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Roylion

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Look there is no point in engaging with you, you took it upon yourself to interject into
someone else’s convo. (Yes I know it’s a public forum)
If it's a private conversation, then use the PMs.

ever hear of Mitochondrial Eve
Yeah. I've written about Mitchondrial Eve on these forums a few times.

Very flimsy evidence and a great deal of leaps of faith to argue that this is evidence for the Exodus.

For example the Ipuwer Papyrus that they mention has often been put forward in popular literature as confirmation of the biblical account of the Exodus, most notably because of its statement that "the river is blood" and its frequent references to servants running away. This assertion has not gained acceptance among scholars. There are disparities between Ipuwer and the narrative in the Book of Exodus, such as that the papyrus describes the Asiatics as arriving in Egypt rather than leaving. The papyrus' statement that the "river is blood" phrase may refer to the red sediment colouring the Nile during disastrous floods, or simply be a poetic image of turmoil.

Mainstream scholarship no longer accepts the biblical Exodus account as history for a number of reasons. Most scholars agree that the Exodus stories were written centuries after the apparent setting of the stories. The Book of Numbers states for example that the number of Israelites in the desert during the wandering were 603,550, including 22,273 first-borns, which modern estimates put at 2.5-3 million total Israelites, a clearly fanciful number that could never have been supported by the Sinai Desert. While ancient Egyptian texts from the New Kingdom mention "Asiatics" living in Egypt as slaves and workers, these people cannot be securely connected to the Israelites, and no contemporary Egyptian text mentions a large-scale exodus of slaves like that described in the Bible.

Renowed archaeologists Israel Finkelstein and Neil Asher Silberman say that archaeology has not found any evidence for even a small band of wandering Israelites living in the Sinai: "The conclusion – that Exodus did not happen at the time and in the manner described in the Bible – seems irrefutable [...] repeated excavations and surveys throughout the entire area have not provided even the slightest evidence." Instead, modern archaeology suggests continuity between Canaanite and Israelite settlement, indicating a primarily Canaanite origin for Israel, with no suggestion that a group of foreigners from Egypt comprised early Israel.

"The whole subject of the Exodus is embarrassing to archaeologists. The Exodus is so fundamental to us and our Jewish sources that it is embarrassing that there is no evidence outside of the Bible to support it."

Stephen Gabriel Rosenberg Senior Fellow at the W. F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research, Jerusalem. April 2014.

Titus Kennedy "You know, we don't have anything with hard archaeological proof."

on the global flood it need not be global…that view is based on the use of language from 3,500 yrs ago
So there was no global flood.

Islam worships Yahweh, if you actually believe this it shows you have very little understanding of either Christianity or Islam.
Yahweh is the deity of Judaism and both Christianity and Islam worship the same god. That is very clear.

They are are polar opposites, Islam is completely antichrist in nature, it denies the basic tenets of Christianity.
Yahweh is the deity of Judaism and both Christianity and Islam are followers of the same god. Jesus was Jewish. So was Paul. That is very clear.
 
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travelli

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Parts of the Old Testament are historical (such as some of the information in the Book of Kings and the Chronicles), but we can definitely rule out Adam and Eve and a global flood as historical events / personages.

Archaeological discoveries have cast considerable doubt on the historicity of the Exodus and the Israelite / Hebrew invasion of Canaan as outlined in the Book of Joshua. Archaeology supports the view that the Hebrews were originally a hill tribe of Canaanites. Archaeology also reveals that some of those very same cities listed in the Book of Joshua (the events of which should take place in the Late Bronze Age - 1550 BC - 1150 BC) were only inhabited much later in the 7th century BC.




How do you know what the "nature of God" is.



The Old Testament is filled with both. Sanctioned by Yahweh ('God" as well.



There is absolutely no evidence for the 'creation' of Adam and Eve as the first persons / couple on the planet from which all humanity is descended. I've explained elsewhere how genetic studies have ruled out any such event.

The prohibition on homosexuality has nothing to do with the divine or 'divine law' 'which in reality does not exist, except in the human imagination.

