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Goodbye Jesus

In Desperate Need Of Education: Looking For Sources


00LukeMan

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I was homeschooled by my very Christian parents, who I am now realizing would be classified as fundamentalists. As such, my education was under their control and I was not exposed to much science, the areas of evolution and anything relating to Deep Time and cosmology were especially neglected.

I have since managed to educate myself to some extent, but the more I learn the more I find I don't know. In conversation with Christian friends, they ask many questions regarding evolution, abiogenesis and so on, which I feel confident have answers already (since a bunch of college students can't be the first ones to ask such basic questions) but the answers are not well known to me or can be easily explained.

Therefore I come here asking how I can learn more.

 

Topics I need to learn include:

- Evolution and Biology, as well as any related field such as geology and archeology

- Anything relating to Deep Time, the age of the earth, the formation of the solar system and the Big Bang

- History, especially relating to religious development and places where the Bible is incorrect

- Psychology and Neuroscience, why do people believe what they do, how cognitive biases work and how to correct for them, why religions prevail

- Philosophy and Ethics, relating to life's meaning, morality, how Christianity and religion fit into those or fail to help

- The Bible in particular, contradictions with history, contradictions within itself, failed prophecy, fabricated fulfillment, morality and god's character, scientific absurdities, issues of authorship and so on

 

I do not believe already because I find insufficient reason to do so, if the Christian god were real, there should be no question of it. God should be obvious, his word unmatched since it would not be written by a human, his character unquestionably admirable. These are not the case.

I don't believe, but if pressed I would like to be able to show others in exhaustive detail what is wrong with Christianity and what we can know to be true.

 

I have already gone through the resources section on this forum and have made a list of books to find, I have also found the bibviz list of contradictions and Talk Origins regarding evolution and creationism, but I am asking if you have any more sources to add or any more ideas of how I can learn more. I would rather not pay money to take a class if I, I'm a college student so the cheaper the better, but I am open to your suggestions.

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Goodbye Jesus

Those are all huge topics with endless books and papers about them. 

 

A good place to start with the pseudo-history of the Bible are the works of Niels Peter Lemche. One of the few unflinching, totally non-apologetic Bible historians out there. Thomas L. Thompson is similar but I find him more difficult to read. 

 

For the so-called New Testament, I recommend G.A. Wells, Burton Mack and Robert M. Price. 

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For a good starter have you seen the modern version of Cosmos?

 

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2395695/

 

It was both entertaining and informative.  Plus Neil deGrasse Tyson rocks.  You can probably buy the whole set of 13 episodes somewhere.

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The thing is that the Bible is not really something where failed prophecies or contradictions are very relevant, except to inerrantists. Only a tiny number of Christians today are really inerrantist, though they may claim otherwise. 

 

What is more important is the recognition that "prophecy" is a literary genre with its own rules, much like Sword-and-Sandal fantasy writing is a genre. "Prophetic" writing is, first and foremost, ALWAYS written after the fact, but written in the future tense, giving the false impression that the writer predicted the events in advance. 

This is why they are always "correct," more or less, though Biblical writers are so eccentric that even their "prophecies" are often obscure. See the Book of Daniel, or Revelation. It was basically a fraud put over on the public by cultic priesthoods to ensure their own power and control over people and royalty. But they weren't idiots; their writing is on a high level and that's why people were fooled. 

 

The difference between history and pseudo-history is like the difference between lightning and a lightning bug. Only one tiny word separates them, but it makes all the difference in the world. The Bible is pseudo-history. 

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Thanks for the resources, I will be sure to give them a look. I understand that this is something of a tall order, and it would be impractical for me to become an expert in any of these fields, I merely want to have a basic foundation.

 

I have seen and enjoyed the recent Cosmos series, especially when it discussed elements of evolution like the development of the eye. Basically, I want more of that.

 

I recognize that not all or even most of Christianity holds to inerrancy, but my family does and the people surrounding me largely do, so I would like to be well equipped both for their questions and for my own knowledge.

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Huge areas of knowledge... but great that you can articulate the knowledge you want to find.

 

My contributions are:

 

To refer you to the youtube video series by evid3nc3 - it's an inspiring story with some information about the way the bible is thought by scholars to have been written.

 

And to refer you to this website, with easy to read info about the theory of evolution, common misconceptions about it, and refutations of same.  It's a good site to direct people to if they don't want to get bogged down in too much technical info.  It also includes an outline of the ways that evolution can  be taught to children from the age of 4-6 in public schools: http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/article/evo_01

 

Good luck!!

