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Christian Justifications for Moses’ Slaughter of the Midianite Mothers and Boys

Comment copied from a post on Debunking Christianity

 

Conservative Christian:

I trust you read the first part of the story about how the Midianites (Moab) used deception to entice the Israelites to engage in sexual immorality leading them away from God. See Numbers 22-25.

…Yes. It [the slaughter of the Midianite mothers and boys] was awful.

It needed to be.

Skeptic:

Numbers 22 differentiates between the Moabites and the Midianites, and although it is likely that they worshiped the same deities, why make a distinction there, and later in Numbers 25, blame all the “whoredom” on just Moab? A further reading of Numbers 25 shows that the real sin was intermarrying and a desire for racial purity. Remind you of any events from, say, the 1940’s? Zumri, a Jew, brought Cozbi, a Midianite, to meet the family and Phinehas, a priest, runs them both through with a spear! Then Yahweh commands Moses to “vex and smite” the Midianites. Not only does Moses maintain racial purity of the tribe, but manufactures a reason to steal the Midianites’ land and possession, and take sexual slaves.

Numbers 31: 26-28 lists the types of booty – beeves, asses, sheep, and persons (female virgins, since all males and non-virgins were already murdered) – and specifies how to divide it up. Verse 29 then commands that a share be given to Eleazar, the priest, as a “heave offering”.

But what is a “heave offering”? According to Leviticus 7:29-34, Heave and Wave offerings are the “right shoulder and breast”, held up and waved before the congregation, before the priests eat them. So it’s actually worse: human sacrifice and cannibalism!

But let’s return to your claim that the reason the Midianites deserved such a horrible end was that they seduced the Israelites. A little illicit sex demands a death sentence? No wonder many Christians (and Muslims) are so warped; all this preoccupation with and fear of sex! It’s been the downfall of so many of you guys: Ted Haggard, Jim Bakker, Jimmy Swaggart, innumerable numbers of Catholic priests…If you can’t see how morally bankrupt and perverse your position is, I don’t know what to say. You are beyond salvation.

Further problems you fail to address are: 1) what possible excuse can you offer to justify
the murder innocent babies (presumably they weren’t seducing grown men); 2) how weak was the Israelites’ faith that they could be so easily seduced by a false god; and 3) how can you put any trust in an eternal/unchangeable god who is just as capable of atrocity now as he was then?

These Israelites are the same people who witnessed God’s judgment of the Egyptians, the parting of the Red Sea, the whirlwind, pillar of fire, and manna from Heaven and yet, they risked death and damnation for a little “strange”??? I’m not buying that. And why punish women/people who have not been exposed to “god’s love”? Is it not more just to punish the Israelites? Why not a really bad case of the clap, or hemorrhoids, or just have their peckers fall off (that would definitely put an end to dalliances with strange women!) That seems like real justice!

—“Procrastus”

 

 

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The Deconversion Story of a Fundamentalist Christian

I was raised a fundamentalist Christian. And I ate it up. I experienced manifestations of the Spirit early and often in my life. Those emotional experiences persuaded me to believe the claims of my church — that Jesus died for me, that the (KJV) Bible was inerrant, and that people who believed like us were save and everyone else was damned.

The emotional component confirmed everything I was fed. I believed that archeology proved the Bible, that hundreds of prophecies in the Old Testament were fulfilled by Jesus, that we were living in the End Times and Jesus’ return was just around the corner, à la The Late Great Planet Earth.

I heard many arguments against the Bible, Christianity, and gods in general. But I was predisposed to believe the apologetics over the obviously misguided lost souls who fought the true church.

The first major blow to my faith (although I didn’t know it at the time) was my marrying into a predominately Mormon family. The attempts at converting me began immediately. As I do with everything, I threw myself into discovering Mormonism, reading their scripture; books, articles, and speeches by their prophets; and talking to scholars. My new in-laws were well connected and I found myself meeting and speaking with Mormon prophets, apostles and seventy. Often at family reunions, weddings, funerals, etc.

I satisfied myself that Mormonism was bunk. But things nagged at me forever since. The Mormons experienced the Spirit. Their main sales pitch is to get potential converts to read their scriptures and pray for the Spirit. They read, studied and taught from the Bible (as well as their own scriptures). They often interpreted it the same as I had been taught, but in other areas very differently. And I was honest enough to admit that their interpretations were every bit as consistent and valid as ours were.

It was the emotional conflict with gay rights that broke through the wall for me. Perhaps, if I had been raised in a more liberal Christianity, this moment wouldn’t have come. But my Christianity was black and white. There were no metaphors or analogies in Scripture. Just the plain Word of God.

Once the break came, I feverously went though everything I ever had be taught to believe. I suppose I was looking for justification for rebelling on this one issue. Searching to show: all this I believe so rejecting this one thing is justified.

Instead I realized I had been kidding myself. The apologetics were shit. The evidence was thin or nonexistent. I realized that my one true interpretation of God’s true word was as precarious as any other. It wasn’t long before I went from “I can’t prove my version of Christianity” to “I can’t prove Christianity” to “I can’t prove God.”

