

u/IrishB_Cubed · 1 pointr/atheism
u/Aunolin · 1 pointr/Christianity

Thanks for looking that up! I was aware of the lectionary, but Hemant Mehta in I Sold My Soul on eBay said that most of the churches he visited in the Chicago area did little critical analysis of the passages in their sermons. I guess the burden is on the churchgoer to find a church that does exegesis?

u/NERDcurious · 1 pointr/atheism

You guys might appreciate Hemant Mehta, he wrote A good book

u/dirtmcgurk · 1 pointr/Christianity

That argument is laughable. It begs the question of whether or not the bible is true as a whole, when it could easily have been partially exaggerations by some authors on a guy voicing his views in allegory and partially complete hooey. I was arguing that the truth of the teachings doesn't hinge on the truth of resurrection.

My view is fairly consistent with this.

u/Upinuranus · 1 pointr/DebateAChristian

Look at what's available to you. Read some things. Attend churches that focus less on it being a religion and more so it being a relationship with God. Talk to the pastors there about your issues with Christianity. Make it a priority in your life to find truth. Go where the evidence takes you. No matter where it does, you're going to have to take a leap of faith since no side can be proven totally 100% true.

I recommend Lee Strobel's Case for a Creator, and Norman L. Geisler and Frank Turek's I Don't Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist, The Apologetic's Study Bible, The Complete C. S. Lewis Signature Classics, Cold-Case Christianity: A Homicide Detective Investigates the Claims of the Gospels by J. Warner Wallace, and really just Apologetics in general

u/Zybbo · 1 pointr/Christianity

Go for dr WL Craig ministry.

I would also reccomend two readings:

Mere Christianity - CS Lewis

I don't have enough faith to be an atheist

All in all, keep searching for the Truth.

u/erictron · 1 pointr/MurderedByWords

The evidence for God is pretty straight-forward, and there's a lot of it. Heck, youtube is basically full of theists challenging atheists. Frank Turek is pretty straightforward, though, if you're just starting out.

I don't have enough faith to be an atheist was the final nail in the coffin back in my atheist days.

u/gr3yh47 · 1 pointr/TrueChristian

Man, I'm really sorry to hear you feel like your faith is slipping. I have some resources that I think can really help you, but please first and foremost pray that God would strengthen your faith. Rely on your heavenly father in Christ, and ask Him to increase your faith.

If you'd like to have a conversation via discord I'd be happy to speak with you about this. You are not alone in this struggle, and I've been through some of this fairly recently.

Ultimately as Christians we believe that a man named Jesus lived, claimed to be God, and proved it by predicting and accomplishing His resurrection from the dead.
If this is true, then He is God and what He says is true - especially that He is the way to be reconciled to God.

I recommend checking out Frank Turek. Without using the bible, He covers the breadth of topics that you are concerned about, from the reasons to believe in God down to why the Christian God. If you enjoy reading, his book is a wonderful, thought provoking read. if you prefer video, I recommend watching his presentation at East TN Univerity

u/HuggableTree · 1 pointr/TrueChristian

I'm not sure this is what your looking for but this is the closest book I can think of:


It talks about all those area's independently but from the perspective of a Christian.

u/blueletter · 1 pointr/Christianity

One that I have read and found interesting is called: I don't have enough faith to be an atheist

u/TheEzMan · 1 pointr/Christianity

I'm reading this book right now. It's pretty one sided but it gives great evidence for a God


u/luvintheride · 1 pointr/DebateAChristian

> If God will exist, I am already living by it.

It sounds like your standards are based on just yourself (circular logic).

God is an infinitely intelligent being that knows the optimal thing to do at each moment. Do you think that you are living a perfect life in charity and virtue ? Are you helping as many people as you possibly could ? The truth is that all have fallen short of God's grace. We are all sinners. The best that we can do is be thankful and repentant.

Saint Vincent Ferrer was probably the most holy person to walk the earth since the Apostles and He lamented at how sinful he was. If you don't realize your own sinfulness in the sight of God, then you don't know about God.

> Having a plan and not telling me about it.

The word "plan" is misleading when referring to God. He is outside of time and knows the future, but we are locked in this timeline. From God's perspective, things have already happened AND they are currently it's not quite a "plan".

From our perspective, all we need to worry about is that we have free will, and whether or not we're making the most of it.

> Having a plan and not telling me about it.

Unless you are blind and quadriplegic, God has given you great abilities and a sense to make the most of them. You will be accountable for what you did or didn't do with them. Choose wisely.

You'll know if you are doing the right thing if you have a sense of joy. ...Like rescuing children from Human trafficking, or helping homeless people get back on their feet.

For reference, Mother Teresa would clean up people who were dying in the open sewers of Calcutta. Most people would avoid there because of the terrible smell, yet it brought her great joy. I would guess that you have more physical abilities than she did as a 100 pound little woman.

> Not all gay sex is adultery,

The Christian definition of adultery is not definable by each person (circular logic). All Gay sex is abhorrent in the eyes of God because He gave us the gift of procreation to have children. The Bible says this in several places, but it is also possible to reason out theologically. Since God is your creator, Gay sex is like master-bating in front of your parents, while they are begging for you to have grandchildren. Gay sex only serves one's own physical lusts. Gay sex can not produce a child, or serve someone in charity (Love). The physical effects like AIDS was God's way of warning people not to do it. God also gives mankind dominion over the physical world, which is the only reason why AIDS hasn't been more destructive.

> and strait martial sex can give you stds.

It's not just a matter of gay versus straight. Lots of straight people commit adultery. e.g. Porn stars. However, two wrongs do not make a right.

Christianity's standard is monogamous marriage and abstinence before marriage. If people had followed that, then millions of innocent people would not have died of AIDS and other STDs.

> homosexuality is not a choice. God made some people attracted to men, and his mad?

Human will is more complicated than that. By the time a child is 5, the child has had millions of impressions. I don't think that homosexuals are consciously deciding to be gay. It is more the product of malformation. For example, there are towns in Thailand where young boys are trained to be prostitutes for men. They are not "choosing".

I believe that God gives each of us the necessary graces to overcome our situations. There are tonnes of great testimonials of former homosexuals on

> Not all parents are homophobes.

Not sure what you mean by that. If parents encourage homosexuality, they will have a very hard time facing God. Parents are supposed to teach their children to love God, not indulge in their physical lusts. For example, children also want to eat candy all day. Parents are supposed to teach responsible behavior.

God calls everyone to Heaven, but only the repentant can face Him, because He is Truth itself and shines like the sun. Those who can face the Truth are glorified by God's light. Those who have unrepentant sin are burned by His light. That's the basis of Heaven and Hell. They are both fueled by God's light.

> And if it's only bad if God is real, I call that blind faith.

Well, I was an atheist~agnostic for over 30 years and now understand that there is nothing blind about believing in Christianity. Quite the opposite. It is like openning one's eyes.

Ironically, believing in things like abiogenesis requires blind faith. There is ZERO proof of it, and it defies the laws of physics, like entropy.

I agree with Dr. Turek and his book title:

"I don't have enough faith to be an atheist"

u/randybcho · 1 pointr/Christianity

Surprised this hasn't made it to the list yet: "I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an Athiest". I personally haven't read it yet, but I hear it's very influential from many of my friends. Check it out!

u/bevets · 1 pointr/DebateEvolution

> There is, by definition, no empirical or validated evidence for the supernatural.

John 10.37 "If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; 38 but if I do them, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in Me, and I in the Father."

>The bible tells you that you must have faith. Why do you think that is?

