How many translations did your Bible go through?

bible5.gifOne. 

Really. Just one time from the original language to the language and version of your Bible.  The original writings were copied many times, but the Bible you hold was only translated once.

Many people – including some Christians – are quick to say that the Bible has been translated and changed so many times over the centuries that we don’t know what the original writings said.  For example, I just saw a video clip where Deepak Chopra (alleged religious expert) claims that the King James was the 13th iteration of the Bible.

But contrary to that myth, the books of the Bible have only been translated once and the copying process was very robust, dependable and verifiable.   

For example, Paul wrote in Greek, and we have Greek manuscripts to make translations from.  That is one translation. 

Conventional wisdom: Tranlations from one language to another to another . . .

Greek original ==> Latin translation ==> other translations ==> King James version ==> New International Version, etc. 

What actually happened

Greek original ==> copies of Greek original ==> Latin version

Greek original ==> copies of Greek original ==> King James version

Greek original ==> copies of Greek original ==> New International Version

Etc.

So the real issue is how accurate and reliable the copying process was.  The science of textual criticism shows that the copies of the New Testament are 99.5% accurate and that the differences are minor and have no impact on Christian theology. 

Regarding the Old Testament, here are some notes from the Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry:

The OT does not have as many supporting manuscripts as the NT but it is, nevertheless, remarkably reliable.

  1. The Septuagint, a Greek translation of the Hebrew OT done around 250 B.C., attests to the reliability and consistency of the OT when it is compared to existing Hebrew manuscripts.
  2. The Dead Sea Scrolls discovered in 1947 also verify the reliability of the OT manuscripts.
  3. The Dead Sea Scrolls were ancient documents that were hidden in a cave in Israel about 2000 years ago. The scrolls contained many OT books, one of them being Isaiah.
    1. Before the Dead Sea scrolls, the earliest existing manuscript of the OT was dated around 900 A.D. called the Masoretic Text. The Scrolls contained OT documents 1000 years earlier. A comparison between the manuscripts revealed an incredible accuracy of transmission through copying, so much so that critics were silenced.

In summary, the Bible you hold has only been translated once, and the copying process was very robust, dependable and verifiable. 

Also see Is The New Testament Reliable? and Has the Bible been rewritten so many times that we can’t trust it anymore?

67 thoughts on “How many translations did your Bible go through?”

  1. How do yo know? Were you there? Even my priests at Loyola agree the Bible is. Far cry from what was originally written. But then again, what the hell do they know.

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    1. Hi Tony,

      We know via the art and science of textual criticism. Even skeptics concede that we know what 99.5% of the original writings said, and the 0.5% is virtually all inconsequential things like the order of words or spelling (e.g., Johnn vs. John). There is no debate about any key doctrines, especially when things like Jesus being the only way to salvation are written so many times in so many places. In fact, you can take the two most divergent streams of texts and still come up with the same thing: Orthodox Christianity.

      If your priests are just pointing that out, they are correct. If they think we really don’t know what the originals said then they are seriously and sadly mistaken.

      Just because I wasn’t there doesn’t mean we can’t know what the originals said. Over 5,000 manuscripts of different ages have been found throughout the world. When they have 99.5% agreement (and 100% on major doctrines) it demonstrates that it is impossible for the originals to have said something different. There is simply no way anyone could have gone through the world and changed all the manuscripts.

      Hope that helps!

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      1. First you should think then do the knowledge like if the bible was translated from the greek version the we wouldent have the name “Jesus” due to the greek vocabulary havin no “Y”… I bealive that the bible was translated from either latin or more resent versions of translations… heres an example… Yeshua is a Hebrew name which has
        been transliterated into Greek as
        Iesous ( IhsouV: pronounced ee- ay –
        SUS or ee- ah -ZOOS ) . The English
        “Jesus” comes from the Latin
        transliteration of the Greek name into
        the Latin Iesus . Now Greek has no “y”
        sound, but the Latin “i ” is both an “i ”
        and a “j ” ( i . e. , it can have a
        consonantal force in front of other
        vowels) , the latter of which is properly
        pronounced like the English “y” ( which
        explains the German Jesu, ” YAY-
        su “) That is why we spell Jesus as we
        do, taking it straight from Latin , but we
        pronounce the name with a soft ” j”
        sound because that is what we do in
        English with the consonantal “j “.

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      2. A post simply to ask a question raised in researching the amounts of translations done to the bible. As an adult who has lived and taught in multiple areas of the world from America to Japan and who speaks 3 languages well (English, Spanish, Japanese) and spent 1/2 my higher educational life around language development and etymological history of words and translation, I still have been unable to find an apt answer to a question. And perhaps I just haven’t had enough opportunity to ask and learn it myself 🙂 but I’ll pose it here still because it intrigues me.

        How are we (in this instance meaning English speakers/readers of the bible) supposed to understand and compromise the differences in sexual/gender specific words which English (as well as the other Latin based languages) use in contrast to genderless/sexually ambiguous terms found in Hebrew or Greek?

        It would seem that a great deal of difference can be found in one’s understanding of any text based around the identification of gender to a specific context. This goes way beyond the implications of including or excluding a “Y” from the spelling of Jesus. To have a god, Yahweh (or for the sake of discussion any omnipresent/omnipotent power) be a genderless entity rather than be a “father figure” (or again for sake of discussion “maternal figure”) would have tremendous effect on the reading, understanding, and in this case development of one’s perception of the universe from a core belief.

        This was just the first example I thought of when that question of translation and comprehension of classical languages into a modern structure. For those who are raised in a language (which determines how everything we learn and conceptualize in our minds is based) that has a “definite” interpretation or identification with construct like male or female can we TRULY comprehend and conceptualize and believe that which is, at a core, different? And do 99 percent of those reading a modern translation of the bible understand that “God” was genderless in original texts and became engendered only after Romantic (Latin) languages defined it as such… not because of any malicious intent, but simply because their language didn’t have a context to translate it any other way.

        And finally cause I didn’t mean to open the floodgates on my questions. Is this concept vital to ones understanding of their identity in this life? Or, can it simply be brushed to the side as easily as whether a “Y” should be included in the spelling of one’s name? I appreciate any thoughts you all wish to share, thanks for letting me ask.

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  2. The Old Testament lays the foundation for the teachings and events found in the New Testament. The Bible is a progressive revelation. If you skip the first half of any good book and try to finish it, you will have a hard time understanding the characters, the plot, and the ending. In the same way, the New Testament is only completely understood when it is seen as a fulfillment of the events, characters, laws, sacrificial system, covenants, and promises of the Old Testament.

    If we only had the New Testament, we would come to the gospels and not know why the Jews were looking for a Messiah (a Savior King). Without the Old Testament, we would not understand why this Messiah was coming (see Isaiah 53), and we would not have been able to identify Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah through the many detailed prophecies that were given concerning Him, e.g., His birthplace (Micah 5:2); His manner of death (Psalm 22, especially vv. 1, 7-8, 14-18; Psalm 69:21), His resurrection (Psalm 16:10), and many more details of His ministry (Isaiah 52:19, 9:2).

    Without the Old Testament, we would not understand the Jewish customs that are mentioned in passing in the New Testament. We would not understand the perversions that the Pharisees had made to God’s law as they added their traditions to it. We would not understand why Jesus was so upset as He cleansed the temple courtyard. We would not understand that we can make use of the same wisdom that Christ used in His many replies to His adversaries.

    The New Testament Gospels and the Acts of the apostles record many of the fulfillments of prophecies that were recorded hundreds of years earlier in the Old Testament. In the circumstances of Jesus’ birth, life, miracles, death, and resurrection as found in the Gospels, we find the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies that relate to the Messiah’s first coming. It is these details that validate Jesus’ claim to be the promised Christ. And even the prophecies in the New Testament (many of which are in the book of Revelation) are built upon earlier prophecies found in Old Testament books. These New Testament prophecies relate to events surrounding the second coming of Christ. Roughly two out of three verses in Revelation are based on or related to Old Testament verses.

    Also, because the revelation in Scripture is progressive, the New Testament brings into focus teachings that were only alluded to in the Old Testament. The book of Hebrews describes how Jesus is the true High Priest and how His one sacrifice replaces all of the previous sacrifices, which were mere portrayals. The Old Testament gives the Law, which has two parts: the commandments and the blessing/curse that comes from obedience or disobedience to those commands. The New Testament clarifies that God gave those commandments to show men their need of salvation; they were never intended to be a means of salvation (Romans 3:19).

    The Old Testament describes the sacrificial system God gave the Israelites to temporarily cover their sins. The New Testament clarifies that this system alluded to the sacrifice of Christ through whom alone salvation is found (Acts 4:12; Hebrews 10:4-10). The Old Testament saw paradise lost; the New Testament shows how paradise was regained for mankind through the second Adam (Christ) and how it will one day be restored. The Old Testament declares that man was separated from God through sin (Genesis chapter 3), and the New Testament declares that man can now be restored in his relationship to God (Romans chapters 3–6). The Old Testament predicted the Messiah’s life. The Gospels primarily record Jesus’ life, and the Epistles interpret His life and how we are to respond to all He has done.

    Without the Old Testament we would not understand the promises God will yet fulfill to the Jewish nation. As a result, we would not properly see that the tribulation period is a seven-year period in which He will specifically be working with the Jewish nation who rejected His first coming but who will receive Him at His second coming. We would not understand how Christ’s future 1000-year reign fits in with His promises to the Jews, or how Gentiles will fit in. Nor would we see how the end of the Bible ties up the loose ends that were unraveled in the beginning of the Bible, restoring the paradise that God originally created this world to be.

    In summary, the Old Testament lays the foundation for, and was meant to prepare the Israelites for, the coming of the Messiah who would sacrifice Himself for the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:2). The New Testament shares the life of Jesus Christ and then looks back on what He did and how we are to respond to His gift of eternal life and live our lives in gratitude for all He has done for us (Romans 12). Both testaments reveal the same holy, merciful, and righteous God who must condemn sin but who desires to bring to Himself a fallen human race of sinners through the forgiveness only possible through Christ’s atoning sacrifice. In both testaments, God reveals Himself to us and how we are to come to Him through Jesus Christ. In both testaments, we find all we need for eternal life and godly living (2 Timothy 3:15-17).

