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Why I'm identifying as agnostic...
#1
Why I'm identifying as agnostic...
Okay, so now that I've talked to all my close friends and family about it, I can now talk about it here.

A couple of months back I asked myself a question I felt was central to my faith - and that is would I accept the Old Testament without the New? Would I accept Judaism had Christ never come. After much consideration I decided the only honest answer is no, and I'll explain why.

There's very little ethical or factual problems with the New Testament and the teachings of Christ. However the New Testament isn't perfect, and the authors got some of their facts wrong - like Luke's census, the location of Jesus casting Legion out and into the pigs and who bought the "field of blood". These errors "we" generally ignore as being largely irrelevant. Some evangelicals even make the claim that the original wording was in fact correct - yet we're not talking about passages with disputed wording and scholars believe they have the original wording.

One important error is Isaiah 7:14 as quoted, or rather misquoted, by Matthew. Now I've changed my mind on this, Matthew has used this passage as a prophecy when it wasn't. In fact the entire New Testament contains only one genuine prophecy given by Jesus twice and that is the destruction of Jerusalem by siege. I have a hard time believing any theory that Jesus didn't give that prophecy, but is it really remarkable? Maybe not after all Jerusalem had already before been taken by siege on four separate occasions in the past millennium. Even if it hadn't fallen in 70AD to siege it still would have 614AD, or the time after that, or the time after that and the prophecy would still be fulfilled.

So this brings us back the OT and starting with Noah what Christians want to see is different interpretations of what is actually written. Noah is instructed to build an Ark - God tells him he will destroy all of creation (Gen 6:7: So the Lord said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them.”) and that the ark will protect him. Now any way you look at this story as a real historical flood it means that God is lying to Noah about the extent of what will be destroyed, and also he could have sent Noah on a day or two's journey to get out of the flood zone before it came. Maybe a week's journey, maybe a month's journey. Heck even if all of Turkey was to be flooded he still could have sent Noah to Egypt, Europe, India, China, Africa, or plenty of places that weren't destroyed in Noah's flood.

Also it's not the only lie that he tells, the other one that comes to mind is that they can go take possession of the Promised Land as an eternal inheritance. That land is now occupied by: Israel, Lebanon, Syria, and what little is left of Palestine. So much for being an "eternal" inheritance.

Then we come to Leviticus where the punishment for Adultery is death, the punishment for, well many sins, is death. Now what I was always told is an interpretation I disagree with which is that "the Ancient Hebrews/Jews were more civilized and had better liberties than other nations". Rubbish. Gen 22 tells us of God testing Abraham to sacrifice Isaac to him - that means the Hebrew God demands that his followers are willing, if asked, to sacrifice their children to him - what makes that better than the Egyptian gods or the Roman gods? Furthermore, women had near equal-rights to men in ancient Egypt not in ancient Judaism. So this idea that the ancient Hebrews were "ahead" of any social curve is flat-out wrong.

It also means that Christians should believe that it is fair and just that Adulterers, etc, be put to death. Not that we will necessarily do it, but should recognize that God says it's fair and just and what He wants in Leviticus. So far, I've had some Christian friends of mine say "but that's 'just' Leviticus"... 'just'? The Torah was the most important part of the Hebrew scriptures to the Jews. They followed its teachings to the letter. Now Jesus didn't dispute that, what he disputed was where Pharisees had added to the teachings. You can turn to Leviticus and it's God who says Adulterers are to be put to death, not the Pharisees.