We all believe, as an article of faith, that life evolved from dead matter on this planet. It is just that its complexity is so great, it is hard for us to imagine that it did. ~ Harold Urey

Many investigators feel uneasy stating in public that the origin of life is a mystery, even though behind closed doors they admit they are baffled. ~ Paul Davies

u/srcapital · 1 pointr/atheism

You are not making an argument against the idea that all ideas begin life as beliefs. That has been my point and yet you continue to not address it.

>These is not knowledge in the sense that the results of an experiment are knowledge. There is a desire on the part of believers to put them on equal footing but they are not the same.

I have not been talking about the different definitions of knowledge that exist. It is true that what some religious people would consider knowledge would not hold up in a scientific community, but I have not been arguing for that.

>People and cultures worldwide have wildly varying relationships with both logic and with reason.

This is not true, and I think the worldwide scientific and philosophical communities would agree with me. If you want to push that point further, it is on you to prove that people have difference understandings of logic.

>Reason is not welcome within religion

If reason is not welcome in religion, when why do books like these exist?

It is true that there are many people who have blind religious faith, but there are many people out there that look for logic and reason to explain their religion.

>faith is anti-reason

Faith is not the antithesis of logic. Without faith we would have no knowledge at all, as all knowledge comes from some kind of belief.

>Faith is never equivalent to fact.

I have made no statements to suggest that at all.

u/jubelo · 1 pointr/freemasonry

Also, dont forget that Atheism requires just as much "faith" as religion. You cannot prove nor disprove the existence of God, therefore the belief of non-belief in God requires faith in your particular belief.

I for one have a hard time believing that the Universe randomly did some random things and life sprang up and that a single cell of that life contains unfathomable amounts of information. I read a Christian Apologetic book called "I dont have enough faith to be an Atheist" and while I am not a Christian, there is some things in there that set Atheism on its head.

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/d0r13n · 1 pointr/worshipleaders

I actually have this one on my bookshelf! I think it was recommended by one of the two books I mentioned in the original post. Or it may have been from a southern Californian worship leader that I know. I completely forgot about it until I looked it up and Amazon reminded me. I'll have to dig it up tonight!

What was it about this book that makes it your favorite?

u/TheDrugsLoveMe · 1 pointr/exmormon

Read (or listen to) "A History of God" by Karen Armstrong. I didn't even finish the book, and it cured me of caring about the god of Abraham as anything more than a man-made construct.


u/daraseti_piqqudeka · 1 pointr/Reformed

One of the few books I have seen with a Kindle edition cheaper than the actual book. But still not cheap =X

u/ibookworm · 1 pointr/Catholicism

I'm glad you liked them! Kudos to you for taking the time to read them. There's always more to Catholic thought than the caricatures and oversimplifications out there might indicate, but so few people take the time and effort to discover that. :)

Regarding God's existence, is your hesitation in the mind or in the heart? If merely intellectual, there's also a ton in the Catholic tradition that demonstrates God’s existence quite solidly. For starters, in order by time commitment:

  1. This comic is a small attempt at trying to make one of these these rather abstract and high level but really cool arguments understandable:
  2. Edward Feser has a collection of posts about the same basic argument that goes into a lot more detail:
  3. And I’ve found this short-ish book to be a great natural language, step-by-step, understandable journey through the argument:
  4. Finally, Feser’s new book explains this argument and four other compelling ones rather rigorously:

    If, on the other hand, your hesitation is more in the heart (which is usually the case, even for me sometimes), I would suggest trying prayer. If you ask God honestly to help you find the truth, even if you don’t think he’s really there to listen, he will help. As long as you are open to finding him . . . he will find you. :) I don’t mean this in some over-emotional protestant way (which often ignores reason entirely), but faith really is a matter of our (I sigh at using this word, but oh well) relationship with God. So often today faith is defined as sheer, willed belief, without evidence or even in the face of evidence. But that’s a new-ish definition with origins in protestantism. For Catholics, faith is better defined as trust in God and what he has revealed. You can sure as heck have good reasons for that trust, including the intellectual knowledge that God exists. But at the end of the day, it comes down to you and God. (Just as knowing that my wife exists is a necessary precondition for our love, but doesn’t actually help me get close to her.) :)
u/Hypatia415 · 1 pointr/Christianity

Here's a good book by a well-respected Biblical Scholar, God's Problem: How the Bible Fails to Answer Our Most Important Question--Why We Suffer

u/Ottermotive_Insanity · 1 pointr/Christianity

Love Wins is a great read if you're questioning Hell. I'm not saying I base my belief on it, but it addresses your questions with the answers you want.

But I don't even believe in Hell as a place of eternal torment, so I guess I don't believe in Hell, and I'm a Christian.

u/Heald · 1 pointr/Christianity

Have a look at Love Wins by Rob Bell and Erasing Hell by Francis Chan and Preston Sprinkle

They both discuss the issues that you are struggling with.

u/jayratch · 1 pointr/politics

>It seems everyone in this thread is forgetting that with jesus came the idea of hell and eternal punishment.

This is not the case.

I could explain, but I'll point you to the book "Love Wins" by newly controversial Christian author Rob Bell. In the book (and I'm sure you can get secondary analysis through the Google without buying the book) Bell debunks the popular mythology of hell.

u/US_Hiker · 1 pointr/atheism

I should have perhaps written "Jesus thought that Lust is bad" etc etc.

As far as what Jesus believed in about Hell, it was likely hugely different than what Christians believe in today. For one, there's no mention that heterodoxy (wrong belief) would send you there. The only people in hell or punished were there for heteropraxis (wrong action). As such, though he felt lust was hugely harmful, I don't think he considered it Hell-worthy. There was a recent book written detailing many of the arguments this way. Love Wins, by Rob Bell. I haven't read it yet, but heard good things from some theologians/clergy I know (and horrible things from the more fundie/evo side in the US). Basically, there is shockingly little support for the orthodox version of Hell that we all know about.

Similarly, the Christian concept of original sin is unrecognizable to Jews, and very likely to Jesus (at least we have nothing extant from Jesus talking about it). Our concept of O.S. comes from Paul, and it's so counter to what most Jews think of it that it's one of their main reasons not to convert to Christianity. FWIW, it's one of the big reasons that I don't think Christianity is a successor to Judaism and became a no-longer Christian. Read this and this or this. There was a small subgroup w/in Judaism who believed in inherited sin, as mentioned in a couple of the more apocalyptic books we have from the time (detailed here). If Jesus was just an apocalyptic itinerant preacher, he might have believed in it. To what extent though, we don't know, as the doctrine is based off of Paul's book of Romans, not the Gospels.

u/SyntheticSylence · 1 pointr/Christianity

Atheist Delusions by David Bentley Hart is really awesome. It doesn't spend much time on much of the New Atheist arguments, because honestly they don't take very long to refute. But he does spend a lot of time talking about the historical impact of Christianity, and dispelling historical myths about Christianity and the sciences/thought in general. It's also a hilarious read, Hart is a great polemicist. Only read if you can stomach stuff like, "The rather petulant subtitle that Christopher Hitchens has given his (rather petulantly titled) god is Not Great is How Religion Poisons Everything. Naturally one would not expect him to have squandered any greater labor of thought on the dust jacket of his book than on the disturbingly bewildered text that careens so drunkenly across its pages - reeling up against a missed logical connection here, steading itself against a historical error there, stumbling everywhere all over those damned conceptual confusions littering the carpet - but one does still have to wonder how he expects any reflective reader to interpret such a phrase. Does he really mean precisely everything?"