    If what you said is true there would not be any of these differences. One can not keep 99.5% pure and have such a wide change in what and how information is copied.

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  3. Right.

    I do have a question about this right here, though:


    Greek original ==> copies of Greek original ==> Latin version
    Greek original ==> copies of Greek original ==> King James version
    Greek original ==> copies of Greek original ==> NIV

    It was my understanding that most (if not all) of the Old Testament was originally written down in Hebrew. The Gospels were written in Aramaic, a language common in 1st century Judea. Lastly, the rest of the New Testament (Acts – Revelation) were written in Greek as stated.

    Further, it was also my understanding that the entire thing was translated into Latin, probably sometime during the later years of the Roman Empire after the time of Constantine. This, from what I heard, is where it stayed until Martin Luther translated it into German around 1521. I could be wrong, but I believe it was also Luther who threw out some of the books the Catholic Church had included 1,500 years earlier, believing them to be inconsistent with the rest of Scripture. This in turn formed the Protestant Bible. The Catholics still use the pre-Luther unabridged version.

    I’m guessing the translation into other languages such as English (apparently from copies of the original manuscripts) took place sometime after this; I think King James, for example, reigned after the Protestant Reformation.

    The Dead Sea Scrolls merely verified what was already known; they didn’t contain any new information.

    I also read awhile back that someone even translated the Bible into Klingon. Go read your Scripture, p ‘tagh!

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      1. Really? I mean, I could be dead wrong in everything I’ve said. I did not bother to go look this stuff up.

        When I was in college, I took an elective course titled “The Bible as Literature.” The textbook was the Bible as we know it, but it was an edition which included the Apocrypha. One of the books in that section was a required reading assignment. I don’t remember the name…Alma or something. My cousin is something of a scholar of church history; seems like he told me that they describe, in part, some of the historical events which took place in the 450-odd years between the writing of Malachi and Matthew. The story of the Macabees would fall in this period, I think, along with the Roman invasion of Israel.

        Since I am not Catholic, I have no idea whether the text used for the course was distinguishable from the Catholic Bible or not. Maybe our friend Roxeanne could weigh in on this. I also thought that the Apocryphal books had been in the Bible for the entire period between the Council of Nicene to the Reformation. Am I wrong about that too?

        I really should go look this stuff up, but it is easier to defer to people who have already done their homework. Neil?

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  4. Even if the bible is copied correctly, why would people want to follow the God of the Old Testament? Jesus said that we should not kill as one of the commandments, but the God of the Old Testament slaughtered a ton of people. The flood, Sodom and Gomorrah, killing the first born babies in Egypt. How are any of these things justified?

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    1. Hi — thanks for visiting and commenting. It appears that you haven’t read the Bible much. The God of the OT will kill plenty as well. One of your foundational errors is sitting in judgment of God, as if you know all He does and as if He must answer to you. Try that at work, school or with a judge. He is sovereign over life and death.

      Also, the “OT God” (same as the NT God) is full of mercy for those who repented — see my recent post about Ahab and Jezebel.

      If there is no God then you have no reasons to complain about anything — http://www.uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/stolen-obligations-why-do-atheists-care-about-truth-reason-or-morality/ . “Being human” would be no more important than being an ant or a rock. But our deepest intuitions tell us otherwise.

      Romans 1:18–20 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.

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      1. No problem. I thought your article was interesting. Just before I get into the response, I want to say that I do believe in a God, and that there’s something more in the universe. I just don’t think religion has it right.

        If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed. This is a quote from Albert Einstein.

        Is it better to be moral because we fear God, or because we want to do the right thing? Most religious people do the right thing because of fear. And to have these kinds of morals are wrong.

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      2. No problem. I thought your article was interesting. Just before I get into the response, I want to say that I do believe in a God, and that there’s something more in the universe. I just don’t think religion has it right.

        Thanks for the follow-up and clarification. I sort of agree with you in that “religion” doesn’t have it right. There are different religions, but with vastly different foundational truth claims, so they can’t all be right. Christianity claims that it is the only one and makes it clear that if Jesus didn’t rise from the dead then we are wrong (1 Corinthians 15). A quick way to consider that is to review some “minimal facts” — http://tinyurl.com/ykzpu42 — Nearly 100% of historical scholars from 1975 – present agree with the following statements:

        – Jesus really lived and was killed on a Roman cross.
        – Jesus’ disciples believed He appeared to them.
        – Jesus’ brother, James, went from being a pre-crucifixion skeptic to a post-crucifixion church leader.
        – The Apostle Paul believed Jesus appeared to him and he wrote most of the books attributed to him, including Romans, I & II Corinthians, Philemon and others. He converted from persecuting Christians to being the greatest evangelist ever, despite nearly constant challenges, persecution and ultimately dying for his faith.
        – 75% of the same scholars agree that the tomb was empty.

        None of the alternative theories can be true in light of these facts. The physical resurrection of Jesus best accounts for these facts.

        If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed. This is a quote from Albert Einstein.

        But isn’t that better than them not being good? Of course we’d like people to do the right things for the right reasons, but even if a person doesn’t rob me because he is afraid of going to jail instead of because he trusts in Jesus and does good by the power of the Holy Spirit and out of his grateful response to Christ, I’m still glad he doesn’t rob me.

        Having said that, the Bible couldn’t be more clear: No one is truly good apart from God. We are just different shades of bad.

        So you are biblically accurate in an important sense: We are a sorry lot. We all do bad and will pay the due penalties for that, or we will trust in Jesus and his payment of our penalties on our behalf.

        Is it better to be moral because we fear God, or because we want to do the right thing? Most religious people do the right thing because of fear. And to have these kinds of morals are wrong.

        Most non-religious people also do the “right thing” out of fear. If there weren’t consequences things would be much, much worse. And how do you know those kinds of morals are wrong if you don’t think God is knowable?

        If you haven’t studied the entire Bible carefully for yourself I really encourage it.

        Cheers!

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      3. First off, I hope that you don’t think I am attacking you as a person, it’s just religion that I am angry with. Right now I am a Catholic, but I am starting to disagree with a lot of their teachings and if they follow what’s in the bible.

        You said that Christianity claims that they are the only religion. That’s the main problem I have with religion. Muslims would say that Islam is the right religion, Mormons would say that their religion is right, and Greeks would say that Zeus is the right God to believe in. They all have their different prophets and Gods and they all think they’re correct. Should someone of another religion get sent to Hell because they don’t believe that Jesus was the Son of God?

        You do make a good point about morals. I guess non-religious people also do the right thing out of fear. However, I don’t think that we should do the right thing out of fear of Hell, or the reward for Heaven. Earthly consequences are enough incentive for a person to do the right thing.

        I think that some morals are subjective and some are objective. Morals like not murdering someone and not stealing would be objective. I also think we all have our own codes of honor which we live by, but don’t expect anyone else to follow.

        Unlike others, I think that God did give us morals through evolution. Having love, compassion, and other moral standards help us survive better as a species. Imagine a world where rape, murder, and stealing were rampant. This wouldn’t help humans survive and move forward. This is one of the reasons we continue to do the right thing. We also have laws on Earth which help us do the right thing.

        Also, you just pointed out another problem I have with religion. As a Catholic, I have learned a lot about the Bible and know most of the main stories. However, a lot of religious people believe in the Bible without reading it. They blindly follow their religion without asking any tough questions and listen to a preacher talk about the Bible. A priest or any other religious leader is going to portray the Bible that fits their religions own personal beliefs.

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      4. First off, I hope that you don’t think I am attacking you as a person, it’s just religion that I am angry with. Right now I am a Catholic, but I am starting to disagree with a lot of their teachings and if they follow what’s in the bible.

        Well, we agree on that, too! There is a reason I’m not Catholic. Actually, 95 of them. I know lots of Catholics who sound like Protestants, but the core of the Catholic faith is not biblical.

        You said that Christianity claims that they are the only religion. That’s the main problem I have with religion. Muslims would say that Islam is the right religion, Mormons would say that their religion is right, and Greeks would say that Zeus is the right God to believe in. They all have their different prophets and Gods and they all think they’re correct. Should someone of another religion get sent to Hell because they don’t believe that Jesus was the Son of God?

        They will go to Hell for their own sins. If they don’t avail themselves of the pardon available in Jesus then yes, they will go to Hell. That’s why we seek to share the Good News with them.

        Yes, Muslims and others think they are right. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t be Muslims. But that doesn’t mean all religions are false.

        Unlike others, I think that God did give us morals through evolution. Having love, compassion, and other moral standards help us survive better as a species. Imagine a world where rape, murder, and stealing were rampant. This wouldn’t help humans survive and move forward. This is one of the reasons we continue to do the right thing. We also have laws on Earth which help us do the right thing.

        But rape, murder and stealing are rampant. I know, I do prison ministry — and I follow the news! The “evolutionary morals” concept is a “just so” story that has no scientific rigor behind it.

        Also, you just pointed out another problem I have with religion. As a Catholic, I have learned a lot about the Bible and know most of the main stories. However, a lot of religious people believe in the Bible without reading it. They blindly follow their religion without asking any tough questions and listen to a preacher talk about the Bible. A priest or any other religious leader is going to portray the Bible that fits their religions own personal beliefs.

        We actually agree on many things. Yes, people believe things without study. That’s not good. They should read the Bible for all it is worth and ask questions.

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      5. Just out of curiosity, do you practice a religion?

        You seem to contradict yourself when you say that not all religions all false. Earlier you said that people will pay an eternity for Hell for not believing in Jesus. There are a lot of religions that don’t believe in Jesus. By saying that they have to believe in Jesus you are saying that Christianity is the only religion that is right. Are there any other religions that you think are right?

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      6. Just out of curiosity, do you practice a religion?

        Yes, I’m a Christian.

        You seem to contradict yourself when you say that not all religions all false.