So in summary, I've decided to reject the Old Testament as reliable scripture and hence become agnostic.
For Religion & Health see:[/b][/size] Williams & Sternthal. (2007). Spirituality, religion and health: Evidence and research directions. Med. J. Aust., 186(10), S47-S50. -LINK

The WIN/Gallup End of Year Survey 2013 found the US was perceived to be the greatest threat to world peace by a huge margin, with 24% of respondents fearful of the US followed by: 8% for Pakistan, and 6% for China. This was followed by 5% each for: Afghanistan, Iran, Israel, North Korea. -LINK


"That's disgusting. There were clean athletes out there that have had their whole careers ruined by people like Lance Armstrong who just bended thoughts to fit their circumstances. He didn't look up cheating because he wanted to stop, he wanted to justify what he was doing and to keep that continuing on." - Nicole Cooke
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#2
RE: Why I'm identifying as agnostic...
Agnostic theism or agnostic atheism?
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#3
RE: Why I'm identifying as agnostic...
Proud to have you here...
I've heard the bible can do that to those who wish to question it.
Maybe you aren't meant to question it!

I can already hear the Christians saying:
"You weren't a real believer to begin with"
You can't be half Christian!
No God, No fear.
Know God, Know fear.
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#4
RE: Why I'm identifying as agnostic...
Congrats. You were Christian a few months ago I take it? I say congrats because that transition from Christian to agnostic typically involves letting go of all that irrational fear that the Christain herd tends to drum into one another.
He who loves God cannot endeavour that God should love him in return - Baruch Spinoza
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#5
RE: Why I'm identifying as agnostic...
It's happening. There is very likely no going back.

And that's fine. Congratulations.
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#6
RE: Why I'm identifying as agnostic...
Quote:So in summary, I've decided to reject the Old Testament as reliable scripture and hence become agnostic.

Are we to take it, then, that you continue to accept the New Testament as 'reliable scripture'?

Boru
‘Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted.’ Ralph Waldo Emerson
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#7
RE: Why I'm identifying as agnostic...
(July 17, 2014 at 4:55 am)BrianSoddingBoru4 Wrote:
Quote:So in summary, I've decided to reject the Old Testament as reliable scripture and hence become agnostic.

Are we to take it, then, that you continue to accept the New Testament as 'reliable scripture'?

Boru

Can an actual agnostic claim that?
He who loves God cannot endeavour that God should love him in return - Baruch Spinoza
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#8
RE: Why I'm identifying as agnostic...
(July 17, 2014 at 3:07 am)Aractus Wrote: Okay, so now that I've talked to all my close friends and family about it, I can now talk about it here.

A couple of months back I asked myself a question I felt was central to my faith - and that is would I accept the Old Testament without the New? Would I accept Judaism had Christ never come. After much consideration I decided the only honest answer is no, and I'll explain why.

There's very little ethical or factual problems with the New Testament and the teachings of Christ. However the New Testament isn't perfect, and the authors got some of their facts wrong - like Luke's census, the location of Jesus casting Legion out and into the pigs and who bought the "field of blood". These errors "we" generally ignore as being largely irrelevant. Some evangelicals even make the claim that the original wording was in fact correct - yet we're not talking about passages with disputed wording and scholars believe they have the original wording.

One important error is Isaiah 7:14 as quoted, or rather misquoted, by Matthew. Now I've changed my mind on this, Matthew has used this passage as a prophecy when it wasn't. In fact the entire New Testament contains only one genuine prophecy given by Jesus twice and that is the destruction of Jerusalem by siege. I have a hard time believing any theory that Jesus didn't give that prophecy, but is it really remarkable? Maybe not after all Jerusalem had already before been taken by siege on four separate occasions in the past millennium. Even if it hadn't fallen in 70AD to siege it still would have 614AD, or the time after that, or the time after that and the prophecy would still be fulfilled.

So this brings us back the OT and starting with Noah what Christians want to see is different interpretations of what is actually written. Noah is instructed to build an Ark - God tells him he will destroy all of creation (Gen 6:7: So the Lord said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them.”) and that the ark will protect him. Now any way you look at this story as a real historical flood it means that God is lying to Noah about the extent of what will be destroyed, and also he could have sent Noah on a day or two's journey to get out of the flood zone before it came. Maybe a week's journey, maybe a month's journey. Heck even if all of Turkey was to be flooded he still could have sent Noah to Egypt, Europe, India, China, Africa, or plenty of places that weren't destroyed in Noah's flood.