Terry Eagleton's Reason, Faith, and Revolution is also really good. It's a cheat for me to mention him, since he's not a Christian but a marxist; he does a terrific job of showing how Dawkins and Hitchens (what he calls, Ditchkins) make their argument on the cheap, however. In the end, he concludes that the problem Ditchkins has is that Christianity is far too radical for them. And that the Church has strayed from its radical roots. So it happens to be a good pro and anti-Christian work. Since I gave you an excerpt of Atheist Delusions, I may as well give you one from Reason, Faith, and Revolution: "With dreary predictability, Daniel C. Dennett defines religions at the beginning of his Breaking the Spell as “social systems whose participants avow belief in a supernatural agent or agents whose approval is to be sought,” which as far as Christianity goes is rather like beginning a history of the potato by defining it as a rare species of rattlesnake. Predictably, Dennett’s image of God is a Satanic one. He also commits the Ditchkins-like blunder of believing that religion is a botched attempt to explain the world, which is like seeing ballet as a botched attempt to run for a bus."

u/TheEconomicon · 1 pointr/Christianity

>I’m genuinely confused, how is your faith in the bible different than cult members’ faith in their cult leaders’ words?

The difference between the Bible and a cult leader's words are pretty substantial.

  • The Bible is a compilation of works which require a lifetime of learning, reflection, and discussion in order to contemplate their meaning. Its substance and weight dwarfs that of the average cult leader's flimsy theology.

  • The Bible has an incredibly rich and historical literary tradition going back thousands of years. It is easily the most important book to exist in the West. The fact that the West's most significant and genius philosophers, teachers, historians, and authors held the Christian faith as central to their lives lends at least some veracity to the Bible's intellectual and historical substance.

    A charismatic preacher such as a cult leader has little but his words to legitimize himself. Thousands of books and letters have not been written around the People's Temple. There is no systematic and epistemological study of the vast majority of cults that matches that of Christianity or even the other major religions on Earth. Even most academics who are atheists and are not being completely uncharitable will agree with this.

    >Also, what is the single philosophical argument you find most impactful to your conversion?

    The Five Ways by Aquinas are good. But their function is not to convince people that God exists as much as it is to establish a foundation for the rest of Aquinas's theology. If you want a good book on the "essence" of what God is I would suggest this book.

    But honestly, the people who become convinced of God's existence are not those who read a philosophical proof and then believed. Speaking from the experience of my most intelligent friends, belief in God comes from the most unexpected places. One of my friends came to believe while reading a passage from Dante's Inferno. Another came to believe while going to the March for Life with their fiance. And there is another friend who realized they believed while arguing with someone over the existence of universal morality.

    My point is that belief in God does not come from reading a single philosophical or historical text. Rather, it appears from a complex blend of life experience, knowledge, and reflection. It is a long process that even the person himself may not notice until they find themselves at the cusp of believing. Another way of thinking about it is this: a war is often not won due to a grand battle; a war is won because of the many hundreds of skirmishes across many battlefields and points.
u/DivineEnergies · 1 pointr/Christianity

I'd recommend reading Hart's The Experience of God for quality answers to most of your questions here.

It lays out the philosophy of theism better than anything else I've read on the topic.

u/jez2718 · 1 pointr/DebateReligion

I believe that what makes our life meaningful is the meaning we give it. If for you that means committing to religion, then it is good for you to do that. I've personally met a bunch of people who said they felt like you did before joining the Church and that it really turned their life around.

>Just looking for reassurance that believing in God could be a plausible belief system.

I've only studied Christianity, but I would say that it definitely is plausible. There is a long tradition of very intelligent people who have thought a lot about the issues of God and religion, and whatever the New Atheists may say the answers these people have come up with can't be dismissed lightly. I would recommend this book, and especially any of the popular work of Swinburne or Plantinga (note: haven't read this one, but heard good things about it and Plantinga knows his stuff), as an introduction to the academic study and defence of theism.

>The possibility of God is all I've got, if I want to defeat my suicidal thoughts and embrace life fully.

Go for it, and I wish you the best of luck (though I also second others' recommendations of seeking counselling, it was a great help to me when I needed it).

Selfishly I will hope that at some point you might come to see the meaning I see in an atheistic world and be in a better space to consider the merits of atheism, but it sounds like that isn't what is important right now.

u/Jayesar · 1 pointr/atheism

Be warned that the Bible is a long, convoluted string of garble that most people pick and choose from. It is tough to sit down and read it from start to finish because of the many contradictions and possible interpretations. I think on r/christianity they advise the King James (?) version. But they all deliver the same message.

The trap you should worry about falling into is circular logic. I believe God because the Bible says so. I believe the Bible because God says so.

You are probably best viewing the existence of God from a higher level, and delve deeper if you are convinced that a God must exist. Have a look also at a book such as a case for fath which provides an argument for the christian God.

From the atheist perspective, I think the God delusion is a great starting point. It covers evolution, natural selection, the propagation of religion, morality etc. The only emptiness I found after reading that book was in regards to the cosmological arguments. How did the Universe start? Have a look at this link for the best answer I have seen.

Ground yourself from both perspectives so you can interpret and understand what you are reading. I advise reading the atheist arguments first as the onus on proving God is on those making the claim. So, you are best to be well grounded in reality before confronting religious texts so you can better separate the bullshit from the rest.

u/ehempel · 1 pointr/atheism

Ok ... evidence from my side ...

> we have so many copies of the New Testament that there is no doubt about what they say on any Christian doctrine. We have so many copies, not to mention all the quotes and paraphrases from the church fathers, that we know all the meaning of the Bible. However, many copies have textual copyist errors, and we are about 97% certain of each word of the New Testament. On one hand, this is a very high percentage. On the other hand, it could be higher. Perhaps a lesson to learn is that God was extremely concerned with preserving 100% of the meaning of the New Testament, but not as concerned with the individual words.


Other places to read:

u/kevinderp · 1 pointr/Christianity

One, I've on Redditt for a week now. It's good to finally see some people who don't bash God.

Two. You should read a book called "The Case for Faith".

Also wrote "The Case For Christ" and "The Case for a Creator"

Very powerful books. Set out to disprove God, found nothing but proof.

We are called to have the minds of a serpent. God doesn't want a blind following. We are to come to Him with a child like faith, but after that, we are to sharpen our minds and to know what we believe and why we believe it. Reading the Bible is necessary. You can't just kind of know some of the Biblical stories. Read them yourself. Read what's before and what comes after them.

So many times people lift little tidbits from the bible to prove their point about how ridiculous it is.

Too many choose to believe that some of the Bible is true but other parts aren't. It's either all or nothing.

I'll tell you, there is more science that lines up with the Bible than not.

u/lorxraposa · 1 pointr/exmormon

I'm eagerly awaiting reading History of god when I get to it on my reading stack

u/professional_giraffe · 1 pointr/TrueAtheism

Not long after I went off to college. I'd heard and read all the terrible things in the bible, but my loss of faith actually had to do with really studying the history of religion for the first time, and understanding how humanity's changing understanding of the world and growing sense of morality had influenced every major and minor change in dogma along the way. (Very similar to how I was able to dismiss creation when I learned about evolution in school.) I had already started to become more like a "deist" rather than a "theist" without realizing it, but I also had plenty of "religious experiences" that made me feel a personal relationship with god and kept me from dismissing it completely.

My first real challenge to my belief didn't happen until I investigated a church other than the non-denominational type I'd always been taken to growing up. I did this because my very serious boyfriend at the time was mormon (Who is now my atheist husband ;) and of course wanted to give it an honest look. But naturally I was skeptical. I looked on the internet for information, and to make a looong story short, I knew that it was untrue. (Like, literally plagiarized. Heh, literally...) But in researching one religion, I unknowingly started studying them all, and I encountered a lot of new arguments because of this (and just from being on the internet everyday helped with that too. Reddit was a big influence) and I remember deciding that I could not dismiss his religion or any other without truly looking into my own. So I decided to read arguments against everything I'd been taught, like a scientifically minded person is supposed to want to do.