        My apologies if I wasn’t clear there. Christianity is true, all other religions and worldviews are false.

        Earlier you said that people will pay an eternity for Hell for not believing in Jesus.

        I thought I said they would spend an eternity in Hell for their sins. It isn’t that their not believing in Jesus is their only sin. They have countless sins every day against a perfect and holy God. But Jesus is their way out, if they trust in him. What you said may sound similar to some folks but there is a big difference.

        There are a lot of religions that don’t believe in Jesus. By saying that they have to believe in Jesus you are saying that Christianity is the only religion that is right. Are there any other religions that you think are right?

        All other religions are man-made and/or inspired by Satan.

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      7. As to the rape, murder, and stealing, those are straw man arguments. The news shows those because that is what sells. Of course there are quite a few cases, but most people don’t do those things.

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      8. Why are they straw man arguments? They occur. A lot. And that is even with stiff penalties against them! Imagine how much more we’d have without our judicial system?

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      9. They are straw man arguments because the vast majority of people don’t commit rape, murder, or steal. You don’t have to be religious to be in good moral standing. I hate when people say, “Oh, we get our morals from the Bible. Or, Hitler, Stalin, and Pol Pot were atheists.” Just as much evil has been committed in the name of religion as in the name of atheism.

        9/11, the Inquisitions, the others who blow themselves up in the name of religion. So, you don’t need the threat of Hell or the reward of Heaven to do good things. A religious person can be bad just like an atheist can be good, or vice versa.

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      10. There has been much more evil committed outside of Christianity than in the name of it, and even then those who did so in the name of Christianity were violating its tenets. Not so with Islam, for example, whose evil is part of the plan.

        Atheists do some good things but can’t explain why they are truly good. If there is no God then there is no real standard for good.

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      11. Are you trying to make this a numbers game? Just because more killings have happened in the name of atheism, does this somehow make Christians better? I do agree that evil is a part of Islam. They claim its a religion of peace. Whenever I see that I just laugh.

        Also, as I said before, do you follow the Bible completely? If not, then how is the Bible used as a real standard for good? If you have to cherry pick from the Bible, then something must be wrong with it.

        As I said to Matt, I hope that we can agree to disagree. Debating with you guys has been really interesting.

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      12. You just said that the evil committed in the name of Christianity, was violating its basic tenets. Well, the same goes for atheism. Pol Pot, Hitler, and Stalin were just insane people, simple as that. They have nothing to do with atheism. Also, there are a lot of atheists who haven’t killed anyone. The people you mention are violating atheists basic tenets as well. I’m an atheist, and I haven’t killed anyone. Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins are atheists, and they haven’t killed anyone. There are a lot of atheists in the world, and we’re just as moral as you are.

        This is a quote by Richard Dawkins.

        “Do you really mean to tell me the only reason you try to be good is to gain God’s approval and reward, or to avoid his disapproval and punishment? That’s not morality, that’s just sucking up, apple-polishing, looking over your shoulder at the great surveillance camera in the sky, or the still small wiretap inside your head, monitoring your every move, even your every base though (Richard Dawkins)”.

        Christians love making the argument that you can’t be moral without God. Dawkins states that if you can only be moral because God’s watching you, that’s pretty sad.

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      13. Thanks for returning to comment. You seem unwilling to carefully study the arguments for and against your position, and you continually offer logical fallacies as arguments. The primary way you do this is by misstating your opponent’s views and then attacking that position. But that doesn’t prove anything.

        You just said that the evil committed in the name of Christianity, was violating its basic tenets. Well, the same goes for atheism. Pol Pot, Hitler, and Stalin were just insane people, simple as that. They have nothing to do with atheism.

        What grounding do you have to claim they were insane or that they did anything wrong? In a Darwinian worldview they were obviously the most fit for a time.

        Also, there are a lot of atheists who haven’t killed anyone.

        That’s not much of an accomplishment, but I’m glad to hear that.

        The people you mention are violating atheists basic tenets as well. I’m an atheist, and I haven’t killed anyone. Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins are atheists, and they haven’t killed anyone. There are a lot of atheists in the world, and we’re just as moral as you are.

        But atheism has no core tenets other than insisting that there is no God. We agree that murder is wrong, but your worldview can’t explain why.

        This is a quote by Richard Dawkins.

        “Do you really mean to tell me the only reason you try to be good is to gain God’s approval and reward, or to avoid his disapproval and punishment? That’s not morality, that’s just sucking up, apple-polishing, looking over your shoulder at the great surveillance camera in the sky, or the still small wiretap inside your head, monitoring your every move, even your every base though (Richard Dawkins)”.

        Dawkins commits fallacies similar to yours. First, the reward for being good is legitimate because it is innately tied to the act. There is a reason that students who study hard are rewarded with better grades, why employees who perform well are rewarded with promotions and raises, etc. There is nothing wrong with avoiding sin so as to avoid punishment. What could be more logical than that?

        Dawkins’ argument, even if true, wouldn’t disprove God.

        Christians love making the argument that you can’t be moral without God. Dawkins states that if you can only be moral because God’s watching you, that’s pretty sad.

        Atheists love making the false argument that Christians love making the argument that you can’t be moral without God. There have been nearly 3,000 posts on this blog plus tens of thousands of comments. Please find where Christians have made that claim. You’ll be looking a long time. What you will find is that we say that without God you can’t logically ground morality. It isn’t that you can’t be moral if Darwinian evolution is true, it is that there would be no such thing.

        Jesus did not rise from the dead. Your “evidence” aka, Bible is false and is full of contradictions.

        We have much more evidence than the Bible, though of course that is part of the evidence. You have already demonstrated that you’ve never studied the Bible seriously. You are just repeating atheist sound bites. There are answers to all your alleged contradiction claims (though I doubt you could name 3 supposed contradictions without having to search for them).

        Most scholars believe that the gospels are written between 70-100 A.D. That’s plenty of time to get facts wrong.

        There are many good reasons to believe that the Gospels — at least the first three — were written before that. Please see http://4simpsons.wordpress.com/2008/06/25/when-was-the-new-testament-written/ — that is, if you are truly interested in facts and logic.

        And it is fallacious to say that just because things could be wrong that they must be wrong.

        Also, how come there isn’t one contemporary eyewitness for Jesus Christ? Everyone claims that there are several eyewitness, yet all of the writings are after Jesus died. Isn’t that a little odd?

        I don’t follow . . . if nearly 1/3 of the Gospel texts address the last week of his life and if the entire religion is based on him dying for our sins and rising again, and if the Bible records that his earthly ministry was the last three years of his life, and if the Bible records that his followers didn’t realize He’d die and rise from the dead, then exactly why would you expect the writings to occur before He died and rose again?

        Atheism does have really good arguments, but you’re too blinded by your faith to see it.

        I could say the same about you regarding Christianity, only I’d have the truth of the Bible to back me up: Romans 1:18–20 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.

        But you have nothing in atheism to back up your statement. If your worldview is true, then random chemical reactions are solely responsible for my conversion from atheism to my belief in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. Why be so mad at your own worldview if it is the “obvious” cause for Christianity?

        It’s funny how you say that I’m the one who’s been conditioned to repeat soundbites. Christians are told from birth not to question the dogma of their religion. Even questioning their religion is considered a sin.

        Once again you show that you haven’t read the book. Please note these two teachings then reconsider your statements:

        Acts 17:11 (ESV) 11 Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.

        1 Thessalonians 5:21 (ESV) 21 but test everything; hold fast what is good.

        Christians are specifically told to use good discernment in testing truth claims.

        No, I haven’t come up with excuses to avoid the Bible. I have looked at the evidence and drawn my conclusion that the Christian God is no different than any other myth. The truth is that we don’t know what created the universe. It may have been a “God”, or something else. The point is we don’t know.

        We can use logic and facts to demonstrate that it came into being at a point in time, and it is obvious that whatever created it had to be more powerful and significant than what was created.

        It’s pretty sad how Christians preach about love of their God. If their love doesn’t work then they preach about eternal damnation.

        That is another one of your made-up claims. We preach the entire truth of God. We do love him, and for good reasons. He is a God of love, but will also punish sin as any just judge would. And we love our neighbors, so we tell them the truth about Jesus: He died on a cross for the sins of all who would repent and believe in him. If you want to pay for your own sins for eternity, that is your option.

        That doesn’t sound like a loving God to me. Why aren’t you afraid of Zeus, Allah, or any other Gods that have been worshiped throughout history?

        Because I have good reasons to believe that those are false.

        It’s because you have been brought up from birth to believe in a certain God. If you haven’t been brought up, you’ve been indoctrinated in some form.

        Then you are an atheist because of where you were born, right? You know nothing of the Bible. I’m a Christian because God made me spiritually alive and turned me to him through his Word. He does that all over the world every day. People convert from all sorts of belief systems to Christianity.

        Just because you believe in Christianity, it doesn’t make it right.

        I agree with you. That is another made-up argument on your part.

        Christianity is based on geography, and nothing else.

        No, it is based on trusting in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus and in repenting of sins. Really, read the book. Eternity is a mighty long time to regret spouting atheist sound bites in rebellion against your creator.

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      14. I don’t mean to misstate arguments. If I have, could you please clarify which arguments I have misused? I think we could both agree that Hitler, Pol Pot, and Stalin were insane. They did kill millions of people after all. Not to mention the physical and mental torture they put innocent victims through. Your logical fallacy is that just because these people are atheists, you think that all atheists are like this. That’s simply not true. Why do Christians keep using Pol Pot, Hitler, and Stalin? What do they get out of it?

        A Darwinian worldview is that we do things because they benefit society. What these three people did were just a benefit to them, not to us.

        Actually, Christians and atheists have the same core tenets of belief. We both agree not to steal or kill. Except for the first three commandments, the rest are all secular values. I try to make myself a better person every single day, and love my neighbor as myself. Humans have empathy inside of us, we don’t need a God to be good human beings. Being good is a benefit to society, which is why most humans don’t murder or steal.