Also it's not the only lie that he tells, the other one that comes to mind is that they can go take possession of the Promised Land as an eternal inheritance. That land is now occupied by: Israel, Lebanon, Syria, and what little is left of Palestine. So much for being an "eternal" inheritance.

Then we come to Leviticus where the punishment for Adultery is death, the punishment for, well many sins, is death. Now what I was always told is an interpretation I disagree with which is that "the Ancient Hebrews/Jews were more civilized and had better liberties than other nations". Rubbish. Gen 22 tells us of God testing Abraham to sacrifice Isaac to him - that means the Hebrew God demands that his followers are willing, if asked, to sacrifice their children to him - what makes that better than the Egyptian gods or the Roman gods? Furthermore, women had near equal-rights to men in ancient Egypt not in ancient Judaism. So this idea that the ancient Hebrews were "ahead" of any social curve is flat-out wrong.

It also means that Christians should believe that it is fair and just that Adulterers, etc, be put to death. Not that we will necessarily do it, but should recognize that God says it's fair and just and what He wants in Leviticus. So far, I've had some Christian friends of mine say "but that's 'just' Leviticus"... 'just'? The Torah was the most important part of the Hebrew scriptures to the Jews. They followed its teachings to the letter. Now Jesus didn't dispute that, what he disputed was where Pharisees had added to the teachings. You can turn to Leviticus and it's God who says Adulterers are to be put to death, not the Pharisees.

So in summary, I've decided to reject the Old Testament as reliable scripture and hence become agnostic.

This actually sounds a lot like my own experience. I take it your embracing the term agnostic as Huxley coined it?
To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.
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#9
RE: Why I'm identifying as agnostic...
(July 17, 2014 at 4:55 am)BrianSoddingBoru4 Wrote: Are we to take it, then, that you continue to accept the New Testament as 'reliable scripture'?

Boru
No, I do not see the NT as reliable scripture. I do see much of it as being reliable history, especially the undisputed Pauline epistles and the epistles including Acts that talk about the present - and as I said I do not question whether Jesus gave the prediction that Jerusalem would be taken by siege, however that prediction isn't really that impressive because it had happened before and happened a number of times after AD 70 too. I also believe in an early date for the gospel of John as I see it as irrational to believe otherwise in light of the early 2nd century papyri - that means it was probably written around 60 AD or the same time as the other synoptic gospels. That means that John's theology was likely competing against that of the synoptic authors. I believe that all four gospels and the book of Acts were written sometime about AD 50 - AD 65 (the gospel of Mark could have been written as early as 45 AD) and that we have the original wording (99.5%) through textual criticism.
For Religion & Health see:[/b][/size] Williams & Sternthal. (2007). Spirituality, religion and health: Evidence and research directions. Med. J. Aust., 186(10), S47-S50. -LINK

The WIN/Gallup End of Year Survey 2013 found the US was perceived to be the greatest threat to world peace by a huge margin, with 24% of respondents fearful of the US followed by: 8% for Pakistan, and 6% for China. This was followed by 5% each for: Afghanistan, Iran, Israel, North Korea. -LINK


"That's disgusting. There were clean athletes out there that have had their whole careers ruined by people like Lance Armstrong who just bended thoughts to fit their circumstances. He didn't look up cheating because he wanted to stop, he wanted to justify what he was doing and to keep that continuing on." - Nicole Cooke
Reply
#10
RE: Why I'm identifying as agnostic...
I assume you still lean toward theism in your agnosticism. If so, may I ask what your thoughts are now regarding an afterlife? (It is always fine to have whatever hunch you do in the face of no evidence in either direction.) If not, I suspect your natural skepticism will probably lead you to question the wisdom of practicing what Jesus taught in a very extreme manner.

Personally, I think I have internalized what Jesus taught to some degree. It feels right to give people the benefit of the doubt so far as possible and to bear in mind that everyone suffers different challenges in their life which impact their point of view in a way that isn't purely rational. I'm not as forbearing as he would have liked and can actually get a little hot when I feel poorly used.
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