The early Israelites / Hebrews who worshipped Yahweh, (and all Jews, Christians and Muslims essentially worship Yahweh) developed a prohibition on homosexuality because homosexuality posed a threat to societies with a high infant mortality rate and a very slow population growth. The Hebrews / Israelites were originally a minority in the land of Canaan (and were essentially Canaanites themselves) and were trying to increase their numbers. So there was a practical human reason to discourage homosexuality. Hence homeosexuality's prohibition in the Book of Leviticus.

Homosexuality was also associated with the rival worship of Baal and hence was another good reason for the priests of Yahweh to speak out against the practice.

The ancient worship of Baal involved imitative magic and the performance of rituals, including sacred prostitution. Sexual acts by both male and female temple prostitutes were understood to arouse Baal who then brought rain to make Mother Earth fertile when crops were abundant. When that occurred Baal was praised and thanked for his abundant rain.

So in a land where the worshippers of Baal and Yahweh (with the worshippers of Yahweh originally in the minority) lived side by side it wasn't surprising that the original Temple compound of the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem contained a room for the kadesh (the male prostitutes) who was not removed until the reign of King Josiah. It was then the priests of Yahweh finally won their long standing battle against the worshippers of Baal. It was all about maintaining power over the society that the priests of Yahweh existed in.

As much of the Old Testament was first written down during the reign of King Josiah, it's not surprising that much of the Old Testament is a extended Yahwist propaganda tract, preaching against the cult of Baal and of course its attendant practices of worship, including homosexuality. In order to defeat the cult of Baal, it became necessary to demonize the cult and to represent Baal as an evil god - a demon / a fallen 'angel' - hostile to God (Yahweh) and therefore humankind. Hence Baal's symbols, the snake and the bull became incorporated into images of Satan / Lucifer and casting homosexuality, anal sex and the like as a transgression against 'divine law' thereby casting the followers of Baal as 'ungodly' or 'evil'

So homosexuality, anal sex, masturbation etc. etc. is not actually hated by 'God' nor is 'God' concerned about what humans do with their genitals, whether in or outside socially approved relationships. Homosexuality's continued condemnation and demonisation by modern religious fundamentalists as a 'sin' (some of whom appear to be on these boards), is really nothing more than an extension of the struggle by the worshippers of Yahweh to impose their patriarchal ideology upon the Hebrew / Jewish people. That is continued in modern times by the adherents of the Abrahamic religions (who are essentially the modern worshippers of Yahweh) who in turn seek to impose their ideology upon the wider population.
That was very good and makes sense to me.

Baal was hardcore, but he only really seemed to be a problem when he encroached on Jewish turf. There is a showdown in Kings (1 Kings 18) where Elijah does a number on the Baal priests on Mt Carmel. You can see the influences in modern storytelling - eg. Raider of the Lost Ark and Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe. It's powerful stuff.
 

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freo99

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That was very good and makes sense to me.

Baal was hardcore, but he only really seemed to be a problem when he encroached on Jewish turf. There is a showdown in Kings (1 Kings 18) where Elijah does a number on the Baal priests on Mt Carmel. You can see the influences in modern storytelling - eg. Raider of the Lost Ark and Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe. It's powerful stuff.
The OT interacts with a lot of what is going on at the time with other cultures, like Baal + with the Akkadian
+ Sumerian epics. As these claimed a lot, but God reinforces that He alone is responsible + God.
 

Roylion

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That was very good and makes sense to me.

Baal was hardcore, but he only really seemed to be a problem when he encroached on Jewish turf.
The ancient Israelites were polytheistic. The historic books of the Bible recount an ongoing competition between the worship of Yahweh and Ba’al, eventually resulting in the supremacy of Yahweh.

There is a showdown in Kings (1 Kings 18) where Elijah does a number on the Baal priests on Mt Carmel.
It seems that what this story and other biblical stories like it are telling is that the belief in Yahweh supplanted the worship of Ba’al. In fact it seems that in some ways, Yahweh subsumed Ba’al, taking on his attributes and powers.