Like you, I made a reddit post around this time, asking for sources and wanting others to tell me why they made the decision. Still identifying as christian, I didn't even know what information was out there, and what sources would be a best place to start. On that post I was given a link to this video series (edit: also linked by someone else) and when I had finished it I was an atheist. My "official" transition happened in just two hours, but really it made me realize how much I already didn't believe and taught me about a lot of other things about the bible I'd never heard such as the Documentary Hypothesis and the origins of Judaism. It was just my "last straw."

What you should look into next really depends on what might interest you the most or have the biggest impact. Here's a site that lists a ton of relevant books by category. Two I personally would highly recommend: "The God Delusion" which is fairly popular and a great place to start for a comprehensive understanding of the main issues, and "A History of God" is absolutely amazing for understanding the natural evolution of religion.

u/ElderSalamander · 1 pointr/exmormon

A History of God, by Karen Armstrong is excellent. Highly recommended and a great read.

u/ChurroBandit · 1 pointr/DebateAChristian

Holy shit, dude. That sounds like the exact opposite of fun. If they've got something important to say, then summarize it here.

Just for fun, why don't you read Misquoting Jesus or The History of God, if you're not afraid to expose yourself to some scholarship that will challenge your most cherished illusions.

u/IIdsandsII · 1 pointr/AskScienceDiscussion

I can't tell you about dinosaurs, but I can recommend two life changing books:

A History of God:

This book actually details how the God people worship today came to be, from older gods in older religions. It's a historical account of today's God. This will change your perspective on modern religion forever. It's interesting because, though the world is dominated by a few religions today, these religions are very new. They are man-made, just like older religions, but compared to the older religions, they haven't existed very long at all. Essentially, this book is a scientific look at the evolution of modern religion. Evolution of species is interesting in of itself, but the evolution of societies (religions, governments, nations, societal structures) is just as interesting. This is similar to my next recommendation...

Sex at Dawn:

This book is a scientific look at the evolution of human sexuality. I think the most interesting thing about this book for me, was that it was the first thing I ever read that explained how the concept of marriage is a man-made concept, and is only a few thousand years old. So, for hundreds of thousands of years before that, humans and hominids did not marry. In other words, the idea of a life-long bond is not in our DNA. In fact, our ancestors lived MUCH differently than we do today, and, arguably, much better.

These two books will blow your mind. I think they are essential and are very easy to read. You can read both in a couple weeks' time.

u/baddspellar · 1 pointr/Christianity

Here are a couple that made me think and taught me a few things:

Great Christian Thinkers: Paul, Origen, Augustine, Aquinas, Luther, Schleiermacher, Barth - Hans Kung

A History of God: The 4,000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam - Karen Armstrong

If you wish to understand Catholicism, Youcat is my favorite.

u/Peppper · 1 pointr/atheism

I was raised Christian and went to a fundamentalist highschool. I started questioning things when I realized my faith required me to suspend my rationality. Read some books on the historical accuracy of religious claims. My thought was always, "Well if what all these people say is true, it should hold up to rational scientific inquiry." The more I dug, the more I realized that it never could. I fought and fought with myself. Christianity (especially of the fundamentalist flavor) has this built in mechanism to dissuade disbelief. You are constantly indoctrinated to see any doubt that enters your mind as evil, sinful and to simply "pray the doubt away". I'm sure you know of this. Keep fighting, let reason and logic be your guide.

Some books that helped me on my way to breaking free:

A History of God by Karen Armstrong

The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins

Pale Blue Dot by Carl Sagan

I also recommend this youtube series by user Evid3nc3.

Those should give you alot to think about.

Remember the most important thing is to decide for yourself. Question everything and never take something as truth from authority simply because they are an authority. See if it makes sense, find the documented evidence that backs up the claims. The light may hurt at first.

"For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring." -Carl Sagan

u/maytawlli · 1 pointr/IAmA

I really recommend this book It was written by a former christian nun who's changed her mind about the abrahamic religions after studying the history of Jews Christians and Islamic people. Once you start looking at your faith critically, you'll discover the bible/new testament's inconsistencies. Jesus wasn't deemed the literal son of god until 300 years after his death.

u/bmgoau · 1 pointr/atheism

A History of God - Karen Armstrong

In this stunningly intelligent book, Karen Armstrong, one of Britain's foremost commentators on religious affairs, traces the history of how men and women have perceived and experienced God, from the time of Abraham to the present. From classical philsophy and medieval mysticism to the Reformation, the Enlightenment, and the modern age of skepticism, Karen Armstrong performs the near miracle of distilling the intellectual history of monotheism into one superbly readable volume, destined to take its place as a classic.

Excellent video based on the book.

Also: BBC The Story of God

The Story of God is an epic journey across continents, cultures and eras exploring religious beliefs from their earliest incarnations, through the development of today's major world faiths and the status of religious faith in a scientific age. The series examines the roots of religious beliefs in prehistoric societies and the different ways in which humanity's sense of the divine developed. It looks at the divergence between religions that worship a range of deities and those that represent strict monotheism.

u/kahrahtay · 1 pointr/atheism

> The entire book of Deuteronomy emerged after two disastrous reigns for the Yahvists who were a persecuted minority sect campaigning to become the official religion of the land and was written from that viewpoint. Oh, you thought it was all along?

No. I am quite aware of this. I suggest you read this book, as it discusses in detail the events surrounding the appearances of the books of the old testament, and about the ancient Israelites and their different gods (including yahweh).

If you prefer, some of those same ideas are also discussed in this video, which I highly recommend. It is from a series of videos on youtube made by a young man documenting his struggle to understand his faith and his relationship with god. You may not agree with the conclusions he eventually came to, but I would like to know what you think of the issues he brought up.

> The story of David and Bathsheba needs to be taken in its entirety, and is more along the lines of a morality tale. Compare it to the text before and after. It doesn't really fit. But morality tales have their place. Remember three things: they believed that whatever happened was either a blessing or a punishment from God, taking a male child was a serious punishment for a serious offense, and the infant mortality rate was likely high by our standards.

Let me be clear. I can not imagine any set of circumstances where the murder of an innocent child for the crimes of his parents could be considered a just or reasonable punishment for any crime whatsoever.

> taking a male child was a serious punishment for a serious offense

It certainly is. It is NOT however a just punishment. It can only be accurately described as the vile, sadistic, and cruel act of an unjust ruler. If such things are the actions of a god, then he too is vile, cruel, and unjust by the standards of any rational person.

And if it is as you say, just a 'morality' tale, then I have two questions for you:

  1. What possible lesson in morality could a person hope to take from such a story?

  2. Once again don't you find it peculiar that a loving and all knowing god would leave such a vaguely written, and easily misunderstood set of documents as the only accepted source of his will, his morality, his nature, and even his existence?

    Let me know what you think
u/RainTea · 1 pointr/exchristian

I'm currently reading A History of God, by Karen Armstrong. Saw it mentioned in Evid3nc3's YouTube series, of course. It explains the old Canaanite pantheon, how Yahweh started being exulted above the other members during times of war and struggle, how the texts were altered and added to, etc. It also touches upon how other religions were developing at the time; Buddhism, etc.

u/ai565ai565 · 1 pointr/whatsthatbook

A History of God: The 4,000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam by Karen Armstrong?

u/captainhaddock · 1 pointr/Christianity

I'll make a few suggestions.