        There is something wrong with avoiding sin to avoid punishment. Can’t you be moral without these things? Why do you need threats and rewards from a God to be a good person? Christians do make the argument that you can’t be moral without God. This is what you were saying before. You said that there is no logical grounding for morality without God. These two things are the same thing.

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      15. I don’t mean to misstate arguments. If I have, could you please clarify which arguments I have misused? I think we could both agree that Hitler, Pol Pot, and Stalin were insane. They did kill millions of people after all. Not to mention the physical and mental torture they put innocent victims through. Your logical fallacy is that just because these people are atheists, you think that all atheists are like this. That’s simply not true.

        There is an example — in the same paragraph — of you misstating my arguments. Do not comment again saying that I think all atheists are like that without directly quoting something I wrote. That is impossible, of course, because I have never made that claim. In fact, I’ve posted saying the opposite of that! See http://4simpsons.wordpress.com/2007/11/20/poor-arguments-to-make-with-atheists/ for proof.

        Again, we agree that what those guys did was bad. But they obviously didn’t think it was wrong. And in a godless universe driven by Darwinian evolution you have no logical grounding to say what they did was wrong. You think it was wrong, but they didn’t. What do you do to prove who is right? You can’t do anything, because the system you’ve adopted out of rebellion against God says that we all just evolved this way.

        Why do Christians keep using Pol Pot, Hitler, and Stalin? What do they get out of it?

        To show the logical consequences of people who reject God (not all atheists are like them, but some will be), and to show atheists how they have no logical grounding to criticize them.

        A Darwinian worldview is that we do things because they benefit society. What these three people did were just a benefit to them, not to us.

        No, that is you running off the fumes of Christianity. Darwinian evolution can’t explain why it is good to “benefit society.” They thought they were benefiting society. Moral freaks who kill unwanted children think they are benefiting society. But atheists sneak morality in the back door when they have the obligation to explain it.

        Actually, Christians and atheists have the same core tenets of belief. We both agree not to steal or kill. Except for the first three commandments, the rest are all secular values. I try to make myself a better person every single day, and love my neighbor as myself. Humans have empathy inside of us, we don’t need a God to be good human beings. Being good is a benefit to society, which is why most humans don’t murder or steal.

        But if your neighbor wants to do the opposite and says it is good, you have no logical reason to explain why it isn’t. Survival of the fittest is part of Darwinism, but you deny that. You aren’t living consistently with your worldview when you try to pretend to be a “good” person.

        There is something wrong with avoiding sin to avoid punishment. Can’t you be moral without these things? Why do you need threats and rewards from a God to be a good person? Christians do make the argument that you can’t be moral without God. This is what you were saying before. You said that there is no logical grounding for morality without God. These two things are the same thing.

        No, they are not the same thing. Words mean things, and you either can’t or won’t read carefully enough to understand that. So pick a new topic if you want to comment here. I’m tired of repeating myself and will delete more comments where you repeat the same falsehoods about what I’m saying.

        Oh, and I’m sure you won’t complain about me deleting comments. You see, I think it helps society when I do that, so it is a good thing ;-).

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      16. I was a Catholic for 20 years before I became an atheist. So, I know the Bible and its stories pretty well. I do know a lot about religion and what people believe in. I would be interested to know why you became a Christian after being an atheist, if you don’t mind answering.

        The reason I became an atheist is because of logic and reason. No, I didn’t become an atheist because of where I was born. You’re comparing apples to oranges. I became an atheist in college, while most religious people are brought up from birth to believe in a God that their parents choose for them. The same thing happened to me. I have also studied the Bible. If you read the Bible carefully, you would realize that there are some horrible things in it.

        The Bible includes: genocide, slavery (which God condones), homophobia, and polygamy. This is where a couple contradictions come in. God says to love thy neighbor as thyself. Leviticus has rule after rule about how to treat slaves. They were allowed to beat slaves, and buy slaves from other lands. Jesus says that one man and one women must marry. Then, how come so many men in the old testament had several wives?

        There are even contradictions in the New Testament. They can’t even get the last words of Jesus right. Matthew, “My god, my god, why hast thou forsaken me?” Luke, “Father, into my hands I commend my spirit.” John, “It is finished.” How can the authors of the gospels be trustworthy if they can’t the last words of Jesus’ death right?

        How is Christianity different from Muhammad, or the heroes in Greek mythology? This is why I asked you the questions about Zeus. People laugh off what the Greeks used to believe in, when they believed it with all of their heart, like Christians do with their God today. You said before that you have good reasons to believe they’re false. What are you reasons for this? Christianity may have a different story, but all religions boil down to the same thing. There is some creator and that we have to bow down and worship them. Many religions have threats of Hell and Heaven, although different terms are used.

        I agree with you, the universe did come into place at a certain point in time. Just because the universe is magnificent, doesn’t mean that a creator brought it into place. You said that I take things out of context about your beliefs, while Christians do the same thing about us. Christians say that we believe everything had to come from nothing. That’s not what we believe, at least I don’t. I believe that we don’t know, and there’s nothing wrong with that. There is no proof that your God is the right one, anymore than there is of Allah, or Zeus. Just because it looks like there is a creator that made everything, doesn’t make it true.

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      17. I was a Catholic for 20 years before I became an atheist. So, I know the Bible and its stories pretty well. I do know a lot about religion and what people believe in. I would be interested to know why you became a Christian after being an atheist, if you don’t mind answering.

        Here’s part of it — http://4simpsons.wordpress.com/testimony/ . Thanks for asking.

        The reason I became an atheist is because of logic and reason. No, I didn’t become an atheist because of where I was born. You’re comparing apples to oranges.

        You were the one claiming that birthplace dictated religious beliefs. You are disagreeing with your own position, not mine.

        I became an atheist in college, while most religious people are brought up from birth to believe in a God that their parents choose for them. The same thing happened to me. I have also studied the Bible. If you read the Bible carefully, you would realize that there are some horrible things in it.

        I’ve read the Bible many, many times (twice in the last year). Yes, there are all sorts of horrible sins in there. Then Jesus came, as predicted, to die for those sinners who repent and trust in him.

        And of course a Darwinist has no grounding to say why any of those things were truly horrible. That’s just your opinion. Those people just evolved and did what their brain reactions made them do. They just thought they had a choice.

        The Bible includes: genocide, slavery (which God condones), homophobia, and polygamy. This is where a couple contradictions come in. God says to love thy neighbor as thyself. Leviticus has rule after rule about how to treat slaves. They were allowed to beat slaves, and buy slaves from other lands. Jesus says that one man and one women must marry. Then, how come so many men in the old testament had several wives?

        You are a fool. Seriously, an utter fool. You haven’t lifted a finger to study the responses to those arguments. Homophobia?! What a joke. God designed men and women to fit together. That is the obvious ideal. If you want to have anal sex with guys to rebel against God then go ahead, but don’t pretend that those of us who agree with God have an irrational fear of gays.

        You don’t even understand the economic slavery of the Bible vs. U.S. style slavery. You don’t even know that the Law commanded the death penalty for those who kidnap other people into slavery.

        And you don’t get the most basic logic: Just because the Bible describes that people had multiple wives (and typically shows the negative consequences) it doesn’t mean that was God’s ideal. You spent 20 years in a terrible church organization who didn’t teach you how to read the Bible properly.

        There are even contradictions in the New Testament. They can’t even get the last words of Jesus right. Matthew, “My god, my god, why hast thou forsaken me?” Luke, “Father, into my hands I commend my spirit.” John, “It is finished.” How can the authors of the gospels be trustworthy if they can’t the last words of Jesus’ death right?

        If you don’t know that the “My God . . .” statement ties to Psalm 22 then that is more evidence of your lack of education.

        You didn’t list a contradiction. There aren’t verses claiming that more than one of those things were his last words. You are just repeating silly atheist sound bites without reading for yourself.

        How is Christianity different from Muhammad, or the heroes in Greek mythology?

        And you claim to have gone to church for 20 years?!?!?!? How can you possibly ask how they are different? Every other religion is works-based. You have to do good deeds to try to win God over. Christianity says no matter how much good you do it doesn’t undo your sins and rebellion against God.

        There is no evidence that myths are true (uh, hence the name). There is tons of evidence for Christianity. You, in your rebellion, won’t do the work of investigating it because you don’t want to be accountable to God.

        Christianity explains why there are false religions. They are just a different form of rebellion, like your atheism.

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      18. I’m not disagreeing with my own opinion. It’s actually the truth. I was forced to believe in what my parents wanted me to believe in. The same is true for all religions. Since I live in the United States, that made it a very good chance that I would be brought up Christian, which I was. The same goes for the Middle East, and India. If you are brought up there, you’re more likely to believe in the religion of those cultures. How am I disagreeing with my own opinion?

        How does a Darwinist have no grounding to say how things are horrible or good? Thanks to evolution, we have the ability to understand right from wrong.

        So, you’re assuming I’m gay now? I’m straight thank you very much. I’ll pass on the anal sex with guys. Maybe anal sex with girls, but certainly not guys. In the Bible it says that if a man lies with another man, then he must be killed. Sounds a lot like homophobia to me.

        Also, it doesn’t matter that the Bible as laws against kidnapping slaves. The very act of owning another human being is horrible, regardless if they beat them or not. In Leviticus it states that if a slave gets beaten by a rod and isn’t hurt for a day or two, then the master is good with God. That’s pretty sick.

        I’ve read the responses to those arguments that I’ve listed above. Believe me, I’ve gone to both Christian websites and atheist websites. The atheist websites have the most logic and reasoning by far. Why do you have to call me a fool to get your point across? I can understand saying that my points are wrong, that I can live with. Calling me a fool is just an ad hominem attack, which will get you no where in a debate. Also, it’s pretty hurtful.

        What I listed is a contradiction. According to the Bible those are Jesus’ final words. Each author of the Bible says something different, which is a contradiction.

        When people believed in Zeus, they also said that there were mountains of evidence for their religion. Muslims claim that there are mountains of evidence for Allah. As I’ve said countless times, I have investigated the evidence. When making a decision, I want to have as much evidence as possible, and atheism was the ultimate conclusion.

        Besides the Bible, what evidence do you have that God exists?