Ba’al is not the only god of the West Semitic pantheon to be mentioned in the Bible. Ba’al’s father, Dagon, the god of the harvest, also makes an appearance, again in stories aimed at showing Yahweh’s superiority over him. In 1 Samuel chapter 5 for example that after the Philistines captured the Ark of the Covenant, they took it to the Temple of Dagon in Ashdod. But this resulted in the miraculous destruction of his cult statue. Yahweh wins again.

Dagon’s father was El, the head of the West Semitic pantheon. The name Israel, shows that El was originally the tutelary god of Israel (it’s right there in the name), but over time, Yahweh took El’s place. El had a consort, the goddess Asherah, and as Yahweh took El’s place, Asherah became Yahweh’s consort. According to the Old Testament Asherah was worshipped in the earliest Temple of Jerusalem – not explicitly, but we are definitely told that her symbols were removed from the Temple, so they had to be there in the first place (1 Kings 15:13 and 2 Kings 23:14).

El was the father of many gods besides Dagon, several of whom were explicitly mentioned in the Bible. Mot, the personification of death, is described in several passages as a deity. In Job 18:13 he is said to have a son, and in Habakkuk 2:5 we are told he opens his mouth wide and swallows souls. Another of El’s sons was the sea itself, unimaginatively called Yam (the Ugarit and Hebrew word for "sea"), though the Bible calls the god "Rahab". For example Job 26:12 says that God “divideth the sea with his power, and by his understanding he smiteth Rahab.” Legends of a storm god such as Ba’al defeating the sea were very common in the Ancient Near East.

There were other gods as well. The sun and the moon, dawn and dusk, as well as other natural phenomena were also deified in ancient West Semitic religions and likely in ancient Israel too, though it is less apparent in the Bible. Beit Shemesh was a center of sun worship since the place name literally means “House of Sun.” Jericho was probably at some point a center for moon worship. The city's name in Hebrew is "Yerikho"; and the Hebrew word for the moon is Yarekh, which other West Semitic languages use as the name of the moon god. Ezekiel (8:16) recounts seeing people worshipping the sun in the Temple. We can infer this because the bible specifically condemns their worship, and we are told that King Josiah took actions to stomp out the cult in the late First Temple period, the second half of the 7th century B.C.E. These actions included removing cult objects from the Temple itself (2 Kings 23:11). And of course, the Bible attempts to show that Yahweh has total control over them such is when he stops them in the sky (Joshua 10:13).

The Bible also recounts that the ancient Hebrews worshipped a god named Moloch, who was associated with the Ammonites and with child sacrifice. This worship too was stamped out by Josiah in the same reforms (e.g. 2 Kings 23:10).

The historic books of the Bible were written by a “Yahweh only party” and are thus keenly critical of the worship of other gods in Judah. Still, it is clear from their description that polytheism was the norm in the First Temple period. It was only during King Josiah’s reform that the "Yahweh only party" really took control and began pushing other gods out of Judean minds. But note that they didn't claim other gods did not exist. They only stated that their worship was forbidden by Yahweh, or as Exodus 34:14 has it: "For thou shalt worship no other god: for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God."

It was only during the Babylonian Exile (about 586 BC to 500 BC) and the following Second Temple period (500 BC to AD 70), that Judaism progressed from the belief that Yahweh is the only god that should be worshipped, to the belief that he is the only god that exists. In other words monotheism was born. This view is stated clearly in the words of Second Isaiah written at the very end of the Exilic period and the very beginning of the Second Temple period: “This is what the Lord says - Israel’s King and Redeemer, the Lord Almighty: I am the first and I am the last; apart from me there is no God” (Isaiah 44:6).

The progression from polytheism to monotheism in the Bible is relatively clear.

As atheist Ricky Gervais said in an interview with Stephen Colbert. "There are 3,000 [Gods] to choose from. So basically you [Stephen Colbert] deny one less god than I do. You don't believe in 2,999 gods and I don't believe in just one more."
 

western royboy

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You need to reassess where you are getting your information.