  • A History of God by former nun-turned-author Karen Armstrong has a nice overview of the development of Judaism and Christianity along with many of the names you read in the Bible.

  • The Bible Unearthed by Israeli archaeologist Israel Finkelstein has chapter-by-chapter summaries of key Old Testament figures and their stories followed by overviews of relevant archaeological data and explorations.

  • A good study Bible like the New Oxford Annotated Bible will offer scholarly introductions to each book describing its setting and main concerns. Get a version with the deuterocanon (apocrypha), so you can read books like Maccabees, which continues the story of the Jews following the return from exile up until the Roman period in which the Gospels are set.
u/kencabbit · 1 pointr/atheism

Have you read anything by Bart Erhman concerning the history of the Bible? I also recommend A History of God by Karen Armstrong.

u/cynicalabode · 1 pointr/atheism

Warning: Wall of Text

I'd watch the video again. It took me a few times to fully grasp what he is saying - he covered quite a bit! If you have the time, though, I highly suggest reading "A History of God" by Karen Armstrong. Evid3nc3 pulls his material for the video I linked from Armstrong's book.

Simply put, the Judeo-Christian deity, called "God", is not and has never been the one and only god. He is a combination of a few gods from the polytheistic religions of the time and area.

[Please excuse this tangent; it's necessary. Armstrong talks about the evolution of polytheism (the worship of many gods) into monotheism (the worship one god, believed to be the only god) through two intermediate stages, Henotheism (worshiping a single god while accepting the existence or possible existence of other deities) and monolatrism (the recognition of the existence of many gods, but with the consistent worship of only one deity).]

So, there were a few polytheistic religions in the region, with a few dozen deities apiece. Certain areas began to pick "favorites". After a while, they began to worship that deity more than the others. Then, people acted as if the deity they worshipped was the only one that ever existed. They then rewrote their books to say exactly that.

Armstrong studied the ancient texts scrupulously, and realized that textual evidence supports this. The Genesis creation story is a plagiarism of the Canaanite creation story. The multiple names for "God" used in the Bible (Yahweh, El Elyon meaning "Most High") are actual Canaan deities! Hell, they even demonized other Canaan gods like Ba'al because he was the "favorite God" of a rival area.

What probably got to me the most was when Evid3nc3 mentioned the first biblical commandment. "Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me." For everyone born into a Christian household, this is a bit weird. Isn't God the only god? Why is he forbidding us from worshipping other gods? Wait, hold up - there are other gods?? Seems a bit unnecessary for a universe that has only one god.


I'm sure I butchered the arguments and left some important things out, but that's what I found striking (at least, striking enough for me to remember from the last time I watched it!). His whole series is excellent! Basically, it is very difficult for someone to lose their faith because it has so many factors that all support one another. Watch this video, if anything. It explains why it is so difficult to shed one's religion.

Sorry for the wall of text, I hope you can take something away from it!

u/daLeechLord · 1 pointr/DebateAChristian

Sure! A History of God by Karen Armstrong. Fascinating book.

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/damaged_but_whole · 1 pointr/occult

The book cover he shows at the beginning of video 1 would be a good starting point.

Here's the book he shows at the beginning of video #1. Click on "look inside this book" and advance to page 13. You will she she is discussing P and J sources:

u/Al_Tilly_the_Bum · 1 pointr/exmormon

"A History of God" is a great read. It really makes the bible make so much more sense. Warning: the evidence presented in this book may lead to a loss in faith of the Judeo/Christian image of God.

u/johninbigd · 1 pointr/atheism

The History of God

Misquoting Jesus

You could also go to Yale Online Courses and watch the courses on New Testament and Old Testament history.

u/bigern22 · 1 pointr/atheism

I would go for A History of God. For me, nothing was more damning of my belief in God than when I learned that Yahweh originated in Jewish polytheism. That was the nail in the coffin for my belief in God. I think attacking the foundation of their beliefs(Yahweh and the Old Testament) is the best way to get someone thinking. If it was bullshit from the beginning, nothing else later even matters.

u/Leon_Art · 1 pointr/DebateReligion

I was wondering if you saw this two part video (Part one and Part 2) and maybe the book (Karen Armstrong's A History of God: The 4,000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam) it was based on. I think you might find it interesting.

u/the_omega99 · 1 pointr/EverythingScience

Should you read every book that presents a new idea just to judge for yourself if that is an idea worth undertaking or whatever?

There's been a lot of religions in human history (most which have long since died off). Should you necessarily read every religion's works to understand the religion and its followers, and to determine if it's the right one in your mind (etc)? The bible is certainly the basis for the largest religion (and a partial basis for the second largest, although the Quran is much more influential to them). But let's not neglect the Hindus and Buddhists (I don't even know what their religious books are, or how many their are).

Are we even constraining ourselves to modern religions? Maybe the ancient Greeks or Romans had it right, but you won't know because you didn't study them yourself (sure, they died off, but that's just because other people decided that they were the "wrong" religions -- by your logic, you should be deciding this for yourself). What about the Norse? Or that ancient Egyptian religion?

The reality of the world is that you can't really read and research everything for yourself. There's nothing wrong with falling back on other people's shorter, more digestible summaries, provided that you take care to find quality ones and a diversity of opinions. And reading their holy books won't tell you that much about their modern religions. It doesn't really matter what the Bible or Quran says, for example, if the followers do something entirely different. Not to mention that reading and researching for yourself does not require reading the holy book. There's plenty of more modern texts, for example, that have a much less biased explanation of modern religions, their belief sets, and how they have evolved -- this goes far beyond what the Bible alone could tell you about these religions.

Reading the bible to figure out if it's right is like reading Mein Kampf to figure out if Hitler's ideas were good ones. It's far too biased, missing in objective knowledge, and omits crucial things. If you want to actually study a religion, you need more than that. You need someone who can point out when "facts" stated differ from historical accounts. You need someone to remind you when a passage conflicts with an earlier one. You need someone to detail when details are actually carry-overs from older religions. A proper religion studies textbook would do a lot more to critically analyze a religion than reading their holy book. An example of such a book is A History of God by Karen Armstrong.

As an aside,

>If you know Tyson, you'll know he's not an atheist, he's agnostic.

That's bullshit. Agnostic isn't a view point alone. The actual divide is "agnostic atheist", "gnostic atheist", "agnostic theist", and "gnostic theist" (most people are either agnostic atheists or gnostic theists). Typically among intelligent people, the default for when you don't know is to assume it doesn't exist. And that's the case for almost everything, really. I can't be entirely sure that unicorns don't exist. I don't have proof for it. Yet I don't think they exist. Tyson is an agnostic atheist who avoids the term "atheist" because it has strong negative connotations in the US (a huge number of people say that they wouldn't vote for an atheist, for example).

u/Phantasmal · 1 pointr/atheism

You may also want to read The History of God and Why We Believe What We Believe.

I have found some of my best reading by checking the bibliography of books with ideas that I really enjoyed and then reading the books that were referenced there.

The hardest thing for many people is replacing a feeling of certainty with a feeling of uncertainty. You may want to read Steven Hawking's Brief History of Time.

