9/29/99

Hello and Good Morning,

About biblical contradictions. You said that "if everything fit into place we wouldn't have much of a problem with it . . .". I disagree. The Bible was written over a span of thousands of years. There were scores of authors, all from different backgrounds, cultures, education and vocations. They wrote in two major languages with different dialects, vocabularies and with different skills in writing. And, of course, there is the whole business of translation to modern english. From the point of view of textual criticism, it would be exceedingly suspicious if there weren't a number of apparant discrepancies to the modern reader.

But onto the more important subject. If you were ever called to be on a jury, you would be questioned about "conflicts of interest". These are hidden things that would harm your ability to make an impartial judgment. "Conflicts of interest" are usually subconscious affairs, i.e. there is no conscious effort to deceive or to be unjust or impartial, but that's the result. This is not theology, it's human behavior and it's pretty well documented. Obviously, we all have conflicts of interest when it comes to making a judgment as to whether God exists. If we think that we're standing on some neutral ground, impartially and impassionately studying evidence and judging our Creator, we're delusional.

Now here is the crux of the matter; this is why we are all so terribly biased. When we first hear about God, we are simultaneously drawn and repelled.

We are drawn to God because we have an inner hunger to know our Creator; to know His purpose in our existance; to know and to have fellowship with the God and Creator of the universe. One of the most compelling scenes in the Bible is in the Garden of Eden before the Fall; God and Adam and Eve simply walking together in the garden in the cool of the day. There is nothing on earth that could even remotely match that experience.

We are repelled because if He is to be God, we cannot be the god of our own lives. By that I mean that, if we know He exists, we will no longer have control over our own lives. We will not be able to say "oh well, God exists-so what?" No, we will have to live our everyday lives in relationship to Him. We will have to recognize that He knows our most secret thoughts and sees us constantly and constantly judges our actions. To rule that God exists is like asking our parents to come back to run our lives for us.

That then is our hidden "conflict of interest" and why we are passionate about either seeking God or fleeing from Him.

Cheers,
Lynn

9/29/99

Hi,

The debate about biblical contradictions illustrates the point I'm trying to make about creative interpretations. Your answers to errancy are the time span and translation issues. This might work when you're talking about the fact that only Matthew and Luke write about the virgin birth. But what if you consider Genesis, when either trees were created before man or man was created before trees? That's pretty black and white. Also throughout the bible, god is either very loving or just downright mean. Again, you must take into consideration that the people who wrote the bible, as well as the church later on, deleted and added like mad until they had something that pleased them.

In judging where theists and atheists stand, you're making the mistake of attempting to know how and where atheists stand from a theist's point of view. I have never been religious, and can't fully understand why a theist believes in a god. You say it's because "we have an inner hunger to know our Creator...". This is one of many reasons I've heard, and I have to take your word for it, although I don't believe it's that simple.

Now, I'm not sure if when you say "when we first hear about god" you're speaking for atheists and theists, but I will assume that for the present argument. As an atheist, I was never drawn to the Christian god anymore than I was drawn to the pantheon of Roman gods. From my point of view, there have always been and there always will be different religions, which eventually end up as mythologies. I believe Christianity will run its course and end up the same. Subsequently, if I am not drawn to a god, I cannot be repelled by him or her.

Saying that "To rule that God exists is like asking our parents to come back to run our lives for us." is a very good point. However it is not a reason to repell a god but instead a reason to accept one even further. That's what people want. They want someone to rule their lives for them. And from my point of view, that's one of the problems with the whole idea.

The point is that as a theist, you're attempting to know why a person is or becomes an atheist. It's not as cut and dry as you make it out to be. Moreover, you're examining it from a Christian point of view, which assumes that I am turning my back specifically on the Christian god. But that god is no more special to me than the hundreds of others that have come and gone.

Meretricula

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