It literally was just a matter of a few days. Perhaps because I had studied these things my whole life. I didn’t have to go looking for the arguments. I’d heard and read them all. And all were corroborated by faith. Until suddenly they weren’t. They never had been. It had all been an emotional high with no foundation in reality.

So my deconversion came slowly, with careful study over decades. Then suddenly, all at once.

Today I’m embarrassed that I read the Bible when my friends didn’t, I studied apologetics’s when friends didn’t, and still it took me so long to see through the lies and deceptions to see the fable underneath for what it is.

 

Posted by permission of “Koseighty”;  his above comment originally posted on Debunking Christianity Blog

Do Recent Archaeological Discoveries Confirm the Historical Reliability of the Bible?

Christian:   I do agree there is tension between some of the stories in the Bible and the current archaeological record like the Exodus, Darius the Mede, and the size and scope of the empire of David and Solomon, for instance. However, based on the previous track record, I’m not willing to side 100% with the “consensus of experts.” Here is why. If I had sided with the consensus of experts in 1854 about Belshazzar, I would have been wrong. If I had sided with the consensus of experts in 1884 about the Hittites, I would have been wrong. If I had sided with the consensus of experts in 1961 about Pilate, I would have been wrong. If I had sided with the consensus of experts in 1968 about the burial of crucified criminals in private tombs, I would have been wrong. If I had sided with the consensus of experts in 1993 about David, I would have been wrong. Based on that record, I prefer to wait and see what future archaeological finds will uncover, though I have already admitted there is a tension with what we have so far discovered archaeologically and what the Bible says in a few certain areas.

 

Gary:  I am more than willing to admit that some of the Bible’s historical claims have been confirmed by recent archaeological discoveries. But the big question is: What does that prove? Even if we discover evidence that Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, David and Solomon existed, does that evidence prove the supernatural claims of the Bible? Does it prove that Jacob wrestled with an angel? Does it prove that David killed a lion with his bare hands? Does it prove that a sea parted down the middle when Moses prayed to his god and lifted up his hands? Do any of the recent archaeological discoveries in any way confirm the historicity of even one alleged supernatural biblical event?  That is the key issue.

Even if archaeology eventually confirms that 100% of the historical claims (unrelated to supernatural events) in the Bible are true this in no way confirms the reality of the supernatural claims in the Bible, such as the Six Day Creation, a world wide flood, the parting of a (Red or Reed) Sea, talking donkeys, walking/talking snakes, the existence of Yahweh, or that the man Jesus is a god who at this moment sits on a golden throne in a place called heaven. What we really need is good evidence for the SUPERNATURAL claims of the Bible. Other than alleged eyewitness testimony of seeing a reanimated first century body, does such evidence exist?

I don’t think so.

Imagine if we find that King Arthur and the knights of the Round Table really existed. Imagine if every historical claim in the story about these men is found to be true. Is that proof that they fought against flying dragons? Of course not.

I don’t think Christians realize just how outrageously improbable and frankly ridiculous their supernatural claims appear to non-Christians. Asking us to believe that a three-day brain dead, bloated, decomposing, first-century corpse was magically brought back to life by an ancient middle-eastern deity; then given super-hero supernatural powers that enabled him to appear and disappear between cities, walk through locked doors, and levitate into outer space; based almost entirely on claims by a group of peasants and one Jewish rabbi that they saw this corpse alive again, is absolutely PREPOSTEROUS to us.

The evidence for the supernatural claims of the Bible is poor. Even if five THOUSAND people from long ago claimed to have seen Cinderella’s pumpkin turn into a carriage, and a group of rats turn into her footmen, the overwhelming majority of modern, educated people, probably including yourself, would reject this very improbable eyewitness claim. Why then do Christians treat claims of the very improbable reanimation of a dead first century body differently?

Assumptions: The Great Stumbling Block that Prevents Christians and Skeptics from Fairly Evaluating the Evidence for the Resurrection

The issue of assumptions is something which Christians and skeptics should resolve up front before beginning any discussion or debate on the truth claims of Christianity, in particular, the Resurrection. If skeptics assume that the supernatural is impossible, then of course, a resurrection is impossible. If Christians assume the existence of their miracle-producing deity, Yahweh, then of course a resurrection is the most plausible explanation for the evidence related to the rise of the Christian religion.

I suggest that in order for a productive conversation to take place between Christians and skeptics, the skeptic must accept the possible existence of the supernatural and debate the evidence with this possibility in mind. In return, the Christian must do one of two things: Prove the existence and supernatural powers of Yahweh (not just of a generic Creator) prior to beginning the discussion, or, prove that supernatural explanations for alleged events such as the Resurrection are more plausible than other possible naturalistic explanations without presuming the existence of a miracle-producing deity.

Unless the two parties are willing to come to this agreement, these debates will never provide a satisfactory resolution. Both sides will walk away from the discussion declaring victory, but the opponent will never believe he has been defeated.

