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Goodbye Jesus

Can Christianity Be True When The Bible Isn't?


mcpng

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I started the road into ex-christianity a number of months back. It was a life altering thing and I was initially still trying to negotiate with myself. One of those ways was for me to to ask if Christianity could be true even when the bible wasn't entirely true. Perhaps a better way of thinking about it is: is it possible to believe only some things in the bible?

 

Sounds very much like any christian, doesn't it? choosing what's good and what's not.

 

But even though that seems utterly cheap, it doesn't mean it's not possible.

some parts of christianity are obviously more important than others. which ones?

Probably the most important is: Belief in Jesus dying on the cross and freeing me (or us) from sin.

 

Maybe I could say, hey i don't think Jesus was born of a virgin birth.

or I don't think Moses parted the sea.

there's no "trinity"

the earth isn't something like 10000 years old but billions.

 

Could it still be true that some person was sent to Earth as God's son, died (even if it wasn't a cross) for our sins, and belief in that incident and acceptance of that person as Saviour is needed for us to be "saved", which I'll just roughly define and being on the good side of things after our bodily deaths?

 

Sure, this requires about as many assumptions as believing that Barney was once a live rabbit. But do you all reject this possibility, not think about it too much, or what?

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Goodbye Jesus
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Hello and welcome.

 

is it possible to believe only some things in the bible?

ALL Christians do exactly that. They misinterpret, reinterpret, or simply ignore everything that doesn't suit them. When's the last time you heard a call for killing a disobedient child? When have you seen a believer move a mountain (figurative or literal) as promised? Who has raised the dead in the name of Jesus? Grew back an amputated limb?

 

My question to them is why believe any of it? The Bible is a collection of derivative myth, complete with fantastic stories of giants, a universal flood and some outrageous miracles. If one believes a virgin birth or the resurrection of a dead body isn't possible, then one must conclude those references are not factual. Other references that are less fantastic are also suspect. If the book is a collection of truth mixed with lies, how can you decide which is which, and why would you even bother?

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Thanks for the welcome :)

 

What about the Bible's charge that in the end times there will be false prophets and anti-Christ and the inability for people to turn to God through probably what can be called spiritual blindness?

 

Yes, that sounds very much like the "What if you're wrong" question that works on fear rather than reason.

 

But once you don't believe in God, then it becomes harmless to believe in God so long as you don't let it make you do anything "wrong". So just in case of repercussions, what do you think about "believing" that one little part of Christianity (that someone died for your sins)?

 

Why not Buddhism?

Because you don't lose anything if Buddhism were true and you didn't believe.

Why not Islam? Well, I suppose because you're more inclined to Christianity (i know, it's not rational, but i'm working from the startpoint of not believing through reason but "just in case")

Is that REALLY believing? It's safer than pure rejecting and possibly as much believing as a kid who believes because an evangelist gave him a candy, but surely God wouldn't say to this child, "Die!! because although you believed in me, you didn't really know enough to count as a believer!!"

 

 

Admittedly, this worry that "I might be wrong" still holds me back from taking a definite religious standpoint.

 

Also, wanting to hear perspective from Christians (if any on these parts of the forums): how much belief is necessary to be "saved" when i die?

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I wouldn't use that word "believe" in relation to Buddhism. It doesn't work like Christianity. Buddhism is not about if you believe in a certain set of things, you are "saved from sin". You can question the teachings of the Buddha, and work it out yourself if its true. You have no such flexibility in Christianity.

 

Also, wanting to hear perspective from Christians (if any on these parts of the forums): how much belief is necessary to be "saved" when i die?

 

I don't think you will receive any answer to that question. It always used to bother me that Christians can't even get together on what you need to do to be saved.

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Could it still be true that some person was sent to Earth as God's son, died (even if it wasn't a cross) for our sins, and belief in that incident and acceptance of that person as Saviour is needed for us to be "saved", which I'll just roughly define and being on the good side of things after our bodily deaths?

 

Sure, it's possible, any number of things are possible in theory. The question is, why would you want to believe that this is true? And perhaps more importantly, if it is true, what are the implications?

 

One of the most liberating realizations for me was that even if the whole Heaven and Hell thing is true, and you have to believe in Jesus or you'll go to Hell, I would not want to be in Heaven with a "god" who would send people to Hell for not believing.

 

Think about it: God knew everything before the universe was even created, right? So He knew that if He created humans, Adam and Eve would screw the pooch, requiring Jesus to die on the cross. Even the Bible says Jesus was "crucified from the foundations of the Earth." So God knew what was going to happen. He knew that if He created humans, the vast majority of humankind would end up suffering unimaginable, eternal torment.

 

And He went ahead and did it anyways, just so a tiny minority could worship Him forever.

