9/28/99

Hi again,

I don't really want to base any argument upon Constantine, I just wanted to lay the groundwork for a line of reasoning.

Here is the same historical event and it can become for one person a reason to believe and simultaneouly for another person, a reason to disbelieve. How can this be? The explanation is that the primary question has already been answered long before this matter about Constantine arose. If you have already assumed that the God of the Bible exists, then you will interpret this bit of history as God saving Christianity. If you have already assumed that God does not exist, you will interpret this as mere "chance" and, in either case, it adds weight to something that has already been decided.

Let me give you another example. You say the Bible is contradictory. If you read the Bible with the eye to finding contradictions, you will indeed find what seem to be contradictions. If you want to disbelieve in God, you then will add those seeming contradictions to the body of other reasons to disbelieve. However, if you desire to give God a chance, you would be reading the Bible to find coherency, not contraction. When you did come across a contradiction, you would probably withhold your judgment and see if they could be explained at some future time. Inevitably these seeming contradictions will be explained. When they are explained, then the believers will add those explanations as additional weight to the body of other reasons to believe.

The deeper point I am trying to make is that atheists want to disbelieve with the same passion as theists want to believe. The two groups are like mirror images of each other; symmetric about some strange dividing line. I also think that there are no neutral parties; everyone takes one side or the other to this mirror. It is this dividing line; the basic, fundamental reason for the initial, original rejection or acceptance of God that truly most interests me.

9/28/99

Hello,

Well, it seems like you've answered your own question, and I can understand what you're getting at.

About finding biblical contradictions, I would hesitate to say that all skeptics are reading it primarily to disprove it. If everything fit into place we wouldn't have much of a problem with it, but it doesn't. The discrepancies are there and are hard to ignore. And when you realize that the church has deleted and added pages at their whim, it becomes even more distorted and difficult to believe. Whereas the person who wants to believe will eventually form their own truths about why the discrepancies exist. I've heard all sorts of excuses for why the contradictions are there and what they mean.

But I can't stress enough that atheists DO NOT have a passion to want to disbelieve. What would the point be in that? Just to tick off theists? This is such a common misconception. We are passionate about the subject on which we stand, and that is to seek the truth. It is not about wanting to disbelieve at all, but rather not finding sufficient reason to believe. We are not satisfied with believing in something of such a magnitude on faith alone.

Meretricula

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