Some basic introductions to philosophy would not go amiss either. People have been tackling the "big questions" in much the same way, throughout all of history. There are not as many new ideas as there are old ideas, rehashed. Learn something about the history of human thought, it is pretty fascinating and will help you figure out what you think.

u/FireInTheNight · 1 pointr/Christianity

And you are frightened for good reason (no pun intended). I am talking to someone who believes in an invisible sky wizard for which there is absolutely no evidence whatsoever to be found in observable reality. In fact, all the evidence that we have found in observable reality so far strongly suggests that no such entity exists - many would say to the point of certainty. Add to the lack of scientific evidence for gods the fact that historians have traced the origins of the beliefs in the current gods that people still believe in today back to the beliefs in earlier gods seamlessly through history. Your god, for example, is an amalgamated result of a multitude of ancient Arabic tribal polytheistic and pantheistic beliefs. Check out Karen Armstrong's excellent "A History of God" on the subject (if you haven't done so already).

So yeah, as long as I am talking to someone who believes in such an entity and compares talking to it to "basic social interactions" and human "two-way communication" I have reason and rationality squarely and exclusively on my side.

u/sdvneuro · 1 pointr/DebateAChristian

Both of these books discuss it:

A History of God

The Bible: a biography

u/jesusonadinosaur · 1 pointr/DebateAChristian

>Morality is eternal.

Do you follow the laws in the OT? I'm mean they are eternal right?

>How to deal with other cultures

Quote the verse and explain how the jews in egypt would know that rule?

>What ideas (and/or tools) to accept or reject

Quote the verse and explain how the jews at the time would know this. This one I find particularly hilarious and ad hoc. There is not rule at all about what tools and technologies to accept. I'd be embarrassed for you if you weren't such an ignorant ass.

>What type of language to accept or reject

Quote the verse and explain how the jews at the time would know this. This is the part you will never defend. You will never actually put forth verses that say not to do this. In fact, jews today speak nearly all the languages on the planet.

>Who to associate with and how to do so


>What toys to play with, movies to watch, etc


>All of these things have been determined since... forever.

How did the jews have complete knowledge of the OT laws before they were written? Why did they disobey very simple concepts like "don't worship other gods" and still fail to violate such a difficult task as no cultural mixing?

Where does it say that there be no cultural mixing whatsoever. Something the jews have violated with every culture they have been introduced to?

>The point is that the very fact that you say "there was no covenant yet" proves that you do not understand this fundamental concept of theism. This also is evidence that you were never actually a Christian.

You are deeply confused if you think that the covenant existed prior to moses. Ask any jew on this board. The covenant was with israel. It was not in place before that, it was never established in the bible before that. All there was consisted of a promise to abraham and the noahide laws. That you think this is pretty entertaining. To assert that the same covenant always existed would be to assert that all people, not just the jews were part of the OT covenant and subject to those same laws.

>he deuteronomical laws were not the origin of morality any more than the use of penicillin was the origin of bacterial infection. They were the result, not the cause, of bad morality.

I never said they were the origin or morality. I will assert that there is no way people would have access (and strictly adhere to) all the laws laid forth in the OT. Some of which are pretty entertaining.

> I thought my illustration of "murder was wrong before a law against it was written" would have explained all this. I

This is because you are unintelligent. Murder it can be argued would be known as wrong, "cultural mixing" is not intuitively wrong. Same with a great deal of the laws in the OT. Further, there is no such law against cultural mixing as you are defining it.

>Heathen cultures (including Egyptians) reject that concept of morality

>Morality is just some "agreement" or human construct

YOu realize the egyptians were theists right?

>Death, and even human sacrifice is worshiped

See jephthah's daughter

>Fornication and hedonism are abound

Kinda like worshipping Cow statues...

>Even if the Israelite's concept of morality is wrong (it isn't), it's very easy to understand why they would completely reject everything about their captive's culture, even down to their eating utensils or haircuts.

No it's not. Your argument completely falls apart when you look at how heavily they adopt canaanite culture. In fact we see this with every single culture the jews ever mixed with. Including the babylonians who they were also captives of. You are saying two disparate cultures wouldn't mix, which history proves false over and over-even with the jews. Further, the bible itself shows they adopted views and practices of heathens.

>That's not even some "wack-ass-theory", that's what common sense would expect. Yet you call it "inane". How blind have you made yourself?

You are so stupid that you don't even realize that if what you are saying was true the jews wouldn't have adopted the cultural practices of ANY foreign culture. Not only is this inane, there is no example of it in all of human history.

>Not really.

Every single point by the poster challenging was completely addressed. The same is not true vice versa.

>This, my inane friend, is "running away", a cop-out. You only gave an author if I recall anyway. You only gave an author if I recall anyway.

How stupid are you? With that author you would instantly get the book with a quick search.

>ou came about a piece of archaeological evidence in some book that was so damning, so convincing, so certain, that you can't even mention it specifically.

Are you stupid. I'm claiming the entirety of the evidence is damning. And I specifically mentioned the gross anachronisms. The complete absence of evidence anywhere in all of egypt or canaan (remarkable to say the least), the fact that the cities in the bible were not all inhabited at the time, that other cities were not built until much later. That the jews would have to escape into a canaan already controlled by egypt. That the area doesn't support that kind of population. That egypt never suffered a great economic collapse. That canaan never experienced as massive influx of population. And that the jews show not one lick of evidence of having spent 400 years in egypt. Despite your inane protestations, there is no good reason at all to consider this plausible.

In fact, that's why the whole field rejects the exodus.

>You have to just mention a book. A book, I might add, that I'm not even sure (or even believe at this point) that you've even read yourself.

Its sad how dumb your are and how much you project. I briefly mention karen armstong's book [a history of god)[] in a post where you misinterpret the subject of another thread as a place for more information. And due to your utter lack of education or willingness to investigate you assume I haven't read this book? Rather funny really.

>As I said, bring it up with him.

Why he already acknowledges the documentary hypothesis and openly states there is are errors in numbers. If that part of the bible is untrue why should I believe it?

>I hope for your sake it's because you aren't even trying, because that's certainly what it looks like from here

I'm not even having to try. You offer no challenge at all. Your arguments are so truly embarassing that you do my work for me. Some are so bad you yourself don't even make them any more. Claiming you cannot demonstrate a negative, Denying the scholarly opinion, arguing for magical mystery cities that no ones found with no reason to expect they exist...

This is all a bit comical. You are so desperate in your ignorance that you cannot even put together an informed opinion.

u/EbonShadow · 1 pointr/Christianity

>1)I'm going to paraphrase here a little bit, but you can get the idea. It says in the bible that god created a rainbow after the flood to signify to Noah that he would never flood the world again. How can this be? That is like saying the refraction of light had never occurred before that point. I understand the idea that god can overcome science, but come on that is a little far fetched.

You find this the far fetched part of the Ark story? With the lack of geological evidence for a world-wide flood, or the accounting for Kangaroo's in Australia which are shown to diverge from their mammalian ancestries a few million years ago? I guess my question is why aren't you applying the breath of your scientific knowledge to the whole of the book? Perhaps Physics was your area of focus?

>2)It says in Revelations that a 7 headed beast would rise out of the sea when the end times arrive. Now, I know that a lot of people take the bible very literally, such as my family. How can this be interpreted because I know for a fact that this will not happen. This doesn't mean that what is described is incorrect, but simply miss interpreted.

Another option is it simply is a story written by people for people.

>5)According to Genesis the earth was formed before the sun. Is this something that people truly believe? Please, someone with a scientific education explain this to me. All I have heard is, God can over come universal laws no matter what they may be.

Most Christians I know tend to take it metaphorically vs literally as clearly by the Bibles account it doesn't match with modern astrophysics.

>6)The new testament was compiled by the Roman's and it is well known that books were left out of it. Man is flawed inherently, was something missed. Was god directing these actions? Can god really speak through people? Now, many people, such as my family, will tell me yes. Now, here is my problem with that. I have listened to sermons at church heard inconsistencies and scientifically incorrect interpretations be made by the minister. With that in mind, how can you gauge whether or not anything you hear "preached" to you is god speaking through someone?