 

He apparently could not think of a better plan. Or He just didn't care. Either way, this "God" person was totally OK with the idea of billions of souls suffering eternal torment just so He could have a few million eternal worshipers. And He's not even choosing good people and condemning bad people - He's just randomly selecting those who happen to live in the right part of the world, or be born into the right family, who are willing to believe one religious myth over another.

 

Do you really want to spend eternity worshiping a being who would do such a thing?

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Could it still be true that some person was sent to Earth as God's son, died (even if it wasn't a cross) for our sins, and belief in that incident and acceptance of that person as Saviour is needed for us to be "saved", which I'll just roughly define and being on the good side of things after our bodily deaths?

 

Could it be true that extraterrestrial reptilians are running the world government?

 

No, I think that Jesus story just happens to be the pervasive myth of the society you grew up in. It is your default 'what if it's really true' boogeyman. Your rational mind wouldn't come up with such a thing in a million years.

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"One of those ways was for me to to ask if Christianity could be true even when the bible wasn't entirely true. Perhaps a better way of thinking about it is: is it possible to believe only some things in the bible?"

 

It is interesting when you put it that way. I think that is the premise of liberal Christianity -- "we still believe in Jesus in our lives regardless of the parts of the bible we need to change or get rid of." Which personally I find fine for other people to believe, and I know many are able to do that in order to retain the parts of their faith they desire to retain. But also I just can't see a need for doing that. I think one can read the bible and learn the lessons of people searching for meaning in life, but with any need to regard it as authoritative in one's life removed.

 

So yes, many people find it possible. I tried and can't though.

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Could it still be true that some person was sent to Earth as God's son, died (even if it wasn't a cross) for our sins, and belief in that incident and acceptance of that person as Saviour is needed for us to be "saved", which I'll just roughly define and being on the good side of things after our bodily deaths?

 

Could it be true that extraterrestrial reptilians are running the world government?

 

No, blah blah blah....

 

So says the obvious shill for the extraterrestrial reptilians. :Hmm:

 

Yeah, we've got your number, buddy.

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Damn. Busted.

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yes i guess it's my upbringing that still clings onto me.

 

But with regards to whether I would want to be in heaven with an unjust god, the answer is i don't mind. I mean if the alternative was some kind of perpetual pain...

When i was in Bible 101 class in college and when i thought I was a christian, I remember writing one paper kind of thing on how God is by definition higher than everything else and not subject to the ideal of justice or anything. That is, if God wanted to strike me with lightning for amusement, I can't say "Immoral!" because morality is probably defined by him.

 

It was one of many concepts I came up with in order to deal with problems and maintain my belief in Christianity.

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Butwith regards to whether I would want to be in heaven with an unjustgod, the answer is i don't mind. I mean if the alternative was somekind of perpetual pain...

 

Thing is - at least for me- I'd be in perpetual emotional pain in Heaven with a God like that.I'd be angry at him for frying all the people I love, and fearful thathe would get mad at me for thinking he was less than perfect, andbasically tweaked at the prospect of spending eternity in the presenceof an all-powerful psychopath.

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But once you don't believe in God, then it becomes harmless to believe in God so long as you don't let it make you do anything "wrong". So just in case of repercussions, what do you think about "believing" that one little part of Christianity (that someone died for your sins)?

Well, then do you really believe or not? It seems like here you are trying to have it both ways. Just think of it this way: Pascal's wager is useless. With this type of rationale, you would have to believe in every deity, "just in case," which you cannot do.

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yes i guess it's my upbringing that still clings onto me.

 

But with regards to whether I would want to be in heaven with an unjust god, the answer is i don't mind. I mean if the alternative was some kind of perpetual pain...

When i was in Bible 101 class in college and when i thought I was a christian, I remember writing one paper kind of thing on how God is by definition higher than everything else and not subject to the ideal of justice or anything. That is, if God wanted to strike me with lightning for amusement, I can't say "Immoral!" because morality is probably defined by him.

 

It was one of many concepts I came up with in order to deal with problems and maintain my belief in Christianity.

 

I hear you on this one. Think of it like this. Regardless of asking the question of whether something is moral or not, when we look at people, how they act, and their general outlook on existence we can determine how they are likely to treat us and how trustworthy they are. Therefore regardless of whether or not it is moral or not if we see a god who, looks upon humans with such disdain that he is willing create them with the purpose that he could damn them to an eternity of pain and torment for his own amusement (Romans 9), then just as we shouldn't be shocked when a Bond villain drops his henchman into a shark tank we shouldn't be shocked if such a being after promising us an eternity of bliss subsequently reneged. Second of all it should be noted that if Christianity is to be believed the only real source you have about this whole heaven/hell, omnipotent/omniscient deal is God, and if he is a nasty being as described in the bible, what real reason do you have to trust him when he says, believe in me or else I'll fry you. He hasn't provided you with any real evidence to suggest he can, or that he is omnipotent, it seems more likely than not that he's lying about the whole thing.