        Just because some versions of Christianity aren’t works based, doesn’t make the religion true. Plus, the largest religion in Christianity, Catholicism, is works-based. Is this version wrong?

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      19. I’m not disagreeing with my own opinion. It’s actually the truth. I was forced to believe in what my parents wanted me to believe in. The same is true for all religions. Since I live in the United States, that made it a very good chance that I would be brought up Christian, which I was. The same goes for the Middle East, and India. If you are brought up there, you’re more likely to believe in the religion of those cultures. How am I disagreeing with my own opinion?

        If where you were born drives your beliefs, then that is obviously why you are an atheist. You didn’t do it for good reasons, you did it because of your location (according to your views).

        If you actually read the Bible carefully you’d know that it teaches that you can’t coerce faith and that there are many false believers.

        How does a Darwinist have no grounding to say how things are horrible or good? Thanks to evolution, we have the ability to understand right from wrong.

        You just cheated again. You assumed there is a right and a wrong. But without God, who decides that? You know there is a right and wrong because God wrote it on your heart (Romans 2). So I know why you think that. But in your worldview there is no physical process that could have created morality, which is immaterial. You can thank evolution all you want, but natural selection doesn’t create morality.

        So, you’re assuming I’m gay now? I’m straight thank you very much. I’ll pass on the anal sex with guys. Maybe anal sex with girls, but certainly not guys. In the Bible it says that if a man lies with another man, then he must be killed. Sounds a lot like homophobia to me.

        You sound like the homophobe. God created us with a design and commanded us not to do evil things.

        Also, it doesn’t matter that the Bible as laws against kidnapping slaves. The very act of owning another human being is horrible, regardless if they beat them or not. In Leviticus it states that if a slave gets beaten by a rod and isn’t hurt for a day or two, then the master is good with God. That’s pretty sick.

        As if you actually studied those passages carefully.

        What I listed is a contradiction. According to the Bible those are Jesus’ final words. Each author of the Bible says something different, which is a contradiction.

        You are welcome to show me the chapter and verses where each one claims to be his final words. Yes, they were all part of his final words, but no where does it state specifically that he said nothing else after each and every one of those. In your rebellion against God you are grasping at straws to justify your unbelief. And even IF that was an error it doesn’t mean that Jesus didn’t die and rise again.

        When people believed in Zeus, they also said that there were mountains of evidence for their religion. Muslims claim that there are mountains of evidence for Allah. As I’ve said countless times, I have investigated the evidence. When making a decision, I want to have as much evidence as possible, and atheism was the ultimate conclusion.

        Really? Show me the historical document where they claimed mountains of evidence for Zeus.

        Besides the Bible, what evidence do you have that God exists?

        There are entire lines of reasoning: Cosmological, teleological, moral, logical, etc. But you said you visit the Christian sites, so you knew that already . . . right?

        Just because some versions of Christianity aren’t works based, doesn’t make the religion true. Plus, the largest religion in Christianity, Catholicism, is works-based. Is this version wrong?

        I didn’t say that is what made it true. Yes, Catholicism is wrong. We agree on that! They get justification and more completely wrong. We are saved only by God’s grace, not our good deeds.

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      20. Hi Being Human,

        I came across this comic which provides a simple yet accurate rebuttal to your worldview. You are the “nice fish,” and I’m glad for that. The problem is that there are “mean fish” that have their own morality. Your nothingness to the universe to living molecules to man worldview has no grounding for a universal morality. You may not prefer what the mean fish do, but unless you are more powerful for them (i.e., better at survival) then they will win out. Whether you win or lose is about survivability, not about truth or morality.

        http://www.answersingenesis.org/media/image/cartoons/after-eden/fishy-morality

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      21. Unfortunately, people will always take advantage of the system. Some people will do what they want regardless of the cost. Hitler killed millions of people for more power. Gangs try to abuse the system with theft and murder. People in charge of the Inquisitions twisted faith around for their own benefit. However, just because there are some who abuse morality, doesn’t mean that there is no universal morality without God.

        A Darwinian worldview isn’t perfect for people like Hitler, Stalin, and Pol Pot. Part of survival of the fittest is the continuation of our own species. This works when a cat is trying to catch a mouse, or a human is trying to catch a fish. However, genocide won’t help the human race thrive.

        Christians always look towards the Bible for their morality, but has not our morality evolved? Slavery used to be part of our society, until some people thought that slavery was horrible. Women and blacks used to be second class citizens until some people fought to change those ideas. Morality isn’t set in stone and continues to evolve. Our nation is much better because we have learned from our mistakes, and we continue to try and make ourselves better people.

        I do agree with you that the Bible has some good moral values. These include things like: do not steal, do not murder, and love thy neighbor as thyself. However, we have gotten rid of many of our old values, and this made our nation a better place.

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      22. Hi,

        We agree that those people abused morality, but you are borrowing the concept of morality from my worldview.

        Part of survival of the fittest is the continuation of our own species.

        Sorry, but that’s cheating. You are assuming a moral good of continuing a species. But lots of species have died out. If you trust the atheist’s dating, many died out before humans even showed up. So how was any of that immoral?

        Genocide will help one race wipe out another. That’s why they do it. We know it is morally wrong but under Darwinism it makes perfect sense. More stuff for your group!

        Yes, societal views have changed on slavery, but kidnapping people was always wrong. Abortion was always wrong and still is, we just made it legal to kill unwanted human beings if you are the mother or her doctor. And so on.

        Have a good week!

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      23. So, which worldview of Christianity am I stealing from? Am I stealing from Catholicism? Am I stealing from the Baptists or Protestants? Am I stealing from other sects of Christianity? Every sect has their own view of what morality means. Every sect has their own interpretation of the Bible. If the Bible is so perfect, then how come even Christians can’t decide which parts to follow and which not to?

        Just because some species have died out, all species want to live. I don’t get how this is helping your case. Some species will survive, and others will fall. I never said that this was immoral. There is a moral good in continuing our species, and things like genocide won’t help us out.

        So, we do agree that some morals can evolve and change. Slavery was in the Bible, and luckily, the US banned that terrible practice. This shows that people do evolve without the help of God.

        According to the Bible, kidnapping is all right with God. This is a verse from Deuteronomy 20: 10-14. “When you draw near to a city to lay siege to it, you shall first offer it peace. If it accepts your proposal and opens the gates to you, all the people found in it shall become your slaves and serve you. If they do not accept the peace that you offer them and declare war against you, you shall lay siege to the city. And when Yahweh, your God, gives it into your hands, you shall kill by the sword all the men, but the women and children, the livestock and all the other things you find there shall be your booty, and you shall eat from the plunder of our enemies which Yahweh has given over you.”

        It’s bad enough when God orders and entire city to be destroyed, but the women and children are to be slaves to the Hebrews. This goes against the teaching that slavery was only indentured servitude. The verse I have here shows that it was forced as well.

        Do you think all abortion is wrong? What about in terms of rape and incest? Is it fair for a women who is raped to carry an unwanted child? I do agree that some abortions are wrong, like late term abortions, but there are some very good reasons why women get them. It’s not all black and white.

        Hope you have a good week as well! I know that debates like this can get intense, and I hope that we can continue to agree to disagree.

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      24. So, which worldview of Christianity am I stealing from? Am I stealing from Catholicism? Am I stealing from the Baptists or Protestants? Am I stealing from other sects of Christianity? Every sect has their own view of what morality means. Every sect has their own interpretation of the Bible.

        For clarity, let me note that there are two arguments that sometimes get conflated. First, the argument for God’s existence. Second, the argument that the God of the Bible is the one true God. My point about atheists stealing / borrowing from us is based on the first argument, that of general theism. So any denominational differences are irrelevant to that argument.

        If the Bible is so perfect, then how come even Christians can’t decide which parts to follow and which not to?

        I encourage you to study the Bible for yourself with that claim in mind. You’ll find that it notes that not all who claim to be Christians are really Christians. It also notes that while we are united on essentials of the faith (Jesus is divine, He is the exclusive way to salvation, etc.) that is also not only acknowledges that we may disagree on some non-essential issue, it gives guidance on how to handle those disagreements (e.g., Romans 14). It also notes that people learn more over time and mature in their faith.

        And just because someone disagrees with something doesn’t mean it isn’t true.

        Just because some species have died out, all species want to live.

        But that doesn’t explain why it is a moral good.

        I don’t get how this is helping your case. Some species will survive, and others will fall. I never said that this was immoral. There is a moral good in continuing our species, and things like genocide won’t help us out.

        But you haven’t offered any evidence or reasoning, you’ve just re-stated your premise. You claim it is a moral good to continue our species, and as evidence you claim there is a moral good in continuing our species. That isn’t a logical argument. You are assuming what you should be proving. It should make you stop and think about why you have such an ingrained assumption about that. I know the real reason: God wrote the moral law on your heart.

        So, we do agree that some morals can evolve and change.

        Not at all. Yes, cultural things change. That isn’t an issue. But you assume that they evolve for the better, which is false. Abortion is an obvious example. It is now legal and that has made it increase dramatically. If it weren’t such a tragic issue it would be funny to watch atheists rationalize how killing people helps the species survive.

        Slavery was in the Bible, and luckily, the US banned that terrible practice.

        Please see the slavery links in the apologetics section. You are conflating different forms of slavery. Also see the book, “Is God a moral monster?” by Paul Copan if you want to understand topics like that.

        Your example doesn’t take into account the reasons God told the Israelites to clear out the Promised Land (400+ years of child sacrifice and more).

        Do you think all abortion is wrong? What about in terms of rape and incest? Is it fair for a women who is raped to carry an unwanted child?

        Yes. Is it fair to kill the child of a rapist for his father’s crimes? Abortions don’t undo the trauma of rape, they compound it. They don’t make the victim forget the rape, they compound her tragedy.

        Incest is just another form of rape.

        Abortions hide the crimes of rape and incest. Planned Parenthood has been caught countless times hiding these crimes. They do it to profit from abortions.