I know the urge is to read and digest only the bits you want to believe, but that is not how reality works.
Ultimately it’s up to everyone to come to their own conclusion and everyone has the right to believe whatever they want. But that doesn’t mean your beliefs can’t be held up to scrutiny and where appropriate ridicule. Much of the Bible had been proven to be absolute fantasy. And the idea of a sky fairy…don’t get me started. As someone who was indoctrinated from a young age and subsequently discovered the true evil of organised religion and then went further to find out the rest I am in total comfort that like Kerry Packer, ”there’s nothing there”. I don’t need a label but having been through a horror process, it does stun me how little critical thinking the average person gives to this.
B619F842-5D2E-4FF0-9BB3-C2F5038BA525.jpeg
 

carltonchelsea

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Mate, we'll give you a good home at Essendon if you ever want out of Carlton. That goes for Gethelred too.

I hate to see decent gents like yourselves missing out on the winning culture we have at Tullamarine.
I’ve had a tough week truth be known.
Only work and family stuff, normal stuff.
But when I have see a PM prioritise a Bill allowing cult entitlement over secular Law, because my lesbian mate got married, my reason safety trigger gets flicked to fully engaged and ready to fire.
I know we disagree on many matters politically, but I really do admire your compunction for logic and riling up the masses, but, I don’t, and will never own anything that is red, thanks for the invite though, love to sit at a bar and drink a few with you one day.
“Don’t mention the peelers chels, don’t do it”, there, I didn’t do it.
Now I have a bbq to fire up, meat, meat is good!
 

carltonchelsea

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Well, I bloody well like you despite that you’ve openly clarified, in advance, that any politeness on your part shouldn’t deflect from your underlying sentiment that Christian’s and the like are the sworn objects of your wrecking ball, that their time on this earth is finite, and that their expulsion and slaughter is warranted. But, cautiously, I think I still bloody well like you.

Did someone mention rail?
All of our lives are finite at this stage of evolution, at some point in the future if we make it, humanlike folk won’t need an imaginary good place in the sky as they will have the opportunity to cheat death and become immortal, it’s inevitable with our advances, if the religious cult zealots grouping in government worldwide don’t fu** it up.
Yeh I did, ya got any, be there in 10!😀
 

Markfs

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isn't the fundamental question whether a guy who might have lived 2000 years ago was the creator of the universe? Science could prove a flood or a series of plagues or some other biblical story, but it wouldnt prove to me that this bloke jesus was actually god. Please continue your discussions...
 

Total Power

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isn't the fundamental question whether a guy who might have lived 2000 years ago was the creator of the universe? Science could prove a flood or a series of plagues or some other biblical story, but it wouldnt prove to me that this bloke jesus was actually god. Please continue your discussions...
Of course not but the Bible is not a historical document, none of it is considering historically accurate. Jesus was God but no one mentioned him, till Josephus and the quote attributed to him was fabricated. Eusebius (the person who manipulated the josephus quote) openly advocated the use of fraud and deception in furthering the interests of the Church. The first mention of Jesus by Josephus came from Eusebius (none of the earlier church fathers mention Josephus’ Jesus).

Eusebius wrote about “how it may be lawful and fitting to use falsehood as a medicine, and for the benefit of those who want to be deceived.”

These are the church fathers, don't believe in me, believe in what they have said. Eusebius made up Josephus quote you realise that? He was the first one EVER to mention Jebus. That was a fabrication.

So there was this God on earth, but none bother to mention him or write about him? The first historian to mention him was a fabricated quote by Eusebius? yeah the church has no conflict of interest considering the threat faced from Arianism and Gnosticism? The whole trinity (which came a lot later and was a church invention), made Christianity what it is today.
 

Markfs

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Of course not but the Bible is not a historical document, none of it is considering historically accurate. Jesus was God but no one mentioned him, till Josephus and the quote attributed to him was fabricated. Eusebius (the person who manipulated the josephus quote) openly advocated the use of fraud and deception in furthering the interests of the Church. The first mention of Jesus by Josephus came from Eusebius (none of the earlier church fathers mention Josephus’ Jesus).

Eusebius wrote about “how it may be lawful and fitting to use falsehood as a medicine, and for the benefit of those who want to be deceived.”

These are the church fathers, don't believe in me, believe in what they have said. Eusebius made up Josephus quote you realise that? He was the first one EVER to mention Jebus. That was a fabrication.

So there was this God on earth, but none bother to mention him or write about him? The first historian to mention him was a fabricated quote by Eusebius? yeah the church has no conflict of interest considering the threat faced from Arianism and Gnosticism? The whole trinity (which came a lot later and was a church invention), made Christianity what it is today.
well as tim rice said in jesus christ superstar, israel had no mass communication at the time....you have to wonder why god came at a time when it was incumbent on his apostles to tell the world about the good news. So its probably not surprising in some way that a god who wants to come to earth and act like man - except for those miracles - would be ignored by historians.....but in the end it's far easier for me to think that this guy wasnt the god who ran the universe.... that in fact, he was just a dynamic bloke in a far flung part of the empire. If i believe in jesus on the basis of the stories in the new testament, then why not believe in the koran or the stories of the buddha. There may be a god but I dont think it has been defined by these religions and understood like these traditional stories would lead us to believe. However, christians are free to do what they like as far as i'm concerned. I just wish they would keep to themselves and not try to convert the world. I wont say anymore. I know the guys in this thread like to discuss the technicalities but I just wanted to make my point that whether there was a flood or not, didnt really determine the central question of whether jesus was god.
 

Total Power

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well as tim rice said in jesus christ superstar, israel had no mass communication at the time....you have to wonder why god came at a time when it was incumbent on his apostles to tell the world about the good news. So its probably not surprising in some way that a god who wants to come to earth and act like man - except for those miracles - would be ignored by historians.....but in the end it's far easier for me to think that this guy wasnt the god who ran the universe.... that in fact, he was just a dynamic bloke in a far flung part of the empire. If i believe in jesus on the basis of the stories in the new testament, then why not believe in the koran or the stories of the buddha. There may be a god but I dont think it has been defined by these religions and understood like these traditional stories would lead us to believe. However, christians are free to do what they like as far as i'm concerned. I just wish they would keep to themselves and not try to convert the world. I wont say anymore. I know the guys in this thread like to discuss the technicalities but I just wanted to make my point that whether there was a flood or not, didnt really determine the central question of whether jesus was god.
Buddha existed. Kings have written about them, many independent people have written about them (that was before Jesus' time). Mohammed the same. Buddha was no God, neither was Mohammed. Here we have, God, coming down on earth and we have no records whatsoever. On top of that there was heaps of bullshit added including empty tomb, trinity, which were added a lot later in the Bible, mostly by Augustine of Hippo. The Jesus seminar (a Christian posted the study here, without reading the link, which backfired spectacularly on him), analyses the life of the so called 'Jesus'. There is no doubt that preachers like Jesus lived but the character in the NT is entirely made up of myth, added a lot later than the 2nd century.



According to the Jesus Seminar:



Most of what's added in the NT is nothing but a Catholic church made up. There is no remains of Mark and Matt's original manuscript, scholars have suggested the additions have been done for over 1,000 years. Catholic church themselves have admitted the 'Great Commission' for example is a late addition. Not to mention Half of John is extremely dodgy as well, including the famous quote 'Let the first one without sin throw the stone', which everyone loves to quote, should not be in the Bible.

There was a character like Jesus, but he was turned into a 'God'. Most of the evidence points towards God. Outside of that i don't disagree with anything you posted.
 
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SBD Gonzalez

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Kidding, right?
I have a Christian question.

What do Christians think is taking place when they pray?

Do they think this (theoretical) force powerful enough to create the billions of stars in the universe cares about their puny hopes?

What leads them to this conclusion?

What leads them to think it makes one jot of difference? (We all know about confirmation bias by now, I would hope.)

What leads them to think they’re doing anything more than trying really really hard to think a thought really really hard?

And might they advance some theories on why this (theoretical) force WANTS them to carry out this peculiarly human procedure? I GUESS a force powerful enough to create the universe might consider this little demonstration of loyalty to be necessary. It’s the (theoretical) force that created the entire universe after all; it can do what it bloody well wants. But does it seem very likely?
 

Boston tiger

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Buddha existed. Kings have written about them, many independent people have written about them (that was before Jesus' time). Mohammed the same. Buddha was no God, neither was Mohammed. Here we have, God, coming down on earth and we have no records whatsoever. On top of that there was heaps of bullshit added including empty tomb, trinity, which were added a lot later in the Bible, mostly by Augustine of Hippo. The Jesus seminar (a Christian posted the study here, without reading the link, which backfired spectacularly on him), analyses the life of the so called 'Jesus'. There is no doubt that preachers like Jesus lived but the character in the NT is entirely made up of myth, added a lot later than the 2nd century.



According to the Jesus Seminar:



Most of what's added in the NT is nothing but a Catholic church made up. There is no remains of Mark and Matt's original manuscript, scholars have suggested the additions have been done for over 1,000 years. Catholic church themselves have admitted the 'Great Commission' for example is a late addition. Not to mention Half of John is extremely dodgy as well, including the famous quote 'Let the first one without sin throw the stone', which everyone loves to quote, should not be in the Bible.

There was a character like Jesus, but he was turned into a 'God'. Most of the evidence points towards God. Outside of that i don't disagree with anything you posted.
I was making fun of the Jesus Seminar. It was joke of a seminar. See my bit about using coloured marbles. Coloured marbles in jar TP. Doesn’t the term “seminar “ ring alarm bells for you TP .
You are a funny fellow . Any who

Who would know more about Jesus . Those who that ate and dank with Jesus for 3 years or someone who has read the New Testament 2000 years later ?

He started a Church that we know for certain. Do you think that everything the Church wanted to cover made it to the Bible ? And would that even have been a concern for the Church ?

So don’t worry about things like the Trinity if it’s not spelled out for you word for word.
Everything is revealed in good time.
 
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Total Power

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Do they think this (theoretical) force powerful enough to create the billions of stars in the universe cares about their puny hopes?
If you look at our earth, most animals exist or existed without a purpose. 95% of all animals that ever existed are now extinct. What difference will it make to the planet? species go extinct all the time, what purpose do they serve? why would a creator contemplate creating such things? most things are meaningless, but us humans need to find a meaning to everything, hence God/Purpose/divinity/afterlife
 
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Total Power

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I was making fun of the Jesus Seminar. It was joke of a seminar. See my bit about using coloured marbles. Coloured marbles in jar TP. Doesn’t the term “seminar “ ring alarm bells for you TP .
You are a funny fellow .
Sure you were, who knows with you? you copy paste stuff without references, mostly from other catholic forums/pages. Which scholar with no vested faith/conflict of interest in Christianity agree with you anyway? Jesus the God, is a pure invention by the Catholic church.
 

Roylion

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I was making fun of the Jesus Seminar. It was joke of a seminar.
Because a collection of Biblical scholars discussing and voting on the historicity of the deeds and words of Jesus as outlined in the Gospels used coloured marbles as a voting tool?
 
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Boston tiger

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Because a collection of Biblical scholars discussing the and voting on the historicity of the deeds and words of Jesus as outlined in the Gospels used coloured marbles as a voting tool?
Yep and 100 laymen but so what .
Shows over Roy. 2000 years too late . Christianity has made it through clean as a whistle.
Bunch of scaredy-cat apostles…Jesus gets crucified… empty tomb .. apostles turn into super heroes. Gospels use real names and people that could have been debunked straight away but that did stop them noooo.

Sure 2000 years later we can say what we like . It’s too late Roy … it’s just academia trying to get published and a few interesting reads on someones take on it 2000 years to late . Was Jesus a woman ? Why not hey .
 

Total Power

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Yep and 100 laymen but so what .
Shows over Roy. 2000 years too late . Christianity has made it through clean as a whistle.
Bunch of scaredy-cat apostles…Jesus gets crucified… empty tomb .. apostles turn into super heroes. Gospels use real names and people that could have been debunked straight away but that did stop them noooo.

Sure 2000 years later we can say what we like . It’s too late Roy … it’s just academia trying to get published and a few interesting reads on someones take on it 2000 years to late . Was Jesus a woman ? Why not hey .
You never seem to have anything to discuss on the subject and theology, outside of 2 billion people and 2,000 years. Its understandable why you don't but if people are sheep, that actually speaks more about people than religion. If 2 billion people believe in Jesus as God, 5 billion don't. So what? See 2 can play this game.

Other religions like Hinduism and Buddhism have lasted a lot longer while having more than a billion followers , so what? Your argument boils down to 'how was Christianity spread'. There's enough post in this thread about that. It's discussed extensively in this thread and something you have refused to address time and time again. Abrahamic religions sell, why? you don't have to do the heavy lifting and you get a lovely caring God looking after you. What's not to like about it? The fact that Jesus quotes been copied, doesn't really ring a bell to you? Adam and Eve, moses story, all copied. Still doesn't ring a bell to you? all you care about is why Christianity lasted?

Here is a bigger question. Which religion is declining the fastest and why?

This is why Islam will outdo your mob in the next 30 years.
 
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SBD Gonzalez

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Kidding, right?
I have a Christian question.

What do Christians think is taking place when they pray?

Do they think this (theoretical) force powerful enough to create the billions of stars in the universe cares about their puny hopes?

What leads them to this conclusion?

What leads them to think it makes one jot of difference? (We all know about confirmation bias by now, I would hope.)

What leads them to think they’re doing anything more than trying really really hard to think a thought really really hard?

And might they advance some theories on why this (theoretical) force WANTS them to carry out this peculiarly human procedure? I GUESS a force powerful enough to create the universe might consider this little demonstration of loyalty to be necessary. It’s the (theoretical) force that created the entire universe after all; it can do what it bloody well wants. But does it seem very likely?
Also, I should just add, when it comes to group prayer, I can see some obvious benefits. A sense of connectedness, belonging - the things that religion does best (except when someone doesn’t conform to the group’s strict precepts, of course!)

But solo prayer? As a rationalist, my overwhelming reaction is “who do they think is listening to this? And why?”
 

travelli

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Also, I should just add, when it comes to group prayer, I can see some obvious benefits. A sense of connectedness, belonging - the things that religion does best (except when someone doesn’t conform to the group’s strict precepts, of course!)

But solo prayer? As a rationalist, my overwhelming reaction is “who do they think is listening to this? And why?”
It depends what you expect from prayer. I more take it as a quiet moment of calm contemplation and connection. I find it really works for me. I don't expect a direct one on one conversation with the almighty. Maybe one day.
 

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It depends what you expect from prayer. I more take it as a quiet moment of calm contemplation and connection. I find it really works for me. I don't expect a direct one on one conversation with the almighty. Maybe one day.
You are better than these average religious posters out there, have you considered when and why Jesus said 'The kingdom of God is within you'? If you read Rumi's poetry, it's the exact same. Unfortunately, organised religion is what we are left with. Thats the entire point of meditation which is an object of joke to most of these Christians.
 

travelli

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The ancient Israelites were polytheistic. The historic books of the Bible recount an ongoing competition between the worship of Yahweh and Ba’al, eventually resulting in the supremacy of Yahweh.



It seems that what this story and other biblical stories like it are telling is that the belief in Yahweh supplanted the worship of Ba’al. In fact it seems that in some ways, Yahweh subsumed Ba’al, taking on his attributes and powers.

Ba’al is not the only god of the West Semitic pantheon to be mentioned in the Bible. Ba’al’s father, Dagon, the god of the harvest, also makes an appearance, again in stories aimed at showing Yahweh’s superiority over him. In 1 Samuel chapter 5 for example that after the Philistines captured the Ark of the Covenant, they took it to the Temple of Dagon in Ashdod. But this resulted in the miraculous destruction of his cult statue. Yahweh wins again.

Dagon’s father was El, the head of the West Semitic pantheon. The name Israel, shows that El was originally the tutelary god of Israel (it’s right there in the name), but over time, Yahweh took El’s place. El had a consort, the goddess Asherah, and as Yahweh took El’s place, Asherah became Yahweh’s consort. According to the Old Testament Asherah was worshipped in the earliest Temple of Jerusalem – not explicitly, but we are definitely told that her symbols were removed from the Temple, so they had to be there in the first place (1 Kings 15:13 and 2 Kings 23:14).