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Faith is always a belief in something that cannot be proven by scientific reasoning. It involves unicorns, satyrs, and cockatrices, and talking snakes to set the stage for the coming of Jesus Christ. You do not have the Christian religion without the books of fables to back it up. Jesus Christ was not a whimsical figure that one day decided to go about god's business. The fable of Christ comes to us as the direct result of the fable of the talking snake giving magic fruit to a little girl. The fall of man was the result. Jesus came to correct that error. Jesus would not pick up his father's work concerning the fall of man, unless Jesus believed the story of the talking snake to be true. We have no historical proof that either Moses or Jesus actually lived. Both characters were written years after the story supposedly happened. The OT was not written until after the Hebrews returned from Babylon. They created the Jewish religion at that time and wrote the OT books to support their legends and their religious law. There were no Jews anywhere in history until the return from Babylon, which was hundreds of years after Moses supposedly led them out of Egypt. Where is that confirmed historically, the death of a pharaoh at the hands of the Jews? It does not exist. The story is a fable and like that fable, so is the story of Jesus.

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I would add to all that's been said on this thread: I completely understand the desire not to let go of salvation through Christ. Fear of Hell, fear of death being the "end" - both of these are powerful emotions, and not easy to wrestle with. I think it was at least a year after I concluded that there is no god before I was able to really accept it all the way through. For a long time, there were pockets of fear combined with a yearning for my Cozmik Daddy to tell me everything was going to be OK.

 

It takes time, that's all I'm saying. Believe what you want to believe - it probably won't do you any harm, and it might even do some good.

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Not reading everyone's replies, I just had this conversation with my dad. He knows there are inaccuracies in the Bible, that there are human influences in it, and that there are human influences in how we got what we got. He still considers himself christian and believes it. For him, those issues are not faith altering - he believes despite that knowledge. My mother, on the other hand, believes the Bible is the inerrant word of god and admitting that there are issues with the Bible would be shattering to her faith, therefore she just pretends they don't exist. Nothing like completely shutting out the logic of your mind.GONZ9729CustomImage1539775.gif

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is it possible to believe only some things in the bible?

 

<snip>

Could it still be true that some person was sent to Earth as God's son, died (even if it wasn't a cross) for our sins, and belief in that incident and acceptance of that person as Saviour is needed for us to be "saved", which I'll just roughly define and being on the good side of things after our bodily deaths?

 

Sure, this requires about as many assumptions as believing that Barney was once a live rabbit. But do you all reject this possibility, not think about it too much, or what?

I pondered this, but when I determined that prophecy was bullshit, and the OT prophecies in particular were bullshit, the whole thing fell apart. Original sin? There was no Adam and Eve - evolution.

 

Get real. Dead people, really dead people, don't come back to life. It just doesn't happen; and it didn't.

 

Jesus had male DNA. Mary wasn't a virgin. Death is final; austrolopithicus, neanderthalensis, and sapiens are all animals, and all die. Ecclesiastes 9: 3-7 (yeah, weird to put a bible quote here, but it sort of fits).

 

Jesus punished for our sins? Wrong again. Would you be pleased if someone volunteered to take Bernie Madoff's place in prison? It is ethically and morally wrong to have one person punished for another's transgressions, even voluntarily. Suicidal people volunteering to be executed in place of the condemned?

 

"After our bodily deaths" means nothing to the dead, for "the dead know nothing."

 

Too harsh?

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As most christians testify, if the bible is wrong, the whole thing falls apart.

 

Consider this: Jesus is not really the messiah according to all the supposed prophecies made about him. The supposed messiah was to be born of the seed of David. Jesus wasn't Joseph's son, and Mary wasn't related to David. Jesus is disqualified.

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Can Christianity Be True When The Bible Isn't?

 

John Shelby Spong thinks so.

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yes i guess it's my upbringing that still clings onto me.

 

But with regards to whether I would want to be in heaven with an unjust god, the answer is i don't mind. I mean if the alternative was some kind of perpetual pain...

When i was in Bible 101 class in college and when i thought I was a christian, I remember writing one paper kind of thing on how God is by definition higher than everything else and not subject to the ideal of justice or anything. That is, if God wanted to strike me with lightning for amusement, I can't say "Immoral!" because morality is probably defined by him.

 

It was one of many concepts I came up with in order to deal with problems and maintain my belief in Christianity.

 

It's not really a new concept. One of the main premises of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ was that of God's mercy and forgiveness to mankind. Original sin was laid aside, God's spirit was enabled to live within man, as for before, it says that His Spirit can't strive with man. The sinless son of the living God, that was persecuted was the way. Sure, God could have just said abracadabra, ...and their within man was His Spirit, as He had done with Elijah. But, Jesus's death was taken place in a time, era, land that made it propel into what it is today, and IMO extended God's grace, mercy, forgiveness, and Spirit to all mankind for access.