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      25. Also, I don’t have a problem with the new testament, but the Old Testament is pretty sick. I understand that I can’t know what God says or does, but neither can anyone else. I just have trouble believing that a merciful God would kill innocent children.

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      26. Have you really read all of the OT and the NT carefully? God is perfectly merciful and perfectly just. It is all his word. You might want to check out this book that addresses some things people often misunderstand: Is God a Moral Monster?: Making Sense of the Old Testament God — http://tinyurl.com/5w64e9r

        Note that it doesn’t sugarcoat God in any way (lots of people will spend eternity in Hell as a just punishment for their sins). But it does put some of the more difficult OT passages in their proper context.

        Either way, the question isn’t whether you like the God of the Bible, it is whether He is the real God. There is much evidence that He is. And we don’t get to sit in judgment of him.

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      27. Does a just God send people to Hell for believing in another religion? Most religious people claim that their religion is right and that non-believers will go to Hell.

        Also, back in the day people didn’t know what was going on around them. How do you know that it was the actual God? Maybe people were just explaining natural occurrences around them. People used to think that the Earth was the center of the universe and that the Earth was flat.

        As for religion, every bible or other holy book as gone through so many translations that it isn’t even close to the original. I think it’s very possible that people who started religions had less than honorable intentions. They could have easily put in what they wanted to help start their religion, which would give them more power to control the masses.

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      28. Does a just God send people to Hell for believing in another religion? Most religious people claim that their religion is right and that non-believers will go to Hell.

        Good question. A just judge has no obligation to pardon guilty people. If God was obligated to give everyone grace it wouldn’t be grace.

        People go to Hell for their own offenses against God. Whether or not other religions claim that non-believers will go to Hell isn’t relevant to whether the God of the Bible is the real God. I agree that most religions think they are right. That seems logical. The question is whether their truth claims conform to reality.

        Also, back in the day people didn’t know what was going on around them. How do you know that it was the actual God? Maybe people were just explaining natural occurrences around them. People used to think that the Earth was the center of the universe and that the Earth was flat.

        The God of the Bible has revealed himself throughout history. Yes, people have been mistaken about many things. That doesn’t mean that Jesus didn’t rise from the dead.

        As for religion, every bible or other holy book as gone through so many translations that it isn’t even close to the original. I think it’s very possible that people who started religions had less than honorable intentions. They could have easily put in what they wanted to help start their religion, which would give them more power to control the masses.

        I completely agree that people could start religions with bad intentions. That is exactly what Christianity teaches. They want to make gods in their own image, which would mean they were the real gods in charge.

        Re. the translations — I think you missed the point of this post. I can’t comment on other holy books but I don’t have reasons to believe that the Koran, for example, has changed much. I just think it was wrong to begin with. Even atheist textual critics concede that we know what the originals of the Bible said with 99.5% accuracy — and 100% on major doctrines.

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      29. I just think that people used to think that anything was because of God. Scientists weren’t as smart as they are today and they used to attribute most things towards him. I think that’s why the God of the Old Testament was so cruel and more sexist. People were more barbaric in those days so its likely to think that they made God that way as well.

        Sorry if I got off topic. I just pointing that other religions think they’re 100 percent true. If that’s the case, isn’t it possible that Christianity has it wrong as well? A lot of the Bible is written with letters from Paul and he only claimed to see Jesus in a vision. If someone tried to say they saw Jesus in a vision these days we would think that they are pretty weird.

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      30. Yes, other religions think they are true. I conceded earlier in the thread that Christianity could be wrong. We state that up front — see 1 Corinthians 15. If Jesus didn’t rise from the dead we are wrong. If He did rise from the dead — and the evidence supports our claim — then Christianity is right and all other religions are wrong.

        Yeah, we probably would say they were weird. But that doesn’t mean Paul didn’t see Jesus. Even atheist historians of that time period agree that Paul went from persecuting Christians to suffering on Jesus’ behalf, writing much of the NT and spreading the Gospel all over. Have you read all of his writings carefully? He is a pretty cerebral and level headed guy.

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      31. Most early scientists were Christians who knew that God was a God of order and that could study things to see how He put them together.

        Please note that your speculations are just that: Speculations. But having a possible scenario is vastly different than having evidence to support it.

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      32. I guess you do make a good point there. After looking through all of these things, I think my main disagreement is with organized religion. I don’t like the idea that we have to do a,b,c,d,e,f and g to get into Heaven. Or, if we leave a church and their doctrines we are called heretics.

        I do like the idea of forgiveness of sins and the message that Jesus gave us. Organized religions seem to be doing the exact opposite of what Jesus told us to do.

        I’m still trying to decide if the Bible can be a trusted source of evidence. It seems that a lot of the writing about Jesus came after his death. Wouldn’t there be more evidence other than the Gospels if Jesus was alive? I just want to look at all of the evidence before deciding. Thanks for any information.

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      33. Hi — I will echo what Cylar said (i.e., you just have to do “a” — trust in Jesus — no works required). And I share your concerns about where “organized religion” ends up.

        I think you are asking good questions, including your main one: Can you trust the Bible as the word of God? There are so many good resources including those Cylar listed.

        A great book on the Gospels (and more) is Cold-Case Christianity: A Homicide Detective Investigates the Claims of the Gospels — http://www.amazon.com/Cold-Case-Christianity-Homicide-Detective- Investigates/dp/1434704696/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1366286399&sr=8-1& . It was written by a former atheist.

        I also highly encourage anything from Stand to Reason — http://www.str.org . I love their Podcast.

        Blessings to you on your search!

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      34. Most early scientists also thought the Earth was flat and that the Earth was the center of the universe. If you have read the Bible you will see that it’s just fallible men writing it. The only evidence that Christians bring to the plate is with an ancient Holy Book written 2,000 years ago. There are several different Holy Books written by different people. What makes your religion right and everyone else’s religion wrong?

        I agree that there have been archaeological evidence for the Bible. Just because there is history behind it, doesn’t give evidence for a supernatural being. The city of Troy was found because of Greek mythology, but I doubt that you believe in Greek mythology. Also, there are a lot of things in the Bible that haven’t been proven. The flood for example.

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      35. Jesus really rose from the dead. That’s what makes us right. Your other “evidence” is false and just sound bites that you’ve been conditioned to repeat.

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      36. Jesus did not rise from the dead. Your “evidence” aka, Bible is false and is full of contradictions. Most scholars believe that the gospels are written between 70-100 A.D. That’s plenty of time to get facts wrong. Also, how come there isn’t one contemporary eyewitness for Jesus Christ? Everyone claims that there are several eyewitness, yet all of the writings are after Jesus died. Isn’t that a little odd?

        Atheism does have really good arguments, but you’re too blinded by your faith to see it. It’s funny how you say that I’m the one who’s been conditioned to repeat soundbites. Christians are told from birth not to question the dogma of their religion. Even questioning their religion is considered a sin.

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    2. Whenever I encounter someone saying that the God of the OT is capricious, spiteful, cruel, arbitrary, etc, I refer them to the book of Jonah. Yeah, the story about the guy who got swallowed by the whale. That’s the part everyone knows, but the important part comes after that – after Jonah is spit out onto dry land and goes on to fulfill the mission God originally gave him: to go and preach repetance among the citizens of Nineveh, a notoriously wicked city.

      I encourage you to read the book of Jonah for yourself. It’s actually quite short, but let me summarize for you:

      Nineveh, right up to the king, actually listens to Jonah’s message and repents. However, the story doesn’t end there. After this, Jonah goes out and sits down in the desert and watches the city to see what will happen. When nothing does, he is actually disappointed. Why? Because Jonah was a self-righteous, arrogant man. He’s angry with God for failing to smite the city for its sins.

      God’s response, “No. That’s a city full of people down there and I care about them.”

      http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Jonah+4&version=NIV

      Isn’t that something? The capricious, angry, vengeful, violent God of the Old Testament is being lectured to by a man….because He refuses to wipe out a city! Jonah is angry with God for being too compassionate and too merciful!

      In a way, Jonah’s even worse than the city of Nineveh -at least they listened and repented of their sin. Jonah cannot even bring himself to see human beings the way God does – as children whom He loves. Remember, God cares about each one of us and takes no pleasure in disciplining His creations, any more than a parent enjoys spanking their child. God never acts arbitrarily, only bringing down the hammer after people fail to heed the warnings to get back on track.

      He wants us to be “on track” in the first place and live His way, so that we can have communion and relationship with Him. The Bible, Old Testament and New, is a guide to living which will help you avoid many of life’s pitfalls.

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      1. I’m not saying that the God of the Old Testament doesn’t show mercy. I’m just pointing out that there’s too many times where he’s committed mass murder.

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      2. He is God and sovereign over all life and death. He makes no apologies for that. We don’t get to judge him. I hope you check out that book. I would be interested in your opinions on it. Thanks for the charitable dialog.

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    3. It’s also important to understand that the prohibition against killing humans was given to humans, not to God — iow, God is sovereign and is not bound by the rules which He has placed on humans. And before you argue that that makes God hypocritical, I daresay that if you have or have ever had young children, you wouldn’t argue that it is hypocritical if you told your kids that they couldn’t drive a car, even while you drive a car every day. You agree that adults are higher than children, when it comes to thinking and reasoning (I hope), so that you can see that adults can safely drive a car while children should not, because they will bring harm to themselves and/or cause harm to others if they were to try. That’s sort of like the way God is, except God is exceedingly higher than even the smartest and wisest of humans, so that He knows full well the outcome of His actions, in a way that humans cannot.

      Another argument that could be made is from the original Genesis command that murder was to be punished by the murderer giving up his own life; the reasoning was that God created man in His image — thus, if one person kills another, he is killing God in effigy, which is a high crime. God set up a justice system that requires the murderer to pay for the life he took with his own, because he didn’t have the right to take another person’s life from him. God is not so bound — He gave all creatures and all humans life, so He can take it from us at any time, without having committed “murder”, since that refers to an unjust killing of one human by another.

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      1. But an adult won’t say to their kid when they’re old enough, “All right, you have now turned 16. I now give you permission to destroy the Earth because of their wickedness.”