Human Beings do NOT Need Salvation

Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.

                                                              The Apostle Peter

 

Salvation? Human beings do not need salvation. They need enlightenment; enlightenment from the belief in invisible ghouls, devils, and gods and the fear of these imaginary creatures. If humans need to be saved from anything it is from the superstitions of supernatural belief systems such as traditional Christianity. These belief systems are ultimately based on fear and their teachings often foster prejudice and sectarianism. These beliefs must be exposed as the false, ancient superstitions that they are so that modern people can free themselves from their cult-like mind control.

Let the light of reason and science continue to dissipate the darkness of ignorance and superstition through the power of the Internet!

Credit the Virgin Mary with Saving Europe from the Invading Turks

(Protestant) Christians do not realize just how nutty it sounds to non-Christians when they give credit to Jesus (a man who has been dead for 2,000 years) for events in their lives, whether it is something as simple as getting a job promotion or something as spectacular as a military victory by their country’s armed forces.

“Thank you, Lord Jesus, for assisting our military in defeating those evil _______!”

But look at how outrageously nutty it sounds (even to Protestants) when it is a Roman Catholic giving credit to the Virgin Mary (another human being who has been dead for two thousand years):

Mike (Roman Catholic):  In 1571 the Ottoman Turks assembled a mighty fleet with the intention of conquering Christian Europe and turning it from Christian to Moslem. That they were prevented from doing so was due the great victory of the Christians at the naval Battle of Lepanto,

On the eve of battle, the men of the Holy League prepared their souls by falling to their knees on the decks of their galleys and praying the Rosary.  Back in Rome, and up and down the Italian Peninsula, at the behest of Pius V, the churches were filled with the faithful telling their beads. In Heaven, the Blessed Mother, her Immaculate Heart aflame, was listening.

As the fleets grew closer, the Christians could hear the gongs and cymbals, drums and cries of the Turks. The men of the Holy League quietly pulled at their oars, the soldiers stood on the decks in silent prayer. Priests holding large crucifixes marched up and down the decks exhorting the men to be brave and hearing final confessions.
Then the Blessed Virgin intervened.
The wind shifted 180 degrees. The sails of the Holy League were filled with the Divine breath, driving them into battle. Now heading directly into the wind, the Turks were forced to strike their sails.
The fighting lasted for five hours. The sides were evenly matched and well led, but the Divine favoured the Christians, and once the battle turned in their favour it became a rout. All but thirteen of the nearly 300 Turkish vessels were captured or sunk and over 30,000 Turks were slain.
The news of the victory made its way back to Rome, but the Pope was already rejoicing. On the day of the battle, Pius had been consulting with his cardinals at the Dominican Basilica of Santa Sabina on the Aventine Hill. He paused in the midst of their deliberations to look out the window. Up in the sky, the Blessed Mother favoured him with a vision of the victory. Turning to his cardinals he said, “Let us set aside business and fall on our knees in thanksgiving to God, for he has given our fleet a great victory.

(Copied from:  here)

Gary:  Good grief!

How to Prove Christianity False in Five Minutes

I believe that traditional Christianity can be proven false in five minutes by knocking out the three pillars of the Christian Faith (belief system):

  1.  The Bodily Resurrection of Jesus
  2.  The Accuracy of Old Testament Prophecy
  3.  The Witness of the Holy Spirit

And here is the evidence that destroys these three superstition-based claims:

  1.  Based on cumulative human experience, it is much more probable that the early Christian belief in the resurrection of Jesus was due to one disciple’s bereavement hallucination (probably Simon Peter’s) than a once in history reanimation of a three-day-brain-dead corpse.  Persons who experience hallucinations believe them to be real life experiences.  If Paul was able to convince first century Jews in Asia Minor that he had seen a resurrected Jesus based on a “heavenly vision”, then Simon Peter was surely capable of convincing first century Jews (including the other disciples) in Palestine that he had seen the resurrected Jesus, even though his experience had really been an hallucination.  The remainder of the “appearances” of Jesus listed in the Early Creed of First Corinthians 15 could simply have been static images (illusions) something we see today with alleged group sightings of the Virgin Mary.  The Early Creed gives no details whatsoever of these appearances.  The detailed appearances in the four Gospels may well be literary embellishments, very common in Greco-Roman biographies, the genre of literature in which most New Testament scholars, including many conservative Christian scholars, believe the authors of the Gospels were writing.

2.  The Book of Daniel is a blatant fraud.  The book very accurately portrays the events in the Greek Empire down to abstract minutia but makes major errors regarding the Babylonian and Persian empires, the empires during which the book’s author infers the book was written.  Jesus quotes from this fraudulent book.  Jesus, who was not a scholar, was fooled by the author.  Modern scholars are not fooled.

3.  The “witness of the Holy Spirit” is a joke.  Christians can no more prove that the voice that allegedly speaks to them is their god than can the Muslims, Hindus, Mormons, Jews, and others prove that the voice that speaks to them is their god.  Watch this powerful video for proof: