The bulk of science does not support belief in a deity, or does it? This is an open discussion area to hone your skills at supporting and understanding the various positions. Feel free to post any links of value in this important topic.
FOR ALL VIEWING THIS IN EAGER ANTICIPATION (Of my impending doom, I'm sure) 🙂
A very interesting and, in my mind, a very necessary thing has just taken place. A preamble of sorts has been offered. Were I the one to suggest or implement such, the charge of stalling would likely have been leveled against me by ones with whom I have previously engaged. But even though Joshpantera (May I call you Josh? No dishonor to Pantera. Rock On.) dove right in with
Can you please explain how you interpret this verse? Thanks."
it wasn't long before he, while allowing me to "gather thoughts", gave some relevant introductory words concerning his sources and how he has come to frame some of his questions and arguments. He then added, "After I left my church family, I sincerely sought after scripture in order to decide what I think of it. Not what the denomination says about it, but what I think about it myself using my own better judgement. And I intend to share my thoughts with you two as we exchange. In a civil manner." and "I have disagreements with several different approaches that I've encountered, ranging from conservative and literal to liberal and symbolic. You may offer something I haven't considered yet."
This is the kind of information that can greatly assist us as, before anything, we should seek to understand one another. The recognized delay in my own posting is because I have been hoping it is OK to take an opportunity for my own "introduction" which I have not yet done on this site yet.
But another interesting occurrence: To my surprise, Christforums enters. I am so delighted that he, "William" (familiar enough with Josh to be on a first name basis!) and "Josh" are still amiable.
I was under the impression that Christians who dared venture into the forums were long gone and still viewed with contempt although some were somewhat respected for their attempts, Christforums being one of them.
Christforums (or William if you will allow) made this point:
"G'evening Josh! Been a while!
Just pointing out the obvious as to a source outside Scripture. Don't get me wrong, I'm not rejecting or ignoring what you post but all I care about is what the author meant to convey. Does an unbelieving scientist or atheist have weight in my quest to understand the author of Scripture? Granted, sometimes to understand the author, extra-biblical sources for language, history, etc might help us understand a little more but I do believe the very best interpreter of Scripture is Scripture."
I think Christforums introduces this issue that will be key as we proceed, but to me it is not the main issue. The main issue that I encounter no matter where I tread is the issue of Inspiration and Authority of Scripture.
I DO NOT want this to be perceived as an opening rant, but I must keep in mind where I am. This is Ex Christian.net. It may not be unanimously atheistic but that is the prevailing sentiment. As former Christians, you cite things in general volleys that I find intriguing:
1) The claim is made that you "understand scripture" better than we, having read it cover to cover.
2) The notion that 30,000+ denominations and disagreement denotes a breach in clarity of scripture thus leading to your rejection of scripture.
3) Given that alleged number, how are we to grasp what "ExChristian" even means or what you all possibly claim to have believed? It is observed that heresy has become the "norm" in much of American Evangelicalism. If what has been rejected here can be shown as faulty teaching, it is still what you taught others or were yourselves taught as opposed to the truth.
4) Having already abandoned scripture and disallowing its use to "prove" something, what is a Christian left to work with?
There are more questions within that scope, but the issue remains the Inspiration and Authority of Scripture.
So, before delving into scripture itself which has already been rejected, would it not seem reasonable to discuss what is meant by these terms and why the Church historically has held them as such?
Joshpantera has already admitted as much in his previous post from Jan 24 "Divine Inspiration...A Failed Hypothesis":
"Logic leaping to a starting point that assumes, apriori, that the bible is correct and true seem quite unwarranted, at best. That the bible even is true and correct has to be established before citing bible verses can have any meaningful value. And without first establishing the bibles truth, quoting the bible at someone is rendered completely meaningless as far as truth claims are concerned."
He has also stated,
"The greater issue here is that the bible merely exists as one of a great many other human productions, all of which are subject to varying levels of errancy. How do we know? By locating the errors involved. So this isn't a topic that takes down the bible as errant in order to uphold something else as inerrant. This is a topic that outlines errors and allows that it's entirely possible that everything is errant, the bible not withstanding."
So, again, not to disrupt the premise of this debate The bible: Demonstrably false or not? but I don't see how we can jump into Gen 1:1.
Joshpantera, does this make sense? I will abide by what you determine. Thank you.
The writer was of the E priest class according to scholarship. And that it obvious. Because he uses Elohim. Equally obvious is that the writer had some cosmology and indeed expressed that cosmology through his writing. Which cosmology? Well it's obvious enough that it wasn't today's cosmology. It was contemporary. And there a lot of illustrations available which illustrate the cosmology of genesis and even go further to compare it with all of the other near eastern cosmological ideas in the contemporary period. This is simply scholarly discussion we're having. It doesn't stray off too far from what the writer was writings about and what the writer may have meant.
But it does stray away from modern ideas about the ancient writer was writing about and what the ancient writer meant. And WLC is a primary example of taking that direction. He's trying to shoe horn the ancient texts into a modern lens.
Here's some citation specifically about Genesis 1: 1-2 and creation ex nihilo: http://stevendimattei.com/topics/does-the-bible-support-the-claims-of-creationists/
<snipped from article>
Steven is a member here, btw. We've had these discussions in the past. And we pretty much came to agreement on this in the main thread. It's not really a creation from absolute nothing. And the scholarly approach to analyzing religious texts is precisely to analyze them against their time and place in the contemporary period in which they arose. These texts did not arise in a vacuum did they? So when discussing the texts we can certainly allow and hear from your strictly theological views Williams, as well as contrast those theological views with scholarship.
I don't know why we can't just proceed all the way through a discussion without having to suddenly stop.
@LuthAMFhasn't even really begun. So maybe he'd like to tap in for a while until you catch a break?
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21 Extremely Beautiful Infographic ...
This may need some more clarification. Which scripture am I rejecting? What cultist ideologies am I holding to, as a non-believer? We both mentioned mormons as an aside, to point their beliefs out. But I don't see how that could have been understood as either of us holding on to or believing these mormon cult ideologies. Please explain.
The only "gods" / "Elohim" argument that I am aligned with, are the scholarly one's outlined in the two video links. I do think that scholarship pretty much has this figured out correctly. Ancient Israel as polytheistic and evolving through very well known phases into an eventual monotheism. But none of this has to do with believing any religious cults, or religious cults beliefs or anything like that on my end. Again, I'm looking at this from a lack of religious belief, and lack of religious cult perspective myself.
Maybe you can clarify before we proceed.