 

The idea of God just being God and zapping folks as He pleases is not that difficult of a concept for me to understand. God portrayed this characteristic all within the OT. But, seeing His mercy and grace in proper perspectives, through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, sometimes can be confusing to many.

 

It says God is not the author of confusion, and I do believe that; but it does not say that human beings are not the authors of confusion, and that I do believe as well.

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One of the main premises of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ was that of God's mercy and forgiveness to mankind.

 

 

The christian god could have done a better job by having mercy on all those who were to be eventually doomed to hell by not allowing evil to prevail in the first place. Doesn't your reason tell you that you should doubt the christian god's morality on this point?

 

Is it really so wonderful that the christian god will have fewer people in heaven than hell? What a victory! Do you anticipate rejoicing in heaven forever while most of humankind burns forever like a rubber tire in hell?

 

Yes, the christian god is confusing.

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<snip>

Is it really so wonderful that the christian god will have fewer people in heaven than hell? What a victory! Do you anticipate rejoicing in heaven forever while most of humankind burns forever like a rubber tire in hell?

 

Yes, the christian god is confusing.

One of the early fathers, Augustine, I think, did make a point of saying that those in Heaven will have the enjoyment of watching those in Hell suffer their eternal torment.

 

Popcorn provided free!

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<snip>

Is it really so wonderful that the christian god will have fewer people in heaven than hell? What a victory! Do you anticipate rejoicing in heaven forever while most of humankind burns forever like a rubber tire in hell?

 

Yes, the christian god is confusing.

One of the early fathers, Augustine, I think, did make a point of saying that those in Heaven will have the enjoyment of watching those in Hell suffer their eternal torment.

 

Popcorn provided free!

 

Yep, that's christian love for you.

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The christian god could have done a better job by having mercy on all those who were to be eventually doomed to hell by not allowing evil to prevail in the first place. Doesn't your reason tell you that you should doubt the christian god's morality on this point?

 

Is it really so wonderful that the christian god will have fewer people in heaven than hell? What a victory! Do you anticipate rejoicing in heaven forever while most of humankind burns forever like a rubber tire in hell?

 

Yes, the christian god is confusing.

 

We all die. We cease to live. If there is a life after this one, then it beside one or the other. The criteria of where we will be is in the literature. Now, sometimes commonsense comes into play IMO. Jesus spoke, ate with sinners; yet also said that if your eye causes you to sin, then pluck it out. Right? Jesus said this, yet forgave the murderer beside him, telling him he would be in paradise today.

 

I assume you say this statement because you believe that most people by the Bible's standards will go to hell. But, I disagree with that because God already gave laws for His people to follow, and they failed. Jesus made much emphasis to this effect in His ministry. Clean the inside of the cup, then the outside. The Woe verses.

 

Yet, Jesus obeyed the laws at times, and giving reason the other times for not obeying them. Jesus went as far to say that if we even think of sin, we are in danger. So, Jesus main emphasis was the soul of a person, and the heart of a person, rather than the following of a written law; as was God's emphasis throughout the time of Moses. Love the Lord with all thy heart, mind, and soul.

 

IMO, to say that any person is hell bound for any specific criteria violation is not true. Yet, your specific criteria of sins, and God's knowledge of a person's heart is true, which means that nobody on Earth has the authority to even insinuate that another is going to hell. I do believe that we are here to help each other, and to discern whether someone is advocating God, but, the judgment of God is God's.

 

So, to answer your question. No, I do not anticipate rejoicing over those few that are in heaven, while the others are burning. I trust that with the same judgment God has judged me, He will judge the others. And, if I am standing in heaven with my judgment, I would assume there are many other contemporaries that would be standing beside me.

 

If God is forgiving enough to bring a sinner to their knees and thank Him for hours, days, months, or even the rest of their lives; Is He discriminatory? Does He choose who He wants to forgive? I think He receives as they come :thanks:

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Do you think, had the neanderthals lived to the present day, they would have been saved too? Or would they get their own Savior?

 

Humans are simply apes with large brains, and everything about who we are can be explained pretty well by observing directly. Homo Sapiens have lived for over 100,000 years. Why would a Savior wait so many millenia to show up, and for untold numbers of 'false' religions and Gods to spawn and die out before him, and for many to continue on afterwords, unaffected by his 'power'. Why would any animal need to be saved anyway? A big difference between us and other animals is that we see death coming...do you think that has an effect on the desire to be saved? What a bunch of cowards we are.

 

Religions are small boxes, prepackaged and delivered, easy but false answers so one can live without thinking. Small fish in a big ocean. To open your third eye you must see beyond the smokescreen and gaze into history, and then the endless lies reveal themselves as sad and laughable. Doubt is your greatest ally, the search for truth never ends...there is never just knowing, but always exploring.

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