The entire Bible has been edited many times.

>1) God is not some bearded guy in the sky. God is infinite, we are finite, we will never understand something as powerful and as awesome as "him".

Have you spent much time researching what some of the leading scientists say about the Universe? You don't need to insert a god into it.. Especially the Christian one which has enormous logical inconsistencies/paradox when you describe him as the omni-deity.

>2) God is all seeing all knowing. I believe this "being" has transcended us and is in vast complexity to the things we know. He has manipulated the universe, through science, to create us.

The god you are describing is what scientists refer to as the 'god of the gaps' IE as science learns more about reality the deities influence continues to shrink into the gaps of our ignorance.

>My goal here is not to offend anyone. I search and search around the christian community for a better revelation of who and why we are here. I just need something more then, just have faith. I don't feel that things are that simple. How can they be?

My suggestion for you is to read a bit on the history of the abrahamic deity and one of the most influencial skeptics of the 1900's.

u/SorceressFane · 1 pointr/religion

A History of God by Karen Armstrong is a great book to learn a little about the "big 3" Abrahamic religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

u/Anonymous_Ascendent · 1 pointr/DebateReligion

I'm saying that numerous scriptural authors included imagery of the seven headed dragon / Leviathan throughout the New Testament and the Old Testament. This is not an original metaphor, it is directly drawing from Judaism's origins.

The Old Testament was edited and re-written on several occasions by Yahwehists who want to move the Israelites into Monotheism. Deuteronomy, Psalms and Isaiah all have explicit references to the Canaanite pantheon members such as Ba'al and Elyon.

Eventually Elyon (the Father God) was merged with Yahweh (The God of War), and Ba'al (The God of Storms), Yam (Sea/river God) and Lotan (The Seven Headed Serpent) were merged into 'The Devil'.

Edit: if this stuff seems unfamiliar to you, you should familiarize yourself with biblical academics and start by reading this:

u/icanthinkofanewname · 1 pointr/agnostic

Eww I have a book and video for you. The video uses the book as a reference. It's a super easy read and informative.



u/matthewjumps · 1 pointr/exjw

A History of God - explains how the monotheistic cult of YHWH developed from polytheistic Jewish religions that included YHWH as a war god among a pantheon of other gods.

Evid3nc3 Video that elaborates on information in this book.

Honestly when I heard about this, Israels constant 'returning to false gods' in the old testament made so much more sense. I never understood, as a JW, why on earth the Israelites would keep going back to other gods, when according to the old testament YHWH so clearly demonstrated his superiority - but this makes it all clear.

u/gunnk · 1 pointr/atheism

I haven't read these yet, but one or both WILL be on my near-term reading list:

Evolution of God

A History of God

u/a_midgets_last_stand · 1 pointr/nottheonion

it's worded as such because the israelites had a covenant specifically with yahweh(who predates judaism, of course).

the belief in baal and asherah were widely accepted at this time as well- asherah was yahweh's consort.

there's also debate on whether or not El was the same as yahweh.

got this book about 7-8 years ago that delves into the topic with remarkable clarity and ease. i'm a history major so perhaps i'm a bit biased, but i always thought the history of monotheism was fascinating.

u/TheDude1985 · 1 pointr/atheism

Titled: "A History of God: The 4,000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam"

This is a good one. Maybe not exactly what you're looking for, but a good read.

u/Harry_Seaward · 1 pointr/religion

So, reading the Bible is somewhat of a chore. If you're just reading it to say you've done so, or give yourself a brief glimpse of what it has, you can look here to get an idea of what each version offers. Some versions are more "modern" and use current language and syntax. They're easier to read but may include translations of words or phrases that may not be as accurate as others. On the other hand, some versions go to great lengths to be as accurate as possible and lose some readability because of it.

Once you've decided, you can go here to read a lot of those versions - or multiple versions at once. You can also find apps that do similar things - sword-reader, or something to that effect, and probably others.

There are also places like this that are geared towards atheists. They're often snarky, though, so take it with a grain of salt.

I think, and agree with weeglos, that you're better off reading something like this or this to get an idea of what it's about and the changes that have been made (and why).

u/CommandrKeen · 1 pointr/Christianity

I think you're being a little extreme about the Hitler idea, but in education it is important to have a good source and my source is good. Whereas your source doesn't state that the concept of mana was only used in the South Pacific. The idea of mana was in Sumerian culture too. We'll just have to agree to disagree. But, if you're interested my source is it's an interesting read. Cheers.

u/Draz04 · 1 pointr/atheism

A History of God by Karen Armstrong is one of my favorites. It's a purely historical look at the development of the Abrahamic religions and ties in Buddhism and Hinduism a little well. Great for understanding how the religions came about.

u/Derbedeu · 1 pointr/atheism

>Well, have you actually read War and Peace in Russian? Then your argument just fell fell apart. The nuance in good literature can have vastly different meanings, depending on the reader.

Whether someone reads it in English or Russian, the story is the same and so are the themes. They don't change just because the language is different.

>Let’s review a few reasons why that’s ridiculous! At least 194 Jews and people of half- or three-quarters-Jewish ancestry have been awarded the Nobel Prize,1 accounting for 22% of all individual recipients worldwide between 1901 and 2015.

How many grew up in a shtetl? How many were religious? Why don't you have any Jewish Nobel Prize winners coming out of the pale of settlement?

Religion literally has nothing to do with intelligence, unless it is to retard it. You also seem to have an obsession with race/ethnicity, two concepts that literally don't make any sense biologically. We're all homo sapiens sapiens As Richard Feynman put it, "To select, for approbation the peculiar elements that come from some supposedly Jewish heredity is to open the door to all kinds of nonsense on racial theory."

>Shabbat, a day of rest – origin – yes, the Jews.


People today get the weekend off (i.e. two days off), weekend being a British concept. Even that has been found to be insufficient though, as 50 hour work weeks are deemed to be too much by many psychologists and sociologists and lead to a decrease in productivity.

But what does that have to do with anything though? Also, where do you see a culture that hasn't had some sort of impact one way or another? All cultures do, because that's how cultures work, they're effusive.

>Washing hands to avoid disease – a practice started a long, long time ago.

The Celts practiced the same thing, using soap. Again though, what does hygiene have to do with anything? Especially as hygiene practices varied worldwide back then.

>Biblehub is a Christian site, btw.

With translations from numerous publications that are translated by numerous philologists in turn. Besides, the other two aren't and lo and behold, their translations are the same.

>And to liken Judaism to a cult? I have no problem with what you think about Scientology and the Mormons, but you have some huge problem in your cerebral connections to associate Judaism with a cult.

How is Judaism NOT a cult? It literally started off as a cult of Yahweh. Here are some books and papers you can read on the matter:

This isn't even mentioning that Judaism today exhibits many cult characteristics. There are elitist tendencies (chosen ones); proscribed and identifiable clothing; barring of intermarriages with those outside of the group; kashrut laws encouraging members to only mingle with other in-group members; an elite class charged with authority and leadership within the group (rabbis); demands of immoral actions such as genital mutilation; a closed social system that frowns upon any deviation; end-time revelation; concept of mesirah; etc.

Judaism is a cult just as every other religion is.

>Oh, by the way, don’t bother to reply, I tire of your weak,
wandering responses,


u/originalsoul · 0 pointsr/Christianity

Well that's really up to you. I would suggest doing some reading on your own and deciding for yourself. A good way to start is A History of God by Karen Armstrong.