El was the father of many gods besides Dagon, several of whom were explicitly mentioned in the Bible. Mot, the personification of death, is described in several passages as a deity. In Job 18:13 he is said to have a son, and in Habakkuk 2:5 we are told he opens his mouth wide and swallows souls. Another of El’s sons was the sea itself, unimaginatively called Yam (the Ugarit and Hebrew word for "sea"), though the Bible calls the god "Rahab". For example Job 26:12 says that God “divideth the sea with his power, and by his understanding he smiteth Rahab.” Legends of a storm god such as Ba’al defeating the sea were very common in the Ancient Near East.

There were other gods as well. The sun and the moon, dawn and dusk, as well as other natural phenomena were also deified in ancient West Semitic religions and likely in ancient Israel too, though it is less apparent in the Bible. Beit Shemesh was a center of sun worship since the place name literally means “House of Sun.” Jericho was probably at some point a center for moon worship. The city's name in Hebrew is "Yerikho"; and the Hebrew word for the moon is Yarekh, which other West Semitic languages use as the name of the moon god. Ezekiel (8:16) recounts seeing people worshipping the sun in the Temple. We can infer this because the bible specifically condemns their worship, and we are told that King Josiah took actions to stomp out the cult in the late First Temple period, the second half of the 7th century B.C.E. These actions included removing cult objects from the Temple itself (2 Kings 23:11). And of course, the Bible attempts to show that Yahweh has total control over them such is when he stops them in the sky (Joshua 10:13).

The Bible also recounts that the ancient Hebrews worshipped a god named Moloch, who was associated with the Ammonites and with child sacrifice. This worship too was stamped out by Josiah in the same reforms (e.g. 2 Kings 23:10).

The historic books of the Bible were written by a “Yahweh only party” and are thus keenly critical of the worship of other gods in Judah. Still, it is clear from their description that polytheism was the norm in the First Temple period. It was only during King Josiah’s reform that the "Yahweh only party" really took control and began pushing other gods out of Judean minds. But note that they didn't claim other gods did not exist. They only stated that their worship was forbidden by Yahweh, or as Exodus 34:14 has it: "For thou shalt worship no other god: for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God."

It was only during the Babylonian Exile (about 586 BC to 500 BC) and the following Second Temple period (500 BC to AD 70), that Judaism progressed from the belief that Yahweh is the only god that should be worshipped, to the belief that he is the only god that exists. In other words monotheism was born. This view is stated clearly in the words of Second Isaiah written at the very end of the Exilic period and the very beginning of the Second Temple period: “This is what the Lord says - Israel’s King and Redeemer, the Lord Almighty: I am the first and I am the last; apart from me there is no God” (Isaiah 44:6).

The progression from polytheism to monotheism in the Bible is relatively clear.

As atheist Ricky Gervais said in an interview with Stephen Colbert. "There are 3,000 [Gods] to choose from. So basically you [Stephen Colbert] deny one less god than I do. You don't believe in 2,999 gods and I don't believe in just one more."
Sounds like the natural evolution of a people's understanding of/relationship with the divine over many centuries. I love how the stories and struggles are depicted in the OT.
 

travelli

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You are better than these average religious posters out there, have you considered when and why Jesus said 'The kingdom of God is within you'? If you read Rumi's poetry, it's the exact same. Unfortunately, organised religion is what we are left with. Thats the entire point of meditation which is an object of joke to most of these Christians.
I should say as well, it is not just meditation, in the sense it is internalised. I do pray to God. I don't usually pray for "stuff", but I do pray for assistance and capability.

For example, in my current job I have to do a fair few presentations. I'm not a natural at this and I can get nervous beforehand, so I always have a quick prayer for help & courage. I find it helps me to calm, get perspective, focus, feel supported and most importantly, release my anxiety to another.

I get most will probably see this as a contrived delusion, but it just works.
 

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