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What kind of college are you attending? An easy way to pick up extra knowledge is to audit classes. Meet with professors, explain your dilemma and see if they will let you audit lectures for no credit. You may actually have some luck and will be able to make additional use of your tenure in college. I occasionally have students audit my lectures and I'm more than willing to accommodate if they meet up with me and make an arrangement. I'm sure I'm not the only one that does this.

 

Other good You Tube sources include Khan Academy and Bozeman Science.

 

Edit: Stated Clearly is a great You Tube site for the basics of evolution.

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Hello Luke. smile.png

 

(Is that ok, or would your prefer something else?)

 

Fyi there's a thread of cosmology tutorials up and running here... http://www.ex-christian.net/topic/67151-cosmology-the-science-of-understanding-the-universe/#entry1037516 ...in the Arena.

 

You are exactly the kind of member these lessons are being written for.

Specifically, those who'd like to learn more about the universe, our place in it and what we currently understand about it's origins.  I'm pleased to say that this is joint effort on the part of Bhim (an astrophysicist), the RogueScholar (a pharmacologist and chemist) and myself, an amateur astronomer.  Between us we plan to explain, illustrate and illuminate the subject of cosmology at an easy-to-read, non-technical level.

 

Also in the Arena is the Cosmology Peanut Gallery thread... http://www.ex-christian.net/topic/67152-cosmology-peanut-gallery/#.VTZBRyFVhHx  This is where anyone can put their questions to us and where members can ask us to clarify or explain more fully something that's come up in the tutorials.

 

We warmly welcome you and hope you'll take advantage of this permanent resource.

 

Thanks,

 

BAA.

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FreeThinkerNZ - I have watched and enjoyed evid3nc3's series (if only he would make more) and noticed many similarities to my own story. I added all of the books mentioned to my reading list. Thanks for the link as well.

 

SilentLoner - I forgot about Crash Course! I think I have those bookmarked somewhere, I just hope he gets into some detail and examples.

 

RogueScholar - Sadly, I am at a Christian college (and a rather inerrantist, fundamentalist one at that) so any real education on these issues is up to me in my own time. Thanks for the links, they look very helpful.

 

bornagainatheist - Thank you, I am glad to hear that there is such a resource here. I expect I will be using them soon.

 

florduh - Thanks, it looks like that site has quite a few of the topics in which I am interested.

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+1 on this.

 

 

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FreeThinkerNZ - I have watched and enjoyed evid3nc3's series (if only he would make more) and noticed many similarities to my own story. I added all of the books mentioned to my reading list. Thanks for the link as well.

 

SilentLoner - I forgot about Crash Course! I think I have those bookmarked somewhere, I just hope he gets into some detail and examples.

 

RogueScholar - Sadly, I am at a Christian college (and a rather inerrantist, fundamentalist one at that) so any real education on these issues is up to me in my own time. Thanks for the links, they look very helpful.

 

bornagainatheist - Thank you, I am glad to hear that there is such a resource here. I expect I will be using them soon.

 

florduh - Thanks, it looks like that site has quite a few of the topics in which I am interested.

 

My advice is to take advantage of as much useful courses there as you can. If they offer courses in Greek, Hebrew, or Latin, take them! These are the kind of skills that could serve you well outside of a stifling "inerrantist" school. Do they offer anything like ancient history? Take it. 

 

"Apologetics from Lee Stroebel" (taught at a local Baptist university here in Houston) for example, is not a useful course. Any apologetics course is going to be a total, complete waste of time and money. "Biblical hermeneutics and interpretation" is going to be a waste of time. 

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I found Robert Wright's The Evolution of God to be an excellent overview of the development of religious beliefs, from mankind's earliest expressions of a sense of the spiritual, via Neolithic cave paintings and the like, through shamanism and polytheism to the rise of the three great monotheistic religions.  He throws in an extensive description of our best understanding of how the Bible came to be assembled.  I listened to it on audiobook, several times.
 



 

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Blood - I've been trying to take more useful courses (though I've already been through Hermeneutics and Bible Study Methods) and it may be necessary for me to transfer soon anyway. I have little interest in the languages they offer here since they are only biblical Greek and biblical Hebrew; not very relevant to my interests or intended career.

(Also, your signature quote gives me a good chuckle)

 

Sloan - That looks quite interesting, I will definitely add it to the list.

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