It is important to remember though that the bible was written by different people and over vast stretches of time. Many of the authors didn't realize that what they were writing was going to be compiled into a library of books and so you see a great many different perspectives and conceptions of what God means to different people and at different time periods. Don't read the bible as if all the authors are saying the same thing. It's a very common mistake. Let the writing speak for itself, and try to interpret what it's saying, rather than read what you already think back into it.

u/TheSpaceWhale · 0 pointsr/atheism

I'd like to put out a counterpoint to a lot of the comments about "finding holes in the books" etc. You don't need to convince her that there is no God, Bible is mythology, etc. You don't want to come off as attacking her beliefs or from a side of negativity. You need to convince her that you're an adult, a good person, and that you've found another "belief system" that fits better for you and deserves her respect. You want to approach her as Carl Sagan, not Richard Dawkins.

I would highly encourage you to read Karen Armstrong (A History of God, or The Case for God). They're both not only fascinating books on the evolution of religion in general, but they show a non-theistic side of religion/spirituality within Christianity. She'll likely feel more comfortable with your lack of belief in a literal personal God if you approach from an angle of something WITHIN Christian theology. Another good view of this is When God Is Gone, Everything Is Holy, which describes the positive side of atheism and science. Maybe give her one of these books rather than The God Delusion--it's something she's more likely to read.

Ultimately, most religious people having their own different religious beliefs than they are with people rejecting their beliefs. Present atheism as something positive, inspiring, and fulfilling for you.

u/GM_crop_victim · 0 pointsr/ChristopherHitchens

He's actually a serious and very talented Youtuber. He's also a deconstructionist and contrarian. He recommends Terry Eagleton and Phil Zuckerman in this vid; it's a fair debate, Hitch would have welcomed it, obviously.

u/readercuthbert · 0 pointsr/Christianity

This is my favorite introductory book that covers the basics.

For primary sources in regards to the Fathers that gave Eastern Orthodoxy its intellectual shape:

Origen: On First Principles
Gregory of Nyssa: On the Soul and Resurrection and On the Making of Man
Athanasius: On the Incarnation

For more contemporary works, I’d suggest David Bentley Hart’s The Experience of God and That All Shall Be Saved

u/soswinglifeaway · 0 pointsr/DebateAChristian

Check out this book

You don't have to buy it. Click on "Look inside" and there's a large portion of it available for free as a sample. The table of contents has a section called "Did Jesus Really Rise From the Dead?" which you can click on and read through the chapter. The points range from proving that Jesus absolutely did die, the reliability of the NT account, and eye witness accounts not connected with, and sometimes opposed to, Christianity.

u/i-want-waffles · 0 pointsr/atheism

It's from this

The reviews are entertaining and I actually might read it just to see what they have to say. I just hope it isn't Ray Comfort bad.

u/questioningmorality · 0 pointsr/Christianity

It’s a common knowledge that atheism takes bigger faith than theism.

u/bgk0018 · 0 pointsr/DebateAChristian

If you want to verify what why_am_I_here2 has referenced, you can pick up this book:

Karen Armstrong's "A History of God"

Alternatively, an atheist youtube series covers some of the content of the book in his videos:

3.3.3 Atheism: A History of God (Part 1)

Here is a documentary done by the History Channel on the same book:

A History of God

u/Wisdom_Bodhisattva · 0 pointsr/Christianity

If that view helps to produce good fruit for you in your life, then power to you. My study of the history of religion, and the way the Bible was put together has led me to see it though a different paradigm. I must ask, have you ever read A History of God by Karen Armstrong? It need not necessarily change your view, but it could help you relate to other Christians better, and allow you to at least understand the reasons that have compelled them to take a historical / metaphorical / sacramental view of the Bible rather than a literal / factual view. Good day and God bless.

u/AmbitionOfPhilipJFry · 0 pointsr/politics

I believe that there are timeless truths in Judaic, Christian and Muslim faiths (these are the only three whose holy texts I've read cover-to-cover). Most religions agree on key things: be nice to other people, you'll feel good if you help those in need, you'll never be happy if you measure it by acquiring stuff or money.

I believe that there is no need to reinvent the wheel of morality when you have 4,000+ years of distilled wisdom at your fingertips, especially when what you come up with is probably a clone of the original religious laws.

Yes, there are ridiculous ideas in religion as well like don't eat dairy and meat or if you don't marry a virgin she can be stoned. That doesn't mean you should throw all of it aside.

Read Karen Armstrong's A History of God. She talks about how different religions morphed from one into another and different gods morphed from one into another (particularly, the similarity between Horus and Jesus), but retained the same timeless values.

u/SabertoothFieldmouse · 0 pointsr/worldnews

But from what I CAN understand from your salad of words, there's also another body of thought, from one who's extremely distinguished in this particular field, and mentioned by named in almost every book covering the subject, suggesting exactly what I had stated.

I agree with you on a sociological level, but I was answering the question on the individual level. Faith in God is personal, not social. And there's no way you can KNOW the things you are claiming unless you've lived in a polytheistic, sociological structure before we had philosophy or science.

>actually it shouldn't be incoherent to you.

It's because your reasoning is sound, but your punctuation/grammar makes it difficult for me to discern.

u/yofaking · -1 pointsr/Christianity

That, my friend is an awful lot of questions :) Christianity is a big stream we all swim in. There is no one religion that contains all the truth of Christianity. Jesus is bigger than that. You mention that you're Catholic. That may be part of the problem. Not with Catholicism necessary but the fact you're allowing one sect of Christianity to try to answer all your questions about faith.

Here are some books to get you started:
Benefit of Doubt by Greg Boyd - Why it's good and even beneficial to doubt.
Love Wins by Rob Bell - a great way to look at Heaven and Hell.

It's better to live in the questions than the answers! Good luck!

u/SK2018 · -1 pointsr/Christianity

I can recommend some books.

For general theology:

u/tenshon · -1 pointsr/Buddhism

Exactly. Perhaps I can remind others here of one of several books by Thich Nhat Hanh on the similarities between Christianity and Buddhism:

u/Jonathan_the_Nerd · -1 pointsr/

I wonder what Richard Dawkins would think about . (He'd probably hate it.)

u/reflion · -2 pointsr/pics

As someone training to be a worship leader, let me try to explain Christian music:

Our goal as Christian musicians is to draw both the minds and the hearts of the listeners to worshiping God. This has two interesting ramifications:

  • Some songs are lyrically repetitive or simple because the songwriters are trying to teach a congregation specific doctrines embedded in the lyrics.

  • We, as musicians, should not be trying to draw attention to ourselves. This means that we need to play and arrange our music such that it's exciting enough to elevate the emotions, but not musical to the point where we're showing off.

    The second point is interesting to me, because I know lots of incredibly talented musicians in praise bands who intentionally tone down their musicality so that it doesn't distract the congregation.

    TL;DR: Sometimes Christian music is intentionally simple so as not to draw attention to the musicians. Repetitive lyrics call attention to the words sung.

    On the other hand, I do like to listen to musically and lyrically complex Christian music on my own time. Some examples that I hope you can enjoy:

    "Down to the River" by Enfield, the praise team at Grace Community Church. All the members of the band are music majors, and the guitarist is close to earning his Ph.D.

    "By Faith" by Keith and Kristyn Getty, an Irish couple who have written a lot of new hymns we sing in the church these days.

    "The Answer" by Shane and Shane; their lyrics are less doctrinally rich compared to the other songs I've posted, but the guitar is some of the best I've ever heard.

    Also, this is a book I'm currently studying--Worship Matters by Bob Kauflin, in case you were interested in learning more about the subject.

    If anyone has any more questions, feel free to ask.