        Wicked seems to be a vague term in the old testament. It says that God killed people because they were wicked. I may be wrong, but it would be nice if it were more specific.

        I remember a quote from Star Trek. Piccard looks up to an alien vessel and says, “there can be no justice so long as laws are absolute.”

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      2. How exactly do you want me to study the word of God more? The fact that you can even excuse mass murder in the name of God is pretty sad. I mean, what did first born babies do to deserve to be killed? What did the whole world do to deserve to be wiped out by a flood? Saying that I can’t judge it in human terms is just sweeping the argument under the rug. Have you read some of the laws in Leviticus? God tested Abraham by asking him to kill his son. Doesn’t sound like a very good God to me.

        I’m very grateful that Christians cherry pick from the Bible. If people followed it word for word, they would be locked away.

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      3. So you’ve come up with excuses to avoid the word of God. That’s your problem. It has answers to your legitimate questions and the details of the plan to rescue you from eternal punishment. But you’d rather sit in judgment of God.

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      4. No, I haven’t come up with excuses to avoid the Bible. I have looked at the evidence and drawn my conclusion that the Christian God is no different than any other myth. The truth is that we don’t know what created the universe. It may have been a “God”, or something else. The point is we don’t know.

        It’s pretty sad how Christians preach about love of their God. If their love doesn’t work then they preach about eternal damnation. That doesn’t sound like a loving God to me. Why aren’t you afraid of Zeus, Allah, or any other Gods that have been worshiped throughout history? It’s because you have been brought up from birth to believe in a certain God. If you haven’t been brought up, you’ve been indoctrinated in some form. Just because you believe in Christianity, it doesn’t make it right. Christianity is based on geography, and nothing else.

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      5. Starting a new thread since the old one ran out of “replies”.

        Beinghuman123 said, Wicked seems to be a vague term in the old testament. It says that God killed people because they were wicked. I may be wrong, but it would be nice if it were more specific.

        Perhaps you should just read more of the Bible, instead of just one verse that doesn’t specify what wickedness the people committed, and then assume that that wickedness was never specified elsewhere. There are numerous passages which say what the inhabitants of Canaan’s crimes were, though I suppose it could be summed up into one term: gross idolatry, which included many highly immoral sexual practices, as well as infant sacrifice, and witchcraft (and possibly others). Plus, the Law of Moses is full of references that say, “Do this, don’t do this, so that you won’t be like the Canaanites.” Some of those are likely only for ritual purity, and putting a difference between God’s people and the heathen, but many include things that must be more than that (like, the prohibition of bestiality).

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  5. After looking through all of these things, I think my main disagreement is with organized religion. I don’t like the idea that we have to do a,b,c,d,e,f and g to get into Heaven. Or, if we leave a church and their doctrines we are called heretics.

    On those points, I’m in full agreement with you. I too dislike “organized religion.” The Christian faith that I practice couldn’t be more disorganized. Neil and I are Protestant, not Catholic…but that simply means that we reject the Catholic doctrines (and over 90 other points of theology – Purgatory and dozens of other ideas).

    For example, we don’t believe in the “five our fathers, dip your hand in holy water” stuff. Our ministers don’t wear special uniforms and they get married like everyone else. There is no incense in our church. No statues. No chanting. We don’t go to priest’s confession – we confess our sins to each other and to God directly, through prayer. We don’t ask dead saints to “pray for us.”

    Our churches have simple wooden crosses, maybe a few stained glass windows, and a pastor who will read a few passages from a Bible on Sunday, then talk about what lessons us living today can draw from them. We’re encouraged to read it for ourselves, and discuss these passages in small groups during the week in order to understand what they mean. I used to belong to one group that did nothing except read the Bible out loud, pausing here and there to discuss what Abraham’s or King David’s or Stephen’s or someone else’s experience means to us now.

    Our churches have no priests like Catholic churches do. We don’t recognize them, because we believe that Jesus Himself is the only priest that’s necessary in order to intercede between man and God. Through Jesus, it’s possible to approach God’s throne yourself, directly…and have a personal relationship with Our Heavenly Father without needing priests or anyone else to act as a go-between or pray on our behalf. This teaching is validated in the book of Hebrews:

    http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Hebrews%205&version=NIRV

    (I encourage you to read the rest of Hebrews from that link.)

    You see, when Jesus was crucified, Scripture tells us that there was an earthquake, during which the temple curtain was torn in two. (Matthew 27:51) Though this literally happened, it was also symbolic – it meant that the Holy of Holies (the area of God’s temple where only priests could enter) was now open to everyone. The Jewish faith was complete and its priesthood was abolished, with Jesus Himself forever taking His rightful place as priest. Does that make sense?

    I do like the idea of forgiveness of sins and the message that Jesus gave us. Organized religions seem to be doing the exact opposite of what Jesus told us to do.

    You mentioned being told that you need to follow some checklist in order to get to Heaven – A,B,C,D,E,F,G. We believe there’s only a A….accept Christ as your personal savior. Believe in your heart that His blood spilled on the cross is sufficient to cover the penalty for your sin, that He rose from the dead and thus demonstrated his victory over death.

    Jesus was once asked by the Pharisees (Jewish religious leaders) what the greatest commandment was. He answered that it’s to love God, with the second greatest being to love each other (all humans). In our churches, we feel strongly about keeping it simple and staying on message – Love God, love others (by serving them). All that stuff that the Catholics have added simply clouds the message…God’s simple Word disappears in a fog of ritual, manmade doctrines, costumes, hierarchy of priests, symbolism, and other things that do nothing but distract the believer.


    I’m still trying to decide if the Bible can be a trusted source of evidence. It seems that a lot of the writing about Jesus came after his death. Wouldn’t there be more evidence other than the Gospels if Jesus was alive? I just want to look at all of the evidence before deciding. Thanks for any information.

    I think you’ll find that it is, if you take the time to investigate for yourself. Here’s some about Jesus to get you started:

    http://www.gotquestions.org/did-Jesus-exist.html

    …and here is a page of links that provide evidence for other claims the Bible makes:

    http://carm.org/evidence-and-answers

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  6. Also, I’m not sure which post I put this under, so I’ll just ask in a new one. You said before that we are insignificant if God does not exist. People seem to be afraid of science as it might disprove God. I think life can be very significant even if God doesn’t exist. It seems like a contradiction. People say that there can be no meaning in life without an afterlife. Why do you serve your whole life in case if an afterlife? Isn’t it better to spend your whole life to its fullest without worrying about religion? There is purpose to life even if there is no God. We can learn to love one another and to grow to our fullest potential. We can enjoy the beauty that Earth has to offer us. If there is a God, then that’s great! I just hope he isn’t the Christian God. However, to say that we need religion to have purpose or morals is just foolish.

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    1. Good points, so let’s take them one at a time…

      You said before that we are insignificant if God does not exist.

      If God doesn’t exist, then it means we got here some other way. Darwin’s theories state that human beings (as well as all other life on Earth) are the product of time + random chance mutations. Without God’s intervention, humans become nothing but a biological accident – a glorified ape rising from a primordial soup of muck, later evolving from an apelike creature into what we today call a person. Not only do I prefer the Christian explanation – that each of us was deliberately created by an almighty, infinitely wise God for a purpose, but I think the Darwinian explanation is downright insulting. It’s also based on bad science (see next point).


      People seem to be afraid of science as it might disprove God.

      By “science” I suspect you mean Darwinian evolution. (I rarely see anyone mention God in conjunction with quantum mechanics or something.)

      If you think you can disprove God with the use of science, by all means show us your proofs. I’ve been saying for some time now that even if the alternative theories for life’s origins can be demonstrated as cold fact, it still doesn’t prove that God wasn’t involved or at least present.

      The problems with evolution would fill an entire book. It’s not true that Christians are afraid of science; the problem is that we reject BAD science:

      http://carm.org/apologetics-dialogues

      Today’s atheists love to paint people of faith (especially Christians) as “anti-science.” That couldn’t be further from the truth. The real problem isn’t religion vs science…it is science vs science. Science is a tool, a way of understanding. It’s not to be taken as an alternative to God Himself, especially when you consider that many of the most respected scientists of history were people of faith – Newton, Einstein, and dozens of others.

      I think life can be very significant even if God doesn’t exist. It seems like a contradiction. People say that there can be no meaning in life without an afterlife. Why do you serve your whole life in case if an afterlife? Isn’t it better to spend your whole life to its fullest without worrying about religion?

      If there’s no God to answer to when we’re dead (no “afterlife”), then why worry about doing what’s right in this life? Why have any rules or morals or values at all? We all agree that some form of morality exists, and if you get down to brass tacks nobody *really* thinks it’s defined by individual choice. Even those who say that, complain loudly when they think someone else has wronged them. So if there really is an absolute moral law, then there must also be a Lawgiver by definition. That’s God.


      There is purpose to life even if there is no God. We can learn to love one another and to grow to our fullest potential. We can enjoy the beauty that Earth has to offer us.

      Who cares about any of that if your cosmic journey ends in a box under six feet of dirt? What purpose is there to it all? Who cares how much money you made or what exploits you did or who you helped?


      If there is a God, then that’s great! I just hope he isn’t the Christian God. However, to say that we need religion to have purpose or morals is just foolish.

      Why are you hoping it’s not the Christian God? Would you prefer one of the deities offered by other religions? You really prefer to think it’s Allah or Zoraster or Shiva waiting for us on the other side? You want to be judged by a god that can’t even do his own dirty work here on Earth?

      My God is a loving God, full of mercy and love and righteousness…who loved the world so much that He didn’t spare His only begotten Son. Whose Son died for our salvation so that we might come to know Him in this life, and spend eternity with Him in the next.

      Choose carefully. As Neil is fond of saying, eternity is a mighty long time to be wrong.

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      1. To be honest, I don’t know if evolution is real or not. I think the theory is very interesting, but a lot of it does some implausible. I think there is a very good chance that God exists. However, I think it’s still good that scientists are trying to find how life began. Most of the evidence that people put forth for God are pretty bad.

