I contributed a writeup to the node Bible Contradictions and got heavily flamed. Apparently, a lot of my conclusions weren't based on the Bible at all, but upon the tenets of Christianity in general - stuff like Christmas being on 25 December, which isn't mentioned in the Bible.

They were right. Mea culpa. But that makes me guilty only of contibuting to Bible Contradictions when I should maybe have written Contradictions of Christianity instead.

I don't belive in God, or Christ, or any form of supreme being... I'm not sure what I do believe in, but what I have thought about it all is expressed here. Having said that, some of my best friends are Christians, and we argue about it all the time. It helps us understand each other, and brings us closer. We don't have to agree.

What bugs me is the kind of mindset where people will say, "this must be true, it's in the Bible", even when it's logically stupid. Often their rationale is along the lines of "the Bible is the word of God, and God is omniscient so it must be right". Bzzt. Wrong. The only person who told you God was omniscient is God.

TheLady says: "Bzzt. Wrong. God hasn't spoken out loud to anyone I can think of in quite some time." So, not only is s/he the only person who says so, but s/he hasn't said it him/herself for four thousand years? Keep digging, girl.

I have no problem with people believing in God. I have absolutely no problem with people living their lives by the precepts outlined in the Bible - Doing Unto Others, Loving Thy Neighbour, all that... these things can only make the world a better place. Indeed, with that in mind I have even practiced evangelism in my time, while still remaining a fervent atheist myself.

OTOH, when people go to war because they disagree over what colour robes the priest should wear, it's not exactly Loving Thy Neighbour. It disturbs me when people take their beliefs to such a stage that they will commit violence over them.

As Voltaire said: "I disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it". But I refuse to defend what you say: they're only words, people.

...it's logically stupid

Logical by no means equals intelligent. Logic is a construct, a system - things can exist and thrive outside of its boundaries. Demanding that all statements are logically correct before proclaiming them true is not much different from demanding that all statements comply with the tenets of Religion X.

The only person who told you God was omniscient is God.

Bzzt. Wrong. God hasn't spoken out loud to anyone I can think of in quite some time. Plus, of course, s/he is not a person.

Quibbles with Christian dogma aside, there can be no discussion of the Bible being right or wrong without admission that it is the work of humans. One cannot admit the possibility of errors in the Bible (except for the editorial or translation error, which can illuminate but not define the main principles expressed) if one is arguing from the point of view of it being the verbatim word of God.

Basically, this thing gets you coming and going - you can't argue that the Bible is wrong with people who believe in its divine origin, and you can't argue God is wrong with people who accept that it is a human effort and might very well misrepresent the divine principles behind it.

So what am I saying here? Basically - save yourself the time and don't argue. You (the ineffable "you", not you personally) can't change anyone's mind by applying logical arguments to illogical (but still valid, mind you) beliefs, and even if you can that is not necessarily to their or anyone else's benefit. If you're not looking to be converted, don't put yourself in a position where a believer will feel provoked to try and convert you. Or at least don't complain when they do.

Leave religious people alone. If you object to the influence they have with the state, argue with the state. Otherwise, don't meddle in that which you have no desire to understand.

I always find it somewhat strange when someone complains about Christians being irrational, illogical and stupid and then back up their claims by showing that they don't know anything about the religion.

Iain does this splendidly and in that wonderfully pretentious/patronizing tone that's so common in the anti-religion nodes here. If a Bible Literalist actually reads his Bible they would only be lightly amused by this list. Especially if they've read the particularly "Christian" part of the Bible, the New Testament. Your entire list comes from Exodus and Leviticus, both part of The Law of Moses. These very specific rules and rituals were superceded by Jesus Christ (especially the sacrifices).

lagrange's "Bzzt. Wrong." is just great. While it's ridiculous for some Christians to believe strongly in something, it's ok for him to denounce the omniscience of God (or the Bible being the word of God) as being so wrong it necessitates a buzzer. I'd be interested in knowing how he came to this great truth.

So, what exactly bothers lagrange so much? That people "take their beliefs to such a stage that they will commit violence over them." Basically, "Gee, it's ok if you like this religion stuff, just don't REALLY believe in it." Any "Bible Literalist" should be a pacifist if they've actually read The Sermon on the Mount. Your main problem here seems to be with the Catholic Church, not with Christianity. Most acts of violence in the name of the Church have little to do with the Bible. If the Bible wasn't being twisted to support their campaigns something else would and these wars would still have happened.

In general, people here seem to hate racism, bigotry and the generalization of entire groups. But there seems to be little problem with doing this to the "dumb herd-minded Christian" stereotype.

Most problems people experience when arguing with religious people is they don't put forward their case correctly. They treat the dispute like any other, and fail to adapt their argument to the actual situation.

In an ordinary argument: Person A says murder/theft/adultery is wrong. Person B asks why. Person A replies that Person C says it’s wrong. Person B can then claim person C is either not in a position to know, or is lying, or for another reason, is plain wrong.

Now, replace person C with God, person B with Lagrange, and Person A with SFC. Obviously, Lagrange is not going to get anywhere arguing God is not in a position to know, or is lying. What he should be concentrating on instead is the transmission mechanism between God and SFC. So it could go something like this:

Lagrange: How did God tell you it is wrong? Did he tell you Himself?

SFC: No, He told me in the Bible.

Lagrange: Did God write the bible personally?

SFC: The bible is the Word of God, was inspired by God, and so represents absolute truth.

Lagrange: But did God read you the Bible?

SFC: No. I read it myself.

Lagrange: Did God tell you what it means?

SFC: No, my priest/ preacher told me.

Lagrange: Are you and they infallible? Does the Word of God make sure all Christians always understand the same thing when they read the Bible?

SFC: Evidently not.

This gives room for further argument, which might even prove constructive. Everyone holds something in their life to be special, and feel sensitive when people criticise it. So don’t run around trying to criticise God. It is not God who you have a problem with. It is people who are stubborn. Believe it or not, when you get to know people, they may have more depth to them then you at first assume, and can justify their beliefs in ways which don’t require a narrow scriptural understanding.

Do Say: “I believe you are taking that biblical saying out of its true context. Jesus was actually talking about…” or “I disagree with your interpretation of the parable in question, we are meant to understand from it that…”

Don’t Say: “God said this!” “No, God said this!” or “You’re an infidel!” “No, you’re, an infidel!”

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