        Also, the burden of proof is always on the proposition. Christians have to be the ones to provide evidence that their religion is the right one. If the evidence doesn’t weigh in favor, then they are wrong.

        I need to do a lot more research to see if evolution exists or not. I’m still undecided at this point. However, the contradictions in the Bible could also fill up an entire book.

        Actually, atheism isn’t a belief system. A lot of Christians try and paint atheism as a belief system. It’s just a title for those who don’t believe in God. I put a quote up earlier that shows that Einstein wasn’t a man of faith at all. He said that if people do the right thing because of an afterlife or the fear of punishment then we are a sorry lot indeed.

        If the only reason that you do the right thing is because you’re afraid of Hell, then that’s not very good. Atheists can and do the right thing. Sure, they also do the right things because we have laws, but it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that murder is wrong. You can do that without religion.

        Like I have said before, I do hope there is a God and there is an afterlife. I think that would be great. I hope that I can see my friends and family after I die. As I said in my post, there is a point to life. I don’t think that money is that important. However, our family and friends are the ones who care about us. Who care about what we do. There can still be great joy without following any religion.

        Believe me, I certainly hope it’s not Allah. That would be horrible if it was. I also don’t hope its any of the Greek Gods. The Christian God isn’t as loving as he seems. All of the genocides that he’s committed. Why did he have to send is only son to die for us? Humans aren’t some horrible monsters that need saving. Sure, we do wrong things once and a while, but mostly we are good. Christianity teaches that we are horrible human beings and that we need some kind of savior. That from birth we some how have original sin. Original sin is just a way for religion to keep us guilty so they can have followers and control us.

        A lot of Christians use the argument, “You know, if I’m wrong then I have nothing to lose. If you’re wrong, you lose out big time.” Why would you spend your whole life believing in a what if? Christianity is pretty big on scare tactics and uses extreme descriptions of Hell to kids at an early age. This is a huge reason why people believe. It’s not so much out of love, but because people are scared to death of leaving their religion. I may be wrong, but if some people believe in God because of a what if, then I would chose not to believe.

        Anyways, I really enjoy debating with you guys. I hope that we can agree to disagree. I don’t want to cause any enemies by sharing a different but of view. I also find that by talking to others about different viewpoints, it helps me to understand my own a lot more. Also, to clarify, I do believe in God. I think that prayer can be a wonderful way to get your thoughts out. I do think that God is a good theory to how the Universe was created. I just don’t care for religion.

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    2. “If there is a God, then that’s great! I just hope he isn’t the Christian God.”

      It is the God of the Bible and if you don’t repent and believe in Jesus then it will be the opposite of great for you.

      ” However, to say that we need religion to have purpose or morals is just foolish.”

      Yeah, but no one said that. The claim is that if there really is no God then there is no grounding for universal morality. Your “evolved” chemical reactions just make you think there are.

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      1. Then how come religions say that you need to follow their religion and if you don’t you are going to burn in Hell? It’s not so much believing in God that’s important, it’s following their religion. Catholics are certainly the worst in this aspect. The Pope claims that you have to recognize him as supreme ruler, if not, then your church is defective. I find that truly awful that the Catholic Church believes this.

        That’s my problem with religion. It’s not so much that people believe in something, it’s that religions force their believes on us. All of the fighting between churches. All of the fighting between church members even of the same religion. All of the control and submission you have to follow.

        Not to mention the brainwashing and scare tactics used on children at an early age to get them to believe in the same religion as their parents. Saying that you have to follow my religion or you’ll burn in Hell.

        Claiming that I’ll go to Hell just because I don’t believing in Christianity is pretty hurtful. You have just pointed out why I dislike religion so much. Christians start off with, “Oh, God is so great.” Then if they don’t convince you its. “If you don’t believe then you’ll go to Hell.”

        The only reason that people believe in religion is because they’ve been indoctrinated with it since birth. There’s not very many people who actually convert to religion at an older age. Why do religions have to get people when they’re so young? Children can’t understand what’s going on. Don’t you find this a little strange that this occurs?

        Also, people think that you need religion to have morals. That’s why there’s so much pressure to get people to conform to their religion. I do believe in God, but I don’t think that I need I need God to have morals.

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  7. Then how come religions say that you need to follow their religion and if you don’t you are going to burn in Hell? It’s not so much believing in God that’s important, it’s following their religion.

    You couldn’t be more mistaken about that. You don’t go to Hell because you failed to believe in some set of religious teachings. You go to Hell because you’re a sinner, as ALL human beings are. Scripture tells us that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. That includes even the most righteous among us.

    God cannot be in the company of sinners because He is holy and perfect. Heaven cannot accept people who are just “pretty good.” The only way in is to cover oneself with the blood of the one man in all of human history who was perfect – Jesus, God’s own Son. He served as a final and perfect sacrifice, which wiped the slate clean for all humanity. Believe in Him and you will be saved. As Neil as suggested, you need to back and read the Gospels, along with the book of Romans. It explains this.

    You don’t need “religion.” Religion is manmade teachings taught by men. What you need is a personal relationship with Jesus. Yes, you should go to church, but that’s so you can learn more about what God expects of you while you’re alive – how you should treat others, how you should be spending your time, as well as fellowship and encouragement from other believers, and the chance to worship God as a group. Salvation comes from God Himself, not church or religion or a book or some set of dogma.

    Catholics are certainly the worst in this aspect. The Pope claims that you have to recognize him as supreme ruler, if not, then your church is defective. I find that truly awful that the Catholic Church believes this.

    Neil and I do not recognize the authority of the Pope. That’s the point. He is just an old man in a white robe to us, nothing more. He has no special powers or connection to the Lord. We don’t call him “father.” We think Catholics have it dead wrong on this.

    Jesus’s sacrifice on the Cross and resurrection allows you to approach God’s throne directly and have a personal relationship without the need for anyone to intercede for you. “But no one goes to the Father except through Me,” He said. He’s the bridge to God the Father. You don’t need priests or rituals or any of that. Forget the Vatican, forget the incense and the statues and the chanting and the flowing robes. It’s all rot. All you need is Jesus.

    That’s my problem with religion. It’s not so much that people believe in something, it’s that religions force their believes on us. All of the fighting between churches. All of the fighting between church members even of the same religion. All of the control and submission you have to follow.

    I don’t blame you. Forget all that! Neil and I aren’t Catholic, so don’t expect us to defend any of that. In fact, Neil is the sharpest critic of Catholicism that I know. People get bogged down in stuff that isn’t important, when Jesus said over and over to focus on the basics. The most important commandments are to love God, then to love others. Everything is ultimately based on that.


    Not to mention the brainwashing and scare tactics used on children at an early age to get them to believe in the same religion as their parents. Saying that you have to follow my religion or you’ll burn in Hell.

    We think children should be taught that God loves them so much that He sent His own son to die for them, not to be afraid of hell. Jesus isn’t “fire insurance.” He’s God in human form, someone who loves you, wants to know you and guide you. He wants you to spend eternith with him. Hell is for those who reject that love and choose to go their own way.


    Claiming that I’ll go to Hell just because I don’t believing in Christianity is pretty hurtful. You have just pointed out why I dislike religion so much. Christians start off with, “Oh, God is so great.” Then if they don’t convince you its. “If you don’t believe then you’ll go to Hell.”

    I’m sorry if someone has said that to you. While it is true, I prefer to explain to people why it’s important to know God while you’re still alive, not just avoid Hell after you’re dead. I’ll tell you the truth…one frustration I have with telling people about Christ, is having to first clean up all the damage that Catholics (and Mormons) have done and correct all their lies. False teachers are maddening.

    The only reason that people believe in religion is because they’ve been indoctrinated with it since birth. There’s not very many people who actually convert to religion at an older age. Why do religions have to get people when they’re so young? Children can’t understand what’s going on. Don’t you find this a little strange that this occurs?

    That’s not true. While many people do accept Jesus at an early age, that’s not true of everyone. I personally led a man to Jesus who was already well into adulthood. After he’d been baptized, he gave a speech about his conversion, and in it, he mentioned my name. This is how I know it does happen from time to time.


    Also, people think that you need religion to have morals. That’s why there’s so much pressure to get people to conform to their religion. I do believe in God, but I don’t think that I need I need God to have morals.

    Without a fixed point of reference, there can be no morality. What you call “morals” becomes nothing more than personal preference and yours might differ considerably from someone else’s. (Note that members of other religions often have completely different ideas of right and wrong.) But that’s not important right now. What is important is that you first come to understand why all human beings need Christ. You can worry later about what’s “moral.” Don’t get the cart before the horse. Once Jesus has sent the Holy Spirit to dwell in you, you’ll WANT to do what is right. But right now you can’t do that even if you wanted to.

    There are atheists who live moral lives, but they still have sins which God hasn’t forgiven. Those people are merely aping the culture around them and have no grounding for what “right” is. Try to remember that. It doesn’t matter if you live a moral life without God or if you’re 99.99% good – even the smallest speck of sin is enough to get you condemned. That’s why you need Jesus’ blood to wash away that sin.

    I think Neil and I have just about reached the limit of what we can do for you over the Internet, especially if you haven’t been willing to go over to carm.org where many of your questions are answered in detail. What you really should do now, I think, is find a Bible-preaching Protestant church. I suggest a non-demoniational, evangelical one where the preaching is conservative and true to what Scripture really says. Baptist churches are also good.

    The mistake you’ve been making is trying to figure this out on your own just by reading the Bible. You really can’t do that and you shouldn’t try. Go to church and gain understanding a little bit at a time…and give yourself over to Jesus when you feel like you’re ready. We wish you only the best and I will pray for you.

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  8. So my concern with your theory is who’s to say the original translation (last in the 1300’s if only conducted once) wasn’t misconstrued in the process of translation? It seems you’ve attempted to defend the integrity of the bible’s context by re- assuring reader’s it’s only been translated once but unfortunately uncovered the possibility of flaw’s in the bible’s context. My second concern would be the idea of reading the raw translation of the text from hebrew to english especially since it was written at a 4th grade level. Ultimately, the process of translation is left to the translator’s interpretation(perception).

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